News of the Weird

LEAD STORY -- Audacious

Kristi Lyn Goss, 44, former administrative assistant to the Garland County (Arkansas) judge, went all out when she racked up about $200,000 worth of debt on the county credit card between 2011 and May 2016, according to The Hot Springs (Arkansas) Sentinel-Record. Among the many items Goss purchased on the county's account were tickets to Arkansas Razorbacks games, sequined throw pillows and a tuxedo for her dog. Goss pleaded guilty on Sept. 11 to six felony fraud counts; her sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 22. Garland County Judge Rick Davis issued a statement at Goss's arrest noting that he had "inherited" her from a former judge. [Hot Springs Sentinel-Record, 9/13/2017]

It's Complicated

As Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida in early September, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office announced that registered sex offenders, who would not be able to shelter with other citizens, "need someplace to go just like any other citizen." The Tampa Bay Times reported that sex offenders were directed to Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel. Pasco County Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll noted that offenders found in other shelters where children were present were subject to arrest, but said the predator shelter would welcome offenders from other counties. In nearby Polk County, officials were not so generous, telling sex offenders, "If you are a predator, find somewhere else to go," and announcing that they would be checking IDs at the door and arresting anyone with an outstanding warrant. [Tampa Bay Times, 9/7/2017]

Campaign Follies

Incumbent mayoral candidate Charles Pender erected his campaign signs in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, on Aug. 30, but when he woke up on Aug. 31, he found that they had been vandalized -- with hot dogs. CBC News reported that someone had cut round holes in the signs and inserted hot dogs to look as if Pender was smoking a cigar. Pender called it "minor mischief" but noted that the signs are expensive. He called the police, but he feels it's unlikely the frank bandit will be caught. He hopes to turn the incident into a good laugh with a "bun-raiser" later in the election season. [CBC News, 9/11/2017]

Compelling Explanations

Lisa Faye Stout, 53, came up with an unusual scapegoat for the mess police officers found in her room on Sept. 10 at New Castle, Indiana's Raintree Inn, according to the Muncie Star Press. Vampires had "destroyed everything," Stout told the officers, who were responding to reports that she had shown up in the hotel bar wearing no pants or undergarments. The front desk clerk also said Stout spit on her and threatened to kill her. As she was taken into custody, Stout spit some more and threatened to "slice" officers' throats. Stout was charged in Henry County court with two counts of battery by bodily waste, intimidation and criminal mischief. [The Star Press, 9/13/2017]

Recalculating ...

Well, it WAS dark ... Gabriel Bishop of Sellersville, Pennsylvania, put all his faith in his car's GPS system on the evening of Sept. 9, even as it directed him to follow a bike path running alongside the Lehigh River in Easton. According to Lehighvalleylive.com, when the path led under a low bridge, Bishop realized his mistake and tried to back up, but ended up rolling his car into the river. Easton police reported that Bishop was uninjured, but he did receive citations for multiple traffic offenses. [Lehigh Valley Live, 9/10/2017]

Smooth Reactions

A movie stuntman in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England, put his skills to work when a potential buyer of his Mercedes Benz tried to take off with the car on Sept. 13. The Telegraph reported that Matt Spooner met the "buyer" and gave a test drive in the car, but the thief wouldn't get out and started to take off. So, Spooner told reporters, "I ran round to the front and asked him politely to step out. I then ended up on the front of the vehicle and it began to move." The driver entered a highway, but when he finally slowed down, Spooner let go and "skidded off to the side of the curb," suffering cuts and bruises to his face. While Spooner creates stunts for film crews, he advises, "It's a bad plan to do them yourself." [The Telegraph, 9/15/2017]

Exploitation 101

Jerry Sargeant, 39, of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, England, who claims on his website to be able to cure cancer via Skype, has been convicted in Westminster Magistrate's Court of violating the U.K.'s 1939 Cancer Act, which prohibits advertising services that "offer to treat any person for cancer." The Daily Mail reports that Sargeant, who calls himself "The Facilitator," says he discovered his talent for "Star Magic" when he saw a woman's soul fly out of her body during a car accident in Romania. He also claims to have flown to Alpha Centauri on a spaceship and returned to Earth just minutes later. Sargeant's healing sessions cost 90 pounds for 15 minutes, but he told police that appointments can go up to an hour because "you can't put a time on magic." He will be sentenced on Nov. 8. [Daily Mail, 9/20/2017]

Life Imitates Cartoons

The Fremont (California) Police Department responded late on Sept. 17 to a Safeway store where 39-year-old Adam Kowarsh, armed with a French baguette, was on a rampage. According to SFGate, workers told Kowarsh he needed to pay for his items and leave the store, but when one employee tried to calm him, Kowarsh responded by pushing him and then hitting him across the face with the baguette. The Safeway employee was unhurt, but Kowarsh was charged with suspicion of battery and a parole violation. [SFGate, 9/19/2017]

No Pain, No Gain

Archaeologists in Cambridgeshire, England, have discovered the remains of a nearly 200-year-old colony of utopians espousing "free love and wife-swapping," according to Metro News. The Manea Fen community, established in 1838 by Methodist minister William Hodson, who championed a community free from marriage, money or monogamy, once numbered 150 members, but lasted only 25 months before succumbing to "personality clashes and objections to the practice of free love." Lead researcher Dr. Marcus Brittain believes "they got the wrong people, they had no labor skills and put in no time and effort, they were drunk, they went into local brothels, and thought they could build a utopia without breaking a sweat." [Metro News, 9/18/2017]

Least Competent Criminals

-- Police officers in Surf City, North Carolina, stopped Zachary Kingsbury, 20, of Lynnwood, Washington, on Aug. 30 and asked him to step out of his car because they had spotted contraband inside. Kingsbury complied, but then took off running, heading toward the beach -- and didn't stop when he hit the ocean. According to the Port City Daily, Kingsbury continued swimming for almost an hour as police tracked him with a drone-mounted camera, which allowed them to also see the shark trailing him in the water. At that point, said Surf City Police Chief Ron Shanadan, the chase "became a rescue operation," and multiple emergency crews were dispatched to pick up the fugitive. Kingsbury was taken into custody in North Topsail Beach and charged with resisting arrest and possession of marijuana and methamphetamine. [Port City Daily, 8/30/2017]

-- The first rule of thievery ought to be: Draw no attention to oneself. An unnamed driver in Lelystad, The Netherlands, apparently hadn't learned this rule before he strapped two large lampposts to the roof of his tiny two-door car and drove away from Almere, where police believe he stole them. The NL Times reported that officers stopping the man on Aug. 1 smelled alcohol on his breath, but his offenses didn't end there: His license had been declared invalid late last year, and his car was uninsured. It was unclear what the man planned to use the lampposts for. [NL Times, 8/2/2017]

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