News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

LEAD STORY -- Inexplicable

San Diego photographer Mike Sakasegawa prides himself on seeing the beauty in mundane objects, The Washington Post reports. But something about his latest subject took social media by storm. On July 11, as Sakasegawa returned home from his morning run, he noticed a round, yellow object rolling down the street. "I thought it was a tennis ball or something," he said, but in fact it was a lemon. So he did what any self-respecting photographer would do: He captured video of the fruit as it continued its journey to the bottom of the hill, then posted his 1.5-minute documentary to Twitter. Within 24 hours the video racked up more than 2.5 million views. "I post stuff that's similar to this all the time," Sakasegawa said. "Most of the time, it floats on by." By the next day, the lemon video had gained more than 100,000 likes, was retweeted tens of thousands of times, and a literary agent had contacted Sakasegawa, wondering if he'd like to make the lemon into a children's book. [The Washington Post, 7/12/2018]

Least Competent Criminals

-- Rye Wardlaw, 40, chalked up a big FAIL on July 8 at NW Escape Experience in Vancouver, Washington, when he broke into the business in the pre-dawn hours. According to The Washington Post, Wardlaw tried and failed to enter through a back door using a metal pipe, then knocked a hole through the wall. After climbing through, he knocked over a set of lockers. Then, carrying a burrito and a beer he nicked from the company's refrigerator, he wandered into the "Kill Room," an escape room dressed to look like a serial murderer's hideout. Among the blood-spattered walls and fake cadavers, Wardlaw got scared, but he couldn't ... escape. So he called 911 (four times) and pleaded for help. Clark County Sheriff's officers accepted his confession and charged him with second-degree burglary. [The Washington Post, 7/12/2018]

-- In Mesa, Arizona, two troopers with the Arizona Department of Public Safety were surprised to find themselves being pulled over on State Route 51 by a black Dodge Charger on July 11. The troopers were in an unmarked Mustang and had spotted the Charger behind them sporting law enforcement-style emergency lights, reported ABC15 Arizona. A registration check revealed the car was registered to a private citizen, who soon activated his flashing lights and pulled the troopers over. When the (real) troopers approached the Charger, they found 44-year-old Matthew Allen Disbro of Mesa wearing a security uniform and a gun belt with a handgun, cuffs and pepper spray. The car also contained a siren box, police radio and a vest with a baton and knife. Disbro was arrested for impersonating an officer. [ABC15 Arizona, 7/13/2018]

Fun Suckers

Organizers of Bats Day, a special celebration at Disneyland for the goth community, have called it quits, citing the loss of available tax deductions under President Trump's new tax law. The annual event began 20 years ago and grew to attract more than 8,000 goths each year, with Disneyland offering discounted tickets and hotel rooms for participants. "We did a lot of research," Bats Day founder Noah Korda told Vice, "and, unfortunately, it just wasn't feasible to actually continue ... with the way that we run the event." On May 6, about 800 goths showed up for a final group photo in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. [Vice, 5/8/2018]


Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo isn't going to spend her summer sitting in a stuffy office. Instead, she announced on July 14 that she is holding summer office hours at state beaches, beginning with Scarborough State Beach in Narragansett. She and members of the Office of Constituent Services, who will help connect residents with state services, started their new schedule on July 16. The governor told the Associated Press she looks forward to hearing directly from residents while visiting some of the state's most popular destinations. [Associated Press, 7/14/2018]

Hey, It's Florida

-- Indian River County (Florida) sheriff's officers stopped Earle Stevens Jr., 69, on June 27 after another driver called 911, complaining that Stevens' Mercury Grand Marquis kept tapping her bumper in a McDonald's drive-thru lane. The officers noted "a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath ... His speech was slurred and his eyes were red and glossy." He also had an open bottle of Jim Beam bourbon in a brown paper bag on the passenger seat. Stevens, of Vero Beach, struggled to produce his ID and said he's never had a valid Florida driver's license, according to Treasure Coast Newspapers. He also explained he was not drinking while driving, only when he stopped for stop signs and traffic signals. After failing several field sobriety tests and a breath test, Stevens was charged with driving under the influence and driving without a license. [Treasure Coast Newspapers, 7/12/2018]

-- Florida Highway Patrol officers pulled over a Nissan sedan on May 16 on I-95 after observing erratic driving, reported the Miami Herald. Indeed, Port St. Lucie, Florida, resident Scott Allen Garrett, 56, smelled of alcohol, had an open bottle of 92-proof Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum on the passenger seat, was slurring his words and had "red, very glassy and bloodshot eyes," according to the police report. Garrett then told officers his dog had been driving -- which would have been notable on its own, but was particularly interesting considering there was no dog in the car with him. Garrett was charged with DUI. [Miami Herald, 7/6/2018]

Undignified Behavior

City Councilwoman Carol S. Fowler, 48, of Huron, Kansas, made a splash in the news when Atchison County Sheriff's deputies tried to arrest her on June 29 for failure to appear on an outstanding warrant. Fowler put up such a fight deputies had to use their tasers on her, and she was arrested for interference and battery on a law enforcement officer. But Fowler was just getting started, according to the Atchison Globe. On July 2, as jail workers tried to remove her jewelry and personal items, Fowler bit one of them on the thumb hard enough to break the bone. Fowler now faces three felony charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and a charge of interference with a law enforcement officer. [Atchison Globe, 7/5/2018]

Bright Idea

In Nashville, 20-year-old Antonio Freeman knew he had a problem on June 25 when three police officers approached him as he rolled a marijuana cigarette. He also knew there was a bigger problem in his pocket: a plastic bag full of cocaine. In a bold move, according to the Tennessean, Freeman pulled the bag out of his chest pocket, crushed it in his hand and sprinkled cocaine over Officer Ryan Caulfield's head and into the air in an attempt to destroy evidence. The officers were able to salvage about 2.5 grams of cocaine and charge Freeman with tampering with evidence along with possession of a schedule IV drug and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia. [Tennessean, 6/26/2018]

Bold Move

A cheeky seagull embarked on a life of crime on July 14 in Gloucester, Massachusetts, by plucking a man's wallet from the top of a pizza box and carrying it onto a nearby roof. Phil Peterson was on a cherry picker hanging lights nearby and offered to retrieve the wallet, which was being picked apart by two baby seagulls "literally trying to eat (it)," Peterson explained. He tried to distract them by throwing bread at them, but that only turned their attention to him. "It was like the movie, '(The) Birds,'" he said. "I was afraid they were going to pick my brains." Quick-thinking bystander Mike Ramos borrowed a flashlight from a police officer and used the the strobe feature to "discombobulate" the birds long enough for Peterson to sneak in, grab the wallet and bring it back to Earth. "It was just the craziest thing I ever saw in my life," Ramos told New England Cable News. [New England Cable News, 7/14/2018]

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