News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

LEAD STORY -- Life Imitates Netflix

Authorities executed a search warrant relating to a narcotics investigation in the South Texas town of Mercedes on March 25, but what they seized wasn't drugs. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Sammy Parks told the Associated Press that officers had been warned there were exotic animals on the 5-acre property, and game wardens who joined the search found a white Bengal tiger, bobcat, kinkajou, porcupines, llamas, emus and deer. While no arrests were made, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had to euthanize three of the animals; the remainder were removed to the Austin Zoo for examination and rehabilitation. [Associated Press, 4/3/2020]

How the World Has Changed

-- Amy Simonson and Dan Stuglik proceeded with their planned wedding on April 4 in Pokagon, Michigan, but the coronavirus pandemic forced them to get creative. While the original guest list of 150 people had to be pared down repeatedly as restrictions were placed on public gatherings, Stuglik was determined that his bride not walk down the aisle between empty pews in the Old Rugged Cross Church. He hit upon the idea of filling the church with cardboard cutouts of family and friends and stopped by Menasha Packaging Co. to ask for help. Employees Ted Harris and Luke Arendash jumped at the chance. "(Stuglik) was just looking for a general person shape, but I was able to make it a little bit more realistic audience for them," Harris told The Herald Palladium. The company supplied more than 100 cutouts of varying sizes, shapes and hairstyles. The newlyweds moved their reception to October and canceled their honeymoon in Newport, Rhode Island, but Stuglik said they "both have peace now, because it's stripped down to what it should be, which is us and God, getting married." [Herald Palladium, 4/1/2020]

-- Our four-legged friends are taking advantage of the COVID-19 lockdown in multiple cities, United Press International reported: On March 31, 122 Kashmiri goats took over the Welsh town of Llandudno, eating gardens and sleeping in the yards; on April 6, residents of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, reported a large herd of deer casually wandering through neighborhoods; in Gir, Gujarat, India, citizens were warned on April 5 to stay inside not only because of the pandemic but because a large lion was nosing around the city; at a Fast Stop store in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a bear took the low-traffic opportunity to dumpster dive on April 3; and in the Central Region of Singapore, witnesses captured video of a horse galloping through the empty streets of Bukit Timah on April 6. She had escaped from the Paisano Polo Academy, where the owner said she'd only been loose for about 20 minutes. [United Press International, various]

-- Recent sunny weather in the Czech spa town of Lazne Bohdanec, where sunbathing naked is allowed, brought out more than a hundred eager sunbathers -- nude and not -- but police were soon on hand to warn they still needed to wear face masks, as ordered by the Czech government, reported the Daily Mail. "Citizens can be without clothes in places designated for this purpose, but they must have their mouths covered and must observe the numbers in which they can go out into nature," police spokeswoman Marketa Janovska told local media. "We understand that many people do not have a garden and want to ventilate in the countryside," she added. About half of the 150 people were not wearing masks, but no fines were issued. [Daily Mail, 4/7/2020]

Coronavirus Cosplay

Police on horseback and motorcycles in Hyderabad, India, are reminding civilians about the dangers of COVID-19 by wearing large red masks and headdresses in the shape of the virus as they patrol. Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said the masked officers would be stationed at various city junctions, Fox News reported. Ironically, the city organized a rally on April 7 to kick off the awareness campaign, displaying signs reading "Please Avoid Gathering" and "Social Distancing Is Social Responsibility." [Fox News, 4/7/2020]

Crowd Control

-- According to his attorney, Rumson, New Jersey, resident John Maldjian, 54, intended for his "Stay at Home" Pink Floyd cover concert to be viewed only on Facebook Live by his friends on April 4. However, at the last minute, Maldjian decided to play his guitar on his front porch, which drew a crowd. What started with a few neighbors eventually grew to about 30 people in his front yard when police showed up to enforce social distancing orders, NJ Online reported. One of the "partiers" allegedly became abusive, according to police, but attorney Mitchell J. Ansell said his client had "absolutely no malicious intentions ... and never wanted this to escalate." Maldjian was charged for violating emergency orders. [NJ Online, 4/6/2020]

-- A 21-year-old woman and her 61-year-old father, of Key West, Florida, told Monroe County Sheriff's officers they were on a boat off Wisteria Island April 4 where they spotted a group of about 20 college-aged people drinking on the beach, the New York Daily News reported. The woman said they approached the group and asked them to obey social distancing orders and keep the noise down, but the people became violent and struck both victims in the head with a baseball bat. Authorities said both sustained head injuries in the attack; the attackers jumped into three boats docked nearby and took off, and no one has been arrested. [NY Daily News, 4/7/2020]

Using the Weapons at Hand

-- Michigan State Police responding to a call in Gibson Township, Michigan, on April 6 seized a muzzleloader pistol from a man involved in a dispute over a camping trailer, authorities said. Trooper David Kaiser said officers discovered a 58-year-old man and a female relative had arrived at the property to pick up the trailer, but the 55-year-old man who lived there questioned its ownership. The resident fired the muzzleloader, hitting no one, said Kaiser, then allegedly used the gun to strike the older man, which prompted the woman to grab a shovel and hit the resident on the head. MLive reported police arrested the resident for felonious assault; further charges are pending. [MLive, 4/7/2020]

-- Shadae Miranda, 30, was charged with felony domestic battery in Fort Pierce, Florida, on April 4, after allegedly attacking a man with a "15.6-ounce metal can of Spaghettio's ... in a plastic bag," according to an arrest affidavit. The Smoking Gun reported the victim told police he and Miranda were sharing a room at the Travel Inn motel where, after he arrived "home from the hospital," the two began to argue. The victim told police he stepped outside to let things cool down, but Miranda followed him, wielding the Spaghettio's. She was arrested, but it was unclear whether the Spaghettio's were booked into evidence. [Smoking Gun, 4/7/2020]

People Are Good

Royal Mail postman Jon Matson still has to make his rounds in the English village of Boldon during the coronavirus lockdown, and he's doing what he can to "lift the spirits" of the residents he sees along the way. Matson, 39, has been sporting different costumes, including a Greek soldier, a cheerleader and Little Bo Peep -- all with the Royal Mail's blessing, as long as he wears his uniform shoes. "Everyone is uncertain at the moment, and you are the only person outside of the family that they see, so why not give them something to smile about," Matson told the Sunderland Echo on March 28. He's coy, though, about what sorts of costumes are on tap in the days to come. Zoe Grant, who lives on Matson's route, gushed: "I'm proud that Jon is my postman, and I can't wait to see his next costume." [Sunderland Echo, 3/28/2020]

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