News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

LEAD STORY -- Complaint Department

Car buyer Da Tong Yang of Richmond, British Columbia, became so frustrated with his local Mercedes-Benz dealership that in January he flew to the company's headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, to seek help. Yang bought his wife, Guifang Huo, a brand-new S550 in 2017, partially because he believed the $155,000 car to be one of the safest vehicles available, but a year later, the couple claimed, the steering wheel locked, causing the car to nearly crash into a concrete wall. Mercedes-Benz said an "internal electrical issue" was at fault and assured the couple it was fixed. Yang wasn't convinced, demanded his money back or a replacement car, then sued the company when it declined. The case has languished in court, prompting Yang's trip to Stuttgart in early June "to find justice, not only for him but also for other drivers," he told the Richmond News. Despite his personal appearance, litigation is still underway. [Richmond News, 6/8/2020]

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

An unnamed 66-year-old woman in Ewing, New Jersey, gave $1 to a man begging in a drugstore parking lot on June 18 and became the victim of a carjacking, according to the Associated Press. Ewing police said Tomasz Dymek, 31, of Queens, New York, "was not satisfied with the dollar, so he forced his way into the victim's vehicle and drove from the lot, sitting on top of her in the driver's seat." Witnesses alerted police, who followed Dymek into Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, where the car broke down and officers arrested him. [Associated Press, 6/19/2020]

Bright Idea

Bradley Bell, head writer for "The Bold and the Beautiful," told the New York Post the show is experimenting with using blowup dolls in love scenes as the daytime soap, in hiatus since March, resumed taping on June 17. Challenged to adhere to COVID-19 protocols, Bell said, "We put our heads together trying to figure out a way to make these scenes work without breaking the 8-foot (distancing) rule ... and we brought out a doll we used years ago as a corpse." The result, he said, "was very convincing ... We'll be using her with hair and makeup as a stand-in to match some of our leading ladies." The show has also recruited some of the actors' spouses as body doubles. "We've had stunt doubles before," Bell said, "but this is the first time we've had kissing doubles." [New York Post, 6/17/2020]

Least Competent, Most Ambitious Criminals

-- Donnovan Russell Jester, 28, of Largo, Florida, was arrested on June 18 for grand theft of a vessel -- a $900,000, 46-foot-long yacht. The Tampa Bay Times reported the theft took place March 20 at Thunder Marine, where Pinellas County deputies said the 2019 Jeanneau Leader was stolen and driven into four channel-marker pilings, doing about $60,000 worth of damage, before being abandoned to drift in an oyster bed. Investigators found Jester's thumbprint on a cabin door; he was held at the Pinellas County jail on $50,000. [Tampa Bay Times, 6/23/2020]

-- At 1:28 a.m. on June 20, airport air traffic control in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, contacted police about a distress call coming from an aircraft. Officers already at the airport trying to locate a car they believed had been stolen from Daytona Beach found Robert Stienstra, 22, of DeBary, Florida, sitting in the airplane on the airport apron, according to an arrest report. Stienstra asked an officer whether he knew how to fly a plane, the report stated, then explained that he had recently purchased the aircraft (valued at $1 million) for $20,000 and needed to fly to California to take marijuana and meet his girlfriend. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that along with a bag of weed, Stienstra had in his possession a glass pipe with remnants of methamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia. New Smyrna Beach police charged Stienstra with grand theft over $100,000; he was also wanted by Daytona Beach police on charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle. [Daytona Beach News-Journal, 6/22/2020]

News That Sounds Like a Joke

After falling asleep following a 10-bottle beer-drinking binge, and failing to heed nature's call for 18 hours, a 40-year-old Chinese man identified as Mr. Hu was diagnosed with a burst bladder, the New York Post reported on June 23. The man appeared at Zhuji People's Hospital in Zhejiang, China, complaining of searing abdominal pain, and doctors discovered three tears in his bladder, one of which had caused his intestines to spill into the bladder. Mr. Hu underwent emergency surgery and was able to recover. Zhuji officials said while bladder rupture is rare, they see at least one such patient every year. [New York Post, 6/23/2020]

The Litigious Society

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Kris Hedstrom of Odessa, Florida, filed suit against her neighbor, Heather Dayner, in late May, demanding a paternity test for the five goats she purchased from Dayner or a full refund. Hedstrom bought the five Nigerian Dwarf goats -- Bella, Gigi, Rosie, Zelda and Margoat -- in December, paying $900, and expected to register them with the American Dairy Goat Association, according to the lawsuit. Registered goats have higher value than nonregistered goats. But the ADGA denied Hedstrom's application because Dayner is not a member of the organization, and Dayner now accuses Hedstrom of trespassing on her farm and harassing her with calls to the police. "She's been a nightmare of a neighbor," Dayner said. Dayner plans to represent herself in court in July. [Tampa Bay Times, 6/23/2020]


Researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, have made an unexpected discovery in their study of the endangered night parrot, one of only two nocturnal parrot species in the world: It has poor night vision. The night parrot lives in Australia's outback and differs from the other nocturnal parrot, New Zealand's kakapo, which has lost its ability to fly, ABC reported. "The night parrot still flies, and there lies the problem of the bird running into things," said Dr. Vera Weisbecker, which may be contributing to its decline. [ABC, 6/11/2020]

Creme de la Weird

Koji Ishii, 39, of Tokyo, admits his passion is sometimes more like a “curse”: He is compelled to document every lost glove he sees on the streets of his city. He photographs and records details about each one, whether they’re stuck in drains or washed up on a beach, but never touches or removes them. Over 15 years, he’s curated more than 5,000 stray gloves, including children's mittens, heavy workingman's gloves and lacy ladies' accessories. “I live with the constant fear that there might be a glove right around the corner,” Ishii told AFP. He even gets off buses before his stop if he sees a glove on the ground. For him, the attraction is thinking about how the glove got there and who once wore it. “Lone gloves are a constantly changing, dynamic phenomena,” Ishii said. [AFP via Yahoo News, 6/18/2020]

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