News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

EDITORS: Please note language and subject matter in the first item.

LEAD STORY -- Too Hot to Handle

The Sun reported on Jan. 18 that a woman in the United Kingdom suffered an "inferno" in her living room after a candle exploded as she was lighting it. Jody Thompson, 50, won the candle, labeled "This Candle Smells Like My Vagina," in an online quiz from Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop website. "The candle exploded and emitted huge flames," Thompson said, "with bits flying everywhere. The whole thing was ablaze and it was too hot to touch." Thompson and her partner "eventually got it under control and threw it out the front door." [The Sun, 1/18/2021]

In Plane Sight

On Jan. 16 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, two employees of United Airlines approached a man and asked for his ID. Aditya Singh, 36, of Orange, California, produced an employee badge, but it was not his: Another employee had reported it missing on Oct. 26, the Chicago Tribune reported. Authorities said Singh had arrived at O'Hare on Oct. 19 from Los Angeles and was too afraid to fly back home because of COVID-19, so he hid in a secured area of the airport for three months, living off food given to him by strangers. Singh is unemployed but has a master's degree in hospitality and doesn't have a criminal background. He was charged with felony criminal trespass. [Chicago Tribune, 1/17/2021]

The Devil Made Them Do It

Members of Poughkeepsie, New York's Church of Satan are down in the dumps this week after someone torched their gathering place, known as "Halloween House," on Jan. 14. According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, video footage shows a person carrying two gas cans, splashing liquid on the front porch, lighting it and running away. Two people who were inside at the time escaped unharmed; the arsonist has not been caught. "Sadly there are some 'people of faith' who are intolerant, and typically ignorant, of other belief systems," noted Church of Satan high priest Peter H. Gilmore. Church member Isis Vermouth called the arson a "terror attack. Whoever did this is going to be hexed by all of us," she said. "I just don't understand why anyone would want to piss off Satanic witches. 'Cause now there's going to be hell to pay." [Poughkeepsie Journal, 1/19/2021]

Unclear on the Concept

Nicholas Debetes, 18, was finally placed in handcuffs in Titusville, Florida, on Jan. 14, after Brevard County officers chased him as he drove "at an extremely high rate of speed" to his mother's trailer. Debetes, Click Orlando reported, had a unique excuse: "If I would have tried to stop quicker I would have crashed the vehicle," he told police. He went on to say that his mother wanted him home for an unknown reason. Debetes had an outstanding warrant and was driving a stolen Hyundai Elantra. [Click Orlando, 1/18/2021]

Police Report

In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Curtis McCoy, 46, and his husband of 10 years got into a spat "that escalated since they have been drinking alcohol" on Jan. 17, police reported. The argument got out of hand when McCoy "brought up how the victim has only one testicle which caused the victim to get upset," according to The Smoking Gun. When the victim pointed his finger at McCoy, he grabbed and twisted it, "causing him pain." McCoy was arrested for domestic violence; his criminal history includes shoplifting, disorderly conduct, assault, larceny and other offenses. [The Smoking Gun, 1/19/2021]

Irony

Esequiel Robles, 40, was caught after a traffic stop in Williston, North Dakota, with methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia on Jan. 14. The Smoking Gun reported that Robles was on probation for narcotics possession at the time, following a 2019 conviction for meth possession. Notably, however, when Robles was arrested, he was wearing a T-shirt with the message, "Don't Do Drugs." Do as I say, not as I do. [The Smoking Gun, 1/15/2021]

Least Competent Criminals

-- On Jan. 7, police received a call from a 7-Eleven store in Lehi, Utah, where earlier in the day a man wearing a "sheriff's deputy" jacket stole a doughnut, then left in a white pickup truck. KUTV reported that Lehi police examined surveillance video and tracked the truck to a nearby motel parking lot, where they knocked on the door of 47-year-old Daniel Mark Wright, who was staying there. As officers spoke with Wright, they saw a Salt Lake County Sheriff's jacket hanging in the room's closet. They arrested Wright for impersonation of an officer and theft, along with receiving or transfer of a stolen vehicle in relation to the truck. Wright, his companion, Christian Olson, and another accomplice are also under investigation for racketeering. [KUTV, 1/18/2021]

-- Leobardo Hernandez, 32, of Pomona, California, went to extraordinary lengths on Jan. 16 to evade police after allegedly stealing a car. As Hernandez ran from officers, he entered an apartment complex and found an unlocked door, the Daily Bulletin reported. The apartment residents were not at home, so Hernandez moved right in, shaving his face, changing clothes and even cooking tortillas to make it seem as if he lived there. Unfortunately, he also burned the tortillas, summoning the fire department. Hernandez eventually surrendered and was charged with burglary and possession of a stolen vehicle among other offenses. [Daily Bulletin, 1/18/2021]

Awwwwww

Russell Jones of London couldn't figure out why his dog, Billy, was favoring one of his front paws while walking. He took the pet to the veterinarian to have X-rays, United Press International reported, but the vet found nothing wrong. Jones, however, had recently broken his own ankle and was wearing a cast and limping. At the $400 vet visit, the doctor suggested that Billy was simply imitating his owner. Man's best friend, indeed. [United Press International, 1/19/2021]

What's in a Name?

Before social distancing and masks became the world's norm, CBS News reported on Jan. 12, Paul O'Sullivan of Baltimore was noodling around on Facebook one night, searching for other Paul O'Sullivans. Several of those he found accepted his friend request, which was when he noticed that some were musicians, as he was. Baltimore Paul, as he's known, reached out to others, and eventually he and three others formed the Paul O'Sullivan Band. Manchester Paul plays bass; Pennsylvania Paul is the percussionist; and Baltimore Paul and Rotterdam Paul play guitar and sing. They recorded a single at the beginning of 2020, but when COVID hit, they thought it was a great opportunity to make a whole album. "It feels great to be able to contact people on the other side of the world when you're in lockdown because you don't feel alone at the moment," commented Rotterdam Paul. "If you learn to play an instrument, it can help you through some dark times," said Manchester Paul. [CBS News, 1/12/2021]

Government in Action

Bigfoot hunters in Oklahoma will be happy to know that their pastime could get its own season, KOKH reported. State Rep. Justin Humphrey introduced a bill on Jan. 20 asking the Oklahoma Wildlife Commission to establish a Bigfoot hunting season, "set annual season dates and create any necessary specific hunting licenses and fees." Southeastern and south-central Oklahoma is infamous for Bigfoot sightings, including a large festival (canceled this year because of COVID-19). If passed, the bill would become effective in November. [KOKH, 1/20/2021]

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