-- Incriminating Fingers: In Amsterdam in August and Miami in June, men were arrested based on fingerprints from their own severed (bitten off and shot off, respectively) fingers that they abandoned at crime scenes. And Victor Arreola, 23, was arrested at the Scripps Hospital in Chula Vista, Calif., in November, where he had gone after losing his finger in a slammed door in what police say was a carjacking. (According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the police asked Arreola if the finger they had was his. When he said yes, they arrested him. Arreola then asked to take another look at the finger and decided, no, come to think of it, it does not look like his finger -- thus allowing the time to expire when the finger could have been grafted back onto his hand.)
-- Los Angeles County authorities decided not to charge Texan Robert Salazar in the death of his employee Sandra Orellana, who fell from the eighth floor balcony at the Industry Hills Sheraton, where the two were staying during a business conference. Salazar said Orellana fell accidentally as the two were having sex braced on a handrail and she changed positions.
-- In October, U.S. Customs agents stopped a Somerton, Ariz., man coming from Mexico at the border town of San Luis, Ariz., because he had an ice chest containing 12,700 dead scorpions. Customs didn't know immediately whether importing dead scorpions was illegal and so turned over the cache to another agency.
-- In August, 12 men were arrested near Szczecin in northern Poland as they were digging up a road because they had heard a rumor that it was built with a large stockpile of police-confiscated hashish. The hashish had been sold to a chemical plant to be incinerated into ash for road construction.
-- In August, three teen-age boys were arrested for allegedly writing vulgar graffiti on several buildings in Hallsville, Mo. Police chief Pete Herring said the crimes were particularly serious because they frightened the elderly, and city attorney John Whiteside agreed, saying that the slurs were "mean-spirited" because one of the targets, Casey's convenience store, was the "psychic center" of Hallsville.
-- In August, Pembroke Pines, Fla., police Det. Earl Feugill foiled a robbery at a fast-food restaurant by disguising himself and his shotgun as a tree (using a camouflage outfit, strips of burlap, and black face paint) alongside the drive-thru window. He had staked out the restaurant because of a string of similar robberies.
-- If Only They Put Their Minds to It: In the 10-week period before the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, federal, state and local police arrested 765 career criminals (including 14 wanted for murder and 57 for bail violations in violent felonies) in that city and the Olympic venues of Macon, Ga., and Birmingham, Ala., and thus created one of the most drastic short-term reductions in crime rate ever reported for major cities.
-- In July, police in Dayton, Ohio, said Janet Denise Hailey, 40, was the one who climbed into a Wells Fargo Armored Services truck and had such excellent sex with driver Aaron McKie that he did not immediately notice that she left clutching a bag containing $80,000.
-- Police in Sanger, Texas, said four kids, including the police chief's son, broke into a funeral home in September intending to steal embalming fluid so they could smoke cigarettes dipped in it, but when they couldn't find any, they cut off the finger of a corpse and took turns trying to smoke that to draw out the absorbed fluid.
-- Paul Carthy, 25, pleaded guilty in Exeter, England, in September to theft subsequent to his original charge of shoplifting from a liquor store. In the second theft, he had stolen the magnetic letters off the name board that was held up to his face when his mug shot was taken.
-- In October, police in Tokyo arrested Ms. Teruko Hamakawa, 52, for illegal interference with a man's business, charging her with calling him on the phone at work and then hanging up -- 16,000 times in a one-year period. She was angry that, after they had exchanged photos seeking a romantic introduction, he failed to call, which she thought was "impolite."
-- In September, according to police in Junction City, Kan., David Bell, 30, just released from jail for car theft, walked out the door and stole another car to get home. And in October, William B. Singleton, 24, just released from jail in Belton, Mo., on a larceny charge, allegedly broke into a vending machine in the lobby of the police station and stole a 60-cent Strawberry Twisteroo while he waited for his ride to arrive.
News of the Weird previously reported in March 1994 and July 1995 on unlucky men who were ordered to continue child-support payments despite DNA tests that revealed the kids were other men's responsibilities. In the latest case, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled in July 1996 that because Darryl Littles failed to get a court-ordered blood test in 1982 (he said he was indigent and not represented by a lawyer), he would be permanently regarded as the father of 15-year-old Brandi even though a 1994 test showed he could not be.
In October, a 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned when he ran," according to his wife, accidentally jogged off of a 200-foot-high cliff on his daily run. And in September in Detroit, a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after squeezing headfirst through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys. And in September, a 7-year-old boy fell off a 100-foot-high bluff near Ozark, Ark., after he lost his grip swinging on a cross that marked the spot where another person had fallen to his death in 1990.