News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*In April a federal judge in Hartford, Connecticut, threw out the defamation lawsuit against Princeton University filed by disgruntled would-be medical student Rommel Nobay, who claimed that Princeton's having bad-mouthed him for lying on his application discouraged other schools from accepting him. Nobay admitted to having fudged certain qualifications that applicants sometimes exaggerate. Attracting more attention was Nobay's personal statement, in which he wrote that a family of lepers in Kenya had so much faith in him they had donated "half their beggings" to help with his education.

More Than a Best Friend
*Mark Hatterer became a local hero in York, Pennsylvania, after he rescued a Scottish terrier that had fallen into a septic tank. Hatterer wiped the muck from the unconscious dog's snout and administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Life Imitates the Movies
*A robber walked away from the Marine Midland Bank in Pearl River, New York, exasperated that employees could not decipher his poorly handwritten hold-up note. Several hours later detectives still hadn't figured out most of the words (Take the Money and Run, starring Woody Allen, 1969). Also in March in Donegal, Ireland, two men wearing dresses and blond wigs were arrested for burglary. One of the men told police the heist was to pay for the other guy's sex-change operation (Dog Day Afternoon, starring Al Pacino, 1975).

Least Competent Criminals
*Ronnie Darnell Bell, age 30, was arrested in Dallas and charged with attempting to rob the Federal Reserve Bank. According to police, Bell was confused because there were no tellers, so he handed a security guard his note, which read, "This is a bank robbery of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, of Dallas, Texas, give me all the money. Thank you, Ronnie Darnell Bell." The guard pushed a silent alarm while an oblivious Bell chatted amiably, revealing to the guard that only minutes earlier he had tried to rob a nearby post office but "they threw me out."

*Richard W. Miller, Jr., age 35, wanted in Utica, New York, for arson, was captured by U.S. marshals in Arizona. The suspect denied being Richard Miller. A marshal said they would have to fingerprint him. On the the fingerprint card, the suspect very helpfully signed his real name: Richard Miller.

*In January Hipolito Vega, age 30, was arrested in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and charged on a previous warrant for driving without a license. He spoke Spanish during his one phone call from the police station, believing no one could understand him. As Vega told a friend where to pick up the stash of cocaine he had just hidden, he failed to notice Ofcr. Manuel Rivera, who overheard Vega talking. Officers were waiting by the stash when the friend arrived.

*Airport police in Sao Paulo, Brazil, arrested Gerardo Gallo in January after a search of his suitcase. They had found packages of cheap cheese totaling about 50 pounds and became suspicious when Gallo said his destination was Switzerland. Asked an inspector: "Why would anyone take so much third-rate Bolivian cheese to a country that is famous for its top-quality cheese?" Inside the cheese was about 22 pounds of cocaine.

*Kelvin Floyd received a modest two-month sentence and a fine in Aiken, South Carolina, in March for stealing a car. Floyd wisely obliterated the car's vehicle identification number and replaced it with a substitute. Apparently the best he could come up with was his own social security number.

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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Chuck Shepherd