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NEWS OF THE WEIRD—FEBRUARY 25, 2020

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LEAD STORY

The Selectboard of Croydon, New Hampshire, ruled unexpectedly on Feb. 18 that it would abolish the town police department and rely instead on the New Hampshire State Police for law enforcement, reported the Valley News. Croydon Police Chief Richard Lee, the sole member of the police department for almost 20 years, told the News he was asked to turn in his equipment, including his uniform, badges and the keys to his police cruiser, so at the meeting’s conclusion, Lee faced the board president and “gave them my uniform shirt. I gave them my turtleneck, I gave them my ballistic vest. … I sat down in the chair, took off my boots, took off my pants, put those in the chair, and put my boots back on, and walked out the door.” Lee walked about a mile in 26-degree temperatures before his wife picked him up. The Selectboard released a statement saying the decision was “an action based upon value for the cost of the department.” Resident Rick Sampson told reporters, “What kind of a town lets their chief of police walk out in a snowstorm in his underwear?” [Valley News, 2/19/2020]

OOPS

An unnamed 33-year-old woman from Herminie, Pennsylvania, took an unconventional route home after a night out drinking on Feb. 16, according to City of Duquesne police. Driving a Mazda CX-5, the woman left a tavern and ended up in a rail yard near the Port Perry Railroad Bridge, a narrow span that carries one set of tracks over the Monongahela River. “The vehicle did quite well, considering it is not a locomotive,” noted police, and the driver traveled a significant distance along the bridge before getting stuck. WPIX reported she called 911 for help at about 2:40 a.m., and Norfolk Southern stopped all rail traffic while the car was removed from the tracks. Police arrested the driver for DUI. [WPIX, 2/16/2020]

PASSING PARADE

Three friends were wrapping up a night of dinner and drinking on Feb. 15 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when things got “a little out of control,” according to a police report. As the night wore on, Kasey Margaret Westraad, 24, became increasingly amorous toward a resistant female friend, the friend told police, eventually escalating to the point that a naked Westraad pursued the woman outside, punching her several times in the face. Myrtlebeachonline.com reported Westraad was charged with third-degree assault and battery, damage to property and resisting arrest. [myrtlebeachonline.com, 2/16/2020]

SMELL TEST

Police in Speyer, Germany, gave chase after they were passed by a car driving at high speed with its lights off on Feb. 14. The suspect, a 26-year-old man, pulled over and ran from the car, leaving a trail of scent that was so distinct officers said they were able to follow it from the car to the man, who was hiding behind a hedge. “Due to the cloud of perfume that was detected inside the car and on the man,” police said, “it was possible to identify him as the driver,” the Associated Press reported. His breath didn’t smell so good, though: He was far over the alcohol limit. [Associated Press, 2/15/2020]

WAIT, WHAT?

The woman who attempted to board an airplane with her emotional support peacock made headlines, but in Port St. Lucie, Florida, one man is questioning why his particular support item has been banned from the dialysis center where he takes treatments three times a week. Nelson Gibson first brought an 8-by-10-inch photo of President Donald J. Trump to comfort him as he endured the 3 1/2-hour treatments, then exchanged that for a small cardboard cutout of himself standing next to a Trump photo. When he next arrived with a life-size cutout of the president, no one complained, Gibson told WPBF, but on Feb. 11, “they told me it was too much and it wasn’t a rally.” “It just feels like bringing something from home to make you comfortable,” Gibson said, noting that others bring items, including one woman who pops bubble wrap during the entire treatment. “That’s very nerve-wracking,” he said. It’s unclear whether Gibson will return to the center for treatments. [WPBF, 2/12/2020]

EXTREME MEASURES

Tensions are running high in China, where the coronavirus has affected thousands of people and sparked instances of panic-buying. AFP reports that supermarkets have experienced runs on staples such as rice and pasta, but in Hong Kong, a gang of men wielding knives attacked a delivery driver in Mong Kok on Feb. 17, making off with hundreds of rolls of toilet paper worth about $130. Police said the missing rolls were recovered, and two suspects were arrested. Locals seemed baffled, with one woman telling a TV station, “I’d steal face masks, but not toilet roll.” [AFP via Yahoo News, 2/17/2020]

GOVT. OF WORK

Ontario’s new license plates hit the roads on Feb. 1, sporting a pleasing color of blue with white numbers and letters. During the day. At night, all that’s visible is a shiny blue rectangle, according to complaints on Twitter — the numbers and letters disappear, which makes them a problem for law enforcement. “Did anyone consult with police before designing and manufacturing the new Ontario license plates?” wrote Kingston Police Sgt. Steve Koopman. “They’re virtually unreadable at night.” The CBC reported a government spokesperson saying authorities “are currently looking into this,” but Lisa Thompson, Ontario’s minister of government and consumer services, saw a political angle: “Sticking with the status quo Liberal plate that was peeling and flaking was not an option,” she said. “We absolutely have confidence in our plates.” [CBC, 2/18/2020]

MUST SEE TV

Police in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, arrested Robert Lee Noye, 52, on Feb. 17 and charged him with first-degree harassment and false imprisonment after his victim told them Noye kidnapped her and forced her to watch the 1977 historical miniseries “Roots” “so she could better understand her racism,” The Gazette reported. He allegedly told her if she did not sit for the entire nine-hour series about slavery, he would “kill her and spread her body parts across Interstate 380 on the way to Chicago.” [The Gazette, 2/17/2020]

ANALS OF ENTITLEMENT

Seloni Khetarpal, 36, threw a tantrum worthy of the terrible twos on Feb. 13 when she “repeatedly” called 911 to report that her parents had shut off her cellphone, according to court documents. Khetarpal demanded that officers respond to her home in Jackson Township, Ohio, and was warned that she should only call 911 for a legitimate emergency. Several hours later, News5 Cleveland reported, she called back, became “belligerent” and told the dispatcher she thought it was a legitimate issue. She was arrested and charged with disrupting public services. [News5 Cleveland, 2/17/2020]

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