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NEWS OF THE WEIRD

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Inexplicable

Odessa, Texas, resident Ernesto Baeza Acosta, 34, has legally changed his name to Ernesto Trump and declared himself the son of President Trump. His NSFW Facebook page features photographs of Ernesto wearing a Trump-like wig and asks viewers to “Please share this so that my Dad your president can see this and spend time with me.” Ernesto is a fan of President Trump, but his immigrant mother is unamused about his name change.

Bright Ideas

Alana Nicole Donahue, 27, of Springfield, Oregon, just wanted to entertain her children and nephew with a joy ride around the neighborhood. But on July 12, as she pulled the kids (ages 2, 4 and 8) behind her Ford Taurus in a plastic red wagon, she was arrested for reckless endangerment. Donahue told police she was just “showing the kids a good time.” However, horrified witnesses saw the car going about 30 mph as the wagon went up on two wheels going around a busy traffic circle at rush hour.

Unclear on the Concept

David Blackmon identified himself as a drug dealer when he called the Okaloosa (Florida) County Sheriff’s Office on July 16 to report that $50 in cash and a quarter-ounce of cocaine had been stolen from his car. When officers investigated, they found a baggie with “suspected cocaine,” a crack pipe and a crack rock in the car. Blackmon was charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

Compelling Explanations

Everett Lee Compton Jr., 49, told Siloam Springs, Arkansas, police that marijuana “makes him do sick things” after they apprehended him for abusing female donkeys. The donkeys’ owners, Emert and Joyce Whitaker, had set up a surveillance camera and recorded Compton on three occasions putting a bag over a donkey’s head and placing his pelvis against its rear end. “It just made me sick to my stomach,” said Joyce Whitaker. “To know that she couldn’t tell nobody and that she was having to go through this.”

Technology Run Amok

A security robot named Steve suffered a soggy fatal error on July 17 when it tumbled down several steps and into a fountain in Washington, D.C. New to the job, the robot had been patrolling the Washington Harbour area of Georgetown, mapping out its features in an effort to prevent just such an accident. “He looked so happy and healthy,” an area mourner tweeted after the incident. Another observer was less sympathetic. “Robots: 0; humans: 1,” he tweeted.

Least Competent Criminals

The Pink Panther, he ain’t. Police in Wayne County, North Carolina, are looking for a careless cat burglar who keeps waking people up as he robs them. At least one victim awakened by the slender white man in early July has seen him wearing a pink polka-dot beach towel around his head. Police aren’t sure if he’s actually gotten away with any loot.

Three heads are apparently not better than one, as three China Grove, North Carolina, masterminds demonstrated on July 12. Rex Allen Farmer, his son, Rex Carlo Farmer, and the younger man’s girlfriend, Kayla Nicole Price, cooked up a scheme to rob the Mooresville gas station where the elder Farmer worked. Surveillance video showed Carlo, disguised in a woman’s dress and wig, emptying the cash register as his father, the clerk on duty, stood by. Carlo then ran outside and removed the dress and wig, setting them on fire next to the building. However, the fire spread to a meter on the building and a privacy fence, thus summoning authorities. Police soon caught up to all three and arrested them.

The Animal Kingdom

An African grey parrot named Bud may have been the key witness in convicting 49-year-old Glenna Duram of White Cloud, Michigan, in the shooting death of her husband, Martin Duram, 46. The investigation of the 2015 shooting dragged on for a year before Martin’s first wife, who inherited the parrot, shared with a local TV station a videotape of Bud imitating two people having an argument, including the words “Don’t (expletive) shoot.” Three weeks later, Glenna Duram was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, and on July 19, she was found guilty.

—Fire department dispatchers in Branson, Missouri, must have thought they were being punked on July 22, when they received a call to rescue a bird from a tree. But it was no joke. A ladder truck was dispatched to rescue a parrot that had escaped and became tangled in its leash 50 feet up in a tree. (Bonus: The firefighter who braved the 50-foot climb was Colt Boldman.)

Anger Management

Two AT&T utility workers apparently didn’t work fast enough on lines outside the home of Jorge Jove, 64, of Hialeah, Florida, on July 19. After confronting the workers, Jove went back into his house, came out carrying a gun and began shooting at the AT&T trucks, deflating the tires. Jove reloaded twice and shot at the trucks’ engines before aiming at Gilberto Ramos, a service worker who was up on a utility pole. Jove was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Government in Action

Adi Astl, 73, took it upon himself to solve a safety problem in Tom Riley Park in the Etobicoke area of Toronto, Ontario. Accessing the park meant navigating a steep hill, and Astl felt it was dangerous. The city balked at building a staircase, citing a cost between $65,000 and $150,000. So Astl, a retired mechanic, built it himself, with the help of a homeless man — for $550. Responding to the resulting media storm, the city now plans to build a regulation staircase costing $10,000. “Bureaucrats, bureaucrats, bureaucrats,” Astl concluded.

Meanwhile, in British Columbia’s New Westminster, the city has constructed, at a cost of $200,000, an unfinished stairway to nowhere. The structure was originally intended to replace a required fire escape on a building, but was left incomplete and unattached to the building when concerns arose about wires overhead. “I thought it was an artwork, but I don’t think it makes that much sense,” said passerby Lawrence Kong.

Law and Order

About a week after police in Minneapolis killed unarmed Justine Ruszczyk after she called to report an assault, orange signs began popping up on streetside poles depicting a jumping police officer with a gun in each hand and the warning, “Twin Cities Police Officers Easily Startled.” Minneapolis police department spokeswoman Sgt. Catherine Michal said on July 24 that public works employees were removing the signs, which were made of metal and resembled traffic signs.

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