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NEWS OF THE WEIRD: Week of October 22, 2019

Creme de la Weird

Near closing time October 13 in a pub in Ruinerwold, Netherlands, a “completely confused” and “unkempt” 25-year-old man appeared with a strange story to tell. Pub owner Chris Westerbeek told Dutch media the young man ordered five beers and “said he was the oldest (of six siblings) and wanted to end the way they were living,” according to The New York Times. The man had walked to the pub from a farm outside town, where police found five adult siblings, the youngest of whom was 18, had been living in a secret basement, accessed by a hidden door behind a cupboard, for nine years. They were apparently “waiting for the end of time,” police said, and the younger siblings were unaware there were other humans outside the basement. The family, including the father, who also lived on the farm, survived on a large garden and a few animals. NL Times reported police arrested a 58-year-old Austrian man, believed to a tenant of the farm and identified only as Josef B., initially for refusing to cooperate with the investigation and later charged him with holding the family against their will; it was unclear where the mother is. At press time, the story was still unfolding. [New York Times, 10/16/2019; NL Times, 10/16/2019]

I’d Walk a Mile … or 350

Tommy Lee Jenkins, 32, recently moved away from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to Whitestown, Indiana, but on October 1, he struck up an online relationship with “Kylee,” a supposed 14-year-old girl in Neenah, Wisconsin, according to the Justice Department. As their correspondence progressed, he requested sexually explicit photos of Kylee and made plans to engage in sexual behavior, court documents said, but when Kylee refused to come to Indiana, Jenkins set out toward Neenah — on foot. The Oshkosh Northwestern reported that waiting for him at the end of his 371-mile trek were Winnebago County Sheriff’s deputies (one of whom was “Kylee”) and FBI agents, who arrested him for using a computer to attempt to persuade, induce or entice a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity. Jenkins faced other child sexual assault charges in 2011 and 2012 and had been sentenced to probation. [Oshkosh Northwestern, 10/11/2019]

Ironies

While patrolling a Bath and Body Works store in Waukesha, Wisconsin, an unnamed security guard let the boredom get to him. Around 2 a.m. on October 11, he slipped his handcuffs on — then realized he’d left the keys at home. Forced to call police, who responded and freed him from his restraints, the bored guard then hid the cuffs from himself so he wouldn’t be tempted to put them on again. According to WDJT, he told police it wasn’t the first time he had handcuffed himself without having the keys. [WDJT, 10/11/2019]

Locksmiths at the Timpson shop in Edinburgh, Scotland, drew a crowd and withstood some ribbing after they locked themselves out of their store on October 14, according to the Scottish Sun. Fortunately, one of the locksmiths had a toolbox with him, and he was able to legally break back into the shop. [Scottish Sun, 10/14/2019]

Sweet Revenge

During the summer of 2018, someone robbed 61-year-old Akio Hatori of Tokyo, Japan, of his bicycle saddle. He was so angered by the theft, he told police, that he decided to become a serial thief himself — until he was caught on surveillance video on Aug. 29 and later arrested. Police searching his home said they found 159 bicycle seats. “I started stealing out of revenge,” Hatori told police, according to Kyoto News. “I wanted others to know the feeling.” [Kyodo News, 10/3/2019]

Ewwwww!

Halloween came a little early to Nick Lestina’s home in Bagley, Iowa. The Lestinas have lived next door to Dahl’s Custom Meat Locker for 10 years without incident, but early in October, they discovered almost five inches of animal blood, fat and bones had flooded their basement. Lestina said it would have risen higher if not for his sump pump. He approached the meat locker next door for help, but, he told WHO TV, “They say it’s not their fault and told me ‘good luck.’” Lestina reached out to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which investigated and found that the business had slaughtered hogs and cattle on October 3 and flushed fluids down the floor drain, which is probably connected with the Lestinas’ drain. The family of seven has had to move out of the home while trying to resolve the cleanup issue. “No one wants to see that, smell that,” Lestina said. “I would’t want that for anybody.” [WHO, 10/14/2019]

Awesome!

It was W.C. Fields who said, “Never work with animals or children.” Russian President Vladimir Putin was reminded of that warning on October 14 as he visited King Salman of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. The Daily Mail reported that Putin brought along a gyrfalcon named Alpha for the king, and as everyone admired the bird during the ceremonial exchange of gifts, it chose that moment to take aim on the plush royal carpet and, shall we say, leave its mark. Hunting with birds of prey is one of the favorite pastimes of Saudi royalty, and the birds are highly prized. [Daily Mail, 10/15/2019]

21st-Century Religion

Hoping to attract tech-savvy young Catholics to traditional rituals, the Vatican has released the eRosary, a wearable device connected to an app available for $110, reported engadget. Worn as a bracelet, the device is activated by making the sign of the cross and features 10 beads and a data-storing “smart cross,” which will help the devout pray a standard rosary, a contemplative rosary or a thematic rosary and keeps track of each rosary prayed. The app also downloads health information from the bracelet. [engadget, 10/16/2019]

Police Report

Anna Lindo, 34, of Bloomfield, Connecticut, was arraigned in Hartford Superior Court on October 15 on charges that she bit off her ex-partner’s finger and then bragged about it on Facebook, posting a video of the severed finger. Her victim told police that on October 13, he had been trying to ward her off as she attacked him with a brick when she took a bite from his right middle finger. Lindo’s mother found the finger after police had taken her into custody, but it was too late to reattach it, reported the Connecticut Post. Lindo was charged with first-degree assault and disorderly conduct. [CTPost, 10/16/2019]

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