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NEWS OF THE WEIRD: Week of October 8, 2019

The Continuing Crisis

At New Lynn’s Peaches and Cream, a sex toy shop in suburban Auckland, New Zealand, staffer Kat Maher immediately noticed a strange customer on Sept. 23. “He was very energetic and erratic, going around the shop, talking a lot,” she told Stuff. Strangely, he also closely resembled Elvis Presley, with slicked-back black hair and sunglasses, although he was wearing a high-visibility orange vest. “He brought a sex toy called ‘Like a Virgin’ up to the counter, but his card declined,” Maher said. When the purchase didn’t go through, the man grabbed the “fake vagina” toy, worth about $60, and ran out of the store. Maher reported the theft to police, but fake Elvis has not been apprehended. She also noted that the shop gets robbed about once a week: “It’s really frustrating when this sort of thing happens. So rude and it ruins your day.” [Stuff, 9/30/2019]

Recurring Themes

Sunday morning shoppers in central Auckland, New Zealand, got more than an eyeful on Sept. 29 when for several hours, pornography was broadcast on a large outdoor video screen at the Asics sportswear store. The “totally inappropriate and offensive” scenes apparently continued for about nine hours — until staff arrived at the store around 10 a.m. and turned the screen off, the New Zealand Herald reported. “Some people were shocked, but others just stopped and watched,” said security guard Dwayne Hinango. The store manager, who gave only “John” as his name, said the incident stemmed from a cybersecurity breach, and Asics apologized on its website and through email to its customers. [New Zealand Herald, 9/30/2019]

And in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, motorists along an interstate got a free show late on Sept. 28 after two people broke into a small building connected to an electronic billboard and uploaded pornography to the sign. Auburn Hills police told WDIV that two hooded young men were captured on surveillance video entering the structure at 10:49 p.m. and staying about 15 minutes. Police started getting reports of the images around 11 p.m. “I was just looking up at it and I was like, ‘Huh, oh, wow. That’s porn,'” said driver Chuck McMahon. Police are still looking for the hackers. [WDIV, 9/30/2019]

Unclear on the Concept

Lee Dong-jin, the mayor of Jindo county in South Korea, wanted to make International Coastal Cleanup Day special for his community. So on Sept. 20, the day before the global event, he instructed crews to transport more than a ton of trash that had already been collected from coastlines and deposit it on a pristine beach in Jindo, according to Agence-France Press. “We brought in waste Styrofoam and other coastal trash gathered from nearby areas so the 600 participants could carry out clean-up activities,” Lee said. He apologized for deceiving the volunteers and assured residents that there was no “secondary pollution.” [AFP via Yahoo News, 9/26/2019]

News that Sounds Like a Joke

The Hudson Regional Health Commission in New Jersey is investigating a mystery odor, according to WABC. People in Jersey City and Bayonne complained about the smell on Sept. 24, and officials, following the wind, searched in Newark but couldn’t identify the source of the odor, which some described as similar to rotting fish. “Being a peninsula, we have water on three sides and sometimes at low tide you can smell the bay,” explained Edoardo Ferrante, coordinator at the Office of Emergency Management. “It was really nothing like that. It was a very nasty, almost like a foul meat type of smell.” The HRHC is continuing to investigate the odor. [WABC, 9/25/2019]

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