News of the Weird
Blowtorched Bubblegum And Incriminating Tattoos
July 21, 2011 | 12:05 PMNEWS OF THE WEIRD
On May 21, Jesse Robinson either established or tied the unofficial world record for unluckiest underage drinker of all time when he was booked into the Hamilton County, Ohio, jail for underage consumption. According to booking records, Robinson's date of birth is May 22, 1990.
CAN'T SPELL PORTLAND WITHOUT PEE
In June, as five young men gathered around the Mount Tabor Reservoir near Portland, Ore., one urinated in it, thus "contaminating" the 7.2 million gallons that serve the city, and, said Water Bureau administrator David Shaff, necessitating that the entire supply be dumped. Under questioning by the weekly Portland Mercury whether the water is also dumped when an animal urinates in it (or worse, dies in it), Shaff replied, certainly not. "If we did that, we'd be (dumping the water) all the time." Well, asked the reporter, what's the difference? Because, said Shaff (sounding confident of his logic), "Do you want to be drinking someone's pee?"
A 53-year-old man committed suicide in May by wading into San Francisco Bay, 150 yards offshore, and standing neck-deep until he died in the 60-degree water, with police and firefighters from the city of Alameda watching from shore the entire time. Said a police lieutenant, "We're not trained to go into the water [and] don't have the type of equipment that you would use...." KGO-TV attributed the reluctance to budget cuts that prevented the city's firefighters from being recertified in water rescues.
Britain's Ben Wilson is one artist with the entire field to himself--the only painter who creates finely detailed masterpieces on flattened pieces of chewing gum found on London sidewalks. Frequently spotted lying nearly inert on the ground, working, Wilson estimates he has painted "many thousands" of such "canvases," ranging from portraits and landscapes to specialized messages (such as listing the names of all employees at a soon-to- be-closed Woolworth's store). According to a June New York Times dispatch, Wilson initially heats each piece with a blowtorch, applies lacquer and acrylic enamel before painting--and sealing with more lacquer. And of course he works only with tiny, tiny brushes.
Gregory Snelling, 41, was indicted in June for the robbery of a KeyBank branch in Springfield, Ohio, which was notable more for the foot chase with police afterward. They caught him, but Snelling might deserve "style" points for the run, covered as he was in red dye from the money bag and the fact that he was holding a beer in his hand during the entire chase.
Brent Kendall, 31, was arrested in June in Coralville, Iowa, and charged with criminal mischief after he allegedly reacted to a domestic quarrel with his live-in girlfriend by cutting up items of her clothing and urinating on her bed and computer. And an employee of Bed, Bath and Beyond at the St. Davids Square shopping center in Radnor, Pa., reported to police on June 5 that, for the second time in two weeks, he had come across a bag (estimated to weigh about 35 pounds) behind the store, filled with human vomit.
CRIMINALS WITH CHUTZPAH
It was a 2004 gang-related murder that had frustrated Los Angeles police for four years until a homicide investigator, paging through gangbangers' photographs for another case, spotted an elaborate tattoo on the chest of Anthony Garcia. Evidently, that 2004 killing was such a milestone in Garcia's life that he had commemorated the liquor store crime scene on his chest. The investigation was reopened, eventually leading to a surreptitious confession by Garcia and, in April 2011, to his conviction for first-degree murder. Photos from Garcia's several bookings between 2004 and 2008 show his mural actually evolving as he added details--until the crime scene was complete enough that the investigator recognized it.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
In May, in Rensselaer, N.Y., and in June, in Bluefield, W.Va., two men, noticing that police were investigating nearby, became alarmed and fled out of fear of being arrested since both were certain that there were active warrants out on them. Nicholas Volmer, 21, eventually "escaped" into the Hudson River and needed to be rescued, but the police were after someone else, and no warrant was on file against him. Arlis Dempsey Jr., 32, left his three kids on the street in Bluefield to make a run for it before police caught him, but he was not wanted for anything, either. Both men, however, face new charges—trespassing for Volmer, and child endangerment for Dempsey. ■
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