News of the Weird 7-16-2011

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Bright Ideas

Blow Against the Empire: Bank of America (BA) had the tables turned on it in June after the company wrongfully harassed an alleged mortgage scofflaw in Naples, Fla. BA had attempted to foreclose on homeowners Warren and Maureen Nyerges last year even though the couple had bought their house with cash -- paid directly to BA. It took BA a year and a half to understand its mistake -- that is, until the Nyergeses sued and won a judgment for expenses of $2,534, which BA promptly ignored. The Nyergeses' attorney obtained a seizure order, and two sheriff's deputies, with a moving truck, arrived at the local BA branch on June 3 to load $2,534 worth of furniture and computer equipment from the bank's offices. After about an hour on the phone with higher-ups, the local BA manager issued a check for $2,534. [Naples Daily News, 6-3-2011]

Least Competent Criminals

Not Ready for Prime Time:

In April, Matthew Hudleston, 33, pleaded guilty in Mobile, Ala., to robbing a Regions Bank, using a hold-up note that mentioned a gun. He got away, but was arrested after he returned a few minutes later to ask for the hold-up note back. [Mobile Press-Register, 4-25-2011]

Eric Cogan, 33, was arrested in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in June, after (according to police) presenting a hold-up note to a teller at a TD Bank. To get to the teller, Cogan walked right by a sheriff's cruiser parked in front of the bank and a deputy in uniform seated inside the bank's entrance. [TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.), 6-11-2011]

The Continuing Crisis

Perhaps a kindergartner needs to have his dad wait with him and wave bye-bye as he steps onto the school bus in the morning, but Rain Price is a 10th-grader (in American Fork, Utah), and his dad, Dale Price, nevertheless waves from the bus stop every morning, right in front of Rain's friends. Furthermore, according to a June report by KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, Dale makes it a point to be wearing a different, "crazy" costume every morning (170 in all for the school year, including, once, a wedding dress). [KSL-TV, 6-3-2011]

Alleged gang members Barbara Lee, 45, and Marco Ibanez, 19, were arrested in Hallandale Beach, Fla., in April and charged in the assault and stabbing of four deaf people. Lee was at the Ocean's Eleven Lounge one evening when she saw several people in a group make hand signs that she interpreted as disrespecting her own gang's signs, and, according to police, left to recruit Ibanez to come administer retribution. Unknown to Lee or Ibanez, the group were deaf people using sign language and had no idea they were making "gang" signs. [New York Daily News, 5-1-2011]



A 93-year-old woman was rescued by medics in Philadelphia in April after spending several days stuck in her own toilet. (According to KYW-TV, she had to be carried out with a portion of the toilet still stuck tightly to her body.) [KYW-TV (Philadelphia), 4-5-2011]

Parkridge Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tenn., apologized and paid the bill in June for exhuming the body of the recently-deceased Kenneth Manis. The man who had shared Mr. Manis' hospital room during his final days had reported that his dentures were missing, and the hospital determined that they had been mistakenly buried with Mr. Manis. [Commercial-Appeal (Memphis)-AP, 6-23-2011]

Fetishes on Parade

Toshihiko Mizuno, 55, was arrested in Tokyo in June after three girls, ages 9 and 10, reported that he had talked them into spitting for him so that he could record it on video, to assist with "research" he was doing on "saliva." Police later discovered 26 videotapes, featuring about 400 young girls spitting. According to local media sources, Mizuno has had the obsession for 17 years, successfully getting at least 500 girls to spit, among the estimated 4,000 he propositioned. [NDTV (New Delhi, India)-Agence France-Presse, 6-14-2011]

A News of the Weird Classic (January 1994)

In a report in the August (1993) Archives of Dermatology, a 39-year-old woman in Cleveland complaining of bad hair was reported to have the first adult case of "acquired uncombable hair," which produces permanently coarse, tangled hair. Her condition was attributed to a side-effect of a diuretic. [Science News, 8-14-93]