News of the Weird

Lead Stories

An August Knoxville News-Sentinel story profiled the self-described "prophet [that] God spoke of," Richard Settle, 44, who began spreading the gospel three years ago by vandalizing buildings in several states. Sometimes he warns people of the impending New World Order merely by painting religious symbols on the buildings; in other instances he spreads the Lord's word by urinating on the walls. He has been charged with crimes in ten incidents and convicted so far in three. Settle's mother says his behavior stems from a fractured skull 21 years ago when he was hit by a car.

According to a Chicago Tribune dispatch from Rome, it is a well-known August ritual that animal shelters are flooded with abandoned dogs and cats, exactly coinciding with the peak time for Italian vacation departures. What's worse, wrote the Tribune, citing press reports in Rome, is the uptick in the number of disabled parents who are dropped off at hospital emergency rooms by the same departing vacationers.

Career Skills: Use 'Em or Lose 'Em

In June, according to police, former master bank robber Stephen Reid, 49, who had gone straight since 1987 (having written a best-selling novel and married an acclaimed poet), unexpectedly returned to his craft by robbing a Royal Bank branch in Victoria, British Columbia; however, he and his partner were arrested after a brief chase and shootout. And in April, Forrest Silva Tucker, 78, who was so brilliant that he once escaped from California's San Quentin Prison on a jerry-built river float, was arrested and charged with robbing a Republic Security Bank in Jupiter, Florida; however, his car crashed into a tree after a brief chase.

Smooth Reactions

Recent Rages: Donovan Moore, 43, was cited for disorderly conduct in April in Janesville, Wisconsin, after he impatiently cut into a line of cars in a funeral procession and then made obscene gestures at the mourners. And from the Barberton (Ohio) Herald police blotter, May 27: "A 33-year-old West Virginia man drove his vehicle into a 30-year-old Barberton woman's fence, then tore her gate off its hinges. He had driven to town to try to have sex with her, but she refused, so he drove back to West Virginia."

Victoria Smith, 58, was arrested in March after pulling a gun on Pastor Chester Miller of the Saddle (Arkansas) Baptist Church during the closing prayer because he hadn't preached from Revelations, which was important to Smith for her feud with another church member. And Wesley Free, 44, was arrested in February after firing on the congregation at the Church of the First Born in Oklahoma City, allegedly because the pastor wouldn't remove his name from the membership rolls.

Latest Rights

In July, four men won $7,500 each from the city of Livermore, California, to settle a lawsuit over alleged police misconduct during a sting operation at the Not Too Naughty adult bookstore. According to the men's lawyer, Bruce Nickerson, police violated the privacy of his clients by spying on them while they were masturbating inside a booth in a video arcade.

-- By Chuck Shepherd

 
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