News of the Weird
*In January, North Dakota legislators decided against a proposal to crack down on impatient motorists who relieve themselves while driving and then toss their urine- and even feces-filled plastic containers to the side of the road. The containers create hazards when cleanup crews accidentally smash them with vehicles and mowers. Said Representative John Mahoney, "[W]e want to promote tourism, and [such a new law] might be offensive."
Koreans Who Want Money Really Badly
*In December, Chung Kyu-chil, 52, reportedly confessed to a scheme to collect on his disability insurance policy by having both feet severed at the ankles by an acquaintance to whom he promised about $40,000. And in September, Mr. Kang Chong-ryol, 42, was arrested and charged with trying to cheat an insurance company out of about $7,500 by cutting off his ten-year-old son's finger and claiming that a robber did it.
*After a report of her lifestyle was shown on MTV in November, April Divilbiss, 21, of Memphis, Tennessee, found herself in a custody fight over her 3-year-old daughter. She is married to Shane Divilbiss, 24, but the couple shares a sex life with Mr. Chris Littrell, 22, and April spoke on MTV of bringing another female into the home because having sex with two men was tiring her out. Her daughter was fathered by yet another man, whose parents filed the custody petition against April, who also argued that her freedom of religion (as a self-described pagan) was being abridged.
*Nathan Ricketts, 26, was arrested and charged with choking his mother almost into unconsciousness in December in Glendora, California, because she had failed to remember to buy food for his two 7-inch-long piranha fish (which are illegal to own, anyway).
*In October in the Dent de Crolles region in France, sheepherder Christian Raymond, 23, was rescued from a cliff from which he had been hanging by his fingers for about 20 minutes. He had called the emergency rescue operator on his cell phone earlier in the day and managed to make another call from the cliff by pressing redial with his nose against the phone, which had fallen down the mountain with him but had landed right beside him.
Least Competent Criminals
*Steve and Michelle Chambers pled guilty in August in Charlotte, North Carolina, to stealing $17 million from the Loomis, Fargo & Co. armored car firm in 1997, a caper which hit the headlines again in February 1999 when the Chambers' post-theft purchases were auctioned off to help Loomis recover its money. While on the lam from the heist, the couple called attention to themselves when Michelle walked in to a Belmont, North Carolina, bank with a suitcase containing $200,000 in Loomis, Fargo currency wrappers and asked the manager, "How much can I deposit without the bank reporting the transaction?" The couple had also moved directly from a rural mobile home into a $600,000 mansion and made many other equally exhibitionistic purchases. Said one federal marshal, "It was very much The Beverly Hillbillies."
-- By Chuck Shepherd
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