News of the Weird

Jun. 10, 2010
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An Unusual Hobby

Paula Wolf, 41, was arrested in Stevens Point, Wis., and charged with hitting four random pedestrians with projectiles on April 21. In Wolf's car, police found a blowgun, a slingshot and a bucket of rocks. After being questioned, Wolf told police that she just "liked to hear people say 'ouch.'"


Betty Lou Lynn, 83, had her wallet stolen during a mugging in her new hometown of Mount Airy, N.C., in April. Lynn is the actress who played Barney Fife's best girl, Thelma Lou, on “The Andy Griffith Show” and had lived in Los Angeles until she became alarmed at the city's crime rate. In 2007, she decided to move to the less-populated Mount Airy, which was Griffith's birthplace and had been the model for the TV town of Mayberry.

Compelling Explanations

Lame: (1) The reason career criminal Kevin Polwart gave for his brief February escape from New Zealand's Auckland Prison was to demonstrate that he posed no threat to society on the outside—and, thus, that he should be paroled. Instead, authorities added nine months to his sentence. (2) A judge in Scotland showed leniency to George McIntosh, 53, who had been convicted of embezzling the equivalent of about $87,000 from two pro golfing organizations. McIntosh claimed that his medication for Parkinson's disease had made him compulsively generous so that he needed to embezzle money in order to buy gifts for his friends. Instead of jail time, McIntosh was ordered to pay compensation and perform community service.

I Demand My Rights

In April, warehouse workers at a brewery that makes Carlsberg beer in Copenhagen, Denmark, went on strike after the company cut back on its allowance of providing up to three free beers per shift. As of April 1, only one beer per shift was provided, and only at lunch. (The "right" to three free beers also belongs to delivery drivers, according to a Reuters report, though locks were installed on delivery vans so that the vehicles would not start if a driver registered an illegal blood-alcohol level.)

Least Competent Criminals

Not Ready for Prime Time: (1) John Campana, 18, was detained by police after they found him with several pieces of expensive jewelry in Gainesville, Fla. According to the police report, as authorities were questioning him about where he got the jewelry, Campana started shaking and sweating, and then fainted. He was charged several days later with burglary. (2) Jason Robinson, 22, was arrested at a Burger King in Pine Bluff, Ark., in May after allegedly attempting to rob a restaurant employee at gunpoint. As the employee handed over the day's proceeds, Robinson set his gun down on a counter to grab the money. The employee then picked up the gun and shot Robinson in the leg.

People With Issues

Recurring Theme: Police in Austin, Texas, executing a search warrant in May, discovered an elaborate, three-story tunnel complex extending as far as 35 feet underground, beneath the home of Jose Del Rio, 70. Apparently Del Rio dug the tunnels over at least a two-year period. Police also found 19 guns, ammunition, batteries and chemicals (which allegedly presented a serious safety hazard). The property showed signs of caving in and reportedly posed a threat to an adjacent property as well. Police noted that Del Rio (who neighbors said "kept to himself") was cooperative during the search, although he offered no particular explanation for the tunnels.

A News of the Weird Classic

The New York Daily News reported in April 1994 on a cellblock fight between prominent New York mass murderers Colin Ferguson and Joel Rifkin while they were awaiting trials at the Nassau County jail. (They were later convicted.) Reportedly, Ferguson was using a telephone and told Rifkin to be quiet. According to the Daily News source, Ferguson told Rifkin, "I wiped out six devils (white people), and you only killed women." Rifkin allegedly responded, "Yeah, but I had more victims." Ferguson then allegedly punched Rifkin in the mouth.

2010 Chuck Shepherd


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