News of the Weird
In Ogden, Utah, in October, Adam Manning, 30, accompanied his pregnant girlfriend to the McKay-Dee Hospital emergency room as she was going into labor. According to witnesses, as a nurse attended to the woman, Manning began flirting with her, complimenting the nurseâ€™s looks and attempting to give her a neck rub. When Manning allegedly groped the nurse's breasts, she called for security. Manning was eventually arrested and taken to jail, thus missing the birth of his child.
- For its Halloween gala, the Kings Island amusement park near Cincinnati set up an exhibit featuring skeletons dressed to resemble deceased celebrities. Among others, the list included Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ted Kennedy, Ed McMahon, TV salesman Billy Mays, Sonny Bono (his skeleton in front of a tree) and Ted Williams (his skeleton in front of a freezer). Near the exhibit was a board labeled "agenda," with the aforementioned celebrity names crossed off and other names still listed, including Bernard Madoff, the Jonas Brothers and comedian Carrot Top. (Following a WLWT-TV preview of the exhibit in September, the park quickly canceled it, with a spokesman declaring, "We were not intending to be distasteful.")
- Robert and Roberta Masters of Prior Lake, Minn., were arrested in October and charged in connection with a series of mailbox explosions over the summer, which police say were carried out by seven teenagers (including the Mastersâ€™ son) who had been supplied by the couple. Police said Robert Masters bought black powder for the kids and had said it "would be a good educational tool for the kids to build pipe bombs." Roberta Masters allegedly encouraged the teens to use the Internet to learn how to make pipe bombs because it would be "constructive" (though Roberta said she had told them to be careful).
- In April, Richard Huether, the manager of the HoneyBaked Ham outlet in Cary, N.C., was shot in the stomach during a robbery of the store and hospitalized. His medical bills were paid through worker compensation and employee health benefits. In September, when his worker compensation expiredâ€”and with at least three months of recovery left before he could return to workâ€”HoneyBaked fired Huether, forcing him to begin paying 100% of his insurance premiums and making subsequent insurance prohibitively expensive because of his new "pre-existing condition." HoneyBaked human resources executive Maggie DeCan told WRAL-TV that the firing was for Huether's own good, in that it would clear the way for him to receive Social Security disability payments. Said DeCan, "We couldn't feel any worse for Rich, and we would do anything we could for himâ€ťâ€”except keep him on the payroll, of course.
- Patient Jim Bujalski complained to St. Anthony Central Hospital in Littleton, Colo., in September about the cost of his prescription Plavix and Crestor tablets, which he was forced to "buy" from the hospital because it only administers drugs under its control. The Plavix cost $248 each (he pays $8 at home), and his Crestor ($3 at home) was $65. The medications were part of his $58,000, one-day hospital stay.
Unclear on the Concept
In July, William Thomson, 55, feeling bad about having violently resisted arrest by police in Salisbury, Mass., in a drunken-driving incident in 1997, brought hot coffee to a Salisbury station house and sought symbolic forgiveness from the officers on duty. The very next day, however, Thomson was arrested in another drunken-driving incident, and again he forcefully resisted, punching a Breathalyzer machine, threatening an officer and attempting to flood a holding cell in the station house.
After James Cedar admitted to police that he was the person who had been spotted peeping into his Toronto neighbor's window at night, the victim, Patricia Marshall, installed a video camera at that window to discourage him from re-offending. In September, when all parties reported to court for a final resolution of the peeping case, Cedar's lawyer served legal papers on Marshall, threatening to sue her over the camera. Since Cedar's house is within the view outside Marshall's window, he complained that the camera could capture images through his windows and thus invades his privacy.
Least Competent Criminals
Oops! (1) Three men and a woman from Atlantic City, N.J., were arrested in August and charged with robbing the Artisansâ€™ Bank in Bear, Del. Their escape after the robbery had been delayed when they accidentally left the keys to the getaway car in the bank. (2) Andrew Burwitz, 20, was arrested in Appleton, Wis., in November and charged with drive-by shootings into two residences. No one was hit, and the major damage was done to Burwitz's car, in that Burwitz fired the first shot before he remembered to roll down the window.
Thousands of airline passengers continue to attempt to bring prohibited carry-on items on board. The New York Post reported in September that the Transportation Security Administration had confiscated 123,000 items so far this year from just the three main airports serving New York City. Included were 43 explosives, 1,600 knives, a 10-point deer antler, several fire extinguishers, a tree branch, nunchucks, a grill, a baby alligator, "unwashed adult toys," a gassed-up chain saw and a kitchen sink.
© 2009 Chuck Shepherd