News of the Weird


When 5-year-old TyLon Pittman of Byram, Mississippi, saw the Grinch stealing Christmas on Dec. 16 on TV, he did what any civic-minded citizen would do. He called 911. TyLon told Byram police officer Lauren Develle, who answered the call, that he did not want the Grinch to come steal his Christmas, reported the Clarion Ledger. Develle made TyLon an honorary junior officer and had him come down to the station on Dec. 18 to help her lock away the Grinch, who hung his head as TyLon asked him, “Why are you stealing Christmas?” Although the green fiend apologized, TyLon wouldn’t release him from the holding cell. Police chief Luke Thompson told TyLon to come back when he’s 21, “and I’m going to give you a job application, OK?” [Clarion Ledger, 12/18/2017]

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

In Gilgandra, New South Wales, Australia, on Nov. 29, sheep shearer Casey Barnes was tramping down wool, and her father and boyfriend were working nearby, when her long, curly hair became caught in a belt-driven motor. Horrifically, the motor ripped her scalp off from the back of her head to above her eyes and ears. Barnes was flown to Sydney, where doctors performed an emergency 20-hour surgery to save her scalp, but were ultimately unsuccessful. Barnes will have artificial skin attached to her head instead, reports The Sun. A GoFundMe page has been established to help with her medical bills. [The Sun, 12/19/2017]


The Tea Terrace in London is offering a new way for customers to enjoy themselves — literally. On Dec. 16, the shop began selling the “Selfieccino,” an image of the customer’s face in the frothy topping of either a cappuccino or a hot chocolate. Patrons send an photo to the shop via an online messaging app, and the “Cino” machine takes it from there, reproducing the picture with flavorless food coloring in about four minutes. “Due to social media,” shop owner Ehab Salem Shouly told Reuters, “the dining experience has completely shifted. It’s not enough anymore to just deliver great food and great service — it’s got to be Instagram-worthy.” [Reuters, 12/19/2017]

An Engaged Citizenry

Pam Bisanti, a 31-year resident of Mount Dora, Florida, has approached the city council more than once about the speeding traffic along Clayton Street, where she lives. On Nov. 27, Bisanti made good on her threat to take matters into her own hands if the council didn’t by wielding a handmade sign reading “SLOW DOWN” as she stood next to the roadway during rush hour wearing her pajamas and robe. “The mothers up the street who send their kids down to the bus stop should have every expectation that those kids will be able to cross Clayton without being killed,” Bisanti told the Daily Commercial, saying she plans to continue her protest until the city takes action. “I am frustrated, angry and fed up. There needs to be a solution sooner than later. Remember that vision of me in my pajamas,” she added. [Daily Commercial, 11/28/2017]

Unclear on the Concept

Melissa Allen, 32, was arrested on Dec. 19 after attempting to shoplift more than $1,000 in merchandise from a Framingham, Massachusetts, Target store, reported the Boston Globe. On hand to help in the arrest were more than 50 police officers who were at the store to participate in the annual “Shop With a Cop” holiday charity event. [Boston Globe, 12/20/2017]

Unintended Consequences

Stephen Allen of Tukwila, Washington, moved in with his grandmother years ago to help care for her. When she died last year, he invited his brother, a convicted drug dealer, to move in, but along with him came drug activity, squatters, stolen property and debris. Allen eventually asked police to raid the home, but when they did on Dec. 15, they evicted Allen as well, leaving him homeless. “It’s all legal, but it’s wrong,” Allen told KIRO-7 News. “I can’t do anything about it.” [KIRO-7, 12/16/2017]

The Call of Nature

Tracy Hollingsworth Stephens, 50, of Alachua, Florida, answered nature’s call on Nov. 25 by stopping her car in the middle of County Road 232 and stepping outside. An officer of the Florida Highway Patrol soon took notice as he had been searching for Stephens following her involvement in a two-car collision in the parking lot of a nearby T.J. Maxx store earlier that day. Stephens subsequently underperformed on a field sobriety test, according to The Independent Florida Alligator, and was arrested for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. [The Independent Florida Alligator, 11/26/2017]

The Sunshine State

— Workers at Captain Hiram’s Sandbar in Sebastian, Florida, resorted to calling police on Nov. 17 when customer William Antonio Olivieri, 63, refused to leave the bar after a night of drinking. Olivieri told Sebastian police he had arrived by boat, but when a quick walk down a nearby dock failed to uncover the boat, he said perhaps he had driven himself to the bar in a black Hyundai. Throughout the interview with police, reported the Sebastian Daily, Olivieri also maintained that he was in downtown Melbourne, Florida, where he lives. Finally, he was arrested on a charge of disorderly intoxication and taken to the Indian River County Jail. [Sebastian Daily, 11/21/2017]

— Sumter County, Florida, sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to The Villages on Nov. 19 where resident Lori Jo Matthews, 60, reportedly barked at her neighbor’s dogs, then entered her neighbor’s yard, yelling at the neighbor and finally slapping the neighbor after being told to leave. Deputies caught up with Matthews as she attempted to enter her own home, where she was handcuffed and arrested on charges of battery and resisting arrest. Alcohol, reported, may have been involved. [, 11/20/2017]

Alarming Animal

North Fort Myers, Florida, homeowner Joanie Mathews was terrorized for hours on Nov. 14 by a large pig that wandered into her yard overnight and spent the day destroying the lawn and biting Mathews three times before trapping her in the cab of her truck. “She would circle the truck … and I would jump in the back seat and I was like ‘Go away, pig!” Mathews told NBC-2 TV. Mathews finally called law enforcement, and it took three Lee County sheriff’s officers to wrangle the testy porker. “It was just hilarious because the pig fought them every which way,” Mathews said. No one, at press time, had stepped forward to claim the pig. [NBC-2, 11/14/2017]


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