NEWS OF THE WEIRD

latest human rights

– – Convicted murderer Philip Smith (a veteran criminal serving life for killing the father of a boy Smith had been sexually abusing) escaped from prison in New Zealand with the help of a disguise that included a toupee for his bald head — before being caught. Prison officials confiscated the toupee, but Smith said a shiny head behind bars made him feel “belittled, degraded and humiliated” and sued for the right to keep the toupee. (In March, in a rare case in which a litigant succeeds as his own lawyer, Smith prevailed in Auckland’s High Court.) [BBC News, 3-16-2017]

— In March, star soccer goalkeepr Bruno Fernandes de Souza signed a two-year contract to play for Brazil’s Boa Esporte club while he awaits the outcome of his appealed conviction for the 2010 murder of his girlfriend. (He had also fed her body to his dogs.) He had been sentenced to 22 years in prison, but was released by a judge after seven, based on the judge’s exasperation at the years-long delays in appeals in Brazil’s sluggish legal system. [The Guardian (London), 3-13-2017] 

awesome!

The Cleveland (Ohio) Street Department still had not (at press time) identified the man, but somehow he, dressed as a road worker, had wandered stealthily along Franklin Boulevard during March and removed more than 20 standard “35 mph” speed limit signs — replacing all with official-looking “25 mph” signs that he presumably financed himself. Residents along those two miles of Franklin have long complained, but the city kept rejecting pleas for a lowered limit. [WEWS-TV (Cleveland), 3-23-2017]

MOST COMPETENT CRIMINAL

An astonished woman unnamed in news reports called police in Coleshill, England, in February to report that a car exactly like her silver Ford Kuga was parked at Melbicks garden center — with the very same license plate as hers. Police figured out that a silver Ford Kuga had been stolen nearby in 2016, and to disguise that it was stolen, the thief had looked for an identical, not-stolen Ford Kuga and then replicated its license plate, allowing the thief to drive the stolen car without suspicion. [Birmingham Mail, 2-5-2017]

THE PASSING PARADE

Two convicted murderers imprisoned in Nepal married each other in February, though it will be at least 14 years before they can consummate. Dilli Koirala, 33 (serving 20 years for killing his wife), and Mimkosha Bista, 30 (with another four years to go for killing her husband), will be allowed to meet (just to talk) twice a month until Koirala’s term ends. (A lawyer involved in the case said the marriage, though odd, was perhaps the last chance either would have to meet a suitable match.) [Republica (Kathmandu), 2-24-2017]

GREAT ART!

At what was billed as part of a cancer fundraising event at the AvantGarden in Houston in February, performance artist Michael Clemmons and a partner, working as the act Sonic Rabbit Hole, had the elegant idea that one give the other an enema on stage, but there was a “spraying” accident. Viewers were led to believe the procedure was authentic, but the artists swore later that the sprayed contents were just a protein shake. “What I did is not all that (extreme),” protested Clemmons. “I don’t understand why I’m getting the attention for this.” [KPRC-TV (Houston), 2-20-2017]

Two female orangutans ponder their version of Tinder.

MATING STRATEGIES

— The Apenheul primate park in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, is engaged in a four-year experiment, offering female orangutans an iPad loaded with photos of male orangutans now housed at zoos around the world, with the females able to express interest or disinterest (similar to swiping right or left on the human dating app Tinder). Researchers admit results have been mixed, that some males have to be returned home, and once, a female handed the iPad with a potential suitor showing, merely crushed the tablet. (Apps are not quite to the point of offering animals the ability to digitally smell each other.) [Daily Telegraph (London), 2-1-2017]

Spectacular Errors!

(1) In March, jurors in Norfolk, Virginia, found Allen Cochran, 49, not guilty of attempted shoplifting, but he was nowhere to be seen when the verdict was announced. Apparently predicting doom (since he had also been charged with fleeing court during a previous case), he once again skipped out. The jury then re-retired to the jury room, found him guilty on the earlier count and sentenced him to the five-year maximum. (Because of time already served, he could have walked away legally if he hadn’t walked away illegally.) (2) In March, Ghanian soccer player Mohammed Anas earned a “man of the match” award (after his two goals led the Free State Stars to a 2-2 draw), but botched the acceptance speech by thanking both his wife and his girlfriend. Reportedly, Anas “stumbled for a second” until he could correct himself. “I’m so sorry,” he attempted to clarify. “My wife! I love you so much from my heart.” [Virginian-Pilot, 3-6-2017] [Daily Telegraph (London), 3-18-2017]