Rakhi Desai of Houston didn’t think much of the gift she brought home from a white elephant party in mid-December — a brown stuffed bear with a stitched-on heart. As she looked it over later, Desai noticed the words “Neptune Society” stitched on its foot, “and then I started to feel, and it’s almost like little pebbles or rocks” inside, she said. That’s when it hit her: The bear was filled with someone’s cremated remains. The friend who brought the bear to the gift exchange bought it at an estate sale, so Desai called the Neptune Society, hoping to reunite the bear with the family it belongs to. But the organization doesn’t track the bears. However, there is a name on the bear’s tag, and Desai is hoping to find the owner through that. “This bear is very special to somebody and belongs in somebody’s family,” she said.
That Reminds Me Of A Movie
Eakins Oval, a Philadelphia traffic circle, was the scene of an ominous accident when a man tried to climb a monument dedicated to George Washington at the center of the circle. The man slipped while climbing and fell on the sharp antler of a large deer statue at the base of the monument, impaling his left side. He suffered lacerations and was admitted to Hahnemann Hospital nearby.
Veterinarian Molly Kreuze of Springfield, Va., is planning to purchase an artificial Christmas tree next year after her live one came with something extra: more than 100 praying mantises. Kreuze said the leggy insects emerged from an egg sac under the tree’s branches and were “crawling on the walls, crawling on the ceiling, crawling on the windows.” Kreuze captured as many as she could and was hoping to find a new home for them, as it seems “people really like” the bugs. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture advised that people who find egg sacs on their Christmas trees should clip the branch and take it outside. Otherwise, without their regular source of food, the newly hatched insects will start to eat each other.
Unclear On The Concept
Three customers and the staff of a Wells Fargo branch in Solana Beach, Calif., were stunned when Clint Gray entered the bank shortly after it opened and yelled, “This is a robbery! Everybody get on the ground!” But Gray, who was unarmed, didn’t follow through. Instead, he stripped down to his underwear and sat in a chair near the front door, asking bank employees to call law enforcement. He also told one female customer that she could sit in a chair instead of lying on the floor. A sheriff’s deputy arrived shortly, and Gray surrendered without resistance; he was later charged with attempted robbery.
Least Competent Criminal
A wannabe carjacker hit a bump in the road when he approached the driver of a Chevrolet Volt in San Diego. The thief demanded the driver’s keys and mobile phone around 6 a.m. and tried to drive off in the vehicle. But he couldn’t figure out how to operate the hybrid car, and in frustration ran away, discarding the phone and keys. Police located the carjacker a short distance away and arrested him on suspicion of carjacking and robbery.
A female jogger on the Goldenrod Trail in Oakland, Calif., used pepper spray on a dog that attacked her, angering the dog’s owner, Alma Cadwalader. Police said Cadwalader retaliated by tackling and punching the jogger multiple times, and finally biting her on the forearm, causing significant wounds. Police posted a surveillance camera photograph of Cadwalader and asked for the public’s help in identifying her; she was arrested shortly after.
Heather Carpenter was charged with damaging property and criminal mischief in Sarasota County, Fla., after expressing her dissatisfaction with the principal at Phillippi Shores Elementary School where she was substitute teaching. Principal Allison Foster had been helping Carpenter with a professional issue, but Carpenter was unhappy with the way it was going. In a park where Foster was hosting a birthday party for her daughter later in the day, Carpenter — whose own daughter was invited to the party — arrived with human feces, which she spread on the grill and picnic tables. Carpenter pleaded not guilty, but the Sheriff’s Office stated that she admitted she “intentionally placed human waste and fecal matter on the tables at Urfer Park with the intent of disrupting the birthday party planned by Foster.”
People With Issues
A Salinas, Calif., family’s doorbell camera captured video of a man licking the doorbell for more than three hours. The homeowners were out of town during the encounter, which took place around 5 a.m., but their children were inside. Sylvia Dungan, who was alerted to the activity at her front door by her phone, said, “I thought, boy there’s a lot of traffic. … Who the heck is that?” Police identified the man as Roberto Daniel Arroyo. Arroyo also relieved himself in the front yard and visited a neighbor’s house. “You kind of laugh about it afterwards because technically he didn’t do anything,” Dungan said, although police later charged him with petty theft and prowling.
Dale Sourbeck of Pittston, Pa., had football on his mind after his arresting start to 2019. One early morning, he used a hammer to break into the Rock Street Music store and helped himself to two guitars. Realizing he was being watched by surveillance cameras, Sourbeck left and returned to the store wearing a mask and grabbed three more guitars. Police tracked him down using the surveillance camera shot of his license plate and found the stolen guitars in his home. Upon his arrest, the only statement he made was “Go Eagles.”
Vanessa Elizabeth Helfant, of Knoxville, Tenn., floated a “dog bites man” defense at her DUI hearing, arguing that several parked cars struck her. The jury, however, didn’t buy her story after hearing evidence. Witnesses at the scene followed Helfant to her destination, and when officers arrived and knocked on the door, Helfant called 911 to report people knocking on her door. She eventually admitted that she had drunk half a pint of vodka and smoked marijuana. Helfant, who had no prior offenses, was convicted and faces at least 48 hours in jail with her license suspended for a year.
Tiffany Butch, of Timmins, Ontario, Canada, may go down in history not for her psychic gifts, but for being the last person ever charged in Canada with “pretending to practice witchcraft.” Butch, whose nickname is the “White Witch of the North,” was charged under Section 365 of the Criminal Code for demanding money in return for lifting a curse. Two days later, that law was repealed. Marc Depatie, spokesperson for the Timmons police force, said Butch gave a customer “a sense of foreboding that a dreadful thing was about to happen to their family …” Butch denies the charge, saying other psychics framed her. “People proclaimed me a witch here and gave me a nickname, but I’m not a witch. I’m a psychic,” she said.
Social Media Fail
Game warden Cannon Harrison is well-known around his area in Oklahoma, so when he filled out a profile on the dating app Bumble, he didn’t include his profession. But when he was “matched” with a woman nearby, he was surprised when she messaged him that she had just bagged “a bigo buck.” “I thought … it was someone who was messing with me because they knew who I was,” Harrison said. Deer season had ended, although hunting with a crossbow was still legal, so he decided to play along. He wrote back, “Hell yeah, get em with a bow?” When the huntress demurred, he asked her if she had been “spotlighting” — an illegal technique that involves shining a light into the animal’s eyes to stun it before shooting it. She replied, “Yeahhhh.” Next she sent Harrison a photo of herself with her trophy, and he went to work. Harrison tracked her down on social media, and the following morning, game wardens appeared at her door. The woman paid a fine and will avoid jail time — and probably a date with Harrison.