As members of New Life Baptist Church in Advance, N.C., prepared to merge with a nearby congregation, they removed the handmade steeple from their building, intending to return it to church member Mike Brewer, who made it. But a passerby who saw the steeple at the curb thought it was intended for garbage pickup and took it home.
Pastor Matthew Pope called it a clear misunderstanding: “The person assumed we were throwing it out. She … didn’t want it to go to the dump.” The unwitting steeple thief saw a post about the missing structure on Facebook from Pope’s wife and returned the steeple five days after its disappearance.
Francesco Galdelli and Vanya Goffi — otherwise known as the Italian Bonnie and Clyde — were arrested at a luxury villa in Pattaya, Thailand, after years of evading Italian authorities for various scams and frauds. Galdelli confessed to posing as George Clooney and opening an online clothing business “to trick people into sending money.” The two also sold fake Rolex watches online, sometimes sending packets of salt to their customers instead of wristwatches. Clooney testified against the couple in 2010, but they fled Italy before being arrested. Galdelli was arrested in Thailand in 2014, but soon escaped after bribing prison guards. The pair will return to Italy for trial.
— In Saint Petersburg, Russia, motor enthusiast Konstantin Zarutskiy unveiled his newest creation in early May: a Bentley Continental GT sedan refitted with heavy-duty rubber tank treads instead of regular tires. He calls the resulting vehicle “Ultratank” and is hoping to get permission from the local government to drive the car on city streets. Zarutskiy says his Ultratank is very easy to drive, although creating it took him seven months as he faced a number of technical challenges.
— Hundreds of divers set a Guinness World Record at Deerfield Beach, Fla., where they met to perform an underwater cleanup. 633 divers collected 9,000 pieces of debris on the ocean floor during the event, which was organized by Dixie Divers. The previous record, 615 divers, was set in the Red Sea in 2015.
Laurence Pilgeram, who died in 2015 in California, paid Alcor Life Extension Foundation $120,000 to preserve his body indefinitely at minus 196 degrees Celsius in the hope of being brought back to life in the future. But a month after his death, his son, Kurt Pilgeram of Dutton, Mont., received a box containing his father’s ashes. The company sent all but the elder Pilgeram’s head, which is stored in liquid nitrogen at its facility in Arizona. “They chopped his head off, burned his body, put it in a box and sent it to my house,” Kurt said. He is suing Alcor for $1 million in damages and an apology — plus the return of his father’s head. “I want people to know what’s going on,” he said. For its part, Alcor says its contract was with Laurence Pilgeram and that it met that agreement. The company contends Kurt is trying to get the life insurance money that paid for Alcor’s services. The trial is expected to begin in 2020.
In the Colombian city of Buenaventura, violence and corruption are on the rise. After the murder of a 10-year-old girl, the local bishop devised a plan to purge the city of evil. Monsignor Ruben Dario Jaramillo Montoya will perform a mass exorcism. To help him, he has enlisted the National Navy, which will fly a helicopter over the city this month to distribute holy water on its inhabitants.
A concerned animal lover in Devon, England, contacted authorities to report that a fox she had been watching hadn’t moved for several days. In response, Ellie Burt, an officer with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, suggested trying the “broom test,” which didn’t make the fox stir. Burt was told it “tracked them with its eyes and seemed to be breathing well.” When Burt arrived on the scene, she quickly diagnosed the problem: The fox was a fake, “stuffed by a taxidermist. He’d clearly been placed under a bush outside of the houses as a prank,” Burt said. “Someone had been moving it around the neighborhood.” Burt discarded the fox “to avoid any further calls.”
Pizza Delivery For Elizabeth
A Domino’s pizza delivery driver in London was the victim of a prank when he tried to deliver four large cheeseburger pizzas to Buckingham Palace, for “Elizabeth.” At the security gate, he was stopped by two armed police officers, who checked to make sure the queen had not, indeed, ordered the pizzas. “The next thing the copper said was, ‘Sorry, sir, Elizabeth is the name of the queen — and she lives at Buckingham Palace. I think someone is winding you up’” a source said. The original phone order had promised cash payment at delivery. Store manager Zsuzsanna Queiser said the “pizzas seemed to go down pretty well with the police officers on duty. Next time, Your Majesty.”
German Instagram influencers Catalin Onc and Elena Engelhardt have faced a digital dressing-down after they set up a GoFundMe page requesting donations for a bike trip to Africa. They want to raise about 10,000 euros for the jaunt, but some people aren’t on board. Onc and Engelhardt live with Onc’s mother, who supports them by working two jobs. They posted on their Instagram page: “Some will just tell us to get jobs, like everyone else and stop begging. But when you have the impact we do on others’ life (sic), getting a job is not an option. A normal job at this point would be detrimental.” Commenters let loose on the couple: “Get a job and treat your mum, she shouldn’t be funding her grown son to wander the world like a lost boy.” And, “You’re not impacting anyone’s life, you are just a couple of freeloaders trying to get holidays paid for by mugs.”
Last year, Eli Aldinger told police officers in Bothell, Wash., he intentionally drove his Toyota Camry into two different groups of pedestrians in order to “get out of going to work.” Aldinger, who worked in food service at McMenamins Anderson School, first hit a woman who was crossing the street with her husband. He admited to police that he sped up to 35 or 40 mph so he could “hit her before she made it across the road.” Later on, he swerved to hit another pedestrian. He declined to strike a third, believing that would have been “a bit excessive.”
He stopped when he spotted a police car and told the officers he was looking forward to “spending a few years in a room.”
He got his wish: Aldinger will spend 14 years in prison for assault.