This week in odd news: Pizza stalker and the stolen thumb
BY RICHARD A. SOMMA
Feb. 15, 2018
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A woman who led police on a chase told arresting officers that she was Mother Mary en route to pick up Baby Jesus and had permission from God to speed.
WDRB-TV cites an arrest report saying a Kentucky trooper attempted to pull over 52-year-old Connie Allen, of Tennessee, on Saturday, but she ignored him. A high-speed chase ensued.
Another trooper was eventually able to pull in front of Allen, forcing her to stop. He approached her car with his weapon drawn, but she refused to get out and show her hands. The report says she became compliant when he hit her window with a police baton.
She also told police she had died five years ago.
She is charged with several offenses. It's unclear whether she has a lawyer.
BERLIN (AP) — German police are investigating a case of severe pizza stalking in the western town of Dortmund.
Police are looking for someone who's bombarded a lawyer by sending scores of pizzas to his office.
They said Wednesday the annoyed lawyer pressed charges in January but told them he had no idea who was behind the unwanted food deliveries.
Local newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten named the lawyer as Guido Grolle, who told them he had already received over 100 pizzas. Grolle says "it's so irritating, I don't even get my work done anymore." He says sometimes notices about the first deliveries of the day pop up on his phone during his morning shower.
Lately, however, the anonymous buyer's tastes have changed: there have also been deliveries for sushi, sausage and Greek food.
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say speeds reached 100 mph during a police pursuit of a stolen school bus in southwest Ohio
The Dayton Daily News reports a chase began shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday. The bus had been stolen from the Twin Valley schools in West Alexandria, about 19 miles (31 kilometers) west of Dayton.
The chase began in Brookville, northwest of Dayton. The bus struck a parked car during the chase, which ended in the Dayton suburb of Trotwood.
A suspect was arrested.
VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Florida state troopers managed to stop an SUV with a stuck accelerator after it traveled about 50 miles (80 kilometers) on Interstate 95 at speeds up to 100 mph.
A Florida Highway Patrol report says 28-year-old Joseph Cooper called 911 Monday afternoon from south of Port St. Lucie, saying he was heading north and couldn't slow down.
The 911 operator told Cooper to put the vehicle in neutral, but he said he couldn't. He said he didn't want to use the emergency brake at the speed he was traveling.
State troopers and local police drove alongside the SUV to clear traffic. Deploying stop sticks three times, they finally brought the SUV to a stop west of Vero Beach.
Cooper was taken to a nearby hospital after complaining of chest pains.
EAST GRANBY, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut State Police say they finally got the scoop on the poop.
State police said Tuesday that they arrested a 43-year-old woman in connection with human excrement deposited on three separate occasions in the middle of the same cul-de-sac in East Granby.
Holly Malone was charged with misdemeanor breach of peace. She lives a few miles away from the cul-de-sac in Simsbury.
Troopers say a motion-activated camera set up after the second incident in November recorded Malone's car.
Authorities say Malone told them that she's lactose intolerant but sometimes eats dairy products, and she stopped in the cul-de-sac because she couldn't make it to a bathroom in time. State police say she apologized.
A message left at a phone listing for Malone wasn't immediately returned Tuesday.
WILLOWICK, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio woman had given up hope of seeing her wedding dress again after a dry cleaner mix-up three decades ago until her daughter's friend saw photos of the dress on Facebook.
Michelle Havrilla was nearly speechless after getting the dress back last week for the first time since her 1985 wedding.
Her dress was put in the wrong box by a now-defunct dry cleaner in Willowick and stored in another family's attic.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports Ame Bartlebaugh found the dress on Feb. 4 when she went looking for her mother's wedding dress.
She posted about the mix-up on Facebook, and Havrilla was reunited with the dress within a day.
Bartlebaugh hopes social media will help her find her mom's dress before her own wedding next year.
WARRINGTON, Pa. (AP) — A chemist stole potassium cyanide from his workplace to use as pest control at home and poured it down a suburban Philadelphia storm drain when he learned there was an investigation, prosecutors said.
Richard O'Rourke, 60, has been charged with risking a catastrophe, theft, receiving stolen property and recklessly endangering others. He's accused of taking about a cup of potassium cyanide from the Merck & Co. facility in Montgomery County in December.
Reached at his home on Wednesday morning, O'Rourke said didn't want to comment. A message seeking comment from his lawyer wasn't immediately returned.
A co-worker witnessed him pouring potassium cyanide into a beaker and then into a Nalgene water bottle on Dec. 14, then leaving the building, according to a release from District Attorney Kevin Steele. That worker informed authorities, and O'Rourke later dumped the chemical near his Warrington home about 30 miles north of Philadelphia, after learning there was an investigation.
The state Department of Environmental Protection began monitoring the water supply after determining there was a possible threat to drinking water.
The department went into "high alert" and increased its monitoring at stormwater systems, retention basins, waterways and tributaries, from Dec. 15 to Dec. 29.
It was determined that there was no evidence of water contamination, or any environmental or human health impacts related to the dumping, department spokesman Neil Shader said.
Steele said a heavy rainfall at the time likely helped diffuse the chemical.
"It is concerning that someone was able to remove such a poisonous chemical, but thankfully through an immediate and swift response by many people, nobody was hurt," Steele said.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 6.
ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — A Maryland woman who claims to be a psychic has been convicted of scamming people — again.
WRC-TV reports Gina Marie Marks, who worked under the name Natalie Miller, pleaded guilty Friday to multiple counts of felony theft for stealing $340,000 from five people who sought help with their troubles.
Marks said on Friday in court that she would return all the payments she received, but maintained her services are real. Police learned of Marks in 2016 when a woman paid Marks for love spells, but got suspicious when the charges began approaching $80,000.
Marks was arrested at the Miami International Airport in Florida and faces up to six years in prison.
Marks pleaded no contest and guilty to similar charges in 2009 and 2010 in Florida.
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Kansas election officials are putting the brakes on a dog's campaign for governor.
KWCH-TV reports that Terran Woolley, of Hutchinson, decided to file the paperwork over the weekend for his 3-year-old pooch, Angus, to run for the state's top office after reading stories about six teenage candidates. The teens entered the race after learning Kansas doesn't have an age requirement, something lawmakers are seeking to change.
Angus is a type of hunting dog called a wire-haired Vizsla. Woolley figured Angus would need to run as a Republican. He described Angus as a "caring, nurturing individual who cares about the best for humanity and all creatures other than squirrels."
But the Kansas Secretary of State's office says man's best friend is not capable of serving the responsibilities required of the governor.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Medford woman was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after authorities say she struck garbage cans and drove into a ditch during a Taco Bell run.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 39-year-old Diane Wilcox left her home Tuesday morning to travel to a Taco Bell about six miles away.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office says she began hitting garbage cans and nearly struck an elderly couple while she was driving home.
Authorities say she then drove into a ditch near her home and bystanders forced her to stop.
Authorities say she had a blood alcohol level of 0.55 percent, and she was taken to the hospital for treatment. The legal limit in Oregon is 0.08 percent.
Sheriff's office Sgt. Julie Denney says her blood alcohol level can be fatal.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Federal authorities say a Delaware man snapped a selfie before stealing part of a $4.5 million statue at a Philadelphia museum.
According to an arrest affidavit filed Friday, 24-year-old Michael Rohana was attending an Ugly Sweater Party at the Franklin Institute Dec. 21 when he entered the "Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor" exhibit.
Authorities say Rohana took photos while posing next to a statue known as "The Cavalryman," and then snapped off the statue's left thumb.
Museum staff noticed the missing thumb Jan. 8, and the FBI traced it to Rohana five days later. It is unclear if he has legal representation.
A museum spokeswoman says the statue will be repaired. She says a security contractor did not follow standard procedures the night of the alleged theft.
NEW YORK (AP) — It wasn't meant to be for a New York City woman seeking a mystery missed connection via a 20-foot mural asking him to meet her on Valentine's Day.
Twenty-five-year-old Devin Custalow waited for nearly 30 minutes at the billboard that asked the mystery man with yellow shoes she met on a subway train in October to meet with her at 1 p.m. Wednesday. She was surrounded by friends, family and plenty of cameras for the meeting that never came to pass — but her loved ones were on hand with a bouquet of flowers.
Custalow says despite the outcome, the search for her mystery Valentine was a really great experience and she hopes she's encouraged others to look for love.
NEW YORK (AP) — Benjamin is a grand champion English toy spaniel, but he's not a champ at chow. The otherwise undemanding dog tends to balk at any food after a couple of meals.
The one treat he never refuses? Sauerkraut — and hold the hot dog.
Emmy the harrier is crazy for ice cubes. Dick the Chinese crested isn't excited by any treat except bits of raw steak (usually ribeye). Stella, an old English sheepdog, savors steamed green beans. Rajah the borzoi enjoys chicken liver sautéed in butter as post-dog-show reward.
And to get Mikka the bergamasco to eat, consider "Satan balls."
Come on in to the Westminster Kennel Club, where owners and handlers know how to cater to the eclectic tastes of show dogs that competed this week. A bichon frise named Flynn won best in show Tuesday night.
For some dogs, it takes culinary ingenuity to get into show form.
"We've got it down to a science," Mikka's co-owner, Jane Bass, says of whetting the whistles of a herding breed known for its matted coat, gentle protectiveness and finicky appetites.
Six-year-old Mikka, which made her Westminster debut Monday, came to Bass underweight and tentative after another family gave her up. Mikka wouldn't eat until one day when Bass arrived at her Easton, Connecticut, home to a weird smell wafting from the kitchen. Her husband was warming lamb kibble, chicken broth and homemade chicken in a skillet for the dog.
"That was the magic formula. That and the couch," Bass says.
Enough bergamascos are particular about food that owners share recipes, including those tempting "Satan balls": raw or cooked meat mixed with molasses, oatmeal and peanut butter and rolled into balls, according to Bass.
To cut down on the expense of feeding her five dogs, she prepares a house blend: kibble, chicken and a puree of eggs, egg shells, sea kelp and fruits and vegetables that can include apples, oranges, bok choi, celery and acorn squash.
Dawn and Timothy Eilber spend about $1,000 and many hours a month preparing an all-raw diet for their four cane corsos. At each of the strapping guard dogs' two daily meals, the Scotrun, Pennsylvania, couple measures out portions of meat, bone and organ meat and adds such ingredients as coconut oil, raw honey, apple cider vinegar and turmeric paste.
"We think we're crazy sometimes," Dawn Eilber said after her husband showed one of the dogs, Marley, at Westminster on Tuesday. "But this makes us happy."
There's plenty of high-end store-bought food on show dog menus — indeed, Purina Pro Plan sponsors Westminster — and lots of handlers rely on familiar treats such as chicken, liver or cooked steak. Jen Jones ended up ordering a $40 filet mignon from her hotel so she'd have steak to bring to the ring with Hudson, one of her St. Bernards, at Westminster on Tuesday.
"What are you going to do? It's Westminster," laughed Jones, of Bellevue, Colorado.
Other handlers find more exotic or complicated items appeal to their prized pets and performers.
"He likes it when I do a little fresh garlic and a little bit of Maldon Salt flakes" with organic chicken breast, Kim Brown said of her basenji, named Bazinga.
The Furlong, Pennsylvania-based breeder happened to make the receipt for herself once early in Bazinga's training, gave him a bite and noticed his "oohhhhhh" expression. So it's been their go-to show-ring treat ever since, including in a televised semifinal round at Madison Square Garden Monday night.
From show rings to dog parks, there's plenty of discussion about what to feed dogs: raw food? Regular food? Wet? Dry? Organic? Grain-free? Homemade?
American Veterinary Medicine Association President-elect Dr. John de Jong says there's no one answer, but owners should look to reputable, nutritionally balanced and well-researched brands. He suggests owners who'd rather make their own dog food do research and consult a vet or veterinary nutritionist, as dogs have different dietary needs than people do, and those needs can vary by age, size and other factors.
There are some red flags for dog food and treats, including artificial sweeteners, avocados, chocolate, grapes, Macadamia nuts, onions and fatty foods. And, as with people, moderation is key.
Overall, "be wise, use discretion," de Jong says. "Use common sense."