Mynah difficulties 

According to a May police report in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, the blood all over the furniture of a burglarized house was the thief's: The homeowner's parrot had attacked the perp and drove him out. Said a police spokesman, "The bird was fairly annoyed." And in an April burglary trial in Stroudsburg, Pa., prosecutors subpoenaed a parrot that was abducted in the crime, hoping it would identify the thief in court. The bird, however, was noncommittal.

Just kidding

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a 1998 decision upholding the privacy rights of child-porn suspect James Anderson of Duluth, Ga., who as the object of a federal sting operation allegedly took illegal videos into his workplace. Child-porn photos uncovered at Anderson's home were later used against him in his trial, but the courts ruled that the workplace stash was illegally seized because Anderson had a legitimate "expectation of privacy." And three weeks later, British Columbia's highest court ruled that Canada's child-porn possession law was unconstitutional for also criminalizing erotic material written up from one's own imagination.

Tenants the menace

In April, police in Broomfield, Colo., issued a trespassing summons to Kristopher C. Ward, 36, who had moved a female companion, their furniture and two dogs into a vacant house belonging to Michael Deetz. When Deetz brought a policeman around to evict the squatters, Ward said he had been trying to get ahold of Deetz and had decided the best way to bump into him was just to move in and wait until he dropped by.

Doing comp time

In April, a judge in Ottawa, Ontario, ruled against inmate Herbert Miller in his lawsuit against Alberta's Bowden correctional institution. Miller had lost his prison job, which was intended to prepare him for work on the outside, and was demanding more than $3,000 (U.S.) in back pay, vacation pay and overtime.

Putting it on layaway

In May, according to officials at the Brookings (S.D.) County Jail, trusty inmate Jeffrey Kumm swiped three deputy's shirts and two prison uniforms and hid them outside on the grounds, so he could retrieve them after his scheduled release the next day. (Caught, he was sentenced to six more months.)

Old-school politics

Former Florida state Rep. Deborah Tamargo, visiting the House chamber for an April reunion with ex-colleagues, sat next to her old seat while former chamber neighbor Rep. Harry C. Goode went out to smoke. When a bill was brought to the floor, Tamargo apparently couldn't resist the temptation to vote. She pushed the "yes" button, to Goode's later astonishment. The bill -- banning trespassing on the grounds of a private school -- passed.

Minority opinion

Steve Highfill, the director of the worldwide charity Feed the Children, and several administrative employees were caught on tape in May by Nashville, Tenn., TV station WTVF taking home boxes of goods that had been donated for impoverished kids. "If that's wrong, fine," Highfill said. "I don't think so, and I don't think people are going to think so." Apparently, people did think so: Highfill resigned the next day, and 14 employees were fired a week later.

Ring my bell

In February, Don Giuseppe Avarna, 83, died in Messina, Sicily. The Duke of Gualtieri, he had achieved celebrity in the 1980s, when he abandoned his family and took up with a young American flight attendant, who he proceeded to irritate for years by ringing a chapel bell in their village every time they made love.

Silver mining

York County (Pa.) reported in June that its Resource Recovery Center had found about $43,000 in carelessly discarded coins among last year's trash. Also in June, the Miami-Dade County (Fla.) government announced the demotion of an administrator in charge of processing parking meter collections; the 21-year veteran had just not gotten around to bank-depositing about $150,000 in coins collected over a four-year period.

Speaking of News Of The Weird

More by Chuck Shepherd


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