The Odd Truth, Aug. 26, 2004

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum.

The Clogged Toilet Of Justice

PORT OF SWEET GRASS, Mont. - Jesse Huffman insists he didn't do it on purpose, but the toilet he left plugged after "nature called" at this border crossing in north-central Montana has him facing criminal charges.

Toole County authorities charged the 19-year-old college student from Great Falls with criminal mischief after a border agent accused him of intentionally clogging the toilet.

Huffman said the clogged piping was completely unintentional, the result of an urgent, but natural bodily function.

"I've never been arrested before or anything like that, and I get arrested for taking a dump," said Huffman, a student at Montana State University in Bozeman.

Huffman was returning to Montana from a trip to Lethbridge, Alberta with four friends Saturday. Port authorities stopped their car for what was apparently a random search. The car's 19-year-old driver was cited for illegally possessing alcohol.

Huffman said he asked to use the bathroom while waiting for the driver.

A short time later, a port inspector discovered the toilet was clogged and threatened charges, Huffman said.

Cory Grayson, one of Huffman's friends, said he couldn't believe it when border agents first threatened charges.

"I didn't think they were serious at first, I was just laughing so hard," he said.

Port Director Larry Overcast said he could not comment on the case.

Huffman said he has hired an attorney and intends to fight the charge.

Bank Robber Busted At Quarter Machine

CLEVELAND - The need for clean money gave him away.

A bank-robbery ring was cracked when police spotted a man changing hundreds of dollars in dye-stained bills for quarters in a drive-thru car wash coin machine, the FBI said.

Stephen C. Jackson, 35, arrested Aug. 18 in nearby Lakewood, was charged Tuesday with conspiracy and bank robbery in a suburban Westlake holdup, the FBI said.

Jackson was arrested when police spotted him at a car wash feeding ink-stained bills into a changer. The money from the robbery was stained red when a dye pack exploded.

When an officer approached Jackson, he ran across a parking lot, leaving a trail of quarters dropping from his pockets. Police found $457.50 in quarters weighing 23 pounds in his pockets.

Police also found about $2,185 in bills on him and in his car.

Jackson's wife and another man also were charged in the holdup and the wife, the second man and a third suspect were charged in a Cleveland bank robbery.

Smooth Move, Ex-Lax

FAIRMONT, Minn. - Pranksters take note: baking Ex-Lax into a tray of brownies and leaving them in the teacher's lounge could put a gross misdemeanor on your record.

Just ask former Fairmont high school student Katie Jablinske.

No one ate the brownies. But Jablinske was originally charged with a felony. She has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in exchange for the lesser charge. The agreement was reached last week.

A judge released Jablinske without jail time under the condition she stay out of trouble for one year.

The 18-year-old student moved to Nebraska to attend college. She had said the prank was just a joke and she meant no harm to any teachers.

But police chief Greg Brolsma says there's nothing specific in the law making so-called pranks legal just because they're meant in jest.

Woman Sues After Getting Herpes

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Call it the case of the fornicator versus the infector. A woman is suing her ex Virginia Beach lover for intentionally infecting her with the herpes virus. But the man's attorney counters that he can't be sued because the woman was engaging in a criminal act under Virginia law - fornication. The woman, who's only identified as Jane Doe, is seeking more than $5 million from the man she charges gave her herpes. Her suit contends the man persuaded her to have unprotected sex many times and "intentionally withheld the fact that he was infected." In court papers, the man's attorney claims the woman broke a state law that forbids sexual intercourse outside marriage and therefore she can't claim injury.

Cuban Woman Ships Herself To Miami

MIAMI - An air-freighted refugee is being allowed to stay in the U.S. The Cuban woman shipped herself from the Bahamas to Miami in a crate about the size of a small filing cabinet. A DHL cargo crew found the woman curled up inside the box, after it was unloaded at Miami International Airport. She didn't require any medical treatment. Immigration officials in Miami say the woman was processed and released. Officials aren't saying how long the young woman was in the box - but they say she's lucky to be alive.

Pot-Farm Surprise

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - The house Donald Robinson just bought near Binghamton, New York, came with a surprise.

The real estate ad didn't mention the marijuana-growing area in a crawl space under his daughter's new bedroom.

After Robinson moved in a few days ago, his son discovered some wires. Robinson followed them and found nearly two-dozen pot plants, along with three "grow lights."

The man called police, who collected the evidence.

Police say Robinson told them he acquired the home through a bank and he didn't know the previous residents.

Canadian Lawmaker Calls U.S. 'Coalition of the Idiots'

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Paul Martin has not asked Liberal Carolyn Parrish to apologize, nor does the Toronto-area MP intend to.

Parrish said Canada should not join "a coalition of the idiots," in a missile defense program.

Parrish says Martin called her to discuss her anti-American slur but did not ask her to apologize.

She'll only say they spoke about opinions.

Martin called her language unacceptable.

She says today that she won't back down because missile defense could speed up the arms race.

Immigration Minister Judy Sgro entered a cabinet meeting today saying Parrish should have "kept her mouth shut."

The National Citizens' Coalition calls Martin's response tepid and says he should order her to apologize.

The outspoken Toronto-area MP last got into trouble when she said "Damn Americans, I hate the bastards," over the war in Iraq.