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The Odd Truth, July 20, 2004

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

Angry Cop Shoots At Jaywalker

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - An angry police officer allegedly shot at a man who ignored a red traffic light and crossed a busy street in a southwestern Czech town, authorities said Tuesday. The bullets missed the pedestrian.

The officer in Plzen, 55 miles southwest of Prague, was being investigated by the Interior Ministry for allegedly pulling his gun and firing at the jaywalking pedestrian on Monday, ministry spokesman Petr Vorlicek said.

The unidentified officer fired several rounds after the pedestrian did not react to his shouts of protest, officials said.

The Pravo newspaper reported that the policeman first shot in the air, and when the pedestrian did not react, he allegedly aimed at him and fired two more times.

One bullet hit a passing car, but nobody was injured in the incident, Pravo said.

Nude Vs. Naked

SEATTLE - What's the difference between nude and naked? Photographer Harvey Drouillard says nakedness is about sex but nudity is art. He managed to convince eight people in Seattle to strip for art's sake - and be photographed at a busy downtown intersection. They had to be fast. Drouillard snapped the pictures in about 15 seconds. Before the nude shoot, Drouillard trained his models to dress and undress in mere moments. He says he wants to normalize nudity. Drouillard was in Seattle to promote his exhibition, "The Spirit of Lady Godiva."

Does It Get Any Better Than This?

MARYVILLE, Tenn. - Michael P. Monn's birthday celebration went a little awry when he was arrested while drunk, nude and covered with nacho cheese.

Monn was detained early Sunday as he ran toward a Jeep in the parking lot outside a swimming pool snack bar. According to police, he was stark naked and was carrying a box of Frito Lay snacks and a container of nacho cheese.

"The male had nacho cheese in his hair, on his face and on his shoulders," Maryville Police Department officer Scott Spicer said. "The nude male had a strong odor of alcohol and was semi-incoherent."

Investigators suspect Monn climbed an 8-foot fence, broke into the pool snack bar through a window, threw nacho cheese on a wall and scattered chips on the ground. About $40 in chips and $7 in nacho cheese were stolen.

Monn was charged with burglary, theft of less than $500, vandalism less than $500 and public intoxication and was cited for indecent exposure. He was held at the Blount County Jail in lieu of a $9,300 bond.

It was Monn's 23rd birthday.

Prisoners Escape, Get Beer, Come Back

ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. - With their cell doors accidentally left unlocked, four county jail inmates escaped only to return the same night - with beer.

The Hawkins County Jail inmates, who bought four cases of beer before returning to the jail, were charged Monday with escape and introduction of intoxicants into a penal institution, the Kingsport Times-News newspaper reported Tuesday.

"I guess they thought if they came back they wouldn't be charged with escape, but they were wrong," Sheriff Warren Rimer said.

Ridgy Dean Coleman, Jimmy Joe Stapleton, David Wayne Blizzard and David Allen Hopkins escaped Thursday night when their cell block doors were unlocked and a faulty control panel failed to alert jailers, Rimer said.

Two of the inmates walked out through a fire exit, left the door propped open with a small Bible and made a hole in the exercise yard fence. They walked to a nearby market and bought the beer.

The inmates did not raise alarm at the store because they were wearing street clothes borrowed from other prisoners. The crowded jail doesn't have enough orange jumpsuits for all of its inmates.

The sheriff pointed out that all 36 inmates on the cell block might have tried to escaped while the doors were unlocked.

"At least they came back," he said.

The Ape Suit Is A Real Nice Touch

CONNELLSVILLE, Pa. - State police say a man allegedly tried to hire his neighbors to kill his estranged wife around Halloween and suggested they rent an ape costume to make it easier.

Forty-eight-year-old Randolph Murphy, of Dunbar Township, is being held in the Fayette County jail on charges he had tried to persuade his neighbors for nine months to murder his wife for half of a $100,000 life insurance policy.

Murphy and his girlfriend, 31-year-old Michelle Hall, are charged with criminal solicitation to commit homicide and conspiracy to solicit homicide.

They are both being held on $500,000 bail. A phone call to Hall's home, where state police claim they both lived, was not returned last night.

State police claim Murphy approached his neighbors in October and tried to recruit the couple to kill his estranged wife before November First when he would retire from the Army. State police say the couple acted as if they would go through with the contract killing so Murphy wouldn't recruit anyone else.

Murphy and Hall were arrested Wednesday and face a preliminary hearing next week.

Strawberry Syrup Thwarts Robbery

JACKSON, Mich. - A robbery attempt at an ice cream store resulted in a not-so-sweet ending for a would-be thief who authorities say knocked over a large container of strawberry syrup and dropped his wallet.

According to police, the 24-year-old man apparently slipped in the goo during the break-in early Monday.

"It was kind of a giveaway," Jackson County sheriff's Capt. David Luce said.

A deputy responding to an alarm after midnight at TJ's Dairy Freeze in Jackson, about 90 miles west of Detroit, located the wallet and found a container of syrup spilled on the floor. It was unclear if anything was taken.

The deputy used the identification card in the wallet to track down and arrest the suspect on a charge of breaking and entering.

"He still had strawberry syrup all over him," Luce said.

That's What I Call A Repeat Offender

BEAVER FALLS, Penn. - Police in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, report Sharon Armstrong didn't stay out of jail long. According to authorities, Armstrong robbed a store just minutes after being released for an earlier robbery. A judge advised police to release Armstrong Saturday, after she allegedly robbed a doughnut shop. The judge said the charges could be filed by mail. Police say nine minutes after she was sprung, Armstrong went to a hot dog shop and demanded money, claiming she had a gun. No quick release this time. She's being held on robbery charges after failing to post bond.

Charges Dropped For 'Tupperware' Sex Toy Temptress

CLEBURNE, Texas - An obscenity charge has been dropped against a woman who received nationwide attention when she was arrested for selling two sex toys to undercover police officers posing as a couple.

A judge dismissed the case against Joanne Webb, Johnson County Attorney Bill Moore said Friday in a statement. He said he asked the judge for the dismissal to prevent wasting county resources, but didn't say when the dismissal occurred.

No one answered the phone at Moore's office Saturday morning.

Webb, a former fifth-grade teacher, started selling erotic toys and other adult products last year. The Passion Parties Inc. consultant hosts what she calls Tupperware-type parties for suburban housewives who feel more comfortable buying marital aids in a private home than at an adult bookstore or on the Internet.

Webb was arrested Nov. 13, about a month after the undercover officers approached her at her husband's business in Burleson, about 10 miles south of Fort Worth, and bought two products. Had she been convicted of violating Texas' obscenity law, she could have been sentenced to a year in jail.

Webb's attorney, BeAnn Sisemore, said she and her client are pleased with the dismissal.

"We knew that it was a possibility, but we weren't contacted," she told the Cleburne Times-Review for its Sunday edition.

According to the state's obscenity code, an obscene device is a simulated sexual organ or an item designed to stimulate the genitals. Adult stores get around the law by posting signs that say "sold only as novelties."

Moore said a pending federal lawsuit filed by Sisemore would determine the constitutionality of the obscenity statute Webb was accused of violating.

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