The Odd Truth, July 30, 2004

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

Lucky, In More Ways Than One

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. - Lucky the bunny is living up to her name.

It had seemed like luck had run out: Strapped to a powerful explosive with a lit fuse, Lucky was tossed into a lake.

But the explosive didn't blow up, and the rabbit was pulled out of the water.

Now Lucky's owner and his friend face misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty after photos of the July 13 incident surfaced on the Internet.

Nick Sigmon, 18, and Paul Collins, 20, are accused of taping an illegal M-1000 - a large firecracker equivalent to a quarter stick of dynamite - to the rabbit and throwing her into Lake Don Castro.

Sigmon said he fished Lucky out of the water to save her from drowning. But prosecutors charged the two lifeguards on Wednesday. Two other men who were present during the incident may also face charges.

"I think that a lot of people are judging us without knowing us at all," Sigmon said. Asked why he fitted Lucky with the explosive, he said, "Um, that's a real tough question to answer."

Sigmon said he adopted the bunny after almost running over her with his car, but can no longer care for her because he's starting college this fall at University of California, San Diego, where he plans to study biology.

Someone found the photos on the personal Web site of one of the suspects and posted them on Craigslist, the popular Internet bulletin board, where the House Rabbit Society in Richmond saw it.

Lucky is recovering at a foster owner's home, where she's snacking on hay pellets and doing well.

The Telltale Door

WREXHAM, Wales - The case of the telltale door was easily solved.

Someone who illegally dumped debris by the side of a road was quickly traced because the junk included his front door, with the number still on it, authorities said Thursday.

The other, even more obvious clue, was a letter found in the sofa which was part of the debris.

Wrexham County Borough Council said the guilty party - who was not identified - was fined $135 plus $180 for the cost of cleaning up the mess.

When Home Detention Gets Really Boring ...

INDIANAPOLIS - It wasn't really a radio stunt. Police in Indianapolis say a guy on home detention was pretending to be from a radio station and was luring people to his home to take off their clothes. According to Indiana State Police, Richard Brown claimed his victims could get $50,000 in a radio promotion if they stripped for him. Some people became suspicious and called the station. A state trooper happened to be at the radio station to talk about speeding tickets at the time and investigated. Brown has been arrested on charges of confinement and identity deception. Brown was already doing home detention as part of a sentence for criminal confinement. He's now being held without bond.

Teamsters Picket Cemetary

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Some grieving families think the Teamsters Local 120 is making a grave mistake.

The union is picketing cemeteries, even when funeral services are in progress, in its strike on the Twin Cities' biggest maker of burial vaults.

Brown-Wilbert Inc. employs about 25 Teamsters, many of whom make burial vaults at a plant in Roseville. But some also deliver and install the vaults at local cemeteries. Since the strike started, Brown-Wilbert managers have been doing that graveside work.

Pickets were at St. Paul's Calvary Cemetery on Wednesday when Cheryl Grudnoske attended the funeral of her husband's uncle. The Teamsters stayed near the cemetery gate and didn't picket near the burial site.

Still, Grudnoske said, she thought the picket line was disrespectful to the deceased - who was a union member - and his grieving relatives. She said she called the Local 120 offices.

"I said: 'I'm a union supporter. Do you think you made any points with us? What do you think you achieved? Everybody there was upset with you.' "

Brad Slawson Sr., acting principal officer of Local 120, said the union members had a legal right to strike where they work, which in this case includes cemeteries.

"Well, obviously, we know that (mourners) will be upset with it," he said. "Unfortunately, it's the business we are in. The only alternative is not picketing at all."

Girlie Men Unite!

SAN FRANCISCO - "Girlie men" are wearing their party pride.

San Francisco-based fashion designer Sarah Lefton created baseball style T-shirts that read "Sacramento Girlie Men," and they are selling like mad.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made the now-famous put-down of Democratic lawmakers during a July 17 rally, using the "Saturday Night Live" phrase to chide the legislators for what he considered as caving in to special interests.

Orders for the shirts have come in from as far away as Ireland, Lefton said. They sell for $24, and Lefton promises to donate 20 percent to the state Democratic Party.

Woman Cuffed, Searched For Eating Candy Bar

WASHINGTON - Stephanie Willett found out the hard way that Metro takes its no eating and drinking policy in subway stations seriously.

The 45-year-old scientist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from Bowie, Md., said Metro Transit Police unfairly handcuffed, searched and held her for three hours after she had finished chewing a candy bar at Metro Center station on July 16.

Willett said an officer saw her eating a PayDay on her way down an escalator and warned her to finish it before entering the station. Both Willett and police agree that she nodded and stuffed the last bit into her mouth before throwing the wrapper into a trashcan.

But Willett says the officer followed her back into the station and she was arrested after making a remark.

"I said, 'Don't you have some other crimes you have to take care of,"' Willett told WTOP Radio in an interview. The officer asked for identification, but Willett and police said she kept walking. She said she was then frisked - including under her shirt - and handcuffed.

"If she had stopped eating, it would have been the end of it and if she had just stopped for the issuance of a citation, she never would have been locked up," said Transit Police Chief Polly Hanson. Hanson said getting frisked during an arrest is common police procedure.

Metro's police force has been ridiculed for what some say is extreme enforcement of its no-eating rules. In 2000, a police officer handcuffed a 12-year-old girl for eating a french fry on a subway platform.

Transit police also gained a degree of infamy in 2002 when one of their officers ticketed a wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy patient who cursed when he was unable to find a working elevator to exit the system. Unflattering publicity eventually led the police to void the ticket.