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The Odd Truth, May 26, 2005

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

A Real Estate Steal!

OSLO, Norway - An enterprising Norwegian found a way to turn a tidy profit on Oslo real estate by renting out a nice apartment in a popular part of town.

What the renters didn't know was that the 29-year-old man, whose name has not been released, had broken in to someone else's apartment and rented it out to 11 different people, national news media reported Tuesday.

Police said the man admitted to breaking into the apartment and posting photographs of it on an Internet real estate site. He then allegedly asked for a bargain 5,000 kroner per month in rent, the equivalent of $780.

Since such an apartment normally costs 35 percent more in Oslo, about 60 hopefuls flocked to the con man's showing.

Eleven people were so eager to rent the space they each paid a $2,340 deposit. A total of $25,780 was transferred to the swindler's bank account.

The real renter was traveling at the time of the showings and has now changed all the locks.

Grinch Arrested

WHEELING, W.Va. - City and county attorneys are defending Wheeling police who arrested a man for wearing a Grinch mask while walking along a city street.

Norman Eugene Gray, 42, was arrested Tuesday. He was arraigned and released on a personal recognizance bond.

Officers saw Gray about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, told him to take the mask off and not put it on again. Gray removed it and asked why he could not wear it, according to Wheeling police reports. Officers told him wearing masks in public is illegal.

Gray said he felt he had a right to wear it and said it was not illegal. He put the mask back on and was arrested. The mask was confiscated.

Wheeling City Solicitor Rosemary Humway-Warmuth and Ohio County Prosecutor Scott Smith said masks as well as dark window tinting in vehicles can pose a safety hazard to law enforcement officers and hinder efforts to identify criminal suspects.

Butter Cow Lady: Tiger's Next

DES MOINES, Iowa - A woman known as the "butter cow lady" for her life-size butter sculptures of dairy cows says she wants to do a likeness of golfer Tiger Woods at the Iowa State Fair.

"He's going to be sitting down with a club next to him and he's going to be scratching a live tiger, so to speak, on the head," said Norma Lyon on Wednesday.

Lyon, 75, lives on a dairy farm near Toledo. She carves a full-size dairy cow out of butter at the fair each year. Her cows have been a highlight for nearly five decades.

In recent years, she started adding other sculptures, including Elvis, Garth Brooks and John Wayne, and in 1999, she celebrated her 40th year at the fair with a life-size butter version of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper."

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Tiger's agent, Mark Steinberg, said he wasn't aware of the butter sculpture and declined further comment.

Midnight Prank Raid In Iraq

BOZEMAN, Mont. - A University of Montana Grizzly flag flying above a tent at Camp Duke in Iraq was just too tempting for one graduate of rival Montana State University.

Sgt. Taralyn Fisher, who is serving with the Montana Army National Guard's 3669th Maintenance Company, decided she just couldn't let those Griz fans have the upper hand.

Fisher, 30, recruited a few fellow soldiers and together at midnight on May 10 they turned the UM flag upside down.

"My accomplices are not from Montana. They joined me for the fun of it," she wrote in an e-mail to family and friends. "It just had to be done."

Cindi Pipinich, a minister at the church where Fisher works in the youth ministry, said the church is sending Fisher a Montana State University Bobcat flag "to continue her campaign."

Preacher's Potty Mouth

FOREST CITY, N.C. - A North Carolina pastor is apologizing to Muslims for a sign in front of his church that said, "The Koran needs to be flushed."

A now-retracted Newsweek story -- alleging that U.S. interrogators flushed Islam's holy book down a toilet -- triggered demonstrations in several countries and violent unrest in Afghanistan.

But the Reverend Creighton Lovelace of Danieltown Baptist Church in Forest City says he meant to affirm and exalt the Bible rather than insult Muslims.

In a statement, Lovelace says that after prayer and reflection, he now realizes that Muslims revere their holy book more than many Americans revere the Bible.

Woman Slips Out Of Accuser's Grasp

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. - Here's proof that using suntan lotion can save your life.

Authorities in Orange County, California, say a woman who had slathered herself with suntan oil escaped an attacker because she was too slippery for him to grab.

The woman told authorities she was jogging on Sunday morning when another jogger began following her. She ducked into a park restroom. When she emerged from a stall, the attacker lunged from another stall and grabbed her arm.

An Orange County sheriff's spokesman says the woman was wearing "a large amount of suntan oil," making her skin slippery and hard to grasp.

She struggled with the man, screamed, and ran away.

The attacker hasn't been found.

What About His A-peel?

STAMFORD, Conn. - A former police officer is going to jail for flashing a toy banana. Arthur Bertana has been sentenced to 20 days in jail for lewd conduct involving the toy. Police in Stamford, Connecticut, busted Bertana in March. Authorities charged that the former Stamford officer put the banana in his pants and flashed women on a main shopping street. One officer says the banana in question was a yellow, plush child's toy, with a smiley face on it.

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