The Odd Truth, May 7, 2004

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

Nature Calls, Foils Burglar

WHITEFISH BAY, Wis. - Burglars beware: a bathroom break on the job can get you busted.

That's how Otha Smith got caught.

Dewey Coulson went to the bathroom in the middle of the night, only to find an intruder using the toilet.

"When I turned the corner ... I saw the light was on, and I thought someone had just left it on so I opened the door, and there was this guy sitting on the toilet," said Coulson, 19. "So I said, 'What are you doing in my house?' And he said, 'I just had to use the bathroom."'

Coulson ran upstairs to get his stepfather, and when they returned they saw the man trying to leave.

"He was walking really slowly, and then he saw us, and he started running toward these doors and he grabbed the handle and my stepdad and I closed on him," Coulson said.

He and stepfather Dave End wrestled with the man to subdue him until police arrived.

Coulson's mother, Cathy End, said the intruder likely wasn't in the house long before heading to the bathroom.

"There was some money out of my wallet, but that's as far as he got, I guess, before nature took over. The toilet part just blows my mind," she said.

Smith, 42, who police said apparently entered through an unlocked door, was charged Wednesday with burglary to an occupied residence, a felony.

Because of two prior burglary convictions, he could face 21 years in prison if convicted.

Emergency Toilet Paper Relief

OSLO, Norway - Danes rushed emergency relief to their Norwegian neighbors on Friday to help wipe out a toilet paper shortage.

A strike by truckers in Norway has been escalating since it began on March 21, leaving some food stores short of certain products. Even though toilet paper had not been among the items the industry expected to dry up, nervous Norwegians hoarded anyway, leaving shelves bare in some stores.

Denmark's P3 radio station got wind of the Norwegians' dilemma and broadcast a humorous appeal to listeners for contributions of toilet paper to be shipped to their Nordic neighbors.

The Danes were inspired by Norwegians' playful helpfulness when their own strike several years ago caused a run on baking yeast.

"It was a sort of thanks and in the spirit of brotherhood," joked Morten Resen, a host of Danish radio's humor program said.

The shipment of at least 1,000 rolls of toilet paper arrived in the Norwegian capital on Friday, and were quickly distributed on a downtown street to Norwegians who didn't mind being the butt of a Danish prank.

Ex-Wife Doesn't Hold Her Peace

COVINGTON, Ga. - A disgruntled ex-wife wasn't about to hold her peace when her former husband tried to get married.

Shirley Darlene Kent, 27, berated her former spouse last week in a courthouse hallway as he waited to marry his girlfriend, police said.

She even threatened to kill him, prompting deputies to arrest her on a charge of terrorist threats and actions.

But the marriage of Willie Cosby and his girlfriend went forward under police protection at the Newton County Courthouse Annex on April 29.

The dispute started when a deputy saw Kent pulling on Cosby's shirt as he sat on the bench with his future wife, according to police reports.

Deputy Mark Polite said Kent was upset about the pending marriage and she needed to discuss their three children with him.

Then Kent waited outside the courthouse for the couple and began to yell, saying she "only needed five minutes."

That's when she threatened to kill Cosby and was arrested.

Jail Or Vasectomy?

NEWPORT - For some northern Kentucky men showing up in court for being habitually behind in child support, their choice will be 30 days in jail or a vasectomy.

Campbell County Family Court Judge "Mickey" Foellger has given the option to a few men who had multiple children and were tens of thousands of dollars behind on their child support.

Foellger says he considers it an effective way to get his message across - that having children is a responsibility. The option applies to men who have had more than four children with at least three different women, and who owe more than $10,000 in court-ordered support.

Foellger believes he can legally give the ultimatum because the men are in contempt for not paying the child support, and a judge has wide latitude to enforce his orders.

In his 17 months as the only family court judge, Foellger has made the proposal six or seven times. Two men reported back with doctors' notes saying they had the procedure. Three or four others are in the process of doing so. One chose jail time. None of the men has appealed his orders.

Teacher Denies Topless Dancing Accusation

ERIE, Pa. - High school teacher Margo Wolfe says there's no way she danced topless for her students on a bar. She's a theater and language arts teacher at Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy, a magnet school in Erie. She says the students made up the story, because she had them kicked out of a private party. Wolfe says some friends had arranged for strippers at her birthday party April second. But when she spotted some of her students at a former club, Wolfe says she asked the owner to tell them to leave. Wolfe says the students were angry they got booted out of the place. The club's owner says he never saw Wolf with her shirt off. She's been suspended with pay while district officials investigate the topless allegations.

Baseball Team Offers Custom Funeral Contest

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - When the Big Umpire in the Sky calls you out for the final time, a minor league baseball team wants to send you to the showers in style.

The Daytona Cubs of the Class-A Florida State League are giving away a custom funeral to a fan who wins an essay contest. Contestants simply have to describe their perfect burial services in two pages or less.

Assistant General Manger Bill Papierniak tried the promotion last year with the Hagerstown (Md.) Suns. It generated almost 1,000 entries, and the winner was a World War II veteran who described the fellow servicemen he wished could have attended his funeral.

Not all the entries were so solemn.

"We had people who wanted to be buried with vats of beer," Papierniak said.

The contest runs through July 24 and will be judged by a four-person panel from the Cubs and Pinello Funeral Home.

Papierniak said the funeral with all the trimmings is currently valued at $5,000-$7,000. Even if the cost skyrockets, the prize has a lifetime warranty.