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The Odd Truth, Nov. 7, 2003

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by CBSNews.com's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

Governator Impersonator

LOS ANGELES - He's not the Governator - but he'll play him for $400. Northern California landscape designer Lyndall Grant's resemblance to Arnold Schwarzenegger is paying off. He's doubled his rate to $400 an hour - with a two-hour minimum. He used to play The Terminator a couple of times of month. But since Schwarzenegger's election as California governor, Grant has as many as two gigs a night. He's gotten requests for everything from taped birthday greetings for an 89-year-old woman - to a wedding appearance. He says people want Arnold's blessing, even if it's not the real Governator.

Where's The Beef?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A man who stole some meat from a market made off in a stolen pickup truck, but police are confident they'll catch him with some clues he left behind: his wallet and ID.

"That's pretty dumb," Memphis police Lt. Richard Granderson said Thursday. "We'll catch him. It's just a matter of time."

A man in shorts, T-shirt and sandals walked out of the Metro Market Wednesday without paying for some packaged meat.

"One of the clerks chased him out, and he had his truck running," store manager Howard Abdullah said. "It was like a planned operation."

The truck had been stolen from the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division, police said.

After a brief scuffle with the clerk, the thief left his wallet behind. Police say they are looking for 40-year-old Willie Patrick of Memphis but didn't find him at home.

Patrick was on parole from a previous conviction for car theft, Granderson said. His parole term was set to expire Wednesday.

"It won't now, though," Granderson said.

Voyeur Dorm Girls Sue For Overtime

TAMPA, Fla. - You're paid to frolic in the nude - but should you be paid overtime? Models Laura Spell and Stephanie Piccolo used to work for a Tampa, Florida, Internet business called Voyeur Dorm. Subscribers would pay to gain access to the Web site, where they could watch young women who lived in the so-called dorm. Spell and Piccolo contend all that showering, sleeping and studying in front of the Web cams was work - and they should be paid overtime for it. More than a dozen models have joined the suit. A lawyer for Voyeur Dorm says the models were allowed to live in the mansion for free and were paid, too. Voyeur Dorm has filed a suit of its own, charging Spell and Piccolo, who now work for a competing adult site, in violation of their contracts.

Celebrity Files Cover-Up?

LOS ANGELES - A police officer has been fired for using department computers to review confidential records on celebrities, including Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston and Dylan McDermott.

Officer Kelly Chrisman, 35, said his superiors assigned him to look up the information as part of a project to map celebrity homes to help monitor potential stalkers and other problems.

The Los Angeles Police Department says no such project existed. Chrisman was fired Oct. 27.

One of his attorneys, Gary Casselman, said Chrisman was fired because the department "didn't want the embarrassment of admitting this project existed."

Investigators say they do not know what Chrisman did with the information he accessed between 1994 and 2000.

Information on the computers included criminal histories, driving records, Social Security numbers, restraining orders and, in some cases, unlisted phone numbers.

An attorney who represented Chrisman during misconduct hearings earlier this year said he plans to challenge the firing.

Federal and county authorities are investigating whether Chrisman or others can be prosecuted. The district attorney declined to press charges in 2001, saying a one-year statute of limitations had expired.

Police Chase, In Reverse

HAMPTON, Va. - "Police chase" took on a new meaning when a motorist angry about getting a speeding ticket decided to go after the officer who issued the citation, slamming her car into his cruiser several times.

As a result, authorities have added a charge of felonious assault to Devikia Donise Garnett's misdemeanor speeding violation.

"She turned a traffic summons into a felony charge," said police spokesman Jimmie Wideman.

Garnett, 20, was pulled over for speeding Tuesday when Hampton officer Chip Raines clocked her going 51 mph in a 35 mph zone, police said. Raines pulled Garnett over, and she accepted and signed the $90 ticket without complaint.

After Garnett pulled away, the officer got back in his cruiser to continue his shift. But as he turned onto a street, he saw Garnett's red Mazda speeding up behind him. Her car slammed into the back of his cruiser before he could react, Wideman said.

"She must have tracked around the block to get behind him," Wideman said. "It was no coincidence."

She accelerated again, rear-ending the police car three more times, Wideman said. Garnett made another run at Raines, but zoomed past after he pulled to the right side of the street.

As Garnett maneuvered to hit him head-on, the officer struck her vehicle, pinning her car to the curb, Wideman said.

"He should be commended on his restraint, because it could have come out a very different way," Wideman said.

Garnett was being held without bond in the Hampton jail on a charge of felonious assault on a police officer. Wideman said there was no indication of drug or alcohol use on her part.

Cross-Dressing, Police Impersonating Bandits

NEW YORK - Police say five young men dressed as women and impersonated police officers when they robbed men in Greenwich Village.

Police say the teenagers are implicated in six robberies between October Fifth and November Sixth. They are accused of handcuffing men and taking their wallets, stealing amounts ranging from $85 to $1,200.

In at least one case, the teenagers produced a "police-like badge" before robbing a 33-year-old man.

The five were arrested yesterday after plainclothes officers with a description of the suspects in the string of robberies saw one of the teenagers and took him into custody.

Police say they're charging the teenagers with robbery and criminal impersonation. They all attend the Harvey Milk School.

Paris Department Store Offers Free Strip Tease Lessons

PARIS - For France's biggest department stores, glitzy advertising campaigns urging customers to shop-'til-they-drop simply aren't enough these days.

So in a brash publicity stunt at a time of declining sales, one Paris store, Galeries Lafayette, is encouraging women to shop 'til they drop ... their pants.

On Saturday, hundreds of women are expected to flock to the venerable shopping hub for free striptease lessons. The store has hired two professional pole dancers to provide expert advice.

"It's about learning to undress yourself in an elegant way," said store spokeswoman Constance Dubois. "A way that draws attention to your underwear."

The idea has already been a hit. Phones have been ringing nonstop by women calling to sign up, and by Friday all 400 places for the one-day event were booked, company officials said.

"I'd never go to a strip club to take classes," Brigitte De Abreu, a 27-year-old who works in fashion, said as she tried to pick a thong. "But in a big department store like this it seems fine."

Learning the skill, she added with a coquettish grin, "could always be useful."

The strip-down is designed to help Galeries Lafayette promote its own dressing-up: its new lingerie department is being billed as the biggest in the world. The section will offer 30,000 square feet of brassieres, panties and thongs.

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