The Odd Truth, Oct. 17, 2003

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

One Is The Lonliest Number

CENTERTOWN, Ky. - Hunter York was afraid of snakes, but he couldn't resist the two-headed reptile he found.

The 10-year-old said he picked up the black king snake with a stick, then noticed it grabbed the stick with two heads.

"I ran in the house and said, 'Dad, this snake has two heads.' And he said, 'What?"' Hunter said. It "kind of freaked me out a little bit."

The 8-and-a-half-inch female reptile hasn't eaten since Hunter found it Oct. 4.

Hunter's father, Rodney York, loaned the snake Tuesday to snake hobbyist Scott Petty to see whether he could induce it to eat.

"We couldn't force-feed it, because we don't know which head eats," York said.

York said he jokingly named the snake Mary-Kate and Ashley, after the teenage TV and movie stars, the Olsen twins.

Penny Thief

ELKHART, Ind. - Detective Fred Mock knew exactly where to find a man suspected of stealing $180 worth of pennies.

David Headrick, 19, was caught dumping about 18,000 pennies into a coin-counting machine at a grocery store Wednesday, Mock said.

The pennies and a couple hundred quarters were taken during a robbery in which an 88-year-old man was tied up with a phone cord and punched in the head, Mock said.

"I got to thinking, 'If I was a person who did this, I'd want to convert this to currency as quickly as possible,'" Mock said.

Headrick was held Thursday on preliminary charges of robbery and possessing stolen property.

Police were searching for an accomplice in Monday's attack on the elderly man in which the robbers demanded money to satisfy a $20 debt supposedly owed by one of the victim's relatives. Paramedics said the victim did not need hospital treatment.

Pot-Smoking Juror

CANANDAIGUA, New York - If you get called for jury duty - you might want to leave your stash at home. Breanne Pogue is facing charges after authorities say they found pot in her bag at the Ontario County Courthouse in western New York.

Deputies searched the bag when they saw something suspicious on an X-ray scan. Deputies say they found a small amount of marijuana and a white powder that's being sent to the lab for analysis. She was excused from jury duty, but Pogue now has another date in court.

Junkyard Bordello

COLUMBUS, Ohio - There were more than old starters and crankshafts at a junkyard in the Columbus area. Police charge that hookers were operating out of RC's Auto Salvage. Investigators say owner Russell Coleman and his girlfriend Brenda Brush dispatched prostitutes from the junkyard.

Police say some of the hookers hung out there while waiting for work. The junkyard hookers allegedly charged $150 an hour. Police Sergeant Richard Curry says he's never seen anything quite like the junkyard brothel. He notes such operations are usually run out of a massage parlor or someplace that offers adult entertainment.

You Can't Hide From The BOSS

ALBANY, New York - The BOSS is cutting prison violence in New York State. But the BOSS isn't some tough warden, it's a high-tech chair. BOSS stands for Body Orifice Security Scanner.

The chair is able to detect weapons hidden in what's termed body cavities. Use of the chair spares guards and inmates the need to conduct a manual cavity search. The union that represents prison guards wants more BOSS chairs. Even prison reform advocates favor giving inmates the chair. The security chairs cost about $2,800 each.

Abandoned Baby Rescued In Thailand, Named Apec

BANGKOK, Thailand - A police officer found a newborn boy in a trash can near a conference hall where the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum is meeting. And he named the baby Apec.

Traffic police Sgt. Maj. Suriyan Sumalee told local television station iTV he found the baby Friday wrapped in two plastic bags about 1 mile from the venue of the APEC meeting.

"The baby's body was beginning to turn green," Suriyan, who was not immediately available for comment, told iTV.

"I took him out of the bag, I felt his hand and found that it was still soft and warm ... I pumped his chest and blew air into him. When I breathed into him, he coughed, so I thought he shouldn't be dead yet."

Suriyan named the boy Apec, the television station said.

The baby was taken to Bangkok's best private hospital, the Bamrungrad Hospital. Doctors resuscitated him.

The baby was later transferred to the government Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health, which U.S. First Lady Laura Bush is scheduled to visit on Tuesday. Staff at the hospital confirmed the baby was admitted but said his name was left blank in the registration book.

Police say the boy is believed to have been delivered four days ago by a woman staying in a hotel on the street where it was dumped. The woman, identified by the hotel's guest records as Nongnuj Mangdavinee, had checked in with a man and a newborn baby. But the couple checked out without the baby, iTV said.

Police are searching for the couple, it said.

The 21-member APEC forum will climax with a summit of leaders including President George W. Bush, on Tuesday.

Potato Chips More Hazardous Than Thought

SALEM, Oregon - Talk about a surprise.

Employees at a Kettle Foods potato chip plant in Oregon were feeding potatoes into a machine that sorts out stones and other debris this week - when a 300-pound military bomb popped out.

General manager Marc Cramer said the shipment from a farm in Pasco, Washington, also contained a second bomb.

Each bomb was about eight inches long and three inches wide.

Police determined they were dummy military ammunition left over from a time when the military used the farm as a practice bombing range.

Cramer says they talked to the farmer and he said they find them all the time - but they're usually picked out. He says if it's muddy when they're harvesting, things can be missed.