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The Odd Truth, Oct. 8, 2003

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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.


Smooth Criminal

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - It worked - for a while.

A man on his way into jail walked right back out again by posing as another inmate waiting to be released.

Authorities in Arkansas say Fabian Villalobos was sitting in a booking room at the Washington County Jail Sunday, waiting to enter. But when a jailer called out the name of another inmate to be released, Villalobos stood up.

He signed a jail release form and walked out of the gates, along with the other man's ID and $239.

The mistake was discovered because the other inmate's bail bondsman was waiting outside and saw Villalobos exit and sprint down the street.

Villalobos was picked up a day later.

A sheriff's department spokesman says security and ID procedures are being reviewed.

Sounds Like A Job For The Whizzinator!

LUBBOCK, Texas - Some West Texas ex-cons are packing a little something extra in their pants. Lubbock County sheriff's deputies say they've caught five men on probation trying to use the Whizzinator. It's an artificial male organ that squirts synthetic, drug-free pee. The Whizzinator costs $150 and is worn with a jock-strap-like undergarment. One official caught on when he heard something strange in a restroom during a urine test. He says a body part doesn't go "clink" when it's up against a plastic cup. Whizzinator also makes a model for women. The company's owner defends his product, saying the Whizzinator is meant to protect privacy.

What Does 'Udink' Mean To You?

SALT LAKE CITY - Dennis Udink says there's nothing dirty about his name.

He's trying to get a vanity license plate in Utah that says "UDINK." But his request has been rejected by the Division of Motor Vehicles because it's supposedly vulgar.

"I couldn't believe they could say it could possibly be offensive. It's my ... name," he said.

Udink appealed and has a hearing scheduled for later this month. Now, he's getting support from state Senate Minority Leader Mike Dmitrich, a Democrat who sits on the legislative committee that has oversight of the rule-making process.

"It is really an unfortunate situation because it is a pretty well-known family in this area, and no one thinks anything of it," Dmitrich said. "It's only offensive to people who make it offensive."

Dmitrich plans to suggest a rule change to the Administrative Rules Review Committee that would give the DMV more discretion when a red flag pops up on an application.

"I have a good friend whose last name is Hori. If you want to make that offensive, then it could be very offensive," Dmitrich said. "I agree that we should not allow certain things that are offensive, but this is his name."

Kerry Accuses Dean Of Being A Closet Yankees Fan

BOSTON - Senator John Kerry is playing hardball with Democratic presidential rival Howard Dean. Kerry is charging Dean isn't a true Red Sox fan. As a senator from Massachusetts, Kerry has pledged his allegiance to Red Sox Nation. But Kerry charges that Dean is a closet Yankees' booster. Dean is a New York native, but has lived in Vermont for many years, where he served as governor. Dean isn't taking a swing at Kerry's curve. He calls the accusation insulting and insists he's rooting for the Sox. The Yankees and Red Sox open the American League Championship series in New York tonight.

Is There A Broader Issue Here?

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The mother of a man who killed three people and wounded five at a factory before committing suicide filed a workers' compensation claim, saying her son suffered "death by gunfire" at work.

"I don't feel I should have to pay for the actions that he chose to do," said Nina Tichelkamp-Russell, who filed the claim 10 days after the July 1 shooting at the Modine Manufacturing Co.

"I think if there are indicators (of a problem at work) then there are certain people out there who have a responsibility."

The company rejected the claim for death benefits, said Mick Lucareli, a spokesman for Racine, Wis.-based Modine.

The state workers' compensation division will have the final say.

Bear Expert Fatally Mauled By Bear

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A self-taught bear expert who once called Alaska's brown bears harmless was one of two people fatally mauled in a bear attack in the Katmai National Park and Preserve.

The bodies of Timothy Treadwell, 46, and Amie Huguenard, 37, both of Malibu, Calif., were found Monday at their campsite when a pilot arrived who was supposed to take them to Kodiak, state troopers said Tuesday.

Treadwell, co-author of "Among Grizzlies: Living With Wild Bears in Alaska," spent more than a dozen summers living alone with and videotaping Katmai bears. Information on Huguenard was not immediately available.

The Andrew Airways pilot contacted troopers in Kodiak and the National Park Service after he saw a brown bear, possibly on top of a body, at the camp near Kaflia Bay.

Park rangers encountered a large, aggressive male brown bear within minutes of arriving. Ranger Joel Ellis said two officers stood by with shotguns as he fired 11 times with a semi-automatic handgun before the animal fell, 12 feet away.

"That was cutting it thin," said Ellis, the lead investigator. "I didn't take the time to count how many times it was hit."

The victims' remains and camping equipment were flown Monday to Kodiak. Ellis said investigators hope to glean some information from video and still cameras.

Treadwell was known for his confidence around bears. He often touched them, and gave them names. Once he was filmed crawling along the ground singing as he approached a sow and two cubs.