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The Odd Truth, Oct. 9, 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.


He Vants To Suck Your Blood

EDINBURGH, Scotland - A man who became obsessed with a vampire movie was convicted Wednesday of murdering his best friend, a man whose blood he said he drank in an effort to gain immortality.

Allan Menzies, 22, was found guilty of bludgeoning to death 21-year-old Thomas McKendrick in a frenzied attack after they had an argument over "Queen of the Damned," a film that starred the late American R&B singer and actress Aaliyah as the vampire Akasha.

After the jury of six men and nine women returned the guilty verdict at the High Court in Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, Judge Roderick MacDonald sentenced Menzies to life imprisonment, but said he could apply for parole after serving 18 years.

"In my opinion you are an evil, violent and highly dangerous man who is not fit to be at liberty," said MacDonald. "You subjected Thomas McKendrick to a savage and merciless attack. You totally lack remorse."

During the trial, the former security guard claimed that the Akasha character from the movie had repeatedly visited his bedroom and that the two had struck a deal in which he would achieve immortality if he killed people.

On Dec. 11, McKendrick criticized the vampire character during a visit to Menzies' home.

An enraged Menzies killed McKendrick by repeatedly beating and stabbing his body, witnesses said. Menzies told the court he had drunk the dead man's blood and ate part of his head.

Menzies buried his friend in a shallow grave in a nearby wooded area.

When police raided Menzies' home in January, they found the "Queen Of The Damned" video and one of the "Vampire Chronicles" books, "Blood And Gold," by Anne Rice. On one page, he had written "I have drunk the blood and it shall be mine for I have seen horror."

70 Pairs Of Butter-Filled Shoes Found

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - As shoe collections go, the one found by a pair of Swedish hikers definitely had no place in any closet.

A Swedish couple hunting on a remote mountain Sunday in Sweden's far northern province of Jaemtland found 70 pairs of shoes, all filled with butter.

"If we knew who had done this we could make them clean this mess up," Alf Kjaellstroem, a province spokesman told The Associated Press Thursday. "It's not going to be pretty when the butter starts to rot. And we have to wait for the snow so we can get up there with the snowmobile."

He said there were 140 shoes of all kinds - sneakers, children's shoes, high heels, boots and tap shoes - each stuffed with 1.1 pounds of butter and spread out in the landscape.

The find was similar to one done by artist Yu Xiuzhen's in 1996.

His exhibit "Shoes With Butter," was laid out in the Tibetan mountains surrounding Lhasa, China.

He Should Have Used Poly Grip

MOUNT PLEASANT, Ind. - Police didn't have to use DNA or fingerprints to track down a man accused of breaking into a vacant house - they traced his dentures.

Investigators said Paul D. Lee's false teeth apparently fell out when he stumbled after breaking into a house that was being remodeled.

Lee, 39, of Muncie, was being held in the Delaware County Jail on $25,000 bond Thursday on preliminary charges including burglary.

A relative of the home's owner found the dentures in the garage the morning after the Sept. 23 break-in and called police. Neither the owner nor police had noticed the teeth during an earlier search.

"I never paid no attention. I was looking for things that were missing; I wasn't looking for teeth," said Louie Coill, who owns the house about nine miles south of Muncie.

"I have fell over fences and done everything else in my life and I have never lost my dentures. How he lost his is beyond me," Coill said.

Police tracked the teeth to Lee after learning that an Indiana law requires dentures to bear the owner's name underneath the artificial gum.

Investigators returned Lee's teeth to him so he could make a videotaped confession. He was later allowed to keep his dentures after signing for them, according to a police report.

Robbery Yields Beer, Hot Dog

STUART, Fla. - Police are suggesting a new career path for two men after they left their ID and weapon with a convenience store clerk before stealing a hot dog and beer from the store.

Martin County sheriff's deputies nabbed the pair when they made an even bolder move - returning to the store an hour later to retrieve the ID and BB gun.

"It was really stupid, but kids do stupid things sometimes," said Marie Blanco, 42, the clerk at the Speedway convenience store where the theft occurred early Wednesday.

Blanco said she noticed one of the men had a gun tucked into his waistband after she asked him for identification to prove he was old enough to buy beer. She said she asked Winston Lamar, 22, if the gun was real.

Lamar told her it was a BB gun and he put it in the money tray under the protective screen to show her, sheriff's records state.

Blanco then grabbed the gun and called police while the men fled without paying for the beer or the hot dog.

About 30 minutes later, Lamar called the store, asking if he could come get his identification and the gun. Blanco assured them that police had already left and that they could retrieve the items.

But two sheriff's deputies were awaiting their return and arrested the men after they arrived.

Sheriff's Sgt. Jenell Atlas suggested the men find another line of work.

"This one does not seem to be working out for them," she said.

Chinese Spiderman Scales Jinmao Tower

SHANGHAI, China - A man was ordered jailed for 15 days after scaling, spiderman-style, the 88-story Jinmao Tower, China's tallest building, police said Thursday.

Television reports showed Wang Huan, a 27-year-old from northeastern Liaoning province, climbing the silvery 1,400-foot structure in Pudong, Shanghai's new financial district, as a crowd gathered to watch. He scaled the tower's scaffold-like exterior without ropes.

Footage showed him stopping to wave about halfway through the ascent, which took more than an hour, according to an officer at a nearby police station, who refused to give her name.

Wang, who was not the first to climb the building without ropes, staged the stunt Tuesday, but it was only reported the next day.

Police came prepared, laying out a cushion in case he fell. At the top of the building, officers were waiting to arrest him.

Wang was arrested for "infringing public security," police said.

Bank Robber Nabbed While Resting His Feet

MIAMI - Police said they arrested a man who robbed two neighboring banks within 20 minutes, then stopped to rest his tired feet.

Daniel Gallagher, 46, was charged with two counts each of armed bank robbery and threats to discharge an explosive device.

Gallagher allegedly walked into two banks in downtown Miami and told tellers he had a bomb in his bag. In both cases, he then demanded and received $100. Police said the bag actually contained a can of beer.

Gallagher told police that after the second robbery his feet had become tired, so he sat down for a break. A witness soon identified him and he was arrested.

Police said Gallagher, who has an extensive arrest record, told authorities he committed the robberies because: "I'm too ugly to get a job."

A call to the Miami-Dade public defender's office rang unanswered after business hours and it could not be determined if Gallagher was being represented by an attorney.

Another Close Race In Florida

DELAND, Fla. - In a state known for close elections, the mayor's race in Ponce Inlet came down to the tightest of margins - one vote.

A recount Wednesday broke a tie in the race, ending an election that started the day before.

Incumbent Mayor Bill Hoak won by a single vote, earning 465 votes to challenger Frank Vitale's 464.

"That's democracy, you know, at its best," said Vitale, whose political advisers have not yet ruled out a challenge.

Hoak, declared the winner by Elections Supervisor Deanie Lowe after a recount of all ballots, said he had hoped to win a third term by a wider margin.

"I guess I'll have to find out the reason why so many voters went the other way," Hoak said. "I've got to do my homework."

Ponce Inlet is about 30 miles south of Daytona Beach.