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The Odd Truth, Sept. 21, 2004

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

Smells Like Mischief

BELLEVUE, Wash. - A grocery store closed and cleaned its produce section and inspected all of its other merchandise as police arrested a 23-year-old homeless man accused of leaving human feces on the produce.

The man was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of malicious mischief, police spokesperson Tory Mangione said Monday.
The man was arrested late Sunday night at Highland Park, across the street from the Evergreen Village Safeway.

According to police reports, the man is accused of placing the fecal matter on produce in the store sometime Sunday evening. The store closed its produce section and later the entire store to dispose of fruits and vegetables and cleaned the entire area before reopening.

The store said any customers concerned about purchases made Sunday evening at that Safeway can return them for a refund or exchange.

Police said evidence found on the arrested man and physical evidence at the scene led to the arrest.

'Rolling Saint' Stopped At Border

LAHORE, Pakistan - The Rolling Saint has rolled to a stop. Indian holy man Mohan Das, who's known as the Rolling Saint, had wanted to roll into Pakistan to promote peace. But he was stopped at the border because he doesn't have a passport. The 55-year-old mystic travels up to eight miles a day by rolling along the ground. He began his current 1,500 mile roll in January. He's now camping near the Indian-Pakistani border, as he tries to straighten out the document dispute. While Das may be considered a saint he does have his vices. He likes to smoke cigarettes while he rolls along.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

CARLISLE, Pa. - A plucky newspaper carrier and her father used a rubber raft to reach flooded subscribers - and both wound up in trouble with the law.

Betsey Patrick, a carrier for The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania delighted six stranded subscribers along the rain-swollen Conodoguinet Creek on Sunday when she and her father floated down in the raft.

"The people were so excited," Patrick said Monday. "They couldn't leave their houses. It made their day."

But police and a state Fish and Boat Commission officer weren't amused, and cited her father, Rick Patrick, for negligent operation of a watercraft. Betsey Patrick said she was arrested for disorderly conduct after arguing about the $220 citation and handcuffed in front of her 2-year-old daughter.

Patrick said she will fight the charge.

"There was no problem with what we did," she said. "We both had life vests on. We had signaling whistles."

A Patriot-News carrier since 2001, Patrick said she took to the raft because she didn't want the remnants of Hurricane Ivan to mar her perfect delivery record.

Police involved in the case could not be reached for comment, but Roger Kohr, spokesman for the Cumberland County Office of Emergency Preparedness, said officials barred access to many flooded areas.

"We need people to use common sense," Kohr said. "They're putting themselves in peril, and they're putting the people who would have to go in and rescue them in peril."

Danny Diego, the Patriot-News' circulation director, said that because carriers are independent contractors and not employees, the company would not help her fight the charge.

But he praised Patrick's gumption just the same.

"I believe she was demonstrating her commitment to excellent customer service," Diego said.

'Scorpion Queen' Beats World Record

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A Malaysian woman has broken a world record by enduring 32 days enclosed in a glass box with 6,069 scorpions, suffering seven stings in the process, her sponsor claimed Tuesday.

Nur Malena Hassan, 27, will remain in the case, on display in a shopping mall in the eastern city of Kuantan, until Saturday, said Bohari Rahmat, whose biscuit company sponsored the stunt.

Late Monday, Nur Malena surpassed the previous record held by Kanchana Ketkeaw from Thailand, who spent 31 days in a glass box with 3,400 scorpions, Bohari said.

Bohari said he hadn't talked to Nur Malena since she reclaimed her record, which she first won in 2001 by living for 30 days with 2,700 scorpions.

"We don't want her to lose focus, thinking that this is enough," Bohari said. "If we can reach 36 days, it will be more difficult for someone else to beat us next time."

Sujatah Nair, a spokeswoman for the Malaysia Book of Records, told The Associated Press that video and other documentation were being sent to the Guinness Book of Records.

Nur Malena, nicknamed Scorpion Queen in this Southeast Asian country, has been stung seven times by the poisonous arachnids since she began the stunt.

"She was stung on her leg three times last Wednesday and could not walk, but she's recovered," Bohari said. "She left the room on Saturday for two minutes to cut a cake and celebrate her 27th birthday."

Otherwise, she has left the room only once a day for a 15-minute bathroom break.

Nur Malena has built up resistance to stings after five years of training, but can pass out if stung three times within a short span. A doctor has remained on standby to treat her if necessary.

Thousands of Malaysians have visited the mall to observe Nur Malena in the room, where she sleeps, eats and performs Muslim prayers, moving very carefully to not upset her dangerous roommates.

Somebody Get This Town A Drink!

ROCKPORT, Mass. - Residents of this tourist village where alcohol has been banned for nearly 150 years have asked the Legislature to take the first step toward allowing some sales of booze.

Except for a brief period after Prohibition, Rockport has been dry since 1856, when 200 hatchet-wielding women swept through town and destroyed anything containing liquor.

At a town meeting Monday, nearly 1,000 people voted by a 3-to-1 margin to begin allowing the sale of alcohol at restaurants. Liquor stores and bars would still be banned.

The vote asks the state Legislature to approve a home rule petition that would place the issue before town voters in April.

Rockport resident Fred C. Tarr argued that allowing restaurants to serve alcohol would hurt its unique appeal to tourists.

"Frankly, I don't know that booze will bring happiness to Rockport," he said.

But restaurateurs argued that the liquor ban stifles profits because customers are permitted to bring their own bottles.

The seaside town of 7,800 on Cape Ann is one of 17 dry communities in Massachusetts. Many are so small they have no stores or restaurants.

High Heels Help Woman Beat DWI Rap

DURHAM, N.C. - Attorney Bill Thomas may get a lot more business from female motorists thanks to a novel defense strategy: High heels can help beat a DWI rap.

Thomas last week asked a judge how anyone could pass a field sobriety test - which requires a lot of walking - in a pair of 3 1/2-inch stiletto high heels.

The never-before-heard argument created a minor sensation among court officials and observers.

Thomas contended it would be "fundamentally unfair" to use the results of field sobriety tests against one of his female client because she was wearing stiletto heels at the time, making her unsteady on her feet.

One of the tests required the woman to walk a straight line for some distance and then pivot quickly. In another, she was supposed to stand on one foot for 30 seconds.

Considering that she was wearing stiletto heels, the woman did remarkably well by making it to 16 seconds, Thomas argued.

Judge Wade Barber squelched the results of the field sobriety tests and tossed out the DWI case. Besides the high heels, Barber concluded that a police officer administered the tests incorrectly.

"These are not lawyer tricks," Thomas said Friday. "I know that DWI is a hot political issue. But the public has to understand one important thing: The constitutional protections that follow us in our daily lives also apply to DWI cases."

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