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Weird National Briefs (10/14/2020)

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Berserker boat

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Three men conducting a photo shoot on a boat in a busy Florida river somehow went overboard, leaving the 24-foot vessel unmanned and out of control.

The three men told deputies that they accidentally fell into the St. Lucie River along Florida’s Atlantic coast on Saturday, leaving the boat unmanned. It circled around the men numerous times, forcing them to dive underwater so it wouldn’t run them over.

The boat then straightened out, hit a concrete dock, went airborne and hit a second dock before coming to a stop, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

The men were able to swim to a nearby sailboat. One had a minor injury, the sheriff’s office said.

An investigation into the cause has been turned over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

TME – This feels both very Florida and VERY 2020.

Sing-sing song-song

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two former Oklahoma jail employees and their supervisor face misdemeanor cruelty charges after investigators found they forced inmates to stand handcuffed for hours and listen to the children’s song “Baby Shark” on repeat, a prosecutor said Monday.

At least four inmates were secured to a wall with their hands cuffed behind them while the song played on a loop at a loud volume for hours, The Oklahoman reported. The separate incidents occurred in November and December, according to court records.

The misdemeanor charges were filed Monday against former Oklahoma County jail employees Gregory Cornell Butler Jr. and Christian Charles Miles, both 21, and their supervisor, Christopher Raymond Hendershott, 50.

“It was unfortunate that I could not find a felony statute to fit this fact scenario,” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said. “I would have preferred filing a felony on this behavior.”

Butler and Miles are accused of imposing the discipline and Hendershott is accused of knowing about it but not stopping it, the newspaper reported. Court records do not list an attorney for any of them.

Sheriff P.D. Taylor said Monday that Butler and Miles resigned during an internal investigation and that Hendershott retired.

“We don’t tolerate it,” Taylor said of the mistreatment. “We always did an excellent job policing ourselves.”

The “Baby Shark” song gained huge popularity two years ago after the company Pinkfong released its first video online. The video has since been viewed more than 6.5 billion times.

TME – Cruel and unusual sounds about right.

Sounds fishy

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) — Once canceled amid coronavirus concerns, the annual Mullet Toss is back on again at a popular roadhouse at the Florida-Alabama state line.

In the annual event at the Flora-Bama Lounge, contestants throw dead fish from a point in Florida across the state line, vying for distance records.

AL.com reports that the April event was postponed this year due to the spread of COVID-19. Now, it’s set for Oct. 23-25.

Co-owner Cameron Price says the organizers are taking advantage of the loosening of Florida coronavirus restrictions. Price adds that it’s an outdoor event in breezy conditions.

Price says free masks will be available but masks won’t be mandatory.

“We are not mandating that anybody wear masks out there,” he said. “If you want to come here and wear a mask, you’re welcome to come here and wear a mask. Nobody’s going to look at you funny.”

The announcement of the rescheduled Mullet Toss comes during a tumultuous year for the venue.

In March, Flora-Bama owners shut down the bar and several related businesses — even before it was mandated by Florida.

In the ensuing months, it operated at times as a bar, at times as a restaurant, depending on state regulations.

Hurricane Sally in also caused a brief shutdown but caused only minor damage.

TME – Considering the location, this was not the sort of mullet we expected.

She’s got crab!

BERLIN (AP) — Police in southern Germany say a woman got a shock while airing out her home when a 25-centimeter (10-inch) Chinese mitten crab scurried in from the terrace through the open door.

Freiburg police said Thursday that they received a call reporting the unwanted home invader in the nearby town of Unterlauchringen, near the Swiss border, the previous morning.

Before they arrived, police say, the woman captured the crustacean by putting an upside-down garbage can on top of it.

Officers were able to put the crab into a container and then take it to a local veterinary clinic.

The invasive species, native to Asia, is now found in many rivers in Germany, and the woman’s residence was not far from the Rhine, though the Chinese mitten crab has never been reported in the area before. They’re not considered dangerous.

TME – Time to move.

Mao more than ever

HONG KONG (AP) — A calligraphy scroll by former Chinese leader Mao Zedong estimated to be worth millions of dollars was cut in half after it was stolen last month in a high-profile burglary in Hong Kong, police said.

The scroll was found damaged when police arrested a 49-year-old man in late September on suspicion of handling stolen property. The South China Morning Post, quoting an unidentified police source, reported that the scroll was cut in two by a buyer who had purchased it for 500 Hong Kong dollars ($65) and had believed the scroll to be counterfeit.

“According to our investigation, someone thought that the calligraphy was too long,” Tony Ho, senior superintendent of the police Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said at a news conference Tuesday. “It was difficult to show it, to display it, and that’s why it was cut in half.”

Police said the scroll was part of a multimillion-dollar theft by three burglars from collector Fu Chunxiao’s apartment in September. Fu, who is well known for his collection of stamps and revolutionary art, was in mainland China at the time of the burglary and has not been in Hong Kong since January because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The burglars took 24,000 Chinese postage stamps, 10 coins and seven calligraphy scrolls from Fu’s apartment, where he stored his collections. Fu estimated that the Mao calligraphy was worth about $300 million and that the theft totaled about $645 million. No independent appraisals of the collections were available.

Police have arrested three men in relation to the burglary and on suspicion of providing assistance to criminals. At least two people connected to the burglary are still at large, Ho said.

Although some of the stolen items have been found, the 24,000 stamps and six other calligraphy scrolls have not been recovered, police said.

TME – Just scroll with it.

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 October 2020 07:48

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