Four Amish men pleaded guilty in Gladwin County (Michigan) District Court on Jan. 8 to charges stemming from an earlier incident in Beaverton Township. According to the Midland Daily News, deputies from the Gladwin County Sheriff’s office responded on Dec. 29 to a call from a concerned motorist who observed the four men tossing empty beer cans from the horse and buggy they were riding in. When deputies pulled them over, they gave bogus ages and would not confirm their names, authorities said, yet the men appeared to be inebriated, and a search of the buggy turned up empty alcohol containers along with unopened ones. Levei Mast, 20; Andrew Zook, 19; Joseph Miller, 20; and Joseph Troyer, 19, each paid a $700 fine and $150 in court costs. They have yet to face the bishop.
The father of a 3-year-old girl in Guilin, China, is paying the price for his toddler’s creative expression. On Nov. 24, the man, identified only as Mr. Zhao, his wife, and daughter visited an Audi dealership, Oddity Central reported. As the adults looked around, the bored girl scratched “artwork” into 10 automobiles, including one valued at more than $140,000. The dealership sued the father for $28,400 over the damage caused. Eventually, Mr. Zhao and the dealership settled on a payment of $10,000.
ACT OF DESPERATION
After Dona Maria Schiave failed her driver’s license test three times in the Novo Mutum Parana district of Brazil, her son, Heitor Marcio Schiave, 43, decided to take matters into his own hands. On Dec. 10, he donned a stuffed bra, long skirt and makeup and showed up at the State Department of Traffic, claiming to be his mother, ready to take the test again. Aline Mendoca, the examiner, became suspicious and summoned the military police. “I thought she was drunk at first,” she told Globo.com. “When I realized that the student was actually a man, I decided to proceed normally” and wait for officers. “I think he pitied his mother for failing three times.” Schiave was arrested for fraudulent misrepresentation and released; he may face a fine.
THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS
Kari and Dustin Drees bought their first home In Atlanta’s Buckhead district in December and shortly thereafter left on vacation to visit family. While they were gone, an alarm went off, and friends reported nothing was amiss, but when the Dreeses returned home, they discovered an uninvited visitor had moved in: a squirrel. The animal had apparently fallen down the chimney and become trapped inside, where it did a lot of damage – defecating, scratching floors, chewing baseboards, and building a nest in the couch. No worries, the couple thought: “This is why you have homeowner’s insurance,” Kari told the Associated Press. Not so fast: The couple’s insurance “explicitly stated” it doesn’t cover damage done by rodents, and a squirrel is a rodent. Small comfort: The company did offer to provide housing for the couple for up to two weeks.
YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS UP
Odis Latham, 47, and Russell Sparks, 48, of Columbus, Mississippi, were arrested on Jan. 6 after they allegedly hatched a cockamamie scheme to “win” the lottery, WLBT reported. The two arrived at the Mississippi Lottery Corp. in Flowood and presented a losing $100,000 ticket upon which they had glued the winning numbers, according to authorities. Flowood police arrested the pair, who were charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and uttering a counterfeit instrument over $1,000. They were held without bond.
Mike Parrish of Woodfin, North Carolina, is making fantasy a reality with a Lord of the Rings hobbit home he’s building to offer on Airbnb. “I’m not just a casual fan. I’m a huge fan,” Parrish said as he guided WLOS through the 800-square-foot “Unexpected Journey,” built 90 percent underground with one bedroom, one bathroom, a kitchen, and round doorways crafted by local woodworker John Fenwick. “What we want is to just have an area where people can come and bring their kids and just leave with an unforgettable experience,” Parrish said. The home should be ready to rent in February or March; Parrish and his wife have not set a per-night rate yet.
Firefighters in Las Vegas discovered what they say is an illegal, homemade gas station in a backyard on Jan. 7. The setup comprised two yellow tanks in the corner of a walled yard and a gas pump nozzle on the end of a hose long enough to reach from the backyard to the curb out front, the Associated Press reported, for “possible curbside fill-ups.” “This is not only illegal in the city,” Las Vegas Fire and Rescue wrote on social media, “it is a hazard to neighbors (and) first responders who may respond there for an emergency, like a fire.” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police are investigating and believe it is part of a scheme to purchase gasoline with stolen credit cards and stash the fuel in storage containers at private homes.
Finally. Lizard owners who want to dress like their reptilian pets have a source for trendy looks: Fashion Brand Company of Los Angeles has been making clothes for lizards for a while, but now you can MATCH your bearded dragon. The current collection, according to OK Whatever, includes velvet jumpsuits and Western fringe jackets that come with a tiny white cowboy hat. The clothes are handmade and go for up to $125 – and that doesn’t include whatever you order for yourself. Founder Penelope Gazin says the ideas “come to me in my dreams,” adding that lizards need clothes because “their bodies are disgusting and should be covered up.” (Gazin doesn’t own a lizard herself; “I dislike lizards,” she admits.)
NEXT, ON ‘DATELINE’
Colleagues of 35-year-old paramedic Joshua Lee Hunsucker told investigators in Mount Holly, North Carolina, they were surprised at how quickly he had another girlfriend following the death of his wife in September 2018. And when Stacy Robinson Hunsucker’s mother shared her suspicions, pointing to the $200,000 in life insurance Joshua had collected, agents of the North Carolina Department of Insurance began an investigation that led to Joshua Hunsucker’s arrest on Dec. 19, charged with first-degree murder for poisoning his wife with Visine, according to prosecutors. Stacy Hunsucker, 32 at her death, had suffered from heart problems, the Gaston Gazette reported, and a test of her blood revealed tetrahydrozoline, a chemical found in eye drops and nasal sprays, at levels 30 to 40 times the recommended dose, an amount insurance fraud attorney Jordan Green told the court would have had “a dramatic effect on her heart, which would cause heart stoppage in a short amount of time.” The Gazette also noted the wide news coverage given two weeks before Stacy’s death to a woman arrested in York, South Carolina, for putting eye drops in her husband’s water, causing a seizure and cardiac arrest. A Gaston County grand jury on Jan. 6 additionally indicted Hunsucker on charges of insurance fraud.