Odd Stew – Weird and Bizarre News – Issue 15

April 23, 2017

odd stew 15Issue 15 of the Odd Stew: strange news items, oddities, plus other weird and fascinating things that have happened in the news that you may have missed.

Just Pushing My Wheelbarrow and My Huge Gold Coin

In March 2017, two burglars broke into the Bode Museum in Berlin. They used a ladder perched on elevated railway tracks that ran on the side of the building to climb through a window. What were they after? A huge, 220-pound gold coin on loan to the museum called the “Big Maple Leaf”. The coin is almost 21 inches in diameter and over an inch thick. The gold in the coin is worth around $4.5 million. What’s even more strange about the theft is that the thieves managed to steal the coin using a wheelbarrow. They loaded the huge coin in the wheelbarrow, took it out of the building, and pushed it along the elevated railway tracks that cross the Spree River. Then they dropped from the railway using a rope into a park and escaped in a getaway car.

These Bananas Don’t Taste Like Bananas

Police in Valencia and Malaga, Spain arrested two men at the end of March 2017 for transporting large amounts of cocaine inside fake bananas. The fake bananas containing the cocaine were in a shipment of real bananas. Police discovered 57 fake bananas made of resin that held 15.4 pounds of cocaine. Police also found an additional 22 pounds of cocaine hidden inside the flaps of the cardboard boxes that held the fruit.

Pancakes Can Be Eaten Anywhere, Almost

A Florida man was charged on March 23, 2017 for placing an obstruction in the roadway and disrupting the free flow of traffic. How did the man obstruct traffic? He was sitting in the crosswalk of a busy intersection with a small TV tray in front of him eating what was believed to be pancakes. When police responded to a call about the man’s impromptu meal, he had already left the scene. A video later surfaced on Facebook, and it was shared with the police. The man was identified and admitted that it was a prank. He was still charged with obstructing traffic and issued an April 2017 court date. The lesson here is that pancakes should be best left for eating on the sidewalk, not in the road.

Bad Texting Etiquette

A man in Pennsylvania obviously didn’t check his contact too closely when he sent a text message trying to make a drug deal in November 2016. He sent his message to an Assistant District Attorney named Jill Matthews, a Luzerne County, Pennsylvania prosecutor. In the message the man said he was wanting to trade marijuana for heroin. Matthews later received a photo of a plastic bag on a scale that contained a green substance. The man was later arrested at the spot where the drug trade was supposedly going to take place in Edwardsville, Pennsylvania.

Costly Missing Punctuation

A federal appeals court in Maine decided to let a lawsuit continue that was made by dairy drivers because of an overtime pay dispute. The more than $10 million lawsuit has to do with Maine’s overtime law and how it may be missing one vital thing; a comma, or more properly, an Oxford comma. As it is written, the overtime law doesn’t apply to the “canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of” foods. The problem arises from the driver’s perspective that the “packing for shipment or distribution” is a single activity of packing which is an activity the drivers don’t do. The defendant in the case, Oakhurst Dairy, said the statement is referencing two different activities, thus the drivers fall within the overtime exemption. The court, however, said the drivers have a case because there was no comma breaking the activities in two. Oakhurst said they plan to continue to fight the lawsuit.

An Oxford comma, or serial comma, is a comma that is used before the word ‘and’ or ‘or’, at the end of a list. That could be one expensive comma omission.

One Really Big Diamond

A pastor in Sierra Leone named Emmanuel Momoh found a 706 -carat alluvial diamond in mid-March 2017. It became the second largest diamond ever found in Sierra Leone. The largest, the 968.9-carat Star of Sierra Leone, was found in 1972 by miners and sold for around $2 .5 million. Momoh turn the diamond over to the government because he thought it could help with some of the economic challenges faced by the country.

A Golden Find

A donated piano belonging to Bishop’s Castle Community College in Shropshire, England had an interesting surprise hiding inside it. As a piano tuner began to work on the piano in late 2016 to get it back into playing shape, he discovered a horde of more than 900 gold and silver sovereigns that were made between 1847 and 1915. Some of the sovereigns had been packed in cardboard for an advertisement for the cereal Shredded Wheat which put the hiding of the package between the years 1926 to 1946. It had been bought in 1983 by an English couple wanting to teach their kids to play the piano and was donated to the school in 2005. The piano had been built in London in 1906. The search for the original owner of the coins was unsuccessful even though forty people came forward to claim the stash. No one could prove they had the rights to the coins.

The horde of gold coins is worth about £500,000 (about $641,000 USD) and the piano tuner will receive half that amount while the school will get the other half. The previous owners of the piano who donated it to the school will get nothing. The coins are expected to end up in the British Museum.

Check out past issues of the Odd Stew.

About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of great trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium. I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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