Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania
Bundespolizei / Bundespolizei

Mystery Vandals Brick Train Door

A commuter train in Hamburg, Germany, picked up passengers for an hour Tuesday afternoon before the driver realized that someone had built a brick wall over the doors of one car! The vandalism rendered the train car totally unusable. A look at surveillance video showed that three suspects in masks approached the train, and then one of them spray-painted over the camera lens. If the perpetrators are caught, they could face up to five years for the crime. It is estimated that repairing the damage will cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Pirate Treasure Found in Grandpa’s Attic

Maria Lopez of Tampa found a box in her grandfather’s attic a few weeks ago. That’s not at all unusual, but the contents of the box were certainly unusual. It contained old coins, a family picture, a map, and a severed hand wearing a ring. Could it be pirate treasure? Mike Lopez joked that his great-grandparents might have been pirates.

When Maria and Mike were children, their grandfather would tell them stories about his father, Ernesto Lopez, finding Jose Gaspar's pirate treasure. They took the box to a few antique stores around Tampa and the contents were described as "gruesome and authentic." The map is estimated to be from the 1930s. It shows the Tampa area. Lafayette Street is labeled on the map. That road's name was changed to Kennedy Boulevard later. The coins are believed to be Spanish and Portuguese from the 18th century. The ring on the hand's ring finger is expected to be from around the same time period.

The Lopez family says the hand may belong to the pirate Jose Gaspar, the legendary Florida-based pirate who called himself “Gasparilla.” See pictures of the treasure at WTSP.

Don’t Try to Sell Stolen Pizza to Police

A warehouse in Gambell, Alaska, reported the theft of 80 dozen pizzas. It didn’t take long for police to identify two suspects. John Koozaata and Lewis Oozeva allegedly called the local police station and offered to sell officers some pizzas. Koozaata and Oozeva were arrested, and admitted they had eaten some of the pizzas. The other 75 pizzas were recovered. The two have been charged with second-degree burglary and theft.

Man Punched Bear in Face

Carl Moore of Placer County, California, heard his tiny dog Lacy whimpering outside as if she were frightened. He opened the door and saw a bear! Moore yelled at the bear, but when it didn’t immediately leave, Moore let fly with a punch to the bear’s face.

“The man or beast that I run from ain’t been born, and his momma’s already dead,” he said. He’s 73 years old with a wiry frame and one heck of a character. And it turns out he’s also quite a bear fighter. “I ain’t run from nothing; I never have in my whole life and I ain’t going to start now,” he said. “And you’re not going to sacrifice my babies for some damn bear.”

John Sargent was witness to the encounter, and said the bear was a bit shorter than Moore, but it still took guts to give it a punch. However, he’s not surprised at his friend’s behavior.

Burglar Tips Off Police to Identity Thieves

Police in Lauderhill, Florida, arrested a man for burglary and in the process uncovered another crime. The burglar confessed and added that he thought a certain home he entered was the center of an identity theft ring. He had observed what he thought were fake credit cards laying around inside. A detective and a Secret Service agent went to the home on the pretense of investigating the burglary. They saw credit cards, gift cards, and debit cards in plain view. There was also a card embossing machine in a closet, with the door open. A search then revealed more credit cards, a card reader, new high-end merchandise, a gun, and some Ecstacy. Eric Jermaine Spivey and Chenequa Austin were arrested on federal charges of aggravated identity theft, fraud, and conspiracy.

School Serves 6-year-old Pork Roast

Several elementary schools in the Hawkins County School District in Tennessee were found to be serving pork roast that had been frozen in 2009. Cafeteria workers at Joseph Rogers Primary School took a picture of the meat, but decided not to serve it to students. Other schools in the district, however, did serve the meat. One person said the meat smelled so bad, cooks were instructed to pour gravy over it. The dated meat was tested and ascertained to be okay to serve. The school district has heard quite a few complaints over the decision, and the school board says it will institute a system to comply with federal standards. USDA guidelines recommend that meat not be frozen for more than four to twelve months, depending on the type of meat.