Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania
Clay County Sheriff’s Office
Clay County Sheriff’s Office / Clay County Sheriff’s Office

How Not to Put Out a Fire

A garbage fire south of Liberty, Missouri, turned out to be stranger than it looked. A Clay County deputy saw the smoke, went to investigate, and found a van burning in a field. The van’s owner was nearby.   

The deputy learned that the owner had been burning garbage in the field and accidentally let the fire get out of control. In an attempt to put the fire out, he drove his van back and forth over the flames. This made matters worse, as the tires of the van caught fire. Realizing that the van was loaded with firearms ammunition and a full tank of gas, the driver evacuated the area for safety.

Firefighters responded to make sure the fire didn’t spread. The unnamed van owner was not cited. He declined to file a police report for a possible insurance claim. I don’t think that effort would have yielded any results in this case.

A Perfectly Understandable Assumption

Someone dumped nine barrels of an unidentified substance at a parking lot in Skärholmen, Sweden. The strong and pungent odor led citizens and authorities to believe it could be toxic waste. An investigation determined that the barrels were full of sauerkraut. Between 800 and 900 kilograms of sauerkraut! No one knows who left the barrels, which were dumped in the middle of the night last Thursday. 

Bear Walks Through High School

A black bear wandered into Bozeman High School in Bozeman, Montana, Wednesday morning. It came in through an open garage door, ambled down a hallway, and left by another door. Students were ushered into classrooms during the incident, although some people were able to take pictures and video. Bozeman police and officers from the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department responded to calls from the school, and met the bear outside. They were able to shoo it into an adjacent field, then the bear left the area. The animal hasn’t been seen since. No one got close to the bear during the incident.

Meanwhile, In Russia

A bear wandered into a shopping mall in Khabarovsk, Russia, near the Chinese border. The bear entered the mall Tuesday night while the stores were closed. It was captured on security cameras, frantically trying to escape, and finally bursting through double doors to get out. Police chased the bear through a courtyard and shot it. Authorities received numerous inquiries from animal rights activists asking why the bear was killed, and have announced an investigation into the matter. 

Meerkat Expert Sentenced Over Assault On Monkey Handler

Working at a zoo can be as much of a soap opera as any other workplace. The first sentence from the Associated Press story spells it out:

A former meerkat expert at London Zoo has been ordered to pay compensation to a monkey handler she attacked with a wine glass in a love spat over a llama-keeper.

Caroline Westlake, who worked with meerkats, was sentenced to 12 months of community service and must pay £800 to the victim of her assault, monkey handler Kate Sanders. The assault happened at an employee Christmas party at the zoo last year, when the two women argued about a third zoo employee, llama keeper Adam Davies. The designation of “former meerkat expert” does not mean Westlake is no longer an expert, but that she was fired from the zoo over the incident.

Woman with Broom Defeats Tween with Gun

Dipika Patel owns a dairy shop in Kaitaia, New Zealand. A 12-year-old boy entered her shop with a gun, stuffed merchandise in his pockets, and demanded money from Patel. He was starting to pull the trigger when the shop owner went into action. She grabbed a broom, swung it at the robber, and chased him outside! The suspect and an accomplice fled the scene, ran down the street and into a house. In an amazing coincidence, it was Patel’s home that they entered. A probation officer spotted the boys running, and alerted police. It turned out that the gun wasn’t loaded. The two boys, ages 12 and 15, were charged with aggravated robbery.