Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Recently in Strange Crime Category

What to Do When Your New BFF Turns Out to Be a Scam Artist

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Two women learned that the hard way, and their stories aren't unique. All across the world, people are scammed everyday by con artists posing as best friends, lovers, and sometimes even family. If their stories sound familiar, beware. You could be the target of a scam artist.

They call them your golden years -- not your Golden Gloves years. But that didn't stop two septuagenarians from sparring over samples in a South Carolina Costco last week.

According to The State (the Columbia newspaper, not the MTV comedy show), a 72-year-old man "cut in line" in front of a 70-year-old, "took some cheese and walked off." It happened again in the free cheeseburger sample line, but that time it led to fisticuffs. Greenville police have yet to make any arrests in the case, noting in their incident report that the men's stories are inconsistent and "the witness did not have much to say."

At least the witness knows the first rule of Costco fight club.

Ever heard of JPay? If not, consider yourself lucky. The company contracts with local, state, and federal detention centers to provide inmates with music players and tablets that allow them to do everything from access email and play games to make parole and probation payments and allow deposits into their commissary or trust accounts. And with potentially millions of dollars whizzing in and out of our nation's prisons and jails, you'd think JPay would have top-of-the-line security and encryption on their devices.

Not so much.

It turns out a relatively simple "hack" in JPay's tablets allowed a few hundred Idaho inmates to rack up almost $225,000 in total credits to their personal accounts, which they could then use to pay for e-mail, video calls, music, and other digital services. Normally, we'd frown on such (possibly) illegal behavior, but with a company as predatory and unscrupulous as JPay, it's hard not to root for the inmates in this case.

Man Refused to Make Coffee, Gets Shot by AR-15

Some people take their morning coffee seriously. Very seriously.

Tony Lee Pennington is on trial for shooting his house guest, a friend of over 40 years, with an assault rifle for failing to make him a cup of coffee. The victim, Dewayne Turner, is kind enough to say he feels it was an accident, but the alleged assailant is trying to escape all responsibility by claiming the rifle dropped and shot Turner, ironically right after the assailant threatened to shoot him. What a crazy coincidence!

Lawsuit Settles Over Chicken Manure at Wedding Site

Good fences make good neighbors. Chicken manure, not so much.

Gerald Zarella's neighbor in Exeter, Rhode Island, dumped a large pile of chicken manure close to their shared property border, just feet away from where a wedding was scheduled to be held the next day. Zarella, owner of Gerald's Farm, feels this was in retaliation for developing the land into a commercial destination site for rustic weddings. Neighbors have been unhappy with what they consider to be an intrusion into their bedroom community, and this one took matters into his own hands.

The manure dump did not violate Rhode Island criminal or environmental laws, but was a civil violation. The dumping neighbor was forced to remedy the situation, but not before 200 guests attending a wedding at Gerald's Farm and had to endure the manure. Unfortunately for readers, the case was settled for undisclosed terms. The case notes could have made for great bathroom reading.

Nine Year Old Crashes Car in Joyride

Apparently all those trips to amusement parks do pay off! In Des Moines, Iowa, a nine-year-old girl hopped in the family car for a joyride, along with her seven-year-old friend riding shotgun. A 911 caller alerted police, who found the car zig-zagging down the road, going curb to curb. After police failed to be able to pull the car over using their usual lights and sirens technique, the car eventually came to a halt following a minor crash in which no one was injured.

"Michelle Obama, our beloved first lady who I care so much about, said, 'When they go low, we go high,' and I went as high as I could."

That was the plan for activist Therese Patricia Okoumou, who scaled the base of the Statue of Liberty on Independence Day. Okoumou, a Congolese immigrant who became an American citizen, was protesting President Trump's immigration policies with her 100-foot climb, along with other activists who unfurled an "Abolish ICE" banner nearby. She was taken into custody and now faces three federal criminal charges.

If you haven't heard about the creepy trend of 'upskirting,' allow me to be the bearer of disgusting news. Armed with the latest in tiny camera technology, perverts in public places have been sneaking pictures from below of women wearing dresses and skirts. And, much to lawmakers' and law enforcement's dismay, efforts to criminalize the behavior have been met with mixed results.

Fortunately, karma can intervene every now and then on the side of the good people. Take the case of an unnamed Wisconsin man whose shoe camera, installed to take upskirt photos of women, exploded while he was trying it out at home, thankfully before it could be put to use.

Cyberbullying has become an epidemic. And some people are taking online harassment to new levels. Instead of just threatening rape or telling someone to kill themselves, which seems part and parcel of the online experience these days, one Twitter user sent a strobing GIF to another user he knew to be epileptic, along with the message, "You deserve a seizure."

The GIF had its intended affect. The victim did have a seizure, and the sender was arrested on federal cyberstalking charges. And this week a judge allowed a battery lawsuit based on the incident to proceed in federal court.

Teacher Charged With Animal Cruelty for Feeding Puppy to Turtle

Sometimes you read a story and all can you can do is close your eyes, shake your head slowly, and maybe mutter, "But why, though?" This is one of those stories. For some reason, a teacher in Idaho decided to feed a puppy to a snapping turtle. And as if that wasn't bad enough, he did it in front of students. After word got out about the teacher's actions, the news quickly spread and sparked outrage. Now, the teacher has been charged with animal cruelty and could spend time in jail.