The advent of a new year is the perfect time to look back on the past one and remember some of the best weird news stories from here in Connecticut.
Although there were dozens of stories throughout the year, I thought about doing a top 10 ranking, but how do you rank a guy who rapes a horse against a man who gets his arm stuck in a furnace and tries to amputate it himself? Both are pretty damn weird as far as I’m concerned, so instead, I thought it made more sense to go through the year chronologically and hit some of the highlights.
The beginning of 2010 started off with one big case of celebrity odd, but there wasn’t much weird until the weather warmed up. And for whatever reason, the center of Connecticut weird seemed to be focused on Stratford this year.
Getting Ripped – Actor Rip Torn was arrested after breaking into a Salisbury bank with a loaded revolver and setting off alarms. Apparently, Torn was “highly intoxicated.” Or maybe he was just method acting — did anyone think of that? Okay, he was potted. He eventually pleaded to three years probation and avoided jail time. [Jan. 30, 2010]
Sign of Guilt – A sign that hung at the Greenwich Country Day School was returned after it had been stolen 43 years earlier. Apparently, an alumnus, who was near death, wanted to clear his conscience before passing away. No sign if it worked and the repentant thief ended up where he hoped he might. [March 3, 2010]
That’s Not What the Drive-Thru is For – Two Fairfield men called ahead to the Stratfield Road branch of People’s United Bank to announce that they were robbing the bank. They told bank personnel to have $100,000 in large bills loaded into bags — with no dye packs, of course — and ready for them when they arrived. Absolutely not coincidentally, police arrived at the same time and arrested the would-be thieves. [March 23, 2010]
A Heavy Heart – Bridgeport police needed to remove part of an exterior wall and the help of a pay loader to extract the body of an obese man from his Boston Avenue home. Sadly, Alexandros Martakis was estimated to have weighed between 800 and 1,000 pounds and was only 35 when he died of “natural causes.” It took police and fire personnel a few hours to remove the body from the second-floor apartment. [May 12, 2010]
Baby Blues – Thomas Wellington, 41, was arrested for public indecency after he was discovered wandering around the C-Town Parking Lot on Boston Avenue in Stratford wearing nothing but a diaper and sucking on a pacifier. Weird? Guess it depends on what you think is unusual. [May 25, 2010]
Dumping on Middletown – Todd Valluzzi, 37, was arrested by Middletown police after numerous witnesses reported that he dropped his pants on Main Street and defecated in plain view. Although he denied it — and was apparently inebriated, go figure — the “evidence” was piled against him … and on the sidewalk. [June 3, 2010]
Jesus: Naked and Naughty in Norwalk? – A naked man who was standing by the side of I-95 in Norwalk and yelling that he was Jesus, caused a five-vehicle accident that included a jack-knifed tractor-trailer. Unfortunately, numerous people were injured in the crash and had to be extricated from their vehicles. No word of “Jesus” aided in the healing of accident victims. [June 5, 2010]
A Call to Arm – In a nightmarish scenario, Jonathan Metz, 31, was forced to cut off his own arm after it had become caught in the furnace of his West Hartford home during a repair. Metz had been stuck and injured for two days in his basement, and with infection setting in, made the harrowing — and ultimately, life-saving — decision. A friend finally discovered him and called emergency personnel, who arrived to rescue Metz, although his arm couldn’t be saved. Metz has recovered well from his injuries, and was even provided with a new furnace and a prosthetic arm. [June 11, 2010]
Mummy Dearest – The mummified remains of a West Hartford woman were discovered in the Pennsylvania home of her twin sister. Authorities discovered that Jean Stevens, 91, of Wyalusing Township, had the remains of her sister June Matson Stevens — as well as the remains of her own husband, James Stevens — removed from their original resting places and placed in her home because “she missed them.” Realizing that the sweet (if slightly odd) old lady meant no harm, she was eventually allowed to keep the bodies as long as they were placed in an above-ground mausoleum. [June 17, 2010]
Something in the Water? – Southbury’s Pomperaug High School earned a possible spot in the Guinness Book of World Records when in June, 13 sets of twins graduated simultaneously. The former record had been 10, which occurred at a high school in Massachusetts. [June 25, 2010]
No Starch Needed – After an extended missing person search, Stratford police found the body of Frances Rodriguez under a pile of laundry in her bedroom of her Stratford Avenue home. Her husband had awakened more than 48 hours earlier to find the 60-year-old woman “gone,” and figured she had gone for a long morning walk, which was her custom. He went to work, but when he didn’t find his wife after his return, began a frantic search and contacted police, who eventually found the body under the pile of clothes. They assumed Frances, who had been ill, had a stroke or heart attack, and while falling over, grabbed the clothes rack, which ended up on top of her, concealing her. [Aug. 3, 2010]
Mad Money – Mysterious 104-year-old heiress Huguette Clark gave her long-time nurse Hadassah Peri nearly $2 million in real estate. The reclusive — and eccentric, from most accounts — heiress, who hasn’t been seen in public in almost 80 years, owns a $24 million mansion in New Canaan in which she has never stepped foot. The property’s caretaker, Tony Ruggiero, has been employed by Clark for decades, yet has never even met his boss. [Sept. 6, 2010]
Thank You, Chuck Norris – Candidate for probate judge in Norwich Chuck Norris kept having his campaign signs stolen by fans of the other Chuck Norris, who apparently has made some sort of career for himself in the performing arts. Even without the missing the signs, the Republican candidate was able to prevail in the November election — apparently the publicity didn’t do him any harm. [Sept. 22, 2010]
A Fool and His Money — And Clothes — Are Parted – Stratford police arrested a 62-year-old Bridgeport man who was naked and throwing money into a marsh next to the Shakespeare Festival Theatre. The man had disposed of $9,271 before he was apprehended. [Sept. 29, 2010]
Whoa! – Marian Wegiel, 63, of Shelton made national headlines when he was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a horse. Wegiel claims he was trying to comfort Indiana, a mare, who was spooked by “a loud noise,” but an eyewitness and forensic investigations claim otherwise. Insert your own jokes — and only your own jokes — here. [Oct. 18, 2010]
Bam! Biff! Pow! – Stamford police were called to quell a brawl between two men and a woman dressed as comic book characters. After a Halloween party, Captain America (not-so-secret identity: Michael Sanchez) got into a fight with Spider-Man (Vincent Decaro) and Poison Ivy (Nicole Bitterle). Not exactly what you’d call “Super Friends.” [Oct. 31, 2010]
Bad House Guest? – A man who broke into a Stratford home was discovered a short time later dead in the bathtub of self-inflicted wounds. Robert Smith was sleeping in his home on Seabreeze Drive when awakened by a forced entry — he scuffled with the intruder, Joshua Hamilton, 18, of Bridgeport, and then fled to a neighbor’s house to call authorities. When police arrived, they found Hamilton’s body. [Nov. 19, 2010]
He’ll Be Back – A Christian group placed billboards around the state of Connecticut proclaiming that Jesus will be back on May 21, 2011. Supposedly using scripture as a guide, the group has pinpointed the date and will be eagerly awaiting his appearance, although no mention was made of exactly where the savior might pop up. [Dec. 3, 2010]
Pink and Blue – The body of Cindy D’Aiuto, 48, of Westport was discovered by a newspaper delivery man in a snowy parking lot of Kings Highway North commercial complex, clad only in pink pajamas and slippers. A preliminary autopsy suggests the woman died due to exposure and hypothermia as the cause of death, but the investigation is ongoing. [Dec. 28, 2010]
Let’s hope the weird continues in 2011!