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Great Art 

A weekly roundup of international news oddities

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Great Art
Police in Madison, Wisconsin, are looking for a sculpture that was stolen from the Art Fair on the Square on Sept. 25. The unique piece, titled "Dumpty Humpty," is a bronze of the nursery rhyme character sitting on a toilet with his pants around his ankles and a book in his hands. It's worth $1,400, according to United Press International. The vendor told police she'd seen two men loitering around her booth, and when she stepped away, they vanished, along with the artwork. Security camera footage also captured the men leaving with Humpty. Hope they didn't drop him, because, you know ...

What a Character!
Red Crocs weren't enough to protect an 11-year-old boy at the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Fairgrounds on Sept. 18 when a haunted house actor took his role a little too far. According to The Washington Post, the boy, his sister and some friends were headed to the 7 Floors of Hell haunted house when Christopher Pogozelski, 22, approached them, trying to scare them. The boy told Pogozelski he wasn't afraid, that the ghoul's knife was "fake." "Oh, it's real. Trust me, it's real," Pogozelski replied, then began poking the boy's feet with the weapon until he drew blood. Reportedly, the actor was using his own Bowie knife rather than a rubber one, believing it wasn't sharp enough to hurt anyone. Still, he lost his job over the incident. After getting bandaged up, the boy returned to be spooked again.

Sign of the Apocalypse
In the village of Ust-Tarka in southwestern Siberia, people are wondering what caused several hundred ravens to fall dead out of the sky on Sept. 22, the Mirror reported. Sergei Kuzlyakin, a veterinarian, said the birds are being tested to see if they were poisoned, but called himself "shocked." "I have been working as a doctor since 1975 and this is the first time I've seen this," he said. A local ornithologist thought the birds might have ingested pesticides, but the mass death event has "caused anxiety among residents," local officials noted.

Awesome!
Jacob Hansen and his wife, Quinn Kelsey, went looking for a casserole dish at a Goodwill store near their home in Denver, but they discovered a sentimental treasure instead, KUSA-TV reported on Sept. 28. As they browsed, Hansen looked up at a painting displayed in the store and realized he was the artist: He had created the piece 21 years ago as a high school freshman. His teacher entered the piece in a Jefferson County art show, and it sold at the time for $150, Hansen said. "I saw my signature on the bottom and then it was, 'Wow, this is unbelievable.' And I immediately FaceTimed my mom." The couple bought the painting for $20 and plan to sell it online, with proceeds going to breast cancer research.

Armed and Clumsy
An unnamed man in Jacksonville, Illinois, went to the hospital on Sept. 25 with a gunshot wound, the Journal-Courier reported. The victim told Cass County Sheriff Devron Ohrn that he and family members had been testing bulletproof vests, and he allowed another person to shoot him as he wore one. "Something like this is definitely not a good idea," Ohrn said. "A bulletproof vest is not a catchall. Also, it is still a crime to shoot another person, even if they tell you to."

Bright Idea
On Sept. 27 at the Imphal Airport in India, Mohammad Sharif, of Kerala, was arrested for trying to smuggle nearly a kilogram of gold to New Delhi. The Central Industrial Security Force told IndiaTimes.com that Sharif attracted their attention because of the way he was walking. When he was examined, officials found more than 900 grams of gold paste, worth roughly $56,000, in his rectum. Cases such as this are reportedly common in Kerala. The CISF watches for people who seem unable to walk properly or are displaying discomfort on their face.

News You Can Use
• If leaf-peeping is in your plans, you may want to take extra precautions against a fearsome intruder: the spotted lanternfly. According to WLNY-TV, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is warning autumn leaf tourists to beware of the beautiful but highly invasive species from Asia. "They can hitch rides in vehicles or on outdoor items such as clothing and easily be transported into and throughout New York," said NYSDAM Director of Plant Industry Chris Logue. Officials direct people who find one to kill it immediately, then send a photo of it to New York's Department of Environmental Conservation along with your location.

• Looking for a job? David Duffy, co-owner of Duffy's Circus in Northern Ireland, is encouraging people to become clowns. According to the BBC, Duffy says the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a shortage of performers; his circus has been shuttered for more than 500 days, but will resume operations soon with looser restrictions. Duffy's looking for folks who are "really, really adaptable. ... No matter what sort of mood you're in, you have to light up that circus ring," he said.

Wait, What?
Beyhan Mutlu, 50, who lives in the Bursa province of Turkey, was reported missing on Sept. 28 after he wandered away from friends while they were drinking. Later, a search party was convened to look for Mutlu, and he joined the group as a volunteer, not realizing they were looking for him. When volunteers began shouting his name, the lightbulb went on. "I am here," Mutlu told them, according to Fox News. Police gave him a ride home.

Least Competent Criminal
James Kertz, 38, placed an ad on social media on Sept. 28, hoping to sell a catalytic converter (new in the box!), KTLA-TV reported. But the Branson, Missouri-area man didn't realize that his photo of the car part also included a bag of methamphetamine and a syringe. On Sept. 29, the Stone County Sheriff's Office sent detectives to Kertz's home with a search warrant. "You can imagine his surprise!" said Sheriff Doug Rader. "He still had 48 grams of meth and a pistol that he is forbidden to own! We now have provided him with a new place to stay."

Can't Possibly Be True
Cooler weather is on the way, and Arby's has an extra-special way for fans to warm up. The sandwich chain will begin selling "premium" sweatshirts, sweatpants and other items that have been smoked to smell like a smokehouse, MLive reported. Arby's collaborated with a Texas smokehouse to create the clothing, which will go on sale on Oct. 4. (Or you could just huddle around the barbecue grill in your old sweats for free.)

Dubious Talent
Brit Paul Oldfield, aka Mr. Methane, enjoys the unusual ability to pass gas on command, Oddity Central reported on Oct. 1. He discovered his talent while doing yoga with his sister as a teenager. And in the entrepreneurial spirit, he's found a way to make money with his gift. Oldfield travels around the world "entertaining" audiences with parodies of songs (he manipulates his buttocks to change the tone and pitch of his farts) and doing rapid-fire releases.

Send your weird news items to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com.

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