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Schemes 

A weekly roundup of international news oddities

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Schemes
Police in Naples, Florida, are looking for a woman identified only as "Rosalia," a self-described witch who is suspected of swindling more than $100,000 from at least 10 victims. Authorities were first alerted to the scam on March 14 when a man called to report that Rosalia had disappeared with $29,500 of his money, according to a police report. The man said he had responded to a flier advertising Rosalia's "witchcraft services," WBBH-TV reported. She allegedly told the man she saw something "dark" in his future and gave him three eggs to put under his bed as he slept. When he brought them back the next day, she waved the eggs over his head and face, then opened them to reveal one filled with blood, one with needles and a third with worms, according to the report. She instructed the man to bring her all the money he had so she could bless it and multiply it at her temple in Fort Myers, promising to return it the next day, police said, but Rosalia hasn't been seen since. Police have identified more victims in the course of their ongoing investigation.

Sign of the Times
A family-owned patisserie in Veresegyhaz, Hungary, is offering its customers sweet relief from COVID-19 angst with colorful layered mousses, each topped with a decorative syringe. The Sulyan family's special desserts are colored with jelly toppings representing the different COVID-19 vaccinations available in Hungary: citrus yellow for AstraZeneca, darker yellow for Sinopharm, green for Pfizer, orange for Sputnik V and blue for Moderna, Reuters reported. "Anyone can try these," said confectioner Katalin Benko, and "the only possible side effect would be a little smile on their face."

Going Out in Style
Mourners at Phil McLean's funeral in Wellington, New Zealand, first gasped, then laughed as his coffin, shaped like a giant cream doughnut, was brought into the chapel, the Associated Press reported on April 15. McLean had designed the special coffin with his cousin, Ross Hall, owner of Dying Art, a business in Auckland specializing in custom coffins. Over the last 15 years, Hall has fashioned a sailboat, a firetruck, a chocolate bar and Legos, among others. McLean's widow, Debra, said her husband had considered himself a connoisseur of cream doughnuts, and the coffin "overshadowed the sadness. ... The final memory in everyone's mind was of that doughnut and Phil's sense of humor." For himself, Hall said he had planned a red box with flames on it, but he changed his mind to a clear coffin, with him wearing nothing but a leopard-patterned G-string. "The kids say they're not going," he said.

People With Issues
Edward and Cheryl Patton of Lake View, New York, tried for three years to identify who was throwing used paper coffee cups—some with cigarette butts inside—on their front yard nearly every night, but they could never get a good look at the minivan as it drove by. Edward began collecting the cups, eventually filling 10 garbage bags, reported The Buffalo News. They even installed a surveillance camera, but it wasn't until neighbors set up a stakeout and captured the license plate number that the mystery was solved. On April 18, police set up their own stakeout and pulled over Larry Pope, 76, a former co-worker of Cheryl's whom she had had disagreements with. Pope was charged with harassment and throwing refuse onto a roadway. The Pattons said the littering has stopped since his arrest.

It's Good To Have a Hobby
Bearsun is the name Jesse Larios, 33, of Los Angeles gave to the teddy bear character he created in 2016 and fashioned into a human-size Bearsun suit. On April 12, Larios decided to have a fun adventure walking from Los Angeles to San Francisco dressed as Bearsun, a journey of more than 400 miles. Mountain passes and road construction have made the trip slower than he expected, reported CNN Travel, and it's no luxury excursion: Bearsun sleeps wherever he finds himself at the end of the day and gets food at gas stations. "I'm like a puppy, I guess," Larios said. "I just see something, and I chase after it."

Mistaken Identity
The Krakow (Poland) Society for the Protection of Animals responded on April 14 to a report that a suspected iguana was stuck in a lilac tree outside a residential building, only to discover a discarded croissant instead. "People don't open windows because they're afraid it's going to enter their house," the caller told the group. United Press International reported the animal rescue agency was forgiving. "It's better to check and be pleasantly disappointed ... than not react, which can sometimes lead to a tragedy," the group posted on its Facebook page.

Sightings
Detectives from the New Jersey State Park Police were dispatched on April 9 to a site in Wharton State Forest to examine a device found on the forest floor. The "UFO Detector Site" was determined to be safe by K-9 officer Prime, and officers had no trouble "disarming" the unit by unplugging headphone wires from the block of wood and soup can they were plugged into. It wasn't clear who had left the object. On Facebook, park police noted, "Although humankind and the visitors to New Jersey's state parks appreciate an extraterrestrial warning device like this, we should not be finding them in our state parks."

Least Competent Criminal
Cordell Coleman, 33, was arrested for public intoxication on April 14 in Little Rock, Arkansas, and was held until about 2:30 the next morning. When he was released from the Polaski County jail, Coleman took the first car he came across: an unmarked Little Rock Police Department SUV that had been left unlocked. The Smoking Gun reported that police tracked the car to an apartment complex about 10 miles away, where Coleman was found in the car. He was brought back to jail and charged with felony theft, this time in lieu of $25,000 bond.

Bright Idea
Nathan Finkel called 911 on April 17 to report that Courtney Wilson and another person showed up at the gate of his expansive mansion in suburban Fort Lauderdale, Florida, claiming that they were having a wedding there that day. "I have people trespassing on my property," Finkel said. "They say they're having a wedding here, and it's God's message. I don't know what's going on." According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Wilson, the groom, had inquired about buying the estate, listed for $5.7 million, several weeks ago, then asked Finkel if he could use the backyard for his wedding. Finkel said no, but Wilson and his betrothed, Shenita Jones, sent out online invitations anyway, with festivities beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and continuing through brunch on Sunday at what they called "the Wilson estate." "The guy figured it was a vacant house and didn't realize (Finkel) lived on the property in a different home," explained Town Attorney Keith Poliakoff. Wilson was told to vacate the property and was not charged with a crime.

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

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