The Odd Truth, April 22, 2003

SUV hero
The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

Don't Feed The Monkey

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Green Bay police are on the lookout for a monkey named Jasper, who they say isn't armed but might be dangerous.

Jasper dashed out the back door of a tavern where he and his owner are regulars, Lt. Mark Hellmann said Monday.

Hellmann described Jasper as small, dark and hairy, but didn't know what species he is.

The police department's humane officer said Jasper may try to harm people if he's scared and advised anyone who sees him use caution.

Dog Hit By Car, Shot, Frozen, But In Good Condition

CLEARLAKE, Calif. - A dog named Dosha may have as many lives as a cat.

She was hit by a car, shot in the head and kept in a freezer for two hours, but she survived and is now doing well under a veterinarian's care.

Local animal groups and the Humane Society of the United States have begun fund-raising efforts to pay for her care.

Last Tuesday, Dosha was hit by a car. A police officer reported to the scene and no one could tell him who owned the dog.

Officer Bob MacDonald shot the dog, apparently to save her the pain of her injuries. Dosha, presumed dead, was taken to Animal Control, where she was put in a freezer.

"Apparently, it was assumed dead," said Denise Johnson, Animal Control's interim director. "I went to the freezer and found that she was alive and cold."

She had hypothermia and a gunshot wound, but no broken bones from the car accident, Johnson said.

Police are investigating.

Taiwan Sars Sales Steady Despite SARS Outbreak

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A popular Taiwanese soft drink called Sars may raise a few eyebrows these days because of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome. But many here are still gulping down the root beer-like beverage without hesitation.

Sars — a shortened version of its major ingredient, sarsaparilla — has been the flagship drink of the Hey Song Company since the 1940s.

It tastes like root beer and is popular among Chinese because many of them believe sarsaparilla lowers body temperatures and prevent sore throats or other ailments.

Still, some consumers feel a little uneasy that the soft drink bears the same name as the deadly flu-like virus, SARS, said Chou Shiao-ping, Hey Song's spokeswoman.

"There might be some association with the illness," she said. "But most people know you won't get SARS simply by drinking Sars."

Caught Red Handed

BOCA RATON, Fla. - A man accused of robbing a bank told police the red ink covering his hands didn't come from exploding dye packs, but from coloring Easter eggs.

Richard Roy, 41, was arrested Saturday, a day before Easter Sunday. He is accused of robbing a Wachovia Bank twice last week.

A teller at the bank put dye packs in the robber's bag April 15 and again Friday.

In the first robbery, a man gave a teller a handwritten note demanding money, then took out a gun and told the teller he would use it if necessary, police said. He got away with $462.87, according to an arrest report.

The same robber returned Friday and handed over a note that read, "No dye pack this time. I will shoot you!" He then demanded money and got $5,420, police said.

During the second robbery, a bank employee recognized the gunman as a customer's boyfriend. Another employee got a description of the getaway car and the information led to Roy, police said.

"It's irritating when a bank gets robbed in your city," police Capt. Edgar Morley said Monday. "It's really irritating when it gets robbed again."

Even Bad Press Is Good Press

STOCKHOLM - It's one example of negative advertising that actually worked.

A 30-year-old Swedish care worker tried all the usual ways to find a job.

But Angelika Wedberg's phone started ringing off the hook when she put an ad in a newspaper that read, "I want a well paid job. I have no imagination. I am anti-social, uncreative and untalented."

Turkey Fires Soccer Player For Crude Gesture

ANKARA, Turkey - A French soccer player who celebrated a goal by stripping his shirt and putting his hand down his shorts was fired Tuesday by his Turkish team.

Pascal Nouma angered fans during a league game last weekend. Besiktas president Serdar Bilgili said Nouma's actions are "definitely against Turkish moral values and traditions."

"We've canceled his contract unilaterally. ... We've decided to send him back to his country," Bilgili said.

Nouma apologized Monday, saying he celebrated because his goal in the 2-0 win over rival Fenerbahce ended his four-week scoreless streak.

"It was not against anyone. It was just a private sign of joy," Nouma said. "I shouldn't have done it. If it hurt Turkey, then I am sorry."

Mower Man Gets Clipped

SAN ANTONIO - A thief has clipped the mower man. Someone swiped Brad Hauter's specially modified riding mower in San Antonio over the weekend. He's trying to set a cross-country mower record. Hauter started in California a month ago on his quest to drive 5,600 miles to New York. He also holds the current 4,000-mile record. A San Antonio Wal-Mart donated a new riding mower but he can't claim the record if he doesn't finish on the original mower. However, Hauter says he'll continue the trip. He hopes to raise about $200,000 for the Keep America Beautiful campaign with his odyssey.