News of the weird

From flying turtles to lego burglary, crazy news from around the world

Unprecedented— the unforeseen buzzword of 2020 and 2021— properly characterizes the majority of this past year. However, the pandemic isn’t the only thing that could be seen as unprecedented—recent news has proven to fit the term as well. From an increase in lego larceny and abduction of the ‘World’s Longest Rabbit’ to a flying turtle on I-95 and the “Josh Fight” —an all-out pool noodle battle over the name Josh—2021 has seen everything but a shortage of weird news.

Lego larceny —a looming problem

“Lego larceny may be on the rise,” warns NPR news. The popular news site addressed this hot topic in a recently released, disconcerting podcast episode of Weekend Edition Saturday named “People are Stealing Legos. Here’s Why”. Gerben van IJken, a Lego specialist, explained to host Scott Simon, “Well, I’m not a detective. But Lego runs in seasons – little bit like fashion…in a winter and a summer season. And Lego sets will retire after a few years to make room for a new Lego set. And the old sets who are retired by Lego and aren’t produced anymore, they shoot up in value to sell on the black market, as they say.” 

Although it’s difficult to prove there’s truly a Lego “black market”, in France, police are currently investigating an “international gang of toy thieves” said to specialize in the theft of the beloved toy bricks. First reports of this “gang” surfaced in November 2019 and again in February 2020. Additionally, last June, three individuals were caught mid-steal outside a Lego shop in Paris. When confronted, all admitted they belonged to a team devoted to the burglary of Lego sets sought after by demanding collectors.

 “The Lego community isn’t just made up of children,” an investigator revealed to the Le Parisien newspaper on March 28. “There are numerous adults who play with [them]; there are swaps and sales on the internet. We’ve also had people complaining their homes have been broken into and Legos stolen.” 

The pandemic has only fueled the popularity of this dubious secondhand market by causing Lego sales to double since last year. Ultimately, be careful not to leave these precious toys unguarded or they very well might end up in the hands of wanted Lego looters.

‘World’s Longest Rabbit’ a long way from home

Darius, the world’s longest rabbit, vanished from his small, English garden this April and authorities suspect he didn’t just hop away. Stealing the eye-catching rabbit—measuring 4’ 3” and 50 pounds (which according to the CDC, is average for an 8-year-old American boy) —should be a difficult abduction to pull off; however, authorities— after hopping on the case—are still searching. “It’s just so upsetting because he is such a loveable character,” the rabbit’s owner, Anette Edwards, told The Telegraph. Edwards is offering a 2,000 pound ($2,745) reward for returning Darius, who held the Guinness World Record for longest rabbit in 2010. 

Before retirement from public engagements, Darius attended events across the country, always traveling alongside a bodyguard. In 2010, the bunny was insured for a hefty $1.6 million. 

Although she described him as an “old man”, Edwards said previously in an interview with CBC, Darius “hasn’t lost his sparkle”. “They’re very special, they’re different,” she remarked of the bunnies she’s bred, most of which are a type known as the Continental Giant. Edwards furthered, they’re “more like dogs than rabbits”. If found, please contact Anette Edwards with details.

Passenger survives injury from flying turtle 

On April 21—a sunny, warm Florida day—a 71-year-old woman was riding with her daughter on their way to Daytona Beach via Interstate 95. They had just left Port Orange when suddenly, at 10:48 am, an unknown object shattered through their windshield, striking the woman on her head. At the sight of the inch-long gash slightly above one of her eyes, the unidentified woman’s daughter pulled over to the side of the road where the two received assistance from another motorist. 

Evident from a 911 recording, both were shocked to find the responsible culprit—a turtle—in the back of the car. “There’s a turtle in here,” said the man helping them, according to The Daytona Beach News Journal. “A turtle!” the victim’s daughter shouted, baffled. “An actual turtle?” 

The turtle sustained no major injuries—only a few scratches on its shell—and was later released by firefighters into the woods adjacent to where the accident took place. Surprisingly, this isn’t the first occurrence of a flying turtle. In 2016, a similar incident took place near Deltona on Interstate 4.

“…this lady has the worst luck of anything,” the daughter told dispatchers as she applied pressure to her mother’s wound. After being transported to Halifax Health Medical Center, it was confirmed the woman is on the road to recovery. The species of turtle remains unknown. 

“Josh Fight”—Hundreds battle for the name Josh in a Nebraska park

On April 24, hundreds from around the country met at a Nebraska park prepared for battle; armed with pool noodles, they all shared one thing in common—the name Josh. 

A year ago, 22-year-old University of Arizona student, Josh Swain, found himself at the peak of ‘pandemic boredom’— “staring into the abyss,” as he told the Washington Post—when he unpromptedly initiated a Facebook group of strangers sharing the same name. “You’re probably wondering why I’ve gathered you all here today,” Swain addressed nine other Josh Swains. “Because we all share the same names?” wondered Josh Swain. “Precisely,” Swain replied. “4/24/2021, Josh, meet at these coordinates (40.82223286, -96.7982002). We fight, whoever wins gets to keep the name, everyone else has to change their name, you have a year to prepare, good luck.”

 The festivities, which took place at the randomly chosen AirPark in Lincoln, commenced with a “grueling and righteous battle of Rock, Paper, Scissors” between Josh Swain (the originator of the event) and Josh Swain (from Omaha). Josh Swain (the originator of the event) proved victorious, granting him the title of “the true Josh Swain”.

The “Josh Fight” continued with the main event: “Pool Noodle Battle Royale” —the rules of which were outlined by Swain in a Reddit post. Anyone that possessed the first name Josh (regardless of last name) was permitted to join in. For more than ten minutes, over 1,000 Joshs dueled with colorful pool noodles, fighting until only one Josh remained: Joshua Vinson Jr., a four-year-old who was from the area. The crowd praised Vinson Jr. —dubbed Little Josh—hoisting him in the air after crowning him triumphant with an oversized Burger King crown. “I beat everyone!” little Josh exclaimed in a Washington Post interview. 

The event—which raised $12,000 for the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Foundation in Omaha—was especially meaningful for Little Josh, who was treated for sudden seizures by the children’s hospital when he was one and a half years old. “The story came full circle with Little Josh,” Vinson Sr. told The Washington Post. 

Overall, Josh Swain was ecstatic about the turnout of the “Josh Battle Royale”, which went off without a hitch. “It’s been a hard year, and I think everyone needed something like this,” stated Swain. “It was such a wholesome event, there’s nothing negative about it. That’s what made it so spectacular.” As to the future of the event, “We’ll see what happens,” Swain remarked. “We might have to make it an annual thing.”

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About Grace Kassebaum

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