Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

MARCH 15, 1999: 

Dateline: England--British solicitor Edward Bentley could very well be the unluckiest man in the world. After losing thousands of pounds in bad investments, Bentley tried to recoup his money by embezzling 64,000 pounds from his clients. Bentley had the brilliant idea to fly to Monte Carlo and place a single 60,000 pound ($96,000) bet on either black or red. With his money doubled, Bentley could fly back to England and return the "borrowed" money before anyone noticed. Unfortunately, the casino's maximum stake on this kind of bet was 10,000 pounds. The ill-fated attorney's next scheme was to place a 10,900 pound bet on a "sure thing" race horse. The horse fell during the race and came in last. Bentley then tried his hand at the stock market, buying a risky 49,000 pound futures option which promised a huge reward if the main FTSE-100 index fell. It rose, leaving Bentley with a paltry 1,000 pounds of purloined loot. Realizing his situation was hopeless, Bentley attempted to commit suicide by sitting in his car with a pipe pumping fumes from his exhaust pipe. Unfortunately, the car seized up. Undeterred, Bentley tried again, but police conducting a routine vehicle check stopped the man before he succumbed to the fumes. Bentley's streak of bad luck ended when he finally found himself in front of a judge. The lenient magistrate gave Bentley a 15-month suspended sentence for stealing his clients' money.

Dateline: Finland--A distraught Fin who claimed he was embittered with society took his own wife hostage last Friday until police arrived and ended the tense standoff with an offering of beer. The unidentified man claimed he was armed and threatened to blow up his apartment building in downtown Helsinki with explosives unless police complied with his list of demands. Police met only one of the demands--for a six-pack of beer and some cigarettes--and the man surrendered peacefully.

Dateline: Egypt--Last Monday an Egyptian court ordered the dismissal of a hospital janitor put on probation for illegally circumcising boys. Ragab Abdallah, an operating theater cleaner at a Cairo hospital, was taken to court after one of his young "patients" developed a genital disorder following his amateur circumcision in March 1998. Abdallah and two accomplices had offered to perform the operation on the five-year-old for a lower fee than that charged by the hospital. The boy suffered severe bleeding after the surgery and was taken by his father to another hospital. During his trial, Abdallah admitted to performing several other circumcisions, but denied taking money, insisting that he was only trying to help the poor.

Dateline: India--Two cats that pranced around the central hall of India's parliament during a televised presidential address last month will be punished with sterilization. The Asian Age newspaper reported that, "A special drive has been launched to punish the cats in Parliament House for their appearance before live cameras during the president's customary address to a joint sitting of the two houses of parliament." The two cats are among an estimated 10 to 12 that live in the government building to help control the growth of rats in the canteens. A spokesman for a local Society for the Eradication of Cruelty to Animals insisted that the sterilization is aimed only at controlling the parliament cat population and not at eradicating it.

Dateline: New York--Alleged bank robber Lucy Amador apparently posed as a loan applicant before making off with more than $10,000 from the Marine Midland Bank in New Rochelle, N.Y. Unfortunately, Amador, 38, left behind the loan application with her name and address on it. Amador, who lives only a block and a half from the bank, was arrested a few hours after the heist and charged with first-degree robbery. "This was an unusual and rather amateur attempt," said a New Rochelle police captain.

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