7 Strange Robberies
Most criminals rob banks, steal cars, or maybe just take your wallet. But some crooks have gone for less conventional targets over the years. Like Kurt Cobain’s ashes, or 6,000 cheesecakes
1. Bridge Today, Gone Tomorrow
If someone offered to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge, you’d know it was a scam. But if someone in Khabarovsk, Russia, were to offer you a 200-ton steel bridge, they might actually deliver. In January 2008, employees on their way to a remote heating plant were forced to find an alternate route after the 38-foot steel bridge they crossed the day before had vanished. While the workers slept, scrap metal thieves dismantled the span and supports and loaded it all onto trucks for a quick getaway. The plant’s owners estimated it would cost around $40,000 to build a new bridge. This time, though, they were going to use concrete.
2. Lifting Lingerie
madonna-braDuring the 1992 L.A. riots, while some looters were busy stealing TVs and VCRs, others broke into Frederick’s of Hollywood and made off with around $200,000 in women’s undergarments. The company also suffered the loss of a few one-of-a-kind items from the store’s lingerie museum—a bustier with gold tassels that Madonna wore in the music video for “Open Your Heart,” a pair of Ava Gardner’s bloomers, and a push-up bra worn by Katey Sagal as Married…With Children’s Peg Bundy. A few days later, a man known only as Jim B. came forward to return Peg’s push-up and Ava’s undies. Sadly, Madonna’s bustier was never recovered, despite a $1,000 reward from the company. But she agreed to give Frederick’s a replacement in exchange for a $10,000 donation to an organization that supplied free mammograms to the poor.
3. Somebody Call for a Bambulance?
Escaped psychiatric patient Leon Hollimon stole an ambulance in Lexington, North Carolina, and led police on a cat-and-mouse chase for hours, traveling through four different counties in two states. One of the cops likened the chase to an episode of Dukes of Hazzard. Eventually, the culprit ran off the road and was apprehended wearing a stethoscope, carrying latex gloves, and sporting a mohawk. It was an odd enough crime, but it got really weird when authorities found, splayed in the back, a dead deer with an IV stuck into its body. There was also evidence that Hollimon had tried using a defibrillator on the animal. Hollimon was taken to a nearby mental health facility for evaluation.
4. Kurt Cobain, Meet Cheech and Chong
cobainAfter Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994, most of his ashes were spread over a Buddhist temple in New York and in the Wishkash River in Washington state. His wife, Courtney Love, kept what was left inside a pink, bear-shaped handbag, hidden in a closet at her Hollywood home. In June 2008, Love said that a former friend broke in and stole the bag. The ashes’ whereabouts were unknown until a few months later, when German performance artist Natascha Stellmach claimed she acquired them, mixed them with marijuana, and planned to smoke the whole thing as part of an art installation entitled “Set Me Free.” She said the act was symbolic and was going to release Cobain’s spirit “into the ether from the media circus.” Of course, no one is able to substantiate if Cobain’s remains were in the joint or if it was just a publicity stunt. Either way, the ashes were never recovered.
5. Hulk Wrestles Ex-Wife for Toilet Seat
Shortly after their divorce, Hulk Hogan (AKA Terry Bollea) sued his ex-wife, Linda, for stripping their Florida home of chandeliers, a tanning bed, bathtubs, fixtures, and many other items Hogan said were necessary for the house to sell. One of those much-needed items specifically mentioned in the suit was a “wooden antique toilet seat from the guest house.” In response to Hulk’s accusations, Linda said, “He knows I’m using the wooden toilet seat as a frame for his picture ever since I found out he is a serial cheater and a liar. Once he comes clean and starts to be honest, he can have it back.” Obviously this is one Hollywood relationship that really went down the crapper.
6. Head Deadhead’s Head Missing
The Hulkster isn’t the only one with missing toilet woes. After Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia died, Henry Kolty bought the rock star’s home and auctioned off items from the house to raise money for charity. In March 2006, Kolty sold Garcia’s toilet for $2,550 to casino Goldenpalace.com. But before it could be delivered, the throne was stolen from Kolty’s driveway. The casino offered $250 for the return of the commode, but it was never found.
7. Now I Just Need a Few Tons of Strawberries…
On December 26, 2009, truck driver Gary LaSalle left his big rig and refrigerated trailer parked near Orlando International Airport with a group of similar delivery trucks. He took the keys with him, but left the cooling unit running on the trailer to protect his valuable cargo, which he would be delivering to North Carolina in the morning. When he returned the next day, his $50,000 truck, the $120,000 trailer and its contents—6,000 cheesecakes, valued at $40,000—were gone. The police investigation is ongoing, but its doubtful the cheesecakes will ever be found.
8. Pilfered Pumps and Heisted Heels
marla-peopleWhile it’s a known fact that women love shoes, apparently so did Chuck Jones, the former publicist of Marla Maples, the former wife of Donald Trump. In July 1992, Maples noticed that some of her things were missing. So she and Donald set up a hidden camera in her apartment and caught Jones in her apartment without permission. When police raided his home, they found some of Maples’ underwear and 40 pairs of her shoes, including high heels, black Converse high-tops, bedroom slippers, and cowboy boots made of alligator skin. He was initially convicted in 1994, but that was overturned in 1996 due to a technicality. During his retrial in 1999, he represented himself and, during his testimony, admitted to having a shoe fetish. He went so far to say he’d had a sexual relationship with Maples’ footwear. After a media circus trial, Jones was found guilty of burglary and sentenced to 1 to 4 years in prison. He was released in 2001 and tried unsuccessfully to sue Maples for various reasons until 2002, when the courts told him to stop.