10 of New York State’s Strangest Stories From 2021
It was certainly a year that was out of the ordinary across the Empire State, as COVID-19 and vaccine-related stories continued to dominate the headlines, Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped down amid a sexual harassment scandal, and the state was hit by numerous storms through 2021. But that's not even some of the weirdest news. Do you recall some of these headlines from earlier this year? Here are some of the odder stories that may or may not have slipped under the radar.
Marijuana Rains From the Sky
Pot was finally legalized in New York in 2021, and in one neighborhood it was seemingly falling from the skies one night. Police say a garbage bag full of weed came raining down from the sky onto a sidewalk back in June. Investigators say a drug deal gone bad is to blame for the curious case of "green rain" in Sunset Park.
News 12 says the meeting took place June 1 on a rooftop over 8th Avenue. Police say one of the potential customers turned on the seller and pulled a gun. Then, they allegedly attacked the victim, grabbed the big bag full of weed, and then threw it over the nearby rooftop onto the sidewalk. Surveillance footage shows the trash bag full of weed falling to the area near the street below, with the crop scattering in every direction upon impact. No sooner did it land, three men can be seen gathering parts of the stash, and quickly running off with it like it was Christmas morning. A fourth man can be seen emerging from off-camera, and following the gang as they make their way out.
Man Threatens Neighbor With Chainsaw in Sylvan Beach
What sounds like a scene out of either Christmas Vacation, or maybe the latest low-budget horror flick, a man stands accused of threatening their neighbor with a chainsaw. And you thought some of your neighbors were nuts? According to New York State Police, this was not the first time they were called to this residence over the weekend. In fact, it was the fourth.
WKTV says that police were called to the home and found the 59-year-old New York man with a chainsaw at his feet. There aren't too many details exactly how this whole neighborly skirmish started, though troopers ended up having to taser the suspect as they placed him under arrest. Police say the man is accused of threatening to kill his neighbor and also chainsawing the neighbor's vehicle.
Man Attempts to 'Walk' on Water From Florida to New York, Fails Miserably
You may have seen this bizarre looking contraption in the news? A man recently attempted to voyage from Florida all the way up the Atlantic to New York in a homemade vessel that somewhat resembles a hamster wheel crossed with a giant bubble. He didn't get far.
RTE says that the man is actually a marathon runner named Reza Baluchi, who was going to use this specially built Hydro bubble to essentially 'run' on water. If you look at the pictures of this thing, you can see the giant bubble part sitting in the center of the vessel, while a line of floatation devices would keep it afloat during his long journey.
Beluchi started his trip off the coast of St Augustine. He later had to be rescued by law enforcement off the coast of Flagler County, according to sources. His hydro bubble may have been caught by a current and carried the wrong direction. How long would it have taken to jog up the coast? Who knows? There are a whole lot of factors to take into consideration. UNILAD says that the U.S. Coast Guard has warned him to stop the attempted stunts, or be fined up to $40,000. But Beluchi says this isn't going to stop him. He has told the press that he plans to make this run for charity, so at least his craziness was for a good cause.
Woman Allegedly Hid Cocaine in Baby's Diaper Bag
New York State Police say they stopped a woman for a traffic infraction on the Thruway back in July. NBC says police determined that the Bronx woman didn't have a valid driving license. But there was something more. According to NBC, police ended up finding over a pound of cocaine in a diaper bag that was in the vehicle, as they searched. Police say the woman was traveling with her 13-year-old, and 7-month old children at the time.
Amish Buggy Collides with Vehicle in New York State, Injuring Four
There are just some things you come across on the roads that you're not always expecting. Sadly, four children were hurt after an Amish buggy collided with a pickup truck after the carriage failed to stop at the stop sign on Route 80. WROC is reporting that the accident happened in the town of Farmersville, in Cattaraugus County.
While it's not every day you find yourself face to face with a horse-drawn carriage on a main road, accidents like this do happen more than you think. In June, an Amish woman was killed after a truck crashed into a buggy Sunday on Route 41 in Richland, NY. Police say a pickup truck hit the back of the buggy, that was traveling southbound. The NY State Police also said that another vehicle was traveling in the opposite direction, so the driver of the pickup wasn't able to get into the other lane.
In February, a 23 year-old Antwerp man was killed after a vehicle struck the buggy he was riding in. The deceased man belonged to one of the largest and most conservative subgroups of Old Order Amish in the nation, according to reports. There are many Amish settlements scattered across New York, Pennsylvania, and parts of the Midwest. According to the numbers put together by the Amish Study, New York has over 21 thousand Amish people living in the state, as of 2020. New York ranks fourth in the nation for Amish citizens.
Anyone See This Escaped Monitor Lizard in Upstate New York?
Nile monitor lizards are Africa's longest lizard. Some adults can grow to over seven feet long, and feed on small animals like fish, frogs, some birds, and small rodents. So what's one doing in upstate New York? Looks like another escaped reptile pet is on the loose. WROC says that the four and a half foot long monitor lizard escaped its cage when its owner was moving back in July. Officials say the animal climbed over one hundred feet up a tree as they were trying to capture it.
The Hamburglar Strikes McDonald's Restaurant in the Capital Region
Apparently, this guy didn't get the memo that McDonald's is open early for breakfast? Anyone call Officer Big Mac? Police say a New York state man broke into a McDonald's one early morning in September and made off with food and other stolen property. We may have a real life Hamburglar on the loose here. The suspect was charged with grand larceny, burglary, and criminal mischief, according to sources.
The Saratoga County Sheriffs Office says the Ballston Spa man broke into the McDonald's in the early morning hours. Not too many details are available as of now, but police were able to find the stolen property at the suspect's apartment. Police didn't specify a motive for the alleged break-in, though we can assume he wanted a late night snack and the place just wasn't open at that point.
New York State trooper Allegedly Steals Woman's Underwear From Walmart
Walmart's motto is "Save people money so they can live better". Now, we're not quite sure what the person involved in this particular story's intentions were, but it's safe to assume they're not living their best life right about now. WKTV is reporting that a 49 year-old man was accused of stealing lotion and women's underwear from a New York state Walmart. What's really raising some eyebrows is the fact that this man is a New York state trooper.
A state police spokesperson says the suspect allegedly stole the items from a Walmart store in Oneida. NY. While the store declined to press charges, an internal investigation was launched by state police into the matter. The trooper had been suspended without pay since mid-April, according to WKTV, and has now decided to take retirement.
This all leaves some very pressing questions. Who were these items for, and what did he intend to do with them? Were they gifts for a wife or girlfriend perhaps? If so, you think he'd aim a little higher and head to Victoria's Secret or some other store for better underwear instead of Walmart? Or on the other hand, maybe the underwear and special rub-on lotion was all for himself? Yikes. What to believe?
New York State Couple Says Man Littered Every Day For Three Years
Ever dealt with an inconsiderate neighbor who leaves a mess wherever they go? One New York state couple knows about this all too well, though the reason behind this big mess may be a bit more personal. It's bad enough to have someone rudely toss something out their window as they drive by your property. Who wants to have to pick up a greasy old bag of potato chips or a nasty cigarette butt? But what if they did it every single day? For almost three years?
AP News is reporting that Edward and Cheryl Patton began to notice something rather odd when a bunch of used coffee cups began appearing in their front yard. It had been happening every day, so this couldn't be just a coincidence. Was there a serial litterer on the loose who was purposely targeting the Lake View couple? The Pattons even told the Buffalo News that they put up a camera in one of their trees to catch the java jerkoff, but to no avail.
But as it turns out, a couple of their neighbors noticed a minivan drive by the Patton's. Thinking something was off, they were able to get the license plate and notify authorities. When police found the minivan, they discovered the 76-year-old driver, who had actually been an ex-coworker of Cheryl Patton Seems this dispute went back years between the two, when they worked together. It appears that the 76-year-old man decided to take out his frustrations over old work disagreements by tossing old coffee cups into Patton's front lawn for almost three years.
Police Capture Giant Snake Outside Home in New York State
Anyone missing a python? Some poor person probably got the scare of their life Sunday when an uninvited visitor was found outside of their home. ABC reported that the resident in Deer Park discovered a large Burmese python right in their driveway back in June. Burmese pythons are one of the largest snakes in the world and are native to Southeast Asia.
Pythons, and other large reptiles, are sometimes kept illegally as pets and either escape or are abandoned when they get too big. Others are smuggled into the area and are sold on the black market. ABC did not indicate who's python this was or how it got out. Police were able to corral the big snake in a garbage can and then brought it to the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island.
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