Odds and Ends
By Devin D. O'Leary
MARCH 6, 2000:
Dateline: Colombia -- A Colombian convict dubbed "The Angel of Death" met with a most poetic fate after a daring escape from custody last Saturday. Hernando Arturo Prada, 26, who was serving a 60-year term for murdering at least 10 people, was being transferred between two prisons on a small commercial airliner. Prada overpowered his guards with a homemade knife and hijacked the flight. After forcing the plane down on a clandestine airstrip in Colombia's northern Santander province, Prada took one of his prison guards hostage and fled into the jungle. Authorities feared the worst, but two days later, the Radionet radio network got a call from a local ultra-right wing death squad claiming that Prada had been captured and shot to death some three hours after his plane touched down. A paramilitary chieftain identifying himself as Commander Julien told the radio network, "When he realized whose hands he was in, he tried to run off, so we had to shoot him." The prison guard taken hostage was freed unharmed on Sunday, and Prada's corpse was recovered by local authorities shortly thereafter.
Dateline: Iran -- A Tehran taxi driver decided to protest his city's tough traffic regulations by marching around during rush hour wearing a hat and full-length dress made from some 200 parking tickets he had been issued. Instead of giving him another troublesome ticket, local police kindly arrested 54-year-old Saleh Mehdizadeh and charged him with spreading lies. Mehdizadeh was later released on bail.
Dateline: Hungary -- An Internet-organized protest prompted Hungarian soccer fans to pelt visiting Australian players with dead fish at last Wednesday's game. The protest was in response to the cyanide spill four weeks ago into the Tisza River, which killed thousands of fish and caused serious environmental damage. The spill is being blamed on a mining operation partly owned by Australians. The threatened protest made headlines in Australia, where government officials reportedly asked players not to throw any fish back into the stands. Security was strict at the game, though, and fish-flinging was apparently kept to a minimum.
Dateline: Pakistan -- Pakistani police pulling over an ambulance for routine inspection checked out the emergency vehicle's cargo and found some 100 pounds of hashish wrapped in a red blanket and "posing as a patient." The driver was arrested on the spot, and an anti-narcotics force in Islamabad is reportedly attempting to flush out the paramedic's accomplices in this "speedy delivery" scheme.
Dateline: New York -- Owners of the Tottenville Inn were understandably concerned when expensive food and wine began disappearing from the eatery's kitchen. They set up some video surveillance equipment and, rather surprisingly, caught their landlord, a New York City firefighter, dining free of charge -- and in the nude. Albert Hohmann, 46, who lives on the second floor of the house he leases to the Tottenville Inn, was allegedly captured on videotape letting himself into the restaurant after hours to enjoy the restaurant's buffet in the buff. "We saw him just walking around naked," said a partner in the restaurant." "He went behind the bar and made himself a drink." Hohmann has been suspended without pay from the New York City Fire Department after being arrested on charges of burglary, petty larceny and criminal mischief.
Dateline: South Carolina -- Someone stole John Rhoads' new home when he wasn't looking. Rhoads recently paid $10,300 for a 170-year-old log cabin in Spartanburg, S. C., which he intended to move to his farm in Eastern Georgia for use as a new vacation home. The log cabin was disassembled and awaiting transport when some ambitious crook made off with somewhere between 40 to 75 of the logs, some of which were as long as 20 feet. Columbia County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris told reporters it was the first time he had investigated the theft of a home.