Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida not the only place with bizarre news

"Only in Florida," we like to say when we read about a monkey on the loose, a girl with incurable hiccups, a gator lurking near an elementary school and other bizarre stories. And it's true: We do seem to have more weird stuff happen here per capita than anywhere else in the country. The St. Petersburg Times even has a blog called devoted to such stories. But we don't have a monopoly on bizarre news. Stupid criminals, run-ins with wildlife and goofy mishaps happen in other states, too. Here are some recent examples:

In Florida:

The world's largest Confederate flag

Opinions differ on what the 139-foot-tall flag really symbolizes, causing controversy that made national headlines when it was erected in 2008. The NAACP tried to persuade the Sons of Confederate Veterans to reconsider, but the flag still flies at the intersection of Interstates 75 and 4.

But only in Idaho:

The KKK snowman

Earlier this month, a Hayden home-owner built a noose-carrying, KKK hood-wearing snowman on his front lawn, drawing outrage from neighbors and parents whose kids attended a nearby school. We're guessing the snowman has either melted or been destroyed by now, but the chilly figure was around long enough to cause a national stir.

In Florida:

The 'Don't Tase Me Bro' guy

During a 2007 political rally at the University of Florida, a student irked police during a question-and-answer session and the police tried to eject him. A struggle ensued and the student yelled the now-famous line, "Don't Tase me, bro!" just before an officer stunned him with a Taser. The incident was caught on video and became an instant pop culture sensation.

But only in Wyoming:

The guy who painted himself to avoid being Tased

When Cheyenne police went to a man's home on a domestic violence call in September, the man doused himself in white latex paint and told officers that if they shot him with the stun gun, he'd die. He was mistaken, police told him before hitting him with the Taser twice and handcuffing him.

In Florida:

The Grandpa Bandit

Claiming he needed the money to pay his mortgage, a 73-year-old man was accused of robbing three South Tampa banks earlier this year. It appeared to be a new venture, since he has no prior criminal record and did not use a weapon. His trial is set for January.

But only in Michigan:

The Bad Breath Bandit

In a Detroit suburb last year, bank tellers identified a robber as the man who robbed them twice before because he had a distinct trait: offensive breath and yellow teeth. To date, there have been no reports of his arrest, so the bad breath robber may still be on the loose.

In Florida:

The Christmas display reindeer hiding in an elf house

Lakeland police responded last week to reports of a deer running loose, but apparently Highland Park Church of the Nazarene members were already on it. The "reindeer" was from a live nativity scene at the church. The church staff chased after Rudy, named after Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and found him hiding under a nearby elf house. Rudy's owner packed him up and took him home.

But only in Oregon:

The Nativity display camel stuck in a sinkhole

Firefighters in rural Oregon rescued a 1,200-pound camel that was stuck up to its neck in a sinkhole in September. They spent hours digging out the beast named Moses, used for live nativity displays, and he was safely removed before going back to his barn.

In Florida:

The alligator at the crosswalk

In September, a 7-foot alligator was loitering near a crosswalk at Forest Lakes Elementary School in Oldsmar, just as children were arriving for school. Deputies couldn't wait for a wildlife trapper to arrive and handcuffed the gator, which was known to be a recurring nuisance in the area.

But only in Montana:

The mountain lion at the bus stop

Waiting for their school bus at a rural stop near Missoula, a group of children spotted a mountain lion in a field just 200 feet away. The bus driver pulled up and quickly loaded the children, who ranged from kindergarten to eighth grade, and the lion fled. A manager of the bus company later said the children seemed "more excited than scared."

Information from the Associated Press, the Oregonian,, Wyoming Tribune Eagle and the Huffington Post was used in this report.

Still, Florida has some of the best bizarre news. Get the latest on our Bizarre Florida blog,

Florida not the only place with bizarre news 12/12/10 [Last modified: Sunday, December 12, 2010 7:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa-based makeup artist disqualified from contest over pro-Trump post


    WICHITA, Kan. — A makeup artist who splits her time between Tampa and Kansas says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.

    Gypsy Freeman won the contest with this image posted to Instagram. [@facesofgypsy on Instagram]
  2. Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills Florida man who thought he just had blisters from a hike


    Wayne Atkins thought little of the blisters he had gotten while hiking. He was trekking up and down the 4,500-foot-high Mount Garfield in New Hampshire - a 10-mile round trip - and blisters were no surprise.

    Wayne Atkins thought his blisters were from hiking, but the flesh eating bacteria nearly killed him. [YouTube]
  3. Yes, again: Rays blow late two-run lead, get swept by Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As weekends go, this was a bad one for the Rays. In a word: brutal.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Brad Boxberger, foreground, reacts after giving up a home run to Texas Rangers' Carlos Gomez during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 23, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) FLMC116
  4. White House offers muddled message on Russia sanctions legislation


    WASHINGTON - White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday that the Trump administration supports new legislation to punish Russia for its meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its aggression toward Ukraine.

    President Donald Trump at the commissioning ceremony for the USS Gerald R. Ford  at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, July 22, 2017. [New York Times]
  5. 'Stranger Things' is coming back; here's the first trailer


    The nostalgia-heavy, small-screen blockbuster Stranger Things returns to Netflix with a new season on Oct. 27 - just in time for a pre-Halloween weekend binge session.

    A scene from the Stranger Things Season 2 trailer.