The Odd Side – August 11, 2015

Community Mourns Man Who Waved at Passers-By

lambertville, Mich. (AP) – A community in far southeast Michigan is remembering a man who would wave at passing motorists every day as he waited for the mail carrier.

For two years, Normal Hall went out to his mailbox, located along a busy road just north of the Michigan-Ohio state line, twice a day and for 30 minutes at a time to greet strangers with a wide smile. But two weeks ago, he waved at motorists for the last time.

Hall died July 28 at age 88. Now an enlarged photo of him waving is displayed next to the mailbox.

Since his death, flowers have appeared at Hall’s mailbox. Drivers have stopped to take photos and others honk as they drive by.

Some have taken to social media to express what Hall’s daily gesture meant to them. Dean Weaver of Temperance wrote a tribute to Hall, whom he didn’t know personally.

“He was out there rain or shine or sleet. I’m a former big-firm corporate lawyer, and I know: Everyone’s out there worried about their busy day, but here’s this man out there every day, sharing his enthusiasm for life,” said Weaver, who often went out of his way to drive past his mailbox.

“One day he went out there to get the mail and he just started waving,” Louise Hall, his wife of 62 years, said.

Hall didn’t let anything stop him from the routine that brightened other people’s days.

“He’d go out there no matter what the weather,” Louise Hall said. “There’d be 15 inches of snow and he’d trudge out there.” She would watch him from the bedroom and call him in after about 30 minutes, but he always objected.

“I saw his legs getting weak, but he was so tickled and so happy to be out there,” she said.

Bounty Hunter Arrested After Mistaking Phoenix Police Chief for Target

PHOENIX (Reuters) – A bounty hunter was arrested after gathering a posse and mistakenly trying to raid the home of Phoenix’s chief of police, officials said Wednesday.

Brent Farley, 43, and 10 others surrounded Chief Joseph Yahner’s home around 10 p.m. local time on Tuesday, thinking they were cornering an Oklahoma fugitive.

Police said the bounty hunters were told they had the wrong address and were asked to leave numerous times.

The department said Farley, who confronted the chief after banging on the door and demanding he come outside, was carrying a handgun, as were several others.

A video of the incident showed Chief Yahner stepping outside his home with a baton in his hand and approaching the bounty hunters. Phoenix police spokesman Trent Crump said there was no physical altercation.

The bondsmen were working on behalf of two bond recovery companies, NorthStar Fugitive Recovery and Delta One Tactical Recovery, police said.

Farley was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. Crump said additional charges against the 10 others were possible as well as for Farley, who is a felon.

Stolen Car Returned to South African Owner After 22 Years

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) – A South African man has been reunited with his car 22 years after it was stolen, thanks to a dogged police investigator.

Pretoria businessman Derick Goosen got a surprising call from warrant officer Kwakwa Ntokola two weeks ago about a gray 1988 Toyota Corolla, the Afrikaans newspaper Beeld reported.

Goosen had reported the car stolen back in 1993 but it turned up only last year when police seized a vehicle at a roadblock in the northern province of Limpopo after noticing that its engine number had been scratched off.

Ntokola, “a true policeman,” then managed to reconstruct the number and eventually traced the owner to Pretoria, police Colonel Ronel Otto told Reuters.

“I’m going to wash it and drive around in it,” Goosen told the Afrikaans. “Everything inside is still in perfect order. I can’t believe it.”

FBI Hopes Video Will Help Solve 25-Year-Old $500 Million Art Heist

BOSTON (Reuters) – Federal investigators in Boston on Thursday released 25-year-old surveillance video showing a security guard admitting a man to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum the night before it was robbed of $500 million worth of art in the largest such heist in U.S. history.

The six-minute, 40-second video shows a young white man with a short jacket being let in by the guard through a rear entrance to the museum shortly after midnight on March 17, 1990, about 24 hours before the heist.

The statute of limitations on the crime has long passed, meaning that if the thieves are found they will not face prosecution. But the FBI, the Boston office of the Justice Department and the museum hope to recover the art.

“This latest request for the public’s assistance illustrates the FBI’s continued commitment to the Gardner investigation,” said Vincent Lisi, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Boston. “By releasing this video, we hope to generate meaningful leads and ultimately recover the stolen artwork.”

The newly released grainy video shows a car pulling up to the museum that matches the description of a vehicle spotted outside shortly before the heist.

The theft occurred when two men dressed as police officers were admitted by security guards to the museum in the early morning hours of March 18, 1990. They allegedly went on to overpower the guards who were found duct-taped to chairs in the museum’s basement the next morning.

Works of art were stolen from the museum, which features the collection of the Boston socialite Isabella Stewart Gardner. Due to a quirk in Gardner’s will, the empty frames from which the paintings were cut still hang on the walls.

The video is one of several avenues investigators are pursuing in their attempt to recover the art.

They also have filed a gun charge against Robert Gentile, 79, of Connecticut, who has a criminal record dating to the 1960s and in whose home FBI investigators found police uniforms and a handwritten list of the stolen art.

Gentile contends he has been arrested twice in an attempt to extract information about the heist but says he knows nothing.