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Strange Security: Santa Is Stolen, a Taxidermied Human Foot (Almost), 10,000 Minks, and More

BREAKING NEWS: Strange things are afoot.

Okay, so that's not really breaking news. The world is a strange place, which is why, once a month, we bring you some of the strange, weird, wacky, or just plain jaw-dropping news stories our editors ran across in the last few weeks.

We often have a disclaimer on this monthly post, noting that security in general is pretty serious business. While we present these stories with a more lighthearted touch than the other news we write about, in many of these stories there are real victims—like the poor minks in the first story or the person whose foot was amputated or the children marched to safety from a phantom assailant. But before I give too much away, on to the strange security-related articles that caught our attention this month:

Number 5

10,000 Minks Running Loose—If you're an animal rights activist, please think things through a bit more than the perpetrator in this story from Ohio. Someone broke into a mink farm and opened cages that housed 25,000 to 40,000 minks. The roadkill slaughter on the closest highway was so bad the roadway had to be closed down for several hours. 

Number 4

Teacher in Maryland Protects Students from Major Threat that Didn't Happen—Her elementary school was silent. Too silent. Eerily silent. So thought a teacher at Green Valley Elementary in Frederick, Maryland. She rounded up her class and marched them to safety at a cafe three-quarters of a mile from the school. Then had a cafe worker call 911 and report multiple stabbings at the school. There were no stabbings or active assailant of any kind going on.

Number 3

Face-Biting Murderer Pleads Insanity—If you're the judge, you almost have to accept the insanity plea in this case. The murders were six years ago now. A Florida State University student killed a couple, apparently at random, and then began chewing on one of the victim's faces. The former student now must prove with clear and convincing evidence that he had a severe mental breakdown that prevented him from understanding that what he was doing was wrong.

Number 2

Nurse Amputates Dying Man's Foot with Plans to Stuff and Display It—Authorities charged a Wisconsin nurse with felony mayhem and intentionally causing great bodily harm to an elderly person. The nurse amputated her patient's blackened, frostbitten foot and allegedly told coworkers she planned to take it to her family's taxidermy business, where it would be used as a prop.

Number 1

Somone Stole Santa Claus. Mrs. Claus, Too—We'll open the 2022 holiday season, which is sure to have plenty of bizarre tales, with this act of theft. Inflatable lawn ornaments have become so ubiquitous that the old, three-dimensional, hard plastic kind are barely made anymore. And when things are barely made anymore, they often gain value as collector's items. Want to guess what happens when you put valuable collector's items out on a lawn unattended all night?

And here are a few more strange security-related news stories that caught our attention, beginning with a source of strange stories that is almost too easy, the U.S. Transportation Service Authority (TSA):

TSA found a gun inside a raw chicken

A century-old shipwreck was unearthed. Then the thieving began.

Russian zookeeper kidnaps animals from Kherson, Ukraine says

Southwest Passenger Claims ‘Jesus Told Her’ To Open Aircraft Door at 37,000 ft

Chompers the python sent would-be thief running in botched robbery attempt, police say. Two things make this story great: (1) The name of the snake is "Chompers!" (2) There's video of the would-be thieves taking off when they actually see the snake.

Check back on the first business day of January to see the wild stories from December!