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A Strange End to 2022: Impersonating a Soccer Star, Stealing from De Niro, and Finding Criminal Inspiration from the Movie Office Space

We begin the new year in Today in Security by looking back at the unusual security news from last month. You know there’s a lot of news to choose from when a bull sperm heist doesn’t make the top five. (Full disclosure: the story would have made the top five had it been more than 102 words in an Associated Press article saying German police were seeking help in the case.)

I am happy to report that no one is injured in our top five strange security articles from December, so we do not need our usual monthly disclaimer, which notes that security news generally has serious consequences, and while the stories may be unusual, we don’t want to diminish any suffering from victims in the articles. Of course, we do have the additional news stories with human skulls and people traumatized by a faked labor from a pregnant woman on an airplane, so, yeah, go ahead and apply that disclaimer as we jump into the top five:

Number 5

Neymar Doppelganger Causes Stir at World Cup—A man resembling Brazilian soccer great Neymar donned a Brazil jersey in Qatar during the World Cup and impersonated the star. The man apparently has made a career of satirizing Neymar. Hundreds of fans, fooled by the appearances in Qatar, sought autographs. The impersonator even made it onto a World Cup field when security mistook him for the real Neymar. 

Number 4The Company Will Never Miss Fractions of a Cent—If this theft idea sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the plot of the 1999 oddball comedy Office Space. A software engineer in Seattle was inspired by the movie and allegedly wrote a program to divert $300,000 of customer fees to his personal account.

Number 3

Mysterious Bass Vibrations Solved: Fish in Heat—South Tampa residents were making noise complaints about a low rumble—more felt than heard. Investigators checked the nearby MacDill Air Force Base and the port, but they came away empty-handed. Never fear: a marine biologist can crack this case. The leading theory is the noise is coming from the bay, where a bumper crop of black drum are beginning to mate and making a racket in the process.

Number 2Woman Attempts to Steal Presents From Under Robert De Niro’s Tree—If you’re going to break into a house to steal Christmas presents, Robert De Niro’s place is probably a pretty lucrative target. It’s unclear if the woman in question knew it was De Niro’s Manhattan townhouse—the police who saw her breaking into the house did not know it was the actor's home until he came downstairs when he heard the commotion.

Number 1Man Admits to Firing Gun Leaving Holes in Neighbors House—A man found bullet holes in his house siding and his son’s bedroom window. Canvassing, police found a 76-year-old neighbor who said he was shooting a .22 caliber rifle at squirrels on his birdfeeder. When he was being arrested, police reported his wife saying, “Well, I told you.” Why is this the top strange security of the month? It’s because this editor can empathize with the motives of the neighbor, if not the tactics, because a squirrel inflicted nearly $20,000 in damage to said editor's car by building a nest in it. 

And now a few more stories, in addition to bull sperm theft, that caught our eye in December:

Mexican authorities intercept 4 skulls being sent to South Carolina

Bungling gang of burglars caught when one of them ordered burger in middle of a raid

Granite statue of 19th-century California meat-packing magnate is Beheaded

Brazilian Lottery Shop Heist Sees Bungling Burglars Lose Loot in Botched Escape

27 flee plane in Spain after pregnant woman simulates labor