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An Absurd October Comes to a Close

This Halloween edition of Strange Security probably doesn’t do the holiday justice. There is some witchcraft, a creepy mannequin impostor, and a pretty freakin’ scary-looking wolf creation—but more than spookiness and horror, the stories give a nod to the absurd. So we’re going to celebrate the absurdity the holiday represents.

Our usual disclaimer: Security is serious business, and even when we take a lighter touch at reporting the news, there are victims in these stories, and we do not at all mean to diminish any suffering that occurred as a result of these stories.

Number 5

Company Tries to Pay $23,500 Legal Settlement with Coins—It’s not really a new story anymore. An angry party is forced to pay for something that the angry party didn’t think it should have to pay. They try to extend a middle finger to the recipient of the payment by paying thousands of dollars in coins (one time, as an extra insult, it was $20,000 of oily pennies). The news article helpfully points out it was 6,500 pounds of coins. Like all these situations, it did not work, the angry party had to pay by conventional means, and also deal with all the coins they had procured.

Number 4

Some Thieves Don’t Mind Coins—A tractor-trailer toting a shipment of dimes from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia to Miami was burglarized while the driver slept. The thieves took more than two million dimes. They were caught when they tried to convert their dimes into thousands of dollars of cash at several banks in Maryland and the outskirts of Philadelphia. The article did not say how much the dimes weighed, but the editors here at the Strange Security offices are here for you: two million dimes weighs 10,000 pounds.

Number 3

Witchcraft Gnomes Placed to Curse Football Match—Before a football match at Pedro Bidegain Stadium in Argentina, gnome statues were placed at various places surrounding the site. The Reuters story said there was a delay in removing the statues because locals believed they were placed there by witchcraft and no one wanted to touch them. In what seems like a missed opportunity, the article did not say who won the football match.

Number 2

Mannequin Thief Hits Warsaw Shopping Malls—No, this is not about stealing mannequins, though that would certainly be strange and perhaps NSFW (not safe for work). This is the story about a man in Warsaw, Poland, who climbed into a shop window and stood completely still until well after the store had closed. He stole jewelry and other high-ticket items.

Number 1

My What Strange Legs You Have Grandma, Not to Mention Those Fangs and Red Eyes!—A mechanical wolf, dubbed The Monster Wolf, patrols the outskirts of Takikawa, a city in Japan. The wolf robot, with fierce red eyes, snarling fangs, and a loud howl, is being used by municipalities to try to keep bears from encroaching on heavily populated areas. According to the manufacturer, more and more local governments are ordering the …creature? …creation? Let’s just call it a Frankenwolf. The farmland that used to surround major cities is becoming more and more sparsely populated, and bears are migrating from the surrounding forests into the farmlands, where they begin to get acclimated to humans.

And now a few other stories from the last month that caught our editors’ eyes:

What do you do with $73,000 of boosted crabs?

Man, 77, meant to sell ill-gotten erectile drugs in sprawling Florida retirement community, feds say

New Zealanders are blasting Celine Dion until 3 a.m., leaving some miserable

Motorist fined after dog seen behind wheel of car