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Illustration by Security Management

Settle In: A Short Month Yields Long Strange Security Stories

On this Leap Day we have our monthly look back at the unusual security-adjacent news our editors have run across recently. This month we present a long-read edition. As often as not, the strange security news we present is so short, the little sentence or two we provide gives you the whole story—or sometimes it’s just a link to a video. (The first two items in the “more stories” section at the end are examples.) But today, we present a top five countdown with strange stories you can sink your teeth into. Some are not classic long-read journalism, but the details are there, and you’ll want to take an extra moment to dig a little deeper.

But first, our usual disclaimer: Security is serious, and the majority of security-related news stories have victims. We present this monthly column with a lighter touch, but we do not mean to diminish the experiences of the victims in these stories (like those poor Secret Service agents in the story that begins our countdown).

Number 5Secret Service Had to Adjust Tactics to Avoid Bites From Biden’s Dog: A nightmare for executive protection specialists is a dog that thinks it can do a better job of protecting the principal than the specialist. Such is the case with Commander, U.S. President Joe Biden’s dog who attacked Secret Service agents in at least 24 incidents.

Number 4Super Bowl Parade Shooting: The Real Story Behind Fake Criminal 'Sahil Omar': A guy on Twitter, now X, made up a person he named Sahil Omar, and he named Omar as a perpetrator in several breaking news, multiple-casualty incidents as they transpired. He then blames a porous border for the incident. The fiction proved popular on X with some American right-wing accounts after the fake Omar was linked with the Kansas City Super Bowl parade shooting, and it has fooled some politicians who used their platforms to propagate the nonsense.

Number 3A Loophole Got Him a Free New York Hotel Stay for Five Years. Then He Claimed to Own the Building: What do you do when your fraudulent activity confounds the legal system so you pretty much get away with it? Assuming you won’t come clean and correct the injustice, your best course is just to lay low and accept your good luck. Not Mickey Barreto in New York City. Not only did he claim to own the building he was squatting in, he tried to charge others rent.

Number 2Missing Monkey Trapped by Yorkshire Pudding in Scotland: Okay, so this one clocks in at 723 words, so it’s not exactly a long read. However, we’re going to slide it into the Long Reads edition because of The Guardian’s impressive mapping. They provide no less than three layers of maps showing the whereabouts of the macaque before it was tranquilized thanks to high-tech and low-tech security techniques: thermal-imaging drones and pudding batter.

Number 1A Plush Dog, Samurai Sword, and 42,439 Guns: Inside an N.Y.P.D. Basement: From the article: “The office of the Manhattan Property Clerk, as it is known, is a subterranean repository for lost objects and the tangible aftermath of crime and misadventure. …Thousands of people walk through One Police Plaza each day not knowing an archive that allows the criminal justice system to run is just one story below their feet.” Come on, you know you want to know what’s in the keep.

More stories that caught our attention in the last month:

Intruder spills 60,000 litres of wine worth €2.5m at Spanish winery

Watch: Cop dressed as teddy bear pounces on Valentine’s Day

An Alabama radio station’s 200-foot steel tower is missing, manager says

Three men arrested after accidentally livestreaming own crime for 90 minutes

Deputy scared by an acorn hitting his cruiser opens fire in street