Weird Pittsburgh: Gators, bees, dogs, Donald Trump and a very unlucky miniature horse | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Weird Pittsburgh: Gators, bees, dogs, Donald Trump and a very unlucky miniature horse

“It’s like a soap opera. You sit on the porch and you get reality TV.”



Beaver police officer Jeffery Wijnen-riems pulled over James Edward Cicco and charged him with a string of offenses related to allegedly carrying medication not in its original container, driving under the influence with a suspended license and violently resisting arrest. During the encounter, Wijnen-riems turned his police dog on Cicco, according to the report, sending the suspect to the hospital with puncture wounds. A witness told news website the Beaver Countian that the officer grabbed Cicco by the arm and screamed profanity at him as soon as he stopped his car. The witness also said that after Cicco yelled, “I surrender” repeatedly, Wijnen-riems retrieved the dog to attack him. Wijnen-riems was the subject of a lawsuit, settled out of court in 2005, claiming he brutalized and/or harassed five people he arrested. The Beaver Countian found what appears to be Wijnen-riems’ Facebook page, and it seems he has a thing for disturbing animal pics and bad free-verse poetry: The patrolman apparently posted a meme of a lion with a bloodied face matched with the sentence, “Everyone wants to be a beast until it’s time to do what real beasts do.” The cover photo is a wolf with bloodied teeth and the profile pic is a dog’s face framed by the words “And when I get there, I will arrive violently.” After its discovery, the page was deleted.

Suburbanites expect, at the very least, to be able to walk through their yards without fear of attack by two kinds of animals at once. That was not the case for one Penn Hills family, which found a 4-foot-long alligator on the loose in its backyard. Firefighters responding to the scene told KDKA they managed to safely corral the animal into a garbage can and tape its mouth shut. During the incident, they disturbed a nest of bees, and several firefighters were stung multiple times. Officials from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium arrived to take custody of the alligator, likely an escaped or abandoned pet. (Keeping an alligator is not illegal in Pennsylvania, but is probably a bad idea.)

The newest additions to Westmoreland County’s “Trump House” are a 14-foot-tall cutout of the carrot-colored candidate and a video camera and security guard to protect it from vandals. Before the April Pennsylvania primary, Leslie Rossi painted the entire exterior of her two-story Youngstown, Pa., rental property in a red, white and blue flag motif and surrounded it with Donald Trump signs. Many people stop to take photos, especially since Rossi added the towering cutout of Trump, printed onto specially cut metal. After teenagers stole and defaced yard signs, Rossi hired an evening guard and put the Route 982 oddity under 24-hour surveillance, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Are you a bad-ass computer hacker? Do you like ice cream? Then a Shadyside business has an offer for you! Millie’s Ice Cream is facing a barrage of prank phone calls. So far, the perp has eluded investigators. “[W]e believe that the prankster is using fairly sophisticated prank-call software,” wrote a shop owner on its Facebook page. So Millie’s is calling on “computer-science whizzes from Carnegie Mellon University and Google and wherever else really smart people work and/or study” and offering “a FREE ICE CREAM FOR LIFE card to the hacker that can crack the case.”

Tracey Lee Giffen, of Fayette County, awoke to find that her husband had imbibed one of her beers, so the 45-year-old woman attacked him with a pair of scissors, police told KDKA. He apparently suffered minor injuries. Neighbors in North Union Township report that the two fight loudly and frequently. Said one: “It’s like a soap opera. You sit on the porch and you get reality TV.” Giffen allegedly assaulted a different man on Christmas Eve 2013 in a dispute over her failure to pick up barbeque sauce. In 2008, she was convicted of charges of repeatedly kicking a pregnant woman in the abdomen.

A witness spotted a suspicious man emerge from a barn in Ephrata, Lancaster County, and reported his license-plate number to police. Once confronted by officers, 21-year-old Travis L. Wagner allegedly admitted that, yes, he had been having sex with the miniature horse in the barn, according to He was arrested on charges of burglary and intercourse with an animal.

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