Weird Pittsburgh: Reporting strange, odd and just plain bizarre news from across Western Pennsylvania | Weird Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Weird Pittsburgh: Reporting strange, odd and just plain bizarre news from across Western Pennsylvania

May 18, 2016

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As far as criminal pseudonyms go, Gingerbread Man doesn’t seem like it’d earn much respect on a cell block, or even among Spider-Man’s adversaries, yet that’s how Heath Emory Miller, wanted for a string of burglaries, described himself in social-media posts taunting police. Miller, 25, apparently spotted officers coming his way in a Springhill park and dashed into a wooded area. “They call me the gingerbread man,” he later wrote on Facebook, according to WPXI. “Catch me if u can. I’m running as fast as I can.” Police arrested his girlfriend on charges of sheltering him, but didn’t find the alleged nursery-rhyming thief at her residence then. “You gotta be quicker then [sic] that,” he posted soon after, adding “Lol. Gingerbread man.” The next day, police tracked Miller down to the attic of a North Side home, leaving his reputation in crumbs.

Bird cams have become easy ways for nature-lovers to watch the progress of wild birds as they nest. Viewership usually peaks when eggs are expected to hatch. Watchers of the National Aviary’s Pitt Peregrine Falcon Nest Cam — recording a nest on the Cathedral of Learning — were shocked when the mother falcon, Hope, killed her second hatchling and fed its remains to her first. “I have never seen this behavior before and don’t know why it occurred,” wrote WQED employee and bird expert Kate St. John, who runs the cam, on the Aviary’s website. Art McMorris, the state Game Commission’s peregrine coordinator, was also baffled. An ornithologist “Ask the Expert” session at the Aviary was abruptly canceled as the team apparently has no answers anymore, just dark, existential questions. 

Well, at least they had good reasons: 73-year-old Loretta Jean Dennis-Jarrett of Pittsburgh allegedly stormed into her husband’s apartment and fired two shots at him, missing both times, but causing the man’s caretaker to take cover and his friend to awake from snoozing on the couch. After the 76-year-old husband wrestled away the pistol and police came, Dennis-Jarrett reportedly said she was mad he owed her money, was hiding her shoes and wouldn’t return her calls, reports TribLive.com. Meanwhile, New Sewickley Township police are looking for a driver who waved a gun at another motorist for driving too slow, reports the Beaver County Times. Lastly, David Allen Yingling, 61, of Indiana County, fatally shot his roommate because he “was tired of him calling [his] brother a retard,” police told TribLive.

Last year, Pennsylvania enacted a law to stop the piling up of untested rape kits. Police departments are now required to pick up kits within three days of notice from a hospital, transfer them to a lab within 15 days and inform the state Health Department when they receive a kit. Physician General Rachel Levine says that only a third of departments have complied with that last part. She bluntly told the Associated Press she suspects they’re trying to avoid a penalty for not processing the kits in time and “that their municipality knows they didn’t send us a report.” Tom Gross, executive director of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, countered that “it’s mostly a question of awareness” and said that departments might not know about the new mandates — because, after all, why should a police department be expected to keep up with new laws?

A state court ruled that a Westmoreland County woman who walked out of her job after complaining about a coworker’s body odor did not have “necessitous and compelling” reasons to quit. Sherry Williamson was a production worker for Cook Inc., a Vandergrift medical-supply company, reports PennLive.com, when the dispute over BO — and resultant HR hullabaloo — caused her to voluntarily leave. Judges ruled that the situation did not meet the threshold that would permit Williamson to collect unemployment compensation (though they never subpoenaed the coworker to come in to be sniffed).

Police are seeking a burglary suspect whose attempt to rob a motorist outside a Kwik Fill station near Uniontown was disabled with a one-word retort. The man, disguised by a gray hoodie and camouflage bandanna, reportedly walked up, stuck his hands in his pockets as if he had a gun, and said, “Give me all the money now!” The victim continued pumping gas and said, “Really?” according to the AP, ending the encounter. The suspect was described as 5-foot-9, thinly built and utterly unimpressive.


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