Weird Pittsburgh this week: Kylo Ren masks, Ek Tha Tiger, more naked running | Weird Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Weird Pittsburgh this week: Kylo Ren masks, Ek Tha Tiger, more naked running

Kylo Ren masks, Ek That Tiger hacks, more running in the nude

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A 22-year-old staffer for U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, a Republican from Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered Ninth District that includes parts of Fayette and Westmoreland counties, says that Shuster’s political opponent accosted her at a campaign booth at the Fayette County Fair, grabbing her “tightly by the wrist” while pressing her for information about Shuster’s campaign. Real-estate investor Art Halvorson is running against Shuster as a Democrat, even though he’s a staunch conservative. Halvorson challenged the congressman in Republican primaries in 2014 and 2016 and twice lost, but this year he had a backup plan: He had voters registered as Democrats write in his name. With no serious candidate and little Democratic activity in the solidly Republican district, Halvorson got on the ballot to challenge Shuster in the general election (though he’s had no coordination with the local or national Democratic Party). In a report filed with the private firm that provided security for the fair, obtained by the Herald-Standard of Uniontown, Shuster staffer Meghan Boocks claims Halvorson walked up and literally squeezed her for the name of Shuster’s campaign manager. “Then, he said I could personally tell my boss that he would destroy him in the election and take his job,” she added. Halvorson told the newspaper, “These are absolutely false statements and I vehemently deny them,” though he said he did approach Boocks “to figure out who Shuster’s campaign manager was,” information he didn’t know even though he had been running against Shuster for months.

Pittsburgh Public Schools paid the Perkins Consulting Group of Connecticut $91,690 to find its next superintendent. After the job was offered to Anthony Hamlet, a school administrator from Florida, the Palm Beach Record found that Hamlet may have fibbed a bit on his résumé, embellishing improvements in graduation and suspension rates and state ratings of schools he oversaw in Palm Beach County. This led to questions about why the Perkins Consulting Group did not uncover the same discrepancies and what exactly it did with the taxpayer money it received. Invoices published by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review showed that Perkins listed broad categories of services, with no receipts or itemizations. Among the charges were $15,000 worth of “data collection,” $3,980 in “application processing and analysis” and $1,990 for “reference checks,” but none of those apparently included a simple check of Hamlet’s claims against readily available public records. Perkins also spent $11,940 on a retreat for the school board that somehow helped in the superintendent issue. Board President Regina Holley told the Trib, “My concern was really not going over the $100,000 limit” the board allotted for the search. (Even after the discrepancies were discovered, Hamlet got to keep the $210,000-a-year job.)

Police say they have arrested the “Star Wars bandits” who robbed two pharmacies at gunpoint while both wore masks of Kylo Ren, the villain of The Force Awakens. In March, Stephan Edward Corrick and Dana Lee Shipley allegedly held up Palmer’s Drug Store in West Deer, taking painkillers and $2,000 in cash, and, in April, robbed the Keystone Pharmacy in New Alexandria, police told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Their memorable disguises gave police a lead: Officers reviewed surveillance footage from a Target near the West Deer pharmacy and spotted two middle-aged men buying the $9.99 masks the day before the crime. The two apparently intended to purchase items to repurpose shortly before their alleged crimes; police say en route to the heist in New Alexandria, they bought sexy handcuffs at a Murrysville adult store, removing the pink fuzzy lining before using them to restrain drug-store employees.

Somewhere, there is a computer mastermind who doesn’t want you to know about the work being done by the Allegheny County Controller’s Office. The website of the office, which oversees the county’s day-to-day fiscal operations, was hacked by someone who goes by Ek Tha Tiger (which is also the name of a 2012 Indian action movie). Last week, visitors to the site were greeted by a bragging message from Ek Tha Tiger and — even more dastardly — the sound of a song by early-’00s rock band Linkin Park. Controller Chelsa Wagner told WTAE that this is not the first time the website has been vandalized, even though it contains no sensitive information, only freely published info and reports.

State police say a Southampton Township resident opened his camper and found a nude stranger sleeping. Public Opinion, a Canonsburg newspaper, reports that, once roused, 30-year-old James Stine allegedly bolted and ran down a street, still buck-naked, and was charged with lewd conduct.

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