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The Odd Truth, Nov. 1, 2002

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

Pantry Penance

DETROIT — A retiree paid $100 as reimbursement for stealing candy from a school pantry 55 years ago.

The 1947 Detroit Southeastern High School graduate anonymously mailed a letter and a $100 bill to the school district a few weeks ago.

The donor admitted raiding the pantry while doing chores in the lunch room a couple times a week.

"I am a retired professional who has been highly respected all my life," the letter read. "I have certainly been guilty of much greater offenses over the years, but that basic breach of trust has remained in the back of my mind."

The thief admitted taking Hershey bars and a few handfuls of almonds.

The donor noted that the value of the food "might not have been as much as a dollar at that time."

Detroit Public Schools Chief Executive Kenneth Burnley plans to take the money to Southeastern on Friday to teach students that it's never too late to right a wrong.

'Wife Wanted'-- Still

BOW, Wash. - Wife, still wanted. Four years ago Tom Rodal put up a "wife wanted" sign outside his house in Bow, Washington. He's still single. Rodal says he was overwhelmed with calls after the story first made national news. And has been on a lot of dates, since. But Rodal says he hasn't found the woman to share his life and his 350-square-foot house. The sign is down but Rodal says he's still looking for Miss Right.

All Star Voters

PITTSBURGH - Voting is a very big deal for 9,100 Pennsylvanians. They've earned a spot in the state's "Voter Hall of Fame" by not missing a single election in at least 50 consecutive years. Christine McConnell is one of the all-star voters. She cast her first ballot in 1930, just ten years after women won the right to vote. McConnell says back in the day, they used a horse and buggy to get to the polling station. While the transportation has gotten easier, McConnell isn't so sure about the voting process. She doesn't care for voting machines and prefers the old fashioned paper ballots.

Track Team Apprehends Shoplifter

WINFIELD, Kan. - You can run -- but you can't outrun a track team. That's the lesson an unlucky shoplifter learned the hard way. The champion Southwestern College men's cross-country team was warming up near a JC Penney store in Winfield, Kansas, when a suspected shoplifter literally ran right into them. The teenager told the runners he wasn't hurt, and got up and ran away. A moment later, someone from the store told the team the kid was a shoplifter. The guys on the team ran down the teen-aged suspect, who turned over his backpack. The catch was that he was wearing the sneakers he was suspected of stealing. However, police were able to find the teen based on information they found in the book bag.

And The Worst Costume Award Goes To ...

MARANA, Ariz. - Arizona authorities aren't laughing at a high school student's Halloween prank. A Marana High School student dressed as a gunman and frightened classmates with fake explosives yesterday. Authorities say the sophomore wore a mask and had about 50 students frozen in fear in the school's cafeteria. No trick-or-treating for this kid. He's now facing felony charges and spent the night in a juvenile detention center. Officials say the teenager will make an initial court appearance today.

Godzilla At Large In California

NORWALK, Calif. - Godzilla has escaped. But this is no movie monster, he's a 105-pound African tortoise. Godzilla was on loss for three days, but he didn't go very fast, or far. The tortoise was found a few blocks from his Los Angeles area home. The creature apparently burrowed under a back yard fence and made a dash -- or at least a waddle -- for freedom. Animal control officers say Godzilla was lucky he wasn't mistaken for a speed bump and runover. Godzilla is home now, and owner Chuck Gil says he's glad to have him back.

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