The Weirdest News from Far-Flung Texas, June Edition

Strangest State: A drunken drive-thru, cocaine granola bars and pig-e-mon police officers.


A version of this story ran in the June 2017 issue.

illustration by Drue Wagner

DUMAS // A runaway teenager was found safe after she hopped a coal train and rode it more than 300 miles. Adalie Rivera, 13, disappeared while on a family vacation in Colorado Springs, and was found by a farmer in Dumas four days later. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports that Rivera, who was covered in coal dust, told police she got off the train “because she ran out of Skittles.”

GROVES // A McDonald’s robbery went south after the thief tried to pass off a hairbrush as a handgun. Gevondis Demond Joseph, 29, demanded cash while wearing a leopard-print bathrobe and orange Crocs. According to a Facebook post by the Groves Police Department, he held the hairbrush under the bathrobe to make it look like a weapon. Joseph made off with about $130, but was arrested after a brief chase on foot.

SILSBEE // A pair of peacocks that frequent the Silsbee Dollar General store have become local celebrities. “They’re like our mascots,” store manager P.J. Schexnayder told the Beaumont Enterprise, adding that the more gregarious of the duo habitually greets shoppers at the door, while the other “prefers to roam around alone behind the store.” The Enterprise held a contest to name the birds, who will henceforth be known as “Jay and Silent Bob.”

COLLEGE STATION // Nothing hits the spot quite like a late-night burger run, but you’ve got to time it right. Robert Lee Mahoney, 20, was arrested for driving under the influence after he fell asleep in a Whataburger drive-thru lane. KBTX reports that a Whataburger employee called police at 4:40 a.m. to report a customer asleep at the wheel. Mahoney eventually woke up to the sound of knocking on his car window — and admitted to officers that he’d downed three beers earlier that night.

SAN ANTONIO // After munching on a Nature Valley granola bar, a woman found a dime bag of cocaine tucked inside the wrapper. Police confirmed that the baggie turned in by Cynthia Rodriguez, 60, was filled with pure cocaine. “I like the crumbs, so I shook it out to get them and the little packet popped out in my hand,” Rodriguez told ABC News. In a statement, manufacturer General Mills said, “We are confident this did not happen in our facility.”

ARANSAS PASS // Gotta frisk ’em all! The Aransas Pass Police Department released a Pokémon-style card game called Pig-E-Mon that features officers’ photos and trivia. Players can learn that Officer James Tuggle, represented by a cuddly, riot-gear-clad “Velocibear,” is “passionate about helping people” and “loves to drive anything that goes fast.” The department announced on Facebook that the game was “catching the Coastal Bend by storm.”

HOUSTON // A diabetic teenager says his cat can tell when he has low blood sugar. Michael Opiela, 17, has noticed for years that his calico cat, Patches, meows incessantly whenever his blood sugar reaches dangerous levels. Researchers have long known that dogs can detect hormonal changes, but this may be the first documented cat case, according to Opiela’s doctor, Michael Yafi. Yafi told KHOU that he planned to present the case at an endocrinology conference in Italy this spring.

Visit for more “Strangest State” and links to original stories. Got a local oddity or some small-town news to share? Tips are welcome at [email protected].

This Strangest State appears in the June 2017 issue of the Texas Observer. Read more from the issue or become a member now to see our reporting before it’s published online.