Strangest State: February 2018

Weird news from far-flung Texas.


A version of this story ran in the February 2018 issue.

Illustration by Drue Wagner

LUFKIN // A masked bandit broke into Angelina County’s probation office early in the morning of December 12. “Very cute but very agitated, so he had to go,” an employee wrote on the office’s Facebook page, along with a photo of a raccoon perched on a desk. “It’s a good way to get your morning started off,” supervisor Dustin Fore told KETK. “Everyone was awake after that.”

EDINBURG // When word got out that a local first-grader had asked Santa for food and a blanket, donations poured in from all over the country. Monte Cristo Elementary School teacher Ruth Espiricueta posted Crystal Pacheco’s letter to Santa on Facebook, writing, “It breaks my heart when I hear them ask for things that we sometimes take for granted.” Within a week, the school had received more than 1,500 blankets, according to the Monitor — enough for every student to take two home.

HUMBLE // A state trooper ticketed a man for speeding in his DeLorean car. Mark Shields told KHOU that the officer asked “the typical Back to the Future questions” during the traffic stop, before writing him a ticket for driving 88 mph — the same speed the DeLorean in the 1985 sci-fi classic must go to travel through time. “I think I’m going to go to court dressed up as a Marty McFly,” Shields said. “Let’s see how far this can go.”


DALLAS // A prankster altered an electronic road sign to broadcast an angry, typo-ridden message to passing motorists. In a video posted to Reddit, the LED sign by a construction zone flashes the message, “I got one thing too say. Fuck Turmp bitch ass. OK. Fuck y’all for voting for that shithead.”

GEORGETOWN // An Austin man was charged with stealing a 134-year-old cemetery headstone for Satanic purposes. According to the Austin American-Statesman, police were investigating the death of a woman at her Georgetown apartment when they saw the headstone leaning against a living room wall. Jeremiah Rhyne, 38, told officers “he knew the deceased was involved in some type of Satanic worship and the headstone was for her altar.”

SEGUIN // After being shamed online, a man who stole a miniature Christmas tree from Whataburger turned himself in. In a December 6 video titled “How the Grinch Stole Whataburger’s Christmas Tree!” the Seguin Police Department asked for the public’s help identifying the tree thief. By December 11, he had returned the tree and agreed to perform community service.

GALENA PARK // School administrators apologized after they were caught digitally altering a homecoming queen’s hair. Wearing her sash and crown, Ebony Smith is beaming in a photo posted on the Facebook page of Galena Park ISD — but her long purple locks, banned by the district’s student handbook, were replaced with brown, CW39 reports. “It’s embarrassing,” Smith said. “It wasn’t even Photoshopped correctly. You can still see purple outlining.”

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