Strangest State: June 2018

Strangest State: June 2018

Weird news from far-flung Texas.

SAN JACINTO COUNTY // A man selling a rifle on Facebook apparently hoped that posting a photo of the weapon next to a live alligator would garner more attention — and it did, but not from potential buyers. A tipster who thought the man was selling the gator reported him to the Texas game wardens’ crime-stoppers hotline. “Wardens quickly determined the man was actually looking to sell the rifle pictured in his post, not the alligator, which still begged the question, ‘Where did he get the gator?’” recounted the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Field Notes newsletter. When wardens paid the man a visit, he confessed to illegally catching the animal. Charges are pending.

TEXARKANA // Texarkana police officers are known to frequent a spot on West Seventh Street, where they often give out parking tickets. Someone apparently noticed this before setting the perfect cop trap nearby: a dozen glazed doughnuts strung on a rope and hung from a tree. “We had to muster all our willpower but somehow managed to avoid the temptation,” the police wrote on Facebook. KETK pointed out that the trap was set on the notorious stoner holiday of April 20, perhaps as a cheeky attempt to distract the officers.

TEMPLE // A Cricket Wireless store and several nearby businesses were evacuated after someone spotted a “suspicious refrigerator” outside the store. The Temple Daily Telegram reports that the local bomb squad X-rayed the fridge with the help of a robot and an officer in a blast suit. Three nearby schools were placed on lockdown. After the X-rays showed the fridge was empty, the alert was canceled.

PORT LAVACA // At the Port Lavaca Police Department, the Captain has a crisp black uniform, a desk with a window view and a loyal staff at his disposal. He also has a penchant for tuna, since the Captain is a 2-year-old orange-and-white cat. Officers document his hijinks for more than 1,600 followers on Instagram, where you can see the Captain drinking out of the toilet, sitting in on a meeting and being cuddled by his colleagues. The Victoria Advocate reports that the Captain also enjoys “playing with paper clips, catching spiders and trying to win over the officers who prefer dogs by cutely chasing lasers they point on the walls of their break room.”

The Chief is mocking me. #mrbigglesworth #drevil #austinpowers #policehumor #policecat

A post shared by The Captain (@thecaptain_policecat) on

SAN ANTONIO // San Antonio’s annual citywide Fiesta features plenty of royalty — usually debutantes in ball gowns. But only Jerry, a “mixed breed rescue dog with an endearing underbite,” holds the title of El Rey Fido XVI. The San Antonio Express-News reports that the dog’s owners, Jill and Bobby Rosenthal, bought the title with their $30,000 donation to the Humane Society. Jerry, “adorned in sparkly plum robes,” allowed fans to pet him before his coronation. Among the runners-up on Jerry’s royal court: Squish, a whippet mix and social media star, and Ellie, a Chihuahua with “the softest coat in all of San Antonio.”

ROBSTOWN // More than 800 mariachi musicians gathered in a high school gym to break the Guinness World Record for most mariachis performing simultaneously. The sound was equal parts festive and deafening as the musicians, representing at least 38 bands, played “Las Manañitas” and “Volver, Volver.” A previous record-breaking attempt was foiled by what the Corpus Christi Caller-Times described as the “sombrero stipulation,” or Guinness’ requirement that every participating musician wear a sombrero.

HOUSTON // A beef over a Slim Jim led to gunfire at a gas station. Bystander Kenny Allen told KTRK, “This guy came running out of the store while I’m pumping gas yelling, ‘You didn’t pay for that Slim Jim.’ He said, ‘I did pay for the Slim Jim. The next thing you know, [the first] guy reaches in his back, pulls out his gun and shoots him.” The man was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg. As for the beef stick, it fell to the parking lot, where police put an evidence marker on it.

Visit texasobserver.org/strangest-state for more “Strangest State” and links to original stories. Got a local oddity or some small-town news to share? Tips are welcome at cahalan@texasobserver.org.