Dead Man Keeps Paying Bills

Electronic banking can have its down side.

A Winnipeg, Manitoba, man died nearly two years ago, but thanks to automatic bill payments, no one noticed.

"How can that happen, for God's sake? Two years!" exclaimed Sam Shuster, a neighbor of Jim Sulkers, to the Canadian Press wire service.

"I used to ask the president of the [condominium] board of directors 'Where in the hell is he?'" Shuster added. "She said all she knew was the bank gets the monthly money, so we don't worry about it."

Sulkers, said to be in his 50s, suffered from multiple sclerosis (search). The province's chief medical examiner said his mummified corpse bore no sign of trauma, though an exact cause of death could not be determined.

A cousin, Kim Dyck, who lives across town, said she hadn't been in contact with Sulkers for about 10 years, but added that some other relatives had gone by his apartment last summer.

"They knocked on his door and he didn't answer," Dyck said. "You assume he isn't home. You certainly don't assume he's dead."

Dyck said she figured automatically deposited pension payments had kept Sulkers' bank account in the black.

Neighbors said his mailbox had filled up several times, but was regularly emptied by the mailman.

A Canada Post (search) spokesman said mailmen were supposed to let supervisors know when that happened.

Sulkers' body was finally discovered on Aug. 25. A newspaper in the apartment was dated Nov. 21, 2002, and a calendar on the wall was open to the same month.

"It's odd that we live in a society where technology can take care of our affairs like that, even if we passed away two years ago, and nobody's noticed," said Marcel Baril, executive director of the Winnipeg Family Centre.

— Thanks to Out There reader Jim B.

Very Dirty Money Might Land Shrink in Jail

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — A psychiatrist who police say smeared excrement on dollar bills he used to pay a parking ticket has been charged with harassment of a public official.

Ronald Preston McPike, 52, was arrested Sept. 30 at his office in Burlington.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge, a misdemeanor, and was released on $125 bond pending a Dec. 8 court appearance.

Officers received an envelope in July labeled "Foreign brown substance on bills." The envelope contained several dollar bills and a parking ticket made out to a vehicle registered to McPike, police said.

Tests indicated the brown substance was fecal matter and indicated that the stain patterns resulted from the matter being smeared on the bills.

"All personnel that dealt with the bills were offended by what the defendant did," an affidavit said.

McPike told police the money fell into a toilet and was retrieved to pay the parking ticket, police said.

If convicted, McPike could face up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

— Thanks to Out There reader Jim G.

Lonely Dog Calls 911

FRANKLIN, Maine (AP) — A playful pooch might wind up in the doghouse after calling 911 on its owners' phone.

An emergency operator answered a 911 call early in the morning of Sept. 5, but nobody was on the line and all the operator could hear was a shuffling noise in the background, said Hancock County Sheriff's Deputy Shane Campbell.

Campbell and two emergency medical technicians went to the house to investigate, but the owners weren't home. What they found instead was a husky puppy and a chewed-up cordless phone on the floor.

The homeowners later said that it was the first time they had left the dog at home by itself, Campbell said.

"He didn't need any help," the deputy said of the dog. "He hit the right numbers, though."

— Thanks to Out There reader Dale M.

Eight-Year-Old Cuffed, Arrested After Fight

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Police handcuffed and arrested an 8-year-old boy after a fight and charged him with misdemeanor battery and criminal mischief.

First-grader Isaac Sutton was arrested last Monday by a Tallahassee police officer after a fight with a 10-year-old boy in his neighborhood. A police report says Isaac punched and slapped the other boy during an argument.

The victim's mother called police. Isaac was taken to a juvenile center and released to his mother after midnight.

"This was children's stuff, a disagreement between two neighborhood kids," said Kathy Garner, Isaac's attorney. The boy's arrest was made public by his mother, Pamela Kelly.

It was the second time in recent weeks that a north Florida elementary school student has been booked by police for fighting.

A 7-year-old in neighboring Jefferson County was arrested at school Sept. 1 for allegedly fighting another student, hitting a teacher and scratching a police officer.

In Isaac's case, assistant city attorney Rick Courtemanche said the arresting officer decided there was enough evidence to arrest the 4-foot-10, 70-pound boy. And, he said, city policy requires officers to handcuff juveniles when taking them to the county's Juvenile Assessment Center.

"He just needs a good talking-to," Garner said. "This doesn't need to be handled in the judicial system."

Drunk Driver Steals Car Back From Police

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) — A drunk driver was arrested Friday morning after he stole his own car — from the police — and ran it into a ditch, officials said.

The 53-year-old man had been pulled over for "swerving all over the road," said Bjoern Ohlin, shift commander at the Flemingsberg police station, on the outskirts of Stockholm.

Police impounded the car and took the man back to the station for an alcohol test, Ohlin said. But after the man was fined and set free — as most drunk drivers are in Sweden — he took a taxi back to where police had left his car and took it back, using his spare key.

"When a patrol car was on the way to the site to help tow the car, it blew past them in the other direction," Ohlin said.

Police were able to pull the man over — again — but as they approached the car he took off at a high speed. He then swerved off the road into a ditch, flipping the car, Ohlin said.

He was being treated Friday with minor injuries at Huddinge Hospital in outside Stockholm. Ohlin said he will face charges of drunk driving and violating police orders.

Woman Admits to Biting Off Boyfriend's Tongue

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A woman pleaded guilty to third-degree assault Thursday for biting off a piece of her boyfriend's tongue in the midst of a kiss.

Pamela D. Johnson told police that she had argued with Larry Sylvester early June 16 in the bedroom of her St. Paul apartment.

When the argument ended, Sylvester tried to make up by hugging and kissing her, but Johnson said she became fearful and "bit down a little too hard" on his tongue, according to a criminal complaint.

Sylvester, who at one time was engaged to Johnson, was taken to Regions Hospital (search), where doctors found that the front third of his tongue was missing.

Police couldn't find the bitten piece, and Johnson told officers that she doesn't remember what happened to it.

In her plea Thursday, she did not admit to assaulting Sylvester but agreed that there is sufficient evidence for a jury to find her guilty. She will be sentenced Nov. 16 by Ramsey County District Judge Marybeth Dorn.

Third-degree assault carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, according to the state statute.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

Got a good "Out There" story in your hometown? We'd like to know about it. Send an e-mail, with a Web link (we need to authenticate these things), to