3. 500-Pound Tiger Discovered in Public Housing Complex
Back in 2003, Antoine Yates came to the decision that a baby tiger named Ming was the perfect addition to his Harlem apartment. Ming started off as a cub, but eventually grew into a full-scale tiger who pissed all over the place and consumed buckets of raw chicken on a daily basis. What really tied the room together, however, was the 7ft alligator, Al, Yates bought as a sort of companion for Ming. Per Yates, Ming and Al “used to get nose to nose and sort of interact” -- and now that we’re envisioning the two of them kind of snuggling, the crime maybe wins the “cutest reckless endangerment charge in New York ever.” Yates was caught after he came between Ming and a rescued housecat, which Ming had decided needed eviscerating. His wounds were atypical to say the least, and the hospital tipped off the cops.
4. Guy Plays Elaborate, Expensive, Months-Long Practical Joke on Minister for No Reason
In the winter of 1880, Trinity Church’s pastor was plagued by a series of criminal pranks that may have been the first instances of spam mail ever. You know the old trick of signing some jerk up for a bunch of “bill me later” magazine subscriptions? This is the vintage version: one morning, the Reverend Morgan Dix received mailings from companies across the United States. Soon he was receiving hundreds of them, in addition to people of practically every trade and tradition showing up at his door from dawn to dusk: locksmiths, physicians, horse salesmen, dance instructors, toupee makers, tattoo artists, pawnbrokers, divorce attorneys, girls’ school representatives… all carrying with them letters on the reverend’s stationery, asking for them to visit. Soon, other members of the clergy started receiving rude notes, also allegedly from the reverend, and eventually, the pastor's tormentor tried to extort him.
As they noted over at Strange Company, the endless pestering completely derailed the minister’s life. When they finally tracked down the man behind the madness, who had been calling himself “Gentleman Joe” in teasing letters he sent the minister, his motive was as opaque as the scheme had been elaborate: "I really do not know why I did it," he told a reporter from the New York Sun. "I have a soft spot in that direction. It's a mania. When I get a pen in my hand I have to write."