Best of the bizarre

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GONZO journalist Hunter S. Thompson once said, "It never got weird enough for me," but he never lived in Philadelphia.

This is a city that got its own Jesus and its own cheese-fetish pervert this year. It's a city where a cop can run a phone-sex line and where a man's prosthetic leg can be stolen at a football game.

When you live in a magical land of possibilities like Philly, anything can happen, and it usually does.

Here is some of the best of the bizarre from the City of Brotherly Love in 2014:

 

Mayfair miscreants

In mid-January, a photo surfaced online of a motorist naked from the waist down who was shaking a piece of Swiss cheese like a Polaroid picture. Turned out that the man, identified by police as Christopher Pagano, 41, and dubbed "the Swiss Cheese Pervert" by the media, had been driving around Mayfair flashing his salami stick at women and offering them cash to wrap the slice of Swiss around his junk.

Pagano pleaded guilty to harassing four women in June and is serving eight years of sex-offender probation.

Mayfair also saw the return of a butcher who has it out for tires.

In June, David Toledo, 46, who had been called the "Mayfair Tire Slasher," was sentenced to two years' probation for slashing a dozen of his neighbors' tires in 2012. Before his shocking arrest, Toledo, a butcher, had been the media spokesman for the outraged residents.

Fewer than six months after sentencing, Toledo was arrested again in Mayfair, this time for allegedly putting a glue mousetrap covered with nails under the tire of a resident's vehicle. That case is still pending.

 

Body snatchers

In May, a Delaware County tissue-regeneration specialist made headlines around the world for allegedly stealing more than $350,000 worth of human skin grafts from an area hospital.

The accusations forced many to question whether the accused had a wine cellar full of Chianti and a pantry full of fava beans.

But a closer look at the story in the Daily News revealed that what Gary Dudek allegedly had stolen were medicinal products made from donated foreskins.

Still gross, but perhaps not as skin-crawlingly so.

In October, Sonny Forriest Jr., 57, told the Daily News that his prosthetic leg was stolen in a Lincoln Financial Field parking lot during an Eagles game by a "knockout-gorgeous" but very drunk brunette who jumped on his lap and "started wiggling that butt on my junk."

The woman with the hollow leg ran off with Forriest's prosthetic leg, which later was found abandoned by a cleaning crew on a Broad Street Line subway car.

Forriest was reunited with his limb, but the leg larcenist has yet to be found.

 

Crime and pornishment

State Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery's career was sullied when it was revealed that he was one of several high-ranking government officials involved in an alleged pornographic-email scandal.

McCaffery, who resigned in October, allegedly was the sender or recipient of 234 dirty emails, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase taking the law into your own hands.

Despite retiring amid the scandal, McCaffery, a former Philly cop, still receives an annual pension of $134,000.

Meanwhile, current Philly cop Terra Barrow is running her online lingerie business, Cutie Off Duty, with the department's permission.

Barrow's former moonlighting gigs as a phone-sex operator and as the administrator of pornographic-fetish websites were exposed in February in the Daily News.

Barrow, who joined the force in 1999, said she stopped running the sex line and porn sites in 2011. Police said there were no grounds for discipline against Barrow because her moonlighting gigs were not expressly forbidden by department policy.

 

For God's sake!

In July, 42 consecrated virgins from across the country gathered at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for the U.S. Association of Consecrated Virgins annual convocation.

The gathering provoked many questions: What is a consecrated virgin? Is there a test? Has anyone ever changed her mind?

Consecrated virgins are considered "brides of Christ" who give "the gift" of virginity they believe God has given them back to Jesus. They wear a ring symbolizing their union with Christ but they live in the modern world, not as part of a religious community.

And no, there is no formal virginity test and nobody has ever asked for a divorce from Jesus.

To the best of our knowledge, the convocation of consecrated virgins did not run into Philly Jesus while they were in town, or things could have gotten awkward.

Philly Jesus is Michael Grant, 28, a former heroin addict who, since April, has been dressing up as Jesus and hanging out at LOVE Park, taking pictures with tourists.

He's big on Twitter and Instagram and, after an August profile in the Daily News, his story went worldwide.

In November, a presumably bored cop arrested Philly Jesus at LOVE Park and charged him with disorderly conduct and failure to disperse.

With a trial date just days before Christmas, Philly Jesus and his lawyer vowed to fight the case, but the District Attorney's Office dropped all charges before it went to trial.

 

Groping for trouble

From criminals to captains, this year some people had a hard time keeping their hands to themselves.

Earlier this month, Michael Jenkins approached an Upper Darby McDonald's drive-thru window on foot and demanded a date with the window attendant, police said.

When she blew him off, Jenkins grabbed her breast through the window and then ran to a bar, police said. When officers caught him there, he allegedly told the cops that he was a "ladies' man."

Claude Giroux, captain of the Flyers, also got grabby in July when he allegedly gripped the buttocks of a male police officer in Ottawa.

Giroux, 26, allegedly drunk at the time, was not charged with a crime. He later called the incident a "misguided attempt at humor."

 

Gotta hand it to 'em

Two men who took matters into their own hands were caught by the long arm of the law.

In November, SEPTA cop Kevin Fant, 44, was fired after someone allegedly filmed him masturbating on the Broad Street subway line and posted the footage on social media.

Talk about taking pleasure in your work.

SEPTA's social-media team found the clip, identified Fant and turned their findings over to the District Attorney's Office, which charged him with indecent exposure and related offenses.

Just this month, citizen and presumed PCP-connoisseur Carlen Higgs walked into the Upper Darby police station for no apparent reason, sat on a bench and lit up a joint, according to police.

Once in custody for possession of marijuana, Higgs, 33, unloaded his bowels on the floor of his holding cell and then picked up his pile and spread it all over the cell's walls, placing himself at the top of the department's s--- list, police said.

 

Revenge with a vengeance

It's often said that revenge is a dish best served cold, but in Philadelphia sometimes it comes with a side of rats or at the bottom of the Delaware River.

A love triangle in Grays Ferry in April led a posse of angry women to dump boxes of rats inside the house of a 30-year-old woman before they assaulted her.

A romance gone wrong was also the motivation for a man in the throes of a bitter divorce to drive the little red Corvette that was registered to his wife into the Delaware River one November night, according to police.

John Kramer, 50, told the Daily News he was "sick and tired of everybody fighting over a car" and he "just wanted to get rid of it."

For his alleged act of vengeance, Kramer was charged with harassment, reckless endangerment and related offenses.

 

Bouncing babies

We end our look back at the bizarre with two babies who made their entrances in unique ways.

On a snowy Jan. 22, Bella Sung-Ah Sofia Bonanni was born on a bright-green plastic sled on a residential street in Roxborough.

Her father had bought the sled the day before, knowing that a snowstorm was coming and that he'd have to park his car at the bottom of the hill. The sled was supposed to transport his pregnant wife to the car in case of emergency, but Bella was born on the sled with help from her father and neighbors.

Baby Kris Li made an equally exciting entrance on Christmas, when he was born on the Market-Frankford El.

His parents had hopped aboard the El to try to make it to Hahnemann University Hospital, but little Kris couldn't wait and his mother announced to other passengers: "Philly, my baby is coming!"

Philly, we can't wait to see what strange and bizarre things are coming our way in 2015.

 


On Twitter: @FarFarrAway

Online: ph.ly/crime

Blog: ph.ly/Delco