Every year, since 2006, we have taken a look back at some of the most interesting—and by most interesting we mean strangest–area stories of the year.
And now we’re taking a look back at the past decade’s worth of The Rochies.
Compiled by Steve Lange
I am now doubling my alumni donation!
The back page of the 2014 Winona State University Foundation annual report included an 800 number to reach the school’s alumni relations department. However, a few digits were transposed and alums hoping to stay in touch with old teachers or former classmates were greeted with an automated offer for relations of a different sort. A hotline featuring a sexy-voiced woman asked former Warriors to Press 1 to speak with “hot guys” or Press 2 to speak with “hot girls.”
“That’s a cool ski mask. Also, do you want to buy that gun you’re holding?”
In July of 2015, a Rochester convenience store clerk who didn’t believe he was being robbed seems to have stymied a suspect’s attempt, and the robber left empty-handed. The man told the clerk, “hurry up, or I’ll shoot,” said Capt. John Sherwin, but the cashier told officers he “didn’t think (the situation) was real.” …The robber then started a count-down, Sherwin said, but after reaching “1,” he simply left with no money.
“All units, be on the lookout for a white male, mid-20s, last seen driving a silver 2004 Technibilt grocery cart, right front wheel spinning wildly.”
In June of 2009, when a tornado knocked out power to Austin, a 25-year-old man allegedly shoplifted nearly $1,000 worth of groceries from the Austin Hy-Vee and attempted to make a getaway with a stolen grocery cart. He was apprehended 10 blocks away after a chase that reached speeds up to 4 miles per hour.
Justice is served. Pork chops, thankfully, were not.
In April ‘09, a Houston, Minn., woman received one year probation and was fined for veterinary bills for a 2007 animal cruelty incident in which the potbellied pig she was pigsitting tripled in size under her care.
The pig allegedly ballooned from 50 to 150 pounds, and gained so much weight that [EDITOR’S WARNING: DROP THIS MAGAZINE ON THE FLOOR RIGHT NOW AND RUN OUT OF THE ROOM IF YOU’RE SQUEAMISH] the pig’s collar “became embedded in its neck so deeply that it had to be surgically removed.”
One last tidbit from this story: “’That pig is my life,’ said the pig’s owner, Michelle Schmitz, who has the pig’s name [Alaina] tattooed on her [Schmitz’s] body.”
And his Power Wheels is a 1980 Firebird.
In May, a 3-year-old Red Wing boy, Brady Arneson, won first prize in the 2008 Minnesota Mullet Contest, sponsored by Hockey Moms magazine. Mullets are a family tradition for the Arnesons—Brady’s older brother, Blake, won the same award in 2005. Their father, Scott, had a mullet as a child.
But this cornbread was juuuuusst right.
In February of ‘09, a couple in Preston came home to find a 42-year-old Wisconsin man sleeping on their couch. When they hid in the bathroom to call 911, the man woke up and, according to police reports, “allegedly ate some cornbread, rummaged through a wallet, let the family’s dog out of its kennel and went through the family’s laundry” and stole a jacket.
When the man left the house, he said, “Thank you for the cornbread … I am also stealing your coat or jacket.”
Fillmore County sheriff’s deputies, after tracking footprints in the snow, chased the suspect across a field, through the woods, under a rock cliff, and across a stream. The man was eventually apprehended climbing up a bluff in Forestville State Park.
“Also, I’m having trouble answering your interrogating questions due to my ice cream headache.”
After a Red Wing Church was broken into in March of 2015, officers found “an ice cream container lid on a kitchen counter and some chocolate ice cream in the garbage.” Soon after, they stopped three suspects—two Wisconsin men and a Minnesota teenager—and an officer “observed a chocolate residue on the lips of one of the suspects,” which led to arrests and eventual convictions.
To read more of the strangest area stories visit January Rochester Magazine.