I’m Sure You are Dying to Know the story behind this week’s extra-weird Headline of the Week (Issue #1310, 21 July 2019):
It’s Not Your Imagination, Things Are Definitely Getting Weirder
Logan County Man Allegedly Driving Stolen Vehicle
Filled with Uranium, a Rattlesnake, and Kentucky Deluxe
KFOR Oklahoma City headline
It seems Stephen Jennings was pulled over in Guthrie, Okla., for an expired license tag. The officer took note of several things: Jennings was driving, a woman was in the passenger seat, and there was a terrarium in the back seat …with a live rattlesnake inside.
Jennings told the officer he had a pistol in the console …about the time the officer was told by radio that the plate he had called in, the expired one on the back of the car, came back as one belonging to a stolen car.
“So now he’s got a rattlesnake, a stolen vehicle, firearm, and somebody under arrest,” said Guthrie Police Sgt. Anthony Gibbs. The passenger apparently admitted the gun was hers, but Rachael Rivera is prohibited from possessing a firearm because she’s a convicted felon, and she was arrested too.
Radioactive, Ore Not?
The stolen car was impounded, and searched. That’s when the officer found a couple of other items: an open bottle of Kentucky Deluxe (a low-priced whiskey), and a “canister of radioactive powdered uranium.” Turns out the cannister was far from purified uranium. It was powdered uranium ore, which isn’t particularly dangerous — and he bought it on Amazon.
No really: $40, free shipping. (And it gets 3.9 stars from 1,286 customer reviews! Though clearly many of the reviews are gags.)
Jennings joked he had it to “make a mega-snake,” but really, he is a metal scrapper and uses a Geiger counter to check metal to see if it’s radioactive before he buys it. Something somewhat radioactive is needed to test Geiger counters. So yes, radioactive; no, not dangerously so, or able to be weaponized.
So, totally legit!
As for the “298 answered questions,” here’s a sample:
Q: “Ive got a Ant hill I want to remove…. is there sufficient quantity to build a working 1-1000th scale Fatman replica to nuke the little buggers?”
A: “Absolutely! I had a similar problem and built one slightly larger, (which I do not recommend, by the way) and it not only killed all the inhabitants of that hill, it wiped out a nearby herd of Nubian goats. There were HAZMAT crews and folks from Homeland Security combing the hills for weeks. I think it was the noise and the mushroom cloud. I would definitely not exceed the 1000th scale.”
Still a Heap o’ Trouble
Jennings is charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, transporting an open container of liquor, driving with a suspended license, and “failure to carry security verification form” (which I presume means proof of insurance).
Rivera was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. Her previous conviction, for embezzlement, resulted in a suspended 3-year prison sentence. The district attorney has already filed papers to revoke that suspension, so she may be headed to prison even before she goes on trial for the new charge.
All for an expired license tag. It’s the little details that can get ya!
P.S.: The answer to the title question: as you may gather from the list of charges, neither the snake nor the uranium were illegal. The stolen vehicle and open container of alcohol were illegal.
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