Snuggle House, naked escapades top odd news
MADISON — It was a bad year to get naked in Wisconsin.
From strippers who got busted fighting over a $1 tip to a naked would-be burglar who got stuck in the air vents of a building for 12 hours, some of the oddest news of 2013 involved the nude.
The January brawl at a Juneau strip club started after one dancer took a dollar tip given to another by a customer. The fight, according to police, including punching, slapping and pulling of hair.
A 20-year-old man was ordered in March to "stay out of all the libraries on the face of the earth" after he was found masturbating in a public library in Racine.
And a 19-year-old man may have wished he stayed out of the air vents of a veterinary clinic in Milwaukee. Or, at least he might have wanted to think twice about undressing before climbing into the vents to break into the clinic.
Police said they thought the man was trying to prevent his clothes from snagging on screws inside the vents. He wasn't seriously injured in the embarrassing September escapade.
Nudists who gathered during the week at a public beach on the Wisconsin River near Mazomanie had their schedules disrupted this year. State authorities closed it on weekdays in hopes larger weekend crowds would deter any hanky panky.
But that didn't help. Of 13 citations issued for public sex on the beach, 11 were written on — you guessed it — the weekend. Even though the numbers were down, law enforcement officials said illegal activity remained rampant. The citations were issued during only seven days of surveillance.
Things went a little bit better for "Thong Cape Scooter Man," known for cruising Madison clad only in thong underwear and a cape.
Police received calls after the man rode by some students walking to a school bus. That man said while he may have used bad judgment in passing a school, he did so unintentionally.
Since his outfit was enough to keep him from breaking any laws, he was free to ride on.
The cuddlers at Madison's Snuggle House weren't nude either, but that didn't keep them from causing controversy during their three-week venture.
The owner of the business dedicated to "touch therapy" said there was nothing untoward about offering $60-per-hour snuggle sessions in makeshift bedrooms above a bar a block from the Capitol.
But wary city officials weren't so sure.
"There's no way that (sexual assault) will not happen," assistant city attorney Jennifer Zilavy said. "No offense to men, but I don't know any man who wants to just snuggle."
And just like that, the Snuggle House folded its blankets and shut its doors in December.
Those dressed but behaving oddly included a Fond du Lac woman who tried to fake an injury so an ambulance would give her a free ride home.
Police were called after the woman tried to get a man to pay her $100 she said was owed. After he refused, and police told her to leave, the woman threw herself on the ground in an attempt to get a free ambulance ride.
Jana Ganjian also had a free ride for years, living in an upscale Racine hotel since 2004. Ganjian fell behind on her payments to the point that she owed $29,000 by the time she was kicked out.
It's not clear why the hotel allowed her to remain for so long. The hotel manager declined to talk about it.
Another mystery, at least for a while, was the origin of a six-fingered "hand" discovered at Madison recycling plant.
A veteran detective, noting there was no thumb, suggested — and later confirmed — it wasn't a hand at all, but rather a bear paw.
"When it doubt, count the fingers, or in this case, the claws," one supervising sergeant said, according to a police incident report.
Not all the unusual events were sad or disturbing.
In July, a Waukesha man discovered a 1949 high school class ring while using a metal detector near his home. With a little detective work, the man was able to trace the ring back to its owner: 82-year-old Dick Diedrich, of Mattoon, Ill.
Diedrich hadn't seen the ring since 1948, when his sweetheart lost it after taking it off to dissect frogs in biology class. The person who found the ring mailed it back to him.
"'It's your ring' he told me. 'Keep it and enjoy it,'" Diedrich said. "So the bottom line is, I'm now sitting here at 82 years old with my class ring 63 years later."