As a local news organization, Patch covers stories of all kinds, from heartbreaking tragedies to inspiring tales of community brotherhood. But some stories are just plain weird. So, in the spirt of ringing in the new year, here are some of the stranger headlines from the past 12 months. In with the new, out with the weird.
Sometimes a Beach Boy is Not a Beach Boy
An otherwise perfect community cardboard boat race in Riverhead turned into a circus of weird when a local woman charged the stage to announce that she would be appearing on the hit talent show, American Idol. Locals applauded and local journalists rushed in to get the scoop. Unfortunately, it was a lie. Turns out the woman was approached by someone claiming to be Beach Boy Mike Love. He told her American Idol was rigged and that her lack of vocal talent would not be a problem since the show uses trick microphones to give competitors good voices. Click here for more of the strange details of this story.
Commenters on Patch suggested that the imposter had been pulling similar scams on the East End for a while.
Drugs Found in Dark Place
Suffolk County correction officers confiscated drugs from inside an inmate, which he tried to smuggle in as he arrived to begin his sentence.
The East Hampton man was sentenced in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on to one year in the county jail on a felony charge of driving while ability impaired by drugs, according to court records.
When he entered the jail, officers found him in possession of suboxone strips and methadone pills, the county sheriffs office said.
The inmate "had smuggled them into the facility inside a body cavity using a balloon and fishing line to later retrieve the contraband."
Jaguars, Mangy Foxes on the Loose?
A sighting of a possible jaguar on the prowl in East Hampton set off a regional media frenzy, leading reports in most nightly newscasts mostly for the Hamptons jaguar or cougar punchlines that came with this very weird news story.
Those who claimed to have seen the beast said the animal was "jaguar-like" but as the Department of Environmental Conservation investigated, and locals became ever more vigilant in town, the creature took on a few different forms.
First the DEC said the animal could be a fox that has mange, a condition that causes its hair to fall off. Mange can definitely make a fox look cat-like.
But then a town employee said they spotted the creature and that it was no more than a monstrous domestic cat that's grown to jaguar-size as a scavenger in the Hamptons.
The last sighting: Someone in town posted a black jaguar cutout on the village green in East Hampton (though it looked a bit more like a weasel to us).
Lobster Dinner Sparks Hazmat Scare
A hazardous material scare in Southampton put authorities on high alert as they rushed in, donning protective clothing, to inspect a suspicious metal container left outside of a physical therapy office.
What they found, however, was only hazardous to someone with a shellfish allergy.
The container was filled with discarded lobster shells and an empty bottle of French wine.
An office staffer later threw the garbage in a dumpster.
Where Did All Those Dead Crabs Come From?
Hundreds of dead crabs washed up on a beach in Hampton Bays, and depending who you talk you, either Mother Nature or our own pesticides were to blame.
Some authorities blamed warm waters and the year's early arrival of red tide, an algal bloom that's known to harm sea life. On the other hand, the local baykeeper said that this year's heavy pesticide spraying due to an active West Nile season is the likely culprit.
And then there's the smell.