In Magazine: three thieves manage to steal a 300m freight train, an artillery grenade hidden in the base of a statue turns out to be a time capsule, ornithologists report sighting a black-and-white blackbird and a foreign visitor gets fined for directing traffic in the city center dressed as a clown.

Illustrative photo: František TichýIllustrative photo: František Tichý A court in Olomouc recently confirmed five to seven year sentences for what has been dubbed the rail theft of the century. Three men were found guilty of stealing a 300-metre-long freight train from the firm TSS Cargo. If you are wondering how it is possible to steal an engine and twenty-five wagons in broad daylight the answer is simple- the trio rented the train for a day, failed to pay the money and instead set off for Poland where they re-sprayed it a different color and changed all the ID signs and numbers. The police failed to find it but the company employed private detectives who eventually traced it in Poland. The identity of one of the culprits came as a huge shock – the man was a former city councilor and one of the country’s leading experts on the renovation of historical trains. Clearly neither of those jobs paid well enough…


Illustrative photo: Kristýna MakováIllustrative photo: Kristýna Maková A restorer working on the St. Nepomuk statue in the town of Norberčany in the Olomouc region alarmed the local fire brigade and explosives experts after finding an artillery grenade hidden in an opening in the base of the statue. The artillery grenade turned out to be a time capsule containing written materials, banknotes and about 20 coins of different sizes used in the years of the First Republic (1918 to 1938). The documents reporting on village affairs were the work of a local teacher who appears to have been the town chronicler. The artefacts were handed over to conservationists and will be shown in the regional museum in Olomouc but the village of Norberčany will get a copy made of all the documents the capsule contained, including a list of all the village inhabitants in 1925. And the locals have decided that once restoration work on the statue of St. Nepomuk is finished they will place their own time capsule into the base of the statue for future generations.


Illustrative photo: Barbora KmentováIllustrative photo: Barbora Kmentová Czech ornithologists are excited about the sighting last week of a black-and-white blackbird. It is the second sighting of such a blackbird and experts believe that the bird or birds are leucistic. Leucistic individuals are not all white like albinos but are coloured in patches due to a melanin production defect. Such animals and birds are rare finds and are extremely vulnerable to predators. The Ornithologists Association has asked the public to report on any other sightings of the bird which was last seen in the streets of Přerov.


Tatra 87, photo: Kristýna MakováTatra 87, photo: Kristýna Maková The Ecorra company in Kopřivnice gives a new lease of life to car veterans – mostly Tatra 87s – the car made famous by the travelling duo Miroslav Zikmund and Jiří Hanzelka who covered more than 61 thousand kilometers with this model on a tour of Africa and South America in 1947. Work on the vintage cars usually takes over year and they roll out of the company gates as good as new. Ecorra, which has a 20 year tradition in the business and some of the best mechanics in Kopřivnice, occasionally gets to work on exceptional pieces such as the Helica propeller-driven automobile or a 1930s Dymaxion.


Illustrative photo: Kristýna MakováIllustrative photo: Kristýna Maková A foreign visitor to Prague livened-up traffic in the city center last week, dressing up as a clown and directing traffic on Namesti Republiky Square. While drivers and passers-by obediently followed his directions police officers were unimpressed and slapped him a hefty fine. A police spokesman said that directing traffic appeared to be a very appealing role and similar attempts had been made in the past. In one case a mentally ill man was caught directing traffic at Národní trída and on another occasion a drunk man engaged in the same activity on Wenceslas Square.


Illustrative photo: archive of Radio PragueIllustrative photo: archive of Radio Prague A group of 33 enthusiasts have attempted to set a world record in completing a giant puzzle made of 33,600 pieces. The team made up of 33 people from all corners of the Czech Republic completed the puzzle in 47 hours and 33 minutes working in teams of 11 people. The event, which took place within the very first Puzzles Festival held in the town of Zlín, was recorded on video and will be sent to the committee which decided on entries into the Guinness Book of Records.