Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's the weekend

Kitten gets fierce with ceramic cat

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Tortoise suspected of helping baby alligator escape from zoo

The owner of a zoo on Michigan's Upper Peninsula says a 12-inch alligator has escaped with the help of a tortoise accomplice. It seems that as a large tortoise shuffled along in its enclosure at the GarLyn Zoo it may have created a furrow deep enough for Carlos the baby alligator, to slide under a fence and make a break for it.

The alligator escaped from the zoo, located in Mackinac County, on Saturday and was spotted by passersby, who in turn tipped off police. Zoo owner Gary Moore said he was relieved to find out the gator on the run wasn’t one of the adults, who are six to eight years old, are about five to seven feet long, and were given to the zoo because they had become too much for their owners to handle.

“My first thought was it was a large gator that got out,” Moore said. “I was really relieved to find out it was just a little guy that got out.” An AABP – alligator all-points bulletin – was put out, but Carlos is still missing. Moore admits “it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack trying to find a foot long alligator in sticks and stuff.” Moore says he hopes Carlos can be found before cooler weather sets in.

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“Once it drops down to 50 degrees he won't eat they need warm temps to digest food,” he said. “Beyond October his days are numbered." Carlos was last seen on US Highway 2. Michigan State Police helped in the initial search for Carlos. “It's not every day you see a complaint come in where law enforcement is dispatched to an escaped alligator,” Trooper Fred Strich said. Anyone who sees the reptile is asked to call the Michigan Department of Natural Resources or Michigan State Police.

Woman unhappy about snakes that keep appearing in her toilet

A young Florida woman is unhappy snakes that have appeared in the toilet of her rental home more than once. Nineteen-year-old Samantha Rudd, moved into the mobile home in Moore Haven, Glades County, with her 69-year-old father two months ago. One snake was curled up in the toilet bowl.

"It's why we got this knife stuck in here because I think they come in through this hole," said Rudd, pointing to the tank in the back of her toilet. "It's crazy." "Its head was sticking out," explained Rudd. "It was trying to crawl out of the toilet and into the house." Rudd says she's contacted the police. "The police say don't worry it's not poisonous," she said. "I don't want to get bit by a snake on my butt!" And she says she's texted and called her landlord to get rid of the reptiles.

"No, no," replied the landlord, Carolyn Ramie-High, who says Rudd only made her aware of one snake when Rudd moved in. Ramie-High says she gave Rudd the number of someone in the neighbourhood to get rid of it. "If there's a problem with snakes, there are people here that catch snakes and sell them for money," said Ramie-High. But Rudd says that didn't solve the problem. Since then, she says five more serpents have slithered in from the field behind her home.

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"I don't think she should hire 17-year-old kids, who like to play with snakes, to come over and deal with them," said Rudd. "She needs to get a professional." Meanwhile, Rudd and her dad are on watch before they use the toilet. "I always have to stare down in there and just make sure there's not a dark snake I can't see," she added. Ramie-High says Rudd owes several hundred dollars in back rent for a place she was renting before Rudd moved in with her father. A claim Rudd is not denying but says the bigger issue is the snakes in her bathroom. The landlord also says she promises to check out the sewer lines and septic tank to see if any holes should be sealed.

Alleged chat with bushes led to man's arrest

Police in Hickory, North Carolina, arrested a Connelly Springs man after a store manager spotted him talking to bushes on Monday, officials said.

Phillip Hugh Norman, 40, was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, according to Chrystal Dieter, spokeswoman for the Hickory Police Department.

Officers also found outstanding warrants for felony larceny by servants and other employees and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance from Buncombe County, according to an arrest report. Norman was given a $27,000 secured bond. Dieter said the the call to police was made because the suspect was falling around the parking lot, speaking to bushes.

Officers arriving at the store found the suspect asleep in his parked car. The suspect consented to be searched, Dieter added, but officers didn’t find anything on him. When they searched his car, officers found needles and a spoon. Officials could not confirm if Norman was under the influence of any substances.

Controversy over prison staff organising regular 'happy hour' nights for inmates

A row has erupted in Italy over prison staff allegedly organising regular "happy hour" nights for inmates, complete with alcohol and external guests.

Female prisoners at Milan’s San Vittore have been enjoying the twice-weekly happy hour, organised by staff at the jail. The events have sparked the disapproval of Osapp, the prison guards’ union, which has sent a complaint to both the Ministry of Justice and the Senate president.

According to Osapp, prison staff agreed to organize the happy hours which ran until “late at night” with “external guests”. Prisoners were provided with a catering service and offered alcohol. The union has called into question both the costs and profits of the venture, asking for “urgent clarification” from the Italian authorities.

But Luigi Pagano, deputy director of Italy’s prison service (Dap), said he had not received the message from Osapp and requested more information. The prison service stated that organising events was not unusual, when everything happens “in broad daylight, as in this case, we believe.”

Language barrier foiled supermarket hold-up

An armed robber fled a Berlin supermarket empty-handed in frustration over his lack of German language skills.

The unidentified man entered the store in the city's Mitte district, placed a rucksack on the counter, produced a knife and started gesticulating wildly at the two female staff members, police said.

He then vaulted over the counter and continued a series of hand gestures that only further confused the women, aged 28 and 29. "The offender said something unintelligible but the threatened shopkeeper did not respond," police said in a statement.

One ran into the street calling for help, prompting the man to flee after abandoning both knife and backpack, which the staff later realized he had wanted them to fill with cash from the register. Police are still searching for the would-be robber after Tuesday's incident which happened at 7pm.

MP wants astrology incorporated into medicine

A Conservative MP has spoken of his belief in astrology and his desire to incorporate it into medicine. David Tredinnick, who once tried to claim expenses of £755 for a computer programme that uses astrology to diagnose medical conditions, said he had spent 20 years studying astrology and healthcare and was convinced it could work. The MP for Bosworth, a member of the health committee and the science and technology committee, said he was not afraid of ridicule or abuse.

"There is no logic in attacking something that has a proven track record," he said. He said he had studied the Indian astrological system Iahiri and the way it was used by that country's government and recalled how Chris Patten, Britain's last governor of Hong Kong, had an official astrologer, whom Mr Tredinnick had consulted while on a parliamentary delegation there. He said he had been the subject of much ridicule for his beliefs over the years, but many of the sceptics who had attacked him were "bullies" who had "never studied the subjects".

"I am absolutely convinced that those who look at the map of the sky for the day that they were born and receive some professional guidance will find out a lot about themselves and it will make their lives easier," he added. Explaining his beliefs, Mr Tredinnick said he had been right about herbal remedies and healing, which he said were now becoming accepted in parts of the NHS, and he now wanted to promote astrology, which was not just predicting the future but gaining an insight into personal problems.

He stopped short of suggesting astrological readings on the NHS, but said he wanted to raise awareness of it as an alternative among patients and clinicians. "I think it's something that people should be aware of as an option they have if they are confused about themselves." He said he had compiled astrological charts for his fellow MPs - he declined to reveal names - adding: "If you look at the charts I have done for people I have certainly made their lives easier."

Comedy club crowd showered with maggots that fell from dead pigeon

Maggots from a dead pigeon fell from the ceiling of a club on to audience members during a comedy performance. The dead bird was in an air conditioning unit at Jongleurs Comedy Club at Oceana in Nottingham. Sean Denton, who felt maggots fall on his head and arm, said audience members were "disgusted" and many walked out.

The club's operators have apologised but said no one had complained on the night and most of the audience "enjoyed the evening". Mr Denton said he was sitting on the front row at the show on Friday when, during the first act, he felt something hit his arm and head. "I didn't think much of it - I thought it was water falling from the air conditioning," he said. "People were pointing at the floor and when I looked, there they were - small maggots wriggling.

"The couple to the side of us were disgusted. I'm not sure if they were eating or not but there were certainly people in there that were eating. I'm sure if any fell in their meal it would have put them off instantly." Maggots began to fall "in a constant stream" and some fell on the comedian too, who walked off stage, Mr Denton said. His party were moved to another table by staff and given a free bottle of wine, he said, but they left before the last act.

Jongleurs has an agreement with the operators of Oceana, The Luminar Group, to use the club for comedy nights, a spokeswoman said. A pigeon had got into the air conditioning unit and subsequently died, she explained. When Jongleurs staff turned it on, it "disturbed the body" and "a few maggots" fell out. The group has apologised and offered free tickets to audience members, she said. "We would like to stress that the vast majority of the audience enjoyed the evening and stayed for the duration of the show," she added.

Pregnant cat climbed through open window of parked car to give birth to kittens on back seat

The Scottish SPCA is seeking the owner of a cat who climbed into a car in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, and gave birth on the back seat. They were alerted by the surprised car owner after he made the discovery on Sunday evening outside his home.

The cat and her three kittens are now in the care of the Dunbartonshire and West Scotland Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Milton. The mother has been named Elise and her kittens Nova, Astra and Dodge. Animal Rescue Officer Amy Robb said, "Two newborn kittens were found on the same street earlier that day and were taken to our centre in Glasgow, where we were able to find them a foster mum.

"When we received the call about Elise we knew the two kittens must have belonged to her but as they had already been accepted by another cat she would most likely have rejected them. Poor Elise must have given birth on the street and then climbed in the car window to have her remaining three kittens.

"The owner of the car and his girlfriend got a real surprise when they found the cats on the back seat. Elise is in good condition and we think her owner may be missing her. If this is the case it would be great to return her to the comforts of her own home while she rears Nova, Astra and Dodge. If we aren't able to return them home, we'll find them all loving new owners when the time is right." Anyone who recognises Elise is being urged to contact the SSCPA.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Are we nearly there yet?

Armadillo play attacks his little rubber toy

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Shop owner duped by man with sock full of cash

A business owner in Vineland, New Jersey, was left with a sock full of fake cash and no money in her register after a man claiming to be from Africa scammed her last week, according to police. The scam began earlier this month when a man identifying himself as "Derrick" entered the Martinez Meat Market on Southwest Boulevard. Police describe the suspect as dark skinned, approximately 38 years old and wearing a suit. Derrick claimed to be visiting from Africa and asked owner Socorro Torres if she was interested in selling her business.

Derrick told Torres that he received a large sum of money after his father died in Africa and produced a sock from his waistband to show the business owner. Inside the sock was $10,000. "Torres stated she agreed to sell the business at which time Derrick provided her with a phone number (646-593-4085) and informed her that he would be in touch," the police report states. Ms Torres quickly began to receive phone calls from men with "African accents," police said, claiming to be brothers of Derrick and asking if he bought the business yet. "She refused to speak with them about it because they had nothing to do with the purchase," the police report stated.

"Derrick then contacted her and advised her not to provide them with any information." During the phone call, Derrick also advised Ms Torres not to contact the police because he could be arrested for the large sum on money, deported back to Africa and "executed" upon his return. About a week ago, police said, a black man with an African accent and whiskers tattooed onto his face entered the business. The man identified himself as Derrick's brother and questioned her about the purchase, although he advised her that the purchase has not been made yet. Derrick came back to Martinez Meat Market on July 17, police said, while in possession of the sock that previously contained $10,000.

The sock was for a down payment on the business, Derrick told Ms Torres, and he would bring the rest of the money the next day. "After handing Torres the sock, he requested all the money in the cash register since the business was now his," the police report stated. "Torres stated she handed the money from the cash register over to Derrick at which time Derrick left." After he left, Ms Torres opened up the sock that purportedly contained the $10,000 down payment. However, the sock no longer contained any money. Instead, the sock "was filled with wet construction paper cut in the shape of money," according to reports. There are no suspects at this time in the theft by deception, police said. Police did not say how much money was stolen.

Lingerie-wearing lady sleeping in car allegedly tried to run over police officer

Police in Boca Raton, Florida, said they found a woman sleeping in her car wearing only lingerie, and when they asked her to get out of her car, she tried to run over an officer.

Police said that just before 10am on Monday, they got a call about a woman sleeping in a parking garage. Officers found Suzanne Morales, 45, sleeping in the car. They knocked on the car window, but Morales woke up and locked her car doors.

Officers asked her to step outside the car, but she refused. Police also said they could smell alcohol and suspected she might be drunk. They told Morales if she continued to refuse, they would knock out her window.

She started the car and tried to drive in reverse, almost hitting one of the officers. She then hit a police cruiser and was trapped. Morales is charged with obstructing an officer and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. She is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Men with and without underpants stole food from restaurant

Three men broke into a beach front restaurant in Bonita Springs, Florida, wearing nothing but their underpants and birthday suits.

Lou Bangert, general manager of Doc's Beach House, was at home on Sunday when his kitchen staff called him and asked him to check the restaurant's security footage from overnight. "I see the door open and three guys come in, and I go 'oh my god, these guys don't have any clothes on!'" Bangert said.

Besides one thief wearing a pair of tighty whities, the three burglars didn't have a stitch of clothing on them. Bangert says they broke in a little after 3am on Sunday and rifled around the food storage area for about 5 minutes. "They took three cases of hamburgers, three red peppers, and some bacon that was cooked up, and then they left," Bangert said.

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Bangert says the naked crooks saw that they were being filmed by one camera, so they moved it. But apparently they didn't notice another security camera that had an even better angle. It appears that they fled south on foot down the beach, leaving a little trail. Anyone with information on the identities and whereabouts of the suspects is asked to call Crime Stoppers.

Man stood in pond in attempt to avoid arrest

A handful of golfers discovered a new water hazard at the Eagle Hills Golf Course in Idaho on Wednesday afternoon — a 21-year-old man standing in a pond to avoid arrest, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office reports.

It took about 30 minutes for Ada County sheriff’s deputies to coax Nathan M. McCoy out of the water. Before he took to the pond, deputies chased the suspect for about a mile through the neighbourhood and onto the golf course. Once McCoy came out, deputies charged McCoy with a probation violation, resisting arrest and filing a false police report - all misdemeanors.

He is on probation for a stalking case from earlier this year that was resolved when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of using a telephone to intimidate or harass. Wednesday’s incident began just before noon when ACSO deputies were investigating a report from McCoy that a woman violated a no-contact order against him at his home  in Eagle.

 Investigating deputies determined that wasn’t true, and McCoy ran at about 1:30pm, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies followed McCoy while officers from Boise and Garden City came over to help. After about 15 minutes of foot pursuit, McCoy went into the pond, which is near the fifth hole. The sheriff's office says one ball was hit into the pond during the incident.

Fox found having a snooze on bus

A fox was found sleeping on the back seats of a city bus in Ottawa, Canada.

An OC Transpo employee noticed the fox make its way through an open front door of a bus parked at the industrial garage.

After taking a couple of photos of the sleeping fox, the employee reported his finding and police called the Ottawa Humane Society to come and retrieve the animal.

Once the Humane Society boarded the bus, the fox woke up took off like a fare jumper. Jim Greer, manager of Transit Fleet Maintenance, said these types of incidents are rare. In the past there have been reports of birds, and even a raccoon making their way onto out-of-service buses.

Huge rescue operation launched to save raccoon clinging to side of building

A young raccoon got into a bit of jam on Wednesday after scaling the outside of the RBC building in downtown London, Ontario, Canada.

A crowd had gathered on Richmond and King Streets after the raccoon climbed what looked like two storeys up the side of the building.

Some were holding a blanket to catch the raccoon in case it fell while others called for help.

Police, the fire department and animal control all arrived to help. But a London Hydro crew was eventually called in and used a cherry picker, bringing the raccoon down to the ground safely in their bucket.


Couple shocked by £500m electricity bill

Lancashire couple Nigel and Linda Brotherton were left shocked when they received an electricity bill for more than £500m. They were also told that their monthly direct debit was going to increase from £87 to £53,480,062.00. The Brothertons, who live in Roughlee, were told they didn’t need to do anything because the money would be taken automatically from their bank. But accountant Nigel, 62, said: “There was just one problem with that – I didn’t quite have £53 million in my current account at the time.”

The problem arose after the Scottish Power electricity board installed a new meter at the couple’s 16th Century cottage home. Their electrician connected one of the wires the wrong way round so that instead of recording the number or units used it didn’t register any and continued showing zero. Nigel and Linda, 59, say that they did not notice because they paid their bill by direct debit each month and were never asked to give a reading. But after they recently switched suppliers to Npower, a man was sent round to read their meter.

When he entered a reading of 'zero', Npower’s computer wrongly assumed the dials must have gone all round the clock – and automatically flagged up the huge bill. Bizarrely, though, the online bill also showed that the couple had actually overpaid and were in credit by £1,362.69. But despite repeated phone calls to Npower, and contacting the regulator Ofgen, the couple are still waiting for a refund and written confirmation they won’t have to pay the £53,480,062.00 a month. Nigel said: “It’s a good job they didn’t actually try to take all that money from my bank account. Not only would it have gone way over my overdraft limit, but it could have brought down the bank.

“The electricity board have admitted it is a mistake and told us we don’t need to pay the money but we are still waiting for the refund they owe us.” Infamous Alice Nutter, one of the notorious Pendle witches who was hanged 400 years ago, is reputed to have once lived in the couple’s cottage. Nigel added: “Perhaps she put a curse on the meter. But if the electricity board doesn’t sort this out quick I’ll get her to put a curse on them.” A spokesman for Npower apologised and said: “This was clearly a mistake. Mr Brotherton’s meter was incorrectly wired by his previous supplier and not Npower, which had a knock-on effect to how we billed the account. His payments are set at £87, so no extra money will be taken and we have processed a refund which should be with Mr Brotherton soon.”

Social club manager chased after thief with her mop and bucket

The manager of a social club in Litherland, Merseyside, chased after a thief with a mop and bucket after he stole £200 from her handbag. Yvonne Carey ran after the man after she watched him dip into her handbag behind the bar at the Our Lady Queen of Peace social club. Yvonne’s friend Dee Grey, who was at the club organising a weight watchers class, then chased the thief down the path, but he was too quick for her.

Yvonne was planning to buy dollars with the cash ahead of a family holiday to Orlando. She said: “I had the mop and bucket in my hand when I saw him take the money. I yelled at him, then chased him to the door. I suppose he could have had a knife or anything.” The thief, who was caught on CCTV, was seen walking around the social club and the neighbouring priest’s house, before walking into the club.

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The offender is described as being white, aged in his 30s of a slight build. He was wearing sunglasses, dark tracksuit bottoms and a grey top. When he entered the club he walked straight behind the grab, took the money and then ran. Yvonne added: "The £200 was to buy some currency for a family holiday to Orlando. We have been saving for seven years. I am going with my son, and the grandchildren. I know I am not getting my £200, but at least he did not steal the money from a pensioner.

"And I am still going to Orlando." Yvonne, 58, has volunteered at the parish social club for over 25 years. A police spokesman confirmed they were appealing for information. He added: "We received a report that a man had stolen money from a member of staff’s handbag. Patrol attended and a search of the area was undertaken. An investigation into the matter is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Merseyside Police."