Friday, December 19, 2014


Maymo fails to remove stuffing from giant teddy bear

YouTube link.

Man arrested for setting his sock on fire during argument over communal dryer

William Hoglund, a 59-year-old resident of St. Cloud, Minnesota, faces possible felony arson charges for allegedly setting his sock on fire during an argument over a communal dryer.

According to information provided by the St. Cloud police, at around 9pm on Tuesday night, officers responded to a report of a fire in an apartment building.

"Investigation revealed that [Hoglund]... intentionally started his sock on fire in the hallway outside of an apartment, due to an argument with another tenant over the use of the communal dryer," a St. Cloud police news release says.

"The fire caused minor damage to the carpet in the hallway." Nobody was injured. Hoglund remains in custody at Stearns County Jail. Charges are pending.

Man faked heart attack so his friend could steal toys

Authorities say a man faked a heart attack inside a Wal-Mart store in Lake Wales, Florida, so his friend could steal toys, including a motorised Barbie car.

While the diversion proved initially successful, the pair were arrested on Tuesday on grand theft charges when they were linked to the crime via surveillance footage. The Polk County, Florida Sheriff's office say Tarus Scott, 30, and Genard Dupree, 27, walked through the store together.

Deputies say Scott then filled a shopping cart with a motorised power wheel Barbie car, Leap Frog tablet and a Barbie Glam vacation house, worth $369.94. Video surveillance shows Dupree make his way to the exit where he then faked a heart attack, clutching his chest and falling to the floor. As concerned citizens checked on him, Scott is seen walking out of the store with the cart filled with stolen goods.

Full surveillance video.

Dupree’s heart trouble lasted 44 seconds before he was able to get to his feet and amble out. He then met up with Scott in the parking lot and the pair drove away, although it didn't take long for deputies to catch up with them. The men have long arrest records, and Scott had recently been released from prison after serving 10 years for armed robbery. Both men now face new charges.

Student accused of paying man to impersonate her at exam

A 20-year-old woman and 21-year-old man face charges in connection with an alleged unusual bout of cheating at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. The woman, Kaiwen Qian, is a student at the school. She appeared on Wednesday in a Kitchener court on charges of personation and uttering a forged document, and was released on $3,000 bail.

She is accused of getting the man, Longhua Wang, a student at York University, to take an exam for her. Nick Manning, a spokesperson for the school, says staff were alerted to the possibility one or more students would be cheating during a specific math exam.

“(We) put measures in place to detect that cheating, and we discovered that a male student from a different university had been paid to come and take an exam for one of our students,” he said. Wang, Manning said, somehow came into possession of a fake Waterloo student ID containing his picture and Qian’s name. It’s alleged that Wang was paid more than $900 to write the exam.

Qian returns to court in January. School officials say they continue to investigate the fake student ID, and whether any others were issued. “We know that students are under immense pressure to pass exams … and inevitably some will find ways to cheat, which is a great shame,” Manning said. “We … expect them to uphold very high standards of integrity, which means not cheating.”

With news video.

Police seek thief who shut off water to 29 homes before stealing garden taps

Police are hunting a thief who has been stealing garden taps (faucets) and turning off water mains at houses across the north of Melbourne in Australia.

The man targeted 29 homes in Epping and Lalor between midnight and 5:30am on December 9.

Investigators have released security footage that shows the man venturing into people's gardens, turning off the water mains before unscrewing taps from the pipe.

YouTube link.

In a statement police said they were "hoping to tap into public information to track down the water-saving thief". The man is described as thin and around 175 centimetres tall.

Taser used to pacify chocolate-fed monkey that had been terrorising French city

An aggressive monkey, fed on a diet on Kinder chocolate, had been terrorising a neighbourhood in the southern French city of Marseille in recent weeks until it was finally tamed by police, with the help of a Taser. For several weeks the monkey had been provoking panic in Castellanne, a northern suburb of Marseille.

At one point it entered a primary school where “it caused bedlam and scratched some of the children” before heading to a senior school where it also left students frightened. Worried residents have been bombarding police with calls to alert them to the presence of the monkey, that reportedly measured 80cm in height. “We were given the location but by the time we turned up, it had disappeared. It happened every time,” a policeman said.

According to reports the monkey was abandoned among local youths, with whom it spent most of its time. It was abused by some of the youths and rather than being fed appropriate food, it was kept on a diet of Kinder chocolate. All of which could explain its aggressive attitude and why locals were making so many panicked phone calls to police. Traps were set to try and catch the animal but to no avail.

Finally, police located the monkey, but as they tried to detain it, the animal bit one of the officers. So a Taser was brought out to neutralise it. “This is the lesser evil, as we didn’t want to kill it,” an officer said. A criminal investigation has been opened up over the “illegal possession of a wild animal”. But this may not be the end of the story of monkeys terrorising Marseille. Police say there are rumours that there is more than one of the animals on the loose.

Man breached curfew by collecting shopping delivery from his front door

A man was arrested after breaching his curfew by going to his front door to collect his shopping.

The curfew imposed on 59-year-old Michael Jones meant that he was confined to his first-floor flat between 5pm and 7am. When he went downstairs to answer the doorbell when his shopping was delivered his electronic tag recorded him as “absent” for 15 minutes.

On Tuesday at Prestatyn magistrates’ court, Jones, of Rhyl in north east Wales, pleaded guilty to breaching the condition, imposed as a bail condition while he awaits trial on other charges in January.

The Bench allowed the bail to continue, with the area extended to cover the whole of the property, which is divided into four flats. But chairman Alun Williams told Jones: “If you step outside the door you are in trouble.”

Mystery over square-shaped fire that started on sofa inside closed shop

A passer-by helped save a closed shop and flats in Fulham, south east London, from going up in flames after spotting a sofa which had mysteriously caught fire in a square shape.

Ragini Patel was on her way to a supermarket just before 9am last Sunday when the young son of a neighbour told her he could see a sofa on fire in the Lettings Company shop in Fulham Road which has two floors of flats above. She instantly called the fire brigade who had to smash down the estate agent’s door to put the fire out which started in a square shape and slowly spread out to burn the entire sofa.

She said: “I was just going to Sainsbury’s in the morning when my neighbour’s son told me there was a fire in the shop. I looked in and a square-shaped fire was burning into the sofa. It was very odd. I called the fire brigade straight away then started filming because it was very bizarre, I couldn’t figure out how it had started.” Colleagues from the Lettings Company are very grateful to Mrs Patel and her neighbour’s son but are still mystified as to how the fire started in their shop.

Clyde Johnson, from the shop, said: “We’re very thankful to Mrs Patel for phoning the fire brigade but we still have no idea how it started. It’s a fire resistant sofa luckily so it minimised the fire but we don’t know if it was caused by a laser pointer or maybe a magnifying glass or just the sun shining in oddly. The police can’t figure it out either.” A London Fire Brigade spokesman added: “The member of the public who called us did the right thing. We would advise anybody to do the same thing - call straight away.”

With video.

Misplaced act of kindness led to seal pup being delivered to sealife centre in back of a taxi

Staff at Scarborough Sealife Centre staff have issued an urgent appeal after a healthy seal pup was delivered to their door in a taxi. The anonymous beachcomber who delivered the grey seal wrapped in a coat could inadvertently have separated it from its mother, the sanctuary in North Yorkshire has warned.

“I was a bit stunned to be summoned to the car park to retrieve this pup from the back of a cab, and in my eagerness to get it wrapped in towels and safely indoors I didn’t have time to take any details of the lady’s name or number,” said the centre’s displays supervisor Lyndsey Crawford.


“She was clearly an animal lover and had the best of intentions, but we soon realised the pup was fit and healthy. Pups will quite often haul out on the shore while their mums are searching for food, but they are rarely left on their own for more than an hour or so.” Lyndsey and a colleague immediately raced the pup back to the local beach where it was found, and are confident they were quick enough to ensure it was safely reunited with its mother.

They are now issuing an appeal for anyone who sees a lone pup on the shore to watch from a distance and to call either the sanctuary or the RSPCA if they become concerned. “Apart from the danger of inadvertently scaring off mum if they get too close, these are wild animals with very sharp teeth. It’s a miracle this lady wasn’t badly bitten,” said Lyndsey.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Don't you ever knock?

Spanky the Spider Monkey goes surfing

Little Spanky catches some waves on her surfboard.

YouTube link.

Rudolph the reindeer destroyed Santa's sleigh

Rudolph the reindeer at Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park in Nova Scotia, Canada, was caught on camera tearing apart Santa's sleigh on Sunday.

The sleigh was later repaired by the park's resident elves.

YouTube link.

Controversy as school replaces blind child's cane with swimming pool noodle

The parents of a blind child from North Kansas City are outraged after they say their son’s cane was taken away from him at school by a bus driver. Eight-year-old Dakota Nafzinger attends Gracemor Elementary School. Rachel Nafzinger said school staff took away her son’s cane as punishment for bad behaviour on the bus and then gave him a swimming pool noodle to use as a substitute. North Kansas City School District Spokeswoman Michelle Cronk confirmed taking away Dakota’s cane, calling it school property that was given to him when he enrolled.

She said they took it away after he reportedly hit someone with it and wanted to prevent him from hurting himself or others. His family said it was a way to humiliate him for misbehaving. They say Dakota is like any other 8-year-old, only he was born without eyes - something in the medical world known as Bilateral Anopthalmia. “Why would you do that? Why would you take the one thing that he’s supposed to use all the time? That’s his eyes,” his mother said.

Cronk said Dakota hit somebody with his cane on Monday while riding the bus. When asked why a pool noodle was given to him as a substitute, Cronk said Dakota fidgets and needed something to hold. “They said they were going to give me this for the next two weeks,” Dakota said. Dakota’s mother said he was written up for misbehaving on the bus, but she said she doesn’t understand why his punishment was to take away the thing he needs the most.

“He’s gone through so much in his life already, 8 years, 8 years, and I just don’t like someone else putting my son in that position,” she said. Dakota’s father, Donald Nafzinger, said his son simply lifts his cane sometimes and the bus driver thought he was using it violently. “All around, he’s a good little guy, and he shouldn’t be treated the way he’s being treated,” he said. On Tuesday Dakota attended his sister’s concert with nothing but a pool noodle to guide him around. “Can’t feel things,” he said.

With news video.

Allegedly intoxicated motorist stopped as he drove with four flat tyres and deployed airbags

A 57-year-old man was arrested in Omaha on Tuesday morning for his sixth DUI in Nebraska. An officer reports seeing Richard Curzon driving while straddling the centre line with four flat tyres. The car's air bags had also been deployed.

The officer reported seeing the car at about 11:30pm on Monday. The driver took off when officers tried to stop him. A low speed chase ended nearby. Officers had to use a Taser to take the man into custody. Curzon was taken to Bergan Mercy Hospital.

A preliminary blood test revealed he had a Blood Alcohol Content of .253, more than three times the legal limit. A check of his records shows Curzon has two convictions for DUI and four cases pending.

YouTube link.

Police also believe Curzon was involved in at least one hit and run accident, so he was booked for leaving the scene of a property damage accident. He also faces charges of felony driving with a revoked licence, felony flight to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving, bond review, having an open container and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Euthanasia of dog whose owner requested be put down and buried with her put on hold for now

In the eyes of the law, pets are possessions and when US citizens die, they have the right to decide where they go. That is what one woman decided to do. Connie Lay, of Aurora, Indiana, had a few possible plans laid out for her dog Bela at her death. One of them being the German Shepard be put down and her ashes put with hers.

It's was a fate Bela was set to meet on Tuesday morning despite objections from volunteers who want to give her a good home. A second option in Connie Lay's will is now being considered, which means, at least for now, Bela will not be euthanised. According to Connie Lay's attorney Doug Denmore, the alternate option is to send Bela to Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the US.

But he says that option is not financially feasible. Still, until the estate decides what to do, Bela is safe. For now, Bela is being boarded at PAWS of Dearborn County after she was found at Connie Lay's home after she passed away. According to volunteers, she is a smart, well trained, sweet dog who deserves a home. But according to the attorney handling Lay's estate, that was not her owner's wishes.

It is an option legal analyst Mike Allen says isn't entirely uncommon or illegal. "Animals are considered property and that's what the point of a will is to dispose of property upon one's death. You have that conflicting though with rules that say you have to treat animals humanely,” said Allen. Volunteers say several people have offered to adopt Bela but Denmure says it's Lay's dog and the executor of her will has the authority to carry out her wishes.

Thirteen puppies recovered after being stolen from pet store

Thirteen puppies taken from a pet store in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Tuesday morning were recovered hours later after a witness called police. Police said four teenagers are accused of breaking into Bill's Pet and Aquarium and taking the puppies. "We had chocolate Labs, a Chihuahua, two Cockapoos, a Yorkie and a Maltese and a couple great Pyrenees mixes," said Bill Sturgeon, owner of Bill's Pet and Aquarium.

At about 6:30am, Mike Gearty, who works next door, noticed the front door of the building had been smashed and called police. An officer sent to investigate spotted some suspects. "One of the officers observed several individuals, one of whom was carrying a puppy," said Sgt. Brian O'Keefe. "A foot pursuit ensued, and officers ended up locating and apprehending four individuals."

Police got another tip, when one of the suspects' grandmothers walked out of a house and announced she had several puppies inside that didn't belong to her. Police removed the puppies. Officials said the puppies were microchipped, making it easier to identify them. Victor Morina, 17; Samara Massey, 18; Curtis Massey, 17; and Ian Forsberg, 17, all of Manchester, were arrested. The four were charged with receiving stolen property.

YouTube link. Follow-up news video.

In addition, Morina and Forsberg were charged with resisting arrest. Curtis Massey and Morina also face charges of violating bail conditions. Sturgeon said he has had dogs taken before, but nothing on this scale. He said he doesn't know why the puppies were taken, but he said there is a market for stolen pets. Sturgeon said the puppies weren't gone for long, and they appear to be fine, but he'll have them checked out by a veterinarian before they're ready for sale. "Having them back in our care is great," he said. "It's wonderful."

Nativity donkey 'killed by obese gatecrasher'

A donkey, part of a live Christmas crib in southern Spain, has died two days after being mounted by a 150kg (330lb) man who gatecrashed the nativity scene.

The man jumped over a fence and leapt on to the five-month-old donkey, named Platero, who was part of a nativity scene in the town of Lucena, near Córdoba.

Platero, along with the other animals in the nativity, was not meant to be touched by the public, died two days later. Lucena's local council ordered a veterinary report to establish the donkey’s cause of death.

If that report concludes the animal's death was caused by the man sitting on it, legal action will be taken, the council said. The investigation was launched following a complaint by the animal rights wing of political party Podemos and the Association for the Defence of the Donkey (Adebo). “The donkey was literally squashed by the man,” the groups said in their complaint.

Traffic police officers in trouble after their speed camera was stolen as they slept while on duty

Two traffic police officers, who dozed off in Rome, Italy, while on duty and woke up to find their expensive speed camera had been stolen, are facing suspension.

The officers were supposed to be tracking speed in the Casilina area on Friday night when they fell asleep in their car. They awoke at around 2am on Saturday to find that their speed camera, which was perched on a tripod in front of the vehicle, had been stolen.

At first, it was thought the officers could have been “drugged” by sleeping gas placed in the car’s ventilation system. But it was later concluded that they simply nodded off, perhaps aided by the warmth of the car's heater.

It’s a nap that could cost them dearly as the pair now face a disciplinary process, and possible suspension. The speed camera was part of a range introduced in the Italian capital in September last year.

Cow researchers translate the meanings behind moos

Researchers have recorded and analysed the ways cows communicate with their young, to translate the meanings behind the "moos". They identified two distinctly different call sounds that cows make to their calves, depending on whether they are nearby or separated. They also identified a call calves make to their mothers when they want to start suckling milk. The cows were studied at a farm in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire.

The team from the University of Nottingham and Queen Mary University of London spent ten months digitally recording the cow sounds, then a year analysing them using computers. Just as human voices differ from each other, the researchers confirmed that cows make their own unique sounds. Dr Mónica Padilla de la Torre, who led the project, said: "The research shows for the first time that mother-offspring cattle calls are individualised - each calf and cow have a characteristic and exclusive call of their own.

"Acoustic analysis also reveals that certain information is conveyed within the calf calls - age, but not gender." Fellow researcher Dr Alan McElligott said it was the "first time that complex cattle calls have been analysed using the latest and best techniques". The researchers say their methods of recording and analysing cow sounds could be used to identify indicators of animal welfare, for example, the sounds cows make when they are distressed. The researchers said it had long been thought that cows use individualised calls to communicate with each other, but this study confirms the theory.

Farmer James Bourne, who has been around cows since the 1950s, said the research supports what he has always noticed himself. "A calf certainly knows its mother from other cows, and when a calf blarts the mother knows it's her calf," said Mr Bourne, who is a farmer in Lincolnshire. "If they are not distressed and they are calm they will moo fairly low to the calf, almost talking to their calf. If they are distressed, in other words they have lost their calf or are separated from their calf, it's a much higher pitched moo. She starts bleating louder and louder because she's distressed because he's away from her."

You can hear the three distinct cow moo sounds here.