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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Update December 2017


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Odds & Ends  The Associated Press
 

Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 - Jan. 5, 2018

(Jason Wilkins/Abilene Police Department via AP)

Grizzly crime solved: Candy factory’s stolen bear found

Abilene, Kan. (AP) - Police say a sweet tip led to the recovery of a bear statue that was stolen from outside a candy factory in central Kansas a year ago. Abilene Police Department assistant chief Jason Wilkins says the Russell Stover Candies sculpture, depicting a sitting teddy bear covered in chocolate, was found Wednesday in a Salina home following a tip from someone apparently unconnected to its theft. Det. Karmen Kupper says a suspect has been identified but hasn’t been arrested. Wilkins tells The Wichita Eagle that early leads in the November 2016 theft from the company’s Abilene factory didn’t pan out and that the bear investigation had “become a running joke.” Kupper describes the 150-pound, 4-foot tall (70-kilogram, 1.2 meter tall) sculpture as a “huge landmark” and a popular backdrop for pictures.

Homeless man finds $354,000
in room at Paris airport

Paris (AP) - French police say a homeless man found a huge amount of cash last week at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport and was able to leave the complex with 300,000 euros ($354,000). Two police officers, who are not allowed to speak publicly on the case, said Thursday that video surveillance showed the man looking in the trash and leaning against a nearby door. Airport police union official Jean-Yann William Airport told France Info television that “to his surprise, the door is opening, he’s entering and finds out there’s huge amount of money” in the room of cash transport company Loomis. Video then shows the man leaving the airport with two big bags. Police recognized him as a homeless man living in the airport area. He is being actively sought.

In need of workers,
Maine hires contractors to plow roads

Portland, Maine (AP) - Worker shortages in Maine have forced the state Department of Transportation to hire private contractors to plow roads. The Portland Press Herald reports the state Department of Transportation has awarded a contract to the Ohio-based company First Vehicle Services. The contractors will work in southern Maine. MDOT has struggled to keep highway workers in recent years. The department currently has 50 open positions. Dale Doughty, MDOT’s Director of Maintenance and Operation, says some workers might be attracted to higher wages at private companies. Maine State Employees Association interim Executive Director Ginette Rivard says a bill that would have raised the starting hourly wage of highway workers was recently voted down by the Legislative Council. Rivard says the raise could’ve helped with recruitment and retention.

Video leads to arrest
in case of stolen mounted zebra head

Anchorage, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska woman came home to find out a thief had broken in and stolen clothing, jewelry, prescription drugs and the mounted head of a zebra she had on a wall. Stacy Scott got good news Monday, however. A cab driver who helped a suspect drive off with the stolen goods, found the zebra head in his trunk and returned it. Scott tells Anchorage television station KTVA that she received the zebra head from a friend when she worked at a downtown boutique. She named the head “George.” A security camera Friday recorded a woman carrying items, including George, out of Scott’s home and into a waiting cab. Police arrested a 38-old woman at an Anchorage motel where the cab driver had taken her. The suspect is charged with felony burglary and theft.

Swiss woman angry over champagne
refusal ejected from plane

Berlin (AP) - German police say the pilot of a passenger jet destined for Zurich made an unscheduled stop at Stuttgart airport because a Swiss passenger became aggressive after being denied champagne. Reutlingen police say crew members were unable to calm the 44-year-old business class passenger, who was angered by their refusal to serve her more sparkling wine on the flight from Moscow late Saturday. Police said in a statement Sunday that the woman, who wasn’t named, was escorted off the Airbus A320 and ordered to pay a security of 5,000 euros ($5,871). They said the 43 passengers on board were never in danger, but the total cost involved in the unplanned stopover likely amounted to several tens of thousands of euros.


Saturday, Dec. 23 - Dec. 29, 2017

New Jersey police try to
trace source of loud banging noise

Sayreville, N.J. (AP) - Police in New Jersey are trying to trace the source of a loud banging noise that’s waking residents and causing dogs to bark. Sayreville police say they started to receive reports on Monday about noises coming from nearby South Amboy. Police initially thought a private company hired to control the geese population was responsible, but the Middlesex County Parks Department said that was not the case. The investigation is ongoing.

Spies on strike: Spooks in Slovenia
demand higher wages

Ljubljana, Slovenia (AP) - Employees at Slovenia’s state intelligence agency have gone on strike, demanding higher wages and better working conditions. Slovenia’s Public Administration Minister Boris Koprivnikar on Thursday described the move as “surprising and unique.” He says Slovenia’s spies are required by law to ensure the basic functioning of the agency to protect national security. Local media say the strike started Wednesday with employees of the Slovene Security and Intelligence Agency, or SOVA, complaining they are understaffed and not paid enough. No other details about the strike, including how many employees were affected, were immediately known.

Man who streaked at Buffalo
Bills game pleads guilty, fined

Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP) - A Buffalo Bills fan who ran naked across the field during a blowout loss last month and earned praise from other fans for rushing better than the team’s players has pleaded guilty to exposure. Tristan Lambright admitted the violation in Orchard Park Town Court on Thursday. He’ll have to do 25 hours of community service and pay $400 in fines and fees. The 29-year-old ran out onto New Era Field on Nov. 12 during the Bills’ 47-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He was tackled by security officers. After his arrest, fans rallied around him, offering praise for his physique and money for his defense. But he won’t be at another game anytime soon. His sentence includes a one-year ban from the stadium.

Cops: Woman parks in police
chief’s spot while smoking pot

Northport, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say a woman arriving at a Long Island court to answer a marijuana possession summons was smoking pot when she parked her vehicle in the local police chief’s spot. Newsday reports that the 26-year-old woman had been ticketed in May for unlawful possession of marijuana. Police say she was arriving for her court appearance in Northport on Monday night when she cut off an unmarked police car in the parking lot while talking on her cellphone. Police say she then pulled into the parking spot clearly marked as reserved for the village’s police chief, Bill Ricca. He says when the officers asked the woman to roll down her window, pot smoke billowed out. Police issued the woman another appearance ticket for unlawful possession of marijuana. She was also ticketed for using her cellphone while driving.

Police: Getaway car ran out of gas
after robbery, 2 arrested

Stone Mountain, Ga. (AP) - Police say a getaway car ran out of gas after an armed robbery near Atlanta, leading to the speedy arrest of two suspects. Gwinnett County police Cpl. Michele Pihera says 18-year-old Najee Logan and 21-year-old Justin Larry were charged with armed robbery after their arrest early Tuesday after officers found the car on empty. Pihera’s statement says the victim surrendered a wallet to two men at gunpoint in a grocery store parking lot about 1 a.m. Tuesday in a greater Atlanta suburb. Police say officers found the car about 15 minutes later with Logan and Larry inside. Both men were jailed, and police didn’t say if they have lawyers. Pihera says it’s fortunate the victim wasn’t hurt, chalking up the arrests to what she called “poor planning” by the suspects.

Maine police: Bouncing roll
of duct tape leads to 911 call

Bangor, Maine (AP) - Police in Bangor, Maine, say a reported intruder turned out to be a roll of duct tape. Officers responded to a call from a woman who heard noises from her basement and reported that her dog was barking aggressively at the noise. Police said it turns out a “thump-thump-thump” sound the woman heard was a roll of duct tape that fell off a shelf and bounced down the stairs. Sgt. Tim Cotton wrote on Facebook that the woman had already investigated before the first officer arrived. The officer felt that the woman could’ve held her own until police arrived because she was “from Maine, had a dog, and a roll of duct tape.”


Saturday, Dec. 16 - Dec. 22, 2017

Hand grenade found in donation
to California Goodwill store

Placentia, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say someone left a hand grenade inside a box of donations that was dropped off by a woman at a Goodwill store in Southern California. The Los Angeles Times reports an unidentified woman dropped off the box Wednesday at the store in the city of Placentia near Los Angeles. The Placentia Police Department says store workers discovered the grenade as they sifted through donations. Officers evacuated neighboring businesses and a bomb squad was sent to safely retrieve the grenade. The nonprofit Goodwill Industries International Inc. has more than 3,200 retail thrift stores.

Firefighters work for hours
to free man stuck in trash truck

Philadelphia (AP) - Officials say it took firefighters more than two hours to free a man who wound up stuck in a trash truck’s compactor section. Police say it appears the man had been sleeping in a trash bin when he was tossed into the truck. He was buried under bagged and loose trash when firefighters tried to reach him Monday morning. The ordeal happened outside The Kintock Group home, which serves as an interim stop before state and federal prisoners are released. Authorities initially said the man escaped from the home, but a prisons department spokeswoman says no one was missing from a roll call. The man was taken to a hospital with leg, hip and abdominal injuries. Fire officials say residents who heard the man screaming called 911.

Hot deck: German cops nab
card cheat with radioactive cards

Berlin (AP) - A German restaurant owner is in hot water for allegedly marking playing cards with radioactivity to rig games. Berlin police said Tuesday the 41-year-old woman daubed Iodine-125 on specific cards, which allowed them to be identified by a gambler with a concealed detector. Police got on her trail after radioactive card fragments were found during a routine inspection of a garbage truck at a waste treatment plant a year ago. Investigators then followed the vehicle’s route to determine the origin. They raided the woman’s restaurant and other premises earlier this month and found 13 radioactive card pieces. Police said Tuesday that Iodine-125 is commonly used for medical purposes and only poses a health risk through direct contact with no protective clothing. How much the scheme netted is still under investigation.

Builders race to save football’s
Eagles from Billy Penn jinx

Philadelphia (AP) - Superstitious construction workers have placed a small statue of Philadelphia’s founder atop the city’s newest skyscraper in an effort to save the NFL-leading Philadelphia Eagles from a fabled jinx. Philly.com reports the William Penn figurine was affixed to the Comcast tower’s highest beam Monday after builders decided waiting for a topping-off ceremony was too risky. Believers in the Curse of Billy Penn say it doomed the city’s sports teams for decades after the city’s first skyscraper broke tradition and rose higher than the William Penn statue topping City Hall. In 2007, the situation was rectified with a statuette placed atop a taller skyscraper. The next year, the Phillies won the World Series. When construction of the new 1,121-foot-tall tower broke the height record, workers were eager to restore Penn to his rightful perch.

Sphinx from 90-year-old movie set unearthed in California

Guadalupe, Calif. (AP) - Archaeologists working in sand dunes on the central California coast have dug up an intact plaster sphinx that was part of an Egyptian movie set built more than 90 years ago for Cecil B. DeMille’s epic “The Ten Commandments.” The 300-pound sphinx is the second recovered from the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. Dunes Center Executive Director Doug Jenzen tells Santa Barbara news station KEYT-TV that it’s unlike other items found on previous digs because most of it is preserved with the original paint intact. The set of the 1923 movie included more than 20 sphinxes. After filming, DeMille ordered everything buried in the dunes 175 miles northwest of Los Angeles. They lay undisturbed for decades before recovery efforts began. The newly recovered sphinx is expected to go on display at the dunes museum next summer.

(Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center via AP)

 


Update Saturday, Dec. 9 - Dec. 15, 2017

Lawsuit: Couple detained after hibiscus mistaken for pot

Sarver, Pa. (AP) - A couple who say they were handcuffed for hours in a police patrol car after their hibiscus plants were confused for marijuana are suing the police and an insurance company. Edward and Audrey Cramer say in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that a Nationwide Insurance Co. agent investigating a fallen tree at their Buffalo Township home sent photos of their flowering plant to police. The lawsuit alleges that Buffalo Township police officers with assault rifles went to their home on Oct. 7 to investigate. Audrey Cramer, 66, said she was partially dressed when she went to the door and police would not let her put on pants before she was handcuffed. “I was not treated as though I was a human being,” she said. “I was just something they were going to push aside.” Edward Cramer, 69, said he returned home a half-hour later to find his wife in the back of a police cruiser and officers pointing guns at him. He also was placed in the cruiser despite trying to convince the officers the plants were hibiscus, not marijuana. “They actually ignored me,” he said. “They wouldn’t even listen. I said, ‘I can show you pictures on the internet.’” The Cramers eventually were released without charges. They are seeking monetary and compensatory damages and court costs. Nationwide Insurance declined to comment on Friday, citing the litigation. Township police also declined to comment.

6 Czechs fined for sporting Borat mankinis in Kazakhstan

(informburo.kz, via AP)

Prague (AP) - Six Czech tourists who dressed up in skimpy swimsuits made famous by Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” have reportedly been detained by authorities in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. Sporting lime green “mankinis” and black wigs, the men had hoped to take a picture in front of the “I Love Astana” sign. But local police took action, detaining them on Friday and fining them 22,500 tenge ($68) each for committing minor hooliganism, according to the Kazakh news website informburo.kz. The swimsuit became popular after Baron Cohen, playing the fictional Kazakh television presenter Borat, sported it in the 2006 movie “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” That film offended many Kazakhs by portraying the country as backward and degenerate.

Small town Connecticut election
decided by coin toss

Bolton, Conn. (AP) - An election for the governing board of a small Connecticut town has been decided by a coin toss. The Journal-Inquirer reports that Republican Michael Eremita on Tuesday kept his seat on Bolton’s five-member Board of Selectmen with a coin-toss win over Democratic challenger Kim Miller. Both received 718 votes in last week’s election. Under the town charter, tied elections can be decided by a special election or a coin toss. Eremita and Miller agreed on the latter because a special election could have cost up to $3,000. Eremita, Miller, and Town Clerk Elizabeth Waters all flipped coins. Eremita won because he and Waters both tossed tails. Miller came up heads. Eremita’s victory gave the board in the town of about 5,000 residents, located 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of Hartford, a 3-2 Republican advantage.

Phoenix man tries turning locomotive
into a runaway train

Phoenix (AP) - A Phoenix man was close to turning a locomotive into his own runaway train. Police say 20-year-old Julio Rodriguez was arrested earlier this month after trying to steal a train from a rail yard just south of downtown Phoenix. Union Pacific Railroad workers say they were alarmed when they heard the train horn Nov. 8 and went to investigate. They discovered Rodriguez, who was actually released from jail earlier that day, sitting in the engineer’s seat. Employees removed him and found he had moved levers and pushed buttons. They say he was one pedal away from actually moving the train. According to court documents, Rodriguez admitted to trying to steal the train. He faces charges of theft of means of transportation and burglary.


Update Saturday, Dec. 2 - Dec. 8, 2017

Billionaire Norwegian given $30,400 drunken driving fine

Copenhagen, Denmark (AP) - A 22-year-old Norwegian student has been handed a 250,000-kroner ($30,400) fine for drunken driving - but can still count herself lucky. Katharina G. Andresen is reportedly Norway’s richest woman, with a fortune estimated by Forbes at $1.23 billion. Fines for drunken driving in Norway are based on the defendant’s income. Newspaper Finansavisen reported that Oslo City Court said the penalty could have been up to 40 million kroner ($4.9 million) if based on Andresen’s assets, but they “have not yielded any dividend yet” and she has no fixed income. The court did increase the fine because of her estimated wealth, however. Andresen was also banned from driving for 13 months. Andresen’s father gave her a 42-percent share in the family-owned investment company in 2007, leading Forbes to declare her the world’s second-youngest billionaire.

Man detained after Danish police crack public bench thefts

Copenhagen, Denmark (AP) - Police in Denmark say a man is suspected of stealing 12 of Copenhagen’s green public benches that Danes instantly associate with the capital city. Investigator Jesper Cederholm says the unidentified Dane, who was briefly detained Aug. 29, had confessed to stealing 12 benches out of a total of 65 benches that have gone missing and selling them online. The benches had been reported stolen since mid-2016. Copenhagen is home to about 3,000 of the green benches, which feature a dark grey painted iron frame with wrought swirls and weigh approximately 35 kilograms (77 pounds). They cost about 8,000 kroner ($1,250) each and were first introduced in the 1880s. Cederholm said Thursday the case would now be brought to court after a three-month investigation.

Navy grounds air crew that made
vulgar drawing in sky

Spokane, Wash. (AP) - The air crew who used their U.S. Navy warplane to create a vulgar sky writing above the town of Okanogan, Washington, this week have been grounded, the U.S. Navy said Friday. An electronic warfare plane from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in western Washington State created sky writings in the shape of male genitals in the skies over the rural community on Thursday. Many residents spotted the contrails in the clear blue skies above the central Washington town of 2,500 people. Witnesses took photos and placed them on social media platforms, where they were widely viewed. “The actions of this aircrew are wholly unacceptable and antithetical to Navy core values” said a statement issued Friday by NAS Whidbey Island. “We have grounded the aircrew and are conducting a thorough investigation,” the statement said, “and we will hold those responsible accountable for their actions... The Navy apologizes for this irresponsible and immature act, and anyone who was offended by this unacceptable action.” The aircraft involved was an E/A-18 Growler assigned to Whidbey Island, the Navy said. The carrier-based plane carries a two-person crew. The plane flew over the small town in a pattern “that left a condensed air trail resembling an obscene image to observers on the ground,” the Navy said. The names of the air crew were not released.

Fears squashed: Zucchini mistaken for WWII bomb in Germany

Berlin (AP) - A worried resident in Germany alerted police to what he thought was a World War II bomb in his garden. Officers rushed over - and found a particularly large zucchini. Police were summoned to the scene in Bretten, near the southwestern city of Karlsruhe, on Thursday morning by an 81-year-old man. They said in a statement Friday that officers determined “the object, which really did look very like a bomb” was actually a 40-centimeter (nearly 16-inch) zucchini. The offending vegetable, which was very dark in color, weighed about five kilograms (11 pounds). Police believe someone threw it over a hedge into the garden. Unexploded wartime bombs are unearthed frequently during construction work in Germany, often forcing authorities to evacuate tens of thousands of residents while they are defused.

 

(Karlsruhe Police Photo via AP)
 


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Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 - Jan. 5, 2018

Saturday, Dec. 23 - Dec. 29, 2017

Saturday, Dec. 16 - Dec. 22, 2017

Saturday, Dec. 9 - Dec. 15, 2017

Saturday, Dec. 2 - Dec. 8, 2017


 



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