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Update May 2017

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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
Odds & Ends

Update May 27, 2017

Social media abuzz as flying insects swarm part of London

This photo issued by Transport for London (TfL) and taken with a traffic camera, shows a swarm of insects on a traffic light in south-east London, Tuesday May 16, 2017. (Transport for London via AP)

London (AP) - Social media users in London are buzzing about an apparent swarm of flying insects that has descended on one part of the city. Videos posted to Twitter Tuesday show people ducking as the insects descend on Greenwich in southeast London. It’s not clear what the bugs were or why they appeared in unusual numbers. Some say they’re bees, but others describe them as wasps. Transport for London, which oversees public transport in the capital, posted a picture from a traffic camera showing large numbers of the insects collecting on a traffic light, and warned drivers that a pedestrian crossing was “partially obstructed by bees.” It warned: “Please approach with caution.” London police didn’t immediately return a request for comment on whether they’ve received reports on the insects.

Police: Half-naked driver crashes car into store to get beer

Rocky River, Ohio (AP) - Police in suburban Cleveland say a half-naked man intentionally crashed his car into a closed convenience store to get beer, injuring himself and a store employee. Rocky River police say the 45-year-old driver was wearing nothing from the waist down when he crashed through a store wall early Sunday and told the worker he needed beer. Police say the man barricaded himself in a beer cooler and told police to shoot him, but they subdued him with a stun device. The driver was taken to a hospital, as was the store employee, who suffered leg and chest injuries that weren’t considered critical. The driver has been charged with impaired driving. Police say the worker was fortunate that a deli counter was between him and the car, preventing more serious injuries.

Maine lobsterman’s buoy found 2,500 miles away - in France

Addison, Maine (AP) - A Maine lobsterman’s buoy has been found in France, 2,500 miles away from his boat. WCSH-TV reports Adrian Batson offered Gilbert Mellaza some Maine lobster to ship his buoy from where it washed up in Brest, France. Mellaza had posted a photo of the buoy on a Facebook group called “Lost at Sea.” Members of the group used its ID number to track it to Batson. Batson says the buoy’s design is from 15 years ago. He knows because he paints each of his more than 600 buoys its own color. He says his buoys break apart to protect sea life. He plans to give the buoy to one of his grandchildren.

Not diplomatic: Boar chases British ambassador in Austria

Vienna (AP) - Some situations leave even the most seasoned diplomats unprepared. Take a British ambassador’s encounter with a wild boar. Leigh Turner, Britain’s ambassador to Austria, says he was left shaken and lightly injured after being chased recently by a hostile boar in Vienna’s Lainzer Tiergarten nature park. He wrote that a “massive” boar charged at him after he chanced upon a group of the animals - several adults and some piglets - in the woods. He said the boar “never made contact,” but he sustained minor injuries caused by slipping while trying to climb a tree. Although Turner says he escaped with only scratches and bruises, his blog shows a photo of what he calls a “pity-inducing splint” on his hand, meant to stabilize it until the swelling goes down.

Vienna man turns up at hazmat site with ‘live’ hand grenade

Vienna (AP) - A man in Vienna has turned up at a waste-disposal site with an apparently live World War II-era hand grenade. That was too much to handle even for trash collectors specializing in environmentally dangerous materials. Police say employees at the site turned away the man, who then went to a police station and plonked the grenade on a desk. A police statement Tuesday said officers there gingerly took it outside where it was taken away by de-mining specialists. The statement says the unidentified man found the grenade Monday while clearing out a storage room.

Update May 20, 2017

Lost cellphone tracked to New Jersey garbage dump

Camden, N.J. (AP) - A boy’s lost cellphone ended up in a New Jersey garbage dump and survived. Ethan Roncace’s phone got thrown away at a high school in Haddon Township on Monday. His father, Craig, tells WCAU-TV in Philadelphia he used an app to track the phone and saw it was on the move. The signal led the family to the Covanta waste-to-energy facility in Camden. He suited up and started digging through a mountain of trash. He recovered the phone in 30 minutes and it still worked. Workers were close to dumping the trash into a 50-foot-high (15 meters) and 25-foot deep (7 meters) pile of garbage. Covanta’s Rich Harrington says there’s a little better than 50 percent success rate when they can identify the trash truck.

Smitten with mistress, elected official lands in jail

Northport, Mich. (AP) - An elected official in a small Michigan town is serving a 90-day jail sentence after he was accused of forging documents to impress an overseas mistress. Charles Rogers is a member of the village council in Northport, north of Traverse City. Authorities say he created divorce documents with forged signatures of court officials and sent them to a woman in London. The Traverse City Record-Eagle says the woman contacted Rogers’ wife, who reached out to police. Rogers pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and began a jail sentence in February in Leelanau County. Northport Village President Phil Mikesell says Rogers plans to be released in time for the board’s June meeting.

NYPD: Woman shot at point-blank range saved by her purse

New York (AP) - Police say a New York City woman shot at point-blank range during a robbery was saved from a bullet wound thanks to her purse. The New York Police Department says a 52-year-old man ran up to his intended victim on a Brooklyn street early Wednesday morning and demanded her car keys. The Daily News reports that the 39-year-old woman fought back against the man. During the struggle, the man fired a round at point-blank range. Police say the bullet tore through the victim’s purse, wallet and clothes, but stopped short of actually hitting her body. The man then pistol-whipped the woman, took her keys and drove off in her vehicle. Police later found him nearby in the vehicle and arrested him on attempted murder charges. The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Stolen Ronald McDonald statue recovered undamaged

Clinton, N.J. (AP) - A life-size Ronald McDonald statue stolen from a McDonald’s in New Jersey last month has been found. But authorities are keeping mum about where it was found and who took it. Hunterdon County prosecutors say the 250-pound fiberglass statue of the clown character sitting on a bench was taken from the McDonald’s restaurant in Clinton. They announced Friday that it had been found but declined to comment further. Restaurant owners Phil and Diane Koury say the statue wasn’t damaged. They plan to move it to a secure location and will have it refurbished and repainted as part of ongoing restaurant renovations. A $500 reward had been offered for information about the theft. No word on whether the Hamburglar has an alibi.

The dark side of May 4: Storm trooper causes alarm at school

Ashwaubenon, Wis. (AP) - A student dressed as a storm trooper for “Star Wars Day” prompted the evacuation of a Wisconsin high school when a frightened parent saw the costumed figure entering the facility and called 911. Police in Ashwaubenon (ash-WAH’-beh-non) near Green Bay say the parent saw the student going through a back door Thursday wearing body armor and a mask, and carrying a bag. Police Capt. Jody Crocker says the parent did the right thing given the suspicious situation, and that any perceived threat - real or otherwise - can’t be taken lightly. School officials say they will re-emphasize the district’s no-costume policy. Fans have adopted May 4 as “Star Wars Day” because “May the fourth” is a play on the oft-repeated Star Wars phrase, “May the force be with you.”

Update May 13, 2017

(Sgt. Daniel P. Fitzpatrick II/Belfast Police Department via AP)

Police pick up adorable intruders: A pair of pygmy goats

Belfast, Maine (AP) - Police in Maine have picked up some adorable intruders after two miniature goats escaped from their home and wandered the streets. A Belfast police officer responded Sunday morning to find the pygmy goats in a woman’s garage. They had been snacking on cat food. Officer Daniel Fitzpatrick used a cat leash to lead them into his squad car. The trio drove around looking for the goats’ owner as Fitzpatrick fed them carrots and celery. Belfast is a seaport town about 45 miles (73 kilometers) east of Augusta. The daughter of the goats’ owner saw Fitzpatrick’s Facebook post and picked up the pair, named Louis and Mowgli - but not before Fitzpatrick snapped a selfie with the duo. Fitzpatrick called the runaways “good company” and joked about adding patrol goats to the next police budget.

German police deliver pizza after courier crashes car

Berlin (AP) - Police came to the aid of a pizza courier who crashed his car in the southwest German town of Gaggenau - by completing his delivery. The 46-year-old driver hit another car early Saturday. Both drivers required hospital treatment. In a statement, police said that after dealing with the accident the officers were able to hand over the “shaken but still edible pizzas” to the customers.

Cornell male singing group booted from campus for hazing

Ithaca, N.Y. (AP) - Cornell University officials say the college’s oldest all-male a capella group has been permanently dismissed from campus for hazing that included requiring new members to put Icy Hot muscle cream on their genitals. According to the Ivy League school’s website on hazing, Cayuga’s Waiters initially were suspended two weeks into the 2016 fall semester for hazing that also included requiring members to sit naked in ice baths and making them run up and down a street and then consume food. The hazing website says during an investigation group members admitted the hazing had been going on for at least 10 years. University Interim President Hunter Rawlings supported the decision to dismiss the group, saying such behavior has no place at Cornell. Cayuga’s Waiters was formed in 1949. The group didn’t respond to a message sent to its email address.

Flower shop owner accused of stealing plants from cemetery

Pequannock Township, N.J. (AP) - Police say a flower shop owner stole plants and other items from graves at a New Jersey cemetery for months. Capt. Christopher DePuyt says police installed surveillance cameras at the First Reformed Church Cemetery in Pequannock Township after two plants disappeared from the mausoleum and replacement plants were stolen two days later. He says the cameras caught a woman in a minivan taking the plants and Riverdale officers recognized her as a former police dispatcher and current flower shop owner. Authorities charged 59-year-old Lynda Wingate, of Riverdale, with the disorderly person’s offense of theft of moveable property. DePuyt says Wingate claimed she was cleaning up old flowers from graves of people she knew, but he says that isn’t the case. A message seeking comment was left at her flower shop.

Yo, Adrian! Pet shop from ‘Rocky’
films demolished

Philadelphia (AP) - A Philadelphia storefront featured prominently in the “Rocky” films has been demolished. The building was home to the fictional pet store where Rocky courted his eventual wife, Adrian. It was featured in several of the films and was a frequent stop on tours designed for Rocky fans. Tour Guide Ben Caplan tells he was taking a group there Thursday when he found construction crews tearing the building down. The building, once a real pet shop, had been empty for several years.

Update May 4, 2017

Police stop 12-year-old boy from driving across Australia

Sydney (AP) - Outback police have arrested a 12-year-old boy who was almost a third of his way toward driving solo across Australia. The unlicensed boy had driven more than 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) from his home in Kendall on the east coast when he was stopped by traffic police on Saturday on the Barrier Highway near the remote mining town of Broken Hill. He was pulled over because a bumper bar was dragging on the road, a police statement said Sunday. Police said he was driving to the west coast city of Perth, more than 4,100 kilometers (2,500 miles) from Kendall. Police have released no details on why the boy wanted to drive the Perth, whether he would be charged or whether he had refueled during his journey.


Vienna bartender appeals fine for public belching - and wins

Vienna (AP) - He who burps loudest laughs best - at least in this case. Nearly a year after a policeman ticketed Edin Mehic for loudly belching next to him, the Vienna bartender has won his appeal. Mehic was fined 70 euros ($75) for a sonorous post-kebab burp next to the officer at an amusement park. The ticket said he violated "public decency with a loud belch next to a police officer." But a court document Mehic emailed to The Associated Press on Friday shows authorities have ruled in his favor. It says there was "never proof" that he burped to affront the officer. Mehic's belch resonated in Austria long after it was emitted. Groups organized to support him, and a kebab chain paid for both his ticket and an all-expenses trip to Istanbul.


Puerto Rico bank robber flees on bicycle, eludes police

San Juan, Puerto Rico (AP) - It wasn't a 10-speed, but a bank robber in Puerto Rico was still able to elude police Friday by fleeing on a bicycle. Authorities said the unidentified suspect stole some $3,000 from Banco Popular after handing a teller a note that suggested he was carrying a weapon. The incident occurred in the Rio Piedras suburb of the capital of San Juan. Police said they believe the suspect is the same man who robbed another bank last week, although he did not flee on a bicycle that time.


Massachusetts man sentenced for burial plot sale scam

Woburn, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts man has pleaded guilty to selling unused burial plots that had already been purchased by other people and pocketing the cash. Prosecutors say 71-year-old John Hughes was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation, the first three months of which must be served in home confinement, and ordered to pay nearly $75,000 in restitution to the city of Melrose. He pleaded guilty in Middlesex Superior Court to multiple counts of larceny. Authorities say Hughes, of Revere, was appointed administrator of a city-owned cemetery in 2007. Beginning in 2011, he started selling unused burial plots at discounted rates, even though the plots had already been sold. He didn't tell city officials and kept the money. He sold 13 plots in all.


Chilly justice: Man ticketed for warming up car loses case

Roseville, Mich. (AP) - Warming up your car in the driveway might be a Michigan winter tradition, but a judge says it's not legal in a Detroit suburb if no one's behind the wheel. Nick Taylor challenged a $125 ticket in court Thursday and lost. His lawyer, Nicholas Somberg, says a Roseville ordinance against unattended running vehicles shouldn't apply to driveways. But Judge Marco Santia says the law is in the public interest. Taylor got attention in January when he posted a photo of the ticket on Facebook. The post was shared more than 6,000 times and garnered more than 5,000 comments. Roseville Police Chief James Berlin has defended the ticket. He says a thief could have stolen Taylor's car.



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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Update May 27, 2017

Update May 20, 2017

Update May 13, 2017

Update May 4, 2017


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