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Weird National Briefs - 10/15/14

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Absconding ambulance

GOODYEAR, Ariz. - Authorities say a patient wanting out of an Arizona hospital used an ambulance as his getaway vehicle.

Goodyear police spokeswoman Lisa Kutis says Michael Lopez hijacked a parked ambulance Sunday outside West Valley Hospital in metro Phoenix.

Kutis says a firefighter sitting in the back was able to jump out safely.

Police pursued Lopez, who failed to pull over.

Authorities used GPS to locate the vehicle and Lopez at his home in the suburb of Avondale.

Kutis says he was arrested on charges of theft of means of transportation, felony flight, failure to yield to police and disorderly conduct.

She did not know why Lopez was hospitalized.

She says Lopez, who felt he was being hospitalized against his will, is being booked into a Phoenix jail.

The ambulance was returned to firefighters.

TME It all boils down to your definition of 'emergency.'

What in tarnation?

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- When police in Daytona Beach, Florida, found a man covered in tar on the roof of a closed gas station before dawn, he told them he was visiting family.

They didn't believe it.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported Thursday the 30-year-old man then tried to convince officers he was a repairman who was atop the Sunoco station at 3 a.m. Tuesday because he heard the air conditioners making noise. Officers didn't believe that one, either.

Finally, police say he told them he had been sleeping on the roof and had smeared tar on himself so he wouldn't be seen.

Police say that since he had a prying tool with him, they think he was a would-be burglar and arrested him for attempted burglary of an unoccupied structure, possession of burglary tools and criminal mischief.

TME Ah, the continuing adventures of Florida Man.

Spider surprise

WELDON SPRING, Mo.- A family was driven from their suburban St. Louis home by thousands of venomous spiders that fell from the ceiling and oozed from the walls.

Brian and Susan Trost bought the $450,000 home overlooking two golf holes at Whitmoor Country Club in Weldon Spring in October 2007 and soon afterward started seeing brown recluse spiders everywhere, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Once when showering, Susan Trost dodged a spider as it fell from the ceiling and washed down the drain.

She told St. Louis television station KMOV-TV in 2012 the spiders 'started bleeding out of the walls,' and at least two pest control companies were unable to eradicate the infestation.

The couple filed a claim in 2008 with their insurance company, State Farm, and a lawsuit against the home's previous owners for not disclosing the brown recluse problem.

At a civil trial in St. Charles County in October 2011, University of Kansas biology professor Jamel Sandidge - considered one of the nation's leading brown recluse researchers - estimated there were between 4,500 and 6,000 spiders in the home. Making matters worse, he said, those calculations were made in the winter when the spiders are least active.

The jury awarded the couple slightly more than $472,000, but the former owners declared bankruptcy, the insurance company still didn't pay anything and the couple moved out two years ago.

TME They can't burn that place down fast enough.

Rings of honor

BLOOMFIELD, N.M.- A New Mexico man is suing Burger King after he says a manager attacked him for complaining about cold onion rings.

KRQE-TV reports the lawsuit filed in state district court says Robert Deyapp was assaulted in June 2013 when he told a manager at the fast-food restaurant in the northwestern New Mexico city of Bloomfield about his cold order.

The lawsuit claims that when Deyapp asked for a refund, manager Francisco Berrera lunged at him with a stun gun and switchblade.

Court records show Berrera later pleaded no contest to aggravated assault.

Ronald Adamson, an attorney for Berrera, did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.

A spokesman for Burger King said the company doesn't comment on pending litigation.

TME Apparently, the customer isn't always right.

A Perry Mason mystery

NEWPORT, Vt.- This Perry Mason is accused of a crime.

Perry Mason, of Hardwick, Vermont - not to be confused with the fictional criminal defense lawyer played by Raymond Burr - has pleaded not guilty to breaking into a jewelry store in July and stealing $110,000 worth of handmade items.

The Caledonian Record reports bail for the 46-year-old Mason was set at $50,000. But even if he's able to post it, Mason isn't likely to leave prison right away. He's being held on a parole violation. A prosecutor said he also has five prior burglary convictions and an escape conviction.

Mason's lawyer, Jessica Burke, says the state's evidence is weak.

But police say in an affidavit it was through the arrest of another man that investigators identified their suspect.

TME Authorities are also seeking Ben Matlock and Ironsides for questioning.

Congenial junkie

BILLINGS, Mont.- Prosecutors in Montana say a man caught leaving a house he had apparently burglarized apologized to the homeowner and offered him some heroin.

The Billings Gazette reports Christopher Dayell Bittner made an initial court appearance Monday on felony burglary and drug possession charges.

Authorities say the homeowner and his 7-year-old son came home as Bittner was leaving Saturday. Yellowstone County Attorney Paul Adam says Bittner apologized and offered the drug. He was found nearby, and court records say a search of his backpack turned up 31.5 grams of heroin, drug paraphernalia and items belonging to the homeowner.

Public defender Roberta Drew asked that Bittner be released without bail because he wanted to attend his father's funeral. Bail was set at $7,500, but Bittner was allowed to attend the service.

TME Talk about a smack in the face.

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