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Weird National Briefs (09/13/2017)

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What the duck?

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A Dutch judge has called fowl play on a man who abducted and damaged a giant rubber duck.

Prosecutors say in a statement that the 45-year-old was sentenced Wednesday to eight weeks in prison for stealing the one-meter (three-foot) high bright yellow plaster duck from outside the Goudse Eend (Gouda Duck) cafe on June 23.

The prosecution statement says the man will only have to serve two weeks if he undergoes ``lifestyle training.'' A judge also ordered him to pay 740 euros ($880) compensation to the owner of the cafe in the central Dutch city of Gouda.

TME – Gouda Duck = cheese and quackers.

Rascally racoons

BURTON, Ohio - Authorities have identified a suspect in an Ohio county fair burglary who took a bite out of best-of-show baked goods during the heist.

The Plain Dealer reports that officials say whoever broke into an exhibit at the Geauga County Fair in northeast Ohio last week has a masked face, soft fur and walks on four legs.

Wanted posters are now on display for a raccoon or raccoons that left paw prints on baked goods judged to be the best in show among the more than 1,000 entries submitted at the 195-year-old fair.

Fair Board Director Paul Harris says the raccoon took ``a little sample here and a little sample there'' from seven of the 11 best-of-show entries, including breads, muffins, scones, pies and a chocolate cake.

TME – This would make a great low-rent straight-to-video animated film.

Jitney justice

HOMESTEAD, Pa. - Police in western Pennsylvania say a man who robbed a Pittsburgh-area bank hired a jitney, which was pulled over by authorities who followed the vehicle using a tracking device placed in the stolen money.

Allegheny County police say 28-year-old Christian Moore robbed the First National Bank in Homestead about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Police say Moore ran to a jitney stand after handing a teller a note demanding money. County police say Homestead officers followed the jitney and stopped it in Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood, arresting Moore and finding the money and a gun.

The jitney driver told police she didn't know Moore had committed a crime before hiring her for a ride.

She says Moore told police she ``had nothing to do with it, so that was cool of him.''

TME – Dude should have just gotten a Lyft.

Twist(er) ending

CRESTLINE, Ohio - An Ohio woman says she and her daughter were blown out of their home by a tornado and feel fortunate to have suffered only scratches and bruises.

Susan Cooper says the twister ripped apart her home's roof and walls and sent her and her daughter flying into the yard on the mattress where they'd been sleeping. Cooper's husband, John, says he heard crashing noises and made a frantic attempt to get into the bedroom where his wife and daughter had been, then was interrupted with relief when he heard them knocking on a back door.

Officials say the Monday night tornado damaged several homes near the village of Crestline, about 60 miles north of Columbus. It was rated an EF2 twister, with estimated maximum wind speeds up to 130 mph.

TME – The mattress landed on a witch, who was mildly inconvenienced.

Hello, Newman

ALBANY, N.Y. - A fake architect named Newman charged in a New York state fraud investigation dubbed ``Operation Vandelay Industries'' has been sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison.

Paul J. Newman was sentenced on Tuesday after pleading guilty to six felonies including grand larceny and fraud. He must also pay $115,000 restitution.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office said Newman had rendered fraudulent architectural services since 2010 in Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties. Victims included municipalities and businesses.

Schneiderman dubbed the operation to nab Newman ``Vandelay Industries'' in reference to a long-running joke on ``Seinfeld'' about a fictional company by that name. A character named Newman was Jerry's nemesis on the sitcom.

TME – We assume the lead investigator’s name was Peterman.

Ewe never know

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Bears and moose are a common sight on Alaska roadways, but drivers in the state's largest city had a whole different animal problem Wednesday.

KTUU reports police received a call about loose sheep and a ram wandering through traffic in south Anchorage.

A dispatch from police said a nearby resident was able to corral the animals into a fenced area.

The owner was located and will be united with the livestock.

TME – Things get wild and wooly in Alaska.

Lone Star lam

LUFKIN, Texas - A Texas woman is being held on several charges after she slipped her handcuffs, stole a police SUV and then led officers on a pursuit that reached speeds of nearly 100 mph.

Thirty-three-year-old Toscha Sponsler was being held Thursday in the Angelina County jail on charges that include evading arrest.

Authorities say Sponsler had been detained Saturday on suspicion of shoplifting and was in the back of the SUV when she managed to slip her hand through one of the cuffs.

Video released Tuesday by Lufkin police show her then squeezing through a partition to reach the front seat.

A chase went on for about 20 miles before a state trooper managed to spin her out.

Online jail records don't indicate whether she has an attorney.

TME – Even wild getaways are bigger in Texas.

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