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Weird National Briefs (12/20/2017)

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Family outing

FRESNO, Calif. - Authorities say eight people, including a baby, teamed to rob a California store of gold.

The Fresno Bee reports the group, comprised of six women, a man and a baby, was able to distract the owner of a Fresno jewelry store while one of the women stole gold merchandise from a safe.

All eight, including the baby, managed to flee.

The vehicle used in the alleged crime was a van, possibly a Dodge Caravan, with paper license plates and damage to the driver’s side.

TME – Man, “Ocean’s Eight” is going in an unexpected direction.

Urinetown

WILMINGTON, N.C. - North Carolina environmental officials are trying to discover the cause of a cat urine smell in a coastal city where residents say the odor is overwhelming on some days.

The StarNews of Wilmington reports more than a dozen residents alerted the state Department of Environmental Quality on Nov. 25 because the smell was so bad.

DEQ officials are investigating several industries as a source. Brad Newland of the state Division of Air Quality’s office in Wilmington says it’s possible that all those industries are causing the smell.

The odor isn’t new. Newland was part of a team that studied it in the 1990s.

Residents should call 910-796-7215 to report smells. Newland says investigators should be alerted immediately because it’s difficult to find a cause once the odor has dissipated.

TME – Maybe someone ought to ask a cat?

Bad Santa

CITRUS HEIGHTS, California - Authorities say a Northern California man tried to burglarize a business by entering through the chimney only to become stuck.

Police in the Sacramento-area city of Citrus Heights said Friday that 32-year-old Jesse Berube was uninjured but now faces one count of burglary.

According to police, Berube slid down the chimney of the business Wednesday and then found himself lodged inside.

The Rocklin man was able to reach his cellphone and dial 911 for help.

The Sacramento Fire Department responded and used special equipment to extricate him.

Police called Berube a “criminal Santa” who “does not have the same skills as the real deal.”

TME – That’s a real ho-ho-home invasion.

Weed wonder

WORCESTER, Mass. - Massachusetts marijuana aficionados have rolled a 100-foot-long joint.

The effort was led by Boston-based cannabis club and advocacy group Beantown Greentown during an exhibition of pro-marijuana vendors and supporters at the DCU Center in Worcester on Saturday.

They perfected a secret rolling technique using 1,000 grams of their own pot trimmings.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that people crowded around to take selfies when the final product was displayed Saturday. Thousands of people attended the exhibition.

The newspaper says 55-year-old Denise Fournier, of Gardner, Massachusetts, asked the question on everybody’s mind: “When are you going to light it up?”

Massachusetts last year voted to legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana. A Cannabis Control Commission is writing regulations to govern the sale of cannabis.

TME – Also present – the world’s largest bag of Doritos.

Crickets for tickets

VALDOSTA, Ga. - A Georgia theme park is offering guests a free ticket if they eat a cricket.

The giveaway may bug some people. But Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta was giving away T-shirts and free admission Saturday to the first 100 guests to gobble up a roasted cricket.

The challenge was meant to promote the park’s upcoming attraction called MEGABUGS! The Valdosta Daily Times reports the interactive insect attraction will open in March.

Exhibits will include giant replicas of insects including a 15-foot dragonfly, a 26-foot hissing cockroach and a 50-foot millipede.

Wild Adventures officials said in a news release the exhibits will showcase the unique sounds and movements that insects make.

TME – That’s one way to keep the place hopping.

Stealing Sith

PORTLAND, Ore. - Authorities in Oregon are taking advantage of the frenzy around the opening day of the latest Star Wars movie to catch a bad guy of their own.

Police in Portland on Friday nicknamed an alleged bank robber the “Palpatine Bandit” because of the dark-colored hoodie he wears during bank hold-ups.

Emperor Sheev Palpatine, also known as the Darth Sidious in the Star Wars franchise, wears a dark and hooded cloak.

The next installment in the movie franchise, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” opened in theaters Friday.

Police departments often give nicknames to bank robbery suspects to help generate tips from the public.

Police say this real-life robber held up a U.S. Bank branch on Thursday but was not armed.

He got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

TME – Running the Galactic Empire ain’t cheap.

Pooping pooch

CHICAGO - A rookie bomb-sniffing dog at Chicago’s Midway International Airport is having a little trouble waiting to poop in the proper place.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the dog has been pooping in the terminals and concourses.

Kevin McCarthy, who heads up Transportation Security Administration operations at Midway, says it doesn’t impact the dog’s ability to do her work looking for contraband. The dog is four months into her job and McCarthy says he’s confident the problem will eventually stop.

The newspaper says the 2-year-old dog has been getting jittery in crowds, but any mess she leaves is quickly cleaned up. Of the issue, McCarthy says: “It’s not going to ruin her career.”

TME – But when *we* poop in a concourse, we’re “no longer welcome.” Double standards!

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