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Weird National Briefs (06/02/2021)

June 1, 2021
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Grouse in the house

NEW LONDON, N.H. (AP) — Some people are greeted by the family dog. For Todd Westward, it’s a ruffed grouse.

The bird started hanging out in the New London, New Hampshire, backyard last month with Westward while his family was away on a trip, his wife, Mary Beth Westward, posted in Facebook. Since then, the bird, named Walter, has made himself a fixture in the yard.

“I just thought it was a fluke before we left,” Mary Beth Westward said Friday. “While we were gone, this bird formed this crazy attachment. He was here every single day, all day long, following him.”

Walter has perched on her husband’s shoulder and arm, and has visited his backyard workstation.

Mary Beth Westward said she’s gotten a lot of positive comments from her post, and heard some similar stories about social grouses.

She said she and the couple’s daughters don’t have the same bond with Walter. He appears to chase them away.

“He runs like a feathered velociraptor while he chases us down the driveway in our cars. And he goes back up and sits on the porch and pretends to be our watch-bird,” Westward wrote in her post.

The ruffed grouse is the state bird in Pennsylvania. The “tame” grouse phenomenon happens in the spring, during the peak breeding season, according to a video last year from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. One theory is that the grouse is acting hyper-territorial.

TME – Tale as old as time.

Stilton stumble

LONDON (AP) — A drug dealer in the English city of Liverpool thought he was the big cheese — until police got all the evidence they needed to arrest him from a picture he shared of himself holding a small block of creamy Stilton.

Carl Stewart, 39, was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison at Liverpool Crown Court last week after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply heroin, MDMA and ketamine and transferring criminal property.

Were it not for a photo he shared of himself holding the cheese block from the reputable British retailer, Marks & Spencer, he could still very well be supplying large amounts of drugs.

Stewart was arrested after he posted the photo on the encrypted messaging service EncroChat, via his handle “Toffeeforce.” Unbeknownst to him, the service had been cracked by police in Europe. From that, his palm and fingerprints were analyzed and police had their man.

Merseyside Police Detective Inspector Lee Wilkinson said Stewart had been “caught out by his love of Stilton cheese.”

Stewart isn’t alone in having his criminal activities brought to a premature end by his activities on EncroChat. Merseyside Police say around 60,000 users have now been identified worldwide, with about 10,000 of them in the U.K. alone. All are said to be involved in coordinating and planning the supply and distribution of drugs and weapons, money laundering and other criminal activity.

TME – In the guy’s defense, that’s a REALLY good cheese.

Later, gator

PADRE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE, Texas (AP) — A young alligator traced to the Louisiana bayous traded swamp scum for a sandy Padre Island beach in South Texas.

In an unusual spin from “Jaws,” the gator showed up Monday on Malaquite Beach, about 25 miles (40.23 kilometers) southeast of Corpus Christi, Padre Island National Seashore officials said in a Facebook post.

National Park Service rangers found it and checked its tail notch and tags on its rear feet to determine it had come from Louisiana.

How it got to South Texas remains a mystery, but its spring break ended abruptly as rangers took it to a rehabilitation center to recover from its journey.

While alligators can tolerate saltwater for a few hours or even days, they are primarily freshwater reptiles living in swampy areas, rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.

TME – One assumes the crocodile will arrive after a while.

Drug dump

BERLIN (AP) — Staff at a logistics company in Germany threw cocaine with a street value of up to 1 million euros ($1.2 million) in the trash, not realizing that the packages they’d found inside banana crates were drugs, customs officials said Tuesday.

Authorities said that a fruit logistics company in Erding, near Munich, called police on May 10 to report that workers had discovered at least 4.5 kilograms (almost 10 pounds) of cocaine in organic waste bins on their premises.

Police determined that the drugs had been dumped there a day earlier by subcontractors who gave no thought to the “foreign objects” they found wrapped in tape inside the banana crates before discarding them.

The Munich customs office said the crates had been shipped from Ecuador via the Netherlands. No further packets of the high-grade cocaine were found.

TME – One man’s trash is another man’s turnkey drug cartel.

Piranha pond

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A piranha has been found in a lake at Louisiana State University, and fisheries agents are looking in case there are more, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said Friday.

The red piranha found earlier in the week was probably a pet that someone released into University Lakes, a news release said.

Piranhas are native to the Amazon Basin in South America, and it’s illegal to possess or sell them in Louisiana, the department said.

“While their reputation in popular culture labels them as a vicious predator, piranhas are more likely to scavenge for dead or dying prey, including fish or crustaceans,” the news release said.

Still, it advised people who see a red piranha to be cautious.

“If you have information, or if you think you caught a piranha, please do not return it to the water,” it said.

TME – Sounds a bit fishy to me.

Last modified on Tuesday, 01 June 2021 06:23

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