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April 3, 2013

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Send in the clowns

PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Streets Department was using mimes and clowns to remind pedestrians and drivers to not be fools _ on April 1 or any other day. 

The city last year painted a gag 'texting lane' on a street near City Hall last year as a not-so-subtle reminder that pedestrians who keep their noses buried in their cell phones should keep their eyes on the roads and sidewalks instead. 

On Monday, KYW-TV reports that Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler has deployed city workers dressed as clowns and mimes to send a similar message. 

The clowns and mimes have been silently scolding drivers and pedestrians who ignored safety laws. 

Cutler says 'pedestrians need to lift their heads up off their cell phones and cars should stop at red lights. Sometimes they think it's just a suggestion.'

TME Thus pushing the morning commute from 'a bit annoying' to 'utterly terrifying.'

This week in criminal masterminds

CONROE, Texas - Three Houston man have been charged with stealing an ambulance and trying to sell the emergency vehicle for scrap metal recycling. 

Montgomery County Jail records show Peter Burks, Oscar Comeaux III and James West were being held Friday on felony theft charges. 

Comeaux has also been charged with tampering with a government document and he's held without bond. Bond is $10,000 apiece for Burks and West. 

All were arrested Wednesday at the Texas Port Recycling Center near Conroe for allegedly trying to sell the ambulance for scrap. The vehicle was reported stolen in Houston. Further details on the theft weren't immediately available. 

Montgomery County sheriff's investigators are also reviewing other reported auto thefts for potential ties to the trio. 

Online jail records don't list attorneys for the three men.

TME They seem to have a much looser definition of 'emergency' than we do. 

Restroom recreation

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Talk about streaming media: The Philadelphia Phillies' top minor league affiliate is set to debut what it calls a 'urinal gaming system' at its ballpark in Allentown. 

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs tapped a British company to install the system in men's restrooms at Coca-Cola Park. 

It consists of a video display mounted above each urinal. When a fan approaches, the video console will sense his presence and switch into gaming mode. The guy aims left or right to control the play on the screen. 

The team said Tuesday that Coca-Cola Park will be the first sports venue in the world to feature the gaming system. It'll be ready by opening day next week. 

IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes says he didn't want to flush away a golden opportunity to entertain fans. He says the games are 'sure to make a huge splash.'

TME If they put Missile Command' on one of these, we'd buy it right now. 

Up on the rooftop

GLENDALE, Calif. - A Southern California man's car ended up on his neighbor's roof in an unusual accident over the weekend. 

Glendale police Sgt. Sean Riley tells City News Service that the driver lost control Saturday afternoon on a driveway in an area where homes are arrayed on a steep hillside. 

The vehicle ended up on the roof of the next house down the hill. 

Riley says the driver reported he had a mechanical failure. 

The driver, his wife and the resident of the neighboring home were unharmed. 

A crane was brought in to lift the car from the roof, which had minor damage. 

TME So the neighbor totally gets to keep the car, right? We're pretty sure that's a rule.

A Muenster-ous crime

CASHTON, Wis. - An Illinois man accused of stealing 21 tons of Wisconsin cheese has been arrested in New Jersey. 

New Jersey authorities say the 34-year-old man from Plainfield, Ill., was arrested Tuesday afternoon. 

New Jersey State Police Lt. Stephen Jones said Wednesday the man was driving a refrigerated truck carrying 42,000 pounds of Muenster cheese. Jones says the cheese company, K&K Cheese in Cashton, Wis., valued the cargo at $200,000. 

New Jersey Detective Oliver Sissman tells WISC-TV in Wisconsin that the suspect used false paperwork to obtain the cheese. 

Company spokesman Kevin Everhart says K&K can't guarantee the cheese hasn't been tampered with, so it didn't ask for the product back. 

Jones says if the cheese passes inspections by health authorities it will be donated to charity. 

TME Who knew that there was such a lucrative market for black market cheese?

Bird is the (curse) word

WARWICK, R.I. - Warwick officials have dropped their case against the owner of a foul-mouthed cockatoo that hurled expletives at a neighbor. 

City resident Lynn Taylor was fined $15 last year for violating the local noise ordinance after the neighbor complained about the bird's profane rants. The neighbor lived with Taylor's ex-husband. 

Police told WJAR-TV they recently dropped the case because of the cost of fighting Taylor's appeal of the fine. Officials say it was in the city's best interest not to use its resources to try to enforce a $15 citation. 

Taylor appealed the fine to Providence Superior Court. Her lawyer said the noise ordinance is unconstitutional because it doesn't specify what constitutes a violation. 

The local law prohibits residents from letting their pets habitually howl, bark or make other noises. 

TME We smell a Pixar movie!

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