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Weird National Briefs - (11/26/14)

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MASHANTUCKET, Connecticut - Competitive eater Joey Chestnut has won a turkey-eating contest in Connecticut, setting a record by devouring an entire bird.

Ten contestants vied to see who could eat the most of a 20-pound turkey in a competition Saturday at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Chestnut ate 9.35 pounds of meat off the bone in 10 minutes. According to Major League Eating, the food equivalent of the National Football League, he bested the previous record, which was held by Sonya Thomas, who ate 5.25 pounds of turkey in November 2011.

Chestnut, a San Jose, California, resident who turns 31 on Tuesday, is ranked the top competitive eater in the world.

Chestnut took home a $5,000 check. The remainder of the $10,000 purse was divided among other contestants.

TME That's how a professional does Thanksgiving.

Headgear heist

HARRISBURG, Pa.- A former Pennsylvania state worker has been accused of stealing 610 combat helmets and faces federal charges.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says 43-year-old Marietta resident Michael Gantz worked as an acquisition officer at the Department of General Services' surplus property warehouse.

Criminal charges filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg allege that between July 2009 and January 2010 he stole combat helmets the federal government provided for distribution to state and local law enforcement officers.

Investigators estimate the value of the helmets at more than $5,000.

Gantz apparently doesn't have a listed telephone number and can't be reached for comment.

TME You've got to take your hat off to him.

Boozy bandit

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Police in Middle Tennessee are searching for a whiskey bandit who apparently has a hankering for Crown Royal.

Metro Nashville Police tell WKRN-TV that they've been called out to three thefts this week at liquor stores where the only thing stolen was the Canadian whiskey.

Police say the latest burglary happened early Thursday at TLC Liquor and Wines. Officers called to the scene found the front door broken in and two cases of Crown Royal gone.

Two other liquor stores made similar reports this week - that their front door was broken and only Crown Royal whiskey was taken.

Police say the investigation is continuing.

TME What kind of monster robs Tennessee liquor stores and only steals Canadian whiskey?

Drink irresponsibly

HARRISON, N.J.- Police say a New Jersey man who was drunk stole a bulldozer in order to get a ride home.

Police say 30-year-old Christopher Russell left behind a path of destruction as he tried to maneuver the bulldozer through West Hudson Park. The bulldozer leveled signs, three benches, a tree, a drinking fountain, and left a maze of tracks in the grass.

Harrison Police Capt. Mike Green tells the Jersey Journal that Russell told officers he was cold and was trying to ride home to Newark.

Russell was charged with driving while intoxicated, criminal mischief, leaving the scene of an accident and theft of the bulldozer.

TME He apparently thought that 'Do not operate heavy machinery' was just a suggestion.

Tree turmoil

READING, Pa.- A Christmas tree that might make Charlie Brown think twice is getting kicked to the curb a little early after residents of a Pennsylvania town complained it was too ugly.

Reading's spindly 50-foot spruce drew the ire of residents who said it was ruining their holiday spirit.

Now a group led by the city council president is raising money to buy and decorate a more impressive replacement. The current tree is topped with a lighted pretzel, a nod to the area's many bakeries.

The puny pine was a last-minute stand-in taken from a city park. The city had planned to get its tree from a farm, but the owner wouldn't let the crews drive on the wet ground when they went to pick it up.

Officials are hoping to have a do-over tree lighting ceremony next weekend.

TME We never thought it was such a bad little tree.

Sometimes you feel like a nut

ROSEBURG, Ore.- Sponsors of the annual holiday festival near Roseburg have commissioned a whopper of a centerpiece - a wooden nutcracker intended to stand 41 feet tall, weigh more than 16,000 pounds and work its jaw with enough force to crush coconuts.

The statue was created by a Willamette Valley woodworker using chain saws, The News-Review reported.

The crushing power comes from a quarter-horsepower engine that opens and closes a statue jaw about six times a minute.

Cranes were deployed this week to assemble the statue at River Forks Park for the Umpqua Valley Festival of Lights, which begins Sunday.

The sponsors say they have sent documentation to the Guinness Book of World Records in hopes of having it declared the world's largest nutcracker, eclipsing a German one 8 feet shorter.

TME Also known as 'a ballet dancer's Freudian nightmare.'


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