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Weird National Briefs (11/04/2020)

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Lawn and order

BERLIN (AP) — A lawnmower robot’s electronic cries for help foiled a thief’s plan to make off with the grass-cutting automaton.

German police said Friday that a homeowner in the western town of Lippstadt was surprised on Tuesday evening with a smartphone message from the robot that it had flipped upside down.

When he went outside to the lawn to check on the device, he spotted a thief with the robot tucked under his arm.

Caught in the act, the thief dropped the robot and fled, according to police.

Officers searched the area but did not locate a suspect. Police are calling for any possible witnesses to come forward.

There was no word on whether the robot suffered damage in the incident.

TME – And not a peep out of the snowblower.

Engine trouble

DANIA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a 10-foot Burmese python was removed from under the hood of a car in Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a tweet Thursday that the snake was coiled up inside the engine compartment of a Ford Mustang in Dania Beach, which is adjacent to Fort Lauderdale.

“Our officers responded and safely captured and removed the approximately 10-foot invasive snake,” the tweet said.

Pythons have become a serious environmental problem in the nearby Everglades because they eat almost anything and have no natural predators, save for the occasional alligator. The largest python captured so far in South Florida was more than 18 feet long.

It wasn’t immediately clear what became of the python found inside the Mustang.

TME – I thought it was HORSEpower.

Purloined penguins

LONDON (AP) — A former birdkeeper who stole a pair of penguins from a British zoo and sold them on Facebook was sentenced Friday to 32 months in prison.

Bradley Tomes, 25, was sentenced by a judge at Preston Crown Court for taking Humboldt penguins Pablo and Penny from Lakes Safari Zoo in northwest England, where he had previously worked in the aviary.

Prosecutors said Tomes broke into the zoo twice in 2018, stealing the penguins and numerous other birds including spoonbills, egrets and macaws.

He was arrested after an animal collector who had bought the penguins for 9,000 pounds ($11,600) contacted a veterinarian because the animals were in poor health. He also reported the incident to police, despite the pleas of Tomes, who offered to give his money back. When Tomes went to the buyer’s house with the refund, he was arrested by waiting police officers.

Wendy Evans of the Crown Prosecution Service said Tomes “showed utter disregard to the wellbeing of the birds he stole from his previous employer for his own financial gain.”

“In police interview he denied committing the offences, but once faced with the overwhelming evidence against him, he pleaded guilty,” she said.

TME – Strong “Something the Penguin would do on the ‘60s ‘Batman’ TV show” energy here.

Shell game

SARDIS CITY, Ala. (AP) — A 200-pound tortoise named Sparkplug that escaped from a pen in Alabama is back home after a journey across two counties and at least one soybean field.

Sparkplug, a 60-year-old African spurred tortoise that lived in an enclosure in Etowah County, pushed its way out of the fenced pen on Thursday. A motorist who spotted the animal on the side of the road took it to his 200-acre (81-hectare) spread in Marshall County, owner Ty Harris told The Gadsden Times in a story Monday.

Harris found out what had happened after using social media to spread the word about Sparkplug, but there was still the matter of finding the tortoise on the land where he’d been released.

A big, roaming tortoise leaves tracks, and area farmers were able to see where Sparkplug had plowed through soybean fields. The man who initially released Sparkplug into the wild found the tortoise and returned it to Harris on Saturday.

“He just had a couple of days out on the town,” said Harris.

Harris used to operate a wildlife sanctuary in the area and got Sparkplug from a family in New Jersey that couldn’t keep the animal.

TME – I presume the hare is still napping?

Granny gives it a whirl

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — What is a 104-year-old woman to do if she wants to visit family members but can’t sit in a car for a long period of time?

Margrethe Hansen, who lives in a Denmark retirement home some 174 kilometers (108 miles) away from her 82-year-old son and her grandchildren, opted to go by helicopter.

“I thought it was the fastest way to get away,” Hansen told Denmark’s TV2. “I do not know what it costs, but it was worth the money.”

A grandson picked up Hansen on Tuesday from her retirement home on the Danish island of Funen and drove her to a nearby field where a private helicopter waited. He lifted his grandmother onto the aircraft and sat her next to the pilot, and then took a backseat together with a nurse.

The flight to Stoevring in northern Denmark took roughly one hour. Hansen saw her relatives’ new houses from the sky and visited with them on the ground before taking the chopper home the same day.

“The first ride was the best. Otherwise, it was a bit bumpy, but it was fine,” Hansen told the channel.

TME – You’re never too old to be a helicopter parent.

Last modified on Wednesday, 04 November 2020 06:58

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