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Weird National Briefs (12/30/2020)

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Speed the plow

BAY SHORE, N.Y. (AP) — A Long Island man has been arrested after a Christmas morning crime spree that gave new meaning to the term doorbuster.

It happened shortly before 2 a.m., Suffolk County police said, when Justin Shuffle stole a 2010 Bobcat skid loader, which is used to push snow, from a Bay Shore shopping center. He then crashed the mini-snow plow through the front doors of a nearby Target.

Once inside, authorities said, Shuffle swiped a coat and several gift cards before police caught him in the electronics section of the big-box retailer.

No one was injured, but the front doors of the store “suffered extensive damages,” police said in a news release.

Shuffle, 33, of Deer Park, pleaded not guilty Friday to third-degree burglary and fourth-degree larceny. It was not immediately clear whether he had a defense attorney.

TME – When last-minute shopping goes bad.

Merry monolith

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In true pop-up art fashion, a nearly 7-foot-tall monolith made of gingerbread mysteriously appeared on a San Francisco hilltop on Christmas Day and collapsed the next day.

The three-sided tower, held together by icing and decorated with a few gumdrops, delighted the city on Friday when word spread about its existence.

During his morning run, Ananda Sharma told KQED-FM he climbed to Corona Heights Park to see the sunrise when he spotted what he thought was a big post. He said he smelled the scent of gingerbread before realizing what it was.

“It made me smile. I wonder who did it, and when they put it there,” he said.

People trekked to the park throughout the day, even as light rain fell on the ephemeral, edible art object. In one video posted online, someone took a bite of the gingerbread.

Phil Ginsburg, head of city’s Recreation and Parks Department, told KQED the site “looks like a great spot to get baked” and confirmed his staff will not remove the monument “until the cookie crumbles.”

It did by Saturday morning, a fitting end to what was surely an homage to the discovery and swift disappearance of a shining metal monolith in Utah’s red-rock desert last month. It became a subject of fascination around the world as it evoked the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” and drew speculation about its otherworldly origins.

The still-anonymous creator of the Utah monument did not secure permission to plant the hollow, stainless steel object on public land.

A similar metal structure was found and quickly disappeared on a hill in northern Romania. Days later, another monolith was discovered at the pinnacle of a trail in Atascadero, California, but it was later dismantled by a group of young men, city officials said.

TME – Talk to me when they make one out of gumdrops.

Here I go again

PEABODY, Mass. (AP) — Police in Peabody, Massachusetts, are looking for a couple who slithered away with a snake worth $300 from a city pet store.

The couple entered the Petco store around 4:30 p.m. Monday, police told The Salem News on Wednesday.

The man asked an employee if he could play with the albino cinnamon ball python. When the employee said that is against store policy, the man offered to buy it, Capt. Dennis Bonaiuto said.

The employee put the snake in a box and brought it to the register area. When the employee put it on the counter, the man grabbed the box, and he and the woman ran from the store and sped away in a car, Bonaiuto said.

The car was last seen heading toward Danvers, Massachusetts.

“We are aware of and shaken by the theft of a pet snake from our Petco store in Peabody,” a spokeswoman for the retailer said in an email, adding that management is cooperating with authorities.

TME – No word as to whether Tawny Kitaen was on the hood of the vehicle.


CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky wildlife officials are using robotic deer to catch illegal hunters.

The deer look-alike is used to catch “spot lighters,” who try to freeze deer with bright lights.

Kentucky hunting regulations say it's illegal to “deliberately cast the rays of a spotlight ... where wildlife or domestic livestock may reasonably be expected to be located.” The practice is illegal in many states.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that 29-year-old James Malone was arrested Sunday in Taylor County. State Fish and Wildlife officials said in an arrest citation that Malone pointed his vehicle's headlights “for an extended period of time” on what he thought was a deer.

Officials found what they suspected to be methamphetamine in Malone's vehicle, according to the citation. He was charged with spot lighting, drug charges and hunting without a license.

TME – I for one welcome our new robotic deer overlords.

Great escape

NEW YORK (AP) – A Delta flight out of New York City was halted after a Florida couple traveling with a Great Dane puppy fled the aircraft with the pet using an emergency slide, an airline spokesperson and authorities said Tuesday.

The incident involving Antonio Murdock and Brianna Greco occurred on Monday as the jet was on a runway leaving for a flight from LaGuardia Airport to Atlanta, said the spokesperson, Morgan Durrant.

Witnesses reported seeing a panicky Murdock force open a cabin door and jump out using the emergency chute leading to the runway. He was quickly followed by Greco with the puppy in tow.

Murdock, 31, and Greco, 27, of Lake Worth, Florida, were taken into custody on charges including criminal mischief and trespassing, among others.

Murdock was released without bail at an arraignment on Tuesday, while Greco was released on a desk appearance ticket. The dog, who The New York Post reported was named Rain, was turned over to an animal shelter.

Outside court, Murdock said he was having a panic attack, the New York Post reported.

“I asked them three or four times to let me off,” he said. “They said they were stopping the plane and they never stopped the plane, and I got to the point where I was just feeling dizzy. I didn't even know there was a slot to go down the slide. I just thought it was a regular door.”

A message was left with an attorney for Murdock.

Passenger Brian Plummer told The New York Times that before the couple exited the plane, the pair had changed seats several times on a flight that wasn't full.

Murdock finally stood up and ignored a flight attendant's order to take a seat for takeoff, telling the attendant that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, Plummer added.

“If I sit down, I'll freak out,” the man said, according to Plummer.

According to court papers, the flight attendant told police she heard a similar comment by Murdock before he pushed past her toward an emergency exit. She then saw the man deploy the emergency exit and “pick up his dog and exit the plane by using the slide,” the papers say.

Security video captured the couple using the chute, the papers add.

The aircraft was forced to return to the gate where the remaining customers got off and were later put on alternate flights.

TME – Say what you will, they know how to make an exit.

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 December 2020 06:38


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