Friday, July 03, 2015

Stand back

Lady with Sphynx cats puts sheet on bed

That is all.

YouTube link.

Teenager who stole more than 70 guns through roof of store made getaway on tricycle

Neal Crasnow described the gun heist from his store on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, Florida, early on Tuesday like a scene out of a movie.. The burglar ripped a hole in the ceiling of Al's Army Navy store, shimmied down a rope and climbed back up with two bags filled with more than 70 guns. "It must be Spider-Man," Crasnow said. "I can't think of who else [could have done this]." The burglary happened sometime after midnight without setting off any alarms. "He dropped in the middle of the floor where there aren't alarms," said Crasnow.

Blood found on a pipe on the outside of the building appeared to show "how the suspect was able to get on and off the roof," the police report stated. Shortly after 2am Orange County deputies in the area investigating a series of car burglaries instead found 19-year-old Gary Jahmel Shaquan Elliott, who was bleeding from a wound on his right arm. According to a sheriff's report released on Wednesday, a deputy first spotted Elliott dressed in dark clothing and pedalling a heavily loaded tricycle. That's when the teenager made an abrupt turn behind a duplex residence and disappeared.

The tricycle was found abandoned with a backpack and two large black bags filled with guns. "Inside...I saw multiple handguns with Al's Army-Navy price tags and serial numbers," Deputy Matthew Vinson wrote. "There was also spray can bottles and (a) crowbar in one of the bags. I also could see blood on most of the handguns as well as the handlebars of the bicycle." Elliott was caught as he tried to walk away from the area. The deputies contacted the Orlando Police Department and held Elliott. A check of the gun shop did not find immediate signs of the break-in.

But an officer looked through the front door and saw the hole in the ceiling that a sheriff's helicopter crew also spotted. After the door was unlocked, three glass display cases were found shattered. And black paint was sprayed on the floor in an attempt to cover blood. Elliott was charged with armed burglary of a structure with a firearm, third-degree grand theft of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and criminal mischief. He remains held without bail on an additional charge of violating probation on his felony conviction for robbery with a dangerous weapon. The teen has been arrested five times before on various charges. All but four pistols of about 75 handguns and long guns stolen in the burglary were recovered.

There's a news video here.

Man says he was fired for joking about marrying his dog on Facebook

A Florida man says he was fired for something he posted about his dog on Facebook. Ryan Uhler from Cape Coral says he was inspired by the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.

"Gay marriage was passed in all 50 states and I thought it be funny to post a picture of me and the dog," says Uhler. It was the caption, "How is marrying a dog different if you love them?

"Today, I hope we can focus on doggy style love. I love my dog rocco, and he loves me. Hopefully one day we can be married...", that got him into trouble. Uhler says he was fired over it. He says his employers at Grace Advisory Group in Fort Myers didn't find it funny and fired him. Uhler said: "What happened was, they took it out of context."

YouTube link.

Trial lawyer, Scot Goldberg said the company is justified. "I think going to the point where they're firing someone is a little bit over the line. I think they have the ability to do that in the legal recourse to do it." Goldberg adds Florida is an "at will" state meaning employers don't need to give a reason for firing without notice.

Restaurant again in trouble over 'steak' sign that was changed to 'tea'

A "Tea" sign, which looms over Panda North in Brattleboro, Vermont, has already been the subject of an Environmental Court decision after the town tried removing it when the former steakhouse became a Chinese restaurant and the sign was changed from "Steak" to "Tea" by removing an "S" and a "K." It will once again be discussed at a Development Review Board hearing as the town contends that it is finally time to tear down the non-conforming structure. But the owners are not going without another fight. Brattleboro Zoning Administrator Brain Bannon has determined that the sign is in violation of the town's zoning code because it is not in good repair. Panels are missing, portions of the letters have broken away and the lighting fixtures are exposed to the elements, Bannon wrote in his violation notice.

Furthermore, the sign is both larger and taller than the current zoning code allows, and while it is "grandfathered" in as a nonconforming structure under the zoning code, the sign must be maintained, Bannon said. Bannon issued a violation notice to Panda North and the restaurant is appealing the notice to the DRB, which will hear the appeal at its July 20 meeting. Under the town's zoning code the sign is "grandfathered" in because it was erected before the most current zoning regulations were adopted in 1988. The town zoning code, however, requires that any "grandfathered," or nonconforming, sign that is damaged to the extent that the cost of repairing or restoration will exceed one-third the replacement value must be taken down. Bannon, in his letter, says the town considers signs and support structures separately, and given that half the sign panel is missing and portions of the text have broken away, the sign has sustained damage that exceeds one-third of its value.

Panda North could face fines of $200 per day if the sign remains and the appeal is denied. The sign was built in 1962 and originally displayed the word "Steak $5.99" before the letters "S" and "K" and the numbers were removed in 1990 shortly after the former steak house became a Chinese Restaurant. The town, back then, wanted Michael Lacroix, the then-owner of the property to remove the sign because steak was no longer being sold at $5.99. He instead changed the sign to "Tea." The town was not amused and took him to court, but an environmental judge found in 1998 that the "Tea" sign could stay. "I don't think the town ever got over that," said Bruce Hesselbach, a Brattleboro attorney who is representing Panda North. "They've been mad ever since and now they are going after it again." According to Hesselbach, the town needs to consider the complete value of the sign, including the supports, and not just use the sign when determining the value.

"When the (zoning code) uses the word "sign," it clearly means the entire sign including the frames and supports," Hesselbach wrote in the appeal. "Otherwise it would lead to the absurd result that the written part of the sign is allowed but the frame and supports have to be removed. The Environmental Court has already held that this sign could stay. The court did not rule that only the written part of the sign could stay." Hesselbach said his clients agree that the sign is in disrepair but he said Panda North wants to either repair the sign or replace it with a newer sign that reads "Panda North." "They did not want to get into another fight with the town, but they are being forced into it," he said. Bannon said he made his determination of the damage to the sign during a routine inspection, and he said the structure was both unsafe and an eyesore.. "As they long as they maintain the sign they can keep it," Bannon said. "But once it is damaged at one-third of its value it has to come down."

Appeals court rules that man's therapy ducks violate village law

Ohio’s Fifth District Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling that a man violated village law by owning ducks he deemed therapeutic. Darin R. Welker, of West Lafayette, said he plans to appeal that decision. Welker, 36, was cited on June 23, 2014, for owning 14 ducks in his backyard.

He was charged with owning farm animals inside West Lafayette limits. He later gave away eight of his ducks. Last Oct. 29, Coshocton Municipal Judge Timothy France found Welker guilty of that charge, a minor misdemeanor, fined him $50 and assessed court costs. Welker appealed that decision to the Fifth District Court of Appeals, which heard arguments in May and handed down its ruling last week.

That ruling was filed on Monday in Coshocton County Common Pleas Court. Appeals court Judges Scott Gwin, Sheila Farmer and Patricia Delaney ruled there is no indication that Welker’s life is in danger without the ducks or that he has no alternative to avoid greater harm, such as an alternative therapy or different type of support animal not prohibited by village law.

Welker had argued that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression from his year of service on ground vehicle maintenance in Iraq during 2004 and 2005. He served in the Ohio National Guard from 2004 to 2008 before receiving a medical discharge. He contended that his ducks were registered as emotional support animals and that they help boost his spirits. Last October, the village amended its ordinance to allow residents to own up to two therapy pets.

Mystery over man dressed as undertaker paddling coffin across lake

Mystery surrounds a man dressed as an undertaker in a coffin who has been spotted gliding through the morning mist on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, Australia.

Fellow paddlers on the lake were baffled by the sight of the man and his vessel, which had been decorated with brightly-coloured plastic flowers. Jeanne Mclauchlan was one seasoned paddler who spotted the man during an early morning venture to the lake on Saturday morning.

"In the distance, we noticed a figure emerge from the thick fog," she said. "It was a figure of a man dressed in a tuxedo and top hat on a stand-up-paddle coffin, complete with flowers, paddling toward us. We asked 'coffin man', 'Where are you going'?

"His response was, 'To Queanbeyan cemetery as I have a 3pm grave site to prepare'." The man's appearance didn't thrill everyone who saw him. It is understood some relatives of patients at Clare Holland House, which sits on the edge of the lake at Barton, felt the sight of the coffin kayaker out the hospice's windows was inappropriate and insensitive.

Dispute between women over dog poo escalated into brawl

Two women came to blows over a mound of dog poo that escalated into a brawl involving five people.

The fight broke out on Sunday evening when a dog belonging to a 32-year-old woman did its business in a park in Bergisch Gladbach, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. A 33-year-old female passer-by, seeing the dog's owner walk on, demanded that she clean up her dog's mess, police reported.

When the woman refused a shouting match ensued. Before long the 33-year-old had thrown her keys at the dog owner and hit her on the head. At this point a passing man managed to separate the two women. But that wasn't the end of it. The dog owner returned a few minutes later with male reinforcements and once again things got violent.

By this point five people were involved in a full blown fist fight. One person was even using a club, police have revealed. According to town regulations in Bergisch Gladbach, not cleaning up dog poo can carry a fine of 30 euros. The police are also investigating serious bodily harm due to evidence of serious wounds, swollen arms and ripped out hair as a result of the fight.

Sacked driving instructor says he was just pretending to be asleep - Update

A driving instructor who was sacked when a photo emerged appearing to show him asleep at work says he was merely pretending to snooze. The man, who asked to remain anonymous, was photographed by Laura Martin, 22, near Norwich City's Carrow Road stadium.

He said when the learner driver pulled up at a red light he had joked about "having a kip" to break the tension. He claims the episode has left his professional reputation in "tatters". "The lights had just turned red," said the instructor, who was axed as a contractor with 5Day after the incident.

"He was bit nervous and it was only his second day out and I just said to him, 'right, I'm going to have a kip, wake me up before we go'. So I closed my eyes and after 10 or 15 seconds I snored. He laughed and I laughed and basically it just relaxed the tension. From then on, he drove on and was a lot more relaxed. It was a tension-breaker more than anything. I know what it looks like but it was completely different."

The instructor insisted closing his eyes for a few seconds had not put anyone in danger because they were stopped with the handbrake on and with the gear in neutral throughout. He stressed he wanted to try to rebuild his career and reputation. Norfolk Police had confirmed it received a complaint from a member of the public about the incident but has now said is not taking any action in connection with the matter.

Eight people trapped in social club for more than an hour by ‘aggressive’ fox

Eight people were trapped in a Cambridgeshire social club for more than an hour after a marauding fox confronted them in the car park. One customer suffered a bite wound during the incident and another used a bicycle to keep the animal at bay. A pest controller who was called to destroy the fox had to return to his vehicle for safety after the animal advanced on him. The drama began late on Saturday night at Alconbury Sports and Social club, when a customer went outside for a cigarette. He saw the fox running towards him and retreated inside, fully expecting it to wander off, but instead the animal waited outside the main door.

When he went to leave through another door, the fox ran to that one instead, preventing him from leaving and tried to enter the building. The situation began to get more serious as the fox started showing clear signs of aggression to anyone trying to pass it. The club’s chairman Bruce Stains ventured outside, but ended up being chased around the car park by the animal. When one woman customer tried to tempt the animal away from the door with food she was bitten on the hand. At this point Mr Stains called pest control expert Graeme Brown who lives in the village.

Mr Brown, who has 18 years of experience in pest control, said: “It was a serious situation. The fox was extremely aggressive. When I got there it advanced towards me. I tried to scare it away, shouting, stamping and waving my arms – but it had no effect. I tried to move it with a stick and it just bit the stick. It then penned me in a children’s play area before I could get back to my car. I have never seen anything like this before. It was just in your face. There was no option but to humanely destroy the fox. We could not have left it. Children play in that area and it would have been a serious risk.”

It is believed that the animal could have been an urban fox that had been caught and then released near the village. Mr Stains added: “I’m just glad it didn’t appear during the day when we had over 200 children using the sports ground.” A spokesman for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This is clearly very unusual behaviour for a fox and 
it is hard to explain. Even though foxes have become bolder it is still not something you would expect to happen. It is certainly an isolated incident as we have had no other reports like this across the three counties where we operate.”

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Pecking order

Zelda the Bulldog scratches an itch

In the most graceful fashion.

YouTube link.

Distracted driver jumped opening drawbridge

Cameras on the Flagler Bridge in Palm Beach, Florida, captured a driver, identified as 29-year-old James Montano, jumping the bridge as it was going up. Police say the jump was not the act of a daredevil, but more likely distracted driving.

“Basically it was a distracted driver incident,” explained Officer Philip Salm with the Palm Beach Police Department, “the individual was coming back towards West Palm and didn't see the bridge arms coming down, it was suspected the guy was messing with his GPS." According to Salm, Montano is lucky the distraction didn’t cost him his life.

“The implications of what could have happened, had he hit at a different time or he hit the ramp and went over the side, you're talking about a potentially fatal accident," Salm said. And fortunately for Montano, his timing was impeccable. “You see the arms go down and then you see the vehicle just come in and he's hitting it just at the moment that it's starting to go up,” Salm said.

YouTube link.

The Flagler Bridge was closed for about five hours on Saturday morning as crews worked to repair the traffic arm Montano ploughed through. According to a police report, Montano and his passenger were treated for minor injuries at the scene of the crash and Montano was cited for reckless driving.

Police responding to shots fired found armed pirate on bridge

Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to “shots fired” reports on the old Seven Mile Bridge in Marathon, Florida, on Monday night

They found a man in full pirate costume packing operational black-powder pistols in holsters on each hip. Jamie Spiering, 58, was also allegedly armed with a sword and two knives.

Spiering told deputies he was on the bridge with friends for sunset. He said there were no projectiles in the pistols, and that he had fired them toward the water. But witnesses told a different story, said Deputy Becky Herrin, the Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

They said Spiering fired one shot in the direction of cars travelling on the functioning Seven Mile Bridge, which runs parallel to the old bridge, now only used by pedestrians. Spiering was arrested and booked into county jail on a misdemeanor county of disturbing the peace. He was released on $328 bail later that night.

Town raffles chance to Taser city official

For the price of a $5 raffle ticket, Van Meter in Iowa is offering its residents a chance to use a police Taser on a city official. City Hall is selling the tickets as part of a public safety fundraiser. The raffle winner will get the chance to use a Taser on City Administrator Jake Anderson or Councilman Bob Lacy at the Van Meter Fire Association Street Dance on July 18.

"I volunteered to be tased," Anderson said. A police officer will assist with the tasing, with the proceeds going to help the department purchase a second squad car, add speed radar and possibly expand its six-member part-time and reserve force. Anderson said the idea came up during a meeting with police about funding. "The joke was sort of, 'Yeah, let's tase the administrators. They make all the friends,' " Anderson said.

"I was like, 'Yeah, that's funny. Do you think you could raise some money?' " Lacy volunteered to add a little competition, and Anderson was glad. "I didn't want there to be a 100 percent chance I'd be tased," he said. Anderson said he's never been stunned with a Taser before, adding: "I imagine it will hurt." Police Chief Bill Daggart, a former Waukee officer, acknowledged he's never been subjected to a Taser either.

He said they're not that dangerous. Issues arise when someone has a prior medical issue or already is in a state of shock and the Taser prongs go across the heart, Daggart said. "Most officers will tell you they'd much rather be tased than pepper sprayed. The effects are so short, and it doesn't burn," he said. He hopes to buy Tasers for Van Meter's department once they've raised the $5,000 to $10,000 desired to expand the force.

Teenager who woke up with pain in ear pulled out four-inch centipede

A teenager from Bryant, Arkansas, is recovering after pulling a centipede from his ear. Grant Botti, 14, was asleep when pain in his ear woke him up.

After feeling around to see what was causing the pain, the boy pulled out a 4-inch centipede. His mother Angela Botti says she retrieved the bug and put it in a bag.

She then took her son to the hospital, and the bug in the bag went along too. Doctors at Saline Memorial examined Grant and said the centipede had caused abrasions to his eardrum and ear canal, which they covered with a bandage.

Grant's mother says she's not sure where the bug came from but noted that the family had just came back from the beach. Hospital staff told the family they've pulled many things from ears before but never a centipede.

Man found hiding in kennel claimed dog had eaten his electronic tag

A 39-year-old man found by police hiding in a kennel told officers a dog ate his electronic tag, a court in Northern Ireland has heard.

Darren Curry, of Derry, appeared before Derry Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to criminal damage. The offence took place on March 8.

The court was told that police called to deal with an unrelated matter and noticed that Curry's electronic tag to monitor him while on bail was missing. When questioned about it, Curry said that the dog had eaten it.

The court heard that the defendant had been found in a dog kennel at the time he answered the police officer's question. Seams Quigley, defence solicitor, said: 'Maybe the dog did eat his homework, I don't know.' Curry was given a two year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £223.81 compensation for the damage to the electronic ankle tag.

Cow rescue hindered by 'randy' bulls

Four "randy" bulls had to be kept at bay with water jets while a trapped cow was rescued in Derbyshire. The bulls were found circling the heifer, after its head became lodged between two trees on a steep bank in Alfreton, police said.

The RSPCA said the stricken cow was very weak, dehydrated and surrounded by four large uncastrated male Limousin bulls. It took three hours to release the cow, which has since been "recovering" from the ordeal, earlier this month. RSPCA animal welfare officer Andy Snowdon said he was grateful firefighters from Matlock and Alfreton used their hoses to keep the bulls away.

"Their jets of water helped keep me safe while we winched the trees apart and managed to free the cow," he said. "I love all animals, but I have to admit having four large randy bulls circling around me was quite an interesting experience and one I don't want to repeat any time soon." The cow appeared tired but in good health after an RSPCA vet checked it over, following the rescue on 20 June.

YouTube link.

In other cow related news, on Monday morning Adam Kelly spotted this herd of runaway cows making a bid for freedom through a residential street in Mid Calder, West Lothian, Scotland, as the animals were closely pursued by a police van and the unlucky farmer.

YouTube link. Original Facebook video.

Sneezing assaults man denies string of attacks

A man has appeared in court accused of committing a string of assaults on people after they sneezed.

Stephen Jackson, 49, from Carlisle, entered not guilty pleas at Carlisle magistrates court to allegations he assaulted 11 women, one man and a child between October 2014 and March this year.

He denies assault by beating against Jean Thompson, Moureen Taylor, Janet English, Elizabeth Whyte-Caine, Christopher Dale, Thelma Stewart, Muriel Lumley, Cynthia Nicholson, Janice Bell, Carolyn Millican, Mira Evans and Ann Hewetson.

Jackson also pleaded not guilty to an offence of common assault against a young girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons. The offences were said to have been committed in Carlisle, with several understood to involve mostly elderly people being slapped on the head. The defendant faces a two-day trial at the same court on a date to be fixed. He was granted unconditional bail.

Man accused of attempting to steal money of a value unknown from lady's private parts

A man has appeared in court charged with attempting to rob a woman of money that was in her private parts.

Paul Clint Wells, 38, of Torquay in Devon, appeared at Torquay Magistrates' Court.

He was charged under section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 for the offence of attempting to rob a woman of money of a value unknown from her private parts on June 17 in Torquay.

He was not required to enter a plea during his appearance. Wells was remanded in custody and will next appear at Exeter Crown Court on Thursday, July 9.