Tuesday, October 06, 2015


Puppy avoiding steps finds a better route

LiveLeak link. Original YouTube video. (Not available in the UK).

Here's a rat nibbling spaghetti

YouTube link.

Psychic accused of cheating woman out of $77,000 failed to foresee impending arrest

A self-described psychic telling fortunes in New York City apparently failed to foresee her arrest on a warrant from Rockville, Maryland, charging her with fraud. Erica Ufie, 35, was arrested on Friday near “Sunnyside Psychic” parlour in Queens, where she worked. She will face an extradition hearing in New York, according to Rockville Police Lt. Brian Paul.

Ufie was tracked down by a private investigator hired by a 53-year-old Rockville woman, who accuses the fortune-teller of defrauding her of more than $77,000. “I sent in an operative into the location to verify she was there,” says Bob Nygaard, a private investigator who specialises in the identification and apprehension of fortune-tellers who engage in fraud. Convinced that the person inside the Queens psychic parlour was Ufie, the woman for whom he’d been searching for seven months, Nygaard tailed her to a nearby dollar store and then called police.

“To be honest, the New York City Police Department - I had a rough time getting them to make the arrest,” Nygaard says, adding that he remained in phone contact with Rockville police while keeping Ufie under surveillance. Eventually, Ufie was taken into custody inside a 99 Cents Paradise store in Queens. Nygaard recorded the arrest. “You go in to do some shopping and you come out with silver bracelets from the NYPD on your wrists. It’s not paradise,” says Nygaard.

Nygaard says fraudulent fortune-telling is a growing problem nationwide. “It’s an epidemic all across this country,” Nygaard says. “People are being emotionally abused and financially decimated at alarming rates, and the loss is astronomical.” Nygaard, a retired police officer and member of the National Association of Bunco Investigators, says he’s worked on cases with fortune-tellers accused of defrauding someone as much as $900,000, and he was familiar with a Florida case in which a woman claimed to have been defrauded of $15 million by fortune-tellers.

Woman waved toilet paper out of window after drunk man mistakenly entered her house

A woman locked herself in the bathroom after hearing an intruder at her home in Ross Township, Pennsylvania, then wrote on her window in lipstick, asking someone to call 911. She also waved toilet paper out the window to attract attention.

Beth Gresock was desperate, trapped inside her bathroom for hours trying to stay silent. Her phone was in her bedroom and she knew someone was in her home. Someone had already tried the doorknob to get inside the bathroom. Gresock had just locked it after she heard footsteps heading up the stairs.

Gersock hoped that someone would call for help. After about two hours, a neighbour saw her waving the toilet paper and called police. Officers found the man asleep in Gresock's living room. "The individual in question was highly intoxicated, given a ride by a friend, unaware of the neighbourhood he was in.

YouTube link.

"It seems as if he just stumbled in to the wrong house and fell asleep in a chair," Detective Brian Kohlhepp said. Gersock laughed about it later, but was terrified for hours when she feared that the person in her home was out to hurt her. Police identified the man as Brady Kellner, 27, who is charged with criminal trespass.

There's an additional news video here.

Deer smashed through classroom window and knocked over the teacher

A deer injured a teacher and disrupted a sixth grade reading class when it burst through a window at Kingwood Middle School in Texas at around 2pm on Friday. The unexpected guest was captured on school surveillance cameras.

"There's this loud bang, and we all look and there's a deer running in the classroom," said Anavey Gutierrez, a sixth grader at the school. "Everyone was like, 'Oh my God! What is it? What is it?''" Gutierrez said. "I think it's a deer! It's a deer!" "And all the students just stared at the deer in horror even the teacher," said seventh grader Bryan Cox.

One student ran down the hallway to get help. "I heard a kid running towards me, and he said, 'Mr. Atteberry, there's a deer in our classroom!'" said Bob Atteberry, Principal at Kingwood Middle School. Those were words Atteberry never thought he'd hear in a school. "I could tell the look on his face, he was pale, a little greyish," Atteberry said. "I knew he was for real."

YouTube link.

Students rushed out into the hallway, and so did the teacher. But the deer didn't stay long. Thirty seconds later, he bolted out the same way he came. His sprint captured one last time on cameras. "I was just in shock," Gutierrez said. "It ran away, and we never saw it again." No students were injured, and the teacher, who sustained a minor shoulder injury, will be fine. "Hopefully the deer is okay, too," Atteberry added.

Woman pleads guilty to drunkenly driving to jail

Despite successfully fighting for a new trial after being convicted by a jury, a woman from Bay City, Michigan, has pleaded guilty to a charge stemming from drunkenly driving herself to the Bay County Jail. Paula K. Downing, 50, appeared before Bay County District Judge Mark E. Janer on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to one count of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, second offence.

The charge is a one-year misdemeanor. A jury in May convicted Downing of the same charge, but Janer in July vacated that verdict and ordered a new trial on the grounds that he erred in previously preventing defence counsel from arguing Downing was not necessarily intoxicated when she was driving her vehicle. Defene attorney Jeffrey Martin said his client decided to plead guilty because the prosecution was recommending she not serve jail time on the initial sentence.

Martin added that his client is suffering from some health issues, making it undesirable to go to trial and risk conviction and incarceration. Downing's trial was to begin the day she pleaded. During Downing's trial, Bay County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Latocki testified he noticed a Chevrolet Impala parked askew in the jail's lot in the wee hours of Jan. 10. After some time, Latocki approached the vehicle and found an unconscious Downing behind the steering wheel, the engine still running. Latocki and other deputies awoke Downing and removed her from the Impala.

Downing appeared intoxicated and smelled of booze, Latocki testified. Questioned by Latocki, Downing said she'd had "enough" to drink and didn't feel it was safe for her to drive. The Impala contained an unopened 18-pack of Busch Light and a bottle of rum that was about three-quarters empty, Latocki testified. Downing performed poorly on field sobriety tests and submitted to two breath tests administered three minutes apart, Latocki testified. The first yielded a result indicating her blood alcohol level was 0.17 and the second that it was 0.16. In Michigan, a person is legally intoxicated when their blood alcohol level is 0.08. Janer is to sentence Downing on October 29.

Police search for naked man who robbed pub

Police in Changhua City, Taiwan, are searching for a thief who robbed a closed pub while in the nude. Security camera footage revealed the naked man as he slipped out of the bathroom after closing hours.

He wandered around cautiously in the dark, in the buff, until locating the bar and taking the equivalent of $2,000 in cash from the register. He then bundled up the money with his clothing and prepared to make his grand escape.

The thief first attempted to climb out the window of the bathroom, but decided that it was too high. He later escaped through a second storey window and climbed down the fire escape to the ground. The man then dressed and got into his car, which was parked nearby.

YouTube link.

The owners of the pub added that the hand soap was completely used up. Apparently, while the man was hiding in the bathroom he showered and showered and showered until he was squeaky clean. Police have released the security footage in the hope that someone will recognise the bare naked bandit.

Council approves plans to fine dog walkers who cannot produce a poo bag - Update

A local authority has approved plans to fine dog walkers who leave home without poo bags regardless of whether their pet makes a mess or not. Daventry District Council is believed to be the first authority to bring in the measure, which could see owners given £100 on-the-spot penalties.

The extra power for enforcement officers comes in the form or a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). It takes effect on 1 December, but fines would not be levied until 2016. The plan was put out to public consultation earlier this year and the council said there was "overwhelming support for the proposal by residents and local groups".

The council said there would be a month of offering advice and warnings to dog walkers before the fines were enforced in January. Mike Warren, councillor for health issues, said: "We will be advising them to make sure they have extra poop bags with them at all times to ensure they have the means to pick up, regardless of how long they've been out and about with their pet.

"These new powers are not intended to penalise the many responsible dog owners, who should be assured that our officers will be taking a common-sense approach on their patrols. It's not unreasonable though, for example, to expect someone who has just arrived at a venue to walk their dog to be carrying poop bags." People caught with their dog and no plastic bags could face prosecution and larger fines if they unsuccessfully contest an on-the-spot fine.

Man had knife in public to butter his cheese

A homeless man has been given a suspended jail sentence after he was found in possession of a knife. Alan Aageson, of no fixed abode, appeared at North Devon Magistrates' Court on Friday.

The 54-year-old pleaded guilty to the possession of a black handled steal knife in Barnstaple, Devon. The court heard police had been called on September 17 following reports of a man banging on windows.

When police began to search Aageson, who they believed was in the area to buy drugs, he told officers he had a knife in his bag. He was unrepresented in court and told magistrates he was homeless and used the knife to butter his cheese.

Aageson added that he would never use it to do any harm to another person. He was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months and was ordered to pay a total of £260 in court costs.

Monday, October 05, 2015

That Monday morning feeling

Bird happily entertains self with paper napkin

Little Bird, a 2-year-old caique, has fun with a paper towel.

YouTube link. Slightly shorter video without the music.

Little dog hailed a hero after chasing off three bears

A little dog is being called a big hero after she scared off three bears outside her home in Monrovia, California. Jules, a 20-pound French bulldog, met the bears at her home in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. “She wasn’t having it, you’re not coming in to her property,” said homeowner David Hernandez.

On Friday afternoon, two bears, believed to be about a year old each, wandered into the family’s front yard. A third bear was on the balcony, just out of range of the camera. Jules didn’t care how many bears there were or how big they were. She chased them off. One bear, estimated at about 100 pounds, scampered up the fence to get away from the little pooch.

YouTube link.

“She blew me away, couldn’t believe that she turned into a Wolverine,” Hernandez jokes. A wildfire in the area impacted the food supply in the foothills and the bears have been coming down, increasingly, looking for grub. Hernandez says some of his neighbours are even encouraging these visits by feeding them. “It is a crime, you can do jail time if you’re caught doing it. Some of my neighbours give them dog food in 25-pound bags,” Hernandez said.

YouTube link.

“There’s one lady in the neighbourhood who actually makes them meatloaf.” With two young children, Hernandez isn’t taking any chances with wildlife encounters. His daughter’s bedroom window is boarded up to prevent the bears from sliding the glass open. And he’s installed cameras that can alert him to any activity outside the home. For her heroics, Jules was given a bath, a treat and lots of kisses.

With additional news video.

Would-be burglar became trapped inside secure area of empty store

A man became trapped inside the secure area of a not-yet-opened cellular store in Pomona, Los Angeles County, California after breaking into the establishment on Wednesday.

The incident occurred at a Boost Mobile Store by 20/20 Mobile, where the suspected burglar entered through an air-conditioning duct and triggered an alarm, said Miguel Ceja, an owner of the business. Not yet open to the public, the location was not stocked with merchandise at the time.

The intruder apparently made such a realisation before running through a door that he may have thought was an exit. Instead of ending up outside of the building, however, the man found himself inside an inescapable hallway. When "that door shuts, you're done," Ceja said. "You're not getting out of there."

He said the secure area, complete with reinforced steel doors, was constructed after he and his business partners lost thousands of dollars worth of inventory in previous burglaries at their other stores. The suspected thief desperately tried to escape for about 45 minutes, kicking the doors and even trying to break through one of them by using a hammer and other tools. Yet his efforts proved fruitless, and he was freed only when police arrived at the scene and took him into custody.

With news video.

Man says he stole ex-boss' truck and drove it into creek to be jailed and get away from his wife

A Maury County, Tennessee, inmate has explained why he stole a pickup truck and drove it into a creek last Sunday night. Hayden Vandiver is accused of breaking into his old place of business and admits damaging property, vandalising vehicles, and stealing a truck his ex-boss loves. “I did what a lot of his employees want to do to him,” he said from behind bars.

Vandiver explained how he stole the 2012 Dodge 2500 and a trailer valued at over $60,000. “It made me feel great because I know it will hurt him,” he said. “He’ll come in the next day and his little baby ain’t sitting there and it is four foot in a creek.” Surveillance video shows Vandiver stealing the truck from American Stripers in Columbia, where he used to work. He said he quit more than a year ago but didn’t like the way his boss treated him or anyone else. “This man disrespects his employees,” Vandiver said.

According to investigators, the 51-year-old drove the expensive truck into a Giles County creek for more than a mile and a half with the doors open until it couldn’t drive anymore. “The only thing I didn’t like about it was swimming out of it,” Vandiver said, later adding, “I hate people who disrespect their employees and all they care about is whether they are going to work for them.” Vandiver’s former boss, Michael Sloan, said Vandiver was a good employee but “showed characteristics of being flawed.” “You don’t like to take anything personal in business, but I go out of my way to help my guys out a lot,” Sloan said.

“I don’t understand why he quit, for no reason. I went to bat for him.” Sloan said Vandiver used a company credit card to buy personal items, and Vandiver didn’t like it when he was called out on it. “He thought I was a cheap owner, not buying personal items with company money,” Sloan added. Vandiver said he was on drugs when he stole the truck. He also said he did it planning to get caught so he would be incarcerated and forced to leave his wife. “She is having a bad time right now. She knows I did this to get away from her,” he said. He was charged with multiple crimes including burglary, vandalism and driving under the influence.

With news video.

Woman accused of stabbing husband because he called her by another lady's name during sex

A Florida woman appeared in court Friday to face a first-degree-attempted murder charge. Christina Balazi, 39, is accused of trying to kill her husband. Police responded to the couple's home in West Palm Beach on Thursday evening. Police found a man who had been stabbed multiple times and Balazi trying to get away in her car.

Police then chased Balazi through the neighbourhood before they arrested her. Christina Balazi's huband, Christopher Balazi, told detectives the problem began when he and his wife were about to have sex. He said while they were in bed, she put a bed sheet over his face and within seconds he "felt a sharp pain to his neck followed by several more sharp pains to his neck, chest and head area."

He said he removed the sheet and saw his wife holding a kitchen knife with a handle. Christopher Balazi said he ran downstairs while his wife chased him. He was able to wrestle the knife away from her. Christopher Balazi was treated at the hospital for seven stab wounds.

YouTube link.

When detectives asked Christina Balazi why she stabbed her husband of 10 years, she said she stabbed him because when they were having sex he called her by another woman's name. Mrs Balazi was also arrested earlier this year after she and a co-worker stole jewellery and credit cards from a woman she worked for as a maid. She pleaded guilty to those charges and was put on probation for five years.

12-year-old boy suspended from school for staring at girl

A 12-year-old boy is suspended from school for 'staring' at another student. It happened in September of 2014 at St. Gabriel Consolidated School in Glendale, Ohio. The parents filed suit in Hamilton County Common Pleas court to try and get the suspension erased claiming the school didn’t give their son due process. Last week a Judge denied the claim, which means as of now the suspension of the 12-year-old stands. “The perception is he intimidated her,” said Candice Tolbert, his mother.

“My son stared at a girl who was engaged in a staring game,” she said. “She giggled the entire time,” she said from her Liberty Township home. Court paper shows the female student "felt fearful.” The incident happened on a Monday. The school was notified by the girl’s parents on Tuesday. They allegedly notified the Tolbert’s son on Tuesday, but did not tell the Tolbert’s until Wednesday. By that time, their son had already written an apology letter, which the parents said they were unaware of until notified by the school. In the letter, the 12-year-old wrote, “I never knew she was scared because she was laughing.”

It also read, “I understand I done the wrong thing that will never happen again. I will start to think before I do so I am not in this situation.” In a statement the Archdiocese of Cincinnati said: “Judge Patrick Dinkelacker listened to the plaintiff’s arguments, rejected them, and dismissed the complaint against the school. We aren’t going to comment any further on particular issues concerning our students.” The 12-year-old is black and the female student is white. The Tolberts said they are not ready to pull out the race card, but are concerned the way their son was treated.

They question the punishment their son received and the non-punishment they claim the alleged victim received in an earlier incident. “The same girl that accused my son of this act of perception of intimidation, aggressively poured milk on someone else’s lunch. When she did that there was no penalties for that. She received nothing for that,” said Candice. The school sited the handbook, which they feel supports their position on the suspension. It reads in part, “The principal is the final recourse in all disciplinary matters and may waive any and all rules at his/her discretion for just cause.” The parents are considering appealing the judge’s decision.

With news video.

Priest accused of pointing musket at 8-year-old boy over football team rivalry

A church priest pointed a musket at an 8-year-old child inside his church and threatened him with it over an apparent sports rivalry, prosecutors say. 54-year-old Kevin Carter, priest at St. Margaret of Cortona Roman Catholic Church in Little Ferry, New Jersey, was arrested on Friday on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated assault by pointing a firearm, the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office said.

Carter allegedly approached the boy before Mass services at the church on Sunday, Sept. 13, and asked to see him in one of the rectory rooms, according to prosecutors. Once they were in the room, Carter allegedly had the boy stand against the wall, then retrieved a musket and pointed it at him, prosecutors said, citing several witnesses. "As he raised his weapon and pointed it at the boy, he said, 'I'm going to shoot you,'" Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said. The boy was not hurt, Molinelli said.

One of the parishioners who witnessed the incident contacted Newark Archdiocese officials on Sept. 25, and the Archdiocese in turn contacted the prosecutor's office on Sept. 28. The prosecutor's office began investigating along with Little Ferry police, and on Friday, interviewed Carter at the rectory. A search of the room turned up the weapon that was allegedly used - a functioning Civil War-style musket - as well as gunpowder, ammunition and other associated items for the gun, authorities said.

Prosecutors said Carter, a Giants fan, was apparently unhappy because the boy planned to root for the Cowboys in a game against the Giants later that day. "The young boy was apparently a fan of a particular football team, the priest was not. So perhaps we have indication it started out as that," said Molinelli. "There's no such thing as joking around with a weapon when you're dealing with an 8-year-old kid," he added. The Giants lost to the Cowboys 26-27 on Sept. 13. Carter, was jailed on $15,000 bail.

With news video.

Armed police swooped on Jedi, Mortal Combat character and Resident Evil guard

Armed police swooped on men dressed as a Jedi, a Mortal Combat character and an Umbrella Corporation Guard from Resident Evil. The costume enthusiasts were snapping pictures in a front garden before officers in full riot gear were called in. Officers from the armed response unit cordoned off Warren Road in Rhyl, north Wales, just after midday on Saturday to reports of a man with a gun acting suspiciously. But Kevin Cottam, known as the Rhyl Jedi, said it was a plastic BB gun - half the size of a real one.

He and friends, Stephen Oliver and John Sutton decided to carry out some role play after getting together to help a fire-striken family by donating science-fiction memorabilia. Kevin said: “A group of us from the Cosplay were supposed to be meeting up to help a family around the corner who recently lost everything in a fire, but only two others showed up. We decided to try out the costumes I’d made - one was Sub Zero from Mortal Combat and the other was an Umbrella Corporation Guard from Resident Evil - then there’s me, dressed in my Jedi robes taking pictures in my front yard not thinking anyone would bat an eyelid.

“Still in my robes, I went up the road to the Naval Club to see about some furniture that was being donated and when I came back, armed police were everywhere and I could see lots of officers outside my flat. With a finger on the trigger, an officer tells me there’s apparently a guy in full body armour raiding my place.” The 45-year-old added: “I tried to explain and tell the officer that I knew what it was all about, but I kept getting shooed away. I begged him to listen to me and told him it was a plastic gun and that it was my friend dressed in the black gear - that’s when it all started to calm down.” The drama was quickly averted once officers realised there was no danger being posed.

North Wales Police Force incident manager, Inspector Andy Griffiths said: “Police were called to an incident in Warren Road, Rhyl. The matter was brought to a satisfactory conclusion and no arrests were made. The nature of the incident was that three males were reported to have been acting suspiciously in the area holding what was described as a gun. Armed police arrived at the scene where no offences were disclosed. The item described wasn’t a gun.” Kevin added: “I never would’ve dreamed that a Jedi taking pictures of Sub Zero and a Resident Evil character would cause such a massive reaction. If the rest of the group had turned up, we would’ve had a Disney princess there as well so maybe it would’ve been more obvious that we were trying to do something for a good cause. At the end of the day, we were just a costume group trying to help our neighbours and we end up getting into trouble.”

Thief that stole £10,000 worth of fish despite elaborate security measures eventually caught

When valuable fish began disappearing from the back garden pond of John and Anne Newiss in Hopton, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, they took some elaborate measures to catch the culprit. A laser alarm system, connected to a buzzer in their bedroom was set up to alert them to any intruders. And when it went off, the offender was finally caught in the act, on their patio, in the glare of their security lights: an otter.

By then, its four month crime wave had resulted in the theft of more than £10,000 worth of fish from the couple’s pond. The creature fled from the garden, but has since been thwarted by a 3ft high “cage” that has been installed around the 20ft x 30ft water feature. The couple have kept fish for many years, having moved their collection with them when they moved to the area 16 years ago. The recent raids have seen them lose more than 50 koi, one of which Mrs Newiss had for more than 32 years. “It all started in June,” said Mrs Newiss, 68.

“I looked at the pond in the morning and I thought ‘something isn’t right here’, because it had been disturbed. I didn’t know if it was a heron or something else, but when I saw one of our fish, Big Bertha as we called her, it just reduced me to tears. She had been dragged to a pond shelf, had the guts pulled out of her just under the gills, and she’d been left to die.” Mrs Newiss was devastated to find that on following nights more fish were dragged from her pond. She said: “Bertha was my friend and would eat out of my hand. She was special, but losing the others was just as bad. Most of them were over 3ft long.”

She added: “We were up all night. But finally we saw the culprit on our patio, and it was an otter.” The nearest body of water to the village, Lound Lakes, is the closest natural habitat of otters. Although this is about two miles away, wildlife experts believe it means the village 
is within easy range of the creatures. Penny Hemphill, water for wildlife advisor at Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said: “It wouldn’t be that unusual for an otter to find its way using streams and ditches to get to somewhere where its smelt food. They have a territory of up to 40 miles, which they’ll patrol over about seven days, so its not unlikely for them to stray a little”