Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hanging around

Cheeky chipmunk returns pilfered goods

YouTube link.

Rescued sun bear cub enjoys a bubble bath

Orphaned by poachers, rescued from traffickers, sun bear cub Murphy arrived at Animals Asia’s Vietnam sanctuary as a whimpering six-week old cub just under a year ago. And if it hadn’t been for his rescuers there’s every chance he’d have spent his life in pain on a bear bile farm. Animals Asia cares for almost 400 bears rescued from the bile industry.

Since then Animals Asia have helped turn his life around. The bubble bath is part of his on-going “enrichment”. A large part of that care, in sanctuaries in China and Vietnam, is about keeping minds active, which means new foods, smells and toys on a daily basis. For cubs, experience has shown that a bubble bath, of a “no tears” baby variety, is just fascinating and lots of fun too.

Annemarie Weegenaar, Animals Asia Vietnam Bear and Vet Team Director explained: “It’s very funny to watch but there’s a serious reason behind providing the bubbles. Without their mother and without a safe place to release bears like Murphy, they will spend their lives in sanctuaries. From day one that means not just making sure they eat well and are free from pain.

YouTube link. Additional YouTube video of Murphy still learning to walk soon after his rescue.

“It also means ensuring they are physically and mentally challenged and each day is different. That means hiding treats for them to sniff out, it also means new toys or climbing frames. It means different greenery during different seasons for them to eat and nest with. For cubs it also means the occasional bubble bath. Choosing a brand usually used for children’s bath times means it won’t sting his eyes or make him sick. He has so much fun.”

Man arrested after allegedly applying for a loan in order to purchase meth

A man was arrested on Wednesday after applying for a loan so that he could purchase methamphetamine, investigators allege.

According to a police report, Grady Carson, 58, went to a Carolina Title Loans office in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to secure a loan against his automobile. According to its web site, the loan company provides “fast cash to deal with an unexpected expense” and charges interest rates that begin at 96 percent.

A Carolina Title Loans employee told police that Carson, who was pacing as he filled out paperwork, told her he "needed the money to purchase meth." Since her manager was at another store, the worker “faxed a help letter” to the second employee, who contacted the police.

When officers arrived at the loan business, Carson was handcuffed and a search of his pockets turned up “a glass container with a off white rock like substance inside.” Carson, police noted, “stated it was cocaine but he was not going to smoke it because he did meth.” Carson was charged with narcotics possession and booked into the county jail. He was released from custody at around 4:40am on Thursday.

Man arrested for allegedly running around naked with bells hanging from his genitals

A man from Riverton, Utah, was arrested on Thursday for what police are describing as a “rather unique” way of exposing himself.

At about 4:50pm, police responded to a report of a man “running around naked with bells hanging from his genitals” near the Diamond Fork hot pots in the Spanish Fork Canyon, according to Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Cannon said multiple girls at the hot pots, ranging from 8 to 16 years old, witnessed the man running around naked and called police. When officers arrived they found the man, identified as 64-year-old Kenneth Allen Beck, fully clothed by a trailhead parking lot, Cannon said.

Cannon added Beck told deputies he did it to “see their reaction” and that Beck was cited by police on suspicion of lewdness involving a child, a Class A misdemeanor. According to Cannon, Beck was convicted of a Class B misdemeanor for indecent exposure stemming from a lewdness case in 2005.

Luxury apartments destroyed by fire after elderly man used heat gun to defrost freezer

A huge fire which destroyed six luxury apartments was started after a pensioner used a red hot paint stripper to defrost a freezer, sources claim. The 85-year-old is believed to have been blasted across a kitchen when the electrical appliance exploded at a property in affluent Thorntonhall on the edge of Glasgow, Scotland. He suffered smoke inhalation but was otherwise uninjured and police have said he won’t be charged. Residents at six flats, which can change hands for up to a quarter of a million pounds, had to be evacuated but they also avoided serious injury.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service sent eight fire fighters to the three-storey block when a “major fire” took hold, but they also had to flee amid fears the structure could collapse. It is understood the burned out building in the leafy South Lanarkshire village may now have to be completely demolished. The pensioner is understood to have been using a heat gun designed for removing paint and gloss from walls and doors. The device, which can be picked up at DIY stores for as little as £30, can reach temperatures in excess of 500 degrees Celsius. Safety guides advise users that they can cause highly flammable items to catch fire.

Freezers often contain insulation which, when ignited, causes fires that spread quickly, giving off toxic gases. A source close to the investigation, who asked not to be named, said: “He was using a paint stripping device, which we would refer to as a heat gun, to defrost the freezer. There are components in fridge freezers which can explode. They are quite dangerous, particularly if certain devices are used to defrost them. He’s very, very fortunate to have escaped without serious injury. It was a major fire.” It understood it could be weeks before the insurance company makes a decision on the building but an insider at South Lanarkshire Council revealed it could be flattened.

“They may have to demolish it,” said the source, who asked not to be named. “It’s completely unsafe. So it’s uninhabitable. The residents are absolutely devastated. They have lost everything. Many are now staying with relatives. They are scattered all over the place. And we don’t know how long it will take to rebuild the flats – it could be years.” A contractor at the site added: “We’ve taken the roof off and we're clearing the debris so that we can properly investigate - but there's a possibility it will have to be demolished.” It is understood police spoke to the pensioner but will take no further action. A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “There was no criminality established with regards to this incident.”

Tortoises given oxygen after being rescued from house fire

Two pet tortoises were rescued after a fire broke out at their owner's home on Thursay morning.

The fire is thought to have been caused when a lamp being used to heat a tank containing the tortoises set fire to a piece of wood.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service sent two appliances to the property in Fair Oak on the outskirts of Eastleigh.

The tortoises were rescued from the property and given oxygen to aid their recovery. A fire service spokesman said the house was smoke-logged as a result of the fire but damage was confined to the tank.

Lifeboat launched to recover floating sofa

An unusual rescue was carried out by the RNLI in Kent on Thursday morning after they were called out to a sofa floating in the sea.

It was first spotted by the North East Spit Pilot Boat off of North Foreland Lighthouse at 8.45am.

This was reported to Dover Coastguard by the pilot launch Coxswain Stuart Barnes, who is an auxiliary coastguard.

Ramsgate inshore lifeboat was launched to recover it as it posed a threat to vessels if they hit it.

Man told to remove fish pond because it's a risk to potential intruders

A man who built a fish pond in his back garden claims he has been told to remove it in case a trespasser falls in. Kevin Sheehan said his local housing association told him his property must be "safe for everyone" including uninvited guests.

Koi carp enthusiast Mr Sheehan, of Abingdon, Oxfordshire, has vowed to keep the water feature. Sovereign Housing said it is "discussing" the pond's future. It also said Mr Sheehan had not asked for permission to build the "very large" structure, which houses koi carp, fantails and goldfish.

But the defiant 62-year-old has vowed to keep the pool regardless of what Sovereign say. He said: "Why should I give in? I lead my life the way other people do, I don't tell people 'you can't do that'."

A spokesman for Sovereign Housing said: "This is not about burglars, this is about making sure our homes are safe places for our residents and any visitors to the property." He added: "We're also liable if someone does trespass on the property."

There's a short video here.

Bearded man hopes to become carnival queen

A man has put his name forward to become a carnival queen, claiming the search for female royalty is sexist. Greg Draven has submitted an official application for the role at Eastbourne Carnival in East Sussex on Saturday June 11 and has even organised a picture in a dress. The 40-year-old says he is waiting to hear back from the organisers.

He said: "It all started off as a joke but then I thought why shouldn’t I enter. Applicants had to be 16 or over and female, and I thought that can’t be right. Why shouldn’t there be a carnival king? This has brought to the fore the issue of gender equality. People have asked me if I will go through with it if I win, and the answer has to be yes, I will." Greg, who lives in Eastbourne, added: "Why do applicants for Eastbourne Sunshine Carnival queen have to be female?

"I find that disgustingly sexist. On reflection this campaign is a lot deeper than it appears. A contest that seems to be based on looks has no place in 21st century Eastbourne. While it is a traditional role, tradition isn't always a good thing and a change is as good as a rest. What are we teaching our children by having such contests? That it’s okay to judge someone on their looks rather than their worth? This is not about me winning the position but offering an alternative viewpoint in a fun way.

"I believe the role of carnival king/queen is outdated and archaic. My alternative idea is to have the carnival ambassador (working title) instead. This would be open to anyone - all ages and all genders. The winner/winners should be someone who deserves to be treated like royalty for a day and represent what the carnival represents, the best Eastbourne has to offer." The deadline has passed for nominations and organisers have confirmed his application has been received.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Hands up if you're a panda

Snoozing baby elephant reluctantly wakes up

After some encouragement from his mother and keepers at Prague zoo, this young elephant eventually rouses himself.

YouTube link.

Man who witnesses say was driving at 95mph told police it was actually 115mph

A man from New Caney, Texas, was arrested by deputies after witnesses said he was driving at 95mph through a school zone.

The Montgomery County Constable Precinct 4 office says Michael Lecompte, 40, was pursued by deputies for a short time before stopping.

The Constable's office says Lecompte got out of his car and began walking toward deputies with an object in his hand. He was ordered to the ground and the object turned out to be a large vape.

The suspect told deputies he was actually driving at 115mph and not 95mph, according to the Constable's Office. Lecompte was arrested for evading arrest, a third-degree felony.

Woman wearing 'Stop Domestic Violence' T-shirt faces domestic violence charges

A woman wearing a “Stop Domestic Violence” T-shirt faces domestic violence charges after firing a gun during an argument with her husband inside the couple’s Maine home.

Emily Wilson, 38, was arrested last week following a confrontation with her spouse Kyle over whether he was having an affair. During the argument, investigators allege, Wilson waved a handgun and fired a shot into the couple’s bed.

The husband, who is not being named because he is a possible victim of domestic violence, called the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office to report the incident who called the Maine State Police to investigate.

Wilson, a high school social studies teacher, was subsequently arrested. A criminal complaint filed against Wilson charges her with domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence assault. Wilson is free on $200 bail in advance of a June 6 court appearance.

Credit card fraud investigator arrested for credit card fraud

Police in St. Petersburg, Florida, have arrested a credit card fraud investigator for stealing customer credit card information. 26-year-old Reynaldo Colon was arrested earlier this week for the crime that started in 2014, according to police. Arrest documents show he worked for PSCU, a credit card service company for more than 800 credit unions.

The company's website says it deals with about 18-million credit cards. "(Detectives) uncovered 21 stolen card numbers" SPPD Spokesperson Rick shaw said. "A loss of about 13,000 dollars had incurred." According to arrest documents, customers would call Colon if they noticed suspicious purchases on their accounts.

He is accused of writing those numbers down, putting those numbers into his cell phone, then using his phone to make purchases. "Probably around 100 transactions, mostly at fast food restaurants." Shaw said. PSCU released a statement saying: "Our sophisticated internal security fraud detection measures worked as designed to protect against aberrant behaviour. We were able to quickly identify an issue before it escalated and turned it over to law enforcement.

YouTube link.

"PSCU worked with its credit union member-owners to ensure that their cardholders were protected and made whole." Shaw says Colon was fired in November. But, police say, he got a job at Chase sometime after. The arrest document shows Chase as his current employer. Shaw says police notified Chase about the arrest. Chase refused to comment, saying it's policy not to discuss current or former employees.

Man on secret and classified mission broke into store to steal energy drinks and a honey bun

A Florida man was arrested for throwing a brick through the door of a convenience store to steal a single honey bun. Ryan Fricks, 22, of Fort Meade, grabbed a couple packs of cigarettes and two energy drinks in the process, according Polk County deputies.

The total value of items he stole was around $20. The damage to the front door, however, was around $1,000. Fricks told investigators he was on a "secret and classified mission", but could not disclose details of what the mission entailed.

He added that he didn't care about the money, he was just thirsty. The burglary happened early on Wednesday morning at the Dixie #2 convenience store in Frostproof.

Fricks admitted that after stealing the items he hid in bushes to eat the honey bun and drink the Monster energy drinks, while watching police respond to the burglary. They later found him hiding between two buses at a nearby school. Fricks was charged with burglary of an unoccupied business and petit theft (first offence). He was taken to the Polk County jail.

Notorious crow stole knife from crime scene

A notorious crow flew away with a knife from a crime scene. Canuck the crow has quite a reputation in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Earlier on Tuesday, police had shot a man. They were called to the scene of a car engulfed in flames. When they arrived, police said, they were confronted by a man with a knife.

Shots were fired and the man was arrested. Vancouver Courier reporter Mike Howell said he saw the bird, which had a red tag on its leg as does Canuck, swoop in and pick up an object from inside an area cordoned off by police tape. "A cop chased it for about 15 to 20 feet, and then the crow dropped it and took off," Howell said. "It was really strange.

"In my 20-plus years reporting from crime scenes, I've never seen anything like that crow trying to take a knife." Vancouver police confirmed a bird did indeed take off with crime scene evidence. "The crow was persistent, but the knife was eventually gathered as evidence," Const. Brian Montague said. The bird was also spotted sitting on the roof of the burned car and trying to get into a camera operator's gear.

Wayne Goodey, a zoology lecturer at the University of British Columbia, said crows are sometimes attracted to shiny things. "They might associate a shiny foil with edibles or food wrapping from a restaurant," he said. "And they have no way of knowing it's not food until they put it in their beaks." He also said the knife's green handle might have appeared like food to the crow and piqued its interest. "It was a crime of opportunity."

Community service for man who put heat rub on possum's tail because it pooed in his bathtub

A man who trapped a possum, shaved its tail and applied heat rub to its bare skin because it defecated in his bathtub has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges. Craig Simon Taylor, 38, of North Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, admitted the charge of causing pain to an animal over the incident.

Hobart Magistrates Court heard the offence was discovered when a video of the incident was found during an unrelated police search. The court was told Taylor filmed the possum attempting to escape his bathroom. Police Prosecutor Mick Allen said that after trapping the marsupial’s tail in a window, Taylor then used an electric razor to shave it before applying Deep Heat ointment to the exposed skin.

Mr Allen said the defendant’s voice was then heard to mention something about the animal having defecated in the bathroom. Defence lawyer Andrei Slicer said his client has since made peace with the animal. “The possum is still alive and well and lives in the same tree,” he told the court. “Mr Taylor extends the courtesy of feeding it from time to time and it suffers no apparent ill effect from the day in question.” Deputy Chief Magistrate Michael Daly convicted Taylor of the charge.

“I regard the matter as completely unnecessary, quite serious and one which in my view no reasonable person would see any justification for,” he said. “To the extent you felt was justified because the animal defecated in your bathroom is of no weight whatsoever.” He sentenced Taylor to one month in jail, suspending the execution of the sentence on the condition the defendant be of good behaviour for 12 months. He also ordered Taylor perform 70 hours of community service and serve 12 months probation.

Fox cub rescued after getting head stuck in jam jar

A young fox was saved from a sticky situation after its head became wedged in a jam jar. The RSPCA said the cub, which was found cowering underneath a car in Rushden, Northamptonshire, could have perished without human intervention.

Once freed, he was found to be suffering no injuries and was immediately released back to his family, who were nearby. Animal Collection Officer Sharon Knight said: "This fox had a lucky escape.

"Discarded jars, tin cans or even elastic bands can be a death trap." Ms Knight said it was not known how long the fox had been stuck before she removed the jar last Friday. "The poor cub had hidden himself under a car," she said.

"Sadly the jam jar was firmly wedged over his head and it is unlikely he would have been able to get free without any help. It is horrible to think that if the member of the public had not contacted us, then the cub could have starved to death."

Train operator to stop conductors from clipping tickets so that they don't hurt their wrists

A local train operator says it is stopping staff from clipping tickets for fear that it's hurting their wrists.

Abellio Greater Anglia has decided to take the step in order to protect train conductors who can see as many as 600 passengers on a single journey.

From now on, conductors will us other techniques such as putting a red cross on tickets with marker pens. Greater Anglia said that they were reacting to requests from staff. 

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: "In response to requests from our front line colleagues, we are phasing out the use of clippers and will be using alternative methods of marking checked tickets."