Monday, June 29, 2015

Scaredy dog

Dog has a touch of the Monday morning feeling

It appears that Buddha the Bulldog isn't really a morning canine.

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Dine and dash spree brothers face charges after one was unceremoniously stopped in his tracks

Two brothers accused of dining and dashing at restaurants in Cleveland, Ohio, face misdemeanor charges. Matthew Gareau, 30, and Scott Gareau, 40, are each charged with defrauding a restaurant, a first degree misdemeanor, according to affidavits filed in Cleveland Municipal Court on Friday.

While restaurateurs have alleged the men ripped off as many as six restaurants in a three-day span, the men are only charged in connection with a June 17 incident at Crop Bistro in Ohio City. Owner Stephen Schimoler said the brothers ordered about $160 worth of food and drinks. Towards the end of the meal, the men got up and walked outside to have a smoke.

They left without paying, Schimoler said in the affidavit. Matthew Gareau was arrested on June 19 at Johnny's Downtown in the Warehouse District, after manager David Flowers wrestled him to the ground. Flowers recognized Gareau from a photograph Schimoler posted on Facebook, and said Gareau was trying to leave Johnny's without paying.

A bartender at Red, the Steakhouse said the brothers had come in for dinner the night before, ordered and consumed $284 worth of food and drinks and went outside to smoke. They never returned, the bartender said. Schimoler said that employees believe the men did the same thing at Bar Cento minutes before going into Crop Bistro. The brothers are scheduled to appear in court at 8:30am on July 10.

Police officer seen stuck in his patrol car window

A Texas Department of Public Safety officer was spotted while stuck in the driver's side window of his patrol vehicle in Edinburg.

He was seen waving his legs about desperately trying to break free.

It's unclear what happened to the officer during the incident that happened on June 19.

YouTube link.

The Texas Department of Public Safety did not respond to a request for comment.

Man arrested after living for months with his mother's decaying corpse on couch

A Florida man is in jail after deputies discovered his mother's months-old remains on his living room couch, according to a Sheriff's Office arrest report. On May 13, a deputy was dispatched to a residence in Pace to check on the welfare of 81-year-old Joyce Willis.

Willis' son, Michael Eugene Sticken, 60, had reportedly been rebuffing family members' attempts to call or visit his mother since January. When the deputy arrived at the residence he immediately noticed a foul odour. Upon entering the house, he found two couches pushed together with blankets piled on top.

Under the blankets, the deputy found a female who was so badly decomposed as to be unrecognisable. The Medical Examiner's Office estimated that Willis' had been dead for between one and four months at the time of her discovery. The Medical Examiner's Office is working to determine her cause of death. In an interview with deputies, Sticken said he had not been responsible for his mother's death, calling her "his best friend," the report said.

By reviewing bank records, investigators found that Sticken had been making withdrawals from a joint bank account he shared with his mother. The only deposits made since January were Willis' monthly $1,400 Social Security payments, all of which had been withdrawn by Sticken. Investigators found significant cause to charge Sticken with grand theft and failure to report a death. He was booked into Santa Rosa County Jail on Thursday morning on $6,000 bond.

Guards resign after taking prisoner to pub

Two prison guards in Australia's Northern Territory have resigned in disgrace after taking a prisoner they were in charge of to an outback pub. An internal NT Department of Correctional Services (NTDCS) investigation began after a member of the public complained about seeing a prisoner at a pub in Nhulunbuy in Arnhem Land in April.

The prisoner, who was deemed of low risk and non-violent, was wearing his prison clothes in the pub and became drunk. A complaint about the situation was made in May. It was understood the two guards were in charge of the prisoner who was being housed at the Datjala prison work camp in the town.

Department spokesman David Harris confirmed two officers resigned after breaching the NTDCS Code of Conduct. "Following an internal investigation, the officers were asked to show cause [as to] why their employment should not be terminated," he said. "They then tendered their resignations."

He said the internal investigation did not find any evidence the prisoner had been drinking alcohol while at the pub. On Friday, a spokesman for Correctional Services Minister John Elferink said the actions of the guards had been a "brain freeze" and a "gross dereliction of duty" and had been dealt with appropriately.

Couple's $1.7million life insurance scam went astray when man refused to jump in front of train

Esther Maree Vella had a $700,000 debt on her property in Strathfield, Sydney, Australia, she was determined to be rid of. So she concocted a plan in which her long-suffering partner Peter Siskos would increase his life insurance to $1.723 million, name her as the sole beneficiary, and then commit suicide. But the plan backfired spectacularly when Siskos, a 49-year-old security guard "chickened out" of throwing himself in front of a train. Instead, he disappeared from work and slept rough for a week-and-a-half until he was spotted in a Burwood Park. Several people then came forward to police to say Vella, a 51-year-old school teacher and boarding house owner, had let slip details about the macabre plan. Vella and Siskos were charged under the common law of conspiring with each other to defraud an insurance company, OnePath.

The Crown case was that Vella and Siskos deliberately omitted to inform OnePath of Siskos' intention to commit suicide despite knowing they had a duty of disclosure when taking out the policy. The couple pleaded not guilty but were convicted by a District Court jury in October 2013. Vella was sentenced to six-and-a-half years' jail with a non-parole period of four years and nine months, while Siskos was imprisoned for two-and-a-half years with a non-parole period of 15 months. Vella and Siskos appealed their convictions and sentences. Last week the Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed the appeals, noting the case was "extremely unusual". During the trial the jury heard the couple had been in a "tumultuous relationship" since 1989, characterised by Vella's utter domination of Siskos. Several witnesses testified Vella repeatedly said Siskos was to blame for her financial situation and she "wished he was dead".

In March 2010 she told a woman renting a room in a boarding house she owned in Cabarita that Siskos "should kill himself to pay for the debt". The boarder was so alarmed she made contemporaneous notes of the conversation, which she later provided to police. Vella also told friends and acquaintances she was due to receive a large amount of money from an inheritance from her family in Malta. The Crown said this was to cover the money she expected to receive after Siskos committed suicide. The policy was taken out in July 2010. In October 2011, shortly after the 13-month suicide preclusion period expired, Siskos didn't show up for work. He was reported missing 10 days later. The following day he was found, looking dishevelled, in Burwood Park.

Questioned by police, Siskos said he'd been "riding the trains". He denied intending to harm himself or having discussed collecting on his insurance policy. The following day, one of Vella's tenants, Tony Appleby, went to police and confessed to helping Vella destroy incriminating evidence. He agreed to meet Vella wearing a listening device and police recorded a conversation in which they discussed suicide involving a train, destruction of incriminating evidence and her lost opportunity to claim an insurance payout. "So what happened to Peter, he just chickened out, did he?" Mr Appleby asked. "Yeah … he's always been a coward," Vella replied. Siskos continued to deny the conspiracy at trial and even carried out work at Vella's boarding houses while he was on bail and she was on remand. However the jury, and subsequently the Appeals Court, found the case proven beyond reasonable doubt. Siskos will be eligible for parole on July 3.

Controversy over tits and tickets meat raffles

Naked and near-naked women are being used to hawk raffle tickets in pubs in Auckland, New Zealand, even though there are sometimes children dining with their parents in the hotels. The "tits and tickets" promotion sees strippers used to sell tickets for meat trays to raise money for local sports clubs. The woman are usually in their underwear and on occasions topless or entirely nude. The Albany pub has hosted the event for more than 10 years and owner Adrian Donald was comfortable with the arrangement and confident children in the establishment with parents and guardians would not accidentally get an eyeful. Though he would not discuss activities that went on inside the pub, Donald stressed that the two areas of the bar – the restaurant, and the adjoining sports bar where the raffle was held – were "two very different sides of the business".

However, witnesses said they had seen children walking through from the restaurant to the bar area as the bikini-clad women sold their meat raffles. And the owner of Super Liquor Albany, Warren Beachen, said he had received objections from some of his customers. Beachen's liquor store neighbours The Albany and he said in the 10 years he had worked there he had encountered "the odd woman that's been really upset about it". Concerns were mainly raised by visitors to the pub who had unwittingly walked through the sports bar entrance to get to the restaurant, he said. "Sometimes you've got mum and dad and a couple of kids in tow. If they walk in through the bar they can see that. They don't appreciate seeing topless women in the pub." Donald also owns The Brownzy Sports Bar, which runs the "Tits and tickets" promotion once a week.

It is understood the raffles are held in other Auckland pubs. It has run at The Trident in Onehunga in the past. Donald would not say whether he had received complaints over the topless women. It is understood the models that sell the raffle tickets are booked through an agency called GoWild strippers. GoWild boss Shelley Meecham was in India and declined to comment. She said: "I am at an ashram and am not participating in work related matters." According to the company website it costs $120 an hour for a two-hour minimum period to hire a "gorgeous, fun model to serve drinks, socialise topless and get the party off to a good start". Family First spokeswoman Sue Reid described the raffles as "cheap and degrading", and evidence of "the sexualisation of the family meal". "What message is this sending young women and to young men. Is this the way to treat women?"

Reid, a mother, said she was particularly concerned if children could accidentally see the show, leaving parents with some difficult explaining to do. Albany Fishing Club treasurer Peter Nicholson said his club had been involved in the "tits and tickets" meat raffle for many years and said it had been a lucrative fundraiser, yielding up to $10,000 a year. He described the raffle as good-natured fun and harmless entertainment. "It's not as if it's a set show or anything like that. There's nothing untoward. The girls just do what they do. They sell tickets." Auckland Council's alcohol licensing manager Rob Abbott said the venue was not in breach of any licensing issues by having topless models but it had to be in a restricted area where people needed to be above 18 or with a parent or guardian. "If (they) are providing entertainment of an adult nature in an area which is not a restricted area then Auckland Council would be concerned and would review the designations."

Man accused of hitting child with diarrhoea backsplash on zebra crossing

A man from Glastonbury, Somerset, has appeared in court after allegedly dropping his trousers and defecating in the middle of the road splashing a five-year-old child with excrement.

Chas Cox, 25, appeared before Somerset Magistrates sitting at Yeovil on Friday. He was charged that on May 31 at Glastonbury in a public place, he committed an act outraging public decency by behaving in an indecent manner, namely he dropped his trousers in the presence of others and defecated diarrhoea.

Prosecutor Christine Hart said that the defendant was allegedly on a zebra crossing followed by a mother and her five-year-old child. “When he got to the other side he was said to have dropped his trousers and defecated and the child was caught in the backsplash,” she said.

Cox pleaded not guilty to the allegation and claimed that he was left with no option other than to do what he did. A review of the case was conducted and it was adjourned until August 7 when he must return to the court to stand trial. In the meantime he was released on unconditional bail.

Woman traumatised after losing her teddy bear

A desperate 35-year-old woman is appealing for help after she lost her teddy on a busy street in Manchester city centre. Neha Shah and her husband Ashish Gaur were going to dinner with their teddy Baboo when he fell out of her bag and was lost. Neha said: “I took him out my bag to kiss him and I think he must have fallen out after that.”

Heartbroken Neha, who is from Blackpool and was visiting Manchester for work, searched for her teddy for three hours with her 45-year-old husband. Neha is now appealing to anyone who may have picked up the teddy to return him to his doting mother. She said: “He goes everywhere with me. I walk around with him in my arms like a baby. Baboo eats with me and sleeps in the bed with my husband and I.

“He has travelled with me around the world to Hong Kong, around Europe, to Thailand – he even has his own suitcase as I have so many different outfits for him. I fell in love with him basically and my husband loved him eventually as well. He has huge sentimental value,” she added. Baboo the bear, who has a Union Jack on one of his legs and is dressed in a blue onsie with a picture of a daisy on the chest, was lost on Tuesday June 23 between 5pm and 5.30pm.

The light coloured teddy also has a red mark on his head. “I am traumatised. I haven’t stopped crying since. My husband is also upset,” she added. “I know I can buy another one of the same teddies for around £8 but I fell in love with this one and I don’t know if I would fall in love with a different one,” said Neha. Neha was given the bear four years ago by a friend. The couple have reported the missing bear to the police. A spokesman in Greater Manchester Police’s city centre office confirmed that the lost teddy had been reported to them.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The morning after the night before

Dog turned into unintentional turtle

Cody the Jack Russell had been digging in his bed when this happened.

The coughing in the background is a Pomeranian suffering from a collapsed trachea.

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Tree Kangaroo joey emerges from mother's pouch

Before having a nibble on some leaves.

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Partly clad intoxicated lady driver found asleep at traffic light

A Florida woman was arrested on a drunken driving charge early on Wednesday morning after Gainesville police say they found her asleep, partially clothed and in the driver's seat of a sport utility vehicle that was running at an intersection. At 3:10am, the Gainesville Police Department received a call about a Lincoln Sport Utility Vehicle that had stopped in the middle of the road.

GPD arrived 10 minutes later and found the SUV still in the road and a woman, later identified by GPD as 31-year-old Casey Lynne McRae, from Lake Butler, asleep behind the wheel. The automatic transmission of the vehicle was in the drive gear and McRae's foot was on the brake pedal, according to a jail booking report.

GPD officers banged on the windows of the Lincoln and eventually woke McRae, who was wearing a small white blouse that was inside out and backwards. Also, she only wore underwear, and a pair of jeans was found in the back seat of the vehicle, the report states. McRae reeked of alcohol and her eyes were red and watery, the report said. She mumbled as she spoke and told GPD officers she believed she was in Lake Butler.

A breath test revealed she had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.14 percent, the report states. Inside the SUV, officers found 20 grams of what they believed was marijuana and a pipe that smelled like burnt marijuana. There was also an unlabelled prescription bottle of pills, the report states. McRae was charged with drunken driving, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was taken to the Alachua County jail, and she was released on her own recognizance on Wednesday morning.

Elderly woman charged with assaulting police officer at wrong address

An 88-year-old woman in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, has been charged with assaulting a police officer after wielding a knife and slapping an officer responding to an incorrect address. Phyllis Stankiewicz was released on her own recognizance after being arraigned on Friday on the incident at her home on Thursday afternoon. Officers were dispatched to 57 Wilson St. at about 3:50pm for a report of a disturbance involving someone with a baseball bat.

Police knocked several times and announced their presence at Stankiewicz's home and said they were there for a report of a crime, according to court files. When Stankiewicz came to the door, police said, she was carrying a knife in one hand, which was pointing toward one officer, at "waist level." Stankiewicz appeared, "angry and confused," and she was yelling, "There's no crime here! Get out of my house!," according to a police report.

One officer said Stankiewicz kept approaching them with the knife until she, "was just about sticking it into my stomach." An officer grabbed the knife and Stankiewicz allegedly tried to push her way past police and continued to push them in the chest while they tried to calm her down. Police said Stankiewicz was warned not to put her hands on them before she slapped one of them on the left side of his face, resulting in her arrest.

Stankiewicz continued to resist while they tried to place her into custody, requiring her to be placed on the ground to do so. After the arrest, a police dispatcher confirmed the initial call was for a disturbance at 57 Memorial Drive, one block north of Wilson Street. Stankiewicz was released after being booked, and ordered to appear in court for her arraignment on Friday. She pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court to one count of assault and battery on a police officer. She was released by Judge Michael J. Ripps, who scheduled a pre-trial hearing for Aug. 21.

Jesus found on tortilla

A family in Tlalixtac de Cabrera, Mexico, believe they have discovered the face of Jesus on a tortilla.

Placing the tortilla on the family altar, Josefina Guzman, the mother of Enedina, who discovered the face, expressed surprise at the phenomena.

"I've been making tortillas for a very long time," she said, "but I've never seen anything like this before." Specialising in the culinary art of making the finest tortillas in the area, the family run business sees Endeina wake up at 7am every day to make the bread.

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She also expressed surprise at the discovery of the face, saying it is a "miracle" that could have been caused by divine intervention. The family have agreed to not eat the tortilla and store it on the altar for as long as possible.

Tourist's hash brown order led to drug confusion

A Bulgarian tourist ran into problems on a visit to Stockholm, Sweden, when a restaurant misunderstood her English and thought she had ordered marijuana instead of a potato dish. Stella Ivanova, 35, was visiting her friend Ayse Beijer, 32. The pair had just returned from Midsummer celebrations in the Stockholm archipelago when Ivanova decided to grab a bite to eat at a traditional Swedish pub in the capital's Old Town (Gamla Stan). With its cobblestone streets, winding alleys and souvenir shops, the area is a popular hub for tourists. As a result, many of the restaurants provide an English translation of their menus. It's pretty handy. Usually.

But when Ms Ivanova walked into the popular Engelen restaurant and asked to try some hash browns, she was turned away with the words: “We don't do that kind of thing here, it's illegal in Sweden.” “Stella came out furious and disappointed and I asked what had happened. She just said the waitress had told her to leave. I just said there must have been a misunderstanding,” her friend Beijar said. When Beijar, who lives in Stockholm, went back inside to find out what had happened it emerged the waitress thought Ivanova had asked for hash brownies – marijuana.

The substance is classed as an illegal drug in Sweden, a far cry from hash browns, which is a traditional pan-fried shredded potato dish known in Swedish as 'rårakor'. “My friend has travelled all over the world and speaks great English. I asked if the waitress really thought a 35-year-old woman would order drugs in the middle of Stockholm's tourist area at three o'clock in the afternoon. The thought is obviously completely crazy,” said Beijar. However, according to her the waitress would not budge and the pair were forced to leave. Beijar said the restaurant has not been in touch with them since the incident.

“We laughed but we were also really angry. Tourism is one of Sweden's biggest sources of income and we're trying to attract more visitors – and then when somebody comes here you scare them off,” she said. The restaurant's site manager Annika Palmgren said that there had been a misunderstanding and that the staff had felt threatened by the situation. “Unfortunately the staff did not get that she meant 'rårakor'. (…) It was not our intention to be rude, we would have liked to sort things out. We must now make sure that everybody on the team know what the words on the menu mean,” she added.

Man found sharing two-room flat with 300 rats

On Thursday the Tierschutzverein (animal protection services) in Munich, Germany, were horrified to find a man living with 300 rats in his two-room flat.

A social worker had called the animal rescue services after the man said during a hospital visit that he was having trouble taking care of 20 rats at home and wanted to give them up. But when they got there, the shocked animal protection workers discovered hundreds of the animals living in a flat completely given over to housing them.

The apartment had been filled with animal beds and sawdust for the rats. They had made nests in the drawers. "Apparently the man tried to take care of the rats properly. But given the sheer number of rats he ended up out of his depth," Judith Brettmeister from the Munich shelter said in a statement.

“In all the drawers, in the bed frame and behind the cabinets were nests with babies – and they were all hungry. There were around 300 in total. A truly horrifying picture!” Animal protection services took 20 rats, the maximum they are able to house, back to their shelter. The rest of the rodents will be kept and fed in the two-bedroom flat until new owners can be found.

There's a photo gallery here.

Judge called defendant a gobshite

During a recent sitting of Naas District Court in County Kildare, Ireland, Sean Byrne, 24, was answering charges of driving without insurance.

Byrne, who has 14 previous convictions for driving offences, was called a gobshite by Judge John Coughlan during his sentencing.

The judge made the statement as Byrne's solicitor, Tony Hanahoe, was making a defence for his client. "He's a gobshite," interrupted Judge Coughlan. "It's the nicest thing I can say about him," he added.

Of his 14 previous conviction, two of those are for driving without insurance, the same reason Byrne was in court. "If it reaches four, he'll be in Mountjoy (Prison)," warned the Judge before handing down a six-year driving ban and a fine of €500.

Nine signs warn that road is closed

Eight no entry signs and an illuminated road closure sign to mark a one-way system have been described as unnecessary by people who live there.

The signage on Anderson Street in Merkinch, Inverness, Scotland, is part of a phase of work in the construction of the city's new flood alleviation scheme.

Local resident Sarah Mackay said: "A no entry sign is a no entry sign , you don't need nine signs to say no entry." Another resident, David McCall, said: "Everyone can see the road's closed. Why do you need signs taking up the pavement?"

A spokesperson for the contractor McLaughlin and Harvey said the traffic management system was drawn up by another firm and approved by Highland Council. The spokesperson added: "The reason there are so many signs is that there are a lot of access points."