Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sauerbeck arrested after fleeing cops, hiding in bushes

Indians pitcher Scott Sauerbeck apologized Tuesday to his family and teammates following his early-morning arrest, another distraction for a struggling Cleveland team.

Sauerbeck and a woman were taken into custody after fleeing the left-hander's vehicle and were found hiding behind bushes, police said.

"I want to apologize first and foremost to my family," Sauerbeck said before the Indians played the Chicago White Sox. "I'm sorry to my teammates, the organization and fans for causing any embarrassment."

Sauerbeck, who is married, was the passenger in his 1966 Lincoln Continental convertible, which a patrolman observed weaving at 3:45 a.m. The vehicle pulled into a driveway and the driver, Lily Miller, 28, and Sauerbeck got out, walked into the backyard and jumped a fence, according to a police report.

The owner of the house reported hearing voices outside and police found Sauerbeck and Miller hiding between the home and some bushes.

Sauerbeck was charged with obstructing official business and permitting someone intoxicated to drive his vehicle.

"In trying to do the right thing I made a terrible error in judgment, something I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life," he said. "I'm a big boy and I'm going to have to handle it."

Sauerbeck refused to elaborate on the situation.

He met with Indians manager Eric Wedge and general manager Mark Shapiro, who are not planning any further discipline at this time.

"Anytime there is a distraction to what we're trying to do on the field, that's something that I'm disappointed in as the leader of the organization," Shapiro said. "Scott, Eric and myself have talked about it and he understands our disappointment. We've also listened to everything that he had to say, including the fact that he is apologetic for what happened and accepts responsibility."

Wedge said Sauerbeck was available to pitch in Tuesday's game.

"We're comfortable with his explanation," Wedge said, "and we'll let the legal proceedings play out."

Miller faces DUI and obstructing official business charges. Her blood-alcohol content was .253, more than three times the legal limit.

Sauerbeck and Miller were released on a bond of $120 each and will be arraigned on June 1 in Avon Lake Municipal Court.

If convicted, the maximum penalty for the misdemeanor offenses is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Sauerbeck, who resides in West Bradenton, Fla., in the offseason, is 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA in his second season in Cleveland.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

9th-grader arrested after explosive found on field

A ninth-grader at a private school in Fairburn has been arrested after he allegedly brought a bomb to school.

The Landmark Christian School student, whom police did not identify, has been charged with bringing an explosive device on campus. If convicted, he faces fines of up to $20,000 and jail time, said Fairburn Police Capt. J.T. Rogers. The boy was released to his parents.

A teacher found the device Monday under the bleachers at the football field during field day activities, Rogers said.

Landmark Christian School Headmaster Matt Skinner said school officials alerted authorities. About 600 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 were evacuated, he said.

Rogers said the Fulton County Sheriff's Office bomb technician who disassembled the bomb said the device had "minimum potential of causing any type of serious damage."

"If someone had personal contact with the device, it would injure them if it went off. But we're not talking about taking out a building," Rogers said.

Fairburn was assisted by Fulton County Police Department and MARTA police who supplied bomb-sniffing dogs.

Skinner said the student placed the device as a joke.

"He indicated he was a little surprised by the reaction," Skinner said.

The student will not return to class this school year, which ends Friday. Skinner said the school had not decided how or whether he will be punished.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the kid and the family," Skinner said.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Teacher accused of drunken behavior at school

A middle school teacher was arrested after police said he showed up at school drunk, asked one of his students to fetch cognac, then fondled a student and made a sexual remark to another.

The teacher, Sterling Johnson, was charged with misdemeanor assault and a misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace.

The school system will seek to have him fired, said Creg Williams, superintendent of public schools in St. Louis.

Johnson, 55, is an industrial arts teacher at the Pruitt Military Academy, a magnet school in the district.

After arriving at school Monday morning, police said Johnson asked a student to retrieve a bag containing a bottle of cognac from his car. Police then said Johnson rubbed the buttocks and thigh of a 13-year-old girl and directed a sexual remark at another 13-year-old girl.

The principal ordered the teacher, who has been teaching for 22 years, to leave after becoming aware of his behavior, police said. Johnson complied but returned a short time later and was arrested.

Williams said a hidden bottle of liquor was found in Johnson's classroom.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Driver Has 18 Times Legal Alcohol Limit

Lithuanian police were so astonished when they pulled over a truck driver and his breathalyzer test registered 18 times the legal alcohol limit, they thought their testing device must be broken.

It wasn't.

Police said Tuesday 41-year-old Vidmantas Sungaila registered 727 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliters of blood repeatedly on different devices when he was pulled over for driving his truck down the center of a two-lane highway 60 miles from the capital, Vilnius on Saturday.

Lithuania's legal limit is 40 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood.

"This guy should have been lying dead, but he was still driving. It must be an unofficial national record," Saulius Skvernelis, the director of the national police traffic control service, told the AP. "He was of high spirits and grinning the whole time he was questioned."

Medical experts say anything above 3.5 grams per liter of alcohol in the blood is lethal for most people.

"A person this intoxicated should be in an intensive care unit, not behind the wheel," said Tautvydas Zikaras, head of the dependence illness center in the country's second-largest city, Kaunas. Zikaras said he had never heard or read of someone being so drunk.

Sungaila, who was slapped with a 3,000 litas ($1,110) fine and the loss of his license for up to three years, told police he had been drinking the night before and tried to freshen up by downing a pint of beer for breakfast.

Lithuania has one of the worst road safety records in the European Union. Last year, 760 people died in traffic accidents in this country of 3.5 million residents. Most were alcohol-related.


Woman accused of writing fake tickets

A city traffic agent has been charged with writing dozens of fraudulent parking tickets — sometimes while sitting in her car miles away from the bogus violations she cited, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Nivea Cloud was accused of writing 27 tickets in three hours in seven locations on May 12, inventing infractions just one to four minutes apart in the same place, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

She was seen sitting in her police car, parked in a handicapped spot, more than a mile away from where the vehicles cited on her tickets supposedly were illegally parked, Brown said.

"As a municipal worker entrusted with such enormous financial powers over motorists and a duty and responsibility to uphold the law, the defendant's alleged conduct is outrageous," Brown said in a news release announcing the charges.

Cloud, 30, was arraigned Tuesday on charges including official misconduct and falsifying business records. She could face up to four years in prison if convicted.

A telephone message left for Cloud's lawyer was not immediately returned Tuesday.


Woman Allegedly Hits Two With Raid Can

A woman was charged with domestic violence for allegedly hitting her husband and another woman on the head with a can of Raid bug spray after she found them together.

Police Sgt. Trevor Harris said a "nosy neighbor" called the woman at work on Friday and told her that her husband was at their apartment having an affair with another woman, prompting the wife to head home.

"She came in and caught her husband with another woman and she grabbed a can of Raid and went at it," said another officer, Capt. Marty Bruce. "She hit the husband in the back of the head with it and then turned on the woman and also hit her in the head."

The woman who was struck needed stitches for a head wound, police said, and the husband also was cut but did not require medical treatment.

Cornelia Cottrell Smith, 26, of Athens was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence and released from the City Jail after posting a $1,000 bond. No one answered a call Tuesday at a telephone number listed for her address.


U.S. man seeks $1.6 mln in dead dog suit

An Oregon man has filed a $1.6 million "loss of companionship" claim against a neighbor who ran over his family's 13-year-old dog, Grizz.

Raymond Weaver ran over the golden retriever and cocker spaniel mix in 2004 with a pick-up truck, forcing the owner, Mark Greenup, to have the animal euthanized, according to a lawsuit by Greenup.

Greenup, whose claim is usually reserved for the loss of a spouse, says the dog provided each member of his family with solace, affection, friendship, love and protection.

Larry Dawson, the driver's attorney, said the dog's injuries were not serious enough to require euthanasia and wants the court to dismiss the loss of companionship claim.

"I've owned dogs and I love them dearly," said Dawson. "But they are by law personal property and you do not get noneconomic damages for personal property."

The case goes to trial on Tuesday in Clackamas County Circuit Court.


Thief Steals Calif. Homeowner's Front Yard

It was a sod story for a Mojave Desert homeowner whose entire front yard — grass, bushes and sprinklers — was hauled away by a thief.

The homeowner telephoned law officials to report the yard in front of his under-construction home on was gone, a sheriff's spokeswoman Staci Johnson said Tuesday.

Witnesses told the homeowner they saw the thief taking the sod, plants and irrigation system to a nearby residence, Johnson said.

David Roger Bowers, 34, was arrested at the home and booked for investigation of grand theft and possession of stolen property, the sheriff's spokeswoman said.

The landscaping materials were returned to the victim.


Man Tries to Sell Rembrandt Etching at Bar

Police arrested a man after he allegedly tried to sell a valuable Rembrandt etching at a bar. James Otis Denham, 49, was arrested Tuesday after authorities say he tried to sell the 1630 etching titled "The Raising of Lazarus," valued at about $6,000.

The owner's name was still on a document authenticating the Dutch master's artwork.

"At least he was stupid, and I got it back," said Barbara Dorney of Broken Arrow, who arrived home Monday to find her prized possession gone.

Denham later met an art collector at Torchy's Legends bar and showed her the etching, police said.

The art collector asked to keep the paperwork and found out the etching was stolen when she called Dorney to double-check its authenticity, Sgt. J.D. Martin said.

Police arrested Denham on Tuesday afternoon as he was arriving at the art collector's house.

"We're going to have to develop a fine-arts group within the department," Martin said.

Denham remained in the Broken Arrow Jail Thursday on a complaint of knowingly concealing stolen property.


Wash. Church Organist Charged With Fraud

A church organist has been charged with nearly 200 counts of theft for allegedly collecting about $400,000 in state workers' compensation payments intended for her dead mother.

Lois Bachhuber, of Portland, Ore., was charged Monday in Thurston County Superior Court with 150 counts of second-degree theft and 48 counts of first-degree theft. Her arraignment is scheduled for May 24.

Thurston County prosecutors say Bachhuber, 66, continued to submit annual forms certifying that her mother was alive and entitled to benefits from the state Department of Labor and Industries even though her mother, Viola Elsner, died in 1988.

"She continued to submit to the state annual forms saying, 'Mom's fine, please keep the checks a-rollin,'" Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Wheeler told The Olympian in Wednesday's editions.

Bachhuber faces up to five years in prison if convicted. The Olympian said she declined comment when reached at home.

The workers' compensation benefits initially were paid to Bachhuber's father, who was injured in an industrial accident in the 1960s. He died in 1978, and his widow was entitled to the monthly payments until her death.

Court documents say the workers' compensation checks were worth about $1,600 each when Bachhuber was discovered.

Her case was uncovered by an investigator cross-referencing records. When interviewed, she said, "In her mind, her mother was still here," according to the investigative report.

Bachhuber is an organist for Oaks Pioneer Church in Portland and also played for funerals and weddings, Wheeler said.


Man Falls Asleep in Coffin at Funeral Home

A man was charged with burglary and criminal mischief Thursday after he allegedly broke into a funeral home and fell asleep in a coffin.

Joel Fish, 20, of Queensbury, was arrested after he was discovered at the O'Leary Funeral Home in Canton, 127 miles north of Syracuse.

Debra White, wife of the home's funeral director Joe White, said she noticed a broken window and open door to the casket display room when she awoke at 6:30 a.m. Inside, she saw a boot and pair of pants on the floor and a pair of knees sticking out of a stainless steel coffin.

Fish, who police said was intoxicated, was treated at Canton-Potsdam hospital for cuts. He was arraigned and released to return to court at a later date.

The funeral home estimates the damage from the burglary, mostly to the coffin, at $4,000.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Drunk Man Rescued After Night in a Tree

He was, quite literally, out on a limb. And so on Tuesday, a drunken student who spent the night in a tree had to be rescued by British firefighters.

"Alcohol and climbing trees don't really mix," said Nigel Limbrick, of the Gloucestershire fire department. "In all seriousness, he could've killed himself if he had fallen.

"He had had a skinful and in his inebriated state he climbed 100 feet up a pine tree, without his shoes on. He then fell asleep," Limbrick said. "I'm not quite sure how he managed it, but he woke up wrapped around a branch."

The man, whose name has not been released, is a student at the Gloucestershire College of Arts and Technology in Cheltenham, about 100 miles west of London. He used his cell phone to call firefighters after waking up around dawn, chilly and confused, in the tree.

Eight firefighters needed 90 minutes and ropes and pulleys to get him down from his precarious perch. Paramedics at the scene treated him for some scratches, but he was otherwise uninjured.

"He was a bit quiet when he came down and a bit embarrassed," Limbrick said. "I think he got a bit cold up there. He only had his jeans and T-shirt on and he must have had quite a hangover."


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Tribute To Idiots

Monday, May 15, 2006

Man Burns Down N.C. House While Painting

A man taking a break from painting burned down his house after trying to snuff out a cigarette in a bowl of paint thinner.

Stevie Spencer had put the bowl on his coffee table before taking a smoke break about 10 p.m. Saturday.

"I forgot paint thinner was in the bowl," Spencer said. "I thought it was water."

The fire from the paint thinner ignited some papers, Spencer said. He got his wife out of the house, then tried to extinguish the flames with a hose. Spencer suffered minor injuries.

Fire Chief Jay Flynn said the house was too far gone to save it when firefighters arrived.


'Paraplegic' Leaps From Wheelchair, Flees

Authorities said a woman who claimed she was a paraplegic and repeatedly filed claims and lawsuits for noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act was a con artist without any physical limitations.

After her arrest this month by Las Vegas police, Laura Lee Medley, 35, leaped from her wheelchair and ran for freedom, officials said.

Complaining earlier that she was having medical problems, police took the woman to a Las Vegas hospital for treatment, said David Wert, spokesman for San Bernardino County.

"That's where the great miracle occurred," he said. Medley "made a break for it," leading police on a brief foot pursuit before she was captured, Wert said.

Medley's claims against public entities — including San Bernardino County, South Pasadena and Long Beach — claimed a bus dropped her off near what she called a non-ADA compliant roadway or curb, causing her wheelchair to topple. She claimed three broken arms in eight weeks — two lefts and a right.

South Pasadena settled Medley's claim for $6,700 on Oct. 18, 2005.

Her questionable claims led to last week's arrest in Las Vegas.

Medley was charged with filing false documents, attempted grand theft and two counts of insurance fraud. She is in a Las Vegas jail awaiting extradition to San Bernardino.

Medley's alleged deception was discovered by San Bernardino County officials after she filed a complaint saying she fell and broke her left arm on Oct. 17, 2005.

County lawyer Mike Sachs said Medley called him in December to complain about treatment she was receiving from county employees. Medley claimed she was an ADA compliance expert and she threatened to organize a protest march, Sachs said.

"She was a very pushy lady, and anytime she wasn't happy with a response she was getting from someone at the county, she would try to go to the next highest person," Sachs said.

On Feb. 4, she filed a claim for $9,072 in medical expenses and lost wages. Medley then produced hospital medical records, documents that repeatedly misspelled Bernardino as Bernadino.

The hospital confirmed the documents were bogus.

Sachs said they learned Medley filed a nearly identical wheelchair-toppling claim seeking $5,200 from Long Beach. The claim was denied because the sidewalk was wheelchair accessible, Long Beach Deputy City Attorney Belinda Mayes said.

Medley then filed a federal lawsuit April 4 against Long Beach. That U.S. District Court suit is still pending and Mayes declined comment.


Workers Take 227 Animals From Calif. Home

Workers wearing gas masks removed 227 animals that were in "deplorable" condition from a home that reeked of urine, authorities said.

The final tally included 98 guinea pigs, 84 cats, 27 dogs, 14 rabbits, 3 potbellied pigs and 1 bird, Code Compliance Supervisor Tony Genovesi said Wednesday.

Two of the pigs had such severely injured hooves that they had turned them in and were walking on a higher point on their legs, officials said.

"I'm surprised they're not all sick with upper respiratory infections because they're breathing straight ammonia," said Susan Bradley, a kennel technician with the animal control department.

Hesperia homeowners are allowed to keep six cats, six dogs and 65 cage animals, Genovesi said. All of the animals were removed from the home because of the bad health conditions, he said.

The residents will get back the ones they're allowed to own once the home is fit for their habitation, he said.

It was unclear why the residents kept so many animals.

A person at the home declined to comment to the Victorville Daily Press.

Officials said they learned of the conditions at the home on Friday, when they served an unrelated warrant on a residence across the street.

Authorities previously visited the home in August 2004 and removed dozens of animals, Genovesi said.

More Than 60 Dead Cats Found in Conn. Home

Animal control officers and state police removed more than 60 dead cats from a woman's home Thursday and rescued nearly 60 others and a dog while responding to an anonymous complaint.

State police said 58 of the dead cats were found wrapped in paper towels in a freezer. Several other carcasses were found throughout the house.

State police said they had an arrest warrant charging the woman with animal cruelty. A neighbor said the woman was out of the country on vacation.

Someone called police Wednesday night to report a dead cat in the driveway of the house off Boston Post Road. Authorities who responded immediately noticed a foul smell on the property and later got a search warrant for the home, state police said.

Of the cats found alive, sick ones were taken to veterinarians and others were seized by animal control officers.

The name of the woman who lives at the house was not released.

State police said it was unclear why cats were placed in the freezer. Authorities said it appeared the surviving cats were being fed and given water, but conditions were deplorable because of feces and urine.


4 Arrested in Pot Burglary Attempt

Four men were arrested Friday for investigation of trying to burgle a medical marijuana clinic after someone used a garden hose to climb down from the roof, authorities said.

The men, whose identities were not immediately released, were arrested without incident and did not manage to steal any pot, sheriff's Detective Sylvia Arreseigor said.

A deputy responded to a burglar alarm at The Farmacy medical marijuana dispensary about 5:45 a.m., where he saw someone inside the closed shop and called for backup, Arreseigor said.

The burglar apparently cut open a metal grate on top of the roof and used a garden hose to lower himself down, she said.

Three other men were arrested when deputies stopped a car that tried to drive away from the clinic, the detective said.

Workers at the dispensary could not immediately be reached for comment Friday because the its telephone number was listed as temporarily unavailable.

California voters in 1996 approved marijuana for medical use with a doctor's recommendation.


Suspected Burglar Rescued From NYC Chimney

A burglar who got stuck in a chimney on Sunday morning was rescued after a woman who lives in the building next door heard a voice coming from within the walls and called for help, police said.

City emergency officials, who heard the whimpering, broke through the brick chimney of the residential building on the West Side of Manhattan and used ropes to pull out the man, who was arrested, police said.

The man, about 5-foot-3 and 110 pounds and covered in soot and grime, was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

Police said he would be charged with burglary. They didn't say if he was going in or coming out of the chimney or how he became stuck.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

MySpace.com Bragging Leads to Arrest

Two teenagers were charged with setting fires in suburban Washington after they bragged about the blazes on MySpace.com, authorities said.

The 17-year-old schoolmates were involved in 17 fires in Montgomery County, fire officials said Friday. The teens face 22 charges, including two counts each of first-degree arson and four counts of second-degree arson.

Their names were not released because they were charged as juveniles.

Stores, vehicles, a bowling alley and two school buses were set on fire between Jan. 20 and April 16. Investigators got a tip to check out the online social networking site MySpace.com, where they found photos and descriptions.

"The significant thing is they posted on the Internet, and bragged about the fires, and that certainly allowed us to break the case," county Fire Chief Thomas W. Carr Jr. said. "They posted photos of these fires."

The teens are being held at a juvenile detention center.

"Whatever their motive is, they took the opportunity to set numerous fires," Carr said. "The neighbors were very much concerned about the terror in their neighborhood. They were freaked out."


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Man Arrested for Drunken Mower Driving

Police have arrested a man accused of operating lawnmower while drunk. Dondi Bowles, 50, was arrested about 9:45 p.m. Friday as he drove the mower on a sidewalk.

Police said he had used the mower to drive to a store about a mile from his home and was arrested on his way back. Police had the lawn mower towed.

Police said a breath test showed that Bowles' blood alcohol level was 0.144 percent, above Ohio's limit of 0.08 percent.

Police said it was Bowels' third drunken driving related arrest in six months.

Vermilion is a Lake Erie town about 40 miles west of Cleveland.


Jailbreak falls short

An inmate trying to escape from his cell crashed through a ceiling panel and landed just feet from jailers in the lockup's lobby, authorities said.

Paul Stein, 32, of Kokomo, was in the Montgomery County jail on a public intoxication charge when he crawled through a hatch in his holding cell, they said.

"It is there so we can get up there and fix plumbing and lighting problems," said jail officer Robin Threlkeld. "He was able to open the door and pull himself up and through somehow, and then he fell down through a panel in the lobby."

Stein wasn't injured in the fall Saturday at the jail in Crawfordsville, about 45 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

"His feet came through first," said Montgomery County Sheriff Dennis Rice.

Authorities were investigating how Stein was able to open the panel.

Stein faces an additional preliminary charge of escape and remained in custody Tuesday.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Mom's Homework Reward Was Pot

A 13-year-old boy told police his mother required him to do his homework first thing when he got off the school bus, then smoked marijuana with him as a reward.

The boy's mother said she had been smoking marijuana with him since he was 11, usually as a reward, according to court documents.

The interviews came after police executed a search warrant at the woman's home during the weekend and seized marijuana, an array of drug paraphernalia, and $600 in cash that she said belonged to a drug dealer, court documents said.

Amanda Lynn Livelsberger, 30, was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Friday on charges of marijuana possession, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of children and possession with intent to distribute drug paraphernalia, police said.

A telephone listing for Livelsberger couldn't be found and it wasn't immediately clear whether she had an attorney.

Police said the woman said she also smoked marijuana with two of her son's friends, ages 17 and 18, and the 18-year-old told investigators he had also bought heroin from her.


Man With Prosthetic Legs, Deaf Man Brawl

Two men who had driven around several towns for hours after meeting in a bar ended up fighting after one of the men couldn't communicate directions clearly to the driver.

Kent Hisey, 52, became frustrated by the difficulty of James Mills, who is deaf, in communicating directions, Valparaiso police said. They had driven from the Playboy Lounge in New Chicago to Portage, then Hobart — where the 46-year-old Mills lives — and finally to Valparaiso — communities spread across two northwest Indiana counties about 30 miles southeast of Chicago.

Hisey, who has two prosthetic legs, stopped his car at the Porter County Airport, got out and used his walker to go around to the passenger side, where he grabbed Mills to pull him from the car, police said.

Mills allegedly pushed Hisey to the ground, causing him to hit his head.

Paramedics arrived Thursday about 1:30 a.m. to treat Hisey's lacerations and take him to Porter Hospital. Police wrote a note to Mills informing him he was being arrested on a battery charge.

Officers conducted a field sobriety test on Hisey. His blood-alcohol level registered 0.16 percent. Under Indiana law, the threshold for drunken driving is 0.08 percent.

Both Hisey and Mills were taken to the Porter County Jail, where they were being held Friday morning.


Man in Undies Jumps in River to Elude Cops

First, police tried to arrest a man, then they had to rescue him from drowning. Police say they got a call around 6:15 a.m., Friday, that a man in his underwear was trying to get into a house and a business.

Officers found James McMillan, 24, of Sanford, Maine, and were trying to arrest him when he jumped into the Cocheco River, police said.

McMillan went under several times before floating to an embankment next to a dam. Officers reached down from the dam wall and pulled him from the water.

He was treated for possible hypothermia and faces charges including trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.


High Prices Force Man to Take Gas

Authorities say a man came up with an unusual way to combat high gasoline prices: Filling about a dozen containers with gas from his former workplace after hours.

Andrew Otten, 44, was charged with misdemeanor theft after a sheriff's deputy said he found containers with about 56 gallons of gas in Otten's sport utility vehicle.

Deputy Ryan Herman noticed the vehicle being driven slowly about 12:20 a.m. Tuesday. Herman followed the SUV and pulled it over after spotting an equipment violation.

While questioning the driver, Herman noticed 11 gas jugs in the vehicle.

At first, Otten said he was checking out some lights left on at the nearby West Bend Elevator Co. and he was making sure everything was all right, according to the criminal complaint.

Later, Otten said he used to work at company and used his old key to enter the facilities and take the gas, the complaint said.

Otten was released on a $500 signature bond under the condition that he have no contact with West Bend Elevator.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Boys Start Steamroller, Damage School

A group of school boys allegedly started steamroller Tuesday, which ran out of control and smashed into a school in central Serbia, a Serbian news agency reported.

No one was injured in the accident in Gornji Milanovac, 50 miles south of Belgrade, but the school was seriously damaged by the 4.5 metric ton piece of machinery, the Beta news agency reported.

Officials were not immediately available to confirm the report.

Authorities were investigating how the school boys, whose identities were not released, got access to the steamroller, which was parked outside the school by workers who were repairing pavement.

The workers reportedly left the vehicle unattended to seek shelter from pouring rain, and the boys found the keys underneath the seat and started the engine.

They jumped off the steamroller when they realized they could not control it, but machine rolled toward the school, and smashed through the main entrance, hitting a few walls and before stopping at a staircase, the report said.


Mom Gets Probation for Gun at School

A woman has been sentenced to two years' probation for displaying a handgun during a meeting with her son's assistant principal.

Mary E. Cozad, 56, also was ordered to pay a $200 fine after she pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of unlawfully carrying a weapon.

State District Judge George Gallagher sentenced her to probation with deferred adjudication, which means the charge will be dropped from her criminal record if she completes the terms of probation, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in its online edition Tuesday.

Cozad was in assistant Principal Martha Beseau Bock's office Oct. 11 at Park Glen Elementary School in Fort Worth to discuss her son's one-day suspension for a fight on a school bus, according to Fort Worth police reports. Park Glen is in the Keller school district.

After the door was closed, Cozad took a handgun and holster from her purse and placed it on a shelf near the assistant principal, according to reports.

No shots were fired, and Cozad left the office with the gun, police said.

Shortly after the incident, the Fort Worth mother was banned from Keller district campuses, a school official said.

Cozad could not be reached for comment Tuesday.


Woman, Son Convicted in Mouse-In-Soup Scam

A woman and her adult son have been convicted of trying to extort money from the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain by claiming they found a dead mouse in a bowl of soup while celebrating Mother's Day in 2004.

Jurors deliberated nearly four hours Friday before convicting Carla Patterson, 38, and Ricky Patterson, 22, of conspiracy to commit extortion.

Carla Patterson claimed she had already eaten some of her vegetable soup on May 8, 2004, the day before Mother's Day, when she scooped up the mouse.

Charges were filed after a necropsy showed the mouse died of a fractured skull. It had no soup in its lungs and had not been cooked, signs that the rodent was dropped into the soup after its death.

Cracker Barrel officials said the Pattersons sought $500,000 from the company.

The defendants insisted they were innocent, claiming Cracker Barrel officials offered them money to make the bad publicity go away. They wept when the verdict was read.

The Pattersons faced up to 10 years in prison, but the jury recommended sentences of one year and fines of $2,500 each. Sentencing is set for July 5.


Monday, May 01, 2006

TGI Friday's 'sorry' after diner finds finger slice

A diner found a piece of human flesh on his hamburger shortly after a restaurant worker accidentally cut his finger, and a spokeswoman said the company was "very, very sorry."

A kitchen manager at the TGI Friday's at College Mall injured himself Tuesday and no one immediately realized he had lost part of his finger while others rushed to help him, said Amy Freshwater, a spokeswoman for the chain.

"The manager didn't even know it happened until he got to the hospital," she said.

Another staff member served the plate to a customer, who immediately spotted the piece of flesh.

The manager was treated at Bloomington Hospital and lost only a small piece of his finger, according to Freshwater.

"We absolutely acknowledge the seriousness of this incident, and we are very, very sorry that this occurred," she said.

The restaurant has been in contact with the customer, Freshwater said.

The diner called police, but an officer told him that it was not a criminal matter, Detective Sgt. David Drake said.