<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Weird News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/weird http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Sun, 23 Nov 2014 04:25:41 -0800 Sun, 23 Nov 2014 04:25:41 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Company Unveils Electronically-Powered Skates]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 10:36:43 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1121-2014-RocketSkates.jpg

Forget walking or rollerblading — how about rocket skating?

California-based company Acton has developed electronically-powered skates that can propel the wearer up to 12 miles per hour — no pushing required.

Founders said the idea was inspired by "Iron Man," "Inspector Gadget" and "The Jetsons."

"The idea of just being able to slide around the urban environment is very exciting," said Peter Treadway, co-founder of Acton. "It's kind of like a magic carpet for your feet."

The skates were released this week and sell for $500 a pair.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Lost Kitten Wanders 2,300 Miles]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:32:14 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Maine+Kitten+Thumb.jpg

How did a kitten travel all the way from New Mexico to Maine? It's a mystery to her owner and the shelter where she's been staying.

According to the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook, "Spice" was put inside a duffel bag and someone dropped her off at a thrift shop in Portland. A shopper found the bag and brought Spice home for a few days before bringing her to the shelter.

At the shelter, they scanned for a microchip and discovered not only did Spice have an owner, but her home was over 2,000 miles away in New Mexico!

According to Jeana Roth at the Animal Refuge League, "We were in disbelief when we called the microchip company and they told us. They were in disbelief too to see a cat from New Mexico came to Maine in just five days."

Spice apparently escaped from her house on Halloween when her owner was opening
the door to trick or treaters. How she managed to get from there to Maine, no one has any idea.

The kitten's owner doesn't have the money to pay for Spice to return to New Mexico, but another pet owner is stepping up to help.

Jon Ayers is the CEO of Idexx. The company makes pet testing kits and Ayers has several shelter cats at home. He has offered to pay to send Spice back home and as soon as she recovers from a small cold she will travel with a shelter employee back to New Mexico to be reunited with her owner.

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Let Dog Urinate at Store]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 12:57:21 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/450148534.jpg

Police are looking for a woman who allegedly let her dog urinate on dozens of clothes at a New Jersey store, refused to leave when asked and then led officers on a short chase after they were called to the scene.

Police say the woman, identified as 35-year-old Theresa Tumbleson, went into a Lane Bryant store in Toms River on Monday with her small dog. While inside, she allegedly let the pet relieve itself on 14 dresses and 11 pairs of pants, causing more than $2,000 in damage to the merchandise.

Police say the suspect got angry when a store employee asked her to leave and officers were called to the scene.

Officers got to the store as the woman was getting in her car. They tried to pull the vehicle over and followed the car for a short distance with their cruiser's lights and sirens on.

The car ran several red lights and officers decided not to give chase because the roads were wet, police said.

Police say warrants are out for Tumbleson’s arrest on charges of eluding a police officer and obstruction of the administration of the law.

She’s also likely to face additional charges in connection with the altercation inside the store, police say.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Canseco May Sell His Shot Finger, Gun on eBay]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 09:57:12 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jose-Canseco-1.jpg

Jose Canseco says he's parting with his finger forever — for a price.

The former major leaguer tweeted Monday that he'll sell his detached digit, along with the gun with which he accidentally shot it off. He tweeted last week that the operation to reattach the finger had failed, and it had fallen off during a poker game.

Canseco said he is also selling the chrome-plated .45-caliber handgun he was cleaning when he accidentally shot off the middle finger on his left hand.

In a series of tweets posted Friday afternoon, Canseco said his finger fell off during a poker game Thursday night, even after he had it surgically reattached. (Warning: The below tweets might seem disturbing to some.)

Canseco was apparently unaware that a bullet was in the chamber when he was cleaning the gun, Las Vegas Metro Lt. Mark Reddon told NBC News.

"It was a serious hand injury," but not a serious medical injury, Reddon said. "There was nothing suspicious. There was no alcohol involved, just a misstep with a handgun."

Canseco began his long major-league career in the 1980s with the Oakland Athletics before going on to play for the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox and other teams.

He has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his MLB career. After retiring, he also competed in mixed martial arts and boxing.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Tony Hawk Rides Hoverboard]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 05:28:20 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-11-17+at+3.26.35+PM.png

The hoverboard is reality, and Tony Hawk has taken a spin on it.

The pro skateboarder tested the $10,000 prototype Hendo Hoverboard after husband and wife Greg and Jill Henderson launched a Kickstarter to fund it. 

In the video, Hawk performs a few tricks on the board, which hovers an inch off the ground and uses magnets, though he also ends up falling several times.

Hawk had caught attention for another hoverboard video earlier this year — a fake video made by Funny or Die that featured the skateboarder, musician Moby and others riding boards high into the sky, in a prank for which Hawk eventually apologized.  

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<![CDATA[Cocaine Hidden in Raw Meat Found in San Jose ]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:08:33 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1113-2014-CocaineMeat.jpg

TSA agents recently found three vacuum sealed packs of cocaine hidden in raw meat at the San Jose International Airport.

Officials said agents made the discovery in a checked bag on an Alaska Airlines flight on Saturday. The male passenger was arrested.

Photo Credit: TSA]]>
<![CDATA[Comet Scientist's Bad Wardrobe Choice Draws Attention]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 18:12:10 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/thatshirt2.jpg

The first pictures from the comet landing were spectacular, but it's another picture that's getting attention.

Scientist Dr. Matt Taylor — who led the European Space Agency team that landed a robot probe on a comet, capping a project project decades years in the making, according to the BBC — had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction at a celebratory press conference for the success of the Rosetta mission.

His shirt covered in cartoon-like images of buxom, scantily-clad women in seductive poses caught plenty of flak on Twitter for the unwelcoming, sexist message they said it could send women in science fields.

"ESA can land their robot on a comet. A comet! It’s amazing. But they still can’t see misogyny under their noses," Alice Bell wrote in a column for The Guardian. "Pointing this out is not a distraction to the science. It’s part of it."

Photo Credit: Nature News / Via youtube.com]]>
<![CDATA[25,000 Pounds of Turkeys Spilled on I-680 Will Feed Hungry]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 06:06:16 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/turkey-truck-6-main.jpg

A semi-truck carrying up to 30,000 pounds of frozen Butterball turkeys took a turn too quickly Wednesday morning, flipping over on its side, spilling diesel and thousands of Thanksgiving meals headed for Costco.

But since stores can't sell food that's spilled on the road – even though the turkeys were kept perfectly safe in cardboard boxes – the poultry is instead headed to feed the hungry and homeless at the Alameda County Food Bank in Oakland, spokesman Michael Altfest said. Some of the turkeys will be shared with shelters in Contra Costa County, too.

"This is a fantastic windfall as our Food Bank heads into one of the busiest times of year," Altfest  said. "Receiving this volume of meat protein is rare for us any time of year – and a donation like this simply couldn’t come at a better time. This is going to add a significant helping of holiday joy to thousands of households throughout our community.”

The shipment was handed over before noon on Wednesday.

"Unfortunately an accident happened, and fortunately low-income people in both Alameda County and Contra Costa County are going to benefit," added Suzan Bateson, executive director of the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

California Highway Patrol Sgt. Joseph Azevedo told NBC Bay Area that the driver "got confused" when he was traveling on Interstate Highway 680 in San Ramon about 2:30 a.m. He originally tried to take the I-580 interchange, but ended up taking the Alcosta Boulevard ramp instead.

And because he was "not familiar" with the ramp, he rounded it at a "high rate of speed" and his rear trailer went out of control, Azavedo said. He hit the brakes but wasn't able to prevent his rig from hitting the guardrail, he said. Between 20 and 40 gallons of diesel spilled on the road, shutting it down for hours.

The driver and co-driver were trapped inside, Azevedo said, and had to be extricated by San Ramon Valley firefighters. The driver suffered minor injuries.

The turkeys had been headed to a wholesale distributor for their eventual delivery to a Costco in Livermore.

In July, 60,000 pounds of African jackfruit and bananas spilled on the side of Interstate Highway 580 in Livermore. The load of squished fruit went to feed the elephants, giraffes and bears at the Oakland Zoo.

<![CDATA[Lost in Corn Maze, Worried Citizens Call 911]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 06:50:01 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/maze-th.jpg

A Northern California farm says it will likely scale back its cornfield maze next season after a number of people got lost and ended up calling 911.

The Cool Patch Pumpkins corn maze in Dixon, near Sacramento, was the biggest in the world — too big for some visitors, who got so thoroughly lost in it that they called 911 to be rescued, according to reports.

Some of this could be the maze's fault: The maze was 20 acres bigger than it had been in recent years, and it stayed open until 8 p.m., well after sunset, which is when most of the 911 calls came in.

The 63-acre maze drew people from all over the state and caused a lot of headaches for the Solano County Sheriff's Department. One sheriff's deputy told the Chronicle the department received about seven calls last month from people lost inside the maze.

The maze’s proprietors plowed down the corn maze earlier this week after getting it verified by the Guinness Book of World Records.

The trend of corn maze visitors getting lost and then summoning police is a nationwide phenomenon, Modern Farmer notes.

The maze took about 2 hours to escape "on a good day," the magazine reported.

The family that created the maze said this is actually a pretty quiet year compared to past years.

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<![CDATA[Surveillance Video Helps Acquit Mother in Bar Room Brawl ]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 07:23:21 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/surveillance-sf.jpg

A 49-year-old woman accused of beating another mother in a bar room brawl was acquitted Tuesday of all charges after a jury viewed video evidence that showed she acted in self-defense.

Jurors found Joy Jeffries of San Francisco not guilty of one count of battery and one count of violating a restraining order. If convicted of the misdemeanors, Jeffries faced a year in jail, said her attorney, Deputy Public Defender Andrea Lindsay.

Jeffries was arrested June 18 in the Bayview neighborhood, after patrol officers spotted her in a fight with another woman on the sidewalk behind The Jazz Room bar in the 5000 block of Third Street.

There was a history of "bad blood" between Jeffries and the 39-year-old stemming from the woman’s child bullying Jeffries’ daughter, Lindsay said out of court.

School officials did not stop the bullying, Lindsay said, and Jeffries confronted the mother verbally. The woman then filed a restraining order against Jeffries, although that evidence was not admitted in court.

After police separated the pair, the woman told officers that Jeffries followed her outside, then swung a set of car keys at her face, striking her in the cheek. Police noted the woman had no visible injuries, and she refused medical attention.

Jeffries, whose face was bloodied, did not have a chance to tell police her side of the story, Lindsay told the jurors.

After learning about the restraining order against Jeffries and hearing her slur her words, police concluded she was intoxicated and had likely been the aggressor in the attack. In fact, Jeffries was born with a hearing impairment that affects her speech, and had only a single drink prior to the beating, Lindsay said.

During the trial, surveillance video contradicted the complaining witness’ story. In the footage, at about 1 minute 38 seconds into the video, the woman can be seen blocking Jeffries’ exit from the bar while screaming at her. As Jeffries tries to exit, the woman punches her twice. The pair falls to the ground, where they appear to wrestle as a crowd looks on.

Jeffries, a current college student and a former caregiver for hospice patients and disabled children, wept with relief when the verdict was read.

“The jury saw what the prosecution refused to see: that Ms. Jeffries was the victim here,” Lindsay said.

In August, the Sonoma County District Attorney decided not to charge Delia Garcia-Bratcher of Santa Rosa, after sheriff's deputies said she choked a 12-year-old boy.

Garcia-Bratcher had argued that the boy had bullied her daughter, and that she had spoken to him verbally, but never laid hands on him.

At the time, Chief Deputy District Attorney Bill Brockley said he declined to charge Garcia-Bratcher because "I only file cases I feel I can prove."

He said many of the 25 witnesses corroborated both the story of Garcia-Bratcher and her 9-year-old daughter, and with all the "diametrically opposed" testimony, he didn't feel he could prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had occurred.

Photo Credit: Courtesey of San Francisco Public Defender]]>
<![CDATA[Drivers Scoop up Armored Truck Cash]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:57:47 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_542372564.jpg

An armored truck lost an unknown amount of money on a Maryland interstate Friday morning -- and numerous drivers quickly scooped up the money, police said.

Maryland State Police are now "reminding" the drivers to that they are "welcome to turn in the money at the local barrack."

The incident happened shortly before 8 a.m. in the northbound lanes of I-270 near Route 80.

According to a preliminary investigation, a door lock on the armored truck malfunctioned, causing a side door to open. A bag of cash fell into the left lane of I-270, scattering cash into the air and across the highway, police said.

The truck driver pulled over to the shoulder and saw multiple vehicles had also stopped, with drivers picking up the cash. When a fire department official arrived at the scene, the drivers quickly left.

Maryland State Police, assisted by a K-9 team, recovered just over $200 from the scene.

Authorities have issued a warning to the drivers who grabbed the cash, telling them they can turn in the money at Maryland State Police's Frederick barrack. Those who don't return the cash could face theft charges if police learn their identities, authorities said.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Students' Worms Destroyed in Rocket Explosion]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:33:15 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/220*120/worms2.jpg

When the unmanned rocket exploded Tuesday after launching from a NASA launchpad in Virginia, 5,000 of pounds of spacegear and supplies were incinerated inside a glowing ball of flames.

Also inside: a tube of red worms, the subject of some Oakland students' science experiment.

The squiggly critters, technically Eisenia fetida, had been on the Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket headed for the International Space Station, because they were part of a winning science proposal written by 6th graders at Oakland's Urban Promise Academy. The school is the first public school in Oakland to be accepted into the National Center for Earth and Science Education's Space Flight Student Experiments Program.

"Fortunately, there were no injuries," Urban Promise Academy Vice Principal Dennis Guikema said on Wednesday. "But our worms are, unfortunately, gone."

Much of the student body was gathered in the school gym, watching the rocket take off at 3:22 p.m. At first, no one could tell what was happening, and the kids all cheered when the spaceship took off. Then there was fire and smoke. "But it all was very confusing," Guikema said. "We hoped it was just excessive flare from the rocket."

Then, as the details began to unfold, the students and staff soon realized the spacecraft had actually blown up over Wallops Islands on Virginia's eastern shore. While no injuries were reported, it was the first catastrophic launch in NASA's commercial spaceflight program.

And some of that catastrophe included destroying everything inside the "Cygnus" capsule, which was carrying "classified cryptoequipment" for the six people living aboard the space station. And the explosion also destroyed the science experiments from 18 schools in North America.

Three 6th graders from Urban Promise Academy, Kevin Cruz, Cithlali Hernandez and Jose Morga, won the chance to have their experiment be launched into space. Their project was chosen last year by a review board at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to see if worms can compost food waste into soil in "microgravity," or in space.

Their proposal was selected out of a total of 1,487 original submissions. The final 18 winners came from San Marino, Calif.; British Columbia, Canada; New York, Washington, D.C.; Michigan, New Jersey, Texas and beyond.

"It was difficult for them to come to grips with what had happened," Guikema said, recalling the conversation he had with the three students. "But they're amazing kids. It was a definite setback, but it didn't diminish their excitement."

He said that organizers have already called the school to say another launch is in the works.

Photo Credit: Urban Promise Academy vimeo
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<![CDATA[Kittens Delivered Via Uber on "National Cat Day"]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:02:37 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/168*120/kitten8.jpg

Get your kittens here.

Just in time for "National Cat Day," which of course is Oct. 29, Uber has resurrected its kittens offering.

The company is allowing customers in San Francisco to place an order for 15 minutes' worth of cute, cuddly kittens Wednesday until 4 p.m.

The taxi alternative has at times provided additional offerings to its usual stock of rides from point A to point B. This has included ice cream, hamburgers, and, of course, baby cats.

For $30, you can order kittens to your door. They'll hang out for 15 minutes or so until they are shuttled, via an Uber, to their next location.

The company says that demand for kittens is likely to be "very high." This means that if you don't get your chance to order cats, all of whom are available for adoption, you're encouraged to go to them at the local SPCA.

Photo Credit: Northeast Animal Shelter]]>
<![CDATA["Hello Kitty" Arrested on DUI Charge]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 07:49:11 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-10-29+at+6.11.06+AM.png

Police say a Maine woman who was pulled over while wearing a Hello Kitty costume was arrested on a drunken driving charge.

Gorham police say officers stopped 37-year-old Carrie Gipson, of Westbrook, at about 2 a.m. Sunday because she was driving in the wrong lane.

They say she refused to take a breath test and was arrested for operating under the influence. She was taken to the Cumberland County jail.

Her police mugshot shows her wearing a red and white Hello Kitty costume, minus the doll's mammoth head.

There was no immediate response to a phone message left by The Associated Press at a residence believed to be Gipson's.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Cumberland County Sheriff's Office Jail]]>
<![CDATA[Purrrrfect Opening: Inside 1st U.S. Permanent Cat Cafe]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 15:10:15 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CatTownCatZone.JPG

Purrrrrs and sighs of joy echoed all around America’s first, permanent cat café, which opened its doors with a loud "MEOW" in Oakland for the first time this weekend to Bay Area feline-o-philes.

Like many Bay Area coffee shops, Cat Town Café on Broadway features locally made coffee, vegan sandwiches, and artwork.

But what makes this spot extra special is that it also features local, adoptable cats from Oakland Animal Services, so that pet-owner wannabes can pet and scratch Fluffy and Snowball while they're sipping their brew in the "Cat Zone."

"Is this not the best thing ever?" exclaimed one woman in the Cat Zone as she clutched her coffee and cooed at the cats playing at her feet.

Both the café and the Cat Zone were packed on Saturday for the grand opening. The glass windows were lined with onlookers leaning in to catch a glimpse of the cats climbing a small replica of the Oakland Tribune Tower. The Cat Zone had guests stopping to stare at its Oakland-inspired murals and cat-friendly play structures.

"It's important to create a fun environment where you can meet the cats," Cat Town volunteer Samantha Pollak told NBC Bay Area. "When people meet the cats, they're hooked. If you meet a cat in cage, you won't really get to know it's true personality."

This blend of cats and coffee is the brainchild of two of Oakland's leading cat-advocates: Ann Dunn, founder of cat fostering nonprofit Cat Town, and Adam Myatt, the self-proclaimed Cat Man of West Oakland. Both are passionate about getting shelter cats out of the cage and into loving homes. They hope the café will lure in cat lovers who might otherwise hesitate to meet cats in a typical, sterile shelter. Dunn explained that for the Cat Town team, "pets and coffee sounded like a natural fit when we heard about the cat cafés from Japan."

On opening day, six of the nine cats up for adoption were whisked away by owners who wanted to call give their new furry friends a loving home.

Cat cafés have gained global popularity, most notably in Japan which is home to over 150 of these feline coffee shops. To get a taste of the feline business culture, Myatt went with his friend, Sean Wells, to Tokyo in preparation for the Cat Town Café.

In Tokyo, they visited cafés and learned that many cats weren't necessarily happy to be in such a crowded space - perhaps all the coffee drinkers were too overstimulating.

That's why the Cat Town Café in Oakland offers the shelter cats plenty of space to roam and an extra room where they can hide from all the human attention.

"This is the first (cat café) in America, there's no precedent for how to open a cat café," Wells said.

Many similar cafés have attempted start business in the United States and others, in San Francisco, Portland and New York, say they are hoping to open soon. And there are "pop up" cat cafes in other cities, as well, but nothing permanent like in Oakland.

Oakland's Cat Town Café was the first to overcome all the health-code and financial hurdles, Dunn explained. Per Alameda County Health Department code and Oakland's Zoning Department, no food can be prepared on site, and there is a strict separation between the cafe side and the Cat Zone.

Turns out, one of the toughest parts of opening a place with cats and beverages is complying with health regulations, Dunn said.

Employees have to wash their hands as often as possible and clean up any spills immediately to keep germs from both kitties and people at bay. The café also has two separate bathrooms, one for people who have been in the "Cat Zone" and one for those who haven't. Essentially, the cats and coffee can't mix, the cats are in a separate room from where the coffee is prepared, but guests can bring their drinks into the Cat Zone after they've ordered.

Finding money for a business based around shelter cats is also challenging, said Dawn Pieper, a Cat Town volunteer. Cat Town Café got off the ground thanks to about $45,000 in online fundraising campaigns, according to Indiegogo and Kickstarter.

The coffee and treat sales in the café certainly help with the costs of maintaining the Cat Zone, but Pieper says that the café doesn't begin to cover all of their expenses. Cat Town keeps their adoption fees at $50, which means they need to make a profit in other ways. Donations, consequently, make the greatest difference for Cat Town, she said.

Currently, the Cat Zone accommodates nine cats and 14 human visitors, which Dunn calls "the perfect ratio."

Photo Credit: Alyssa Goard
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<![CDATA[Stranger Sleeping in Man's Bed: PD]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 09:19:54 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sullivan+Edited.jpg

A Clinton man woke up in the middle of the night to find a stranger sleeping next to him early Saturday.

Police arrested Tyler Sullivan, 22, of the Higganum section of Haddam, on charges including criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct.

At 1:35 a.m., a man in a home on East Main Street heard the front door open and thought that it was his wife. He rolled over expecting it to be her, but instead saw an intruder he didn't know sleeping next to him. When the stranger wouldn't leave at the resident's request, the man called 911.

Sullivan was still in the man's bedroom when police arrived and was very drunk, according to police. He later told police that he forgot what happened and "thought he was at his mother's apartment in the same complex," police said in a news release.

Police charged Sullivan with first-degree criminal trespass and disorderly conduct and took him in a police cruiser to the station for processing.

He was released on a $1,000 surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Middlesex Superior Court in Middletown on Nov. 4.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Donkeys Roam Riverside Streets]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:09:37 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Donkey_Video_1200x675_348762691819.jpg Wild donkeys roamed Riverside streets for the second night in a row Sunday. Police responded but said there was nothing they could do as the animals did not present much of a danger to residents.]]> <![CDATA["Crook" Arrested for Burglary]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 03:50:54 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/josephine+crook+burglary+kohls+alhambra.gif

A woman with the last name of Crook was arrested for burglary at a department store in Alhambra Friday night, police said.

Josephine Crook, 49, was arrested at a Kohl’s department store on the 1200 block of South Fremont Avenue and is suspected of commercial burglary and possession of burglary tools. Crook allegedly was in possession of a pair of wire cutters and a pair of scissors.

Crook allegedly took ladies’ undergarments and failed to pay for the items she concealed in her empty purse, police said.

Photo Credit: Alhambra Police]]>
<![CDATA[Deer Runs Wild in Furniture Store]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 15:20:25 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC-Deer-in-Store.jpg Employees at Simpson Furniture in Cedar Falls, Iowa got a surprise visit from a wild animal Saturday.]]> <![CDATA[America's First Cat Cafe Opens in Oakland]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 08:08:43 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*160/catcafe.jpg

America’s first cat café opened its doors Saturday in Oakland.

At the Cat Town Café, people can buy a latte and an hour of playtime with adoptable felines.

The owners hope this new business will help find homes for East Bay cats.

Internationally, cat cafés are popular in urban areas. This new venture in Oakland was the first to master the logistics and health code approvals in the U.S.

A similar idea is in the works in San Francisco.

The Cat Town Café features an area called the Cat Zone — where cats will roam freely and are available for adoption.

Walk-ins are welcome if space permits, but for a $10 donation, you can make a Cat Zone reservation ahead of time.


Cat Town and OAS volunteer Katie K. plays with Glynda, the first @cattowncafe cat!

A photo posted by Cat Town Oakland (@cattownoakland) on

<![CDATA[Petaluma Man Busted With 500 Pairs of Stolen Panties]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:29:47 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police_generic21.jpg

A Petaluma man's underwear-stealing crime spree is over.

Felony charges are pending against Benjamin Hawkins, 18, after police discovered 500 pairs of stolen panties along with firearms in his bedroom, according to the Argus-Courier.

Police say they were onto Hawkins for weeks, ever since a neighbor reported that she'd had two guns and some underwear stolen out of her home.

Cops contacted him and he told them that they could search his mom's home -- but not his bedroom, the newspaper reported.

So police got a warrant and searched his bedroom where they found 500 pairs of panties, two guns, and stolen jewelry, the newspaper reported.

He was arrested Tuesday, at which time cops found five pairs of underwear "shoved down his pants," the newspaper reported.

Police say that other victims came forward to report Hawkins had been prowling in other homes.

Hawkins is in jail on $40,000 bail.

<![CDATA[Lady Liberty to Don Halloween Costume: Report]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 04:46:57 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP13062605022.jpg

This year, even the Statue of Liberty will be getting dressed up for Halloween, according to USA Today.

The newspaper reports that Joe Boxer founder Nick Graham is planning to fly vividly colored 60-foot-wide bow ties hanging from helicopters in front of Lady Liberty beginning 8 a.m. Oct. 31 to mark the launch of an eponymous menswear brand.

The bow ties, one black and one white, will pass about 1,000 feet in front of the statue to create the illusion that the monument is wearing the neck wear.

"It's going to be a big collection, so what better way to launch it than the Statue of Liberty," Graham told USA Today.

Two ties will pass in front of the statue for several hours before heading up the Hudson River.

Graham said the stunt hasn’t been approved yet by the FAA.

The National Park Service said it is aware of the plans, but wouldn’t have any say about the flyby since the helicopters won’t pass directly over Liberty Island.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Named Isis Faces Backlash Over Name]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:50:50 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/isis-lawson.jpg

As the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria, otherwise known as ISIS, continues to terrorize the Middle East, a California woman says she is facing backlash of their ruthless actions.

That's because her name is Isis.

Even though she has nothing to do with the terrorist group, public perception has made her the target of unwanted comments.

"Before all of the terrorist group thing started it was a positive conversation starter." Isis Lawson is talking about her name, which is the same as widely reported and used acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the terrorist group that has videotaped beheadings for ransom, including two American journalists.

In no way affiliated, Lawson says negative feelings toward the terrorists have led to hurtful comments from strangers, especially at her work, a large retailer where she wears a name tag.

"They'll be passing by and they'll catch a glimpse and they'll stop and like laugh, or they'll actually come up to me because they glanced at my name,” Lawson said. “People say, ‘You should change your name,’ and I say, ‘No, actually. I'm not going to change my name. I have the right to have this name. It was given to me. I know what it stands for and it doesn't stand for terrorism.’"

A Google search for Isis turns up first news stories about the terror group, then, three down, is Wikipedia's definition, and Isis Lawson's namesake. "It's an ancient Egyptian name,” Lawson said. “It's a name of an Egyptian goddess. Even Cleopatra had an alter for her."

She's the goddess of health, marriage, and love, the opposite of the acts of violence, cruelty and hatred the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria carry out and that are reported on daily. While it sounds like her name, this Isis would like the world to know the real meaning of her name.

"I'm not the only one with this name,” she said. “There's other women out there and girls that have the name. And it's not fair to them and myself."

Isis said her employer has been supportive and given her the option to change her name on her nametag. She says she chose not to because she's proud of it. 

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Instagram Vandalism Tour of National Parks Lands NY Artist in Trouble]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:18:50 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/graffiti-remover.jpg

Deface National Parks and boast about it on Instagram, and you could get in trouble.

This is the lesson of Casey Nocket, a New York-based artist who has apparently spent the past few weeks drawing pictures – with paint, not chalk – on various rock faces in protected spaces in National Parks and then posting pictures of the vandalism on Instagram, as Modern Hiker first reported.

Nocket's oeuvre generally involves images of white-skinned women, painted with acrylic paint in some sort of previously-pristine hiked-to spot.

SFist notes that she's been at this for over a month, according to her since-deleted social media accounts, posting photos from nearly every sacred place in California: Yosemite National Park (she scrawled something near the Mist Trail), Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, Grand Canyon in Arizona, Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, SFist reported.

Meanwhile, the National Parks Service is on the case. A spokesman for the agency said on Reddit that an investigation is underway, and while no details were divulged, it seems obvious that the Parks Service is taking this seriously and punishment is in Nocket's future.

Where is she now? Unknown, as her social media accounts have been deleted or switched to private ever since they turned her into a fugitive.

Photo Credit: National Parks Service]]>
<![CDATA[Humboldt Fire Crews Save Marijuana Harvest]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:35:31 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pot_house3.jpg

Firefighters in Humboldt County responding to reports of a blaze earlier this week at what turned out to be a marijuana drying room saved some of the plants from being incinerated.

The cannabis, which appeared to be grown legally, as well as a dog were rescued, according to the Lost Coast Outpost.

Firefighters in oxygen masks and full gear could be seen neatly stacking armloads of drying marijuana after emerging from the home in Redway.

The fire apparently started when a fan in use in the drying room, a necessary component of any cannabis-growing operation, malfunctioned, the website reported.

Firefighters entering the drying room had to remove the marijuana from their path, and in doing so, they neatly spread it out on a tarp outside.

A fire official said, while he is no expert on the drug, he was told that the salvaged marijuana was in fact still usable.

Photo Credit: District Attorney's Office]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTO: Snakes on Subway Train]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 04:43:15 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/erichertzog-crop.jpg

Snakes on a plane? Fuggedaboutit. In New York City, surprised subway riders discovered two snakes on a train.

Eric Hertzog said he got on the C train at Canal Street this week and saw the man with the snakes. One snake was hanging from the railing, while another was between his legs.

The man started playing with the snakes, Hertzog told NBC 4 New York. One passenger nearly sat beside the reptiles, but ran to the other side of the car when he realized the snakes were there, Hertzog said.

The man put the snakes in bags and then into his backpack before exiting at 14th Street, Hertzog said.

Hertzog posted the photos on his Instagram account (below).

Other than service animals and working dogs for law enforcement, the MTA prohibits bringing animals on trains unless "enclosed in a container and carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers."


Photo Credit: Eric Hertzog]]>
<![CDATA["He's a Little Stressed": 37-Lb. Biggie the Cat Gets Medical Help]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:58:49 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/10-13-14-BiggieCat.png

A troublingly overweight cat joined his thinner counterparts at the Riverside Cat Hospital as doctors hope to alleviate his constipation and potentially reduce his immense size.

The cat, aptly named Biggie, weighs a whopping 37 pounds.

"He’s a little stressed, but he’s a very gentle, nice kitty," Dr. Nichole Agarwal told NBC4 on Monday.

Biggie joined the hospital over the weekend after his owner took him to the hospital out of concern for his lack of bowel movements. After initial diagnostics, the veterinary practice said the cat would need special care, but the owner could not afford the cost. The hospital then opted to formally adopt Biggie.

"This is the heaviest cat I have seen by far in my 10-year veterinary career," Agarwal said.

Biggie is suffering from severe constipation that could require surgery, according to the hospital. Veterinarians are also planning to place Biggie in a weight reduction program, in part to reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes and lower urinary tract disease that tend to afflict cats with a high level of obesity.

The weight loss plan would include a canned food-only diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, Agarwal said. The goal is for Biggie to lose 1 to 2 percent of his body weight per week on the diet.

The cat hospital is chronicling Biggie's weight loss journey on their Facebook page.

Agarwal said it could take a year or two to get him back down to a healthy body weight. The average weight of a house cat is about 8 to 10 pounds.

Veterinarians are giving the tubby cat pain medication and enemas, hoping they'll help move his stool through.

The hospital is asking for donations since his costs have gone up due to having to seek specialty care. Any extra funds will be for a special fund for cats in need. To donate, visit http://www.gofundme.com/biggie.

Biggie's weight loss mission comes after an obese Southern California cat named Little Dude, who once tipped the scale at 36 pounds, drew national attention as he fought for his health. Little Dude died in September.

Photo Credit: Nichole Agarwal]]>