<![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 Sat, 23 Aug 2014 10:31:43 -0700 Sat, 23 Aug 2014 10:31:43 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Couple Accused of Trying to Enter Maternity Ward With Fake Babies]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 20:12:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fake-baby-th.jpg

Police in the San Joaquin Valley, California, arrested a woman on trespassing charges after they say she was trying to access a hospital maternity ward.

Merced police said 41-year-old Tonya Whitney and her husband carried dolls that looked like fake babies into Mercy Medical Center on two occasions in the past week. Whitney wore a nurses outfit, carried an old visitor’s pass and a fake baby in a carrier, authorities said. She is facing misdemeanor trespassing charges.

Whitney was turned away before she could get into the maternity ward, according to police, who said they found many life-like dolls inside the woman’s Merced apartment. Whitney said the whole thing is a misunderstanding. She said she sells the dolls and was only at the hospital to make a sales pitch.

Police said Whitney and her husband tried accessing the maternity ward at Mercy Medical twice, the first time on Saturday after visiting the emergency department. "They then returned Monday and they once again attempted,” Merced Police Capt. Tom Trinidad said. “Of course this prompted an immediate response from the hospital because they wanted to secure the safety of the children."

"If you look at it, could be suspicious,” Capt. Trinidad said. “Of course, the assumption could be made that she was there for the purpose of switching out a fake life-like baby with a real baby."

Authorities said hospital security staff noticed the couple's odd behavior, treating the dolls as if they were real, cuddling them and changing diapers.

Police said Whitney has at least one child. Her husband was not arrested.

Attempts to reach Mercy Medical staff for comment were not immediately successful.

NBC's Fresno affiliate KSEE-TV contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Calif. Bill: Dogs Can Eat Out]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 01:45:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/051213+Cupcake+dog.jpg

Sit. Stay. Dine.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Thursday allowing dogs to dine with owners if seated in an outdoor section of a restaurant.

"It will soon be legal to take your beagle with you to dinner," Mariko Yamada, the assembly member who championed the bill, said in a statement. "I wish everyone ‘bone-appétit’."

But those who aren’t as dog-friendly don’t have to worry – the law doesn’t force restaurant owners to allow dogs in establishments.

Owners have discretion on whether a dog is allowed to dine alfresco, according to the bill.

"Amidst all the horrific and depressing news around us, I hope this bill helps make people a little happier, and businesses who wish to accommodate diners with dogs safe from being unnecessarily cited," Yamada wrote on her Facebook page.

The restaurant also must have an outdoor entrance that doesn’t require the pet to walk through the restaurant to get to the outdoor area.

Dogs will have to be on a leash and well behaved, and they can’t sit on chairs or benches.

The bill also says that wait staff cannot have direct contact with a dog or pet them, and if they do, they must sanitize their hands.

Pets cannot be in the same area where food is being prepared.

Though the bill applies to restaurants statewide, cities can still pass local regulations that ban pooches from restaurant patios.

"We can't wait to legally come to dinner with our human friends," a Facebook group supporting AB 1965 wrote.

The law goes into effect Jan. 1.

Sutter Brown, the first dog of California and Gov. Brown’s pooch, was not available for comment.

<![CDATA[Man Shows Up for Jail in T-Shirt With Picture of His Mug Shot]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:32:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1200x675-Burt1.jpg

A Maine man showed up to serve a 48-hour jail sentence this month wearing an orange T-shirt with a picture of his mug shot from his arrest on it.

Robert Edward Burt of Pittsfield was arrested in Hartland in June for operating under the influence. He was booked but released after posting bail.

He was later sentenced to serve 48 hours behind bars and reported to serve them Aug. 8.

Burt was released on Aug. 10. It was not immediately clear whether Burt has an attorney. A phone number listed under his name was disconnected.

Photo Credit: Booking Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Navy Sailboat Put on Auction Block for $25]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 07:24:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/navy+sailboat+auction.JPG

Got $25? You could just buy yourself a sailboat, thanks to the U.S. Navy.

As part of a government liquidation, the U.S. Department of Defense is auctioning off a 50-foot sailboat to the highest bidder.

But this vessel isn’t what you’d expect from a former Navy craft.

The three-hulled, high-performance Contour 50 boat, which is now in Harbor Island, was used for “experimental training and recreational purposes,” according to Liquidity Services, Inc.

Built in the mid 2000s, the craft has undergone some modifications but still has its wing sail, rigging and mast assembly, as well as an inboard 40-horsepower engine.

If that’s the kind of recreational services sailors are privy to, it’s safe to say the Navy has some decent perks. Now, the craft is going to a private owner who’s ready to hit the open ocean.

Bidding for the sailboat starts at $25 on Aug. 20 at 9 a.m. PT and closes Aug. 22 at 2 p.m. The auction will be held online on the Defense Department’s auction site, www.GovLiquidation.com.

Photo Credit: Government Liquidation]]>
<![CDATA[Bighorn Sheep Rescued from Riverside County Canal]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:00:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BIGHORN+sheep-canal-Aug+18-2014_02.jpeg

An endangered bighorn sheep that fell into a La Quinta canal while trying to reach golf course grass was rescued by an animal control officer, officials said Monday.

The endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep looked fatigued and was having trouble keeping its head above the water.

"I was worried about whether he might pull back and force me in," Riverside County Animal Control Officer Kyle Stephens said in a statement. "When I boosted him out, I could tell he was helping me out as best he could."

Though the bigborn is able to scale steep rocky slopes, this one wasn't able to climb the slick walls of the canal.

After the animal control officer rescued the bighorn, the animal seemed to pause before disappearing into the hills, Stephens said.

"It was if he wanted to stick around just for a moment to say, 'Thanks,'" Stephens said.

Golfers took a break from playing to watch the officer save the animal's life, officials said.

"Everyone was smiling after the sheep was out and back into nature," Stephens said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

<![CDATA[Man Gets Shot in Head, Walks to Hospital]]> Sun, 17 Aug 2014 04:17:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Hospital+generic+722.jpg

A man in a New York suburb with a gunshot wound to the head was apparently able to walk himself to the hospital, authorities in Westchester County said Saturday.

The 24-year-old was shot in the head at around 10 p.m. Friday evening, according to police in Mount Vernon. The man then crashed his car into a house on 10th Avenue, before apparently walking himself to Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital, police said. His injuries were not believed to be life threatening.

Authorities were investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting. The victim has a criminal history and has served time in prison, police said.

<![CDATA[Pot Plants Worth $5M Removed From SoCal Public Park]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 20:37:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pot+bust+oc+august+15+copy.jpg

Thousands of marijuana plants worth about $5 million were removed, in what authorities called an all day-long operation, from rough terrain at a Southern California public park Friday. 

Between 2,500 and 4,000 plants were found in the Muddy Canyon area of the Laguna Wilderness Park, south of the 73 Freeway toll road, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

The “eradication” operation required authorities to hike up the rugged area and manually tear out the plants. A sheriff’s airship “Duke” was being used to take the plants to a nearby area to be packaged for evidence, officials said.

"There is a complex irrigation here with this grow," said Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. "As far as where exactly it's coming from, and the source, that's still part of the investigation."

Authorities were looking into the possibility of the grow's irrigation system being connected to the one in the park.

The plants were discovered by a nature conseveration group who were flying above the parks searching for non-native habitats -- otherwise known as weeds.

Investigators said the operation began around 7 a.m. and was expected to take between five and six hours.

An investigation into the plants was underway but authorities had no suspect information and it was unclear how long the plants had been growing.

<![CDATA[Uncanny: "Canstruction" Sculptures Made From Thousands of Cans ]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:31:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Canstruction_39%5B1%5D.jpg Sculptures made of cans are on display at Merchandise Mart in Chicago as part of the 8th annual Canstruction competition, during which teams create the large sculptures made of thousands of canned goods.

Photo Credit: Tatiana Walk-Morris]]>
<![CDATA["Ima Thief" Busted for Stealing: PD]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 08:07:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/imathiefbondcourt.jpg

A South Florida man who told police his name was Ima Thief was met by a judge's laughter when he appeared in bond court Thursday on charges he tried to steal two televisions from a store.

Police in Sunrise say Thief tried to walk out of the store with more than a thousand dollars worth of merchandise.

“You’re Ima Thief, sir,” Broward Judge John Fry asked the man while laughing.

“Yes, sir,” Thief responded.

“And you’re charged with grand theft,” Judge Fry said while shaking his head. “I’m going to call you Mr. Ima, okay? Alright.”

After exchanging good mornings, Judge Fry said, “I do sincerely wish you the best of luck. I just wasn’t really anticipating seeing this name.”

Police say the man tried to leave a store on the 3300 block of North University Drive in Sunrise with two television sets and three other items in his shopping cart. He was met by security at the door.

When he was told to go back in the store with the items, he refused, and when officers arrived and gave the same order, he tried to get past them and out of the area, police said.

The man refused to identify himself, other than to say his name was Ima Thief. He told police he was 34 years old.

In the arrest affidavit, Officer Andrew Hydes wrote, “the name and date of birth are fictitious and only provided in order for the subject to be processed at the Broward Sheriff’s Office jail.”

The man who identified himself as Thief faces charges of grand theft and resisting an officer. He’s also being held on a no-bond probation violation warrant related to a burglary.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Teen "Repeatedly" Struck With Flashlight: Police]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 06:15:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mug-shots-split-bay.jpg

Police arrested two men in their 20s on suspicion of felony assault where one of the suspects pulled a sweatshirt over a teenage boy's head and struck him "repeatedly" in the head with a large, metal flashlight.

The teen sustained moderate injuries and has been released from the hospital, according to Palo Alto Police Lt. Zach Perron.

All three knew each other, Perron said on Thursday, though what the fight was about is unknown. Apparently, the suspects had made prior arrangements to meet outside the teen's home, police said.

Detectives arrested 24-year-old Christopher Stadler Snyder of Palo Alto on Wednesday afternoon. The primary suspect - 20-year-old Logan Phillip Korecky of Palo Alto - self-surrenderred later that evening, Perron said.

Their arrests follow on what police say happened on Sunday about 4:00 a.m.in the 1400 block of Tasso Street. The teen was walking outside his home when he was allegedly attacked by Korecky, who also pulled a sweatshirt over the boy's face and struck him with a flashlight, police said. The boy fought back, and he grabbed the suspect's flashlight and ended up hitting Korecky in the head, police said. Korecky fell to the ground. That's when Snynder allegedly came to help, and he and Korecky fled in a black 1990 Acura two-door sedan.

The teen's family took him to the hospital for help, at which point police were notified. At the same time, Korecky was admitted to the hospital for a moderate injury to his head and was released the next day, police said.

Both Korecky and Snyder were charged with one felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Photo Credit: Palo Alto Police]]>
<![CDATA["Hot Cop of Castro" Does "Ice Bucket Challenge"]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 07:20:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0709-2014-ChrisKohrs.jpg

Officer Chris Korhs of the San Francisco Police Department -- also known as the "Hot Cop of the Castro" will be participating in the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to raise money for charity, according to SFist.

For $30, you can witness the 36-year-old cop in person, "wearing something skimpy and having buckets of ice thrown on him" at The Cafe, the website reported. The show will benefit the Officer Down Foundation, a charity that helps family members of police officers killed in the line of duty.

The show may also benefit those who qualify as "top contributors" to the cause -- they'll receive a vaguely-defined extra-special bonus in "helping" Korhs prepare for the evening, Castro Biscuit reported.

It all goes down at 6 p.m. on Aug. 18.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA["She Just Took Off With It": World Yo-Yo Champ's Dad]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 20:34:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tessa-yoyo-th.jpg

Tessa Piccillo has certainly had her ups and downs in life. But she's certainly on an upswing this week. The 17-year-old Castro Valley High student was dubbed the top female yo-yo-er at the 2014 World Yo Yo Contest ending on Aug. 9. Gentry Stein of Chico won the men's division. Their combined No. 1 titles put not only the United States, but Northern California on the map in the tightknit yo-yo world.

"I feel great," Tessa told NBC Bay Area Wednesday morning, after her plane touched down from Europe on Sunday night. "I'm kind of like just coming down from an amazing week." Tessa scored 80.4, beating out Julia Gutowska from Poland who scored 75, and Corli du Toit of South Africa who scored 58. The 18-year-old Stein scored 88.2, beating Takeshi Matsuura of Japan who scored 86.7 and Iori Yamaki of Japan who scored 81.4. "It was cool," Stein said by phone, one week before he starts attending Butte Community College in Chico. "I was thinking it would only be a matter of time."

There were 300 contestants all vying for the title, according to the World Yo-Yo Contest. It was held outside the United States - in Prague - for the first time this year. With the title, Tessa took home a trophy and 3,000 Czech crowns, which is about $150. She is sponsored by the Georgia-based YoYoJam Inc., which also helps sponsor the world event.

Scores are based on cleanliness, variation, rareness, execution, music choice, body control and showmanship.

Though Tessa was "nervous and excited" on stage, performing before a world audience including her family back at home watching a livestream, she also felt her tricks were "clean."

In a video of the championship, Tessa slings, and twists and manipulates her fingers, the string and a red yo-yo with expert skill. Her eyes are mostly glued to her yo-yo. Her dimpled face cracks into a smile only when she hits a hard move and the audience cheers her on.

Her father, Eric Piccillo, a wine distributor, said he wasn't completely surprised his middle daughter of three is now world champion. "I knew she had a really good shot at it," he said. "Like any dad, I got the kids into everything," Piccillo added, saying he coached all of his daughters, Emma, 20; Olivia, 13; and Tessa in basketball when they were younger. And then one day, he slipped Tessa a yo-yo. "I had it laying around," he said, "and she just took off with it."

That was about four or five years ago. Tessa watched YouTube videos to teach herself how to walk the dog and much more. When she's not running track, or dribbling a ball, Tessa practices with her yo-yo about two hours a day during the summer, and maybe 30 minutes a day - if that - during the school year.

"It's like a form of meditation for me," she said. "When I'm stressed out, it just makes me feel relaxed."

Watch Gentry Stein take home the world title.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Tessa Piccillo ]]>
<![CDATA[SF Zoo Names Howler Monkey for Robin Williams]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 13:30:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/howler.jpg

Robin Williams was known for making his audiences howl.

That belly-laughing spirit is behind Williams' namesake at the San Francisco Zoo, which named a Howler monkey after the comedian in June.

"He's been such a friend and zoo supporter," zoo spokesman Danny Latham said on Tuesday.

Williams helped an auctioneer raise money for the zoo last year, and Executive Director Tanya M. Peterson wanted to thank him with the monkey honor before his visit there two months ago.

She picked the Howler, Latham said, because it was "loud and hairy," which Williams identified with "almost immediately."

The 63-year-old Oscar-winner took his life on Monday.

The zoo posted a photo of Williams on June 6 – his last visit there – visiting his namesake. The monkeys are native to South and Central American forests and are famous for their loud howls, which can travel for miles.

"The San Francisco Zoological Society is deeply saddened by the news of Robin Williams' death," the zoo said on its Facebook page. "Mr. Williams was a long time supporter of the Zoo and a dedicated conservation spokesperson."

Williams lived in San Francisco for many years, and then moved to nearby Tiburon in Marin County. He was pronounced dead at his home there after being found unconscious and not breathing around noon on Monday, the Marin County Sheriff’s office said. His death was ruled a suicide due to asphyxia.

The "Mrs. Doubtfire" star posted a photo of him feeding "Robin Williams" some peaches through a zoo fence two months ago and captioned the image: "Feeding "Robin Williams" @sanfranciscozoo. He's their newest Holller Monkey, named after me!"

Photo Credit: Courtesy of San Francisco Zoo Facebook page]]>
<![CDATA[Residents Set Up Dog Walker "Wall of Shame"]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 11:23:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Dog-Poop-Shaming.jpg

Dog walkers who don’t clean up after their pets on one Brooklyn street could find themselves in for a surprise nastier than the messes their pooches leave behind, thanks to a group of fed-up residents.

The South Oxford Street Block Association said on its Facebook page that it is setting up an online “wall of shame” of photos and videos of dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets on walks.

The group's president, Abby Weissman, already posted surveillance footage of a woman walking off after her dog stopped to do its business by a tree box on a sidewalk.

Weissman encouraged other members of the group to be on the lookout for more scofflaw dog walkers and to send in similar photos and videos.

“There is no excuse for this behavior,” Weissman said in a Facebook post. “If you can’t clean up after your dog you shouldn’t have one.”

Some residents in the neighborhood said they supported the idea.

“I am with y’all all the way (about) catching dog-walkers leaving their poop on the ground,” one longtime Fort Greene resident said in a post to the group’s Facebook page. “Oh does that drive me nuts.”

Under city law, dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets could face a $250 fine.

<![CDATA[Caught on Video: Bear in Kiddie Pool Delights Triplets]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 12:10:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/bear+pool+monrovia+aug11.jpg

Toshi Myamoto heard the excitement in the voices of his 3-year-old triplets when they yelled, "big bear, big bear," and thought it was because they were still reveling in their recent trip to the mountain community east of Los Angeles.

But when he looked out the sliding glass door Sunday of his family's San Gabriel Valley house, he saw an actual bear sloshing around in the backyard kiddie pool on a 90-degree day. The family grabbed a camera and began recording the playful black bear, but Myamoto drew the line when the children asked whether they could go outside for a closer look.

After rolling around in the pool, the bear shook water out of its fur and climbed a fence, likely headed for the hills above Monrovia. Police told NBC4 they receive about one report of a bear sighting per day in the foothill community, even more on trash pick-up days.

California's black bear population is at about 25,000 to 30,000, with most living in mountain areas above 3,000 feet, according to what the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife calls conservative estimates.  In 1982, the statewide bear population was estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000.

Less than 10 percent of the state's black bear population lives in the central western and southwestern California region, according to agency estimates. About half of the population resides in an area north and west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Toshi Myamoto]]>
<![CDATA[Number Goof Leads to Years of Alcatraz Misdials]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 17:12:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edtAP7106130276.jpg

Thomas Renault can’t escape from Alcatraz.

At least once a day, the phone rings in his San Francisco office with someone hoping to book a hard-to-get tour of the infamous prison. It’s another wrong number.

Renault doesn't lose his cool despite years of misdials. He even got a call to his business early Monday morning, on the 80th anniversary of opening day at Alcatraz Island.

"The number is off by one," he said by phone. "A long time ago, the fonts for 7's and 1's looked the same, and I think my number got reprinted on all the Alcatraz literature."

That misprint was about five years ago. At its peak, every third call to his business would be about an Alcatraz tour. Renault called the National Park Service, which runs the Alcatraz tours of the former prison, to correct the mistake. He wanted to let them know that his was not the place to book tours for the now-shuttered prison that once housed Al Capone and other notorious inmates.

Renault runs his own organizational development company and doesn't know the first thing about steering a cruise ship to the island, he said. 

"They were really good about it," Renault said of the park service correcting the error.

Alcatraz Cruises, LLC, the official Alcatraz ticket source for the National Park Service, has not returned calls for comment on Renault’s experience.

The misdials keep coming, mainly because dialers sometimes transpose 7 with 1.

Renault isn't bitter about the early morning, mid-day and late-night calls that sometimes come from across the globe. He has warm feelings for the folks who work at Alcatraz.

Last year, a group of business associates from Canada who visited him wanted to see Alcatraz. Renault told them, "Let's see what I can do."

He called up the cruise lines and told them he was the "wrong number guy." They comped him and his out-of-town guests free tickets and tours to the island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.

It was Renault's first and only trip there. He said he really enjoyed it. But more than the old prison cells, or the history of the occupation of American Indians on Alcatraz, Renault said he especially loved the gardens.

"They were really so old and beautiful," he said.

To call about reserving a tour on Alcatraz Island, the correct line is 415-981-7625. Tickets are sold out, however, until Aug. 27.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Elderly Woman Caught With Cash in Girdle at Airport]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 10:29:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/cash-generic-722x406.jpg

A 78-year-old Florida woman tried to fly on an international trip from Detroit Metropolitan Airport with almost $41,000 in cash hidden inside her girdle, bra and carry-on bag, federal authorities said.

A complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit said the Clearwater woman was trying to board a flight April 2 to the Philippines with her daughter. She initially said she had $200 in cash but submitted a form declaring she had $1,200, prompting questions.

During a search, Customs and Border Protection officers found $8,000 in wallets in her carry-on bag, $4,000 sewn into a cloth pouch and nearly $1,000 in envelopes, according to the complaint. She then told them she had $3,000 in her blouse and $2,000 sewn into the strap of her bra.

Officers continued to search and said they found about $21,000 in her girdle. The woman told authorities that she had recently sold her home for $120,000, wired some money to the Philippines and had planned to carry a portion of the money with her.

"She stated that she did not wire the proceeds to the Philippines this time because she thought it was safer to carry the money," according to the complaint.

Federal law requires travelers to declare if they are carrying more than $10,000. The woman hasn't been charged, but the government in the forfeiture complaint said it wants to keep the money. The Detroit News reported details of the request Friday.

Federal court records don't list a lawyer for the woman. The Associated Press left a message Saturday seeking comment from her at a telephone listing in Florida.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Is Potato Salad Guy California's Fault]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 17:51:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/5267386119_8bc31236f6_b.jpg

The Ohio man who raised $55,000 for potato salad on Kickstarter wrapped up his campaign this week. Kickstarter's blog helpfully broke down some of the numbers.

Turns out that California was one of the highest contributors to the oddball project, second only to Zack Brown's home state of Ohio.

The way Brown pitched the project, it seemed satirical, absurd, but also rather literal. "Basically, I’m just making potato salad. I haven’t decided what kind yet," he wrote.

The goal was set at a reasonable $10. "It might not be good," he warned. "It's my first potato salad."

An ABC station in Columbus helped to drum up suport as did a post on the linksharing site, Reddit. Within days, Brown had attracted tens of thousands of dollars. Despite the $10 goal, the money kept pouring in until the official close of the campaign this week.

It ended up being an historic Kickstarter. Many campaigns have earned more money, but according to Kickstarter, few have earned more pageviews. They say the potato salad kickstarter gathered 4.1 million visits, making it the fourth most popular campaign page in the site's history.

California now has a place in that little piece of internet history, having pledged 17.2% of the total Americans contributed. Only Brown's home state, Ohio, pledged more with 17.6%. The third highest contributor was New York with only 9.5%.

It's easy to imagine that California, as the tech center of the country, might have a greater attraction to Kickstarter (if not potato salad per se) but a lot of this seems to be a function of population. California's has about 18 million more people than New York, meaning our pledges per capita are much more modest.

Californians pledged just a quarter for every thousand residents, while New York showed a smidge more dedication with $0.27 per thousand. Of course, all this pales in comparison to Ohio, which raised a good $0.84 per thousand.

Now that the campaign is over, there will, in fact, be potato salad. Ohio residents can attend "PotatoStock", an event Brown plans to throw in Columbus in September. But skeptics might be glad to learn that a lot of this money will be going into a foundation for hunger. As Brown explains on his project page, "while our little internet joke will one day be forgotten, the impact will be felt forever."

Photo Credit: Steven Depolo / Flickr]]>
<![CDATA[10K Pounds of Pot Behind Toys Boxes]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 05:07:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/barbie-boxes-weed.jpg

An estimated 10,000 pounds of marijuana was found hidden behind what appeared to be boxes of Barbie toys piled up in a tractor trailer Thursday evening, according to San Bernardino police.

The packaged weed was seized from a truck depot in San Bernardino around 7 p.m., police said.

The marijuana was packed in unmarked cardboard boxes that were hidden behind decoy boxes that appeared to contain "Barbie Sisters Camper" toys. Police had been working on an investigation that led them to the truck depot, and upon arrival, discovered the suspicious looking truck.

Police suspect that the marijuana was not grown in the United States. Lt. Travis Walker said that the truck was likely dropped to the undisclosed location, and was unaware of whether that was its final destination.

No arrests have been made but police say they have a lead on the suspects.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: San Bernardino Police]]>
<![CDATA[Shoplifters Swipe Lobsters, Rogaine, Whitening Strips: Cops]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 10:42:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Suffolk-County-Shoplifters.jpg

Police are looking for a pair of shoplifters who swiped some unusual items in unrelated thefts at Long Island stores recently.

A man stole $2,500 worth of Rogaine, toothpaste, teeth whitening strips and allergy medicine from a Target in Central Islip on August 5, police say.

He allegedly loaded up a cart with the merchandise and walked out of the store, where he was picked up by someone in a getaway car.

Police say that a week before that theft, a woman snuck out of a Hauppauge grocery store with a canvas bag filled with $65 worth of live lobsters.

Anyone with information about either of the suspects is asked to call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

Photo Credit: SCPD]]>
<![CDATA[Toddler Causes White House Lockdown]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 21:14:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/whitehouse6.jpg

A pint-sized intruder managed to squeeze through the fence outside the White House Thursday evening, causing a lock down.

According to NBC News correspondent Chris Jansing, a toddler briefly got away from his parents just after 8 p.m. and entered the grounds of the arguably most famous -- and protected -- residence in the world.

A brief lock down was instituted by the Secret Service, and the scene was quickly cleared.

Neither the parents nor the tiny intruder was detained for questioning, according to NBC News.

"We were going to wait until he learned to talk to question him, but in lieu of that he got a timeout and was sent on way with parents," according to the White House pool report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rare Albino Redwood Moved 450 Feet]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:25:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/080714-rare-tree.jpg

Thursday was moving day for a rare redwood tree in Northern California's wine country. Workers dug up what’s believed to be the world's tallest albino redwood chimera.

It had been set to be cut down to make way for train tracks at the Cotati train station.

Crews used a crane to replant the 70-year-old tree at the station.

A spokesman for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit agency, known as SMART, told NBC Bay Area last month that moving the tree the 450 feet would cost $150,000.

"It's a complicated move," spokesman Matt Stevens said. "But when we determined the tree was this important to the community, we decided to relocate it."

Neighbors and tree experts campaigned to save the 52-foot tall tree after they found out about plans to cut it down.

According to SMART construction crews, the tree was growing about 10 feet away from a new railway.

Construction on the new 43-mile track will begin next April.

Arborists say the albino redwood is one of only 10 in the world.


Time-lapse video courtesy of The Press Democrat. NBC Bay Area's Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Resembling Steve Jobs Photographed in Brazil]]> Fri, 14 Oct 2011 13:31:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/080714-jobs.jpg

Steve Jobs is dead. Long live Steve Jobs... in Brazil, according to one excited Internet user.

The web went nuts on Thursday after a photo snapped by a Reddit user made the rounds.

The photo, a seemingly-harmless selfie, has in the background a man in a wheelchair who bears a strong resemblance to the late Apple founder.

Reddit user "TheHorseSizedDuck" posted a photo saying, "Steve Jobs is in Rio de Janeiro, alive," Valleywag reported.

Jobs died in October 2011 of complications stemming from pancreatic cancer.

Photo Credit: Reddit]]>
<![CDATA[Real or Hoax? Bear Walks on Legs]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 08:56:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bear-Generic.jpg

People in one New Jersey town were surprised when they saw a black bear taking a stroll down the street on its hind legs earlier this week.

A resident in Jefferson Township posted a video to YouTube showing the bear lumbering upright to the end of a cul-de-sac, peering inside a trash can and then venturing off into the woods.

The video has been viewed more than 250,000 times.

"It probably is a black bear," said Larry Ragonese, press director for New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. He said there's no way to fully authenticate the video.

Ragonese said bears can walk on two legs, although they usually don't for extended periods. 

A biologist who examined the video said the bear could have damaged a front paw, requiring it to walk on two legs, Ragonese said.

Neighbors left comments on the video saying that they too had seen the bear pull the stunt recently.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Boa Still on the Loose in South Jersey Town]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 08:43:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Boa-on-the-Loose-New-Pic.jpg

Police continue to search for a large snake that escaped its owner in a South Jersey town last month. However, they also say the reptile doesn’t pose much of a threat to humans.

Animal control officers received several reports of a snake in the Villas section of Lower Township. The reptile was spotted several times but still has not been captured.

One witness, Becky Clements, told NBC40 she took a picture of the snake eating a seagull in her backyard.

“I never thought I’d ever see a snake that big in the Villas,” Clements said.

Lower Township Police located the original owner, a resident of Villas. They also determined the species and identified the snake as a red-tailed boa, approximately six-feet long and eight-pounds.

Despite the panic from some residents, officials say the snake is relatively harmless to humans.

“No one should feel unsafe in their own backyard,” said Lower Township Manager Mike Voll. “This was an unfortunate case of a pet snake that wasn’t being watched properly and it caused concern when it got away. The bottom line is that people don’t have to be afraid.”

Officials still say however that residents should supervise their children and pets as they continue to search for the snake.

“The red-tailed boa is not aggressive and unlikely to be found wanting anything other than amphibians, rodents, rabbits and birds,” said a Township spokesperson.

Police say the owner is not facing any criminal charges since it’s not illegal to own a snake in New Jersey. The red-tailed boa can be found at pet stores nationwide. Officials say the owner is still accepting responsibility however for not watching the snake carefully after he took it out of its aquarium for cleaning and exercise.

Boas are normally shy and primarily nocturnal, doing most of their movement during dawn and dusk, according to Dr. Nick Holland of Shore Animal Control Services.

Boas are native to South America as well as some areas of Mexico and are a popular item at pet stores.

Officials hope to find the snake soon. According to Holland, the snake won’t survive in cool weather and could also die from eating wildlife that carries bacteria that it's not immune to.

The snake was last spotted eating a bird around the 200 block of Arbor Road earlier this week. According to experts, the reptile will likely retreat to a cool, dark place for three weeks to a month in order to digest its meal.

“Residents don’t have to be afraid,” said Lower Township Police Chief William Mastriana. “Even though this isn’t an aggressive snake, we want people to exercise caution and take the time to check their property, their sheds and crawl spaces. If you see something, give the police department a call.”

The snake has gained plenty of attention on social media since news of its escape surfaced. Two parody accounts @VillasSnake and @CapeMayPython were created on Twitter.

Lower Township Police are advising all residents who spot the snake to call the department at 609-886-2711 as well as animal control at 1-800-351-1822.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Lower Township]]>
<![CDATA[Private Bus Gets Stuck, Blocks Muni Tracks ]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 11:41:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/08-05-2014-stuck-bus.jpg

Tech buses may be used to navigating the flat roads of Silicon Valley, but apparently this bus driver isn't used to the hills of San Francisco.

A private shuttle bus broke down while blocking the J-Church Muni tracks at the intersection of 21st and Chattanooga streets shortly after 9 a.m., blocking trains from moving through, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said. A tipster sent SFist a photo of the mammoth silver bus with its rear sticking out into the street covering the Muni tracks.

It's unclear which company had hired the Royal Coach bus, or where it was headed. Bystanders and media speculated that the bus was hired by some sort of tech company, but that hadn't been immediately confirmed. Rose did confirm that the bus was part of the city's "Private Shuttle Network," where shuttles pay $3.55 a stop to use the Muni-approved bus stops. The pilot shuttle program began Aug. 1.

No one was reported injured.

Photo Credit: SFist/Arthur Patterson]]>
<![CDATA[Company Pays Settlement in Buckets of Loose Change]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 03:17:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Andres+Carrasco.jpg

An unexpected delivery of loose change has a 73-year-old man in California giving his own two cents.

Andres Carrasco filed a lawsuit in 2012 against Adriana’s Insurance Service, Inc. alleging he was physically assaulted by one of the company's employees.

After agreeing to a settlement with Andres Carrasco in June, Adriana’s Insurance decided to deliver the funds in the form of a check -- and buckets and buckets of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies.

The coins amount to more than $21,000, said Carrasco’s attorney Antonio Gallo.

"Adriana's Insurance, is this the way you treat everyone?" Carrasco said in a statement. "Why don't you like your clients?"

When the time to pony up for the settlement came, Carrasco’s attorney said eight of Adriana's Insurance employees arrived in a van with five-gallon containers full of coins in hand.

The employees then went to Carrasco’s attorney’s office, dropped them off in waiting room and left.

Carrasco had just had a hernia operation and wouldn’t be able to lift one of buckets, let alone the scores left by the company, Gallo said.

"I am disappointed by the way Adriana's treats their customers and the elderly,” Carrasco said in the statement. "We might be poor, but we are people too."

Officials with the insurance company did not respond to requests for comment.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Tortoise Reunited With Human Family]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 18:14:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/dirk+the+turtle.JPG

A tortoise that was found strutting the streets of Alhambra by police was reunited with his human family Sunday, police said.

After an adventure that may have tired out a lesser reptile, Dirk was taken back to his home in Alhambra to spend his days munching on leafy greens. 

Police said they received a call about the tortoise on Saturday after he was found moseying at a leisurely pace near Sixth Street and Norwood Place.

Finding Dirk wasn’t too much of a problem, but bringing him into custody proved to be a bit of a challenge.

Officials said it took two officers to bring in the hefty 150-pound pet. The animal was later put into the care of animal control who released him into his family’s custody.

Police joked on Facebook that while possession of a dirk, which is a type of dagger, is a punishable offense, possession of a Dirk can only result in a lovable scaly slowpoke.

Photo Credit: Alhambra Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Police Take in 150-Pound Tortoise]]> Sun, 03 Aug 2014 12:36:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/alhambra-tortoise-found.jpg

It may have outsmarted a hare, but a tortoise found in Alhambra couldn't outrun the police on Saturday. 

It took two officers to take a 150-pound tortoise into custody, the Alhambra Police Department said in a Facebook post

"The tortoise did try to make a run for it; but, our officers are pretty fast. Almost had a pursuit!" the post said.

Officials said they received a call about the animal when someone found it at 6th Street and Norwood Place. 

The tortoise has distinct markings, police said, and was picked up by animal control. 

The animal's owner can contact the Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control center in Downey at 562-940-6898. 

Photo Credit: Alhambra Police Department via Facebook]]>
<![CDATA["ManServants," New SF Startup, Promises to Cater to Whoever Pays Them]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 09:25:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/manservant-th.jpg

They're calling it the luxury every woman or gay guy deserves.

It's a new Bay Area website called "ManServants."

The service offers the opportunity to hire men for things like pouring your champagne, holding your umbrella or escorting you to a club. Or if you so desire, feed you grapes. 

"ManServants" promises the man you choose will not be a stripper or gigolo.

“It’s completely PG,” co-founder Dalal Khajah, who works at ad agency AKQA, told Mashable. “We have a very strict code of conduct and a very rigorous training process.”

They also promise the men have "good breeding" and have gone through background checks and an interview process.

The startup is currently auditioning bartenders, chefs, photographers, DJs, actors, models, musicians, and hot pool boy types for man servant roles.

Expect to pay at least $80 an hour if you are interested in hiring one. The people behind the service hope to open for business in September.

<![CDATA[Social Media Cop Live Tweets Elderly Car Crash 800 Miles Away]]> Wed, 05 Mar 2014 09:47:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/07+31+2014+palo+alto+crash+5.jpg

The information came in a steady stream, with Palo Alto police quickly letting the public know that a 90-year-old man had accidentally stepped on the gas, careening his silver Nissan into outside cafe tables injuring five people on the sidewalk.

The first tweet came at 12:52 p.m. on Thursday. The next at 1:04 p.m. Eleven tweets - including two photos of the downtown crash - in all, plus a news release, a Facebook post and a few NextDoor updates.

And they were all done from 839 miles away.  Palo Alto Police Lt. Zach Perron - the department's social media and communications manager - took over the social media reins while on a family trip in Seattle.

"This was big enough and important enough," Perron said in a phone interview on Friday. "That the public needed timely, accurate information. I mean, there are helicopters flying overhead, and not only was it a tragic situation, but our busy downtown was shut down affecting a lot of people."

Perron said on Friday that police sent the 90-year-old driver a notice to take an "emergency retest" at the Department of Motor Vehicles to see if his license should be taken away. The man, who has not been identified, has five days to take the test. Perron said the department will likely not recommend criminal charges against him, as it appears he was trying to parallel park when he hit the accelerator and jumped the curb. The man suffered some abrasions when his airbag deployed.

According to Perron's last Facebook post , two people required surgery -  a 30-year-old man whose legs were injured, and a man in his 70s who hurt his legs and back. A woman in her 60s and a man in his 20s, suffered cuts and bruises. All four were seated at the University Cafe having lunch when the car came out of nowhere. The fifth injured person - a man in his 30s - suffered a cut to his head while he was walking by.

Perron, who is salaried and doesn't get paid overtime when he live tweets, managed the entire social media communications effort by getting regular updates from Agent Marianna Villaescusa, who was stationed at the scene and conducting on-camera interviews. She even sent him some photos, which he tweeted out near Seattle's Space Needle. Then, as Perron's wife drove the family car with their three kids in the back seat, Perron fired off the relevant information from the laptop perched on his lap.

"My toddler was screaming," Perron said laughing, "because she wasn't gettig Daddy's attention."

Tweeting and providing accurate, non-libelous information is a skilled craft in any profession. And it's not as easy as some might think.

"Writing a tweet is like writing a press release," Perron said. "Not just anyone who knows how to tweet understands that and is trusted to speak on behalf of the department."

The Palo Alto police department is one of 50 agencies that are part of the Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group, where police officers can get free training on best social media practices. According to a 2013 survey by the International Association of Police Chiefs, 96 percent of 500 participating law enforcement agencies, across 48 states, said they use social media. Of those, 80 percent said it has helped solve crimes and 73 percent said it has improved community relations. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the most commonly used platforms, with Nixle following close behind.

If Perron couldn't handle the situation alone or was out of cell phone range, he said he'd contact someone in the group - most likely Mountain View, Fremont or Redwood City police - to take over social media for him. "We'd just give them our password and they could take over," he said.

He doesn't mind the work. He's already written four news releases during this summer's family trip. Last year's vacation, he noted, there was no real breaking news at all.

For now, Perron headed to the Portland zoo with his family, hoping for a slow news day.

"But if not," he said. "I've got my cell phone and computer with me."

Follow Palo Alto police at Twitter.com/PaloAltoPolice. Follow Lt. Zach Perron at Twitter.com/zppapd.

<![CDATA[Cop Blames Sex Cream ]]> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 14:41:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/miami+beach+police.jpg

A Miami Beach homicide detective will get his job back and back pay after he successfully argued that he tested positive for cocaine last year because he had used a sexual aid cream a few days before the drug test.

Detective Reinaldo Casas won his case in front of an arbitrator this week, after filing a grievance over his firing by the Miami Beach Police Department following his positive drug test in January 2013.

Casas said in the case that he had never knowingly used cocaine. He said he was able to pinpoint the possible cause to a “sexual aid cream” a friend gave him. “My girlfriend had applied the substance to enhance our sexual intercourse in the days prior to my drug screening," he explained.

Casas testified at a hearing that he got the cream from Idilio Godinez, a close friend of his. Godinez testified that he got the Vaseline-like substance from an “old Cuban guy.” Casas said the cream would help with his erectile dysfunction.

Arbitration documents said the cream was tested and found to contain cocaine. The city argued that it still had just cause to fire Casas because his story was “unbelievable.”

“As a police officer, Casas should have been aware of what he was putting into his body," the city said.

The arbitrator called the story “highly suspect” but ultimately found that “there is no evidence in the record to show that the grievant was aware the cream contained a controlled substance” when Casas used it.

The arbitrator’s ruling said Casas could return to duty and receive back pay as well.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Elephants, Giraffes, Bears Eat Fruit Roadkill]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 08:55:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/elephant8.jpg

Talk about not letting roadkill go to waste.

The elephants, giraffes and bears at the Oakland Zoo got to nosh on African jackfruit and bananas Wednesday thanks to a overturned big rig that dumped 60,000 pounds of fruit in Livermore near the Altamont Pass earlier in the week.

"The elephants loved it," Brian Deering, president of the nonprofit F.A.I.R. Foundation, told NBC Bay Area. He masterminded the transfer – taking the lightly squished fruit from the side of Interstate Highway 580 and getting about 15,000 pounds of it to the animals at the zoo.

About 35,000 pounds fed humans at the Alameda County Food Bank, and the rest was too badly bruised to be eaten.

The truck is owned by All Seasons Produce in Oakland, which grows fruit in Mexico. Deering knows the owners, who contacted him after the truck tipped early Monday morning to say they didn't want the food to go to waste. He also knows the owners of Save Tow, who schlepped the tropical fruit to the zoo.

Deering's agency, which has roots in Sunnyvale but now is headquarted in Elk Grove, is a nonprofit that connects families in custody battles with material goods, such as cars, dishwashers, computers and food.

Zoo spokeswoman Nicky Mora said there is enough donated fruit for the elephants and bears to dine on all week.

Photo Credit: Erin Harrison/Oakland Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Florida Couple Answers Door, Finds Gator on Porch]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:16:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/073114+coral+springs+gator.jpg

A South Florida couple who heard a knocking on their door got the surprise of a lifetime when they found a 9-foot gator on their front porch.

"It was nuts, I couldn't believe it," Coral Springs resident Luann Alonso said. "I thought it was not real, I couldn't believe it."

Luann and husband George said they thought a raccoon was making racket outside the front of their home in the 12400 block of Southwest 1st Street until they realized it was something slightly bigger.

"I looked out the window, I couldn't see anything, as soon as I turned the light on, I saw that big gator right there right in front of the door, his body was against the door so we couldn't get out," George Alonso said.

"I was petrified," Luann Alonso said.

The couple, whose house backs up to a canal, called 911 and a trapper came and took the feisty gator away.

"I've lived in this house over 18 years and I've never ever, I've seen them on the bank in the back but never seen them in the front yard, definitely not against my front windows," Luann Alonso said.

"We usually walk the dog around 2, 3, 4 in the morning, and I couldn't imagine going out and seeing that thing while we're walking the dog," George Alonso said. "It's kind of dangerous I guess."

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[SF Restaurant Confused With No Noisy Kids Policy]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 09:45:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/fisherman.jpg

A San Francisco restaurant is facing a barrage of angry calls and emails from kid-loving customers who seem to have confused it with a Monterey restaurant with a similar name that's in the middle of a current controversy for its ban on noisy children.

The owners of San Francisco's No. 9 Fishermen's Grotto said they are in no way affiliated with Monterey's Old Fisherman's Grotto, which made headlines this week for its years-old policy of forbidding crying or noisy children from its dining hall. The restaurant hung a new sign out last week reminding customers that the restaurant doesn't provide booster seats or allow strollers.

Kids have been welcome to the family restaurant since 1935, said Anthony Geraldi, a partner in the San Francisco restaurant and great-grandson of the restaurant's founder, Mike Geraldi. His restaurant boasts a kids menu to prove it.

The Old Fisherman's Grotto in Monterey does not explicitly ban children altogether, but is certainly not welcoming to young people. The restaurant hung a new sign out last week reminding customers that the restaurant doesn't provide booster seats or allow strollers. Children are also not allowed into the dining room.

While many voiced their disapproval with this seemingly ageist policy, many others chimed in to support owner Chris Shake's decision to crack down on kids.

Photo Credit: KSBW]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands of Blue Sea Creatures Wash Up on Local California Beaches]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 08:32:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/velella.jpg

Social media is teeming with pictures of small bright blue sea creatures washing up all over California beaches, with sightings reported in Humboldt County, Monterey and Ocean Beach.

Despite being described as "strange," "bizarre," "mysterious," and even "aliens," it turns out these creatures have a name.

Marine researchers are calling it Velella velella, a name the Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote sounds "like a nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film."

"Some people call them jellyfish, but they are in fact only distantly related and only superficially similar," said Rich Mooi of the California Academy of Sciences.

The small delicate-looking marine invertibrates are commonly called "by-the-wind sailor." They are 40 to 80 millimeters long as adults and are characterized by a clear, chitinous semicircular sail sticking above water.

Velella can be found floating at the sea surface. They feed on zooplankton and fish and their predators are snails. They generally float offshore but can be blown onshore in large numbers.

Nobody knows for sure why so many are washing up this late in summer.

Although they are related to the Portugese man-o'-war -- notorious for its stinging ability -- Mooi said the creatures are completely harmless to humans, though he doesn't recommend eating them.


Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Cruz Man Fined $3,000 Over Leaky Toilet]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:47:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/120427372.jpg

A city in California is taking the drought very seriously.

The Santa Cruz Water Department slapped a $3,000 fine on a man for a leak caused by a running toilet, NBC affiliate KSBW reported Wednesday.

The man had the leaky toilet for eight days, the station reported.

The man, who was not identified, was able to avoid the hefty penalty by deciding to attend “water school,” a free, one-time class which teaches participants how to manage water at their property, read a water meter, find and fix leaks among other things.

Santa Cruz Water Department conservation manager Toby Goddard told KSBW that the penalty for having a running toilet for eight days ranged between $3,000 to $4,000.

“That's a terrible situation, of course it was eliminated by his attending water school,” he said.

Santa Cruz city officials are cracking down on water wasters, with residents paying more than half a million dollars in fines since the city declared a Stage 3 drought emergency two months ago.

Goddard said most of the fines were rescinded after water wasters attended water school, which is held on Monday nights.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>