<![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 Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:58:56 -0700 Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:58:56 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Wanted Man Taunts Police Online, Gets Arrested the Next Day]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:20:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/roger+ray+ireland.jpg

An Edgewater, Maryland, man was arrested for violating his probation one day after he taunted Anne Arundel County officers on Facebook.

Anne Arundel County Police posted a picture of Roger Ray Ireland on their Facebook page Wednesday as part of the "Wanted Wednesday" campaign.

Shortly after the post was published, police say Ireland commented on his own mugshot, writing, "Y'all will never catch me..."

Well, it looks like they did.

After getting a few tips from the public, officers say Ireland was taken into custody during a traffic stop in South Baltimore on Thursday. 

"Social Media is a great tool for law enforcement and we appreciate our Social Media Sleuths," Police Chief Kevin Davis said in a release.  

 
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<![CDATA[@HiddenCash Heads to Germany]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:31:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/05-28-2014-hiddencash.jpg

Everyone likes going to Berlin in the summertime -- and "Hidden Cash" is no exception.

The millionaire with a Twitter feed and money to leave hidden all over the place will begin hiding money in das German kapital on Sunday, according to the Bild newspaper (or zeitung, as they say).

Photos: "HiddenCash" Frenzy in San Jose

Jason Buzi, the real estate speculator who began hiding bills in the Bay Area a few months ago, says he has a friend in Berlin, enjoys the city, and hopes to give out as much as 1500 euro, Bild reported. 



Photo Credit: Bob Redell]]>
<![CDATA[Alligator Bites Man Fishing Golf Balls From Florida Lake]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:03:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/alligator+caught+in+weston.jpg

A Florida man fishing golf balls out of a lake around the Bonaventure Country Club in Weston encountered an especially difficult water hazard when an alligator bit him.

The victim, 51-year-old Stephen Martinez, of Pompano Beach, said the gator bit his hand and then kept trying to attack him. Martinez then got in a golf cart and drove to the golf course and told two employees of the course. It was the second time in five years that Martinez, an independent contractor who sells balls back to golf clubs, has been attacked on the job.

“I knew exactly what it was because a turtle can only bite so hard and when it snapped, it’s 2,000 pounds per square inch and I felt like I lost my hand,” Martinez said.

Martinez drove to the clubhouse to get help for his injury. The wounds were said to be superficial and Martinez said his wetsuit helped to stop the biting of the skin.

Martinez said was also attacked at a different course about five years ago, when an eight-foot aligator "locked on to me," leading to 12 puncture wounds. 

The initial call about the latest incident came into the Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program, SNAP. The center handles all of the call for alligator-related issues. A trapper came to the scene and was able to capture the 8-to-10-foot alligator.

As for Martinez, even as he clinched a blood-stained cast, he is ready to return to his job.

“I’m more likely to get cut by a shell, by glass, by turtle,” Martinez said. “Thank God the alligator let loose and I’m here today."



Photo Credit: Gilma Avalos/NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Worker Sold Crack During Shift: Police ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 02:24:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/McDonalds+Alleged+Crack+Dealing+Trammal.jpg

An undercover sting at a McDonald's on suburban Philadelphia's swanky Main Line has led to the arrest of a fast food employee who police say was selling crack at the restaurant.

Officers from Radnor Township Police went undercover four times over the past month at the burger joint located along the 500 block of West Lancaster Avenue in Wayne, Pennsylvania, right in the heart of the town's business district.

Each time, police say they bought the illegal drugs from 29-year-old Allen Trammell, of Philadelphia, in the restaurant's parking lot. A cook at the McDonald's for the past two years, Trammell would leave the kitchen line to deal, officials said.

“When not working as a crew and preparing food, he was out in the rear parking lot selling crack cocaine so in a sense it can give you a new definition of what may be considered a Happy Meal," Radnor Police Lt. Andy Block said.

Officers returned to the McDonald's on Tuesday to arrest Trammell. Police say they found cash and 157 dime bags of crack cocaine packets on him at the time. Block said Trammell could have been grossing $1,500 a week from the illicit sales.

Trammell has been arraigned on $100,000 bail, which he was unable to post. He remains in the Delaware County Prison. Pennsylvania court records show the man has plead guilty to drug possession offenses in 2005.

A spokesperson for the Wayne McDonald's said the franchisee is taking the police matter seriously, but would not comment beyond that.

Radnor Police say they learned about the alleged drug dealing after a confidential informant tipped off its Drug Task Force officers.

An attorney was not listed for Trammell.



Photo Credit: Radnor Township Police]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighter Arrested in Conn.]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 06:38:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hartford+fire+lamont+freeman.jpg

A Connecticut firefighter showed up drunk at a multi-family apartment in Hartford while he was off duty Tuesday afternoon, police said.

The resident told police she didn’t recognize Lamont Freeman, 44, when he entered her apartment at 160 Barbour Street at about 2:30 p.m. She explained that he was in the wrong apartment, but Freeman refused to leave, so the resident pushed him out the door and locked it, police said.

According to the incident report, the woman told police Freeman was calling out a name she didn't recognize. Police said Freeman banged on the door and tried to get back in until officers arrived and detained him.

Freeman does not live in the apartment and was not visiting anyone he knows, police said. He was arrested and charged with breach of peace and second-degree trespassing.

The website for the city of Hartford lists Freeman as working out of Firehouse 7 on Clark Street, just around the corner from the location of the incident.

Bond was set at $100 and Freeman was released on a promise to appear in court Thursday.

The Hartford Fire Department declined to comment on Freeman's employment status.

Freeman's son also declined to comment when NBC Connecticut knocked on the door of the firefighter's Enfield apartment Tuesday evening.

Freeman is the second Hartford firefighter to be arrested in recent months.

Doug Caldwell is accused of threatening a convenience store employee and punching the store countertop in March. Police said Caldwell had also been drinking beforehand.

The Hartford Fire Department placed Caldwell on paid administrative leave and launched an internal investigation into the incident.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Hartford Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Huge Geico Insurance Banner Falls on Fremont Home]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:46:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/072314-banner-house.jpg

One Bay Area couple can now say for certain their house is covered by insurance.

A 4,000-square-foot Geico insurance banner being towed by a plane came loose and fell directly on their house Friday in Fremont.

"I heard a thump," says Sarah Clark, who was inside when banner landed on her home. "When I looked out the front gate I thought it was pouring rain because it kind of made it look that way. And it sounded like a windstorm, or maybe rain, but I knew it wasn't raining."

When Clark looked out her back door that's when she saw the massive sign.

"I saw a gigantic piece of fabric over the gazebo and I was thinking it's a parachute or hot air balloon," Clark says. 

Ameer Hassan was driving on Interstate 880 just a few miles away when he saw the sign fall.

"I saw the banner flying sideways and I've never seen anything like that before," Hassan says. "I didn't know if it was heavy enough to destroy anything."

The pilot of the plane says he was trying out a new rope that failed to hold the sign. The FAA is investigating the incident.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[ATM Stolen From NYC Store, Dumped Off Bridge: Police]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 05:47:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/stolen+atm+recovered+staten+island.JPG

A thief broke into a Staten Island convenience store overnight and hauled out an ATM, taking out $1,300 before dumping it off a bridge and into the Richmond Creek, police say. 

The 260-pound ATM was stolen from the business on Victory Boulevard in Travis sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., police say. It was recovered by emergency service unit officers from a ravine underneath a bridge on Chelsea Road. 

The burglar cut the lock on the store's front gate to get in, then boosted the ATM and left in a van, police told The Staten Island Advance

The store's owner told the newspaper that security footage showed a man spraying something on the store's security cameras before breaking in, but the suspect could still be seen wearing gloves on his hands and a scarf over his mouth to hide his face. 

The owner reported the burglary after arriving at the shop just before 7 a.m. Nothing else was taken from the store. 



Photo Credit: The Staten Island Advance]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Flees Topless After Being Caught Shoplifting]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 18:31:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Macys+Sign+112613.jpg

A suspected shoplifter fled topless after being busted at a Southern California mall. But police were easily able to identify her – she left her driver's license behind.

The 44-year-old woman, whose name was not released, was caught at Arcadia’s Santa Anita Mall on Sunday night. Police say she had just walked out of Macy's after stuffing merchandise inside her purse.

Police say the woman was hitting a security guard who tried to stop her and lost her top and bra during the struggle. She then took off running to her car, leaving behind her purse with her ID inside.

The thief drove off in a white Mercedes-Benz, police said, but a witness was able to record a license plate.

Police said they were holding off from releasing surveillance video as they conducted their investigation.

The woman remains at large.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Strange Humming Sound Near Monterey Bay Probably Toadfish]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:13:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-21-2014-toadfish.jpg

A strange and disturbing sound is making for some sleepless nights for people who live near the Monterey Bay.

But experts say the puzzling hum is probably just a fish. A toadfish, to be exact.

The droning sound, which sometimes lasts for more than an hour, has led neighbors to come up with many theories, including secret military experiments.

Experts from the Monterey Bay Aquarium told NBC Bay Area on Monday the noise likely comes from "lonesome males" trying to attract a mate.

Toadfish mating season usually starts in May and ends in September.



Photo Credit: StAnselm/Wikimedia Commons]]>
<![CDATA[Attention, Passengers: Please Stand at Your Seats]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:52:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/arilineseat.jpg

Frequent fliers may have new seating arrangements to look forward to — that is, if elevated, cramped bicycle-style seats are what they had in mind.

Airplane maker Airbus has invented a new minimalist seating device designed to pack more passengers onto flights, while preserving comfort, and has applied for a patent for it.

The proposed new seat, which Airbus says will help "reduce bulk" of traditional seating, has a retractable "motorcyle-type saddle" for optimal leg room, along with adjustable back rest, according to the patent application.

One airplane seating expert, Dr. Fairuz Romli, says standing areas and space-reducing seats on airplanes are not completely far-fetched.

“The standing cabin concept has been proposed where the passengers are transported in a cabin of an aircraft in an upright position, similar to standing on buses and trains,” Romli wrote in a report on vertical passenger airplane seats at the Universiti Putra Malaysia.
  
But flight attendant and author Heather Poole, who chronicled her experiences aloft in "Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet," feels these seats are only asking for trouble. 
 
"Looks like there are quite a few passengers seated in a row, which means a lot more middle seats, which equates to more battles for the armrest," she wrote in an email. "All I know is miserable passengers equate to bad flights. I wouldn't want to work it."
 
Poole doesn't think passengers will go for such space-reducing options. Comfort is still a priority for them, and someone would have to be pretty "desperate" to put up with such a seat, she said.
 
"I can't imagine being on a plane and sitting on a seat made for a bicycle without wearing a pair of those padded shorts — that I don't own — for more than 20 to 30 minutes," she wrote.
 
Pauline Frommer, editorial director for Frommer’s travel guides, can see consumers opting for cheaper flights but can’t see standing sections becoming a reality anytime soon.
 
“For short flights, it could drop the prices drastically. It would be more green, more fuel-efficient, so why not?" she said.
 
But she expressed doubts that such seats would pass muster with safety regulators. It could take upward of seven years for such an idea to be implemented, she suggested.
  
Airbus for its part said its seating device is not necessarily a priority, pointing out that it patents several hundred concepts and designs a year. “Not all of these ideas, new designs and technologies become final products. We do this to guard our team’s research efforts,” spokeswoman Marie Caujolle said. 


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Restaurant Burglar Arrested]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:21:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/el-pollo-loco-burglary-costa-mesa-burglar.jpg

A Southern California criminal’s craving to go back for seconds got him in hot water with authorities last week.

Daniel Lee Warn, 28, of was arrested by police Wednesday in a Costa Mesa El Pollo Loco restaurant after allegedly breaking into the location earlier in the day wearing the same outfit, officials said.

Police said a burglary was reported at an El Pollo Loco in the 1900 block of Harbor Blvd. Wednesday. No losses were reported from the incident.

Security footage showed a man dressed in a "distinctive" hat and green shirt entering the location through a drive-thru window and going through the registers looking for cash, officials said in a press release.

Later in the day, police received a call from employees of the chicken joint reporting a man—matching the description of the suspect—waiting in line to order food.

Police entered and arrested Warn. Authorities said he was still wearing the same clothing and hat as in the security video.

Costa Mesa Police said Warn is also connected to a string of recent commercial burglaries in the area which included break-ins at a local liquor store, DVD shop and chiropractic business.

Additional investigation is continuing to determine if Warn may be responsible for other recent commercial burglary incidents, police said.

Officials said Warn was sentenced to prison earlier this year, but was out as part of a post-release community supervision program.

Warn is currently being detained in the Orange County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

It’s not immediately clear if Warn has an attorney.

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<![CDATA[Apologetic Dog Returns Stolen Toy to Crying Tot]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:47:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Dog-apologizes-for-taking-t.jpg

This may just be the best online video of a crying baby and an apologetic dog to ever hit the Internet.

NBC's Today Show featured the video clip showing a dog named Charlie and the moments after he sneaks off with the newborn's toy.

You see, Charlie just had to have a stuffed animal that belonged to his human sibling.

However, when the water works begin, you can see Charlie try to make amends.

He brings just about every toy he can find to make the crying baby feel better.

See the video as it appeared on NBC's Today Show Monday below.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Photo Credit: NBC Today Show]]>
<![CDATA[Go Gong-Wild in Berkeley's "Hack the Bells" Competition ]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 18:29:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/uc_berkeley.jpg

The bells of Sather Tower are at your disposal.

Artists of all media are called to the Campanile to participate in "the world's first remix competition for carillon" -- that is, bells, and specifically, the famous bells on UC Berkeley's campus.

It's "Hack the Bells," and there are few limits other than a competition entry deadline of Sept. 1.

The bells, called the Campanile, in Sather Tower -- you know the tower -- are turning 100 in the next academic year. To celebrate the centennial, the bells are being celebrated.

Audio samples from the bells themselves are available for mixing, remixing and arrangement. Literary types are encouraged to capture in words the meaning of sound. Visual artists are asked to put pigment to canvas or other media for the same purpose.

There's a $700 grand prize that comes along with an opportunity for UC Berkeley to acquire the work permanently, according to the contest website.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Family Hatches Four-Legged Duckling]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 08:34:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/Four+Legged+Duckling+p1.jpg

Hatching animals is nothing new to one Sulphur, Louisiana, family, but they were surprised when one of their young ducklings was a little different.

The duckling has not two but four legs.

Claude Aucoin told KPLC that he has hatched more than 1,000 ducks in his lifetime, but he was shocked with this surprise.
 
The duckling grew a fan base when Aucoin's daughter, Kylie, quickly exposed the duck, who goes by Donald, on social media.
 
This little duck has shocked everyone who has encountered him, and when the family is asked how this happened, they said it must have been a birth defect.
 
Luckily, the duck is in no harm and gets around fine even with his extra legs.
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<![CDATA[Skull Intercepted at Airport]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 08:47:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/primate-skull.jpg

A primate skull and dead bats are among the "unique threats" that have been found in the past few months at Washington Dulles International Airport.

One of the tasks of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is to intercept agriculture products that pose potential threats to America's industries -- and while that typically includes meats and fruits, a few unusual items have been intercepted recently.

A traveler from Gabon, Africa, who claimed to be a voodoo priest, arrived in June with a necklace made of the teeth of mandrill -- a primate similar to a baboon.

The passenger said he used the necklace for spiritual rituals.

In another case, CBP officials found an uncleaned primate skull in a woman's luggage who was traveling from Russia. The passenger claimed the skull, which was topped with feathers, was a token of "good luck" from Togo.

Both the necklace and skull, upon the recommendation of CDC, were later destroyed because they had the potential to introduce Ebola, HIV, monkey pox or other viruses, officials said.

Another "unusual threat" was a bucket containing dead bats, shrews, dormice, rats, mice and mongoose.

CBP officials came across a traveler who arrived from South Sudan with the five gallon bucket in May. Although the small dead animals were to be used for scientific research, the man didn't have the appropriate documents with him at the time.



Photo Credit: Courtsey of U.S. Customs and Border Protection ]]>
<![CDATA[Puppies to Ping-Pong: How to Kill Time at Airports]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 10:17:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/airport_generic.jpg

Forget napping in uncomfortable airport furniture, feigning interest in duty-free goods and drinking one too many overpriced beers.

At last, airports are learning how to entertain their guests during layovers and delays, with everything from puppies to ping-pong, from pop-up gyms to pianos.

Check out the latest amenities being offered at airports nationwide.

Puppy therapy. Usually the only dogs you'll see at an airport are the bomb-sniffing dogs whose uniforms say “Please don't pet me.” That's not the case at the Miami airport, where Casey, a golden retriever trained in pet therapy, encourages passengers to stop and play. Passengers can also hug and take selfies with more than a dozen pups at Los Angeles International, as part of its Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) program.
 
Exercise rooms. Passengers at Philadelphia's airport can get their heart rates up in between flights, and not just by racing to the gate. The airport has added exercise bikes and pop-up gyms throughout its terminals, as part of its summer-long customer appreciation program. The program has been so successful that the airport says it's already added 20 more bikes.
 
Ping-pong. Competitve table tennis players don't mind breaking a sweat, even while waiting to fly out of Milwaukee’s international airport. Keep an eye on the ball, lest it land in someone's carry-on.
 
Yoga and meditation rooms. A handful of airports are catering to passengers itching to downward dog. San Francisco kicked off the trend with its free yoga facilities so travelers can open their chakras before take-off (and before rinsing off in free public showers). Airports in Dallas-Fort Worth and Burlington, Vermont, have followed suit to give passengers a spot for a few sun salutations, while San Diego, Albuquerque and Raleigh-Durham have added meditation rooms.
 
Dinosaur skeleton replicas. Plenty of airports display aviation and history exhibits, but only two can boast life-size dinosaur skeleton replicas. Chicago's Field Museum donated a 75-foot-long brachiosaurus skeleton to the city's O'Hare airport, where it stands tall in United Terminal 1's Concourse B. And in Pittsburgh, a towering T-Rex in the Airside Terminal terrifies airport visitors.
 
Sleep pods. For all the yoga, bikes and puppies that airports have to offer, all some flyers want is some quality shut-eye. Passengers coming in and out of major hubs Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta and Philadelphia can rent rooms by the hour from Minute Suites. Each room is equipped with a daybed, desk, television and noise machine to shut out the airport's commotion and let travelers relax.
 
Kids' play areas. Traveling alone can be exhausting, but traveling with kids can be soul-shattering. Enter the old-school arcade. The King of Kong Arcade makes Orlando's airport, which also offers a 3,000-gallon aquarium and two space centers, the only airport with such a feature. Other major airports — including Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago's O'Hare and Boston's Logan — allow kids to let loose on aviation-themed play areas where they can pretend to be pilots. Detroit's airport may be the most kid-friendly of all, with seven indoor playgrounds and two toy stores.

Live music. Nashville and Austin, two of America’s most music-obsessed cities, love live performances so much that even their airports put on shows. The airport in country music mecca Nashville puts on 80 to 100 shows a year on four stages scattered throughout its terminals, while that in Texas' music-obsessed capital provides two-hour sets five days a week at six different restaurants.

Piano. Nashville and Austin may put on proper shows for flyers, but San Jose International has set up a piano for musically inspired passengers to play at their own leisure, 24 hours a day. No word on how many renditions of "Heart and Soul" have been logged there — but at least one prodigy passing through has been known to bang out a certain Journey hit.

Bike resources. It makes sense that Portlanders, who commute by bike more than people in any other U.S. city, would have a center for cycling even at their airport. Portland International offers an area for cyclists to lock their bikes while they travel and a repair station where they can rent basic tools to fix flats, disassemble their bikes before flights and read up on local biking activities.
    
World's biggest lounge for service members. San Diego's airport now boasts the world's largest USO lounge, where U.S. military service members get special privileges. What was once a cramped center now provides service members and their families a 10,000-square-foot space to Skype with loved ones, watch DVDs and play pool, X-Box and air hockey.
 
Gardens. Chicago's O'Hare and Vermont's Burlington airport are ahead of the curve when it comes to greening airports. The only airport aeroponic garden graces a food court at O'Hare in Chicago, while nature-loving travelers in Burlington can wander and get some fresh air amid its walking garden's alpine plants, benches and picnic tables.


Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Owners Who Neglect Pup Poop on Own Lawns May Be Fined by NY Town ]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:02:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/No-Poop-Dogs-Generic.jpg

One Long Island village is proposing fines for dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets – even on their own property – according to published reports.

Lawmakers in North Hills proposed the regulation, which would hit offenders with fines ranging from $50 to $200, after a homeowner complained that a neighbor wasn’t cleaning up dog droppings on their own lawn, Mayor Marvin Natiss told Newsday.

The unidentified homeowner was worried the droppings would spread into the homeowner's yard if it rained.

Many other areas on Long Island also levy fines against dog owners who don’t clean up after their pet, but North Hills’ would be the first town to specifically require people to pick up poop on their own property, Newsday reports.

Some other towns have sanitation codes that might fine homeowners in egregious cases, and Port Washington North sends out newsletters and posts signs encouraging residents to pick up.

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<![CDATA[Dozens of Giant African Snails Seized at LAX]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:36:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giant-african-snails-lax.jpg

Los Angeles International Airport customs inspectors intercepted a pair of baskets containing dozens of live giant African snails, described by federal officials as one of the largest and most destructive land snail species in the world.

The 67 snails were found packed in an air cargo shipment that had arrived from Nigeria and was bound for San Dimas, California, Homeland Security officials said in a news release Monday. The paperwork that came with the shipment claimed the 35 pounds of mollusks were meant "for human consumption."

The invasive snails, which are native to Africa, can grow up to 8 inches long, about 5 inches wide and can live for a decade, officials said.

"These pests are a very serious threat to our agriculture, natural ecosystem, public health and economy. They can consume more than 500 types of plants and, if vegetables or fruits are not available, will even eat the paint and stucco off of houses," officials said. "They can be carriers of several parasites which are harmful to humans, one of which can lead to meningitis."

Officials said the mollusks were taken to the USDA's local inspection station.

"This significant interception of giant African snails is the first time this pest has been encountered in such large quantity and as a consumption entry by CBP in Los Angeles," officials said.



Photo Credit: USDA APHIS PPQ Los Angeles ]]>
<![CDATA[Couple Caught Having Sex on Chipotle Roof: Police]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:32:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/184*120/Suh+Germack.JPG

A romantic night turned hot and spicy when a couple was caught allegedly having sex on a Chipotle roof in Delaware Saturday.

Michael Suh, 38, and Nicole Germack, 27, were arrested after an officer observed them engaging in sexual intercourse on the front of the roof of the Chipotle restaurant on the 100 block of East Main Street, Newark Police said in a press release.

The officer advised the couple to stop having sex, but they continued for almost 20 seconds, according to authorities.

When they finally stopped, they fled from the roof and into Suh's apartment a few feet away, said police.

The couple was placed under arrest inside the home. Both were released after paying $1,800.

Suh and Germack are facing multiple charges including lewdness and resisting arrest. It was not immediately clear if either had obtained an attorney.



Photo Credit: Newark Police]]>
<![CDATA[Florida Woman Strips, Does Yoga in Street: Cops]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 09:53:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/071114+michele+rene+cernak.jpg

A woman who was stripping and doing yoga in the middle of a Florida street was arrested Wednesday, police said.

Michele Rene Cernak, 51, was taken into custody after officers found her with her jeans down to her ankles and exposing her underwear on Sanchez Avenue in Ocala, WESH reported.


Cernak was booked into jail on five drug possession charges and was being held on $5,000 bond Friday. It's unknown whether she has an attorney.

Police had received two calls about Cernak, who onlookers said seemed to be under the influence. Officers later found heroin, a syringe and a crack pipe in her car, along with three different types of prescription pills, police said.



Photo Credit: Marion County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Drought Means More Business for Grass-Painting Company]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 04:14:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-09-2014-grass-painting.jpg

Business is booming for a South Bay company thanks to California's severe drought.

Los Gatos-based Green Canary has been painting lawns that have turned brown due to a lack of water. The company uses green, water-based paint to transform grass that has turned drought dull.

"This is environmentally sound," said Shawn Sahbari, Green Canary's president. "We engineered it so that the green paint is kid-friendly and pet-friendly."

Green Canary has also helped golf courses, soccer fields and cemeteries impacted by the drought.

San Jose's Almaden Valley Athletic Club plans to use the service to keep the front lawn green while using 90 percent less water.

"One of the main reasons was the concern of members who wondered what are we doing as far as conservation," said Jeff Griffith, the club's general manager.

Sahbari said the paint will not kill grass and lasts at least three months.



Photo Credit: Marianne Favro]]>
<![CDATA[Man Fired Over Legal Pot Purchase Gets Job Back]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 08:23:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-10-2014-mike-boyer.jpg

The man first in line to buy recreational pot in Washington state lost his job over his purchase and then got it back after what his company calls a misunderstanding.

Mike Boyer, 30, took off work for the occasion and was the first person to legally buy marijuana Tuesday afternoon at the Spokane Green Leaf store in Spokane, Washington. After being spotted on the news by his boss, he was immediately ordered to take a drug test.

The company in question didn't know he took the day off and was under the impression that he showed up to work as a security guard under the influence of marijuana.

"We were not aware that he had taken the day off. He was scheduled to work, we saw him on TV that he was under the influence, and that caused us to start a process of screening," Vice President of Communications Stacey Burke told NBC News. "When we realized that he was not on assignment, we reinstated him. ... Pot is legal, and we know that."

Boyer had waited in line overnight and was the first into the store, ahead of more than 70 others who were also lined up.

“I wanted the title of being the first guy to buy legal marijuana in Spokane,'' Boyer told The Associated Press. “It only comes once in a lifetime.''

Boyer said he doesn't hold any ill will towards the company nor does he have any regrets.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SF Wants to Legalize Pinball, Arcade Games]]> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 15:29:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/188*120/pinball-shutterstock_1096500.jpg

You can't have it near schools and you can't have it near playgrounds.

What is this menace? Why, it's pinball and other arcade games.

The days when "Frogger" was seen as corrupting the youth are long gone, so city leaders in San Francisco want to change the way pinball and free-standing video game machines are regulated, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Legislation passed in the 1980s may be overturned to ease restrictions on "mechanical amusement devices," the newspaper reported.

For instance, if Supervisor London Breed has her way, a ban on arcades -- a limit on games of no more than 10 in a given business -- and a forbidden zone of within 300 feet of a school or playground could be lifted.

In the future, bars could have one game with no permit and could more easily apply for permits for more, the newspaper reported.

In other words, it sounds like game on.

 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Liquor Store Customers Dodge Deer]]> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 08:42:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/deer+liquor+store.jpg

Employees and customers at Quick 6 Liquors in Weymouth, Massachusetts were in for a surprise Tuesday when an unexpected guest came barging in.

Surveillance footage shows a deer leaping through the store's front window, then racing through the aisles as the disoriented animal tries to find a way back out.

Customers can be seen dodging the deer, which, according to NBC affiliate WHDH, knocked over a few high-end liquor bottles in its attempt to flee.

The store owner told WHDH no one was injured but the deer had a few cuts when all was said and done.



Photo Credit: Quick 6 Liquors]]>
<![CDATA["Proud Whopper" Wrapper on eBay -- For Over $1,000]]> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 07:31:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-09-2014-proud-whopper.jpg

What's the old saying? "Pain is temporary, but a Pride Whopper wrapper is $1,000-plus?"

Something like that, at least when a limited-edition fast-food wrapper is for sale on eBay.

Over Pride weekend, a San Francisco Burger King location sold "Proud Whoppers," the burger joint's signature sandwich wrapped in a rainbow-colored paper wrapper.

Not every burger had the multicolored wrapper. The idea was to drive home the point that despite a different outward appearance, "We are all the same inside," as the wrapper itself proclaimed.

That may be true, but we're not all the same on eBay. An enterprising sandwich-eater has listed his or her Proud Whopper wrapper for $1,000.

And as of Wednesday afternoon, there were two bids, meaning the cost of pride -- or a Proud Whopper wrapper -- is at least $1,025.



Photo Credit: bigrockandrollstar via eBay]]>
<![CDATA[Caught on Camera: Bear Finds Food at Family Home]]> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:36:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/bear+in+devore+2.PNG

A hungry bear wandered into the backyard of a San Bernardino County home and was caught on camera removing the lid to a trash can to get access to the contents inside

The large black bear, nicknamed Hobo by local residents, wandered into the backyard of a home on the 17000 block of Rancho Avenue in Devore around 11 p.m. Tuesday night.

The bear roamed around the backyard in a "calm manner" and later knocked down a trash can filled with cat food inside. The bear then began eating the cat food.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department responded to the home, but because the bear was not posing a threat, they told the family to just stay inside the home.

No injuries were reported.

This isn't the first time Hobo the bear has been seen in the neighborhood. Residents said the bear has been paying visits every few days since mid-June.

On Friday, the bear was caught on video climbing a 6-foot fence and walking up to someone's living room window.  

The Larson family, whose backyard the bear visited Tuesday night, and other neighbors said though Hobo's visits are frequent, this is the first bear they have seen in the area.

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.

Jacob Rascon contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: LLN]]>
<![CDATA[Potato Salad Kickstarter Nets $50K]]> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 08:00:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/493921249.jpg

The world's most expensive potato salad is taking over Kickstarter, but some of the people paying for it won't even get a taste.

A Columbus, Ohio, man has raised nearly $60,000 on the popular fund-raising site to make his first potato salad. Donations are still pouring in.

The man, who goes by Zack "Danger" Brown, was originally asking for just $10.

His campaign started out as a spoof of the fund-raising site, which is otherwise full of earnest attempts to raise money for good causes and business start-ups. Brown's silly idea quickly went viral and amused people enough to get them to part with their money.

Slate reported that Brown has not said what he will do with the excess funds, and they suggested a local food bank. However Gawker pointed out that donating the money to a charity would violate Kickstarter's terms, so for now it's just a lot of potato salad.

Brown started with just one statement to capture the imagination.

"Basically I'm just making potato salad. I haven't decided what kind yet," he said on the campaign page.

The reason that people have been so excited to help Brown remain unclear, but at least some of them will get something in return. Kickstarter allows campaigns to offer supporters a reward for their donations, depending on the amount they pledge.

If backers want to taste the salad they will have to fork over at least $3 for a bite. Brown is going to have to do more than double the recipe though, as more than 4,000 people have chipped in so far.

Pledging a little more, $5, will earn users the chance to add an ingredient. For $10, donors can receive a potato-themed haiku. For $50, donors can receive a book of "potato salads of the world."

As of Wednesday morning, 85 people had pledged the latter, and they'll reportedly also receive a bite of the salad.

Similar campaigns have already popped up, including one for fudge, one for coleslaw and one for a cup of tea. None of these campaigns are experiencing the runaway success that Brown has.

The Washington Post reported that by Monday Brown had raised $40,000, which was then lowered to $15,000. Kickstarter explained that this was due to "ghost pledges," or people accidentally adding digits to their pledge and spending more than they intended. Administrators lowered the total to reflect only intended pledges, so it is possible Brown's current bounty could again be adjusted.

Brown is posting regular updates to his campaign as the improbable total soars. He currently says that he will rent a party hall for a pizza party (without potato salad) and invite any benefactors who pledged more than $10. That was for the lofty goal of $3,000, which he has more than surpassed.

Brown also claims that he will film himself making the salad and that all backers will be thanked online and in the video. Thanks to donations from around the globe, Brown promises he is "working with people right now to assess the feasibility of sending potato salad around the world."

But buyer beware: Brown's campaign comes with a warning.

"It might not be that good," he said. "It's my first potato salad."



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Ohio Man Raises $40,000 (and Counting) in Viral Kickstarter Campaign]]> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 11:33:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/220*120/potatosalad3.JPG

It’s turning into one very expensive potato salad.

When Zack Danger Brown set out to crowdfund his potato salad, the goal was to raise $10.

After all, it really shouldn’t take more than that to make potato salad, right? More than 3,000 backers later, Brown’s campaign has raised $40,000 (and counting).

That’s right, Brown's effort is raising dollars by the second. In fact you can watch the numbers climbing before your eyes in one of the most viral crowdfunding projects of our time.

“Basically I'm just making potato salad. I haven't decided what kind yet,” Brown, who’s from Columbus, Ohio, says on his Kickstarter page.

His initial stretch goals were pretty simple:

$35 - I will make 4x as much Potato Salad. I know $40 isn't 4x $10, but you guys have earned it.

$75 - Pizza Party!

$100 - I will try two different Potato Salad recipes.

Now with all the publicity and more money, Brown’s goals are growing.

Donors can now get “I (Heart) Potato Salad” mesh hats, and he’s even going to call a chef to get a better recipe. Also: “better mayonnaise (from the natural foods section)."

If you are wondering whether Brown will be using really fancy potatoes, he clarifies in his FAQ that they’ll probably come from the Kroger near his house.

In his latest update, Brown says that the whole Internet is invited to his potato salad party (but only $10 and above will be allowed in the kitchen).

And, in case you are wondering, there will be a vegan option.



Photo Credit: www.kickstarter.com]]>
<![CDATA[Potato Salad Kickstarter Raises Over $32,000]]> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 11:14:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/220*120/potatosalad3.JPG Would you fork over a few bucks to a stranger half way across the country to make potato salad? Thousands of people are doing just that. NBC Bay Area’s Nannette Miranda reports with more on this internet sensation.

Photo Credit: www.kickstarter.com]]>
<![CDATA[Python Trapped in Barbecue Grill]]> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 10:34:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/pythonbbqgrill.jpg

Residents in Florida City trapped a Burmese python in a barbecue grill on Thursday.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's venom unit responded to the call for help from residents, who trapped the 12-foot-long snake in a grill before contacting authorities.

Fire Rescue spokesman Arnold Piedrahita Jr. said the snake will be turned over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.



Photo Credit: Arnold Piedrahita Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Drought in North Texas Spawns Grasshopper Invasion]]> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 23:30:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/GKS_cAfLUudmmbjkZtcN-2.jpg

For yet another year, the dry spring and ongoing drought left North Texans with a loud, destructive summer annoyance: a lot of grasshoppers.

Texas A&M Agrilife experts said the combination of a warm, dry fall and a dry spring give grasshoppers ideal conditions to lay their eggs in and let them mature.

"If we were to see those rains earlier in the year we probably wouldn't have this high of grasshopper pressure that we're seeing now," said Denton County Extension Agent Brandon Boughen.

Instead, this year’s crop of eggs hasn’t gotten washed away and will slowly hatch throughout the summer; with many already fully grown now and looking for food.

"They're just hungry devourers, they're just a plague,” said Boughen. “So, they're just looking for food and unfortunately that food is our lawns, our shrubs, our flowers."

Many farm-to-market roads in north Denton County have been littered with grasshoppers, and grasshopper remains on dry days.

However, the grasshoppers aren’t staying rural. Neighbors report them becoming a common sight, in large numbers, at apartment complexes, in gardens and in yards throughout the DFW area.

"We've seen a lot of grasshoppers; they're eating my plants and driving me crazy,” said Coni Vasbinder from Crowley.

Agrilife recommends people keep their lawns cut short and eliminate weeds to force the grasshoppers to search elsewhere for food.

They said insecticides can also be effective, but tend to only last a few days before the grasshoppers return.

Boughen said they also prove much more effective on small, younger grasshoppers; unlike many of the large ones folks are reporting now.
 



Photo Credit: Hannah Khalaf]]>
<![CDATA["Hot Felon" Lands Hollywood Agent; May Model]]> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 10:33:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/1badbace8daf48bb9813284890577533.png.jpg

The hot felon may soon get even hotter.

Jeremy Meeks, the Stockton man whose mug shot blew up the Internet after police posted it to Facebook, now has a Hollywood talent agent who is trying to sign him to a modeling contract, according to reports.

Fox News reported that the 30-year old has been signed by Gina Rodriguez, the agent who worked with the stars of "Teen Mom" as well as Nadya "Octomom" Suleman.

Rodriguez, a former porn actress, says that Meeks hasn't "got a fair break" and wants to help him "turn his life around."

Offers are already rolling in, she said.

For now, Meeks is only modeling orange jumpsuits: he's in San Joaquin County Jail on $1.1 million bail for 11 felony counts.

Meeks's family is also trying to raise money from his many admirers for a legal defense fund, which has thus far only mustered $4,850 in contributions, Fox reported.

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<![CDATA[Cat Cafe Set to Open in Oakland]]> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 07:38:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/210*120/f9899d04b8734e198e4d847da2e10c18.jpg

Cat Town fever -- coming in September.

Oakland's first cat cafe, a place to pet the beloved furry felines to one's heart's content, is scheduled to open this fall following the securing of a lease, according to reports.

Cat Town Cafe, which will provide cats to pet as well as coffee to drink, found a 2,200-square foot space on Broadway in Uptown Oakland, according to Eater SF.

Adam Myatt, who goes by the moniker "Cat Man of West Oakland" (we don't want to know) is the co-owner of the concept with Ann Dunn, who founded a local cat rescue organization.

The former dance studio and office supply store will become a cat cafe thanks in part to $40,000 in donations collected via Indiegogo, the East Bay Express reported.

Cat Town Cafe will also "facilitate adoptions," the newspaper reported, a key mission in a town where local animal rescue officers are underfunded.

And how does that make us feel? 

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<![CDATA[Highway Mom: "There Was No Stopping This One"]]> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 06:06:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Baby-Delivered-Highway-0703.jpg

As a mother of three boys, it's probably difficult to surprise Katie Ashcraft .

Tell that to her fourth son who arrived earlier than anticipated and surprised his parents alongside a San Diego highway Thursday.

Ashcraft and her husband were on their way to UCSD Medical, driving on Interstate 15 near State Route 56 when they realized the baby not due for another 10 days just wasn't going to wait a minute longer.

"Something was different," she explains. "It was really intense."

"There was no stopping this one."

After Ashcraft's water broke, it was a matter of minutes before the baby was crowning and her husband was worried.

"It was complete chaos for about 20 minutes," she said.

The couple pulled over and called 911. Within minutes the California Highway Patrol and San Diego Fire Rescue crews arrived and helped her deliver the baby.

NBC 7 captured the new mom as she was transported to Sharp Mary Birch Hospital after the 2 a.m. delivery in the back of the couple's pickup truck.

Baby boy Ashcraft weighed in at a healthy 10 pounds, 14 ounces.

His mother described this delivery as night and day when compared to her previous deliveries. With each of her three older sons, she had the time to receive an epidural.

“It was a lot of screaming,” she said. “I’ve never felt pain like that before.”

"I don't know how I survived," she said.

She appeared calm when she invited NBC 7 to speak with her in her hospital room despite the chaos of the morning.

Able to laugh about it later, she said the only good thing about the birth was that it was fast.

She was also grateful everything worked out well since she lives with Type I Diabetes and is usually monitored closely when pregnant.

"This was a complete 360. I never would have imagined," she said.

The baby was a little bruised up because he was delivered so quickly, his mother said, but he's healthy and doing well in the care of the doctors at the hospital.

Ashcraft said she hopes to do something to thank the emergency personnel who helped her safely deliver. The people she called her heroes.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>