<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Weird News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/weird http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usWed, 25 May 2016 22:07:20 -0700Wed, 25 May 2016 22:07:20 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Ospreys Drop Fish, Kitten From Nest]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 06:52:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/osprey+nest+stratford.jpg

The Stratford Fire Department is plagued with an unusual problem: Two ospreys that built a nest above the station are dropping sticks, fish and even a kitten in the path of unsuspecting firefighters below.

The ospreys, which can grow up to 2 feet long with wingspans over 5 feet, have nested on a communication antenna at the fire station along the Connecticut shoreline.

They often drop large sticks, and in some cases entire fish — their main source of food — in front of the main entrance below.

"We have ospreys that have built a nest up there and basically it's causing a little bit of problems with dropping stuff down on the main entrance of the fire station," said Stratford Fire Chief Robert McGrath.

An air conditioning unit was damaged last week after a dropped bass landed inside. Firefighters said the birds dropped a kitten on Sunday.

The other concern is that the nest could prevent the communication antenna from operating properly, according to the chief.

"It could compromise the signal going back and forth from the two towers," said McGrath.

According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, osprey are no longer endangered. The nest can be moved if there are no eggs inside, which firefighters say is the case with this one.

DEEP officials said April and May are egg-laying months for the birds, so firefighters are working on a plan to get the feathered visitors to leave.

"It's entertaining, I can tell you that, at best. But really, it's a nuisance," McGrath said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Venus: San Francisco's Tallest Sculpture]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 11:57:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TRINITY+HEAD+STATUE.jpg

A statue of Venus was finally hoisted atop the Trinity Apartments in San Francisco Monday morning, making the 92-foot sculpture the tallest in the city.

The statue is the centerpiece of a public art-filled piazza in the heart of the apartment complex at Eighth Street between Market and Mission streets.

The massive, stainless-steel sculpture, which is slightly shorter than the Statue of Liberty, is part of a collection designed by renowned artist Lawrence Argent.

The statue means a lot to Yvonne Sangiacomo, whose late husband, Angelo, was the developer of the apartment complex that commissioned the Venus statue. Sangiacomo arrived in a construction hat and wheelchair to witness the feat. She wiped a tear as crews hoisted the stainless steel face on top of the roof.

"He used to always say it would be beyond his imagination how beautiful it was," said Mia Sangiacomo, co-owner of the Trinity Place.  "He'd be surprised that a little Italian guy who flunked kindergarten and lived in his living room until he  was 34 could create so much.  He was a very humble man.  And I think he would've surprised himself how much he did."

Her husband asked a Denver artist to work with a company in China to put the stainless steel statue together; it arrived in San Francisco in 70 pieces. Then it was welded and bolted into 11 stacks, placed on top of each other. Venus is now the centerpiece of what builders are calling 'Piazza Angelo' at the apartments, a plaza that is quite popular in Italy.

"Call it spiritual, call it whatever," co-owner Jim Sangiacomo said. "He trusted the artist to do something really outstanding."

Trinity Place consists of four residential high-rises with a combined 1,900 units. The current Phase 3 under construction is scheduled to be finished by March 2017. Phases 1 and 2 were completed in 2010 and 2013, respectively.

"I'm very proud of my dad," Mia Sangiacomo said. "Very proud.  I miss him.  He did a great job.  Great job dad."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA['School' Misspelled on Diploma ]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 14:24:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/Diploma+Cover+5.20.16.jpg

Graduates at a Southern California high school are getting one last laugh before saying goodbye after the school distributed diploma covers with a typo.

A graduating senior at Ontario High School posted a photo to Twitter that shows a diploma cover handed out Thursday with the letters "h" and "c" transposed in the word "school."

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School officials said the misspelling was a printing error made by the graduation products company.

"The principal has informed all Ontario graduates that the company has been contacted and will mail a corrected diploma cover to each graduate along with an apology letter," Chaffey Joint Union High School District Superintendent Mathew Holton said in a statement.

The diploma covers were distributed to about 550 seniors at a Thursday evening commencement ceremony, school officials said.

Holton added that the Ontario Class of 2016 was the first to graduate in a new stadium on campus with over 5,000 family members and friends in attendance.

Photo Credit: @jacedoooo_ via Twitter
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<![CDATA[Surf and Turf Arrest]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 17:00:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-482996433+%281%29.jpg

A Vermont man accused of stealing beer, lobster and Angus steak from a supermarket faces retail theft charges, authorities say.

State police said they were notified of a retail theft/trespassing incident at Hannaford Supermarket in Rutland on Wednesday.

An investigation found that Anthony Sargent, 53, of Rutland City, had gone into the store in violation of a notice against trespass and stole $105.63 worth of items, police said.

Police say Sargent concealed the products under his shirt.

The beer, lobster and steak were recovered by the store when Sargent was stopped in the parking lot. He fled the scene before authorities arrived, but was later located by probation and parole officers, officials said.

Sargent has a court date set for June 13. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Principal Loses Bet with Students, Kisses Pig]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 16:02:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KissthePig1.jpg

An elementary school principal in Pittsburg puckered up and kissed a pig Tuesday after losing a bet with her students. 

Foothill Elementary students outpaced their fundraising goal and collected $3,000 for "Pennies for Patients," a program that benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. So Principal Nina Crossland kept her promise and started looking for a pig.

Crossland also recruited Vice Principal Yvonne Nelson and lunch monitor and parent group President Inise Evans, who was on vacation when the students gathered in the cafeteria to nominate her.

Crossland asked around and found a friend who has a friendly 4-year-old Vietnamese pot-bellied pig as a pet. Nelson began to plan − would a quick peck on the pig forehead fulfill her committment, yet still meet the children's expectations? 

The children − about 600 of them − were excited but restrained as they watched the stunt from under a shade structure behind the school. Since Lilly doesn't like loud noises, the teachers taught them to wave their hands instead of clapping. A buzz of appreciation, but no squeals, except from the pig.

Lilly cooperated at first, but then the hot blacktop started to hurt her hooves and she oinked in protest. Crossland and Nelson managed to plant quick pecks on her, but the pig avoided Evans' lips. 

So everyone moved quickly to the grass, where Lilly seemed more relaxed. Evans finally laid a big one on the pig, feeling the full pressure of the crowd. She knew she couldn't disappoint.

Photo Credit: Raquel Maria Dillon]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Opossum Found in Toilet]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 11:05:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/opossum+in+toilet.jpg

A woman made a startling discovery earlier this month when she found a baby opossum in her toilet in San Diego.

The Pacific Beach resident had no idea how the little critter got there but alerted San Diego County Animal Services, and an animal control officer responded to “rescue” the animal, authorities said.

Animal control officers said in a Facebook post that they don’t believe the opossum came into the toilet through the plumbing before being found May 1.

After the homeowner found a second opossum in her home, she discovered a broken window, which is likely how the furry creature got inside.

The opossum is doing well after his toilet swim and recovering at Project Wildlife, officers said. The baby opossum will be released back into the wild once he’s old enough to survive on his own.

Finding rodents in the toilet isn't quite as rare in Southern California as you might think — a boa constrictor was found slithering in a toilet last year at a downtown San Diego PR firm.

And just last week, a python was found in a shower in South Park.

Photo Credit: San Diego County Animal Services
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<![CDATA[Turtle OK After Windshield Crash]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 15:15:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/051316+turtle+into+windshield+i-4.jpg

Turtle power!

Nicole Marie Bjanes was driving on I-4 in Deltona on Monday when a turtle came crashing through her windshield.

Florida Highway Patrol officials said another car hit the turtle while it was crossing the highway and propelled it into the air. Bjanes posted photos on Facebook showing her shattered windshield with the turtle upside-down on her dashboard.

"I really can't even believe it!!! Thanks for all your concern. I am a lucky girl," Bjanes wrote on her post. "All the people who stopped and the EMT and trooper were taking pics....unbelievable, and the guy at the hospital was laughing at how he should word the incident!!! Life is good and sometimes a little crazy....someone is keeping my on my toes and entertained."

Bjanes said she was shaken up but otherwise alright. The turtle was checked out and also found to be in good shape and returned to some nearby water.

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Photo Credit: Nicole Marie Bjanes
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<![CDATA[Robot Dino Roasted at Exhibit Fire]]> Fri, 13 May 2016 08:35:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CiSGLNbVEAA1zoH.jpg

A spark from a welding iron ignited a fire Thursday that caused the extinction of a 90-foot-long robotic dinosaur that was set to be part of an exhibit at a New Jersey theme park.

The animatronic Argentinosaurus was reduced to a charred skeleton at Overpeck County Park in Leonia, police said.

The exhibit, called "Field Station: Dinosaurs," is moving to the park this month after operating in Secaucus since 2012.

Exhibit creator Guy Gsell told The Record newspaper that a welder was putting finishing touches on the Argentinosaurus when a spark started the blaze.

The dinosaur was roasted to its skeleton. None of the exhibit's 33 other dinosaurs was damaged. Leonia police tweeted a picture of two of the surviving dinosaurs, saying "they refused to give a witness statement."

The exhibit is still on track to open Memorial Day weekend, Gsell told The Record, and he plans to rebuild the Argentinosaurus robot.

Argentinosaurus fossils were discovered in Argentina in the 1980s.

Photo Credit: Leonia Police Department
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<![CDATA[Officers Finds Gator Foot in Truck]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 01:25:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/050916+alligator+foot+dashboard+fwc.jpg

A Florida man was slapped with a citation after Florida Fish and Wildlife officers made an unusual find in his dashboard: an alligator foot.

FWC officers stopped the truck to check for a day-use pass in a wildlife management area near Lake Okeechobee when they found alligator parts scattered inside the cab, the agency wrote in a Facebook post Monday.

Among the parts was a gator foot hanging out of the truck's dashboard.

The driver claimed the parts were from an alligator he had hunted a few years ago, but the smell told officers otherwise, the FWC said.

The man then confessed to killing the gator a few days before without a permit and was cited for the violation, authorities said.

Photo Credit: FWC]]>
<![CDATA[Maine Bus Joyride]]> Mon, 09 May 2016 13:20:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bus34.jpg

Talk about a joyride - a 12-year-old boy stole a school bus and took it for a drive, according to police in Bangor, Maine.

John St. Germain was in the passenger seat when he and his friend, Amanda, saw a bus driving dangerously in front of them. In cell phone video, it can be seen swerving, hitting the sidewalk and signs.

"At first it was comical, because we both thought it was a new driver - like someone being taught how to drive a bus," said St. Germain.

And it was a new driver - a very young one.

"I kind of saw his body structure [when the bus turned] and I was like, 'Oh my gosh - I think that's a kid," said St. Germain. "That's when it got scary."

Police say the child got access to the keys of a bus at the Bangor Cyr bus lines terminal and took it for spin.

As his friend called police, St. Germain decided he had to intervene.

"I was like, 'Alright, I'm going to take over,'" he said.

St. Germain stopped recording the video, jumped out of his car, and run up to the bus. The doors were slightly ajar, so he managed to get inside the slowly-moving vehicle. Then, he came face-to-face with the child driver.

"He didn't realize I was there for about 10 seconds or so, and then he looked at me and said 'I know what I'm doing,'" said St. Germain.

And then the kid kept driving.

"Then I kind of took the wheel, and put my foot on the brake, and then stopped the bus," St. Germain said. "I looked at him and said 'Alright, you need to get in the back now.'"

But the boy hopped off the bus and walked away. Police eventually caught him and charged him with operating without a license and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Authorities called St. Germain to the police station.

"I thought 'I'm going to get in trouble for this. I'm going to go to jail or something, because I just high-jacked a bus,'" he said.

St. Germain was relieved, and honored, to learn the Bangor Police Department wanted to give him a challenge coin as an award.

"The term 'hero' is thrown around a lot, but this guy is a hero," said Bangor Police Sgt. Tim Cotton. "He stopped something from happening, he stopped injuries to the 12-year-old boy, he may have stopped other damage."

On the Bangor Police Department's Facebook page, Cotton writes that St. Germain very likely saved lives by taking action. The post has gone viral, and St. Germain isn't sure what to make of all the attention.

"I just did what anyone would have done," St. Germain said.

The boy was taken into custody.

Photo Credit: Bangor Police
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<![CDATA[Man Steals About 20 Stephen Curry Jerseys from Adidas ]]> Sat, 07 May 2016 13:04:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Steph+Curry+Suspect.jpg

An unknown suspect pinched about 20 Stephen Curry jerseys from an Adidas Outlet Store in Petaluma, and police are now asking the public for help identifying the alleged thief. 

Surveillance footage shows the suspect entering the Adidas store at about 8:30 p.m. on April 27. He then browsed a display rack piled with jerseys featuring the Warriors MVP, nabbed a large stack, and ran off, police said. 

Police believe he hopped in a dark colored Nissan Altima. It's unknown if he had a getaway driver. 

Police are asking anyone who recognizes the suspect to call Officer Hutchinson of the Petaluma police at (707) 781-1290. 

<![CDATA[Stray Cats Using Zoo Facilities as Litter Box]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 12:36:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stray-cats.jpg Stray cats are sneaking into the Miami Zoo at night and relieving themselves, using sand in exhibits as litter boxes. But their feces can contain a deadly parasite, which causes a disease called toxoplasmosis. It's blamed for the deaths of three squirrel monkeys and a red kangaroo at the zoo. The crafty cats are sneaking in from an adjacent park. Now the zoo is trapping them, putting the healthy ones up for adoption. That doesn't sit well with the people of Cat Network, who say the best solution is for the zoo to keep all other land species "out."]]> <![CDATA[Lost Alligator Tries to Ring Doorbell at SC Home]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 08:50:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Alligator-Doorbell.jpg A large alligator crawled to the front door of a home in South Carolina and appeared to ring the doorbell on May 2. "I was out walking the dog and we kind of went around the corner from my daughter's house [when we saw the alligator]," said Gary Rogers, who began to record video of the startling scene.

Photo Credit: WCBD]]>
<![CDATA[Black Cat Crosses Sharks' Rink, Brings Team Good Luck]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 09:02:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/IMG_9617.jpg

The San Jose Sharks got an unexpected visit Friday.

Before the NHL team beat the Nashville Predators 5-2 at the SAP Center, a black cat crept out of the player bench area and scurried onto the ice.

As the Sharks warmed up for the first game of their best-of-seven playoff series, fans watched the small feline making a beeline for an oversized, fiberglass shark head, only to escape under the seats at "the Shark Tank," as the arena is known.

The venue’s staff was able to safely rescue the cat and dubbed it Joe Paw-velski, after Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the team announced Sunday.

"The amount of interest generated by Joe's appearance and those wishing to adopt him has been overwhelming," said Sharks Chief Operating Officer John Tortora in a statement.

Joe has been taken to a local animal shelter to undergo a health examination, the team said. Staff will also investigate whether the cat has a microchip, in the hopes of reuniting it with its owner.

"If he is indeed a stray, our goal is to find the best home for him with the support of our local animal shelters," Tortora said. "If families are interested in adopting Joe but unsuccessful, we strongly encourage you to consider adopting another animal in need of a good home from one of our terrific local animal shelters."

Photo Credit: San Jose Sharks
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<![CDATA[Woman Lured by Singles Ad Dies After Weeks in Captivity]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:05:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/German_Ambulance-550668973.jpg

A 41-year-old woman who responded to a singles ad was held captive for several weeks by a man and his ex-wife — and later died at a hospital of injuries she suffered while in captivity, NBC News reported.

The woman, from Lower Saxony, Germany, contacted a man "who was looking for a steady partnership" and later moved in to her assailant's house.

Once there, she was physically abused by the man and his live-in ex-wife, authorities said. The suspects allegedly tried to take their "severely battered" victim back to her apartment, but when their car broke down, they called an ambulance. The woman died about two hours later of "blunt force trauma to the head," German officials said.

German paper Bild reported that the victim had been kept in a cellar and labeled the incident "The Horror House of Hoexter."

Photo Credit: ullstein bild via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Prickly Situation For Dogs Who Ran Into Porcupine in New Mexico]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 15:39:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6A+DOG+VERSUS+PORCUPINE+VO+-+000017091.jpg

A "prickly" situation turned into a lesson learned for two dogs in New Mexico.

Two dogs roaming the streets of Albuquerque learned the hard way: Don't mess with porcupines.

But we can tell you - no animals were permanently harmed in the making of this video.

All the quills were safely removed.

The dogs, one of which was nicknamed "Needles," now seem pretty happy. Workers at the Petroglyph Animal Hospital say their owners have yet to come forward.

Photo Credit: Petroglyph Animal Hospital
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<![CDATA[Oakland Firefighters Free Pigeon from BART Wires]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 16:44:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pigeon1.jpg

Firefighters are known for rescuing humans from burning buildings and cats from trees.

But this weekend, Oakland rescued a pigeon that was trapped in wires at the Fruitvale BART station.

The Oakland fire union tweeted and Facebooked the daring feat, showing video of a firefighter on engine 18 climbing up a ladder, untangling the bird from the wires, and saying “there you go buddy,” as the pigeon flew off into the sky.

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Photo Credit: Oakland Fire Live via Twitter
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<![CDATA[10 People in San Jose Owe the Library at Least $5,000]]> Sun, 24 Apr 2016 18:45:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/localmusicbooks.jpg

Ten people managed to rack up thousands of dollars of debt due to overdue San Jose Public Library books, while at least 130 people are eligible to face fines of at least $1,000, according to a report from the San Jose Mercury News. 

The newspapers investigation revealed that at least three people owe more than $10,000 for overdue or lost books, while seven face fines totaling more than $10,000. 

City Council member Pierluigi Oliverio, who acts as a liaison between the city and library, recommended amnesty programs that would forgive fines. The councilman also suggested to the newspaper that the problem was allowing residents to check out 100 items at a time, far more than other cities allow. 

San Jose Library Director Jill Bourne said the 100-item limit has been in place before she started working at the library, but conceded that she is willing to consider changes. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SF Zoo to Auction off Nearly 50 Paintings Created by Animals]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 10:38:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*128/art13.JPG

Animal lovers can now own works of art created by animals from the San Francisco Zoo, zoo officials said Friday.

Nearly 50 paintings by dozens of animals and insects, from cockroaches to chimpanzees, will be up for auction at the Zoo's upcoming fundraising event, ZooFest, which will take place April 30 at 6 p.m.

The project, titled Animal Artists in Residence, consists of paintings created with a brush or by having animals step or roll through water-based paint before transferring the paint onto a canvas, according to zoo officials.

A select number of paintings are already available for auction on eBay. Those paintings will be on the site through Friday, zoo officials said. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the zoo. For more information about the auction, visit the zoo's website.

Photo Credit: San Francisco Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Crime Organizations Targeting California's High-Valued Nuts]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 16:35:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/175*120/GettyImages-85739690.jpg

International crime rings targeting California's booming agriculture industry are increasingly stealing truckloads of high-value nuts, prompting authorities and the firms falling victim to ramp up efforts to break the spree costing millions.

The sophisticated organizations in many cases use high-tech tactics, hacking into trucking companies to steal their identities. Armed with false shipping papers, they pose as legitimate truckers, driving off with loads of nuts such as almonds, walnuts or pistachios valued at $150,000, and some worth $500,000 each.

Days later, when a shipment fails to arrive to its intended destination, the nuts may already be in another state or on a ship destined for Europe or Asia, where they fetch top dollar on the black market, authorities say.

Nut thefts hit an all-time high in California last year _ with losses totaling $4.6 million from 31 reported cases, more than the three previous years combined, according to CargoNet, an alliance of cargo shipping firms and law enforcement agencies aimed at preventing losses.

Losses for all four years combined reached nearly $7.6 million, the group said.

"It's made my life miserable,'' said Todd Crosswell, general manager of Caro Nut Co.

Caro was victimized six times last year for a total loss of $1.2 million. In each case, thieves stole cashews imported from Vietnam and Africa that were roasted, salted and packaged in Fresno.

"You get hit with that kind of loss -- it hurts,'' Crosswell said.

The value of nuts grown and processed in California, the nation's leading agricultural state, have soared in recent years as global demand for the health-food snack grows in places such as China and emerging economies.

California produces more almonds, walnuts and pistachios than any other state, with a combined value of $9.3 billion in 2014. Almonds alone were valued at $5.9 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The high value of nuts grabbed the attention of criminal organizations, who are exploiting weaknesses in the cargo shipping industry to reap big profits, said Dan Bryant, supervisory special agent for the violent and organized crimes programs of the FBI Sacramento office.

Bryant declined to identify any organizations under suspicion, citing an ongoing criminal investigation.

"It's not just some teenage kids ripping off nuts,'' he said. ``These are sophisticated people.''

Local authorities also are taking action. One state lawmaker has introduced a bill to fund a statewide taskforce targeting all types of cargo thefts. And law enforcement officials and nut processors met Thursday to share information to help prevent more nut thefts.

Alarmed by a spike in large-scale nut thefts, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux last year beefed up his agriculture crimes unit from two to six detectives.

In 2013, his office investigated a pistachio theft worth $189,000. No cases were reported the next year, but in 2015, six loads of almonds and pistachios were stolen at a combined loss of $1.6 million.

Investigators tracked at least one load to Los Angeles and made one arrest. Boudreaux declined to name the suspect due to the ongoing investigation.

"They do tend to have some overseas connections,'' said Scott Cornell, an investigator for Travelers Insurance and an expert on cargo thefts. ``Wherever they can sell it and move it, they're going to.''

Food and drinks are the most frequently stolen cargo items, Cornell said. Nuts are an easier target than other products, such as electronics, because there is no serial number and the evidence is gone once it is eaten, he said.

Crosswell, of Caro Nut Co., said he's put in place new safeguards with hopes he doesn't fall victim once more, taking photographs and fingerprints of the roughly 25 truck drivers each day who pull up to the shipping docks.

Despite these efforts, Crosswell said he fears the criminals will strike again.

"Whoever they are, they're watching,'' Crosswell said. ``They'll try it again. They'll figure out how to beat the system. We just have to stay one step ahead of them.''

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[PayPal in Hot Water for Hosting All-Male Gender Equality Panel ]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 17:49:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/paypal-logo.jpg

Paypal is catching flak following the announcement that it will host a discussion on gender equality in the workplace. The problem? An all-male panel is set to lead that discussion. 

The invite, which started circulating on social media Thursday, reads: "Please join us for a discussion with our senior male leaders...about how men and women can partner to achieve a better workplace." 

Many have questioned PayPal's suitability to host such a discussion in the first place, considering the company has an executive board composed of 15 men and only three women. 

Following the criticism, PayPal released a statement from its President of Unity saying that the invite was a missunderstanding, and that the panel is subtitled: "A Conversation with our Male Allies."

But the announcement only drew more ire.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images, file
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<![CDATA[Great Dane Gets Stuck in Tree]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 10:40:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DaneinTree.jpg Kora, a 120-pound Great Dane who was stuck 20 feet up a tree in Louisville, Nebraska, was rescued Saturday night by the local fire department.

Photo Credit: WOWT]]>
<![CDATA[Chimp Leads Police on Chase Through Japanese Town]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 09:58:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chimp-escaped-zoo.jpg

A chimpanzee fled from a zoo in northern Japan and tried desperately to avoid being captured by climbing an electric pole.

Not for long.

Chacha, the male chimp, was on the loose nearly two hours Thursday after disappearing from the Yagiyama Zoological Park in Sendai, the city that's hosting finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations in May.

TV footage showed Chacha perched atop the pole, agitated and screaming at zoo workers below. Even after being hit by a sedative arrow in the back, Chacha desperately tried to escape, dangling from a power line.

He finally gave up and fell head down into a blanket held by a dozen workers on the ground. It's not immediately clear if he survived.

Zoo officials are investigating how he escaped.


Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Unusual Collection of Disney Bronze Bars Found]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 10:16:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DISNEY+BRONZE1.jpg

Some Disney aficionado lost a hunk of bronze “character bars,” pristinely wrapped in plastic, and Fremont police detectives are hoping to find the rightful owner.

Police on Wednesday posted images of the Donald Duck, Elvis Presley and Lone Ranger palm-sized rectangular decorative souvenirs on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook hoping that whoever owns the collection will come to claim it.

Police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques said they were found during the course of a residential burglary, and that detectives believe there's a "strong likelihood" they were stolen. Bosques didn't want to say too much, but detectives found the bronze bars during a probation search in Hayward. A suspect was arrested on unrelated charges. She declined to say more.

As for how much the collection costs? Police aren't sure. On eBay, similar items sell for $20 to $50. But Bosques said the souvenirs are likely significant to the collector who is now without them. And she's hoping that owner will come forward to help police piece together the larger investigation.

Anyone who has information should call the investigations unit at 510-790-6900 or email lostandfound@fremont.gov.

Photo Credit: Fremont Police Department
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Burger Shop Break-In]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2016 15:48:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/five+guys+burglary+cooking+burglar.jpg

Police in Washington, D.C., are searching for a man seen in surveillance video who apparently grilled himself a hamburger as the restaurant was closed before allegedly swiping some water.

Police said the burglary happened between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. March 18 at the Five Guys Burgers and Fries location in Columbia Heights, in the 1400 block of Irving Street NW.

Investigators said the man followed a delivery man into the restaurant and waited until he left. The man then rummaged through the restaurant, cooked food and stole bottled water before leaving.

Surveillance video shows a man appearing to put food on a grill in the restaurant while talking on a cell phone.

Anyone who has information regarding this case is asked to call police at 202-727-9099. Additionally, information may be submitted by sending a text message to 50411.

Photo Credit: DC Metropolitan Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Thieves in Livermore Targeting Construction Trucks]]> Sat, 09 Apr 2016 20:10:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/nighttime+construction.jpg

Livermore police are warning people about a rash of recent robberies targeting construction and trade crews.

Since last fall, police said two dozen of these vehicles with visible lockboxes for were stolen. Many of those cars were white Ford vans or trucks.

“Too often, we have community members that (say) ‘I saw it, but I didn’t want to bother you…it made me suspicious but I thought you didn’t want to know.’ Said Lt. John Hurd of the Livermore Police Department. “We Want to know.”

Police say the cars are usually recovered, but the equipment or work tools often aren’t found. 

Authorities are asking the public to call the Livermore police if they see suspicious behavior in the area. 

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Cliff Proposal Lands Would-Be Groom in Jail for Drugs]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2016 16:40:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/222*120/04-08-2016-morro-rock-rescue-3.jpg

A man who captured national attention Friday with a seemingly romantic, but reckless, marriage proposal on a California rock was taken to jail on drug charges and told he would have to pay for his own rescue.

San Luis Obisbo Sheriff jail records show that 27-year-old Michael John Paul Banks of Fresno was booked on misdemeanor drug use and possession charges on Thursday, and released on $10,000 bond.

Banks had scaled the 600-foot Morro Rock in Central California's Morro Bay on Thursday morning to ask his girfriend to marry him via Facetime. While she reportedly said "yes," it's unclear if she knew at the time her paramour was allegedly on drugs.

During the proposal, Banks got stuck. And a California Highway Patrol helicopter was set to airlift him from the steep rock 90 feet above the ocean.

It is illegal to climb Morro Rock. Trying to reach Banks on Friday was not immediately successful.

The city of Morro Bay posted a video of some of the rescue and said the "gentleman will be billed for the chopper ride and other related costs."

Photo Credit: Morro Bay Fire Department
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<![CDATA[Coyote Lounges on San Francisco Lawn]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 11:41:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0407-2016-SFCoyote.jpg

San Francisco homeowners got a surprise Thursday morning when they woke up to find a coyote lounging on their front lawn, one of a string of such sightings in the city.

The coyote ran away as soon as animal control officers showed up in the Balboa Terrace neighborhood, the homeowners said. But it left behind a mess. Garbage cans were knocked over, and residents think the animal was looking for food.

On April 4, a coyote was spotted on a San Francisco elementary playground. And in March, San Francisco residents held a meeting to complain about overly agressive coyotes.

Photo Credit: Anonymous]]>
<![CDATA[A's Fly Back From Seattle Aboard Giants-Branded Plane]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2016 12:10:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfgiantmain.jpg

After completing the sweep of the Mariners, the A's headed to the airport to return to Oakland.

At 5:30pm on Sunday, A's outfielder Josh Reddick tweeted out a photo of the team's plane.

On the side of the aircraft, underneath the cockpit, is a message that reads: "We are SF We are Giant."

The "SF" is the San Francisco Giants logo.

The A's are 4-3 on the young season, while the Giants are 5-2.

Photo Credit: Josh Reddick via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[No One Claimed Wayward Bay Bridge Chihuahua]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 11:40:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ponch.jpg

No one has claimed a wayward Chihuahua who earned himself the hashtag, #BayBridgeDog when he ran loose on the bridge Sunday morning.

"Ponch" — nicknamed for Erik Estrada's character in the 1970s TV hit "CHiPs" — will be heading to foster care before Animal Care and Control San Francisco finds him a permanent family, the agency said Thursday on Facebook.

The agency posted a picture of the pooch with a training supervisor, adding that he still needs some "serious quiet time."

The pint-size dog raced across the westbound side of the Bay Bridge Sunday morning, where a motorcycle officer took video of the unusual scene, according to CHP Officer Vu Williams.

Two officers were finally able to corral him and scoop him up.

NBC Bay Area's Rhea Mahbubani and John Zuchelli contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Animal Carea and Control San Francisco
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<![CDATA[Cops Stop San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee]]> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 12:58:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ed-lee-sfpd-force.jpg

San Francisco police were surprised Tuesday night when they stopped a vehicle with an unlikely person in the passenger seat: Mayor Ed Lee.

The mayor and the driver of the unmarked vehicle - police Lt. Luke Martin - were slowly patrolling neighborhoods to get a firsthand glimpse of the rising property crime that has been alarming city residents, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"I think I was driving maybe a little suspiciously, so the officers keyed into the way I was driving and decided to investigate further. What their investigation turned up was Mayor Ed Lee," Martin told the Chronicle.

Lee and Martin were immediately sent on their way.

The stop occurred near the intersection of Mission Street and the Embarcadero.


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Museum Accuses Marin County Man of Stealing Meteorite]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 08:41:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/METEORITEcrop.jpg

A gold-flecked meteorite that has traveled from the asteroid belt near Mars to the mountains of Fukang, China, and finally Marin County, California, is at the center of a vicious ownership battle being waged in federal court.

The 227-pound iron "pallasite" meteorite is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old. First discovered in Fukang, China about 15 years ago, it could be worth as much as $1 million, according to Stephen Settgast, an asteroid collecter who claims he's the rightful owner.

He sued a museum in Maine and a New York meteorite expert in February alleging breach of contract over the sale of the meteorite. But they have now filed a counterclaim, alleging that Settgast, who is staying in Marin County, is behind a "blatant theft of a unique and precious meteorite."

The countersuit alleges Settgast sold the meteorite for $425,000, then engaged in an "outrageous act of seller’s remorse" by stealing back the space rock for himself.

"This isn't a typical theft," said Wayne Minckley, undersheriff in Miami County, Kansas, in a Skype interview with NBC Bay Area.

A sheriff is involved in the out-of-this-world case because authorities aren’t yet ready to decide who stole the meteorite until the suit is settled.

"It’s a complicated case in the mere fact that the individual who sold it to the folks in Maine is our suspect in the theft," Minckley said.

Settgast would not speak on the record. But his attorney, Curt Edmonson of the Oregon firm, Slinde Nelson Stanford, said this is a simple business dispute gone awry.

"Civil suits don’t use terms like ‘steal.' That’s a criminal term," he said. "We didn’t go over the top in our complaint, but they certainly went over the top in their counterclaims."

But Settgast's story is full of holes, according to the founders of the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum — Lawrence Stifler and Mary McFadden of Brookline, Massachusetts — and meteorite expert Darryl Pitt, of New York. All three filed the counterclaim on March 29.

In the suit, Jeff Valle, the trio's Los Angeles attorney, laid out his clients’ argument like this: Noted for his ability to spot beauty and value in meteorites, Pitt suggested to the museum founders that they buy the meteorite in question. Stifler and McFadden agreed to pay Settgast $425,000 to feature the "Fukang meteorite" in their museum, which is not yet open.

In August 2014, Pitt brokered the deal with Settgast. The final of three payments was made in February 2015, the counterclaim contends. According to his website biography, Pitt is the purveyor of the "world's foremost collection of aesthetic iron meteorites," which he describes as "extraterrestrial objects d'art."

Valle and Pitt have declined to be interviewed.

After the money was paid, Pitt and the museum founders waited for the meteorite to be cleaned up and prepared by Kansas duo Keith and Dana Jenkerson, of KD Meteorites. The couple's website twinkles with brightly lit stars and boasts they've been "chasing meteorites since 1990s."

The Jenkersons took almost two years to stabilize, restore and prepare the "Fukang meteorite," the countersuit alleges, and on Jan. 10, Keith Jenkerson told Pitt this was "one of the most awesome meteorites to ever be displayed." He guessed the spiffed-up space rock to now be worth $1 million. But Pitt and the museum founders said this higher price is wildly inflated, the counterclaim states.

Less than two weeks later, the meteorite was reported stolen.

Pitt and the museum founders allege that Settgast, whose lawyer described him as a "world-renowned" fossil hunter who also has a ranch in Montana, went into the Jenkersons' lab on Jan. 23 and stole back the meteorite. Settgast's attorneys claim a condition of the sale was that the meteorite couldn't be shown in a public museum, a point the museum founders' say is simply not true, the counterclaim contends.

How Settgast would have gotten the meteorite out of the lab, at the Jenkersons' home in Osawatomie, Kansas, without detection, and then to Marin County, where Settgast has been living with a relative, has not been clearly explained.

Minckley, from the sheriff’s office, reiterated that it’s his understanding Settgast stole the meteorite from the lab. He said there was no surveillance video to document what might have happened. His office, however, is reserving a final determination on whether a crime was committed, and by whom, until a federal judge makes a ruling on who really owns the meteorite.

As for why the sheriff’s department is letting the civil case play out first, Edmonson said: "That tells you a little bit about how they feel about the criminal action. If they don’t feel there is enough evidence for the claim of theft, then it’s not there."

A hearing is set for June to be heard by Oakland-based U.S District Court Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong.

Photo Credit: Maine Mineral and Gem Museum
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<![CDATA[Firefighters Rescue Cat With Thermal Imaging Camera]]> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 07:38:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/184*120/CATRESCUE1.jpg

Firefighters rescue cat. Not news.

Firefighters rescues cat with thermal technology. Different story.

That’s the angle that grabbed headlines Tuesday for Alameda County firefighters in San Leandro who used a thermal imaging camera to locate a trapped cat inside of a wall before strategically cutting around the heat reading and freeing the kitten. The cat was in the attic before it fell, wedging itself between wall studs.

Down on their hands and knees, three firefighters helped pull the small feline from the wall and then wrapped it in a white blanket.

The firefighters decided to document their high-tech rescue on Instagram.

Photo Credit: Alameda County Fire Department/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[SF Nightclub Theft Caught on Video]]> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 14:51:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/nightclub.JPG

Owners of a popular San Francisco nightclub are seeking the public's help to identify two men who stole $500 and a bottle of alcohol on April 4 and were caught on surveillance camera.

Monarch co-owner Micah Byrnes has posted the footage to his YouTube and Facebook accounts in hopes that the thieves will be identified and located. (Warning: His commentary on the video contains profane language.)

A GoFundMe campaign has been established to try to compensate the club's bartender, whose wallet containing her tips for the week was brazenly stolen from the back room.

Photo Credit: Micah Byrnes via Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Alligator Tries to Get in Fla. Home]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 07:54:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/040516+plant+city+gator.jpg

An alligator was removed from a mobile home community in Central Florida Tuesday after it approached a resident's front door.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the gator was 9 feet 5 inches long. Authorities said the animal "was attempting to gain entry into a residential mobile home."

Officials said a licensed trapper and HCSO deputy were able to capture and remove the gator before it could harm anyone.

Plant City is about 30 miles east of Tampa.


Photo Credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Super-Sized, Illuminated Bunnies to Grace San Francisco Civic Center Plaza]]> Tue, 05 Apr 2016 19:22:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/intrude-by-amanda-parer_25429655743_inflatable.jpg

Five giant nylon bunny rabbits will grace the lawn of San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza this month as part of a traveling art installation.

A ceremony Tuesday morning kicked off the show, which runs through April 25. Reactions from passersby included comments such as, "I think it's totally crazy," and "You can't miss it, that's for sure."

Australian artist Amanda Parer, who created the 23-foot-tall glowing bunnies, calls her work "Intrude" and says on her website her art is about "changing usual places." In Parer's native Australia, rabbits have caused a great imbalance in the country's delicate ecosystem since the animals were introduced in 1788.

The exhibit has been traveling around the country since the end of February and has already been on display in 19 locations, including Washington, D.C. The bunnies will also head to New York, Houston, Los Angeles and Denver.

San Francisco Arts Commission spokeswoman Kate Patterson said the art will be taking over public space in the plaza so all can see the illuminated animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The artwork loan and installation cost $84,000, Patterson said. The city paid $54,000 trhough the Arts Commission, $25,000 came through the Public Art Trust, a voluntary donation from private development," and $4,5000 came from private donations.

Patterson said the project was initiated by Mayor Ed Lee, who sought public art that was "family friendly" and would appeal to a broad audience.

Arts Commission Project Manager Jill Manton researched artists for months and was tipped off to the project by a colleague. Patterson said it fit all of the mayor's criteria.


NBC Bay Area's Joe Rosato Jr. contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Amanda Parer/San Francisco Arts Commission
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<![CDATA[Falling Tree Barely Misses Cop Car]]> Tue, 05 Apr 2016 16:03:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/boonton+dashcam+tree.jpg

A New Jersey police car came dangerously close to being crushed by a large tree when the tree snapped and fell onto the road amid powerful winds Sunday, dashcam footage from the patrol car shows. 

Boonton Township police said a sergeant was driving a patrol car eastbound on Rockaway Valley Road just before 8 a.m. Sunday when winds brought a large tree down directly in front of the car.

The sergeant was able to steer his car away from the trunk, narrowly avoiding a collision. But footage shows a pickup truck driven by Alex Conklin coming from the opposite direction slamming into the tree and briefly going airborne before resting on top of it.

Incredibly, the driver did not suffer any injuries, according to police. The sergeant in the patrol car was also OK. 

"(It was) the worst amusement park ride you've ever been on," Conklin said Tuesday. 

Tow truck driver Mike Corigliano came to the scene after the crash and took photos after the crash, and noted that a bent bumper appeared to be the only visible sign of damage to Conklin's truck.

"It's something you would see in 'Dukes of Hazzard'," Corigliano said.

Gusts of 60 mph were reported in the tri-state area early Sunday morning, and subsided by the afternoon. But torn-offs roofs, uprooted trees and knocked-down power lines were left in their wake. 

Winds knocked out electric power to as many as 63,000 customers in New Jersey and New York, utility officials said.

Photo Credit: Boonton Township Police
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<![CDATA[LA's 'Murder House' Up for Sale]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 17:35:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-4-16-Murde_House.jpg

The ad on realtor.com for the four-bedroom home in Los Feliz tells only part of the story. The beautiful Los Angeles home nestled on a hill has a grand entrance, step-down living room, ballroom, library and serene views.

The 5,050-square-foot Spanish Revival is "waiting for that special person looking for a wonderful opportunity to remodel or develop."

But the $2.75 million home at 2475 Glendower Place has a dark history.

The house is where Dr. Harold N. Perelson bludgeoned his wife to death with a hammer and attacked his 18-year-old daughter before killing himself "in a frenzy that he himself likened to a nightmare," the Los Angeles Times wrote on Dec. 7, 1959.

Since then, the so-called "Murder House" has become the center of morbid fascination, sparking ghost hunters to endlessly ruminate about it online.

"People into weird, creepy stuff would know about it," LA history blogger Kim Cooper said. "There's no justice. That's what makes it so weird and mysterious."

A Los Angeles Times article documents the killing under the headline, "Doctor Kills Wife and Self in Frenzy of 'Nightmare.'"

Perelson, 50, killed his wife while she slept, then attacked his daughter, the article said. She survived. Two other children, Debbie, 11 and Joel, 13, were not hurt.

When Debbie woke to the sounds and confronted her father, Perelson told her, "Go back to bed; this is a nightmare," The Times wrote, citing police.

Nobody knows what set Perelson off, but detectives at the time said they found paperwork suggesting he was having financial problems.

The dark history of the house took on a life of its own.

After the Perelsons, another family bought the home in probate in the early 1960s. When they died, the son inherited it from his parents but he didn't live there. The last owner died last year and the home went to probate again. The house went up for sale last week, said real estate agent Susan Nancy Sanborn, of Berkshire Hathaway.

So far there have been no takers. She said the urban legends of paranormal activity are not helping the cause.

"It's a very beautiful house," she said. "I don't have any ghoulish details to share."

There's the myth that there was another family who moved in after the Perelsons who reportedly left in a hurry because something happened and they didn't have time to take their Christmas tree and gifts, said Jeff Maysh, an LA-based journalist who wrote a history of the house on Medium.com.

There is another myth of visits by the ghost of Dr. Perelson.

"The house is a sinister character in my story," said Maysh, who sold the story to an LA production company that plans to make a horror film. "It's a building that has secrets which kind of gives it a personality. LA is a town based on secrets. Everyone wants to know what's behind closed doors."

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Berkshire Hathaway]]>
<![CDATA[No One Ran Naked at Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon Race]]> Sun, 03 Apr 2016 21:27:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6P+ROCK+AND+ROLL+MARATHON+VO+-+00001103.jpg

The big story out of today’s Rock 'n' Roll half marathon in San Francisco is not who won – it’s who had clothes on.

Race organizers say no one ran the race naked this year, despite the long and unofficial tradition of skipping clothes and donning nothing but birthday suits for the trek. 

Instead, runners came out in full force and fully clothed, prepared to take on the 11-plus mile run.

Every year, the hilly course goes along the Great Highway and makes its way down Balboa Street and other San Francisco twists and turns before it finishes at Civic Center Plaza.

Runners from 47 different states and 32 countries participated in the race, according to a news release.

Jonathan Varela Obando of Costa Rica finished first in the men’s category with a time of 1 hour 14 minutes and 14 seconds, while Alisa MacDonald of Canada came in first for the women’s category with a time of 1 hour 22 minutes and 14 seconds.

“This is a much harder course than what I’m used to,” said MacDonald in a news release. “It was tough but it was beautiful. The conditions were absolutely perfect.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area ]]>