Sword-wielding 'Joker' arrested; Driver blames crash on Sasquatch

Joker-criminal
Jeremy Putman was arrested after callers reported seeing him carrying a sword while dressed as the Joker.

WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) - Police in Virginia have arrested a man who was dressed as comic book villain the Joker and reportedly carrying a sword.

Winchester Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Hall said in a news release that the department got several 911 calls Friday afternoon reporting a man made up as Batman's nemesis. He was wearing a cape and carrying a sword.

Jeremy Putman, 31, has been charged with wearing a mask in public, a felony that can result in a year in jail.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Putman has a lawyer.

Idaho woman says she crashed because she saw a sasquatch

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) - A northern Idaho woman told police she crashed into a deer because she was distracted by a sasquatch in her rearview mirror.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports that the 50-year-old Tensed woman was driving south on U.S. Highway 95 on Wednesday when she struck a deer near Potlatch.

The woman told Benewah County Sheriff's officials that she saw a sasquatch chasing a deer on the side of the road while driving. She says she checked one of her mirrors to get a second look at the beast and when she looked up, the deer ran in front of her.

Sheriff's officials marked the incident as a vehicle versus deer collision but did not report any evidence of Bigfoot.

Police: Florida man cited for eating pancakes in the street

LAKEWOOD, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say they've charged a Florida man recorded on video sitting in the street eating pancakes.

A Lakeland police news release says Kiaron Thomas was charged Thursday with placing an obstruction in the roadway and disrupting the free flow of traffic. He was not arrested but issued an April 25 court date.

Police first received a call Tuesday morning about a man sitting in the crosswalk of a busy intersection. The caller said the man had a small TV tray in front of him and was eating what appeared to be pancakes. Officers responded, but the man had already left.

A video of the incident was later posted on Facebook and shared in a message to police. Several people tagged the video to Thomas, who police say admitted pulling the prank.

Canada pulls vehicle license plate deemed offensive

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) - A Canadian provincial government has withdrawn a man's eponymous personalized vehicle license plate, saying Lorne Grabher's surname is offensive to women when viewed on his car bumper.

Grabher said Friday that he put his last name on the license plate decades ago as a gift for his late father's birthday, and says the province's refusal to renew the plate late last year is unfair.

Grabher says the Nova Scotia government is discriminating against his name.

Transport Department spokesman Brian Taylor says while the department understands Grabher is a surname with German roots, this context isn't available to the general public who view it.

The personalized plate program introduced in 1989 allows the province to refuse names when they're deemed offensive, socially unacceptable and not in good taste.

Dog pulled from California fire revived after 20 minutes

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) - California firefighters who spent 20 minutes performing mouth-to-snout resuscitation on a dog they rescued from a burning apartment are being hailed as heroes.

The dog's owner, 35-year-old Crystal Lamirande, had just returned to her Santa Monica apartment Tuesday when a neighbor yelled there was a fire.

Lamirande says she frantically tried to save her dog, a 10-year-old Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu named Nalu. But she says the smoke was too thick.

Moments later as firefighters arrived, she told them about Nalu. They quickly got the fire under control and pulled the lifeless dog from a bedroom.

Firefighter Andrew Klein spent 20 minutes bringing the dog back to life as her tearful owner watched. Lamirande says the pooch spent the next 24 hours in an oxygen chamber and is doing well.

Police: Woman released from jail immediately steals car

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a woman released from a Southern California jail promptly carjacked a vehicle with an elderly woman inside.

San Bernardino County sheriff's officials say witnesses spotted the victim crying for help as the Hyundai Sonata drove from the parking lot at West Valley Detention Center Wednesday evening.

The elderly woman was dropped off unharmed at a Fontana gas station. Police found the stolen car about four hours later and arrested 24-year-old Monique Cadena on suspicion of carjacking and kidnapping. It wasn't immediately known if she has an attorney.

The Hesperia resident was originally arrested Wednesday morning on suspicion of being under the influence. Officials say she was released later in the day and allegedly carried out the carjacking when she couldn't find a ride home from the jail.

Conspicuous man accused of McDonald's stickup with hairbrush

GROVES, Texas (AP) - Police say a man clad in a leopard-print robe, black mask, orange Croc's, orange gloves and armed only with a hairbrush held up a McDonald's restaurant in Southeast Texas.

Gevondis Demond Joseph was arrested after a brief police chase shortly after the 5 a.m. Thursday holdup in Groves, about 20 miles southeast of Beaumont, Texas. He was in Jefferson County Jail in Beaumont awaiting an appearance before a magistrate to set bond. The 29-year-old Port Arthur, Texas, man is charged with aggravated robbery.

City Marshal Norman Reynolds Jr. says the man walked into the restaurant and demanded money, allowing the impression that the hairbrush in his robe pocket was a handgun.

Police say they recovered $130 in cash from the man.

That's not carry-on: Loose snake slumbers on Alaska flight

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Anna McConnaughy was flying to Alaska's largest city when the announcement came over the intercom: a passenger on a previous flight had brought a pet snake on board.

The passenger had gotten off the plane. The snake had not. "The pilot came, and said, 'Guys, we have some loose snake on the plane, but we don't know where it is,'" McConnaughy said Tuesday. Unlike the movie "Snakes On A Plane," this one wasn't venomous. Mostly, it was sleepy.

A little boy, one of seven passengers on the Ravn Alaska commuter flight Sunday from the Alaska village of Aniak to Anchorage, was climbing on his seat when he spotted the slumbering snake. It was lying partially covered by a duffel bag near the back of the plane.

"He said, 'Oh, Mom, look at this. What's that?'" McConnaughy said. "That's how we figured out there was a snake sleeping in the corner."

There was no panic. McConnaughy said. Mostly people wanted to see the snake.

A pilot came back to help, she said, leading to a short discussion with a flight attendant on how best to capture it.

"He said, 'I'll hold the bag, and you grab the snake,'" McConnaughy said. "Quite a gentleman."

The flight attendant grabbed the snake by the belly and dropped it into a plastic trash bag. It spent the rest of the flight in an overhead storage bin, and the plane reached Anchorage on schedule.

Anchorage television station KTVA first reported the incident.

McConnaughy's photos show a pale snake about 4 to 5 feet long. She said it appeared to want only to go back to sleep.

A spokesman for the airline, William Walsh, said in a statement that the snake owner had not registered the pet for travel in the cabin of the Ravn Alaska flight. After arriving in Aniak, he reported that his snake was missing and likely on the return trip to Anchorage.

The airline was thankful for the heads-up, Walsh said. However, it has specific requirements for carrying on reptiles. Ravn Alaska does not allow any large animal that's not a dog to be used as a service animal.

McConnaughy said there are plenty of snakes where she grew up in the Russian Far East. However, there are no wild snakes in most of Alaska, and she's not crazy about them, she said.

"Here in Alaska, it's kind of weird," she said.

Suspect in Massachusetts liquor store robbery found sleeping

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) - Police in Massachusetts didn't have to look far for a suspect in the knifepoint robbery of a Pittsfield liquor store.

Authorities say Melissa Holden was found asleep in the hallway of a nearby building a short time later _ with a knife and bottles of vodka and Gatorade _ the very items reported stolen. She was also wearing clothing similar to the suspect seen in store surveillance video.

The Berkshire Eagle reports the 40-year-old Holden was held on $3,000 bail after pleading not guilty at her arraignment Tuesday.

Her attorney said she had no recollection of any robbery.

Police say the suspect entered the store, grabbed a Gatorade from a cooler, asked for two pints of vodka, and pulled a knife when the clerk asked for payment.

Thou shalt not smuggle: Woman hides drugs in inmate's Bible

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - Today's Bible lesson: It's a bad idea to use the good book to smuggle drugs into jail.

The Bible in question was dropped off Thursday for an inmate convicted last week of methamphetamine trafficking and awaiting transfer to state prison, a Mississippi sheriff said.

"We search every item that is brought into the jail, and the property officer noticed something wrong: There was a bulge in the back cover of the Bible," Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. "We cut it open and found a powdery substance."

A local lab identified methamphetamine and said it couldn't identify a second substance, so a sample was sent to the state crime lab, Ezell said.

He said Courtney Ford, 30, of Nettleton has been charged with possessing an illegal drug and trying to bring contraband into the jail. Her bond was set at $75,000. She was facing a charge of possessing a controlled substance and was out on bond when she was arrested, he said.

Ezell said Stephen Jason Estes, 41, of Plantersville, had been sentenced to 40 years in prison, but with 34 suspended, and was awaiting transfer to a state prison when the Bible was left for him.

"We know he knew about it because that day, he kept asking where his Bible was, even before she dropped it off," Johnson said.

Johnson said he hopes the judge will now reverse the suspension. His bond on the new charge was set at $30,000.

Cops: Cocaine trafficker lived in public housing for elderly

TAUNTON, Mass. (AP) - A 74-year-old Massachusetts man living in public housing for the elderly faces drug trafficking charges after police say they found cocaine valued at about $150,000 in his unit.

Police say they found about 1,300 grams, or nearly 3 pounds, of cocaine at Pedro Rodriguez's Taunton apartment on Friday.

The Taunton Daily Gazette reports the unit is in a complex owned by the Taunton Housing Authority.

Police say they also found roughly 450 grams, or more than a pound, of marijuana and an extensive coin collection. They say the coins were probably used to launder drug sales proceeds.

Rodriguez was also charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Rodriguez said he didn't know what the cocaine was and was holding it for a friend.

Bail was set at $50,000.

After fight, Indiana man receives 'ATHE1ST' license plate

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) - A man who was initially denied an Indiana license plate reading "ATHE1ST" now has the personalized plate.

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles denied Chris Bontrager's first request in February without citing a specific reason. The bureau's denial letter to Bontrager noted the agency could refuse a personalized plate if it had a connotation offensive to good taste or decency, was misleading or deemed improper.

Bontrager believed the decision was religiously motivated, and he filed an appeal with the state. He said the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana helped the appeal process move quickly, without him having to testify before an appeals panel, The Elkhart Truth reported.

"My intention was never to litigate this matter," said Bontrager, who lives in Goshen. "I just felt that the process should be more transparent."

The effort culminated in him receiving the new license plate on Monday.

The BMV issued a short statement on Bontrager's case, affirming the state's ability to deny any plate at will. The American Civil Liberties Union didn't respond to the newspaper's request for comment.

Both the Indiana Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have sided with the state's ability to decide whether a message on a personalized plate would be approved or denied, saying the messages amount to "government speech."

What a croc!

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A student at a University of Maine campus is in trouble for taking his five baby pet alligators inside a taxicab.

The pet reptiles began crawling around the cab Tuesday after a box tipped over. Cab driver Frank Folsom said he helped round the reptiles, each longer than a foot.

The Kennebec Journal reports that 20-year-old University of Maine at Augusta student Yifan Sun from China received a summons because alligators are not allowed to be kept in Maine. The Augusta Police Department says he's charged with importing or possessing wildlife without a permit.

Sun told police he kept the alligators as pets and was taking them with him to visit someone in Waterville. He declined to speak at length with a reporter from the newspaper.

Turkey flies through tractor-trailer driver's windshield

LONDONDERRY, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire Fish and Game officials say a tractor-trailer driver suffered minor injuries after a 19-pound turkey crashed through his windshield on Interstate 93.

Conservation officer Chris McKee says the adult turkey ended up in the cab of the trailer on Tuesday in Londonderry. The turkey had been trying to fly across the highway.

McKee says the truck driver called for help. The turkey died of its injuries on the way to a rehabilitation center.

Authorities: Man errantly texted prosecutor about drug swap

EDWARDSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Authorities say a man mistakenly sent a text message to a Pennsylvania prosecutor indicating that he wanted to trade marijuana for heroin.

Luzerne County prosecutors say Assistant District Attorney Jill Matthews received a text Nov. 2 using drug lingo that they called an "obvious text for a drug deal." They say she later received a photo of a plastic bag containing a green substance on a scale.

Authorities said 29-year-old John Raimondo, of Plymouth, was arrested at the supposed drug swap outside a shopping center in Edwardsville, about 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

He's now being sought after failing to appear for a hearing.

Court documents don't list a defense attorney. A listed number for Raimondo couldn't be found Tuesday.

Gaza Barber blazes hair styles with fiery method

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) - Palestinian barber Ramadan Adwan has found a fiery way to trim his client's hair — if they are brave enough.

In his small shop in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Adwan uses careful application of open flames. His creative idea was born from Gaza's frequent power cuts preventing him from using a dryer.

After cutting and combing, the barber applies what he calls "special" lotion and powder to client's heads to protect their skin before using flames from an aerosol can to dry the wet hair.

"The experience strengthens the hair, but it's not permanent as with chemical products. It's just temporary to show a good and nice style," he says.

News about Adwan's hot method has spread across the Gaza Strip and some other barbers began imitating him.

He says applying "fiery" hairstyles requires great attention and experience that not all imitators possess.

The technique is yet another form of resilience displayed by Gaza's 2 million residents, who are entering their 10th year under a blockade. Israel and Egypt imposed the measure after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized the territory in bloody street battles from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel says it is meant to prevent Hamas from getting weapons. Critics condemn it as collective punishment.

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