<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Weird News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/weird http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usFri, 06 May 2016 15:34:46 -0700Fri, 06 May 2016 15:34:46 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Maine Bus Joyride]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 15:24:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bus34.jpg

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

Authorities said John W. St. Germain III and his girlfriend saw the young man driving the bus, followed him and called police.

Police said St. German waited until the school bus stopped at the intersection of Griffin and Ohio Streets, then hopped aboard and took control. 

Authorities are crediting St. German with helping prevent any major damage, or even death, that could have come as the result of a crash.

The boy was taken into custody.

Photo Credit: Bangor Police
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<![CDATA[Stray Cats Using Zoo Facilities as Litter Box]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 12:36:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.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[SoCal Weird News]]> Mon, 15 Feb 2016 12:12:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/storm+drain+020716.jpg Enjoy images of LA's most memorable weird moments.

Photo Credit: Santa Clarita Sheriffs Department]]>
<![CDATA[Lost Alligator Tries to Ring Doorbell at SC Home]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 08:50:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.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 Slips Onto NHL Rink]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 09:02:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.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.nbclosangeles.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[Rider Dies When Horse Spooks After Lakeside Parade]]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 13:20:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/horse+traine.PNG

An experienced horse trainer and member of the Escondido Mounted Posse died Saturday after her horse spooked and fell, knocking her off, a group founder said. 

Diana Cavender, 52, was riding to a staging area after the Lakeside Western Days Parade when the accident happened, said Al Pfeltz, one of the founders of the group. 

Her horse spooked and started to spin, Pfeltz said. Though Cavender tried to get the horse under control, it slipped on the asphalt and fell on its side, he said. 

"The last thing I remember seeing is the horse lose its footing and fall down on its right side and the force of the impact whipped Diana down and her head into the asphalt," he told NBC 7 San Diego. 

Cavender's head hit the ground; friends say her husband tended to her until medics arrived. 

She was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital and died six hours after being admitted as a result of head injuries. 

Pfeltz said Cavender was one of the best horse trainers in the business. She and her husband owned a number of horses, he said. 

The rest of the posse says they lost their best rider. 

"Diana was always someone we respected because of her ability to ride and her knowledge of horses, but I think the most important thing was not the horse it was God and her husband," Pfeltz said.

Sometimes, even the most skilled riders can get knocked down, he said.

"Riding horses is like riding a motorcycle, it is not something you'll go through your whole life without getting hurt," said Pfeltz.

The Escondido Mounted Posse will hold a memorial service on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Billy Ortiz]]>
<![CDATA[Marijuana Exhibit Coming to Oakland Museum]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 20:38:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/0414-216-PotGeneric.jpg

Here’s a first for California: Marijuana, not in a grow house, but in a museum. The Oakland Museum of California says “Altered State: Marijuana in California” is the first-ever museum exhibit dedicated to the much debated drug.

Usually, exhibits take about three years from idea to opening, but associate curator Sarah Seiter says the marijuana exhibit was fast tracked to about two years in hopes people could come see it before voting this November.

“We really want this to be a place where people can have a dialogue and have a really honest conversation about what their hopes and fears are around legalizing marijuana,” Seiter said, explaining the museum is not taking a side.

She says more than 100 community members have served as consultants on the exhibit in order to make sure “Altered State” is welcoming to all, regardless of their stance on weed.

“Families were actually using the space to talk to their kids about marijuana,” Seiter said of an area titled “Youth and Weed.”

Other displays include “Cannabis Science,” featuring live marijuana plants; “Criminal Dope,” highlighting the history of drug laws and arrests, and “Cannabis Confessional,” featuring a space where people can write their opinions anonymously.

“It’s easy to make decisions based on myth, so hopefully we can do it in a more educated way. So I think it’s great,” Cheryl Ziperstein, of Albany, said of the exhibit.

Current polls show about more than half of California’s likely November voters support legalizing pot. William Gomez, of Rodeo, is not one of these.

“An exhibit like this of marijuana is telling our kids it’s okay to do it, which I think it’s not okay,” Gomez said.

Though he says he opposes marijuana, he would not be opposed to taking his kids to learn about the issues, as long as he tours it first.

The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Great Dane Gets Stuck in Tree]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 10:40:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.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.nbclosangeles.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[WATCH: Burger Shop Break-In]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2016 15:48:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.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[Modern Update For World's Oldest Operating McDonald's]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2016 07:13:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/4_6_2016_exteriorshotMcdonalds.PNG The world’s oldest operating McDonald’s known for its historic 1950s architecture, including an animated neon "Speedee" mascot sign and iconic golden arches, will be getting a modern addition.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Gold-Flecked Meteorite Legal Fracas]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 08:41:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.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[Alligator Tries to Get in Fla. Home]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 07:54:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.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.

 [[374687901, C]]

Photo Credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Falling Tree Barely Misses Cop Car]]> Tue, 05 Apr 2016 16:03:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.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['Murder House' Waiting for That 'Special' Buyer]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 17:35:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.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[911 Call Over Botched Pizza Order]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 01:47:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Food+Phillies+2012+Preview+Seasons+Pizza+Generic.jpg

A woman called 911 to complain that a Hartford, Connecticut, pizza shop made a mistake with her order and wouldn’t return her money, so she wanted police officers to get it back for her.

The woman said she ordered a small half-cheese, half-bacon pizza from Empire Pizza on New Britain Avenue, but they gave her one that had hamburger on half of it.

The pizza shop said the incident happened a couple weeks ago and they would have been happy to replace the order, but the woman said she'd already eaten half of the pizza.

Here's how the call went down:

“If I order a pizza and they don’t want to give me my money back, can you guys do something,” the caller asked the 911 dispatcher.

The dispatcher calmly told her to take it up with the pizza shop.

“That’s not something you would dial 911 for – 911 is for life-threatening emergencies only,” the dispatcher said.

“OK, can you call the pizzeria or something?” the caller then asked.

At that point, the dispatcher asked the woman what happened.

“I ordered a small pizza – half cheese and half bacon – and they bring me half hamburger, so I call them back and they don’t want to give my money back,” she said, adding the pizza shop was hanging up on her.

“That’s not a police matter, ma’am,” the dispatcher said. “You’ll have to work that out with the pizza shop.”

The caller again asked the dispatcher to call the pizza shop.

“No, we cannot call the pizza shop,” the dispatcher said.

The woman then asked the dispatcher why the pizza shop could call the police if she went over there and started arguing with them.

“If you go over there, you can call and have an officer meet you, but an officer’s not just going to call them and ask them to give you your money back,” the dispatcher explained.

The dispatcher then offered to have an officer meet her and urged her not to go into the pizza shop and say anything until she spoke with an officer.

NBC Connecticut reached out to the woman who called 911, but she did not want to comment.

Photo Credit: NBC10 - Dan Stamm]]>
<![CDATA[Mystery Meat Found on Several New Hampshire Roads]]> Tue, 29 Mar 2016 08:40:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-462467813.jpg

A trail of mystery meat has hit the road in New Hampshire.

Chicken, drumsticks, sausage, Angus steaks, pork chops and wild game meats were found alongside several roads in Epping last weekend, according to the Union Leader.

Police Capt. Jason Newman said an estimated 30 to 40 packages of meat were discarded on Red Oak Hill, Rocky Lane, Old Nottingham Road and Route 87, the paper reported.

The meat appeared to have been dropped out of a moving vehicle about every 200 feet. Much of it was partially frozen, and police said the label on one package left a clue that it came from a local store, according to the paper.

Residents notified authorities about the discoveries on Sunday.

No arrests have been made at this time, and the motive remains unknown. Anyone with information is asked to call: (603) 679-5122.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Seal Pup Found in Calif. Yard]]> Thu, 24 Mar 2016 19:28:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/sealion16.jpg

A 9-month-old, tagged California fur seal found its way to a home in Fremont Thursday morning, puzzling cops and neighbors over how the small mammal waddled its way there.

Police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques made a video, which she tweeted out about 9:30 a.m., showing the seal, which rescuers nicknamed “Ozzie,” likely for where it was found: In the 42300 block of Osgood Road.

“We have no idea how it made it to Osgood, far from any body of water,” Bosques said.

The block is about four miles from the nearest body of sea water.

“It’s possible,” said Marine Mammal Center veterinarian Sophie Whoriskey. “These animals do haul out and spend some time on land sometimes, so they can certainly walk that far.”

Police also showed a picture of smiling residents standing around the seal, which is in a cage and wrapped in a black blanket with white paw prints. Later, Fremont police updated the status of "Ozzie," stating its real name was "Kumofur."  She was apparently supposed to head north, but ended up south. Police initially stated incorrectly that the seal was a sea lion.

Homeowner Cathy Carpentier said Kumofur looked wet and fairly healthy, but scared.

“It was moving around quite a bit. It was looking at you with big brown eyes – gorgeous,” Carpentier said, explaining police knocked on her door about 8:30 Thursday morning asking if she and her husband knew how the seal got here.

“There’s a seal in your driveway. A seal. How do you comprehend that?” Carpentier said. “Occasionally we get raccoons, skunks, bobcats, but a marine animal? This is a first for us.”

Kumofur was originally rescued in November 2015 at New Brighton State Beach in Capitola, California, according to Giancarlo Rulli from the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, where the seal was taken. After the malnourished pup was treated at the center, Rulli said she was released at Scotty Creek Beach in Bodega Bay, California, earlier in March.

Rulli said veterinarians will exam her to try to figure out why she might have made her way to Fremont, 100 miles away.

A record number of mammals were found and rescued at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito last year, most likely, experts say, because of the Pacific Ocean weather phenomena called "The Blob" and El Niño.

A total of 107 fur seals were rescued by the center in 2015, three times the average. Dr. Whoriskey says usually during March, they are treating 15 to 20.

“We think that’s because of warmer water conditions so these animals are having a harder time finding food,” Dr. Whoriskey said.

Throughout California, other rescue centers are busy feeding high numbers of hungry mammals before sending them back into the ocean.

Overall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that from January to May 2015, California sea lion strandings were occurring 10 times more than average.

A similar phenomenon occurred during California’s last El Niño in 1997, when the death rate of seals hovered about 70 percent, compared to a normal rate of 45 percent. 

As for 2016, Rulli said the number of strandings have not yet been tabulated. But he didn't expect them to be too high, because stranded seals usually happen shortly after birth, which would mean they would occur in the fall.

Photo Credit: Fremont Police Department
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<![CDATA['Boaty McBoatface' Floats in UK Ship-Naming Poll]]> Tue, 22 Mar 2016 13:06:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/national-environment-research-council-boat.jpg

When scientists in the U.K. asked the public to name their new $290 million polar research ship, they expected the name of an explorer or a naturalist. Apparently, they didn't factor in the Brits' oddball sense of humor.

By 9 a.m. Monday, more than 27,000 people had voted to name the ship "RRS Boaty McBoatface," almost 10 times the votes of any other name, NBC News reported.

The poll was launched Thursday by the National Environment Research Council, the government-funded body building the ship in Cammell Laird shipyard, near Liverpool. Expected to set sail in 2019, the 420-foot vessel will "provide the U.K. with the most advanced floating research fleet in the world," the NERC said.

The website has been crashing over the weekend under the weight of the unexpected increase in traffic.

Photo Credit: Natural Environment Research Council]]>
<![CDATA[What Happens When You Pour Molten Copper on Big Mac]]> Mon, 14 Mar 2016 10:36:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/190*120/big+mac.png

Most know the ingredients of a McDonald’s Big Mac: two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions – on a sesame seed bun. So what were to happen if you were to pour molten copper on it? Apparently not much, at all.

In a new video uploaded to YouTube, user Tito4re did exactly that. He took a Big Mac and drenched it in what he claimed to be the scalding liquefied chemical just to see what would happen to the meal. Turns out, nothing really did. It ended up burnt to a crisp, but all the ingredients seemed to miraculously survive the hazardous material. In some parts of the clip, it looked as if the copper was bouncing right off of the patties.

The copper’s melting point, according to the video, was 1,984 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s been viewed nearly a million times since being posted Thursday. The user's channel is full of videos that see how everyday items react under similarly harsh conditions, according to TIME.

This isn’t the first time a McDonald’s meal has come under fire (pun intended) for holding up in a way that is abnormal for food. Last month, a woman’s Facebook post went viral after uploading photos that showed a Happy Meal she purchased six years ago. The images, which included a receipt from the day the meal was purchased, showed the chicken nuggets and fries never molded and were virtually unchanged.

“It's been sitting at our office this whole time and has not rotted, molded, or decomposed at all!!!” the post reads. “It smells only of cardboard.”

But McDonald’s argued that the photos did not accurately depict what happened.

“While not knowing the conditions in which the food was kept in this specific claim, what is scientifically known is that decomposition of food happens under certain conditions,” the Oak Brook-based company said in a statement. “Without sufficient moisture – either in the food itself or the environment in which it is held – decomposition is unlikely. This is not unique to McDonald’s food. Any food – whether homemade, store bought or from a restaurant - can dehydrate in a dry environment, therefore not decompose.”

A request for comment from McDonald’s on Tito4re’s YouTube video was not immediately returned Monday.

Photo Credit: YouTube / Tito4re
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<![CDATA[Hashtags on Bank Robbery Notes: PD]]> Sat, 12 Mar 2016 08:57:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Leroy+Earl+Morris+Daley.jpg

Prince George's County police say a man believed to be linked to at least nine bank robberies in Maryland used notes that included the hashtags #nopolice, #becarefull (sic) and #afterwork?.

Leroy Earl-Morris Daley, 45, likely will be charged with five bank robberies in Prince George's County, police announced Friday. The robberies all occurred between September 2015 and March 2016. 

The most recent robbery was reported Thursday on the 8200 block of Annapolis Road in New Carrollton. Police believe Daley also is responsible for three bank robberies that occurred in just 15 minutes in Montgomery County. 

Daley was arrested Thursday after a police officer spotted his car right next to his police cruiser. 

Prince George's County Police Sgt. Craig Winegardner investigated the bank robbery in New Carrollton and had just finished lunch at Woodmore Towne Centre in Glenarden.

"After finishing lunch, I walked over to my cruiser ... parked right next to my cruiser was the suspect vehicle," he said. "I saw a dent on the back bumper and then I saw the color of the car. [I saw] every identifying feature that Montgomery County sent us."

Winegardner called for backup and surveillance.

"After about 5 or 10 minutes of surveillance, the defendant walked out to get in his vehicle, still wearing the same clothing from our bank robbery," he said.

Daley walked out of an eyeglasses store, police said.

In the Prince George's County cases, police say Daley passed notes to the tellers demanding money. Those notes included the hashtags #nopolice, #becarefull (sic) and #afterwork?. A skull and crossbones emoji was placed behind the #afterwork? hashtag. 

It wasn't immediately clear if Daley had an attorney.

Anyone with information that can help police is asked to call police at 301-772-4905. 

Photo Credit: Prince George's County Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Huge Trump-Like Hat Stolen Off Redondo Beach Head Sculpture]]> Thu, 10 Mar 2016 05:38:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/hatstolen-pch-030916.png

Some may be taking their hats off to the tricky trio who pulled off one hair-raising crime, because in the words of Donald Trump, "It's huge."

A giant red hat with a message echoing the Republican billionaire's slogan was stolen off a well-known statue in Redondo Beach, California, on Tuesday in a middle-of-the-night theft caught on surveillance camera, the shop's owner said.

"Maybe they got a head so big they think it will fit," said Joe Oliveri, who owns the salon that featured the sizable sculpture.

The hat, reading "Make Your Hair Great Again," is strikingly similar to Trump's red campaign hats bearing his slogan, "Make America Great Again."

Oliveri said he wasn't trying to stump for Trump, he was just trying get his salon noticed.

"The object was not to promote Trump -- it was to promote making your hair great again and I was hoping he would see it and take a shot at letting me fix his hair," Oliveri said. "It's simple to fix."

The hat was worth thousands, the salon owner said, which makes the crime grand theft. A report has been filed with the Redondo Beach Police Department.

Oliveri said the three men accused of swiping it drove up to the giant head sculpture located at 1401 South Pacific Coast Highway in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

As seen on surveillance footage, three men make an unsuccessful attempt to remove the hat.

They come back, and "tear it off the head," Oliveri said.

In one of the most brazen parts of the act, the trio can be seen driving away with the huge hat on top of their car.

Oliveri said the three were driving in a dark-colored, four-door sedan.

Joe Oliveri's shop is located at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Avenue F, and the massive head sculpture, resembling a Chia Pet, has been there for 40 years. 

Oliveri said in the past he's put hair rollers on the sculpture's bushy hair, or bunny ears if it's Easter, just trying to be creative with anything topical.

Anyone with information on the hefty red hat's whereabouts is encouraged to call Redondo Beach police at 310-379-2477.  

Michelle Valles contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Joe Oliveri ]]>
<![CDATA[Driver's Live Stream Ends with DWI ]]> Mon, 07 Mar 2016 07:34:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/3616livestream.jpg

A Long Island man discovered an all-but-certain way to be charged with driving while intoxicated in the Internet Age: He posted a live-stream of his erratic driving.

Ahmed Almalki, 33, of Oyster Bay, used the video streaming app Periscope to broadcast himself driving his Lexus at 1 a.m. along the Ocean Parkway in Nassau County, state police said Sunday.

Police dispatchers in Farmingdale received several calls about the live-stream and took the initiative to log on and watch. Troopers were able to determine that Almalki was driving along Ocean Parkway using the video stream. 

Troopers on patrol caught up with him on the Wantagh Parkway near Hempstead Turnpike. While interviewing him, troopers allegedly noticed a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, they said.

Almalki was charged on felony DWI charges because he has a previous DWI conviction on his record, police said. He was also cited for failing to use signal lamps, unsafe lane change, unsafe speed and driving across hazard markers.

He was being held for arraignment. There was no indication he had retained a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.

Photo Credit: New York State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Man Breaks Into Store & Pays for Cigarettes]]> Wed, 02 Mar 2016 18:05:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/EllisBattistaNewMexico.jpg

Police in New Mexico say a man broke into a convenience store to buy cigarettes, NBC News reported.

The man, identified as Ellis C. Battista, 24, pounded on the door of a Bradley, New Mexico, convenience store.

He kicked the door’s lower panel, picked a pack of Camels and left $6 on the counter. He also made sure security camera could see he was paying for the smokes, police said.

Battista, who police believed to be intoxicated at the time, was free on $4,000 bond. He’s awaiting a March 8 court appearance on a single count of fourth-degree breaking and entering, according to court records.  

Photo Credit: Las Cruces Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Ancient Bison Bone Discovered in LA]]> Wed, 02 Mar 2016 18:38:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/knbc-ancient-bison-bone-discovered-3.jpg A bone of an ancient bison that once roamed Southern California was found at a Metro construction site in Leimert Park, the transportation agency said on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

Photo Credit: Joseph Lemon/Metro]]>
<![CDATA[Bone of Ancient Bison Unearthed in Leimert Park]]> Thu, 03 Mar 2016 06:12:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knbc-ancient-bison-bone-discovered-1.jpg

A bone from a bison that roamed Southern California some 10,000 years ago was unearthed at a Metro construction site in Los Angeles' Leimert Park, according to the transportation agency.

The bone was discovered about 70 feet below street level at the future site of Metro's Crenshaw/LAX Line Martin Luther King Jr. station, the agency said in a blog post Tuesday.

It was sent to the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, where experts identified the bone as the proximal right tibia of a bison antiquus, or right rear leg of an ancient bison.

According to Metro, the bone is between 10,000 and 18,000 years old and was found in alluvial soil, which indicates that a river ran through Leimert Park in the Pleistocene epoch.

"Ancient bison were common in Southern California during that time," Metro said. "Bison antiquus are considered ancestors to modern bison."

Metro said the bone will be donated for research to the Natural History Museum once the construction project is complete. Until then, it will be stored in a lab.




Photo Credit: Joseph Lemon/Metro]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Three-Legged Bobcat Released in Santa Monica Mountains]]> Fri, 19 Feb 2016 23:58:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/2015-01-27-17-07-29-M-4_5.JPG

A missing leg is not preventing a female bobcat found in the Santa Monica Mountains from taking care of itself and its one-eared kitten.

National Park Service researchers spotted this three-legged bobcat through a camera on the Western side of the range. The bobcat was then caught and looked at by biologists, but a cause for the missing leg could not be determined.

"It's not clear whether the missing leg is a birth defect or an early-life injury," the NPS said in a blog post.

The bobcat -- identified as B-337 -- was given a tracking collar and its blood samples were also analyzed in hopes of finding out more information. It was then released back into the wild.

"Bobcats catch live prey, so that means she's managing to hunt with one front leg--and doing it well enough to feed herself and her kitten," said biologist Joanne Moriarty in the post.

The bobcat's kitten, which is not missing a leg, had been caught a few days prior. Biologists did discover that the kitten is missing its left ear.

Biologists say that the only noticeable difference from these bobcats to others not having deformities is that their home base or their area of roaming is not as expansive.

Photo Credit: National Park Service
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