<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Weird News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/weird http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Fri, 06 Mar 2015 04:44:27 -0800 Fri, 06 Mar 2015 04:44:27 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Widow Finds Husband's Grenade]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 02:23:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/030415+pembroke+pines+grenade.jpg

A widow who was cleaning out her husband's storage found a World War II-era grenade in Pembroke Pines, Fla., Wednesday.

The discovery was made at the Colony Point condos, Pembroke Pines Police officials said.

A bomb squad responded and the grenade was secured and safely removed.

No other information was immediately known.



Photo Credit: Pembroke Pines Police]]>
<![CDATA[Naked Woman High on Drugs Crashes Car: Cops]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 09:58:43 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/225*120/3-3-2015-NakedCrash.JPG

A naked woman allegedly high on drugs crashed her car and ended up on the front lawn of an apartment building in South Los Angeles.

The woman hit several parked cars before driving across the sidewalk and onto the grass at Lockland Drive and Marlton Avenue at around 5:30 p.m, Los Angeles Police Department said.

No one was injured. Paramedics covered the woman in a blanket when they arrived on the scene and took her away for treatment.

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<![CDATA[Wooden Passenger Fools Carpool Lane]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 08:17:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Fake+passenger.JPG

A Long Island man allegedly used a wooden figure in a hooded sweatshirt to drive solo in the Long Island Expressway's HOV lane because, he told officers, he was late to his new job, police said.

A Suffolk County Highway Patrol officer noticed the fake passenger when he pulled the man over for speeding at 77 mph at 6:30 a.m. on Friday in Dix Hills.

A photo of the crudely made dummy shows a wooden board with a block-shaped, wooden head wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

"I was trying not to laugh at the guy because I thought it was quite silly," said officer Jonathan Abrams. 

Abrams said for a moment, he actually thought it was a real person.

"The silhouette was realistic enough," he said. "You see people with hoods up, sleeping in the front seat all the time." 

The driver, James Campbell, told NBC 4 New York the officer seemed to have a sense of humor about it.

"He said, 'Passenger, can I see some ID?' And I said, 'Officer, I don't think so,'" said Campbell, chuckling. 

Campbell told the officer that he was driving to a new job and didn't want to be late.

"He said he started a new job and he couldn't afford to be late to his new job, so traveling through the HOV lane allowed him to get there a little bit faster," said Abrams. 

He was issued summonses for speeding and occupancy violation.

Campbell didn't seem deterred. He pulled up to his home Friday evening after work with the dummy still in the front seat, saying he'd been using it for months. 

He said, "He's got a sister down in the basement and on special occasions, I bring her out and she wears a tutu." 



Photo Credit: Suffolk County Police Dept. ]]>
<![CDATA[What Color Is This Dress? No One Can Agree]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 10:44:08 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/the-dress-B-1l26HXAAEJ48-.jpg

Is this dress blue and black… or gold and white? The debate is raging, and no one seems to agree.

BuzzFeed posted the controversial photo Tuesday evening, and already it's gone viral.

The image was originally uploaded by Tumblr user "swiked," who wrote:

"I see it as white and gold. My friend right here sees it as blue and black. I CANT HANDLE THIS"

Another user fired back:

"if that’s not gold my entire life has been a lie"

Others chimed in, all with different perceptions. Admittedly, no one in the newsroom could agree either.

So what color is it really?

The mystery may never be solved.



Photo Credit: Romanoriginals.com
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<![CDATA[Woman Had Cheating Ex Robbed]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:59:34 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/022515+sarah+matherly.jpg

A South Florida woman was arrested after authorities say she arranged to have her cheating ex-boyfriend robbed at gunpoint.

Sarah Nicole Matherly, 22, is facing robbery with a firearm and extortion charges following her arrest in Hollywood. She was ordered held on $7,500 bond at a hearing before Broward Judge John Hurley Wednesday.

According to the arrest report, Matherly lured her ex-boyfriend to a home in Hollywood. Once inside, he was met by a group of men.

Matherly went into a bathroom while the men robbed ex, and told them "don't forget his f-ing" chain," said Hurley. One of the men reportedly put a gun to his head during the robbery. 

The home was a "smoke house" where people go to take drugs, Hurley said.

Matherly later contacted her ex and told him, "that's what you get for cheating on me," Hurley said. She also threatened him with robbery if he didn't give her cash, Hurley said.

At the bond court hearing, Matherly's attorney argued that she was in another room and didn't know about the robbery.

Matherly, who has no criminal record, will have to undergo drug testing every week after her release from jail, the judge ordered. She'll also be required to get a job or go back to school.



Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Found in Box Near Landfill]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 19:44:43 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Irving+landfill+021815.jpg

A woman was found alive and barely clothed inside a cardboard box near a landfill in North Texas, and now police are working to figure out what happened.

Officers were called Saturday morning after employees and some community service workers in Irving discovered the woman. Police said the woman was wearing only a shirt and only spoke Spanish, telling investigators she was out with friends the night before in Dallas and had no memory of how she ended up in the box or at the dump.

In fact, a missing persons report was filed with Dallas police just hours before she was discovered.

According to police reports obtained by NBC 5, the victim was out drinking with a girlfriend Friday night at a club near Walnut Hill Lane and Brockbank Drive.

The victim's friend went to get their car, leaving the woman with a man they had just met. When the friend came back, the victim was gone.

The missing person report was filed Saturday at about 7 a.m. and by about 9 a.m. workers found the woman, who is in her 30s, inside a large box at the municipal landfill in the 200 block of West Hunter Ferrell Road.

Police took the victim to a local hospital to have her tested on whether she had been raped.

Irving police continue to investigate, and further details have not yet been released.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[What Do You Call A Sport That Combines Skiing and Horses?]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 02:53:43 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_skijorning0217001_1500x845.jpg Skijoring, a sport that combines skiing and horses, is a huge hit in Silverton, Colorado.]]> <![CDATA[Watch: Fire Breather Catches Fire]]> Sun, 15 Feb 2015 18:49:18 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Tattoo-Fire1.jpg

A Philadelphia couple captured a scary moment on camera when a performing artist suddenly caught fire.

Jeff Hurd and his wife Alice Gibson attended the Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Sunday and watched a fire-breathing performance from the Ink Illusionists.

As the performer blew fire, flames suddenly engulfed his entire body and spread to the floor. The fire breather was able to put the flames out while event organizers quickly extinguished the fire on the floor by flipping a table on it.

Gibson told NBC10 the whole incident happened so fast that many members of the audience thought it was part of the show. The Philadelphia Fire Department did not respond since the flames were put out so quickly and with minimal damage, according to Hurd.

Hurd said the performer told him he was okay when he went to check on him. Gibson told NBC10 she noticed minor burns on his body.

NBC10 reached out to the Ink Illusionists. A spokesperson for the group declined to comment.

The Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention is an annual three-day event featuring appearances and performances from some of the most popular and skilled tattoo artists in the country.
 



Photo Credit: Alice Gibson]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Stung by Scorpion on Plane at LAX]]> Sun, 15 Feb 2015 10:38:59 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/scorpion2.jpg

An Alaska Airlines flight out of Los Angeles International Airport was delayed Saturday night after a passenger said they were stung by a scorpion on the plane, airline officials said.

Flight 567, which was carrying two college basketball teams, was preparing to depart at 7:50 p.m. for Portland, Ore., when the sting was reported, Alaska Airlines spokesman Cole Cosgrove said.

The female passenger was checked out by medics at the gate and released, but didn’t continue on the flight, Cosgrove said.

The scorpion was found and killed by the crew, who checked overhead compartments for any additional unwanted arachnids, Cosgrove said.

It was unclear how the scorpion got on the plane. The flight originated from Los Cabos, Mexico, Cosgrove said.

Both Oregon State University Men's and The University of Portland's Women's Basketball teams were aboard the flight to go home after weekend games in Los Angeles, according to Oregon State University radio play-by-play announcer Mike Parker. 

The flight was delayed by 40 minutes.

Olivia Woo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 



Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images (File photo)
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<![CDATA[GPS Guides Driver Onto Railroad ]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 10:50:40 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/img_551.jpg

One look at the aftermath, and you can guess right away that something went terribly wrong early Monday in Carrollton, Texas.

Police officers were called out to the 1000 block of North Broadway Street after 1 a.m., and when they arrived a female driver told them that her GPS told her to turn right instead of left, which put her vehicle on a set of railroad tracks.

Police said she traveled about 50 to 60 yards before the railroad tracks damaged her car and kept her from going any farther, and she was forced to call the police for help.

Carrollton Police Department Spokesperson Jolene DeVito told NBC 5 that the officers had to call the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad and make sure no freight trains were coming through the area while a tow truck removed the car from the tracks.

The driver was arrested and taken to jail on suspicion of drunken driving, and Carrollton police later posted the photo to social media as a reminder of how dangerous it is to drink and drive.



Photo Credit: Carrollton Police via Twitter
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<![CDATA[Man Caught on Camera Stealing Surveillance Cameras: Police]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 07:11:31 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/surveillance+thief.jpg

Police say a thief was caught on camera – on the very cameras he was stealing.

The man is accused of stealing video surveillance cameras attached to the outside of a Long Island motel in October.

After taking the cameras, the man fled from the Heritage Motel in Port Jefferson in a white Chevrolet four-door pickup truck with a male passenger, police said.

Anyone who may have seen the man is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.  



Photo Credit: Suffolk County Crime Stoppers]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Dresses Up as "Slave" for #TBT]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 04:13:30 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/0210-heritagehigh-costume.jpg

"Throwback Thursdays" are a popular Spirit Week event at many high schools, designed to let students dress up in vintage outfits, and help break the winter doldrums.

But when a student went costumed as a slave last week at Loudoun County's Heritage High School, some classmates were surprised.

News4 learned about the costume from the outraged mom of another Heritage High student. She didn't want her identify revealed for fear of repercussions for her daughter.

She said that when her daughter got home last Thursday and told her about the costume, she immediately asked to see a picture.

"He had this white shirt on with red stains on it as if he'd been whipped," said the mother. "That was blood and on the back it said 'Property of Heritage High School' and he had a 200-count bag of cotton balls that he was scattering as he walked the halls. I was livid. I couldn't believe what I was hearing in 2015. Are you kidding me?"

She was even more surprised to learn the student was African American. The mother wondered why the student was allowed to wear the slave costume the entire day.

A school spokesman said Heritage High administrators greeted the student at the door last Thursday morning.

"They said, 'Look, you are really pushing the boundaries here. This is a tasteless costume. It's not disrupting the boundaries per se. Now if anybody [came] to us during the day with strong objections and says [it's] disruptive, then the costume comes off,'" said Wayde Byard, Loudoun County Schools spokesman.

Byard said the student was barred from competing in the costume content. The school's administration determined the costume didn't not violate the dress code, so it was a matter of the student exercising his free speech rights.

"There is a very fine line here between free speech and good taste. As we know, free speech is not always tasteful speech," said Byard. "The student was making a statement. There was no disruption. Students rolled their eyes as you might expect, but nobody said, 'That's horribly offensive and this is disrupting my day.'"

Byard said the decision might have been different if the student had been white.

"Had it been a white student instead of an African-American student, obviously that might have incited some racial tension. That might have been a different story."

Heritage High School senior Bianca Jackson says the costume surprised her.

"I thought it was really inappropriate for Throwback Thursday," said Jackson "I think people are kind of like, 'What are you doing?' It's something you don't joke about."

The mother who told News4 about the costume said she plans to write a letter of complaint to school administrators and the superintendent. She fears allowing this costume will open the door to more troublesome displays.

"What if someone comes dressed as the Holocaust [sic] or the Klan? Is that then considered inappropriate? Where is the line? You are dealing with teenagers. You have to establish some boundaries," she said.

Byard said a Klan costume or student dressed in swastikas would be in violation of dress code policy because that would constitute hate speech.

"I think the principal's job day to day is to sort out what is disruptive and what is not and I'm sure if the line is crossed the principal will reprimand students," said Byard.

The mom said that, at minimum, administrators missed a teachable moment, suggesting they could have kicked off a discussion among students.

"They could have turned this around to a learning opportunity," she said. "They could have done a number of things and they did nothing. That's unacceptable."

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<![CDATA[Man Steals Pork Loin ]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 07:42:06 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pork-loin.gif

Police are looking for a man who stole a pork loin from a New Jersey Sam’s Club by sticking it down his pants and running out of the store, reports NJ.com

The man allegedly approached a store greeter at about 3 p.m. Monday and threw a pork loin at the employee’s feet before running out with another pork loin in his pants, according to NJ.com.

The pork was reportedly worth $105.



Photo Credit: Stock Image]]>
<![CDATA[Man Steals Cruiser, Taunts Officers]]> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 17:58:14 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/10953946_858430890884339_5937183689389048835_n.jpg

A Springfield man was arrested early Thursday after calling police "pigs," taking a cruiser on a joyride, and throwing punches at officers, according to police.

Police in Springfield were called to a home on Laurelton Street around 4 a.m. Thursday and were greeted by a woman who asked them to get her boyfriend to leave.

Officers escorted Michael Kopeski, 27, from the home and had him wait outside. Police said Kopeski became outraged because he wanted to go back inside to "get his stuff." He started to yell at the officers, calling them "pigs," and spit at a police cruiser.

Kopeski then jumped into the police car and began to drive away. The officers ran after the cruiser and were able to open the passenger door, discharging pepper spray into the vehicle, according to police.

Kopeski kept driving, so officers called for backup. Police said Kopeski used the police radio to taunt the officers and disrupt radio transmissions.

Authorities eventually were able to box in the stolen cruiser at Berkshire Avenue and Page Boulevard. Police said Kopeski would still not cooperate and threw punches at the officers.

Kopeski was arrested and charged with several offenses, including larceny of a motor vehicle.



Photo Credit: Springfield Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Gardener in Florida Spots 75-Pound Panther]]> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 16:56:14 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/6617975_G-1.jpg

A gardener working at a Florida home Tuesday was shocked by a 75-pound panther lurking on the side of the house.

The couple who owns the residence, Al Dijindil and Andrea Cameron, told NBC affiliate WBBH the gardener spotted the 2-year-old panther in bushes along their Naples home.

"The gardener said, 'I think you have a tiger in your yard,'" Cameron said.

Cameron was able to see the panther safely inside her house by looking out of a window. "I was hoping he would stay there until help arrived,” Cameron said.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers tranquilized and removed the cat, which will be released in a less populated region, according WBBH. They said that the panther most likely swam over from Keewaydin Island, off the coast of Naples.

"The panther will be released in Picayune Strand State Forest. It's a little farther from major roads, so we think that will be a safer option than Rookery Bay... No time frame yet, he's still groggy," panther biologist for FWC Mark Lotz said to WBBH.

Cameron's family was surprised to hear about her ordeal with the big cat.

“My brother said, ‘Wow, that’s a big panther. It’s a good thing he didn’t eat you,'” Cameron said.



Photo Credit: Andrea Cameron]]>
<![CDATA[Scouts' Nude Beach Hike]]> Tue, 03 Feb 2015 07:49:54 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/black+beach+5454.jpg

A Cub Scout pack’s hike along the San Diego coastline led the children to a nude beach, scout officials confirmed Monday.

The scouts, ages 9 and 10, were out for a planned hike on January 24 in the area of Torrey Pines State Beach just north of La Jolla.

A few hiking trails in this section of the coastline led down to the beach below the cliffs. One beach in particular, Black's Beach, is known for its nude sunbathers.

So on this Saturday hike, the young scouts saw a little more than parents were expecting.

Scout officials say the pack “encountered some individuals who were inappropriately dressed.”

A Facebook user told NBC 7 that parents were “panicked” and protested the hike route to the cub master.

According to the official statement from the San Diego-Imperial Council, parents and adult volunteers “quickly rerouted” the group “to protect the youth.”

NBC 7 tracked down the pack leader who told us he was not punished for the field trip.

Council officials say they met with parents and discussed whether there needed to be any other action taken.

“Together we concluded that proper protocol had been observed and appropriate steps were taken in this matter," the official statement said.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve has a number of hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty.

One ranger told NBC 7 that it’s very common to see youth groups hiking in the area, especially scouts who are working toward earning an outdoor badge.
 

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<![CDATA[Man Clogs Toilet With Potatoes]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 08:56:03 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Potatoes.jpg

Looking to unclog his potato-stuffed toilet, a Delaware County, Pennsylvania man decided to try and get help by pulling his apartment building's fire alarm.

It was a poor decision.

The man, who has not yet been identified, pulled the alarm at 7:48 a.m. Sunday at the Oakwood Apartments along the 8700 block of West Chester Pike in Upper Darby, police tell NBC10.

According to authorities, for an unknown reason, the man shoved potatoes down the toilet causing it to clog. He called the apartment building's maintenance department several times for help, but they didn't immediately respond. So he tried to get their attention by pulling the fire alarm, police said.

The three-story building was evacuated and police and fire officials came to the scene to investigate.

Realizing there was not a real emergency, they questioned the man who explained what happened. Police placed him under arrest for ringing the false alarm.

He will be charged in the case, police said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hot Air Ballon Lands in the Street]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:07:28 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Hot+air+balloon+landing+0129.jpg

A pilot who landed a hot air balloon carrying a wedding party in the middle of a residential San Diego street Thursday says the emergency maneuver was the safest option for getting him and his eight passengers on the ground. 

Magical Adventures Pilot Phil Brandt said he knew about 20 minutes into the flight that he would not make the trip's Rancho Penisquitos destination because of changing wind conditions. After earlier attempts in open field and a number of rooftop near misses, Brandt chose Sorrento Valley's Lusk Boulevard to set down the balloon

“I chose the safest option I had with the conditions I had,” Brandt said.

Despite the risks caused by buildings and power lines near by, Brandt says there was no traffic below. He steered the basket into tree tops to slow it down and limit skidding on the street.

It's just that kind of unpredictability that frightens and frustrates nearby Sorrento Valley resident Sandra Williams. Williams says in the last 10 years she has had one hot air balloon collision with her home and several near misses.

“They can't control them they float out of an area that makes any sense,” Williams said.

Brandt says in 25 years and 7,000 flights, he's made emergency landings on roadways several hundred times. He considers this a a safe alternative with no injuries nor property damage.

“It was a controlled landing but at an unusual location,” Brandt said.

The pilot says he is required to contact the Federal Aviation Administration Friday to report details of the landing. He could be sanctioned or cited, but said he doesn't expect to be based on the circumstances.

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<![CDATA[Pharmacy Robbed of Pills]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 20:43:50 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SDPD-Generic-police-tape.jpg

A Southern California pharmacy was robbed Thursday when a thief hopped the counter and stole prescription drugs, San Diego Police confirm.

Officers responded to the CVS on Westview Parkway in Mira Mesa just after 7 p.m. following a robbery of the pharmacy counter involving one or more suspects.

Police were investigating the incident as grand theft but have not said whether it is connected to a recent string of robberies targeting pharmacies.

San Diego Crime Stoppers has offered $1,000 reward to information leading to an arrest in a recent robbery at the Walgreens Pharmacy on Navajo Road.

In that incident, someone walked into the Walgreens just before noon on Jan. 21 and handed a demand note to the pharmacist. 

The note said the man had a gun and wanted oxycodone. The employee handed the man the pills and the male left the store in an unknown direction.

Officials believe the man also robbed a San Diego CVS Pharmacy on Eads Avenue in La Jolla on January 13 with a demand note asking for Roxicodone, a generic name for oxycodone.

Officials are asking anyone with information to call the San Diego Police Department’s Robbery Unit at (619) 531-2299 or the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 News]]>
<![CDATA[Body Parts Found in Suitcase: SFPD]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 05:58:34 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/police-stock-breaking-119818994.jpg

San Francisco police say a suitcase found in the South of Market neighborhood Wednesday afternoon contained dismembered body parts.

The suitcase was found after a caller reported a suspicious package near 11th and Mission streets at 4:14 p.m., according to police.

A medical examiner confirmed the remains are human, but police said it was unclear late Wednesday if all the remains belong to one victim.

Police said the incident brings San Francisco's homicide rate to 10 for the year.

Bay City New contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Pizza Order Leads to Standoff]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:21:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pizza-assault-arrest-gurney.jpg

Police in Irving, Texas, said a man ordered a second pizza during a four-hour standoff that resulted from his first attempt to order a pizza.

Daniel Gurney called a nearby pizzeria Tuesday night. The manager recognized Gurney as a former customer who once used a bad credit card, so he called police to report him for fraud.

When police ran a check on the address given by the pizzeria manager, they learned that Gurney had four probation violation warrants for aggravated assault. Officers responded to his location in the 2400 block of McClure Street at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Police said that an officer arrived to arrest Gurney, who did not cooperate. He tried to escape through the back door, but he was met by police. He then retreated into the house, refusing to come out.

Given Gurney's violent history, police called in a SWAT unit. Authorities said they used beanbag rounds, tear gas and flash-bang grenades before Gurney surrendered peacefully.

During the standoff, a different pizza delivery man arrived at the house with a pizza. Police told the man to leave.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Beauty Trend: Snail Facial]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:37:55 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/THAI-SNAIL-FACIAL-20150128.jpg The latest beauty trend in Thailand has therapists using snails to munch on clients faces, leaving a healthy glow in its path.]]> <![CDATA[Mr. Incredible Gets Probation in Batgirl Body Slam]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 07:47:53 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/10-23-14_hollywood+blvd+costume+superhero+fight.jpg

A man who dressed as Mr. Incredible, the superhero dad from the hit animated movie, was convicted of battery for beating a woman dressed as Batgirl on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Los Angeles City Attorney said Tuesday.

Muhammet Bilik, 35, was sentenced to three years probation, 20 days of California Department of Transportation work, 36 anger-management sessions, as well as one day in jail for the fight, prosecutors said. He is also banned from the Hollywood Entertainment District.

"Hollywood Blvd. is famous around the globe and attracts millions of visitors every year. We must keep it safe," said City Attorney Mike Feuer in a statement. "The characters who interact with children and family along Hollywood Blvd. have to obey the law."

The beating, caught on a video that went viral, shows Bilik in a red costume and black mask covering his eyes body slamming and punching the woman dressed as Batgirl in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre as costumed Chewbacca and Waldo try to restrain him.

A couple of weeks later, the victim came forward and confirmed the masked man’s identity, prosecutors said.

This conviction is one of seven cases in the past six months involving costumed characters, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Captain America, and Superman, Feuer said.

The rash of cases is leading some to worry about the safety of the characters and tourists.

"For him to do something like that just ruins it for us," said a man dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow from the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean." "It makes us look bad."

Added a costumed Spider Man: "There's kids around. There's tourists around, families that are just coming here just to have a good time."

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who represents Hollywood, has been trying to figure out ways to make sure the characters aren't a danger.

He says one possibility is to ask private businesses such as the Hollywood and Highland complex to hire their own characters.

"That could require background checks and some sort of formal process," he said. "It's what they do in Las Vegas. It's what they do in other locations. I would love to see Hollywood take that type of step forward."

O'Farrell says what the city can do is limited because the characters have a First Amendment right to be on public sidewalks.

Spider Man and Captain Jack hope that any action the city takes makes a distinction between those who make trouble and those who do not.

"It's not everyone," Spider Man said. "It's just certain people."

Four years ago the LAPD conducted a crackdown on Hollywood Boulevard street characters. The sweeps led to a lawsuit which a judge ruled violated their First Amendment rights.



Photo Credit: www.filmon.com]]>
<![CDATA[Coyote Roams NYC Housing Complex]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 07:40:41 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/11115coyote.jpg

Police captured a female coyote Sunday that was spotted roaming a Manhattan housing complex, authorities said.

The coyote was sedated and captured in the sprawling Stuyvesant Town complex and delivered to the city's Animal Care and Control, where it was fed and examined by veterinarians.

The animal was later released in a wilderness area in the Bronx.

Earlier this month, police captured a coyote in Riverside Park and released it into a Bronx wooded area.

"Although it's often called the concrete jungle, New York City has over 5,000 acres of forest land and is home to an abundance of wildlife," said city Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.

Most coyotes pose no danger to people, but New Yorkers shouldn't try to feed or approach them, Silver advised.
 

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<![CDATA[Sea Lion Invasion]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 13:32:57 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_sealions0123001_1500x845.jpg Hundreds of sea lions have taken over an Oregon dock, leaving boaters in a lurch.]]> <![CDATA[Michigan Man Tattoos Taco Truck Logo, Gets Free Food]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:34:49 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/taco-stand.jpg A Michigan man is now entitled to a lifetime of free tacos after he got a tattoo of a taco featuring the logo for Flint's new food truck, Vehicle City Tacos.]]> <![CDATA[Man Sells "World's Largest BBQ Pit" on eBay]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 10:14:41 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/smoker2.jpg

They say everything is bigger in Texas, so, naturally, the proclaimed "world's largest barbecue pit" is being sold on eBay by a Brenham man.

Terry Folsom listed "Undisputable Cuz," the 40-ton, 76-foot barbecue pit, on eBay for $350,000. The 24-door pit also features:

  • A walk-in cooler
  • Beer taps
  • Places for television and stereo equipment
  • A 40 kW diesel generator

Folsom is also selling the truck pictured in the listing (and above) for an additional $50,000.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Barbie-Costumed Attacker Was High]]> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 22:52:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tutu-trial-clip%281%29_1-PIC_0.jpg

The trial for the man accused of a brazen sexual assault in a Big Lots bathroom closed Wednesday as the defendant argued he had no recollection of the alleged attack.

Gregory Phillip Schwartz, 41, said he was drunk and high on meth and had been up for several days at the time of the alleged assault. He said, though, that he does not remember much of what he heard from others’ testimonies.

"I start hallucinating when I've been up that long...from sleep deprivation and the drug," Schwartz said in court Wednesday. "I was out of my mind."

Schwartz is charged with multiple felonies, including assault with intent to commit rape, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and false imprisonment by violence in the February assault. He is also charged with shoplifting the dress he donned during the attack – a pink Barbie cheerleader costume.

The victim, who testified under her first name only at the beginning of the trial, said she entered the bathroom inside a Clairemont Big Lots while talking on the phone. She said she went into a stall and was getting ready to take a seat when she caught the sight of a man’s bare feet on the ground in the stall next to her.

The man then climbed up on the toilet and peered over the stall at her before getting down on all fours and crawling into her stall to attack her, she said. She alleged that the defendant grabbed her, held her by her neck and attempted to sexually assault her.

Schwartz, however, said he only remembers waking up to a screaming woman in the adjoining stall. He said he had gone into the men’s restroom to masturbate after hours of drinking in an attempt to come down off the meth and sleep. He did not know at the time that he had fallen asleep for two hours before switching to the women’s restroom.

“I remember waking up on the floor and a woman had her hands over her ears and she was screaming,” he said in court. “I was half in my stall and half encroaching on hers.”

The defendant said he does not remember peeking over the stall; only that the screaming sobered him up.

“I went back into my stall and she continued to scream for ten more seconds and I waited for her to go out,” he said.

Prosecutors allege that Schwartz ran back into the men’s restroom to change out of the Barbie costume before trying to leave. He was confronted by a Clairemont Town Square security guard and dropped a pair of women’s underwear on the ground before brandishing what appeared to be a screw driver, then fled the store, according to earlier testimony from the security guard.

Earlier that same day, an employee at a nearby hair salon was reportedly sitting in her car when the defendant opened the passenger door and asked her if she wanted to smoke meth, according to testimony by Detective Carmelin Rivera with the San Diego Police Department’s Sex Crimes Unit.

Schwartz said he does not recollect that either.

Much was learned about Schwartz in his testimony, including the fact that he is a Navy veteran and has a six-year-old daughter. He is also divorced and his only real chunk of sobriety was during his seven-year marriage, ending in 2010.

Before losing his job and his home two years ago, Schwartz worked as an electrician, he told the jury Wednesday.

But addiction – which Schwartz’s attorneys are using in multiple ways to argue his innocence – has been on ongoing problem for many years, he said. He has been in and out of recovery programs, both successfully and not, since his time in the Navy, and had left a rehabilitation center less than two weeks before the attack, he said in court.

Schwartz’s defense team argued at the beginning of the trial that he suffered from drug-induced “transvestic fetishism” and becomes more sexual and is aroused by cross-dressing while under the influence of meth.

Psychiatrist and addiction specialist Dr. Alan Abrams took the stand to confirm that fact; stating masturbation, use of pornography and heightened sexuality are not uncommon for meth users.

“People who use methamphetamine come to experience a particularly heightened euphoria from their sexual behavior, and so things develop from that pairing where users of methamphetamine come to want to enhance their sexuality by using methamphetamine, and so they get into this vicious cycle,” Abrams told the jury.

Abrams also detailed the difference between homosexual males, bisexual males and those men who enjoy sex with other men while high on drugs, but are neither bisexual nor homosexual.

According to Schwartz’s testimony, he has secretly worn women’s clothes and indulged in sex with other men since age 17, but only while high on “uppers.”

The prosecution said at the start of the case, that although the victim made it out of the alleged attack, the case is important for the safety of the public.

“I have never handled a case like this before,” said Deputy District Attorney Mary-Ellen Barrett, prosecutor in the case.

“Based on the charges and what happened in the case, we’re taking it very seriously as a public risk and thankfully the victim came out fine. She’s injured and she’s scared, but she will recover and that’s all we want,” Barrett added.

The trial closed Wednesday afternoon and it is now up to a jury to decide Schwartz’s fate. If convicted, he faces seven years in prison.

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<![CDATA[Man Holds Child During Theft: Cops]]> Sun, 18 Jan 2015 21:10:03 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Surveillance-Photos-of-the-.jpg

Police are searching for two theft suspects, including one man who was allegedly caught on camera snatching a wallet while holding a child.

On Jan. 5, around 9:30 a.m., a 62-year-old man left his wallet on the counter of the Interstate Battery Store on Robin Hood Road in Delmar, Delaware.

Two men, one of them carrying a small child, entered the store, took the man’s wallet from the counter and then left the scene, according to police.

The first suspect is described as a man between the ages of 20 and 30 standing between 5-foot-10 and 6-feet and wearing a blue shirt and black jacket.

The second suspect is described as a man between the ages of 20 and 30 standing between 5-foot-10 and 6-feet wearing a blue shirt.

If you have any information on their identities or whereabouts, please contact Senior Corporal J. Wharton at 302-337-1090.



Photo Credit: Delaware State Police]]>