The Odd Side – January 20, 2015

Large Bird Attacks Oregon Jogger; Owl Is Blamed for Strikes

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – An Oregon jogger thought someone knocked him in the head or he got hit by lightning or may have suffered a stroke when he felt a big blow to the head last week as he was jogging in Bush’s Pasture Park.

When the 58-year-old man, Ron Jaecks of Salem, was struck a second time he saw a large winged animal he thought was a massive bat.

Willamette University biology Professor David Craig told the Statesman Journal the attacker was likely an owl.

Great horned owls are nesting in January and are known to attack anything they think threatens their nest.

1882 Winchester Rifle Discovered

RENO, Nev. (AP) – Researchers are trying to crack the mystery surrounding the discovery of a weathered Winchester rifle in the mountains of remote eastern Nevada.

The gun manufactured in 1882 was found leaning against a juniper tree on a rocky outcrop in Great Basin National Park in November.

Nichole Andler, the park’s chief of interpretation, said it’s possible it could have been left undisturbed since the 1800s.

The area along the Utah border has a history of mining, ranching and hunting, she said, and park researchers are scouring historical documents to learn who might have owned the rifle.

“I would say the possibilities are wide open as to who owned the rifle and why it was left there,” Andler said.

Herbert Houze is the former curator of what became known as the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming.

He said Winchester Model 1873 rifles such as the one found in Nevada were so valuable that he thinks whoever owned it leaned it against the tree and then was unable to find it.

“You just don’t leave a gun like that there,” he said.

The rifles, which sold for $35 to $50 in the 1880s, now can fetch up to $15,000 in excellent condition. They were among the most popular guns on the Western frontier.

After viewing photographs of the rifle, Houze said, he knows why it went undetected for so long: It blended in so well with its surroundings.

“People probably have walked right by it,” he said. “It was a one in a million chance they looked at it the right way and found it.”

The unloaded rifle’s serial number was still visible, which allowed experts at the Buffalo Bill Center to determine it was made in 1882.

Man Delivers One Pizza in Michigan — Gets $2,084 Tip

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – Now that’s a special delivery!

A group of real estate agents meeting in Ann Arbor surprised a man by giving him a $2,084 tip for delivering one pizza.

The man, identified only as Rob, was stunned and said on video, “All I did was deliver pizza.”

Agents from Keller Williams Realty all pitched in while attending the company’s regional conference. Stacey McVey says they wanted to show their appreciation to someone from the service industry.

Besides cash, the man received a Visa gift card, lottery tickets and letters of encouragement.

Brian LeFevre, delivery manager at Pizza House in Ann Arbor, says the lucky delivery man was “ecstatic.” He says “that’s a pretty good day’s work” for just one pizza.

‘Thumbs Up’ Robber Recognizes Clerk, Gives Colorado Store a Pass

DENVER (Reuters) – Police in Colorado are hunting a hooded man who was about to rob a convenience store but stopped after recognizing the clerk and then gave the startled employee a cheery thumbs-up.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said the conscience-stricken suspect walked into a Quick Save in Arvada, a northwestern suburb of Denver, on Tuesday at lunchtime wearing a blue hoodie, jeans and a blue bandana.

“The suspect looked at the clerk and said, ‘I was going to rob this place but I know you,’” the sheriff’s office said on Wednesday in a statement.

The man then asked the store clerk whether he knew him, it said, to which the employee replied that he didn’t.

“The suspect then stated, ‘Good,’ and walked out of the store while giving a ‘thumbs up’ sign to the clerk.”

The gesture was recorded by a store security camera.

Police said the man drove away and shortly afterward a suspect fitting his description was reported to have robbed a 7-Eleven store about a mile and a half away on the same road.

On Thursday, the sheriff’s office said the man had also been wearing distinctive red and yellow shoes, and it urged the public to get in touch if they recognized him.

8-Foot Alligator Found at L.A. Home Suspected of Eating Cats

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Animal control officers armed with a search warrant discovered an 8-foot alligator, estimated to be about 40 years old, in a closed box at a home in Van Nuys, Los Angeles Animal Services Commander Mark Salazar said.

Salazar said Animal Services was conducting a full criminal investigation and called on any residents in the area who have lost small pets at “any time over the last 40 years” to contact the department.

As of Thursday, no arrests had been made or charges filed. Keeping wild animals without a permit is illegal in Los Angeles.

Ron Gorecki told the Los Angeles Times that he had helped his sister care for the alligator, named Jaxson, since her husband, its original owner, died last year.

“We tried to give him a good home,” Gorecki told the paper.

Gorecki told the Los Angeles Daily News that Jaxson fed on “chicken, hot dogs, stuff of that nature — nothing live,” leaving the family’s cats alone.

“Basically what they’re trying to say is that we’re taking our cats and feeding them to our alligator,” Gorecki told the newspaper. “That’s not what happened. There’s never been a complaint, never been a problem.”

The alligator was taken to the Los Angeles Zoo.