The Odd Side – January 27, 2015

Suspected Burglar Falls Through Ceiling, Lands Near Police

HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say a man’s plans to break into a Houston store fell through, after he crashed through the ceiling and landed in front of police.

Houston police say the man climbed a tree and onto the roof of a Family Dollar store early Sunday morning, then managed to break a hole in the roof and enter the building.

But after making his way into the store, the man fell through the ceiling just as a police officer arrived in response to a call about a potential burglary.

KHOU media reports that the officer ordered the unidentified man to stay on the floor. The man was later arrested.

Authorities believe the man was trying to steal cigarettes.

Woman Gets Bag Full of Cash At Drive-Thru

ROCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire woman got a surprise at a fast-food drive-thru: a bag full of cash instead of food.

Janelle Jones says she discovered on the way home that the bag did not contain the sweet tea and junior spicy chicken sandwich that she had ordered Friday at the Rochester restaurant.

Foster’s Daily Democrat reports that Jones called her husband and they decided to return the $2,631, which was a bank deposit.

Matthew Jones says the couple briefly considered keeping the money, which they certainly could have used. But they did not, because they believe that G-d sees everything.

The newspaper reports that the restaurant confirmed the couple’s account but had no comment on it.

Eating While Driving: Man’s Burger Gets Him a Traffic Ticket

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A man says enjoying a burger as he cruised down a highway outside Atlanta got him in trouble with the law — and a ticket for eating while driving.

Madison Turner of Alabama told the media that the officer told him three times: “You can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger.” He was ticketed for violating Georgia’s distracted driving law.

Turner said the officer told him he had been eating the burger for about 2 miles.

“Maybe I was enjoying the burger too much; I needed to tone it down. I was certainly willing to do so, but I didn’t expect to be fined or punished,” Turner told the Atlanta station.

In an email to The Associated Press early Tuesday, Cobb County police spokesman Mike Bowman said the department would not comment about the case.

William Head, a longtime traffic lawyer who is not representing Turner, said he doesn’t recall seeing a case quite like this one.

Georgia’s distracted driver law does not mention food. It says only that drivers can’t engage in actions that distract them from operating a vehicle safely.

“Maybe if you had a giant pizza in both hands and you weren’t holding the wheel, or maybe if you had a watermelon — half a watermelon — and you were just diving into it holding it with both hands, maybe that would be something,” Head said.

Iowa Billboard Mannequin Startles Motorists, Loses Job

(Reuters) – A car dealer is taking down an oversized mannequin that had been placed atop a roadside billboard advertisement in rural Iowa after a number of alarmed drivers called the 911 emergency number to report a man who looked like he was going to jump.

“I hate to take it down, but in the interest of public safety I decided to,” Brad Deery, owner of 10 car dealerships in Iowa, told Reuters by telephone on Friday.

Deery said the sheriff in Des Moines County asked him to remove the mannequin because drivers were becoming distracted and that some could be tempted to try to climb the sign and take a selfie.

The billboard on U.S. Route 61 advertises Deery’s West Burlington dealership. The sign reads “I can see Deery Toyota, Nissan, Mazda from here,” Deery said.

The mannequin is posed as though it is looking off at distant car lots.

The Hawk Eye, a local newspaper, reported that the Des Moines County Sheriff’s Department was concerned after receiving 911 calls and requested the removal of the mannequin. The department did not respond to a phone call requesting comment.

Deery said his business also took a lot of calls about the mannequin. “I like people talking about it. Hey, I’m in the business of selling cars. But it’s done too good a job.”

Death By Chocolate: A Problem For Bears in New Hampshire

BOSTON (Reuters) – New Hampshire wildlife officials are drawing up a proposal to curb the use of chocolate as bait by hunters seeking to draw black bears out of the woods after four of the wild animals were found dead at a trapping site from an overdose of the treat.

Bears find sweets irresistible during the autumn hunting season and eat voraciously to build fat stores for winter hibernation, said Kent Gustafson, the Wildlife Program Supervisor for the state’s fish and game department.

“Given the circumstances, we certainly don’t want to see something like this happen again,” Gustafson said. “I expect we will have a proposal to deal with this sometime next month.”

Four black bears, including two cubs, were found dead in September within 50 feet of where a hunter placed nearly 100 pounds of chocolate and doughnuts as bait, wildlife officials said. An autopsy conducted by the University of New Hampshire showed the bears had died of an overdose of theobromine, a naturally occurring toxic ingredient in chocolate.

Gustafson said the deaths were the first of their kind reported in New Hampshire, but followed similar incidents with black bears and raccoons in Michigan.

He said the proposal put forward by the department could range from banning any chocolate in bear bait, to allowing it only in limited quantities, like in doughnuts or chocolate sprinkles on other sweets.

New Hampshire has about 4,800 black bears, officials estimate.