The Odd Side – May 17, 2016

Man Attempts to Rob Car Wash With Potato Chip Bag

ROHNERT PARK, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a man tried to rob a car wash in Northern California with an empty potato chip bag and an alleged handgun.

Rohnert Park’s Department of Public Safety says in a statement that the man entered KaCees World of Water car wash Friday and dropped an empty potato chip bag on the counter.

He told the cashier to fill it with money, warning that he had a gun.

The man gestured that the weapon was in the empty bag, but the cashier saw it held only a piece of cardboard and called a co-worker for help.

Police say when the other employee approached, the suspect fled on foot.

Thousands of Tiny Red Crabs Stranding on California Beach

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Thousands of tiny red crabs are carpeting beaches in Orange County and creating an amazing spectacle for beachgoers.

Lifeguards estimate that hundreds of thousands of the tiny crustaceans washed up Friday on beaches in Newport Beach.

Others were spotted in Laguna Beach.

The Orange County Register reports that pelagic red crabs are usually found off Baja California, but currents that are part of the El Nino weather pattern are sweeping them north.

The 1- to 3-inch-long crabs have washed up for several years along the Orange County coastline.

Before that, they hadn’t been seen in the area for decades.

Philadelphia Police Van Is Disguised as Google Maps Vehicle

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia police officers attached a large Google Maps logo to a surveillance van in an apparent attempt to disguise it as one of the company’s street-filming cars.

Police spokesman Lt. John Stanford said Friday that no one was authorized by the department to place the decal on the van. He says it appeared officers were “being creative.”

The department was made aware of the decal by a news outlet Wednesday and it was removed the same day.

A Google spokeswoman confirms the van was not part of its Street View fleet and says it’s looking into the report.

The fleet records panoramic street views. The most common vehicles used are compact cars mounted with cameras and wrapped in the company’s logo and mapping graphics.

Hero Dog Saves 7-Year-Old Girl From Rattlesnake

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — When a venomous Eastern diamondback rattlesnake appeared in the backyard of a 7-year-old Florida girl, her German shepherd came to her rescue, refusing to back down despite multiple snakebites.

Tampa media is reporting that Molly DeLuca was playing Wednesday with her 2-year-old shepherd, named Haus, when the snake showed up. Haus jumped between them and was bitten three times, suffering damage to his kidneys. The dog has been getting antivenin since then and should recover.

The girl’s mother, Donya, says Molly and Haus are inseparable, so she’s not surprised he would risk his life to save her.

Donations to help pay the vet bills exceeded $15,000 by Friday.

Government Says He’s Dead; Man Insists He’s Very Much Alive

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Lincoln man says he’s not dead, despite what the Social Security Administration has said.

Chuck Zellers learned of his demise in March after his Social Security deposit was removed from his bank account while he and his wife, Alice, were in Arizona, he told the Lincoln Journal Star.

They talked to a woman at the Social Security office who checked her computer and told him, “’Oh, by golly, you are dead,’” Zellers said.

“She told me it could be a funeral home declared you deceased; or that someone just put in a wrong keystroke or something like that,” he said.

But Zellers, 73, admitted he will probably never know how it happened.

So, he’s spent the past few weeks going from agency to agency, business to business, proving with various documents that Charles Richard Zellers II, of Lincoln, Nebraska, is not dead yet.

It was “a lot of driving and a lot of calling,” he said.

He retired from his computer job at Unisys in 2000, and since then his pension and Social Security checks have been his main source of income. He hadn’t received either check in over two months.

Luckily, when he cut his Arizona trip short and returned home, his local Social Security office paid him what he was owed — but only after they saw him alive.

His Veteran’s Administration disability payments were recently reinstated and his credit rating is also back.

“It looks like they are reversing things for me,” Zellers said.

Volunteer Detroit Park Grass Cutters Try Blindfolded Mowing

DETROIT (AP) — Volunteers helping to maintain Detroit parks and playgrounds took a crack at mowing grass while blindfolded as part of a friendly competition.

The Detroit News reports that the Detroit Mower Gang held the competition on Wednesday while trimming Hammerberg Field on the city’s west side. The contest came after they wanted to determine who could drive a riding mower the straightest without seeing.

It wasn’t easy: Two of the six contestants mowed an X in the grass as they crossed paths at Hammerberg Field, which includes a playground, football field and baseball diamond. Two others mowed perpendicular paths.

Jim Coffman went crooked but not as crooked as the others, so he won the first race. The newspaper says the prize was a bunch of used blindfolds.