The Odd Side – September 20, 2017

Vermont Police Seek Panda-Costume Wearing Theft Suspect

WILLISTON, Vt. (AP) – A Vermont police department is asking for help identifying a suspect wearing a panda costume believed to have stolen an airsoft rifle from a sports store.

Williston police say the costumed suspect walked into the Dicks Sporting Goods at about 8:20 p.m. Monday, picked up the airsoft rifle and ran out of the store without paying for it.

Police responded, but were unable to locate the suspect.

Store employees told police the suspect had been in the store earlier Monday — sans panda outfit — and looked at the same rifle, but left without buying it. He told employees he’d be back to buy it.

Complaints About Festival’s Cold Pizza Prompt State Inquiry

NEW YORK (AP) – Some New York City foodies say a neighborhood pizza festival has left them with a bad taste in their mouths.

Prosecutors are looking into the New York City Pizza Festival after participants fumed they paid $75 each to eat cold slivers of pizza in a parking lot in Brooklyn over the weekend.

The festival was promoted as a celebration of pizza. Attendees say they instead got cold slices of pizza “smaller than a sample size,” served with glasses of warm wine.

WNBC reports Democratic state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is urging attendees to file complaints. A spokesman says prosecutors opened an investigation Monday.

Festival organizer Ishmael Osekre says event producer, Hangry Garden, delayed the event. The event producer contends it was misled by the organizer and wasn’t paid.

No More Monkey Business: Lawsuit Over Macaque’s ‘Selfie’ Is Settled

(Reuters) – A novel U.S. legal battle over who owned a famous smiling “selfie” taken by a critically endangered monkey six years ago — the animal who snapped the picture or the nature photographer who owned the camera — has been settled out of court.

Attorneys for Naruto, a rare crested macaque, and for David Slater, a British photographer, announced that Slater has agreed to donate 25 percent of the photograph’s future revenue to charitable groups that protect Naruto and other members of his species in Indonesia.

The two sides asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which heard oral arguments in July after a lower court denied Naruto’s claim, to dismiss the case.

The dispute stemmed from an image that Naruto, who lives on a nature reserve, snapped using a camera that Slater left mounted and unattended during a 2011 trip. The photograph of his grinning visage, which Slater published in a wildlife book, went viral.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sued on Naruto’s behalf, arguing the monkey was the legal owner of all photos he took. But a federal judge in San Francisco ruled in January 2016 that copyright law does not apply to animals.

PETA’s general counsel, Jeff Kerr, said the organization was happy the deal would provide support for crested macaques, whose existence has been threatened by poaching.

It was not clear how much the photograph has been worth to Slater, who previously said that fewer than 100 copies of his self-published book had been sold despite the publicity.

Monster Blob Found in East London Sewer

LONDON (Reuters) – A ball of fat as long as three soccer pitches has been found blocking a Victorian-era, East London sewer.

“It’s a total monster and taking a lot of manpower and machinery to remove,” said Thames Water’s head of waste networks, Matt Rimmer. “It’s one of the largest we’ve ever seen.”

The rock-solid mass of wet wipes, fat and oil weighs as much as 10 double-decker buses.

Work in Whitechapel to remove the blockage started this week and involves an eight-strong crew using jet hoses to break up the mass before sucking it out with a tanker.

“It’s basically like trying to break up concrete,” said Rimmer. “Bin it, don’t block it” was the message, he added.