The Odd Side – April 14, 2015

Washington State Police Find Family’s Stolen Vacation Cabin

SEATTLE (Reuters) – A vacation cabin that disappeared off its foundation in eastern Washington state has been located several miles away, apparently stolen using a flatbed truck by people who intended to live in it, a law enforcement official said.

The Stevens County Sheriff’s Office said deputies found the missing log cabin in a rural area near Springdale after receiving information about its whereabouts.

“It was stolen. We do have suspects,” said Steven County Sheriff Kendle Allen, who added that it appears the suspects had been living in the building.

“We have search warrants and deputies are examining the property,” he said.

Allen described the cabin as a very small, 10-foot by 20-foot weekend hunting shed that can be moved with a truck. He said it was located about five miles from where it was stolen and had been placed on a makeshift foundation.

The cabin’s owner, Chris-Haney Hempel, said she and her family discovered the building missing on Tuesday, about two weeks after they last used it. She thinks it was stolen with a flatbed truck sometime around March 25.

“The gate (to the property) was cut. And there were some tracks around back. It looked like a middle of the night kind of thing,” she said.

The prefabricated cabin, which does not have a septic system or electricity, contained light furnishings and camping gear, she said.

“We are relieved,” Hempel said. “Thank [Heaven] for everyone out there that helped look for it,” she added.

Cops: Reported Gator in Western Pa. River May Never Be Found

BELLE VERNON, Pa. (AP) – An alligator reportedly spotted in a western Pennsylvania river may never be found — or even confirmed — but police continued to search for it, the local police chief said.

Nobody has seen the reptile since two people reportedly spotted it in the Monongahela River in Belle Vernon on Tuesday, Southwest Regional Police Chief John Hartman said.

“We’ve continued to investigate it,” Hartman said.

The initial report made by two people near a boat launch indicated the alligator was about seven feet long.

It’s possible the animal hitched a ride on a barge from a warmer spot down South, or was an exotic pet that was released by its owner or escaped into the river, Hartman said.

Police have consulted with the U.S. Coast Guard and Pittsburgh Zoo officials and determined that the alligator — if that’s what it was — could survive even though the river remains relatively cold, Hartman said.

Police received several calls about the alligator on Thursday, but they weren’t new sightings, the chief said. Rather, people who also thought they had seen an alligator in the river — some several weeks ago — called police to report it after Pittsburgh-area media outlets began reporting the sighting.

“There have been no additional sightings or reports since the first two people spotted it,” Hartman said.

The Coast Guard used crews to search the river’s banks on and found nothing.

Although experts have told police the alligator couldn’t live in the area year-round, the cold-blooded animal would be able to survive for an extended period as long as the river wasn’t frozen over. That would keep it from breathing properly in the water, Hartman said.

Officials: Sea Lion Pulls Man With Fish Into San Diego Bay

SAN DIEGO (AP) – Officials say a 62-year-old man holding a fish he caught on a boat in a San Diego bay was pulled overboard by a sea lion.

San Diego lifeguards tell the Los Angeles Times that the man was posing for a photo when the sea lion, apparently attempting to get the fish, bit on the man’s arm instead and pulled him to the bottom of the 20 feet of water in Mission Bay until he was let go and rose to the surface.

San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Capt. Joe Amador says in a report by U-T San Diego that the animal lunged over a railing on the boat and latched onto his hand and the fish around 4:00 p.m.

He says the man had cuts on his hands and feet and was taken to a hospital in an ambulance.

California sea lions, many of them pups, have been washing ashore stranded and hungry in record numbers in recent months.

China to Document Its Tourists Behaving Badly Abroad

(Reuters) – China will keep records of “uncivilized” behavior by its tourists for up to two years, the country’s tourism agency said on Tuesday, to combat a spate of incidents abroad in recent years that it said reflected badly on the country’s image.

Bad behavior included violating customs, destroying public infrastructure and historic sites, causing disturbances on public transportation and participating in gambling, the agency said.

“China’s image has already been tarnished,” the China National Tourism Administration stated.

The actions of badly behaved tourists has caused many people to “blush with shame” and people who behaved badly overseas needed to “learn a lesson,” it added. It did not specify the nature of any punishment.

Regulators would hunt out bad behavior through tips from local tourism bureaus, media reports and the general public.

Overseas travel has boomed in recent years among increasingly affluent Chinese, who have become the world’s biggest spenders on travel since 2012, according to the U.N. World Tourism Organization.