Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, March 15th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, March 15th

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LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida woman is fighting to keep her 6-foot-long pet alligator in her home.
The 125-pound reptile named Rambo wears clothes, rides on the back of a motorcycle and has a bedroom in Mary Thorn's home in Lakeland.
Thorn has had a license for the alligator for 11 years, but it recently grew to 6 feet. Wildlife officials say that size alligator must have 2.5 acres of land. Thorn tells the Orlando Sentinel that even if she had land available, Rambo can't be left outdoors because of sensitivity to sunlight.
Thorn takes Rambo to schools and charity events to teach people about reptiles. She says she has trained him not to bite.
Florida wildlife commission spokesman Gary Morse says Thorn's case is under investigation.

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CHARLTON, Mass. (AP) -- Police in a Massachusetts town are warning residents to be on the lookout for men challenging passers-by to rap battles.
Charlton police told WCVB-TV that a black SUV containing a group of men in their late teens or early 20s pulled up next to three teenage boys Saturday afternoon.
One of the men got out of the vehicle and started rapping. The other men then asked the teens if they wanted to "spit some bars" with them. When the boys declined, the men drove off.
Police say it doesn't appear to be an attempted abduction, but the boys were frightened.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police.
Charlton's website says it's one of the 50 safest cities in Massachusetts.

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LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) -- This rookie got caught looking.
Eager to do well, Braeden Ward reported to the Detroit Tigers on Monday to work his first day as a bat boy. It didn't take long for the college freshman to fall prey to a clubhouse prank that's been around forever.
"They asked me to get the key to the batter's box," he said.
Despite his best efforts - oh, and plenty of help from the Tigers, New York Mets manager Terry Collins and the umpires - the 18-year-old nicknamed "Bugsy" never got it locked down.
"The oldest trick in baseball," Ward said, laughing. "Yes, sir. They got me good."
He won't be the last one, for sure. Every year, stories grow about teams sending earnest, young employees on searches for nonexistent ballpark items. It's a playful rite of passage throughout the majors and minors.
Mets assistant general manager John Ricco recalled an intern at Citi Field last season who was dispatched to retrieve the left-handed fungo bats.
"They went to 15 different departments and never did find them," Ricco said. "It's a tradition in the game, it's fun. But the key to batter's box - that's the gold standard."
This gag played out at the Tigers' spring training park, fittingly named Joker Marchant Stadium in honor of a former local official.
Ward's quest began when Detroit third base coach Dave Clark said he needed the key and suggested the umpires might have it. Wearing his Tigers uniform and a batting helmet, Ward knocked on the door at the umps' locker room and politely asked.
Veteran umpire Bob Davidson quickly sensed what was going on.
"First day?" he inquired.
Having seen this routine before, Davidson pointed the Florida Southern College student toward Collins. When Ward left, the ump deadpanned: "He might be back for the box of curveballs, too."
Ward then went over to the Mets' locker room and told a clubhouse worker why he needed to see Collins. The skipper is no stranger to these sort of shenanigans, either.
"He tapped me on the chest and said, 'Don't worry, son, you'll find it,'" Ward said.
Eventually, a staff member in the Tigers' clubhouse clued in Ward.
"I can't believe I fell for it," a smiling Ward said after Detroit's 9-2 win. "I've played baseball my whole life. I've lived in the batter's box. I played tricks like that on the freshmen in high school."
"But this time, yup, they got me," he said.

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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts man who stole more than $400 from Girl Scouts selling cookies must pay restitution but has avoided prison.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that Greenfield resident Nicholas Taverna pleaded guilty Monday to theft, shoplifting and assault and battery. He faced up to 15 years behind bars but was sentenced to three years of probation.
Prosecutors say the 25-year-old Taverna grabbed the cash box from the 11- and 12-year-old girls selling cookies at the Northampton Walmart in January 2013, then ran to a car driven by an accomplice.
A Scouts' chaperone was injured trying to stop Taverna.
Taverna's attorney says her client was driven by a heroin addiction but has turned his life around and made the dean's list at a community college.
The getaway driver awaits trial.

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(AP) NASHVILLE, TN - Metro police said a man tried to force his way inside another man's home saying he was there to save his wife, Taylor Swift.
The victim and the suspect, Paul Herrin, battled back and forth on either side of the door. The victim was finally able to shut it, lock it and called police.
Herrin told police he was in Nashville from Knoxville to rescue his wife, who he claimed was Swift.
He was taken into custody and charged with aggravated burglary.

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Police in Plano, Texas are asking for help identifying and finding two people who burglarized an ULTA store. 
One was wearing a black sweatshirt and black pants. The other was dressed as Captain America -- or at least he was wearing a Captain American sweatshirt. 
Police say the broke in, stole plenty of items, and then drove off in a silver SUV. 
Officers say they may be connected to other ULTA burglaries in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

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Cue, Australia - A police station in western Australia has adopted an orphaned kangaroo.
The cue police station announced that the new addition to the team would be called Cuejo.
Police officers started looking after four-month old Cuejo after his mother was hit and killed by a truck.
Cue police station is about 385 miles north east of Perth.

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The mother of a man who has been accused of running a meth lab twice said her son was actually making wine.
Jan Kowalski said last week that her son, Daniel Kowalski, wasn't making drugs when police arrested him at his suburban Chicago home in Feb. 2014, according to The Chicago Tribune. He was pictured in his mug shot wearing a shirt inspired by the TV show "Breaking Bad."
Kowalski pleaded guilty Friday to two drug possession charges, one a felony, according to the Tribune. A judge sentenced him to two years of probation and 30 hours of community service.
Police acting on a tip performed a check at Daniel Kowalski's home in Feb. 2014 at about 6:45 p.m. Monday in the 1000 block of 61st Street in unincorporated La Grange Highlands, according to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff's office.
Officers found glass beakers, burners, chemicals, and instructional materials for making controlled substances, though the lab was not active, the statement said. Twelve jars of psychedelic mushrooms were also recovered.
Kowalski's mug shot shows him wearing a "Los Pollos" T-shirt from the show "Breaking Bad." He was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of methamphetamine manufacturing materials, and possession of methamphetamine precursors, all felonies; and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia, the statement said.
"He had winemaking equipment," Jan Kowalski said, according to the Tribune.
She went on to say he was a "special education" student when he was younger and said he had used the equipment to make two batches of wine, according to the report.
She also said she didn't know how cops could confuse the carboys and pipettes used in winemaking for the beakers and other materials used in a meth lab, according to the Tribune. 
The 2014 arrest marked the second time in less than a year a meth lab was found in his home, police said. Kowalski was also arrested in July 2013 after police found a suspected meth lab in his home, the statement said.

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A 300 foot deep mine shaft has opened just feet away from a home in Cornwall, England.
The hole looks similar to the damage normally caused by sinkholes, but 
Someone flew a drone with a camera on it into the shaft to check it out. That's when they realized it there was water 300 feet down, but beyond there, they're not sure how deep it goes. 
The area is known for its heritage as a mining town, so it's no surprise that the shaft exists. 

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LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) - A man went into a public restroom in the lobby of the Lakeland Police Department building to inject heroin, according to LPD.
It happened Friday a little before 8 a.m. Samuel Alicea, 35, went in to use the public restroom at the LPD building's front lobby. A little while later one of the officers heard a loud thump sound coming from the bathroom.
The officer went to check on the man, knocked on the door, yelled out several times. Nobody responded. LPD officers got the key to open the door. They found Alicea on the floor unconscious and unresponsive, bleeding from the arm.
Next to him officers found measuring spoons, small plastic baggies and a syringe with some liquid in it. Alicea was taken to a hospital. The liquid in the syringe tested positive for heroin.
After being released from the hospital, Alicea was arrested for Possession of Heroin and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and taken to the Polk County Jail.

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