Mad Minute stories from Monday, March 28th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Monday, March 28th

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DENVER, Pa. (AP) -- A 44-year-old woman is accused of skipping out on a $600 fare after police say she took a taxi 135 miles from New York City to her Pennsylvania home.
Authorities say the cab arrived at Kelli Boyer's Denver, Pennsylvania, home around 1 a.m. Sunday and she told the driver she would be back in a few minutes to pay the fare. When she didn't return in about 15 minutes, the driver called police.
Police say officers made several attempts to contact the Lancaster County woman but she refused to answer her door or phone. She's charged with theft of services.
Online court records don't list a defense attorney who could comment on the charges.

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ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) -- A New Jersey home supposedly stalked by an anonymous creepy-letter writer who goes by "The Watcher" is back on the market.
The current owners, a married couple with three children, bought it in June 2014 for nearly $1.4 million. But they refused to move in due to eerie letters they say they received from a person with a "mentally disturbed fixation" on the home.
The couple took the house off the market last summer after suing the previous owners. But they put the house up for sale again last week.
The six-bedroom, 3½-bathroom home is in Westfield, 25 miles west of New York City. According to an online post, it has high ceilings, fireplaces and "elegant foyers," and sits on nearly a half-acre. The listing price $1.25 million
The current owners, Derek and Maria Broaddus, claim in their suit that they should have been warned about the letter writer. They want the former owners to refund them the purchase price and pay punitive damages.
They claim one of the letters they received read: "Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them too (sic) me." The person signs the letters as "The Watcher."
In their suit, they claim they are unable to live in the home "without extreme anxiety and fear for their children's safety and wellbeing."
The former owners, John and Andrea Woods, have called the couple's account fiction and moved earlier this year to have the suit dismissed. But no decision has been made on that request.
The Woods said in a court filing that they received a single anonymous note days before the closing, but they deny the note was disturbing or claimed an ownership right to the home.

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CAL-NEV-ARI, Nev. (AP) -- Buying your own town is as easy as buying 500 acres of vacant land located just 70 miles south of Las Vegas from the founder of a place called Cal-Nev-Ari.
Nancy Kidwell is offering the entirety of her town for just $8 million. She tried to sell the property in 2010 for $17 million but couldn't find any buyers. Now the 78-year-old has dropped the price and is including Cal-Nev-Ari's casino, diner, convenience store, 10-room motel, RV park and mile-long dirt airstrip in the deal.
The only things not for sale are the residents themselves, some privately owned homes, the small community center and a volunteer fire station built by Clark County
Kidwell and her husband, Slim, founded the town in 1965 when it was just an empty swath of land along U.S. 95. Now it is home to about 350 people, but Kidwell said she can't sustain it. Slim died in 1983 and her second husband died in 2011, leaving the bulk of maintaining the town to her.
"It's time for someone else to do something with it," the 78-year-old said. "Fifty-one years is long enough."
Listing broker Fred Marik said the main value of the property is land and that the businesses are "just breaking even." He said he is advertising the town as a blank canvas. It doesn't have paved roads, but it does have deep-water wells, a sewer system and a utility company.
When real estate was a hot commodity, investors bought land in rural towns outside Las Vegas - Kidwell said she once had two people get into a bidding war for the town - but when the economy crashed interest died down.
Marik said he has received a few inquiries so far, with prospective buyers considering the land for a retirement community, a renewable energy project, a motorsports park, a dude ranch, a survival school, a shooting range or a "marijuana resort," if that were to become legal.
"You're basically buying the land and the opportunity to grow something on it," Marik said.
Resident Kate Colton, who has lived in Cal-Nev-Ari for about 20 years, said she's happy that Kidwell is trying to move forward with her life. She said a marijuana business would be "a little scary," but that new investors are probably a good thing for the community.
"The economy here could use a boost," she said.

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WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) -- Two dead venomous snakes were found in a package in a western Pennsylvania post office earlier this month, federal authorities said.
The box shipped from the Philippines to the Beaver County post office was declared as containing T-shirts, The Beaver County Times reported.
Capt. Thomas Christ of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission said a waterways conservation officer opened the box and found two venomous pit vipers, both dead.
Pit vipers find their prey and places to hide by sensing heat. There are more than 150 species of pit vipers. Officials didn't reveal the exact kind of snake, but said they believe the reptiles were alive when they were put in the box.
Additional snakes were found at the home of the person to which the box was addressed, Christ said. He said he could not say what the person intended to do with the snakes if they had arrived alive. U.S. Fish and Wildlife authorities are investigating.
Mailing an animal is a federal offense, and in Pennsylvania, a permit is required to buy a snake, said Henry Kacprzyk, curator of reptiles at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium.
"On a legal end, it's not something that is a moneymaker," Kacprzyk said.
Kacprzyk also said that brining an exotic snake from another country is dangerous, since hospitals carry antivenom antidotes for venomous snakes common to the United States but don't have antidotes for those from other countries.
"People are taking risks," Kacprzyk said. "People assume if they get a bite, they can go to the hospital, and that is not the case."

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ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) -- A 14-year-old Roswell girl is being charged with deliberately burning down her home.
Police say the teen was booked this week into Chaves County Juvenile Detention Center for suspected arson.
Authorities believe she started the fire Wednesday just before 2 p.m. after arguing with her stepmother.
Police say they had been fighting about the girl skipping school.
The stepmother and her two sons then went outside.
That is when the fire erupted.
Fire investigators discovered a bottle of charcoal lighter fluid in the backyard and believe it was an accelerant to start the fire.
One male at the scene was hospitalized for possible smoke inhalation.
Authorities brought the blaze under control within half an hour but say the home is a total loss.
Police did not identify the family.

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WESTBORO, Mass. (AP) - Police say a man crashed his vehicle because he was reaching for a French fry.
The Telegram & Gazette reports that a man crashed his sport utility vehicle on the ramp leading from Route 9 west to Interstate 495 south on Thursday.
Massachusetts State Police tweeted photos of the crash with the caption, "Was reaching for a French fry worth it?"
The driver veered off the roadway and slammed into a guardrail.
Police say there were no injuries.
The paper reports that the driver was not ticketed or publicly identified.
Troopers warned him about distracted driving.

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SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Bruce Francis depends on his dog, a nine-year-old pitbull mix named Dash, for more than just companionship.  Francis has a rare form of M.S. and Dash is a certified service dog.
Earlier this month, as was his routine, Francis paid Dash's dog walker using his online banking account with Chase. On the memo line for the check Francis had typed Dash's name.
"The dog walker comes to me and says, 'I haven't gotten your check,'" Francis said.  "I looked in my Chase account and there was a message that saying 'Please explain what for Dash means."
Photo Terrorism concerns: Chase Bank stops dog owner's check over pet's suspicious name
The alert from the bank mentioned OFAC, an office of the U.S. Treasury.
Bruce called OFAC, and to his surprise, he got a call back, informing him that the transaction was flagged because his dog's name is similar to the word DAESH, a term for ISIS in the Islamic world.
The bank stopped payment on the check.
"I thought to myself, 'Great, they're stopping the world's stupidest terrorist," Francis quipped. 
Edward Hasbrouck, who represents a civil liberties group called the Identity Project, says many people don't realize that banks are required to scan all the financial transactions of their customers and turn over anything suspicious to the Treasury Department. While the banks are just following the law, because it's all done in secret, Hasbrouck worries about overreach and a lack of transparency.
"What happens is that the government requires the banks to become in effect, outsourced spies for the government," Hasbrouck said.

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Police in Riviera Beach, Florida had some extra help arresting a man accused of burglary. 
Officers say 26-year-old Avery Davis tried to run, and told his pit bull to attack the officers-- but apparently the dog had other plans. 
Instead, his dog turned around and bit Davis in the butt, and then tried to bite his head. That's when Davis ran and hid in a nearby apartment building. 
However, police caught him and quickly arrested him. They did have to use a stun gun to get him into handcuffs. 

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When someone gets out of prison, you'd think they'd at least wait a few hours before doing something illegal again... But not in this case.
Hours after 37-year-old Peter Walker was released from prison in West Midlands, England, he reportedly had sex with his girlfriend on a public bus. Sure enough, they were sent right back to jail. 
Both pleaded guilty to outraging public decency, and a judge sentenced Walker to 17 weeks behind bars. 
Truslove was also convicted of violating a order banning her from the area, and got sentenced to 28 weeks in jail. 
Prosecutors say what makes this situation far worse, is that the couple had sex in front of children on their way home from school. 

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LONDON (AP) -- A tough Siamese cat named Cupcake has survived eight days cooped up in a box after accidentally being sent through the mail by her British owners.
Cupcake was in a box with an order of DVDs that was sent from Cornwall in southwestern England to West Sussex in south-central England.
The recipient found a badly dehydrated Cupcake in the box along with the DVDs and contacted the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for help. The RSPCA traced the owners through the cat's microchip.
"We looked everywhere for her," owner Julie Baggott said Sunday, adding that she felt terrible about Cupcake's ordeal.
Vets said Cupcake needed treatment but should recover fully.


 

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