Mad Minute stories from Thursday, April 7th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Thursday, April 7th

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Swedes invite world to call 'random' citizens on new hotline

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- Ever felt like calling up a complete stranger in Sweden?

Now is your chance.

The Swedish Tourist Association has set up a hotline that lets callers worldwide "get connected to a random Swede."

On its website, the nonprofit group says the idea is "to spark people's curiosity about Sweden - our culture, nature and mindset. To help us do this, we have the people of Sweden."

It's not completely random. The Swedes who take the calls have volunteered by downloading an app. But they are not vetted or given any instructions about what to say.

"It's like when Swedes travel the world. You don't know who they're going to talk to and what they're going to say," said Magnus Ling, the head of the Swedish Tourist Association.

About 3,000 people had dialed the "Swedish Number" by midday Thursday, a day after it was launched, and roughly the same number of Swedes had signed up to answer calls, Ling said.

The website says the initiative honors the 250th anniversary of Sweden's 1766 Freedom of the Press Act, believed to be the world's first law supporting the freedom of expression.

Ling admitted there was another motive: recruiting members to the tourism association, which is funded through membership fees. Swedes who sign up to receive calls will receive an email inviting them to join the group, he said.

The calls are not monitored but they are recorded, "so that if someone says I was threatened or harassed we can go back and see who it was and even block that number," Ling said.

The website didn't say that calls are recorded when AP checked it Thursday. Ling said it was listed in the user terms, which those answering the calls - but not those making them - must agree to. He later called back saying the information would be added to the FAQ section of the website.

The biggest number of incoming calls has come from Turkey. Ling said he didn't know why, but thought it had to do with the initiative getting attention there both in traditional media and social media.

After signing up to test the service, this Stockholm-based AP reporter received four calls, about one an hour. The first was a woman from Turkey with limited English skills. The second hung up. The third was an engineering student from Britain. And the fourth was another journalist: Tim Nudd, creative editor at Adweek in New York.

"I just wanted to call and see how this whole thing works," said Nudd.

He, too, was writing an article about it.

The hotline follows a similar initiative on Twitter by the Swedish Institute, the government's own PR agency. Since 2011 it lets a different Swedish citizen manage its official @Sweden account every week.

Ling said the feedback he had received on the hotline was almost all positive, though he said a small number of callers were just trying to hook up with Swedish women.

"I've heard of just one or two such calls," Ling said.

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Provolone poacher takes $2K in cheese from Colorado eatery

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) -- The provolone poacher has struck again at a Colorado restaurant but this time he said "cheese" for security cameras.

Police say someone stole 19 cases of the Italian cheese from the Do Drop Inn in Pueblo early Tuesday. The restaurant doors were damaged and restaurant manager Kevin Romero told The Pueblo Chieftain (http://bit.ly/1RRBg5s ) that the thief broke through padlocks on a restaurant freezer to get to the cheese.

Nothing else was taken.

Romero says this is at least the third time cheese has been stolen from the restaurant, presumably to be sold to other eateries, in the last month and a half. However, this time the thief's image was captured by security cameras the restaurant recently installed.

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Man poops on lawn…Gets Stabbed

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) -- Stockton police say two men stabbed each other in a fight that began after one of them defecated on the other's lawn.

The Stockton Record reports (http://bit.ly/1TCTADX) officers arrested 18-year-old Lonale Shaw for assault with a deadly weapon.

Police say the fight Sunday evening began after the unidentified victim defecated on Shaw's lawn and he began chasing him with a large kitchen knife.

They say the man fell and Shaw jumped on top of him and began stabbing him in the head.

Police say Shaw dropped the knife during the struggle and the victim was able to grab it and stab him in the neck.

Officers arrested Shaw and recovered the knife. He's being held on $250,000 bail.

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Stolen Sign Returned

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- It took 30 years, but a guilty conscience led someone who stole a large metal sign in Florida to return it - along with a $50 money order - to the New Smyrna Beach Police Department.

A picture of the sign was posted Wednesday on the police department's Facebook page. It says: New Smyrna Beach Says No to Drugs.

Officials say the blue sign arrived in the mail with a note asking officials to use the money to reinstall the sign. The anonymous person asked for forgiveness, adding the sign was stolen in the late 1980s during "a fit of youthful exuberance."

On Facebook, department officials said that the "act of contrition" gives hope that people can do the right thing, even if it takes 30 years.

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Wedding Theif

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A thief who posed as a guest at California weddings and stole wallets, credit cards and cash from brides, guests and wedding workers will be honeymooning in prison.

KNSD-TV (http://bit.ly/1oCYBzm ) says Denise Gunderson was sentenced Wednesday to seven years behind bars. She has previous felony convictions.

Prosecutors say last year, Gunderson showed up at several San Diego County weddings, went into rooms and offices and stole valuables during the ceremonies.

Authorities say Gunderson used the credit cards to make thousands of dollars in purchases at Costco, Walmart and other stores - sometimes only minutes after the wedding vows were taken.

Surveillance video caught Gunderson at several wedding locations and stores.

She was arrested last December in Las Vegas and pleaded guilty in February to grand theft and identity theft.

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Man Swallows Ring Need's Surgery

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (AP) -- Authorities in Northern California say a man charged with burglary needed surgery to remove a stolen ring that he had swallowed while fleeing police.

The San Jose Mercury News newspaper reports (http://bayareane.ws/1qu8eSL ) the chase ended when the man, identified as 36-year-old Joel Steffensen of Martinez crashed his car into a fence at a rapid transit station last Thursday.

Walnut Creek police spokesman Lt. Lanny Edwards says a hospital X-ray showed a ring lodged in his esophagus. The resident of the home that was burglarized later identified the gold wedding band.

Prosecutors charged Steffensen with burglary, evasion of police officers and resisting arrest. It was not immediately known if Steffensen has an attorney.

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unicorn sighting

NEW YORK (AP) — John Oliver has put more "riff-raff" in the premium seats at Yankee Stadium.

Two young women dressed in unicorn costumes and two others in shark costumes sat in the second row behind home plate Wednesday night, the latest fans to win high-priced tickets for 25 cents apiece from HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" after promising to dress like "riff-raff" at the ballpark.

Oliver is looking to shake things up during New York's season-opening series this week against Houston. Claiming the Yankees are elitist, the comedian is selling premium seats for a quarter to fans who pledge to dress as though they don't belong there.

Two male fans wore yellow and green Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles outfits in the Legends Suites luxury seats at Tuesday's game.

After the Yankees announced that fans no longer could print tickets at home, chief operating officer Lonn Trost explained on radio station WFAN in February that someone buying a discounted ticket from a resale service "may be someone who has never sat in a premium location, so that's a frustration to our existing fan base."

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Croatian Police robbery

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) -- Croatian police are investigating the reported theft of 280,000 euros ($320,000) and two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of gold - all snatched from the headquarters of the Croatian police.

Helena Biocic of the police media office confirmed Monday that the theft had taken place, but refused to reveal any details.

The Jutarnji List newspaper, which reported what was taken, says the heist occurred late Sunday. The report says the thieves got in by the fire stairs and broke into the office of the organized crime department chief, Zeljko Dolacki.

The daily says police found an overturned, empty safe in the morning.

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Run away dog hops train

Lightning the fare-dodging runaway may have been hitching her way back to her old home, her owners believe.

The six-month-old staffy-ridgeback cross made it from Petone to Wellington's CBD after joining peak-hour Tranz Metro commuters on Thursday morning in New Zealand.

Hohepa Tawhara, whose 6-year-old daughter owns Lightning, said it was the third time the pup had run away since the family moved house from the Wellington suburb of Strathmore to Lower Hutt. 

Lightning was collared by commuter Chris Totton after he caught the express service to Wellington on his own.

"She didn't used to run away at the old place, I'm thinking she's trying to make her way back home," he said.

"She hasn't really settled yet. We've only been here a week, she's been crying and stuff. She's a bit lost, I think." 

Tawhara said the dog was a bit nuts, and loved playing with the children. 

She was also a bit sneaky, and the family had already fixed a hole in the fence she'd made to escape through, before she got out on Thursday. 

Witness and commuter Andrea Fairbairn was heading to work on the 7.20am service when she heard a commotion on the carriage.

A man was speaking loudly on his phone, saying "something about a dog", followed by uproarious laughter from the people around him on the jampacked service.

It turned out that a dog, later identified as Lightning, had run on to the carriage just before it left the station.

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Deer Through Window

Customers in a Hartford nail salon got way more than they paid for when a deer jumped through the window of the salon.

In security footage you can see the animal break through the glass and then roll around on the floor struggling to get up.

staff and clients stand and watch to stunned at what they just saw to really know how to react.

after struggling the deer managed to stand back up and casually walk out the door.

no reason as to why it jumped through the window.

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