Mad Minute stories for April 12, 2016 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories for April 12, 2016

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KHQ.com -

Two large shipping containers, each stamped with the words "Contains: Guided Missile," were discovered bobbing in the Pacific Ocean near the southeast Alaska island community of Craig.

Alaska State Troopers say both were empty, and information from tags attached to the boxes was sent to U.S. military authorities.

Troopers were investigating the discovery of one suspicious box Sunday when they got a radio message from a mariner that another one showed up.

Clinton Cook Sr. tells Anchorage television KTUU (http://is.gd/HNjJQT) he was on a boat that found one of the heavy, hard plastic containers. They were going to pass it, but noticed the unusual shape, about 8-feet by 2-feet.

Troopers say an explosives ordinance team helped determine the boxes were "void of their original contents." Troopers didn't know any history of the containers.

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TV THIEF TURNS HIMSELF IN

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) -- Police say a man charged with stealing a television in Connecticut 27 years ago flew from his Florida home and voluntarily turned himself in last weekend after recently learning there was a warrant out for this arrest.

Police in Norwalk, Connecticut, tell The Hour newspaper (http://bit.ly/1TP51bS ) that 60-year-old Randy Iannacone, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, arrived at headquarters Sunday with the letter notifying him of the warrant.

Iannacone was arrested and charged with third-degree larceny. He was released with a promise to appear in court next week.

The charge stemmed from the 1989 theft of a television from the Norwalk Jewish Center, where Iannacone worked as a custodian.

Lieutenant Paul Resnick says it was "pretty cool" that Iannacone turned himself in.

Iannacone didn't immediately respond to the paper's requests for comment.

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PRICKLY PIECE OF ART

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Maine police are on the lookout for a prickly piece of art.

Officials said Tuesday that a porcupine sculpture was recently stolen from the grounds of the Portland International Jetport. It's one of 10 individual animal sculptures that are part of a work called Glimpse by artist Wendy Klemperer.

The metal animals are the first thing travelers see when arriving at the airport.

Animals include a deer and wolf. The porcupine that was stolen is nearly 3 feet long and is made from steel and repurposed nails.

A police report has been filed but the sculpture has not been recovered. Police are asking anyone with information about the missing sculpture to contact them.

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TURTLE SMUGGLERS

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- A Canadian man who repeatedly entered Michigan to buy and ship thousands of turtles to his native China only to be caught with 51 of them strapped to his legs was sentenced Tuesday to nearly five years in federal prison for smuggling.

It was a tough punishment for Kai Xu, who has been locked up for 19 months since his arrest and had hoped to be released. The 27-year-old expressed remorse to a judge and thanked agents "for stopping the darkness of my greed and ignorance."

Ahead of the hearing, Xu wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara, saying he sold turtles partly to make money for college. He said he was a semester short of an engineering degree.

The government said Xu shipped turtles to China from Canada and the U.S., or hired people to fly with turtles in their luggage to China, where they are coveted as pets. He was apprehended with 51 of them on his legs at the Ontario, Canada, border in 2014.

It's not illegal to buy turtles from breeders in the U.S., but Xu's crime was shipping them overseas without a federal permit.

Xu was not a "sophisticated international dealer," defense attorney Matthew Borgula told the judge, adding that hiding turtles under his pants was "not a good way to get them across the border."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward said Xu's remorse was genuine, but described his smuggling scheme as one of the largest in recent years.

Woodward asked for five years in prison, near the low end of the sentencing guidelines. O'Meara could have gone lower than the guidelines, but settled on 57 months without an explanation, though he praised Xu for becoming fluent in Spanish while in prison and helping Hispanic inmates.

"We don't have a whole lot of cases exactly like this every day," O'Meara said of turtle smuggling.

The guidelines were enhanced by the value of the reptiles as estimated by the government. Prosecutors said shipments intercepted at airports were worth more than $1 million.

Borgula objected to the government's conclusion and asked that O'Meara hear testimony. The judge declined, saying he was pressed for time. An appeal is planned.

"The sentence is very severe," Borgula told The Associated Press.

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MEOWING KITTEN RESCUED

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Firefighters have rescued a kitten that was trapped inside the wall of a South Florida home, bringing an end to a family's confusion about where a certain meowing sound was coming from.

Broward County Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles says several firefighters on Monday safely removed the small gray kitten after cutting a hole through the wall in the Deerfield Beach family's living room. The kitten didn't appear to be injured.

It's unclear how the feline became trapped. Jachles says a neighborhood cat must have had a litter in the home's attic, with the kitten then somehow falling down into the wall.

The Miami Herald (http://hrld.us/1qFgsrc ) reports that the family adopted the kitten and named it Hugo, after one of the firefighter's who rescued it, Hugo de Almeida.

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BEACH TURNS UP MORE THAN GLASS

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- A sweep of New Jersey beaches last year turned up the usual seashells, sandcastles and seaweed. But, plenty of not-so-typical beach items popped up, too, including a keg, birth control pills and a rubber brain.

And if it sounds as though everything but the kitchen sink was in the sand or surf, a sink was found, too. Toilet bowls, rolls of toilet paper, a rug, a mattress, a vacuum cleaner, and a single size-13 sneaker were also found on beaches.

The Clean Ocean Action environmental group conducts volunteer beach sweeps twice each year and tallies the trashy toll to educate - and sometimes nauseate - people about just how careless some folks can be. The trash was either left behind by beachgoers, floated ashore after being tossed overboard from boats, or wound up on the beach after sewer system overflows during heavy storms.

The group released its findings Tuesday, and the list included some head-scratchers, including a full bottle of wine, a beer keg, a bikini, socks, several pieces of underwear, and a container of birth control pills.

Volunteers also picked up a half of a torn dollar bill, a pacifier, a pair of baby shoes, as well as a rubber brain. Also found was a stuffed goose head toy animal; a pickle jar, an industrial fan, a sleeping bag stuffed with rags, and a vintage Coke bottle.

Some decidedly unsavory items were found, as well, including numerous containers of what appeared to be urine.

"You can't make this stuff up: the bizarre, the disgusting stuff we've found over the years," said Cindy Zipf, the group's executive director. "But what is truly disgusting is that many of these are single-use items that are used once and tossed away, and that's totally unacceptable."

Last year's beach cleanups marked the 30th year of the program. In total, volunteers have picked up more than 5.7 million items from the shore over the past three decades.

"We had hoped we would have had clean beaches naturally by now, but it seems to be moving in the wrong direction," Zipf said.

The group created two mosaics of a mermaid and the sea god Poseidon, made entirely of trash collected from the beaches.

The trash haul also could have outfitted several sports teams: there were baseball bats and balls; battling helmets; a hockey stick; a can of tennis balls; ping pong balls and a fishing pole.

There also were rat traps; an empty safe; several containers of chewing tobacco, and numerous beach toys.

The volunteers along the state's entire 127-mile coastline picked up more than 332,000 pieces of debris, from small bits of plastic to 46 whole tires.

Also picked up (gingerly): 314 condoms; 323 syringes; and 3,432 tampon applicators.

Plastic pieces were the most commonly found litter, at 42,793 pieces. Plastics of all types, including coffee stirrers, bottles and shopping bags, accounted for more than 166,000 items, or about half of everything collected. There were more than 28,000 cigarette butts or filters sifted from the sands last year.

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5 FOUL BALLS

DETROIT (AP) -- For most people, catching a foul ball at a major league game would be the thrill of a lifetime. On Monday, Bill Dugan almost got bored by the whole thing.

In a performance that captivated a Comerica Park crowd that wasn't much enjoying the Detroit Tigers' 7-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Dugan caught five foul balls in the first eight innings. Dugan, who gave all five to nearby kids, was sitting behind home plate, in an area normally used for fans in wheelchairs.

With a small crowd on a chilly afternoon, he took advantage of the extra space to catch three pop-ups - all on the fly - and snare two ricochets off the facing of the press box.

The 39-year-old said he's caught more than 200 balls in his years as a Tigers fan, both in batting practice and games, but five was his record for a game.

"I got four once in 2002 in a game against Seattle," he said. "I actually have six today, but I got one of them in batting practice."

By the time he had gotten four in the first two innings, he was a local celebrity. He did interviews with the media and posed for selfies with fans but still paid enough attention to grab the fifth in the eighth inning.

He still has one goal left, though: "I've never caught a home-run ball."

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ROGUE DRONE

A rogue drone smashes through an office window and strikes a man on the head in dramatic video posted online.

Interface designer David Perel says he was left with a painful headache following the terrifying incident at his workplace in Cape Town, South Africa, on Thursday afternoon.

“Sitting at my desk and a drone came crashing through my window and smashed me in the head,” Perel posted on Instagram. “Am nursing the headache now,” he later added on Twitter.

Perel told ABC News that he initially thought a bomb had been detonated outside the building, adding he was “99 percent OK, I just have a bruise.”

After realizing what had happened, he quickly removed the memory card from the drone’s camera. He then edited the footage of the crash and posted it online. It’s now going viral.

“While sitting at my desk I heard what sounded like a missile followed by a huge bang and glass all over me,” he wrote in the YouTube video description. “Turns out someone lost control of their drone. Lucky to be uninjured!”

Soon after the incident, the people who were flying the drone arrived at Perel’s office to check on him and retrieve their gadget.

They Said, “He seemed to be fine and unharmed, but a little shaken up,”

The South African Civil Aviation Authority is now investigating the incident, and will reportedly meet with Ngoie and the other drone operators on Monday.

===================================================

BAKER'S SPECIAL INGREDIENT

A careless baker appears to have added a very unusual ingredient to a loaf of bread: a pair of eyeglasses.

An image of the spectacles, complete with melted lenses, lodged in the baked bread is going viral.

Reddit user MrLoveBox posted the picture online Wednesday, with the caption: “Baker lost something… wonder he noticed or not...”

It’s unclear when or where the photograph was taken, if it was a genuine mistake or whether someone purposefully placed them there purely for comedic reasons. But the image had gotten more than 1.1 million views by Saturday morning.

The Huffington Post has reached out for more information. 

In the meantime, check out these recipes for 8 impossible-to-botch breads. Just remember not to add your glasses!

===============================================

PSYCHED OUT BY AN ALLIGATOR

A Louisiana fisherman got a truly terrifying surprise when he pulled up a jugline over the weekend.

Instead of bringing a catfish to the surface of the water at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park, Lance Burgos reeled in a monster alligator.

Video posted online sees him sitting in a kayak and pulling up a pool noodle that someone had rigged like a catfish jug. 

His 11-year-old daughter, Evan, who’s seated behind him, puts her hand close to the water. Burgos tells her to be careful and she pulls her hand back in, just seconds before the toothy beast emerges.

“That’s a big-ass gator, buddy,” Burgos shouts out, as Evan whimpers behind him. The fisherman from Baton Rouge, with a look of shock on his face, pedals as fast as he can to get away from the gator. The clip then ends.

Burgos uploaded the footage, captured by a GoPro camera attached to the front of the kayak, to YouTube on Sunday.

He titled the clip “That is NOT a catfish on the end of the line” and wrote in the description that “kayaking and camping at Lake Fausse Point [sic] State Park, St. Martinville, La., will never be the same.” The footage is now going viral.

Burgos told The Times-Picayune he’d been camping with Evan, his friend Todd Politz and daughter Samantha.

“We saw gators throughout the weekend, but nothing like what was on the end of that line,” he said. “My daughter and I got back from camp (Sunday), and when we went to bed, we both said, ‘We’re going to have nightmares about this.’”

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