Mad Minute stories for June 15, 2016 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories for June 15, 2016

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1. LOAN SHARK WANTS NAKED PICS

BEIJING (AP) -- Web-based loan sharks in China have found an unconventional way of guaranteeing loans: demanding naked photos from cash-strapped female college students who want to borrow money.

The state-run Southern Metropolis Daily reported this week that private lenders are asking the young women to send nude photos of themselves as a form of collateral, along with copies of their ID cards. They warn that the photos will be made public if payments are not made on time.

One of the borrowers told the newspaper that she first borrowed 500 yuan ($76) from an online loan provider with a weekly interest rate of 30 percent. She kept taking out new loans to pay off old ones, and her debt snowballed to 55,000 yuan ($8,347) when the lender demanded a nude photo of her as a guarantee for new loans.

She told the newspaper that many of her female classmates had been swept into the scheme but were unwilling to speak up.

The woman was planning to report the incident to police, the newspaper said.

Posing as a potential client, a reporter for the newspaper was able to get evidence of loan sharks demanding naked photos by joining online chat groups frequented by lenders. Loan sharks also demanded personal information from borrowers, including phone numbers, ID numbers, home addresses, parents' names, contacts for roommates and student registration information, which the lenders threatened to make public should the borrower default, the report said.

After the story was published, loan sharks suspended the practice, the newspaper reported in a follow-up article.

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2. CAR THIEF ASLEEP AT WHEEL

Police found a car thief asleep at the wheel Monday night after tracking a stolen Honda from Queen Anne to the West Woodland neighborhood.

A Queen Anne resident called SPD around 9 PM Monday from the 3200 block of Conkling Place West and reported someone had stolen his Honda Prelude in the last 24 hours. Fortunately, his car was equipped with a GPS system, which showed the vehicle was parked in the 6500 block of 5th Avenue Northwest.

Officers quickly found the car and discovered there was a 21-year-old man asleep in the driver’s seat.  After arresting the man, police found he was carrying a collection of filed-down keys—a tool commonly used by prolific car thieves—along with a tool for breaking windows, a can of lubricant spray, and two passports belonging to other people. Police also recovered a backpack, a briefcase, a box of wrenches, car and stereo parts from the car, none of which belonged the the car’s owner.

Officers booked the 21-year-old–who has previous convictions for auto theft property crimes—into the King County Jail for investigation of auto theft and returned the car to its owner.

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3. GATOR PULLED FROM SEWER  

Authorities say an “abnormally large gator” was pulled from a southwest Florida neighborhood’s storm drain Monday following calls to the sheriff’s department about a foul smell.

In a statement, Lee County officials say they determined that the odor was consistent with a decaying alligator. What they found beneath the ground, however, was described as highly unusual.

Inside the 4-foot-wide catch basin, Department of Transportation officials reported hooking an 11-foot-long gator, one they were photographed hauling out of the Whiskey Creek neighborhood with an excavator.

Lee County’s DOT says they typically handle one to two dead alligators in storm drains a year but rarely ones of this size.

“DOT generally is alerted to such situations by reports of odor coming from a catch basin or when drainage is backed up for no obvious reason,” the county said in an emailed press release.

Lee County DOT Director Randy Cerchie called it business as usual.

“This was an abnormally large gator, but removal is part of what we do,” he said in a statement.

County spokeswoman Betsy Clayton told the News-Press that the gator likely entered the storm drain through the pipes.

The big question: How did it get in? The county describes the pipes leading to the drain as only about 14-inches by 24-inches.

“We don’t usually see gators that big because our pipes are not that big,” Cerchie said.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, female American alligators rarely grow larger than 10-feet in length. Males can grow much larger, however.

The largest gator ever found in the state was 14-feet, 3 1/2-inches in length, the FWC reported.

The Lee County gator’s body was hauled away in a dump truck to a DOT site that’s designated for dead animals, and there it was buried, the county said.

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4. SNOW ON HAWAII'S BIG ISLAND


Residents of Hawaii’s Big Island woke on Tuesday to find the summit of Mauna Kea volcano dusted with a fresh layer of summer snow.

Considered both the world’s tallest volcano and its tallest mountain (when measured from the ocean floor), Mauna Kea occasionally sees snow. But a storm in mid-June is relatively bizarre.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu said the dusting resulted from a combination of passing precipitation and “cold upper level temperatures.”

The dormant volcano, which rises 13,796 feet above sea level, was also hit by a rare storm last July that brought 1.5 inches of snow and icy conditions to the summit. 

The mountain’s weather is extremely unpredictable, according to the Mauna Kea Weather Center. 

“A calm sunny day may quickly become treacherous with hurricane force winds and blizzard conditions,” a MKWC statement warns. “Summit winds above 120 mph are not uncommon. Snowstorms have even occurred during the summer months.”

Summer skiing on a volcano in Hawaii — add that to your bucket list.

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5. NAKED WAFFLE HOUSE

He was showing a “waffle” lot of skin.

A Georgia man is facing public indecency charges after allegedly trying to force his way into a Waffle House while stark naked.

Bashir Rasheed, 36, was arrested June 7 after he drove his BMW to a Waffle House in Sandy Springs, got out of the car and tried to enter the restaurant sans clothes, according to NBC26.com.

Witnesses told police that Rasheed began stroking his penis after exiting his car and walked up to the entrance where he allegedly pressed his sex organ against the glass entry door, according to CBS46.com.

A restaurant employee immediately called 911 to explain the situation, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“This is the Waffle House. A gentleman just got out of his car and is naked standing in front of my door. He just peed on my door and now he’s walking inside. ‘Sir, you cannot come in here.’”

Derwin Rodgers said he was attempting to eat when he saw the brazen display of flesh outside his window.

Instead of eating his vittles, Rodgers decided to go viral by live streaming the incident.

“It kind of shocked me as a customer, ruined my meal,” Rodgers told WSB TV. “I immediately went to video.  I didn’t know what he was going to do.”

Rodgers told the station that something was obviously wrong with the naked suspect.

“He was saying a lot of different things.  He’s hot, he’s burning up. Apparently he was. It must have been Death Valley out here. He was butt naked,” Rodgers told the station.

Still, the incident presented a challenging parenting moment for Rodgers.

“I wouldn’t know how to tell my kid what was going on at that time, to see a grown man,” he told the station, adding, “He was built like a potato.”

Here is a clip of what Rodgers’ live streamed:

 Eventually, Rasheed retreated to his car and was arrested a short time later.

Officers said he was just coherent enough to identify himself to authorities since, as WBRZ.com pointed out, he obviously didn’t have pockets for his wallet.

However, Rasheed was unable to explain to officers why he was naked.

Even worse: Officers said the suspect grabbed himself and began to urinate while they were still talking, according to the arrest report.

Rasheed was medically evaluated at a nearby hospital before being cited for public indecency and released, according to the station.

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6. LIONS TAIL CHOPPED OFF DURING KIDS SHOW

On Monday, during a big cat "training session" show at the Oregon Zoo, a lion named Zawadi was injured while a crowd of children looked on. Footage of the shocking incident shows Zawadi entering the indoor stage through a hydraulic door, which then proceeds to shut with him still underneath — chopping off the tip of his tail like a guillotine.

Despite being aware of what happened, the zookeeper presenting the show carries on. Only once the audience begins to shout does the planned performance get put on hold:

"His tail is bleeding a lot!"

"Witnessed a crappy accident today that injured a lion today at the zoo," attendee Brandon Geer, who recorded the video above, wrote on YouTube. "Part of his tail is gone, blood puddling."

The zoo later issued a statement regarding the incident, seeming to downplay the severity of what had happened to Zawadi.

"He lost the tip of his tail just above the tuft," zoo veterinarian Tim Storms said in a release. "For a 450-pound lion, that's a relatively small injury, but we are treating it seriously. After a brief medical procedure he is recovering well. We expect him to heal without any complications."

Zoo officials are reportedly reviewing what happened, but this isn't the first time hydraulic doors have proven dangerous to zoo animals. In 2014, a baby gorilla at the San Francisco Zoo was crushed to death by the device — prompting critics to urge other facility's take precautions.

"There should be a system in place to make sure this doesn't happen again," Elliot Katz, founder of In Defense of Animals, told SFGATE. "It's just another tragedy waiting to happen. It always takes something like this to have people wake up."

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7.  SAN FRANCISCO CITY MEDALION STOLEN

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A medallion marking the geographic center of the city of San Francisco has been stolen.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Thursday (http://bit.ly/1PkBnWn ) that a brass surveyor's disc was glued to the sidewalk for only a few days before someone pried it out. All that's left now is a circular patch and the words "geographic center of city" shakily written in blue by surveyors.

City officials had just visited the medallion on Wednesday, in a neighborhood between the Castro and Twin Peaks. On it were the words "geographic center."

Technically, the center of the city is under a bush on a nearby hillside, but it's hard to mark a bush.

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8. LANDLORD SHARK.

A landlord is looking for a tenant who would like to pay £2,300 per month for a home - with a giant shark sticking out of the roof.

The Shark House is one of Britain's most unusual homes thanks to the 20-foot sculpture which was installed 30 years ago.

Sculptor John Buckley was commissioned by homeowner Bill Heine for the work, which was meant to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki.

Mr Heine didn't get planning permission for the shark and ended up having a six-year battle with Oxford City Council until the then-Minister for Environment intervened.

His home, in Headington, is one of the city's most recognisable buildings thanks to the carbon fibre artwork.

But other than the giant shark, it is a standard, terraced home with three-bedrooms, each with en-suite bathrooms, a large living room, kitchen and garden.

Mr Heine has put the Shark House, which is near the historic city's various colleges and hospitals, on the rental market for £2,400 per month.

Letting agents Connells described The Shark House as "one of Oxford's most well known and appreciated pieces of art".

The advert for the home adds: "This one of a kind property boasts three large double bedrooms, each complimented with its own en-suite bathroom.

"Viewings are highly recommended to appreciate fully the novelty and value of this property."

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9. PUBLIC SHAMING BACKFIRES

We've all been guilty of lazily trying to find the nearest spot to the supermarket in the car park - but people do exist who who disrespectfully park in child and parent spaces (or, worse still, disabled parking) when they don't need them.

This is what one shopper thought they were seeing when a woman parked in a space for armed forces veterans and nipped in to the grocery store .

So angry was this person, they furiously wrote a note and put it on her windscreen.

The note read: "This parking is for veterans, lady. Learn to read and have some respect."

Quite strongly worded, then. But they obviously didn't stop to think about what they were saying and the assumptions they were making.

Rebecca Landis Hayes, from North Carolina in the USA, shared her brilliant response on Facebook to receiving the note, writing: "I know I parked in one of the Veteran Parking spaces today, it was hot. I had been in and out of my car several times already this afternoon, and I was only going to be a minute.

"Besides, the parking lot was full, so I just did it.

It was the first time, and I won’t do it again. I'm sorry…

"I'm sorry that you can’t see my eight years of service in the United States Navy. I'm sorry that your narrow misogynistic world view can’t conceive of the fact that there are female Veterans.

"I'm sorry that I have to explain myself to people like you. Mostly, I'm sorry that we didn't get a chance to have this conversation face to face, and that you didn't have the integrity and intestinal fortitude to identify yourself, qualities the military emphasizes.

"Which leads to one question, I served, did you?"

The powerful message has been shared thousands of times on Facebook, with many people commenting to thank Rebecca for her service to the country.

It's not known whether the person who wrote the note has seen Rebecca's response on Facebook, but it's safe to say that they're probably feeling a little red-faced about it if so.

Perhaps next time, we'll all think twice before making assumptions about others.

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10. KITTEN CAN TRAVEL. Birmingham, United Kingdom

A kitten was found at a naval helicopter base - after travelling 300 miles clinging to a car BUMPER.

The cat - now named Tigger - was discovered by Lieutenant Nick Grimmer after he heard “quiet meowing”.

Remarkably the animal had been clinging onto the car from Birmingham Airport all the way to the Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose near Helston in Cornwall.

“I’d landed at Birmingham after a holiday and travelled via Bristol and Bath before arriving in Cornwall quite late,” said Nick, who flies submarine-hunting Merlin helicopters for a living with 814 Naval Air Squadron - known as the Flying Tigers.

“I looked in the boot, under the bonnet and climbed all over and under it and still couldn’t find what was making the noise.

“I called up some of our air engineers who came and helped me to start dismantling my pride and joy.

"On taking off the rear bumper we were greeted by a tiny tiger-striped kitten.

“He must have had a long journey but remarkably is unharmed. I am never late for work and was left with no option but to take my new friend in with me.

“The place he has felt most comfortable is in my flying helmet, which is the only place he is able to sleep.”

The tiny creature was immediately christened Tigger by the squadron - not least because he has similar markings to their multi-million-pound grey and white helicopters.

They are looking after the kitten while efforts are made to trace Tigger’s owners.

Commander Brendan Spoors, Commanding Officer of the Flying Tigers said, “We are more than happy to adopt ‘Tigger’ as a mascot; after all it’s a tradition for Royal Naval units to have a ships cat.

“Tigger must have an owner somewhere between here and Birmingham and we are keen to locate them.

“I instructed my team to launch ‘Operation Tiger Kitten’.

“With the help of social media they are hoping to be ‘mission complete’ by the end of the week.

“They’d better be as we are due to join the rest of our squadron who are currently embarked on HMS Ocean on exercise in the Baltic before sailing for the Mediterranean.”

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