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

Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, December 7th

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EPHRATA, Pa. (AP) -- A Pennsylvania police department says a black cat was lucky for one of its officers tracking down a fugitive.
The Ephrata Police Department posted on its Facebook page that officers were searching for Jonathan Michael Steffy last month over an outstanding bench warrant.
They found the 23-year-old in a backyard but he fled. As they searched the area, one officer noticed a black cat in a nearby yard staring intently at a shed. The officer checked that shed, but it was empty. The officer again saw the cat, and it became apparent it was staring at a different shed behind the officer.
The officer opened that shed and found Steffy.
Police say their thankful for any crime-fighting help, "whether human or feline!"
It wasn't clear if Steffy has an attorney.

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CONNELLSVILLE, Pa. (AP) -- State police say holiday music was blaring from a Pennsylvania woman's car as she tore up the yard of her ex-boyfriend's home, nearly running the man and his family over.
Forty-seven-year-old Mary Jo Smith was charged Tuesday with multiple offenses stemming from Monday's incident.
Alan McCutcheon says he was setting up a Christmas light display outside of his Fayette County home when Smith yelled "Merry Christmas" and made several passes through his yard.
State police say Smith attempted to hit the 64-year-old along with his wife and adult daughter. No one was injured.
The joyride caused more than $500 in damage, leaving behind tire tracks and a trail of broken lights and decorations.
It's unclear if Smith has an attorney to could comment.

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CINCINNATI (AP) -- A suburban Cincinnati man says someone vandalized the "Zombie Nativity" scene he puts up annually, beheading the ghoulish-looking Mary figure and flipping the greenish baby Jesus into the yard.
Jasen Dixon says someone damaged the handmade scene early Tuesday at his home in Sycamore Township, northeast of Cincinnati. He has since repaired the scene and says he'll keep rebuilding it if necessary.
Dixon tells WCPO-TV it's the first time someone has intentionally damaged the structure since he started the holiday display in 2014.
But it's been a topic of controversy previously. The township took Dixon to court last year for alleged zoning violations because of the structure over the nontraditional nativity scene, but it eventually dropped the case.
Dixon's attorney argued the township was trying to suppress his freedoms.

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FALMOUTH, Mass. (AP) -- The pregnant manatee rescued off Massachusetts' Cape Cod and released off Florida's Atlantic coast is now in another unusual place - the Bahamas.
The Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut reported this week that the manatee dubbed Washburn has been electronically tracked to the islands, about 350 miles from where she was released Nov. 1.
A Sea to Shore Alliance scientist says just as it was unusual to find a manatee off Massachusetts, it's also rare to find one near the Bahamas.
She says Washburn "has us on our toes wondering where she'll go next."
The manatee was rescued off Washburn Island in Falmouth on Sept. 22 because of concerns that northern waters would get too cold.
She underwent a month of rehabilitation before being flown to Florida in October.

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - A "mannequin challenge" video of people staging a shootout has led to the arrests of two men in Alabama and the seizure of several guns and marijuana.
Madison County Sheriff's Office Capt. Mike Salomonsky tells local news outlets the video led investigators to serve a search warrant Tuesday morning at a Huntsville home.
The search turned up two handguns, a shotgun, a rifle and marijuana that appeared to be packaged for sale.
Officers arrested 23-year-old Terry Martez Brown and charged him with drug paraphernalia possession, loitering and promoting prison contraband.
Also arrested was 49-year-old Kenneth Fennell White, who's charged with first-degree marijuana possession and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The video has been shared 86,000 times since it was posted to Facebook on Nov. 9.
It's unclear if Brown or White have attorneys.

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GROVETON, N.H. (AP) - A high school science class that set out to study trees got a chemistry lesson instead, when it found a plastic bottle that turned out to be a "one-pot meth lab," police said.
The students from Groveton High School in New Hampshire found a soda bottle that contained a dangerous mix of chemicals used to make methamphetamine on Monday in the woods across the street from the school. No arrests have been made.
At first, the students and their teacher thought the bottle was trash, until they noticed the contents moving.
Special Agent Jon DeLena of the Drug Enforcement Administration said it was very dangerous and volatile. "It was active and it was actually swirling around and bubbling and expanding and contracting, and that's a problem," he told WMUR-TV.
School Principal Lisa Perras said they brought the bottle inside the building, but then brought it back out when they realized it might not be safe. When police arrived, the bottle was on fire.
A DEA lab safely disposed of the chemicals. No one was hurt.
Perras said the episode called for an immediate education program.
"It was a scary thought, and I think our immediate reaction after we secured their safety was that this is an area that students walk through daily, and if they found it once, there could be more," she said.
The DEA said the meth problem is growing across New Hampshire.
In Merrimack County, two people were recently indicted on charges of making a one-pot meth lab in the basement of a Concord duplex. In another case, state police said they found ingredients used to make meth at an auto dealership in Derry.
A shipment of meth last month to a post office in Laconia led to an arrest and seizure of drugs and weapons. In July, authorities seized 16 ½ pounds of methamphetamine worth $1 million in a drug bust involving a bar owner who's been accused of selling the drug.

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FOREST CITY, N.C. (AP) - Here's a not-so-jolly story: A mother wants her local St. Nick kicked to the curb for fat-shaming her son.
Ashley Mayse tells WLOS-TV that her 9-year-old son started crying when the Santa Claus on Main Street in Forest City, North Carolina, told him to "Lay off the hamburgers and french fries" during his Christmas visit on Saturday.
The Santa is employed by the town of Forest City, and Mayse says coal in his stocking would be too good for such behavior. The town manager says Santa apologized to the family as well as a supervisor, but mom wants him to get a pink slip.
Anthony Mayse, meanwhile, says he tore up his photo with Santa and will take his wish list to another Father Christmas next year.

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Gainesville, FL - Police in Florida have arrested a man after an unusual incident. 
Officers say 19-year-old Tarik Simmons stole a Jeep from outside a gas station. They were able to track down the car, because the owner's cell phone was inside it, but when they found it, officers say Simmons tried to drive away, and ended up crashing into a patrol car. 
But things didn't stop there. Instead of surrendering, police say Simmons and an accomplice ran into a restaurant, pretending to be customers. 
The Knights Inn is plagued with high rates of crimes, such as prostitution and drug sales, according to the report. Officers didn't buy their feeble attempt at hiding, and arrested both of them. 
Simmons was booked into jail on a $200,000 bond.

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Clayton County, GA - On Saturday, the sheriff's office in Clayton County, Georgia swore in their newest deputy -- former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.
It's the latest venture for the basketball legend, but might not be as surprising as it sounds. 
Back in October, O'Neal become the owner of a decades old Krispy Kreme doughnuts location in Atlanta and over the summer, he went undercover as a driver for Lyft.
While it's not yet clear in what capacity he'll serve, O'Neal got a warm welcome from fellow deputies.
Upon his swearing in, O'Neal became the tallest deputy in the history of the sheriff's office. 

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ALFRED, Maine (AP) - Hundreds of holiday wreaths have been stolen from a Maine farm.
Gile's Family Farm owner Frank Boucher said Monday that someone stole a trailer containing more than 200 wreaths from behind the Alfred business sometime between 6 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday.
The staff had wanted to unload the wreaths on Saturday, but didn't see them when they arrived at work.
Boucher estimates the total value of the stolen items at about $5,000.
Boucher says he thinks the thieves may have been after the decorations because there were more expensive trailers nearby.
State police are investigating.
 

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