Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, December 14th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, December 14th

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ATLANTA (AP) -- An 86-year-old jewel thief who has kept jewelry sellers on their toes since the 1970s has struck again, police say - this time by slipping a $2,000 diamond necklace into her pocket.
Doris Payne, who has been the subject of a documentary and casually said during an Associated Press interview earlier this year that "I was a thief," was arrested Tuesday at a Von Maur department store outside Atlanta.
Payne was arrested after she put the necklace in her back pocket and tried to leave the store, Dunwoody police spokesman Mark Stevens said in an email. She faces a shoplifting charge.
Online jail records did not show any bond information, and it wasn't clear whether Payne had an attorney who could comment.
Attorney Shawn McCullers, who represented her last year when she was accused of pocketing a $690 pair of earrings from a Saks Fifth Avenue department store at a mall in Atlanta's upscale Buckhead neighborhood, said in an email Wednesday that he was not currently representing her in the latest arrest.
Authorities have said Payne has lifted pricey baubles from countless jewelry stores around the world in an illicit career that has spanned six decades. The legend of Payne's alleged thefts have long fascinated the public and media, with countless news stories and a 2013 documentary film, "The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne," detailing her feats.
When asked about her exploits in the interview with The Associated Press earlier this year, she said simply: "I was a thief."
Court papers in Atlanta reference six cases prior to the alleged theft last year, mostly in southern California, dating to 1999.
Payne was raised in West Virginia and moved with her family to Ohio when she was a teenager.
Authorities have said she has used at least 22 aliases over the years and probably got away more often than she was caught, though she has done several stints in prison. The Jewelers' Security Alliance, an industry trade group, sent out bulletins as early as the 1970s warning about her.
Payne told the AP she realized a simple distraction could make it easy to slip out with a fancy trinket in hand after a friendly store owner let her try on watches as a child and then forgot she had the jewelry on. Her career was born in her 20s when she got the idea that she could support herself by lifting jewelry.
Payne, who appeared effortlessly elegant and spoke with calm deliberation during the interview with the AP, nevertheless grew cagey when asked about her methods.
"I don't dictate what happens when I walk in the store. The people in charge dictate what happens with me when I walk in the store," she said. "I don't tell a person in the store I want to see something that costs $10,000. They make those decisions based on how I present myself and how I look."

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KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) -- Deaf and blind, it wasn't. But an Indiana community felt its 60-year-old ban on pinball was dumb.
Surrounded by city officials at a local record shop on Tuesday, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight signed an ordinance resting on pinball machine lifting the city's ban on the game, the Kokomo Tribune reported. He couldn't resist making a reference to The Who's 1969 hit, "Pinball Wizard."
"This is pretty ironic. As we look back, I was reflecting that ever since I was a young boy, I played the silver ball. From Southway up to Morgan Street, I think I played them all," Goodnight said.
The mayor said he and city officials are pleased to "bring pinball back to its popular stature here in Kokomo," and he invited the police chief, Rob Baker, to play the first legal game of pinball in the city since 1955.
Mike Wilson, who owns the record store, American Dream Hi-Fi, said he was shocked to learn that while he's been legally selling alcohol in his shop, he's been illegally supplying free pinball games.
According to Wilson, his two pinball machines, Wizard CB Charlie and a Flying Aces, were created for home use at the peak of pinball popularity in the 1960s and 1970s.

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NEW YORK (AP) -- A new report says New York City paid a rate of $629 a night to house homeless people at a Manhattan hotel on two days in September.
The report, issued Wednesday by Comptroller Scott Stringer, says the city booked 30 rooms at that rate on Sept. 19 and Sept. 20.
The mayor's office says Manhattan hotel costs rose on those days because of United Nations meetings.
The report says that over a year, there were 815 bookings at two midtown Manhattan hotels for $400 a night or more.
It says the average daily rate paid by the city is around $194.
Mayoral spokeswoman Aja Worthy-Davis says the city works to contain costs. She says there's a need for "citywide acceptance" of efforts to expand shelter space.

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PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) -- A gray housecat named Cleo is finally going home after surviving a car crash and fending for herself in unfamiliar territory for several days.
The 7-month-old kitten ran off after her family was involved in a car crash while moving from Utah to Washington on Nov. 28, reported The East Oregonian . Amanda Egan said she was driving with her three children, Cleo and Irene, the family's Chihuahua-pug mix, when one of the van's tire gave out.
"The van started to shake. The tire on the driver's side blew apart," said Egan. "I tried to move to the side, but we swerved and rolled over and landed on the top."
Egan and her daughters were not hurt, aside from scratches and bruises. She learned later that the dog ran into traffic and was killed.
The family stayed in Pendleton, Oregon, for three days to regroup. They rented a trailer and searched unsuccessfully for the cat before setting off for their new home in Bellingham, Washington.
The girls - 5-year-old Elinor, 3-year-old Molly and 1-year-old Adeline - cried for several nights, Egan said. Molly slept every night with two stuffed animals she got from the EMTs the day of the crash, both of which she'd named Cleo.
She didn't know it, but about a mile north of the crash site, the original Cleo had taken shelter in a hay barn. Pendleton resident Robin Harris said she saw a blur of motion and spotted the kitten scampering into the rafters. When she noticed the polka-dotted collar with bright pink tags, Harris climbed onto a stack of hay to get a closer look. The kitten snuggled into her arms.
"I don't know how she survived for two weeks with the temperatures we've had," Harris said, "and I saw two coyotes just recently."
Two weeks after the car crash, Harris called the number on the tag.
"I have this gray cat," she said. "Her name is Cleo."
Egan said she was both incredulous and exhilarated when she got the call, and quickly shared the news with her daughters.
"They were so excited when I told them Cleo had shown up," Egan said. "Their mouths were wide open."
Harris serves on the board of the Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter and is working on a way to get Cleo back to her family. If she can't find someone headed to the Seattle area soon, a board member will likely add Cleo to a group of animals she's taking to Portland and meet the Egans somewhere nearby.

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MALVERN, Pa. (AP) -- Police say a Philadelphia man signed himself out of a Chester County drug and alcohol rehab center, took a cab to a nearby bank and robbed it using a note scribbled on his discharge papers.
Twenty-five-year-old Jamal Goodwin was arrested Tuesday and charged with robbery, theft and other offenses stemming from Monday's holdup at Malvern Federal Savings Bank.
Police say Goodwin took just over $5,000 in cash before fleeing in a Main Line Taxi cab.
Unfortunately for Goodwin, police say he left behind a gym bag containing $2,700 worth of the stolen money in the cab along with his wallet and driver's license. Also in the car were two sweatshirts that a bank teller said belonged to the robber.
It's unclear if Goodwin has an attorney who could comment.

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - A humble barbequed sausage on a slice of bread sold at polling booths around Australia has been picked as the country's official word of the year - "democracy sausage."
Despite being two words, Australian National Dictionary Center director Amanda Laugesen said on Wednesday that democracy sausage qualified as Australia's word for 2016 because it was essentially a compound word.
The term was first recorded in 2012 to describe the ubiquitous beef sausage sandwiches served with onions, ketchup, barbeque sauce or mustard, which are sold at fundraising stalls outside polling booths.
But it gathered momentum in 2016 when Australia had an extraordinarily long two-month federal election campaign that was so close that the result was not known for days.

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PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The city of Pittsburgh has cited itself for owning run-down properties and a local judge isn't letting the city withdraw some citations, which officials say were mistakenly filed.
The city's Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections has ramped up citations against owners of eyesore properties, in hopes landlords will repair them.
PLI Director Maura Kennedy says the eight citations were filed by mistake. District Judge Richard King has allowed the city to withdraw five citations, but says the city must deal with the others because property owners often complain about the condition of city-owned properties when they get cited for not maintaining theirs.
Mayor's spokesman Tim McNulty says the city doesn't have enough money to maintain more than 6,000 derelict properties it owns and won't tear down some because of their architectural significance.

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey state trooper is accused of trying to cover up that he pulled over women during traffic stops just to ask them out on dates.
Marquice Prather, 37, of Linden, was arrested Friday on charges of third-degree tampering with public records or information and fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records. He was suspended without pay and released without bail.
Prather's attorney said he will plead not guilty.
State police began looking into the three-year veteran after several women complained about his conduct.
Investigators found that Prather showed a pattern of stopping women between the ages of 20 and 35 to ask them to go on dates or for their phone numbers.
Investigators said Prather would turn off his wireless microphone during the stops and falsely report it had malfunctioned. They also said he manipulated data to conceal that he was targeting a high number of women drivers.
The trooper joined the police force in 2013 and makes an annual salary of $60,749, state payroll records showed. He was assigned to the division's Holmdel barracks, which patrols the Garden State Parkway.
A conviction on the third-degree charge carries a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000 and fourth-degree carries a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) -- Hershey's Chocolate World is gearing up for its 100 millionth visitor.
The free attraction in eastern Pennsylvania offers a behind-the-scenes look at the history of the iconic chocolate company and now the media group LNP reports officials are planning to commemorate the milestone visit.
Chocolate World's website says more than 99.92 million people have visited.
When the 100 millionth visitor is identified, that person will receive a year's supply of Hershey's candy and free admittance to Chocolate World attractions for a year.
Also, anybody who posts a social media picture hash-tagged #100MillionMemories gets a free chocolate bar during a future visit.
Chocolate World opened June 30, 1973, and replaced old tours of the Hershey factory. The 12-minute ride has been expanded with other attractions since.

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BRIDGETON, Mo. (AP) - The saying, "Better late than never" certainly applies to Hensley Hall Jr. of suburban St. Louis, who claimed a $405,000 Missouri Lottery prize just two days before it expired.
The Missouri Lottery says Hall, of Bridgeton, bought a winning ticket for the Show Me Cash game at a Schnucks Market for the June 6 drawing by matching all five numbers -- 11, 13, 32, 33 and 35.
Winners have 180 days to claim their prize and this one was due to expire Dec. 3. Hall claimed it on Dec. 1.

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