Mad Minute stories from Friday, May 18th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Friday, May 18th

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CLARKS HILL, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s most talented escape artist may be a kangaroo.
News outlets report the McCormick County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that a mischievous marsupial was roaming the county for the second time in three days. Maj. Robert Christie says authorities have yet to discern how it escaped, but it’s likely the kangaroo found a weak spot in the fence or a gate left open.
The kangaroo’s Houdini act first was noticed Tuesday, when Sheriff Clark Sterns says calls came streaming in about a kangaroo sighting along Highway 28. Sterns says its owner was notified and was able to corral the animal. Details about the kangaroo’s Thursday morning exploits and capture were not released.
The sheriff’s office says the unidentified owners are properly licensed to keep the kangaroo in South Carolina.

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EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Authorities are trying to determine how a box of ammunition fell from a military helicopter and crashed through the roof of an elementary school in Texas.
The Ysleta Independent School District says no one was injured when the ammo box hit Parkland Elementary School in El Paso on Thursday afternoon. The ammo box left a hole in the roof and caused a power outage in part of the building.
Officials at nearby Fort Bliss say they'll reassess flight patterns as part of their investigation.
In a statement, 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade commander Col. Jay Hopkins said he was sorry for the damage and grateful no one was hurt.
 
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(Sun Sentenial) wo South Florida men are among four people named Wednesday in arrest warrants related to an online website, Mugshots.com, which posts arrest records and booking photographs – and takes them down only for a fee.
Ever since the fall of 2013, Jesse T., of Sonoma County, Calif., has found it nearly impossible to land a job. He's applied for construction, manufacturing, and electrical positions, with no luck. After nearly a year of unreturned calls and emails, his friend alerted him to a troubling Web page.
Was Jesse in prison, his friend asked, according to an arrest warrant, which did not give Jesse's last name. When Jesse searched his own name in Google, the first result was a post on Mugshots.com, a website that mines publicly available arrest records from across the country. It indicated that Jesse had been arrested, and included his full name, address and the reason for his detention.
Jesse was, in fact, arrested in September 2013, but he was never charged with a crime. He was simply detained for 12 days and then released. But Mugshots.com made no such distinction. Jesse became convinced that the post, which included his full name, address and the reason for his detention, had ruined his reputation, making it difficult to find a job or even start a romantic relationship.
He clicked on a link to a related site, unpublisharrest.com, which offered to remove the information — but demanded that Jesse pay $399. He called a number associated with the web page, and told a man on the other line that his demands were illegal, according to an arrest warrant. The man laughed and hung up.
Have you listened to 'Felonious Florida,' our new true-crime podcast series?
Jesse is one of thousands of people across the country who California prosecutors say have been extorted by Mugshots.com. Between 2014 and 2017, Mugshots.com allegedly took more than $2.4 million in fees from at least 5,703 people nationwide who wanted their photos removed from the site, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a news release Wednesday. About 175 of those individuals had billing addresses in California.
Becerra has filed charges of extortion, money laundering, and identity theft against four men who are allegedly behind Mugshots.com. The arrest warrant, which seeks to extradite the men to California, names Sahar Sarid, of Lighthouse Point, Thomas Keesee, of West Palm Beach, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie, and David Usdan as the alleged owners and operators of Mugshots.com. None of the men could be located for comment. The website appears to still be operating as usual.
Mugshots.com is one of several websites nationwide that make money by publicizing arrest information and demanding fees through intermediary sites to swipe records clean.
Mugshots.com and similar websites say they are simply republishing arrest information that is already publicly available through government records. Mugshots.com shows a disclaimer in capitalized letters at the top of its Web page saying the information on its website is in no way an indication of guilt or evidence that an actual crime has been committed.
But to many people whose photos have cropped up on the site, such disclaimers are not enough to make up for the damage to their reputation. Mugshots.com refuses to take down criminal record information unless that person pays a fee, usually $399, through the secondary website, Unpublisharrest.com. They make no exceptions — even if the person's charges were dismissed or if the arrest was due to a mistaken identity or law enforcement error, according to a law enforcement affidavit, which included interviews with 18 people.
"This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else's humiliation," Becerra said in a statement. "Those who can't afford to pay into this scheme to have their information removed pay the price when they look for a job, housing, or try to build relationships with others. This is exploitation, plain and simple."
Websites like Mugshots.com have been operating for years, particularly in Florida. In 2012, the Miami Herald called mug shot websites the "hot new internet business." One of the first such websites appears to have been Arrrests.org, operated by Rob Wiggen, a 33-year-old Floridian skilled in computer programming. He would post hundreds of new mug shots on a daily basis, mining law enforcement websites in Florida and four other states, the Herald reported.
An intermediary website would, in turn, charge people hundreds of dollars to remove mug shots.
A number of lawsuits have previously tried to target Mugshots.com. Last year, Illinois resident Peter Gabiola filed a federal lawsuit seeking class-action status against Mugshots.com, alleging it posted incomplete criminal records so that its sister site could solicit "takedown" fees from people, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Gabiola said he was fired an hour after starting a new job because the employer saw his retail theft arrest record online. Even after the Illinois Department of Corrections had removed his records from its website, the information was still available on Mugshots.com, the Tribune reported.
In 2012, an attorney filed a class-action lawsuit against Mugshots.com and other booking photo websites, but was not able to locate the owners to serve them.
The owners of Mugshots.com have tried to conceal their identities by listing their business address in Nevis, West Indies, registering their domain name in Belize and using a website hosting company in Australia, according to the attorney general's affidavit. They also hide behind dissolved or inactive limited liability companies. In doing so, "the owners avoid service of process by those who have been injured through their business practices, giving their victims no recourse to seek damages," the affidavit stated.
The repercussions of a post on Mugshots.com can carry on long after a person dies.
Rosa S., a resident of Ventura County, told investigators her late husband, Tony, was jailed for one night in 1998. He was never charged with a crime, and had no criminal history. In 2002, he committed suicide.
Their son has the same name as his father, and when she searched her son's name on the Internet, the first result that popped up was her late husband's booking photo.
When she called Mugshots.com to have it removed, she was told she would have to pay.
The mother said what Mugshots is doing "is very ugly," the affidavit stated, "they are profiting from people's pain."

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Hasbro has trademarked the scent of Play-doh.
The toy company on Friday announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has recognized Play-doh's distinctive smell with a registered trademark, something rarely issued for a scent.
The Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based toymaker describes it as a "sweet, slightly musky, vanilla fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, combined with the smell of a salted, wheat-based dough."
The Play-doh brand has been around since 1956. Hasbro applied for the scent trademark last year.
The company says in a press release that the smell "has always been synonymous with childhood and fun" and explains that the trademark allows it to protect "an invaluable point of connection between the brand and fans."
There are already some Play-doh-scented products available online, including cologne and soy candles.

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A mother's effort to honor her young children went terribly wrong when the tattoo she got of her son's name was spelled incorrectly — so she took what some might call an unusual approach and named her son after the tattoo.
"Kevin," the two-year-old son of Johanna Sandstrom, of Sweden, was renamed "Kelvin" after a tattoo artist inked the wrong name on her arm.
Sandstrom told local newspaper Blekinge Lans Tidning she was devastated after she saw the wrong name tattooed on her body.
"I said I wanted the names of my children tattooed on me and I gave the artist their names," she said, according to The Independent. "The artist drew the design and didn't ask anything about the spelling so I didn't give it any more thought."
The mother, who also got the name of her daughter, Nova, tattooed, said when she got home and saw the tattoo, "My heart stopped and I thought I was going to faint."
When she returned to the tattoo shop, Sandstrom claims the tattoo artist laughed and said the only thing he could do to fix the situation was give her a refund.
She said that, after realizing it would take several treatments to remove the tattoo, she and her husband decided the easiest fix was to change their son's name instead.
"I had never heard the name 'Kelvin' before," she said. "There isn't anyone who names their kid Kelvin. So when I thought more about it, I realized that no one else has this name. It became unique. Now we think it is better than Kevin."
Sandstrom told the newspaper she'll make sure to check "10,000 times" before she gets the name of her third child, Freja, tattooed.

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May 18 (UPI) -- A driver's dashboard camera in Taiwan captured the moment their vehicle collided with a load of watermelons as they fell from a truck.
The video shows the car traveling on a road through a wooded area this week in Taiwan when it turns a corner and encounters a truck traveling in the opposite direction.
The truck is in the process of losing its load of watermelons from the side of its cargo area.
The car collides with some watermelons and drives over several others before safely coming to a stop. A group of motorcyclists following the truck are luckily able to avoid the spill.

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May 18 (UPI) -- A stand-off between an alligator and a sandhill crane in Florida ended with the gator chickening out and being chased away by the bird.
A video recorded by a witness who had just finished fishing under a bridge in Sanford shows the alligator standing in the roadway and staring down a group of sandhill cranes standing in the grass next to the street.
The alligator eventually decides the cranes aren't a suitable meal and turns to make a speedy retreat while one of the birds follows to make sure it doesn't change its mind.
"I was fishing nearby, undernmath a bridge, on a rainy afternoon. As I was leaving, I passed Gator's Riverside Grille next to the marinam," the filmer wrote. "The gator was stalking the cranes and crossed the road in front of me. Once I unplugged my phone, I realized that I was witnessing a standoff of sorts. The gator was 'punked' by a sand hill crane!"

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ay 18 (UPI) -- A kayaker who found a 30-year-old message in a bottle in a Mississippi river said she has been contacted by the authors of the note.
Angi Webb, owner of Pearl River Kayaks, posted photos to the business' Facebook page of the message in a bottle she found floating in the Pearl River.
"Our names are Tony and Chris Taylor. I am 4 years old and Chris is 2 years old. We hope somebody finds this bottle. We love you and God loves you!" the note, dated Feb. 10, 1989, reads.
Webb said she set about trying to locate the Taylor family and she was contacted by the family after a news story about the bottle aired Thursday.
She said the family members now live in Woodbury and Smithville, Tenn. She said Tony and Chris told her they wrote the note with the help of their mother.
Webb said she is inviting the family to kayak the Pearl River with her this summer to celebrate the return of their bottled message.

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May 18 (UPI) -- A Florida graduate's Twitter campaign earned enough attention for Crocs to provide foam shoes to all of her female classmates for graduation.
Sarah Agee said she struck upon the idea while talking with her Seminole High School classmates about their concerns that high heels would be treacherous to wear on the artificial grass of Tropicana Field, where the graduation ceremony was held this week.
Agee said the dress code required girls to wear "white or light-colored shoes," so she suggested Crocs. A teacher recommended she get in contact with the company on Twitter to see if they would provide shoes for the class.
"@Crocs sitting here trying to decide what to wear to graduation, how many Rts would it take to send all the senior girls at Seminole Senior High School white crocs to wear at graduation?!" Agee tweeted.
The company responded: "2018... obviously."
Agee said the company made good on the bargain and sent 124 pairs of Crocs Classic Clogs to the school last week. She tweeted photos of her classmates wearing the shoes at the graduation ceremony.
"This might be the first time more than 100 pairs of Crocs cross the same graduation stage," Terence Reilly, Crocs chief marketing officer, told the Tampa Bay Times."
"It was crazy, cool, really cool," Agee told WTVT-TV.
"It's kind of mind-blowing. If you set your mind to do something, you can do it," she said.

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Those who are sick of the royal wedding may find solace in a Derby pub, which has banned all mention of the nuptials on Saturday.
The Alexandra Hotel will even fine people with a "swear box" for those who let slip anything about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's big day.
The landlady, Anna Dyson-Edge, also fined people for chatting about Prince William and Catherine's wedding in 2011, and brought the idea back this year after raising £400 for charity.
Posters have gone up around the pub showing the royal couple with red crosses through their faces.
The posters read: "Royal Wedding Free Zone! Please refrain from discussing the Royal Wedding. We're not interested in it, let's talk about beer or the weather instead - or something more interesting..."
Anyone who mentions it will put money in a box, with the collection going to the Nightingale Cancer Unit at the Royal Derby Hospital.
Ms Dyson-Edge said: "We banned any mention of the event when William and Kate got married and we managed to raise £400. It isn't the regulars who get caught out, it's mainly people who pop in for the first time.
"(The idea) came from the regulars for William and Kate's wedding and this one is the same - the regulars came in and said they are sick of hearing about it.
"So we have banned it and it's a good way of raising money for charity."
She said even though it's banned, she is not anti-royal, but enjoys any opportunity to raise money for charity.


 

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