Mad Minute

EUREKA, Calif. (AP) — A man who accidentally tossed $23,000 into the recycling bin reunited with his life savings Saturday after a worker at a recycling facility in Northern California spotted a shoebox stuffed with money.

When the man from Ashland, Oregon, realized his mistake on Thursday, the recycling bin had already been emptied into a truck bound for the Recology sorting facility in Humboldt County.

The facility’s general manager told the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat most of the recyclables from the truck had been sorted by the time the man contacted Recology. Workers were nonetheless told to be on the lookout for the box.

Someone spotted the box down the sorting line Friday and recovered all but $320. The money somehow stayed in the box during the 200-mile trip to the facility.


BERLIN (AP) — Police in Germany say a truck carrying crates of beer lost part of its load, spilling about 10,000 bottles onto a road in the southwest of the country.

Mannheim police said Saturday that volunteer firefighters from two nearby towns and a local civil defense team took part in the salvage operation, but an estimated 12,000 euros ($13,330) worth of beer was lost in the crash late Friday.

Police said the truck driver is being investigated for failing to properly secure his load.


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A Brazilian gang leader tried to escape from prison by dressing up as his daughter when she visited him behind bars and walking out the penitentiary's main door in her place, authorities said Sunday.

But prison officials said the nervousness displayed by Clauvino da Silva, also known as "Shorty," as he tried to leave the prison in the western part of Rio de Janeiro dressed as a woman gave him away.

His plan was apparently to leave his 19-year-old daughter inside the jail. Police are looking into her possible role as an accomplice in Saturday's failed escape attempt from Gericinó prison.

Rio's State Secretary of Prison Administration released photos showing da Silva in a silicon girl's mask and long dark-haired wig, wearing tight jeans and a pink shirt with a cartoon image of donuts. They also released a video in which da Silva can be seen removing the mask and some of the clothes, and saying his full name.

Authorities say da Silva was part of the leadership of the Red Command, one of the most powerful criminal groups in Brazil that controlled drug trafficking in a large part of Rio.

After the failed escape bid, da Silva was transferred to a unit of a maximum-security prison and will face disciplinary sanctions, officials said.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — An enterprising cowboy lassoed a longhorn inside the lobby of a Colorado Springs building Friday after the cow broke free from a downtown parade and charged its way inside.

Pedestrians scurried out of harm's way during the brief escape as the longhorn romped across a street and through an open door at the Plaza of the Rockies. Fast-thinking spectators quickly shut the door to contain the animal, which emerged moments later, roped by a cowboy atop a horse.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, and several spectators caught the drama on camera.

Amber Keller, who works on the ground floor of the building, was outside watching the tail end of the parade when she saw the longhorn break free from the herd.

"They just got a little ornery. ... She just kind of took off, and the cowboys were right on her," she said of the rogue longhorn.

Keller, who filmed the scene from behind a metal bench, told The Associated Press she wasn't scared, but "everybody was a little concerned and shook up."

"It was a little chaotic," said Keller, who also praised the cowboys' quick response.

"It looked like they had it all under control. I don't think he even flinched going into the building," she said of the cowboy who lassoed the longhorn.

The parade was held to mark a weekend rodeo in Colorado Springs.


NEW ALBANY, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi man says the family dog saved him and his son from a house fire.

Marvin Foster of New Albany tells the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that he was getting out of the shower Tuesday when Dudley the dog bumped the bathroom door and alerted him about a fire in the kitchen.

Foster got dressed and yelled to his son, Terrance, that they needed to get out of the burning home.

The two men escaped, but a wall fell and jammed the bathroom door, trapping Dudley inside. New Albany firefighters rescued the dog and gave him water and oxygen.

Dudley had burns to an ear and his eyes, and he inhaled smoke. He is recovering at a veterinarian's office.

Foster says the dog is his hero.


BERLIN (AP) — Vienna subway travelers have decided that they don't want their train rides to be scented.

The Austrian capital's transport authority tried out four scents, including hints of green tea, grapefruit, sandalwood and melon, in the ventilation systems of four trains on two of the network's five lines last month. It asked subway users to deliver their verdict online.

The authority said Monday that 21,000 people decided they would prefer to live without scent as they commute, while 16,000 supported extending the project.

It said that the air quality in subway cars has already been improved by a ban on eating on trains that was introduced on all lines in January.


Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Police in New York were called to a Staten Island Ferry terminal to remove 25,000 bees that took up residence on an awning.

The New York Police Department said its beekeeper unit responded to the St. George terminal about 3 p.m. Sunday when the swarm of bees was spotted on an awning.

Police said the swarm was first spotted by police Lt. Michael Molinari, who summoned the beekeeper unit and Special Ops Truck 5 to the scene.

The Patrol Borough Staten Island ferry security unit also assisted with the bee capture, police said.

No injuries were reported from the insects, which were safely relocated.


Aug. 2 (UPI) -- A customer at a Kansas gas pump captured video of a bizarre sight -- a snake slithering behind the gas pump's touch screen.

Holly Malkames said she initially thought what she was seeing on the screen at the Minit Mart in Gardner was a video of some sort, until she realized it was a snake inside the mechanism.

"When I was done filling up my car, I went in to show the attendant," Malkames told WDAF-TV. "Asked jokingly if they were trying to prank me! Showed them the video and they were shocked!"

The gas station said an employee disassembled the screen the next day and freed the snake, which appeared much smaller in person.

"I suppose the Plexiglas magnified it," Malkames told KCTV.


SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — A message in a bottle from Hawaii was discovered floating in a California river after traveling for more than a decade across the Pacific, a newspaper reported.

Eric McDermott, 30, said he found the message, dated 2006, in April with the names of three siblings, ages 4, 7 and 10, and an Oklahoma street address, The Press Democrat reported Friday.

McDermott was volunteering his time cleaning up the Russian River about 77 miles (124 kilometers) north of San Francisco when he spotted the bottle in the water, he said.

He spent months searching for the family in the note and finally tracked them down a few miles from where he discovered the note, he said.

"The world works in mysterious ways," McDermott said. "What are the odds?"

The family was originally from Santa Rosa, California, and returned after living in Oklahoma for a few years.

Brian Bricker and his ex-wife Alicia Bricker were shocked to learn of the discovery. Their children — now 17, 20 and 23 — have grown a lot over the years.

One just finished college and one is married, Alicia Bricker said.

The bottled message was inspired by a late family friend, Michele Coutin, who enjoyed traveling the world, Brian Bricker said.

"She traveled a lot, and she always said, 'Hey, when I went here, I threw a bottle in the ocean for you guys,'" Brian Bricker said.

The family threw the bottle into the ocean during a Hawaii vacation, McDermott said.

It likely floated south from Hawaii toward the Philippines and Asia before possibly taking a counterclockwise swing through the Gulf of Alaska before heading down the California coast, said John Largier, professor of oceanography at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab in Bodega Bay.

"If only it could talk," Largier said.


Aug. 2 (UPI) -- A fuel cap from an airplane fell out of the sky and sliced through a Florida woman's screen enclosure when she was sitting outside with a friend.

Dara Hackett said she and her friend were on the patio of her Winter Garden home Thursday when they heard a sound that she said was louder than a gunshot.

"Like a very, very, very loud bang -- a ting noise," she told WKMG-TV. "Then, you heard it hit the pool and splash."

Hackett recovered a disc-shaped metal object measuring about 8 inches in diameter. A label on the object said, "fuel servicing."

Some online research revealed the object was a fuel cap from a commercial plane.

"That could have killed me," she said. "It could have killed my friend, and it could have killed my dog."

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is investigating the incident to determine where the cap came from.