Mad Minute

BALTIMORE (AP) — Officials say an Air Force sergeant tried bringing home a rocket launcher tube as a souvenir at the same airport where another service member tried returning with a similar weapon this week.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office in Maryland issued a statement saying the device, designed to be aircraft-mounted, was recovered Thursday at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

It held no explosives, but it might have contained pressurized gas and couldn’t go on a commercial flight.

The office said the sergeant was returning from overseas and that it will hold onto the launcher until it can be safely returned to him.

Federal officials said they found a similar device Monday. The unidentified traveler said he was in the military and returning from Kuwait.

No arrests were made in either case.

BWI is one of two commercial airport hubs that serve military personnel who are traveling between the U.S. and overseas bases, according to an email from the U.S. Air Force. The other hub is the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

A United Services Organization lounge at BWI hosts “99 percent” of personnel flying to and from Europe and southwest Asia, which includes Afghanistan, according to the airport’s website .

This week’s incidents aren’t the first time military grade weapons drew concerns from BWI’s airport security.

The Washington Post reported that BWI was evacuated in 1999 when two service members separately tried to bring inert souvenir grenades onto a commercial airplane.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHICAGO (AP) — The city of Chicago's efforts to wrangle an alligator who was found living in a park lagoon this summer cost more than $33,600.

Most of the costs arose from city workers putting up and removing barricades to keep people away from the lagoon in Humboldt Park after the male reptile was first spotted there last month.

Florida trapper Frank Robb captured the 4- to 5-foot long (1.2- to 1.5-meter) alligator on July 16. Officials say a $2,500 fee went to Robb. He also received $2,166 for travel and lodging.

Investigators aren't sure how the alligator ended up in the lagoon. He was dubbed Chance the Snapper and inspired several social media accounts. He's now living in a sanctuary.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

KINGSTREE, S.C. (AP) — Authorities say a police officer in South Carolina stole two counterfeit $100 bills from an evidence room and spent them at a local store.

The State Law Enforcement Division said 46-year-old Kingstree Police officer Sallica Williams was charged Monday with misconduct in office.

An arrest warrant said Sallica Williams took the fake cash from the department's evidence room and was seen in uniform at two Dollar General stores in Kingstree spending the money.

Kingstree Police Chief Andre Williams said he called SLED to investigate after the evidence disappeared and suspended the officer without pay. The chief says he fired Sallica Williams after her arrest.

Court records did not list a lawyer for Sallica Williams.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Police say an Ohio man accused of stealing a bulldozer and driving it into the porch of a house after an argument with the home's resident has been arrested on charges including theft and criminal damaging.

Akron police say Randy Schiffbauer, of Akron, is accused of taking the bulldozer from a nearby construction site and driving to the house and into the enclosed porch. Authorities say a parked vehicle and a chain-link fence also were hit by the bulldozer.

Police said the bulldozer was gone when they arrived on the scene July 5. It was later found abandoned.

Schiffbauer was charged last week. A message seeking comment was left for the 22-year-old Akron man's attorney.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A fast food bandit turned himself in after he allegedly stole a 50-pound bag of pre-cut French fries from a Five Guys restaurant in Massachusetts.

Police in Waltham said they sought the public's help in identifying the alleged junk food thief when he was caught on surveillance footage taking the bag of fries with him after eating at the establishment.

Authorities joked that they were hoping to "mash all the evidence together and come up with a suspect." The alleged thief ultimately turned himself in to police.

Officials did not reveal the name of the suspect.

It is unclear if the fries were recovered.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New Jersey's senior U.S. senator wants federal officials to take more aggressive action to protect beachgoers from wind-swept beach umbrellas.

Bob Menendez held a news conference Monday in Manasquan to once again call on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to improve its regulations and develop an aggressive campaign to educate beachgoers on the dangers the umbrellas can pose if they're not properly staked in the sand.

But the Democrat stressed that he wasn't calling for a ban on umbrellas.

"I want folks to come to our beaches and have a good time—not end up in an emergency room," he tweeted.

A woman was speared in the leg by a beach umbrella last summer in the Jersey Shore community of Seaside Heights. Another woman was killed by a flying umbrella in Virginia in 2016, and an umbrella nearly impaled toddler last month in South Carolina.

CPSC statistics show that more than 31,000 people were treated at hospitals for umbrella-related injuries from 2008-2017.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

Apparently, a man dressed in a Cookie Monster shirt, according to police.

Someone donning a shirt featuring the famed blue "Sesame Street" character allegedly entered a convenience store in Forest Grove, Ore., in the middle of the night on July 22 and ate half a package of cookies and then left without paying.When police arrived on the scene, "the alleged cookie monster was gone," officials stated in a news release.

But investigators said that the next day, the cookie thief visited the Forest Grove Police Department and confessed that he had "indeed taken a cookie from the convenience store," but said the situation was a misunderstanding.

"This entry was brought to you by the letters C and T, and the number 3, as in Citation for Theft 3," police wrote.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Officers in Florida on Monday thought a digital graduation cap decoration could be an explosive device and took the necessary precautions, campus police told Fox News.

Can Cevik, a computer engineering student at Florida International University, decorated his graduation cap with an open-source micro-controller board that displayed the message "FIU 2019," WSVN reported.

On his Instagram page, Cevik described a micro-controller, powered by a nine-volt battery, as "like a small programmable computer."

He wrote that as he was about to pass through security to attend his college graduation, police stopped him "for what they saw on my graduation cap."

He added that security assumed the worst: His cap and cellphone briefly were seized.

"He tells me to put it on the floor and instantly back away from it," Cevik told the Miami-area TV station, adding that the officer also ordered him to empty his pockets.

Cevik wrote on Instagram that "all of a sudden," security was "leading people away from the local vicinity." Campus police told Fox News everyone was asked to move away from Cevik but no one was evacuated from the building.

"I thought I'd try something different," Cevik told the television station. "It wasn't intended to be harmful in any way — just as a small creative project that I just wanted to show off at graduation."

Campus police told Fox News the exposed wires and battery had raised concerns.

"While students think these things look innocent, they have the potential to scare people and cause panic and so you just want to be more careful," FIU Police Capt. Delrish Moss told Fox News.

He added that in this case, "it was very innocent and the young man was very cooperative."

He said people were more curious about the police activity but "there was no panic."

Cevik said after he had explained the whole situation he was told "not to do this again" and was given a new cap.

He added that his graduation cap and the micro-controller were destroyed.

"Despite not getting $20 worth of electronics back, I appreciate the work put in by the police to ensure everyone was safe as well as their continued work to keep the community safe," Cevik wrote on Instagram.

After a few minutes, he was able to attend his graduation and "everything was back to normal."

Moss told Fox News that the scare did not delay the graduation ceremony. He said Cevik didn't face any disciplinary action and "was able to graduate without any problems."

Cevik apologized to police in Miami, writing he "didn't mean to scare/hurt anyone."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(FOX) Australian authorities discovered more than $1 million worth of liquid crystal meth that was transported in from Canada — via snow globes.

The 15 snow globes were targeted for inspection in Sydney, where Australian Border Force (ABF) officers X-rayed and examineded the package, and determined that liquid inside the traditional holiday decoration as "a positive result for methamphetamine."

The "sinister souvenirs," as ABF recently described them in a news release, were bubble-wrapped and placed in a box. The snow globes shown by officials appeared to showcase animals — including a llama next to a cactus, and a sloth hanging from a tree.

Investigators said that the technology used to find the crystal meth allows officers to "see further into every package than ever before."

"Our officers continue to prove, time and time again, that criminals who attempt to hide these substances in new and imaginative ways are wasting their time," Danielle Yannopoulos, a regional ABF commander in New South Wales, said in a statement. "It doesn't matter how clever you think your concealment is — we can find it."

The agency didn't announce any arrests connected to the snow globes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Aug. 1 (UPI) -- An Internet provider is offering a one-weekend "dream job" to someone willing to take a weekend vacation free from phones and computers.

SatelliteInternet.com said the "Digital Detox Challenge" is offering $1,000 to someone willing to spend a weekend at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, but they have to "give up using any tech devices for two of the three days."

"In true millennial style, you can pull out your tech on the last day to document and share your experience," the company said.

The selected person, who will be chosen Aug. 26 from applications on the firm's website, will be put up in a "retro Airbnb" with amenities including air conditioning, a hot tub, a pool and running water.

"Instead of hunching over your tech devices all day, you can explore nearby hiking trails, take a dip in the pool, read a book, meditate, relax in the hammock and watch the stars," the website states.