Mad Minute

A Japanese man was arrested for allegedly calling a phone company — a whopping 24,000 times — to complain to them about his contract, police said.

Akitoshi Okamoto, 71, was taken into custody last week for apparently inundating KDDI Corporation's customer service department with toll-free phone calls over an eight-day period.

"He demanded that KDDI staff come to him to apologize for violating his contract," a police spokesperson said of the situation, according to AFP. "He also repeatedly hung up his calls immediately after placing them."

Okamoto also allegedly called the customer service line from public payphones.

He was arrested on suspicion of "fraudulent obstruction of business," according to investigators.


A Kansas man was arrested last week driving a stolen SUV to bail out his brother, who had been jailed hours earlier for stealing a separate SUV, authorities said.

The first sibling caught early Friday was 36-year-old Eric Dean McCracken. He was arrested for driving a Chevy Trailblazer with a suspended license, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. Police said they later learned the SUV had been reported stolen.

Hours later, his younger brother, 32-year-old Keith Ray McCracken, was arrested after leading deputies on a short chase in a stolen 2015 Chevy Silverado that authorities were tracking through its GPS, the sheriff's office said.

"It is believed that the younger McCracken was en route to the Jackson County Jail to post bail on his older brother in a stolen vehicle," the sheriff's office said.

The brothers were reunited in the Jackson County Jail, where they awaited bond.

The elder McCracken was booked for driving while suspended and possession of stolen property. The younger brother was held for fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer, reckless driving, driving while suspended and possession of stolen property.


A house fire was sparked after a dog apparently turned on a microwave and burned the food inside, fire officials in England said.

The husky was home alone Monday in Standford-Le-Hope, located in Essex, when it "inadvertently turned on the appliance while alone within the kitchen." The package of bread rolls inside the microwave subsequently began to burn, and a small fire ensued.

The dog's owner noticed smoke in their kitchen from a camera feed on their phone, Essex County Fire & Rescue Service said in a news release.

"Clearly this is a very strange incident involving the man's dog, but it could still have been more serious," Geoff Wheal, of the Corringham Fire Station, said in a statement. "When we arrived, the kitchen was filled with smoke. Firefighters ensured that the damage did not spread beyond the kitchen area — but it demonstrates that microwaves shouldn't be used to store food when they aren't in use."

Wheal urged people to keep microwaves free of food, clutter, or other types of packaging, as "animals or children can turn them on more easily than you might think — so please don't run the risk."

Fire officials said the husky was not harmed during the incident.


Monkeys in India apparently can't tell a tiger from a dog made to look like a tiger -- or at least that is what one farmer claims.

The farmer, identified as Srikanth Gowda, said he has been able to protect his coffee crop from monkeys by painting his pet dog Bulbul with black stripes, an Indian news outlet reports.

"I now take Bulbul to the fields twice a day -- in the morning and evening," Gowda told Asian News International in a report Monday. "I have seen them running away at the sight of the dog. The monkeys now refrain from entering my plantations."

ANI posted images of the tiger-looking Bulbul on Twitter.

Gowda, who grows coffee in Thirthahalli in the state of Karnataka, turned to the dog after failing to scare off the monkeys with stuffed tiger toys, ANI reported.

"But, in the long run, the color of the toy used to fade and the monkeys would return to damaging the crop," he said, according to ANI.

Bulbul's stripes were painted on using hair dye, ANI reported.

The news outlet quoted Gowda's daughter as saying that other farmers in the village are now copying her father and painting their dogs to look like tigers.


MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) — Residents of a Mississippi city are protesting a large pothole in their neighborhood by decorating it with holiday cheer.

The Enterprise-Journal reports residents of McComb's Edgewood neighborhood have topped the pothole and its yellow traffic cone with tinsel, spray-painted pinecones, white leaves and what appear to be holly berries. The newspaper says residents plan to add lights and presents in the hopes of drawing the city's attention.

It's unclear how long the pothole has gone unattended by the city or what drove residents to start cheerfully protesting it recently.


MAGGIE VALLEY, N.C. (AP) — An elk is running around western North Carolina with a shredded hammock on its head, and apparently a love of apples is to blame.

News outlets report Jim Beaver told the Haywood County Sheriff's Office on Thanksgiving that an elk was stuck in his yard with its antlers tangled up in a hammock.

The sheriff's office on Facebook says Cpl. Ken Stiles climbed onto the roof, cut the hammock and freed the animal.

Beaver says elks often eat apples in his yard and play with his hammock.

This elk however was too playful.

Beaver says he didn't free the elk himself, in case it decided to attack. He told WLOS-TV that the elk, with pieces of the hammock still in its antlers, has returned to the house a few times.


OAKWOOD, Ga. (AP) — Police in Georgia say a man called out of his Steak 'n Shake job because he was "intoxicated," then showed up anyway and demanded money while holding a co-worker at gunpoint.

The Gainesville Times reports 20-year-old Kentarias Gowans, of Flowery Branch, is charged with offenses including aggravated assault. Oakwood Police investigator Todd Templeton says Gowans called out on Thanksgiving, went to the restaurant that night, held a gun to a co-worker's head and demanded money.

Police say responding officers arrived to see employees running from the business, which had customers at the time. Police say an apparently still intoxicated Gowans briefly raised the gun at officers before dropping it. He was arrested after a brief struggle during which a stun gun was used.

It's unclear if Gowans has a lawyer.


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — A dog who was dubbed the unicorn puppy because of a tail-like growth between his eyes will remain with the founder of a Missouri rescue group, despite more than 300 offers to adopt him.

The beagle-mix puppy, named Narwhal the Little Magical Furry Unicorn, was rescued in November by Mac's Mission in southeast Missouri. He drew international attention when his picture hit social media, prompting all the adoption offers but also some negative attention, including death threats, said Rochelle Steffen, founder of the Mac's Mission in Jackson.

Those two factors — plus the dog's winning personality — convinced Steffen to reverse an earlier decision to find a new home for Narwhal, she told The Southeast Missourian.

She said her tiny rescue could not properly vet the 300 adoption applicants and she was concerned by "stupid, ugly comments (online) about this sweet little puppy."

People have shown up at the rescue in Jackson because of the dog, prompting security measures and meetings "by appointment only," Steffen said. Narwhal is watched at all times by Steffen and trusted volunteers.

Steffen said she wanted to keep the dog safe and was concerned he could be exploited by someone without his best interests at heart.

"If somebody is going to make money off of him, I would love to see it go toward the rescue, and save thousands more dogs," Steffen said.

People have made "giant" offers to buy him, Steffen said. "But he's not for sale."

And the dog's cute personality made it difficult to consider giving him to someone else, she said.

"It's not just a decision from me," she said. "The whole rescue cannot fathom him leaving. We all fell in love with him."

Mac's Mission is currently involved in a court case involving the sale of a previously adopted dog, which taught Steffen that the organization loses control over an animal's fate once it is adopted. And the mission's former treasurer, Elizabeth Hann, is awaiting trial on charges that she stole $120,000 from the organization, which specializes in caring for animals with special needs.

"We have had a rough couple of years here," Steffen said of Mac's Mission. "Lots of loss, lots of hurt."

And Mac, the mission's current "spokesdog", turns 9 in January. Steffen said she wasn't sure what was going to happen until Narwhal came along, saying he is "absolutely, exactly what we needed."

She said the dog will be a spokesdog for a "Different is awesome" campaign and the long-term plan is to train him as a therapy dog. For now, Steffen is concentrating on letting him grow, and getting him fully vaccinated and socialized.


A bald eagle crashed through the window of a tax business in Virginia and was caught on camera wandering around inside before leaving on its own.

Harry Patterson Jr., who manages an Allstate insurance office in Virginia Beach, captured video when he arrived for work Monday and spotted a bald eagle inside the neighboring H&R Block office, which is closed for the season.

"I was on the phone with a friend and saw it on the inside ledge," Patterson told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper. "I figured it was a stuffed animal. Then it started to move. I couldn't believe there was a bald eagle in there and I couldn't believe what I was saying to myself."

Patterson's video shows the eagle, apparently uninjured after its crash through the window, flying back out through the hole it made in the glass.

"Craziest thing I've ever seen," Patterson said.