Mad Minute

DELTONA, Fla. (AP) — Police say a raccoon trapped in a vending machine at a Florida high school is now free.

Volusia County Sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Gant says a deputy stationed at Pine Ridge High School was notified of the trapped raccoon Wednesday and called animal control for assistance. A vending machine operator was also contacted to unlock the door.

They rolled the vending machine to an open area of the school and after about two hours the raccoon was set free.

A photo on the sheriff’s Facebook page shows the raccoon making itself comfortable in between snacks.

Sheriff’s officials joked that the “gentleman” was apprehended for burglary of a vending machine.


BURIEN, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state trooper who pulled over to help what he thought was a disabled vehicle found something else instead: The driver had eight phones simultaneously playing the video game Pokemon Go.

The driver was stopped on the shoulder of Highway 518 in Burien, south of Seattle, on Tuesday evening.

The agency tweeted a photo showing a blue foam square, with the phones sitting in eight rectangular cutouts.

Trooper Rick Johnson is a spokesman for the patrol and said Sgt. Kyle Smith did not issue a ticket because he did not observe the car moving while the driver was using the phones.

But Smith asked the driver to put the phones in the back seat and move along, because stopping on the shoulder is for emergencies only.


MOCKSVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina police department is evicting its pet cat named Sgt. Butters, and some residents are mounting a campaign to bring him back.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports the Mocksville Police Department’s resident feline needed a new home after concerns were raised about a pregnant woman who worked in the building and said she couldn’t be around cats. Officers had rescued the cat last year after it was seen hanging around the department.

A Save Sarge Butters Facebook page had nearly 600 members by Thursday afternoon.

Sgt. Butters has been credited with helping to restore the department’s tarnished image after a jury awarded $4.1 million in damages to three former officers who said two town officials fired them in 2011 for reporting allegations of corruptions to state officials.


Information from: Winston-Salem Journal,


PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (AP) — Officials say a Florida woman who pulled a small alligator from her yoga pants during a traffic stop and illegally possessed numerous other wild animals has been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to four charges.

Florida prosecutors say a Charlotte County sheriff’s deputy stopped a pickup truck in May after it ran a stop sign. The driver, 22-year-old driver Michael Clemons, told the deputy he and his 25-year-old passenger, Ariel Machan-Le Quire, were collecting frogs and snakes under an overpass. He gave the deputy permission to search bags in the truck.

When the deputy found 41 3-stripe turtles in a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” backpack, he asked if Machan-Le Quire had anything else. She pulled the 1-foot (0.3-meter) gator from her pants.

Officials say the Clemons case is pending.


LONDON (AP) — A British judge has sentenced a lookalike of “Friends” actor David Schwimmer to nine months in prison for theft and fraud.

Judge Sara Dodd sentenced Abdulah Husseni on Thursday for using a stolen bank card to make or attempt to make fraudulent purchases at four shops in Blackpool, northwest England, last year. He was convicted of one count of theft and four counts of fraud by false representation.

Husseni’s image became famous after police published surveillance-camera footage of a man carrying a carton of cans from a restaurant in Blackpool. Social media users noted a strong similarity to Schwimmer’s character Ross Geller in the TV show.

The actor then posted a video on Twitter showing him scuttling furtively through a U.S. convenience store clutching a carton of beer. Schwimmer wrote: “Officers, I swear it wasn’t me.”


AVALON, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have found 1,300 pounds (590 kilograms) of plastic-wrapped marijuana floating in the ocean near Santa Catalina Island off the Southern California coast.

The Daily News reports Wednesday that the U.S. Coast Guard acting on a tip discovered 43 bales of pot worth about $1 million.

The marijuana was delivered to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Federal officials are investigating where it came from.


Information from: (Los Angeles) Daily News,


An Iowa woman allegedly fleeing a traffic stop called authorities to report her car had been stolen — but she had been driving it all along.

Rachel Thornburg, 20, was speeding Tuesday on a highway in Clinton, a city roughly 85 miles east of Cedar Rapids, officials said, and a deputy tried to stop her.

The driver fled, went through a red light, and led police on a chase, the Clinton County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

Rachel Thornburg, 20, allegedly told authorities her car was stolen — but it turns out she was driving it all along.

Rachel Thornburg, 20, allegedly told authorities her car was stolen — but it turns out she was driving it all along. (Clinton County Sheriff's Office)

During that chase, the sheriff's office received a call from Thornburg claiming she left her keys in her car, and that it had been stolen. The vehicle, she said, was a 1998 grey Buick Century — the same car the deputy was pursuing.

Thornburg allegedly drove into neighboring Scott County, where police tried and failed to use Stop Sticks — a device used to deflate tires. Iowa State Patrol, however, had better luck with the device, and was able to stop the pursuit less than an hour later.

Authorities took the driver into custody and identified her as the caller who reported her own car missing while leading police on a multi-county chase.

Thornburg was charged with eluding, driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, and speeding.


Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Veterinarians at an animal hospital in Thailand conducted surgery on a bulldog to remove 32 rubber ducks from the hungry canine's stomach.

Owner Nong Aom said her American bulldog, Devil, got into a box of 50 yellow rubber ducks that had been bound for her pool in Pattaya, Thailand.

The worried owner said Devil threw up five rubber ducks, so she rushed him to the veterinarian, believing the rest of the missing toys were likely in his stomach.

Veterinarians said Devil underwent surgery for more than an hour and they removed 32 rubber ducks from his stomach, along with two rubber ball portions and an undigested cowhide treat.

Devil is recovering from the surgery and was reunited with his owner.


Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Police in China said a truck driver was ticketed when a scooter being carried on the back of the vehicle got stuck on some power lines.

A video recorded on the mountain road in Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, shows a scooter suspended from power lines hanging above the road.

Police said the truck driver had taken the mountain road in an attempt to avoid being caught driving with a load of 21 scooters that were not properly secured. They said five of the scooters fell onto the road and one ended up tangled in the power lines.

The truck driver was ticketed and made to pay the cost of having the scooter removed from the power lines and damage to the lines repaired.