Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 12th

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) -- Best friends Blake Walker and Tristen Gibson had a weird first meeting - he robbed her.

Walker spent three years in prison for robbing Gibson of $198 as she clerked at a Port St. John, Florida, gas station in 2013, according to Florida Today . He used a broken toy gun, saying now that he needed the money because he was a homeless drug addict.

"Are you joking?" she remembers asking him as he pointed the toy pistol at her. Walker knew he looked "like an idiot," but told her, "No, this isn't a joke, dear. I need your money." She handed it over.

He was arrested two weeks later. After his release last year, he moved to his family's farm in Mississippi to start over.

Days later, Gibson contacted Walker on Facebook to chew him out. Anxiety from the robbery had caused her to resume drinking, an addiction she had struggled with for years.

"I said, 'Do you remember me? Because I remember you every day,'" Gibson told the newspaper.

Walker apologized, telling her he was a changed man. Angry, Gibson blocked him. But after a few days, she says she had a hunch Walker was a good person who made a bad choice. She contacted him again to make amends. The first conversations were all on Facebook.

They conversed for hours, learning that both faced addictions but were trying to get better. They became a team to bolster each other's sobriety. They have talked daily since. They still communicate mostly through Facebook messages, with the occasional phone call.

Walker brags that Gibson has been sober for almost 620 days.

"I let her know every day how proud I am of her," he said.

Gibson boasts that Walker has become an amazing person.

"I think we were meant to cross paths," she said. "Our higher power works in mysterious ways."

The two can now laugh about Walker's botched robbery.

"It's funny now," Gibson said. "It wasn't then."


AUBURN, Maine (AP) -- A professional runner from Kenya says he had to outrun two charging bears while training in the woods in Maine.

Moninda Marube went for a run early Wednesday out on a nature trail near his home in Auburn. The Lewiston Sun Journal reports he ran into two black bears just after passing a vacant house near Auburn Lake.

Marube says he froze and engaged in a stare-down with the bears. He says he thought his only option was to run away.

He says he ran back toward the vacant house and got inside its screened porch with the bears about 10 yards (9 meters) behind him. He says the bears just looked at him through the screening and then wandered off.



NEW YORK (AP) -- Workers at a construction site dug up what first appeared to be an unexploded World War II-era bomb but turned out to be a time capsule from a nightclub that helped launch Madonna's career.

Police found the device Wednesday in the Flatiron section of Manhattan and determined quickly that it was not dangerous. It turns out the capsule was buried in 1985 by clubgoers and bartenders from the club Danceteria. Former owner John Argento told the Daily News of New York he bought it for $200 at an Army Navy store on Canal Street.

"It was just an excuse to do a party," Argento said. "We forgot about it and went on to the next party."

Madonna danced through Danceteria in the movie "Desperately Seeking Susan," and she performed there in real life, as did Billy Idol, Duran Duran and many other '80s icons. The club closed in 1986.

"The city was exciting then - it was innovation, music, art, fashion because kids could still afford to come to New York City and get an apartment for $100 and the drinks were $2," Argento told TV station WCBS.

Argento, who now runs two clubs in New Jersey, said he can hardly remember what was inside the Danceteria capsule.

"I was hoping the contents survived and I want to get them back because a lot of people ask about it," Argento said.

The police said Argento may be able to pick up the contents of the capsule once they've been thoroughly searched.


MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) -- The owners of a pizza shop in Pakistan say business is booming now that they've introduced a robot waitress.

Osama Jafri, the engineer who designed the 25-kilogram (55-pound) robot, says it can greet customers and carry pizzas to their tables. The robot resembles a short, slender woman wearing a long dress and apron. He says he wrapped a scarf around the robot's neck so as not to offend conservative patrons.

He says sales at, in the town of Multan, have doubled since the robot was unveiled in February. Jafri's father Aziz, who owns the restaurant, says he has three more robot waitresses and plans to open a new branch.

He says, "I used to sell pizzas, but now restaurant owners want to buy robots from me."


GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- Utility officials say a snake caused a power outage that left more than 4,000 customers without electricity in northwestern South Carolina.

Duke Energy spokesman Ryan Mosier told media outlets a snake that crawled into a substation disrupted service and left Greenville County residents in the dark about 5 a.m. Wednesday.

It took about 90 minutes to completely restore service.

Mosier says the utility constantly works to improve its barriers to prevent snakes, squirrels and birds from crawling into the electrical equipment at substations and causing outages.

But he says it's not uncommon, especially this time of year. Mosier said small animals remain a big reason for power outages.


AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Authorities say a man who threw a cup of bedbugs onto a counter at the municipal office building in Augusta, Maine, has been charged with two misdemeanors.

The city manager said the building had to be sprayed for bedbugs. About 100 of them scattered on June 2, and the facility had to be closed for the day.

The Kennebec Journal reports 74-year-old Charles Manning was charged with assault and obstruction of government administration. He's scheduled to appear in court Aug. 7.

Authorities say he had complained to the code enforcement office about bedbugs at his former apartment and left. He returned and let the bugs loose after he was told he didn't qualify for assistance for a new apartment.

It wasn't immediately known if Manning had a lawyer, and a phone number couldn't be found for him.


CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- The bedbugs are back at a South Carolina fire station one month after an outbreak at four stations.

The Charleston Fire Department said in a news release Wednesday that bedbugs have been found at one of the stations that had problems earlier this year.

Firefighters are being moved to another station about 3 miles (5 kilometers) away.

Charleston spokesman Jack O'Toole said the bugs were found on a covered mattress in the station's dorm. A pest-sniffing dog determined the infiltration was limited to one area of one room.

Interim Fire Chief John Tippett says the department has a set of pest control procedures after the earlier outbreak.

The last infestation lasted a month. Officials eventually used large propane tanks to heat the stations to rid them of bugs.


PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Police say customers and vendors at a supermarket subdued a Pittsburgh man who tried to steal $150 worth of steaks.

Online court records show 37-year-old Robert Twigg's record of shoplifting and drug arrests go back 11 years. His latest arrest happened Wednesday at a Giant Eagle in the city's Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Witnesses tell police Twigg was putting the meat into a backpack when a vendor grabbed the bag, the store's manager called 911 and customers chased Twigg and held him down until police arrived.

Court records don't list an attorney for Twigg, who was unable to post $2,000 bail and remained jailed Thursday.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 19.


CLINTON, Maine (AP) - This Santa made the naughty list.

Maine State Police say they arrested the driver of a stolen vehicle who identified himself as Santa Claus following a nearly 50-mile (80-kilometer) chase Tuesday.

Police said the chase started in Clinton after they tried to pull the driver over for a traffic violation. The chase reached 112 miles (180 kilometers) an hour before spike strips were deployed in Newburgh, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) away.

Christos Kassaras, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, drove on busted tires another 15 miles (24 kilometers) before troopers caught and arrested him.

It wasn't immediately known if the 54-year-old had a lawyer. A woman who identified herself as his mother said she hadn't spoken to him and had no comment.

Kassaras was jailed on stolen vehicle and criminal speed charges.


ATLANTA (AP) - A disruptive passenger was removed from an Atlanta-to-Chicago flight after yelling at a flight attendant while letting her dog run through the cabin.

Passenger Michael Nash posted video of the altercation that took place before takeoff Wednesday on the American Airlines flight. Nash said the woman had reclined her seat while the plane was taxiing to the runway and yelled profanities after being asked to stop.

The video shows passengers yelling at the woman to sit down as she follows a flight attendant to the back of the plane with her dog by her side. The plane returned to the gate, and another video shows a man escorting her off the flight.

An Atlanta airport representative tells Chicago's WBBM-TV that the woman wasn't arrested and was rebooked on another flight.

American Airlines says the plane arrived in Chicago four hours late.

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