Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 12th

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A celebrity jockstrap that's been the buzz of Alaska for nearly two weeks went on display Wednesday at one of the nation's last Blockbuster video stores in an effort to ramp up business.

"I tell you, we're going to get a lot of traffic, is what I'm expecting," said Kevin Daymude, general manager of Blockbuster Alaska.

He expects the store to get a lot of calls: "Did you get it in? Can we go see it?" he said.

The jockstrap has a strange history since actor Russell Crowe wore it in the 2005 movie "Cinderella Man."

It recently became part of a celebrity auction, which Crowe has dubbed 'the divorce auction,' where it caught the eye of the host of HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver."

Oliver purchased the jockstrap and some other items and sent them to Anchorage, which has one of the last remaining big box store video chains. The video store is trying to stave off streaming movie services, which are gaining popularity as more broadband capability comes to the nation's most remote state.

Oliver also sent along the robe and boxing shorts worn by Crowe in the movie as well as the actor's hood from "Robin Hood," his vest from "Les Misérables" and a director's chair with Crowe's name on it.

But the prize is the leather jockstrap, and Daymude believes it might have a unique place in movie folklore.

"The very first jockstrap memorabilia I can think of, yes," he said.

And as for the most asked question so far, no, he doesn't know if they washed it before sending it, but he would like to think they did.

Daymude admits it was "be awesome" if Crowe were ever to show up at the store, but in the meantime he'd like to send photos of the display to him as a thank you.

And as for Oliver, Daymude said he would like to thank him by sending him copies of the movies that features the memorabilia Oliver sent to Alaska.

"I don't know if he's ever seen the movies, but I figure we can send him the movies and he can watch them," Daymude said.

A message seeking comment from HBO wasn't immediately returned Wednesday.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The City of Brotherly Love apparently loves getting naked.

The annual ride of naked bicyclists through Philadelphia's streets has been so popular organizers are teaming up with the artist behind New York City's Bodypainting Day to launch another body-painting event. Philly Bodypainting Day will debut Sept. 8, the day of the 10th Philly Naked Bike Ride.

Nude public body painting will take place before the bike ride starts.

The ride protests dependence on fossil fuels, advocates for bike safety and promotes positive body image. About 3,000 cyclists and artists from around the country are expected.

Philly Bodypainting Day is being presented by Bodypaint.Me and Human Connection Arts, a nonprofit organization that promotes artistic expression and body acceptance through events such as NYC Bodypainting Day.

Bodypaint.Me artist Matt Deifer (DY'-fer) says he's excited "to showcase all of this art."



(Tampa Bay Times) MADEIRA BEACH - Just weeks after avoiding a recall election, Commissioner Nancy Oakley is again facing possible forfeiture of her office - this time because she is being accused of sexually harassing former City Manager Shane Crawford.

The Florida Commission on Ethics issued a probable cause finding last week that Oakley may have violated state law by "exhibiting inappropriate behavior" toward Crawford and other city staff.

Oakley, who insists in the state ethics report that she did no wrong, must now decide whether to pursue a formal public hearing on the charges or negotiate a settlement with the state.

The ethics commission has the power to remove her from office and levy a fine of up to $10,000 per violation.

Oakley could not be reached for comment.

According to "overwhelming testimony" from multiple witnesses, an apparently intoxicated Oakley is alleged to have licked Crawford's face and touched him inappropriately during the King of the Beach Fishing Tournament in November, 2012.

Just before accosting Crawford, Oakley reportedly said "Don't ever bring that blond bitch around me again," referring to Crawford's executive assistant and now wife, Cheryl McGrady, who was with him at the time.

Oakley then grabbed Crawford inappropriately and "slowly lick(ed) him from his Adam's apple all the way up his face," the investigative report states.

Crawford said he did not report the incident at the time because he was concerned about his job.

The following year Oakley decided not to run for re-election and Crawford dropped the matter.

But when she decided to again run for office in 2017, Crawford filed a formal complaint with the Commission on Ethics.

Several months later, Oakley was re-elected and at her first meeting called for the commission to fire McGrady.

One month later, Oakley joined newly elected Mayor Maggi Black and Commissioner John Douthirt - who had all run for office as a ticket - to suspend Crawford from his position as city manager.

Crawford would later resign to avoid being fired.


A New Jersey schools superintendent is facing public defecation charges after police said he was caught pooping near another school's track and football field. 

Kenilworth Public Schools said in a Facebook post Thursday that superintendent Thomas Tramaglini was placed on paid leave after he was arrested for allegedly defecating at Holmdel High School on Monday.

"Given the nature of those charges, he asked for and was granted a paid leave of absence. (Leaves can only be without pay in the face of indictments or tenure charges, as a matter of state law.)," the district said in the post.

According to police, a school resource officer and staffers at Holmdel High School began surveiling the track after learning that someone was leaving feces on the track and football field "on a daily basis."

It was during one of the stakeouts that authorities allegedly caught the 42-year-old Tragmalini, of Matawan, in the act.

According to, which first reported the arrest, school employees were monitoring the track before 6 a.m. when they spotted Tragmalini, who was running at the time. 

In addition to defecating in public, he was charged with lewdness and littering. 

An email request to Tramaglini seeking comment was not immediately returned. 


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Thousands of ancient clay tablets, seals and other Iraqi archaeological objects that were smuggled into the U.S. and shipped to the head of arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby were returned to the Iraqi government on Wednesday.

The Oklahoma City-based private company, whose devout Christian owners won a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling exempting them from providing certain contraceptive coverage for employees, agreed to pay a $3 million fine last year to settle a lawsuit over the company's role in the smuggling of the artifacts, which authorities say were looted from the war-torn country.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Washington handed over the artifacts Wednesday to Iraq's ambassador to the U.S., Fareed Yasseen.

Prosecutors say Steve Green, the president of the $4 billion company, agreed to buy more than 5,500 artifacts in 2010 for $1.6 million in a scheme that involved a number of middlemen and the use of phony or misleading invoices, shipping labels and other paperwork to slip the artifacts past U.S. customs agents.

Ancient clay tablets, seals and other objects smuggled into the U.S. and shipped to the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby were returned to the Iraqi government. (May 2)

Ancient cuneiform tablets were labeled "ceramic tiles," and items carried paperwork that said they came from Turkey or Israel. Prosecutors said artifacts were also deliberately undervalued with one shipping label listed 300 clay tiles valued at $1 each when they were actually clay bullae with a combined value of $84,120.

Artifacts were also shipped in small batches to multiple addresses in Oklahoma City to avoid drawing the attention of customs agents, prosecutors said. A dealer based in the United Arab Emirates shipped packages containing artifacts to three different corporate addresses in Oklahoma City.

Green financed the $500 million Museum of the Bible that opened in Washington in November. The museum includes pieces from the family's collection from the Dead Sea Scrolls and bronze gates inscribed with text from the Gutenberg Bible, but museum officials have said none of the artifacts involved in the case were ever part of its collection.

The items include cuneiform tablets, cuneiform bricks and clay bullae, which are clay balls imprinted with a seal. Cuneiform is the wedge-shaped writing used thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia, the "Cradle of Civilization" between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what is now Iraq.

Authorities say many of the tablets come from the ancient city of Irisagrig, a Sumerian city whose exact location is uncertain, and date from between 2100 B.C. and 1600 B.C. The tablets, some from the Old Babylonian period, are mostly legal and administrative documents but also include an important collection of Early Dynastic incantations and a bilingual religious text from the Neo-Babylonian period.

Two clay cones are inscribed with royal inscriptions from the mid-third millennium B.C., and clay bullae include artifacts believed to be about 2,000 years old.

Prosecutors say Hobby Lobby was warned by its own expert that acquiring antiquities from Iraq carried "considerable risk" because so many of the artifacts in circulation are stolen.

But Green, who had been collecting ancient artifacts since 2009, pleaded naiveté in doing business with dealers in the Middle East.

"Early on, we were always trying to find the best experts we could to help us as we were acquiring antiquities," Green said in an Oct. 2017 interview with The Associated Press. "And so as mistakes are made, we learn from those mistakes and put processes and procedures in place to try to improve on that. ... There's a lot of complexities in areas that I'm still a novice at. But we are engaging the best experts we can to advise and help us in that process."

Bob Murowchick, an assistant professor in archaeology and anthropology at Boston University, said that while the Hobby Lobby executive may have simply blundered, "sometimes it's a deliberate smuggling attempt."

"Most antiquities are not legally moved," Murowchick said. "This stuff does not miraculously appear. In many, many cases it's illegally exported."

The selling of antiquities has become a major source of revenue for terrorist organizations, including Islamic State, and it is vital that collectors ask the right questions to avoid financing terrorism, Murowchick said..

"It's a very formal business in some areas," Murowchick said. "You collect things because you love them. Sometimes you don't ask the things that need to be asked."

Hobby Lobby did not immediately reply to an email seeking further comment Wednesday.


(Tampa Bay Times) TAMPA - A Tampa man splashed a corrosive chemical on two luxury cars, causing more than $3,000 in damage, deputies said.

When asked why he did it, he told detectives the cars reminded him of vehicles driven by people who bullied him in college, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

Scott Stone, 37, was arrested Wednesday and faces two counts of criminal mischief.

Stone told detectives he didn't know who owned the cars, Sheriff's Office spokesman Danny Alvarez said.

On April 23, Stone poured either brake cleaner or rust remover onto the passenger side of a 2017 Porsche Macan, causing the paint to peel and about $2,000 worth of damage, Alvarez said.

About a week later, Stone spilled a chemical onto a 2015 Mercedes 500 parked at the AMC Veterans 24 theater at 9302 Anderson Road, Alvarez said. The paint on the passenger side peeled, costing the owner $1,200 in repairs, Alvarez said.

Surveillance video showed Stone's 2012 GLK Mercedes at both incidents around the times they happened, and Stone told deputies that he damaged both cars, Alvarez said.

"We are aware of two similar cases that occurred recently, including one in the city of Tampa," Alvarez said. "Detectives are still trying to ascertain if these cases are related."

Stone was held in Hillsborough County jail in lieu of a $4,000 bond.


May 3 (UPI) -- Toronto police said a car found dangling from a city bridge with no engine or windows was likely placed as part of a prank.

The blue Honda Civic was discovered dangling from a wire under the Millwood Overpass Bridge on Wednesday morning and police initially suspected it was part of a movie shoot.

Police said later Wednesday they determined the car, which was burned out on the inside and had no windows, windshield or engine, was not part of any authorized filming in the city.

"At this time, it is believed this incident was intended as a prank," Toronto Police Constable Caroline de Kloet said in a Wednesday afternoon news release. "This incident resulted in the use of significant resources that were not available to attend to genuine emergency calls for service."

The car was safely brought to the ground by firefighters about 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Police said the investigation into the discovery is ongoing and the pranksters responsible could face charges for tying up emergency resources.


May 3 (UPI) -- A Hawaii woman who spotted what she initially mistook for an alligator while driving captured video of the actual animal -- a massive iguana.

Jessica Aquino said she was driving in Waimanalo on Tuesday when she spotted a huge reptile near the road.

"It was chilling and it started to walk across into this area," Aquino told KHON-TV.

Iguanas are considered an invasive species in Hawaii and are illegal to own, but many continue to reside in the state due to their elusive nature.

Aquino said she had heard there were iguanas in the area, but she never expected to see one that appeared to be at least 6 feet long.

"It looked like a mini alligator," Aquino said.


May 3 (UPI) -- A janitor who found $325 million worth of gold bars in a garbage bin at a South Korean airport might be allowed to keep the precious metal, police said.

The seven gold bars were found April 26 in a trash can at Incheon International Airport in Seoul.

The bars, which were wrapped in newspaper, are believed to belong to a Korean man who has not come forward to claim them, police said.

Investigators said the gold bars are believed to have been ditched by two men who were transporting the bullion from Hong Kong to Japan. The men are believed to have abandoned the gold because they were worried about being searched by customs.

Police said the owner must come forward to claim the gold, or else the $325 million worth of precious metal will become property of the janitor who found it under the country's finders-keepers law.

The janitor would still receive 5 to 20 percent of the gold's value if the owner comes forward, police said.

The worker will not be able to claim any of the gold or money, however, if it turns out to have been linked to criminal activities.


(Orlando Sentinel) man was arrested Sunday after asking a Florida Highway Patrol trooper if he could run away from the scene of a crash, saying he could get the trooper more meth than he had found in his car.

Scott Ecklund, 32, was arrested on charges of methamphetamine possession and driving with a suspended license. He was arrested earlier this month and accused of crashing a Chevrolet truck into a house in Winter Park and claiming to be an FBI agent with an AR-style rifle, police said at the time.

On Sunday afternoon, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper got to the scene of a crash at World Center Drive and South Apopka Vineland Road, records show. Ecklund had crashed a blue Chevrolet Impala into another vehicle, records show.

FHP Trooper Glaudson Curado wrote in his arrest report that he searched Ecklund's car and found meth and a small scale, records show.

Ecklund talked nonstop, Curado wrote.

"Mr. Ecklund was making no sense during our conversation," Curado wrote. "… He was asking me to let he run away, that he could get me much more illegal substance that I had found with him today."

Ecklund is being held in the Orange County Jail.

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