GREENSBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania man has been jailed on charges he sold heroin in the hospital maternity ward room where people were visiting his newborn daughter.
Twenty-five-year-old Cody Hulse was arraigned Friday on charges including heroin delivery and endangering the welfare of children. The Tribune-Review reports he declined to comment afterward.
Authorities say Hulse got busted after Greensburg police stopped a vehicle Thursday and found heroin and paraphernalia. The occupants told police they had just bought the drugs from Hulse at Excela Health Westmoreland hospital.
Police say they went to the maternity room and confronted Hulse, who acknowledged selling the drugs and who had heroin in his pocket.
Police say Hulse's girlfriend, the baby's mother, told them she didn't know about the drug deals.
Online court records don't list a defense attorney.
WILMINGTON, Del. — Authorities say a man accused of trying to rent a car in Delaware using fake identification was caught hiding in a trash can.
Delaware State Police said 23-year-old Davontae Williams tried to rent a car from Enterprise Car Rental in Wilmington on Wednesday.
Police say employees realized Williams matched the description of someone suspected of attempting to use a fake ID earlier that day at another Enterprise location. Police say Williams fled when a trooper told him to stop, then was found in the trash can after a foot chase.
Williams, of Glenolden, Pennsylvania, was charged with theft by false pretense of over $1,500, resisting arrest and other charges. He was held in lieu of $6,000 cash bond.
Jail officials said Friday they didn't know if Williams has an attorney.
WASILLA, Alaska — It was an odd day for one Alaska animal control officer who took a call about an alligator outgrowing its bathtub.
KTUU-TV reports that a Wasilla resident called 911 this week after realizing that the more than 4-foot-long (1.2-meter-long) alligator named Allie couldn't live in a tub anymore.
Rescue group Valley Aquatics took Allie in. Valley Aquatics owner Sheridan Perkins says Allie is a 3-year-old American alligator.
Perkins says she has thought about re-homing Allie in Florida.
The alligator is Wasilla's second run in this year with a large reptile. In May, a 17-foot (5.2-meter) python named Sam went missing for several days before reappearing in his home's living room. He returned through the door his owner left open for him.
STANDISH, Maine — A Maine high school has rejected a student's submitted yearbook photo because it shows him holding a shotgun.
Bonny Eagle High School senior Wade Gelinas says he wanted his picture to feature hunting because it is a family tradition.
Principal Lori Napolitano tells WCSH-TV the school in Standish does not allow weapons in yearbook photos because administrators don't want to be forced to decide which images are promoting violence and which aren't.
The photographer says she thought there was "no way" Gelinas would be allowed to use it.
Gelinas says he will submit a different photo but hopes the school will change its policy.
KINGS BEACH, Calif. — A very large bear-about-town was spotted peering into shop windows in a California tourist community on Lake Tahoe.
The Placer (PLAH'-ser) County Sheriff's Office posted video on its Facebook page of the four-pawed prowler early Wednesday.
In it, Deputy Don Nevins shines his car's spotlight on the animal and shouts, "Hey, big boy!" before warning the bear against breaking into any of the shops it's sniffing around.
Shortly after, the bear darts in front of his patrol car and off into a park.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Dena Erwin says deputies respond to bear calls every day because they break into cars, homes and businesses. She said right now they are preparing for hibernation, so they're upping their calorie intake.
PARMA, Ohio — A two-story, "Star Wars"-inspired Halloween yard display in Ohio is enticing kids to get toy lightsabers and attracting hundreds of visitors from across the state.
Elevator mechanic Nick Meyer, 39, spent about $1,500 and 10 hours a weekend for half a year to build a replica of the four-legged All Terrain Armored Transport, or AT-AT walker. He built it with his carpenter friend Anthony Paroda, and it's been such a success that spectators are donating money for them to build another display next year.
At 19 feet, the replica is nearly as tall as Meyer's home in Parma, a Cleveland suburb. The cockpit of the AT-AT walker is outfitted with lights that glow red at night, and a mannequin fashioned to resemble a "Star Wars" Stormtrooper soldier stands guard in front.
Meyer said he built it with plywood, hard foam and plastic barrels and based the design off a toy he bought online.
"We're both pretty crafty, but it's not rocket science," Meyer said. "You just gotta be willing to do it."
Local media attention catapulted the display into fame, drawing droves of visitors from dawn to dusk. At least three dozen spectators drove by to gawk and take selfies one Wednesday afternoon. Among them was Nicole Drake, 26, who was on her way home from work when the replica caught her eye.
"I just had to stop by," Drake said. "I was amazed. It's actually the size of their house."
Meyer said he has built attention-grabbing Halloween displays for six years running, from an Addams Family mausoleum to the stern of a pirate ship jutting out from his front porch. He tears them down in November and drinks beers with a friend when dreaming up the next year's display.
Meyer and his wife, Becky, say Halloween is their favorite holiday.
"The creepiness, the decorating, being able to dress up and pretend to be a kid still — it keeps me young," Nick Meyer said.
"We like to do it up big if we can," his wife said. "I just so happened to find a husband that loves it too."
The Meyers bonded over a mutual love of horror movies, and their Halloween bash is their biggest family gathering of the year. Even during Christmas, they have an all-black tree decorated with bats and jack-o'-lanterns instead of a traditional tinsel-topped tree.
The Meyers say they're bigger fans of Halloween than "Star Wars." Still, they'll be dressing the part this year: Nick Meyer will dress as Princess Leia, while Becky Meyer will don a Darth Vader costume. It's inspired their next-door neighbor Brianna Johnson, 8, to start swinging her toy lightsaber near the AT-AT walker replica after school.
"I wish I could build this," Brianna said. "'Star Wars' is pretty cool."
PEARL RIVER, La. — Police in Louisiana have uncovered a sophisticated, Los Angeles-based identity theft ring, thanks to two men who skipped out on their $7 Waffle House bill, authorities said.
Waffle House employees called police Saturday, saying two men had stiffed the restaurant and driven away in a U-Haul van. Investigators were still taking statements at the restaurant when patrol officers spotted a U-Haul van parked at a nearby hotel, Pearl River police said Thursday.
A passenger ran into nearby woods as officers approached, according to a news release from Deputy Chief Daniel Hunter.
The officers arrested the driver, and a police dog tracked down the passenger, who also was arrested, he said.
Hunter said a search of the van turned up fake identification and credit cards, credit card skimming devices — and a Waffle House receipt for $7.41.
The investigation revealed "a highly sophisticated identity theft scheme operating out of Los Angeles," he wrote.
He said the driver, Stayshawn D. Stephens, 20, of California, and Richard A. Brown, 18, of Indiana, had flown into New Orleans from different states, rented the van in New Orleans, and had installed credit card skimming devices at multiple gas stations in the area to steal customers' credit card numbers.
Investigators are working with the Secret Service and more arrests are possible, he said in an email.
Hunter said in an email that he did not immediately know Stephens' or Brown's hometowns.
The police statement said both were arrested on charges of identity theft, bank fraud, monetary instrument abuse and theft by fraud. Charges against Stephens also include criminal damage to property, driving with a suspended license, fraudulently acquiring credit cards and forgery, while those against Brown also include battery on a police officer and resisting arrest by flight, Hunter said.
"As long as I am here, we are not going to put up with any of this criminal nonsense, especially from criminals flying in from California and Indiana," Police Chief Johnny "JJ" Jennings said in the news release. "Let this be a lesson on etiquette as well; pay your bill and tip your waitress."
NEW YORK — Public works crews have repaired a broken water main that caused a geyser to erupt from the ground in front of a New York City home.
The owner of the home in Staten Island's Todt Hill section told the Staten Island Advance that a powerful stream of water began pounding the front of the house Wednesday morning, breaking several windows.
The front lawn caved in and water from the broken pipe shot 15 to 20 feet into the air directly toward the house. The geyser eventually subsided but water continued to pour out of the hole as emergency crews arrived on the scene.
About two dozen homes in the neighborhood were without water.
The office of borough President James Oddo said the repairs were completed by early Thursday morning.
BROCKTON, Mass. — Two young men made an unusually small request as they robbed a store in Massachusetts by demanding a single dollar in their robbery.
Police say two men entered the Brockton Market and Deli around lunchtime Tuesday while brandishing large hunting-style knives and demanded a single dollar. The men then fled.
The Enterprise reports the two young men were described as Hispanic and possibly between the ages of 15 and 18. One was wearing a red sweatshirt with a white shirt on top of it. The other was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt.
PHILADELPHIA — Gary wasn't used to being around people. He didn't like being touched or even looked at. If anyone came too close, he'd lash out.
He was perfect for the job. Because at the Working Cats program, no manners is no problem.
Philadelphia's Animal Care and Control Team established the program about four years ago to place unadoptable cats — the biters and the skittish, the swatters and the ones that won't use a litter box — into jobs as mousers at barns or stables.
The shelter recently expanded the program to move cats that were less-than-ideal pets into urban jobs at places like factories and warehouses as a sort of green pest control. The animals are microchipped, vaccinated and free of charge.
"Part of the reason cats became domesticated was to get rid of the rodent population," said Ame Dorminy, ACCT's spokeswoman. "We took advantage of their natural propensity to hunt and made an official program out of it."
Cats identified as good matches for the program are kept in a separate aisle at the shelter in a row called TTA, time to adjust. On a recent visit, a low growl could be heard from a cage housing a male named Spike, whose intake sheet listed his qualifications: hissing, swatting, spitting, can't be picked up. A few doors down, Prince was standoffish at the rear of his cage.
Just because cats don't want to be petted or snuggle on a lap doesn't mean they can't have good lives, Dorminy said.
"A lot of these cats feel more comfortable when they can be themselves and use natural behaviors," she said. "Then they're more open to human interaction because they feel more confident."
At Bella Vista Beer Distributors, mice were gnawing on bags of chips overnight, leaving a mess and forcing staffers to throw out about 15 bags a day, owner Jordan Fetfatzes said.
They tried exterminators, but nothing worked. An employee found ACCT's program online, and Fetfatzes eventually decided on Gary, a white male with one blue eye and one green that had "behavioral issues." Gary wasn't accustomed to people and would hiss from the crate. At first, Gary would stay in the office and would only go into the warehouse after hours.
As the weeks passed, he warmed up to workers and customers, and has transformed into a sweet, playful mascot with free rein of the store.
"My only complaint is sometimes he gets in the way of a transaction," said Fetfatzes, who describes himself as a "dog guy" who's turned in to a cat lover thanks to Gary.
Neighborhood kids come in just to say hi to him, and he loves to play soccer with a worker who balls up cash register tape and kicks it around as Gary bats at it.
As for the mice, they vanished, seemingly repelled by Gary's scent, Fetfatzes said.
"You're not only saving your business money, you are helping save the life of an unwanted pet," he said. "And in this case, we made a friend."
A number of shelters around the country have working cat programs. One of the first, in Los Angeles, launched in 1999. Many focus on placing feral cats into barns and stables. Chicago's Tree House Humane Society places feral cats at condos and suburban backyards. Pennsylvania's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals puts its feral cats to work in all kinds of jobs, from barns to breweries.
Todd Curry wasn't exactly sure what was inside the dumpster next door to the Emerald Windows showroom, but it seemed like a free buffet for rats.
"It was almost comical," he said, comparing it to a scene in the animated film "Ratatouille" with seemingly hundreds of rats streaming out of the dumpster.
Traps didn't work, said Curry, the company's vice president of sales, so they brought in Shelley from ACCT's program.
Soon, dismembered rat carcasses started appearing. Now the rodents just stay away.
And Shelley, which was given to the shelter after biting her family's kids, has come out of her shell, craving petting and attention, Curry said.
"The only reason she was here was for the rats, but it has turned into a lot more than that," he said, adding she functions as a workplace stress reliever.
"It's nice to see these cats put to use, not put down."