Check back here daily for the latest oddball stories that just may give you a chuckle or leave you scratching your head.
Michigan man suspects an intruder: Toilet seat was down
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A man suspected of breaking into a northern Michigan home left a big clue: The toilet seat was down.
Police say a Traverse City man who lives alone figured something wasn't right last Saturday. Why? He told investigators that he typically keeps the seat up.
Police Chief Jeff O'Brien says a 26-year-old man was found passed out in the man's garage. O'Brien tells the Traverse City Record-Eagle that the intruder appeared to be intoxicated and had taken prescription drugs from the home.
The man and the resident don't know each other. Charges will be pursued.
Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle, http://www.record-eagle.com
Hot deck: German cops nab card cheat with radioactive cards
BERLIN — A German restaurant owner is in hot water for allegedly marking playing cards with radioactivity to rig games.
Berlin police said Tuesday the 41-year-old woman daubed Iodine-125 on specific cards, which allowed them to be identified by a gambler with a concealed detector.
Police got on her trail after radioactive card fragments were found during a routine inspection of a garbage truck at a waste treatment plant a year ago. Investigators then followed the vehicle's route to determine the origin.
They raided the woman's restaurant and other premises earlier this month and found 13 radioactive card pieces.
Police said Tuesday that Iodine-125 is commonly used for medical purposes and only poses a health risk through direct contact with no protective clothing.
How much the scheme netted is still under investigation.
Alleged car burglar calls 911 when truck owner confronts him
MAYER, Ariz. — A man accused of burglarizing a disabled pickup truck in north-central Arizona later called 911 to report being threatened by the vehicle's owner.
Yavapai County Sheriff's officials say 25-year-old Robert Jones of Glendale was booked into the Camp Verde jail on suspicion of burglary and criminal damage.
The Daily Courier reports Jones allegedly broke out the window of the truck and took items out of the vehicle.
Sheriff's deputies contact the owner, who says his truck was left on the side of Highway 69 because it had a flat tire.
When the man returned with a spare tire, he saw the broken window and confronted Jones.
Authorities say Jones denied involvement in the theft although the victim saw his duffel bag and tire iron in the suspect's car.
Information from: The Daily Courier, http://www.dcourier.com
Video leads to arrest in case of stolen mounted zebra head
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska woman came home to find out a thief had broken in and stolen clothing, jewelry, prescription drugs and the mounted head of a zebra she had on a wall.
Stacy Scott got good news Monday, however. A cab driver who helped a suspect drive off with the stolen goods, found the zebra head in his trunk and returned it.
Scott tells Anchorage television station KTVA that she received the zebra head from a friend when she worked at a downtown boutique. She named the head "George."
A security camera Friday recorded a woman carrying items, including George, out of Scott's home and into a waiting cab.
Police arrested a 38-old woman at an Anchorage motel where the cab driver had taken her. The suspect is charged with felony burglary and theft.
Rich San Francisco homeowners get sold-off street back
SAN FRANCISCO — Residents of an exclusive San Francisco neighborhood who failed to pay taxes on their private, gated street for two decades got the street back Tuesday after supervisors voted to rescind the sale of the tax-defaulted property.
The Board of Supervisors split 7-4 on the move, with those in favor saying residents of Presidio Terrace had not received enough notice before their sidewalks, street and common areas were sold at auction in 2015.
Supervisor Mark Farrell, who represents the district, said it was not good policy to allow out-of-town land "speculators" to swoop in on law-abiding property owners who simply did not know they owed tax on their street.
He agreed the homeowners' due process rights were violated when the tax collector sent tax bills to an outdated address. The association had failed to update its mailing address.
"When I look to the constitution and deprivation of property and taking of property from individuals, I think that is a high standard that hasn't been met here," Supervisor Katy Tang added.
Supervisor Hillary Ronen voted against reversing the sale, saying homeowners had defaulted before and should have been on notice.
She agreed that most people did not expect to pay taxes on sidewalk in front of their house but pointed out that most people don't have a private street in front of their house.
"Did the treasurer act unreasonably? I don't think so, and should we give a second bite of the apple to these homeowners when most people don't get that?" she said. "I don't think so."
The issue is unprecedented in San Francisco, although supervisors in other California counties have reversed sales as allowed under state law.
The oval-shaped street in upscale Presidio Heights is lined with leafy palms, lush landscaping and multimillion-dollar mansions. Previous residents of the gated neighborhood include U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who wrote a letter that accused the city of bureaucratic bungling.
Current residents lined up Tuesday to plead their case, saying they were regular, hard-working San Franciscans who had faithfully paid taxes on their homes and simply didn't know about the separate tax lot. The British consul general in San Francisco lives in the neighborhood.
The residents cheered when the vote was announced.
Investor Tina Lam had bought the street, its sidewalks and common areas for a mere $90,000 at an auction in 2015 after the Presidio Terrace Association failed to pay property taxes on it for two decades. The annual tax bills of $14 and auction notice were sent to an outdated address that the association failed to update.
Homeowners learned about the sale earlier this year and petitioned the board for a hearing.
City Treasurer Jose Cisneros said he followed the rules and that there was no indication that the property, listed as a vacant lot, was attached to residences. Otherwise, he said his office would have reached out to homeowners.
It marks the second time the association has defaulted, but it won back the street in 1985 after paying up.
Shepard Kopp, attorney for the buyer, said in a statement he was disappointed in the supervisors who sided with the association.
"Sadly, the seven members of the Board who voted to rescind this sale have demonstrated that you get a different standard of government in San Francisco if you are rich and politically connected," he wrote in a statement.
"This decision was wrong and this battle is not over."
New Jersey police try to trace source of loud banging noise
SAYREVILLE, N.J. (AP) — Police in New Jersey are trying to trace the source of a loud banging noise that's waking residents and causing dogs to bark.
Sayreville police say they started to receive reports on Monday about noises coming from nearby South Amboy. Police initially thought a private company hired to control the geese population was responsible, but the Middlesex County Parks Department said that was not the case.
The investigation is ongoing.
Stolen Ferrari trashed; man arrested after seeking gas money
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A Southern California man suspected of stealing a $300,000 Ferrari was arrested after asking for gas money, authorities said.
Santa Ana police arrested Israel Perez Rangel on Nov. 1. He pleaded not guilty to car theft.
Authorities say the 458 Spider was brought into a Costa Mesa service center and stolen in October after a worker left the key on a passenger seat.
Security video showed a man in a Ferrari jacket walking onto the lot and taking it.
Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said officers subsequently responded to a report of a Ferrari driving erratically and stopped at an intersection, and to another call that the driver was asking for gas money.
The exotic car was spotted at a gas station, where the driver ran off and was found and arrested behind bushes near a Holiday Inn, police said.
The Los Angeles Times says the car was trashed, with emblems torn from the body, cracked fins and a destroyed gearbox.
The Times said insurers paid the owner, who used the money to buy a 2018 Lamborghini Huracan.
This story has been corrected to show the dateline is Santa Ana, not San Diego.
Aaron Judge gets 10 votes for New York City mayor
NEW YORK — A unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year Award and runner-up in Most Valuable Player voting, Aaron Judge also received ballots in another election: for New York City mayor.
The New York Yankees right fielder was listed on 10 ballots as a write-in candidate for mayor, according to final totals released late Tuesday by the New York City Board of Elections.
Judge received three votes in New York County (Manhattan and the Marble Hill section of the Bronx), four in Brooklyn, two in Queens and one in Staten Island.
He was far behind Bill de Blasio, who won re-election with 713,634 votes on the Democratic line and 46,478 on the Working Families line.
Former Yankees manager Joe Girardi and former Yankees captain Derek Jeter, now CEO of the Miami Marlins, got two write-in votes apiece.
Kristaps Porzingis, a Latvian player on the NBA's New York Knicks, received nine write-in votes. There was an additional vote for each of two misspelled variations of his name: Kristaps Porzinais and Kristops Porzingis.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who was benched this week, got one vote.
For more AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Hand grenade found in donation to California Goodwill store
PLACENTIA, Calif. — Authorities say someone left a hand grenade inside a box of donations that was dropped off by a woman at a Goodwill store in Southern California.
The Los Angeles Times reports an unidentified woman dropped off the box Wednesday at the store in the city of Placentia near Los Angeles.
The Placentia Police Department says store workers discovered the grenade as they sifted through donations.
Officers evacuated neighboring businesses and a bomb squad was sent to safely retrieve the grenade.
The nonprofit Goodwill Industries International Inc. has more than 3,200 retail thrift stores.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/
Brewery makes algae beer to spotlight threat to Lake Erie
TOLEDO, Ohio— A brewery in Ohio is making a batch of green-colored beer called "Algae Blooms" to draw attention to the toxic algae that's been fouling Lake Erie.
Maumee Bay Brewing Company says water is the main ingredient in its beers and access to clean water is essential.
The Toledo brewery uses the city's tap water sourced from Lake Erie. Algae outbreaks over the past summers have become an ongoing threat to drinking water.
Maumee Bay brewery manager Craig Kerr says its new beer looks like algae-contaminated water but doesn't taste like it. He says the brewery used powdered green tea and kiwi to give the beer its color.
The Ohio Environmental Council is helping to promote the algae-inspired beer to illustrate the importance of investing in safe water.
Officials stumped in highway crash case that cost $3 million
AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine officials say they have no clues and have made no progress in the case of a hit-and-run driver who caused $3 million in damage by cracking a highway overpass.
Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot says the crash on a highway in Augusta left no debris, no witnesses and wasn't caught on camera. The Bangor Daily News reports officials discovered the massive dent and crack in October, and emergency repair work cost about $3 million.
The department has reached out to social media and to news organizations for help with the investigation. If found, officials want the person responsible to pay the millions needed for repairs.
Talbot says no outside agencies have been called upon, and won't be contacted without meaningful leads.
Information from: Bangor Daily News, http://www.bangordailynews.com
Vermont city thanks French city for misspelled jerseys
MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont's capital city has said merci via Skype to a French city it's named after for some misspelled soccer jerseys that were sent its way.
Montpelier, Vermont, says Montpellier (mahn-peel-YAY'), France, ordered jerseys for its professional soccer team and fans but the jerseys came in misspelled, with just one L instead of two. The city in southern France decided to send the jerseys to Montpelier, Vermont, which is spelled with one L, not two.
Montpelier Mayor John Hollar thanked Montpellier Mayor Philippe Saurel by Skype on Thursday.
Student soccer players at Montpelier High School wore the donated jerseys for the event.