<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Weird News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/weird http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.comen-usWed, 23 Aug 2017 04:36:00 -0400Wed, 23 Aug 2017 04:36:00 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Bei Bei the Panda Celebrates 2nd Birthday at National Zoo]]> Tue, 22 Aug 2017 16:00:43 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/pandabday.jpg

Bei Bei the panda cub celebrated his second birthday at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 22, with an ice cake and some new toys.

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<![CDATA[Fla. Judge Denies Postponing Trial So Witness Can See Eclipse]]> Mon, 21 Aug 2017 15:37:27 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/220*120/Philly+Solar+Eclipse+258p.JPG

A federal judge in Florida ruled a trial couldn't be postponed just because one of the key witnesses — a federal agent — had travel plans to see the solar eclipse.

In a droll, three-page ruling issued Friday, Judge Steven Merryday denied the motion filed by an assistant U.S. attorney.

Recalling popular dialogue from the TV classic "Star Trek," the judge wrote that an "Assistant United States Attorney boldy moves (where no AUSA has moved before)."

"The solar eclipse is no longer mysterious, supernatural, foreboding or ominous," wrote Merryday. "An eclipse is just another astral event, precisely predictable since the day the Babylonians discovered the governing formula."

Prosecutors wanted Monday's trial postponed because an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent had booked a trip to see the eclipse on a day when defendant Joseph Bishop was to stand trial for unlawfully transporting firearms.

Merryday chalked it up to a "cruel fate" that allowed the trial and the eclipse to happen on the same day. The prosecutor's motion "proposes to subordinate the time and resources of the court, of the opposing counsel, of the witnesses and of the jurors to one person's aspiration to view a 'total' solar eclipse for no more than two minutes and forty-two seconds."

A large chunk of the ruling cited lyrics from singer Carly Simon's "You're So Vain," which contains a line about flying to witness an eclipse.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Blocked: NASA Moon, Sun Accounts Squabble on Eclipse Day]]> Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:50:42 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_17233631248479.jpg

The moon didn't just block the sun in the sky on Monday.

NASA's official Twitter account for the moon temporarily blocked its official account for the sun, in an example of social media imitating life.

"HA HA HA I've blocked the Sun!" @NASAMoon tweeted with a screenshot of the blocked account. "Make way for the Moon."

The sun didn't take too kindly to the social media shade, which came as the moon covered the the midday sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century.

"uh, EXCUSE ME?!?" @NASASun tweeted back.

But the two accounts were back on good terms after the eclipse completed its path of totality across the U.S.

"Let the Sun shine @NASASun, I unblocked you in the sky and on Twitter," @NASAMoon tweeted. 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Don Ryan
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<![CDATA[As Eclipse Approaches in Oregon, 1 Rest Stop Fills]]> Mon, 21 Aug 2017 14:17:40 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_Oregon_Traffic_092117-150333610869000001.jpg

Motorists in Salem, Oregon traveling to see the solar eclipse have apparently decided to hunker down at a rest stop, heeding warnings from law enforcement that stopping on the shoulder of highways is illegal.

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<![CDATA[First DC Corpse Flower Begins to Bloom; 2 More Ready]]> Mon, 21 Aug 2017 22:40:08 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/RBotanicalGarden.jpg

The second of three corpse flowers in Washington, D.C., started blooming Monday night, and one more of the stinky blossoms is still waiting to go.

The first bloomed late Saturday night. An official at the U.S. Botanic Garden said the last one, which is also the largest, will likely bloom this weekend.

Three corpse flowers, also called "the stinky plant," were predicted to reach peak bloom between Aug. 17 and 22 at the U.S. Botanical Garden. The plant's signature stench has been described as a combination of garlic, fish, diapers and rotting meat. Their scientific name is amorphophallus titanum.

"Not really something you'd want around dinner time," USBG plant curator Bill McLaughlin told NBC4 during another peak bloom in 2013.

The plant, native to tropical rainforests in Indonesia, doesn't follow a set schedule. They can take anywhere from years to decades to store enough energy to bloom. Once they're fully open, they’ll collapse between 24 and 48 hours later.

The flowers were first discovered in 1878. They hold the record for the world's largest unbranched inflorescence -- flower structure -- growing up to 12 feet tall. Each has one giant bud, made up of hundreds of tiny, stinky flowers. Their scent attracts carrion beetles and flies.

A corpse flower last bloomed in D.C. in 2016. Thirty-two corpse flowers bloomed around the world last year in the U.S., India, Australia and more, BBC reported.

You can watch the plants bloom in real time on the USBG's livestream here.



Photo Credit: United States Botanical Garden
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<![CDATA[Man Proposes to Girlfriend Inside Sand-Made Taj Mahal]]> Sun, 20 Aug 2017 06:35:15 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/TheBikiniBoys+Taj+Mahal+2.JPG

A man proposed to his girlfriend inside of a Taj Mahal made out of sand on the Jersey Shore this weekend.

The groom-to-be, Amit, contacted The Bikini Boys (of sand sculpture Chris Christie fame) and asked if they could build a Taj Mahal for the big proposal.

On Saturday afternoon, Amit unveiled the Taj Mahal to his bride-to-be. 

“Brenda, Will you marry me?” is etched in the sand near the sculpture.

Amit got on one knee and proposed to Brenda as family and friends watched on a beach in Seaside Heights.

“We are very happy to help make this dashing young man’s dream proposal into a reality,” The Bikini Boys said in a message.

They said it took about five hours to create the Taj Mahal sand sculpture. They even did a smaller trial sculpture last weekend and posted it to their Instagram page as a sneak preview of the coming weekend’s proposal.

The Bikini Boys usually build a sand sculpture every weekend near the corner of Carteret and Freemont avenues in Seaside Heights. 

Last month, The Bikini Boys built a giant sand sculpture of Gov. Chris Christie lounging in a chair after a government shutdown closed state beaches and parks for much of the Fourth of July weekend and a photo of Christie lounging on a state beach that was closed to the public went viral. 



Photo Credit: @TheBikiniBoys/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Man Accused of Spraying Manure on Border Patrol Car]]> Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:30:10 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/VT+border+patrol+manure-1502830697.jpg

A Vermont man who contracts with farmers to provide agricultural services firmly maintains he is innocent of assaulting a federal law enforcement officer with cow manure. 

On Thursday, the defense attorney for Mark Johnson, 53, of Alburgh, entered not guilty pleas on two misdemeanor counts: one of simple assault on a law enforcement officer with bodily fluids and one of disorderly conduct. 

The Grand Isle County State’s Attorney says Johnson, who provides various services to area farmers, including manure spreading, directed liquid cow manure from his spreader toward a cruiser with a U.S. Border Patrol agent inside. 

“He was definitely targeting that vehicle,” State’s Attorney Doug DiSabito said at Johnson’s arraignment in North Hero Thursday. 

In court paperwork, Sheriff Ray Allen of Grand Isle County said Johnson has long been frustrated with federal authorities, and that was a reason for the alleged manure assault. 

Johnson has often complained, Allen noted, that border patrol and immigration officers aren’t doing enough, in his eyes, about undocumented laborers on Vermont dairy farms. 

Those migrant workers, often from Mexico, are generally considered critical to the state's agriculture sector and to getting food on the tables of people across the Northeast and beyond. 

However, in Johnson’s view, he and his family have lost work and jobs to the migrants, court records show. 

“I'm not guilty,” Johnson told necn shortly after the court hearing, describing the accusation that he targeted the cruiser with liquid manure. “What was said in court today was not the truth. People need to know the truth.” 

Johnson insisted that dirtying the car was unintentional; that some of his load merely sloshed out as he drove past the cruiser. 

The Border Patrol agent acknowledged in a report filed with the court that his parked cruiser had been at least partially blocking an access road to a field where Johnson was working to spread manure. 

Johnson’s rig can hold 5,250 gallons of liquid manure, according to markings on the side of it. 

Because of that capacity, Johnson told necn that if he had truly planned a crime, the cruiser would've been basically black.

Photographs obtained by the Islander newspaper showed that one could still clearly see the markings on the cruiser, despite the splotches of manure. 

In another photo included in paperwork from the sheriff’s department, the front of the Border Patrol vehicle appeared mostly clean. 

In his report filed with the court, Border Patrol Agent Robert Rocheleau described Johnson using swear words while accusing him of not doing enough to address violations of immigration policy. 

Rocheleau said Johnson told the agent that he was being “squeezed” due to work lost to migrants. 

The agent noted in his report that he told Johnson if he is unhappy with the authorities’ handling of immigration issues, he should “write to his congressman.” 

Rocheleau said in the report he filed with the court that he heard Johnson revving the tractor’s engine aggressively and described Johnson operating the tractor “violently” to get a wave of manure to slosh out in his direction. 

Johnson suggested in brief remarks to necn following his arraignment that the agent’s version of events was exaggerated. He firmly maintained he is innocent. 

As the court case proceeds, Judge Michael Harris ordered Johnson to stay away from the Border Patrol agent. 

Stephanie Malin, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the northeast, told the Associated Press that prosecutors are handling the case. 

If found guilty of both of the charges, Johnson could face a maximum punishment of six months and 60 days in prison, and a $1,000 fine. 



Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Olympians Share Their Most Embarrassing School Memories]]> Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:23:23 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT+EMBARRASSING+SCHOOL+THUMB2.jpg

From bad school pictures to awkward first day wardrobes, Team USA members can now look back on some of their most embarrassing school moments and laugh.

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<![CDATA[7 Total Eclipse Driving Tips]]> Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:18:51 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/218*120/Screen+Shot+2017-08-16+at+9.31.34+AM.png

Driving while the total solar eclipse is happening on August 21? Here are seven tips that will ensure your safety while driving.

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<![CDATA[Mysterious 'Spaceship' Parked on NYC Street Turns Heads]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 11:47:01 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/brooklynspaceship.jpg

Charles Walters' car is out of this world. 

The Brooklyn dad's "spaceship" has been turning heads and filling Brooklynites' Instagram feeds since he parked it on his leafy Prospect Heights block a few days ago. 

On a recent afternoon, a steady stream of pedestrians and drivers stopped when they spotted the futuristic vehicle on the brownstone block. They snapped selfies and photos of the car, a Chevrolet Blazer encased in steel, to give it its extraterrestrial appearance. 

"Is that a spaceship?" one driver yelled before belting out a laugh. 

Walters, a father of two and entrepreneur interested in drones and space travel, revels in the head scratching. 

"People they stop, and they look, and then they think, 'What is this'?" Walters told NBC 4 New York during a short spin around the neighborhood Tuesday. "The number one question we get is, 'What is this?'"

Walters said he and a team of employees constructed the spaceship in Bushwick more than a year ago. It usually stays parked in a garage in the neighborhood, Walters said. But he took it to Prospect Heights over the weekend so he could play with his kids and pique Brooklynites' interest. 

"What's life about if you can't have fun and freak people out?" Walters said.

Passersby are most definitely intrigued.

"What kind of car is that?" a driver who pulled over next to the vehicle asked Walters as he was climbing out of the driver's seat Tuesday. 

"It's a spaceship," he joked. "Want to go to space?"



Photo Credit: Ben Feuerherd
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<![CDATA[Shot in Back, Victim Drives Self to Philly Police Station]]> Tue, 15 Aug 2017 13:32:33 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/207*120/West+Philadelphia+Man+Shot+Police+Station.JPG

A shooting victim managed to drive himself more than a mile to a police station to get help.

The man pulled into the parking lot of the Philadelphia Police Department’s 18th District along Pine Street in West Philly shortly before 11 p.m. Monday and told officers about his ordeal.

The 25-year-old victim was driving near 54th Street & Wyalusing Avenue when bullets began striking his vehicle, police said.

Despite being shot in the back, the man managed to drive almost 1.5 miles to the police station, investigators said.

Police got the victim to Penn Presbyterian Hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

Investigators gave no motive for the initial shooting.



Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Police Find Gator in AC Motel Pool During Drug Bust]]> Wed, 16 Aug 2017 06:47:51 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AC+Hotel+Gator.jpg

A search warrant in connection to a 2016 overdose death led to several arrests as well as the discovery of an alligator inside a pool, drugs, cash, air soft guns and seven dogs at an Atlantic City motel.

Law enforcement officials from multiple agencies searched through 80 rooms at the Bayview Inn & Suites in Atlantic City, New Jersey Tuesday morning. The search was in connection to the investigation of the death of Adam O'Gara, who died from a drug overdose on April 22, 2016 in Egg Harbor Township. The rooms they searched had been heavily damaged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

During the search, investigators found a three-foot alligator in the motel pool as well as cash, narcotics, air soft guns and seven dogs. One of the dogs, a pit bull, was shot and killed by an Atlantic City Police officer after the animal made an aggressive move as officers entered the room, investigators said.

Police also say 33 people, including children who were living at the motel, were removed during the search.

After the search, Jamal Campos, 25, was arrested and charged with first degree strict liability homicide drug induced death, first degree leader of a narcotics trafficking network, third degree possession with intent to distribute 100 wax folds of heroin and third degree possession of heroin.

Tariq Heard, 27, Chinaisy Rodriguez, 25, Gazelle Williams, 40, Jonathon Frith, 25, Ravil Magianov, 59, and Bashaun Whitted, 25, were also arrested on unrelated warrants during the search.

The alligator that was discovered in the pool was safely removed by Animal Control officers and transported to the Cape May County Zoo.



Photo Credit: Atlantic City Police Department
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<![CDATA[Megabus Marriage: Lucky Couple Ties Knot on Bus]]> Sat, 12 Aug 2017 09:41:09 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/megabus+wedding+contest+winners.JPG

Getting married on a Megabus? One couple did!

The lucky newlyweds tied the knot after winning the “Marry Me on a Megabus” contest, which drew around 2,000 contenders.

Donna and Omar met on a Megabus when they were both traveling from New York City to Toronto two years ago, the discount bus company said. On Friday, the two said their vows in front of 40 family members and friends on a decked out Megabus from New York City to Atlantic City.

Along with the wedding, the decorations and the officiant, the lucky couple also won $2,500 to use for celebrating.

"I must be blessed," the new husband said, kissing his new wife on the cheek.


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<![CDATA[Guy Purposely Crashes Into Funeral Home: Police]]> Sat, 12 Aug 2017 07:51:36 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Fluehr+Funeral+Home+Crash.JPG

A driver smashed into a Northeast Philadelphia funeral home after getting into an argument with a woman Friday night, Philadelphia police said.

The unidentified man crashed car into John F. Fluehr & Sons funeral home at Cottman and Rowland avenues in Mayfair on purpose, police said.

When the woman got out of the Mazda Protege, the man drove over the curb, through a fence and into some shrubbery before coming to rest near the building.

The driver wasn't seriously hurt but will likely face charges, investigators said.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Video: BMW Plunges 7 Floors Off Texas Parking Deck]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 10:40:27 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/austin-garage-fall-motion.gif

Security cameras were rolling when a BMW plunged off a Texas parking deck, nearly crushing an SUV on the ground below.

The incident happened in an Austin alley on July 13.

The driver of a Chevrolet Tahoe was turning around when he heard a noise and suddenly braked. That noise turned out to be a BMW falling seven stories from a parking garage.

Security camera footage showed the front end of the sedan crashing into the pavement before bouncing onto the rear of the Tahoe. People nearby are then seen running to help the woman inside the upside-down wreckage.

KXAN reported the woman driving the BMW mistook the gas pedal for the brakes and crashed through the garage barriers. She was seriously wounded from the crash.

The driver of the Tahoe was not hurt.

In September 2016, a 24-year-old man crashed through the barriers on the top level of the same garage. The wire barrier caught the SUV as it was falling, leaving it hanging over the side of the garage.

The garage was later cited by the Austin Code Department for unsafe barrier cable systems, according to the KXAN report.



Photo Credit: Austin PD]]>
<![CDATA[Largest Catfish Catch in Delaware's History]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 10:22:40 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/182*120/Jordan+Chelton+Record+Catfish+Delaware.JPG

An angler caught the largest catfish ever in the state of Delaware, breaking the record of a catch that occurred just a few months prior.

Jordan Chelton of Harrington caught the 36-pound, 3.2-ounce blue catfish measuring 38-1/2 inches long with a 27-1/2-inch girth on June 20 at the Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament, the state confirmed Tuesday.

"I've been fishing all my life," 19-year-old Chelton said. "I caught a fish before that was almost the same but not quite the same size."

The record catch was initially confirmed by Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Officer Adam Roark, before verification at Taylored Tackle Shop in Seaford Delaware.

Chelton caught the fish in the Nanticoke River, the same body of water that previous record holder Gavin Spicer caught a 25-plus-pound catfish back in April.

After taking the bait at about 9:30 p.m., it took almost a half hour for Chelton to reel in the massive catch.

The official confirmation makes Jordan Chelton the record holder in the state's only category for catfish.

"It was a once in a lifetime experience," Chelton said.



Photo Credit: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control]]>
<![CDATA[Seriously, These Horizontal Lines Are Perfectly Straight]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 09:33:10 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_ILLUSION_MURAL_1-150239277226800001.jpg

A mind-bending mural in Georgia will have you distrusting your eyes. Are the horizontal lines in this piece of art straight? Join the debate!

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<![CDATA[Back From Trip, Va. Man Finds Apartment Suspiciously Clean]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 09:31:20 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/215*120/Generic+Arlington+County+Police+Generic.jpg

An Arlington, Virginia, man returned from a trip this week surprised to find his apartment had been cleaned.

Police received a report of suspicious circumstances at 12:03 a.m. Monday.

In addition to having been cleaned, some items in the apartment were moved, but nothing appears to be missing, police said.

The man told police he does not employ a maid.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington, File]]>
<![CDATA[DUI Suspect Drives to Police Station Since It's 'Safe' Place]]> Thu, 10 Aug 2017 16:25:10 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Sean+McCullough+DUI+Upper+Darby+police+composite.jpg

A drunk driver pulled into a Delaware County, Pennsylvania police station early Wednesday morning and told officers he wanted to be in a "safe" place, according to police.

Around 4 a.m., Upper Darby police officers watched on security video as an SUV veered into an exit lane, hopped a curb and clip a security gate while driving into the police station's private parking lot, police superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

The SUV then motored along a sidewalk before parking in a spot around back designated for squad cars, he told NBC10.

Chitwood said an officer ran out of the station and found 44-year-old Sean McCullough, of Havertown, "totally ossified."

McCullough admitted to being "hammered" having consumed 12 to 14 beers in Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey, police said.

Officers tried to perform a field sobriety test on McCullough but he told them "I'm too drunk for that," police said.

He came to the station because "it was the safest place," police said.

Officers took McCullough to the hospital to be checked out.

A district court judge arraigned McCullough on careless driving and driving under the influence charges and set bail at $10,000.

McCullough told NBC10's Steven Fisher Thursday that he is embarrassed and has a problem to address.



Photo Credit: Upper Darby Police Department/NBC10
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<![CDATA[NYC-Scented Luxury Candle Sparks Speculation Online]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 10:30:13 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-55921972.jpg

How do you capture the aroma of a city that produces 12,000 tons of trash every day?

Luxury fragrance company Diptyque said on Twitter it is creating an exclusive New York City candle, and that has elicited strong mixed reactions on social media. The 6.5 oz candle is already listed on the company's website for $70.

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The Paris-based company, which also produces perfumes, cosmetics and skin care products, retails its candles from $34 to $295.

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Though Diptyque didn't say exactly what the candle will smell like, users on social media weighed in on the possibilities.

Some customers expressed their enthusiasm over the new candle, hoping it has the essence of iconic New York foods like pizza, bagels, Halal meat or roasted nuts.

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However, the majority of people seemed unimpressed or skeptical about the aroma of New York.

Common guesses about the scent included rats, urine, smoke, sweat, hot garbage and subways in the heat.

Other tweets referred to the quirky sights and smells of the city — the only-in-New-York incidents like the pizza rat or a stray shoe on the street.

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Others had more abstract ideas about the scent, like despair and gentrification.

Diptyque also recently announced a London candle which they specified will smell like flowers.

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“To celebrate Westbourne Grove boutique reopening, diptyque proposes a London exclusive candle; a flower market encapsulated,” the company tweeted.

The company hasn’t confirmed if the London and New York candles are part of a city-themed series in the making, but some people are hoping not.

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Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[NYC Bakery Sends Internet Trolls’ Hate Back on Cakes]]> Thu, 10 Aug 2017 10:36:15 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_BAKERY_FOR_TROLLS_080817_1-150221118860100001.jpg

A New York bakery is trying a sweet new way to combat internet trolls. Troll Cakes is baking cakes that have the same message trolls use online on their victims. The bakery posts photos of the cakes to its Instagram page.

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<![CDATA[Swanky San Francisco Street Sells for $90K, Spurring Suit]]> Tue, 08 Aug 2017 10:13:11 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/sf+street+sale-0807.jpg

One of the swankiest streets in San Francisco has been sold to a private real estate agent. That's right: An entire street in the City by the Bay was purchased.

And now residents of Presidio Terrace are being told they may have to pay rent to park in front of their mansions.

The private street is one of 181 in San Francisco, but Presidio Terrace is among the fanciest. Sen. Dianne Feinstein lived in one of the multimillion-dollar homes on the street when she was running for governor.

The land in front of those 35 mega-mansions sold for a paltry $90,000 to Michael Cheng and his partner.

Cheng, speaking via Facetime from Florida on Monday, said he and his partner are thinking about either renting parking spots or possibly putting up meters.

"Our initial goal was just to buy it and hang onto it for a while," Cheng said.

Somehow payment of the $14-a-year property tax on the street was overlooked for decades, and that led the city to sell the street for taxes and a little bit more.

The last time a house went up for sale on Presidio Terrace, the asking price was $16 million.

Most of the homeowners only found out about the sale of their street in the newspaper Monday morning. The city had been sending tax bills to an accounting office at 47 Kearny St., which is now a Pilates studio. An attorney for the homeowners said no one working for the homeowners has been at the address for 30 years.

Peter Michael is a tech mogul turned winemaker who lives on Presidio Terrrace.

"It’s negligence on the city’s part not to post it," he said.

The homeowners have filed a lawsuit against the city Office of Treasurer and Tax Collector for failing to notify the property owners. But a spokeswoman for the office said everything was done according to the law.

"It’s uniform in every county in California, how this happens, and it’s really the property owners' responsibility to be up to date on their taxes," spokeswoman Amanda Kahn Fried said.

The homeowners are appealing to the Board of Supervisors, and a hearing is set for Oct. 31.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Mystery Solved: Why a Va. Driver Dressed as a Car Seat]]> Tue, 08 Aug 2017 11:38:59 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/080717+car+with+hidden+driver.jpg

A van that appeared to have no driver made headlines when it was spotted in Arlington, Virginia, last week. But when News4's Adam Tuss saw the van on Monday and looked inside, he saw that it did have a driver: a man dressed in a costume made to look like just a car seat.

From the road, the unmarked gray van eerily looks like it's moving without a driver. The entire front seat looks empty. But when Tuss looked inside, he saw a man wearing a beige and black costume that covered his entire torso.

His arms poked out of the bottom of the costume to steer. His face was completely covered, like that of a sports mascot who can see out, but no one can see in.

"I looked out and I said, 'Oh my God, there's a guy in a seat costume," Tuss said. "How's that possible? Your brain can't get around it for a second."

Tuss went to the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington on Monday to talk with ARLnow.com founder Scott Brodbeck about the vehicle he saw in Clarendon and Courthouse on Thursday night

As Tuss left the ARLnow.com offices, he saw the 2017 Ford Transit Connect himself. He and a News4 photographer followed the vehicle in Clarendon and Ballston for about 20 minutes. 

Tuss went to knock on the window. At first, he thought he saw an empty seat. Then, when he looked below the wheel, he saw a man's hands and legs.

"Brother, who are you? What are you doing? I'm with the news, dude," Tuss said. "Dude, can you pull over and we can talk for a second?"  

But the driver didn't say a word.

After multiple inquiries by News4, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute said Monday afternoon that the van and van driver are part of a study they are conducting on driverless cars. The worker was wearing the uniform he was supposed to wear. 

"The driver's seating area is configured to make the driver less visible within the vehicle, while still allowing him or her the ability to safely monitor and respond to surroundings," a statement from the institute says. 

Virginia Tech declined to make the half car seat, half man -- as Tuss put it -- available for an interview. 

Arlington County officials were involved in the planning for the study, a Virginia Tech spokeswoman said. Arlington was selected because "it is representative of the urban areas for which automated vehicles are currently being considered," she said. 

Go here to learn more about the study

The Virginia Department of Transportation was not aware of the vehicle, a representative said. The Arlington Police Department was "shocked" by news of the van, one representative said.

Several "invisible driver" prank videos can be found on YouTube. The drivers are entirely hidden by costumes that look just like car seats.

CORRECTION (Aug. 8, 2017, 9:30 a.m.): An earlier version of this story said the driver ran a red light, in apparent attempt to evade News4. But a spokeswoman for the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute says a thorough review of the in-vehicle camera showed the driver passed through a yellow light. 



Photo Credit: NBC Washington
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<![CDATA[Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner Takes Unique Flight Path]]> Thu, 03 Aug 2017 17:52:25 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/flightpath2.jpg

A Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner took a unique path as part of an endurance test flight Wednesday. The airline says its passenger jet flew for more than 18 hours and crossed 22 states to form a flight path in the shape of an airplane.

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