<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Weird News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/weird http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com en-us Tue, 01 Sep 2015 12:11:16 -0400 Tue, 01 Sep 2015 12:11:16 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Close Encounter With Hammerhead]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 08:52:32 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/hammerhead-shark-la-jolla.gif

A group of kayakers captured their heart-pounding close encounter with a hammerhead shark off the San Diego coast Saturday — a sighting that prompted lifeguards to close down crowded beaches nearby.

Their incredible video shows the 8- to 10-foot shark circling and swimming under the watercraft off La Jolla Shores. Stalking the kayakers, the hammerhead followed them back to the beach as they paddled away, according to San Diego Lifeguards.

When officials saw the footage and noted the shark was exhibiting "aggressive behavior," they took immediate action.

They decided to clear the waters between La Jolla Cove and Scripps Pier, announcing the closure over loud speakers to thousands packed onto the sand. The beach will be closed for the rest of the day, according to Lifeguard Lt. Andy Lerum.

"What we're going to do is evaluate tomorrow morning," he said at a news briefing Saturday afternoon. "If there's no other shark sighting by then, we'll probably lift the closure and open it as an advisory for the full 24-hour period."

People swimming near the shark were able to climb onto other kayaks and get safely to shore.

The animal was last seen just outside the surf line at the foot of Avenida De La Playa, at the south part of La Jolla Shores.

Lifeguard crews in boats and a helicopter soon began searching the waters for shark, but no more sightings have been reported. Officials say if they find it, they will track it and make sure it leaves the area before the waters are reopened.

The closure was a disappointment to many beachgoers, who sought the cool water on the unusually hot Saturday.

"They were just going to shut it down temporarily, but then they decided to shut it down for the entire day," said Gil Durazo, at La Jolla with his two sons. "So we kind of stuck it out for a little while but then decided, you know, we've been here long enough, we're just going to head home and jump in the pool for a little while."

Lifeguards say they brought the kayakers' footage to Dr. Andy Nosal, a marine biologist at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. He said based on the size, species and behavior of the shark, lifeguards were right to close the beach.

"It's not uncommon for these types of sharks to be seen far off shore, but it's uncommon to see it so close to a popular beach like La Jolla Shores," said Lerum.

According to the lieutenant, a similar closure happened in La Jolla a couple years ago when a great white shark came concerningly close to the shore.

As for why the hammerhead was acting aggressively toward the kayakers, Lerum's best guess is food.

"Well sharks are very instinctive," he said. "Usually what causes them to act aggressively is their desire to eat, and so there may have been food in the area that we don't know of." He was not sure if the kayakers had fish on board.

Hammerheads rarely present a threat to humans, experts say. In fact, since scientists began keeping records in the 1950s, there have been just 32 documented hammerhead shark attacks, according to Mike Price, an assistant curator of fishes at SeaWorld.

However, a hammerhead bit into a local diver's hand earlier this month about 100 miles off San Diego's coast.


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<![CDATA[Low-Flying Drone Causes Stir at NJ Football Scrimmage]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:12:33 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/216*120/Ocean+CIty+High+School+Football+Practice+Drone.JPG

A low-flying drone came within feet of striking Jersey Shore high school football players earlier this week.

Ocean City High School was hosting Middle Township for a scrimmage Sunday night when players began to notice something overhead.

”All of a sudden everyone starts saying, ‘look,’” said an Ocean City quarterback Andrew Donoghue.

It was a remote control drone hovering overhead.

“As we were in our huddle it started to come over top of us,” Donoghue said.

“There were times when it was very low – no more than 10 feet above the players,” said Ocean City Red Raiders coach Kevin Smith.

“He’s just teasing them now,” a person can be heard saying in video of the incident.

Fearing for players safety and unsure what to do, referees put the scrimmage on hold for about 20 minutes.

The drone was an annoyance but was it illegally used? The Federal Aviation Administration strongly encourages recreational drone users to not fly near people or within five miles of an airport – Ocean City Municipal Airport is near the field.

http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/for-recreational-users/

Someone called 911 to report the drone but by the time officers arrived the drone – and its operator – were gone. Even if officers had nabbed the drone enthusiast, they wouldn’t have been able to do much.

“These are only guidelines, we as law enforcement are waiting for the lawmakers to give us some enforcement powers to regulate the use of these drones,” said Ocean City Police Capt. Steve Ang.

If a drone actually injured a player or fan, then the drone user would have faced charges, said police.

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<![CDATA[Monk Relaxing Atop Wind Turbine Spotted by Drone ]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 09:09:53 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/wind+turbines0507.jpg

A Benedictine monk at a private Rhode Island school has discovered that finding solitude is no easy feat, even 175 feet in the air.

A drone camera took video of Brother Joseph Byron hanging out on top of a wind turbine at the Portsmouth Abbey School, a private catholic boarding school.

That video has now gone viral.

Brother Byron said he went up on top of the turbine to relax during a heatwave on Aug. 16.

That's when he got quite the surprise.

"It's beautiful up there, absolutely gorgeous," he said. "You never know what's hovering around."

Brother Byron said he's the de facto keeper of turbine, which has been there for 10 years. He said the blades only turn with wind at 12 miles per hour, and that day, there wasn't any wind, so he climbed up.

He said he's not afraid of heights.

"The next thing I heard was the buzzing," he said. "And at first, I was kind of - I had never seen one before so, that's kind of cool."

The drone, which the Daily Mail reported was remotely operated by a visiting tourist from California, hovered for a bit and went away, only to come back.

He later noticed the video was published.

Byron tells the Providence Journal he's never seen a drone before and wasn't thrilled by the encounter. He added that, because of all the attention he's getting, he's going to wait a little while before going back on the turbine again.



Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Woman Keys Friend's Car, Misspells Word: Police]]> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 10:46:08 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/csapilla+1200.jpg

Police say that they were able to figure out a motive – and track down a suspect – in a car keying earlier this month in Connecticut because the alleged vandal misspelled a word she slashed into the paint of one of the vehicles.

Shannon Csapilla, 20, of Stamford, was arrested on criminal mischief charges last week after authorities say she allegedly keyed the word “wore” into one of her girlfriends’ cars on Aug. 7.

Police say that they think that Csapilla, suspecting the friend was carrying on a relationship with her ex-boyfriend, meant to carve an explicit insult into the car, but left out an “h” between the “w” and “o.”

The ex-boyfriend’s car was also keyed, and both cars had their tires slashed, police say.

After the vandalism, police said that Csapilla allegedly sent taunting text messages to her onetime beau alluding to the fact that she was responsible. In one conversation, police say, she allegedly admitted to the crime.

Authorities say that the suspect was uncooperative with investigators and denied keying the cars when she was called into a Stamford Police headquarters for questioning.

But as she left the department, police say, Csapilla allegedly sent a Snapchat message to a friend with the caption, “Stamford police have nothing on me.”

Police, however, were able to get enough evidence to cuff her on Thursday.

It’s not clear if Csapilla has an attorney, but she posted a message to Twitter after her arrest saying, “At least the boys were nice enough to buy me dinner in there,” followed by the emojis for a police car and a pack of French fries.



Photo Credit: Stamford Police]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Neighbor Faces Charges He Shot Down Drone]]> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 10:47:54 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/drone+generic.jpg

Prosecutors near the Jersey Shore charged a shotgun-toting man, who they said took matters into his own hands to bring down a drone flying over his neighbor’s home.

The Cape May County Prosecutor's Office charged Russell Percenti with weapons and criminal mischief charges stemming from the September takedown of a drone flying over Seashore Drive in the Erma section of Lower Township.

Lower Township Police said they received a call on Sept. 26, 2014 from the drone’s owner, Leonard Helbig, who said he was flying the device over his friend’s home along the 1000 block of Seashore Drive to gather some aerial photographs of construction being done at the home when the drone suddenly went down.

As the man lost control of his drone, he heard what sounded like several gunshot blasts, said investigators.

When he recovered the drone, the owner found several holes in the device, police said.

When police arrived, the victim pointed them in the direction of where he heard the blasts. Police then went to Percenti’s home. There, officers found the shotgun used to shoot down the drone, police said. 

Officials didn’t say why Percenti allegedly pulled the trigger. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[One-Of-A-Kind Painted Mushroom Stolen From Chester County Sidewalk]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 10:31:52 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/Stolen+Mushroom.PNG

D. Lynn Sinclair just wants her mushroom back, but this is no ordinary mushroom. The 108-pound concrete, elaborately painted statue of a mushroom is one-of-a-kind and was on display outside Sinclair's cafe in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania when she says someone swiped it.

The piece of art, worth an estimate $1,000 is one of eight painted mushrooms on display throughout the quaint Chester County town ahead of the annual Mushroom Festival, schedule for September 11-13.

Sinclair sponsored the mushroom by artist Mindy Kempista called "Sunrise to Sunset," which was to be auctioned off at the festival.

Sinclair said the mushroom disappeared  from outside Sinclair's Sunrise Cafe along East State Street where she said it was placed just outside the door.

While it may have been young pranksters who got away with the mushroom, Sinclair has filed a police report.

However, Sinclair said if the mushroom is returned, there would be no questions asked.



Photo Credit: Mindy Kempista]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Couple Dives into Marriage]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 11:16:23 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Underwater-scuba-wedding-0824.jpg

One San Diego couple's marriage is already underwater and they haven't even been married a week.

Mark and Crystal Vartanian took the plunge at La Jolla Cove Saturday morning, diving 20 feet underwater to get married.

Mark Vartanian certainly didn't have cold feet before the ceremony. In fact, he wore a tuxedo over his wetsuit for the occasion.

"I'm hot," he admitted before the ceremony as his fiancée laughed.

Crystal followed his lead, wearing a dress over her scuba gear.

The entire wedding party, many of whom had never been diving before, also donned wetsuits for the wedding.

"We feel like if you've been to one wedding, you've been to them all," Crystal Vartanian told NBC7 of San Diego. "We really wanted to give our guests something different to take back with them."

Crystal says the couple was just searching the web one day when they came across an ad about scuba diving. They quickly came up with the idea of combining the two. They became certified and began planning for their big day.

After the ceremony, the couple had their reception at San Diego's Birch Aquarium.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Gunman Holds Up Philly Post Office]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 23:50:31 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Oxford+Circle+Post+Office+Theft+Police+Tape+Gun.jpg

A man dressed as if he was ready to go fishing held up a Northeast Philadelphia post office Thursday afternoon.

The man – described by postal workers as being in his 50s or 60s with a bushy gray beard – wore a bucket hat, striped shirt and tan cargo shorts when he walked into the post office at 6382 Castor Avenue around 4:20 p.m. and pointed a gun at a postal worker.

The man – who remained calm and collected throughout the incident – grabbed cash, money orders and more before making his getaway on foot, said the US Postal Inspection Service.

Luckily no one was hurt.

"When people rob a post office, they're generally after cash, postal money or stamps," said Reginald Wade Jr. "It's really ridiculous."

Surveillance images from nearby stores showed

Postal inspectors offered a reward up to $25,000 for information leading to a conviction. Tips can be called into 877-876-2455.



Photo Credit: US Postal Inspection Service/NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[This Gas Station Robber Is a 'Clown']]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 09:43:23 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Embreeville+Clown+Mask+Sunoco+Gas+Station+Robbery.jpg

There was no clowning around early Tuesday morning as a masked, armed robber pointed a gun at a Chester County gas station clerk.

The caught-on-camera heist played out around 4:10 a.m. inside the Sunoco on Kimberton road in West Pikeland Township, said Pennsylvania State Police.

The robber, wearing a clown mask with bright-orange hair, pointed a semi-automatic handgun at the clerk and demanded money, said police.

The robber – a man standing between 5-foot, 10-inches and 6-foot tall and weighing between 180 to 200 pounds who wore all black with the exception of the mask and the white or gray stripe down the side of his pants – fled down State Route 401 after the heist, said police.

Police asked anyone with information on the robbery to call the Embreeville Barracks at 610-486-6280.



Photo Credit: Surveillance image released by Pennsylvania State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Customer Says She Received Vulgar Receipt]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 09:03:13 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Vulgar-Receipt.jpg

A local woman is outraged after she says she received a vulgar receipt when she ordered from a South Jersey pizza shop.

“I just had to shake my head because I couldn’t believe it,” said Loretta Smith Layne of Bridgeton, New Jersey. 

Layne told NBC10 she placed an order for wings back on July 25 at Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz on Burlington Road in Bridgeton. 

“I ordered wings fried hard,” she said.

Layne says she was shocked when she saw the receipt attached to the delivery bag. Underneath the “special instructions” on the receipt were the words, “Fried hard like a black d***” and “d***.”

“I was very offended and upset and disrespected to get those words on a receipt,” she said. 

NBC10 spoke to a manager at Danny’s Pizza who Layne claimed took her order. The manager denied the receipt came from Danny’s Pizza and then directed us to his father, Danny Sommeling, the owner of the shop. Sommeling told NBC10 he was unsure where the vulgar receipt came from. 

However, Layne later showed NBC10 text messages she claims came from Sommeling, in which he apologized to her for his son’s choice of words, saying he made a bad decision that was “definitely not professional.”

“He needs to realize what he’s done,” Layne said. “It’s not acceptable. Not to me. And I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I went through.”

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<![CDATA[Bear Takes an Afternoon Dip in His Neighbor's Hot Tub]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 10:47:58 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/150818_hottub_bear_03.jpg

The summer heat can make people—and bears—crazy.

A bear busted down Tony Diering's fence to take a leisurely swim in the man's pool before taking a dip in the hot tub, CTV News Vancouver reported.

"He's just relaxing and having a little cool down," Diering told CTV News Vancouver.

"It's just amazing, to see funny things on YouTube then to have it happen in your own backyard," he said. 

Last month, Diering said a bear came to help himself to the bird seed. Diering removed the feeder to deter more unwanted guests, but the bear—which, Diering he believes is the same one—knocked down the fence to get inside. 



Photo Credit: Tony Deiring]]>
<![CDATA[You Can Now Review the TSA on Yelp]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 12:02:12 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Yelp-Reviews-0520.jpg

Not a fan of the TSA? Or have something really nice to say about a TSA field agent who helped you at the security check point?

Now Yelp says you can review the agency – plus landmarks, national parks and other government agencies – on the app, and maybe even get a response.

In a blog post Tuesday, Yelp said it had reached an agreement with the federal government that will allow "federal agencies and offices to claim their Yelp pages, read and respond to reviews, and incorporate that feedback into service improvements."

"We encourage Yelpers to review any of the thousands of agency field offices, TSA checkpoints, national parks, Social Security Administration offices, landmarks and other places already listed on Yelp if you have good or bad feedback to share about your experiences," the company said in a blog post. "Not only is it helpful to others who are looking for information on these services, but you can actually make an impact by sharing your feedback directly with the source."

“This allows agencies to go in and engage, and dedicate customer service staff to monitoring the feedback,” said Justin Herman, social media manager for GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, told the Washington Post.

Earlier this year, a group of Democrats in Congress had called for a branch of the federal government to work with Yelp on user reviews for government agencies. 

"In order to make government work better, we need to make it easier for people to say what's working – and what isn't," said Congressman Ron Kind (D-Wi) in a July 1 statement

Yelp will also be working with ProPublica to incorporate health care statistics and consumer opinion survey data onto the Yelp business pages of more than 25,000 medical treatment facilities, the company said.

The social networking, user review and local search company is also partnering with local governements to display restaurant health scores.

Yelp users have been reviewing various TSA checkpoints on their own for some time now, but Yelp's announcement about the new page makes it official.

Here are some reviews about the TSA at San José and San Francisco international airports from past years:

SJC TSA: "Of course, I think SJC has probably the best TSA because they're usually extremely fast. You're in and out within a few minutes and they have a strong focus on efficiency. I like that at airports where everything else takes forever and everything costs a bazillion dollars."

SFO TSA: "Not sure how I feel about the aggressive enhanced pat-downs they perform here."

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina tweeted today that she gave TSA a one star in her Yelp review:



Photo Credit: AP / File
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<![CDATA[Man Says Siri Made the Call That Saved His Life ]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 11:23:59 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_111010073653_Siri.jpg

A Tennessee teen is alive today thanks to Siri, he says.

Eighteen-year-old Sam Ray says the voice recognition service on his iPhone — famously named Siri — called emergency dispatchers after his truck fell on him while he tried to make repairs.

Ray told media outlets that a jack collapsed, pinning him under nearly 5,000 pounds of metal in a location where he couldn't be easily seen or heard. He says he was trying to get free when he heard Siri activate.

"I said 'Call 911,' and that was all it said," he said.

Rutherford County dispatcher Christina Lee says she first thought it was a mistaken pocket-dial, but then she heard his screams for help and sent crews, who rescued him.

She said she knew his general location from the cellphone signal, but Ray helped them pinpoint his exact whereabouts.

"The map got to his street. ... It got pretty close," Lee said. "But he was yelling his address, and that was the best thing he could have done."

When volunteer firefighters arrived, they raised the truck back up with a jack and pulled Ray out. He was under the truck for about 40 minutes.

"I could feel myself slipping," he said. "I was starting to accept that I wouldn't get out."

Ray and Lee met Friday for the first time after the July 2 incident.

Rick Miller, who is chief of trauma and surgical care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said Ray suffered broken ribs, a bruised kidney, cuts and a concussion, and he had burns on one arm. Miller said Ray is lucky his wounds weren't worse.

"Sometimes these crush injuries can be devastating and can kill you," Miller said. "I've never heard of a story where you can figure out a way to use Siri to call 911 and get yourself rescued."

Sam Ray said he is thankful to be alive.

"I guess I'm stuck with an iPhone for the rest of my life," he said. "I owe them that."



Photo Credit: File - AP]]>
<![CDATA[Thief Swipes 86 Bras From Victoria's Secret]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 04:41:36 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Oxford+Valley+Mall+Bra+Heist+86+Bras.jpg

Police were called to a Bucks County mall after dozens of bras went missing from a Victoria’s Secret store.

A woman swiped the lingerie from the store on the lower level of the Oxford Valley Mall between 2:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. Saturday, said Middletown Township Police.

Investigators said that in total, the female thief grabbed 86 bras valued at $4,621 and then fled the store.

Surveillance images show the thief -- wearing a dark-colored tank top and distressed-looking pants -- inside the store then walking out.

Anyone with information on the heist should contact Middle Township Police.



Photo Credit: Surveillance image released by Middletown Township Police
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<![CDATA[Man Can't Pay Parking Fine With Pennies]]> Sat, 15 Aug 2015 17:05:23 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Pennies2.jpg

A central Pennsylvania borough has changed a policy that barred a disgruntled handyman from protesting a $25 parking fine by paying with pennies.

Chambersburg officials earlier told Justin Greene of Shippensburg that his payment of 2,500 pennies wasn't allowed under a federal rule designating the copper coins as small change — not tender for debts greater than 25 cents.

But borough officials said in a statement Wednesday afternoon following "public uproar" over the matter that officials had used an outdated federal rule in refusing the payment.

Borough manager Jeffrey Stonehill said coin-counting equipment would likely be installed in "the next few weeks" — although he's discouraging anyone from using piles of coins to protest debts.

Greene said he's "pretty much over" the incident but still annoyed at the borough's initial response.

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<![CDATA[Woman Crashes Into 'Wine-O-Land']]> Sat, 15 Aug 2015 06:45:08 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/195*120/Wine+O+Land+Liquor+Store+Crash+Laurel+Springs.JPG

A woman slammed her car into a South Jersey liquors store Friday afternoon, then walked inside and uttered two words: I'm sorry.

She was a regular customer at the Wine-O-Land along N. White Horse Pike (U.S. Route 30) in Laurel Springs, according to owner Sagar Polam.

The crash left a section of the liquor store — right under the "Wine-O-Land" sign — damaged and caused around $70,000 in damage. Polam was grateful no one was hurt.

"She could have knocked out my employee," Polam said, adding he'd put concrete barriers around the store about five years ago after another woman ran her car into the store.

"Even the first time was a similar situation. It was a lady. She tried to put it in reverse but put it in drive," Polam said.

Friday's accident happened around 4:30 p.m. The driver gave store workers all her information and cooperated with police.

Wine-O-Land was shut for a few hours while so inspectors could make sure the building's stability.



Photo Credit: SkyForce10]]>
<![CDATA[26-Year-Old Cat Makes the Record Books (Again)]]> Fri, 14 Aug 2015 17:03:11 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/corduroy_oldest_cat.jpg

Corduroy the cat has given his owner a lifetime of purrs and love.

At 26 years old, the green-eyed feline was recognized by the Guinness World Records for a second time. 

On Thursday, Guinness World Records announced Corduroy broke the record for oldest living cat again. He had held the record last year but was bested by another cat named Tiffany Two that recently died at the age of 27 years, 2 months and 20 days. 

Corduroy has been a lifelong companion of his owner Ashley Reed Okura. She got the cat when she was just 7 years old. The average life span of a cat is 15 years.

Guinness World Records says that although Corduroy now holds the record for the oldest living cat, he's the not the oldest cat to ever live.

Creme Puff, born in 1965, lived 38 years and 3 days. 



Photo Credit: Guinness World Records
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<![CDATA[Giant Chocolate Lobster]]> Thu, 13 Aug 2015 11:58:39 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/IMG_34201.jpg

A Maine candy company is seeking to break a Guinness World Record with a gigantic chocolate lobster.

To commemorate 100 years in business, Haven's Candies of Westbrook has unveiled "Shelby."

The extremely large crustacean, made of solid milk chocolate, is in honor of Shelby Putnam, who owned Haven's with his wife, Harris, from 1970 to 1990. He still works at the company as chief engineer.

"Shelby" is 418.1 pounds of mouth-watering goodness. The sculpture measures 90.5 inches from tip to tail and 47.75 inches claw to claw.

ACME Scale Company of Windham completed the official weigh-in, required by Guinness to certify the entry as a potential record holder.

"Shelby," who will be on display through Oct. 22 at the store, is hoping to claim fame as the "World's Largest Chocolate Sculpture." You can also see "Shelby" on display on Oct. 24 at the Maine Marketplace.



Photo Credit: Haven’s Candies]]>
<![CDATA['Courthouse' the Community Cat]]> Mon, 10 Aug 2015 10:20:29 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000011477527_1200x675_500555331803.jpg One 4-year-old feline in Cape May county is a popular pet around his neighborhood. NBC10's Ted Greenberg meets "Courthouse."]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Spider-Man Brawls With Man in Times Square]]> Fri, 07 Aug 2015 19:38:01 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/spiderman+fight+times+square.jpg

A Spider-Man got into a knock-down brawl with a civilian in Times Square, and the cellphone video that captured the fight is raising the question: was Spider-Man a hero or a villain in this case? 

The video, taken Tuesday, shows Spider-Man and a man in a black T-shirt and jeans throwing up fists and knees and punching each other in the head in front of a Toys' R Us as a crowd gathers around them. The two continue to wrestle and punch each other on the ground. 

Spider-Man told NBC 4 sister station Telemundo 47 the fight started because the other man told tourists not to take photos with him or to give him tips. 

"He did it first," the man in the costume said Friday when he was found again in Times Square. "And I knew something was going to happen, so I got my phone, I put it on video record and I gave it to one of the characters to hold, and the video was recording the entire thing." 

The man on the other end of the masked man's punch Tuesday insists he was the good guy and that he confronted the character after seeing him hassling a tourist for a tip.

"Spider-Man threw the first punch. He's not a hero, not at all, not even a little bit," the man, who only gave his first name as Matthew and works on a nearby ice cream truck, told NBC 4 New York.

But the man who shot the video, Geoff Golberg, told NBC 4 New York over the phone that Matthew was the one heckling the costume character before Spider-Man became fed up. 

On Friday, Times Square Alliance president Tim Tompkins decried the attack.

"Another routine day of violence and chaos in Times Square, New York's most iconic space, transmitted globally by the media. We look forward to sitting down with a City Hall task force to address this persistent problem and discuss proposed solutions that we, the community board and our elected representatives think can work," he said.

This isn't the first time a costume Spider-Man has gone to battle in Times Square. One was arrested last year for allegedly punching a police officer after the cop told him to stop hassling tourists. Charges were later dropped. 

In 2014, another Spider-Man was convicted of harassing a woman and taking a swing at her when she didn't tip him for posing a photo with her children in February 2013.

The city and the Times Square Alliance have called for regulating costume characters after incidents where tourists were harassed to get a larger tip, and others were sexually harassed. 

One city councilman has proposed a law that would require the costumed characters to be licensed, and the Times Square Alliance has been campaigning for the measure.

A spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio's office said in a statement Friday: "While most costumed individuals are not engaging in criminal activity, assault by costumed characters in Times Square will not be tolerated. We continue discussions with stakeholders, elected officials, and community members as we find the right solution."

One man in a Spider-Man costume in Times Square -- who was not involved in Tuesday's fight -- agreed, saying behavior like that is bad for the superhero business. 



Photo Credit: @geoffgolberg]]>
<![CDATA['Tarzan' Arrested at SoCal Zo]]> Fri, 07 Aug 2015 09:10:29 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/207*120/08-05-2015-zoo-santa-ana-tarzan-1.jpg

One of the wildest attractions at the Santa Ana Zoo Tuesday morning had nothing to do with the animals.

A shirtless, mud-covered man caused an uproar when he climbed trees and attempted to elude officers, according to Santa Ana Police. The man claimed he was the fictional Lord of the Jungle, Tarzan, as he ran around the property, zoo staff members told police.

Zoo director Kent Yamaguchi discovered the man and explained the bizarre scene to a 911 operator.

"We have a gentleman who appears to be under the influence of something and is climbing into trees and jumping in animal exhibits," Yamaguchi said.

"Oh, ok, wow. Has he said anything to anybody?" the 911 operator asked.

"Um, he's shouting at people that he's Tarzan," Yamaguchi responded.

Santa Ana officers briefly chased the man, 36-year-old John William Rodenborn, who was arrested and later tested positive for methamphetamine. Methamphetamine was also found in the Rodenborn's car, according to Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

"He more than likely will be cited and released." Bertagna said. "Hopefully he won't come back again."

Rodenborn was allegedly trying to climb into several monkey enclosures, but didn't get anywhere near the zoo's 59 primates, police said.

"He didn't make any animal sounds," said Yamaguchi. "He was just sort of enjoying himself in the trees.

"He kept telling me that he just wanted to play, and that I needed to play."

It was not immediately clear how Rodenborn got into the zoo. Staff members said he was not a paying customer and did not enter the zoo through the main entrance or employee access.



Photo Credit: Santa Ana PD]]>
<![CDATA[Boy's Tombstone Mystery at Bus Stop]]> Thu, 06 Aug 2015 09:30:30 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/tombstone+found.jpg

Police were called to an NJ Transit bus terminal in New Jersey Tuesday after a worker found a tombstone with an 8-year-old boy's name on it.

The tombstone was found by a maintenance worker in the NJ Transit bus depot in Nutley. Authorities are looking into which cemetery may be missing a headstone. The name on the tombstone is Max Ferreira, born June 16, 1990, died Sept. 29, 1998.

Nutley detectives are calling local cemeteries to ask them about the tombstone and a police alert was sent to surrounding agencies. Police say the stone may not have been reported missing.

"We've reached out to a number of cemeteries and they're all looking," Nutley Police Det. Sergeant Anthony Montanari said. "They're all trying to help, but to date we haven't been able to find the cemetery where it was taken from." 

It's not clear if it's a real headstone. Nutley Police Chief Thomas Strumolo said until authorities can determine how and why it was left at the bus terminal police can "only speculate that it was removed from a human grave."

"If this was the loss of a child, his parents must have been devastated, and to learn that someone would intentionally remove his headstone is unnerving," said Nutley Mayor and Police Director Alphonse Petracco. "I hope that someone can identify where this occurred so that we can return it to where it belongs."



Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Dolphin Sticks Around in New Jersey River]]> Thu, 06 Aug 2015 23:04:22 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/dolphin+south+river.jpg

A dolphin remained stranded in a New Jersey river for a second day, despite rescuers' efforts to coax it into deeper water Thursday.  

The dolphin was first spotted Wednesday in the South River, near Old Matawan Road, in Old Bridge. Shelia Dean of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center said Wednesday they hoped it would go back into the ocean with the high tide. 

When the dolphin remained for a second day, workers from the Raritan Riverkeeper organization went into the water with a baykeeper boat to try to gently push and guide the dolphin down the river. 

They wanted to "discourage the animal from sticking around the area and try to encourage him to move to deeper water, a little bit closer to the ocean," said Jay Pagel of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. 

But the dolphin totally ignored the efforts. For the community, it meant another day of dolphin-watching. 

Hundreds of people came and went through the course of the day to watch the apparently healthy dolphin swim in the narrow section of the South River. For onlookers, it was a delight to watch a dophin in the suburban community roughly 10 miles from the ocean.

"I like dolphins and I like looking at them," said young Giuliani Bonomo.

"We've got skunks, we've got deer, we've got raccoons, we've got dogs -- but never a dolphin," said Kelli Bonomo. 

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<![CDATA[Philly Bride Asks Grandma to Be a Bridesmaid]]> Wed, 05 Aug 2015 10:47:00 -0400 Sweetwater Portraits captured the day.]]> Sweetwater Portraits captured the day.]]> http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/08_Please_Touch_Museum_Wedding.jpg

An 89-year-old grandma shows that you are never too old to stand in the spotlight.

Betty Govern did not have a front row seat for her granddaughter’s May 2 wedding like most family members. Instead, she had the chance to stand right beside the bride as she said “I do.”

Philly bride Christine Quinn asked her grandmother “Nana Betty” to be her bridesmaid for her lavish wedding at the Please Touch Museum. Quinn said her grandmother is her best friend, so the decision to name her as a bridesmaid was a no-brainer.

Even though the decision may have come easy for Quinn, “Nana Betty” needed a little convincing when her granddaughter popped the question. In fact, Quinn said she was “shocked.”

“She asked me about 10 times, ‘Are you sure you want me? I’m an old lady and all of your bridesmaids are so young and pretty,'" Quinn said. “So I reassured her that we all wanted her to be in it. Everyone loves hanging out with Nana Betty."

In addition to having “Nana Betty” by her side, Quinn had other non-traditional elements that made her wedding stand out, such as marrying a man with the same last name and riding on a carousel during the reception.

Quinn said her grandmother played a role in the planning process prior to the wedding. The bride and the rest of the wedding party would “bounce ideas off of her.”

During the reception, "Nana Betty" participated as any young bridesmaid would: dancing the night away. Quinn said she spent the night mingling with the guests and dancing with the bridesmaids and even the groom’s grandmother.

Quinn also noted that having her grandmother stand beside her during the ceremony made the wedding more special than she could have ever imagined.

“My favorite moment was before the ceremony when she asked me, ‘Christine, are you happy?,” Quinn said. “I obviously said yes, and she said, ‘Okay, that’s all I ever wanted.'"

You can check out Christine, “Nana Betty” and the rest of the wedding party in photos taken by Sweetwater Portraits.
 



Photo Credit: Sweetwater Portraits]]>
<![CDATA[Close Call for Officer Trying to Save Skunk]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 17:50:00 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000011414158_1200x675_497679427571.jpg Officer Merlin Taylor in suburban Detroit was cruising around when he saw a skunk trapped in a yogurt container.]]>