<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Weird News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/weird http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com en-us Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:32:30 -0500 Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:32:30 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Man Throws Live Gator Into Drive-Thru Window]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 20:24:51 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/020916+gator+joshua+james.jpg

A Florida man is facing assault charges after authorities said he threw an alligator through an open Wendy's drive-thru window.

It happened back in October, but the suspect was only recently taken into custody.

Officials said 23-year-old Joshua James pulled up to the drive-thru for his order. After a server handed over a drink and turned around, James reportedly reached into the back of his truck and tossed the 3.5-foot gator through the window.

James is facing charges of aggravated assault and unlawful possession and transportation of an alligator, according to Palm Beach County Jail records.

His parents said the incident was a harmless prank and it's being blown out of proportion. "He's not a bad kid. He's a stupid kid. He did a stupid prank," said Linda James, Joshua's mother. "He had no problem turning himself in."

Officials said James admitted to picking up the gator on the side of a nearby road and bringing it to the fast food restaurant.

The alligator was later released in a nearby canal.

For more "ONLY IN FLORIDA" stories, click here.

<![CDATA[Man Throws Alligator Through Drive-Thru Window]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 08:49:11 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2016-02-09-at-8.43.49-AM.jpg

A Florida man is facing multiple charges after he allegedly hurled an alligator through a Wendy's drive-thru window, according to Palm Beach County Jail records.

Joshua James, 23, threw the 3-and-a-half foot reptile through the window after receiving his large drink in Loxahatchee in October, according to a report from Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

He was was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals this week, WPTV reported.

James told police he picked up the alligator off the side of the road and brought it to Wendy's. He is facing charges for unlawful possession of an alligator, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and petit theft, jail records show. 

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<![CDATA[NJ Police 'Arrest' Puppy Monkey Baby]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 23:48:47 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Voorhees+Police+Puppy+Monkey+Baby.jpg

Did you see the Puppy Monkey Baby commercial during Super Bowl 50 Sunday night? You would certainly remember it if you had.

Mountain Dew advertised its new energy drink, Kickstart, with a commercial featuring the new drink’s mascot "Puppy Monkey Baby." Mountain Dew describes Kickstart as “three awesome things combined” on its website, saying it’s made with Dew, juice, and caffeine.

Like Kickstart, "Puppy Monkey Baby" is also a mixture of three individually cute things: a puppy, a monkey, and a baby.

The commercial was greeted with mixed reactions, ranging from amusement to confusion to outright horror, but one local New Jersey Police Department decided to have a little fun with this instant social media sensation.

The Voorhees Police Department took to Twitter with a photo of "one of (their) weirdest arrests to date." The image features the Puppy Monkey Baby cuffed to a bench in a holding cell after being apprehended for shoplifting.

The department's followers thought the gag was hilarious and tweeted back in approval of the playful social media post.

Photo Credit: Voorhees Police Department
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<![CDATA[Alleged Thief Gets Stuck in Drain]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:07:15 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/217*120/storm+drain+020716.jpg

A man who fled from a deputy in Canyon Country, California, after allegedly trying to steal a car was found stuck in a storm drain on Saturday, officials said.

The alleged thief was spotted by an off-duty Ventura County sheriff's deputy attempting to steal a vehicle in the 1800 block of Goodvale Road around 5:30 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Santa Clarita Valley Station.

The man fled and the deputy chased after him, only to find him stuck in a storm drain in the 2700 block of Walnut Springs Avenue.

The suspect, identified as Josue Fernandez, was extricated out of the drain by firefighters, officials said.

Fernandez was arrested and booked at a nearby jail.

Photo Credit: Santa Clarita Sheriffs Department]]>
<![CDATA[Molly Schuyler Takes Back Wing Bowl Crown]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 11:51:17 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-79467497.jpg

For the second time in three years, Molly Schuyler's chicken chomping skills led her to victory at Philadelphia's Wing Bowl.

Schuyler downed 429 wings Friday morning at the Wells Fargo Center in a photo finish with fellow professional eater Patrick Bertoletti. Bertoletti, who was last year's champ, finished with 408 wings.

The early morning eating ordeal draws boozy spectators who tailgate beforehand to watch flamboyant contestants and suggestively-clad women known as Wingettes. This year it is known as Wing Bowl 24: Game of Bones. It's a promotion for radio station WIP.

Seven eaters were disqualified, six for throwing up and one for cheating. Wing Bowl's No. 1 rule is ``if you heave, you leave.''

Former NBA great Dennis Rodman was the featured guest. He called the spectacle "nuts.''

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Drone Hits Empire State Building]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 07:41:59 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/drone+suspect+empire+state+building.jpg

A small drone crashed into the 40th floor of the Empire State Building Thursday night and then fell to a 35th floor landing, authorities said. 

Police said a New Jersey man was flying the drone in an attempt to take pictures and apparently lost control of the aircraft.

Investigators said Sean Nivin Riddle was arrested at the scene and is expected to face criminal charges. He was being questioned by officers at the Midtown South police precinct.

Right after the crash, Riddle apparently wrote on his own Twitter feed: “filming w/ drone, now its stuck on the empire state building....w/security.”

The crash brought a significant police and FBI response to the landmark at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street as a precaution. Investigators said that they do not believe the crash was intentional.

No one was hurt.

Riddle did not immediately respond to requests from NBC 4 New York seeking comment. 

Photo Credit: File.
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<![CDATA[Amtrak Train Was Hit, But Not by Bullet]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 11:25:54 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Amtrak+Window+Struck+Hole+Amtrak.JPG

Amtrak officials have determined a rock struck one of its trains in Philadelphia -- not a bullet.

The Acela Express was headed to New York City from Washington with 201 passengers aboard on Sunday night when the rock cracked a window.

Amtrak spokesman Craig Schultz says no one was injured, in large part, because of reinforced safety glass used on all Northeast Corridor trains.

Investigators don't know if someone threw the rock at the train.

The train stopped at Metropark in New Jersey so inspectors could check the damage.

The incident occurred near where an Amtrak train derailed in May, killing eight people and injuring more than 200.

Photo Credit: Twitter - Taylor Lorenz]]>
<![CDATA[Customers 'Saved' by Tiki Statue]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 08:44:10 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/196*120/02-01-2016-tree-tiki-bar-restaurant-1.JPG

The owners of a restaurant in Ventura, California, say a tiki statue saved four people when a 150-foot-tall palm tree came crashing through the roof during a day of powerful wind gusts in Southern California.

An interior security camera captured footage of the tree falling through the roof of VenTiki Lounge Sunday in downtown Ventura, narrowly missing four people on the patio. The footage shows restaurant employees running into view as the tree snaps in two after striking the roof.

"It was howling," said owner Duane Couch of the powerful winds. "It would come in gusts. People would come inside, it would settle down and people would go back outside."

About eight guests had just left the patio area where the tree landed, Couch said. Three customers and a chef were seated near the tree by a ground-level fire pit, but the tree came to rest on a tiki statue.

"That's what saved the four people sitting there on the benches," he said. "It was absolutely miraculous that everyone just happened to not be in the path of the tree."

The patio, roof and an awning were damaged. The owners said they were not sure when the restaurant will reopen, but co-owner Tonya Couch said a ritual to honor the tiki statue is in order.

"The tiki gods were with us," she said.

The tree was one of several knocked down in Los Angeles and Ventura counties Sunday due to damaging winds. Gusts continued Monday, some reaching 60 to 70 miles in northern Los Angeles County.

No injuries were reported.

Photo Credit: VenTiki
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<![CDATA[More Sonic Booms Felt Along Jersey ]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 09:02:56 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/tri+state+sonic+boom.jpg

After NBC 4 New York viewers reported feeling more sonic booms along the New Jersey coast Monday, a military official confirmed the Department of Defense was again conducting flight tests and training in the area.

The reports came from Brigantine and Barnegat at about 1:45 p.m.  

A spokeswoman with the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland confirmed it had flights over the Atlantic Ocean there around that time, and that other military, Navy and Air Force aircraft were also out there, "as they are on any given day for training," she said in an email.

The flights took place in the same test track where the sonic booms happened last week. Those were more widely felt, prompting multiple reports of rumbles and house-shaking to flood in from the southern Jersey Shore to Long Island and the Connecticut coast. 

U.S. Geological Survey officials say last week's sonic booms -- created when an aircraft breaks the sound barrier by traveling more than 768 mph -- were first recorded 8 miles south of Jackson, New Jersey. Eight other spikes were reported at multiple stations in southern New Jersey.

An Amityville, Long Island woman said she felt earthquake-like vibrations getting stronger, sending at least six pulses through her home. 

"I actually felt it in me," said Diane Bates. "It was a sensation that I've never experienced before."

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Deadly Underwear Dash on Roosevelt Boulevard]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 11:45:29 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Roosevelt-Boulevard-Man-Str1.jpg

A man died after being struck by two vehicles on Roosevelt Boulevard Monday night.

An unidentified man in his mid-30s wearing only in his underwear was running in the southbound outer lanes of the Boulevard at Harbison Avenue just after 8 p.m. waving his arms in the air and singing loudly, said Philadelphia Police.

"He was running south on the Boulevard waving his hands in the air and he was singing loudly," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small.

A silver Chevy Tahoe struck the man and the impact catapulted the man into the air. He then landed in the inner lanes of the Boulevard where another vehicle, a silver Volkswagen, and possibly two other vehicles struck him.

Officers found the man unresponsive on the highway with injuries to his head, body and legs, said Small. Medics rushed the man to Frankford-Torresdale Hospital where he died overnight. Two striking vehicles remained at the scene, said police.

"He was only wearing underwear, which is very bizarre for the winter -- or anytime," said Small.

Investigators said the man had mental health issues and was possibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Police closed the southbound lanes on the Boulevard at the scene of the crash as they investigated. Investigators checked surveillance video to see if two other vehicles that didn't remain on the scene also struck the man.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[WWII Vet Scares Off Home Burglar]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 07:07:40 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/207*120/burgalr-vet-020116.JPG

When an ax-wielding burglar tried to break into Joseph Milspaugh's home on Sunday morning, the 92-year-old World War II veteran didn't hesitate to defend himself.

When Milspaugh, of San Jacinto, California, heard the suspect trying to break into his home in the 1400 block of Chase Street, he armed himself with his model 1911 .45 caliber handgun.

As the suspect smashed the door with his ax and tried to crawl into the house, Milspaugh wasted no time and fired off one round from his handgun at the suspect.

"It's stupid what he did," Milspaugh said. "Being a Sunday, he assumed that people would be going shopping or going to church and no one would be home, that it would be a good time to break in."

The suspect, who San Jacinto police believe was not hit, immediately fled the scene, but left behind his ax and several other items.

"I could have shot him straight in the head, right between the eyes, but I didn't want to do that because I'd have been in trouble," Milspaugh said.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect is encouraged to call the San Jacinto Police Department at 951-654-2702.

Editor's note: A previous version of the story incorrectly identified the model of the gun.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Drone Swoops In, Finds Lost Puppy]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 06:53:47 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/drone+puppy.JPG

A quick-thinking police officer in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, used his own personal drone to track down a lost puppy, according to a post on the Upper Gwynedd Township Police's Facebook page.

Kasi, a 10-month-old German shepherd, ran from her home in the 1000 block of South Broad Street Saturday. After an unsuccessful search on foot, Upper Gwynedd Township Police Officer Yin Young outfitted his personal drone with a video camera and sent it flying.

The drone was launched from the police station and located the puppy in the nearby woods after flying for about 20 ‌minutes.

Kasi was soon reunited with owner George Burns, safe and sound.

"It was a good idea," Sergeant John Brinkman with the Upper Gwynedd Township Police Department told NBC10 in Philadelphia. "We don't want the owner to get hurt unnecessarily looking for the dog."

Sgt. Brinkman said the police department might see potential in utilizing drones to help track down other lost pets or even missing children. "It's all about keeping people safe," he said.

Photo Credit: Upper Gwynedd Township Police]]>
<![CDATA[Stabbing Over Car Keys: Police]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 08:20:22 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-0806151.jpg

A man was forced to defend himself with a shovel after he was stabbed by another man in a domestic dispute in Newark early on Sunday, police said.

The 31-year-old victim arrived at an Osborne Terrace apartment where his two daughters lived with their mother and the suspect.

When the victim knocked on the door of the apartment at 2:45 a.m. to get car keys, 34-year-old Gary Austin stabbed him several times, police said. 

The victim grabbed a shovel and was able to fend off Austin, who ran into the home and hid.

Police were able to locate Austin inside the apartment and arrested him on assault and weapons charges.

The victim, whose name hasn’t been released, has been hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

The exact relationship between the victim and Austin isn’t clear, nor is it clear what the victim was going to do with the car keys. 

Police are investigating whether or not alcohol was a factor in the attack.

<![CDATA[Driver Pulls Over Speeding Cop]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 18:52:20 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Speed+Limit+70+Speed+Limit.jpg

A Florida woman turned the tables on a police officer, "pulling him over" for allegedly speeding Sunday afternoon.

Claudia Castillo recorded video of her interaction with the Miami-Dade police officer and said in the video, "He's been driving recklessly and pushing 80 to 100 miles per hour."

The officer said he was on his way to work and didn't believe he had been speeding. He said he pulled over because he thought Castillo, who was flashing her lights and honking her horn, was having an emergency.

"I saw you since Miller Drive when you were first jumping on to the Palmetto and you were pushing 90 miles an hour," Castillo said in her confrontation with the officer.

The officer responded by apologizing and telling Castillo, "I'll be sure to slow down then."

The Miami-Dade Police Department said in a statement authorities will have the officer's "immediate command staff investigate the matter, once the officer and citizen are identified. The appropriate course of action will be taken at that point."

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Michigan Couple Abandon Exotic Pets]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 04:25:21 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Tarantula.jpg

Two people are accused of animal abandonment and cruelty after investigators Friday discovered 20 exotic animals in “squalid” conditions at a rural Michigan home, according to a report.

Animal Control discovered four wallabies, sugar gliders, a coatmundi, a tarantula, a venomous spider, fish, a rat-like animal, and an aggressive monkey inside the home in Mottville Township, located just north of the Indiana border, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette. The sheriff told a reporter that the house had a “nasty” smell.

Investigators found the animals after a complaint about small kangaroos in the home’s backyard, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported. Animal Control initially believed the complaint was a prank call.

Troy Leiby, 40, and Jessica Archberger, also 40, face charges including animal abandonment and cruelty, as well as animal killing/torture, according to the report. The pair may have previously operated an exotic animal shop in Indiana.

Employees at the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek were working with investigators to determine the condition of the animals and to find them a new home, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sea Lion Shocks Shoppers]]> Sat, 30 Jan 2016 18:12:37 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/sea+lion+in+store+2.jpg

A San Diego store had to refuse service to a whiskered customer who wandered in from the sea.

A curious little sea lion climbed 145 steps to reach the Cave Store in La Jolla, manager Rachelle Agosti told NBC 7 Friday.

The Cave Store acts as the entrance to a manmade tunnel which delves down the cliffside and into the Sunny Jim Sea Cave.

While most people use the store to access the spectacular cave, the employees were surprised to find a visitor coming from the other direction on Jan 21.

Agosti said just before closing, the sea lion waddled into the store.

“It was shocking,” the manager said.

Security footage shows the sea lion startling customers as it wandered around for about 10 minutes, confused and scared as the employees chased it around.

The quick-thinking humans decided to grab some salmon – normally used to feed their cats -- to grab the sea lion’s attention. They were able to lead it out of the store, back into the tunnel and to the ocean.

This is the first time a daring sea lion has made it into the building, though five years ago, another climbed up the stairs and close to the entrance, said Agosti.

Photo Credit: The Cave Store]]>
<![CDATA[Rescue Groups Pretended to Be SPCA to Take Dog: Owner]]> Sat, 30 Jan 2016 00:01:01 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/King+the+Dog+Taken.jpg

A group of animal lovers impersonated animal control officers to take a Rottweiler, they said was being abused, from a Philadelphia home this week, the dog's owner claims. But officials say the canine was being properly cared for and blame the entire episode on a series of photos posted to Facebook.

Members of several animal rescue groups showed up at Brenda Johnson's Northeast Philadelphia home Tuesday claiming her dog, 8-year-old King, was being removed from her care because he was being subjected to poor living conditions, the woman said.

Johnson said the group members identified themselves as humane officers from the Pennsylvania SPCA. She claims the group threatened her with animal cruelty charges and said a series of photos showing King appearing to hang from weather stripping attached to her garage prompted them to rescue the dog.

Johnson said King regularly sleeps in the garage, which is climate controlled, and was jumping in the photo in question.

When Johnson called the PSPCA to protest King's removal, they said their officers hadn't taken the dog. An investigation led PSPCA officers to the animal group who had brought the dog to upstate New York.

"It's not right, whatever they did to me, they going to be doing it to other people, and they really took advantage of us," Johnson said.

George Bengal, PSPCA Director of Humane Enforcement, said his officers had checked on the dog in the summer after the same photos showed up on Facebook at that time. He said the animal was in good health and was being treated well.

Bengal said there are times photos and videos posted to social networks drive animal rescues, but in this case, the images don't tell a true story.

The PSPCA retrieved the dog on Friday and returned him to Johnson.

"You can look at my animal, he doesn't look like he's abused, he's healthy, he's been registered to the state," she said.

NBC10 spoke to several of the groups who believe their members were involved in the incident. Their names are being withheld because they have not been charged with a crime and haven't been positively linked to the confiscation.

Rescue group leaders said they didn't threaten Johnson, claim to be from the PSPCA and said the woman willingly handed over King.

The PSPCA and police aren't planning on filing charges.

Johnson, however, is preparing to file a complaint with the state and a lawsuit in civil court.

Photo Credit: NBC10
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<![CDATA[Bizarre Late-to-Work Excuses]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 05:39:06 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/runnign+late.png

A new report revealed 12 of the most bizarre late-to-work excuses, and the list contains a bear, a lizard and a lot of Vaseline.

CareerBuilder surveyed nearly 2,600 hiring and human resources managers and more than 3,200 employees between November and December of 2015, according to the job site.

For employees who walk into work late every once in a while, good news. One third of employers said they have no problem with workers who are late occasionally, according to CareerBuilder. However, four out of 10 employers have fired an employee for being late.

Overall, some of the most common late-to-work excuses included: traffic at 53 percent, oversleeping at 33 percent and bad weather at 28 percent, according to the report.

However, some employees reportedly gave their bosses less traditional excuses. Here are 12 of the most bizarre reasons employees have used to explain their tardiness, according to CareerBuilder.

1. I thought of quitting today, but then decided not to, so I came in late.
2. My hair caught on fire from my blow dryer.
3. I was detained by Homeland Security.
4. I had to chase my cows back into the field.
5. A black bear entered my carport and decided to take a nap on the hood of my car.
6. My lizard had to have emergency surgery in the morning and died during surgery. I had to mourn while deciding whether to have the lizard disposed of by the vet or bring the lizard corpse with me to work.
7. There was fresh powder on the hill. I had to go skiing.
8. There was a store grand opening and I wanted to get the opening day sales.
9. I had to finish watching "My Name is Earl."
10. All of my clothes were stolen.
11. I was confused by the time change and unsure if it was "spring forward" or "fall back."
12. A Vaseline truck overturned on the highway and cars were slipping left and right.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco Park Features City's First Open-Air Urinal]]> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 11:10:58 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/0127-2016-OutdoorUrinal.jpg

San Francisco's popular Dolores Park reopened this week, drawing hundreds of visitors to check out the renovations. But it was a new public urinal, and its out-in-the-open location at the park, that had people talking.

The urinal is out in the open, right next to the Muni tracks on 20th and Church streets. Park-goers said while it takes a little getting used to, something needed to be done because people previously were going to the bathroom out in public.

"Honestly, we were ready to go pee anywhere," San Francisco-resident Aaron Cutler said. "So any facility is better than none."

The simple structure of the urinal is common in Europe, but a new addition to San Francisco. The city's park and recreation department installed it at the park because of ongoing problems with people urinating on buildings and in bushes.

The urinal is part of $20 million in renovations at Dolores Park -- the first upgrades at the park in 60 years. The park reopened late Wednesday. 

"The more options we can give them to relieve themselves the better for the park-goers," San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener said. "The better it is for neighbors."

Dolores Park is one of the city's more popular spots. Sunny days can draw up to 7,000 visitors. Aside from irrigation and beautification, the park used to have just three toilets. It now features 27, including the public urinal.

The new urinal unveiled is not near the playground and parents do not seem too worried about the exposure it brings.

"I think they'll be going to the bathroom and moving on," San Francisco-resident Kristine Hallet said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA['Sup Bro': Super Bowl Statue At SF City Hall Vandalized, Again ]]> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 13:33:15 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/cityhall21.jpg

The Super Bowl 50 statue at San Francisco City Hall has been vandalized — again.

It now reads "Sup Bro 50," according to a photo posted by Twitter user @shanand. The first time around, the statue saw its solar panels ripped off.

Hoodline reports that the statue in Alamo Square also had its lettering altered to read "Superb Owl 50."

Super Bowl statues can now be spotted all across San Francisco — including Crissy Field, Twin Peaks, the Palace of Fine Arts and Fisherman's Wharf — as well as San Jose airport — which just opened a swanky new $82 million executive airport, where the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers will park their planes.

Photo Credit: @shanand via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Unbelievable Animals: Kinkajou Sleeps on Woman's Chest]]> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 10:31:43 -0500 Watch video of the creature here. ]]> Watch video of the creature here. ]]> http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/012616+kinkajou+in+miami+home.jpg Check out some of the craziest animals and the stories behind them.

Photo Credit: South Dade Animal Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[Alligator in Basement for 2 Decades]]> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 13:19:26 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/dfgdfgfdgdfg.jpg

A man in south suburban Lansing kept an alligator at his house for over two decades without neighbors knowing, according to authorities.

The 6-foot-long alligator spent most of its 26 years in a cage of the basement of Charles Price’s house, according to Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Chris Young.

However, Price "put it out periodically in his back yard. No one knew he had it, no one had ever seen it,” IDNR Sgt. Bill Shannon told The Chicago Tribune Saturday.

The animal was noticed earlier this month by an appliance repairman who had been working in Price's basement, Young said. The worker noticed something moving in a covered container, so he lifted the cover, took photos of the reptile and contacted Lansing Police Department's animal control.

Shannon got word of the alligator and contacted conservation police Officer Roberto Macias and an alligator specialist known as "Bob."

"It was every bit of 200 pounds," Shannon told the Tribune.

Lansing police Chief Dennis Murrin Jr. also told the publication: "In 25 years, I've never had anything like it.”

Photo Credit: Illinois Department of Natural Resources ]]>
<![CDATA[Man in Clown Mask Robs Calif. Gas Station at Gunpoint]]> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 13:26:47 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/160125-clown-robber.jpg

A robber wearing a clown mask held up a San Bernardino, California, gas station at gunpoint Monday, and police say that business may not have been his first target of the night.

About 10 p.m., surveillance cameras captured the man disguised as a clown robbing the Arco on Inland Center Driver with a semi-automatic handgun, according to the San Bernardino Police Department. The man then fled in a silver-colored Jeep – police didn't say what he took from the store.

Police say he's believed to be responsible for an attempted robbery earlier in the evening on E Street.

Detectives are asking for the public's help in identifying the robber. He's described as 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 190 pounds. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and gray shoes.

Anyone with information was asked to call detectives at 909-384-5665.

Photo Credit: San Bernardino Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Human Chain Rescues Trapped Driver on Turnpike]]> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 12:06:49 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Human+Chain+Drivers.jpg

A group of strangers teamed up to help a driver in need after his tractor-trailer veered off the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Friday night during near-blizzard conditions, according to NBC affiliate WPXI in Pittsburgh.

It came as a massive winter storm swept the region, blanketing parts of Pennsylvania in nearly 3 feet of snow. The snow began falling Friday evening and continued for more than 24 hours.

Arlyn Satanek, who helped with Friday night's rescue, told WPXI he heard a radio broadcast about imminent weather and decided he needed to start "backing it down a little bit." Just as Satanek laid on his own brakes, he saw a tractor-trailer "wipe out" in front of him.

"I’m sitting there in a daze, and I realize people are running to the truck," Satanek told WPXI.

Satanek joined the others in assisting the truck driver. He said before he knew it, a group of strangers formed a human chain to help rescue the driver from his cab. The driver was pulled to safety within 15 minutes, according to WPXI.

"It helped remind us that we are all people, and it is our responsibility to help other humans," Satanek told WPXI.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike was scheduled to close westbound between Breezewood and New Stanton Thursday at 9 a.m. to clear the tractor-trailer that remained dangling over the embankment. The closure was expected to last about three hours while crews worked to remove the truck.

Traffic will be detoured off at Breezewood and back on at New Stanton during the closure.

Photo Credit: WPXI/Arlyn Satanek]]>
<![CDATA['Duct Tape Challenge' Leaves Teen Severely Injured]]> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 14:39:40 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/duct-tape-challenge.jpg

A dangerous new game becoming popular among teens sent a 14-year-old Washington resident to the hospital with 48 stitches, a shattered eye socket and a brain aneurysm.

Skylar Fish was severely injured playing the "Duct Tape Challenge," a trend circulating on social media in which the participant is taped up and is recorded on video trying to break free. Whoever removes the tape the fastest "wins" the challenge. 

Skylar took the challenge Jan. 16 with two of his friends. According to his mother, Sarah Fish, Skylar volunteered to be duct taped first, and was standing while taped up when he lost his balance. The fall caused Skylar to hit his head, and his friends immediately called 911. 

Skylar suffered extensive facial injuries. After a three-hour surgery, Skylar was left with metal plates and screws, and was on a temporary ventilator after the operation. His left eye socket shattered, and his facial injuries required 48 stitches and caused a substantial scar.

Doctors are still unsure if Skylar will be able to see out of his left eye, but Fish said her son's pupil reacted slightly to the light, a positive sign. Despite Skylar's improvements, Fish was deeply affected seeing her son in the hospital.

"That was the worst part for me — seeing my son helpless," Fish said.

Skylar, who was moved from Harborview Medical Center to a pediatric hospital on Monday, is set to be sent home Friday.

"Every time I look at him, I smile," Fish said. "Every time I talk about him being alive, I smile — I smile because my son's alive."

Fish, who hadn't heard of the "Duct Tape Challenge" prior to her son's injuries, wants to use Skylar's story as an opportunity to shed light on the dangers of these seemingly harmless viral games.

"(Skylar has) learned his lesson," she said. "Kids are just going to be kids, be we just want to bring awareness."

Photo Credit: Sarah Fish]]>
<![CDATA[Paraplegic Father And Daughter Enjoy Blizzard 2016]]> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 19:38:10 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Parapalegic+Sledding.PNG

A Chalfont, Pennsylvania, father didn't let his disability stop him from enjoying the snow with his daughter after the blizzard of 2016.

Glen Dick, who is paralyzed from the chest down, has a special wheelchair that he uses outdoors, his wife Monica Dick told NBC10.

“He misses out on a lot of things because of his disability, but he wanted to be a part of his daughter’s entertainment,” Monica said.

So, Glen attached a sled to his wheelchair for his six-year-old daughter Elaina, and the duo took off.

“It was a little scary, but it was fun,” Elaina said.

The pair is anxiously awaiting more snow so they can go riding together again.

Photo Credit: Monica Christ Dick]]>
<![CDATA[Raccoon Attacks 6-Year-Old]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 16:55:46 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/raccoon+attacks+boy+nj.jpg

A 6-year-old New Jersey boy was attacked by a raccoon as he walked to school with his mother on Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The child and mother were trekking to 16th Avenue Elementary School in Elmwood Park at about 8:45 a.m. when the animal latched onto the child's back and began scratching and biting his face.

The boy's mother, Monali Gavali, described the horrifying enounter to NBC 4 New York outside Hackensack Medical Center, where her son was being treated Wednesday night.

"Within a second, he screamed, 'Mommy,' then I turn around and saw that he was on the ground -- something was there, something was on his back," she said. 

People living nearby heard the mother's screams and called 911. 

"There's a woman screaming 'please call 911,'" one caller said in an emergency dispatch tape recorded by Broadcastify. "I think her child is being attacked by something.

Danny Walls, meanwhile, saw the attack unfold. He told NBC 4 New York he was getting ready for work when he heard the mayhem. He grabbed a painter's pole and rushed to help. 

He tossed the animal to the ground and started beating it with the pole repeatedly until it died. 

"I guess I broke his rib because he yelled and I continued to hit him 'til he let go," Walls said.

Wall's wife, Diana, saw the mauling and described the boy's injuries. He had deep cuts on his face, with the worst injuries under his right eye.

"He had rips on his face," Diana Walls said. "Not just cuts, rips."

Gavali said she didn't have the words to thank Walls.

"He saved my boy today," she said, still wearing the blood-stained coat from when she hugged her son Aryan after the attack. "He came like an angel." 

Bergen County Animal Control took the raccoon's carcass for testing; results are expected by Friday.

Authorities said school officials in the town have been notified about the attack as many children walk to school.

According to the Humane Society, rabid animals can display a range of symptoms including foaming at the mouth, aggression and disoriented behavior. In raccoons, activity during the day can be an indicator of the deadly zoonotic virus as the species is typically nocturnal. 

<![CDATA[Woman Wakes Up to Exotic Animal]]> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 15:51:53 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/012616+kinkajou+in+miami+home.jpg

A 99-year-old woman in Miami said she woke up to find an animal on her chest, according to a veterinarian caring for the unusual creature.

"I was awaken by a phone call at 2 a.m., which is never good news, and it was from my terrified mother-in-law," said Carlos Aguaras.

Aguaras said he rushed over, and found the animal that had terrified his mother-in-law. The only other person in the home at the time was her live-in caregiver.

It was a kinkajou, an animal usually found in the rainforests of Central and South America, said Veterinarian Dr. Don J. Harris, who works for the South Dade Avian & Exotic Animal Medical Center.

Aguaras said the animal was in the attic when he arrived, and they lured it out with food. They got it inside a cage and brought it to Dr. Harris, who said he knew the animal belonged to someone.

"No undomesticated wild animal like this would curl up on a woman's chest to go to sleep," Dr. Harris explained.

The animal, whose name is Banana, was being cared for at South Dade Animal Hospital, where the medical center operates, but will be reunited with its owner Wednesday morning.

There's no word on how the animal got loose, but the woman's family has a message for the owners. "Put it in the hands of the experts, but it's not intended to be a pet in a home," Aguaras said.

Kinkajous typically spend most of their time in trees. They have the ability to turn their feet backwards to run easily in either direction, along branches or up tree trunks. Kinkajous also often hang from their tails. According to National Geographic, they are sometimes called "honey bears" because they raid bees' nests by slurping honey from the hive.

Photo Credit: South Dade Animal Hospital
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<![CDATA[Vegan Butcher Offers 'Meatless Meats']]> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 18:06:12 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NC_veganbutcher0121_1500x845.jpg Chances are pretty good when you think vegan or vegetarian, a butcher shop isn't what comes to mind but the owners of Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis, Minnesota hope to change that.]]> <![CDATA[Storm Victim Wades Through Water, Dodges TV, to Save Dog]]> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 06:48:47 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/211*120/Gunnar+North+Dog+Ocean+City+Rescue.JPG

A man with his pants rolled up and a dog under his arm waded through waist-deep floodwater as an old television floated by.

The moment captured Saturday in Ocean City is a lasting image of the Blizzard of 2016 that battered the region with snow and wind, causing major flooding along the Jersey Shore.

Gunnar North, 29, told NBC10 he decided to make a daring dash after he woke up to water near his front door and no power in his home.

"I wake up around 10 o'clock, I look out the door and there's literally 3 1/2 feet of water outside my door," said North.

North, who works for his family company, lives in a Gunnar Builders-constructed apartment along 7th Street near the bay in Ocean City, New Jersey. He had never before faced such significant flooding.

"I didn't know what to do," said North, who lived most of his life on the mainland. "I guess you could say I wasn't really prepared.

"I was afraid the water was going to go up to my door — my door's 4 feet in the air. I didn't think I had anything to worry about, but I was definitely wrong."

After two hours or so, North saw an opening as the tide receded, so he stuffed a backpack with some clothes, grabbed his dog, Red, and made a dash for it.

"I was just worried about keeping my dog safe, honestly. I don't know what I would do if anything happened to him," said North. "It was waist deep out front of my house, I tightened up my pants… and I made the journey."

"It was freezing... there were little icebergs everywhere — just chunks of ice — it was hard, I was getting cut up," he recalled.

Red, 2-year-old pit-boxer mix, weighs about 80 pounds.

"It really wasn't that easy to carry him through," said North.

Along the way, Instagram user FSBarnard captured an image of North and Red wading through ice-filled water as a television floated by.

"That TV was just floating behind me, I wasn't carrying my TV," said North. "I had my dog and that was enough."

North also had to dodge other items in the water.

"I saw wood floating down the street," he said. "It was like a big freezer or something like that — it was huge — it was just floating down the street."

After a six-to-seven-block journey to higher ground — it would have been shorter but North said he initially went to wrong way — he and Red were picked up by a friend with a big truck.

Later, on Facebook, he thanked the guys who rescued him for saving "me and Red's life."

Once the power came back on late Saturday and North returned to survey the damage, he found some — the carpets need replacing — but mostly, his apartment was unscathed.

"It's shocking because the water has never gotten that high," he said.

North made at least made one preparation that helped keep the damage to a minimum.

"Thank God I parked my car off of the island — I knew that much, to do that," North said.

Next time a major storm comes, expect North and Red to get out of dodge.

"I'm going to get off the island before the storm starts," he said.

Photo Credit: Instagram - FSBarnard
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