<![CDATA[NBC New York - Weird News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/weird http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Thu, 26 Mar 2015 22:14:39 -0400 Thu, 26 Mar 2015 22:14:39 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[WATCH: Driver Tied Cat to Hood of Car]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:12:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/NC_catoncar0324001.jpg Ohio police search for driver spotted with cat tied to the hood of her vehicle.]]> <![CDATA[Couple Weds Around the World]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 11:16:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/wedding-world-kiss.jpg

It's going to be tough for this couple's honeymoon to top their weddings.

Cheetah Platt and Rhiann Woodyard didn't want the average wedding, so they packed their bridal dress and suit and left on a world tour. They've held ceremonies at locations around the world — in front of waterfalls and aqueducts, in an ancient temple, with a giraffe -- taking eye-catching pictures at each one.

The Los Angeles couple had gotten married 21 times as of Saturday, March 21, and they plan on tying the knot 17 more times before May 2, Platt said.

The icing on their wedding cake: They say that getting married around the world has saved them money, compared to the traditional, one-day affair.

The average American wedding costs more than $31,000, according to a recent survey conducted by wedding publication The Knot. Despite traveling to six continents, the couple said their trip to six continents cost less.

"It has been amazing talking to others who see the world the same way and are so excited to create their own wedding experience," the couple said in an e-mail to NBC4.

To the bride, Rhiann Woodyard, the most memorable ceremony so far was being married in India's centuries-old Ajanta Caves, a Buddhist temple carved into a mountain.

"It is such a surreal experience," Woodyard said in an e-mail.

For Platt, it was "riding camels across the sand, then standing in the ancient Egyptian desert and marrying the love of my life in front of the pyramids of Giza."

Both professional acrobats, Woodyard and Platt met at a gathering for acrobatics enthusiasts, the couple told Buzzfeed.

Their registry, posted on honeyfund.com, doesn't consist of the usual pots, pans, plates and dishware -- instead, they listed elephant rides, a Spanish hot-air balloon ride, snorkeling and flights to every corner of the globe.

Couples from around the world have reached out after hearing about their decision, they told NBC4.

And while they caution that their wedding isn't right for everyone, they believe every couple should think about what would make a wedding perfect for them.

"If you are open to changing tradition and exploring other options, you can absolutely create (and afford) the perfect wedding for YOU," said the couple, who signed their e-mail CheeRhi.

The couple does plan a ceremony for their immediate family in Big Bear, a small mountain-top town near LA.

"Nothing will change with the wedding itself, but we can't wait to share it with our family," they said.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Cheetah Platt]]>
<![CDATA[Sea Lion Pup Climbs on Surfboard]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 12:42:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/sea+lion+surfer+1.jpg

Dan Murphy was surfing Cardiff By-the-Sea when a wiggly little creature jumped on his board and crawled up his back.

At first, the Cardiff resident thought he was being attacked. But as he turned around, he saw a sea lion pup hugging him, as if the animal were scared.

Murphy, a longtime surfer, was amazed. On that Sunday morning off the shore of San Elijo Campground, a friendship was formed, he said.

“You see a lot of wildlife. You see those pups around this time of year,” he said. “I’ve never seen them interact with people like that.”

Murphy said the pup did not appear malnourished and suspects he was one of the sea lions rehabilitated by SeaWorld trainers and then returned to the wild, as the little guy appeared so comfortable around humans.

The pup held on to Murphy for about 20 minutes before crawling into his lap “like a puppy,” he said.

“He spent well over an hour on my board,” Murphy said.

Murphy spent the next hour floating on his surf board with the sea lion pup, as his friend, Eileen Quintela, grabbed her camera from the shore and began snapping pictures.

When their human-sea lion bonding experience was over, Murphy said he had to nudge the pup off his board and say goodbye.

“I was literally in tears,” he said. “I waved to him.”

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<![CDATA[Accidental Invite Elicits Real-Life Wedding Crasher]]> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 12:24:34 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/223*120/Capture5.PNG

A Washington man is set to travel to Philly after he was accidentally invited to a stranger's bachelor party.

Joey DiJulio of Seattle says it all started with an unexpected email back on February 11.

Joey received an invite to Jeff Minetti's bachelor party in Philadelphia. There was only one problem. Joey had no idea who Jeff was.

“I was trying to make sense of it," Joey said. "I was so confused. I was looking through different addresses and didn’t know who anyone was. I looked and saw my name on the CC and realized it was a typo. I was getting entertainment while being a fly on the wall.”

Jeff explained the mixup to NBC10.

“About fifty people had been in the email, so no one really noticed that anything was wrong,” Jeff said. “I sent a list over to my brother Michael, someone had made the mistake, I’d be happy to throw him under the bus for this one."

For a while Joey kept quiet and was amused by the numerous emails he received about some of the events for the weekend. This included gambling, shuffle board competitions and some other festivities as well. Then it all came to a quick hold.

Jeff's brother Michael Minetti, who sent the initial email, wrote a new message, saying he needed a headcount to give the bartender for the venue. As he was calling out people he hadn’t heard from, Joey finally replied with the following message:

Hi All,

So, I have no idea who any of you guys are, but I have been enjoying being a fly on the wall hearing about the plans for this bachelor party over the last few months.

I'm assuming my E-Mail address was added to the list by mistake (perhaps a typo of someone else?).

I live out in Seattle, WA and although for a moment I thought it might be funny to just show up and be that guy nobody knows but everyone wonders "who is that guy?", buying a plane ticket for a cross-country flight just to crash a bachelor's party might be a bit over the top (although it would be epic!).

Nonetheless, I do hope you guys have a great time and I'd like to take a moment to wish the best of luck in life to the groom!

Cheers!
Joey DiJulio
Seattle, WA

To his surprise, responses in the email started storming his inbox. Despite him being a complete stranger, everyone wanted Joey to go the bachelor party, including the groom.

"I'm overnighting you a wedding invite," Jeff said. "You show up at the bachelor party and I'll make you my best man. You can give the toast even."

A friend of the groom replied, "I say everyone forks up an extra $20 and we get Joey a plane ticket to Philly!"

As everyone was throwing out ideas for how to get him to the party and wedding, Joey took matters into his own hands and created a GoFundMe page.

He posted the description and the entirety of the story and started receiving donations.

"I was putting things on my Facebook about the random bachelor party I wasn't going too," Joey said. "This is totally something so crazy. People thought it was awesome. I promoted it a little and created it myself, and figured let's see how it goes."

Joey eventually reached his goal Wednesday, raising $1,655, well above the $1,264 he estimated it would cost for the entire trip.

"The momentum just kept going, as I realized the first part of this could definitely happen and as we built a following, maybe we can use this small platform for Jeff and his bride to be, and could use some of this money for a really nice wedding gift," Joey said.

Jeff and his friends said they would welcome him with open arms.

"I'd welcome Joe to come and we are the city of brotherly love so we would love to show him a good time," Jeff said.

"If he came, it's gonna be funny, I'd have a million questions to ask him," said Jeff's brother Christopher.

Amy Lee, the bride to be, told NBC10 she's also excited about Joey's visit.

"I'm all onboard and everything happens for a reason," she said.

Lee also said her plans for the bachelor party have changed.

"The first part of festivities I am welcome too," she said. "While I was going to let the boys have fun, after this story, I would have to meet Joey. The brides are crashing the bachelor party!"

The bachelor party is set to take place on March 28. We'll let you know if Jeff follows through on letting Joey become his best man.

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<![CDATA[Meth Lab Discovered in Ind. Walmart Restroom]]> Sat, 14 Mar 2015 17:32:17 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Walmart-Generic1.jpg

A restroom at a Walmart in eastern Indiana has been closed indefinitely after an employee discovered a working meth lab inside.

State police say a Walmart employee alerted police after seeing a man he described as suspicious enter the restroom about 11:30 p.m. Thursday with a backpack and leave without it. The Star Press reports that members of a state police meth suppression team removed the dangerous chemicals.

Delaware County Health Department inspectors closed the restroom and a nearby women's restroom until they could be "decontaminated" by a professional cleaning company.

State police say people who make methamphetamine are leaving "the deadly explosive chemicals in public places to return later to get the finished product," rather than risk explosions and contamination at their own homes. 

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<![CDATA[Purse With Handgun Imprint Pulled From Store Shelves]]> Fri, 13 Mar 2015 16:08:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/handgun+handbag.jpg

A provocative purse is being removed from the racks of a New York-area clothing chain following an NBC 4 New York investigation into one shopper's complaints.

The controversial clutch, sold by fashion chain Easy Pickins, has a realistic-looking 3-D imprint of a handgun that could make it look like the wearer is holding a real firearm.

"If I saw a woman walking down the street with this purse I might look at her and say, 'Oh my god, that girl has a gun in her bag,'" said Natalia Perez, a former news reporter who told NBC 4 New York about the pocketbook.

Fernando Cacoillo, head of operations for Easy Pickins, said he was unaware his chain carried the pistol-themed bag and quickly ordered more than 20 stores to stop selling it.

"We’ll take it off the shelves right away,” Cacoillo said. “I would go out to the manufacturer of this handbag and have them take it off the market completely.”

Easy Pickins uses an outside company to choose and purchase merchandise and store managers were not immediately able to determine who manufactures the $18 handbag.

Perez says she is concerned a police officer responding to a crime in New York City might see a purse imprinted with a pistol and mistake it for a real gun.

“All of these things we’re seeing in the media about Ferguson, shootings, and police brutality — this is just not the message you want to send to young women to just go out and look cute with a gun in their purse," she said. "That looks crazy.” 



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Employee Worked in Pee-Soaked Pants]]> Fri, 13 Mar 2015 09:29:54 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SodaBan.jpg

A Wendy’s restaurant employee in Southern California has filed a claim as a precursor to a lawsuit against the restaurant franchise, claiming her managers implemented a “no bathroom breaks” policy during the lunch rush, aggravating a medical condition.

In her claim, the woman, Maria Rivas, says she was denied access to the bathroom at a Wendy's in Sanee between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in October 2014. Rivas — who is on medication that makes bladder control difficult — she repeatedly asked her supervisor to leave her work station to use the restroom, but was told she could not. 

Rivas said she accidentally urinated on herself and the supervisor forced her to work in soiled clothes for the remainder of her shift, despite potential health code concerns.

In Spanish, Rivas told NBC 7: “He didn’t care and none of the other managers cared to tell me, ‘Mari, go to your house and change.’”

Rivas said her medical problems — diabetes, high cholesterol and thyroid disorder — make frequent bathroom breaks necessary.

Reached for comment, the Wendy’s manager told NBC 7 he was unable to speak on camera, but confirmed a written version of events that he drafted for the restaurant’s attorneys.

In it, he stated that Wendy’s policy is that no one can move from their positions unless an operation leader approves it during the three-hour lunch rush.

In the email, the manager wrote he was unaware of Rivas’ accident until she told him about it at the end of her shift.

NBC 7 also reached out to Wendy’s corporate offices and the HR director sent a statement, and said because it was a personnel matter, the company couldn’t comment on the specifics.

“This is an isolated situation involving one employee at one restaurant,” said Donna Townsend “Our franchise strives to provide a positive working environment for all employees. We promptly investigated complaints arising out of this situation and believe that is was handled appropriately. When an employee request to go to the bathroom, permission is granted, as it is here.”

Rivas’ attorney has filed a claim to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleging that the restaurant denied Rivas a reasonable accommodation for her medical condition.

The attorney told NBC 7 that Wendy’s has offered several settlement offers, but Rivas has refused the offers because they were not satisfactory amounts. She remains employed at the restaurant.

Asked why she couldn’t just go to the bathroom anyway or quit, Rivas said she simply cannot afford to be fired or unemployed.

“I depend on this job,” she said. “I don’t have another one.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Worker Hurt by Falling Ham]]> Wed, 11 Mar 2015 21:41:15 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Ham-Generic.jpg

A worker was flown to the hospital after officials say he was struck by falling ham.

The unidentified man was working at Hatfield Quality Meats, a pork meat packing company, on the 2700 block of Clemens Road in Hatfield, Pennsylvania Wednesday night. As he was working, a “pallet of ham” fell on top of him, according to officials.

The worker was flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital. Officials have not yet revealed his condition.

This story is developing. Stay with NBC10.com for updates.

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<![CDATA[Weird News Photos: Raccoon Gets Head Stuck in Tree]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 12:42:17 -0400 knot in a tree. ]]> knot in a tree. ]]> http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Raccoon+Stuck+in+Tuckerton+Tree.jpg Check out these weird news photos from around the world.

Photo Credit: Tuckerton Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Widow Finds Husband's Grenade]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 06:23:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/030415+pembroke+pines+grenade.jpg

A widow who was cleaning out her husband's storage found a World War II-era grenade in Pembroke Pines, Fla., Wednesday.

The discovery was made at the Colony Point condos, Pembroke Pines Police officials said.

A bomb squad responded and the grenade was secured and safely removed.

No other information was immediately known.



Photo Credit: Pembroke Pines Police]]>
<![CDATA[Naked Woman on Drugs Crashes Car]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:58:43 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/225*120/3-3-2015-NakedCrash.JPG

A naked woman allegedly high on drugs crashed her car and ended up on the front lawn of an apartment building in South Los Angeles.

The woman hit several parked cars before driving across the sidewalk and onto the grass at Lockland Drive and Marlton Avenue at around 5:30 p.m, Los Angeles Police Department said.

No one was injured. Paramedics covered the woman in a blanket when they arrived on the scene and took her away for treatment.

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<![CDATA[Driver Late to New Job Uses Dummy in HOV Lane: Cops]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:17:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Fake+passenger.JPG

A Long Island man allegedly used a wooden figure in a hooded sweatshirt to drive solo in the Long Island Expressway's HOV lane because, he told officers, he was late to his new job, police said.

A Suffolk County Highway Patrol officer noticed the fake passenger when he pulled the man over for speeding at 77 mph at 6:30 a.m. on Friday in Dix Hills.

A photo of the crudely made dummy shows a wooden board with a block-shaped, wooden head wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

"I was trying not to laugh at the guy because I thought it was quite silly," said officer Jonathan Abrams. 

Abrams said for a moment, he actually thought it was a real person.

"The silhouette was realistic enough," he said. "You see people with hoods up, sleeping in the front seat all the time." 

The driver, James Campbell, told NBC 4 New York the officer seemed to have a sense of humor about it.

"He said, 'Passenger, can I see some ID?' And I said, 'Officer, I don't think so,'" said Campbell, chuckling. 

Campbell told the officer that he was driving to a new job and didn't want to be late.

"He said he started a new job and he couldn't afford to be late to his new job, so traveling through the HOV lane allowed him to get there a little bit faster," said Abrams. 

He was issued summonses for speeding and occupancy violation.

Campbell didn't seem deterred. He pulled up to his home Friday evening after work with the dummy still in the front seat, saying he'd been using it for months. 

He said, "He's got a sister down in the basement and on special occasions, I bring her out and she wears a tutu." 



Photo Credit: Suffolk County Police Dept. ]]>
<![CDATA[What Color Is This Dress? No One Can Agree]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:44:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/the-dress-B-1l26HXAAEJ48-.jpg

Is this dress blue and black… or gold and white? The debate is raging, and no one seems to agree.

BuzzFeed posted the controversial photo Tuesday evening, and already it's gone viral.

The image was originally uploaded by Tumblr user "swiked," who wrote:

"I see it as white and gold. My friend right here sees it as blue and black. I CANT HANDLE THIS"

Another user fired back:

"if that’s not gold my entire life has been a lie"

Others chimed in, all with different perceptions. Admittedly, no one in the newsroom could agree either.

So what color is it really?

The mystery may never be solved.



Photo Credit: Romanoriginals.com
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<![CDATA[Woman Had Cheating Ex Robbed]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:59:34 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/022515+sarah+matherly.jpg

A South Florida woman was arrested after authorities say she arranged to have her cheating ex-boyfriend robbed at gunpoint.

Sarah Nicole Matherly, 22, is facing robbery with a firearm and extortion charges following her arrest in Hollywood. She was ordered held on $7,500 bond at a hearing before Broward Judge John Hurley Wednesday.

According to the arrest report, Matherly lured her ex-boyfriend to a home in Hollywood. Once inside, he was met by a group of men.

Matherly went into a bathroom while the men robbed ex, and told them "don't forget his f-ing" chain," said Hurley. One of the men reportedly put a gun to his head during the robbery. 

The home was a "smoke house" where people go to take drugs, Hurley said.

Matherly later contacted her ex and told him, "that's what you get for cheating on me," Hurley said. She also threatened him with robbery if he didn't give her cash, Hurley said.

At the bond court hearing, Matherly's attorney argued that she was in another room and didn't know about the robbery.

Matherly, who has no criminal record, will have to undergo drug testing every week after her release from jail, the judge ordered. She'll also be required to get a job or go back to school.



Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Found in Box Near Landfill]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 23:44:43 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Irving+landfill+021815.jpg

A woman was found alive and barely clothed inside a cardboard box near a landfill in North Texas, and now police are working to figure out what happened.

Officers were called Saturday morning after employees and some community service workers in Irving discovered the woman. Police said the woman was wearing only a shirt and only spoke Spanish, telling investigators she was out with friends the night before in Dallas and had no memory of how she ended up in the box or at the dump.

In fact, a missing persons report was filed with Dallas police just hours before she was discovered.

According to police reports obtained by NBC 5, the victim was out drinking with a girlfriend Friday night at a club near Walnut Hill Lane and Brockbank Drive.

The victim's friend went to get their car, leaving the woman with a man they had just met. When the friend came back, the victim was gone.

The missing person report was filed Saturday at about 7 a.m. and by about 9 a.m. workers found the woman, who is in her 30s, inside a large box at the municipal landfill in the 200 block of West Hunter Ferrell Road.

Police took the victim to a local hospital to have her tested on whether she had been raped.

Irving police continue to investigate, and further details have not yet been released.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[What Do You Call A Sport That Combines Skiing and Horses?]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 06:53:43 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_skijorning0217001_1500x845.jpg Skijoring, a sport that combines skiing and horses, is a huge hit in Silverton, Colorado.]]> <![CDATA[Watch: Fire Breather Catches Fire]]> Sun, 15 Feb 2015 22:49:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Tattoo-Fire1.jpg

A Philadelphia couple captured a scary moment on camera when a performing artist suddenly caught fire.

Jeff Hurd and his wife Alice Gibson attended the Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Sunday and watched a fire-breathing performance from the Ink Illusionists.

As the performer blew fire, flames suddenly engulfed his entire body and spread to the floor. The fire breather was able to put the flames out while event organizers quickly extinguished the fire on the floor by flipping a table on it.

Gibson told NBC10 the whole incident happened so fast that many members of the audience thought it was part of the show. The Philadelphia Fire Department did not respond since the flames were put out so quickly and with minimal damage, according to Hurd.

Hurd said the performer told him he was okay when he went to check on him. Gibson told NBC10 she noticed minor burns on his body.

NBC10 reached out to the Ink Illusionists. A spokesperson for the group declined to comment.

The Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention is an annual three-day event featuring appearances and performances from some of the most popular and skilled tattoo artists in the country.
 



Photo Credit: Alice Gibson]]>
<![CDATA[Scorpion on a Plane at LAX]]> Sun, 15 Feb 2015 14:38:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/scorpion2.jpg

An Alaska Airlines flight out of Los Angeles International Airport was delayed Saturday night after a passenger said they were stung by a scorpion on the plane, airline officials said.

Flight 567, which was carrying two college basketball teams, was preparing to depart at 7:50 p.m. for Portland, Ore., when the sting was reported, Alaska Airlines spokesman Cole Cosgrove said.

The female passenger was checked out by medics at the gate and released, but didn’t continue on the flight, Cosgrove said.

The scorpion was found and killed by the crew, who checked overhead compartments for any additional unwanted arachnids, Cosgrove said.

It was unclear how the scorpion got on the plane. The flight originated from Los Cabos, Mexico, Cosgrove said.

Both Oregon State University Men's and The University of Portland's Women's Basketball teams were aboard the flight to go home after weekend games in Los Angeles, according to Oregon State University radio play-by-play announcer Mike Parker. 

The flight was delayed by 40 minutes.

Olivia Woo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 



Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images (File photo)
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<![CDATA[GPS Guides Driver Onto Railroad ]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 14:50:40 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/img_551.jpg

One look at the aftermath, and you can guess right away that something went terribly wrong early Monday in Carrollton, Texas.

Police officers were called out to the 1000 block of North Broadway Street after 1 a.m., and when they arrived a female driver told them that her GPS told her to turn right instead of left, which put her vehicle on a set of railroad tracks.

Police said she traveled about 50 to 60 yards before the railroad tracks damaged her car and kept her from going any farther, and she was forced to call the police for help.

Carrollton Police Department Spokesperson Jolene DeVito told NBC 5 that the officers had to call the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad and make sure no freight trains were coming through the area while a tow truck removed the car from the tracks.

The driver was arrested and taken to jail on suspicion of drunken driving, and Carrollton police later posted the photo to social media as a reminder of how dangerous it is to drink and drive.



Photo Credit: Carrollton Police via Twitter
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<![CDATA[Man Caught on Camera Stealing Surveillance Cameras: Police]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 11:11:31 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/surveillance+thief.jpg

Police say a thief was caught on camera – on the very cameras he was stealing.

The man is accused of stealing video surveillance cameras attached to the outside of a Long Island motel in October.

After taking the cameras, the man fled from the Heritage Motel in Port Jefferson in a white Chevrolet four-door pickup truck with a male passenger, police said.

Anyone who may have seen the man is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.  



Photo Credit: Suffolk County Crime Stoppers]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Dresses Up as "Slave" for #TBT]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 08:13:30 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/0210-heritagehigh-costume.jpg

"Throwback Thursdays" are a popular Spirit Week event at many high schools, designed to let students dress up in vintage outfits, and help break the winter doldrums.

But when a student went costumed as a slave last week at Loudoun County's Heritage High School, some classmates were surprised.

News4 learned about the costume from the outraged mom of another Heritage High student. She didn't want her identify revealed for fear of repercussions for her daughter.

She said that when her daughter got home last Thursday and told her about the costume, she immediately asked to see a picture.

"He had this white shirt on with red stains on it as if he'd been whipped," said the mother. "That was blood and on the back it said 'Property of Heritage High School' and he had a 200-count bag of cotton balls that he was scattering as he walked the halls. I was livid. I couldn't believe what I was hearing in 2015. Are you kidding me?"

She was even more surprised to learn the student was African American. The mother wondered why the student was allowed to wear the slave costume the entire day.

A school spokesman said Heritage High administrators greeted the student at the door last Thursday morning.

"They said, 'Look, you are really pushing the boundaries here. This is a tasteless costume. It's not disrupting the boundaries per se. Now if anybody [came] to us during the day with strong objections and says [it's] disruptive, then the costume comes off,'" said Wayde Byard, Loudoun County Schools spokesman.

Byard said the student was barred from competing in the costume content. The school's administration determined the costume didn't not violate the dress code, so it was a matter of the student exercising his free speech rights.

"There is a very fine line here between free speech and good taste. As we know, free speech is not always tasteful speech," said Byard. "The student was making a statement. There was no disruption. Students rolled their eyes as you might expect, but nobody said, 'That's horribly offensive and this is disrupting my day.'"

Byard said the decision might have been different if the student had been white.

"Had it been a white student instead of an African-American student, obviously that might have incited some racial tension. That might have been a different story."

Heritage High School senior Bianca Jackson says the costume surprised her.

"I thought it was really inappropriate for Throwback Thursday," said Jackson "I think people are kind of like, 'What are you doing?' It's something you don't joke about."

The mother who told News4 about the costume said she plans to write a letter of complaint to school administrators and the superintendent. She fears allowing this costume will open the door to more troublesome displays.

"What if someone comes dressed as the Holocaust [sic] or the Klan? Is that then considered inappropriate? Where is the line? You are dealing with teenagers. You have to establish some boundaries," she said.

Byard said a Klan costume or student dressed in swastikas would be in violation of dress code policy because that would constitute hate speech.

"I think the principal's job day to day is to sort out what is disruptive and what is not and I'm sure if the line is crossed the principal will reprimand students," said Byard.

The mom said that, at minimum, administrators missed a teachable moment, suggesting they could have kicked off a discussion among students.

"They could have turned this around to a learning opportunity," she said. "They could have done a number of things and they did nothing. That's unacceptable."

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<![CDATA[Thief Stuffed $105 in Pork Loin in Pants: Report]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:42:06 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pork-loin.gif

Police are looking for a man who stole a pork loin from a New Jersey Sam’s Club by sticking it down his pants and running out of the store, reports NJ.com

The man allegedly approached a store greeter at about 3 p.m. Monday and threw a pork loin at the employee’s feet before running out with another pork loin in his pants, according to NJ.com.

The pork was reportedly worth $105.



Photo Credit: Stock Image]]>
<![CDATA[Man Steals Cruiser, Taunts Officers]]> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 21:58:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/10953946_858430890884339_5937183689389048835_n.jpg

A Springfield man was arrested early Thursday after calling police "pigs," taking a cruiser on a joyride, and throwing punches at officers, according to police.

Police in Springfield were called to a home on Laurelton Street around 4 a.m. Thursday and were greeted by a woman who asked them to get her boyfriend to leave.

Officers escorted Michael Kopeski, 27, from the home and had him wait outside. Police said Kopeski became outraged because he wanted to go back inside to "get his stuff." He started to yell at the officers, calling them "pigs," and spit at a police cruiser.

Kopeski then jumped into the police car and began to drive away. The officers ran after the cruiser and were able to open the passenger door, discharging pepper spray into the vehicle, according to police.

Kopeski kept driving, so officers called for backup. Police said Kopeski used the police radio to taunt the officers and disrupt radio transmissions.

Authorities eventually were able to box in the stolen cruiser at Berkshire Avenue and Page Boulevard. Police said Kopeski would still not cooperate and threw punches at the officers.

Kopeski was arrested and charged with several offenses, including larceny of a motor vehicle.



Photo Credit: Springfield Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Gardener in Florida Spots 75-Pound Panther]]> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 20:56:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/6617975_G-1.jpg

A gardener working at a Florida home Tuesday was shocked by a 75-pound panther lurking on the side of the house.

The couple who owns the residence, Al Dijindil and Andrea Cameron, told NBC affiliate WBBH the gardener spotted the 2-year-old panther in bushes along their Naples home.

"The gardener said, 'I think you have a tiger in your yard,'" Cameron said.

Cameron was able to see the panther safely inside her house by looking out of a window. "I was hoping he would stay there until help arrived,” Cameron said.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers tranquilized and removed the cat, which will be released in a less populated region, according WBBH. They said that the panther most likely swam over from Keewaydin Island, off the coast of Naples.

"The panther will be released in Picayune Strand State Forest. It's a little farther from major roads, so we think that will be a safer option than Rookery Bay... No time frame yet, he's still groggy," panther biologist for FWC Mark Lotz said to WBBH.

Cameron's family was surprised to hear about her ordeal with the big cat.

“My brother said, ‘Wow, that’s a big panther. It’s a good thing he didn’t eat you,'” Cameron said.



Photo Credit: Andrea Cameron]]>
<![CDATA[Scouts' Nude Beach Hike]]> Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:49:54 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/black+beach+5454.jpg

A Cub Scout pack’s hike along the San Diego coastline led the children to a nude beach, scout officials confirmed Monday.

The scouts, ages 9 and 10, were out for a planned hike on January 24 in the area of Torrey Pines State Beach just north of La Jolla.

A few hiking trails in this section of the coastline led down to the beach below the cliffs. One beach in particular, Black's Beach, is known for its nude sunbathers.

So on this Saturday hike, the young scouts saw a little more than parents were expecting.

Scout officials say the pack “encountered some individuals who were inappropriately dressed.”

A Facebook user told NBC 7 that parents were “panicked” and protested the hike route to the cub master.

According to the official statement from the San Diego-Imperial Council, parents and adult volunteers “quickly rerouted” the group “to protect the youth.”

NBC 7 tracked down the pack leader who told us he was not punished for the field trip.

Council officials say they met with parents and discussed whether there needed to be any other action taken.

“Together we concluded that proper protocol had been observed and appropriate steps were taken in this matter," the official statement said.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve has a number of hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty.

One ranger told NBC 7 that it’s very common to see youth groups hiking in the area, especially scouts who are working toward earning an outdoor badge.
 

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