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The Weird Week in Review

Man Caught Shoplifting During Shop with a Cop

Around 50 police officers in full uniform were at a Walmart store in Waldorf, Maryland Saturday for a charity event in which they helped children select Christmas gifts. Timothy Randall Clark decided it would be a good time to pick up some video games. Store employees saw Clark cutting open video games and stuffing them into his shirt. It was easy for the store to contact police, who were right there. Clark was arrested on charges of attempting to steal 26 games, two controllers, and other game accessories that they found on him, worth a total of $635.

Dog Poop Lottery

The citizens of Taiwan will clean up the streets, given the right incentive. A recent lottery offered $2,000 in gold as the top prize. The catch? To get a ticket, you bring in a bag of dog poop collected from the street. Over 4,000 residents of New Taipei City signed up for the program, and have brought in 14,000 bags of excrement to trade for tickets since the launch of the program in August.

Mythbusters Wrecks Neighborhood

How fast can a cannonball travel? Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage were tackling this question Tuesday for an episode of their TV show Mythbusters when things went completely wrong. The cannon misfired, and the cannonball went up into the air over Dublin, California.

It flew straight though the front door of a home on Cassata Place, and bounced around like a pinball, flying up to the second floor before blasting through a back bedroom wall.

The wayward cannonball then blasted across a busy road and through a second home some 50 yards away, demolishing roof tiles.

The story doesn't stop there, and neither did the cannonball. It finally came to rest inside a minivan at a third home. The driver had left the vehicle just minutes before. Incredibly, no one was injured in the incident. Hyneman and Savage visited the affected homes to apologize.

He Picked the Wrong Victim

Anthony Miranda was arrested in Chicago for an attempted mugging. The 24-year-old approached a man in a car and demanded money at gunpoint last Friday night. After some money was turned over, Miranda made the driver get out of the car. What Miranda didn't know was that his selected victim was a martial arts expert and had won an ultimate fighting championship. At some point, Miranda's attention was distracted and his unnamed victim grabbed for the gun. Two two wrestled, the gun went off, and Miranda shot himself in the ankle. The victim pinned Miranda until police arrived, at which time the perpetrator was sent to the hospital. He was treated for his ankle wound and multiple facial lacerations and two black eyes, which are apparent in his mug shot.

Stranded Man Survives on Beer

Clifton Vial of Nome, Alaska, set out in his Toyota Tacoma to see where a road went, but ended up stuck in a snowdrift on a deserted road that doubles as a snowmobile track. He was 40 miles from town, out of cell phone range, without provisions or much in the way of emergency equipment. Vial wrapped himself in a sleeping bag liner and waited, turning on the car occasionally for warmth. After three days, he was almost out of gasoline. On the second day he didn't show up for work, his boss called emergency services, and the Nome Volunteer Fire Department and state troopers began searching. Meanwhile, Viial's only provisions were a few frozen cans of Coors Light beer. He opened the cans and ate the frozen beer with a knife. When Vial was found, he had lost 16 pounds, but showed no signs of frostbite.

Squirrel Pulls Fire Alarm Prank

When someone pulled a fire alarm at Blackburn Elementary school in Ellenton, Florida, administrators thought a student must have been responsible. Security camera footage was scrutinized to find the perpetrator. The footage showed a squirrel had climbed up the wall, looked around, and pulled the alarm.

"We didn’t have to pay any fines for a false alarm once the fire department realized the little guy was the culprit," according to Todd Henson, director of maintenance and operations for Manatee County Schools.

The squirrel was eventually trapped and let go.

"It's really hard to fine a squirrel, so he got a stern lecture and was released outside," Henson joked.

The video is posted with the story.

No War Crime Charges for Gamers

The 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent was held recently in Geneva, and among the many discussion topics were the many gamers worldwide who played war games, and whether this contributed to a mindset in which war crimes could be committed. Remarks about gamers from those attending the conference led to fears among gamers that they would be tried for virtual war crimes. The International Committee of the Red Cross in Switzerland released a statement Thursday reassuring gamers that violation of international war crime laws only apply to real-life situations.

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8 Bizarre Places People Have Gotten Stuck
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Some days it just doesn’t pay to venture outside, particularly when you wind up the subject of a police and fire department rescue because you’ve somehow trapped yourself inside an ATM machine. Check out eight other strange environments that have ensnared bystanders and prompted emergency responses.

1. A CLAW MACHINE

A giant see-through container full of plush toys is any child’s idea of paradise, and they will attempt any means possible to inhabit it. For three-year-old Jamie Bracken-Murphy of Nenagh, Tipperary, Ireland, that meant crawling through the small flap from which the toys can be retrieved and finding himself lodged in a claw machine. Murphy was on display for about 10 minutes before an off-duty fireman was able to coax him back out the way he came in. Jamie’s father, Damien, expressed little surprise at his son’s predicament, saying that, "He's a very mischievous, sharp kid who's always pushing boundaries."

2. A TRAFFIC CONE

A man has a traffic cone over his head
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In 2013, a man in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England thought he’d have a bit of fun by sticking a traffic cone—otherwise known as a bollard—on his head. To his dismay, the large cone slid down over and past his shoulders, entombing him in plastic. John Waterman, a witness to the incident, captured it all on his cell phone. "It was very random," Waterman told The Telegraph. "It's not the usual thing you see in the middle of Hemel Hempstead on a Sunday lunchtime." The man stumbled around for more than two hours before anyone bothered to call police.

3. A CEMENT HOPPER

Aurora, Illinois was the site of a recent cement mix-up, when an unidentified man became trapped in a cement hopper. The worker had climbed into the machine to clean it, but found he was unable to move when residual cement on the machine's floor began hardening around his legs. It took firefighters more than two hours to extricate him from the hopper. He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for minor injuries, but released the same day, according to the local fire department.

4. A TOILET

A stock shot of a person stuck in a toilet
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In 2016, a Norwegian man named Cato Berntsen Larsen found himself in deep trouble after he tried lowering himself into a public toilet to retrieve a friend’s cell phone. The toilet’s tank was located underneath the seat, allowing enough room for Larsen to become trapped. To his dismay, the tank—which is not connected to a sewage system and is only emptied sporadically—was full of human waste. Adding to the putrid nature of his enclave, Larsen vomited and was bitten by an unknown animal: His situation did not improve until authorities were able to come and pull him out. "It was damn disgusting," Larsen said, "the worst I have experienced. There were animals down there, too."

5. A GIANT STONE VAGINA

Tourists and residents of Tübingen, Germany are quite familiar with Chacán-Pi, a giant stone sculpture of a vagina created by Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara. The towering display sits just outside Tübingen University’s Institute for Microbiology and Virology and has attracted curious onlookers since 2001. In 2014, an unnamed American student decided to go spelunking in the 32-ton carving for a photo opportunity and became trapped, necessitating rescue by 22 firefighters. The Guardian called them “midwives” and reported that the student was “delivered by hand.”

6. A WASHING MACHINE

A man appears to be stuck inside a washing machine
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Sometimes, games of hide-and-seek can go very wrong. That was the case for a man near Melbourne, Australia in 2014, who climbed into his top-loading washing machine fully nude to surprise his partner. Unfortunately, he was unable to climb back out. Responders were able to grease him with a liberal application of olive oil and pull him out. First Constable Luke Ingram told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that, as a rule, “My advice would be for people not to climb into appliances.” The warning went unheeded by another Australian man in 2015, who found himself lodged in a front-loading machine and had to wait while rescuers disassembled the entire unit in order to free him.

7. A BABY SWING

If you’re ever challenged by your adult friends to fit into a baby swing at a public park, you can confidently say that it won’t work. That’s because a man from Vallejo, California tried it in 2011. While he managed to slide into the seat using liquid laundry detergent, he couldn’t slide back out. As his legs began to swell, his friends abandoned him overnight. He wasn’t rescued until nine hours later, when a groundskeeper heard his screams for help at 6 o'clock the following morning. "The man sustained non-life threatening injuries to his body," the San Francisco Chronicle reported, "but there’s no word yet on the condition of his ego."

8. A CHIMNEY

A chimney sits on a rooftop
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There are many Santa jokes to be made, but when you’re the man trapped in your own home’s chimney for four hours, there probably isn’t a huge urge to start laughing. In late 2016, a Tucson, Arizona homeowner who had locked his keys in his home opted to retrieve them by re-entering his abode via the chimney. While it was a spectacularly bad idea, he actually almost made it: His feet were touching the floor of his fireplace before the space grew too narrow to allow for any further passage and he got stuck. Firefighters were able to pull him out from the roof, covered in soot but otherwise unharmed.

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Animals
This Octopus Species in Northern Australia Can Hunt on Dry Land
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Most octopuses live in the ocean—but in northern Australia, a small, shallow-water species takes to land in search of food. Abdopus aculeatus is the only octopus that’s specially adapted to walk on dry ground. Using its long, sucker-lined arms, the slimy sea creature pulls itself along the shoreline as it searches tide pools for crabs.

Witness Abdopus aculeatus in action by watching BBC Earth’s video below.

[h/t BBC Earth]

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