They were a group of 14 elderly men and women, mostly in their 70s. They certainly didn't look like desperadoes.
But this cozy group of cane-clutching retirees wasn't as innocent as it seemed.
Police say the group hanging out in San Francisco's downtown Hallidie Plaza was receiving stolen goods from professional shoplifters, then returning the items to stores at a tidy profit.
"The items still have the price tags on them, so they go back to the stores and say, 'I can't find my receipt, but I just bought these, I'd like to turn them back in,'" explained Lt. Tom Buckley of the SFPD. "Most of the stores downtown, especially with elderly people like these, they'll say, 'OK, sure.'"
Instead of tossing the old folks in the slammer, police took fingerprints and mug shots and issued a warning: Any more trouble with the law, even a misdemeanor, and they'd face charges that could put them away for the rest of their lives.
"We didn't have our guns out. ... One man had to turn up his oxygen machine and get more air because he was so stressed," Inspector Bob Rogers told the San Francisco Examiner. "He kept saying, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry,' and apologizing."
Click here to watch a fair and balanced report by Fox News Channel's Claudia Cowan.
Bar patrons in College Station, Texas, got free second shots of cash over the weekend, but they might soon have some nasty financial hangovers.
A drinker at the Tap bar in the Woodstone Shopping Center (search) discovered a nearby Bank of America ATM gave him twice what he'd asked for, even though his receipt showed the requested amount. The news spread quickly, according to KBTX-TV.
By 5 a.m. on Saturday, a cop noticed a long line of people putting coats and shirts over their heads so they wouldn't show up on the machine's security camera.
None apparently remembered that before an ATM gives you money, it has to know your name and password.
One woman, who got an extra $500, told cops a friend had called her at two in the morning about the generous ATM.
"Being a broke college student," she explained, "I had to take the chance."
A Bank of America spokesman told the TV station that "all ATM transactions are monitored, and the bank will pursue the users and hold them responsible. This is not free money."
An audit had not yet figured out how much cash was lost.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Four women have resolved their lawsuit against a restaurant where one of them allegedly found a condom in her clam chowder, attorneys said Monday.
The women had sued McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant (search), claiming negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress after one bit into an unwrapped, rolled-up condom on Feb. 26, 2002.
The case was scheduled to begin Monday in Orange County Superior Court but was canceled after the two sides reached a resolution. Details were not released.
"The case has been resolved in its entirety," lawyers for both sides said in a joint statement Monday. "Both sides are happy with the outcome."
The women said they were all eating clam chowder when Laila Sultan, 48, bit into something rubbery. Defense attorneys previously said there was no evidence suggesting the Irvine restaurant put the condom into the soup and were at a loss for an explanation.
McCormick & Schmick's, a privately owned chain that owns 42 upscale restaurants in 19 states, sued the company that supplied its clams. A judge ruled in favor of the supplier last September
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A researcher from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (search) has figured out a better way to slice cheese — just use a laser.
"At any other university, people would have just laughed. But this is Wisconsin. It's cheese. And this is no laughing matter," said Xiaochun Li, a mechanical engineering professor and laser expert.
Traditional cutting machines require considerable care to keep cheese from becoming contaminated by bacteria. And it's impossible to slice cheese very thin because it tears or sticks to the cutting blade.
At first, Li tried using a traditional commercial laser that uses heat to cut by melting or evaporating; it fried the cheese.
"It smelled really bad," he said.
Li tried again using a new class of laser that emits light in ultraviolet, and therefore shorter, wavelengths. That laser, known as a cold laser, cuts by blasting apart the molecular bonds that hold materials together.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A woman who drove a car bearing the airbrushed image of a stripper to pick up her daughter at school could face up to three years in prison.
Erica Meredith, 25, of Indianapolis was scheduled to appear Tuesday for an initial hearing on a felony charge of disseminating matter harmful to minors. She also was charged with driving with a suspended license, a misdemeanor.
The felony charge carries a penalty of six months to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
"I would concede it probably is a First Amendment issue, but not all First Amendment cases mean that you can't restrict the speech," Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said. "Protecting third- and fourth-graders from a centerfold on wheels is one of those valid restrictions."
An officer noticed the 3-by-5-foot image on the car's trunk Thursday after police stopped Meredith for driving with a broken taillight. She said she drove the 1976 Buick to pick up her 8-year-old daughter at school about a block from her home.
Meredith, who was released without bond shortly after her arrest, told The Indianapolis Star that the car is registered in her name but belongs to her boyfriend.
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Compiled by Foxnews.com's Paul Wagenseil, with contributions by Fox News Channel's Claudia Cowan.