Twelve-year-old Sophie Flores thought her dog would love the Sears rubber basketball she bought at a yard sale near her Pollock Pines, Calif., home.

When Sophie and her mom got back home, the dog was drooling to get his mouth all over the ball, reports the Sacramento Bee. Then her dad noticed something.

"There was writing on it," John Flores told the newspaper. "I told Sophie, 'Wait a minute. Let me see that.'"

Inked on the ball were the words, "Best wishes Lew Alcindor '68 NCAA champs."

That meant nothing to Sophie, but her father knew better.

"I'm no great college basketball fan," he explained, "but I knew Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (search)."

As Lew Alcindor, the power center dominated college basketball in the late '60s, taking UCLA to consecutive NCAA championships in 1967, 1968 and 1969.

John Flores hopped on the Internet and discovered Alcindor autographs were extremely rare. He's had the signature authenticated and hopes to sell the ball, which cost Sophie a dollar, on eBay for thousands of dollars.

No, First You Get Out of Town, Then You Buy the Drinks

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man was arrested for bank robbery after reports that he was drinking and buying drinks for others at a nearby bar and then that he had broken into a couple's home.

Arthur Jay Goulette, 35, of Burgaw, was being held under $100,000 bond at the New Hanover County Jail, charged with armed robbery and first-degree burglary.

He's accused of robbing a branch of the Bank of America (search) shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The robber presented a teller with a note saying he had a weapon and demanded money, police officials said.

Police later received reports that a man fitting the bank robber's description was at Barbary Coast spending $100 bills, police department spokeswoman Linda Rawley said.

A bartender said Wednesday a man who called himself "A.J." came into the business shortly after 4 p.m. with a duffel bag and a bus ticket to Florida. She said A.J. was buying patrons drinks and "tipping well," and stayed there drinking for several hours.

By the time police responded to the bar, Goulette had left, Rawley said.

As police scanned the area, they received another report of the suspect's location. Shortly after 11 p.m., officers received a report of a break-in at a home.

Jerome Lewis said he and his wife were in bed when someone entered their home, according to a police report. When the man encountered Lewis, he shouted, "I've got money" and ran toward Lewis.

Lewis, 39, ran out of the home. Goulette fled as police arrived, and he was arrested after a foot chase.

Man Calls Cops on the Cops

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — It may be right to call 911 to report someone's chasing you on the highway — but not if it's a sheriff's deputy in pursuit.

Kevin Richard Vowell, 31, of Maryville placed such a call to emergency dispatchers during a high-speed chase on U.S. 411 early Sunday morning, Blount County sheriff's spokeswoman Marian O'Briant said.

The incident began when a deputy noticed Vowell driving erratically and signaled for him to stop. Vowell pulled over but then spun his pickup truck around and fled down the highway, with three patrol cars in pursuit.

Vowell then dialed 911 and reported he was being chased but would not stop until he got to Vonore.

"The dispatcher advised him to stop, telling him, 'You're only making it worse,'" O'Briant said.

Police said that after Vowell struck a mailbox and then rammed a cruiser. With a supervisor's permission, one deputy ended the chase by bumping the truck and sending it off the highway. Vowell was treated for minor injuries at the University of Tennessee Medical Center (search) before he was taken to the Blount jail.

Vowell was charged with vehicular assault, drunken driving, felony reckless endangerment and felony evading arrest.

Didn't Cheech and Chong Try This Too?

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP) — A garbage truck was stopped carrying more than two tons of marijuana north of Huachuca City, a Department of Public Safety official said.

The truck had been driving erratically late Tuesday, said DPS Sgt. Steve Tritz.

"It got my attention," Tritz said. "He was driving slow and failing to signal."

The driver, who identified himself as 28-year-old Brian Rivera Martinez, said he didn't know how to drive the truck.

When a drug-sniffing dog arrived, it alerted authorities to possible narcotics. DPS officers found 4,112 pounds of marijuana bundled in the area where trash would be carried.

Martinez and passenger, Michael Trejo Duran Sr., 38, were arrested on suspicion of transporting and possessing marijuana for sale.

Old Habits Die Hard

MOUNT CARMEL, Tenn. (AP) — A woman who went on a shopping spree by forging checks from a stolen pocketbook also wrote each transaction in the checkbook register, police said.

"I guess she wanted to make sure she didn't bounce any of the victim's checks," Mount Carmel policeman Will Mullins said.

Police charged Debra Janan Goins, 39, of Church Hill with felony theft and burglary. She also faces drug charge because of pills in her possession when she was arrested.

Goins told police she stole the purse Monday from an unoccupied car parked at an elementary school. The purse owner was inside the school picking up her child, authorities said.

Goins was arrested hours later when officer Kevin Ewing stopped her car and found the stolen purse, as well as several department store shopping bags, police said.

Goins told police she had been shopping, using a checkbook that was in the stolen purse. Police said she spent a little more than $1,000 buying blankets, pillows, a few children's toys, a child's prescription medicine and two cell phones.

The stores never asked her for identification, Mullins said.

Goins was being held without bond at the Hawkins County Jail pending a March 1 arraignment.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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