Can You Hear Me Now?

A smooth-talking teen got her stolen cell phone back -- and like totally busted two suspected car thieves at the same time.

Cyndal Dempsey, a senior at Avon High School (search) in Avon, Ohio, had her high-tech camera phone stolen from her 1989 Buick, which was unlocked in her family driveway.

Convinced that the phone, which she had programmed to play Latin dance music when it rang, was just too darn cool for someone to throw away, Dempsey decided to call the number.

A female voice answered.

"Hey, girl," Dempsey said.

Assuming it was a friend, the voice on the other end tried to guess who was calling.

"Crystal? Tiffany? Jenn," the voice asked.

"Uh, it's Tiffany," Dempsey answered.

"Hey, girl," the voice said. "I haven't seen you in, like, forever."

"I can come right over," Dempsey said. "Tell me where you are."

The voice gave the address to Dempsey, who said goodbye and then called the cops.

Police went to a house in rural Columbia Township in Ohio and arrested two men suspected in a theft ring that broke into 100 vehicles in rural areas of Cuyahoga, Erie, Lorain and Medina counties, said Lorain County sheriff's detective Randy Koubeck.

Pagans Miffed by Vandalism of Stone Circle

British pagans are upset that one of their most sacred sites has been desecrated, reports the BBC.

More than 70 of the Rollright Stones (search), a Neolithic stone circle in the Oxfordshire countryside, were daubed with glossy yellow paint last week.

"It's comparable to someone doing something like this to Canterbury Cathedral or the Wailing Wall," said Karin Attwood of the Pagan Federation (search). "It is regarded as a very important place for pagans."

British pagans, who loosely practice various nature-worshipping religions of pre-Roman Britain, have for decades been using the Stone Age circle, thought to date back to 2,500 B.C., as a spot for weddings and baby-namings.

Estimates for cleaning up the stones range from $50,000 to $150,000, and the trust that administers the site is considering raising visitors' fees to pay for it.

As for the vandals, the Pagan Federation has put up a £1,000 reward — about $1,750 — for their arrest, but Attwood implies that her group may have other, more mysterious methods for dealing with them.

"If the power of magic and the power of prayer works," she told the BBC, "the people who have done this should start to feel very uncomfortable."

A Mess the Size of Texas

IRVING, Texas (AP) — A faulty gate at a wastewater treatment plant backed up millions of gallons of raw sewage, causing a smelly mess that flowed into a river, shot manholes into the air and closed a park.

State and federal environmental regulators were reviewing what caused the problem at the Trinity River Authority's (search) east Grand Prairie plant, blocking all sewage from getting into the site for a half-day Wednesday.

The force of the flow launched at least eight manholes skyward. Geysers of sewage rose as high as four feet, and part of a golf course and a park were closed.

"Take the worst thing you've ever smelled and multiply it by 10," said golfer Len Stahly, 71.

Nearly 70 million gallons of raw sewage backed up, and about 3 million gallons of it flowed into the river, officials said Thursday.

The blocked gate was initially raised with cranes and cables, but crews eventually fixed the problem by opening the plant's only other gate, which had been closed for construction, the authority's spokesman John Jadrosich said.

... And Then My Mother Showed Up

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A 26-year-old Army Ranger never expected an ambush quite like this one while stationed in Iraq — and the only warning he got was when fellow soldiers paged him over the 2-way radio.

"Hey, Nick. Your mom's here," they said.

Susan Galleymore, 48, of Alameda, Calif., went against the warnings of military officials and showed up for the surprise visit Feb. 1, seven days after leaving with a group from the Bay Area.

Galleymore was reunited with her son for 90 minutes. He gave her a tour of the base and accompanied her to see the view from a guard tower.

Galleymore chose not to reveal Nick's last name to protect him from potential harassment from colleagues for her anti-war views.

Galleymore was also using the trip to gather information for a book she plans to write on the views of some Iraqi and U.S. parents on the war. She said she simply wanted to see for herself how her son was doing since he was sent over in December.

U.S. military officials have strongly discouraged parents from visiting soldiers in Iraq because of the dangers involved.

"I'm a mother, too, so I know how she feels," said Sgt. Pam Smith, an 82nd Airborne (search) spokeswoman. "But it is extremely dangerous over there."

Woman Steals Diamond Ring the All-Natural Way

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — A woman pleaded guilty to swallowing a 1.5-carat diamond ring at a jewelry store and will serve one year of probation.

Mary Denise Flowers, 38, swallowed the ring at Littman Jewelers (search) in December. A surveillance camera caught the act.

The ring was later recovered in a jailhouse commode, and will be sent to Littman Jewelers' corporate headquarters in Oregon to be melted down.

Flowers, who did not have a previous criminal record, was also ordered Monday to pay fines and court costs totaling $1,090, court records state.

The judge withheld a formal finding of adjudication, meaning Flowers will have a clean record if she completes probation without violation.

Well, Duh

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A University of Iowa student wanted his art display on greed to prove a point. Point taken.

A piece titled "The American Flag" made of 130 dollar bills, meticulously hand-sewn together and colored to resemble the flag, was stolen.

"My whole show is about greed and how it can take over anyone, and just having this piece stolen further proves the point," Curtis William Readel said.

The piece was put on display Saturday in the University of Iowa Art Building (search). It was stolen between 9 p.m. and midnight Wednesday, said Duane Papke, associate director of University of Iowa police.

Readel hung a statement in place of the missing artwork.

"This extreme desire for wealth drives individuals to steal something that was laboriously assembled and then displayed to encourage awareness of greed. I find this ironic and very sad that someone would do this in the presence of such a statement," the statement read.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

Got a good "Out There" story in your hometown? We'd like to know about it. Send an e-mail, with a Web link (we need to authenticate these things), to