Me Professor, You Mary Ann

A Canadian couple on a few hours' boat tour almost ended up on their own Gilligan's Island.

The pair were stranded Monday on Samson Island, an uninhabited but no doubt lovely speck in the Isles of Scilly (search), semi-tropical islands lying in the Gulf Stream off Cornwall in southwestern England.

The culprit? Their tour-boat captain, who had simply miscounted the number of people getting back on board, reports The Independent of London.

Lacking a cell phone, the unnamed husband and wife were left to their own devices when they realized their ship had sailed. They scrawled "SOS" in giant letters in the sand, hoping low-flying aircraft might notice, but had no luck.

After an hour and a half of desperation, the pair noticed a "gig boat (search)" — a traditional Cornish longboat rowed by a team of paddlers — passing by, and began waving and shouting.

The women's rowing team, out on the water for practice, stopped by and took them aboard.

"Fortunately, this type of thing does not happen very often," the Scilly tourism officer said. "The last time was 30 years ago."

The tour-boat captain the next day visited the couple to apologize for the mistake.

"They were OK about it," he said.

Lunchtime Robber Foiled by Bankers' Hours

A robber in Lynchburg, Va., had his luck run out when he tried to stick up a closed bank.

Tellers at a Central National Bank (search) called police last Monday with the news that a masked man was trying to get inside the building, reports the News & Advance of Lynchburg.

The man's frustration stemmed from the fact that it was just after 1 p.m., and the branch closed every day for lunch between 1 and 2:30 p.m.

"He apparently was not aware of that," Lt. Brandon Zuidema of the Lynchburg Police Department told the newspaper.

Finally, the would-be robber gave up. Police found him crouching behind a concrete wall across the street from a nearby Hardee's.

Officers said he would be charged with attempted armed robbery — he had a loaded pellet gun — as well as with a more successful bank heist last month in neighboring Bedford County.

"In the book of bank robberies," said Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown, "it doesn't say you've got to be too smart."

— Thanks to Out There reader Phil B.

We Stock Everything, and Then Some

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. (AP) — A customer rummaging through the large-trees section at a Lowe's store here was bitten on the hand by an 18-inch eastern diamondback rattlesnake (search), a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.

"The gentleman thought he had hit his hand on a thorn, but they discovered it was a snakebite," said Chris Ahearn, a spokeswoman for the Mooresville, N.C.-based hardware chain.

A relative shopping with the man Sunday killed the snake, and they took it with them to a hospital for poison treatment, Ahearn said.

A hospital official would not provide information without the man's name. Ahearn would not identify the customer.

The eastern diamondback rattlesnake, which can grow to 7 feet and often gives non-venomous "warning bites," is not native to Oklahoma, said David Walker, naturalist supervisor at the Oklahoma City Zoo (search).

The snake probably made its way to Broken Arrow with the trees, which were shipped in from Tennessee, part of its natural range. Ahearn said she knew of no other similar instances at Lowe's.

Store employees immediately scoured the trees for other animals and found none, Ahearn said.

"We feel like this is an isolated incident, but we are taking it very seriously," she said. "We continue to watch our garden centers for uninvited guests."

— Thanks to Out There reader Tanya H.

Prisoner Crawlspace Sex Results in Pregnancy

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — A female inmate at the Daviess County Detention Center (search) got pregnant while incarcerated there, apparently after crawling through ductwork to meet with a male inmate, jail officials said.

Melissa Haycraft, 25, of Lewisport, and John Benson, 24, of Owensboro are accused of sneaking into a plumbing crawl space at the jail and returning to Haycraft's cell during the overnight hours of Jan. 10-11, Daviess County Jailer David Osborne said.

Haycraft has since been transferred to an all-female prison, where her health care needs will be met, said Lisa Lamb, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Corrections (search).

Haycraft's cellmates reported the encounter to jail officials.

Both inmates initially denied any sexual activity, Osborne said. Benson told investigators that Haycraft gave him food and that they kissed, he said.

The investigation resulted in both being charged with administrative violations of attempted escape, lying to a jail deputy and interfering with the safety and security of a facility.

The jail facility has plumbing access doors in four cells that open to a shared crawl space, Osborne said. Two of those doors have since been soldered shut. A security firm is scheduled to do a survey of the jail that includes the crawl space doors, Osborne said.

"It's embarrassing," said Osborne. "Those doors shouldn't be in there."

Haycraft was serving a five-year sentence for first-degree possession of a controlled substance. Benson, who was serving time for multiple DUI offenses, has since received "shock probation," which releases an inmate early.

Cop Wins Doughnut-Eating Contest

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (AP) — A patrolman from Wisconsin left his opponents in a cloud of powdered sugar dust by downing 9½ doughnuts in three minutes to win a doughnut-eating contest for police officers in suburban Chicago.

Terry O'Brien of the Town of Geneva Police Department in Lake Geneva, Wis., said he was destined to win Wednesday's contest because law enforcement runs in his family.

"Actually, it was my father, who's deceased," O'Brien said. "He was a Chicago cop, a lifer. Today is his birthday."

For the second year in a row, the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (search) held the contest at its annual conference. The Dunkin' Donuts World Cop Donut Eating Championship (search) attracted 40 contestants from the U.S. and Canada.

Master of Ceremonies Ed Nowicki said he was amazed by what it took to win this year.

"I thought they'd do seven [doughnuts], maybe they'd do eight," Nowicki said. "I couldn't believe 10!"

Money raised through the entry fee and T-shirt sales was donated to the Law Enforcement Memorial Fund and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association scholarship fund.

Too Bad the Bird Cages Were Empty

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A business owner opening a shipment of 400 bird cages sent from China got an additional order he didn't expect — a severely undernourished cat.

The female cat, named China by animal service staff members, tips the scale at just over 3 pounds after being trapped in the container for the nearly monthlong trip.

Norman Goldberg, owner of Quality Discount Cages (search), said he discovered the cat Friday when he received the shipment at his warehouse. Several cardboard boxes holding cages had been chewed up.

"I opened it up, and out jumped the cat," he said.

The traveling feline apparently began her journey at a factory in China where workers started loading the parrot cages into a 40-foot metal container the first week of March, Goldberg said. The container arrived by boat in Los Angeles on April 1 and then traveled by rail to Tampa.

On Wednesday, China was recovering at Hillsborough County Animal Services, where she was eating on her own and being given intravenous fluids.

Goldberg's brother-in-law e-mailed the factory in China where the cages originated to see whether they knew anything about a missing cat.

"You gave us a very big surprise today," wrote Ms. Ivy of Dayang Co. in China. "We are very happy to know our cat still alive. Would you please tell us more information about our cat? Is it a yellow or gray one? Because we have two cats, but they disappeared one month ago ... Please raise it, or you can give it to the animal asylum."

If the cat is healthy, it will be put up for adoption.

"I hope it gets adopted," Goldberg said. "It has used up most of its nine lives."

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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