Southern California scam artists have been ripping off people trying to take driving tests, the Pasadena Star-News reported Thursday.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles office in the city of Montebello (search), in the east-central part of the Los Angeles urban sprawl, closed for renovations in early July.
That hasn't stopped would-be drivers from coming to the office to apply for licenses — and imaginative con artists are posing as DMV staffers, charging 20 bucks for each "test" taken.
The imposters, wearing shirts printed with the letters "DMV," walk up to suckers in the parking lot of the closed offices, Montebello police spokeswoman Lynda Carter told the newspaper.
The "staffers" ask for a fee of $20, then have the testee drive a few times around the block.
If the candidate passes, he is then given a "certificate" and told to come back in six weeks to pick up his license, according to one local blogger.
"I haven't heard of this particular game being played before," said Carter. "But no matter what happens, someone is always going to try to take advantage of the unsuspecting public."
In reality, California license applicants pay a $24 fee, test passers get an interim license on the spot and the final license cards arrive in the mail.
DMV spokesman Armando Botello told the Star-News that while the Montebello DMV has still been offering tests in a group of trailers in the parking lot, those are for commercial drivers only. Personal-use drivers are redirected to DMV offices in nearby towns.
Carter asked anyone spotting fake test-givers to call police at (323) 887-1313.
A drunken, half-naked man frightened, or in some cases amused, tenants of a high-rise building in Brooklyn, N.Y., last week, according to the New York Post.
Roman Gadzhylov, 24, was arrested after going door-to-door on at least three floors of a 24-story apartment building in the Coney Island (search) neighborhood, the Post reported Friday.
Residents said he was drinking from a whiskey bottle and yelling into a cell phone, all with his shirt open and his pants around his ankles.
"I'm looking at this crazy Russian dude with two pierced nipples and a ponytail," said one tenant, who didn't want his name used, adding that Gadzhylov had "pants down to here with no drawers on."
Security guards Dawn Ford and Jean Griffon caught up to the rambling Russian on the 19th floor.
"I told him to leave the building, and he just kept making phone calls," Ford told the Post. "He was talking away, slurring, going in and out. His [private parts] were out there, flapping in the wind."
Gadzhylov was "in slow motion he was so drunk," said Griffon. "He was talking to somebody in the building and screaming, 'They're attacking me, come and rescue me, they're beating me.' But we never touched him."
Police came, wrestled a kicking and screaming Gadzhylov into a squad car, and charged him with public lewdness, resisting arrest, trespassing and weapons possession — for an illegal knife allegedly found on his person.
The Post sent a reporter to Gadzhylov's home, where a woman who said she was his girlfriend answered the door.
"His pants weren't falling down, and he wasn't exposing himself to anyone," she insisted. "He was just visiting a friend."
EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — Police in Arkansas and Missouri say someone has discovered a deceptively easy way to steal money with the help of their victims.
The thieves apparently install a false box over bank night depositories and watch while unsuspecting customers drop in cash. Officers say the ruse has been used in Eureka Springs and Branson, Mo.
Eureka Springs Police Chief Early Hyatt said the customers were bamboozled.
"Each one said, 'Well, it looks strange,' but they thought maybe they were fixing" the night depository, he said.
Hyatt said security camera videotape shows two men in a Ford Escort station wagon with no license plate pulling up to a bank over the weekend, removing the box from the vehicle and approaching the depository.
He said five customers, most depositing cash from local businesses, made drops while the crooks apparently watched from nearby.
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Investigators did not need DNA or even fingerprints to track down a bank robbery suspect — he left his checkbook on the teller's counter.
A man walked into a First Federal Savings Bank branch last Tuesday carrying a McDonald's bag and demanded money from a teller, witnesses said.
He walked out of the bank just east of the city's downtown with some cash, but left his checkbook behind. The checks were printed with Larry Heady's name and his Maceo, Ky., address, police said.
Police officers on Wednesday arrested Heady, 63, at his home in the town about 30 miles southeast of Evansville.
"Usually with suspects there's a general rule that you don't leave identification behind," police Sgt. Brett Fitzsimmons said.
Heady was also a suspect in two bank robberies in Henderson, Ky., and another in Hopkinsville, Ky., police said.
Heady was being held Thursday in the Daviess County, Ky., Jail.
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A teenager working on his computer was jolted by a lightning strike that hit his family's home.
Mike Bergeron, 15, of Council Bluffs was in the basement of the home about 9:30 p.m. last Tuesday when lightning struck the roof of the house, traveled through the electrical lines to the computer and shocked him.
Linda Bergeron said the impact of the jolt sent her son flying about 5 feet backward. His sister was heading downstairs at the time and heard him fall.
"He was unconscious when she found him," Linda Bergeron said.
She said her son spent time in cardiac care at the hospital. He was released Wednesday morning but is going through outpatient care.
"I never would have expected something like this to happen," Linda Bergeron said. "It's a very weird thing."
LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — A 73-year-old man cheated death for the fourth time Thursday when he survived a collision between his pickup truck and a coal train.
Thurman Foster, a former railroad worker, sustained broken bones and cuts to his hands and elbows when the train struck his 1997 Dodge Dakota as he tried to cross the tracks.
In his lifetime, Foster also has survived falling four stories from a building, getting hit by a truck and falling off railroad cars.
"The good Lord is looking after me," Foster said.
Foster said he is always conscious of trains passing through but did not see the empty, 149-car CSX (search) train until it was too late. He tried to back up but was unsuccessful.
"I worked for C&O [CSX's former name] for 42 years. I've seen a lot of accidents. I never thought I'd get hit," he said.
He said the train did not sound its horn until it was about 80 feet from his truck.
"It hit me on the passenger side. The glass is what cut me up," he said. "I was just lucky."
Paramedics took Foster to Lynchburg General Hospital, where he was treated for broken ribs and broken bones in his back. He said his truck was demolished.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Paul Wagenseil.
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