Parolee Returns to Scene of Crime

A concerned Kansan called 911 with a hunch that he'd just seen two men rob a convenience store.

He ought to know — he's on parole for robbing the same store himself.

"He was confident, based on his past experiences, that it was a robbery getting ready to happen," police Capt. Terry Nelson told the Wichita Eagle.

The parolee, who asked to remain anonymous, had just bought gum at a QuikTrip (search) store in west Wichita Tuesday evening when he saw two men standing at the side of the building, pulling down baseball caps over their faces.

He also saw that the men's car was parked not in the store's lot, but on the side of the road.

So when both came running out of the QuikTrip a few minutes later and sped off in the car, he set off in pursuit.

While following them, he called 911 and kept dispatchers updated on the suspects' location.

"He did everything perfectly," said Nelson.

Once cops joined in on the chase, the parolee peeled off and headed back the QuikTrip to fill in officers there about what he'd seen.

Police caught the two men, ages 19 and 21, after they got out of their car and ran.

QuikTrip said one had held up the counter clerk with a gun while the other stood lookout.

The parolee, Nelson said, "did the right thing."

"Without this individual," he added, "I think there's a good opportunity we would not have caught these guys."

— Thanks to Out There reader Bruce W.

Maryland Man Gets Something for Nothing

There wasn't enough in the box that came with Christopher Leach Conner's new computer monitor — so he returned the box and got a second monitor for free.

Conner, 46, admitted to Annapolis, Md., police that he was frustrated by the "open box" monitor he'd bought from Best Buy (search).

"Open box" items are electronics goods that have either been previously returned or used as floor-display models. There's usually nothing wrong with them, but stores can't sell them at full price, and they often come without the accessories and guarantees accompanying a fully packaged item.

In Conner's case, the monitor came without a power cord, software, manual or warranty, according to The Capital of Annapolis.

So he tossed a ream of copier paper into the box the monitor came in, then threw some other papers in for good measure.

Back at the Best Buy, he told staffers there had been no monitor in the box when he got home.

Conner raised such a stink they gave him a brand-new 17-inch Samsung LCD monitor, worth $429, for nothing.

He would have gotten away with the anger-motivated scam, but the store's manager spotted something among the papers in the returned box: Conner's resume.

Police went to his home, got back the new monitor and charged Conner with misdemeanor theft.

— Thanks to Out There reader Jonathan C.

Woman Clings to Mountainside for 17 Hours

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A woman from Slovenia clung to a mountain ledge for 17 hours before finally being rescued.

Petra Draskovic, 23, slipped onto the steep ledge on Sheep Mountain (search) while hiking Sunday. She clung to a rock face and tree root overnight to keep from slipping further.

"You cannot fall asleep," she said.

Draskovic clutched the rock and root throughout the evening and night, until rescuers spotted her from the air and reached her in the morning.

"That's a long time," Steve Handy of Juneau Mountain Rescue said. "Her spirit was amazing."

Handy and team member Jon McElwain put her in a harness and led her on foot to safety, down the mountainside.

Draskovic said she wasn't planning on spending the night on the mountain. At about 9 a.m. Sunday, she hiked up Mount Roberts with a camera, lenses and tripod, looking to get pictures of mountain goats. She told her host family that she would call later in the afternoon.

"I was planning to be home for dinner," she said.

When she didn't return, her host — who asked not to be named — reported her missing.

A graduate student in biochemistry in Slovenia, Draskovic said she visited Alaska last summer to combine a U.S. Geological Survey (search) research stint with a love of photography.

Draskovic said that while hiking Sunday, she met a man who directed her to the Sheep Creek Trail as a good place to see mountain goats.

Around 4:30 p.m. she found the going too steep. She tried to work her way through thick brush, lost her footing and grabbed the rock face and root to keep from falling.

McElwain said he was impressed at how Draskovic was able to hang on.

"I climb," he said. "I was on the same ledge she was, and after 15 minutes my arms were getting tired."

— Thanks to Out There reader Patrick C.

Gator Attacks Dog, Man Attacks Gator

GAINESVILLE, Florida (AP) — A man jumped in a pond and stabbed a 6-foot alligator with a pocketknife to force the reptile to release his dog from its jaws.

Matthew Goff, 29, said he was walking Sugar, a tan-colored bloodhound/Shar-Pei mix, in a park when the attack occurred Wednesday evening. The unleashed dog wandered to the edge of the pond, and the gator grabbed its head.

"I couldn't stand by and watch it happen, and I had the pocketknife so I decided to try and save her," Goff said.

The gator released Sugar when Goff stabbed the reptile in the eye. The dog then ran home, escaping with three teeth marks on and about her head. Goff had a few scratches.

A state trapper planned to kill the gator if it's found.

Man Puts Up Vote for Sale on eBay

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) — James Pengov thought selling his vote would help get him out of debt. Instead it landed him in trouble with the law.

It took authorities 12 hours to hear about and stop Pengov's eBay offer of a "Presidential Vote for Sale," with a starting bid of $50.

The 36-year-old said he was hoping to land enough money from selling his vote to pay medical bills.

"Up for auction is MY VOTE!," said Pengov's Aug. 19 posting on the online marketplace.

"Simply tell me who to vote for, after paying the auction, and it will be so. If you care, buy my vote and you will have twice the power in the upcoming election!!!!"

Pengov said he didn't know that selling a vote was illegal.

The fraud unit of the California secretary of state's office, which has been alerted to votes for sale on eBay in previous elections, came across the posting and notified Ohio authorities.

Pengov told buyers he generally votes Republican, but expressed dissatisfaction with both parties.

Hani Durzy, eBay spokesman, said the online auction service screens the 29 million listings for violations of its policies, but because 3.5 million are added daily, it relies on outside help to catch inappropriate listings.

Politician Couldn't Stop Hiccupping

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Some politicians can't stop talking; one Pennsylvania pol couldn't stop hiccupping. But the state lawmaker has now beaten the affliction after weeks in the hospital.

State Rep. Larry Roberts, a Democrat running for re-election, was back in his office last Tuesday after being released from a hospital where he had been treated since July 19.

"Not only were the hiccups debilitating, but I was not allowed to have anything in my mouth, so I had to deal with a feeding tube, and that made matters worse," Roberts said in a statement Tuesday.

Neither Roberts' staff nor the House Democratic Communications Office described the cause

The six-term state lawmaker is running for re-election against Republican Harry E. Albert III and independent candidates including Timothy S. Mahoney.

The race has been tainted by allegations that Roberts tried to recruit a spoiler candidate to siphon votes from Mahoney, who was challenging Roberts in the Democratic primary. Mahoney was removed from that ballot because of paperwork that was not in order.

Roberts has denied any impropriety. The state attorney general is probing the allegations of election fraud.

'Virtual Girlfriend' Developed for Cell Phones

HONG KONG (AP) — She needs to be coddled with sweet talk and pampered with gifts, but you'll never see her in the flesh.

A Hong Kong company has developed a "virtual girlfriend" for new cell phones with video capability.

Artificial Life Inc.'s electronic love interest — sort of a Tamagotchi for adults — will appear as an animated figure on a telephone screen and respond by voice to text messages you send.

But she'll require a lot of attention, involving virtual flowers and diamonds, company spokeswoman Ada Fong said. Though gifts are nothing but data, suitors will have to pay cold, hard cash.

Fong said prices have yet to be determined.

If she's neglected, "she'll be unhappy and she won't talk to you," Fong added.

Calling the game "suitable for all ages," Fong said the game won't allow sexual interaction.

Artificial Life hopes to launch the service in the English, Japanese and Korean languages in late November, though no wireless operator has yet to agree to offer it. The company also hopes to develop a virtual boyfriend by early next year.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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