Stranger in the House

Talk about identity theft.

Beverly Mitchell came back from 2½ weeks in Greece on Oct. 4 to find that a stranger had moved into her Douglasville, Ga., home.

"I noticed a car in the driveway and the windows of the house were open, which freaked me out," Mitchell, 46, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I had left everything shut up."

Mitchell quickly backed out of the driveway, hitting a tree twice, and dialed 911.

Douglas County (search) Sheriff's Deputy Chuck Haralson went into the house and found a different Beverly naked in the shower — 53-year-old Beverly Valentine, a stranger to Beverly Mitchell.

"In 28 years, I've never seen something this strange," said Chief Sheriff's Deputy Stan Copeland.

It turned out that this funny Valentine had moved her own furniture and her dog into the house, switched the utilities to her name, taken Mitchell's family photos down from the walls, worn Mitchell's clothes, installed a washer and dryer, ripped up carpeting and begun to lay down floor tiles.

"She had two, maybe even three different types of tiles," Mitchell told the newspaper. "That's just out of this world."

Valentine first said she'd been in the house two weeks and had gotten in by breaking a window with a shovel. Then she said she'd lived there two years.

Finally Valentine admitted she'd just needed a place to live, saw that no one was home at Mitchell's house, "and she just moved her things in the house," according to the sheriff's report.

"Some people have suggested," Mitchell said, "and I agree, that she probably thought this was her home."

In Valentine's car, authorities found a gun and $23,000 in jewelry belonging to Mitchell. She was charged with burglary and held in the Douglas County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

"What she's done is really make a mess," said Mitchell. "She repainted around the fireplace, and there's paint all over the brick. I'm going to have to get somebody to probably sandblast stuff like that to get it off."

Asked if she'd keep any of Valentine's remodeling work, Mitchell responded, "It's not my style."

Mitchell said she is sympathetic to the plight of Valentine, who was apparently recently evicted from her own home about 20 miles away, but thinks she may have already gotten help.

"She's saying she moved by herself, but she didn't lift a washer and dryer by herself," said the angry homeowner. "And she didn't lift a sleeper sofa by herself. Did she just hire some local help or was there somebody else involved?"

As for the washer and dryer, Valentine told authorities she didn't care what happened to them, so police are leaving them in Mitchell's care.

"I'm hoping maybe 'Extreme Makeovers,' somebody like that, will get in touch with me," Mitchell said. "It's a bizarre story, and they always want bizarre stories."

She expected that Valentine's relatives would come get the intruder's photographs and personal items.

"I've given them until Tuesday," Mitchell told the newspaper. "Come Wednesday, I've got to move this stuff out and try to work myself back into my life."

— Thanks to Out There readers Chris M., Jan S., Bill N., Jessica P., Vernon W., Kelly L., Erich W., Kris P., Christine B., Sandy C., Danielle D., Renee M., Gabe B. and Nancy B.

Vultures Move Into Woman's Back Yard

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Turkey vultures (search) have taken over Gwendolyn Griem's back yard and made a mess of it.

Around 50 of the soaring, carrion-consuming birds have flocked to Griem's yard in a gated subdivision in Muncie. They have ruined her patio furniture, stressed the shrubbery and even damaged the roof of her home, Griem told the Muncie Star Press for a story Monday.

"Droppings are everywhere," Griem said. "They've made the patio unusable. The lawn people don't even like to mow it."

The birds have a 6-foot wingspan and can grow to be 32 inches tall, said Roger Hedge, an ecologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Most of the birds should head south for the winter, he said.

"To have turkey vultures flock like that in town, that's beyond me," Hedge said.

Karen Gibson, a supervisor in Muncie's animal control office, said the birds are federally protected.

"You can't even trap them," she said.

Tim Dale, who operates a Critter Control franchise in Portland, has reduced the size of the flock by shooting fireworks into the air, but not all of them have been shooed away.

"They feel safe here, and now we're taking that safety away from them," he said. "They will be back to check it out next year, and we may have to chase them off once or twice. But they'll get discouraged and go."

The birds probably lost their previous roosting place due to development, Dale said.

Bad Deed Catches Up With Good Samaritan

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities are seeking to extradite a Tennessee man — wanted for failing to pay child support — after learning that he underwent surgery in Colorado to donate his kidney to someone he met on the Internet.

Rob Smitty, 32, faces charges of failing to pay his ex-wife $8,100 in child support and medical payments, and a warrant is out for his arrest. He was recovering in a Denver hospital following surgery Wednesday to donate his kidney.

A Bradley County Sheriff's Department spokesman said Friday that prosecutors were looking into whether Smitty could be extradited.

Smitty and the operators of (search), the Web site where Smitty was matched with kidney recipient Bob Hickey, maintain the donation was not motivated by money. Hickey is expected to pick up about $5,000 in transportation costs and other expenses incurred by Smitty.

Denver doctors performed the operation after granting what the hospital called a "compassionate exception" and being reassured that neither man stood to profit from the transplant. Federal law prohibits the sale of organs.

"Mr. Smitty gave up a piece of himself. He did an amazing and wonderful thing," said Dr. Jeremiah Lowney, medical director of

But Angie McCoy, Smitty's ex-wife, said she didn't think Smitty was acting out of altruism.

"It's unethical, and it's not right," she said.

State records show McCoy has not received a child support payment from Smitty in nine months. The couple, who divorced in 1999, have a 10-year-old daughter. Smitty's next court date in the dispute is Nov. 9.

Federal officials declined to comment Friday on whether they would investigate the organ donation.

Smelly Toilet Gets Teacher In Trouble

FAIRDALE, W.Va. (AP) — A group of parents has accused a teacher at Fairdale Elementary School (search) of forcing their sons to go into the classroom bathroom and take deep breaths because there was urine on and around the toilet.

"She wanted them to see how bad it smelled," said parent Shelley Howerton.

Howerton and other parents claim the unidentified teacher violated the boys' rights. Ten parents and three children, including Howerton and her son Atrayo, protested outside the school on Thursday.

"This made me sick," said parent Jamie Harvey.

Atrayo said he was embarrassed by the alleged incident.

School officials said the parents' allegation is being investigated.

"We're going to do what's best for these young children," said Miller Hall, Raleigh County director of pupil services. "This is an issue we are going to investigate, but right now it's all hearsay."

"Some kids have said it didn't happen. ... We have to get evidence, talk to witnesses and follow due process. Then we have to look at the policy, and if there was any wrongdoing, we will deal with it accordingly. ... But [the teacher is] innocent until proven guilty."

Curse on Will Fails to Work — So Far

OSLO, Norway (AP) — A Norwegian's threat to haunt anyone who tampered with his will didn't hold up in — or send a chill through — a court.

The man, who wasn't identified, died in mid-2003 and left a will dividing his possessions among a long list of friends because he had no direct heirs, state radio network NRK reported Thursday.

To be sure that no one challenged the will, he threatened to haunt anyone who tampered with the document.

"I take a solemn and holy vow that, if at all possible, I will pursue you in the darkest hours of the night," he said in the will. "I warn you, in the strongest possible terms not to try any nonsense."

His half-sister, who wasn't one of the beneficiaries, took her chances and challenged the will in the Haalogaland Appeals Court in the Arctic city of Tromsoe (search).

Apparently, the judge didn't believe in ghosts, because he declared the will void this week since the two witnesses who signed it testified they didn't know what the document was.

There have been no reports of mysterious late-night occurrences by either the half-sister or the judge.

NRK did not report the name of the man or his half-sister. When contacted by telephone, the Haalogaland Court office said it would be all but impossible to find a copy of the ruling without the names.

Tromsoe, the main city in Norway's Arctic, is about 745 miles north of the capital, Oslo.

Inmate Steals $40 to Join Internet Dating Site

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A 20-year-old man has pleaded guilty to using the Madison County Jail's checking account number to help him meet women online.

David Wroten's sentence after he pleaded guilty last Wednesday calls for him to be placed on probation for two years and repay the $39.95 of the jail's money he spent to join an online dating service.

Wroten was charged Sept. 27. A jail inmate on another charge, Wroten was issued a check upon his release for cash he had on him and turned over to the jail when he was booked into custody, Madison County Sheriff Robert Hertz said.

Wroten then took the account number from the check and gave it to the Internet dating service when he joined. The money was electronically transferred from the jail's account to the dating service.

The Bank of Edwardsville (search) thought such a transaction was unusual and contacted the sheriff's department, which began investigating.

Subsequently, a sheriff's deputy went to the dating service's Web site and spotted Wroten's photograph, which was posted so prospective dates could get a look at him.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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