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Garden Gnome Meets Paris Hilton

He wasn't quite as well-traveled as the garden gnome in the Travelocity ads, but he came close.

Marianne Severson of Redmond, Wash., discovered a ring binder on her front porch the morning of April 2.

Entitled "Gnome's Spring Break 2005," the notebook was a travelogue of sorts, featuring photos of her favorite garden gnome posing with an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas, relaxing against the backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge (search), strolling on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (search) and being held by waitresses at an unidentified Hooters.

Next to the notebook was a copy of People magazine with a Post-It note reading "Open Me." Printed in the magazine was a photo of socialite and TV star Paris Hilton (search) holding her Chihuahua in one hand — and Severson's sleepy little gnome in the other.

Severson ran into her garden to see if the gnome, a unique specimen she had repainted several times, was still there. He was.

"We've been gnomed," she told her husband, according to the King County Journal of Kent, Wash. "We just sat there dumbfounded."

Kidnapping garden gnomes for exotic trips is a common prank in Europe, and a "Garden Gnome Liberation Front" active in France during the 1990s even pretended to take the little ceramic dwarfs back to their "native habitats."

Severson at first thought someone had staged the photos, especially the Hilton one, but her son found the identical photo in copies of People he bought in Seattle.

"That was the coup de grace," she said.

The gnome's story quickly got on the local news, which led to a break in the case. Someone at KOMO-TV knew someone who knew someone, and pretty soon there was a young man named Connor on the phone for Severson.

Connor admitted taking the gnome on spring break with a group of buddies, and explained they had run into Hilton at a gas station, trailed by paparazzi.

The young man and the older couple agreed to meet soon, but Severson had one request.

"Next time you go on spring break," she asked, "would you take my husband and I instead of our gnome?"

— Thanks to Out There readers David V. and Bobby O.

Gnome Meets Burglar, Violently

LONDON (AP) — A grandmother stopped an intruder from entering her home by lobbing a heavy garden gnome at him, police said Friday.

Jean Collop was woken early on Tuesday morning by the sound of an intruder on the roof of her home in Wadebridge, southwest England.

"I grabbed the first thing that came to hand — one of my garden gnomes — and hurled it at him, and hit him," she recalled.

"He lay there and I began to scream. I went back into the kitchen and found a rolling pin in case he came down. I didn't want to break another gnome."

A neighbor alerted police who arrived shortly afterward and arrested the intruder.

Stolen Buffalo Goes From Sports to Religion

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (AP) — A stuffed film-prop-turned-college-mascot was found suspended from a chapel ceiling at Milligan College (search).

The 1-ton buffalo was found dangling from a chain Wednesday after it was stolen from the college field house Easter weekend. A broken horn from the animal was left on the chapel baptistery.

A flier posted around campus attributed responsibility for the theft to a group called Deep 6.

The flier described the group as, "a service organization committed to, among other things, the physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of buffaloes."

Stealing the mascot, only to return it later has been a long tradition at Milligan. However, those thefts were of a fiberglass buffalo.

The current mascot is a stuffed buffalo that is 7 feet tall and 9 feet long and formerly served as a prop in the film "Dances With Wolves."

The flier said the buffalo had been in Montana for two weeks visiting Two Socks, a wolf befriended by actor Kevin Costner (search) in the film.

The prank did not amuse college officials.

"This is a case of criminal activity — they are common criminals," Dean of Students Mark Fox said Wednesday

The theft is being investigated by police.

Possible Robber Says He Was Just Kidding

CHALMETTE, La. (AP) — A man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a handkerchief over his face entered an all-night diner through a rear door carrying what appeared to be a gun, announced a robbery, then said he was only joking when an employee quickly recognized him.

The female employee called Chad Caron, 22, by his first name, authorities said.

Caron told her to relax, then removed his handkerchief and hood and said he was only kidding. He said the gun was a toy, then sat down and stayed for a while and talked to the employee, a St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's report said.

None of the employees called the Sheriff's Office about the Tuesday incident, even though they later learned the phone line to the business had been cut.

But when the restaurant's operators learned what happened, they alerted authorities, who were suspicious of Caron's explanation and booked him with attempted robbery.

Caron, being held in the parish jail Thursday in lieu of $50,000 bond, gave a statement to sheriff's detectives in which he said he "only did this as a joke and didn't mean to scare anyone," the sheriff's report said.

However, authorities said Caron couldn't produce the gun he had said was a toy.

The sheriff's report said a customer, who was outside and saw the early Tuesday morning incident through a window, told the restaurant operators about what he saw.

Driver Sacrifices Car to Stop Weaving Truck

CASTLE CREEK, N.Y. (AP) — A New York man who says he lost a close friend to a drunken driver — and didn't want to see it happen to anyone else — used his car to block a tractor-trailer from pulling onto a highway because he thought the trucker was drunk.

Michael Scanlon's vehicle wound up being rammed by the truck.

State police said Scanlon saw the truck hit the overhead canopy at a gas station Wednesday north of Binghamton, N.Y. The father of four followed the truck and blocked its path as it tried to get on Interstate 81 (search).

A short time after the truck rammed Scanlon's car, troopers arrived and arrested the trucker. The Canadian truck driver was charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.

Compiled by FOX News' Paul Wagenseil.

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