Drug Rocket Fails to Take Off

Published July 05, 2005

| FoxNews.com

Drug dealing really may be rocket science.

Two accused methamphetamine traffickers apparently rigged up their car so that if cops closed in, a small rocket carrying their stash would pop up from the trunk and launch itself far from the long arm of the law.

For some reason, the rocket never achieved liftoff when Missouri State Highway Patrol (search) officers pulled over Michael Ray Sullivan, 41, and Joseph C. Seidl, 39, both of Kentucky, on June 24 in Kingdom City.

The $13,534 in cash in the 1990 Ford Thunderbird was interesting enough, Kansas City U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Don Ledford told the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune.

Far more intriguing was what was in the trunk: three dud pipe bombs and a "hobby-style" rocket, three to four feet long, all packed with meth worth up to $145,000.

Ledford explained that a web of ropes and pulleys lifted the rocket into launch position when the trunk lid was opened. The rocket could then be ignited from inside the car using the dashboard cigarette lighter.

Cops are pretty certain the rocket was meant to be an escape pod for the drugs, but Ledford diplomatically declined to speculate.

"But they did have the meth inside the rocket," he admitted, "and it could be launched from inside the car."

— Thanks to Out There reader Jen J.

Don't Forget to Leave a Tip

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Leaving a half-gram of marijuana as a tip at a Starbucks is a bad idea.

Coming back the next day, fighting with the police and dropping your stash is even worse.

Police say that's what Delshawn Prejean, 35, of Jacksonville, did.

According to a sheriff's office report, a customer at the Starbucks told the server as he was leaving, "I left your tip on the counter."

When she looked down, she saw a small amount of unwrapped marijuana. But the man was gone.

When Prejean came into the store Tuesday, the server recognized him as the customer who had left the pot. She called a security guard and police.

When he got to the door to leave, the security guard identified himself, but Prejean wouldn't stop, police said.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Officer F.D. Lockley intervened and a struggle ensued in the parking lot, where others helped subdue Prejean

During the fracas, Prejean dropped a box containing marijuana and rolling papers, officers said.

Prejean was arrested and charged with battery, resisting an officer, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released late Wednesday from the Duval County Jail on his own recognizance.

There was no information on whether he had retained a lawyer and there was no telephone listing for Prejean.

— Thanks to Out There reader Mary M.

Next to Come: Baby Named '1932 Ford'

LAKE CITY, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota couple has settled the question of what last name to use after they got married.

They've merged their names into one that reflects their interest in vintage muscle cars.

Kathy Jo Webster didn't want to take her husband's name. And Jim Rodewald didn't care for his wife's suggestion that he adopt her last name.

So they combined Rodewald and Webster to create their new name: Rodester.

Jim says it's a fitting name for a couple of car buffs who belong to the Phantoms Motor and Model Club.

Now they're planning the next addition to their four-car fleet: a kit car replica of a roadster.

— Thanks to Out There reader Susan A.

Russian Astrologer Sues NASA for Comet Probe

MOSCOW (AP) — NASA's mission that sent a space probe smashing into a comet raised more than cosmic dust — it also brought a lawsuit from a Russian astrologer.

Marina Bai has sued the U.S. space agency, claiming the Deep Impact (search) probe that punched a crater into the comet Tempel 1 (search) late Sunday "ruins the natural balance of forces in the universe," the newspaper Izvestia reported Tuesday.

A Moscow court has postponed hearings on the case until late July, the paper said.

Scientists say the crash did not significantly alter the comet's orbit around the sun and said the experiment does not pose any danger to Earth.

The probe's comet crash sent up a cloud of debris that scientists hope to examine to learn how the solar system was formed.

Bai is seeking damages totaling $300 million — the approximate equivalent of the mission's cost — for her "moral sufferings," Izvestia said, citing her lawyer Alexander Molokhov.

She earlier told the paper that the experiment would "deform her horoscope."

NASA representatives in Russia could not be reached for comment on the case.

Dog Officially World's Ugliest

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — The owners of the other contestants in this year's World's Ugliest Dog Contest may have thought their pooches had a chance — until they saw Sam.

The 14-year-old pedigreed Chinese crested recently won the Sonoma-Marin Fair contest for the third consecutive time, and it's no surprise.

The tiny dog has no hair, if you don't count the yellowish-white tuft erupting from his head. His wrinkled brown skin is covered with splotches, a line of warts marches down his snout, his blind eyes are an alien, milky white and a fleshy flap of skin hangs from his withered neck. And then there's the Austin Powers teeth that jut at odd angles from his mouth.

He's so ugly even the judges recoiled when he was placed on the judging table, said proud owner, Susie Lockheed, of Santa Barbara.

"People are always horrified when I kiss him. He may turn into a prince yet. He's definitely a toad," she said. "I always thought he'd be great on greeting cards or on a commercial for Rogaine."

Sam, who's pushing 15, has something of a cult following after winning the contest — and fans' hearts — for three years running.

"So many people have told me they've got his picture on their refrigerator. He certainly has a little cult following," Lockheed said. "I did years of professional musical theater and never achieved the fame Sam has."

Click in the photo box above to see something truly frightening.

Man Unofficially World's Biggest Nerd

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese psychiatric counselor has recited pi to 83,431 decimal places from memory, breaking his own personal best of 54,000 digits and setting an unofficial world record, a media report said Saturday.

Akira Haraguchi, 59, had begun his attempt to recall the value of pi — a mathematical value that has an infinite number of decimal places — at a public hall in Chiba city, east of Tokyo, on Friday morning and appeared to give up by noon after only reaching 16,000 decimal places, the Tokyo Shimbun said on its Web site.

But a determined Haraguchi started anew and had broken his old record on Friday evening, about 11 hours after first sitting down to his task, the paper said.

He reached the 80,000-digit mark after midnight early Saturday, according to the paper, which had a photo showing Haraguchi with his eyes closed, his face contorted in concentration.

If verified and recognized by the Guinness Book of Records, Haraguchi's feat would beat his own previous best — currently under review — of 54,000 digits. The official current record-holder, also Japanese, calculated pi from memory to 42,195 decimal places in 1995.

Pi, usually given as an abbreviated 3.14, is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. The number has fascinated and confounded mathematicians for centuries.

Compiled by FOXNews.com's Paul Wagenseil.

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