Sushi Spooks Spur Suit

Long after their mortal forms left this Earth, the ghosts of dead prostitutes may be dragged into a Florida court.

The owners of Church Street Station (search), an entertainment complex in downtown Orlando, are suing a sushi restaurant that broke its lease after claiming its space was haunted.

"It's very serious," Lynn Franklin, attorney for Christopher and Yoko Chung, owners of Amura Japanese Restaurant (search), told The Associated Press. "A lot of people are corroborating having seen incidents in this location."

Church Street Station owners, who include boy-band mogul Lou Pearlman (search), offered to perform an exorcism before the restaurant moved in, but were rebuffed.

"As a Jehovah's Witness, Mr. Chung has deeply held beliefs regarding spirits and demons," wrote Franklin in a letter to building owners, according to the Orlando Sentinel. "These beliefs require him to avoid encountering or having any association with spirits or demons" — or with exorcism rites, Franklin later explained to the AP.

Church Street Station says it doesn't really matter if the building is haunted or not.

"I asked them if these were good ghosts or bad ghosts, and if they were good ghosts, why it was a problem," said David Simmons, a lawyer and state lawmaker who represents the company.

Emilio San Martin, who runs Orlando Ghost Tours (search), said the building at 125 Church St. once housed the Strand Hotel, which was in fact a brothel.

"The ladies there entertained many a gentleman of wealth," San Martin explained, adding that he himself had in the past heard the crying of the prostitutes' murdered illegitimate children.

Workmen conducting renovations last fall saw a bartender and two dancing girls reflected in a mirror, a subcontractor recently told the Sentinel. San Martin said a slender man playing a piano could often be seen and heard when the space housed Lili Marleen's Aviator Pub & Restaurant, which closed a few years ago.

Church Street Station wants $2.6 million from the Chungs to make up for 10 years of rent and theoretical damages. It also wants a judgment on whether there really are ghosts in the building, and if so, whether they would interfere with the operation of a restaurant.

"There is no evidence," says the lawsuit, "that there are ghosts or apparitions in the premises or, if there are, that the ghosts or apparitions interfere with the defendants' quiet enjoyment and use of the premises."

To be fair, both sides may be being a bit disingenuous in claiming prior ignorance of the spectral situation.

San Martin told the Sentinel that until the property changed hands in 2001, he regularly took tour groups through the building. He still begins each day's Orlando Ghost Tour on the sidewalk out in front — in plain view of the Chungs' current restaurant, which sits across the street.

— Thanks to Out There readers Shannon O. and Robert J.

'Happy Hour' Sinking Fast

MILTON, Fla. (AP) — Happy hour customers had just started enjoying themselves at Ollie's Neighborhood Grill when the room started moving — for real.

A sinkhole, likely caused by an underground spring, sent a steady stream of water flowing beneath the floors Thursday and caused the building to sink about 6 inches in some places, said owner Andy Leach.

"The floor seems to be moving," said Milton Fire Chief John Reble. "I've never seen anything the likes of this before. It's caused quite a bit of structural damage to the slab."

Reble initially suspected a broken water main, but testing determined the flow was from a natural source because it lacked chlorine used to treat drinking water.

"This happened just in time for happy hour — unhappy hour now," Leach said.

Santa Rosa County building inspector Bobby Burkett said the building may have to be condemned and razed.

"You're not hardly going to stop an underground spring," he said.

L.A. Bags One of Its Stray Gators

LOS ANGELES (AP) — One urban alligator down, one to go.

A 3-foot-long gator dubbed Little Reggie (search) was caught Thursday night in a Harbor City flood control channel, but its wily, much bigger namesake remained on the loose.

Word of a gator sighting drew firefighters to the channel, where one leaned out on a truck-mounted ladder to snare Little Reggie in a hand-held net, Los Angeles city fire spokesman Jim Wells said.

"We've gone out on [calls regarding] boa constrictors, snakes. I cannot recall a rescue of an alligator," Wells said.

The gator was discovered Tuesday by a resident of the Harbor City Estates mobile home park when he ventured down to feed turtles and ducks that live in the channel.

The gator avoided several attempts by would-be wranglers to lasso it with a noose-like device on Wednesday. It used its powerful tail to zoom away at the last moment, ducking under masses of floating primrose.

Little Reggie was named for a 7-foot-long, 150-pound alligator named Reggie that was dumped in a nearby lake several months ago and has not yet been caught.

Exploding Dye Pack Nabs 'Fanny Pack Bandit'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two FBI agents on their lunch break captured a man alleged to be the "Fanny Pack Bandit," a bank robber who carried out a nine-month crime spree.

The bandit robbed banks from Manhattan Beach to Santa Monica, often carrying off his haul in a fanny pack.

On Saturday, Special Agents Michael Haas and Steve Morris looked up from their salads in a Brentwood restaurant to see a man outside a Bank of America carrying a bank bag with red smoke billowing from it — smoke that often comes from exploding pepper-spray-laced dye packs banks used to deter robbers.

The man ran as agents approached, but Haas caught him a few blocks later, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. The man was carrying $1,256 in cash, authorities said.

He was identified as Peter Soren Walsky, 45. Walsky appeared Tuesday before a federal magistrate judge on a single charge of bank robbery and was held in lieu of $400,000 bail. Arraignment was set for Sept. 20.

An FBI affidavit stated that Walsky confessed to the Brentwood robbery and nine others. FBI officials said they are interviewing witnesses in those cases before bringing additional charges.

Police Find Stolen Property, Arrest Its Owner

ESCANABA, Mich. (AP) — A man who reported a safe stolen from his home a month ago may now face charges after police found the safe — with almost a pound of marijuana inside.

The Bark River man told Delta County sheriff's deputies last month that someone broke into his home Aug. 9 and took the 200-pound safe, which contained a rifle, muzzle-loader, two knives, a range finder and a collection of silver dollars.

Deputies recovered the safe early Wednesday after receiving a tip, Detective Lt. Mike Gierke told the Daily Press of Escanaba.

The safe was still locked, and when deputies called the owner to open it, they discovered the items he described, along with the marijuana and $500 cash.

"It was obvious the alleged victim did not think we were going to be tenacious enough to recover the safe," Gierke said.

The tip led to the arrest of Joseph Henderson, 21, Gladstone, whom deputies believe stole the safe. He was arraigned Wednesday in Delta County District Court on a count of home invasion.

Charges have not yet been sought against the Bark River man, but his arrest is pending, Gierke said.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

Got a good "Out There" story in your hometown? We'd like to know about it. Send an e-mail, with a Web link (we need to authenticate these things), to