Palm Beach Jewel Thieves Milk Residents for All They're Worth

Some thieves in Palm Beach, Fla., are milking residents for all they're worth.

The Palm Beach Post reports that two daring jewel thieves are plying their trade door-to-door in a scam that pits residents and their valuables against a bucket of milk.

One woman lost $30,000 worth of jewelry on Jan. 4 when the duo knocked on her door, claimed she had a damaged roof and offered to fix it on the cheap.

They had chemicals for the job, which they alleged would be harmful to the rings on the homeowner's fingers. They borrowed a bucket, filled it with milk and instructed the woman to drop her gems into the creamy liquid.

When she looked in the bucket again, they were gone ... and so were the "repairmen."

Yer in Big Trouble, Mister

One British thief really puts the "loo" in looter.

Police in Southampton, England, are on the hunt for a brazen beer drinker who made off with a urinal from the Royal Oak pub, Reuters reports.

The perpetrator allegedly ordered a half-pint of ale and then made several visits to the loo, wherein he removed the potty appliance from the wall, stuffed it in his backpack and sauntered out of the pub in this seaside town.

"He made a very, very expert job of dismantling it from the wall and turning the water off," said Alan Dreja, the Royal Oak's landlord. "A very professional job."

Well, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Thais Fight the Food Coma With Nap Room

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — A Bangkok municipal office has launched a new program to increase productivity: Lights go out just past noon and civil servants are invited to take an afternoon nap.

Seeking to infuse city workers with a bit more pep, the Pathumwan district office in central Bangkok has set up a lunchtime "nap room" with soft music, sweet-smelling flowers and strict rules barring mobile phones and talking, said Surakiet Limcharoen, the district's top official who started the program.

"I've been taking naps at lunchtime for a long time, and decided to introduce the project to my staff in November," he said, noting that many use the naps to recharge their batteries ahead of evening shifts.

Of 200 employees at the municipal office, there are about 20 regular nappers who have reported feeling "fresher and brighter" after a midday snooze, Surakiet said.

D'oh! No More Doughnuts for Ohio Jailbirds

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Doughnuts will no longer be served to Franklin County jail inmates, a move aimed at improving their health.

County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy put a $55,000 annual contract for the doughnuts on hold last month over questions about their nutritional value and trans-fat content.

Since then, sheriff's officials have dropped a request asking commissioners to approve a contract with Jolly Pirate Enterprises, a suburban Whitehall company that would have supplied glazed and jelly doughnuts, as well as crullers, at $4 a dozen.

"There won't be doughnuts," said Chief Deputy Sheriff Mark Barrett, the jail administrator. "It was not a frequent food item to begin with."

Prisoners at the county's two correctional centers were served doughnuts every few weeks on a menu developed by a dietitian under contract with the county.

The county's decision to eliminate doughnuts from inmates' diets comes as artery-clogging trans fats are being removed from various types of foods.

Commissioners don't have the power to make laws such as New York City's ban on trans fats, but policy decisions should reflect a desire for better health, Kilroy said.

Wisconsin's Rumpelstiltskin to Sell His Space Gold

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — It looks like nothing more than a shiny glob of tangled fishing line.

But Mark Mulligan wants at least $8,500 for it.

The 8-millimeter threads are worth it, too, because they are .999 percent pure gold left over from a spool of golden thread that went to space several years ago.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineer Center technicians twisted the thread into 200-strand bundles, then soldered them on to a piece of gold-plated equipment that worked as a fridge for one of the precious instruments on satellites on two Japanese-American rockets.

The project had its highs because the university's equipment was a success. But it also had its lows when one rocket crashed into the ocean.

It also resulted in a little leftover gold thread that was preserved in an envelope and locked in a cabinet for years.

Thus, the 389 grams — or nearly 14 ounces — of scrap space gold is now for sale on the UW-Madison SWAP, or Surplus With a Purpose, online auction site.

The minimum bid is $8,500, which is roughly based on the current price for gold of about $625 an ounce. The auction closes Jan. 18, and so far no one has made a bid.

Mulligan works at the center and has received at least one inquiry from an art professor questioning the high price.

The money goes into the research fund for the center, which is otherwise supported by grants and contracts with, among other agencies, NASA.

Mulligan said the golden threads spent a few years in a locked cabinet. It wasn't forgotten, he said, it just never occurred to the technicians to try and sell it.

"It looks like gold lace," Mulligan said.

Compiled by's Sara Bonisteel.

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