A German shoplifter has fessed up ... 37 years after snatching $15 worth of stuff from a souvenir shop in Norway.
In 1970, the man shoplifted several items from a store in the small mountain town of Lom while he was traveling in Scandinavia with his young brother and girlfriend, now his wife, according to the Associated Press.
Seeking to make amends, he recently sent a check for $375 to the town and asked them to find the shopkeeper, Mayor Simen Bjoergen said on the town's Internet site on Thursday.
"For many years, my conscience has bothered me. With the enclosed check, I hope to free myself from that and request your help," wrote the German, whose name was not released. "I would also like to ask for forgiveness for the wrong I did so long ago."
Lom, a town of about 2,300 people, is 155 miles north of Oslo.
The man said he shoplifted about $15 worth of items from the store, which he recalled only as "a souvenir shop with a big parking lot." He asked Bjoergen to find the shop owner and give him the check, and if that was not possible to use the money for a good cause.
Bjoergen finally found retired 78-year-old shop owner Gabriel Lund, who owned the Fjoset gift shop in 1970, and gave him the check.
In a letter to the German, the Mayor said Lund asked him to say "that he forgives you" and that he had given the money to the local retirement home to do something nice for its residents.
Missing: My Leg, and Mom's Ashes
LOS ANGELES (AP) — More than one million people a day ride Los Angeles' trains, buses and subways, and as diverse as they are, so are the items they leave behind.
Everything from the mundane, wallets, cell phones and schoolbooks, to the unexpected, a prosthetic leg, a human jaw bone and immunization records, have been reported lost by travelers.
The items will sometimes end up at a two-room lost and found operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that is set to reopen Wednesday following a $137,000 renovation.
"There's some of everything here," said Lorna Riley, the MTA customer service agent who logs and sorts everything that comes through.
The lost-and-found, located in the former Tilfords Restaurant at Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, holds items for 30 days before offering them up for auction or donating them to charity.
Unclaimed clothes, books and toys have been given to the Midnight Mission, a homeless shelter on Skid Row, and backpacks have been used by law enforcement agencies to train dogs to sniff out drugs and explosives.
Last year, the MTA netted $7,000 from lost-and-found items, in addition to $4,000 in unclaimed cash.
Riley said one man came in looking for his class assignment — a jaw bone — that he lost on a bus. Another man couldn't find his prosthetic leg after removing it while he took a catnap on a bus.
And a woman reported missing a suitcase containing her mother's cremated remains.
"Every day is different," Riley said. "You never know what to expect."
More Pigs Than People
BERLIN (AP) — For the first time in 20 years, pigs outnumber people in the state of Lower Saxony, the pig capital of pork-loving Germany.
The state farmers' association said Thursday that, as of the end of 2006, the number of swine hit 8.02 million, as good prices led to increased herd numbers.
At the same time, the state's population fell to 7.996 million, after peaking over the 8 million mark in 2004.
The last time there was a preponderance of pigs over people in Lower Saxony, which traditionally has the largest herds in the country, was in 1987. At that time, the number of pigs stood at 7.56 million to 7.16 human residents.
'Somehow I Didn't Notice the Photographer'
WENGEN, Switzerland (AP) — Rainer Schoenfelder lost a bet Wednesday, and paid for it by skiing nude down the Lauberhorn.
The 29-year-old Austrian skier, who hurt his neck and back in a crash last week, lost a bet with his physiotherapist, who had been treating his injuries. Schoenfelder had vowed to ski naked if his pains had lessened by Wednesday morning.
Schoenfelder skied wearing only yellow boots and an orange helmet and gloves, and a photographer snapped a shot of the skier that has been circulated on the Internet.
"Somehow I didn't notice the photographer," Schoenfelder said. "It was an internal bet and of course the whole thing wasn't planned for the public.
"I am happy, though, that the pains have eased up and that it was not cold when I honored my debt."
Schoenfelder had been in pain since his crash in Adelboden last week. After little success treating the pain, his physio performed a "special" treatment on Tuesday and Schoenfelder said he woke up the following morning without pain for the first time since an accident in Turracher Hoehe, Austria, a day before the World Cup races in Adelboden.
Austria head coach Toni Giger said he did not think Schoenfelder would be sanctioned for the stunt.
"I have no problem with nudity in general," Giger said. "I haven't seen the pictures but no one was hurt. ... This was typical Schoenfelder behavior."
Schoenfelder has had a run of bad luck recently.
In the giant slalom at Adelboden, he was disqualified for committing a rare rule violation — he kicked out of the start hut four seconds too early.
World Cup racers have a 10-second window in which to push open the starting wand. They are warned by a succession of beeps when they can go, but Schoenfelder pre-empted the start.
Mom, Could You Give Me a Ride to School? I Have a Catfight
WOONSOCKET, R.I. (AP) — Two mothers and their 13-year-old daughters were arrested after police say one woman drove her already suspended daughter to school to fight a teenage rival.
Ana Rivera, 44, and Maribel Santiago, 34, are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on a charge of simple assault in connection with Monday's fight. Their daughters and two other 13-year-old girls were charged with disorderly conduct and their cases were turned over to the Juvenile Detective Division.
Rivera allegedly drove her daughter to Woonsocket Middle School so she could fight Santiago's daughter.
Police reports say the girls began feuding two weeks ago and began fighting outside the school on Monday. At one point, the melee involved all four girls, both mothers and a teacher, according to police.
Authorities said a teacher tried to break up the fight and was hit by Santiago.
Santiago and Rivera were released on $1,000 bail Monday evening, but Detective Lt. Timothy Paul said the department intends to notify the state Department of Children, Youth and Families about Rivera's case.
Santiago, reached at home Wednesday, said she went to the school to pick up her daughter because of recent threats. She said she apologized to the school's principal and was only trying to protect her daughter. Her daughter was suspended from school for 10 days after the fight.
"I just wanted to make sure my daughter stayed out of trouble," Santiago said.
Rivera could not be reached for comment and it was unclear if she has an attorney.
The Postman Always Drives Drunk ... Well, at Least This One Did
WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — A mail carrier had a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit when he was arrested for driving his delivery truck into oncoming traffic and crashing into a sign, police said.
Thomas Lahiff was incoherent Friday when he returned to the post office, where he was arrested about an hour after the crash, Police Capt. Mike Babe said. He said tests showed the 46-year-old's blood-alcohol level was 0.31 percent.
Lahiff now faces a drunken driving charge and was ticketed for hit-and-run causing property damage, Babe said. Police said Lahiff's postal truck had crossed into oncoming traffic, jumped a curb and hit a "no parking" sign. It happened about an hour before he returned to the post office, and it's not clear where he was in the meantime, Babe said.
Postal Service spokeswoman JoAnne Blackburn said Lahiff was involved in an accident and would not be delivering mail pending an investigation, but she would not elaborate.
Skating on Stinky Ice
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (AP) — It's almost crunch time for the city in its campaign to keep the stink out of a local rink. The Witter Field ice rink has a 2-year-old, $196,000 warming house, but it also has a not-so-savory reputation for its late-season odor.
Bill Mohr says visits to the rink often end back home at the washing machine — to clean his daughters' winter clothes of the stink after their falls on the ice.
"Yeah, it's bad," Mohr said. "You ask just about anybody who goes out there and they will tell you. ... It's almost like a sewer."
Dan Morzewski, relief supervisor with the city's Park and Recreation Department, said the problem isn't believed to be the ice but the dead grass beneath it.
In late January and February, sunshine heats the ground and causes an ooze of mud and grass that bubbles to the surface at soft spots in the ice, he said.
"We end up with what we call boils — areas where it boils up kind of like a volcano," he said. "It smells in my opinion like manure."
With this year's mild winter, the city has only opened the rink two days, but a cold snap this week allowed for reflooding the rink to reopen it, probably Friday, for the rest of the season, he said.
If the weather cooperates, skaters should learn in coming weeks whether the city solved the problem this year by scraping away the grass before flooding the rink.
But even if it works, there will be more questions for the city, Morzewski said — like whether it will be cost-effective to go through the scraping operation and then have to replant grass each spring.
It's Robbin' Season!
SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (AP) — Lt. Steve Rose of the Sandy Springs Police Department summed it up well, "It's weird." He was talking about two robberies at the Wachovia Bank in Sandy Springs that happened two days in a row. "That's the first time I've seen anything like that within 24 hours of each other," Rose said.
On Wednesday around 9:34 a.m. a man walked into the bank and presented a note to a teller that read "give me the money or I will shoot," Rose said. The man escaped in a silver Honda Civic or Saab with an undisclosed amount of money.
Earlier, around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a different man entered the bank showing an automatic gun and presented a note demanding money, Rose said. He also left with an undisclosed amount of money.
"We'll work these as independent bank robberies with the similarity of the time factor," Rose said. "It may be they could know each other but that gives us another angle to pursue. There's someone out there that knows these two guys."
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