He's wily, he's on the loose and he likes his Big League Chew.
The theft of big bubble gum machines this week from almost 20 businesses by a masked man in white gloves baffles cops in Brevard County, Fla., according to WKMG-TV Local 6 News.
"For whatever reason, he didn't take anything else from the store, nothing," Carol Joseph, a worker at Paradise Pools, which was hit by the candy-coated crime wave, told Local 6 News. "Maybe he has a bubble gum fetish."
A security tape caught the "bubble gum bandit" crawling into a video store and taking a large machine, police said.
The sticky-fingered thief has robbed 16 other businesses in the area, investigators said, including machines at Beef O'Brady's and the local Division of Driver Licenses.
"This particular individual is looking for gumball candy and candy machines," Melbourne police spokeswoman Angela Bozorth told Local 6 News.
Surveillance tapes also showed the same man breaking into Paradise Pools to swipe their giant gumball machine.
WKMG-TV Local 6 News posted some of the video and stills from it on their Web site.
Witnesses also said they saw the suspect flee on a bicycle after stealing the large gum machines from the Beef O'Brady's store.
"There is never more than $30 or $40 in it, so I don't think it is for the money," restaurateur Joe Baker told Local 6 News.
Detectives say they're taking the sticky situation seriously and are considering the thefts felonies.
— Thanks to Out There reader Lincoln G.
Here's an Idea: Stop at a Gas Station
Ohio cops arrested an out-of-state man on various drug charges after he stopped to ask an officer for directions, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Police nabbed Robert Nestleroad, 39, for driving on a suspended Illinois driver's license after he stopped to ask a cop where he was going on Tower Hill Road near Ky. 8.
The misguided mistake turned into a catastrophe: After finding two baggies of marijuana on him after patting him down, cops got a warrant to search Nestleroad's room at the Newport Travel Lodge after spotting chemicals used to make methamphetamine strewn about his vehicle.
Officers then confiscated 1,700 pseudoephedrine pills, lithium batteries and other goodies they say Nestleroad used to brew up meth when they searched the motel, The Enquirer reported.
The directionally challenged drug peddler got creative: telling officers he had a map of Indian burial grounds in Northern Kentucky that he planned on visiting, but sites of pharmacies were what dots on the map really indicated, cops said.
Police charged Nestleroad with manufacturing meth, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and driving on a suspended license.
— Thanks to Out There reader Don D.
Always Remember: Treadmill Before Break-In
Workers arriving last month at the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in Bolivar, Mo., found a would-be prowler stuck in the air vent, his legs dangling on top of the roof, police told the News-Leader.
"He couldn't go backwards and he couldn't go forward," Bolivar Police Chief Michael Seibert told the paper. "You had to see it. It was quite intriguing."
Officers found tools such as a crowbar and pliers in his bag, and estimated Jason Bibeau, 23, had been dangling for 1½ to two hours before they found him and had the Bolivar Fire Department pull him out.
Bibeau told Bolivar cops he got up on the roof by putting a PVC pipe against the building and climbing it, according to a probable-cause affidavit. He then "ripped out a vent," tried to climb through it and got wedged.
"The guy was basically goofy," Seibert told the News-Leader. "He was like Santa Claus stuck in the chimney."
Police charged Bibeau with first-degree property damage and second-degree burglary.
— Thanks to Out There reader Angie B.
Hmmmmm, Don't I Know You From Somewhere?
Alabama cops arrested a 39-year-old man for holding up a Dollar General store in Tuscaloosa — who had applied for a job there not long before, according to The Tuscaloosa News.
Paul Vincent Lockett of Tuscaloosa stormed into the store and told those inside he had a gun, a store clerk told the Tuscaloosa Police Department.
The clerk said he gave Lockett over $500 in cash, then tried to chase after him when he fled, but couldn't catch him.
Police then got their crucial clue: The store manager recognized Lockett because he'd applied for a job there earlier — upon examining a surveillance tape.
Cops told The Tuscaloosa News they nabbed Lockett at his last-known place of residence, brought him back to the store for a positive ID and charged him with first-degree robbery.
— Thanks to Out There reader Jerry K.
Didn't Your Mother Tell You to Wash Behind Your Ears?
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Memo to robbers: If you disguise yourself as a Smurf, make sure you wipe behind your ears afterward.
Police say a man who painted his face blue and tried to rob a hotel was arrested when officers spotted residual stains on his neck, ears and forehead that hadn't washed off.
Daniel Peter Clark, 19, was charged with robbery and assault, authorities said. He was being held with bail set at $3,000.
A Super 8 motel clerk said a man with a blue face walked into the motel Saturday and asked for money. When the clerk said no, the man pulled out a knife and waived it at the clerk, authorities said.
The clerk retreated into a hotel office and locked the door. The suspect fled on foot without any money.
Police believe Clark ran from the Super 8, washed his face somewhere and walked to the other hotel, where he was checked in.
Police said they recovered a knife sheath from Clark's room along with an ink blotter commonly used at bingo parlors for stamping cards.
"He appears to have cut it open and emptied the contents into an ice bucket," said police Lt. Paul Honeman. "He painted himself up good."
What's the Big Deal? I Love Me Some Rat Balls
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Dozens of soup vendors rallied outside an Indonesian TV station Wednesday over a news report that alleged some sellers were using rat to make meatballs for their broth.
The protesters complained that the report was hurting their business.
Trans TV allowed five of the protesters into the building to hear their complaints — but told them it stood by the report, which was aired on Dec. 31.
"We said it was true and backed up by our findings in the field," said Trans spokesman Ichwan Murni. "We have a duty to inform our viewers about the facts."
The report, which aired Dec. 31, featured a taped confession of a man admitting using rat meat to make the balls, know here as bakso.
The food scare is the latest in a series that have hurt sales at restaurants and small-scale vendors nationwide. Last week, local media reported that dangerous amounts of formaldehyde were being used to preserve fish, noodles and bean curd.
Teen Tries to Turn King Kong
READING, Pa. (AP) — A teenager who donned a gorilla mask and climbed onto his high school roof as a senior prank has been acquitted of disorderly conduct and trespassing charges.
Matthew Pattison, 19, climbed onto the roof of Oley Valley High School on Feb. 15, prompting police, the FBI, a bomb squad and a state police helicopter to respond. About 650 students were evacuated as Pattison was taken into custody at gunpoint.
Berks County prosecutors told the jury that Pattison had created a dangerous and potentially deadly situation, but Pattison's attorney argued that it was a harmless prank. Pattison was acquitted last week.
After serving a 10-day suspension, Pattison graduated with honors and is studying architecture at Penn State University's Harrisburg campus in Pennsylvania.
"His intent was in no way criminal. His intent was to make his friends laugh," said his attorney, Kenneth L. Millman.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Andrew Hard.
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