A Florida teenager has a hot cell phone — literally.
"People think I'm joking at first," Robert Clifford told WPLG-TV of Miami. "I show them the burn and it freaks them out."
Clifford, of Davie, Fla., said the phone felt warm when he took it from his pocket, but didn't think it was hot enough to cause blisters on his ear. He was wrong.
"I didn't know it was a burn," Clifford said. "It felt like I had gotten hit — like someone smashed me real hard in the side of the head."
Most modern cell phones come with warnings that carrying phones alongside small metal objects such as keys, coins or paper clips could cause the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to overheat. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (search) has received complaints of five similar incidents, the TV station learned.
"The battery kept swelling up. It got hot," Clifford recounted. "The heat kept increasing ... the last 10 minutes it started smelling. The stench filled the whole room."
After some prodding by the TV station, Clifford's wireless carrier apologized, gave him credit for lost time and provided him with a new phone.
The company also asked for the old phone back to conduct its own investigation. Clifford's parents refused.
Long Island Cops Hope Bad Grammar Nails Bank Robber
Twenty-five grand could be yours — if you can identify a bank robber who can't spell.
Suffolk County, N.Y., police are on the trail of the man who's held up eight local banks since June, reports News12 of Long Island. In each case, he's handed a note in surreal English to tellers while claiming to have a gun.
One note read, "THis is A RobrEy HANDOVER cAsH FAST + No oNE GET HuRT 50 + 100 oNLy."
The errors are so bad, the cops wonder whether they're intended to throw them off.
Detective Vincent O'Leary said the robber is probably someone well known to family, friends and co-workers. Up to $25,000 is being offered as a reward for information leading to a suspect's arrest.
Pot Smell Stinks Up Police Station
JERUSALEM (AP) — The fumes from several tons of marijuana stored in an Israeli police station were so strong that officers had to leave their workplace.
The police station in the town of Dimona in the southern Negev Desert (search) is used to store all the marijuana confiscated along the Israeli-Egyptian border, a busy smuggling route. Between three and four tons were seized in the past two months.
"The smell was overpowering," police spokesman Gil Kleiman said Friday.
Finally, it was too much for the officers working next door to the storage room, and they had to leave their offices.
"Every time I came to work I felt very bad, like I was high. The smell of the marijuana was killing us. We couldn't work," one officer told the Israeli newspaper Maariv.
Next week the marijuana will be destroyed, but the room is expected to fill up again in a couple of months, Kleiman said.
Love Burns Hot, but Not Hot Enough to Melt Plexiglas
LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) — As jailbreaks go, this one was ambitious.
Davidson County, N.C., sheriff's authorities said Teresa Jones Smith packed a mini blowtorch, a handheld cordless drill and a Plexiglas cutting tool when she visited boyfriend Roger Wayne Johnson Jr. on Sunday.
While waiting for Johnson to arrive for their visit, Smith, 44, began melting a corner of the Plexiglas window that separates inmates from visitors, sheriff's Lt. Eddie Curry said.
The billowing smoke drew attention from another visitor, who called jail authorities. They arrested Smith and took her tools away.
Even if Smith had been able to weaken the Plexiglas enough to remove the pane on her side, Curry said, she still would have had to break through a second pane on Johnson's side.
"I don't think it was very well thought out," Curry said of the breakout plan.
Smith told officials she was trying to pass cigarettes to Johnson. But Curry said investigators have recovered mail between the two that indicates they were planning an escape.
Johnson, 24, of High Point, is jailed on several charges, including common-law robbery.
Smith, who lives near the town of Denton, is now behind bars herself, held on $50,000 bond on charges of aiding and abetting escape from a local jail, burning a public building and conveying messages or weapons to an inmate.
"She wanted to be close to him," said Maj. Danny Owens, a spokesman for the sheriff's department. "So she is now."
— Thanks to Out There reader Susan H.
Super Bowl Could Be Super Payoff for Faithful Football Fan
MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. (AP) — Page Long's faith in the Carolina Panthers (search) could net him $10,000.
Last summer, while visiting Las Vegas, Long's sister-in-law Lori Hunt placed a $100 bet for him that the Panthers would win the Super Bowl. Before the 2003 season started, the odds that Carolina would become NFL champions came in at 100-to-1.
"It's a sucker bet. You just don't think you're going to win when you make a bet like that," said Long, a gate supervisor for U.S. Airways for 18 years who lives in Mount Holly, just west of Charlotte. "But there's a lot I can do with that money."
The people who took the money tried to convince Hunt to simply take Long's money and tell him she lost it on the roulette table, she said.
"I walked out of there feeling really dumb," Hunt said. "When I told them I wanted to put $100 on the Carolina Panthers to win the Super Bowl, they all just laughed at me. They said I'd be better off taking the money and putting it in my pocket."
After Hunt brought the voucher back with her, Long put it in a lock box and forgot about it, although he felt the Panthers had the talent to help him collect on his bet.
"I knew the Panthers had a good defense and special teams; I definitely didn't do it because they were the home team," Long said. "If I win, I'm going to take a look at some of the other teams for next year's Super Bowl and bet on them."