Cookie Container Bamboozles Burglar

A home intruder almost got caught with his hands in the cookie jar.

An unidentified man slipped through Loretta Lynn Scott's open window last Friday morning around 1 a.m., reports the Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle.

He zeroed in on a tall container in the darkened living room and opened the lid.

"STOP!" said a loud recorded voice. "MOVE AWAY FROM THE COOKIE JAR!"

That was enough to awaken Scott. The 30-year-old Augusta resident got up to check out the noise.

"I thought maybe one of my kids had snuck in," she told the Chronicle, "but they always come into my room when they get up."

Unfortunately, the would-be burglar was already on his way out. All Scott saw was a white sneaker diving out the window.

"It wasn't funny at the time, but now it's hilarious," she said of the incident.

As for the somewhat obnoxious cookie jar, a gift from her mother, it's now earned a special place in Scott's heart.

"It's my guardian angel," she said, "and I'm not getting rid of it."

The foiled filcher would have gotten nothing out of the jar anyway — Scott's daughters had eaten all the cookies earlier that evening.

— Thanks to Out There reader Edmond K.

No Shaking Hands — and Definitely No Kissing Babies

SOUTHBURY, Conn. (AP) — No matter what the deal, don't expect this city official to shake on it.

First Selectman Mark Cooper (search) held a news conference Dec. 9 to announce that he won't be shaking hands with anyone until flu season is over sometime next year.

"As a man who shakes many hands ... I don't want to be a vector for flu transmission," he said. "I certainly don't want to be associated with, 'Oh sure, didn't I shake Cooper's hand last week? Now I've got the flu.'"

A first selectman (search) is the chief executive of many New England towns.

Cooper said if anyone offers their hand, he will politely decline and give them a brochure on how to stay healthy this winter. He says he wants to set an example by limiting his contact with people.

"Flu season has started, and I don't want to pass along those germs," he said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (search) no longer recommend that people sneeze into their hands because that makes it easier to spread germs. People should sneeze into the crux of their elbow or a tissue, health officials say.

"The problem is most people can't grab that tissue in time," Cooper said.

— Thanks to Out There reader Susan K.

Assault With a Deadly Pork Chop

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — A prison inmate in Cleveland County is accused of stabbing another prisoner with a sharpened pork chop bone.

Lexington Correctional Center (search) inmate Erenesto Hernanced-Rosales, 39, was charged Dec. 8 with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

According to correctional officers, Hernandez-Rosales got into a fight with the other inmate on Nov. 28 and stabbed the man under the left eye with the bone. The bone had been sharpened and fashioned into a weapon.

Hernandez-Rosales admitted that he tried to stab the man's eye out, the correctional officers said.

Hernandez-Rosales is serving an eight-year sentence from Kay County for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

A spokeswoman for the Lexington Correctional Center said the inmate, who was not identified, was not seriously injured.

"It did break the skin, but it hit that cheek bone below the eye socket, so the injuries were not life-threatening," said spokeswoman Genese McCoy. "He was very lucky."

Assault With a Not-Quite-Deadly Burger

ROCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — It may be the first documented case of multitasking rage.

Tony Carr wanted to pay for his burger. Instead, police say, he ended up smooshing the patty in a store clerk's face.

Police say Carr got angry on Nov. 28 because he wanted to pay for his burger while he was microwaving it at a Cumberland Farms (search) convenience store.

But the clerk, Scott Litzenberger, told Carr he had to bring the burger to the counter 15 feet away to pay for it, police said.

After a sharp exchange of words, investigators say, Carr walked back to the microwave, removed the steaming burger and walked back to Litzenberger.

The two apparently exchanged a few brief words again, when the customer, "just lost it," according to another clerk.

Instead of paying for it, Carr shoved it into Litzenberger's face, burning his face and eye, police Sgt. Anthony Triano said.

"That time of night, you tend to get people who are belligerent. They want things they can't have and we just try and do our job," said Bill Rollo, another clerk at the store.

Rollo said when he showed up to relieve Litzenberger, "he had a burned eye and eyeball. It was all red."

Carr, 37, of Berwick, Maine, turned himself in Dec. 8. He was charged with simple assault and criminal mischief, both misdemeanors, and released on $5,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 3.

Teacher Feeds Toddlers Dog Food

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A teaching assistant gave some preschoolers dog food to eat during a play-acting exercise at Northeast Tacoma Elementary School (search).

A Tacoma School District spokeswoman said the children spat out the dry dog food and no one suffered any ill effects.

The teaching assistant has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation.

District spokeswoman Patti Holmgren said it happened Dec. 6 in an early education class while the supervisor was out of the room.

When a few of the students pretended to be puppies, getting down on their hands and knees and barking, the assistant attempted to encourage their playacting. She fetched a packet of dry dog food from another room and placed bits on paper plates on the floor.

The dog food came from a display intended to teach the preschoolers what not to eat, Holmgren said.

School Principal Pat Flores learned about the incident Tuesday after a parent complained. In a letter sent Wednesday to parents, Flores called the event "unfortunate."

Town Tries to Sniff Out Source of Bad Smell

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Authorities in New Hampshire want to know if something's still rotten in Concord.

In an effort to deal with complaints about odors, Concord officials have hired a Massachusetts company to identify and quantify exactly what smells are bothering residents.

The company is looking for several dozen volunteers to help. Sniffers will be trained to identify smells, and asked to keep records about what odors they detect and when.

Complaints have centered on a 23-year-old wastewater treatment plant. Since the Hall Street plant opened, city officials have spent millions of dollars to rid Concord of the smell.

The current effort is expected to cost at least another $1 million.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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