Stop that incredibly slow-moving lawn mower!
A drunk parolee who allegedly stole a riding lawn mower led Southern View, Ill., cops on a low-speed chase through a cornfield, according to The State Journal-Register.
Officers told the paper Charles H. Carter, 45, was a "happy drunk" — laughing at police as they chased him through the 180-acre field.
"I happened to be driving south when the call went out, and lo and behold, off to the west there was this man bouncing through the cornfield with his ponytail flopping in the breeze," Southern View officer Kurt Taraba told The State Journal-Register.
An anonymous call around 1 p.m. tipped off Sangamon County Sheriff's Deputy Jim Tapscott that Carter had stolen the mower and was driving it to a nearby storage facility.
A quick background check revealed that the mow-jacker was wanted for violating his Illinois Department of Corrections parole.
Police set up a perimeter around the mow-jacker while Tapscott and a second deputy drove into the field for a chat. The officers introduced themselves and told him to stop driving, but he wouldn't listen, Tapscott said.
"I thought, 'You're on a riding mower, and we're in a car,'" Tapscott told The State Journal-Register, laughing. "He was only going four or five miles per hour, so I got out and jogged alongside him."
The low-speed chase came to a thrilling finish when Tapscott threatened to stun Carter with a Taser, and he finally shut off the engine.
Police arrested the mow-jacker, and his parole agent took him back to the pokey.
— Thanks to Out There readers John A. and Greg M.
'Cud I Have a Ride Home, Occifer?
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — The man got a ride all right — just not the one he was expecting.
Police say a 20-year-old man was so disoriented after a night of drinking that he hopped into a police patrol car thinking it was a taxi.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Deputy Esther Beckman was questioning a bicyclist on the street when the suspect, whose name was not released, hopped into her cruiser.
Officers let the bicyclist go. But the man looking to hail a cab was taken to jail on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol and cocaine.
— Thanks to Out There reader Don W.
Someone Must Stop These Mad Turtle Thieves!
BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese nature park is tightening security after suffering a mini-crime wave targeting turtles.
The Shanghai Natural Wild Insect Kingdom has lost 13 of its 18 turtles in recent weeks after visitors walked away with them, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported.
The park has put bars around the turtle tank and posted security guards to protect the animals, one of its managers, Chen Min, told the newspaper.
The stolen turtles were about the size of a child's hand, Chen said.
"It is very difficult for our security guards to detect someone stealing a turtle, because the turtles can be put into pockets, and they don't utter sounds, even if they are attacked," she said.
The park also lost a ferret — imported from the United States at a cost of $600 — after a visitor took it out of its cage. The ferret was found later in a hay stack in a sheep pen, the report said.
And the Sermon Was About Forgiveness
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A preacher who was punched in the face during a church service met with his alleged assailant, saying he wanted to pray for him.
The Rev. Billy Joe Daugherty said Tuesday that Steven Wayne Rogers showed no remorse and offered no apology during their meeting at the Tulsa Jail.
"He said he'd do whatever he wants, to whomever he wants, whenever he wants," Daugherty said.
Rogers, 50, was identified as the man who came forward during an altar call near the end of Sunday's Victory Christian Center service, motioned for Daugherty to approach and then hit Daugherty twice, opening a cut above Daugherty's eye that required two stitches.
The episode was videotaped as part of the service and broadcast on TV news shows.
"I had just told the [biblical] story of Paul and Silas being beaten and thrown into jail," said Daugherty, whose church is one of Tulsa's largest.
"They were mistreated, but they praised God," he said. "I was talking about living a lifestyle of praise, through every situation. This [attack] was like an illustrated sermon."
Daugherty said he returned to the stage following the attack, not knowing that his face was smeared with blood.
He also offered prayers.
"We immediately forgave the man and acknowledged that he didn't realize what he was doing," Daugherty said. "We prayed that God would help him."
Daugherty said he did not know his attacker and did not plan to press charges.
Police Sgt. Kim Presley said assault charges had not been filed and no report on the assault was on file.
Police said Rogers was cited Sunday for simple assault by a security guard at Victory Christian Center who said he was struck while helping another guard control the situation.
However, Rogers remained in jail after being arrested Sunday on a bench warrant issued for failure to appear in court for violating a protective order.
Fifteen years ago, Rogers struck Richard Roberts, son of evangelist Oral Roberts, while Roberts was rehearsing for his "Richard Roberts Live" television show, the Tulsa World reported Wednesday. Roberts did not file charges.
— Thanks to Out There readers Brian H. and Shannon O.
Good Lord, This Place Is Crawling With Cats!
WASHINGTON (AP) — About 56 cats were recovered Tuesday from a Northeast Washington home where authorities said the animals were being hoarded.
"There are cats on the floors, and in the cabinets, and under the dishwasher, and behind the refrigerator, and under cabinets, and in closets," said Adam Parascandola with the Washington Humane Society. Conditions inside the home were beyond belief, he said.
"A very strong smell of ammonia, and there's only a few litter boxes for all the cats and they're all incredibly overflowing. And with this number of cats they won't go in the litter box, they go all over the furniture and the floors," Parascandola said.
Officials said they had been to the house in June after getting a complaint. Back then, there were about two-dozen cats. Another round of complaints brought them back to the home Tuesday.
Two of the cats were dead and the rest were in varying degrees of health. Officials said some will have to be euthanized. For the time being, they were being kept at the shelter.
A woman and her grown son who live in the modest home were taken to a hospital for check ups.
This is just the latest cat hoarding case in the metro area. In July, a Fairfax County, Va., woman was arrested after authorities found more than 400 cats, both dead and alive, in two homes.
I Know, We Should Call It 'Creepy Skull Day'
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — It's a tradition people outside Bolivia might find creepy: families perch human skulls on altars, revering them and asking them for protection and good luck. On Tuesday, the skulls were gussied up and taken to cemeteries, where the families crowned them with flowers and filled their jaws with lit cigarettes.
The chapel in La Paz's main cemetery was filled with hundreds of people jockeying to get their skull, or "natita," in a good position for a special annual mass. Thousands more people gathered outside.
"I was scared of them at first, but now I realize I was scared because I wasn't taking care of them," said Shirley Vargas, who brought two skulls, which she calls Vicente and Maria, to the mass. "Now I keep them in my room with me. I love them a lot, and they have helped our family when we've had problems."
Milton Eyzaguirre, an anthropologist, said Bolivians are now more willing to bring out their skulls than before.
"People are bringing back the idea that we're not separated from the dead ... but that life and death are always connected," said Eyzaguirre, a curator at La Paz's Museum of Ethnography and Folklore.
The tradition reflects the force of pre-Hispanic belief in this poor country whose population is majority Indian; the Roman Catholic Church has chosen to recognize this and other non-Catholic traditions as a way of retaining its own influence.
On Tuesday, people of all ages entered the chapel carrying skulls in fancy glass boxes or on silver platters. Others used plastic bags, shoe boxes or baskets. Most of the skulls were decorated with bright knit caps, cotton wool in the eyes and crowns of red roses and hydrangeas.
Vargas said she got her skulls from a medical student. She believes they helped her father recover from a chronic back problem.
The ancient Andean belief is that people have seven souls, and one of them stays with the skull, Eyzaguirre said. This soul has the power to visit people in their dreams and provide protection.
Eyzaguirre said he began believing in the skulls when a building at the museum collapsed, killing four construction workers, after he moved out some skulls without a proper ceremony. The museum staff held a ceremony, offering food and drink, and he's had no problems since, the curator said.
Some Bolivians also credit the skulls for success in business and with family.
Rubita Montano believes her natita helped her recover $4,000 in stolen money. On Tuesday, she sat in a grassy patch in the cemetery and handed bags of coca leaves to strangers who prayed to the skull, named Tatiana Dumas.
Montano said she bought the skull at a cemetery. It's common for cemetery workers to take skulls from graves when relatives either abandon their dead or stop paying cemetery bills, said Eyzaguirre. The practice isn't legal, but officials turn a blind eye to it.
"She's like a daughter or a sister in my house," said Montano as she chewed coca leaves and arranged lit cigarettes in the skull's mouth. Others, like Viviana Martinez, use the skulls of relatives. "This is my cousin Juan Jose. I've had him for 30 years and he helps me with everything," Martinez said.
The Rev. Jaime Fernandez, who has given a mass for the skulls for 10 years, acknowledges the challenge of reconciling Catholic teachings with this ancient Indian belief. "I use my time today to teach them Christian values and symbols, but I have to watch what I say or the people will get upset," he said.
— Thanks to Out There reader Beth M.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Andrew Hard.
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