High-Tech Pot Bust Becomes Political Issue

Two Swiss pot smokers thought they could puff away undisturbed in a parked car — but they weren't counting on the military surveillance drone flying overhead.

The soldiers testing the pilotless plane via remote control near the city of Lucerne (search) called police when they spotted the pair, reports the Le Matin Dimanche newspaper. Cop cars soon drove up, sirens screaming, and arrested the puffers in mid-joint.

The whole thing would have ended there had not Boris Banga (search), a socialist member of the Swiss parliament, complained to fellow lawmakers that the incident in late May was an infringement of the unnamed smokers' civil liberties.

Defense Minister Samuel Schmid (search) admitted that the drone hadn't been "made to spy on citizens" and reassured the public that the Israeli-built aircraft's camera wasn't powerful enough to identify individuals.

But Schmid went on to argue that "when one is in national service, one is also a citizen, and citizens have the duty to denounce that which seems abnormal."

In this case, Schmid explained, the soldiers guiding the craft had noticed two unidentifiable individuals taking long drags on a lit cigarette being passed back and forth — something clearly "abnormal."

Banga did not respond to that line of reasoning, the paper reports, but he did later make a statement wondering if Swiss citizens should begin to worry about "being observed not only horizontally, but vertically as well."

Switzerland has seven such drones, capable of flying as high as 10,000 feet, said the newspaper. But it added that paranoid residents could take comfort in the fact that none of them can operate more than 60 miles from either of two radio base stations.

Missing: One Lake, 23 Acres in Area, Last Seen Near St. Louis

WILDWOOD, Mo. (AP) — To folks around Wildwood, it is nothing but freaky: an entire 23-acre lake vanished in a matter of days, as if someone had pulled the plug on a bathtub.

Lake Chesterfield (search) went down a sinkhole last week, leaving homeowners in this affluent St. Louis suburb wondering if their property values had disappeared along with their lakeside views.

"It's real creepy," said Donna Ripp, who lives near what had been Lake Chesterfield. "That lake was 23 acres — no small lake. And to wake up one morning, drive by and it's gone?"

What once was an oasis for waterfowl and sailboats was nothing but a muddy, crackled pit outlined by rotting fish.

The sight had 74-year-old George English scratching his head.

"It's disheartening, getting out on your deck and seeing this," he said as he stood next to wife, Betty, and the "lakeside" condominium they bought in 1996 for its view. "One day it's a beautiful lake and now, bingo, it's gone."

Some residents said they noticed that the lake, after being swelled by torrential rains weeks earlier, began falling last weekend. The Englishes said they noticed the drop-off Monday.

By Wednesday, the man-made lake — normally seven to 10 feet deep in spots — had been reduced to a mucky, stinky mess.

David Taylor, a geologist who inspected the lakebed Wednesday, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the sinkhole was formed when water eroded the limestone deep underground and created pockets in the rock. The sinkhole was "like a ticking time bomb."

The lake and surrounding housing development date to the late 1980s. The development now includes more than 670 condominiums and houses, about one-tenth of them bordering the lake.

Because the lake is private property, the subdivision's residents will have to cover the cost of fixing it, probably through special property assessments. George English expects it to cost $1,000 a household.

It is a price English said he is willing to pay. He just wants the unsightly pit gone, either by refilling it with water or dumping enormous amounts of dirt into it to create green space or usable land.

"I think it'll come back again," he said. "You have to hope they can fix it."

— Thanks to Out There readers Brooke W. and Troy H.

Blind Man Drives Drunk Man; Guide Dog Has No Comment

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. (AP) — A blind man drove a golf cart for two miles through the winding streets of Peachtree City, accompanied by his guide dog — and an inebriated friend giving instructions — before running into a parked car, police said.

Nobody was hurt, but Samuel McClain, 35, of Stockbridge and Michael Johnston, 47, of Peachtree City were charged with reckless conduct "due to the blatant disregard for public safety," a police report said.

The report said McClain was driving the cart Saturday while Johnston gave directions after having six or seven beers and "admittedly under the influence of alcoholic beverage." Also on the cart was McClain's golden retriever guide dog.

The city of 34,000 about 25 miles south of Atlanta has about 80 miles of paved cart paths and 9,000 registered carts that residents use for daily tasks like going to the grocery or taking children to school.

— Thanks to Out There readers Kris P. and James A.

Chew a Mouse, Go to Jail

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Two Australian drinkers may land in jail after chewing off the tails of live mice in a pub contest for a $346 prize.

The winner of the mice-eating contest at The Exchange Hotel in the eastern city of Brisbane is being sought for questioning, said the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (search).

The other competitor already has been interviewed over the April incident.

Both men face two years in prison and $52,050 fines, RSPCA Chief Inspector Byron Hall said.

Queensland state Primary Industries Minister Henry Palaszczuk urged anyone with any information about the contest to contact authorities.

"Chewing a mouse and spitting it out is not entertainment, it is barbaric," said Palaszczuk. "All animals deserve respect. How we treat animals is a measure of how civilized our society is. "

Owners of the hotel condemned the contest on Friday and promised it would never happen again. "We are embarrassed this incident occurred at our hotel," said senior manager Scott Agnew.

— Thanks to Out There Reader Don W.

Bank Robber Nets Grand Total of Fifty Bucks

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The robbery of a Plymouth Township, Pa., bank yielded only a single $50 bill, a Montgomery County detective said, and the suspect is in custody.

A man entered a Madison Bank branch on Friday and handed a note to a teller that read, "Give me all your hundreds and fifties FAST."

That man left the bank with one $50 bill and got into a car driven by a woman, Detective Jeff McGee said Monday.

A witness noted the license number, leading to the arrest of two people in Philadelphia: Andre Lamar Henderson, 30, and Lisa Terry Hanna, 41.

"I watched the videotape from the bank's surveillance system and positively identified Henderson as the robber," McGee said.

Henderson had $336 in his possession when arrested, including the $50 bill stolen from the bank on Friday, authorities said. McGee said Henderson is also a suspect in bank robberies in Harrisburg, York and Manheim Township, Lancaster County.

Henderson and Hanna were both in custody Monday night. It wasn't immediately clear if they were represented by lawyers.

Alleged Stick-Up Man Believes in Stripper-Patron Confidentiality

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A man accused of robbing a convenience store was arrested about an hour later after bragging about the theft at a strip club, where he had spent more than $100 of the $156 he stole, authorities said.

Police arrested Arthur Melandeo Ramirez Jr., 35, of Lafayette, on charges of robbery, theft, confinement and intimidation.

The convenience store's cashier said a man waited Sunday night until other customers made purchases before demanding money and indicating that he had a gun. Investigators used the store's surveillance video to obtain a description of the robber.

About 75 minutes later, the staff at a strip club called police about a customer who was bragging to dancers that he had just committed a robbery, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Monday in Tippecanoe Superior Court.

Police said Ramirez, who was arrested at the club, had spent much of the money taken in the robbery to buy drinks and tip dancers.

Ramirez was being held Tuesday in the Tippecanoe County Jail on $25,000 surety bond.

Man Surprised at Massive Stomach Pains After Eating Metal Rods

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese doctors removed three metal construction rods from a man's stomach about a month after he swallowed them in a rice-whiskey-drinking challenge, an official said Monday.

Huynh Ngoc Son, 22, swallowed the rods, which were 6.7 inches long and 0.2 inches thick, after being dared by his drinking buddies in mid-May, said Dr. Le Quang Nghia of Binh Dan Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.

Son went to the hospital last week complaining of serious stomach pains, and X-rays revealed the construction bars were lodged in his stomach, Nghia said.

The rods were removed during a 30-minute operation, and Son's stomach was not seriously damaged by the ordeal, Nghia said.

Son was in stable condition Monday and was expected to be discharged from the hospital this week, he said.

Compiled by Foxnews.com's Paul Wagenseil.

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