Holiday 'Santarchy' Consumes City

Mrs. Claus definitely needs to keep Santa off the sauce.

A rampaging mob of 40 men dressed up as Santa Claus, most of them intoxicated, ran amok Saturday through Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, assaulting security guards, robbing businesses and urinating from highway overpasses, police told The Associated Press.

Dubbed "Santarchy," the Kris Kringle craziness started in the early afternoon when the mob, clad in poorly fitting Saint Nick outfits, heaved beer bottles and urinated on cars from an overpass, Auckland Central Police spokesman Noreen Hegarty told the AP.

The sinister Santas then rampaged through a city park, spray-painting office buildings, chucking bottles at cars and flipping over garbage cans, Hegarty said.

One of the screwy Saint Nicks allegedly climbed up the mooring line of a nearby cruise ship before the captain ordered him to get back down.

A group of security guards started to arrest the Santa, but several other Santas objected and attacked them, Hegarty said.

Paramedics later treated two of the guards for cuts from being hit with beer bottles, she said.

The rest of the rampaging Santas burst into a downtown Auckland convenience store — making off with soft drinks and, alas, even more beer.

"They came in, said 'Merry Christmas' and then helped themselves," owner Changa Manakynda told the AP.

Police and security guards arrested three of the senseless Saint Nicks, including the Santa who shimmied up the cruise ship's line, and charged them with drunkenness and disorderly behavior.

The "Santarchy" madness was part of a worldwide movement to protest the commercialization of the Christmas holiday, group spokesman Alex Dyer told the AP.

— Thanks to Out There readers Susan A., Derek H. and Beth M.

Going All the Way for Fido

SALEM, Mass. (AP) — A firefighter stretched the bounds of duty by administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to save a dog caught in a fire. Pixie, a 12-pound terrier crossbreed, was not breathing Tuesday when firefighters pulled her from a Salem home filled with smoke and flames.

Pixie was "seizing," with her back arched and mouth wide open. Firefighter Richard LeBlanc put his mouth on the dog's mouth in attempt to breath for the dog and revive it. After another firefighter gave Pixie oxygen, the dog was taken to a local veterinary clinic for emergency treatment.

The dog, owned by Phil and Kathy Kindler, survived.

"She looks good, and she's breathing comfortably," veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Bradt told The Salem News.

No one was injured in the fire, which officials believe may have been started by faulty wiring.

Capt. Alan Dionne said the firefighters' work demonstrates an important ethical guideline in the profession.

"Save lives first and property second," he said. "It's always life first. And that means every life."

— Thanks to Out There reader Betsi A.

The World's Littlest Counterfeiters

GARY, Ind. (AP) — A cafeteria worker thought it was odd that a fourth-grader would pay for his lunch with a $20 bill.

The cashier at Marquette Elementary School was right. The cashier, who also noticed that the texture of the paper wasn't right, alerted the school's police officer, Patrolman Greg Tatum, who asked the 10-year-old about the money.

"He reached into his front pocket and pulled out more," Tatum said.

The discovery Tuesday led to the arrest of three fourth-graders at the Gary school, where police and school officials confiscated $179 in counterfeit money.

All three face juvenile charges of forgery and theft, Cpl. Nelson Otano after the students were brought to the police station.

Police found the bills in a trashcan next to a computer when they went to the first boy's home Tuesday, Gary Police Cpl. Nelson Otano said.

"It looked like they were trying to perfect them," he said.

Police arrested two 10-year-old boys and a 12-year-old girl. In all, police identified seven fake 20s, three 10s, one five and four ones, Otano said.

Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Golden Teeth?

YORK, Pa. (AP) — The Salvation Army has often found some odd items in its famous red kettles. But gold teeth?

A worker tallying collections Thursday found a pair of golden molars in a plastic bag inside a kettle, said Maj. Darren Mudge of the nonprofit organization in York County.

"I have no clue what we are going to do with them," Mudge said. "It's a wonderful gesture, I guess."

Less than two weeks ago, Salvation Army workers wondered if three golden rings placed in two kettles were generous donations or lost items.

Mudge joked at the time that workers would keep checking for two more rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree.

Then, two more golden rings appeared. Followed by 13 more. That's an unprecedented 18 so far this year.

"I think people have picked up on it and now it's a trend," Mudge said.

Florida Man Becomes the Drunken Houdini

SELDEN, N.Y. (AP) — A Florida man arrested Saturday for alleged drunken driving slipped off his handcuffs, slid into the driver's seat of a police car and sped off, police said. He was captured a short time later.

Just before the incident, Thomas Elflein, 26, was spotted trying to avoid a DWI checkpoint by pulling into a gas station around 12:30 a.m., said Suffolk County Police Detective Sgt. William Lamb.

Officers handcuffed him and put him in the back of a marked police car, Lamb said. But while an officer was outside recording license information, Elflein pulled off the handcuffs, got into the driver's seat and drove away, Lamb said. He said Elflein eventually abandoned the police car and was tracked down by search dogs.

Elflein, of Deltona, Fla., was charged with third-degree grand larceny, resisting arrest, third-degree escape, driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation.

He was to be arraigned in district court in Central Islip, on Long Island.

— Thanks to Out There reader Derek H.

Didn't You Learn From Trying to Fake Your Report Card?

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — Next time, just pay the ticket. William S. Shufro, 46, faces a felony forgery charge for allegedly trying to alter a $100 ticket received for parking illegally in a handicapped space.

Police allege that Shufro tried to alter the ticket to give the appearance that it had been issued for parking in a no-parking zone, which carries just a $20 fine.

The altered ticket was sent to City Hall, along with $20, Police Lt. Fred Hoysradt said.

Police, who had a copy of the original ticket, saw the change then charged Shufro with forgery, a felony punishable by 3 1/2 to seven years in prison, Hoysradt said.

Shufro was arraigned on the charge in Portsmouth District Court on Monday.

"Your honor, this is a parking violation," Shufro told Judge Sharon DeVries as he was being arraigned.

DeVries corrected him.

A hearing on the case has been scheduled for Jan. 3 in Portsmouth District Court.

— Thanks to Out There reader Beth M.

Oh, I See, the Clog Was Some Nude Guy ...

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A plumbing problem at a Spokane home turned out to be a naked man. Police say a woman who thought she was having a problem with water pipes beneath the floor called the Water Department. Employees found the basement barricaded, and when they determined there was someone behind the door, they called police.

Police broke through the door, found the naked man and took him into custody. They searched the basement but found no clothing for the man. They also found that a pipe had been broken and repaired.

The 36-year-old was booked into jail for investigation of burglary.

— Thanks to Out There readers Derek H. and Beth M.

Compiled by's Andrew Hard.

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