Lazy Man Commandeers Cop Car for Ride Home

Who needs to walk when you can commandeer a cushy cop car instead?

One lazy Japanese man spotted an empty police car left idle beside a post office and decided to hop in for a more comfortable way home.

Police officers had left the vehicle with the engine running as they investigated a report that a stolen car had been seen at the post office, reported the Mainichi newspaper.

"I came out shopping by train, but I got tired walking, so I thought I would drive the police car home," the man told cops.

He was apprehended about 15 minutes later in the driveway of a home, about 2.5 miles from the post office, police told Mainichi.

I'm Not Really a Dealer, I Just Play One on TV

Starring in a show called "Weeds" can lead to some occupational hazards, according to actress Mary Louise Parker.

"A man pulled up in a car next to me the other day and asked if he could buy a bag of weed," she told the New York Daily News.

"I was like, 'No, I've got some graham crackers, though.' I mean, I was holding a toddler [her son William Atticus]!"

Instead, Parker suggested he roll up the graham crackers and smoke those.

Way to Improvise!

HAMPDEN, Maine (AP) — An 80-year-old woman who was watching the Super Bowl alone discovered a way to scare off a man who had broken into her home: fake a heart attack.

The woman was watching Sunday night's Super Bowl when she spotted a man walking through her house, said Hampden police Sgt. Dan Stewart. When she asked the man what he was doing, he grabbed her from behind and began pushing her toward the bedroom.

Stewart said the woman pretended she was having a heart attack and told the intruder her heart medication was in her car in the garage. After they retrieved the medication, the man fled.

"The lady had enough common sense to keep her wits about her to fake a heart attack and avoid becoming another victim," Stewart said.

A 45-year suspect was arrested a short time later and charged with aggravated criminal trespass and assault. He is a convicted sex offender in Alabama, police said.

What's One Toyota Among Friends?

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) — Kate Anderson became an accidental car thief when she went to pick up her daughter's car near an Ohio University building last week.

Anderson spotted the nickel-gray Toyota Camry and used her daughter's key to unlock the car, start the engine and drive home — without realizing that the car wasn't her daughter's.

When student Charlie Vansant left class a short time later, he found only an empty parking spot. He first assumed the car, made in the mid-1980s, had been towed, but when police couldn't find a record of it, they took a theft report.

"I thought it was very, very bizarre," he said.

The morning after Anderson took the car, her daughter discovered the Camry in the driveway wasn't hers. Anderson said she was able to find Vansant's name on paperwork in the glove compartment.

According to a police report, the case was closed "because of mistaken car identity." Anderson wasn't charged.

Vansant seemed to blame the car company more than the "thief." "Her key fit not only my lock, but my ignition as well — so high-five for Toyota, I guess," he said.

Toyota spokesman Bill Kwong said key technology wasn't as sophisticated two decades ago, and there were only so many ways to cut a key, making it possible for such a mix-up to occur.

This Looks Like a Good Place to Drop Drawers

BRATTLEBORO, Vermont (AP) — Blame global warming.

A man is accused of riding nude in a gondola at Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont.

William N. Barrett III of Albany, New York, pleaded not guilty to felony lewd and lascivious conduct and misdemeanor marijuana possession Tuesday in Vermont District Court.

A witness reported to lift attendants that Barrett, 46, was nude and touching himself inappropriately while riding the lift on Dec. 15.

Barrett, who was fully clothed when he reached the bottom of the hill, denied being nude. He told police he had taken off his jacket and shirt because of the nice weather.

He also was charged with marijuana possession. Police found a glass pipe and film canister containing marijuana in his pocket when they arrested him, authorities said.

The Tax Man Cometh

POWAY, Calif. (AP) — A man who gave up a free space ride because he couldn't afford the taxes on the contest prize may be going to the cosmos after all.

Brian Emmett, a 31-year-old software consultant from the San Francisco Bay area, has signed on to become a consultant to a space tourism upstart in exchange for a chance to experience weightlessness some 60 miles above Earth.

Emmett won a future spaceflight as part of a 2005 sweepstakes sponsored by software giant Oracle Corp. He forfeited the prize after calculating he would owe $25,000 in taxes for the spaceflight valued at $139,000.

Enter Benson Space Co., a Poway-based upstart founded by rocket entrepreneur Jim Benson, who is trying to break into the suborbital spaceflight business.

Benson, who dreamed of flying to space as a boy, said he sympathized with Emmett and offered him a consulting position. "He had a dream, the dream got broken and we fixed it," Benson said.

As part of the agreement, the company will pay Emmett to serve as a "test passenger," allowing him to hitch a free ride into space in late 2008 when the company hopes to send its first paying tourists, Benson said.

Compiled by's Hannah Sentenac.

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