An angry, wheelchair-bound Wisconsin man who enjoys flipping off freight trains may have to cut back on his hobby — one of the trains hit him.
Leland Laird, 54, was at his customary position, middle finger proudly aloft, next to the train tracks in Appleton at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, reports the Appleton Post-Crescent.
That's when a Canadian National (search) engine's gas tank clipped Laird's wheelchair, sending him tumbling to the ground.
Laird, who suffered only mild cuts and abrasions, told police he was paralyzed by a train that hit his car in 1989 — but that wasn't the reason he liked shooting them the bird.
"He was upset by the horns," Appleton Police Lt. Pat Matuszewski told the newspaper. "He lives right near the intersection. That's his way of addressing the loud horns blowing."
Engineers and conductors are apparently used to seeing Laird's finger flag flying high and consider him a "regular."
The Canadian National train stopped after hitting Laird's chair while police responded. Laird was given a ticket for being a pedestrian in violation of traffic signals.
Cops suggested that Laird make his grievances known in a more polite manner.
"We'll put him in touch with the right people to make sure his concerns are heard," Matuszewski told the newspaper.
— Thanks to Out There readers Jennifer J., James S., Nate G., Ryan P. and Mike H.
Robbery Attempt Comes to Sticky End
JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A robbery attempt at an ice cream store resulted in a not-so-sweet ending for a would-be thief who authorities say knocked over a large container of strawberry syrup.
According to police, the 24-year-old Jackson man dropped his wallet and apparently slipped in the goo during the break-in early Monday.
"It was kind of a giveaway," Jackson County sheriff's Capt. David Luce said.
A deputy responding to a 12:24 a.m. alarm at TJ's Dairy Freeze located a wallet inside and found a jug of syrup spilled on the floor. It was unclear if anything was taken.
The deputy used an ID in the wallet to track down and arrest the suspect.
"He still had strawberry syrup all over him," Luce told The Jackson Citizen Patriot.
The suspect was to be arraigned later Monday on a charge of breaking and entering.
— Thanks to Out There reader Travis R.
Gosh Darn It, Someone's Messing Up the Darned Library Books
LAYTON, Utah (AP) — A self-appointed editor of library books has given new meaning to "purple prose." The do-it-yourself censor is turning swear words into "darns" and "hecks" — in purple ink.
"They believe it's within their right to deface public property and impose what they believe on others," library director Pete Giacoma said.
"It's a crime. It would be prosecuted if we were to find who did it, by luck or accident," he said.
Destroying or defacing library materials is a class B misdemeanor. It's punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, but Giacoma said the library usually will settle for restitution.
"I think the worry of the public, every once in a while, is that we're doing it," he said. "We're not."
Giacoma said in cases like this, the vandals will usually tire of editing books and stop on their own.
Perfect Cinematic Timing
MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — How ironic is this?
Moviegoers watching the classic 1952 film, "Singing in the Rain" outside at a Medford, Ore., amphitheater were rained on — by sprinklers that came on — and couldn't be shut off.
A theater manager says the roughly 1,000 people laughed at the irony of the situation.
But since workers were afraid the projection equipment would be ruined, they shut off the film while the sprinklers watered the park.
A recent power outage threw off timer clocks for the sprinkler system.
Kansas City Newspaper Readers Outfoxed
OTTAWA, Kan. (AP) — Neighbors in a subdivision of this small eastern Kansas community have spent weeks trying to catch whoever was stealing their Kansas City Star (search) newspapers.
The bold burglar crept onto driveways while subscribers slept, grabbed a paper, then turned tail and ran.
The case was finally solved this weekend when Steve Thompson caught the culprit red-handed, or maybe red-pawed.
A red fox had been grabbing newspapers and taking them to a hollow behind the subdivision, Thompson said. The Ottawa dentist tracked the furry felon to a large pile of newspapers near its den.
"We always thought it was an early-morning jogger," said Lionel Sutton, another subdivision resident who had his paper stolen.
The newspaper carrier even staked out the neighborhood to catch the canny criminal, Sutton said.
Aaron Scheve, a Kansas Wildlife and Parks (search) ranger for the area, said such behavior is unusual, but not out of the ordinary. He said the fox probably used the papers to insulate its den.
Scheve said red foxes have prospered in urban areas and find easy pickings in discarded food, trash and rodents.
"There are probably more foxes in urban areas than in rural areas now," he said. "They've become very adapted to the city."
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Paul Wagenseil.
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