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Weekly weird news

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Sunday, November 27, 2011 - 12:01 am

Turkey crashes through restaurant window

PENN HILLS, Pa. — A wild turkey smashed through a plate glass window at an empty western Pennsylvania restaurant and ended up where millions of its fellow gobblers did on Thanksgiving: a dining room.

Penn Hills police Officer Bernard Sestili says the feathered fowl didn’t survive impact when it barreled into the dining room of the Eat’n Park in Penn Hills on Thursday afternoon. The restaurant was closed at the time.

Sestili says he responded when the building’s alarm went off.

He suspects the turkey may have been roosting in a nearby tree when it “got up this morning and went for his morning flight and flew into the window.”

Georgia farmers fight pecan thieves

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Hired by farmers as a private security guard, Brooks Rucker patrols thousands of acres of Georgia farmland on the lookout for thieves toting 5-gallon buckets.

He rarely comes up empty handed. Since the fall harvest began Oct. 1, Rucker says, he and two other guards have caught more than 160 culprits in the act. Some they let go. Others get handed over to police. Either way, he’s recovered thousands of dollars’ worth of stolen goods: mounds of pecans snatched from his employers’ trees.

“It’s an all-day hassle trying to keep these folks out,” said Rucker. “You’ll pull into a pecan grove and they’ll have a 10-foot extension ladder trying to shake the pecans loose with poles. It’s bad.”

At a time when farmers should be giving thanks for pecans selling at record prices, they’re instead cracking down on thieves. One sheriff in pecan-growing country says his department gets several calls a week reporting pecan snatchers, while the prosecutor in the area anticipates prosecuting dozens of pecan-theft cases.

It’s not just pecan pies and other nutty goodies driving demand so close to the holidays. Prices have soared as China has developed an insatiable appetite for pecans, while withering drought in the southern U.S. has limited supplies.

In Georgia, the nation’s top pecan producer, farmers and authorities say criminals can earn a tidy profit by stealing the nuts — worth $1.50 or more per pound in smaller quantities. Pecan grower Bucky Geer estimates a single 5-gallon bucketful is worth about $38.

Professor barred from demanding snacks

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California university professor can no longer demand snacks from students taking his psychology classes.

Sacramento State professor George Parrott has demanded snacks from his students for 39 years. Students were told of the snack demand on the first day of class. But two weeks ago he walked out of his Psychology 101 lab class because there were no snacks.

University spokeswoman Kimberly Nava says members of the psychology department at California State University, Sacramento decided Parrott’s decision to walk out of class was unacceptable and the dean told him to stop.

Cops: Woman tried to smuggle drugs inside Bible

LANCASTER, S.C. — Deputies in South Carolina say a woman used two hollowed-out Bibles to try to smuggle weapons, drugs and a cell phone to a prison inmate.

Sheriff Barry Faile said Monday authorities began investigating 28-year-old Shareca Latoya Jones earlier this month after a package mailed to Lieber Correctional Institution was returned to a post office in Lancaster. Inside the package were two Bibles containing razor knives, a cell phone, ecstasy pills and more than 28 grams of cocaine.

Deputies identified Jones as the person who mailed the package from a Kershaw post office. In her car, authorities found a loaded handgun, drugs, cell phones and cash.

Jones is facing drug and contraband charges. She was released from jail on bond, and it wasn’t known if she had an attorney.