- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2008

FLORIDA

Woman finds gator in her kitchen

OLDSMAR — And some people get jittery about mice in the kitchen.

Authorities said a 69-year-old Central Florida woman found an 8-foot-long alligator prowling in her kitchen late Monday night.

Sandra Frosti said the gator must have pushed through the back porch screen door and then went inside through an open sliding glass door at her home in Oldsmar, just north of Tampa. It then apparently strolled through the living room, down a hall and into the kitchen.

A trapper with Animal Capture of Florida removed the alligator, which was cut by a plate that was knocked to the ground during the chaos.

No one inside the house was injured.

NEW YORK

Mail carrier catches falling baby

ALBANY — A postal worker is credited with saving a 1-year-old girl”s life by catching her after she fell out of a second-story window in Albany.

Lisa Harrell was delivering mail to a home late Monday morning when she noticed a baby in a window above the front door. She said the next thing she knew, the baby had fallen into her arms.

When the baby”s mother realized what happened, she ran outside and grabbed the girl from Miss Harrell. The woman thanked Miss Harrell and then ran down the street to her mother”s house.

Paramedics checked the baby at the scene but found no injuries.

No charges are being filed against the mother, who says she had placed her daughter on a bed that was up against the window.

The mother said her back was turned when her daughter crawled out the open window.

GEORGIA

Bum-busting robot patrols city street

ATLANTA — Cars passing O’Terrill’s pub screech to a halt at the sight of a 300-pound, waist-high robot marked “SECURITY” rolling through downtown long after dark.

The regulars hardly glance outside. They’ve seen bar owner Rufus Terrill’s invention on patrol before — its bright red lights and brighter spotlight blazing, infrared video camera filming and water cannon at the ready in the spinning turret on top.

“You’re trespassing. That’s private property,” Mr. Terrill scolds an older man through the robot’s loudspeaker. “Go on.” The man’s hands go up and he shuffles into the shadows. Almost immediately, a group of men behind him scatters too.

The electronic vigilante — on the beat since September — has enraged neighborhood activists, who have threatened protests.

Mr. Terrill, a 57-year-old ex-Marine, said more police now patrol the area at night, the park across the street feels safer and he’s had no break-ins since the cube-shaped robot, which he controls with a wireless remote, has roamed the area.

INDIANA

Pregnant bank teller shot during robbery

INDIANAPOLIS — A bank teller pregnant with twins was shot in the stomach during a robbery yesterday morning, and police were questioning two teenagers as “persons of interest.”

Indianapolis police spokesman Lt. Jeff Duhamell said the teller, who is five months pregnant, was in serious to critical condition but was alert when taken to a hospital.

Police did not release the teller’s name or age, or say whether the fetuses were hit.

The gunman came into the Huntington Bank branch about 9:30 a.m., jumped over the counter screaming and shot the teller in the lower abdomen, Lt. Duhamell said. He then fired another shot as he was running out of the bank, he said.

Lt. Duhamell said the shooter got away with money, but would not say how much.

NEVADA

Man indicted on ricin charges

LAS VEGAS — A man suspected to have been poisoned by ricin found later in his hotel room was indicted yesterday on federal charges that include possession of a biological toxin.

Roger Bergendorff and his lawyer, Paul Riddle, did not appear when U.S. District Court Magistrate Peggy Leen unsealed the indictment and scheduled Mr. Bergendorff for an arraignment and plea May 2, federal prosecutor Gregory Damm said.

Mr. Damm declined to comment further, and Mr. Riddle did not respond to messages.

Mr. Bergendorff, 57, also was charged with possession of unregistered firearms and possession of firearms not identified by serial number. The charges against him carry a possible penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a $750,000 fine.

The unemployed graphic designer was hospitalized Feb. 14 and spent several weeks in what authorities variously described as a coma and heavy sedation before he was released from a Las Vegas hospital April 16 into the waiting arms of FBI agents.

NEW MEXICO

Wildfire burns several homes

MANZANO — Crews got a break from the weather yesterday as they battled a wildfire that had destroyed nine homes in central New Mexico’s Manzano mountains. No injuries were reported.

“The weather overnight was quite calm and the wind died down,” said Dan Bastion, a public information officer. That was expected to continue yesterday, he said, allowing fire crews to strengthen containment lines.

The blaze, which began April 15 in the Cibola National Forest, had covered 4,130 acres, or nearly 6.5 square miles, and was 27 percent contained, Mr. Bastion said.

A voluntary evacuation notice for the communities of Manzano and Torreon was lifted yesterday, said John Cordova, Torrance County emergency manager.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Student to face WMD charge

CHESTERFIELD — An 18-year-old accused of planning to bomb his high school will be charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a possible life sentence, the top federal prosecutor in South Carolina said yesterday.

Ryan Schallenberger, a straight-A student, also will face two lesser federal charges stemming from what authorities say was a scheme to detonate explosives in a suicide attack on his high school in the small town of Chesterfield.

Kevin McDonald, the acting U.S. attorney for South Carolina, said the federal charge comes into play mostly because Mr. Schallenberger ordered materials that can be used for bombs through the mail.

Mr. Schallenberger was arrested on state charges Saturday. Authorities said his parents called police because he had ordered 10 pounds of ammonium nitrate, which they retrieved after getting a delivery notice from the postal service. Ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer that was a component in the deadly 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

TEXAS

Sect children move into foster care

SAN ANGELO — Child welfare officials yesterday started moving 437 children of a polygamous sect to temporary foster care facilities around Texas.

At the same time, authorities were taking DNA samples from sect members to sort out the children’s ties to parents in the close-knit Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sect.

Lawyers inside the San Angelo Coliseum where the children had been housed for more than two weeks said Children’s Protective Services representatives set up tight security and no one was allowed in or out of the coliseum while the children were loaded on to buses.

State district Judge Barbara Walther had signed an order earlier yesterday allowing the state to begin moving the children into temporary foster care facilities — group homes or other privately run facilities — until court-ordered DNA testing is completed and individual custody hearings can be completed by June.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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