Freaky Friday news: PETA protests possum drop

Unusual news nuggets from around the globe:

RALEIGH, N.C. — If a national animal rights group gets its way, people in a small mountain town in North Carolina will have to greet the new year without lowering a scrappy marsupial to the ground. Clay Logan, who owns the Clay’s Corner store in the far western tip of the state, has been lowering an opossum in a transparent box to the ground every New Year’s for 18 years, in a local homage to the famous ball drop in Times Square. This year, though, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called on the state Wildlife Resources Commission to put a halt to the tradition, saying the activity is both cruel and illegal. PETA claims that Logan lacks the necessary permit to have wild animals, and that the annual event fails to meet the legal standard of “humane treatment” of animals. “Oh yeah, they love me,” Logan said of PETA.

Police: Thieves pocket-dial 911, leading to arrest

MADISON, Wis. — Police in Wisconsin’s capital city barely had to try to catch a pair of unlucky suspected thieves. Madison police say two men in their late 20s stole DVDs and computer games from a Target store and discussed their plans to fence the goods while driving away. Investigators say the duo didn’t realize one of them had accidentally pocket-dialed 911. A dispatcher listened in for nearly an hour as they discussed what they had stolen and where they might sell it. Police say they even described their vehicle, which officers surrounded with guns drawn.

Cable guy finds sleeping bear in NJ basement

HOPATCONG, N.J. — A cable TV repairman got quite a surprise when he walked into the basement of a New Jersey home. There was a 500-pound bear sound asleep on the floor. The bear had been spotted wandering in the neighborhood earlier in the day. It’s not clear how it got into the home. The bear ambled out of the house before state Fish and Game officials arrived.

Cat’s 26 toes save animal shelter

MILWAUKEE — Behold the power of paws. The Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center in suburban Milwaukee parlayed a cat’s near-record 26 toes into a fundraising windfall, raising $125,000 in about six weeks. Center owner Amy Rowell started asking for $26 donations — or $1 per toe — on Oct. 31. She wanted to raise money for a new building after finding out her rent at a mall would double Jan. 1. The biggest number of contributions came from $26 donations. Rowell says she saved Daniel, Daniel saved the center and now he’ll save other animals.

Marijuana flung from car pelts Oregon trooper

EUGENE Ore. — An Oregon state trooper says he was giving chase at more than 100 mph when suspects in the car ahead ripped open half-pound bags of marijuana and began flinging it out of the window. Trooper Clay Core said the pot was “pelting my car” as the chase continued north along Interstate 5 toward Eugene. Eventually, the car stopped, and officers detained two Washington state men on several charges, including tampering with evidence. Core says jettisoning the pot was an unsuccessful attempt to get rid of evidence.

Thief slips away with truckload of margarine

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Authorities are searching for a thief who slipped away with a truckload of margarine bound for an Iowa warehouse. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that authorities say a semitrailer packed with the spread, about $50,000 worth, disappeared during the weekend from a truck stop in Elks Run, near Waterloo. The margarine was bound for a Target warehouse in Cedar Falls. The driver left the trailer at the truck stop to wait until the warehouse had space. A thief hooked up the trailer and drove off with the margarine.

Israeli changes his name to Mark Zuckerberg

JERUSALEM — Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, meet your Israeli doppelganger: Mark Zuckerberg. Israeli entrepreneur Rotem Guez says he has legally changed his name to that of Facebook’s CEO, a gimmick meant to persuade the social networking site to back down from what he says are threats to take legal action against him. He’s telling Facebook: “If you want to sue me, you’re going to have to sue Mark Zuckerberg.” He says a lawyer for Facebook pressed him this week to close his online business Like Store, calling it illegal. Like Store promises to enhance companies’ online reputations by offering Facebook users free content only accessible by clicking “like” on the companies’ profiles.

Man asks officer: ’Can I have my weed back?’

BEAVER, Pa. — A defense attorney’s argument that a bag of marijuana uncovered during a Pennsylvania traffic stop could have belonged to a man other than his client has unraveled after an arresting officer recalled the suspect asking him: “Can I have my weed back?” Nineteen-year-old Devonte Davon Jeter was one of four men in a car stopped by Midland police. Jeter’s attorney said the marijuana could have belonged to any one of the men in the car. But the prosecutor told the judge: “I don’t know what else ‘Can I have my weed back?’ can mean, other than it’s his.”

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