Only in America

Car vandalism culprit? Evidence points to a bear

SONTAG, Miss. (AP) — Stealing a picnic basket is one thing. Mauling a car is quite another. A Mississippi wildlife department biologist says a bear attacked a woman’s car Friday in the Sontag community about 60 miles south of Jackson. Jamie Holt tells the Jackson Clarion-Ledger there were tooth and claw marks consistent with a bear on the front wheel wells and hood. There was headlight damage, and the front license tag holder was ripped off. There was also a muddy bear track nearby. No one was inside the car, and it’s not clear what prompted the attack. There was no food inside. A nearby trash can was untouched, as were apples in the yard. Mississippi’s black bear population is growing, and bears are increasingly seen in areas where they’ve not been seen before.

Man with red sauce on face charged with meatball theft

HAZLE TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) — Police say a damning clue led to the arrest of a Pennsylvania man charged with stealing a pot of meatballs — red sauce smeared on his face and clothes. Authorities in Luzerne County have charged 48-year-old Leahman Glenn Robert Potter with burglary, criminal trespass and theft by unlawful taking for allegedly swiping a pot of meatballs from a man’s garage on Monday. Police say the victim reported his meatballs missing and told officers at around 2:30 p.m. Monday that he saw Potter standing in front of his house with red sauce on his face and clothes. The pot was found on the street. It’s unclear if Potter washed the sauce off before he was arrested a short time later. Potter’s attorney did not immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment.

Motorists offered ice cream as sweet relief from potholes

FRANKLIN, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit business is offering a treat for those who have had their driving disrupted by potholes in recent weeks. The Detroit Free Press reports Farmhouse Coffee & Ice Cream in Franklin is offering a free scoop of Ashby Sterling Ice Cream’s “Michigan Pothole” for those who have replaced a tire or fixed other damage due to a pothole. The newspaper says to get a scoop bring in a receipt from Feb. 1 and beyond detailing the repair. The promotion runs until March 25. The ice cream flavor is described as “thick black tar fudge and chocolate ice cream with chunky chocolate cookie asphalt pieces.” Road crews in Michigan have stepped up efforts to patch potholes that have become damaging and dangerous amid fluctuating winter temperatures.

Pennsylvania-based church to host ceremony featuring AR-15s

NEWFOUNDLAND, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania-based religious group is scheduled to host a blessing ceremony for couples that will feature their AR-15 rifles. World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland believes the AR-15 symbolizes the “rod of iron” in the biblical book of Revelation, and it is encouraging couples to bring the weapons to a commitment ceremony Wednesday morning. The AR-15 is the gun used in the Florida high school massacre. The service is expected to draw hundreds of couples, prompting an elementary school down the street to cancel classes for the day. Students are being bused to other schools in the district. The church is a breakaway faction of the Unification Church, which often is described as a cult. The Unification Church says it doesn’t condone the Pennsylvania event.

Woman charged with shooting dog during argument with fiancé

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a Florida woman fatally shot her and her fiancé’s dog during an argument. The Tampa Bay Times reports that 27-year-old Giselle Taylor was arrested last week and charged with animal cruelty. Tarpon Springs police say Taylor got angry at her fiancé because he wouldn’t crack her back. An arrest report says she grabbed a 9mm handgun from the garage and loaded it. The report says Taylor told officers she intended to scare her fiancé, but when she didn’t get the response she wanted, she pointed the gun at their 2-year-old boxer and pulled the trigger. The bullet hit the dog’s upper torso, killing it. Police say Taylor left the house but was arrested a short time later. Taylor is free on $5,000 bail. Jail records didn’t list an attorney.

Man pleads guilty to threatening to burn Muslim home

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man has pleaded guilty to threatening to burn down a Muslim family’s new home. A U.S. Department of Justice news release says 59-year-old David Howard pleaded guilty in Tampa federal court Tuesday to threatening, intimidating and interfering with housing rights. He faces up to 10 years in prison. Court documents say a Muslim man and his wife were conducting the final walk-through of a Tampa home they had placed under contract in November 2016 when Howard approached the couple, the seller and their real estate agents. Howard reportedly told the couple they weren’t welcome and threatened to burn down the house. The Muslim couple left and cancelled the closing of the home purchase that was scheduled to take place the next day.