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Weekly weird news: Jan. 25

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Saturday, January 25, 2014 - 12:01 am

Washington blow dart suspect: 'I'm a moron'

COLFAX, Wash. — A man accused of shooting a woman and man with a blow dart in two separate attacks in Washington state has made his first court appearance on assault charges.

KREM-TV reports 18-year-old Joseph Gillies of Tacoma appeared in court Thursday in Whitman County. He was released from jail until his next court appearance at the end of the month.

Gillies is accused of shooting a woman with a blow dart Jan. 12 on the Washington State University campus. He's also accused of hitting a man with a dart two days later while walking in Pullman.

Police say they suspect Gillies of several similar blow dart assaults in Ellensburg.

Gillies told KREM he's sorry for the dart attacks but offered no explanation other than saying, "I'm a moron."

Tips and surveillance video led to Gillies' arrest Wednesday in Ellensburg.

No serious injuries were reported.

Wanted man arrested after falling through ceiling

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A man wanted by Colorado authorities is in custody after he fell through a ceiling while being chased by police and took refuge in a bathroom.

Colorado Springs police say 27-year-old Andrew Stiern burst into Comfort Dental on Thursday and attempted to escape through the roof. But the attempt failed when he fell through the ceiling.

Police say he then barricaded himself inside a bathroom and refused to surrender. After negotiating with police, Stiern turned himself in.

Officers say they were trying to take Stiern into custody for three active felony warrants. Police say he's now facing additional charges.

$22,000 worth of eggs stolen in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A thief in Puerto Rico has gotten away with the makings for one giant omelette.

Police in the U.S. territory say they are looking for someone who stole more than $22,000 worth of chicken eggs. They didn't specify exactly how many eggs are in the missing shipment.

Officers said Friday that a refrigerated truck parked in a distribution center in the north coastal town of Hatillo was taken along with the eggs inside.

Authorities said the truck was worth $35,000.

Bird droppings force Spokane bus stop to move

SPOKANE, Wash. — A bus stop in Spokane happens to be under a favorite perch for birds, and the droppings are so bad the Spokane Transit Authority has been forced to move the stop out of the drop zone.

Riders say the sidewalk and bench under the power lines at the intersection of Green and Mission are filthy.

KREM reports the transit authority plans to move the bus stop to a cleaner spot a half-block away.

Protesting Utah student pays tuition in $1 bills

SALT LAKE CITY — A University of Utah student says he paid his tuition bill with 2,000 one-dollar bills as a silent protest against the rising cost of college.

Luq Mughal brought a metal case full of greenbacks to the school Tuesday, the deadline for payment. He says he collected the cash from several banks.

Mughal tells The Salt Lake Tribune he spends weekends working to pay for his electrical engineering degree.

The 21-year-old says he gets a discount because his father is a faculty member and acknowledges his situation is far from the worst on campus.

Undergraduate in-state tuition rates have more than doubled in Utah over the past 10 years. Trustees set a 5 percent tuition hike this year, saying they needed to fund a cost-of-living raise for employees as state funding declines.

Police 'like' wanted Pa. suspect's Facebook post

FREELAND, Pa. — Police in one northeastern Pennsylvania town really "liked" this Facebook post.

Officers in Freeland arrested 35-year-old Anthony Lescowitch on Monday night, less than two hours after he shared a wanted photo of himself and taunted police for not being able to find him, the Times Leader reported Tuesday.

Lescowitch shared the wanted bulletin minutes after Freeland police posted it on the department Facebook page Monday night, authorities said. He was being sought on assault-related charges.

An officer pretending to be an attractive woman then messaged Lescowitch, according to police. Lescowitch refused the offer of a drink but eventually agreed to meet for a cigarette, and was arrested at the agreed-upon location.

After the arrest, police posted this message: "CAPTURED!!!!!! SHARES OUR STATUS ON FACEBOOK ABOUT HIMSELF, CAPTURED 45 MINUTES LATER."

Lescowitch, of Drifton, remained in the Luzerne County Jail Tuesday. Court records don't list a defense attorney for him, but show he faces a preliminary hearing Jan. 29 on charges including aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct stemming from an incident July 14.

Quirky bunny on Mandela statue causes stir

JOHANNESBURG — A new, 29.5-foot sculpture of Nelson Mandela is billed as the biggest statue of the South African leader. It also has a tiny, barely visible quirk: a sculpted rabbit tucked inside one of the bronze ears.

South African officials want the miniature bunny removed from the statue, which was unveiled outside the government complex in Pretoria, the capital, on Dec. 16, a day after Mandela's funeral. The department of arts and culture said it didn't know the two sculptors, Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, had added a rabbit, said to be a discreet signature on their work.

The bronze rabbit, sitting on its haunches with one floppy ear, is about half the height of the ear canal.

"It doesn't belong there," said Mogomotsi Mogodiri, a department spokesman. "The statue represents what everyone in South Africa is proud of."

His department said in a statement that there are discussions on "how best to retain the integrity of the sculpture without causing any damage or disfigurement."

Translation: pull the rabbit out of the ear without botching the statue. The giant work stands with arms outstretched, symbolizing Mandela's devotion to inclusiveness, outside the Union Buildings, where the body of the prisoner who opposed white rule and became South Africa's first black president lay in state after his Dec. 5 death at the age of 95.