NEW YORK, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Two New York truck drivers have been charged with stealing a shipment of 300 iPhones en route to Hong Kong by substituting shredded paper.
Investigators said the plan was concocted after Emanuel Etienne and Jarred Thomas, both of Baldwin, picked up the shipment Jan. 9 at a warehouse in Valley Stream. Lt. John Azzata, a detective with the Nassau County Police, said they stopped at a stationery store and spent $100 on paper.
After removing the phones, valued at $142,500, the truckers allegedly drove the shipment to Cathay Pacific Airlines at Kennedy International Airport. The theft was quickly detected once the boxes were opened in Hong Kong and Etienne and Thomas identified as the last to handle the shipment.
The truckers allegedly received $80,000 for the phones and planned to spend the money to move to Florida. But they quickly found other uses for it.
"We immediately went on a spending spree and we were dumb," one of the suspects allegedly told a detective.
Detectives also arrested Emil Shamailov, who said he had been selling the hot phones on CraigsList. Fifty iPhones had been recovered.
Accused thief craps out at slots
PRIOR LAKE, Minn., Jan. 22 (UPI) -- An alleged two-legged bandit feeding a one-armed bandit in Minnesota with stolen and stained loot was caught by a casino employee who saw the red on the green.
Now Jacob E. Edwards, 26, Hudson, Wis., faces federal bank robbery charges, thanks to an employee at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, Minn., who spotted the red-dyed greenbacks being sucked in the colorblind slot machine, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Tuesday.
The criminal complaint said a man resembling Edwards held up a TCF Bank branch in a Minneapolis suburb Nov. 30, hauling in more than $2,800. Authorities said the loot was marked with permanent ink from an exploding dye pack.
Police received a tip about a week after the robbery that a man matching Edwards' description was seen playing the slots with red-stained money.
William Hardacker, legal counsel for the Indian tribe that owns the suburban casino, said Edwards spent about $500 on the machines, which don't notice if a bill is stained.
"The bill acceptor," Hardacker said, "didn't detect that it was a dye-colored bill."
Man sets fire to home while thawing pipe
LIMA, Ohio, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Firefighters in Shawnee Township, Ohio, said a man accidentally lit his house on fire while attempting to thaw a frozen waterline with a propane torch.
Shawnee Township Fire Chief Tim Mosher said authorities arrived Monday morning at the home of John Miller Sr. to find the house full of smoke, The Lima (Ohio) News reported Tuesday.
"He was trying to thaw out a frozen waterline in a crawl space," Mosher said. "The occupant got out but there was a lot of smoke in there when we arrived."
Miller said firefighters went into the home and rescued his Boston terrier, Milo, who he said was shaken up but otherwise in good health after the incident.
The homeowner said it wasn't the first time he had used a propane torch to thaw a frozen pipe, but this was his first fire.
"I didn't have it on there two minutes that the side wall took off," Miller said. "I've done it a hundred times and never had a problem."
Mosher said damage to the home would cost at least a couple thousand dollars to repair.
One-legged man charged with crutch attack
EAST PRICE HILL, Ohio, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- A one-legged Ohio man is facing a felonious assault after allegedly attacking a female relative with his crutch.
Charles Kraft, 43, of East Price Hill could face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years if convicted of hitting Jennifer Hutching, 21, with his crutch during a dispute over a card game, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Tuesday.
Kraft, who is related to Hutching through his wife, was jailed Tuesday in lieu of $10,000 bond.
The man, who lost his left leg to bone cancer, was arrested in December on two counts of aggravated menacing. Kraft was charged with threatening to kill another man and firebomb his house.
The two arresting officers said he threatened to kill them upon his release from jail. He was convicted on one count, and the other was later dropped.