Russian burglar camped out in ceiling
MOSCOW, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Russian police suspect an accused burglar hid inside a false ceiling at an electronics store for a full day before he allegedly stole laptops and cellphones.
The suspect didn't get far because he apparently retreated back to his hidden lair to wait until the coast was clear before making his escape.
"The detained said he had hid there the day before," the Interior Ministry said in a written statement. "At night, he stole the devices, got into his improvised hideout and started waiting for an opportunity to leave unnoticed, but failed to complete his plan."
The 22-year-old suspect was caught in the ceiling of a store in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in Russia's Far East with $4,200 worth of merchandise.
He was apparently prepared for a long wait if necessary.
"He had a backpack with food and a vacuum flask with tea," the ministry said.
French market in 442nd year of operation
STRASBOURG, France, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- France's oldest Christmas market opened for the holiday season in Strasbourg Saturday for its 442nd year of operation.
The market is Strasbourg's biggest tourism draw throughout the year, Radio France Internationale reported.
About 300 chalets display seasonal gifts, including holiday decorations and nativity scenes, as well mulled wine, pretzels and pastries.
More than 500 cultural events will take place in Strasbourg during the month-long market, in cooperation with local churches and associations.
Strasbourg's municipality has invested 2.5 million euros ($3.5 million) into the annual market but its tourism experts say costs are offset by the employment benefits, with hundreds of jobs available to the local population during the event, as well as the tourism draw.
Two million visitors are expected to stop by the market this year.
Store axes Santa, cites too many Santas
LONDON, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- A British department store chain said it will no longer feature appearances by Santa Claus because there are too many guys in red suits and snowy beards.
Santas have been cropping up on street corners and stores all over Britain in recent years, which led the management at Debenhams to conclude it was getting too confusing for children.
"We don't want to overcrowd the market and of course Father Christmas can only be in one place at one time," a Debenhams spokeswoman said.
The representative told Britain's The Daily Telegraph it wasn't a unilateral decision by store management.
"We had complaints from parents saying there were too many, which was confusing for their young children," she said.
Some parents, however, told The Daily Telegraph they suspected eliminating store Santas was probably a cost-cutting move by Debenhams and were sorry to see the attraction go.
"For the right age group, there is still some excitement around Father Christmas and it's a really nice, exciting outing," said Justine Roberts of the product review website Mumsnet.
Camel corralled after LA escape
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- A startled camel bolted through the streets of a Los Angeles suburb until circus roustabouts tempted it home with a carrot, bemused witnesses said.
Abdullah outran her keepers at the Ramos Brothers Circus prior to Friday night's performance in Glendale and was running headlong toward a busy intersection before circus handlers caught up with a carrot.
"Workers were rushing after the camel, and then one of the workers was trying to go and stop traffic," witness Hamed Hamad told KABC-TV, Los Angeles.
Abdullah started loping back to the big top but had one more side trip in mind and detoured through a gas station.
"People were surprised," said Doug Ramos, one of the Ramos brothers. "It's not every day you see a camel running through the gas station."
Ramos told KABC the escape took place during a routine exercise walk. A worker apparently dropped a wrench, which startled the animals and caused Abdullah to make a break for it.
"Literally there was 10 people running after this camel. It was craziness on the street. I heard kids yelling and screaming," said witness Diana Madison.