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  |   Dec. 5, 2012 at 6:30 AM
Giraffe upset by cameras, confetti cannon

CHARLESTON, S.C., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Officials in South Carolina attributed the uneasiness of a giraffe at a tree-lighting ceremony to the flashes of cameras and a confetti cannon.

Ellen Moryl, Charleston's cultural affairs director, said the 2-year-old giraffe, named Melman after the character from the "Madagascar" film series, was seen struggling with its handlers at the tree-lighting ceremony Saturday in downtown Charleston due to the flashing cameras, WCIV-TV, Charleston, reported Tuesday.

"There were a number of people that crowded around and took a lot of pictures with flashes, that got the giraffe a little stirred up," Moryl said.

Mark Nisbet, who owns the giraffe at his Eudora farms business in Aiken County, said Melman is used to large crowds and public events, but was unprepared for the confetti cannon.

"They never had anything like that before, so we just assumed it would be similar to the way it was before because we were walking the same path the year before," Nisbet said.

The owner said Melman was calm when he arrived home.

"He was perfectly fine once he got close to the trailer. He was back to normal," Nisbet said.


Toy gun falls apart during robbery

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Police in Cambodia said an attempted robbery at a currency exchange was foiled when the suspect's toy gun fell to pieces in his hand.

Police Chief Pov Pidor of the Tuol Svay Prey I commune said Khem Ra, 41, a Cambodian-American man deported from the United States three months ago following multiple run-ins with the law, was attempting to rob a currency exchange and money transfer business Monday in Phnom Penh and his weapon, which turned out to be made of plastic, fell apart when he used it to strike the female clerk, the Phnom Penh Post reported Tuesday.

Pidor said Ra fled to a nearby house and agreed to come out in exchange for not being charged.

The chief said he pretended to agree to Ra's terms, "then, I followed him and made the arrest."

Ra is due to appear in court Tuesday.


Inflatable Christmas decorations stolen

SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- A Texas homeowner said a thief recorded stealing the inflatable decorations from her front lawn was not able to steal her Christmas cheer.

The San Antonio woman, who asked to be identified only as Diana, said the security camera footage from outside of her home depicts a man approaching her house just prior to 3 a.m. Sunday in a white car and stealing her inflatable sled, snowman, train set and Santa Claus, KSAT-TV, San Antonio, reported Tuesday.

"He ran across the street to the other neighbors house taking their inflatable and ran back to his car," she said. "Her snowman was also missing and they just put theirs out a couple nights ago."

Diana said the decorations are replaceable and the theft will not ruin her family's Christmas. She said she reported the incident to the police to help protect her neighbors from further thefts.


Scottish convenience store wants birds out

INVERNESS, Scotland, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- A 24-hour convenience store in the Scottish highlands has started closing late at night to try to evict a robin and pigeon, an employee says.

The two birds have taken to flying over checkout lines at the Tesco Extra in Inverness and hanging out in the cafe, hoping for dropped scraps of food, The Scotsman reported.

"We've had to start closing the store for a while at 11 p.m., when it's quiet," an assistant told the newspaper. "All the staff have to go to the staff room and wait while the birds are chased out of the store."

Last year, a robin moved into another Tesco Extra in Inverness. The bird was so popular with the clientele that managers allowed it to hang out for two weeks.

Topics: Santa Claus
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