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Hearse thieves went on drinking spree

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Police in Soweto, South Africa, say two hearse thieves went on a barhopping drinking spree with a corpse in the back of the vehicle.

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Authorities said the stolen vehicle ran out of gas in the early hours of Sunday morning, then the thieves went into a bar and convinced three women to help them push the hearse to the nearest gas station, The Sowetan reported Monday.

The men told the women the coffin in the back of the vehicle belonged to a relative they were on their way to bury, but the women grew suspicious and phoned a member of the Community Policing Forum.

"They failed to show us papers identifying whose corpse it was, and they appeared to be drunk," said John Dlomo, a member of the CPF.

Dlomo said the two men admitted to stealing the vehicle outside the house of driver Siphiwo Mkhize in the city of Mofolo.

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"They told us they had decided they would dump the corpse somewhere along the way, but had not decided what they would do with the car," said Dlomo.


Soldiers get engaged after meeting in war

FRANKLIN, Ind., Sept. 3 (UPI) -- After meeting in Afghanistan, two U.S. soldiers are now preparing to wed after an unusual proposal.

Army Sgt. Mike Miller and his future wife, Hollie, met on the battlefield, but their proposal took place in the sky Sunday, WISH-TV Indianapolis reported.

"The very first time I saw her I was like, 'I'm going to marry that girl,'" said Miller, but he had to come up with a way to propose.

Just one year later Miller bought the ring but couldn’t decide how to pop the question, so he asked his future mother-in-law.

"He says, do you have any ideas? And I said yeah, you guys went sky diving and some people would pay for a banner. But why don't you guys have the message on the ground. So when she comes back to earth there it is!. And he goes, 'I like that,'" Hollie's mother Jennifer Chapman said.

Once Hollie hit the ground Sunday Mike popped the question and she said yes.

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"I wasn't expecting this at all," Hollie said.


Alligator stops by for a visit

WESTERVILLE, Ohio, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- A Westerville, Ohio, woman said she was surprised to find the visitor scratching at her side door was a 6-foot-long alligator.

Emily McKenny said she saw the huge reptile's tail when she looked out to investigate the sound coming from outside her door, WEWS-TV, Cleveland, reported Monday.

Authorities said the animal, named Penelope, is one of two alligators owned by McKenny's next door neighbor, Paul Barrows, who said he rescues reptiles.

Police said they did not charge Barrows with any crimes -- Ohio does not have any state laws regarding private ownership of exotic or wild animals -- but the alligators were taken to the Columbus Zoo, where they will remain until Barrows can find them a permanent home.


Kansas City bookstore burns its old books

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Sept. 3 (UPI) -- A Kansas City, Mo., bookstore sponsored a bonfire in which hundreds of books were burned after it could not find a home for them.

"We hope to spark a conversation about the importance of books in the face of a marked shrinking in reading trends, and staggering waste streams of actual books," said Prospero's Books owner, Tom Wayne.

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Prospero's put out an announcement a few months back that it was looking for a home for thousands of books and that otherwise it would burn them, Kansas City’s KCTV reported Monday.

Wayne said they received thousands of e-mails and phone calls with suggestions what to do with the books, but no one would take them.

"With all of the public outcry, I thought more people would step up to give these books a home," said Wayne. "Maybe people thought being outraged would accomplish something."

"We're a small used bookstore," noted Wayne, "most of the ideas we've received would cost us thousands of dollars and dozens of hours, or would have us provide our inventory to organizations that compete directly with used bookstores."

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