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March 27, 2008 at 6:30 AM
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Snake secretly lives with woman for months

ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 26 (UPI) -- A Maryland woman discovered a large black python may have been secretly living in her apartment for two months, animal control officers said.

The woman, who said she'd spent two months living in her apartment, was watching television Wednesday when she first saw the large python slither out from the back of her TV set, WBAL-TV, Baltimore, reported. She reportedly called animal control officers, who were able to remove the snake from her home.

An animal control official said the python may have belonged to a past tenant of the apartment, WBAL reported.

Animal control authorities are giving the python's owner five days to come claim it at their facility, Anne Arundel County police said.

Man pleads guilty to radio station scam

PITTSBURGH, March 26 (UPI) -- A man pleaded guilty in a Pittsburgh court to posing as a radio station employee to scam pedestrians out of their money.

Alan Carter McDonald pleaded guilty to theft by deception after he admitted to scamming 14 people out of amounts ranging from $20 to $170 between June 2006 and September 2007, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Wednesday.

Authorities said McDonald approached his victims on the street and told them he was giving away prizes on behalf of WXDX-FM, 105.9 "the X," and all they had to do was pay shipping costs.

"He's actually pretty smart and he's personable. He'd walk up to these strangers and ask them for money," said Assistant Public Defender Sumner Parker, who served as McDonald's attorney.

He was sentenced to consecutive two-year probation terms for each of the theft counts and ordered to pay $1,775 restitution. He was also ordered to undergo drug screening after he also pleaded guilty to possessing a small amount of heroin.

Court papers: Plaintiff born male

NEW YORK, March 26 (UPI) -- A New York billionaire accused in a lawsuit of taking advantage of an underage model claims the girl was not born female and was 18 when they talked.

Lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein said in papers filed in the New York Supreme Court that Ava Cordero, who claims in her suit that Epstein pressured her into a sexual relationship when she was underage, was born Maximillian Cordero in 1983, making her 18-years-old at the time of phone calls that she claims support her case, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

Cordero's suit "is entirely untenable because the factual predicate for the actions -- that Cordero was under 17 at the time of the alleged events -- cannot be true," the court papers said. "Cordero was already 18 at the time of the phone calls."

Sources close to Cordero confirmed that she was born male, but has lived as a woman and taken hormone treatments since her early teens, the Post said.

'Deal' error gives vicar second chance

DUKINFIELD, England, March 26 (UPI) -- A vicar appearing on the British version of "Deal or No Deal" received a miraculous second chance at the jackpot after a box was mistakenly left empty.

The box, which was supposed to contain 250,000 pounds -- about $500,000 -- was found to be empty after it was chosen by contestant David Schofield, a vicar at St Luke's Church in Dukinfield, England, The Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

The show said the error, the first in game history, occurred when the independent adjudicator accidentally neglected to put the money into the box.

Schofield, who said his "guardian angel" must have been watching out for him, was given a second chance at the jackpot after the boxes were reshuffled. Show producers were mum about how the game turned out for the vicar, whose episode is scheduled to air Wednesday.

However, Schofield offered a hint at the outcome: "I did do very, very nicely. I didn't have any sum in mind when I went on the show," he said.

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