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March 3, 2010 at 6:00 AM
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Authorities: Suspect swallowed flash drive

NEW YORK, March 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Secret Service agents said a suspect in a New York ATM card reading case swallowed evidence -- a flash drive -- while in view of agents.

Agent Joseph Borger wrote in a Feb. 25 search warrant affidavit that Florin Necula ingested the Kingston flash drive while being transported to a Secret Service office following his Jan. 21 arrest, Thesmokinggun.com reported.

A source familiar with the incident said Necula allowed doctors at New York Downtown Hospital to remove the flash drive after he was unable to pass it in the four days following his arrest. It was unclear whether the data storage device was damaged by the trip through Necula's system.

Authorities said a charge of obstruction of justice was added to three other felonies with which Necula was charged in January. He and three other men are accused of using card readers they installed on ATM slots to take information from cards used in the machines.


Fog machine triggers fire scare

JAMESTOWN, Pa., March 3 (UPI) -- Authorities in Pennsylvania said a fog machine being used in a video shoot led to a fire scare at a restaurant.

Tom Luckock, Jamestown assistant fire chief, said five departments responded to a call at Rosie's restaurant on the third floor of Mark Twain Manor in Jamestown late Saturday afternoon, and it did not take them long to discover the fire was a false alarm, The Sharon (Pa.) Herald reported.

"It took about a minute," Luckock said. "As soon as I pulled in with a tanker, one of my guys told me."

Rosie Brest, co-owner of Rosie's, said the fire concerns were born out of smoke rising into the restaurant from the building's basement. She said workers did not discover until later that the smoke was coming from a fog machine being used in a video shoot at the teen dance club in the basement.

Luckock said the video makers were ordered to shut down the fog machine for the rest of the evening.

"It can't endanger people like that," he said.


Rescuers capture hairless raccoon

CLAREMORE, Okla., March 3 (UPI) -- Oklahoma animal rescuers said they have received multiple calls from the public concerned that a recently captured hairless raccoon is "a chupacabra."

Annette King Tucker, president at the Wild Heart Ranch animal rescue in Claremore, said the raccoon captured near the western-themed Christian camp Dry Gulch USA was the first she had seen to suffer from the hair loss disease mange, The Oklahoman reported.

Tucker said the raccoon, which is not in pain, is receiving treatment for the condition and is expected to grow its hair back during the next four months.

She said the raccoon has become a local curiosity, and the topic of much debate, since the first sighting earlier in the winter.

"I have a lot of people calling me, arguing that it's a chupacabra," Tucker said, referring to a mythical creature rumored to live in portions of the Americas, drinking the blood of goats. "We've been doing this for 14 years and have 15,000 wild animals here, and I've never had anything that's been considered a mythical animal."


44-year-old lawsuit ordered to trial

ALBANY, N.Y., March 3 (UPI) -- A New York state appeals court has ordered a trial in a 44-year-old lawsuit between two companies that no longer exist.

The three-judge Appellate Term ordered the case of Lance International, which dissolved 35 years ago, vs. First National City Bank, which has since become Citibank, to go to an "immediate" trial after 44 years of wrangling, the New York Post reported.

A judge threw the case out last year, but a lawyer for Lance, which received permission from a bankruptcy court to pursue the case as a means of paying off creditors, successfully argued Citibank missed a deadline for having the case thrown out by 22 years.

The lawsuit concerns the alleged failure of First National City Bank to collect cash for Lance International from a Japanese construction project in the 1960s.

"(W)hile we are not unmindful of the age of this case and the parties' failure to diligently litigate the matter, we are constrained to reinstate the complaint. The parties are directed to proceed to an immediate trial," the appeals court judges said in their ruling.

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