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Flying creature 'grabs' surfer statue

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA, Calif., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Off-beat vandals created a prehistoric world around a surfer statue in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif., with a flying creature poised to carry it off.


The statue, officially named "Magic Carpet Ride," has been redesigned periodically by unappreciative Cardiff residents since its installation in 2007.

In the latest incarnation Saturday morning, passers-by saw a giant flying prehistoric beast appearing ready to carry the surfer away, the Los Angeles Times reported. The scene was set with a volcano backdrop, small palm trees and two velociraptors.

The statue, depicting a young boy on a surfboard, is derisively known locally as the "Cardiff Kook," and has been changed by guerrilla artists in the middle of the night to Michael Jackson, Oprah, a British royal bride, a witch and more. Most spectacularly, a giant shark was built around the statue, appearing to eat the surfer a la the movie "Jaws."


City Hall officials are not happy with the pranks, reportedly spending $2,000 to repair damage done to the statue.

Wrestling coach takes down alleged robber

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- An alleged would-be robber ended up at the wrong end of a gun when he tried to rob a Florida man who is a wrestling coach, police said.

Fred Kemp, 63, and his wife, Julie, 53, had just finished dinner at a local restaurant and were getting into their car when the alleged robber, Richard Nowling, 41, stuck a gun in Fred Kemp's face, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Sunday.

Kemp, who is 5-foot-7-inches tall and weighs 150 pounds, instinctively pushed the gun away in Thursday's incident, but Nowling allegedly started hitting him in the head with the weapon.

"He started to hit me, so I reacted from there," Kemp said Friday. "I got him out into the street and held his arm. I foot-sweeped him down and I was trying to get a hold of the gun. He banged me up a little bit but my main concern was the gun."

Kemp, of Boynton Beach, said he then put Nowling in a "sleeper hold," and when the suspect's oxygen started running out, his wife, Julie Kemp, grabbed the gun.


"He asked me to let him go when I had him down," Kemp said. "I said, 'No, I'm not going to do that.'"

Nowling, of Stuart, was charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery.

Nowling's criminal history includes drug, theft and burglary charges.

Kemp coaches wrestling for the New York State Junior Olympic team and is a volunteer assistant wrestling coach at American University in Washington, D.C.

"In retrospect," Smith said, "it's not a wise move, but it was my reflexes and I'm fairly comfortable in being able to handle myself. So I did what came natural.

"I'm happy that no one got hurt and a guy like that is off the street," Smith said.

Police arrest McDonald's pimple popper

CAPE CORAL, Fla., Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Police in Florida said complaints about a man popping his back pimples outside of a McDonald's resulted in the man's arrest.

Cape Coral police said an off-duty police officer confronted Owen Kato, 23, of Port Charlotte, after customers at the Santa Barbara Boulevard restaurant complained Kato had been standing outside of the eatery for more than 10 minutes while popping pimples on his back, the Fort Myers News-Press reported Friday.

Police said Kato initially gave his name as John Smith, but eventually gave his correct name before attempting to flee.


Kato was caught after a foot chase and taken into custody. Police said he told them he ran because of an active Charlotte County warrant for driving without a license.

Police said Kato had a syringe in his pocket that the suspect's girlfriend told them he uses to inject OxyContin.

Kato was arrested on the outstanding warrant as well as charges of giving false ID to an officer, resisting arrest without violence and possession of drug equipment.

Daredevil dangles to beat Houdini record

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- A British escape artist said he was dangling from a helicopter in Canada when he beat Harry Houdini's record for escaping from a straightjacket by 45 seconds.

Rob Roy Collins, 33, said he was suspended from a chopper more than 100 feet high in the Niagara Falls region when he wiggled out of a straightjacket in 1 minute, 22 seconds, beating Houdini's record of 2 minutes, 37 seconds, The Sun reported Friday.

"There was a scary moment when the straitjacket was stuck around my neck and I thought there was a chance I couldn't get out," Collins said. "Fortunately I managed to keep my cool and release myself."


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