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July 3, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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Man allegedly stole $755 worth of melons

HOKOTA, Japan, July 3 (UPI) -- Police in Japan said they arrested a 69-year-old man accused of stealing $755 worth of melons from a farm.

Police said a CCTV camera recorded the man entering a greenhouse at the Hokota, Ibaraki Prefecture, farm twice June 26 to steal the 30 valuable melons, Japan Today reported Monday.

Investigators said they are looking into whether the man stole fruit from any other farms after 79 melons were recovered from his home.

Stolen Wimbledon hawk recovered

LONDON, July 3 (UPI) -- A hawk employed to scare pigeons away from the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London has been found safe after being stolen last week.

London police said Rufus, an American Harris hawk stolen along with his box Thursday night or Friday morning from a car parked on a nearby residential street, was returned Sunday to owner Imogen Davis after he was turned in at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' office in southwest London, ITV News reported Monday.

The bird was turned in hours after his box was found empty just north of the All England Club, where the tennis tournament is held.

Officials said Rufus flies over the tennis court before and after the day's events to scare away pigeons. He is trained not to attack the birds, they said.

Young men gather through 'Pony' fandom

PITTSBURGH, July 3 (UPI) -- A Pittsburgh group comprised mostly of young men has been meeting weekly to discuss and debate their favorite TV show, "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic."

Organizers of the PittsBronies group, which includes 124 people who identify themselves as bronies -- a combination of "bro" and "pony" -- said their group is about 63 percent male and about 62 percent between the ages of 18 and 24, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday.

John Drake, 24, a doctoral computer science student at University of Pennsylvania, said the group held its first meeting last December and members now meet on a nearly weekly basis to debate their favorite episodes and the best characters on the show.

Edward Garbade, 19, a friend of Drake who founded the CMU Bronies group at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, said bronies will admit the show was created for young girls, but it has a higher entertainment value than previous installments in the "My Little Pony" franchise.

"The show teaches lessons about friendship and being nice to others, a message from childhood that seems to be forgotten unfortunately often in today's culture," Garbade said. "The characters have distinct personalities, engaging back stories and remain consistent from episode to episode."

Both men said they will be in Secaucus, N.J., this weekend for BronyCon Summer 2012, which organizers said it expected to draw about 2,000 fans and will feature show creator Lauren Faust and voice actors as special guests.

Horse flees child's party in Mo.

WALDO, Mo., July 3 (UPI) -- The owner of a horse that escaped from a Missouri child's birthday party said he caught up to her after about 45 minutes by following her hoofmarks on the road.

Rodney Stanley said he took Kizzy, a "kid-friendly" 5-year-old horse, to a child's birthday party at a park in Waldo and the animal managed to get away from him, darting through an opening in a fence, The Kansas City Star reported Monday.

Stanley said he lost sight of Kizzy but was able to follow her from the marks her horseshoes left on the road.

Don and Jackie Presson, who live near where the horse was found, about two miles from the park, said the horse was caught by two young women who followed her in a vehicle and Don Presson tied her to a tree in a shady spot to wait for animal control officers.

Stanley arrived about 45 minutes after the escape and theorized Kizzy was trying to get home to the rest of her herd.

"She was the sweetest thing," Jackie Presson said, adding she wasn't mad at the animal for stepping on her foot. "It was my fault for being around a horse without shoes on."

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