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Nov. 1, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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Driver suspected in walnut thefts

RED BLUFF, Calif., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Authorities in California say a delivery driver is suspected of being behind the theft of about 80,000 pounds of processed walnuts from two companies.

The Tehama County Sheriff's Office said two separate companies reported 40,000 pounds worth of nuts had never arrived at their intended destinations and deputies soon discovered the driver described by both companies, a man with a white semi-trailer truck and a Russian accent, was not the driver hired to haul the loads of nuts, The (Redding) Record Searchlight reported Thursday.

Deputies said they were attempting to identify the suspect, who they said took a total of nearly $300,000 worth of walnuts.

Calif. DMV renews blind man's license

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A California DMV office gave a new driver's license to a man who disclosed on his renewal form a medical ailment that had rendered him legally blind.

Unlike Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman," Mark Overland, 72, of Pacific Palisades doesn't plan to test his luck. But Overland, a lawyer who represented an elderly driver who plowed into a farmers' market killing 10 people in 2003, was disturbed enough by the DMV that he contacted the Los Angeles Times to tell his story.

He described an innocent enough encounter: He filled out the form honestly, identifying himself as having retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative illness that reduces peripheral vision. In Overland's case, he has lost 94 percent of his vision and can only see a small tunnel in front of him. Curious to see what would happen, he eschewed his usual white cane and enlisted his daughter as a guide. When called on, a clerk asked him to read an eye chart on the wall, which once he located it, Overland had no trouble reading.

DMV clerks are supposed to order a driving test for people with Overland's condition, but the clerk who processed his renewal never did so. A new license showed up in the mail two weeks later.

A department spokeswoman had no explanation for the under-sighted oversight.

Fla. police bust pee wee football gamblers

LAUDERHILL, Fla., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Authorities in Florida said they busted a gambling ring allegedly taking bets on local pee wee football games and several coaches were among those arrested.

The Broward Sheriff's Office said several coaches and team officials were busted as part of Operation Dirty Play, which investigated allegations of illegal gambling surrounding the South Florida Youth Football League, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

Alleged ringleader Brandon Bivins, 36, president and coach of the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes, was taken into custody during a raid at his Red Carpet Kutz barber shop. He was charged with bookmaking and operating a gambling house.

Investigators allege the barber shop and Bivins' other business, Showtime Sports and Apparel in Lauderdale Lakes, served as fronts for the gambling ring, which focused on pee wee football but also took bets on NFL and Major League Baseball games and other sporting events.

Bivins has previous arrests for possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, aggravated battery, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of stolen property.

Thief targets traditional Asian medicines

MONTEREY PARK, Calif., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A California man was arrested for allegedly trying to steal traditional oriental herbal remedies, police said.

Man Van Truong, 56, was charged after he was stopped from stealing a barrel of ginseng outside a Chinese medicine store in Monterey Park, Calif. Police already had a car description matching Truong's black Honda in relation to another foiled attempt to steal dried sea cucumber, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

Ginseng and sea cucumber are both thought to have broad healing powers in Asian cultures. They command a high price, too. A pound of ginseng sells for $300; sea cucumber goes for $150 a pound.

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