Watercooler Stories

Dec. 4, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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Swedish town seeks to protect straw goat

GAVLE, Sweden, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A Swedish city is employing private security to protect its traditional four-story-tall straw goat from arsonists.

Wellington Ikuobase, who was elected Gavle Resident of The Year and was in charge of christening this year's 42 1/2-foot-tall goat, said someone tried to light it on fire Saturday prior to its official inauguration, The Local.se reported Monday.

"The front hoof smells of petrol," organizer Eje Berglund said at the Sunday inauguration.

The goat has been a popular target for vandals and arsonists in recent years.

The city, which first adopted the Christmas goat tradition in 1966, has hired private security guards to protect the straw sculpture.

iPad in Britain returned to Thai owner

HARROGATE, England, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- British police said Twitter users helped reunite a lost iPad with its owner, who was more than 6,000 miles away in Thailand.

Constable Ed Rogerson of the Harrogate, England, police said the item was turned in to the police department early this year and went unclaimed for several months, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

He said an image of a flight ticket and several photos of a woman believed to be the owner were accessible without logging into the iPad. So he posted one of the pictures on Twitter, where it was retweeted more than 2,000 times, and discovered an inactive account with the same name as the one printed on the ticket.

Rogerson said he was able to get in touch with a follower of the owner, identified as Jukjik, and that led to direct contact with the woman.

"When I started to try and locate the owner of the iPad I had no idea that she'd be in Thailand, but thanks to the power of social media I was able to identify her, make contact with her and arrange to get the property returned," Rogerson said. "The response from the online community was amazing. Thank you to everybody on Twitter who assisted by re-tweeting and giving me tips on how to locate her."

Jukjik said she lost the iPad while vacationing in England and was excited to be able to get the photographs stored on the device.

"I was very, very pleased and very happy when I heard that my iPad had been found. I can't believe you managed to track me down just through Twitter," she said.

18 months for attempted rhino head theft

LONDON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A London man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for attempting to steal a stuffed rhinoceros head from a museum.

Patrick Kiely, 29, pleaded guilty Monday to a theft charge after earlier denying any involvement in the Feb. 20 incident at the Castle Museum in Norwich, the Norfolk Eastern Daily Press reported Monday,

Police said CCTV cameras recorded four men smashing the glass case around the rhino head and running off with the object.

The gang dropped the head when museum staff confronted them on their way out of the facility.

Kiely is serving a six-year prison sentence from a conviction earlier this year for the theft of about $24 million worth of jade artifacts from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England.

Albums lost in mail end up on eBay

CALGARY, Alberta, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- An Alberta record collector said the 40 records he had shipped from France were reported lost by Canada Post and ended up for sale on eBay.

Al Cohen, whose family owns a Calgary record store, said he ordered 40 copies of a record by the obscure French reggae band Stand High Patrol -- the first time an order for the band's records came from outside Europe -- but the package never arrived, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday.

He said the Canada Post found the box months later empty in an Ontario warehouse for "undeliverables," despite it being labeled with his address.

Cohen said he soon discovered all of the records for sale on eBay and was told by the sellers the items were purchased at a Canada Post auction for undeliverable items.

A Canada Post representative said officials do now know why the box was not delivered or how the records ended up outside of the box.

Cohen said the band sent him a replacement shipment.

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