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Dec. 21, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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Joke text leads to bank robbery response

CHICAGO, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- A Chicago-area woman called 911 after her daughter texted, in what turned out to be a joke gone wrong, that she was being held by two escaped bank robbers.

Orlando Park Police Commander John Keating said the teenager and her mother were swapping text messages Thursday morning when the daughter said she was going to the bank. Her mother responded with a warning to be on the lookout for two convicted bank robbers who escaped Monday from a federal prison in downtown Chicago.

The daughter jokingly replied, "They're here, they have guns" -- but her mom didn't realize it was a joke and called 911.

Police responded to the Marquette Bank branch in full force only to find nothing was amiss, a bank spokesman told the Chicago Tribune.

"I think we take every 911 call seriously, and we respond as we would if we had no fugitives that were still outstanding," Keating said.

Orlando Park police had been assisting in the manhunt for the two escaped prisoner, Joseph "Jose" Banks and Kenneth Conley. The FBI has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to their capture.

Python hatchlings close day-care center

DARWIN, Australia, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A day-care center in northern Australia was temporarily closed Thursday after newly hatched carpet pythons were spotted.

Louise DeBomford, director of the Mitchell Street Childcare Center in Darwin, told the Northern Territory News the first snake was spotted Wednesday morning. By Thursday, there were seven and she decided it was time to call for help.

Michael Stefanidakis and Markis Pilatos, two contractors working for the city of Darwin, removed wall panels and discovered a 10-foot female python. Eventually, 23 hatchlings and the adult snake were removed to other quarters, and 41 broken eggshells were discovered, suggesting there may be more newborns lurking somewhere.

Carpet pythons, which can grow to be 13 feet, are found in much of Australia and in New Guinea and Indonesia.

DeBomford said there have been snakes in the center before and she knew what to expect when she saw the first one.

"I thought there would have to be more than one because we had an inundation of snakes last year, about the same time," DeBomford said.

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