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Jan. 8, 2013 at 6:00 AM
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Robbery suspect wanted new car

DAVENPORT, Fla., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Police in Florida said a bank robbery suspect told them he committed the crime because he was tired of seeing people younger than him driving newer vehicles.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said Russell Lester Sanford Jr., 28, allegedly robbed the Mid-Florida Credit Union in Davenport at 9 a.m. last Monday, armed with a semiautomatic handgun.

Sanford fled with an undisclosed amount of money and a deputy pulled Sanford over near the scene when he recognized his vehicle from the description given to dispatchers by bank employees.

Sanford was arrested on charges related to the incident and interviewed by detectives, who said the suspect told them he had been planning the robbery for two days.

The suspect allegedly told police he wanted the money from the bank because he was tired of seeing people younger than him driving newer vehicles than his car. He said he had also planned to use the money to pay off his mounting traffic citations.

Near 400 register to hunt Burmese pythons

HOMESTEAD, Fla., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said nearly 400 people have signed up for the 2013 Python Challenge in the Everglades.

The commission said the month-long Burmese python hunt, which begins Saturday, has nearly 400 participants registered thus far from 17 states, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Monday.

The event, which only requires hunting licenses for those less than 18 years of age, features a $1,000 prize for catching the longest snakes and $1,500 for nabbing the most pythons.

Some experts have questioned the wisdom of putting amateurs in charge of hunting the invasive species.

"Going out into the bush in Florida is a potentially dangerous thing to do," said Stuart Pimm, professor of conservation ecology at Duke University who studies the Everglades. "This is very, very rough terrain. Getting stuck out there without enough water could be a life-terminating experience."

Carli Segelson, spokeswoman for the commission, said law enforcement officers will be on hand during the hunt to prevent harm to the hunters and native species.

"Of course any time you do something like this people are going to have concerns," she said. "I think that overall, people understand that this is a problem that needs to be dealt with and are very supportive and understand that these actions are warranted."

Beer lover designs brew for dogs

BEND, Ore., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- An Oregon man said he combined his love of beer with his love for his dog to create a successful product -- Dog Grog.

Daniel Keeton of Bend, who works at the Boneyard Brewery's tasting room, said he designed the non-alcoholic brew for his dog, Lola Jane, and decided to market the product when he saw how much she enjoyed the concoction, KTVZ, Bend, reported Monday.

Keeton said his Dog Grog is made from low-sodium vegetable broth, water, spent grain from Boneyard Brewery and glucosamine. He started bottling and selling the brew in July and his wares are now sold at Visit Bend and Muddy Paw's retail stores.

"Two things that have become part of the Bend lifestyle are beer and dogs," Visit Bend chief executive officer Doug LaPlaca said. "So to create something that would take advantage of the two we thought was a brilliant idea."

Keeton said he recommends serving Dog Grog as a treat on its own or pouring it over some dry dog food. However, he said there are other ways to serve it.

"A couple of my friends who just acquired a puppy are making ice cubes out of it, and it's helping the puppy with teething," Keeton said.

Minn. man's pitch gets him free BCS tix

MINNETONKA, Minn., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A Minnesota man says his long-shot pitch to Discover Card got him free tickets to the big football game between Notre Dame and Alabama.

Dan Scaminace of Minnetonka told the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune he's a big Fighting Irish fan (2005 alumnus) and really wanted to see them play in Monday night's BCS national championship game. So six weeks ago, he wrote to Discover, the game's sponsor and the issuer of one of his credit cards, offering a deal.

He offered to cancel all his other credit cards, transfer balances to his Discover card and donate his cash-back bonuses from Discover to charity in return for two tickets.

"I was laughing as I wrote it. I thought, 'This is pretty good,'" Scaminace told the newspaper. "I was slightly embarrassed, but I certainly wasn't above it."

Lo and behold the folks at Discover, apparently seeing visions of public relations pay dirt, not only came through with the ducats, but airfare to Miami and accommodations for him and his fiancee, Corynn Koch, all gratis.

"I was shaking during the phone call," he said.

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