Odds and Ends – Friday December 29, 2017 – January 4, 2018

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(Jason Wilkins/Abilene Police Department via AP)
(Jason Wilkins/Abilene Police Department via AP)

Grizzly crime solved:
Candy factory’s stolen bear found

Abilene, Kan. (AP) – Police say a sweet tip led to the recovery of a bear statue that was stolen from outside a candy factory in central Kansas a year ago. Abilene Police Department assistant chief Jason Wilkins says the Russell Stover Candies sculpture, depicting a sitting teddy bear covered in chocolate, was found Wednesday in a Salina home following a tip from someone apparently unconnected to its theft. Det. Karmen Kupper says a suspect has been identified but hasn’t been arrested. Wilkins tells The Wichita Eagle that early leads in the November 2016 theft from the company’s Abilene factory didn’t pan out and that the bear investigation had “become a running joke.” Kupper describes the 150-pound, 4-foot tall (70-kilogram, 1.2 meter tall) sculpture as a “huge landmark” and a popular backdrop for pictures.

Homeless man finds $354,000
in room at Paris airport

Paris (AP) – French police say a homeless man found a huge amount of cash last week at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport and was able to leave the complex with 300,000 euros ($354,000). Two police officers, who are not allowed to speak publicly on the case, said Thursday that video surveillance showed the man looking in the trash and leaning against a nearby door. Airport police union official Jean-Yann William Airport told France Info television that “to his surprise, the door is opening, he’s entering and finds out there’s huge amount of money” in the room of cash transport company Loomis. Video then shows the man leaving the airport with two big bags. Police recognized him as a homeless man living in the airport area. He is being actively sought.

In need of workers,
Maine hires contractors to plow roads

Portland, Maine (AP) – Worker shortages in Maine have forced the state Department of Transportation to hire private contractors to plow roads. The Portland Press Herald reports the state Department of Transportation has awarded a contract to the Ohio-based company First Vehicle Services. The contractors will work in southern Maine. MDOT has struggled to keep highway workers in recent years. The department currently has 50 open positions. Dale Doughty, MDOT’s Director of Maintenance and Operation, says some workers might be attracted to higher wages at private companies. Maine State Employees Association interim Executive Director Ginette Rivard says a bill that would have raised the starting hourly wage of highway workers was recently voted down by the Legislative Council. Rivard says the raise could’ve helped with recruitment and retention.

Video leads to arrest
in case of stolen mounted zebra head

Anchorage, Alaska (AP) – An Alaska woman came home to find out a thief had broken in and stolen clothing, jewelry, prescription drugs and the mounted head of a zebra she had on a wall. Stacy Scott got good news Monday, however. A cab driver who helped a suspect drive off with the stolen goods, found the zebra head in his trunk and returned it. Scott tells Anchorage television station KTVA that she received the zebra head from a friend when she worked at a downtown boutique. She named the head “George.” A security camera Friday recorded a woman carrying items, including George, out of Scott’s home and into a waiting cab. Police arrested a 38-old woman at an Anchorage motel where the cab driver had taken her. The suspect is charged with felony burglary and theft.

Swiss woman angry over champagne
refusal ejected from plane

Berlin (AP) – German police say the pilot of a passenger jet destined for Zurich made an unscheduled stop at Stuttgart airport because a Swiss passenger became aggressive after being denied champagne. Reutlingen police say crew members were unable to calm the 44-year-old business class passenger, who was angered by their refusal to serve her more sparkling wine on the flight from Moscow late Saturday. Police said in a statement Sunday that the woman, who wasn’t named, was escorted off the Airbus A320 and ordered to pay a security of 5,000 euros ($5,871). They said the 43 passengers on board were never in danger, but the total cost involved in the unplanned stopover likely amounted to several tens of thousands of euros.