Odds and Ends – Friday November 9, 2018 – November 15, 2018

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(Blackpool Police via AP)
(Blackpool Police via AP)

UK police hunt shoplifter
who looks like David Schwimmer

London (AP) – British police are hunting a shoplifter who bears a striking resemblance to Ross Geller, the character played by David Schwimmer on the TV show “Friends.” Facebook users noticed the similarity when police posted surveillance-camera footage of a man carrying a carton of cans from a restaurant in Blackpool, northwest England. The actor responded with a Twitter video that showed him scuttling furtively through a convenience store clutching a carton of beer. Schwimmer wrote: “Officers, I swear it wasn’t me. As you can see, I was in New York.” He wished police well with the investigation. Lancashire Police later confirmed that “David Schwimmer was in America on this date.” Britain’s Daily Star newspaper ran a story about Schwimmer’s lookalike under the headline “I’ll Beer There for You,” a play on lyrics from the “Friends” theme.

Putin’s ex-bodyguard rejects TV debate after duel challenge

Moscow (AP) – President Vladimir Putin’s former bodyguard has rejected an opposition leader’s invitation for a television debate after challenging him to a duel. Gen. Viktor Zolotov, chief of Russia’s National Guard and Putin’s long-time bodyguard, recorded a rare video address to opposition leader Alexei Navalny last month, challenging him to a duel over his investigation into corruption at the National Guard. Navalny, who was released Sunday after spending 50 days in jail for an unsanctioned protest, put out a video Thursday, reiterating his claims and inviting Zolotov to a TV debate. Zolotov told Russian news agencies on Friday that he had challenged Navalny to an actual duel and that he does not want a public discussion with him. Navalny’s video got over 2.6 million views in less than a day.

Authorities nab suspected
serial diaper dumper

Franklin, N.J. (AP) – Authorities say they’ve captured a man suspected of dumping his grandson’s soiled diapers along several New Jersey roadways over the past year. Franklin Township police say an officer acting on a hunch spotted 68-year-old William Friedman leaving a load of diapers in the area of Routes 47 and 40 around 3:15 a.m. Sunday. He was taken into custody after a traffic stop. Friedman allegedly told police the diapers came from his grandson, adding that leaving them around town without getting caught “almost became a game.” Authorities say a motorcyclist crashed in June after running over a diaper Friedman had allegedly dropped. The motorcyclist suffered minor injuries and his bike was totaled. Friedman has been charged with interference with transportation. He faces up to $1,000 in fines.

A hot dog? Firefighters rescue
pet stuck in heating duct

West Springfield, Va. (AP) – It wasn’t a cat in a tree, but a dog in a heating duct that took firefighters to a home in Virginia. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department arrived Friday night to find the small dog trapped in the HVAC system. Video shows firefighter Mark Williams cutting a hole in the basement ceiling to retrieve the dog. The department says it was a “happy and pawsitive outcome fur all!”

‘French Spiderman’ barred
from climbing UK buildings

London (AP) – French urban climber Alain Robert has been banned from climbing any building in Britain after scaling one of London’s tallest skyscrapers without ropes – and without permission. Robert climbed the 662-foot (202-meter) Heron Tower on Thursday as police cordoned off the building, closed roads and ushered spectators away. He was arrested after the climb and appeared in a London court on Friday. Robert pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance and received a 20-week suspended sentence and a 5,500 pound ($7,000) fine. He was also barred from climbing all buildings in Britain “until further notice.” The 56-year-old daredevil, known as “the French Spiderman,” has climbed many of the world’s tallest structures. Before Thursday’s climb, he told reporters “I fully feel alive when my life is at stake.”