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A teen-ager needed to collect on a $100 loan, so he grabbed somethin

January 2, 1997

CLAY, N.Y. (AP) _ A teen-ager needed to collect on a $100 loan, so he grabbed something he knew his debtor would want back _ his artificial leg.

Steven Mantooth had visited Frederick Lyons, 21, on Dec. 5 to try to collect the $100 he’d loaned him, Sgt. Charles Day said Tuesday. He took Lyon’s prosthetic leg while the man was in the shower.

Mantooth, who was arrested Sunday on a charge of third-degree grand larceny, told police he intended to return the leg on Jan. 1 if Lyons made a payment.

``I told him I didn’t want to beat him up, but I needed the money and I didn’t know what to do with him,″ he said in a statement to police.

While Mantooth is free on $100 bail, Lyons is still hobbling around on crutches _ without his leg.

The prosthetic limb is being held as evidence at the Clay police station, and won’t be returned to Lyons until the case against Mantooth is resolved, Day said.

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BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) _ Elderly women asked to dance by a mysterious, handsome silver fox at a retirement community party may ask breathlessly after being whirled around the floor, ``Who WAS that man?″

Well, he could be a hired hoofer to make parties more exciting _ for $12.50 or so an hour.

Some Florida retirement homes and senior centers are following the practice of some cruise lines and ballrooms: they’re hiring lightfooted retired men to come to their dances and mambo with the women.

``This is big in Florida,″ says Franklin Firestein, a retired IBM executive who has been a regular hoofer-for-hire for four years. ``There is a tremendous absence in this age group of men who are gentlemen and can dance,″ he said.

Two years ago at the Mae Volen Senior Center in Boca Raton, usually about 80 women and 20 men would show up for dances. Then the center started hiring men.

Firestein, who is married and in his late 50s, said that unlike scoundrels who gaze deeply into their partners’ eyes while trying to discern their bank balances, the host’s job simply is to dance and be charming.

Fort Lauderdale police Det. Joe Roubicek, an expert on crimes against the elderly, said he wasn’t alarmed.

``It sounds fine,″ Roubicek said. ``I have a mom that is 81, and I would pay some nice old guy $100 to dance with her for an hour.″

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DAMARISCOTTA, Maine (AP) _ The old finders-keepers rule got lost in the fine print of a little-known state law after a woman found an unclaimed gold necklace.

Lisa Knobel learned of the law after discovering a gold link necklace while biking across the Damariscotta-Newcastle bridge in August.

Even though the necklace was crushed by cars, a jeweler estimated its value at $600. Knobel turned the necklace over to the police to give the owner a month to claim it.

The town then dug up a state law regarding ``lost goods and stray beasts,″ possibly dating back to 1820, when Maine first became a state.

The law says that if the item is worth more than $10, the finder must pay to advertise it and have it appraised. If it remains unclaimed for six months, the finder must give the town half its value.

``I told them I’m not doing it,″ Knobel said. ``None of this was told to me when I turned it in. It seems absurd.″

Authorities then unearthed a separate law, which says the state gets to hold an unclaimed item for five years. After that, it must be sold and the money put into the state treasury.

The final decision rests with the selectmen in this coastal town of 1,200 people, about 40 miles northeast of Portland.

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EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) _ A woman was accused of chewing off part of her mother-in-law’s finger in a gory New Year’s Eve family feud.

When two officers tried to handcuff the woman, she bit them in the hands and lower arms, police said. Nim San, 26, of Edmonton, was charged with aggravated assault in Tuesday’s bitings.

Police were initially called to a downtown Edmonton apartment on a complaint about two women fighting. When they got there, they found a 60-year-old woman missing part of her middle finger on her right hand, police spokesman Kelly Gordon said.

Officers were told the woman had been fighting with her daughter-in-law, and that San had bitten off the finger up to the first joint. It was not clear what led to the fight.

The wounded woman, who was not identified, was taken to the hospital, where doctors didn’t think they would be able to reattach the severed part of her finger. The officers were treated for their bites and given tetanus shots.

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