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AM-Prep: Kickers

March 25, 2019

HOT AIR BALLOON STOLEN IN INDIANA FOUND AT FLORIDA FESTIVAL

SUMMERFIELD, Fla. (AP) — NewsFlash: If you’re going to steal a hot air balloon, don’t show up with it at a hot air balloon festival.

Authorities in Marion County, Florida, say they got a tip Saturday from police in Bloomington, Indiana, that a stolen balloon had been spotted at The Villages Hot Air Balloon Festival in Summerfield, Florida.

That tip wasn’t full of hot air. In a Facebook post, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said deputies found the multicolored balloon with a grid pattern while checking other balloons participating in the three-day event.

Authorities say the balloon’s owner didn’t want to press charges and just wanted his balloon back. A tow company was called to pick up the balloon so that it could be returned to its owner.

ALASKA MAN PROMISES JUDGE HE’LL STOP CHASING STOLE VEHICLES

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska man has agreed to a plea deal that includes a promise to stop chasing after stolen vehicles.

The Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday that 54-year-old Floyd Hall pleaded guilty to one count of reckless endangerment resulting in a 30-day suspended sentence and a $500 fine.

Officials say the terms of Hall’s three-year probation sentence include a pledge to stop chasing anyone driving a suspected stolen vehicle.

The newspaper reports that Hall is a member of a group called the “A Team” that relies on social media tipoffs to recover stolen vehicles.

Hall engaged in a 19-month court case resulting from an August 2017 charge of reckless driving for what police say was a high-speed chase, but Hall contends only involved following the vehicle.

RUSSIAN MAN ACCUSED OF DRUGGING AND SMUGGLING ORANGUTAN

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AP) — Authorities Indonesia say they have arrested a Russian tourist who was trying to smuggle a drugged orangutan out of Indonesia’s resort island of Bali.

An official from Bali province’s conservation agency says 27-year-old Andrei Zhestkov was captured late Friday at the airport after an X-ray found the 2-year-old male orangutan in a rattan basket inside his luggage.

The official says customs officers also found allergy pills, two geckos and five lizards in the man’s suitcase. All animals the animals were alive.

He says that Zhestkok told authorities he deliberately fed the orangutan allergy pills mixed with milk, causing the animal to lose consciousness for up to three hours. He told them he planned to re-dose the animal during a transit in Seoul.

FLORIDA SUBURB PLAGUED BY POISONOUS TOADS

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — A Florida suburb is being plagued by thousands of poisonous toads.

Experts say the amphibians are bufo toads, also known as cane toads. Residents in the infested Palm Beach Gardens neighborhood worry toxins secreted by the toads will harm their pets and children.

News stations broadcast images of the small toads clogging pool filters, hopping en masse across driveways and sidewalks, and lurking in landscaped lawns.

Resident Jennifer Quasha told WPBF her family first noticed the toads Friday. She said hundreds of them were in her swimming pool.

Mark Holladay of the pest removal service Toad Busters told WPTV that recent rains coupled with warm temperatures sent the amphibians into a breeding cycle.

Holladay said even more toads are likely to spread throughout South Florida in the coming weeks.