Idahoans embraced the Big Idaho Potato, a 28-foot-long steel-and-plaster potato constructed in 2012 to mark the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th anniversary. It’s been traveling the country ever since, promoting Idaho’s biggest crop. The plan was for it to be retired this year, when Big Idaho Potato 2.0 arrives. But Kristie Wolfe had a better idea. She converted the sculpture into a single-room hotel (aptly called the Big Idaho Potato Hotel). It features a queen bed, two chairs and a bathroom with a whirlpool and a skylight for stargazing; Wolfe lists it on Airbnb for $200 per night. “It’s a way of inviting people to experience Idaho in a unique way,” remarked Frank Muir, CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission.
Future Master Shoplifters
Aida Melcado, 18, and an accomplice who was a minor, browsed through the Victoria’s Secret store in the Capital City Mall in Bethesda, Md., on April 7, carrying large shopping bags and talking on cellphones. While the minor acted as a lookout, Melcado allegedly shoveled delicates into her bag: 375 hipster panties (worth $3,937.50), 375 cut thongs ($3,937.50), 1,000 thongs ($10,500) and 250 raw-cut hip-hugging panties ($2,625), for a grand total of $21,000. Police later identified the thieves during a drug investigation in Fairfax County, Va.
It’s Not Like I Ran Over Him
Police in Tempe, Ariz., said Vanessa Santillan and her boyfriend were arguing as she was driving. When she stopped, he left the car and crossed the street to a sidewalk. Santillan then honked the horn, and her boyfriend returned a rude gesture. That’s when police say Santillan drove onto the sidewalk and hit the man, causing injuries serious enough to require a trip to the hospital and stitches. Santillan drove away, but later spoke to police, saying she wasn’t aware it was “that bad” when she left the scene. She further stated she had “blacked out” and didn’t remember hitting the boyfriend — even though her car had visible damage. She was booked on one count of aggravated assault and one count of failing to remain at the scene of a collision with injuries.
The Turtle Army
Police officers in Indialantic, Fla., responded to at least seven calls about a man disturbing the peace. Patrons of Starbucks and Sassy Granny’s Smoothies, among others, were startled when Thomas Devaney Lane started yelling, calling himself “the saint” and threatening to unleash his army of turtles on the community. Lane went along with an officer to the police station, where he screamed at the dispatcher and pounded on the walls, but then left the building. He was located later at a 7-Eleven, verbally assaulting customers. As officers stood by, Lane called 911 and told the dispatcher, “I need to leave now or you will all be sorry. You (expletive) with the saint.” Lane was charged with disturbing the peace, resisting arrest without violence and misusing 911.
An Iguana Is Not A Weapon
Arnold J. Teeter became angry while dining at a Perkins restaurant in Painesville, Ohio. First, he threw a menu at his waitress. When a manager stepped in, Teeter upped his game and grabbed his pet iguana from under his shirt, twirled it in the air and launched it toward the manager. Teeter was charged with disorderly conduct — and with cruelty to animals, because Copper, the turquoise iguana, suffered a broken leg in the incident.
The Lake County Humane Society has taken the female lizard into protective custody and is trying to raise money for the surgery she needs. No word on whether the Perkins manager suffered any injuries in the incident.
A Really Wrong Turn
Runners of the Belfast City Marathon who felt the course would never end had a legitimate reason. Organizing committee chairman David Seaton eventually admitted that “460 additional meters were added to the officially measured course of 26.2 miles” — a difference of about three-tenths of a mile. Seaton blamed the mistake on “human error, with the lead car diverting from the official route.” Organizers promised to adjust runners’ times to account for the additional mileage.
Panic In Nashville
In Nashville, Tenn., as the NFL Draft was taking over the town, brides and bridesmaids celebrating bachelorette parties were confounded by the crowds. The influx of crazed football fans cramped the style of several groups. “We come here to listen to country music, not hang out with football boys,” pouted a bride named Cara. “I’ll tell you who’s going to pay for this. My husband. No football next season,” threatened a bridesmaid named Cyndi. But a bride named Savannah was more Zen about the situation: “We’re gonna make the best of it. It is what it is.”
Faster Than A Speeding Building
Lukas Bates, of southeastern England, dreamed big while running the London Marathon. In addition to finishing, Bates hoped to secure a Guinness world record as the fastest runner dressed as an iconic building. His costume of Big Ben in London, rose several feet above his head — and that, it turned out, was what tripped him up. As Bates approached the finish line, his costume got caught on the scoreboard structure overhead. Finally a sympathetic race steward helped Bates free himself and make it over the finish line in three hours, 54 minutes and 21 seconds — missing by only 20 seconds the record held by Richard Mietz, who ran last year’s Berlin Marathon dressed as Germany’s Holstentor gate.
Vacation Without All The Bother
Why spend all that money on a real vacation when you can just fake a trip to an iconic destination? That’s the service offered by Fake a Vacation, a Nebraska company that offers to superimpose you in a photo from a popular vacation spot, such as Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon, for posting on your social media pages. According to United Press International, they’ll even offer you some fun facts about the place you choose to help you make your trip stories more legit. Packages start at $19.99.
The Lankenau Medical Center in suburban Philadelphia was the site of an unusual break-in. The nature of the loot left people scratching their heads. Two men and a woman stuffed several colonoscopes worth $450,000 into three backpacks. The scopes are used to examine colons during colonoscopies. “This is not something that a typical pawn shop might accept,” said Lower Merion Police Det. Sgt. Michael Vice. “My feeling would be it was some type of black market sales.”
Least Competent Criminal
A man in Gillette, Wyo., visited a Sportsman’s Warehouse where he paid for some items with a rewards card. But also lifted some bullets and a pair of sunglasses on his way out. Two days later, the man returned and asked to fill out a job application. He then walked out with two more pairs of sunglasses worth $85. This time, workers called police, who arrested the man and recovered all the stolen items.
A woman was with her boyfriend in the parking lot of a strip mall in Sandy, Utah, when she took her clothing off as she accused the boyfriend of cheating. The incident took place in a busy public area with constant vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The woman told police she stripped because “her boyfriend doesn’t want her anymore.” She was arrested for disorderly conduct and lewdness involving a child.
The Continuing Crisis
In Spokane Valley, Wash., two thieves heaved a 700-pound soda vending machine into the back of a pickup truck. Ryan King, owner of ProFormance Lube, noticed that the “monstrosity” of a vending machine was gone as soon as he arrived at work that morning. When he checked his surveillance camera footage, he saw two men loading it into the truck — even though the store is right across the street from a police station. The machine was later found, but was damaged beyond repair.