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Savannah unamused by googly eyes placed on historic statue: 'It's a crime'

The Nathanael Greene Monument in Savannah, Georgia, was defaced with googly eyes this week, the city posted on its official Facebook page.

>> On AJC.com: Georgia town among America’s top 3 small cities, according to Condè Nast

“It may look funny but harming our historic monuments and public property is no laughing matter, in fact, it's a crime,” officials wrote.

>> See the post here

According to the Savannah Morning News, police are investigating the incident and searching for the vandal responsible.

Defacing, defiling or mutilating a grave marker, monument or memorial devoted to a deceased individual who served in the military is considered criminal trespass, which is a misdemeanor offense. But if the damage is upwards of $500, it’s a felony crime: criminal damage to property.

>> On AJC.com: Wilderness, wildlife, bamboo and fossils: The Savannah you don't know

Greene, who served as a major general in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War is buried in Johnson Square. Though he never fought in Georgia, his military strategy and leadership helped free Georgia from British forces.

The soldier moved to Savannah with his family after the war, but died of heat stroke shortly after in 1786.

From the monument’s historical marker in Johnson Square:

The 50-foot, white marble obelisk, designed by the well-known architect, William Strickland, was completed in 1830. The original cornerstone was laid here on March 21, 1825, by Greene's old friend, the Marquis de LaFayette. At the dedicatory ceremony General LaFayette said:

>> Read more trending news 

"The great and good man to whose memory we are paying a tribute of respect, affection, and regret, has acted in our revolutionary contest a part so glorious and so important that in the very name of Greene are remembered all the virtues and talents which can illustrate the patriot, the statesman, and the military leader ..."

Man in wheelchair dies after 100-foot tumble down escalator at Metro station in D.C.

A man in a wheelchair died Wednesday after he attempted to go up an escalator at a Metro station in Washington, D.C., authorities said. 

The man tried to go up an escalator around 1:30 p.m. at the Columbia Heights Metro Station, a Metro spokesman told NBC 4 in Washington. Security footage showed the man, whose name was not released Wednesday, initially tried to use the elevator.

“A review of camera footage revealed the man waited 10 to 15 seconds for the elevator, which was in service at the time, and then diverted to the escalator,” Metro spokeswoman Sherri Ly told The Washington Post

The footage showed that the man tried to steady his motorized chair by holding onto the handrails on either side of him, but the wheelchair tipped backward and fell on top of him, NBC 4 reported

While lightweight manual wheelchairs can weigh as little as 15 to 20 pounds, electric wheelchairs can weigh in excess of 200 pounds, depending on the weight of the motor and other components. 

The Post reported that the victim reached the top of the escalator before tipping over. Fox 5 in D.C. reported that officers estimated the escalator to be about 100 feet long. 

A witness to the aftermath of Wednesday’s accident told the NBC affiliate that several people attempted to help the man, who was lying on the ground, his legs covered with blood. The exact nature of the victim’s injuries were not made public. 

>> Read more trending news

“Several bystanders and the station manager immediately rendered aid until medics arrived,” Ly told the Post. “The man was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased.”

The escalator was shut down for hours as investigators took notes and photos, NBC 4 said.  

The Post reported that while the Metro is considered one of the most accessible public transit systems in the country for people with physical disabilities, the people who must rely on the transit system’s elevators say they often encounter elevators that are out of service. 

Some Metro users voiced that same frustration on social media. 

“Incredibly tragic,” Anthony LaMesa wrote. “This man was likely so inured to #WMATA elevators being broken that he just assumed it would never come.”

Another Twitter user, Christopher Walkup, wrote that D.C. needs to become a more accessible city for everyone. 

A woman responding to a tweet last week about problems within the Metro system wrote about having to be carried up the stairs because the elevator at one station had broken down.

“I had to figure out how to get my wheelchair up & down stairs bcuz no one knew the elevator was broken & knew it wouldn’t be fixed,” wrote the woman, whose Twitter handle is Mama Penguin. “I had to be carried up while someone lugged my chair, just so we could try and find a Metro (with) working elevators late on a weekend. Not that bad my (expletive).”

Another Twitter user wrote that all he sees on Twitter is complaints about how nothing within the D.C. Metro works for the disabled. 

“And now here are your results,” the man wrote, posting a story about Wednesday’s fatal accident.  

'Emotional support' squirrel gets woman kicked off Frontier flight

A Frontier Airlines passenger at Florida's Orlando International Airport was removed from her flight by police Tuesday after she tried to bring her "emotional support" squirrel on board

The woman refused to get off the Cleveland-bound plane, so the crew called police. 

>> No dogs in shopping carts: Publix enforcing service pet policies

Frontier Airlines officials said the woman noted in her reservation that she was bringing an emotional support animal but did not indicate it was a squirrel. 

Rodents, including squirrels, are not allowed on Frontier flights, officials said. 

The crew asked the woman to get off the plane, but she allegedly refused. Orlando police were called and asked everyone to deplane so they could deal with the woman. 

Officers eventually escorted the passenger off the plane and brought her to the main terminal. 

Video shows crowds cheering as she was taken off the plane. 

>> See the video here

The incident is one of many recent cases involving emotional support animals on planes. 

In another case, a woman tried to get an emotional support peacock through security at Newark. 

In the last year, all the major airlines have changed their policies for bringing animals into the cabin. 

>> Read more trending news 

Most airlines require a note from a doctor, advanced notification and the animal’s vaccine records. 

Most airlines have also restricted which types of support animals are allowed on board. 

Delta, for example, has banned goats, hedgehogs and any animals with horns.

Florida man charged with practicing unlicensed dentistry for making grills

A 26-year-old Florida man was arrested Friday on charges of practicing dentistry without a license, the Leesburg Police Department said.

>> Watch the news report here

Investigators said Allen Turner had been making custom molds for dental grills at his home.

Turner told WFTV on Monday that he was unaware that what he was doing was illegal and that he considers himself more of a jeweler.

He said a Florida Department of Health investigator and a police officer visited his home to order him to stop doing the work and he obeyed them.

>> On WFTV.com: Overdoses lead Ocala police to alleged drug house that had drive-thru window, authorities say

"I see a lot of people doing it," Turner said. "(I) never figured you need a license for it."

Police said they discovered multiple drills, cutting tools and other equipment at his home.

"I think people make assumptions when things are just cosmetic in nature – that it doesn't necessarily require licensing," Leesburg police Lt. Joe Iozzi said.

>> Read more trending news 

Turner said he was fined $1,000 and was arrested several weeks later, once the state attorney's office chose to file charges against him.

He said business had been good thanks to Facebook.

"This is big in the hip-hop industry," Turner said.

He said he would charge customers several hundred dollars apiece, but he has chosen to call it quits.

"I don't want to do it no more, man," Turner said. "I don't want no parts of it. None at all. None at all, man."

Turner was released from the Lake County Jail after paying bail. He has a court hearing scheduled for Oct. 22.

'I'm a Kardashian,' Florida woman claims before pushing neighbor, deputies say

A Florida woman who claimed she was a “Kardashian” was arrested on a battery charge after a confrontation with a neighbor, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.

>> See the Facebook post here

Last week, Crystal Kohler, 35, approached her neighbor and said, “I’m a Kardashian. I’m going to (expletive) you up,” and then pushed the victim with both hands, deputies said

When deputies asked Kohler why she did it, she said the neighbor was too “nosy,” according to an incident report.

>> Read more trending news 

The victim said she has ongoing issues with Kohler, who randomly yells at her for no reason.

Kohler remains in the Marion County Jail on a charge of simple battery.

Church floor collapses during funeral, injuring mourners 

A funeral being held in a historic Louisiana church Saturday was interrupted when the floor below the mourners collapsed, injuring several people. 

The Daily Star in Hammond reported that the floor at the Greater St. James AME Church was weakened by termite damage. As the family and friends of Carl Weary walked into the sanctuary for his memorial, the beams broke under their weight. 

“The foundation went down and the wood floor cracked,” Walter Ard, a witness and the contractor who built the church’s roof, told the Daily Star

Another witness, Clifford Walker, told the newspaper that the floor gave way without warning. He attributed the incident to “years of neglect and termite infestation.”

>> Read more trending news

Lacy Landrum, director of administration for the city of Hammond, told the Daily Star that nearly a dozen people had to be rescued. Several of them suffered minor injuries, and two mourners had to be taken by ambulance to a hospital. 

According to a website belonging to the Greater St. James Historic Preservations, the church was established in 1867 as a branch of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was the first black church in Hammond. The current church was completed in 1926. 

NOLA.com reported that the church has been shut down by the city since Saturday’s accident. 

Coyote sneaks into woman's bedroom, stuns sleeping homeowner

An Oklahoma woman said she woke up to a coyote in her bedroom around 4 a.m. Sunday.

>> Watch the news report here

According to KOKI-TV in Tulsa, the Bixby woman said, at first, she thought her cat and her dog were fighting, but when she turned the light on she saw a coyote.

>> Read more trending news 

She tried to get the coyote out with a golf club, and when that didn't work, she called Bixby police. Officers used two animal control hooks to get the animal out and released it back into the woods.

The homeowner said she thinks the coyote may have gotten inside through her back door that wasn’t dead-bolted and was hunting her cat. She believes the coyote came from the wooded area behind her house.

Both the homeowner and cat are uninjured and are safe.

Decomposing torso in missing man’s fish tank center of ongoing mystery

San Francisco police officers contacted by Brian Egg’s worried friends and neighbors weren’t sure what they would find when they finally gained access to his home -- but a headless human torso submerged in a fish tank was not likely on that list.  

Officers were able to get inside the missing 65-year-old’s home on Aug. 14, after neighbors called 911 to report a suspicious person -- and a truck from a crime scene cleaning service -- outside Egg’s home, San Francisco police officials said. The people there with the truck, including the man who hired the crew, were detained for questioning and officers went inside. 

“Officers did not locate Mr. Egg, but found evidence including cleaning products and suspicious odors in the residence,” officials said in a news release. “On Aug. 15, the (San Francisco Police Department) homicide detail took over the investigation and a search warrant was authorized for Mr. Egg’s residence. While searching the location, SFPD investigators found human remains inside a fish tank.”

The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office is still working on identifying the remains, as well as determining a cause and manner of death, police officials said. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that decomposition was so advanced that even the body’s sex could not be determined. 

The body’s head and hands had been removed and cleaning products had been dumped into the tank with the torso, according to the Chronicle. The medical examiner is using DNA from Egg’s family to determine whether the body found in his home is his, the newspaper reported

>> Read more trending news

The saga of Brian Egg began in late July and early August, when police first heard from Egg’s family and neighbors, who were worried because they had not seen him in a while. Scott Free, a neighbor, told the Chronicle that he first became concerned in June, when he stopped seeing Egg walking his dog or watering his plants outside his home. 

His concern grew in July when two strangers began answering Egg’s door, claiming that they were house-sitting while Egg was on vacation, Free told the newspaper. That’s when he started calling police. 

Officers went to Egg’s Clara Street home twice, but got no response at the door and saw nothing suspicious that would warrant them forcing their way inside, the news release said

A missing person investigation began Aug. 7, when Egg’s sister reported him missing. A third trip to Egg’s home also produced no information on his whereabouts, officials said

“There wasn’t any evidence to the officers that appeared suspicious at the time that would lead them to take further action in this investigation,” Commander Greg McEachern, who heads the SFPD’s Investigations Bureau, said during a Tuesday news conference. “We don’t make entry into houses because someone has made a missing person report. People have a right to their privacy.”

Detectives who launched a more intensive investigation following the Aug. 15 discovery of the remains made two arrests: Robert McCaffrey, 52, of San Francisco, was arrested at Egg’s home. Lance Silva, 39, also of San Francisco, was picked up the following day at a motel. 

Officials said the pair was booked into the San Francisco County Jail on suspicion of murder, fraud, theft, identity theft and elder abuse. Both had the charges later dismissed pending further investigation by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, but Silva remains in custody at the Santa Rita Jail on a probation violation out of Alameda County, police officials said.

Free called the situation “horrifying” when he spoke to the Chronicle Monday outside Egg’s home. 

“The police department could have done a lot more in the early stages,” Free said. “It seemed like they weren’t taking it very seriously. There was a dead body in there all along and they were standing right next to it. What if we hadn’t said anything?”

Police officials at one point called Egg’s home and heard an answering machine message saying he was out of town, McEachern said Tuesday. Free and Egg’s brother, Devon Egg, who lives in Florida, both said that he did not have an answering machine.

Neighbors who knew him well also said Brian Egg was not one to travel, the Chronicle said. Though he was a bartender at a renowned San Francisco gay bar, the Stud, in the 1980s, he no longer had steady employment. 

“He was kind of fringe,” Free told the newspaper. “He had no job and lived on the margins. He was eccentric. A vacation seemed very implausible.” 

He was, however, a person who would occasionally take in drifters who needed a place to stay over the years, his neighbors told the newspaper. 

Investigators are asking for the public’s help in the case, specifically from individuals or businesses contacted by anyone claiming to be Brian Egg, or anyone who may have assisted with financial transactions related to Egg or his home at 228 Clara St. in San Francisco. 

Anyone with information on the case can contact the San Francisco police anonymously at 415-575-4444 or text-a-tip to TIP411 with SFPD at the start of the message.

WATCH: Shirtless man steers motorcycle with bare feet on Florida freeway

A Florida motorist posted a video Saturday that shows a motorcycle rider steering the bike with his feet — at full speed — on I-95. 

>> Watch the video here

The Jacksonville woman said the motorcycle rider passed her, even as her own car was going 60 mph. The rider didn’t have on a shirt or shoes. 

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

The woman said she was driving on I-95 when she saw the man next to her on the bike. She told her son to grab her phone and take the video. 

"I passed him and couldn’t believe it, so I slowed down and my son took a short video and a picture of him," the driver said. "I slowed to about 50-60 mph [my son] took the video. 

"He looked completely stable on the bike – like he’d done it a million times – not a care in the world. He seemed very confident in his ability."

>> Read more trending news 

One Facebook commenter said: “Cool that he can do that, but completely reckless and irresponsible." 

Another said: “I wonder how much that would cost him if he gets pulled over. He is putting more than his life in danger, so STUPID.” 

Man accused of robbing thrift store smiles in mugshot after arrest

A Texas man apparently was all smiles after he was arrested in connection with a thrift store robbery.

According to KWES, police arrested Shawn Paul Melonakos, 36, of Odessa, on Saturday after he was accused of trying to steal items from the Door of Hope Thrift Store.

>> Teacher accused of improper relationship with student smiles in mugshot

"Investigation revealed that a male subject, later identified as Melonakos, took merchandise and exited the store without making any attempt to pay," Odessa police said in a news release. "When the complainant confronted Melonakos about the stolen merchandise, Melonakos picked up a large rock and threatened him with it."

The complainant then pulled out a gun and fired a round, police said. Melonakos fled, but the complainant and another man caught and detained him until police arrived, the news release said. Nobody was hurt in the incident, authorities said.

>> Read more trending news 

Melonakos had methamphetamine on him when officers arrested him, the news release said. He also gave police a fake name, but officers were able to identify him and found that he was wanted on a parole violation warrant, the release said. He was charged with robbery, methamphetamine possession, providing false identification and violating parole.

Melonakos' unusual mugshot, which featured a big, toothy smile, quickly sparked hundreds of comments and shares on social media.

"Well, ain't he proud of himself," quipped one commenter on KWES's Facebook page

"Priceless," another Facebook user wrote

Read more here or here.

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