QUIRKY WORLD ... A daily look at some of the world’s stranger stories

Meter mechanic in a slot of bother

USA: From the moment parking meter mechanic James Bagarozzo began his scheme to steal from the machines, his life became overrun with coins. He stashed them in his pockets, in a sack in his truck, in wardrobes at his house.

Over more than eight years, he brought home $210,000 (€157,500) worth of quarters weighing over 4,750kg — which he dutifully rolled and packed in $500 boxes to be exchanged for cash at banks on his lunch hour.

On Friday, a judge imposed a two-and-a-half-year sentence on Bagarozzo, 58,who blamed a gambling addiction and an illness he believed would kill him before he built a nest egg for his family. From 2003 to 2011, he spent the first half of every workday in Buffalo, New York, stealing from 70 to 75 meters, prosecutors said. Rather than fix machines, he broke them so quarters would collect on top instead of dropping into the collection canister.

Packed sandwiches replace restaurants for British tourists

BRITAIN: Foreign fare is failing to entice holidaying British people, with around one third choosing to take their own food away with them.

As many as 35% said they had packed food when they travelled on trips overseas, a survey by online travel agency sunshine.co.uk found.

The most popular reason for taking food away on holiday was to save money, followed by admissions of being fussy eaters or not finding the fare they liked.

Judge tells adult film actors to use protection

USA: A federal judge has upheld as constitutional a Los Angeles County law requiring adult film performers to wear condoms.

Friday’s ruling is a setback to porn producers, who filed a lawsuit to block the implementation of the Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, or Measure B, which was approved by voters last November. In the ruling, US district judge Dean Pregerson wrote that the Aids Healthcare Foundation presented sufficient evidence of the health risks the measure sought to reduce. He said the law seeks to alleviate those harmed in a direct and material way.

The decision was cheered by the non-profit Aids Healthcare Foundation, one of the sponsors of the measure. The foundation was granted “intervener” status to defend the law against the porn industry’s lawsuit.

Snakes in a motel

CANADA: Canadian authorities have rescued 40 distressed pythons from a motel room where they were being improperly held in plastic storage bins, police said on Friday.

Police found the snakes, ranging from 30cm to 1.4m in length, in a motel in Brantford, a city about 100km southwest of Toronto.

“The snakes were not being suitably cared for and were in distress,” local police said. “The anxious officers called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals who attended and took 40 pythons into their care.”

The snakes are expected to be fine, they said. Nobody at the Brantford police or at the SPCA were available for comment.

A manager at the motel said the snakes belonged to a couple who had checked into a room for one night, and who were out when police arrived.

Pythons are not legal for home ownership in Brantford, according to the city’s animal control bylaws.

Last week, two young boys in Eastern Canada died after a 4m, 45kg python apparently attacked them in their sleep.

Polar bear for sale in Pennsylvania

USA: A Pennsylvania restaurant owner is trying to find a good home for a 2.4m stuffed polar bear.

For years, patrons of the Woods Creek Grill, Harrisburg, have enjoyed posing for pictures with the bear, which was shot in Alaska in 1967, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported.

Restaurant owner Dave DeWees bought the bear and other mounted animals at auctions.

“We wanted things people could come in and see, things they could walk up to,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many hundreds of people had their photographs taken with her.”

But when he shifted careers and decided to sell the restaurant, he learned that the law on bears has shifted too.

Now, the bear can’t cross state lines or be sold to someone in another country because of endangered species laws, even though it was shot almost 50 years ago.

An ad for the bear appeared recently in the classifieds in the Patriot-News. DeWees’ father, Ken, said he got several calls asking if the advertisement is for real.

It would be illegal for DeWees to sell the bear even in Pennsylvania without proper documentation that it was shot legally in 1967, the paper reported. But the original hunter was meticulous, and there are folders of information documenting where and when the bear was taken.

DeWees said the polar bear is a good example of the species. “It’s like any other piece of art. There’s good and there’s bad.”

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