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McDonald’s worker charged with photographing customer credit cards in fraud scheme

A McDonald’s employee in West Monroe, Louisiana is facing identity theft charges after being accused of taking photos of customer credit cards while she worked behind the front counter of the restaurant, police said.

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Zynique Mitchell, 18, told officers that she took photographs of the credit cards during work and attempted to use them to purchase items online later, the Monroe News Star reported.

Officers reported that photos of credit cards were found on her phone, according to court documents

Mitchell told police she tried to use one of the cards but couldn’t complete the purchase, according to police.

During the interview, officers searched Mitchell’s purse and found two unmarked pill bottles, according to court papers.

Mitchell was arrested Thursday on three counts of identity theft and two counts of sale, distribution or possession of a legend drug without a prescription.

She is currently in jail in lieu of a $6,500 bond.

Giant ‘hairy sea monster’ washes ashore on Russian beach

An unidentifiable “hairy sea monster” washed up on the Kamchatka peninsula on the Bering Sea. 

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Svetlana Dyadenko shared video of the puzzling and stinking mass lying on the volcanic sand earlier this week.

“This unidentified and strange-looking creature was washed on the shore next to the village of Pakhachi, on the north-eastern side of the Kamchatka Peninsula,” she told the Siberian Times. “The most interesting thing to me is that the creature is covered with tubular fur. Could it be some ancient creature?”

Conjecture and theories from commenters wondered if it was the remains of an ancient woolly mammoth freed from its glacial resting spot. Maybe it was some type of octopus or squid, others asked Dyadenko.

While the enigmatic mass is baffling, some believe they have a definitive answer. It’s a globster, a term coined in 1962 to describe the remains of a carcass with no discernible eyes, head or bone structure.

“Under the influence of the sea, time and various animals, from the smallest to the largest, a whale often takes on bizarre forms,” Segei Kornev, a marine biologist from Kamchatka, told The Siberian Times. “This is only a part of a whale, not a whole one.”

TSA officer at Texas airport missed loaded gun, according to police reports

A man made it through Austin Bergstrom International Airport with a loaded gun after it was missed by a Transportation Security Administration security officer.

According to KVUE, police reports say that on June 16, a man from Georgetown, Texas, went through TSA Checkpoint 1 in the airport with no problems. After he went through the checkpoint, he told police he went to look for his headphones in his carry-on bag and noticed his gun, a Ruger LCP .380,  was in one of the front pockets. It had six bullets in it.

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The man alerted a Delta agent, who notified police. Austin Police Department officers ran a check on the man’s background and made sure the gun wasn’t stolen. The man’s bag was searched for other illegal items, KVUE reported.

The man emphasized that he was not aware the gun was in the bag, and he apologized to police multiple times. 

Because he reported the gun after noticing it was left in his bag and passed a background check, the APD did not charge him.

The TSA said in a statement to KVUE that the security officer responsible has been fired.

“After a thorough investigation, TSA determined that a Transportation Security Officer made an error and did not identify the firearm at the checkpoint,” the agency said. “The officer is no longer employed by TSA.”

T. rex tries its hand at selling houses in hilarious listing

The tyrannosaurus rex may have gone extinct millions years ago, but as Jeff Goldblum says, life, or in this case, the reality market, finds a way.

Realtor Casey Lewis of CearnalCo Realtors, came up with way to get a home sold in Granbury, Texas, and get it sold fast. 

Lewis featured a T. rex in everyday situations at a home for sale to show that it could fit just about everyone, even a large, extinct carnivorous dinosaur.

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“This was an idea I had years ago and just had to wait for the right client and right property to highlight,” Lewis told the “Today” show.

The home sold after only two days on the market earlier this month and before the out of the (moving) box thinking went viral, “Today” reported.

He said that after the photos got out, it generated more interest, but the house was already under contract with the sold sign being posted on the home by the T. rex himself.

DC mayor mocks 'reality star' Trump after military parade canceled

The mayor of Washington, D.C. mocked President Donald Trump in a tweet Friday after the president blamed Washington politicians for the cancellation of his planned Veterans Day military parade.

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“Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad),” the Democratic mayor wrote.

Officials with the Department of Defense said Thursday that the parade, which the president hoped to hold on Nov. 10, would not happen in 2018. Trump said Friday morning that the move was prompted by exorbitant costs.

>> Veterans Day military parade postponed until 2019, Trump tweets he canceled it

“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it.”

He added that the parade might happen in 2019 "when the cost comes WAY DOWN." 

The parade was set to be held in Washington and feature armored vehicles, aircraft flyovers and soldiers parading in World War I-era uniforms, CNBC reported, citing an estimate from the Defense Department. The parade was initially expected to cost about $12 million, an estimate based on the cost of the victory parade after the 1991 Gulf War, according to NBC News reported. The news network reported that parade cost about $8 million.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told Congress in February that the parade would cost between $10 million and $30 million. However, CNBC reported Thursday that the expected cost had risen to $92 million.

Despite Trump’s allegation that politicians were to blame for the price hike, The Associated Press reported a majority of the cost “was believed to cover Pentagon costs for aircraft, equipment and personnel.”

Heavy metals found in popular baby foods could cause behavioral issues, report finds

Many popular baby foods, including cereal, packaged fruits, vegetables, snacks and entrees, might contain harmful metals that could cause behavioral issues in children, according to a new study from Consumer Reports.

Researchers tested 50 prepackaged food products and found that each item had measurable levels of at least one of three metals -- cadmium, inorganic arsenic or lead.

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Most came from the two biggest U.S. baby food manufacturers: Beech-Nut and Gerber. Other brands that tested positive for metals included Baby Mum-Mum, Earth’s Best, Ella’s Kitchen, Happy Baby, Parent’s Choice (Walmart), Plum Organics and Sprouts, according to Consumer Reports.

Snacks and products containing rice or sweet potatoes were more likely to contain high levels of heavy metals, Consumer Reports found.

Organic foods were also just as likely to contain heavy metals, since they occur naturally in soil and water.

“The effects of early exposure to heavy metals can have long-lasting impacts that may be impossible to reverse,” said Victor Villarreal, an assistant professor in the department of educational psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, who has researched the effects of heavy metals on childhood development.

Heavy metal exposure, even in small amounts, may increase the risk of lower IQ and behavioral problems and have been linked to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

“Babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable due to their smaller size and developing brains and organ systems,” said James E. Rogers, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports. “They also absorb more of the heavy metals that get into their bodies than adults do.”

While the test results are problematic, experts told Consumer Reports that parents should not panic.

James Dickerson, chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports, said these foods do not guarantee a child will develop health problems, but it does increase their risk. Other sources of heavy metals -- including lead paint and contaminated water -- also put children at risk.

“Just because you've been feeding your children these types of foods doesn't mean that they'll necessarily have a specific adverse response to eating them,” Dickerson said. “If you've been feeding these foods to your children, reduce the amounts they are consuming per day or per week. And if you're really concerned about it, talk to your doctor.”

Aretha Franklin’s funeral will be four-day event, report says

A day after the death of legendary singer Aretha Franklin, details are emerging about official plans to celebrate her life.

The musician died at age 76 in her home in Detroit. She had been battling pancreatic cancer.

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WDIV reported that the funeral for Franklin will be a four-day event. Her body will lie in repose at Charles H. Wright Museum for African American History in Detroit for a viewing open to the public.

Related: Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin dies: A look back at her legacy

A private funeral for close family and friends will be at Greater Grace Temple, according to WDIV. Her body is being held at Swanson Funeral Home, which is also handling funeral arrangements, according to Detroit Free Press.

Freep reported that Gwendolyn Quinn, a spokeswoman for Franklin’s family, said details will be announced in the next few days, likely early next week.

A specific date for the funeral has not been announced yet.

1-year-old rescued from hot car after couple overdoses, police say

A 1-year-old baby was rescued from a hot car after two adults overdosed inside, police said. 

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When officers arrived a woman told officers the infant appeared to be sweating and she removed the baby from the car, WJW reported

Cody Powell was turning blue and was not breathing. Michelle Hall was unconscious lying across Powell’s legs, officers said. Both suspects were given Narcan and then taken to the hospital, WJW reported.

A search of the vehicle uncovered a syringe. At the hospital, Hall told investigators she fell asleep after taking multiple prescription medications, WJW reported. Powell told an officer he bought heroin and he and Hall injected it, WJW reported. Hall told officers that was the last thing he remembers.

Powell and Hall were charged with endangering children, WJW reported. The child was placed in the care of the Mahoning County Child Protective Services.

Satanic Temple displays goat-headed statue at Arkansas state Capitol

The Satanic Temple briefly unveiled a monument of Baphomet, a winged, goat-headed creature, on the grounds of the Arkansas state Capitol on Thursday.

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The Satanic Temple wants to install the statue on Capitol grounds as a symbol for religious freedom after a monument of the Biblical Ten Commandments was installed in 2017. 

In May, the ACLU sued the state over the Ten Commandments monument on behalf of four Arkansas women. Lawyers argue it violates religious liberty supported under the First Amendment. 

The women represented in the lawsuit are all part of the same cycling club; one identifies as an atheist and the three others identify as agnostic. They claim their First Amendment rights are violated when they ride past the statue on their normal bike routes.

“As someone who is agnostic, this endorsement by the state of one religious belief over my own makes me feel like a second-class citizen,” said Donna Cave, a retired teacher represented in the lawsuit. “Government officials shouldn’t be in the business of dividing people along religious lines -- they should represent everyone.” 

Lucien Greaves, spokesman and co-founder of the Satanic Temple, told the Huffington Post that Thursday’s rally was for “all people who hold sacred the founding Constitutional principles of religious freedom and free expression.”

“What we are asking for is only that the public square remain an area where free speech, religious liberty and equality under the law be respected by the holders of public office who swore to uphold those values,” Greaves said.

Arkansas Republican state Sen. Jason Rapert, a minister and sponsor of the law supporting the Ten Commandments monument, told KTHV it will be a “very cold day in hell” before the Baphomet statue would be permanently installed in Little Rock.

15-year-old girl shoots, kills mother's abusive boyfriend, deputies say

A 15-year-old girl shot and killed her mother’s boyfriend last week after he started to strangle the older woman and threatened to kill her and her three children, according to authorities in Rutherford County, North Carolina.

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Rutherford County sheriff’s deputies said Steven Kelley, 46, attacked the woman last week at a home on the 100 block of Lakeview Drive in Forest City. The woman and her three children – a 12-year-old boy and two girls, aged 15 and 16 – had recently moved to the area from Indiana. Kelley was also from Indiana, authorities said.

Investigators determined Kelley strangled the victim while yelling that he was going to slit her throat and kill everyone in the home. As the attack continued, the woman’s 12-year-old son grabbed a gun.

“(The victim’s) 15-year-old daughter took the gun from her brother and fired it twice, striking … (Kelley) in the chest,” authorities said in a news release. Deputies found Kelley dead inside the home when they arrived around 12:10 a.m. Aug. 8.

The victim “suffered significant bruises and contusions” from Kelley’s attack, officials said. Her 16-year-old daughter was also injured when one of the bullets fragmented, grazing her leg. Deputies said she was treated for the injury and released Aug. 9.

Deputies said Kelley had threatened the victim several times before Aug. 8. Days before he was killed, he attacked the victim and “fired multiple rounds from inside the residence to threaten and terrorize (her),” authorities said. In a statement, officials described Kelley has “a convicted felon who had two active domestic violence protection orders against him from two different women in Indiana and Ohio.”

No domestic violence or assault-related complaints were made about Kelley to Rutherford County deputies before last week’s attack, officials said.

Authorities with the Rutherford County District Attorney’s Office said the victim’s 15-year-old daughter will not face charges for the shooting, which was deemed justified.

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