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The Odd Truth, Feb. 25, 2005

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Joey Arak.

Robbers Need 911

COPENHAGEN, Denmark - When two Danish burglars realized someone had stolen the keys to their getaway car, they reacted like honest citizens and called the police.

Police said they were only too happy to help, and arrested them after they confessed to breaking and entering.

The men, 18 and 20, broke into a summer cabin late Wednesday near Kaldred, 55 miles west of capital Copenhagen.

As they carried their haul to the car, they were confronted by a passer-by, who witnessed the break-in and insisted that they return the stolen property.

To ensure they couldn't get away, the passer-by took the keys from their car, and refused to return them.

"The two young men then called us and said they needed our help getting their keys back," Chief Superintendent Asger Larsen said Thursday.

He said the two realized that without the keys, they would have to leave their car at the scene, which would put the police on their trail and lead to their arrest anyway.

"It's a pretty straightforward case for us, since this time, the thieves actually reported the robbery," Larsen said.

"Alive" Survivor Gets Refund

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay - A survivor of the 1972 plane crash made famous by the book and movie "Alive" has gotten his wallet and jacket back -- 32 years after leaving them in the Andes.

A hiker found the items just yards from the site where the plane carrying Eduardo Strauch and the others went down. Along with the wallet were a driver's license, passport, faded dollar bills and sunglass frames.

Strauch is one of 16 rugby players who survived 72 days in high mountain snow after their plane crashed on the way to Chile. The book and movie recount how they ate victims' flesh to stay alive.

Strauch is now a 57-year-old architect and father of five. He says it's "incredible" that someone stumbled upon his possessions after so long, calling it "another miracle inside a miracle."

Roadkill Snacks Offensive?

TRENTON, N.J. - Animal rights activists are disgusted by a new candy from Kraft Foods Inc. that's shaped like critters run over by cars -- complete with tire treads.

The fruity-flavored Trolli Road Kill Gummi Candy, in shapes of partly flattened snakes, chickens and squirrels, fosters cruelty toward animals, according to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"It sends the wrong message to children, that it's OK to harm animals. And that's the wrong message, especially from a so-called wholesome corporation like Kraft," said society spokesman Matthew Stanton.

The society is considering petition drives, boycotts and letter-writing campaigns to get the candy pulled from the market, Stanton said.

After receiving a complaint from the NJSPCA Wednesday, Kraft officials pulled an animated advertisement from Trolli's Web site that featured car headlights and animals. No other decisions on changes have been made, said Kraft spokesman Larry Baumann.


CHEYENNE, Wyo. - A week after the outcome of the local spelling bee was challenged by one of the contestants, organizers have named two winners.

Zack Anderson and Jennifer Black, both 13, will receive first-place trophies, bee sponsor Cindy Szot said Wednesday.

Anderson originally won last week's bee and was given the first-place trophy when Black missed the word "phlebitis." Black spelled it with an "f."

But Black appealed to the judges, saying she spelled it wrong because the judges incorrectly told her the word's origin was Latin. She said the "ph" spelling showed the word came from New Latin.

After the judges looked up the word and saw Black was right, they resumed the spell-off, which Black eventually won.

This week, Anderson's aunt, Stacy Lynne, of Wellington, Colo., wrote a letter to the school district that hosted the bee asking that Anderson be declared the winner.

Szot said judges were right to allow Black to continue after her appeal. But she also said she didn't like taking the trophy away from Anderson, and that the bee didn't have rules for a last-word appeal.

Emu Comes Home

MOXEE, Wash. - Emma is home again after nearly a year on the lam, and Diana Parker is one happy emu owner.

"I thought for sure she was gone," Parker said of her beloved bird, who hails from Australia and is related to the ostrich. "She would've been a lovely Sunday roast for somebody."

Parker, 60, said Emma vanished while she was away in March, about six months after she got the 3-year-old bird. She immediately alerted the Humane Society, Yakima County sheriff's office, property owners and workers in nearby hop fields.

"The word was out," she said. "I told everybody, 'Look for my emu."'

After a week of fruitless searching, she gave up. To console her, a friend gave Parker two 3-week-old emus, Eddie and Baby.

Then, on Tuesday, both a neighborhood boy and a family friend saw Emma not far from her old stomping grounds.

Parker feared Emma would flee -- the flightless birds can run as fast as 30 mph -- but her bird was soon back in the fenced yard after being corralled by Parker's husband, Richard, and son Doug.

"It just floors me," Heidt said. "I mean, where was it all this time? Where'd it stay all winter?"

Flag Feud

SAN ANTONIO - A former Air Force medic's plan to fly the same American flag until U.S. troops return from Iraq is drawing criticism, as the banner grows faded and torn.

Moses Mitchell raised the new flag outside his business and day-care center near San Antonio's Lackland Air Force Base nearly two years ago as a tribute to the troops in Iraq.

But Vietnam vet Jack Long says the flag is now "just hanging in shred." Long says it breaks his heart to see that, and he's contacted politicians, the police and even the FBI in a futile effort to force Mitchell to take it down.

A section of federal law known as the Flag Code says a flag should be "destroyed in a dignified way" once it is "in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display."

But there are no penalties for violating the code, which is binding only on federal installations.

Still Truckin'

CHICAGO - Lots of truckers dream of becoming millionaires. But not Tim Krauskopf. He's a millionaire several times over. Krauskopf made his fortune in the early days of the dot-com boom. His company developed the software that became Microsoft's Internet Explorer. He later founded a Chicago-based trucking company and even drives the 18-wheelers. He says he wanted a change of pace, so he went to truck-driving school. But Krauskopf hasn't left his high-tech life in the dust. He's developed technology that combines satellite navigation and cell phones. Every two minutes his 14 trucks automatically phone home to report their locations.

I'll Drink To This!

NEW ORLEANS - Here's something to drink to -- a cocktail museum. The recently opened Museum of the American Cocktail is in a fitting location, New Orleans' French Quarter. Visitors will find everything from Art Deco cocktail shakers to vintage swizzle sticks. Part of the collection is on display in a temporary location, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. The founders are hunting for a permanent place. And since it wouldn't be much of a drinking museum without drinks, they're looking for a place with enough room for a bar. Co-founder Dale DeGroff says they also plan to serve forgotten drinks, like the whiskey swizzle and the sherry twist.

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