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The Odd Truth, Oct. 2, 2003

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The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by CBSNews.com's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.


It's Raining Frogs In Conn.

BERLIN, Conn. - Hurricane Isabel brought unholy high winds and lashing rain to the East Coast. It also dumped something almost biblical on Connecticut.

Primo D'Agata was startled by what he thought was hail smacking on his porch Sept. 19 as the remnants of Isabel moved through the state. But when he went outside to investigate, D'Agata discovered tiny, gelatinous eggs with dark spots in the middle.

It had apparently been raining frogs.

Since no frogs in Connecticut lay eggs this late in the year, scientists and naturalists speculate they may have come up from North Carolina or another warm location on the winds of Isabel.

D'Agata brought a bowl of his mysterious find to a nearby nature center, after the town's animal control officer couldn't identify what had arrived in his yard.

Nicolas Diaz, a naturalist and teacher at New Britain Youth Museum at Hungerford Park, took a look at D'Agata's bowl and told him it looked like amphibian eggs.

D'Agata is keeping two small, water-filled glass jars of the eggs to see if any of them will hatch. He said a few seem to have sprouted what look like a tail.

"I'm going to let them sit and see what happens," D'Agata said Wednesday.

Truck Stolen, Back

CRESCENT CITY, Calif. - When Joe Francis' truck was stolen, he didn't get mad.

He just stole it back.

Francis was upset when the truck vanished from outside his work Monday - he didn't have insurance to replace it.

Francis was on his way to Brookings, Ore., to buy a new car Tuesday when he spotted the purloined truck headed the other way. He swung around and followed.

"It was pretty lucky on my part and pretty stupid on his part for driving the truck around here," Francis said.

He trailed the truck until the driver parked at a home and went inside.

Francis, armed with a can of pepper spray, slipped into the truck and drove it away.

"I knew the key gets stuck in the ignition, so I figured it would be in there. That's probably why it got stolen in the first place," Francis said.

Francis quickly called the California Highway Patrol, and officers showed up to arrest a Folsom State Prison parolee.

Doc Caught With Dead Woman's Breast Implants

LUBBOCK, Texas - A Texas medical examiner is in hot water - for keeping the breast implants of a dead woman. Doctor Jerry Spencer was questioned after a visitor to his Lubbock office complained he was displaying the implants. Texas Tech, where Spencer also teaches, operates the ME's office for the county. Authorities say they'll wait until the school completes its investigation before determining if a criminal probe is warranted. The DA's office says possible charges could include theft from a corpse.

Live Free-er Or Die?

CONCORD, New Hampshire - A group of Libertarians wants to give people in the "Live Free or Die" state even more freedom.

A group called the Free State Project announced that it's chosen New Hampshire for its new campaign. The group plans to get 20,000 Americans to migrate to New Hampshire - and start transforming it into a "free state" with fewer laws, smaller government and greater liberty.

Organizers say 5,000 members have already pledged to move. They hope to increase that number to 20,000 - and start to work on steps such as decreasing restrictions on gambling and medicinal marijuana and strengthening gun rights.

McKinstry said New Hampshire won because it "boasts the lowest state and local tax burden in the continental U.S., the leanest state government in the country, a citizen legislature, a healthy job market, and perhaps most important, local support for our movement."

Project members also like the New Hampshire Constitution, which is seen as protecting the right to revolution. It reads: "Whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government."

These potential new neighbors are worrying some New Hampshire residents. One Democratic political activist described the group as "anarchists."

New Hampshire beat out nine other finalists for the Free State Project. Wyoming was the runner-up, followed by Montana, Idaho, Alaska and Maine.

Oops! Murder Evidence Left In Cop's Sock Drawer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida - An officer accused of wrongful arrest testified that he forgot he had an audiotape in his sock drawer that could have cleared two murder suspects.

Broward County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Thomas "Bill" Murray said Tuesday that the tape of informants implicating two other men was in his drawer for eight months before the state Department of Law Enforcement asked for it.

"I completely forgot about it," Murray said. "I didn't do it intentionally."

Stephen Rosati and Peter Roussonicolos spent 16 months in jail for the 1986 murder of Joseph Viscido Jr. before they were cleared in 1992.

They claim that Murray and two other officers forced witnesses to identify the wrong men and hid or ignored the evidence that cleared them.

Their lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Both men named on the tape were eventually charged. James Traina was convicted of killing Viscido, and Kerry Carbonell committed suicide before his trial on murder charges.

Merely A Flesh Wound

BURNABY, British Columbia - How do you define tough guy?

This true story from Burnaby may provide an answer.

On Tuesday, an 80-year-old World War II vet and former tradesman was doing some welding outside his home when he caused an oil tank to explode.

He suffered first and second degree burns to 40 per cent of his body, but didn't think his injuries were serious enough to call 911.

Instead, he went inside, took off his burned clothes and cut off his singed hair.

He then jumped in a cool bath and later put vitamin E cream on his burns.

Only then did he call an ambulance, although he didn't use the emergency line because he didn't believe the situation warranted it.

RCMP Constable Phil Reid says the "tough as nails" character - who's name wasn't released - then went outside and waited for the ambulance.

He's now in a hospital recovering.

Soldier On Home Leaves Wins $150 M

ATLANTA - Army Sgt. Stephen Moore has millions of reasons to fondly remember his home leave.

Moore, 30, visiting family members during his 30-day leave from South Korea, bought the winning Mega Millions ticket for Tuesday night's drawing at a convenience store in the south Georgia city of Fitzgerald.

His haul? A cool $150 million.

Moore, a chemical specialist, said he was out with his brother Tuesday night, and when he returned he found his wife, Danielle, waiting for him.

"She came out the door, and I thought I was in trouble," Moore said. "She said, 'Guess what, we won the lottery!"'

Moore said the family began calling other relatives to let them know of their good fortune.

"I told my mom to go ahead and quit work," Moore said.

He said he plans to build a new home for his wife and two daughters. Danielle Moore, also an army sergeant, said the two were married by a justice of the peace, and now she wants a dream wedding.