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The Odd Truth, Oct. 22. 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.

Sad End For Mad Monkey

PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia - A 30-year-old mystery was solved when the mummified remains of a once-unruly monkey that vanished from a store were found in an old downtown store.

Bryon Hill, working on a renovation crew in this central British Columbia town, said he was "totally shocked" to find the mummified squirrel monkey above the ceiling last week.

The monkey, about 2 feet from head to the end of the tail, died with its hands around a pipe and was so rigid that Hill could hold it straight up by balancing the end of the tail in his hand.

"I poked it to see if was alive and phoned the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to see if there could be any health risks from working with it," said Hill. "It was hanging on tight, and we had to pry it off."

The monkey "is pretty much mummified," said Jared Hansen, an SPCA animal care attendant. "All that's left is the skeleton and dried tannish brown and white hair. All the major features like eyes have disappeared."

The monkey got increasingly ill-tempered because of taunting by children and vanished from the store's pet department. Employees at the time believed it had escaped or been stolen.

Elaine Meisner, co-owner of the building with her husband Ben, said she was told the monkey was taunted by children with pea shooters, "so he spit back."

"I do think it's very sad that it died all alone, probably from starvation," Meisner said.

The $3,000 Kiss

MILFORD, Conn. - Sonya Chrucky puckered up - now she wants her ex-boyfriend to pay-up. The Connecticut woman charges her ex bit her on the lip while they were smooching. Her lawsuit charges that Peter Carli caused "pain and suffering, scarring and losses." Chrucky claims Carli's lip bite was "willful, wanton and malicious." To add insult to injury, Chrucky says Carli never paid her medical bills as he promised. She says they had a written agreement for her ex to pay $3,000 to cover costs related to the lip-lock injury.

Cat Burglar Is Actually A Cat Burglar

HUMMELS WHARF, Penn. - Talk about a cat burglar! Police in Synder County, Pennsylvania, are looking for someone who's stealing cats. Police aren't pussy-footing around. They say the cat-snatcher took seven felines from a shelter in Monroe Township. The cat burglar apparently struck early Saturday morning. Authorities hope someone will call with information so they can scratch-up some evidence about the thief.

Naked Kids? Must Be Child Abuse!

SALINA, Kansas - A Kansas judge says some Wal-Mart workers did the right thing.

The judge is dismissing a lawsuit filed against Wal-Mart by a woman who was questioned by police - after she had photos of her partially nude three-year-old daughter developed at the store.

Tamie Dragone had sought more than $260,000 from the retailer. She was never charged with a crime, but her lawsuit claims she was humiliated.

The judge says Wal-Mart workers acted correctly in turning the photos over to police, who said they had a duty to look into whether the pictures were evidence of child abuse.

The photos showed the girl playing topless with her father in the family's swimming pool and lying on a rug with her bare bottom showing.

Dragone's lawyer says his client and her husband feel they made their point by filing the suit.

Terrible Waste Of Money

FAIRFIELD, Ala. - It was a huge armored car heist in Alabama - $1.7 million. But for years, no one knew where most of the money went.

Until this past weekend.

Officials say they've recovered what was left of the 1995 robbery in a swamp. They found rotted, threadlike pieces of bills and money wrappers, two canvas duffel bags, and some trash bags.

One officer says it was just a mass of "green goo."

Two Wells Fargo employees were sent to prison for stealing from their own armored truck and making it look like a robbery. A year later, $200,000 was recovered from homes in Alabama. But $1.5 million remained missing.

Authorities said information from a tip turned out to be completely accurate.

British Film Producer Nabbed Smuggling Frogs

PERTH, Australia - An award-winning British film producer and conservationist appeared in an Australian court Tuesday charged with trying to smuggle hundreds of frogs and reptiles out of Australia in his luggage.

Michael Linley was arrested by customs officials at Perth International Airport in Western Australia state Monday, after more than 200 live reptiles and frogs were found in his suitcases, along with insects.

Linley appeared in Perth Magistrates Court charged with trying to smuggle the creatures, which included skinks, frogs and geckos.

Linley, whose credits include work for National Geographic, was released on bail on condition he surrender his passport and report to police three times a week.

Western Australia's Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) said the animals were discovered by X-ray at the airport, following a tip-off from a member of the public.

CALM officers are hoping to release the animals back into the wild later this week. Investigator Rick Dawson said the hundreds of animals were found in two suitcases. Some of the females were laying eggs, he said.

Amish Ditch Gaudy, Orange Reflective Tape

PITTSBURGH - Members of a conservative Amish sect that believe gaudy decorations violate their beliefs do not have to use orange reflective triangles on their buggies, a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled.

The panel also ordered that a lower court throw out $2,565 in fines that 20 members of the Swartzentruber Amish received for not using the triangles, which the state requires on all slow-moving vehicles.

The plain-dressing Swartzentruber prefer gray reflective tape and a lantern. Gray or white tape is legal in nine states for use on slow vehicles, including Ohio, where the sect lived until a few years ago.

The Amish say the tape is as effective as the triangles, although state transportation officials dispute that.

The court's 2-1 ruling overturned a 2002 decision that the state had a compelling public safety interest in requiring the triangles. The appeals court judges ruled Monday that the state did not produce evidence that would allow them to require triangles on the back of buggies.

Donna Doblick, the private attorney who represented the Amish for free along with the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that the state didn't prove whether buggy visibility contributed to crashes with vehicles. The prosecutor and state transportation officials did not immediately return calls for comment Tuesday.