Odds & Ends
Furniture superstore IKEA is pleading with teenagers to stop holding unauthorized “sleepovers” by hiding out in stores after closing. The company said it had confirmed about 10 incidents of young people hiding out in stores after an online video went viral in August. The video showed two teenage boys hiding out in a wardrobe until everyone else left and then treating the store like their own personal playground. Most recently, two 14-year-old girls were caught spending the night in an IKEA in Jonkoping, Sweden. The girls were not charged due to their ages. However, two 15-year-olds in Malmo, Sweden, are facing trespassing charges for doing the same thing in October. “We appreciate that people are interested in IKEA and want to create fun experiences. However, the safety and security of our coworkers and customers is our highest priority and that’s why we do not allow sleepovers in our stores,” a spokesperson for IKEA told the BBC.
Well, at least he had a little bit of the Christmas spirit. According to police in Memphis, a man in a Santa Claus mask walked into the Memphis City Employees Credit Union on Wednesday, Dec. 21, around 10am. The ersatz elf handed out candy canes and wished everyone a Merry Christmas. Then he handed the bank teller a note demanding cash. According to The Commercial Appeal newspaper, video surveillance footage shows the man in the bearded mask talking to people in the bank before approaching the teller window. After receiving the demand notice, the teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash, and the masked man left the bank. A second video, recorded outside the bank, showed the man removing the mask, but did not reveal his face. The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.
A professional Santa Claus got his wish this Christmas and retained his right to own a vanity license plate. David Reid of Montgomery told WSFA-TV he owns a 1999 4Runner and has had a special wildlife license plate that says “HO HO” on it for the past six years. Recently, however, he tried to renew his tags, but was denied by the Alabama Department of Revenue. Reid was forced to take home a standard issue plate after his original was deemed “offensive.” In addition to the “HO HO” license plate, Reid also has a sticker on his back window that reads, “My other ride is a sleigh.” “How offensive is that?” Reid asked WSFA-TV. “People drive by me on the interstate so everyone can wave and take a picture. Who is offended by that? It’s ridiculous.” Reid inquired about the tag, but never heard back from the Department of Revenue. After his story went viral on the local news, however, the substitute Santa got a call saying he could come pick up a temporary “HO HO” tag and would receive his regular one in 10 to 12 days. Despite not getting the permanent tag before Christmas, Reid said he was thrilled with the outcome.
Wildlife officials (in Florida, mind you) have ruled that a woman can keep her costume-wearing, ATV-riding pet alligator. Mary Thorn of Lakeland was told by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission back in March that she could no longer keep her 15-year-old pet alligator, Rambo. Mary told UPI that Rambo—who is allegedly house broken, understands sign language and loves to dress in costumes—“has never been a normal gator.” Thorn said she obtained a license to keep Rambo as a house pet in 2012, but the Fish and Wildlife Commission moved to seize the animal after it grew past 6 feet long, the maximum size allowed for someone living on less than 2.5 acres. The FWC notified Thorn earlier this month that it had accepted her request for an exception to the gator-keeping rules due to Rambo’s “unique situation.” The ruling came with strict conditions, however, including a ban on showcasing the alligator in public. Previously, Thorn had taken Rambo to educational and charity events to teach children about animals—animals who wear Santa costumes and pose on top of ATVs. “He’s like my son. He’s my family,” Thorn told reporters.