Dateline: IdahoA homeowner is crediting his pet squirrel with fighting off a burglar. Adam Pearl of Meridian returned home on Feb. 7 and noticed something odd. “I came in the front door and I saw snow prints out in the front driveway going to the back of the house, so I thought something was awry because no one usually goes through the yard,” Pearl told KIVI-6 News. Pearl was greeted by his pet squirrel, Joey, but realized that several doors that would normally be closed were open. He also noticed scratches around the lock of his gun safe. “At that point, I knew somebody was definitely in here messing around,” said Pearl. Pearl called Meridian Police, and officer Ashley Turner was dispatched to investigate. “During her investigations Joey had run in the bedroom, just screwing around like he always does, between her legs and kind of startled her,” said Pearl. “She says, ‘Whoa, what was that?’ And I said ahhh don’t worry about that, that’s just Joey, my pet squirrel, ya know.” A few hours later Officer Turner returned with some of Pearl’s missing belongings and a surprising story. Turns out the robbery suspect police apprehended had scratches on his hands. Officer Turner asked if he got them from Pearl’s pet squirrel. The suspect reportedly told Turner, “Yeah! Damn thing kept attacking me and wouldn’t stop until I left.” Pearl told reporters he rewarded Joey for his bravery with his favorite snack, Whoppers.Dateline: CaliforniaAuthorities in California say a man stole a van from a mortuary in Riverside—but returned it and stole a different vehicle after discovering a dead body in the back. Riverside Police said a mortuary worker parked the van outside the business around 1:30am on Sunday, Feb. 12, and went inside. That’s when 24-year-old Bobby Joe Washington allegedly stole the vehicle. “He [the driver] had just picked up a decedent and returned to the mortuary to pick up some paperwork,” Officer Ryan Railsback told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “He left the keys in the car, but it wasn’t on or anything.” The suspect got into the van and drove off—with the body still inside. About an hour later, an officer at the scene investigating the theft was told about a different theft that had just taken place. Seems Washington noticed the dead body in the back of the van, returned to the scene of the crime and tried to swap the vehicle for another. An employee allegedly tried to stop Washington and was nearly run over. The officer at the scene pursued the second stolen van for about 2 1/2 miles, at which point Washington was arrested on suspicioun of two counts of vehicle theft, one count of assault with a deadly weapon and evading a police officer. Stealing a dead body was not included on the list of charges, as police believe Washington did not intend to steal it.Dateline: WashingtonA woman who went to collect her late brother’s rental home deposit was told the man violated the terms of his lease by dying. Debra Tolbert was hoping to use the $1,400 security deposit and last month’s rent to pay for her brother’s cremation. Tolbert’s brother, Dennis Hanel, passed away last month from a heart attack after battling stage four kidney failure. But, as she told crosscut.com, property managers of Hanel’s West Seattle rental house informed her that her brother had “violated the terms of his lease” when he died and no deposit money would be returned. Washington CAN, a community organization that advocates for low- and middle-income people, has been trying to help Tolbert get the money back. “For a landlord to require someone to give notice that they are going to die in order to get a deposit back is outrageous and unethical, not to mention inhumane,” Xochitl Maykovish, an organizer for Washington CAN, told Crosscut. “Dying is not a violation of a lease,” Violet Lavatai, membership coordinator with the Tenants Union of Washington, confirmed. “A landlord who does something like that has no moral compass.” Anthony Narancic, owner of Real Estate Services, the property rental and management company for the property, refused to return reporters’ phone calls and text messages.Dateline: OhioThe tiny town of New Miami is being forced to refund more than $3 million in speeding tickets after the Butler County Court of Common Pleas determined that the local government “created an unconstitutional law/ordinance that has taken people’s money without affording them the necessary due process protections.” A group of three lawyers filed suit back in 2013, arguing that New Miami’s automated ticketing ordinance gave vehicle owners no realistic opportunity to defend themselves. Despite the fact that New Miami is less than 1 square mile and has a population of around 2,000 people, private contractor Optotraffic gave the village two free traffic cameras. In order to ensure that the cameras produced solid income for the town—which straddles US 127—local lawmakers rewrote speeding laws to cut the criminal justice system, bypassing uniform state traffic laws and charging speeders under a civil ordinance instead. The village split all the money from its longtime speed trap with Optotraffic, with 60 percent of each fine going to the village and the rest going to the camera company. When New Miami’s stationary camera program was deemed unconstitutional in 2014, the village contracted with a different company, Blue Line Solutions, to start using handheld cameras. BLS gave the village 65 percent of those ticket profits. The village will now have to pay back $3,066,523 worth of tickets.