QUICK TAKES | Hunters hope a World War II map will help them uncover a hidden trove
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Treasure hunters began swarming the Dutch village of Ommeren in January after the public release of a map indicating treasure might be buried there. The Dutch National Archive released a World War II–era map, obtained from a former Nazi soldier, after a 75-year clause preventing its disclosure expired Jan. 3. The map purportedly contains information about where German soldiers buried a cache of diamonds, rubies, and precious metals in the waning days of the war. The current landowner is allowing amateur treasure hunters to search with metal detectors and digging equipment. “The institute did a lot of checks and found the story reliable,” archive spokesperson Anne-Marieke Samson told Reuters. “But they never found it, and if it existed, the treasure might very well have been dug up already.”
Breaking into jail
Only five hours after gaining his freedom, a Lake Charles, La., man found a creative way to return to jail. The Calcasieu Correctional Center released Kenneth Hunt, 39, on Jan. 4 after prosecutors dropped charges stemming from a November arrest. Sheriff Tony Mancuso said Hunt returned hours later and threw a rock through a glass door at the jail. Hunt told deputies he just wanted a meal and a place to stay the night, but he now faces a single count of criminal damage to property. “I guess we can now say we literally have people beating down the door to stay with us,” Mancuso said.
Transportation Security Administration officials turned away a traveler at Tampa International Airport in December after she attempted to bring a snake on a commercial flight. TSA officials say agents spotted the 4-foot-long boa constrictor coiled in the woman’s carry-on luggage during a baggage scan. When confronted, the woman said the snake, named Bartholomew, was her emotional support animal. The woman’s airline nevertheless refused to allow the snake aboard.
On Jan. 12, residents of Pembroke Pines, Fla., were treated to the grand opening of another Publix grocery store—this time in a shopping center directly across the street from a Publix that has served customers for nearly two decades. The two stores sit on either side of Pines Boulevard. Company officials said the original Publix will remain open in an attempt to alleviate congestion at the popular stores.
Suspicious solar panels
A series of solar-powered antennas that have popped up in the remote foothills outside Salt Lake City, Utah, have local officials looking for answers. Recreational trails manager Tyler Fonarow said he began seeing small electronic devices bolted into hillsides and mountaintops about a year ago. The devices feature a solar-powered antenna and a locked box, but no one knows how they got there or who owns them. City officials have speculated they might be associated with a cryptocurrency operation. Fonarow and his team have begun hiking for hours along remote ridges to remove the unauthorized devices.
A fire at a dairy manufacturer in Portage, Wis., turned a local canal into a river of melted butter. Firefighters responded to a fire at Associated Milk Producers Inc. on Jan. 2 but were unable to extinguish the fire before it began melting some of the factory’s inventory. The fire reportedly started in the butter storage room. Flowing downhill, the butter swept into the Portage Canal and storm drains. Portage Fire Chief Troy Haase said his firefighters extinguished the blaze despite wading through melted butter that was knee-deep. In the days after the fire, city workers attempted to skim the now-cooled butter from the canal and unclog local storm drains.
Who ya gonna call?
Having trouble hauling stolen property? It’s probably not the best idea to call police for help. Officials with Florida’s Polk County Sheriff’s Office said a silent 911 call led them to an abandoned house Dec. 31 where they found a man and a woman trespassing. The female suspect told authorities she placed the call to get help moving some belongings and to request a ride to the airport. But officials recognized the male suspect from security footage at a Dollar General that had been burgled earlier in the day. Deputies did comply with the couple’s request, however: They loaded their belongings for evidence and provided the couple a ride to jail.
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