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Witnesses mistake garage fire for Labor Day celebration

Officials were called to a home in Miamisburg, Ohio, on Monday morning after flames engulfed the home’s detached garage fire in what neighbors first mistook for a Labor Day celebration, according to reports.

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Firefighters were dispatched to a fully engulfed detached garage fire at a house in the 50 block of Arthur Avenue around 6:30 a.m. Monday.

Neighbors said they noticed smoke in the air for more than an hour before they realized that it was not due to Labor Day celebrations, but rather was a nearby residence on fire. Neighbors said they saw wires sparking from the garage. 

The Miami Valley Fire Department was not immediately sure what caused the fire, and though a Corvette and motorcycle inside the garage were ruined, they were not sure of damage estimates.

The people inside the home got out safely, authorities said.

Officials continue to investigate the fire.

Alligator found swimming at New Jersey hotel part of video shoot, authorities say

A 3-foot alligator found swimming in a New Jersey hotel pool last month was part of a rap video shoot, according to multiple reports.

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Police found the alligator during an Aug. 15 raid of the Bayview Inn & Suites in Atlantic City, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said. Police were searching for a man who was wanted on a charge of homicide in connection with a 2016 drug overdose death.

Drugs were seized, authorities made multiple arrests and a pit bull was shot and killed by an Atlantic City police officer “when the animal made an aggressive move toward the officers as they attempted to enter a room,” Tyner said. He added that 33 people were removed from the hotel, which was left heavily damaged by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.

Officers with Animal Control of South Jersey were called after police found a 3-foot alligator swimming in the hotel’s pool. Tyner said the reptile was safely removed and taken to a zoo in Cape May County.

Before it was seized, the alligator played a starring role in the music video for the single “Damn,” featuring Sean Temple, also known as Style1, reported. The music video was partially shot at the Bayview Inn & Suites, according to the news site.

An alligator on a leash with its mouth taped shut could be seen in a behind-the-scenes video posted to YouTube. (Warning: The video contains explicit language. Viewer discretion is advised.)

Police arrested Temple and Bashawn Whitted-Scott, 25, who is also featured in the video posted to YouTube, last week in connection with a spate of burglaries reported in Egg Harbor and Hamilton townships last month, the Press of Atlantic City reported.

Temple and Whitted-Scott were arrested on charges including robbery, conspiracy, aggravated assault and conspiracy to make terroristic threats, the Press reported, although police told the newspaper that the charges were not linked to the music video shoot.

Cape May County Park & Zoo officials told the newspaper that the alligator will be taken to an animal reserve outside Tampa Bay, Florida, “sometime this year.”

Creepy image caught on family's surveillance camera

A family in New Mexico had their dinner interrupted Tuesday night by a creepy image appearing on their surveillance camera.

In the surveillance footage provided to KRQE, a bright blob of light in vaguely human form can be seen streaking across the parking lot in front of the Hernandez home.

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The Hernandez family told KRQE that they are not sure what the image was, but it could be otherworldly, considering the history of the lot. A neighbor told Brianna Hernandez that his uncle had lived in a house on the corner lot, and died there. The property remained vacant until it was torn down and duplexes were built.

The Hernandez family said they will keep a closer eye on their surveillance camera after the spooky sighting.

Ecstasy pills shaped to look like Donald Trump seized by German police

Authorities in Germany seized thousands of bright orange ecstasy pills over the weekend, each shaped and stamped to look like President Donald Trump.

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Police in Osnabruck, a city in northwest Germany, said in a news release that officers stopped a Peugeot 307 around 9 p.m. Saturday as it was traveling toward Hanover on the A30. Inside the car, officers said they found a 51-year-old Austrian man and his 17-year-old son.

The pair told officers that they had been in the Netherlands to look at a vehicle they were planning to buy, but inside the car, authorities said they found 5,000 ecstasy pills and a large amount of cash. Police believe that the pills, which were stamped with “NL” and the name “Trump,” originated in the Netherlands, according to BBC News.

Police estimated that the pills were valued at about €39,000 (about $45,900) once sold.

Officers arrested both the father and the son, who were not identified.

It’s not the first time the Trump-shaped ecstasy pills have made the news. British tabloids reported last month that the pills, reportedly made in both pink and orange, were flooding the UK illegal drugs market. The Daily Star reported that one seller, who was not identified, was marketing the pills with the tagline “Trump makes partying great again,” a play on the president’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

Those pills were also believed to have come from the Netherlands, according to the Daily Star.

Woman's passport photo so bad it's funny

Passport photos, much like driver's license photos, are rarely considered works of art, but for one woman, what started out as a normal photo became anything but when she received her passport.

Chelsey Ramos needed to get her passport renewed before a trip to Germany with her boyfriend, Buzzfeed reported. The photo taken at Costco came out looking normal and she submitted it to be processed with her passport renewal form.

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However, once she received her updated passport, she discovered that the photo had undergone an unfortunate revision. Her forehead had been elongated, making her look like a "Conehead," according to a discussion on Reddit, where Ramos’ boyfriend posted the image Thursday.

Ramos was able to get a corrected passport photo, but kept the bad one for laughs. 

Virus transforms caterpillars into exploding zombies

A wildlife expert stumbled upon a strange sight while he was counting butterflies at a nature preserve in England recently, the CBC reported.

Chris Miller found it odd that an oak eggar moth caterpillar was at the top of a bush, because typically they wait until after dark to crawl to high spots so they can avoid predators such as birds. As Miller took a closer look, he realized that it wasn't a living caterpillar, but the exploded remains of one.

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The caterpillar was suffering the effects of the baculovirus, which hijacks a caterpillar's brain, according to the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside. After the caterpillar crawls to a high spot and dies, the body liquefies and explodes, infecting other caterpillars below it.

Birds can also pick up the caterpillar corpses and carry them to new locations, spreading the virus. However, scientists aren't too concerned about the baculovirus wiping out the oak eggar moth caterpillar population, as the virus usually dies out on its own, the CBC reported.

Man finds bizarre bug that appears part spider, part scorpion

A man was surprised to find what appeared to be a mix between a spider and a scorpion at his home in Queen Creek, Arizona.

Thomas Acosta came face to face with the creature, known as the camel spider, wind scorpion or sun spider, according to KNXV.

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Despite its appearance, the creature is neither a spider nor a scorpion, although they are related.

“I didn't know they are native to Arizona,” Acosta told KNXV. “I have seen camel spiders, but I heard of them in Iraq.”

The camel spider is non-venomous, but can grow big enough to eat small rodents, birds, lizards and insects.

Acosta told KNXV that he’s calling an exterminator.

Here's the story behind guy carrying peacock on NYC subway

A photo of a man carrying a peacock on a New York City subway went viral on Twitter this week.

Twitter user posted the unusual image on Thursday. Fellow riders did not seem to be alarmed by the animal being held by a man in the middle of the subway car.

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Curious web sleuths turned to Reddit for the full story. A Reddit user named BarFreddys claimed to be the man in the photo. He said the peacock is stuffed and a mascot of a bar that he manages called Weather Up. For confirmation, BarFreddys posted an image of himself with the peacock on Reddit, with the caption, "MTA Peacock guy here, stay classy New York."

4-foot-long Nile monitor lizard living in family's Florida attic

A Florida family discovered a 4-foot monitor lizard living in their attic earlier this week.

“The thing was huge! I thought I saw a ghost or something,” Danny To, of Cape Coral, told WFTX.

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To told the news station that he heard scratching on the roof for about nine months. His neighbor was the first to spot the large, invasive, semi-aquatic lizard and quickly told To.

Nile monitor lizards can grow up to 5 feet and weigh 15 pounds. They like to munch on small animals, fish and eggs.

This job, To surmised, would be much harder than setting up a few traps, so he sought help from a professional.

Ned Bruha, of the Wildlife Whisperer, checked out the home and found scratch marks on the roof, a hole and bird feathers in the attic, WFTX reported. Birds don’t naturally go in the attic, Bruha added.

He planned to patch the hole, set up cameras and hope for the best.

"This has been going on for approximately nine months, so we have no idea if there's one or 21 that call this home," Bruha told WFTX.

Read more at WFTX or at Florida Fish and Wildlife

Neighbors' spat over bamboo, Jimmy Buffett reaches appeals court

You’ve heard of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Meet the Hayes and Carrigans of Indian Hill, Ohio.

Jeffrey Hayes, who lives on 4.7 acres in the wealthy Cincinnati neighborhood, took his next door neighbor Pamela Carrigan to court. Hayes said Carrigan applied a toxic herbicide to his bamboo.

Carrigan, who lives on 5.2 acres, had her own beef with Hayes: She says he plays Jimmy Buffett’s music too loudly and mows his lawn too early in the morning. On top of that, Carrigan alleged in a countersuit, the bamboo was an invasive nuisance.

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The local police and courts got involved in the bamboo fight. In 2016, the trial court decided that each party had committed trespassing, ordered each to pay $11,000, and dismissed their other claims.

That wasn’t good enough for Hayes or Carrigan. They each appealed the decision to the First District Court of Appeals.

First District Judge Dennis Deters wrote in an opinion that Carrigan had not proven trespass and Hayes failed to substantiate his claim for damages.

While mowers droning at 7:30 a.m. and listening to “Margaritaville” on repeat might be annoying, the appeals court decided it didn’t rise to “physical discomfort” and “real, material and substantial” damages.

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