Odds & Ends

Alligator disrupts traffic on highway


Commuters heading into New Orleans are used to dealing with traffic snarls, flooded roadways, wrecks and fog.

Now they can add an alligator shutdown to the mix.

State police say an alligator somehow got into the elevated eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 Tuesday morning &

miles from an exit &

and was hit by a car. Rush-hour traffic slowed to a crawl on the Bonnet Carre Spillway across the western edge of Lake Pontchartrain.

The mystery of the tagged, 5-foot gator's ascent to the elevated highway was still unsolved. St. Charles Parish wildlife nuisance control officer Kenny Schmill said the state Wildlife and Fisheries Department is attempting to track its origins.

"I think someone put him up there for a joke," said Schmill, who had to euthanize the alligator because of its injuries.

If farm raised, the alligator's tag should reveal its gender, where it was raised and when it was released, Schmill said.

Schmill said the animal was at least seven miles from the interstate's nearest exit. Had it fallen from a transport truck, Schmill said its mouth would have been taped.

State police were summoned around 7:15 a.m. The alligator had been struck by a vehicle and authorities initially thought it was dead, state police spokesman Trooper Joseph Piglia said.

"They walked up to it and its mouth opened and it started coming at them," Piglia said. "They got back in their cars! It was still feisty."

Police search for stolen shark


British police were searching for a shark stolen from an aquatics shop over the weekend in southern England.

The female Australian marbled cat shark was one of a breeding pair kept in a converted garage in the back of a store owned by Peter Newman in Farnborough, about 20 miles west of London's Heathrow Airport, police said Tuesday.

The shark, two feet long and mottled brown, is rare in Britain, police said.

Newman, 68, said he realized the shark was missing Saturday morning when he found the door to the converted garage ajar and the lights on inside.

"Whoever came in there clearly knew what they were after," he said. They probably would have taken the pair, but the male's a bit harder to catch really."

The two sharks have produced seven pups, which are kept in an adjacent tank, Newman said. None of them were taken in the theft.

His wife, June Newman, said the pair might together be worth as much as $20,000 because of their rarity. She said her husband might have left a door unlocked.

"" The Associated Press

She also said she was puzzled by the theft, explaining that it would have been difficult to snatch the shark because the top of the tank was around five feet off the ground.

"It's mind-boggling to me as to how this shark has been taken," she said.

Guests at noisy German birthday party mistake policemen for strippers


No one had ordered strippers for the 30th birthday party &

but the two policemen who arrived after midnight to quiet the raucous celebration found themselves greeted by a round of applause.

Female partygoers in western Germany mistook the real-life officers for fake ones who entertain parties by peeling off enticing man-in-uniform outfits.

Police spokesman Bernd Hoffmann said Monday the case of mistaken identity took place in Simmern, west of Frankfurt, after neighbors called to complain about the noise.

The two officers arrived about 12:45 a.m. Sunday. The partygoers had not ordered strippers, but thought someone had sent them as a birthday surprise.

"It took them a while to realize they were real police officers," Hoffmann said. "It was a bit funny for all sides."

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