Wis. man has laptop, GPS unit, other items stolen, then returned; police still seek culprit

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) Perhaps it was a case of robber's remorse.

Frederick Meyer reported a laptop, a Palm pilot, a GPS unit and a digital camera stolen from his home only to have most the items left in front of his house a few days later, according to a subpoena filed in court Monday.

Meyer reported the items stolen Nov. 3. Three days later, Meyer said he received a call from a blocked number in which the caller said he had the items.

The caller also said he had Meyer's Glock pistol. Meyer didn't realize the gun was also stolen but checked and found it was missing, the subpoena said.

The caller told Meyer his items would be returned within a day.

Less than two hours later, the doorbell rang. In his driveway he found most of the items, except for the GPS unit, according to the subpoena.

Meyer then received a call from the same caller who said his items were on the front porch.

The Waukesha County sheriff's department is seeking telephone records from AT&T that could lead them to the caller, the subpoena says.

Fomer lacrosse coach sues Duke University and top spokesman for slander and libel

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) The former Duke lacrosse coach who lost his job after a stripper claimed three players raped her at a party in 2006 sued the school and its top spokesman Wednesday, claiming slander and libel.

The case was later debunked, and the prosecutor who pursued the charges was disbarred last year.

Mike Pressler's lawsuit said Duke's senior vice president of public affairs and government relations, John Burness, made slanderous and defamatory comments about him to the media.

Pamela Bernard, Duke vice president and general counsel, said Wednesday that the lawsuit has no merit and "is yet another attempt to reopen a sealed matter."

Last week, attorneys for Pressler withdrew their request for a judge to rescind a settlement agreement between Pressler and Duke so they could pursue this lawsuit. At that time, lawyers representing Duke said they would fight the allegations.

They also argued that any case by Pressler against his former employer should go through arbitration first.

Pressler now coaches the men's lacrosse team at Bryant University in Rhode Island. He also has written a book about the lacrosse case.

Rocket in Md. museum for 2 years was no dud; bomb technicians safely dispose of it

CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) History could have come to life in very much the wrong way at a veterans' museum where a rocket on display for two years was discovered Wednesday to be live.

After Allegany County authorities were notified that the Mark 1 rocket on display in Cumberland might be live, the state fire marshal's office and the FBI confirmed it was. Bomb experts removed the ordnance and rendered it safe.

The 48-inch-by-2.75-inch rocket was similar to those used on helicopter gun ships during the Vietnam War, said Deputy State Fire Marshal Joseph Zurolo Jr. A local veteran donated it to the museum, which is in a chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Zurolo said.

Authorities are investigating how the man came to possess the live ordnance.

6 people, including 4 children, killed in Ohio home fire; 18-year-old man arrested

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) A house fire killed four children, their mother and grandmother early Wednesday, and an 18-year-old neighbor was charged with murder hours later.

The blaze started near the front of the house, either on the porch or just inside the front door, said Fire Chief John O'Neill. It spread quickly and consumed the home.

Eleven people were inside the house when the fire started, authorities said. Three people were being treated at St. Elizabeth Health Center, hospital spokeswoman Tina Creighton said.

The fire killed 23-year-old daughter Jennifer Crawford, her daughters Raneija, 8; Jeannine, 5; Aleisha, 3; and 2-year-old son Brandon; and her mother, 46-year-old Carol Crawford, said Rick Jamrozik, an investigator with the Mahoning County Coroner's office.

Next-door neighbor Brenda Brown gestured to a hobby horse on its side in her front yard and said it belonged to the children. She was used to seeing them playing on it.

"They were beautiful little kids, and it's really sad," she said.

Michael Davis, who lived in the neighborhood, was charged with six counts of aggravated murder and six counts of aggravated arson, city police said. It wasn't immediately clear whether Davis had an attorney or knew the victims.

Police Detective Sgt. Patrick Kelly said it looked as if some kind of accelerant had been used to start the fire on the front porch.

The age of the house helped spread the fire.

"This was old housing stock," police Lt. Robin Lees said. "It was very old wood. The construction, to some extent, facilitated the spread of the fire."

Brown said that by the time firefighters arrived, the fire was too intense for them to get inside.

"They put on their oxygen, they tried to get in, they come right back out," she said. "So, they just kind of let it burn a minute. They didn't really have very much choice."

Louisiana woman accumulates 55,000 pennies, plans to take the crush of coins to the bank

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) It took Vicki Armstrong almost 19 years to save $550, which isn't much of an accomplishment except that she did it one penny at a time.

Armstrong was planning to take her 55,000 pennies to the bank this week. She said saving them helped her reinforce frugal spending habits.

"It helped me be a little bit more conservative in my lifestyle," said Armstrong, who is planning to retire at the end of the year from Christus Schumpert Highland Hospital, where she works as a maternity technician.

Armstrong has been storing pennies in vases, bowls and the occasional shoebox. In 1993, The (Shreveport, La.) Times reported she had squirreled away 14,000 pennies. Armstrong resisted the temptation to cash them in and kept saving.

Her co-workers and friends have chipped in over the years. "They all hand over pennies generously," she said.

Her husband, Melvin, said he never interfered with her healthy obsession, even when their bicycle rides were interrupted by tiny treasure hunts.

"She would see a penny in the road and just stop," he said. "I would to have to do circles just to let her catch up."

More than 2 years after her death, Parks to be inducted into Alabama Women's Hall of Fame

MARION, Ala. (AP) Rosa Parks, the black seamstress who helped launch the civil rights movement by refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Alabama's capital, will be inducted this year into the state Women's Hall of Fame.

This is the first year that Parks, who died in October 2005 in Detroit at age 92, is eligible; women must be dead for at least two years before being considered. She will be this year's sole inductee.

"Rosa Parks was a woman of silent dignity and grace whose life changed the state, the nation and the world," said Valerie Pope Burnes, director of the Hall of Fame.

Parks was arrested Dec. 1, 1955, for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus. Her arrest prompted blacks to boycott the city's bus system and led to a Supreme Court decision ending segregation in public transportation.

The Montgomery bus boycott was led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., then a relatively unknown young minister. The boycott catapulted him to a leadership role in the civil rights movement.

Parks received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.

The Alabama Women's Hall of Fame, founded in 1970, is at Judson College in Marion.

Judge orders man who stole from Salvation Army to spend a night homeless

PAINESVILLE, Ohio (AP) A judge on Thursday ordered a Salvation Army worker who stole a holiday kettle containing about $250 to spend the night homeless.

Nathen Smith, 28, was to spend the night anywhere but a house, said Municipal Judge Michael Cicconetti. Smith was fitted with a GPS device to track his moves.

"My initial reaction was, 'Wow.' But I don't think the sentence is too harsh," said Smith, who expected to spend Thursday night in a homeless shelter. "I can see the judge's point because what I did, I shouldn't have done. Now I've got to pay the consequences."

The Salvation Army uses kettle donations to help pay for food, clothing and shelter for the homeless.

Smith, who also received a three-day jail sentence, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of theft.

Smith worked as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army outside a Kmart store in nearby Eastlake on Dec. 17. Police arrested him at his mother's house after a co-worker reported that one of eight kettles was missing.

Smith was scheduled to return to court Friday to determine how much community service he must do to avoid paying a fine and costs for the tracking system.

Painesville is about 30 miles northeast of Cleveland.

CLEVELAND (AP) Democrat Dennis Kucinich, whose second White House bid yielded only tepid support, now faces a fight to keep his job in Congress.

Kucinich scheduled a news conference for noon Friday to announce plans for "transitioning out" of the Democratic presidential primary race, according to a brief news release.

His decision was revealed in an interview Thursday with The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The six-term House member got only 1 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire presidential primary and was shut out in the Iowa caucuses.

"There is a point at which you just realize that you, look, you accept it, that it isn't going to happen and you move on," Kucinich told the newspaper.

Kucinich, 61, is facing four challengers in the Democratic congressional primary March 4, and earlier this week he made an urgent appeal for money for his re-election. Rival Joe Cimperman has been critical of Kucinich for focusing too much time outside of his district while campaigning for president.

Kucinich told the paper he would not endorse another Democrat in the primary. He did not return the AP's calls for comment.

The Ohio congressman brought the same sense of idealism to his second run for president as he did in his first bid four years ago. He said he entered the race again because the Democratic Party wasn't pushing hard enough to end the Iraq war. His candidacy was supported by many Hollywood celebrities, including actor Sean Penn.

During his tenure in Congress, Kucinich has been one of the most outspoken liberals, opposing international trade agreements like the North America Free Trade Agreement and marching with protesters in Seattle during a meeting of the World Trade Organization.

As a presidential candidate, he has proposed a Department of Peace, backed universal health care and supported gay marriage. He also pushed for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Group plans to sell tiny pieces of farm owned by Abraham Lincoln

LERNA, Ill. (AP) The owners of farmland once owned by Abraham Lincoln want to give people a chance to own about a square inch of history.

The Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Historical Farm plans to sell tiny parcels of the land, said Dale Parsons, manager of the Rockford-based group.

Some of the money would go to charity, Parsons said Thursday. Some of the land may be reserved for charities to buy and resell during fundraisers, he said.

He was not sure how many parcels would be sold, but noted there are more than 6 million square inches in an acre.

The land is near Lerna, not far from the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site.

Lincoln bought the land from his father, Thomas Lincoln, who needed the money. Thomas Lincoln continued farming the land.

The group bought the land last fall for $1.25 million from Raymond Phipps, a Springfield man whose family owned the property for more than a century.

A similar plan to sell square-inch parcels of the land several years ago by Phipps led to a legal squabble over unpaid taxes. Parsons said his group has hired real estate experts to avoid similar problems.

The group has hired a history professor to write a book about the location, and hopes to restore a cabin on the site and turn it into a visitors center, Parsons said.