Around the Region

Published: Monday, January 12, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 11:59 p.m.

Authorities search for heavyset ninja

WEST PALM BEACH A ninja is lurking in the shadows of Palm Beach County, but apparently he's more like Chris Farley in "Beverly Hills Ninja" than Liam Neeson in "Batman Begins."

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office says a heavyset man with a visible potbelly unsuccessfully tried to steal two different ATMs over the past two weeks. Security video from the ATMs showed the unidentified man dressed in a black ninja outfit with a hood that showed only his eyes.

Authorities say the first attempt was made at a bank on Dec. 29, 2008, and another attempt was made at a Walgreens on Tuesday. Authorities did not say how the man tried to steal the machines.

Anyone with information about the attempted robberies should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.

Drunk man playing with gun dies

PIERSON Authorities say a drunk man playing with a gun was killed when he was shot in the head.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office report says the unidentified man was described by witnesses as being drunk when he showed up at a home with a revolver Friday night. They told authorities the man was playing recklessly with the gun and at least one told him to stop.

A shot rang out and the man fell to the ground bleeding from the head. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

No further information has been released.

Elderly couple dies in house fire

COTTAGE HILL Authorities say an elderly man and woman were killed when a fire burned down their rural Escambia County home.

Fire officials say two-thirds of the house was already in flames when rescuers arrived Saturday morning. An Escambia County Fire-Rescue spokesman says firefighters entered the home and found the man and woman dead in their bedroom.

Neighbors identified them as Frances and William Boyd.

Autopsies are expected to be completed today. The state fire marshal's office is investigating the fire.

Protesters near swamp arrested

PORT MAYACA Deputies arrested 17 protesters who were demanding Florida Power & Light officials open a Martin County swamp to the public.

Members of EarthFirst! say they had been camping near the 455-acre Barley Barber Swamp for about a week when they were arrested Saturday. They say reports from independent scientists prove an FPL plant has been draining the wetlands, and FPL officials have broken their promise to reopen the area to the public.

An FPL spokesman says the draining allegations are false. He says FPL entered into an agreement with the South Florida Water Management District in 1983 committing to maintain appropriate water levels.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office says seven women and 10 men were charged with trespassing and resisting arrest.

Hundreds try out for Snoop Bowl VII

TAMPA BAY Hundreds of children in the Tampa Bay area are trying out for a spot on a youth football team to play in Snoop Bowl VII.

Held the day before the Super Bowl, the game is a charity event that pits a Los Angeles youth football team coached by rapper Snoop Dogg against a team from the Super Bowl host city. Roughly 350 youths ages 10 and 11 tried out Saturday for 30 slots on the local team.

Compiled from The Associated Press

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