Odds and Ends 4/18

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The silence of the Easter bunnies: Skit misfires

GLASSPORT, Pa. -- First, the Passion of the Christ. Now, the torment of the Easter Bunny? It may not have been as gruesome as Mel Gibson's movie, but many parents and children got upset when a church trying to teach about Jesus' crucifixion performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs. People who attended the April 10 show at Glassport's memorial stadium quoted performers as saying, "There is no Easter bunny," and described the show as being a demonstration of how Jesus was crucified. Melissa Salzmann, who brought her 4-year-old son J.T., said the program was inappropriate for young children. "He was crying and asking me why the bunny was being whipped," Salzmann said. Performers broke eggs meant for an Easter egg hunt and also portrayed a drunken man and a self-mutilating woman, said Jennifer Norelli-Burke, another parent who saw the show in Glassport, a community about 10 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

California men sentenced in fishy fraternity stunt

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Two former fraternity brothers Friday were sentenced to community service -- but escaped jail -- for stealing and eating a jumbo goldfish at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The men were drunk when they snatched Goldie, an 18-inch koi fish that lived in a university-owned pond. The men fried the fish and fed it to fraternity pledges last summer. Casey Loop, 23, and Matthew Cox, 22, last month pleaded no contest of misdemeanor grand theft and vandalism. On Friday, a judge sentenced Loop to 300 hours of community service. Cox, who apologized for the prank immediately after the incident, was sentenced to 200 hours. They could have received up to two years in jail. As part of their sentences, each man will have to work 40 hours at a Japanese institute that has a pond filled with koi.

Robber called ahead to order heist at KFC

PITTSBURGH -- "One felony, extra crispy, please." City police on Friday said they were looking for a man who called a KFC restaurant and placed an unusual takeout order -- a robbery. The man called the restaurant March 31 and told the manager he was a police officer. The caller told the manager that a robber was on his way to the store and that the store employees should cooperate so nobody would get hurt. Police planned to grab the robber as he left the store, the caller said. Moments later, a robber showed up and took $200, but no police arrived to arrest him -- fueling police suspicion that the telephone "cop" and restaurant robber are the same person. Police said at a news conference Friday they believe the same man is responsible for at least 10 other robberies in the city since late January. The other stores weren't called ahead of time. The robber was caught on video at the KFC, and the images match a description given in the other heists.

-- From wire reports

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