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Posted: Tuesday, July 1, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:01 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Weird and offbeat news from around the country.

School spies ‘ninja’; sounds the alarm

It’s the case of the nonexistent ninja.

Public schools in Barnegat, N.J. were locked down briefly after someone reported seeing a ninja running through the woods behind an elementary school.

Turns out the ninja was actually a camp counselor dressed in black karate garb and carrying a plastic sword. Police said the man was late to a costume-themed day at a nearby middle school.

The lockdown began shortly after 9 a.m. last Wednesday and lasted until 9:30.

Duck dodging  worth award

A New York City taxi driver who saved a family of ducks whose goose was almost cooked when they waddled into traffic on a busy street is being honored for his compassion.

The Taxi & Limousine Commission last Friday honored Sergio Castillo, who braked for a mother duck leading her ducklings onto Park Avenue a week ago.

Castillo says the mother duck made it across 67th Street but the ducklings walked under his cab. He gathered them up and returned them to their quacking mother before taking his passenger to her destination.

Jailbreak leads to origami

Authorities in Arkansas say an inmate escaped a county jail and left behind a rose fashioned out of toilet paper because he felt sorry for breaking out.

Luis Camacho-Mendoza was recaptured a day later last Wednesday in a home in the town of Van Buren. Investigator Ken Howard said Camacho-Mendoza was found hiding in a closet in a pile of clothes with a pillowcase over his head.

Authorities said Camacho-Mendoza was in jail on drug charges and was expected to be deported to Mexico by immigration officials.

In his escape, Camacho-Mendoza broke open a lock on a kitchen door using a tool made from two screwdrivers, authorities said. Camacho-Mendoza worked in the kitchen.

When the inmate was discovered missing, authorities also found the flower, Howard said.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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