Car-Jacking Epidemic Hits the Main Line*

*And by epidemic, I mean two car-jackings in a week! Hey, it’s all relative. This Tuesday, a woman was sitting inside her 2009 black Porsche Cayenne at the Villanova SEPTA station, when a dude wearing blue jeans and a dark brown hoodie (c’mon Main Line Times, you’re giving yourselves away: It’s not spelled “hoody”) opened her passenger door, ordered her out, and drove off with the car. This after last week’s theft, in which a man in a Bryn Mawr retirement community was held up and ordered out of his car. Alright suburbanites, party’s over. Time to pack up and move back to the city. [Main Line Times]

Police Investigating Whether Alcohol Played Role in ‘Nova Student Death

18-year-old sophomore Villanova business student Kinara Patel, from North Jersey, was found dead in Sullivan Hall, a residence hall, on Thursday morning. Police have all but ruled out foul play, but are investigating whether alcohol played a role.

Radnor Township Police Lt. Andy Block says investigators believe Patel died overnight after spending a night out with friends in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Her body was discovered by a friend. Police are investigating whether alcohol played a role in Patel’s death. When asked if police believed she was drinking in a bar Wednesday night, Lt. Block said that was one possibility police were looking into.

An autopsy is being performed this morning. [NBC 10]

Kate Gosselin Sues Jon Gosselin for Stealing Her Stuff, Trying to Ruin Her Life

The latest in the apparently still developing Jon and Kate Gosselin (minus eight) story. Kate has sued her ex-husband Jon, both of whom live in the Reading area, for stealing personal information off her computer and giving it to his tabloid writer friend Robert Hoffman (also being sued). From the complaint:

After the couple was separated, Jon illegally hacked into Kate’s email account, and her phone, and bank accounts. Jon also stole a hard drive from Kate’s house, which contained private and confidential material…Hoffman used the illegally acquired data to publish a defamatory book about Kate called “Kate Gosselin: How She Fooled the World.”

The book has since been pulled from large distributors, but Kate says the damage has already been done: The book alleges that she, among other things, sometimes became violent towards her own children, according to personal journals. Kate’s being represented in part by Fishtown-based lawyer A. Jordan Rushie; the federal case is being argued in Philadelphia.

h/t City Paper

“Snakey” the Snake Found in Swarthmore. Now Please Kill It.

“Snakey” the 7-foot-long Boa Constrictor that escaped his home in Swarthmore nine days ago has been found. Very near to his home in Swarthmore. What a relief. No, not that he was returned home to his loving owner. I don’t care about that. Rather, I’m relieved that he didn’t kill any young boys. Allow a brief rant.

A. I have no sympathy for snake owners who lose their snakes. Snakes are not good pets. They don’t care about you, they don’t do anything exciting, and when they do, it’s usually to try and escape your home. And sometimes they strangle children.

B. This snake was really called “Snakey?” No wonder it wanted out.

Humans have had an anti-snake bias ever since the serpent ruined nudity. But there’s good reason for it. Remember Kaa, from the Jungle Book? Well, just as Kaa plotted to kill Mowgli, these creatures kill 20,000 humans a year. Sure, everyone wanted “Snakey” returned home, but not everybody had the same reason for it. Snakey’s owner,who was fond of letting him “sunbathe” in the yard, missed him. The rest of us were terrified he was going to slither up our legs and asphyxiate us. My colleague Nick Vadala, upon hearing me voice my dislike of snakes, made the point that dogs are probably more dangerous, statistically speaking. Let’s hit the books.

From 1979-2005, an average of 19 human deaths per year were caused by dogs in the United States. From 1960-1990, meanwhile, snakes caused about 10 U.S. deaths each year. Relative to the prevalence of each animal in heavily populated human areas, it seems clear which is more dangerous. Make pet snakes–poisonous or not–as common as pet dogs, and watch our fine nation turn into Snakes on a Plane. Okay, I’m finished. Thank you for your time.

[6 ABC]

ALL I-95 Lanes Being Shut Down After Bensalem Crash

Following a serious crash in Bensalem this morning, Pennsylvania State Police are shutting down all northbound lanes of I-95 at 12:10 p.m, starting at Academy Road. Then, At 12:55, they’ll re-open it and shut down southbound lanes, near Woodhaven Road. Add this to a weekend shutdown of Delaware’s I-95 stretch, and it’s going to be a nasty traffic day. Commuting aside, several injuries are believed to have occurred, and a coroner was called to the scene. [6 ABC]

Cancer-Faking Delran Woman Sentenced

Lori Stilley, the Delran woman who faked cancer for money, attention, and psychological issues we’ll probably never understand, was sentenced to 500 hours of community service yesterday. She was also ordered to pay $11,000 back to her donors. The judge didn’t mince words in handing down the penalty.

I have never heard of such an outrageous thing,” he told Stilley, who sat impassively beside her lawyer. “I’m almost speechless. It’s despicable what you’ve done.”

He was especially miffed that she still insists to her family that she actually had cancer and pleaded guilty only to put the matter behind her. For a deep dive into the Stilley fraud, see Vicki Glembocki’s piece from the March issue of Philly Mag. [Inquirer]



At Large: A 7-Foot Boa in Swarthmore

Swarthmore police have warned you, Swarthmorians: A seven-foot boa is on the loose after it escaped its home on the 300 block of Park Avenue. As the Daily News points out, a couple of Canadian boys were recently strangled to death by a hundred-pound python, after it escaped from a pet store. My I suggest some snake repellent, Swarthmore? Only $9.99.

Apparently, this is what the “pet” looks like.

[Daily News]

Scranton Mourns As Former Governor William Scranton Dies at 96

In sadder Scranton news than we’ve recently brought you, the man whose family gave the town its name died Sunday night in his California retirement community of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 96. From 1963 to 1967 the Rockefeller Republican was Governor of Pennsylvania. And like Rockefeller, he unsuccessfully challenged conservative GOP nominee Barry Goldwater for the 1964  presidential nomination. Scranton also served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Before the wealthy Scrantons came along, by the way, the place was called Slocum Hollow. [AP]

Bensalem Nifty Fifty’s “Total Loss” After Two-Alarm Fire

At 6:48 a.m. this morning, a fire was reported at the Bensalem Nifty Fifty’s. Three hours later, police says the building “appears to be a total loss.” No customers were in the restaurant at the time, and no one was hurt. This is the worst news for the throwback burger chain since…last year, when three thrifty Nifty Fifty’s owners pleaded guilty to tax evasion. Below, a photo taken at the scene by someone who probably just saw part of his childhood go up in smoke.


Is High-Speed Rail Finally Coming to King of Prussia?

Ever wish you could enjoy the splendors of suburban sprawl without all the sprawling, suburban, traffic? At a public meeting tomorrow, SEPTA will unveil plans to extend the Norristown High Speed line to the King of Prussia Mall and Valley Forge. Right now, you best option from Philly is to take a car or a bus. Both of which will result in I-76-induced road rage. Tomorrow night’s session, of course, will be taking place at the Radisson Hotel Valley Forge smack in the middle of rush hour. “Open House” at 4 p.m., presentation at 6 p.m. [Daily News]

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