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The skinny

The skinny: Chopin experts debate photo's authenticity

snap judgement

Chopin experts debate photo's authenticity

Chopin experts are trying to determine whether a photo that has surfaced in Poland is really of the 19th century composer. If authentic, it would be only the third known photograph of Chopin, who lived from 1810-49. Wladyslaw Zuchowski, a photographer and gallery owner in Gdansk, said Thursday he bought the daguerreotype, the earliest type of photograph, from a private owner in Scotland in December. The framed copper and silver image bears the imprinted year of 1849, when Chopin died in Paris, and the name of Louis Auguste Bisson, a French photographer who took at least one photograph of Chopin during the pianist's lifetime. On the frame is attached a piece of paper with Frederic Chopin's name. Zuchowski said he believes it might come from a collection gathered by Jane Stirling, a Scottish student and Chopin admirer.

home security

'Watchgator' seized in pot bust

California narcotics investigators found a $1.5 million marijuana growing operation at a house and an unusual security guard — a 4-foot alligator named Wally. The Riverside County drug task force team moved in on the Hemet area house and seized nearly 2,300 pot plants. Agents described the reptile as a "watchgator." The healthy 55-pound American alligator was turned over to the Phelan-based Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary, since they are illegal in California.

home cooking

Lasagna trail leads police to fugitive

He avoided Italian police for a decade on the run but couldn't resist his wife's lasagna. Giancarlo Sabatini went into hiding in 2000, shortly after being given a three-year, eight-month prison sentence in a cocaine trafficking case. Acting on a tip, police staked out the homes of his wife and daughter in Rocca Priora, a town near Rome. When they saw the daughter leaving her mother's house and furtively dashing toward her home with a tray of lasagna, police, suspecting a secret guest, burst in and arrested Sabatini. Many Italians prepare lasagna with meat sauce for lunch on the last Tuesday of Carnival. Police say Sabatini came from his hideout in Belgium to celebrate the last day before Lent with his family.

pot luck

Bank robber leaves his deposit behind

A bank robber forgot to cover his tracks and left three bottles of urine behind after hiding inside a bank vault in Copenhagen, Denmark, for three days. The 27-year-old Swede and an accomplice used the bottles to relieve themselves after sneaking into the vault on a Friday in May and staying until it reopened Monday. While inside, the robbers emptied 140 safety deposit boxes of at least $500,000 in cash and jewelry. The DNA evidence helped prosecutors win a 21-month prison sentence Tuesday.

Compiled from Times wires.

The skinny: Chopin experts debate photo's authenticity 03/10/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 5:13pm]
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