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Attorney: Sen. Paul attacked over 'trivial' dispute; roaming lizard goes home; more in U.S. news


Roaming lizard goes home

A lizard that can grow to be 8 feet long was found lounging in a backyard and later returned home. The 4-foot-long crocodile monitor was spotted sunning itself on top of a hedge Wednesday outside a Riverside home. Residents guessed the lizard had been there for days, saying a bird had been attacked and dogs were "going nuts" before people spotted it. The crocodile monitor is a relative of the famous Komodo dragon. It's native to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, but it is legal to own them in California. After Riverside County's animal services picked up the lizard, his owner realized he was missing. DeWitt "Goldie" Vercher said a friend texted him, "Did Chopper get out?" Then Vercher's stomach dropped, he said. The lizard had escaped his large enclosure, which was fixed Friday to prevent future strolls through the city. "I am so happy to have him back," Vercher told Riverside County Animal Services when he recovered his pet Friday.


Attorney: Sen. Paul was attacked over 'trivial' dispute

An assault of Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul by a longtime neighbor was not motivated by political differences but by a dispute "most people would find trivial," an attorney for the man charged in the attack said Monday. Attorney Matt Baker did not say what the dispute was about, preserving the mystery around an attack that left Paul, 54, with five broken ribs. Police charged Rene Boucher, 59, with misdemeanor fourth-degree assault with a minor injury. Records show he was released from jail Saturday on a $7,500 bond. He has not returned multiple calls seeking comment. Boucher and Paul have been neighbors for 17 years, Baker said, and "worked together when they were both practicing physicians." Baker added in an email to the AP: "We sincerely hope that Sen. Paul is doing well and that these two gentlemen can get back to being neighbors as quickly as possible." Doug Stafford, Paul's senior adviser, called the case a "serious criminal matter" and said Paul is in considerable pain. A friend of Paul's told the Washington Post that the senator was mowing his lawn before the attack. According to an arrest warrant, Paul told police Boucher tackled him to the ground.


Prince's teal Cloud guitar goes for $700K

An auction house says a guitar that Prince used in the late 1980s and into the 1990s has been sold for $700,000. That's the highest amount paid for one of the late rock star's guitars. Julien's Live auction house, based in Los Angeles, anticipated the teal blue Cloud guitar would be sold for $60,000 to $80,000. The guitar was auctioned Saturday, and the buyer was not identified. The Star Tribune reported the guitar has a letter of authenticity from Cloud guitar maker Andy Beech, who made 31 guitars for Prince.


Application damnation: Woman applies for job, then swipes cash

Authorities say it didn't take long for them to catch a woman suspected of stealing cash from a restaurant, since she'd just filled out a job application there. Michigan State Police were told a 47-year-old Alpena woman filled out the application at Mandarin Garden in Alpena County last week and then took money out of the cash register. WHSB-FM reported she was confronted by employees and fled, but police say they found her at home. She was arrested and is expected to face charges including larceny. The stolen money was recovered and returned to the restaurant. — tbt* wires