Crime Blotter: Mouse Soup Extortion Plot

A mother and her son allegedly hatch a mouse trap for Cracker Barrel; three bunnies apparently wanted more than Easter eggs in their basket; and Ohio's "panty bandit" may be caught. It's a band of alleged bandits in this week's Crime Blotter.

Alleged Mouse Soup Extortion Plot

N E W P O R T N E W S, Va. — A mother who alleged that she found a mouse in her soup is accused with her son of planting the mouse in an alleged plot to extort money from the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain.

Carla Patterson, 36, and Ricky Patterson, 20, have been charged with attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit a felony after they allegedly tried to force Cracker Barrel to give them money in settlement over the apparently staged mouse soup incident. On May 8, Carla Patterson said she was eating a vegetable soup at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Newport News when she scooped up a small dead mouse.

After the discovery, Cracker Barrel stopped serving its vegetable soup. But a company investigation found that the mouse did not come from the Cracker Barrel kitchen and did not die in the soup. Cracker Barrel officials said their probe found that the mouse succumbed to a fractured skull before it was in the soup, that it didn't have soup in its lungs and that it showed no signs of being cooked.

In statement, Cracker Barrel said Patterson and her son had been in discussions with the company and sought "a large sum of money" in exchange for photographs of the mouse and an admission her son had planted it. These factors all prompted Cracker Barrel officials to take their suspicions to the office of Newport News Commonwealth attorney.

Cracker Barrel said it would resume serving its vegetable soup.

Alleged Bunny Bandits

N A S H U A, N.H. — Three Easter Bunnies apparently wanted more than eggs in their basket.

Nashua, N.H., police say three women — Kari Zeger, Dyanna Seavey and Julie Carder — stole money from a portrait company when they took turns posing as the Easter Bunny in children's photos at a mall. The women worked for the Noerr Programs company, and investigators say they stole more than $3,500 in payments at the Pheasant Lane Mall in March.

According to police, the trio unplugged their credit card machines so customers would have to pay for the portraits in cash. When an audit showed discrepancies in the company's account, officials notified police. Zeger, Seavey and Carder were arrested Memorial Day weekend.

‘Panty Bandit’ Bagged?

M A Y F I E L D H E I G H T S, Ohio — Ohio police believe they may have caught their notorious "panty bandit."

For years, residents of Mayfield Heights have been reporting that someone has been sneaking into apartments and stealing women's underwear. But in late May, police arrested a man after a couple saw him coming out of an apartment with a laundry basket — and they knew he did not live there.

Several residents held Remigio Abello III until police arrived. Investigators say he had several bags of panties and bras hidden in a crawl space in his home as well T-shirts, sweat shirts and pictures of women that were stolen during recent break-in thefts.

Abello is charged with second-degree burglary. His attorney insists he is innocent and has always been a law-abiding citizen.