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4:30 AM Thu, Oct. 18th

Strange but true: Couple's stolen house may have been repossessed

Texas house reported stolen was possibly repossessed

MADISONVILLE, Texas (AP) – Investigators say a vacation home reported stolen by a Houston couple might have been repossessed and they're likely victims of alleged financial issues of the prior owner.

KTRK-TV reports Jo and Lonnie Harrison say their one-bedroom cabin is missing from Madisonville, 90 miles northwest of Houston.

The prefabricated home was on property they purchased last year but hadn't checked since November. Lonnie Harrison returned Friday and discovered the house was gone, with blocks and pipes remaining.

He contacted the Madison County Sheriff's Office.

Sgt. Larry Shiver said Monday that the Harrisons are likely victims of misrepresentation of the property when they bought it.

Shiver said deputies had served financial-related civil papers on the previous owner. Investigators are seeking that person amid concerns the structure was repossessed, not stolen.

– Information from: KTRK-TV, http://abclocal.go.com

Robot makes coffee at new cafe in Japan’s capital

TOKYO (AP) – Japan has a new cafe where customers can enjoy coffee brewed and served by a robot barista.

The robot named Sawyer debuted this week at Henna Cafe in Tokyo's downtown business and shopping district of Shibuya. The shop's name in Japanese means "strange cafe."

The single-armed robot scans a ticket purchased from a vending machine and greets the customer.

"Would you care for a delicious coffee?" the barista, with a screen showing a pair of cartoon eyes, asks in a flat tone. "I can make one better than human beings around here."

It grinds the coffee beans, fills a filter and pours hot water over a paper cup for up to five people at once. A cup of brewed coffee costs 320 yen ($3) and takes a few minutes.

Sawyer can also operate an automated machine for six other hot drinks including cappuccino, hot chocolate and green tea latte.

Customers, many of them young men, took photos with their smartphones while they waited in line.

The cafe operator, travel agency H.I.S. Co., says robots can increase productivity while also entertaining customers.

"An essential point is to increase productivity," said Masataka Tamaki, general manager of corporate planning at H.I.S. He said only one person needs to oversee the robot cafe, compared to several people needed at a regular coffee shop, so it can serve better quality coffee at a reasonable price.

Tamaki says it's not just about efficiency. "We want the robot to entertain customers so it's not like buying coffee at a vending machine," he said.

Takeshi Yamamoto, a 68-year-old restaurant employee who works in the neighborhood, said his first experience with the robot cafe was very enjoyable, and his robot-made coffee was delicious.

"It's quite rich, and tastes very good," Yamamoto said, as he took a sip. "You can get machine-made coffee at convenience stores, too, and it's actually good. But here, I had great fun."