“We posted his photo on billboards in Newark (after learning the suspect had traveled there), and when he saw the billboards he turned himself in on March 11,” Chris Allen, an FBI spokesman, said.
The FBI’s use of digital billboards to help capture elusive criminals has expanded from a one-city test in 2007 to a growing network that now covers more than 40 states this year. Allen said the billboards can be directly tied to solving 35 cases in the past two years.
“It is a real force multiplier,” Allen said. “We can put 10 agents on a case. But when we put information on a billboard, all of a sudden we have 500,000 sets of eyes looking for what we are looking for.”
The FBI also credits the billboard project with leading to the apprehension of serial bank robber Chad Schaffner, who was captured in September after he was featured on billboards in several Southeastern states. Last month, he pleaded guilty to a robbery spree in Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana and Illinois.
The number of cases solved with the help of digital billboards is probably higher than 35 because tipsters don’t always mention where they saw information about a suspect, Allen said.
“That is a remarkable number of cases solved,” he said. “It outpaces the Internet and rivals (the TV show) “America’s Most Wanted” in the ability to help us make arrests.”
Outdoor advertising companies, including Clear Channel Outdoor, Adams Outdoor Advertising and Lamar Advertising Co., donate billboard space to the FBI, Allen said.
The digital billboards make it possible to get information out quickly, said Jeff Golimowski, spokesman for the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.
There are about 1,800 digital billboards across the nation, Golimowski said. Although that represents fewer than 1 percent of about 450,000 billboards in America, he said many of those signs are in highly populated areas.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has a similar plan with the Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia, which also is partnering with the FBI, said the billboard association’s Executive Director Conner Poe.
Some local law enforcement agencies have forged partnerships with local companies, such as the Janesville, Wis., Police Department and Lamar Advertising, which operates about a half-dozen digital billboards there.
The preliminary hearing for Ramon Somoza, 29, is scheduled for June 25 in 4th District Court.
Police say Somoza shot and killed former employee Jesus Landin, 46, Dec. 28 in the basement of the Apollo Dance Hall in American Fork and then dumped the body near West Wendover, Nev., where it was found 10 days later.
He is charged with murder, a first-degree felony; obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony; and abuse or desecration of a dead human body, a third-degree felony.
Somoza operated the dance hall, and Landin worked there as a security guard. Landin came to the Apollo the day he was killed to demand $400 that he said Somoza owed him, according to defense attorney Steven Burton.
He says his client “has never been a violent person” and acted in self-defense.
“The only explanation we can see is that he was scared of this man he had just fired,” Burton said.
Asked why Somoza tried to conceal the killing, Burton said, “He knows he made some really bad decisions after the fact, and he recognizes that, but that doesn’t change the truth of what happened that day.”
Prosecutors, however, have said Somoza was blocking the only exit from the basement when he shot Landin.
William R. Clark III told a Kane County Judge that he should have gotten help for his mental problems after he was discharged from the Marines in 2008, but he didn’t.
Clark, who had attended basic training in San Diego, also acknowledged that he had suicidal thoughts. He said he had taken the 7-inch, military-issue bayonet from his father.
The victim, a 21-year-old from Carpentersville, was in critical care this morning.
The woman had been working at Bath and Body Works in Spring Hill Mall about 8:30 p.m when Clark approached her.
He then forced her into the men’s bathroom, stabbed her once in the middle left side of her back, and then dropped the weapon, said West Dundee Police Chief Dave Sawyer.
“He walked out with the victim to the sales floor where the victim told fellow employees she had been stabbed and collapsed on the floor,” Sawyer said. “He was detained by bystanders and mall security until police arrived.”
The victim was transported to Sherman Hospital in Elgin where she underwent surgery, Sawyer said.
“It was definitely a domestic type of situation,” he said. “She wanted to break it off; he didn’t.”
Clark was charged with attempted first degree murder, aggravated domestic battery and armed violence. His bond was set at $650,000 and his next scheduled court date is April 15.
Sawyer said the stabbing was not gang-related.
“It’s unfortunately a domestic situation and we’re getting more and more everyday,” he said. “The mall has been very quiet. They’ve done a good job up there; security is high and we don’t go up there much for gang-related calls.”
The workers filed the class action suit in March in Prince George’s County Circuit Court. They are seeking $5 million in punitive damages, plus compensatory damages and legal fees.
The plaintiffs, represented by the Hermina Law Group of Laurel, claim they worked 12-hour holiday shifts but were paid for only eight hours. The suit also alleges Eagle Technologies collected money from the employees for 401(k) plans, but failed to set them up.
Among other complaints, the employees — who worked or still work as armed and unarmed guards at Fort Detrick’s National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center — say Eagle failed to reimburse them for uniforms and other work-related expenses despite promising to do so; paid lower-than-contracted rates; failed to pay overtime when warranted; and failed to process medical claims. Most of the plaintiffs started working for Eagle about a year ago.
About 30 Eagle Technologies security guards work at Fort Detrick, said William Shank of Hagerstown, one of the plaintiffs. Eagle’s contract with the base pays $22 million for its five-year duration, he said.
Shank said when his supervisor shared the plaintiffs’ concerns with management, she was suspended without pay. Shank also alleges Eagle Technologies officials lost his information packet — needed to obtain a top-secret clearance — four times.
Eagle Technologies provides armed and unarmed security officers, background investigations and support training services to the federal government and private sector, according to its Web site. As of November, it had about 400 employees and, as of February, annual sales of $7.1 million, according to business research company Dun & Bradstreet.
In June, minority-owned Eagle won its second Small Business Achievement Award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The company also won the award in 2007.
Eagle was recognized for its service to the agency headquarters, Science Technology Directorate, at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York.
Eagle is represented by Richard C. Daniels of College Park. Eagle officials did not respond to requests for comment. Attorneys for both parties could not be reached for comment.
The parents also have sued the three men who were charged in the incident.
“These kids should have been suspended or expelled so this problem would have never happened,” the parents’ lawyer, Jonathan Hirsch of St. Clair Shores, said Wednesday of the civil suit filed this week in Wayne County Circuit Court.
He said students complained after the shooting about chronic violence at the school and a failure of school officials to stop it.
The plaintiffs are Bridget Walker, whose son, Christopher Walker, 16, was killed; Kenota Slater, mother of Malik Slater; Carol Merriweather, mother of Leon Merriweather and Liz McCants, mother of Kejuana McCants.
Defendants include two school security officers, Carmen Evans and Colin Lowery, and the three men who were charged in the attack: Devon Bell of Oak Park and Derryck Brantley and William Morton, both of Detroit.
Police said the shooting happened after school on Oct. 16, 2008, following a fight earlier that day. They said Morton, Bell and Brantley rode up in a black SUV and started shooting at Christopher Walker as dozens of students walked nearby about a block away from the school.
Morton, 17, was convicted of first-degree murder and is serving life in prison without parole. Bell, 19, was convicted of second-degree murder and using a firearm to commit a felony and is serving 27-40 years in prison. Brantley, who was 18 when the shooting happened, was acquitted.
Hirsch said one of the security officers watched the initial fight on video and the other officer broke up the fracas, but neither one took steps to have the troublemakers suspended or expelled.
Steve Wasko, spokesman for Detroit Public Schools, declined to comment on the suit on behalf of the district and its employees. “We have not seen the suit yet,” he said.
Board member Anthony Adams, a former general counsel for DPS, called the crime tragic, but predicted it would be a difficult burden of proof to hold school officials liable.
Bridget Walker, 39, of Oak Park said Wednesday that she’s angry because school officials did nothing. “The day the incident happened, nobody notified me or my ex-husband, his father,” she said.
The suit was assigned to Judge Susan Borman.
Overall, Installation Management Command will be announcing 3,076 openings for guards that will be needed at every garrison, except those aligned under Base Realignment and Closure or those transitioning to joint bases where another service is the lead agency.
The conversion is being made because of congressional mandates and the expected loss of a waiver established after Sept. 11, 2001 that allowed the Department of Defense to contract security guard services at military installations in the states, said Craig Shreiner, branch chief of physical security for IMCOM.
And while the employment category of these guards will change, the service they provide seven days a week, 24 hours a day will not.
“Throughout this process, we will ensure a well-coordinated transition that continues our support to the mission, Soldiers and families, and Army communities,” Shreiner said.
In fact, the conversion will be completed in two group phases. The first phase consists of 28 garrisons and must be completed by Sept. 30. The second phase will consist of the remaining 18 garrisons and will be completed by July 26, 2011.
Group 1 involves garrisons from IMCOM’s Northeast, West, Pacific and Southeast regions. Group 2 involves Southeast and West regions. Visit the IMCOM home page – http://www.imcom .army.mil/hq/ – for a listing of garrisons within each region.
Once the job announcements are made, all qualified applicants – including contractors currently holding such positions – are encouraged to compete for the openings.
“Additionally, veterans’ hiring preferences are in place,” Shreiner said, “and previous experience with military security work is something we value.”
Job announcements have been made at several installations and will continue to be published throughout the conversion.
City police just identified the victim as Charles Bowman, a Vietnam veteran who has lived for many years in a rowhouse on East 33rd and Hillen streets. Relatives told me has worked for the Afro for about five years and often stopped by Yau Bros carryout in the 2900 block of Greenmount Ave. as he walked to the newspaper on North Charles Street.
Police said Bowman was in the shop when two armed men wearing bandanas walked in tried to hold up the carryout. Some sort of struggle ensued and Bowman was shot once in the chest. He died a few hours later at a hospital. Police said the gunmen escaped with $13 taken from another patron.
This morning, homicide detectives returned to the shop to hand out fliers offering a $2,000 reward through Metro Crime Stoppers for any information leading to an arrest. Anyone with tips is urged to call 1-866-7LOCKUP .
“Here we have a 72-year-old man who was an innocent victim,” said Sgt. William Simmons of the homicide unit. “He was gunned down on his way to work while getting something to eat.”
The carryout has been a problem for residents of Better Waverly for years. On March 17 2009, three patrons were shot inside the shop; one died outside, the other died inside, and a third managed to run away with bullet wounds.
Police said one of the dead men were targeted and police arrested a suspect a month later. The shop is located just south of East 33rd Street, a busy business corridor near a popular farmer’s market.
At left, Baltimore homicide detectives gather at the scene to plot out where they plan to hand out fliers seeking help solving the killing.
Sullivan County Sheriff’s officials said Joshua DiMeo was arrested on April 1 when he went to the home of a 13-year-old female victim with the intention of having sexual contact and when he knocked on the door, he was greeted by detectives.
Sheriff’s Chief of Patrol Arthur Hawker said Wednesday that DiMeo had allegedly engaged in sexual contact with one 13-year-old female student of on more than one occasion and had planned on having contract with another 13-year-old when he was arrested at her house.
Police, armed with a warrant, searched DiMeo’s 112 Carrier Street home later and seized computers, cell phones and a digital camera as the investigation continues.
In once instance, Hawker said DiMeo emailed a photo of a genital area to one girl.
Hawker said it is believe no other children were involved.
DiMeo was charged with disseminating indecent material to a minor in the first degree, a felony, and the misdemeanors of sexual abuse in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a minor.
He was arraigned and remanded to the Sullivan County Jail without bail.
Village of Liberty Police developed the information and turned it over to the Sheriff Office when they realized the crime may have occurred outside the village. Sheriff’s detectives quickly established DiMeo was in contact with the victim via text messages on her cell phone and by instant messages on Facebook. In the course of communicating with one victim, he asked if he could come to her home.
Hawker said DiMeo’s relative is an administrator at the school, but had no involvement in the case.
CORAL GABLES FL April 8 2010 (CBS4) ―
- Coral Gables police released surveillance video Thursday of a jewelry store heist that involved a ruse in which one of the thieves appeared to be wheelchair bound.
The release of the surveillance video comes nearly two weeks after the March 27th incident.
That morning, police say four thieves strolled into a Mayor’s jewelry store in Coral Gables and then took off with more than 20 Rolex watches, said Officer Kelly Denham, Coral Gables Police spokeswoman.
Police say one of the thieves was in a wheelchair, but it was all a ploy to be allowed into the jewelry store at the Village of Merrick Park.
As soon as they got inside, the man in the wheelchair sprayed mace at the security guard. The subjects then smashed a glass counter taking more than 20 Rolex watches and fleeing the store leaving the wheelchair behind.
A fourth man was waiting in the get-away car. No other customers were in the store at the time of the robbery.
Police said they were seen leaving in a white SUV, possibly a Hyundai.
Coral Gables police say the jewelry store located at 342 San Lorenzo Avenue has been targeted in the past.
Because of such break-ins, the store uses a buzzer to allow clients into the front door.
Police are investigating a theft at a Coral Gables jewelry store in which the suspects sprayed mace at the security guard Saturday morning.
Anyone with information about this crime, is asked to call Crimestoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
Two men who became known as the “Rolex Robbers” killed a security guard during a robbery attempt at the Coral Gables jewelry store in 2003.
In August of 2008, a jury sentenced Ehren Witt and Milton Hall to life in prison for the death of the security guard, Luis Brito.