ATLANTA GA Nov 20 2010 — A man who was kidnapped at gunpoint from a Home Depot parking lot has filed a lawsuit against the home improvement store.
James Smith said the store duped him into signing a settlement agreement surrounding the kidnapping.
“We were tricked into this,” Smith told Channel 2 Action News reporter Tom Jones.
Home Depot denies that anyone tricked Smith and his wife, Sophie. She said that’s not true and that Home Depot should have never approached them two days after her husband had been kidnapped at gunpoint.
“Because we were very vulnerable and I believe they took advantage of us,” she explained.
The incident took place in March as the 71-year-old Smith loaded up his SUV in the parking lot of the Home Depot off Cascade Road in southwest Atlanta. Two men approached him at gunpoint forced him to drive off, Smith said. The men made Smith drive to banks where they forced him to withdraw money before eventually letting him go, he said. After that, Smith said he was a nervous wreck.
“Because of the fear … two guns, one in back of your head, and one on the side … I couldn’t sleep. I had to take medications. It really shook me up, the retiree explained.
Then he said two days after his ordeal, he started getting phone calls from someone who said he wanted to help. “He didn’t explain who he was or nothing. Just said he was from Home Depot,” Smith said.
Because the kidnappers took his wallet, identification and bank cards, Smith told the man he says he thought was a customer service representative that a new, more secure door would make him feel better.
That’s when he said the man on the phone offered to install a $2,000 security door at his home and give him $500 as a gift. Tired of reliving the nightmare of the kidnapping every time the man from Home Depot would call, Smith said he accepted the offer. He said the Home Depot representative said he needed to sign a release to get the door installed. He said he was hesitant, but was tired of the calls about the incident that he was still trying to recover from.
“I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just signed it to get rid of it,” Smith said.
Later he said he learned the person he was talking to was a claims adjuster for Home Depot and the release he signed was a settlement agreement absolving Home Depot from any other claims surrounding his kidnapping. Smith’s wife was not happy.
“I’m angry with Home Depot,” Sophie Smith said.
The Smiths have filed a lawsuit alleging negligence and fraud.
“I think that the fraud is coming from the fact that the adjuster called the Smith’s and did not identify himself and essentially misled them into believing this security door was a gift,” James Dearing, the Smith’s attorney stated.
A spokesperson for Home Depot said the claims adjuster did nothing wrong. Steve Holmes sent this statement: “We were extremely concerned about the crimes committed against Mr. Smith, and our research into that matter showed that the outside claims adjuster worked in good faith on the settlement. Regardless, we entertained demands by Mr. Smiths attorney for additional compensation; and we even offered to engage a mediator to help resolve the matter rather than tie up our court system. Our offer to mediate still stands.”
The Smiths attorney said there was no need to mediate when Home Depot would never give him a financial figure to take back to his clients.
James Smith said he is still trying to recover from the kidnapping and never expected Home Depot to add to his pain.
” I feel let down,” Smith whispered. His wife chimed in and said, “We just feel like victims all over again.”
DECATUR, Ga.Nov 20 2010 — A former DeKalb County sheriff’s deputy was sentenced to back-to-back life sentences in the killings of his wife and a day laborer on Friday morning.
Derrick Yancey, 51, was found guilty in the shooting death of his wife, Linda Yancey, and Marcial Cax-Puluc in 2008.
Channel 2 Action News reporter Jeff Dore was in the courtroom and said Yancey did not react when the verdicts were read two weeks ago During deliberations, jurors briefly halted the session to hear a 911 tape again and review a video of the crime scene.
Prosecutors told jurors that Yancey killed his wife, then Cax-Puluc. Following the deaths, they said he made up a story about Cax-Puluc, a Guatemalan immigrant, shooting Linda Yancey during a robbery attempt. Derrick Yancey told police he shot Cax-Puluc in self-defense.
The trial was delayed last year when Yancey cut off his ankle monitor and fled to Belize in Central America.
Yancey was found guilty on all counts — including two counts of malice murder.
Kenner LA Nov 20 2010 A New Orleans woman who was stopped before she could steal a shopping cart filled with merchandise from Wal-mart had better luck while she was inside a security officer’s office, according to a Kenner police report.
Marlene Kennedy, 50, 2014 Salem St., was arrested Tuesday after she allegedly tried to shoplift at the Wal-mart at 300 W. Esplanade Ave., the report said.
She also was booked with the theft of a $270 Samsung T-Mobile cell phone that police say she grabbed while she was handcuffed inside Wal-mart’s security office. Kennedy was taken from Wal-mart to the Kenner jail where a police officer found the cell phone tucked into her underwear, according to the police report.
While inside the Wal-mart on Tuesday, Kennedy removed a toddler training toilet from its box, set the empty box in her shopping cart and walked around putting other merchandise, including clothes, shoes, a five-pack of ribs and a safety light in the box, according to Sgt. Brian McGregor, Kenner Police Department spokesman. Kennedy also placed a large comforter set and cases of Budweiser and Heineken beer in the cart, the report said.
Then, without paying, she tried to leave the store with the cart, the report said. Wal-mart’s loss prevention officer stopped her, but she ran away and was caught half a block away by the Kenner police detail officer, the report said.
She was booked with city charges of theft, theft of goods and simple criminal damage to property. She posted a $760 commercial bond and was released, McGregor said.
Allen TX Nov 20 2010 Police officers arrested three men, two of whom are father and son, on shoplifting charges yesterday.
The trio was arrested after officers responded to a theft-in-progress call from the Home Depot at 909 W. McDermott Dr. Store security guards reported that Robert Juarez, 38 of Dallas; George Antonio Hernandez, also 38, of Dallas; and George Antonion Hernandez’s 20-year-old son, San Antonio resident George Albert Hernandez, were attempting to steal an air-powered nail gun.
The officers pursued the trio on foot and found them attempting to leave the area in a black four-door sedan at the Harley Davidson store near McDermott and U.S. 75. The sedan was found to contain more than 10 new-in-package iPod Nano music players, a laptop and several other unopened electronic devices. No receipts or any other proof of purchase have been located for the products, Sgt. John Felty of Allen PD said Thursday.
The men were arrested and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, a felony charge. George Albert Hernandez was also charged with possession of a criminal instrument, a Class A misdemeanor, for possessing a “booster bag,” a specially-lined bag designed to block security-tagged items from setting off theft alarms in stores.
Juarez and George Antonio Hernandez served nine months probation in 1999 and 2000 after pleading guilty to a 1997 theft charge. The two men received additional charges of theft less than $1500 with two previous convictions following their Allen arrest.
The three men were transferred to Collin County jail yesterday. All three have been released on bail.
The trio’s case, as well as the source of the electronics found in their vehicle, remains under investigation, Felty said.
The investigation focused on Duran Carmen, now 22, after two confidential sources told an investigator he tried to sell them computers from AvMed. One source said Carmen asked for $20 for one computer.
Carmen originally denied taking the computers but later admitted that he did after AvMed arranged to grant him immunity from prosecution for returning the computers, according to the report.
Carmen led a detective to one of the computers in Trenton, but it was not one of the two that contained AvMed customers’ private information.
Tracking software on one of those computers led Detective Charles Snipes to a woman near Orlando who turned it over, saying she received it from a High Springs relative as a gift. The relative denied any knowledge of the computer, but Snipes tracked the other computer to a man who lived just 200 yards away.
That man said someone matching Carmen’s description and another man tried to sell him a computer for $20, but he didn’t buy it, according to the report.
Carmen told Snipes he gave the computer to the other man, who has a history of dealing in stolen property, and received $100 from him the next day, but the man said Carmen took the computer.
That computer has not been recovered.
Carmen, described in the report as a Gilchrist County resident, does not have a criminal record, according to sheriff’s spokesman Art Forgey. He could not be reached for comment.
As the security guard on duty, Carmen was the one who called police on Dec. 11, 2009, after employees discovered that two laptops had gone missing overnight from a locked conference room. AvMed later determined that the computers contained the names, addresses, Social Security numbers and health-care information of 1.2 million customers. Another computer later was reported missing from the IT help desk office.
AvMed notified 360,000 customers in February and another 860,000 in June that their information was on the computers and offered two years of free identity protection.
Five current and former customers filed a class-action lawsuit against AvMed on Tuesday seeking damages and to enforce data security measures.
The Sheriff’s Office has received two calls of possible identity theft from customers. Snipes reported that two out of 1.2 million are “well within the statistical average for identity theft by other means.”
Carmen told the Sheriff’s Office he deleted AvMed’s information from the computers before trying to sell them. Snipes reported that none of the people involved are known to have the computer skills necessary to retrieve deleted information.
The company that provides the security software said the missing computer was not reporting back, concluding that it has not been connected to the Internet since it left the home in High Springs.
Snipes reported that there is not a substantial likelihood of personal information on the missing computer being compromised.
Carmen was employed by a subcontractor that provided security services. AvMed now is using a different security firm, spokeswoman Conchita Ruiz-Topinka said.
The retail giant accused Thomas Stone, a former employee at the Stonecrest store in south Charlotte, of helping a woman steal a TV and an iPod. He was arrested for embezzlement, but the charges were dropped.
Stone won a lawsuit against the company for malicious prosecution, but said he won’t forget being arrested.
“I had never been in a situation where I was in handcuffs in the back of a police car, going to jail,” he said. “You see stuff on TV and you see these crime shows and it’s nothing. It’s not like you get there and you have an interview and they ask you — you get put in a holding cell for 10 hours and then, you never know what’s going to happen next.”
Stone said his chances of enlisting in the Air Force were hurt because of the arrest.
Miami Fla Nov 2010 If you don’t want to pass through an airport scanner that allows security agents to see an image of your naked body or to undergo the alternative, a thorough manual search, you may have to find another way to travel this holiday season.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is warning that any would-be commercial airline passenger who enters an airport checkpoint and then refuses to undergo the method of inspection designated by TSA will not be allowed to fly and also will not be permitted to simply leave the airport.
That person will have to remain on the premises to be questioned by the TSA and possibly by local law enforcement. Anyone refusing faces fines up to $11,000 and possible arrest.
“Once a person submits to the screening process, they can not just decide to leave that process,” says Sari Koshetz, regional TSA spokesperson, based in Miami.
Koshetz said such passengers would be questioned “until it is determined that they don’t pose a threat” to the public.
Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Teri Barbera said PBSO deputies stationed at the airport would become involved when requested by the TSA.
“We will handle each incident on a case-by-case basis,” she said.
No one will be forcibly searched or arrested “just because they refuse to go through the security procedures,” Barbera said. “That may rise to the level of suspicious behavior for the TSA, but it wouldn’t rise to the level of suspicious behavior for a deputy,” she said.
But Barbera said that if a person is judged to be a possible threat, deputies are legally permitted to detain and search that individual. “The deputies will do it at the airport just as they would do it anywhere else,” she said.
Once cleared by the TSA and deputies, the people will be allowed to leave, she said.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union was urging Americans to petition the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA, to change the new policies.
“All of us have a right to travel without such crude invasions of our privacy,” the ACLU said in a statement. “Tell DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to put in place security measures that respect passengers’ privacy rights. You shouldn’t have to check your rights when you check your luggage.”
The ACLU outlined ways for citizens to respond to TSA demands at checkpoints and also provided a form letter for filing complaints.
But the TSA stuck to its guns. Testifying before Congress Wednesday, TSA Administrator John S. Pistole said inspectors at the nation’s airports would enforce the new policies despite complaints that the search methods are too invasive.
“We have to ensure that each person getting on every flight is secure,” Pistole said.
Asked by U.S. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) about groups that objected to all forms of bodily search on religious grounds, Pistole didn’t waiver: “While we respect that person’s beliefs, that person’s not going to get on an airplane.”
In March, the TSA introduced AIT scanners — also known as “nude body” or “whole body’ scanners — and now uses them in more than 60 airports, including South Florida airports: Six each at Palm Beach International and Miami International and 10 at Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale.
The machines project a black and white image of a passenger’s naked body to a screen in a separate, private room where it is studied by a TSA agent.
No face is visible and the agent never sees the person being scanned.
TSA officials say the new technology is necessary because it detects not just metal but other potentially dangerous materials, including plastic explosives.
Koshetz said the TSA goal is for as many passengers as possible to pass through the AIT machines, rather than the less revealing traditional metal detectors.
A recent CBS poll found that 81 percent of people questioned did not object to the AIT system. But some do and an online group called National Opt-Out Day is encouraging passengers to refuse the AIT screening on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, which would force TSA to perform many more manual searches and probably cause long delays.
They may be letting themselves in for more than they expect. A policy enacted in the past month allows agents to perform manual searches of passengers, including their private areas, which are much more invasive than the back-of-the-hand technique most often used in the past. Some critics have referred to the technique as “groping.”
One critic of the TSA is Jon Corbett, 26, of Miami Beach, who this week requested that a U.S. District Court judge in Miami grant an injunction to block the new security methods. Corbett said he plans to fly to New York Thanksgiving Day and had hopes the court would respond before that.
“But I’m not sure that will happen,” he said.
Tulsa OKL Nov 20 2010 A former police officer and current security guard is charged with child sex abuse. Marion Jonathon Johnson now has a warrant out for his arrest.
He works security for St. John Medical Center in Tulsa. To become a security guard you have to go through extensive background checks.
According to court documents the sex abuse happened on June 1, 2007.
Owasso police confirm it took place within city limits. KTUL.com asked his St. John about Johnson’s case and they released this statement:
“St. John Medical Center confirms Marion Jonathon Johnson is an employee and is on leave pending a review of this situation. As a result of the criminal investigation, as well as St. John’s policy to not comment on personnel issues, we cannot provide any further details.”
Ron Harwood who works for a national security company says Johnson most likely went through an extensive process before becoming a security officer for the hospital.
“They have to go through a state certification where they are required to go get their city and county background checks, fingerprints which are run through OSBI and FBI they do a national check on them some companies do a 10 year background check on them,” says Harwood.
He says even with numerous tests and background checks some may fall through the cracks.
“There’s nothing that’s foolproof people are going to get by in all certain circumstances,” says Harwood.
He says there’s really no way of completely checking someone’s past, especially if there’s no evidence of wrongdoing.
Johnson’s warrant for his arrest also comes with a $50,000 bond