CHARLOTTE, N.C.Dec 23 2010 – Some airline passengers are protesting the TSA’s new security measures which require passengers to go through a body scanner or be patted down by a TSA employee.
Passengers say they will boycott the body scanner on Wednesday. That means they would have to undergo a pat down which could take up to four minutes per person and snarl lines through security.
Passengers told WBTV they had mixed reactions.
“I don’t care for it, but if it’s going to help go with it,” said Germaine Antaya, a passenger.
” [It's] too much infringement on our privacy,” said Sandra Komito.
Jerry Orr, the director of Charlotte Douglas International, said he’s not happy with TSA being in charge of the airport’s security.
“I think they spend way too much money and I think it could be done a lot quicker, a lot better at a lot less expense,” he said.
Orr told WBTV he has always believed the airport’s police officers could do the job TSA agents do. He says he has been carefully following the backlash of the body scanners and thorough pat downs over the past several days. To him, the complaints — especially flight attendant Cathy Bossi’s harrowing experience over being asked to removed her prosthetic breast –are nothing new.
“With the amount we’ve spent with the technology that’s available that’s seems a lit overboard doesn’t it,” said Orr.
Judy Ponder, whose grandchildren arrived from Texas Friday night, agrees. Both are under the age of 12 and Judy shudders to think of them getting patted down.
“Not for children,” said Ponder. “Um, adults maybe — not for children.”
But when asked if Ponder thinks TSA doesn’t belong here, she wasn’t willing to go that far.
“TSA was created for a reason,” she said. “I think I have to go with that. You put up with it. So I think that’s your choice. Like, it don’t like and I don’t like it. But if I have to fly I have to put up with it.”
TSA has been under fire recently over its security procedures. The agency maintains it won’t change protocol even though many have complained the pat downs are invasion of privacy and allegations TSA agents have taken the pat-downs too far.
Louisville KY Nov 23 2010 A Kentucky man, training to become a Louisville Metro police officer, is now accused of stealing evidence.
Police arrested Troy Hilpp, charging him on several counts, including evidence tampering and theft.
Hilpp was in court for a pre-trial hearing today.
Officials accuse him of stealing a Playstation 3 from the evidence room, as well as two of the department’s cameras.
He’s also accused of illegally filling prescriptions for hydrocodone and oxycodone.
He was released today on his own recognizance.
WASHINGTON Nov 23 2010 —As retailers prepare for the start of the biggest shopping season of the year, loss prevention professionals were reminded to “put your game face on,” said Joe LaRocca, senior asset protection advisor for the National Retail Federation, during a media conference call on Nov. 11. “Stores are going to be busy this year, especially with the increase in sales, and with the number of customers you can expect stores to be full,” he said.
While overall shrinkage figures are down from previous years, from about $36 billion to $33 billion, retailers can expect to see increases in theft, particularly external theft, during the holiday season. “Increased holiday sales means more shoplifters,” said LaRocca. And, it’s not just amateur or opportunistic shoplifters that retailers need to be concerned about. Holiday sales means an increase in organized retail crime as well. LaRocca said that based on its annual ORC survey, 89.5 percent of retailers report being victimized by ORC, but more disturbing is that fact that nearly 59 percent of retailers reported that the problem is getting worse, not better.
Retailers need to have their game face on prior to Black Friday, however. LaRocca said that retailers should be especially conscious of increases in external theft and ORC cases leading up to the primary shopping season. He noted that ORC organizations began preparing for the holiday season months ago. “August, September and October are a heavy period for boosters because they’re in the business of stealing and reselling and they’re stocking up for the holidays just like legitimate retailers would,” he said. This activity will continue right up to the holidays.
In addition to theft, the holiday season means an increase in returns fraud. A survey released last week by NRF found that based on the 111 retailers surveyed, return fraud is expected to amount to $3.68 billion this holiday season, up from $2.74 billion last year. Return fraud will cost retailers an estimated $13.95 billion during the 2010 calendar year, up from $9.59 billion in 2009. LaRocca said retailers need to ensure that they have strong return policies in place to combat fraudulent returns. “It’s hard to find that balance between honest customers versus someone who’s abusing the policy either ethically or criminally and stealing from stores,” he said.
Also, controlling massive amounts of people during the holiday season is a priority for loss prevention professionals. The NRF released its second annual crowd control guidelines on Nov. 5, reminding retailers about ways to manage large crowds. “Dealing with a large number of shoppers is no surprise and no different during the holidays. Retailers are staffed and ready to go and we expect most will be well positioned to support the large crowds in their stores.” LaRocca said retailers’ strategy of opening earlier and staying open later will help relieve some of the crowd congestion.
The first priority for Brown was to ensure that tenants felt safe and secure in the housing complexes. One of the initial steps was to install a key fob system instead of traditional physical keys. “The key fob allows entrance and instead of a key, which can be duplicated or lost, the key fob can be taken out of the system right away,” Brown said. Also, the key fobs can be specifically programmed so that only certain tenants have access to designated stairwells and laundry facilities, for example,
For additional security measures, the housing authority installed video intercom systems from Aiphone. “The Aiphone is installed outside the entrance door and shows tenants the picture of the person downstairs. With an intercom, it could be anyone,” he said. The system is also programmed to notify the central command center if a door is propped open.
The largest part of the security enhancement is the addition of a wireless video surveillance system. The housing authority began installing the Honeywell camera system in 2006. Currently, it has about 380 in place, but Brown estimates by the time the project is fully rolled out there will be 500 cameras in place. The majority of the cameras are monitoring and recording activity outside of the buildings, but there are a few cameras inside some buildings. Nearly all the cameras are wireless, too. Brown said the cost per camera for wireless was 30 percent less than the cost for wired cameras and a fiber network.
The video system incorporates some smart analytic technology and will notify operators in the command center if more than six people are gathering in one area, for example. One of the housing authority’s challenges was combating illegal dumping, so the video cameras are trained to watch dumpsters and other areas around the buildings. The housing authority keeps video for approximately 45 days, which is more than sufficient, said Brown.
Brown said the housing authority is open to incorporating other advancements into its system. “We’re always interested in something if it fits into our game plan,” he said. For those new technologies, Brown says he relies on Honeywell to come up with different configurations to the system. For example, Honeywell has programmed the elevators with the key fob system for an additional layer of security. “The elevator is pulled from the ground floor, so tenants don’t have to worry because even if someone gets past the door and the guard, they can’t get into the elevator,” he said.
Brown said the housing authority spent nearly 18 months evaluating and testing different solutions. A pilot project with Honeywell that involved a small number of wireless cameras installed in a community center proved to Brown that the wireless technology was mature. “We tried it at one site and it worked. That meant the technology has been perfected,” Brown said. Following the initial pilot project, Brown said the other sites were surveyed prior to the massive installation.
During the evaluation process, Brown also said he reached out to local law enforcement to see if the cameras could be of use to them as well. “When we set out with the camera network, we discussed with the police if they had any areas of interest where we could put up an additional camera that would be of use to them,” he said. In the future, Brown said he expects police to be able to have full access to the cameras in their patrol cars. “We will be able to give them IP addresses so they can see the cameras on our sites and will actually be able to do virtual tours,” he said.
Officer Willie Walden, 48, who patrolled North Miami High School, North Miami Middle School and several local elementary schools, was relieved of duty on Nov. 10.
A 23-year employee of North Miami, Walden joined the police force in 2002 and quickly became well known in the community for his involvement in PAL.
In January, North Miami named Walden officer of the month for his work with PAL. He was credited for securing the funds to house the program in it’s own facility.
The center is a partnership between PAL and a fitness-training company. It also offers yoga and personal training for a fee. PAL gets a percentage of the proceeds.
“He’s a very well respected individual both inside and outside of the department,” Cuevas said.
Walden declined to comment.
Walden and another officer helped oversee about 600 students annually through PAL and its after-school activities.
Working with kids is “primarily what they do everyday,” said police spokesman Neal Cuevas.
The program includes youth sports, entrepreneurial development and tutoring. In the past, both officers have traveled with students to compete in out-of-town competitions.
Walden has been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of the police investigation.
North Miami police did not release details of the allegation, but Cuevas said the student is a minor.
“The police department received the complaint, and we’re still waiting for the outcome of the investigation,” Cuevas said.
ALAMEDA CA Nov 23 2010 — A man who disguised himself as a security guard when he robbed a Wells Fargo bank in Alameda also is suspected of carrying out at least two other bank robberies in San Francisco, police said today.
The man did not display a weapon during the robberies and no one was hurt.
The Alameda robbery occurred about 10:15 a.m. Friday at the Well Fargo branch at 2260 Otis Drive, where the suspect handed a note to a teller and demanded cash.
A second man waited outside the bank as a look-out and also served as a getaway driver, Alameda police Sgt. Pat Wyeth said.
After the robbery, the men climbed into a white 1987 four-door Chevrolet Impala with a California license plate and were last seen traveling westbound on Otis Drive, witnesses said.
The San Francisco robberies occurred Nov. 5 at the Wells Fargo branch at 557 Castro St. and Nov. 13 at the Chase bank at 1811 19th Ave.
During the robberies the suspect wore a dark blue baseball cap with the word “security” written at the front, as well as a tan dress shirt with shoulder patches. Witnesses described him as African-American, 45 to 50 years old, 6 feet tall and about 180 pounds.
Witnesses could not provide details about the accomplice who waited outside during the Alameda robbery, describing him as a man wearing a tan coat and a tan hat.
While investigators have linked the main suspect to three robberies, they suspect he may have carried out other bank robberies
Anyone with information about the suspects or the robberies is asked to call Alameda police at 510-337-8340.
Fort Smith Ark Nov 23 2010
Fort Smith police arrested three teenagers Sunday after investigators claim a large fight broke out at the Fort Smith Central Mall between possible gang members. Officers believe all of the teenagers involved attend local high schools.
Two fist sized holes have been filled in outside a nail salon in the mall, evidence of a fight from Sunday. “With school being out and holidays coming up, this is a place that juveniles are more and more frequenting to,” said Sergeant Daniel Grubbs, of the Fort Smith Police Department.
Officers believe the fight stemmed from a stabbing earlier this year near the Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair. Investigators think the victim from that earlier incident saw the person who allegedly stabbed him. “Some type of tensions that erupted through the fair and ultimately led to them reencountering each other at the mall again,” said Grubbs.
Police claim the two groups took the fight inside the nail salon. Workers say the young people came inside cursing and fighting, then moved back outside the salon. Next, officers think another fight broke out near a pretzel store and say that is when someone pulled out a knife. Police say witnesses also heard someone in the large group rack a gun.
Officials with Central Mall did not want to comment on camera about the specifics, but did say they have well trained mall security that include off duty police officers. A mall representative says they increase the number of mall security officers over the holidays.
Fort Smith police want to stress they still believe the mall is a safe place to go. Investigators say an off duty police officer and mall security guard tried to break up the fight.
Fort Smith police will continue to investigate the incident and say additional arrests could follow.
LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. Nov 23 2010 — One suspect has been arrested and another is being sought in connection with a shooting at a Weis Markets in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County.
Luis Daniel Cora-Romero, of Lancaster, was charged with retail theft, aggravated assault, robbery and criminal conspiracy to commit robbery. He is in Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail.
Kenneth Peralta, 38, of Lancaster, is being sought. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Peralta is asked to call East Lampeter Township police at 717-291-4676. Peralta should be considered armed and dangerous.
On Sunday afternoon, a security officer at the Weis Markets grocery store in the 1600 block of Lincoln Highway East was shot.
Officials with Weis Markets confirmed their security officer, Bryan Fantom, was chasing two men accused of shoplifting at about 1 p.m.
When the pair walked out of the store without paying, the store manager and loss prevention officer stopped them at the door, police said. They struggled with one another and someone shouted, “He’s got a gun.”
Peralta hit the loss prevention officer in the head with the gun and fired several shots, police said. Fantom was taken to the hospital.
“This could have been a much worse tragedy. We have one serious injury. We have at least 30 people in that parking lot in range of that firearm at the time this was occurring. Yes, it could have been a much worse tragedy,” said Sgt. Marlene Leighty, of East Lampeter Township police.
A witness told News 8 the two suspects took off with razor blades, which they are accused of taking from the store.
In a statement Weis Markets told News 8, they appreciate “the hard work Fantom has been doing. At this moment our thoughts and prayers are with him.”
Police said they think the shooter got away in a dark blue or black Ford Taurus with Pennsylvania license plate HNT 6089.
Los Angeles CA Nov 23 2010 A/P The family of a 2-year-old boy was posing for pictures in a luxury suite high inside Staples Center when he managed to scale a clear safety barrier and fell more than 20 feet to his death, police said on Monday.
Lucas Anthony Tang suffered head injuries Sunday when he landed on rows of seats minutes after the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors 117-89, police said. The boy later died at a hospital.
“Somehow the child went over the edge of the section,” Officer Julie Sohn said.
Police were releasing few details about the incident as they tried to determine what happened.
Sohn said the boy’s family was taking photographs at the time of the fall.
The Los Angeles Times, citing unidentified police sources, said the toddler’s family was looking at digital photographs and lost track of him. He somehow got over the top of the glass barrier, the newspaper reported.
Sohn, however, said she could not confirm those details.
The luxury boxes have tiers of seats, fronted by concrete walls. Atop the walls are glass barriers. The barrier varies in height but at its lowest point is about the height of an adult’s waist, said Michael Roth, a spokesman for Staples and owner, AEG.
Roth declined to be more specific about the height and it was not immediately clear from which point the boy fell. He said the toddler fell into a general seating area about 30 rows up from the court.
The child fell 25 to 50 feet, according to various estimates from police detectives, fire officials and Roth.
Witnesses said the boy was moving his arms, legs and head when paramedics put him in an ambulance, Roth said.
The luxury box met all building requirements, Roth said. The 950,000-square-foot stadium opened in 1999 and has 160 luxury suites on three levels. “In 11 years, we’ve never had an incident like this,” he said.
A message seeking comment from the city Department of Building and Safety was not immediately returned on Monday.
The police department’s juvenile division, which has investigative responsibility when a victim is under age 11, was handling the probe. “It’s procedural” and did not necessarily indicate that a crime was involved, Sohn said.
The arena was conducting its own investigation, Roth said.
Roth declined to release details about the boy’s family but said the luxury box — as with most suites — probably was owned by a corporation.
“Our condolences and prayers go to the Tang family,” Roth said a short prepared statement.
The Lakers organization issued a statement expressing shock and sadness at the tragedy.
“To go from a moment of happiness and enjoyment, to the loss of this boy’s life, is tragic and heartbreaking. We would like to ask Lakers fans to join us in keeping Lucas and his family in our thoughts and prayers,” the statement said.
Roth said Monday night’s game between the Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans Hornets would go on as scheduled.
The arena is home to the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.
Adjacent to the popular LA Live entertainment complex, Staples is also one of the city’s major venues for concerts and special events such as the Grammy Awards.
UTICA NY Nov 23 2010 — For the second time this year, residents of a large apartment building in the city were evacuated Monday evening after a fire heavily damaged several floors of the Kennedy Plaza Apartments.
Fire Chief Russell Brooks said the 7 p.m. fire that tore through the top three floors of the 17-story building sent three people to the hospital – a security guard, a tenant and a Utica firefighter.
Several tenants credited the unidentified security guard for getting people out of the building after the fire alarm reportedly went off, stopped for a while, and then came back on – causing confusion among the tenants.
Shaina Wilson, who lives on the twelfth floor, said she was waiting for a ride in the lobby when she saw the security guard head upstairs to check on the situation. When he came back, he had visible burns on his face, she said.
“He was like, ‘Everybody get out, get out. It’s a real fire,’” she said.
After she and a friend left the building, a glass window on one of the top floors shattered, sending bits of glass falling around them, she added.
The guard later was hospitalized with second-degree burns to his face and arms, Brooks said.
A city firefighter who collapsed due to a cardiac condition while fighting the flames and a tenant who began suffering seizures while waiting in the lobby also were hospitalized, he said.
The firefighter was believed to be in the intensive care unit as of 9 p.m.
“My thoughts and prayers are with that security guard that was injured, and also the firefighter…,” Brooks said at that time. “That’s also weighing on the guys.”
Brooks said the heaviest damage was limited to the 15th, 16th and 17th floors, two of which were under construction. The O-D previously reported that a $20 million overhaul was planned for the high-rise building, which is owned by Rome-based Liberty Affordable Housing and managed by Rome-based CRM Rental Management.
The cause and origin of the fire remained under investigation late Monday.
Apartment residents faced cold temperatures and heavy rain as they gathered outside the high-rise tower after being evacuated. Some had blankets or jackets with them, but many were without protection from the weather.
Officals began allowing tenants back into the lobby shortly before 8 p.m., about half an hour after the bulk of the fire was brought under control. Chairs were brought over from City Hall to make the conditions more comfortable, and the Red Cross was called to provide assistance.
By 8:40 p.m., fire officials were discussing allowing residents back into apartments on the lower floors that were unaffected by the fire. But Brooks said not everyone would be able to return Monday night.
“Hopefully we can get the majority of them back in,” he said.
A Sept. 17 fire at the seven-story Olbiston Apartments on Genesee Street left tenants homeless for nearly two weeks.
Brooks said city firefighters have been specially trained to respond to high-rise fires, which pose different operational challenges than regular house fires. One of those challenges was experienced shortly after the fire began, when one person was reported trapped in an elevator on the 15th floor.
That person, who later escaped, reported seeing flames around the door as he waited for assistance.
Brooks later said he believed it was the fire that caused the elevator to malfunction.
The department also tried to be responsive to the needs of the residents, Brooks said, since such evacuations can be physically and emotionally taxing.
“It’s a challenge,” he said. “They’ve got to be aware of what’s happening with the tenants. It’s not unusual to evacuate a building and lose someone because of the excitement and trauma of the evacuation.”
Kennedy Plaza’s high-rise, which includes 63 efficiency units and 152 one-bedroom units, was built in the early 1970s and provides affordable rental and cooperative housing to moderate- and middle-income families.
A private security team was called to provide a fire watch Monday night since the building’s alarm system was disabled, Brooks said.