BOYNTON BEACH, Fla.April 15 2011 – Some depend on smart phone technology and apps to simplify everyday tasks.
Now there’s an “app” to help you communicate with police in case of an emergency.
The next time you have an anonymous tip to submit to police- think about using your smart phone.
“I’ve called in anonymous tips before…it probably be more convenient if it was on a smart phone,” said Karen Badgett.
The Boynton Beach Police Department has used the “TipSoft” software through the internet for about two years.
The software is developed by Crime Reports.com. The company developed an iPhone app in February and last week an Android app was made available.
“There are a lot of times that someone will see a crime occur and they don’t want it known who they are. This allows them to remain anonymous and it allows us to communicate back and forth with them through the application and we never have to know who they are,” said Stephanie Slater, spokesperson for the Boynton Beach Police Department.
Some believe that providing “smart phone” tips will free up the 9-1-1 lines for emergencies.
The app can be downloaded for free.
There are 47 agencies in Florida registered with the “TipSoft” service including the Boca Raton police department and Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers in Fort Pierce.
NORCROSS, Ga.April 15 2011 — Police say a 5-year-old girl took a bag of marijuana on a bus bound for her school, La Petite Academy, in suburban Atlanta.
Gwinnett County police say the girl had the drugs in a book bag when the bus driver noticed a “funny” smell on her clothing.
Authorities say when the bus driver told the girl she smelled funny, she pulled a bag of marijuana from her book bag. Police said in a report the child told the bus driver that “her mommy put it in there.” Authorities said the bag contained 10 smaller baggies of marijuana totaling 19 grams.
Police said the child’s mother was arrested on drug charges after investigators searched a Duluth apartment Wednesday. The mother could not be reached Thursday, and it wasn’t known whether she has an attorney.
Bensalem PA April 15 2011 Police arrested James Ashton, 20, of Cobaltridge Drive, Levittown, for robbing a female victim outside Parx Casino.
On April 14 at 4:45 a.m., Officer Steve Bailey was patrolling the parking lot of the casino when he observed Ashton running across the parking lot from the valet drop off.
Bailey then observed a Parx security vehicle driving towards the male.
Bailey stopped Ashton and was advised by the responding security officer that Ashton just robbed an Asian couple as they exited the casino.
Investigation found that the couple, in their late forties early fifties, exited the casino when Ashton approached and pushed the female to the ground. He began to rip her purse off of her arm when the her male friend attempted to help.
During the struggle for the purse the male victim suffered laceration and swelling to his head. The female suffered two lacerations to her fingers and to her head.
Ashton was taken into custody and the purse was recovered with all of the contents. Both victims were transported to Aria Torresdale Frankford division where they treated and released
Ashton was arraigned by Judge Leonard Brown and sent to Bucks County Prison in lieu of $25,000 or 10 percent bail.
Preston Lewis was taken into custody Monday by Sacramento police detectives.
School officials say Lewis has taught at Brannan School since 2006. He began teaching in the Sacramento City Unified School District in 2003 at Fern Bacon Elementary.
Investigators were notified of possible criminal conduct by the district in September 2010.
Police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said the investigation took seven months because it involved extensive electronic analysis of evidence and lengthy interviews with victims.
Detectives believe the suspect committed sexual acts or had sexual conversations with two victims between the ages of 8 to 15.
District spokesman Gabe Ross said all parents of students at Sam Brannan Middle School were notified today about the arrest by telephone.
Lewis remains in the Sacramento County Jail on bail of one-million dollars.
Fellow agents discovered Michael Angelo Atondo on April 4 with his Border Patrol vehicle backed up against the U.S.-Mexico border fence in a remote desert area east of San Luis, Ariz. Atondo was supposed to be on duty patrolling Interstate 8, an area known for heavy smuggling activity. When the agents approached, two Jeep Cherokees parked on the Mexican side of the fence fled south, according to court filings.
A search of Atondo’s service vehicle revealed 44 packages of marijuana in the rear compartment used for transporting illegal aliens. The bundles weighed about 745 pounds and had an estimated wholesale value of $371,000, prosecutors said.
The grand jury indicted Atondo, who has been released from custody, for conspiracy to commit importation of marijuana, importation of marijuana, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Atondo faces 5 to 40 years on each count, plus a maximum fine of $2 million.
BATON ROUGE, LA April 15 2011 – Police in Baton Rouge arrested one of their own Tuesday evening on theft charges involving money nabbed in drug busts.
According to the Baton Rouge Police Department, Officer Michael Thompson, 27, is accused of stealing about $15,000 in cash confiscated as a result of narcotics investigations.
Investigators said Thompson admitted he was addicted to prescription pain medication and took the money to pay for his addiction.
He is charged with seven counts of felony theft and one count of malfeasance in office. Thompson was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison following his arrest.
Authorities reported Thompson was a five-year veteran of BRPD. He was assigned to the narcotics division at the time of his arrest.
Thompson resigned from the police department shortly after being taken into custody.
Charlotte NC April 15 2011 Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested a 41-year-old man Wednesday who was wanted in a reported kidnapping attempt of a 3-year-old boy at an uptown park.
Jerry White was charged with abduction of a child and assault of a child under 12.
Maj. Andy Leonard told reporters it is White’s 103rd arrest in Mecklenburg County. He called White a convicted felon and said he didn’t know what the suspect was intending to do to the child.
White has a long criminal record. He’s been convicted of felonies – financial card theft and breaking and entering. He’s also been convicted of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor assault on a child under 12.
Most of his convictions were for minor crimes – loitering, public consumption, littering, trespassing, intoxicated and disruptive, possession of drug paraphernalia and urinating in public.
Police said the reported kidnapping attempt occurred Sunday at Frazier Park, an 11.9-acre complex off West Fourth Street that includes a greenway and a dog park.
A woman and her son were in the park, and the youngster was riding a bicycle, according to police. The woman said she watched a man cross the street and walk toward them. The man walked past them, then turned around and returned, grabbing the boy at the waist, she said.
The woman said she and the man got into a wrestling match, and the man eventually escaped her grasp and walked off.
“They were kind of tugging for (the boy),” Mikael Lundgram, the woman’s boyfriend, told Observer news partner WCNC-TV. “She was fighting for her life to keep him, basically. They fell to the ground, and then apparently the guy lost grip of (the boy). He didn’t run. He just walked off into the woods.”
Police officers searched the nearby woods until about 9 p.m. Sunday, but they didn’t find the man described to them.
Police said Wednesday that detectives worked “day and night” to solve the case. They reviewed surveillance video and photos, interviewed “a multitude of individuals” and quickly developed a suspect.
Patrol officers located White after warrants had been signed. He was taken into custody without incident, according to police.
“The CMPD removed him from the public this afternoon,” police said in a statement
Charlotte NC April 15 2011 A mother who believed in her son’s innocence is relieved today because he’s in the clear – and the “Bonnie and Clyde” duo she led police to after a string of Charlotte burglaries has been jailed in a nearly identical S.C. crime.
Diana Allen, a Huntersville executive assistant, injected herself into a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police investigation that she said wrongly identified her son, Caleb, as the “Clyde” portion of the couple who became infamous for its brazen midday break-ins in south Charlotte.
She staked out – then chased – their red Jeep Cherokee like the one police said was the getaway car in the Charlotte break-ins. And police soon charged her suspects with possessing goods stolen from the upscale homes.
Ultimately, those charges – as well as the charges against her son – had to be dropped because of problems with the police investigation.
But Allen felt vindicated Wednesday after learning of the couple’s S.C. arrest.
“It didn’t surprise us they got caught again,” she said.
She’s frustrated with local authorities: “They could have had them. Then they dropped the ball.”
Anna Lee Hoard, 34, and Justin Ryan Aldrich, 33, both of Cornelius, were being held Wednesday in a Richland County jail, charged with second-degree burglary.
The Bonnie and Clyde saga began early this year, when a series of home break-ins were reported over several weeks along Sharon and Wendover roads and Sardis Road North. The thieves got away with jewelry and electronics, as witnesses described seeing a man-woman duo and a red Jeep Cherokee near the scenes of the crime.
In February, police warned the public to be on the lookout for the couple and sought help in identifying a man and woman captured in surveillance photos at a convenience store. Police said they believed there were at least five burglaries linked to the couple.
On Feb. 16, police arrived at Caleb Allen’s door in Huntersville. They handcuffed the 25-year-old and took him downtown for questioning about one of the break-ins.
“I had no clue what they were talking about,” Allen told the Observer. “They thought I was lying about everything.”
Allen is known to police. He’s a convicted felon and recovering heroin addict facing multiple drug charges from last year. He also drove a red Jeep Cherokee, but he swears he had nothing to do with any break-ins.
Police charged him with a Jan. 27 break-in on Sharon Lane.
The next day, his mug shot flashed on TV as police announced that half of the “Bonnie and Clyde” team had been caught.
It was only then that Allen realized police were trying to link him to several break-ins.
His mother questioned him and was convinced her son was innocent.
Diana Allen began her own investigation.
She believed, based on questions police had asked, that investigators were looking for drug addicts who sold stolen items to support their habit. She’d saved phone records from the days when her son was using drugs. She started calling. Some people hung up, and some “talked ugly.”
Then, a man said: “I think I can help you.”
When he called back, Diana Allen remembered, he said he believed a couple was responsible for the break-ins, and told her where they lived – and where they parked their red Jeep.
Diana Allen found the Jeep Cherokee in a Matthews hotel parking lot. She called police, but said she got little response.
Her brother Ken Allen spent the night in the parking lot, watching the Jeep. Calls to police went unreturned, he said. By morning, he said, he reached a detective who told him, “We’re satisfied with who we’ve got.”
Later that day, Ken and Diana Allen spotted a couple getting into the Jeep. As they drove off, the Allens followed. And soon it became a chase.
As Ken drove, Diana called 911 to tell police they were hot on the trail of Bonnie and Clyde. They hit speeds topping 100 mph on Interstate 485 before the Allens said a state trooper joined the chase. Ultimately, the Jeep got away.
Then, a detective called them, the Allens said. He wanted to know everything.
About a week later, on March 4, police arrested three people during a Concord break-in. Two of them – Anna Hoard and Justin Aldrich – would soon be connected with the south Charlotte break-ins.
Hoard is a felon with convictions including possession of stolen property.
Aldrich, also a felon, has been convicted of driving while impaired and distributing a forged legal or financial document.
After the Concord bust, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police added three counts each of possessing stolen goods from the Charlotte break-ins. But the couple soon posted bond and walked free.
Not long after, Mecklenburg prosecutors had to drop their charges – as well as the charge against Allen – because they believed the evidence was weak or flawed.
“We don’t like dismissing cases but we have to follow the law, and without evidence we can use, we can’t go to court,” Mecklenburg Assistant District Attorney Glenn Cole told the Observer. “In these cases, we didn’t have the evidence to obtain convictions.”
One problem, prosecutors outlined in dismissal papers, was an insufficient identification of Allen.
A witness picked him as the man in the couple she’d seen in a red Jeep pulling away from a south Charlotte home that had been burglarized. But prosecutors said the ID was based on a “single, fleeting encounter,” and noted that the witness erroneously chose as the female suspect a woman who was out of town.
A police officer had also said Allen was the man in the grainy surveillance photos from the convenience store. But prosecutors said the man in the photo was wearing a hat that hid part of his face. They also pointed out the officer, too, had picked as the female suspect a woman who couldn’t have been involved. She’d been in jail on the day of the break-in.
The other big problem with the case, prosecutors said, occurred when Charlotte-Mecklenburg police searched Aldrich and Hoard’s rented bedroom without a warrant.
The pair wasn’t home when police arrived, but the landlord kicked in their locked door and allowed police to search. Police discovered stolen goods, prosecutors said, but decided to leave so they could obtain a search warrant.
“Arguably this taints the application and undermines the validity of the search warrant,” prosecutors said in dismissal documents, “making it more likely than not that a court would suppress all evidence flowing from the search of the bedroom.”
Police spokesman Rob Tufano said officers entered the couple’s room without a warrant because it was unclear if the pair still lived there. Had they moved out, he said, a search warrant wouldn’t have been required.
Among the items discovered were goods from the south Charlotte burglaries – including the Jan. 27 break-in with which Allen had been charged.
“Police cannot currently prove the existence of a conspiracy among all three defendants, but nor can they exclude that possibility,” dismissal documents said. It’s unclear whether any of the three are still considered suspects in the south Charlotte break-ins.
On Monday, the couple was nabbed after a homeowner near Columbia spotted a red Jeep Cherokee in his driveway as he returned home from lunch. When confronted, a couple sped away.
Police arrested Hoard and Aldrich after a brief car chase.
Caleb Allen hopes their arrest will dispel any doubts about his innocence. “But you know, it’s a situation that could have been avoided if they were prosecuted,” Allen said
Indianapolis IN April 15 2011 Two members of rapper Lil Wayne’s security detail were arrested early Wednesday for impersonating police officers.
About a half an hour before, a different officer saw a black Crown Victoria with red and blue dashboard lights and a police siren clear the intersection at the 45/46 Bypass and College Avenue.
Two tour buses followed the car. After the buses went through the intersection, the officer saw a Dodge Intrepid, which also had blue and red lights on, following the buses.
The officer asked dispatch if there was supposed to be a police escort, and they said there wasn’t. Officers determined the cars blocking traffic at Eighth Street and College Avenue were the same cars seen earlier.
Lil Wayne was in town for a concert Tuesday. Two of his tour buses were taking the rapper from Assembly Hall to Jake’s for an organized after-party.
Officers talked to Richardson, who was driving the Crown Victoria. He was wearing a police-style uniform with sergeant stripes and a sewn-on officer badge. He also had a side arm, and in his car were a dashboard computer, handcuffs and a police interceptor.
Officers asked him for ID, and he admitted he wasn’t a police officer. But, he said, he worked for a security company and had credentials to conduct an escort.
Harrod was driving the Intrepid. He was wearing a police-style shirt and jacket and had a gun belt with a handgun and handcuffs.
Harrod told police he worked for the security company and thought he could drive with his lights on. Police discovered his license was suspended.
Police contacted members of the prosecutor’s office and determined preliminary charges of impersonating a public servant. Harrod was arrested for driving on a suspended license.
The security guards weren’t part of concert security, IU Police Department Chief Keith Cash said.
The concert was staffed by IUPD officers and ESG Security, which is approved by IU. Neither Cash nor Canada knew which company they worked for or who hired them.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif.April 15 2011 — Barbara Gibbons is a single mother with a small child. Though Gibbons works as a security guard for Valley Protective Services, making ends meet has been difficult.
“We’re getting paid late, we’re not getting paid, we’re getting (paychecks) issues nonsufficient funds,” said Gibbons. “I’m behind in my rent, I have no gas in my truck.”
Other employees tell a similar story. And when they have complained to the company it does little good, they say. Security guard Fernando Carrillo says he’s been told by a supervisor that if he’s not happy with the company, he should find another job.
“Times are hard and jobs are scarce,” said Carrillo.
Carrillo said he cannot make child support payments if his employer is not paying him.
Valley Protective Services provides private security for residential areas, mainly apartment complexes. The company is based in Fresno. President Richard Rodriguez admits the company has gone through some rough periods but claims it eventually does pay all employees.
“We are struggling, we have never had issues like this ever until the last few months,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez claims clients served by the company may pay late, which in turn has a trickle down effect and it means paychecks being delayed. And Rodriguez claims it is a few disgruntled employees who are unhappy and causing problems for the company.
“We’re a very moral company, we have a lot of morals to us,” said Rodriguez.
But shortly after Gibbons and Carrillo spoke with us, they were notified they had been suspended from their jobs. Both say they were told by the company the suspensions were due to speaking publicly about their grievances.
Rodriguez confirms the two were suspended, but claims it was due to “violating other company policy” that he could not discuss and said it had nothing to do with the employees speaking to the media.
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla.April 15 2011 — A Wellington man was arrested Wednesday after he forged and deposited thousands of dollars worth of checks from the Boynton Beach business where he worked so he could pay for his children’s college tuition, police said.
Celestino Cruz was arrested on charges of grand theft and organized scheme to defraud. He was also arrested on 34 counts of forgery and uttering a forged instrument.
Boynton Beach police said Cruz, a former bookkeeper for Apogee Business Services, which oversees the finances for several homeowners and condominium associations, forged, altered and deposited 34 checks worth more than $31,000 into his account. The money was meant to pay the bills for the Meadows on the Green development.
According to the arrest report, Cruz admitted to forging the checks because he needed the money to pay for his children’s college tuition and expenses. Cruz apologized and said he was trying to sell him home to pay back the stolen money.
At 1 p.m. Tuesday, employees of Bloomingdale’s noticed a man and a woman stealing a Chanel jacket worth about $8,500 and a Jimmy Choo handbag valued at $1,175, according to a Newton police report.
Mall security officers and Newton police canvassed the entire mall with no success until about 7 p.m., when the pair returned to the mall, the report said.
Police arrested Iryna Karp, 23, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., on charges of larceny over $250, receiving stolen property over $250, and possession of four or more falsely embossed credit cards, the report said.
Police said Karp was carrying a fake credit card, but had used a card with her real name to make a purchase at the mall earlier that day.
Officers also found a car, used by Karp and her alleged accomplice, according to the report. The car contained fake credit cards and multiple cellphones, as well as a roll of return tags and high-end merchandise valued at over $91,000, police said.
“Return tags are normally used in the higher end type retail stores in order to return an item in exchange for currency,” the report stated. “It appears that the suspects were stealing from multiple different stores and returning them for currencies at the branch stores.”
Police were unable to locate Karp’s accomplice, who was described as a white male with a thin build and blond hair. He was last seen wearing a black V-neck sweater and dark pants. Police said he is a 34-year-old from St. Petersburg, Fla. Police said they will seek a warrant for his arrest for the same charges as Karp in the report.
At her arraignment today in Newton District Court, Judge Dyanne Klein ordered Karp held on $25,000 bail and told her she cannot go near Bloomingdale’s if released, according to a spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney’s office.
Karp’s next court date is a pretrial conference on May 9.