Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Tommy Thompson says the off-duty officers were working a private security job at a nightclub early Sunday. The officers got into an altercation that ended with gunfire.
The wounded officer suffered multiple gunshot wounds. A second suspect also was wounded and is in critical condition. Police are looking for a third suspect who fled the scene.
Thompson says the shooting broke out just after 1 a.m. at a swap meet called El Gran Mercado that also has an open-air nightclub.
The names of the dead and wounded officers and suspects have not been released.
The state office said Kulas died of a gun shot wound to the head.
Kulas, 49, was found by another officer lying on his back near a group of headstones in Center Cemetery in Rocky Hill around 4 a.m. Thursday after he repeatedly failed to respond to radio calls.
Police said Kulas was last heard from by headquarters in the middle of the night, which led police officers to begin looking for him.
Kulas, who was with the department for about 30 years, was working the night shift when he was discovered.
Washington DC May 1 2011 Mary Dunkley had just gotten back from church choir practice when one of the carjackers ripped open the door to her Toyota Camry. The 70-year-old retired secretary said that as she spilled onto the ground outside her Landover townhouse, the man put a gun to her head and demanded that she give up her purse.
“He was telling me, ‘Let it go. Let it go,’ ” Dunkley said. “Someone else came around real quick and jumped in the passenger seat, and they were gone in seconds.”
The men who carjacked Dunkley on March 17 were professional thieves, members of a sophisticated transatlantic car theft ring, police said. The plan — thwarted by Prince George’s County detectives who arrested two men they say are key players in the ring — was to ship her 2009 silver Toyota thousands of miles to Lagos, Nigeria, authorities said.
While most cars are swiped for joy rides or cash from selling parts, authorities say the ring and others like it make up a complex, multimillion-dollar network.
Prince George’s police officials lauded the arrests of the ring’s high-ranking members. But they and other law enforcement authorities across the region acknowledged that the international car thieves are difficult to catch and the problem has become almost unsolvable.
“These guys are going to be replaced,” said Prince George’s Sgt. David Mohr, who works on the auto theft team.
Officials estimate that each year in the Washington area alone, hundreds of cars are stolen and shipped overseas. New York authorities announced last June that they had charged 17 people with stealing and shipping hundreds of luxury cars. Other D.C. area police officials and a spokesman for the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office said their detectives have worked similar cases.
Solomon Asare and Gabriel Awuzie, accused of being key players in the ring that stole Dunkley’s car, were arrested April 14 on car theft charges. Awuzie is scheduled to appear in court in May, and Asare in June.
“This has gone on and on and on, and it has become such an enterprise for them in the U.S.,” said Prince George’s County auto theft detective Luis Aponte. “There’s a major market for this.”
The ring’s bosses are usually based in African countries or other developing nations, where it is more difficult to find reasonably priced, mid- to high-end vehicles, authorities said. They order specific cars from middlemen in the United States, and then low-level thieves set out to get their cut.
In the Prince George’s ring, the thieves are paid according to the vehicles they carjack or steal — $1,500 for a Toyota Camry, $2,500 for a RAV4, $5,000 for a Porsche Cayenne, Aponte said. The middlemen handle the rest. They stash the stolen cars in parking lots or neighborhoods, waiting to see whether police are on their trail. Then they load the vehicles onto shipping containers bound for Africa, police said. The rings are especially prevalent in the D.C. area, police said, because of its proximity to ports.
Police say that in tracking Dunkley’s car, they were able to reach into one ring’s upper ranks.
Detectives on the Washington Area Vehicle Enforcement Team — a group of 10 auto theft investigators from Prince George’s and two from the Maryland State Police — long suspected Asare, 35, and Awuzie, 34, were involved in a ring, said Lt. Matt Meterko, who leads the group. But they were difficult to trace.
In March, detectives caught a break: Two men suspected in the carjacking of a Toyota Camry and told detectives Asare and Awuzie were scheduled to pick up a stolen car later that month.
Investigators secretly watched as a man talked to Asare in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart on Russett Green East in Laurel, then let Awuzie drive away in a Toyota Camry, Mohr said. Awuzie parked the Camry nearby, then Asare picked him up, Mohr said. They left the Camry behind, he said.
The moment was pivotal, police said, because it connected Asare and Awuzie to a car police suspected was stolen. Mohr said the Camry belonged to an Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Capitol Heights.
Detectives suspected the area near the Wal-Mart was a “cooling spot,” an area where the thieves would leave stolen cars until they were satisfied police were not trailing them.
Police began monitoring the car’s movements around-the-clock. Then, on March 29, they got their second big break: Anne Arundel County police found Dunkley’s Camry in the same Wal-Mart parking lot.
Investigators put a Global Positioning System tracker on Dunkley’s car, according to police charging documents. On March 31, a tow truck hauled the car to a warehouse on Hanna Street in Beltsville. Detectives began watching the warehouse.
Dunkley’s car and three other vehicles eventually were loaded into a faded red shipping container and hauled north, authorities said. Police stopped the load on April 13, just as it moved past the Fort McHenry Tunnel on I-95. They arrested Asare and Awuzie the next day, charging them with the theft of Dunkley’s Camry while they worked to put together a more comprehensive case.
In all, police seized six vehicles, four from the trailer and two that were in cooling spots elsewhere. Five were Toyotas, which detectives believe were requested because “they’re nice enough cars, but they’re not the high-end luxury cars that have the built-in tracking systems with them,” Mohr said.
Asare, an immigrant from Ghana, told police he lived in a modest Laurel townhome and worked as a trucker, according to court records. Awuzie, who was born in Kansas City, Mo., told police he lived in a Laurel apartment and worked at a Papa Johns Pizza, court records state. Since their arrests, both have been released on bond.
Awuzie declined to comment for this story. Asare, who also is charged with vehicle theft in Mongtomery County, did not return a written message seeking comment.
Richard Finci, Asare’s lawyer in an unrelated case, said charging documents do not identify his client as a higher-up in an international auto theft ring. He said he had not been officially retained to represent Asare in this case, and declined to comment further.
For Dunkley, it was no surprise that an international carjacking ring took her Camry. The thieves, she said, were so quick that she assumed they “must have been professional.”
The damage, Dunkley said, is lasting. She said the Camry was her “retirement car,” and she does not think she will be able to bring herself to drive it once she gets it back. She also had to replace her driver’s license and new prescription glasses, which were lost during the carjacking.
“They don’t know the problem they put people through,” Dunkley said. “It’s devastating.”
POMPANO BEACH Fla May 1 2011A woman who worked at a service station on Florida’s Turnpike was charged with grand theft of $89,000 from the business.
Ida-Marie Klohr, 32, of Pompano Beach, worked at the Shell gas station at turnpike mile marker 65 in Pompano Beach when, the Florida Highway Patrol says, she stole the money by altering paperwork for the business from July 2010 through December 2010.
Klohr was arrested April 13 and charged with grand theft, a second-degree felony, and was released on bond.
She worked for Florida Turnpike Services, a private corporation that leases all of the Shell service stations along that highway from the state, said Nichole Kalil, a Florida’s Turnpike spokeswoman.
LAGUNA HILLS CA May 1 2011 – A doctor and a physician’s assistant were arrested earlier this week after deputies found them having sex and using cocaine in a Mercedes parked near Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, police said Friday.
Alan O. Marcus, 61, and Amanda J. Aguirre, 29, were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance, Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Doan said.
Security officers patrolling the parking structure adjacent to Saddleback in the 23900 block of Calle de la Magdalena saw two people sitting in a parked Mercedes on the sixth floor of the structure around 2 p.m. Tuesday.
When security officers came to inspect the vehicle again at 8 p.m., the two people were still inside and did not respond when an officer asked if everything was OK, Doan said.
The security guards called sheriff’s deputies, who found the couple “having sex and doing large amounts of cocaine while inside the vehicle,” Doan said.
A Dr. Alan Marcus is listed as practicing internal medicine and endocrinology at South Orange County Endocrinology in Laguna Hills. A message left with the office was not immediately returned.
Aguirre and Marcus were released on Wednesday on their own recognizance, according to sheriff’s department records.
Indianapolis IN May 1 2011 A veteran Indianapolis police officer was arrested Friday on accusations that he used his badge to stop Hispanic motorists and clean out their wallets.
Prosecutors charged officer David J. Butler, a 23-year veteran, with robbery and official misconduct, both felonies, after an internal investigation linked him to the robberies of two men on the Northwestside, authorities said. One of the traffic stops was captured by a gas station’s surveillance cameras, they said.
Butler was booked in the Marion County Jail on Friday and held on $15,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear Monday in Marion Superior Court for an initial hearing.
Prosecutors say Butler, 52, stole cash from two men during traffic stops in September and January. Investigators think there might be more victims and have urged anyone with information to come forward.
Prosecutor Terry Curry credited the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for discovering Butler’s alleged crimes and bringing the evidence to his office.
“Their investigation uncovered a repetitive pattern of behavior by officer Butler, a pattern of behavior which plainly violated the trust the public placed in him,” Curry said in a statement.
Mayor Greg Ballard said Butler’s arrest shows that officers who tarnish the badge will be held accountable. He stressed that the actions of a single officer “do not diminish the outstanding police work” of the entire department.
Butler is one of six IMPD officers arrested on criminal charges in the past year.
The accusations against Butler are similar to those lodged against a Westfield police officer. Scott Fross pleaded guilty in 2008 to bribery and received one year on home detention.
Fross was a lieutenant with Westfield police in 2007 when he tried to get cash from Hispanic drivers who did not have licenses. He took about $1,000 from four people who were frightened by the shakedowns, investigators said.
Miriam Acevedo Davis, executive director of La Plaza, an Indianapolis nonprofit that helps Hispanics with education and health services, said some in that community fear police and might be regarded as easy victims.
Davis applauded IMPD for investigating and arresting one of their own.
“People are fearful about going to the police. It may be unwarranted, but the fear is still there,” Davis said. “We encourage all our families to report (crime), and when they do, the police have been enormously helpful.”
The investigation into Butler began in January when Emiliano Vasquez contacted IMPD, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Friday in Marion Superior Court.
Prosecutors say Butler stole $700 from Vasquez’s wallet during a traffic stop about 4:40 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Marathon gas station, 5502 W. 34th St.
Butler stopped Vasquez’s Ford Ranger at the gas pumps and told him to leave his wallet and cellphone on the seat and walk to the back of the vehicle. Butler searched the truck, then told Vasquez he “could have arrested him but he would not unless he saw him driving again,” according to the documents.
Butler drove away in his squad car with the lights activated. Vasquez filled his tank and noticed the missing money when he went inside the station to pay.
Butler did not report the traffic stop to dispatchers and did not run Vasquez’s identification to check for arrest warrants — standard procedure for a traffic stop — but the incident was captured by a surveillance video system, prosecutors said.
Vasquez called police, and other officers investigated and recovered the video.
Prosecutors say Butler used a similar pattern to steal $2,000 from Andres Salazar during a traffic stop Sept. 27 in the 3400 block of High School Road. Butler did not report the stop, prosecutors say. Two other officers reported it after they spotted Butler’s vehicle and pulled over to assist.
Neither victim was able to pick Butler out of a lineup, prosecutors said.
In an interview with detectives April 6, Butler initially denied making the Jan. 13 stop, but later admitted it and said he lied because he did not want to be accused of stealing the money and feared being disciplined, according to court documents.
Riverside County CA May 1 2011 Two men were arrested Thursday on suspicion of breaking into a Bermuda Dunes school and stealing computers.
Bermuda Dunes resident Colin Soran and Indio resident Corey Daniels, both 20, are accused of burglarizing James Monroe Elementary School, 42-100 Yucca Lane, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies went to the school at 12:47 a.m. Thursday regarding a burglary in progress.
A security guard had Daniels in custody after catching him trying to take a computer from a classroom, according to the sheriff’s department.
Investigators learned other computers were missing, another classroom was burglarized and window screens from other rooms were removed.
They identified Soran as another suspect and searched his home in the Bermuda Dunes Country Club, where they found other computers.
Both men were arrested on charges of burglary, vandalism and conspiracy to commit a crime, according to the sheriff’s department.
Investigators are now trying to determine if the suspects are linked to a series of school burglaries and computer thefts across the Coachella Valley.
“We are looking to see if (the burglary) matches anything else in our area and we’re sharing the investigation with other agencies,” Capt. Raymond Gregory said Friday.
Since December, several schools within the Palm Springs Unified School District had computers stolen during various burglaries.
Cathedral City Elementary School, 69-300 Converse Road, lost 16 computers in February.
On Jan. 21, Cathedral City police were called to Sunny Sands Elementary School at 69-310 McCallum Way, where they also discovered the classroom had been vandalized and an unspecified number of computers had been taken.
On Jan. 11, nine laptops were stolen from Cahuilla Elementary School, 833 E. Mesquite Ave., in Palm Springs.
Another 28 computers were taken from there in December.
Also on Jan. 11, 26 laptops were taken from Landau Elementary, 30-310 Landau Blvd., in Cathedral City.
Anyone with information may call Crime Stoppers at (760) 341-STOP.
KANSAS CITY, Missouri May 1 2011 – Police say a security guard fired at least one shot at a car that fled from a grocery store parking lot in Kansas City.
Authorities say there was some kind of altercation involving the security guard.
It happened outside of the Blue Parkway Sunfresh at 4209 E. 50th Terrace.
The guard was hurt, but his injuries are not considered serious.
Police do not know if the driver in the car was hurt. Officers are looking for a small green four door car that left the area.
If you have any information regarding the incident, you are asked to call the TIPS Hotline.