Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana
End of Watch: Friday, September 30, 2011
Tour of Duty: 18 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: September 30, 2011
Weapon Used: Shotgun
Suspect Info: At large
Sergeant Paul Stuckey was shot and killed while responding to reports of night hunting in West Feliciana Parish.
Sergeant Stuckey had notified his supervisor at approximately 2:15 am that he had received a report that someone was hunting near St. Francisville. A fisherman located his body at daybreak at an old ferry landing along the banks of the Mississippi River suffering from a shotgun blast to the chest.
The suspect remains at large.
Sergeant Stuckey had served with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for 18 years. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Agency Contact InfoColonel Winton Vidrine
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
2000 Quail Drive
PO Box 98000
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Phone: (225) 765-2989
Nashville TN Oct 1 2011 Brad Bulla drives on Interstate 65 in Williamson County often, and when he does, he typically passes a little white cross at the side of the road that marks a time and place that has left a hole in his family’s heart.
That cross marks the spot where his son Jed was killed by a drunken driver in 2005.
“Losing a child like that, I never knew there could be so much pain. I never imagined it,” Bulla said. “I call it a terminally broken heart.”
Perhaps of comfort to Bulla is word that the Tennessee Highway Patrol, through Sept. 29, reported an almost 39 percent increase in the number of drunken-driving arrests on Tennessee highways compared with last year at this time. It also is reporting an almost 14 percent decrease in traffic fatalities.
That’s by design, said Col. Tracy Trott, who, since his appointment last year to lead the THP, has made DUI enforcement his troopers’ top priority.
“I think it’s the most important thing that we do as an organization,” Trott said. “If you arrest a drunk driver, you possibly have saved someone’s life that night.”
On the night of Aug. 3, 2005, Jed got in a pickup with a drunken 16-year-old. The two sped along state Route 840, crossed I-65 and lost control at about 100 mph. Jed was thrown from the truck to the side of the road, where he died.
The driver survived, was charged as a juvenile and had his license revoked.
Trott said he had been disappointed with the agency’s DUI enforcement over the years and once he took the helm, he wanted to change that.
The increase does come at a cost, however. DUI arrests are difficult and time-intensive compared with writing tickets for general moving violations. Trott said troopers won’t ignore those but will place a premium on busting impaired drivers.
“We want you to write those tickets, but those types of violations aren’t saving anybody’s lives,” Trott said. “The aggressive driving, the reckless driving, the DUIs — those are going to save lives.”
Trott said he also has shifted some troopers’ work schedules so that more are working in the hours after midnight, when drunken drivers are swerving about.
The move has brought applause from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which has worked with the THP for years.
“That’s going to lead to fewer deaths and injuries in our state,” said Laura Dial, state executive director for MADD Tennessee. “It absolutely will.”
Trott said there were 100 fewer fatalities this year, proof their efforts are working. He added that drivers should expect the change in priorities.
“We don’t want this to be just a one-year flash in the pan,” he said. “As long as I’m a colonel, there’s going to be a strong emphasis on DUI enforcement.”
That means more people will probably hear Bulla’s story.
The Spring Hills resident often speaks to DUI offenders on a victim-impact panel to describe the consequences of drinking and driving. He speaks to those whose actions haven’t yet led to tragedy. And he hopes the story of his son’s death will keep it that way.
“I would give anything, anything I own, anything I’ve ever had to have my son be sitting in the position that you’re in right now,” he routinely tells DUI offenders when he speaks to them. “If I can break somebody’s heart with my story just a little bit, maybe it will help prevent someone from going through that level of pain.”
Tennessee Highway Patrol DUI arrests in Tennessee through Sept. 29
County 2010 2011
Davidson 66 46
Rutherford 174 268
Sumner 16 13
Williamson 60 75
Wilson 73 121
Tennessee 2,474 3,434
Source: Tennessee Highway Patrol
Chicago IL Oct 1 2011 The Illinois Tollway said Thursday that 12 toll collectors allegedly stole thousands of dollars in tolls over the last several years and has pressed criminal charges against three of them.
Several dozen more collectors may face further investigation “due to significant amounts of questionable transactions,” said the tollway’s inspector general, James Wagner.
One toll collector, a 27-year employee, took as much as $7,000 in the last seven years. The collector, Anthony Scandora, of Bensenville, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge, resigned and repaid the money, Wagner said. Court records indicate he was fined $300.
FBI The employees all used basically the same method to steal the money, Wagner said. The scam involved taking cash from motorists but recording their vehicles as police cars or other emergency vehicles, which are exempt from tolls.
Tollway auditors spotted an unusually high number of emergency vehicle transactions and forwarded the matter to the inspector general.
Jeffrey Redding, director of toll operations, said the collectors took advantage of “weaknesses in the system.”
The average toll collector is paid about $47,000 a year, the tollway said.
In a report to the tollway, Wagner said his office found several shortcomings in toll collection oversight and made recommendations to correct them.
Wagner, former head of the Chicago Crime Commission and a 31-year FBI agent, was named the tollway’s watchdog in October 2010.
All employees involved in the alleged thefts have either resigned or been terminated; during the last six months, $25,500 has been returned to the tollway in restitution, the agency said.
In one case, the tollway said a 19-year veteran, Edward Prize, 44, of Chicago, was accused of taking $811. He has been dismissed from the tollway and has been charged with official misconduct and theft, the tollway and court records say. Prize has pleaded not guilty, records show.
Another collector, Franca Randazzo, 35, of Harwood Heights, allegedly took $789, the tollway said. Randazzo, an 11-year, part-time tollway employee, also has been charged with official misconduct and theft, according to court records and the tollway.
The Tribune could not reach the three collectors for comment.
Charges have not been filed in the other cases, the agency said.
Other investigations resulted in disciplinary action against two employees who were allegedly collecting benefits for which they did not qualify and termination of one employee who was conducting non-tollway business during work hours. The employee allegedly misused a non-revenue transponder, the tollway said.
The agency “will continue to crack down on employees who try to steal from the tollway to the fullest extent possible,” Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. Oct 1 2011 — Police say a Louisville man walked into the Walmart on Bashford Manor Lane and ruined over $980 worth of merchandise by urinating on it.
It happened on Friday afternoon, shortly before 3 p.m.
Security personnel at the store allegedly witnessed 31-year-old Kevin Hassell urinating on store merchandise. Police say when they arrived, they were shown surveillance video of the incident.
Hassell’s actions, “caused alarm to employees and customers at the store,” according to the arrest report, and the merchandise was deemed un-sellable.
Hassell has been charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. The arrest report provides no reason for his actions.
Coral Gables Fla Oct 1 2011 Peter William Munoz, a 24-year-old member of the Coral Springs Police Department, has been arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter after hitting another car in Coral Gables over the summer. The other driver, Jennifer Gutierrez, 23, died of her injuries.
The incident occurred just after 4 a.m. on Saturday, July 16th. Munoz was off-duty at the time, and driving in his own vehicle. Munoz was treated for minor injuries at Jackson Memorial after the crash, but he walked away with relatively minor injuries. The same can’t be said for Gutierrez who died four days latter due to her injuries.
A toxicology report showed that Munoz’s blood alcohol level was over the legal limit.
Munoz turned himself in to Coral Gables police today. He’s being held at Miami-Dade’s Pretrial Detention Center on charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter. His bond has been set at $22,500.
The state attorney’s office will have to prove as much in the case of Patrick Healey, 36, and Steve Mammon, 29, accused of trying to rob the Capital Bank on Santa Barbara Boulevard in Cape Coral on Wednesday.
Healey and Mammon are charged with robbery with a firearm, resisting arrest with violence and wearing masks while committing a second-degree felony — even though they never set foot in the bank or made any demands.
After yanking on the bank’s locked front door, they sprinted back to the getaway car and sped off, according to police.
“The key here,” said Cape police Capt. Mike Torregrossa, “is collecting the evidence that supports the witness statements.”
That would include the masks they were wearing, along with gloves, handguns and bulletproof vests, all of which reportedly were found in Healey’s 2003 Hyundai Sonata or along the route he took driving away from the bank, according to police.
“I’m not sure that it’s going to be an uphill climb,” Torregrossa said. “The average, everyday person would have the same fear and have the belief that the crime was about to happen.”
He pointed to another case in which a man was convicted after Cape police noticed him acting suspiciously outside a bank and then found a note in his pocket demanding cash.
On top of everything else, Mammon allegedly already confessed to his intent, according to a police report released today.
The report said he told police the two were on their way to knock off a Circle K gas station when he suggested robbing the bank because he knew someone who worked there.
The two fled from police in Healey’s Sonata, eventually crashing into police cruisers and “fistfighting” officers after they were pulled from the vehicle.
Healey, who was also charged with aggravated fleeing from police with injury or damage, declined to talk.
Fort Myers defense attorney David Brener agreed that, if what police are saying is true, Healey and Mammon will have a hard time proving they weren’t there to commit a robbery, despite the fact that they never entered the bank.
“The fact that they were wearing masks, discarded guns and fled will be strong circumstantial evidence of their intent to commit the robbery,” Brener said.
Just the fact that they were wearing masks in public could be a crime in itself in Florida, he said, if they weren’t wearing them for a good reason.
Banks also have different policies on masks and other items that conceal someone’s identity.
Capital Bank, for example, doesn’t ban any of those items, while Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union asks that customers not wear hoods, hats or sunglasses.
But charging the two suspects with robbery instead of attempted robbery doesn’t seem to make sense, Brener said.
“When a crime is thwarted … the proper charge is the attempt to commit the crime,” he said.
Patrick Ryan Healey, 36, and Steven Elliott Mammon, 29, were on their way to rob a Circle K gas station Wednesday morning when Mammon suggested they rob the TIB Bank on Santa Barbara Boulevard instead because he knew someone at the bank, according to a Cape Coral police report released today.
The bank, at 2209 Santa Barbara Blvd, is now a Capital Bank branch.
The report also details how Healey, the driver, allegedly fled from police when officers tried to pull them over.
When an officer pulled behind the 2003 Hyundai Sonata, it sped up and tried to elude the officer, driving through a field before crashing.
Healey and Mammon, who was still wearing a blue bandanna and a dark rag on his head, were pulled from the vehicle and began “fist fighting” with the officers, at which point they were Tasered and taken into custody, according to the report.
Healey declined to talk to police, but Mammon reportedly told officers that Healey had come over to his house, where they planned the robbery.
Mammon also allegedly said he and Healey had been texting about the attempted robbery beforehand.
He said Healey had been wearing a bullet proof vest during the attempt but took it off in the car, according to the report. He said they tossed a gun from the vehicle and took police to the location, in the 1500 block of SW 7th Court, where police found a semi-automatic H&K handgun in a field.
They were both charged with robbery with a firearm, resisting an officer with violence and committing a second degree felony while wearing a mask or hood.
Healey was also charged with aggravated fleeing from police with injury or damage.
HOUSTON TX Oct 1 2011 AP– A former church employee has been accused of using a church credit card for her personal use.
Pamela Doran Perkins, 45, has been charged with theft.
Houston police said Perkins stole more than $22,000 from the preschool operations at Cleark Lake United Methodist Church.
“It’s very tough and we are very saddened by it,” Senior Pastor Tony Vinson said.
Perkins worked in the preschool program for more than 11 years.
Detectives said members of the church’s finance committee noticed “questionable” charges in May.
According to court documents, Perkins used one of the preschool’s program’s credit cards to buy gas, groceries, meals at fast-food restaurants and to pay utility bills. The charges took place over a two-year period, officials said.
“It was difficult to hear,” Vinson said.
Police said Perkins confessed to stealing the money, but she hasn’t said why.
Marsha Richard, 42, faces a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for stealing more than $500,000 over six years, according to court documents.
She was released on personal recognizance pending sentencing on Jan. 23.
For 23 years, Richard worked for ARFCU, and in 2009, a Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber newsletter announced that she was named outstanding credit union employee that year.
From the late 1990s until October 2010, she worked tracking checks deposited by credit union members but then returned for insufficient funds.
Beginning in approximately November 2004, Richard took funds for return items collected from members’ accounts and, instead of crediting the appropriate internal account, credited her own account or the accounts of her husband, daughter, other family members or friends. She then used the funds, according to court records.
“To conceal her scheme, the defendant also manipulated other internal accounts and provided false information to other Atlantic Regional employees attempting to reconcile the accounts that the defendant had used to execute her scheme,” court documents state.
When balances of the accounts were examined in August 2010, her supervisor and credit union president Roger Sirois met with Richard, and she admitted the scheme, asking how she might pay back the funds.
She was terminated, and in subsequent text messages with Sirois, Richard stated, “I’m sorry and I hope u won’t hate me forever” and then, “Hey there … I want to make this right … I just don’t know what to do.”
In mid-October, Brunswick police interviewed Richard and she admitted to the crimes, stating she had taken funds for five to seven years and used the money for “everyday living.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation participated in the investigation, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty II.
Delahanty claims evidence including documents, audio recordings and witness testimony would prove Richard’s guilt had the case gone to trial.
A review by an outside accounting firm revealed Richard stole more than $500,000.
“We’re just letting the process move forward,” Sirois said today. “We’re moving forward. No members were impacted by this situation. That was our major concern.”
Court documents state that “at all relevant times,” ARFCU accounts were insured by the National Credit Union Administration Board.
He confirmed that a civil suit initiated by the credit union against Richard was moving forward.
Richard waived indictment, attorney Richard Regan of Topsham law firm Moncure and Barnicle told The Times Record on Friday.
A presentence conference is scheduled for Jan. 3 before Judge D. Brock Hornby, with sentencing set for Jan. 23, also before Hornby.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff did not immediately return a call for comment this morning.
Atlantic Regional Federal Credit Union, founded in 1941 and based in Brunswick, operates branch offices in Topsham, Freeport and Cumberland.
WLUK-TV reported Steve Conard, 39, was charged Monday with theft of moveable property from a corpse.
The dead man’s family confirmed the Fender Telecaster guitar was in the casket Thursday afternoon, when it was being moved from the funeral home to the Allouez Catholic Cemetery’s mausoleum, according to Brown County sheriff’s investigators.
A cemetery employee later overheard Conard talking about the guitar, the sheriff’s department said in a news release.
“That’s a Telly, a really expensive guitar. I have to have that guitar. It’s too expensive to be in a crypt,” the employee quoted Conard as saying.
The suspicious employee looked in the casket Friday morning, and the guitar was missing.
During questioning on Saturday, Conard told investigators, “This isn’t something I normally do; I just have a respect for fine musical instruments,” according to sheriff’s department.
Deputies found the guitar in his home, the department said.
The suspect’s employer, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, said the man is on unpaid leave pending the result of the criminal investigation.
The guitar was returned to the family and the man and his guitar were entombed in a crypt in an interior mausoleum Saturday, diocese deacon Ray DuBois said.
No current listing could be found for Conard on Monday, and no attorney was listed in online court records.
The contract comes after tense negotiations during which security guards threatened to strike after Securitas, the contractor that employs security guards for the University, proposed a less extensive health care plan than the one guards currently receive through their union. Security guards were outraged at the proposal and began circulating a petition expressing their willingness to strike over the new health care provisions. Over 80 percent of security guards signed the petition, which was then formally presented to their bargaining committee.
Leaders of SEIU Local 615, the union that represents Harvard security guards, said that the guards think the new contract is an excellent agreement. According to Local 615 Director of Higher Education Wayne M. Langley, the guards overwhelmingly voted to confirm the contract.
Langley added that there was a general air of celebration among the guards after the confirmation.
“Everybody is happy with the terms of the contract—they feel like their hard work and their struggles have paid off,” he said. “The guards have learned that if they stay united, if they stay focused, if they work as a team, that that produces better contracts.”
Security guards also emphasized the importance of solidarity in the negotiations process.
“Everybody came together to get things done,” said Harvard security guard Shawn Lynch. “It’s a really solid contract all the way through. We got everything we needed out of Securitas.”
Lynch also expressed relief over the fact that the negotiations came to a peaceful resolution and that guards were not forced to strike.
“I think that all of us [security guards] are happy that it did not come to that,” he said. “We definitely wanted a more peaceful resolution to this process, and that’s what we ended up getting—thanks to our bargaining committee.”
Despite the approval of the contract with Securitas, negotiations are not over for the guards. They are currently in the process of bargaining with the University for access to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which allows Harvard employees to take undergraduate and graduate courses at a reduced rate, sometimes for as little as $40. Currently, security guards are not eligible for TAP because they are contractors and not direct employees of the University. The new contract with Securitas stipulates that if the University agrees to fund the benefits, Securitas will provide access to TAP for guards.
While security guards do not have access to TAP, they can take part in the Bridge Program, which offers preparatory classes such as “English as a second language.”
Securitas could not be reached for comment, and the University has said that it does not comment on Securitas negotiations.
Source:the Harvard Crimson
AUGUSTA, Maine Oct 1 2011 (AP) — If you drive along Interstate 95 in the nation’s far northeastern corner, “it’s trees, trees, trees” for mile after mile, says one motorist. So why not set the cruise control on 75 mph?
That’s what a lot of drivers have been doing for years, but now it’s legal on one lonesome stretch, making Maine the only state east of the Mississippi River where drivers aren’t breaking the law by driving 75 mph.
The new law authorizing the higher limit went on the books Wednesday, though it actually takes effect when new signs replace the old 65 mph ones next Tuesday.
The trees, bogs, potato fields and mountain vistas all might look a little blurrier at 75 mph, but drivers also will burn more fuel and risk more destructive accidents. Residents had asked for the change, saying no one obeyed the limit anyway, and their widespread disregard for the current limit hastened the bill’s passage.
“Up here, we’re isolated,” said Rick Castonguay, a real estate broker in Presque Isle. “Going down that stretch of the interstate, it’s pretty straight. It’s trees, trees, trees. You can literally sit on that road, set your cruise control and watch the trees go by.”
The new 75 mph zone covers an approximately 110-mile stretch of road between Old Town, which is a few miles north of Bangor, and Houlton.
The higher limit sets Maine apart from other eastern states, none of which lets drivers go that fast. About a dozen western states have 75 mph limits along rural interstates, and Texas even allows 85 mph on some segments, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The change came fast and quietly in Maine. Freshman state Rep. Alexander Willette said people kept bringing it up when he went door-to-door campaigning last year in his district, which is north of the speedier highway. Willette, a Republican, says he dealt with other legislative priorities but submitted the bill late in the session “in an effort not to break a promise” to his constituents.
It turned out that the state Transportation Department already had done studies showing the change was justified, and the bill whisked through the State House.
Transportation Department spokesman Mark Latti said the department bases its limits on the speed at which 85 percent of motorists travel, and highway surveys showed that percentage were going 74-75 mph along the northern I-95 stretch.
Traffic studies show that people travel the speed they feel most comfortable going, no matter what the posted limit is, Willette noted.
That’s not how the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety views it.
“People do pay attention to speed limits,” said the institute’s Anne Fleming, who warned that the new limit will just induce people who’ve been going 75 mph to push the pedal to the metal. “Whatever they’re flying along at, whenever they raise the speed limit, they fly along faster.”
Fleming conceded that the higher limit may save motorists time, but she said studies show that higher speeds increase the likelihood of accidents. And when there are crashes, they are worse.
“This,” she said, “is the laws of physics at work.”
For the American Trucking Associations, the issue is also economic.
“The slower you go, the more (fuel) efficient you tend to be,” said ATA spokesman Sean McNally, who calls 62-65 mph “a kind of a sweet spot for economy.” The U.S. Department of Energy backs that up, saying gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.
The trucking group is asking the federal government to impose a national 65 mph limit and supports efforts to put electronic speed governors in big rigs to keep them at 65 mph or under.
Wade McCrum, who owns 17 trucks that use I-95 to haul potatoes, said his drivers who now go the posted limit will be told to go 70 mph, but no faster, when the new law takes effect to maintain fuel efficiency.
“We’re increasingly trying to decrease our carbon footprint from the farm to the fryer,” said McCrum.
Asked whether time savings from the added speed will save money for his company, JPD Transport, he said, “I certainly hope so.”
GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C.Oct 1 2011 — Deputies training in a helicopter helped track down and arrest three men suspected of shoplifting a $2,000 television from a Kmart store and robbing a breaking into a nearby home, according to Greenville County arrest warrants.
Antjuan Lamont Richardson, 31, Emmanuel Demar Shumate, 26, and Devortae Marquez Durham, 19, all from Greenville, all face shoplifting charges, as well as burglary and petit larceny charges, the reports said.
Deputies said they were called to the Kmart store off Mills Avenue at 12:30 p.m. after store managers said the men walked off with the TV.
Deputies happened to be in the air at the time, training in a sheriff’s office helicopter, according to Greenville County Sheriff’s Office representative Zach Hinton.
Deputies on the ground gave their counterparts in the air a description of the vehicle the men drove off in, Hinton said. The airborne deputies were able to track down the vehicle, and deputies on the ground were able to catch up to the men, according to Hinton.
The car briefly failed to stop for deputies, but all three men were taken into custody on Henry Street at Badger Street, Hinton said.
A search of the items in the vehicle helped deputies connect the men to a burglary that happened about 11 a.m. on Belevedere Street, Hinton said.
Richardson was driving the getaway vehicle, Hinton said. He faces additional charges for simple marijuana possession and failure to stop for blue lights, as well as two family court bench warrants that were previously issued for him, Hinton said.
All three men were being held on bond of $5,000 or less at the Greenville County Detention Center, according to Hinton.
The charges came less than two weeks after The Watchdog included Gregory as the leading example in a report about lawyers whose cases at the State Bar Court did not result in them being prosecuted criminally.
According to the six-page complaint, Gregory stole more than $100,000 from three clients in 2007 and 2008. She also wrongly practiced law or advertised legal services earlier this year, the complaint says.
Gregory was charged with five counts of fraud, five counts of grand theft and one count of unauthorized practice of law. She faces up to four years in state prison on each count, and a $10,000 fine. She was ordered to appear in court Oct. 18.
Gregory was recommended for disbarment in March after the State Bar Court concluded she improperly withdrew more than $112,000 from a client trust fund. Her license is invalid during an appeal of the recommendation.
She told The Watchdog that there are inaccuracies in the criminal complaint, that she was entitled to every dollar she withdrew as legal fees, and that the alleged victims received more legal services than they paid for.
“You cannot ‘steal’ something in which you have an interest,” Gregory said by email.
Former client Denise Doll, one of the three victims identified in the complaint, said she was pleased to learn of the charges but said it should never have taken so long to file a criminal case.
“This woman has damaged me greatly,” Doll said. “It’s been over two years.”
Luwain Ng is another of the alleged victims. According to a civil suit she and Doll filed, Gregory stole the proceeds of the family home that was sold when Ng and her husband divorced.
“I plan on attending every single hearing,” Ng said. “I want my money back. I’ve been waiting since 2008. I want justice served.”
Ng said she would rather have seen Gregory arrested and jailed instead of being issued a court date. She said she is afraid her former lawyer will flee prosecution.
“What then?” Ng asked.
According to Gregory’s website, she used to work for the District Attorney’s Office in child support enforcement. The office declined to discuss its prosecution strategy but said Gregory was treated like any other defendant.
“Attorneys are treated no differently than any other defendant,” said Tanya Sierra, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. “In terms of her case, we can’t comment because it is open.”
Gregory’s was one of four cases in a report by The Watchdog earlier this month about lawyers whose misdeeds are adjudicated by the State Bar Court but not prosecuted criminally. The District Attorney’s Office said many factors come into play, including different standards of proof in bar court and criminal court.
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. Oct 1 2011– North Las Vegas police have busted a burglary ring that was a family affair involving two parents and four teens.
Forty-eight-year-old Gwendolen Jackson and her husband 46-year-old Karl Cage are accused of hocking stolen goods at local pawn shops. Investigators say 18-year-old suspects Xavier Quarles, Ricky Burns, and Clarence Rose — along with a juvenile — first did the dirty work, stealing the items from unlocked cars.
They were just going down the street and checking doors. If the car was locked, they kept going. If the car was unlocked, they went in and took whatever they could,” North Las Vegas Police Sgt. Tim Bedwell.
Bedwell says one of the accused young men is Jackson’s son. Authorities say the thieves targeted the area of N. 5th Street and Ann Road, stealing items worth thousands of dollars.
“Generally, it was GPS, iPods, tools, and that kind of thing,” Bedwell said. “In one case, they actually got into a federal police officer’s car and took a Taser and some other police equipment.”
The thieves didn’t pawn anything at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop – a hot tourist attraction and home of the History Channel’s reality show “Pawn Stars”. Gold and Silver Pawn Shop compliance officer Andy Spyer says the store has safeguards in place to catch stolen items.
“Every transaction that takes place in the pawn shop every 24 hours is reported to local police. It’s also reported to an online system so that police departments around the country can check to see what is changing hands in a pawn shop,” he said.
“Three thousand to 5,000 people a day walk through our doors,” Spyer added. “So, I’m more than happy that less than half of 1 percent of anything brought in here is ever subject to investigation.”
Meantime, the investigation is far from over into this theft ring in which adults and teens are accused of causing trouble together.
“It’s really sad when you have a situation like this where you have adults and potentially parents who are fostering crime with their children,” Bedwell said.
Police, so far, have arrested six people. They are still looking for one more person and some of the victims who had items stolen.
Police say this is a reminder to always lock your car doors.
PINELLAS PARK Fla Oct 1 2011 – A 33-year-old Largo woman was arrested after she reportedly tried to steal four packages of golf balls out of Target at 7150 U.S. 19 Sept. 13, according to Pinellas Park police.
Rochelle Smith’s misdemeanor retail theft charge was upgraded to a felony given two prior convictions of theft. She also was found in violation of probation for a charge of possession of a prescription drug.
A security officer at the Target store told police that he saw the woman, later identified as Smith, conceal the packages of golf balls inside her shoulder bag via video surveillance. The security officer than followed her on store floor and observed as she passed all points of sale. He stopped her at the exit door.
Twice Smith told the Pinellas Park officer, “I’m sorry, officer. I made a mistake and shouldn’t have done it.” After reading her Miranda rights for the third time, Smith said she didn’t want to answer any questions. She was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County Jail.
Orlando Fla Oct 2 2011 A jury this afternoon found a man accused of kidnapping a young woman from a Target parking lot last year and raping and robbing her guilty of eight violent crimes.
The jury found Steve Allan Cahanding guilty of three counts of sexual battery, carjacking with a firearm, robbery with a firearm, kidnapping with intent to do bodily harm or terrorize while using a firerarm, aggravated assault with a firearm and fleeing law enforcement.
The one not guilty finding was for a sexual battery count involving digital penetration.
He faces a possible life sentence. Judge Jenifer Davis ordered a pre-sentence investigation.
He will be sentenced Nov. 17th.
Cahanding attacked the woman, now 20, after carjacking her in May 2010 as she sat in her parked car wrapping a gift for her mother.
In closing statements this morning, prosecutor Kelly Hicks told jurors that Cahanding planned his attack, including making his alleged victim use a feminine product to eliminate evidence of the rape.
“Right up to the high-speed chase, he was doing everything he could to not get caught,” Hicks said.
Meanwhile, Hicks told the jurors the woman did everything she could to stay alive the day of the abduction, including complying with Cahanding’s demands.
Hicks concluded her argument saying the case largely comes down to consent. She said Cahanding admit to many of the events that occurred that day, including the sex and attempts to get money from the banks.
“He admits to everything. Of course, in his version of events, it is all consensual,” Hicks said.
She then asked jurors to ask themselves if the testimony and appearance of the alleged victim matched Cahanding’s description of the young woman.
“Ask yourself if that girl matches his description,” Hicks said, describing Cahanding as “a gun-toting, angry drug addict.”
Defense attorney Blaine McChesney told jurors that Cahanding and the alleged victim were driving around looking for drugs that day and had consensual sex.
“It was not three hours of terror,” McChesney told the jury. “It was three hours of trying to get drugs.”
By the time the young woman called for help at a bank, McChesney said, “She was playing a role.”
He questioned her credibility and her memory.
The defense attorney said that Cahanding acknowledged he made a poor decision when he fled from deputies, but when they pulled up behind him, the attorney said, Cahanding thought they were going to arrest him on a drug-related charge.
When Cahanding later told his mother he “messed up,” McChesney said his client was referring to fleeing authorities when he should have stayed. He said Cahanding was not referring to the rape and other crimes with which he is charged.
McChesney pointed out inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s story. She told investigators early on that Cahanding removed her clothes, but then testified early this week that she took off her clothes. Then, she said she wasn’t sure, McChesney recalled.
FALLS OF ROUGH, KY Oct 1 2011 – The pilot of a small plane was killed, but no one on the ground was injured when the plane crashed into a hotel near Rough River State Park in Grayson County Friday afternoon.
UPDATE: The pilot has been identified as Dr. Lyle R. Moss, 61 who was pronounced dead at 1:40 p.m. EDT Friday after his plane crashed into the rear of the two-story Pine Tree Inn.
Dr. Moss was from Louisville KY.
According to the Grayson County Sheriff’s Department, the plane struck the rear side of the Pine Tree Inn around 1:45 p.m. The sheriff’s department said the pilot was the only fatality.
Video from Air 3 shows the impact was near the hotel’s pool area. No other areas of the hotel were showing visible damage.
The Pine Tree Inn is near a small airport.
Authoritioes have not released information about the plane or the pilot.
Broward County courthouse security officer acts calmly, swiftly to defuse potential dangerous situation www.privateofficer.com
G4S security guard Latonga Henderson-Mongeois, a 29-year-old mother of two, had just a split second to make a decision that potentially saved dozens of lives at the South Regional Courthouse.
“I was just doing my job,” Henderson-Mongeois said. “You cannot make a mistake at this job. You have to be very observant, be on key, on point at all times.”
Henderson-Mongeois, who has been on the job for four years, was manning the X-ray machine in the courthouse lobby when, police said, a man tried to pass himself off as a police officer and take in a backpack with a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun and 133 rounds of ammo.
“I wasn’t really too alarmed,” Henderson-Mongeois said. “The concern was more so, what is he here to do?”
Henderson-Mongeois immediately alerted her supervisor who, along with Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies, moved in. The suspect, Francois Brown, was arrested, and a potentially dangerous situation was averted.
“If I had not been trained properly, if I didn’t have the keen eyes or if I weren’t alert, maybe a catastrophe would have happened — maybe so,” Henderson-Mongeois said.
BSO said Brown told investigators he has been receiving communications through “a clicking noise that he would make with his mouth” that were counting down to something bad and directing him to take the gun to court.
“I asked him if he had planned on shooting people in the courthouse,” said Detective Meghan Brooks. “He said he didn’t plan on it, but that if directed to, he would have done it.”
Brown was arrested and taken to the Broward County Jail, where he was held on $75,000 bond.
MOBILE, Alabama Oct 1 2011 — A federal grand jury here this afternoon indicted Bayou La Batre Mayor Stan Wright and his daughter on charges that they conspired to defraud the Federal Emergency Management Agency following Hurricane Katrina.
The indictment charges the mayor and Mary Wright with conspiracy to defraud the United States, theft from a program receiving federal funds and money laundering. Additionally, Stan Wright stands charged with retaliating against a witness.
If convicted of the most serious charges, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison, although the actual punishment likely would be less under advisory guidelines.
Neither Wright nor his daughter could immediately be reached for comment.
Stan Wright’s attorney, Arthur Madden, declined to discuss the charges but added that he expects to comment Monday. Richard Alexander, an attorney for Mary Wright, also declined to immediately comment.
The indictment accuses the mayor of using property transfers to his daughter to conceal profit he made from the sale of land to the city of Bayou La Batre as part of a federal grant to build houses for people who lost their homes to the hurricane in 2005.
Bayou La Batre won a nearly $15.7 million grant to move people out of FEMA trailers. The two subdivisions off Shine Road and Alabama 188 — called Safe Harbor Estates and Safe Harbor Landing — included 100 factory-build modular homes.
The city determined that it needed to buy additional land to widen the entrance to the development. The indictment alleges that the mayor sold less than a quarter-acre of land that he owned personally for $27,249 but hid the transaction by transferring it to his daughter. That was nearly as much as the $29,000 that the mayor paid in 1997 for the entire 7½-acre parcel.
Terms of the nearly $15.7 million FEMA grant prohibited a conflict of interest — “real or apparent — applying to any employee or agent of the city.
The indictment lays out the following sequence: On Oct. 16, 2007, Stan Wright transferred ownership of the land to Mary Wright. Eight days later, she transferred the same parcel to the city.
Bayou La Batre paid Mary Wright $27,249 for the land in the form of checks that listed “Purchase right-of-way” on the memo line. Four days after that, she wrote 3 checks to her father and one to the mayor’s wife totaling $27,300.
The retaliation charge relates to allegations that the mayor took action that was “harmful” to and interfered with the employment of a person identified as D.W. for providing information to law enforcement investigators.
The charges drew responses ranging from cautious to non-comment among leaders and officials in the south Mobile County City.
Janey Galbraith, who was hired by the city, helped apply for the grant and managed the project. She declined to comment “on advice of legal counsel.”
Bayou La Batre City attorney Jay Ross said this evening that he had not yet seen the indictment.
“The mayor of Bayou La Batre has done a tremendous amount of good things for the citizens of the city of Bayou La Batre and the surrounding area, particularly during Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil event,” Ross said. “We hope things work out.”
He said he was not involved in the property transaction alleged in the indictment. “I don’t know anything about the charges myself from any first-hand knowledge,” he said.
Henry Barnes, a former city councilman who lost a 2008 bid for re-election, said that Wright should “cut a deal and save his daughter” and expressed sympathy for her
“Sometimes you do what your parents want you to do,” Barnes said. “Hopefully justice will be done.”
Councilman Matthew Nelson, who was elected in 2008, said today that he knew nothing about the indictment. He said he couldn’t comment until he met with other council members about the issue.
HAMILTON OH Oct 1 2011 — A Butler County woman was arrested after being accused of shoplifting — but she’s not charged with shoplifting.
Hamilton police said Tara Wilson was approached by security officers at the Kroger store on Grand Avenue on Saturday and asked to empty her pockets.
Police said Wilson became upset and removed her shirt, baring her breasts.
Wilson then left the store with security officers following, police said. When a Hamilton police officer approached her a few minutes later, she turned toward him and took off her jacket, revealing herself to still be shirtless, police said.
Wilson was charged with two counts of public indecency.
Cpl. Paul Mouton tells The Advocate Roxanne Andrus was arrested Monday on counts of malfeasance and theft.
Mouton said a project manager for city government filed a complaint Aug. 31 alleging Andrus cashed a $160 money order and logged the person’s payment as having been paid by a state grant that paid for such fees.
Mouton said the theft of the $160 allegedly occurred July 28.
Andrus posted a $26,000 bond and was released from the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.
It was unclear whether Andrus has an attorney.
Washington DC Oct 1 2011 While federal investigators were uncovering the largest government theft in the city’s history inside the District’s tax office, another employee apparently was running her own embezzlement scheme down the hallway.
According to charging documents made public Tuesday, Mary Ayers-Zander began stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Office of Tax and Revenue in February 2007, about the same time that D.C. tax office manager Harriette Walters’ 20-year, $50 million theft scheme was unraveling.
The alleged $400,000-plus theft by Ayers-Zander, a tax examiner assistant, continued until January of this year despite assurances from D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi that he had changed the culture of the office and had established stricter internal controls to prevent large-scale theft by workers in the office.
David Umansky, a spokesman for the CFO’s office, said the measures taken by the office after the Walters case helped detect the Ayers-Zander theft.
“We were the ones who caught her,” Umansky said.
The new safeguards closed off a loophole in the system that prevented more thefts for about a year-and-a-half, he said. In January, a tax office official noticed an unusual pattern of refunds being paid and the office notified the FBI, the city’s inspector general and auditor.
The FBI determined that no other OTR employees were involved, Umansky said.
Ayers-Zander was charged Monday by information, which typically means that a plea deal is in the works.
Ayers, who no longer works for the city, faces a maximum of 20 years if convicted. A plea hearing has not been scheduled.
Her attorney, Peter Fayne, said he had no comment.
According to charging documents, Ayers-Zander ran several scams to steal $414,800.
She fraudulently credited the taxpayer accounts of several people and had $365,000 wired to her own bank personal bank accounts in 48 separate transfers, documents said.
Ayers-Zander also fraudulently credited the accounts of other individuals and wired $46,000 in fraudulent refunds to those individuals by check or electronic funds transfer, according to the charging documents.
She also filed fraudulent income tax returns for individuals and had refunds wired to an individual’s bank account in California, documents allege
DARTMOUTH MA Oct 1 2011 Police said that on Saturday they arrested two men who allegedly shoplifted several items from Sears and then tried speeding away from the Dartmouth Mall.
Dartmouth police officers said they recovered the stolen merchandise after stopping a gray Cadillac driven by Anthony Cabral II, 46, of Fall River. Cabral was accompanied by Brian Resendes, 30, of Fall River, who was also arrested.
Officers who responded to the shoplifting call at 2:50 p.m. Saturday said they saw Resendes running to the Cadillac, which was backing out of a parking space in front of Sears and almost struck two pedestrians and another vehicle head on while driving away.
After stopping the suspects, police recovered several pairs of jeans allegedly stolen from Sears. Police also found Cabral in possession of a double-edged-blade knife, which is illegal in Massachusetts, court records said.
Resendes and Cabral are both charged with larceny over $250. Cabral faces additional charges of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, possession of a Class E drug and carrying a dangerous weapon, third offense.
Dartmouth Police Officer Derek Sousa investigated the case.