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Massachusetts man charged with plotting to fly explosive filled drones into U.S. Capitol www.privateofficer.com
Washington DC Oct 3 2011 A 26-year-old Massachusetts man has been charged with plotting to fly explosives-filled, GPS-guided drones into the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. He is also accused of seeking to help al-Qaeda kill U.S. troops overseas.
Update at 5:39 p.m. ET: Agents seized remote controlled models of a U.S. Navy 1960s Phantom jet fighter and a 1950s Sabre jet fighter that allegedly belonged to Rezwan Ferdaus, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston said.
Update at 5:11 p.m. ET: The suspect, Rezwan Ferdaus of Ashland, Mass., is a U.S. citizen who graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in physics, the FBI said. He allegedly sought to obtain C-4 from undercover FBI operatives and fill large, GPS-guided aircraft with the powerful explosive.
The government also charged him with attempting to provide material support and resources to al-Qaeda to attack U.S. troops overseas.
The FBI news release spells out the details of the alleged plot and the investigation.
Original post: A 26-year-old Massachusetts man was arrested today and charged in a plot to fly explosives-packed, remote controlled aircraft into the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.
Federal prosecutors allege in court documents that Rezwan Ferdaus outlined an elaborate plan to undercover FBI agents posing as al-Qaeda operatives that involved the use of three drone aircraft carrying deadly payloads to attack the federal government landmarks.
Prosecutors say that as recently as May, Ferdaus traveled to D.C. to photograph his intended targets and “identified sites at the East Potomac Park from which to launch his airplanes filled with explosives.”
Dakota County MN Oct 3 2011 A metrowide string of shoplifting thefts prove that stealing from retail giant Target is a bad idea.
While shoplifters walked out with more than $13,000 worth of merchandise in 12 different cities, including four in Dakota County, surveillance photos and vehicle makes, models and license plate numbers were collected by an investigator for the Organized Retail Crime Investigations Unit for Target.
Charges were filed in Dakota County District Court on Friday against a 21-year-old St. Paul woman who has admitted to participating in the thefts.
Jamisha Shanay Mallard has been charged with felony aiding and abetting theft for her admitted role in a string of shoplifting thefts between June 29 and Aug. 5 totaling $13,452.
The Target investigator related information to the Apple Valley Police Department after a July 22 theft from the local Target and several shoplifting other thefts in the metro area.
With the information, an Apple Valley investigator obtained a confession from Mallard during an interview at the Washington County Jail that she participated in at least 12 thefts.
The Target investigator reported that five people entered the Apple Valley location on July 22, took merchandise from the secured cabinets in the electronics department using a magnetic key. The people loaded the items into their purses and bags and left the store without paying for them. The property stolen, included cameras, cell phones, and electronic book readers, was valued at $2,429.83.
The total of merchandise stolen in the Dakota County thefts was $5,539.64, including Apple Valley, Eagan ($799.95), Lakeville ($1,159.92), and Burnsville ($349.99).
Whitney Roshaun, Hines, 25, of St. Paul also was named in the complaint and admitted to participating in 17 thefts between June 29 and Aug. 25. She was charged with felony aiding and abetting theft on July 27 for a theft from Target.
She allegedly stole a magnetic key from a Target employee who worked at a store near the Minnesota/Wisconsin border.
Mallard reported that after the thefts, most of the stolen property was turned over to Hines who would then sell it to an individual in St. Paul.
Mallard would receive cash in exchange for her participation in the thefts.
A warrant was issued for Hines’ arrest because she violated one of the conditions of her release by allegedly continuing to participate in the thefts.
Investigators said Jose Mata, 37, walked into the K-Mart around 10:45 a.m. on September 24 and took a jewelry spinner off of the jewelry display counter, put it in his cart and simply walked out of the store.
“It happened in the morning, the store was open. He had spent about 10 minutes, the surveillance did show he had been in the store about 10 minutes,” said Fremont Police Chief Tim Wiersma “He just took it off the top of the shelf, put it in his cart, and took off.”
Investigators said no one tried to stop the suspect. The jewelry was reported missing several hours later. “That’s incredibly bold to think that someone would not see you do that,” said Chief Wiersma.
The stolen jewelry spinner had 140 necklaces and bracelets, with items worth between $30 and $2,000.
Chief Wiersma said the community provided several good tips, which lead to Mata’s arrest. When police brought him in for questioning, Chief Wiersma said Mata was wearing several pieces of the stolen jewelry. Police reports reveal Mata admitted to the crime.
“It really comes down to shoplifting, which is not so unusual for any department in any town. Just the quantity. You don’t come up with $26,000 on a shoplifting,” said Chief Wiersma.
Investigators said they have recovered much of the stolen property. They believe Mata sold several pieces for the gold and silver. A judge released Mata Friday morning on house arrest because of a medical issue. Mata did not return our calls for an interview.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. Oct 3 2011 – A man who worked at a Louisville jewelry store for several months is now accused of stealing nearly $30,000 in merchandise.
Police say 28-year-old Derek G. Sines was employed at Gross Diamond Center on Shelbyville Road from December of 2010 to April of 2011. During that time, police say he stole merchandise totaling $28,259.
According to the arrest report, Sines admitted stealing from the store, but told police he took only one item with an estimated value of $2,995. He told police he gave that piece of jewelry to be pawned.
Sines also stated he sometimes stole scrap gold from the store to sell for money. He was arrested and charged with theft by unlawful taking.
Around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, an OCPD officer on foot patrol in the area of 118th Street observed a suspicious man, later identified as Ousmane Boubou Idrissa, 42, of Ocean City, exiting the Food Lion grocery store with what appeared to be a bulge under the waistband and front right pocket of his clothing. The officer further observed Idrissa was not carrying any grocery bags.
The officer approached Idrissa and asked what he was concealing under his clothing. According to police reports, Idrissa denied hiding anything under his clothes and attempted to flee the area. The officer pursued Idrissa and a struggle ensued, during which the suspect grabbed the officer’s holstered firearm at least twice. The officer was able to keep Idrissa from removing the weapon and was eventually able to subdue the suspect after a struggle until other officers arrived.
Idrissa was injured during the struggle and was treated at the scene by Ocean City paramedics. He was found in possession of items stolen from the Food Lion. Idrissa was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer, which is a felony, resisting arrest and theft. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and is being held on a $10,000 bond.
According to arrest reports, Whte was accused of shoplifting watches from Lord & Taylor and when loss-prevention officers tried to stop him, he waved a box cutter.
White fled but officers were able to arrest him in the parking garage.
He was held on $5,000 surety bond and scheduled to appear Sept. 26, 2011.
Kenyon Olandis Jones, 27, was arrested in Troy, according to a news release. He is charged him with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and possession of a firearm by felon.
Eric Jennings, a security guard at the Greensboro Events Forum nightclub, was shot multiple times after an altercation with some patrons he had escorted out Sunday morning.
The three assailants were seen fleeing in an older-model white Lincoln Town Car. Jennings was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.
Police are continuing to investigate the case.
The building at 510 Farragut St. has attracted police attention in the past. In 2007, officers found an alleged robber dead of a gunshot wound outside of what was then Lost Dimensions strip club. Last year, a bar and strip club at the location shut down following a lawsuit from the city.
According to a 2010 News & Record story, police had reported more than 100 calls to the address since 2001.
APOPKA, Fla. Oct 3 2011
A retired Orlando police officer was arrested after shooting and killing his 21-year-old son Saturday evening, police said.
Tim Davis, Sr., 47, pulled out a gun and shot his son, Tim Davis, Jr., during an argument at a home on King’s Eagle Lane in the Pines of Wekiva subdivision Saturday evening, Apopka police spokesman Capt. Jerome Miller said.
He has been charged with first-degree murder and was being held at the Orange County Jail late Sunday.
According to an arrest affidavit, Davis, Sr., said his son punched and pushed him, bloodying his mouth. Police said he told them that he went to his car, got the gun and shot his son twice.
“I was in a funk,” Davis Sr. said, according to the document. “I went and got my gun and I shot him.”
Police said the men were arguing about the custody of Davis Jr.’s child.
Davis Sr.’s 9-year-old daughter said she saw her grandfather get the weapon and was there when her brother was shot.
Davis Jr. was a former standout football player at Apopka High School and played for the University of Alabama-Birmingham in college.
Davis Sr. was charged with first-degree murder with a firearm.
Neighbors said the incident was out-of-character for the way they remember the family. They said family members are well-known in the Apopka area for community service and involvement in football.
Controversial police program aimed at crimes committed by homeless people questioned www.privateofficer.com
The program focuses on people like Richard Stewart, who last week completed a 20-day jail sentence. Stewart’s crime? He was found seeking shelter under the loading dock behind the downtown Sheraton during a thunderstorm, and arrested on charges of criminal trespassing and littering.
Stewart’s sentence was inflated because he has been labeled a chronic offender under the initiative created by Deputy Chief Damian Huggins, one of the police department’s rising stars.
During his time as the central precinct commander, Huggins noticed that a small group required a disproportionate amount of police resources. Huggins said he researched the issue and discovered that 46 individuals, virtually all of them homeless like Stewart, were responsible for 3 percent of all arrests in Davidson County last year. Huggins’ solution was to push for stricter jail sentences for those who were arrested 17 times or more in 2010.
A review of the new policy by The Tennessean found it has succeeded in reducing misdemeanor crimes but drawn the ire of defense attorneys and advocates who say the homeless are being targeted unfairly and sentenced too harshly for minor crimes.
When officers arrest Stewart or one of the other men on the list, they mark the words “Chronic Booking Offender” in big bold letters on the arrest affidavit. The district attorney then cooperates by pushing for harsher jail sentences, which judges and General Sessions commissioners almost always grant.
Before the new policy, Stewart said, he typically spent about eight hours in jail for a public intoxication arrest. Since the policy was put in place, Stewart and others are spending up to a month in jail for minor misdemeanor offenses.
“So in other words if they even smell alcohol on my breath, I’m going to jail because I’m one of ‘them people,’ ” said Stewart, who admitted he frequently drinks alcohol.
Critics, such as Public Defender Dawn Deaner, say Nashville’s homeless are unfairly targeted because of the chronic offender list. Homeless advocates say government resources would be better spent diverting chronic offenders to shelters, sobriety houses and other social services.
“It’s not driven by the nature of offenses but by the number of arrests,” Deaner said. “What frustrates me is this is not a public safety issue. These guys might be sleeping on a grate or stretched out on a sidewalk, and they’re getting arrested.”
Hold people accountable
To Huggins, the chronic offender program is working. In 2010, the 46 men on the chronic offender list were arrested 1,378 times, which, according to his estimate, cost taxpayers $1.6 million among the various government services they required.
So far in 2011, arrests are down 46 percent for those individuals, Huggins said. At this time a year ago, the chronic offenders had notched 2,016 nights in jail, compared with 1,770 in 2011. Huggins said he believes the program has led to changed behavior among the chronic offenders. He calculated the initiative has saved taxpayers approximately $337,000.
Huggins, whose steady rise through the ranks culminated in a promotion to deputy chief last year, has made a name for himself in part by creating initiatives aimed at the homeless. He previously started a program to buy homeless people one-way bus tickets out of town. When he was the downtown precinct commander, he also spearheaded an unsuccessful effort to close the downtown homeless encampment called Tent City. The camp was relocated to southeast Davidson County after last year’s flood.
Huggins said the justification for the chronic offender program is the same as when the police send extra resources to a neighborhood caught in a crime wave. The most arrested individual on the list, Terry Coleman, was arrested 60 times in 2010.
“I think a lot of people would say this targets homelessness,” Huggins said. “It’s not. It’s a way that prevents people from becoming homeless. If there’s a way of arresting someone up to 60 times, I’m not sure how you’re going to keep a roof over your head.
“You can’t arrest your way out of these issues, but we can hold people accountable.”
Effect on fair trial
In Deaner’s opinion, the chronic offender policy prevents those on the list from having the opportunity to receive a fair trial.
Marking the words “chronic booking offender” in bold print on the arrest affidavit could taint a judge’s view of a public defender’s client, Deaner said.
“Whether you’ve been arrested in the past is supposed to have no bearing when you’re facing a new charge,” Deaner said, adding that her office has successfully argued for charges to be dismissed on those grounds.
Huggins brushed aside such criticism and said he trusts district attorneys and judges to discern a person’s guilt regardless of what’s marked on the affidavit.
Deaner also argued that it is illogical to push for harsher sentences for people who aren’t committing public safety crimes.
Davidson County Deputy District Attorney Rosemary Sexton disagreed, saying someone arrested multiple times for an offense should serve a longer jail term than someone arrested just once.
“If you’ve been arrested three times for shoplifting, you deserve a longer sentence than someone arrested one time,” Sexton said.
The practice of singling out chronic offenders on arrest affidavits comes as officers have been arresting people for minor offenses instead of issuing citations. According to a report by a study committee for the Metro Homelessness Commission, arrests for obstructing a passageway increased by 500 percent from 2004 to 2009. Public intoxication arrests more than doubled during the same time.
Those on the chronic offender list said they’ve noticed a change in how police interact with them since the initiative was launched.
“They consider me a chronic alcoholic, so instead of me spending eight, 10, 12 hours sitting there in the booking room and they let you go, they book you in and you spend days in jail,” said Charlie Potter, who was arrested 29 times last year and has been tabbed as a chronic offender.
Curt Wallen, a board member for the Urban Residents Association, said he appreciated Huggins’ willingness to tackle a complicated issue affecting downtown residents’ quality of life. Wallen, who ran for Metro Council this year, said it was too soon to tell descriptively if the chronic offender policy was leading to fewer quality-of-life offenses.
“We have a tendency to be too lenient because for a lot of folks who want to discuss the issue, it becomes a not-in-my-backyard issue,” Wallen said. “They don’t live downtown and don’t experience problems that go on.”
Jail versus treatment
Tammi Newton, who runs a sobriety program called the Guest House at the Campus for Human Development, questioned whether Metro could save even more money and help treat the addiction issues that cause most of the homeless arrests.
For instance, a vast majority of Stewart’s 274 arrests have been for public intoxication. Arresting officers frequently noted that Stewart was so intoxicated he could barely stand, and they were therefore taking him to jail for his own good.
But Newton said officers could check individuals on the chronic offender list into the Guest House instead of arresting them for public intoxication. So far in 2011, police have dropped 655 people off at the Guest House, and the average registration time is less than seven minutes, Newton said.
While a night in jail costs the government about $65, a night at the Guest House is just $14. Campus for Human Development Executive Director Rachel Hester said Metro spent about $120,000 reimbursing the Guest House for the homeless who were dropped off there last year. The Guest House provided 27,000 bed nights to those battling addiction in 2010, Hester said.
The Guest House, which has operated for 20 years, will soon finish an expansion and renovation project that will see its bed capacity double to about 64.
Other cities have invested in treatment services for chronic offenders as an alternative to longer jail time.
Seattle launched a housing and treatment service for homeless people with severe addiction problems, according to the report provided to the Homelessness Commission. Seattle’s program treats about 75 people at a time and comes with an annual price tag of about $1.1 million. That saves the city more than $2.5 million, according to the study committee’s report.
“I applaud all efforts by our Metro departments to reduce costs,” said Metro Councilwoman Emily Evans, whose pet issue during her time on the council has been the city’s budget. “However, it appears that even more savings could be had were we to divert nonviolent homeless offenders to social service providers like the Campus for Human Development.”
Even with harsher sentencing leading to longer sentences, social workers in the jail don’t have ample time to treat someone with severe addiction, said Sheriff’s Office Mental Health Coordinator Jeff Blum. Coleman, who has been charged with 27 misdemeanor crimes in 2011, has such a strong addiction that he often drinks mouthwash to get drunk, according to arrest reports.
“Twenty or 30 days is not enough time to treat the kind of addiction and dependency problems these guys have,” Blum said.
East Precinct Officer Jeff Burnette elected to take Alvin Coffey, who is on the chronic offender list, to the Guest House last month instead of to jail. Burnette said he knew Coffey had tried to maintain a job in the past.
“I’m just trying to help, man,” Burnette said when asked why he elected to take Coffey to the Guest House.
Stewart has lived on the streets of downtown Nashville for more than a decade. He said trips to the Guest House have become a rarity in the past year.
A typical officer, Stewart said, will find him sprawled out on a downtown street corner and arrest him for public intoxication, plus likely additional charges such as trespassing, criminal littering and obstructing a public passageway.
Huggins said he didn’t have a problem with officers taking someone to the Guest House, though the department has no specific guidelines for when to arrest someone and when to chauffeur him or her to a shelter.
Deaner said the chronic offender program was tantamount to a “ ‘lock them up and throw away the key’ mentality.” She said she hoped the community would push for a more proactive approach involving more social services instead of jail time.
“It baffles my mind how a faith-based community, a Christian community can turn its back,” Deaner said. “How can we as a community, that came together to help each other after the flood, turn a blind eye?”
Capitol Police not amused by tweets-false reports involving school children being held hostage www.privateofficer.com
The satirical newspaper’s Twitter accounts and related story Thursday reporting gunshots and hostage-taking in the Capitol came a day after the FBI arrested a Massachusetts man accused of planning to bomb the Pentagon and the Capitol with explosive-filled model airplanes.
“It has come to our attention that recent twitter feeds are reporting false information concerning current conditions at the U.S. Capitol,” Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said in a statement.
She said conditions at the Capitol, now largely empty because lawmakers are on vacation, were normal. “There is no credibility to these stories or the twitter feeds. The U.S. Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting.”
The Onion tweets and article spoke of members congressional leaders, “brandishing shotguns and semiautomatic pistols,” taking a class of schoolchildren hostage and threatening to kill them if they didn’t get $12 trillion in cash.
It showed a doctored picture of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, holding a gun to a child’s head and reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was firing a handgun and wearing a black pantyhose over his head.
MOBILE, Alabama Oct 3 2011 – A Prichard woman and 2 people she helped with bogus oil spill claims pleaded guilty in Mobile this week to federal fraud charges, giving prosecutors convictions of all five defendants charged in the indictment.
Separately, another woman also admitted to defrauding the BP PLC-funded enterprise set up to compensate residents and businesses harmed economically by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year.
In the conspiracy case, Gladys Douglas admitted that she claimed to own Smitty’s Catering and submitted claims on behalf of 45 people that she said worked for her. Investigators from the U.S. Secret Service determined that Smitty’s Catering had no permit to sell food and no business license in Mobile or Baldwin counties.
Douglas, 42, ultimately admitted that the business did not exist. She faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, but prosecutors have agreed to recommend the minimum punishment under advisory sentencing guidelines, which likely will be far less than that.
According to Douglas’ plea agreement, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility denied 40 of the 45 claims that she submitted. Douglas, herself, received $3,800. That was part of the $63,600 that the claims fund sent to defendants in the case. Those included 2 other defendants who pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges last week:
•Nicole Buford, who received $6,000 from the claims fund.
•Vernon Cox, who received $20,000 from the fund.
Two other recipients previously pleaded guilty: Pamela Washington, who admitted paying Douglas $1,000 and receiving $8,800; and Robert Brown, who admitted paying her $1,500 and receiving checks totaling $25,000.
Douglas submitted phony documents showing payroll deposits from Smitty’s Catering, according to court records. Douglas admitted to investigators that she made those documents on her home computer using images from Commonwealth National Bank’s website.
In the other claims fraud cases, Alexandria Elexis McKellon pleaded guilty to wire fraud, admitting that she fraudulently obtained $10,000 from the claims fund by falsely claiming that she had been laid off from a job cleaning houses in Orange Beach.
In fact, according to her plea agreement, the company she listed — Southern Hospitality — did not exist. McKellon submitted phony pay stubs and a letter purporting to be from the company’s owner confirming the defendant’s layoff.
Prosecutors agreed to recommend a minimal sentence under advisory guidelines.
Al Sharpton’s Atlanta office hands out questionable stimulus applications to seniors www.privateofficer.com
This week more than 700 senior citizens filled out a rather skimpy form promising a $500 check from the American Opportunities Stimulus Program.
They filled in sensitive information like their name, address, birth date and social security numbers, all with the promise of getting a Visa Check card in return.
But on Thursday, Fulton County government put out a warning that it might be an identity theft scam.
They even sent their own camera crew to the Atlanta headquarters of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, where the forms were being handed out by Vanessa Emerson and her son, Brandon.
In the video Vanessa Emerson can be seen brandishing a photo copy of a U.S. Treasury check saying, “I’m going to show ya’ll, I got my money.”
After the alarm went out, Brandon Emerson returned hundreds of the forms to the NAN headquarters at 632 Peoples Street so they could be given back to the seniors who filled them out.
Even though his mother was wearing a NAN T-shirt in the Fulton County government video, her son claimed they are not affiliated with the organization.
Worried seniors continued to stream to the local NAN headquarters on Friday fearing someone may be trying to steal their identities.
“I am scared and I’m going to the bank now and put a fraudulent lock on my account,” senior Bobbie Early told 11 Alive News on Friday.
Eventually the Southeast Regional Director for NAN showed up at the headquarters and began reassuring seniors no one was going to compromise the information.
Tyleis Speight admitted to 11 Alive News the forms had been collected there, but claimed she was a victim, too.
“National Action Network has been frauded as well,” Speight said.
She said they’re still trying to find out who was responsible.
Reached by phone on Friday, Vanessa Emerson said she and her son had no idea the forms they’d been collecting might be fake.
She said they were going out of town and would comment more when they return next week.
The national NAN office insisted they knew nothing about what had happened.
“We had no knowledge of what was going on,” said NAN Executive Director Tamika Mallory.
“We would never authorize anything like that,” she added.
Mallory said NAN’s attorneys are doing their own investigation.
So are Atlanta Police who say they are still trying to determine what crime, if any, may have been committed.
BURNSVILLE, Minn.Oct 3 2011 (AP) — Burnsville police say a Northfield man who had just lost his job committed suicide in front of former colleagues by locking himself in his car and shooting himself in the head.
Fifty-one-year-old Patrick Joseph Graves was still alive Thursday morning when officers arrived. He died about an hour later at a hospital.
Graves had just been let go from Goodrich Corp., where his girlfriend said he worked for three years. Jill Murphy says Graves received an unexpectedly poor performance review Monday and was fired Thursday.
A company official declined to say whether Graves was fired, citing employee confidentiality.
Murphy tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press Graves told the company he struggled with depression.
Graves was divorced with three daughters. His 15-year-old daughter says all three knew he loved them.
The deputy mistakenly discharged his shotgun when the two arrived at a house on the 800 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. where they had a search warrant, according to a statement by Waynesboro Police Chief Alfonzo Williams.
Neither the police or sheriff’s department released any further details of the shooting.