The Court ruled in favour of a man identified only by his last name Zuñiga, who sued the owners of the Condominio Centrol Comercial de San Antonio de Desamparados after his vehicle was stolen in the parking lot back in November 2003.
The owners appealed lower court decisions twice in almost eight years. But with Friday’s ruling there is no longer doubt as to who is responsible, as long as the owner of the vehicle can demonstrate he parked the vehicle and its contents in the parking lot.
Many mall or store parking lots post signs that the owners of the property and/or business are not responsible for the parked vehicle and its contents.
And it has been accepted by most that parking a vehicle in a mall parking lot is at one’s risk.
However, the ruling is now clear, owners of the commercial centre have to safeguard the vehicles from being stolen or broken into while the patron is inside.
In the San Antonio case, the owners of the commercial centre argued that there was no evidence that the car in question had entered the mall and that the guards saw no unusual movements.
Nevertheless, the judges considered that the complaint filed with the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) and the version of the witness who was the owner of the vehicle and the proof that he was in the bank at the time confirms that the robbery occurred while the customer was in the centre.
The centre did not have cameras to record the movement of vehicles and will now have to compensate the owner for the loss of his 1987 Toyota Land Cruiser valued at ¢2.5 million colones, another ¢90.000 for valuables inside the vehicle and interest for the years of the trial.
Parking a vehicle in a public or private lot, be it a mall, a strip mall, a single retail store or a public parking lot, is always risky.
In malls like Multiplaza in Escazú, there is ample security patrolling the parking lot and cameras keeping an eye on movements. At Inside Costa Rica we tested the mall security by leaving a vehicle with no windows, in this case, an old Land Cruiser with roll up plastic as part of the canvas covering and with items on the seats.
A note was placed on the windshield noting the time of the inspection and that items were clearly visible and could easily be grabbed. It was clear that a copy of the note had been kept for records.
Again in Escazú, at Pricesmart security if the parking lot is abundant. Next door at Office Depot a security guard records the plate number of each vehicle. At nearby EPA and Play, you can spot the occasional security guard in the lot, but coming and going is not monitored, or at least it seems that way. At the Walmart each driver is handed a plastic “ficha” that is required to be turned over at the exit.
The moral of the story is that when you park your vehicle in a commercial lot or public parking lot or on the street there is a chance that your car may be stolen or broken into. Don’t leave valuables or items in clear view, lock them in the trunk. Or better yet don’t leave behind anything you don’t want to lose.
Police say 24-year-old Benjamin Arthur Jones and 25-year-old Alexander Williams Jones of New Castle used a blowtorch to break up the bridge in late September or early October. They face felony charges of criminal mischief, theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.
Authorities say Alexander Jones told a recycling company employee that he had permission to carve the bridge for scrap and showed the employee cellphone photos of the bridge. The recycling company called police.
The 50-foot-long by 20-foot-wide Covert’s Crossing Bridge was in a wooded area about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh.
The brothers’ phone numbers weren’t listed, and it’s unclear whether they have attorneys.
Keba Tambu Mulkey, 34, Laerika Daleshia Rawls, 25, and Kirsten Lynette Williams, 24, are the suspects involved in the thefts of more than $500 worth of merchandise.
According to Collier County Sheriff’s office reports, on Thursday Walmart employees asked Collier deputies to assist them in a shoplifting incident that was occurring inside of the store involving the women.
Deputies said once they arrived on scene the two suspects exited out of the store and were stopped for questioning but when asked to empty their purses, no stolen items were found.
The suspects were asked their names and Mulkey provided her correct information, however, the second woman provided deputies with the name Christina Jackson, which communications advised was not valid, deputies said.
Deputies then used a rapid identification device to verify the woman’s correct identity and the device came back with the name Williams, according to reports.
Deputies said they then asked Williams if she had anything in her pockets which she stated no. However, deputies located a plastic baggy with cocaine, a metal rod, also known as a “push rod,” which is known to be used for pushing crack rocks down a pipe, inside her back pocket.
Williams was then arrested on charges of providing law enforcement officers with false information and possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.
Mulkey then gave deputies permission to search her SUV that was parked in the Walmart parking lot, according to reports.
Inside the vehicle was a woman, later identified as Rawls, sitting in the passenger seat.
Deputies said they found several stolen items, still packaged, underneath a black blanket in the rear of Mulkey’s blue Ford Expedition. According to reports, the stolen items included: power tools, electric shavers, batteries, deodorants, body sprays and three Walgreen’s shopping carts.
Deputies asked Rawls where the merchandise came from and she said she didn’t know. The items were placed into evidence and the SUV was towed, according to reports.
Rawls and Mulkey were then arrested on charges of grand theft.
Once at the jail, a strip search revealed Rawls to be in possession of marijuana wrapped in a $20 bill, located in her bra, and marijauana and a smoking pipe located in her underwear, according to reports. Deputies also located a bag containing cocaine in her pocket.
She faces additional charges of possession of marijuana and cocaine.
On Friday deputies were notified by employees of the Walgreen’s drug store, located at the 6029 block of Pine Ridge Road, that video surveillance revealed that more than $500 worth of merchandise had been stolen from their store on Thursday.
Deputies said surveillance videos showed Mulkey and Williams committing the thefts.
A fourth suspect, Cory Livingston, 34, is believed to have been involved in the thefts but he fled the scene when deputies arrived. He was last seen wearing camouflage pants and a black shirt.
ALBUQUERQUE NM Oct 17 2011 – Walmart security officers confronting a shoplifting suspect Friday instead stared down a 9 mm pistol, Albuquerque police report.
Felix Contreras, 29, was arrested nearby while trying to hop a fence.
According to police, Contreras was seen shoplifting inside the Walmart at 301 San Mateo Boulevard SE.
Police say he drew a 9 mm pistol on the store security officers who tried to stop him. Contreras took off on foot.
Police officers reported they found the gun stashed in Contreras’ waistband when he was arrested.
Mark W. Camara, an EMT-I who served on the Poultney squad for 24 years, suffered a heart attack at the station and was taken to Rutland Regional Medical Center where he died, according to a new release from the National EMS Memorial Service.
According to the release, Camara held all officer positions at the Poultney squad and had spent the last two years as its president. He is remembered as an EMS educator and shared his knowledge freely through teaching Emergency Care Attendant, EMT-Basic and CPR classes. It was not uncommon for Camara to spend hours teaching new members how to drive the ambulances and how to use all the equipment.
His funeral was held on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at the Poultney Fire Department station where he was also a member.
An American flag was draped across the street between ladder trucks near the his burial site in Castleton, Vt. The procession was led by a Vermont State Police escort, the Castleton Police Department the Castleton constable. He was buried with military honors.
According to his obituary, he is survived by a wife and young son.
OTTAWA, Kan.Oct 17 2011 - A deputy with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office became ill while on duty Wednesday night and died at Ransom Memorial Hospital, the sheriff’s office said Thursday.
Russel W. Geist, 28, had worked with the sheriff’s office since 2005, but had become a deputy just last year, Sheriff Jeff Curry said in a news release.
The cause of death is unknown.
“It is with great sadness that the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office mourns the loss of Deputy Russel Geist,” Curry said. “Russel was living his dream as a law enforcement officer and was an invaluable member of this office.”
Geist began his career with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office as a corrections officer in 2005. He later became shift supervisor and graduated basic jail academy on Feb. 26, 2010. Geist demonstrated character and leadership skills in this position and was promoted to deputy on Sept. 21, 2010, Curry said, noting Geist graduated from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center as a member of the 212th basic class last May.
“Russel’s contagious smile and warm personality inspired those who worked with him,” Curry said. “His leadership, dedication and character were in keeping with the highest standards of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the law enforcement profession. Russel will truly be missed by his peers, co-workers and the community.”
Geist was the son of retired Ottawa Police Department Detective Rick Geist.
SAN DIEGO CA Oct 17 2011 — A man has been arrested in connection with a shooting that injured a bouncer near a San Diego bar, police said Saturday.
The shooting near Tina’s Bar, which is located at 1956 54th St., was reported at 10:17 p.m. Friday, San Diego police Officer David Stafford said.
Police said the shots were fired from a blue Chevrolet sport utility truck and struck the bouncer in the chest, stomach and both arms.
An arrest was made shortly after midnight, police said. According to jail records, 42-year-old Paul Price was arrested and booked into the Central Jail on charges of attempted murder in the first degree and assault with a firearm on a person.
Police told 10News they are still searching for another man in connection with the shooting. No description was immediately available.
The bouncer is expected to survive his wounds, according to police.
Philadelphia PA Oct 17 2011 On the first day of school in early September, Philadelphia School District police officer Janis Walke strode into the courtroom in uniform, then waited to hear when her case would come up.
She wasn’t there to testify against a student – it was Walke herself who was in trouble. On Aug. 3, she had been arrested for purchasing crack cocaine, court records show.
And it wasn’t the first time. Walke also had been arrested for crack possession in May 2008, pleaded no contest, and was put in a program called “probation without verdict,” reserved for people who admit they are drug-dependent and present evidence of dependency in court.
Four months after her arrest – and only a month after she was put on probation in August 2008 – she became one of the school district’s newest police officers. Under school policy, she wasn’t tested for drug use.
Her case is by no means an aberration for the school police, an unarmed force of 386 full-time and 50 per diem officers who are hired by the school district’s human resources department and operate independently of city police.
Record checks conducted by The Inquirer turned up more than a dozen school police officers who have been arrested on drug, assault, theft, and other charges in recent years – either before they were employed by the district or while they were on active duty.
One case involved assault by motor vehicle by an officer – still working for the district – who was charged with “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” driving a car into a man’s leg, “causing bruising requiring medical treatment,” according to court records.
In another instance, which did not result in arrest, a uniformed officer was spotted on surveillance video swiping Naked orange juice and frosted Entenmann’s chocolate doughnuts from a Roxborough Wawa while he was supposed to be on duty at the local high school, according to an internal district document. The store agreed not to press charges if the items were returned.
Liam S. Boyle – a former officer who was hired despite a prior arrest for heroin possession – said it was easier to get a job as a school district policeman than to be hired at Walmart. A Walmart employee had flagged his previous arrest during the hiring process.
“I get the school district job. Yet I can’t get the Walmart job?” he asked.
The caliber of school police officers is crucial as the district struggles to contain violence. The recent Inquirer series “Assault on Learning” reported that more than 30,000 serious incidents had taken place in the city’s schools over five years and that on any given day, 25 students, teachers, or other staff members were beaten, robbed, sexually assaulted, or became victims of other violent crimes.
Beginning this fall, school police have been given new authority to report crime in schools to district headquarters and city police, after the series showed many violent incidents were not being recorded. Previously, that responsibility largely had been assumed by principals.
Yet, school district records show that one of the officers identified by The Inquirer as having arrest records was brought up on disciplinary charges of ignoring reports of sexual assaults on students and another was called to account for a “security breach” for letting into the school an “irate man” who talked of attacking students with a gun.
In April, following the series, Mayor Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey spoke of the possibility of putting city police in some schools. “We can’t ignore the fact that we have a problem, and we have to regain control of the schools,” Ramsey said at the time.
But no plan has materialized, and the school force has been thinned – from 635 part- and full-time officers during the 2010-11 school year.
One reason the district often does not flag cases against its officers is that some of them, such as Boyle, have been put in a pretrial diversion program under the supervision of the probation department. Those cases are not considered convictions in the legal system.
District spokesman Fernando Gallard said background checks turned up no record of convictions prior to hiring for Walke, Boyle, and most of the other officers that The Inquirer asked about.
But in response to The Inquirer’s questions, the district has launched an investigation into one current officer who had an outstanding bench warrant until Friday for his arrest and reviews of the cases of two other current officers with arrest records.
State Sen. Jeff Piccola, a Republican who chairs the Senate Education Committee and sponsored a new law that tightens background checks for school employees, was stunned at the cases uncovered by The Inquirer.
“In this job market, you would think with 9 percent unemployment … they could find people who didn’t have serious criminal backgrounds,” he said.
Of Walke, he said: “A woman like that should not be anywhere near a child.” And of Boyle, he said: “Walmart standards are higher than the Philadelphia school district’s. Walmart should have given him a second chance.”
Elsewhere in the country, school police – many of whom are fully commissioned police officers – have to meet far more stringent standards than in Philadelphia, where officers aren’t required to undergo drug or psychological screenings. In Houston, candidates for the armed school police force also have to take lie-detector tests and face inquiries to family members and neighbors about their personal backgrounds. That’s in addition to an exhaustive criminal background check.
“We go all the way back into their lives for about 10 years and see what they have done and try to determine whether or not they will be successful as a police officer . . . working in a campus environment,” said Jimmie Dotson, chief of the Houston Independent School District police department.
In Philadelphia, officers undergo Federal Bureau of Investigation, child abuse, and state criminal background checks, said Andrew Rosen, of the district’s human resources office. But the district looks only at convictions when hiring – not arrests – and may still go ahead and employ the applicant if the crime isn’t cited as a disqualifier in the Pennsylvania School Code.
The code, a state law, covers the hiring of school employees and does not distinguish school police officers from teachers or janitors. As Boyle’s case shows, they may be treated more leniently in Philadelphia than job-seekers in private industry.
Until October 2010, Philadelphia school police were not even required to report if they were arrested while on the force – and records show that several officers continued to work, even after facing probation or penalty for those arrests.
Once The Inquirer began asking questions, Myron Patterson – a Philadelphia police inspector on loan to the district to oversee the school force – sent out a directive, reinforcing a 2010 policy requiring officers to divulge arrests.
“This stoked us,” Patterson said.
Patterson said he was pushing to institute mandatory drug testing for new hires – an issue that he said had to be worked out through the district’s human resources department. But he does not see the need for psychological evaluations or increased training, noting that school police are unarmed and more like security guards. School police now get four weeks of training compared with 32 for city police.
He also noted many officers – though he couldn’t cite a number – were retired city police officers.
Others differ with Patterson about hiring, screening, and training requirements.
Private studies – including one conducted by a state-hired consultant – have been critical of how prospective officers are screened for hiring and their subsequent training and conduct.
“We suggest the screening of candidates, job requirements, training, assessment, and supervision of school police officers be reevaluated,” said Safe Havens, a Georgia security consulting firm that assessed school police operations in 25 of the district’s most dangerous schools in spring 2010. “This issue is important enough to merit prompt attention at the district leadership level.”
At seven of the schools, analysts observed officers “yelling at students, or aggressively challenging them for ‘offenses’ that were minor in nature and could have been dealt with more effectively through a calmer approach,” according to the report.
Former schools safety chief James B. Golden said he advocated for officers to get the same training as city cops.
“Ultimately, the district ought to move to professionalize its school police force. We would have well-qualified, highly trained school police officers, short of carrying firearms,” said Golden, whose five-plus year tenure ended in August 2010 when he was replaced by Patterson.
The officers’ union president, Michael Lodise, also took a strong position. He said that there should be an upgrade in training and better screening of applicants.
“That’s something we’ve been pushing for,” Lodise said. Too often, applicants who should not be hired “slip through the cracks,” he said. New hires should be both drug tested and given a psychological evaluation, much like regular law enforcement, he said.
“We have psychologists in the schools, yet we don’t have one at [district headquarters] to evaluate new hires,” he said.
Boyle also questioned why the district did no drug screening.
“I mention that because there were a few people in my training class that I was wondering about,” he said. “It was kind of strange to me, considering that you’re working with kids.”
Boyle – whose last assignment was South Philadelphia High School, rocked by racial violence in 2009 – said his arrest for heroin possession came up on a records check when he applied for a job at Walmart. He didn’t get hired.
When he interviewed with the school district, however, his arrest “never came up,” he said.
“It did make me wonder,” said Boyle, whose father, William J., is a retired city police officer and a current member of the school force.
Hearing of cases The Inquirer uncovered – some of which occurred during his tenure – Golden said school police leaders should play a greater role in hiring.
“There could have been, and probably should be going forward, a closer working relationship around the vetting of new school police officers,” he said.
Patterson said that since he took over, the department has addressed many of the problems raised in the Safe Havens report. He emphasized that he added a disciplinary liaison to investigate and deal with complaints about officers and instituted leadership training for supervisors and a dress code and grooming guidelines for officers, among other changes.
“We have a strong hand on this and we’re pushing forward,” he said. “Our personnel know that their behavior is being scrutinized, and if it comes to our attention, they’re going to have to answer for it.”
On the front lineThe school police force is on the front line when it comes to quelling violent offenses in district schools, 19 of which were graded by the state as “persistently dangerous” in the 2010-11 school year.
Though they do not carry guns, school police are empowered to subdue and detain students – including handcuffing them. They must deal with drug offenses and confiscate weapons.
Some of the officers whose names were flagged by The Inquirer have been stationed at schools deemed persistently dangerous, such as FitzSimons High, or that have been the scenes of large-scale disruption in recent years.
One officer who was eventually dismissed last May after compiling a string of arrests for drugs and illegal weapon possession – Jamil Watson – most recently worked at Martin Luther King High, a school with a long record of violence.
On one day alone in March 2011 – when Watson was still a police officer – the school had at least four fights, a fire, a 45-minute evacuation, and an hourlong lockdown when teachers and students were unable to leave their classrooms. All told, 24 students were suspended for fighting that day.
The Inquirer found that several of the officers such as Watson identified as having arrest records continued to have problems in their school jobs and became the subject of district discipline charges.
“He had a problem with authority,” recalled Kristina Diviny, the former principal of King who is now principal of Christiana High School in Delaware.
In November 2010, Watson was suspended for two days and put on probation with the school police for a year for “insubordination and improper conduct,” according to a district disciplinary letter.
Walke, 47, got in trouble at Rhodes High School, where she was stationed last spring, over a trip she planned to Hawaii. She was suspended for 10 days and placed on job probation for a year after the principal’s signature was forged on the vacation request forms, according to school district documents.
The district investigation determined that a colleague, also a school police officer, had forged the signature, according to district disciplinary records.
Boyle, 30, was fired by the school district after about a year for absences and lateness, he said.
Then there is the case of former Roxborough High School officer Cornelius Dudley.
On Dec. 10, 2010, he was caught on surveillance video swiping items from the Wawa on Ridge Avenue, according to a district document obtained by The Inquirer.
But there were warning signs before that.
Dudley had been hired by the school district in November 2001, despite his previous arrest for the theft of a PGW vehicle. However, that charge was dismissed.
In 2009, he was arrested on a charge of marijuana possession and was suspended from the force. But the charge also was dismissed for lack of prosecution, and he was reinstated, court and school district records show.
Then came the Wawa incident, outlined in district documents. He was videotaped taking the orange juice and chocolate doughnuts, along with Red Bull, lemon/honey tea, iced tea, and a 6-ounce bag of pistachios – all worth $12.22.
(He did pay $3.44 for a Philadelphia Daily News and a sausage, egg, and cheese bagel.)
Not only did Dudley, 43, abandon his school post without authorization, according to the documents, but the situation also caused a school district police sergeant to have to go to the Wawa to handle the matter.
“He left the school and committed a criminal act in full uniform and placing the school district in an embarrassing situation,” an internal district report on the incident said. “Officer Dudley could not give a reasonable answer for his actions.”
Dudley, according to the documents, denied the theft and said he was going to his car to get money and took the items with him.
Amid a school district investigation into the incident, Dudley was arrested in February for possession of marijuana.
He resigned in March 2011 and agreed that he would not seek employment with the district again, according to a district record.
A few weeks later, court records show that he was placed in the SAM program (for Small Amount of Marijuana), which requires attendance at a drug-abuse class and the payment of a $200 fine.
Dudley declined comment.
Some officers who get in trouble with the law, however, get high marks from their superiors. Diviny, the former King principal, recalled the case of Galvinus Thompson, who she said was one of her better officers.
In 2006, Thompson shot and killed Kenneth Brokenborough, a city police officer who he believed raped his sister. Thompson was in uniform as a school cop at King the day before he killed Brokenborough, Diviny said. In 2007, he was sentenced to 11 to 22 years for third-degree murder.
EligibilityTo be eligible for employment as a school district police officer, applicants must be 21 and a high school graduate. They take written and oral tests to assess their ability to respond to emergency situations and gauge their general knowledge. Then, they are placed on an eligibility list based on their scores.
Pay for a full-time officer ranges from $33,065 to $51,507.
On the district application, they are asked if they have been convicted of a crime other than a traffic offense.
Applicants such as Boyle, who have been placed in a diversion program rather than going to trial, are able to answer “no” to this question. Walke did the same on her application, said Gallard.
After his arrest, Boyle’s case was designated for the ARD program, the acronym for Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition. Many first-time offenders accused of nonviolent crimes such as drug possession, drunken driving or theft are put in the program, which has been extensively used by the Philadelphia court system for about 40 years as a way to lighten its heavy caseload.
Typically, people placed in ARD have to complete a rehabilitaton course under the supervision of the probation department and stay out of trouble for a length of time – a standard term is six months or a year. At that point, if they haven’t gotten into further trouble, they are eligible to have their record expunged.
Defendants may also have to pay fines and court costs.
Boyle was arrested in 2008 on the heroin possession charge. He said he was driving a car with a group of his friends when a police officer pulled them over. Police found 0.12 grams of heroin in the search.
Boyle said the drugs weren’t his, and he wanted to plead not guilty. But he said a public defender told him he would have little chance of beating the charge.
So he took an ARD agreement for first-time offenders, and he said he was told his record eventually would be expunged if he successfully completed probation.
He’s disturbed that his arrest record is public.
“I was under the impression that it would be gone,” he said.
Boyle said he heard about the school district police officer’s job in 2009 from his father.
Once hired, he worked at Childs Elementary in 2009-10, then South Philadelphia High School that summer before being terminated in August 2010.
He said he believes he was a good employee.
Tommie Turner was similarly hired after going into the ARD program, records show. He began as a per diem officer in October 2007 despite the fact he had been charged with receiving stolen property a year earlier. Turner said he was driving a car with stolen tags, but said he was unaware of a problem with the plates.
Turner said he informed the school district about the arrest. On his application, he wrote that he had no convictions, Gallard said.
“They didn’t even ask me about it. They were so short-handed,” Turner said.
His training, he said, was abbreviated because the district wanted to deploy officers as quickly as possible. He worked at Clymer and Frederick Douglass elementary schools and Strawberry Mansion High.
In 2009, he was arrested on a cocaine-possession charge – which again he said was not his. He said he had loaned his car to a friend to move, and the friend had an addict help him.
The addict, Turner said, left a bag with white residue in his car on a day when he happened to be approached by a police officer. He had pulled over to call his girlfriend to see if they needed anything from the market, he said.
“I guess I was in a bad area,” he said, surmising why the officer had approached. “To my surprise, there’s the bag.”
He pleaded no contest and received six months’ probation.
Turner, who noted that he also has worked as a corrections officer, said he informed the school district that he had been arrested. He subsequently resigned because the district told him he could no longer work.
“I have a feeling if I didn’t say anything,” he said, “they never would have known.”
A current school police officer – Aaron Wilson, 42 – was arrested by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and charged with theft by false impression and tampering with public records in 2008. He was placed in the ARD program. A year later, he was hired by the school district as a police officer.
Reached at Meade Elementary School, where he is stationed, he declined to comment.
“I don’t have nothing to say about nothing. All I know is who I am, and where I’m at,” he said. “Whatever you found on me, sounds like you might be in the wrong area.”
His lawyer, Kevin V. Mincey, confirmed that he had represented Wilson and that his client was a Philadelphia school police officer. He said he could not recall the precise circumstances of Wilson’s case, but noted that the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, which prosecuted it in Dauphin County court, worked with him so that the incident “wouldn’t ruin his life.”
Gallard said the district is reviewing his case.
Unflagged casesCases such as those of Walke, Boyle, Turner, and Wilson – because they ended up in diversion programs or are low-level misdemeanors – typically would not be flagged by the criminal record and child abuse checks the school district requires.
Nor would they run afoul of state law – or a recent extension of it – that prohibits school districts from hiring anyone convicted of major crimes including homicide, aggravated assault, sexual assault, felony drug offenses, or endangering the welfare of children.
As the result of a law pushed through the legislature by Piccola, those parameters were broadened as of Sept. 28, which means it will be harder for someone with a criminal background to be eligible for employment in a school district.
Among the banned offenses are convictions for luring a child into a motor vehicle, unlawful contact with a minor or soliciting of a minor to traffic drugs.
School employees also cannot be convicted of other types of felony offenses within 10 years of their employment application or misdemeanor offenses of the first degree within five years.
The new regulations also require current and prospective employees to fill out a form by Dec. 27, listing any arrests or convictions that they have had for crimes covered by the provision. Employees who refuse to disclose crimes or arrests face discipline, including dismissal.
Rosen, the district’s head of human resources, said if applicants are convicted of other crimes outside those proscribed by the school code, the district considers the position that the employee is seeking.
“For cops, we look if they have assault convictions, resisting arrest convictions . . . things like that because of the nature of the job in dealing with people and especially kids,” he said. “Those are the kinds of things that might raise the antenna that this might not be the right job for this person.”
Then, there is the matter of Jamil Watson, who used the alias of Jamil Styles. At King, Diviny – the former principal – said Watson called himself “the undercover brother,” an apparent reference to a 2002 film of the same name chronicling the adventures of a secret agent.
He was hired by the district in September 2009 – after he had already been arrested by police at West Chester University. He pleaded guilty to a marijuana possession charge, receiving a year’s probation. That was his second marijuana bust in Chester County – an earlier case resulted in 30 days’ probation.
Watson, 24, got in trouble again in December 2009. During a traffic stop, police said he produced a driver’s license that was “altered, forged or counterfeit,” and fled the scene at a “high rate of speed.”
Court records show that he was eventually caught and charged with reckless endangerment, fleeing officers, false identification, illegal possession of a firearm with the manufacturer’s number altered, and criminal mischief for striking a parked car.
On June 28, he was found guilty on four counts, was sentenced to three years’ probation, and ordered to pay $500 in restitution to the owner of the parked car, records show. The gun was ordered destroyed.
Two weeks earlier, Watson had failed to show up for a school district disciplinary hearing stemming from the December arrest. His grandmother attended and said Watson was in jail, according to a district source.
Watson was not present because he had been taken into custody on May 26 after his bail was revoked for failing to show up for a pre-sentence review, according to a district disciplinary letter. As a result, he missed work from May 27 through June 13.
It wasn’t the first time he’d been absent from work without authorization – there were four other instances during the 2009-10 school year.
He was fired.
Firing policyIf a current employee is convicted of a crime, the district’s general – but not absolute – policy is to fire him or her, Rosen said.
Pending the outcome of the case, the district does its own investigation and decides whether to suspend the employee, he said. If the incident occurs at work, the district acts immediately, he said.
A case in point is Officer Dana Baker, 31, who was suspended after she was arrested in March for criminal conspiracy, simple assault, and false imprisonment. Her trial is scheduled this month.
According to court records, Baker and her husband are accused of attacking a woman, who the police report describes as another “wife” of her husband. The victim suffered a swollen eye, a bite mark on her thumb, and red marks around her neck, the report said.
In hiring Baker, the district disregarded a prior 2000 arrest for theft and receiving stolen property in Montgomery County. She was placed in the ARD program, court records show.
Gallard said Baker noted on her application that she had a prior conviction, but was hired anyway.
While Baker was suspended, The Inquirer found that other officers continued on the job after being arrested.
One was Eugene Hall, who has worked at Strawberry Mansion and FitzSimons high schools and Bache Martin elementary, and has been arrested four times, most recently on Sept. 3 for marijuana possession. Previous charges of simple assault and reckless endangerment had been dropped.
He has been suspended for lateness and poor attendance, and has faced accusations of insubordination and falsification of district documents, district records show.
There was also a complaint of a “security breach” violation when he was an officer at FitzSimons, according to a disciplinary report.
An “irate male” was permitted to enter the school at the station where Hall was supposed to be on duty. The man was looking for a student who allegedly spit on him from a window, according to the report. The man told a school administrator “if I had a gun I would of went up there and took care of those bastards myself.”
Hall, 46, was terminated last month, the district said.
In another case, Eric Cosby, 55, was charged with simple assault, reckless endangerment, and possession of an instrument of crime in 2008 after allegedly driving his car into someone. He “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly caused bodily injury to complainant,” court records said.
He was subsequently placed in the ARD program for a year and ordered to undergo anger management, records show.
Cosby, who was hired by the district in April 1995, did not return a written request for comment. He is based at H.R. Edmunds Elementary School.
When Cosby was at Cooke School in 2009, he also faced disciplinary action when he was accused of calling two female students a “bitch” and an “asshole” and of asking the guardian of one of the girls if she wanted to go on a date, according to internal school district records. He also allegedly made a derogatory comment and gesture to two teachers at Cooke.
At Smedley School, also in 2009, he was cited for “lateness, disrespectful behavior, creating a disruptive educational classroom environment, unprofessional demeanor, insubordination, creating a hostile work environment, impeding the progress of an investigation, impeding the reporting of a serious incident, and leaving the school premises without principal approval.”
A Vietnam veteran, he asserted that he suffered from post traumatic stress, district documents said.
Gallard said the district was reviewing Cosby’s case.
In one case, an officer who was wanted on a bench warrant continues to work in the district.
Edward Larkins, 55, was arrested on charges of marijuana possession in November 2010. An officer at Drew School, he has been employed in the district since 1993.
Larkins said he heard a disruption outside his home in the 3300 block of Hartville Street in Philadelphia and grabbed a friend’s coat to run outside and check.
“I put on the wrong jacket, and unfortunately it had that substance,” Larkins said in a telephone interview. “I just got jammed with it.”
He said he did not inform the school district of the arrest. Court records show that he was placed in the SAM program.
In March 2011, a bench warrant for his arrest was issued by Municipal Court for failure to show up for the required SAM class or pay the $200 fine.
Larkins also had faced disciplinary problems while on the job. He got in trouble for lateness and was also brought up on charges that he failed to report allegations of sexual assaults on students to his supervisor on three occasions while working at Stetson Middle School in November 2003, internal district records show.
“We are in the middle of an investigation due to the active bench warrant and arrest that we did not know of,” Gallard said.
Larkins was summoned to a conference Thursday, but was out sick. On Friday, the warrant was lifted.
Rejected plea dealHer hair pulled back in a ponytail and her police officer emblem on her light blue shirt, Walke arrived in the courtroom after 10 a.m. on Sept. 6. School had started about three hours earlier.
She was there to answer to charges that she had been caught with crack cocaine on Aug. 3.
Rejecting a plea deal offered by the prosecution, she accepted her trial date.
Approached by a reporter, Walke declined to comment.
She had shown up in court in her uniform because she had reported to Rhodes that morning for duty, but learned that she was among 190 per diem officers who had been laid off, according to a district source.
But Walke remains on a list of active employees and could be called back.
At about 6:45 p.m., the man allegedly attempted to steal a package of meat and a bottle of rum from Raley’s, 4300 Sonoma Boulevard. When the security guards confronted him in the parking lot, they got into an altercation, police said.
Upon arrival, police found the man with major injuries. He was transported to Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center, and was in the Intensive Care Unit as of Thursday night, police said. The man is expected to survive, they added.
The security guards were questioned, and police found that “initial indications are that the security guards had used reasonable force.”
Vallejo police’s Major Case Unit is investigating the case.
Three people arrested in Philadelphia after mentally handicapped persons found shackled www.privateofficer.com
The three men and a woman were found by a janitor chained to a water heater, in a 15-by-15-foot room, locked behind a steel door. All were malnourished, said Officer Tanya Little, a police spokeswoman.
The female victim is 29, the men 31, 35 and 41; each has the mental capacity of a 10-year-old, police said.
The captives apparently came from Texas, lived for a year with at least one of the captors in West Palm Beach, Fla.; then arrived in Philadelphia around Oct. 4, Lt. Ray Evers, a police spokesman, said late Saturday.
But interviewing the victims was difficult, Evers said, and it was not clear whether Texas was their home or just a stop on their odyssey as prisoners.
“We have no idea who some of these people are,” Evers said.
The three people arrested were a 51-year-old Texas man, taken into custody at the scene, and 50-year-old woman and a 48-year-old man arrested Saturday night. The woman had two relatives who lived in the building, though those relatives did not appear to know anything about the four prisoners in what Evers described as “a dungeon.”
The names of those arrested were not released until they were formerly charged, Evers said. Charges included kidnapping, conspiracy, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment.
“We’re going to find every crime possible in the crime code to put on these individuals,” Evers said. That could include federal crimes for kidnapping across state lines, and the FBI is involved, he said.
The discovery was made about 10:40 a.m. in the 4700 block of Longshore Avenue.
Little said Northeast Detectives and the Police Department’s Special Victims Unit in the investigation.
The four were taken to Aria Health Frankford, where they were being fed and evaluated, Little said.
They were in stable condition, Little said, though they suffered from malnutrition.
“The conditions they were living in were deplorable,” she said. “It was not good.”
Evers said the room included buckets for urine and feces.
Early Saturday evening, neighbors in the city’s Tacony section gathered across the street from the two-story apartment building, which has a tan stucco facade and six doorbells at the front entrance.
A police officer stood in the doorway, allowing residents to enter and exit, while other officers cordoned off the front of the building.
Neighbors said officials also removed two small dogs that appeared also to be malnourished.
Shirley Kramer, who lives a block from the apartment building, said one of the people taken from the building had been removed on a stretcher and placed in an ambulance.
“I never knew what was going on here. You can’t believe stuff like this,” Kramer said as children rode bicycles and scooters on the sidewalk across from the apartment building.
Inside the building, residents peeked out first-floor windows at police and TV news teams steps away from the entrance.
Joan Sendef, who lives several blocks away, said she heard that police had come to the building because of a landlord-tenant dispute.
“You think you’ve seen it all,” Sendef said. “When it lands in your front door, it’s really heartbreaking. It’s so sad; these are human beings.”
ASHLAND KY Oct 17 2011— The Boyd County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating two armed robberies that occurred Saturday morning in Ashland.
According to a report from the sheriff’s department, a man who was described as having short dark hair, dark facial hair and a lime green bicycle, attempted to rob two people on Saturday morning.
First, the man stuck a gun in the face of a carrier for the Lexington Herald, and the victim fled the scene and called 911 from a BP station on old U.S. 60. About 20 minutes later, 911 reported a call about a security guard at Kentucky Electric Steel, who said a man tried to rob him at gunpoint.
This victim said the man asked if he could come inside the guard shack to warm up and that after a brief conversation, he pulled out a handgun and said, “Give me pills or money.” The security guard was able to knock the gun out of the man’s hand and dislodge a round. The man, who the victim said appeared to be “on drugs,” fled the scene. Both victims said the man had on a blue hoodie and blue sweat pants at the time of the attempted robberies.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department at 606-739-5135.
Julie and Rob Leskun, of Chicago, were on a day hike when they found 64-year-old Trail Coordinator James Proctor lying in the middle of the trail Friday, according to Lt. Steve Alexander.
They called for help and began CPR. Medics arrived but were unable to revive him.
Proctor was pronounced dead at the scene. Alexander said there was no indication of foul play.
PORTLAND OR Oct 17 2011 — A Portland woman missing for more than a week was found dead Saturday, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office announced.
Lidiya Dmitriyevna Russu, 47, was last heard from October 6 in Portland, according to Sgt. James Rhodes with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. She was reported missing to Portland police the following day.
Members of the Clackamas Co. Search and Rescue Team responded Saturday to the report that a body was found below a cliff in the woods near Estacada, according to Sgt. James Rhodes. He later confirmed it was Russu.
Background: Bad weather halts search for Portland woman
A crew of about 25 friends and family members had gathered to search for her that morning.
Her body was found off of U.S. Forest Service Road 4610, near the location family members found her car October 8. Foul play was not suspected.
ENGLAND Oct 17 2011 Prisoners are being taken to court in black cabs despite the Government paying a security company £42 million to transport them in secure vans.
Serco, the firm responsible, has used more than 80 private taxis in just six weeks after a new computer programme designed to organise pick-up and drop-off times between jails and courts failed.
In order to get inmates to court prison chiefs were forced to call taxis at the last he delays and computer problems have also led to 900 prisoners being returned to their jails too late at night to gain entry because the gates are shut.
It has meant that Serco has been forced to find police cells to put up prisoners for the night. The total cost could be as much as £300,000 – with some forces charging between £100 and £500 a night to take prisoners into custody.
It is understood at least one court appearance has been cancelled because a taxi turned up too late and the hearing had to be rearranged.
Inmates have been forced to sit between two prison officers while handcuffed in the back of a taxi, raising questions about security.
Last night critics called for an inquiry into the arrangement, which was not approved by the Ministry of Justice beforehand.
Tory MP Patrick Mercer said: ‘A great deal of money has been spent on the Serco contract and the idea that prisoners can be moved around in black cabs and that security can be greatly compromised like this is outrageous.
‘I shall be writing to the Home Secretary calling for an inquiry into how this can be allowed to continue.
‘This undoubtedly calls into question the competence of this company if it thinks this is a sensible way of executing a contract.’
A source at Feltham Young Offenders Institution in South-West London, where seven black cab journeys have been made, said: ‘The use of black taxis to transport prisoners is becoming a regular occurrence and there are lots of questions as to why this is happening.
‘We cannot see why a company that has been awarded a multi-million-pound contract cannot sort out proper and secure transportation.
‘It seems absolutely ridiculous that inmates – violent or otherwise – are being moved about in taxis. The feeling is that the contract has been waved through with undue haste and Serco is making it up as it goes along.’
Serco admits it has used taxis at prisons across London and the South-East of England.
Under the terms of the contract signed off by the Ministry of Justice, Serco must provide two prison officers when escorting ‘non-violent’ offenders to court.
The contract, which was signed in March this year, came into force on August 31. It is valued at £42 million a year for seven years, with the possibility of being extended to ten years.
Similar contracts for other parts of England and Wales were awarded to GEOAmey, a joint venture between US prison operator GEO and Amey, which is owned by Ferrovial, the Spanish owner of the UK airports operator BAA.
GEOAmey has also suffered major problems after taking on the role. It discovered that some of its vans were too low to clear a ramp to cells – forcing a prisoner to finish the journey on foot.
When a GEOAmey van arrived at Bristol Crown Court, drivers found it could not be driven down the court entrance to the holding cells because the vans do not have enough ground clearance to use the ramp inside the building.
The Ministry of Justice said the new arrangements will save the Government more than £250 million a year as the new computer system should make the transportation of prisoners more efficient.
A spokesman for Serco said: ‘The security and safety of prisoners remains our top priority at all times.
‘In co-operation with HM Courts and Tribunals Service, the National Offender Management Service and the police, we are working to resolve the current operational issues and restore the service to the standard of efficiency which we, our customers and the public expect.’
Seattle WA Oct 17 2011 A Kent couple pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to a 20-year disability fraud scheme where they illegally collected more than $320,000.
Ronnie George, 49, and Nancy Stone, 45, defrauded the Social Security Administration and state social welfare programs, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office media release.
The two face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines for Social Security fraud, when they are sentenced Jan. 19 by U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly. They also will be ordered to pay restitution of more than $320,000.
According to the plea agreement, beginning in 1990, George posed as mentally disabled in order to obtain Social Security benefits. On his application materials, George claimed his friends took care of his daily needs such as dressing, shopping and cooking. He indicated on the form that he “watched Sesame Street” and played with toys such as “my cars and cowboys and G.I. Joes.”
In 1999, the couple again filled out affirmations that George was disabled. Stone claimed the George could not work or drive. In 2009, George filed another form claiming he had “never worked.”
In April 2010, at an interview with a Social Security Administration representative, the couple misrepresented their relationship, claiming that Stone was a caregiver, not George’s common-law wife, and that George had never worked.
In fact, while claiming disability, George and Stone ran a successful business buying and selling vehicles and RVs. George purchased vehicles at auctions, worked on them mechanically, and negotiated sales with buyers.
In addition to fraudulently collecting more than $139,000 in Social Security disability benefits between 1990 and July 2011, the couple also illegally collected medical, housing and caregiver benefits.
Stone was paid more than $150,000 by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, also known as DSHS, based on the couple’s representations that Stone was a caregiver for the supposedly disabled George. The couple also collected more than $10,000 from DSHS for George’s medical bills.
Between January 2010 and July 2011, they collected another $14,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for housing assistance to which they were not entitled.
George and Stone were arrested June 24.
ATLANTA GA Oct 17 2011– Police are checking to see if four suspects arrested after a smash and grab may be responsible for similar crimes that have plagued the metro area in the past several months.
Surveillance video from inside the Sandy’s Hair Care Company on Sydney Marcus Blvd. around 2am Saturday shows four burglars breaking the front door glass, filling their arms with boxes of hair extensions and running out. Each package retails for as much as a $100 dollars so within sixty seconds they were in and out with their hands full of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.
Moments later they broke into the Scottish Tobacco cigar shop next door.
Smash and grabs have become common place around Atlanta, especially at beauty supply stores. Most cases remain unsolved because the thieves are usually long gone by the time police arrive.
Not in this case.
Atlanta Police Captain Van Hobbs credits a vigilant off duty officer who was working a second job at the Waffle House across from the stores being burglarized.
“He saw the vehicle pull into the parking lot and heard a loud bang when they knocked the glass out of the front doors. He came out to confront the individuals and called for backup,” said Capt. Hobbs.
Two of the suspects drove off in the car, but didn’t get very far. A patrolman was right behind them when they crashed a few blocks down the road. The driver ran off but the passenger suffered a broken leg and was arrested.
Meantime, the off duty officer caught the three of thieves who tried to run.
The suspects arrested were 19 year old Michael Briddy who suffered the broken leg and 18 year old Jenard Gaines.
The two others arrested are juveniles.
Police say the suspects had taken 93 packages of hair extensions valued at approximately $13,000 and 15 cartons of cigarettes from the Scottish Tobacco Store. All the merchandise was returned.
One suspect remains at large.
The commission’s policy is to devote up to 1 percent of the budget for voter-approved, sales tax-funded construction projects to art.
A planned new jail is part of a SPLOST passed by voters last November.
Local art has been purchased and placed in other public buildings, but some commissioners question whether a jail should be included.
“We’ve had police officers in our community that haven’t had any raises in the last few years and I think in this particular environment spending any money at all would be a difficult thing to do,” Commissioner Andy Herod told 11 Alive News.
The SPLOST funds couldn’t be used for salaries since voters approved them only for construction, but Herod said they might be used on other public buildings.
Commissioner Kelly Girtz agrees that $250,000 is too much for jail art, but he thinks about $50,000 would still be appropriate.
“There are hundreds of people who’ve got to work in this facility and who’re visiting this facility every day and we also recognize that as the support for our local artist community, we wanted to include some of their work in our public buildings,” Girtz added.
The commission is scheduled to vote on plans for the jail Nov. 1, including whether to add art.
Source:Alanta 11 News
Temecula CA Oct 17 2011 Thomas Allen, 43, from Oceanside and David Alan Roll, 49, from Fallbrook were arrested about 6:10 a.m., while deputies were investigating a theft at the casino that had occurred Friday, a sergeant said.
Sheriff’s deputies investigating a theft at the Pechanga Casino collared two suspects when they returned to the scene of the crime, a sergeant said.
Deputies shortly after 6 a.m. went to the casino, 45000 Pechanga Parkway, because security there said that one of the suspects from a theft that ocurred Friday had reappeared on the reservation, sheriff’s Sgt. Will Edwards said.
The suspect was identified as 43-year-old Oceanside resident Thomas Paul Allen.
As deputies were sorting Allen out, casino security officers advises them that a second suspect was headed their way. Deputies collared a suspect who provided a false name but was later identified as David Roll, 49, of Fallbrook.
“As deputies were detaining Roll, he began to pull away from the deputies in an attempt to flee,” Edwards wrote in a released statement.
During a brief struggle, Pechanga Casino security officers helped deputies detain Roll.
During the struggle, a loaded gun dropped from his waistband, Edwards said.
Preliminary investigation revealed that Roll has an outstanding felony warrant out of San Diego for a weapons and explosive charge and is a convicted felon, according to the sergeant.
Roll was booked into the county jail for his warrant, along with suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a loaded or concealed firearm and for resisting arrest.
Roll was being held on no bail and Allen — he was booked for allegedly carrying a loaded firearm in public — was released on bond for $5,000 bail, pending a court date of Dec. 9.
No court date was set for Roll.
The theft investigation is ongoing.
The deputy involved in the grapple was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries, Edwards said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Southwest Station at 951-696-3000.