Abbotsford WI March 5 2012 One firefighter was killed and three others injured when the Abby Theatre roof collapsed while they where extinguishing a fire in the building located in downtown Abbotsford.
According to a news report published by WSAW-TV, a television station in Wausau, Wis., the Clark County Coroner announced Sunday evening that one of the firefighters had died from injuries received while fighting the fire.
The fire started at about 12:30 Sunday afternoon, according to the Marshfield News Herald, a local newspaper published in the region.
All four injured firefighters were initially transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, according to the newspaper, Three of the firefighters were transported by ground ambulance and one by helicopter. The condition of the three surviving firefighters is not known and none of their identities have been released according to news reports.
The Marshfield newspaper reported the owner of the historic theater was checking the building’s furnace at about 10:30 a.m. and saw nothing wrong. Two hours later, the fire which nearly destroyed the building was reported.
According to the Marshfield Herald, the theater, which opened in 1949, sustained substantial fire and smoke damage, including the collapsed roof.
Fire departments in Abbotsford, Colby, Dorchester and Owen-Withee-Curtis were on the scene and about 35 firefighters fought the blaze, according to the newspaper.
Memphis, TN March 5 2012 An off duty Memphis Police Officer was struck by a vehicle while trying to stop shoplifters.
This happened at the Nike Factory Store in Whitehaven around 4:00p.m. Sunday afternoon.
MPD Spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said an officer working as a security guard at the store spotted the suspects and tried to apprehend them. That’s when another officer who was shopping at the store tried to help. He was run over by the suspects.
That officer has been taken to The MED in stable condition.
No suspects have been arrested at this time.
PASCAGOULA, MS March 5 2012 - WLOX has learned family members found murdered in their Jefferson Davis County home are relatives of a Pascagoula firefighter. The bodies of Arvin Smith, 80, Maxine Smith, 74, and their son Roland Smith, 48, were discovered early Friday.
Will Hunter, President of the Pascagoula Firefighters Association, told WLOX that Pascagoula firefighter Rocky Smith of Moss Point is the son and brother of the victims. Hunter said their wake will take place Sunday night in Prentiss with the funeral set for Monday morning.
He said fellow firefighters will meet early on Monday to travel to the funeral to support Rocky. Afterwards, they will help him to clean out his parents home. Hunter said Rocky and a surviving brother need to try to sell the house to cover expenses. Hunter said only Arvin Smith had life insurance and the Smith family is struggling to find money to cover funeral costs for Maxine and Roland Smith. Hunter said he is in the process of trying to set up a benefit bank account.
Officials said Rocky Smith is a 20 year veteran of the Pascagoula fire department. He has two daughters and several grandchildren.
“Our thoughts, prayers and hearts go out to him,” said Will Hunter. “We’ll be by his side throughout this process and do whatever we can to raise funds to take care of his loved ones.”
Hunter said Roland Smith also served as a Pascagoula firefighter around 1999.
Meanwhile, Jefferson Davis County investigators said some suspects are being interviewed. Jeff Davis Coroner Jim Slater said an autopsy late Friday confirmed that all three died from multiple gunshots. Tolar said authorities are trying to determine a motive.
A cousin of Arvin Smith said she called police from her home across the street after hearing gunshots and seeing muzzle flashes. WDAM-TV in Hattiesburg reported that Arvin and Maxine were killed with a shotgun while their son Roland was killed with an assault riffle.
Anyone with information is urged to call 601-792-5169.
Nashville TN March 5 2012 Nashville’s popular 12South restaurant Burger Up was closed Saturday in the wake of the suicide of one of its founders.
Restaurateur Michael Pontes died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after vandalizing the restaurant early Saturday morning, said Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron.
Pontes co-founded the the popular restaurant, which opened at the corner of 12th and Paris in Nashville in May 2010, with his wife Miranda Whitcomb Pontes. Aaron said police were told the couple was divorcing.
Aaron said police were called to the restaurant just after 4 a.m., and said evidence showed the death was a suicide.
Additional details about the death and the restaurant’s plans for reopening were scarce Saturday.
Brown paper hung across the restaurant’s windows to cover up graffiti on the windows. A man who answered the door of the restaurant declined to comment.
Miranda Pontes could not be reached by phone for comment.
A second Burger Up location in Cool Springs, which opened Nov. 2011, was also closed on Saturday.
Shortly after 12:30 p.m., the following post was made on BurgerUp’s Twitter account: “The world lost a beautiful soul early this morning. @BurgerUP will reopen someday. Until then, with love.”
Burger Up opened with a mission to source the restaurant with local food such as Triple L Ranch beef from Williamson County. It quickly became a neighborhood favorite and one of Nashville’s most popular. It has been featured outside of Nashville in Elle magazine and other publications.
Miranda Pontes’ first endeavor in the 12th South neighborhood was the Frothy Monkey coffee shop, which she opened in 2004 and later sold to long-time Frothy Monkey employee Ryan Pruitt.
MUNCIE IN March 5 2012 – An alleged melee between state excise police officers and patrons of a downtown Muncie music hall led to three arrests early Friday.
Preliminarily charged with battery to a police officer are Carthel Dupree Wills, 18; Brandon Lee Farmer, 19, and Bryce Renee Redwine.
The alleged incident began around 1 a.m. Friday at Doc’s Music Hall, 215 S. Walnut, according to a probable cause affidavit. Indiana State Excise Police officers Cory Brainard and Brandon Thomas were working inside the business when a male subject who was being asked by a security guard to leave reportedly refused to do so.
As Thomas began to escort the man out of the business, he continued to resist orders, according to the report. The officer and the patron both fell to the ground as Thomas attempted to place him in handcuffs.
At that point, according to police, Wills, Farmer and Redwine “began to jump in to fight Officer Thomas” off the man. Officer Brainard, who repeatedly told the trio he and Thomas were law enforcement officers, then made an unsuccessful attempt to pull them off Thomas.
“None of the subjects stopped and continued striking Officer Thomas in the face and head,” Brainard wrote.
Wills, Farmer and Redwine were each eventually taken into custody; Thomas, meanwhile, was taken to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, where he received treatment for his injuries.
Friday morning’s incident came during the fourth week of an Indiana State Excise Police pilot program targeted at curbing underage drinking problems at or near Ball State University.
Since its inception Feb. 6, the Intensified College Enforcement — or ICE — program has resulted in more than 70 excise police citations in Muncie.
Local court records reflect no prior charges or convictions for Wills, Farmer or Redwine.
BINGHAM NY March 5 2012 – A former co-coordinator of a regional ambulance service who asked for additional town money for the organization in January was recently charged with stealing money from the service and fired by the board of directors.
Laurie Laweryson, 50, of North Anson, faces a felony theft charge for allegedly using the Upper Kennebec Valley Ambulance Service’s gas card between July and January to buy about $2,000 worth of fuel for her personal use, according to Maine State Police Trooper Chris Crawford.
The seven-person ambulance service board voted in public session to fire Laweryson after deliberating in a closed-door meeting on Feb. 13, according to Donna Dickstein, the president of the board.
Laweryson was summoned the next day on a charge of class C theft, Crawford said.
Efforts to reach Laweryson by phone and email were unsuccessful.
The criminal investigation, paired with a continuing financial crisis at the ambulance service, has caused the board of directors to re-evaluate the organizational structure and money management of the service. It provides emergency care to Bingham, Moscow, Caratunk, West Forks, The Forks and Pleasant Ridge plantations and the surrounding unorganized territories.
The communities each approved more funding, totaling about $30,000, for the ambulance service at special town meetings in early January because, Laweryson said at the time, the organization did not have enough money to operate until March, which is when the communities approve their annual budgets.
In addition to the approximately $30,000 extra to get the ambulance service through the first months of 2012, it is now requesting significantly more money to continue through the year.
It’s asking the towns for a total of $227,640 to operate in 2012, up from a total of $120,000 in 2011, Dickstein said.
The $277,640 would be added to a projected $150,000 in insurance reimbursements and other revenue, Dickstein said.
Bingham residents will be the first to vote on the ambulance service’s requested amount at Town Meeting on Monday. The service is seeking $94,459 from Bingham, which is more than double the $38,130 approved by voters last year, according to the town warrant.
Dickstein said that the board “understands the concerns citizens would have,” in being asked to vote for more money for the ambulance service at town meetings.
“There’s not a lot we can say about that because a lot of it was in executive session,” she said.
The investigation began when the board of directors told state police that someone was using the agency’s diesel card to buy gasoline at the Irving station in Bingham, Crawford said. The board questioned why there were receipts for gas — about three to four transactions per month — when the ambulances only require diesel.
“They had no idea who was doing it, and they reported to us. After a lengthy investigation, I interviewed Laurie, and she admitted to stealing the gas,” Crawford said.
In the last few weeks, the ambulance service has reorganized positions, is rewriting its bylaws and is in the process of an audit, Dickstein said.
She said that, aside from the fuel card use, they haven’t found any money missing.
Laweryson’s sister and the former bookkeeper of the ambulance service, Natalie Abraham, resigned about three months ago, citing personal reasons. After that, the agency switched to having a board treasurer and secretary handle the finances and write checks, Dickstein said.
“There will be more board supervision of the finances,” she said, in addition to more oversight of the use of fuel cards.
On Tuesday, Abraham confirmed that she resigned for personal reasons. “I just didn’t have time,” she said.
Though the board recently considered bidding out services to another ambulance agency, Dickstein said it wants to continue to improve and maintain the current ambulance service.
“We certainly need to make some changes,” she said, but “we want it to be a local ambulance, a community ambulance that would be accessible to everybody.”
Between 2008 and 2011, the ambulance service has seen a 7 percent decrease in emergency calls and a 59 percent decrease in the number of non-emergency calls, all resulting in less income, according to the service’s records.
In addition to a decrease in calls, the number of patients without insurance has increased; and the cost of fuel, supplies and payroll has increased.
The ambulances serve people across a wide area — approximately 375 square miles — so there needs to be local emergency care, Dickstein said. Otherwise people needing assistance will have to wait for medics to arrive from as far away as Skowhegan.
Women with dagger gets by Security personnel at John F. Kennedy International Airport www.privateofficer.com
NEW YORK, NY March 5 2012 – Scanners in the JetBlue screening area at a New York airport were closed for several hours after a woman went through with a dagger in a bag, officials said.
Federal security officials called police, who arrested Gabrielle Olsen, 26, of New York, on a weapon-possession charge Saturday about 10 minutes after they were notified, the New York Post reported Sunday.
Security personnel at John F. Kennedy International Airport initially stopped her for having a bottle of liquid in her bag, confiscating the bottle but overlooking the antique knife, police said.
It wasn’t until after she left the security check area that the knife was identified on a screening machine’s X-ray, the Post said. The screening area was closed for about two hours.
Police said Olsen told them that her father, an antiques dealer, gave the dagger to her for protection.
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY Fla March 5 2012 — Authorities found almost $4,500 worth of stolen clothing in a car after they stopped two women suspected of shoplifting from Victoria’s Secret and Express at the Indian River Mall on Thursday, according to affidavits.
The lingerie store, in the 6200 block of 20th Street, Vero Beach, has been the target of shoplifters for several years. The criminals grab thousands of dollars worth of unmentionables with each effort, law enforcement officials said. Typically, the suspects go unnoticed and are not apprehended.
On Thursday, however, two loss prevention managers for Victoria’s Secret were at the store and saw Nancy Bermudez, 63, of Davie and Marcella Duran, 40, of Miami shoplifting. The staff followed the women as they left the building and passed on their vehicle information to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies stopped the women in a white Hyundai in the 8200 block of 20th, according to affidavits. Inside the car, deputies found 183 clothing items from Victoria’s Secret and 44 from Express, the affidavits state. Much of the merchandise still had anti-theft tags on them, but deputies said the women used leather bags lined with aluminum foil to avoid setting off alarms.
Bermudez and Duran were charged with retail theft in concert with others and possession of two anti-shoplifting devices. Duran also was charged with having no driver’s license. She was being held at the Indian River County Jail in lieu of $20,500 bail, while Bermudez was being held in lieu of $20,000.
Winona MN March 5 2012 One of the two young Winona men accused of robbing the Winona Walmart store was found guilty Friday and was sentenced in a separate case to 18 months in prison.
Dylan Thomas Bundy, 16, offered an Alford plea in Winona County District Court on a single charge of simple robbery — aiding and abetting. The plea, made in adult court, means Bundy admits no wrongdoing but acknowledges a jury would likely convict him.
In testimony Friday, Bundy said he and Dylan John Michael Distad, 18, who has also been charged in the incident, were in Walmart at the time of the robbery.
He identified himself and Distad in a store security video, time-stamped 6:09 p.m., that showed him purchasing a bottle of Mountain Dew. The video showed Distad move behind the cashier while the transaction took place. When the cash
drawer opened, Distad was seen pushing the cashier aside while he stuffed the contents of the cash drawer into a backpack he carried.
Further security video, time-stamped at 6:10 p.m. shows Bundy and Distad leaving the store together.
Moments later, a Winona police officer spotted the two north of the store in the parking lot and ordered them to stop. Bundy complied. Distad fled, only to be captured a short time later.
When asked about witnesses who told investigators they had overheard Bundy and Distad plotting a robbery, Bundy testified that the two of them “often talked about a lot of illegal things, idiotic things” they never followed through on.
Sentencing is set for April 2.
Earlier Friday at a separate appearance, Bundy’s probation on a prior robbery charge was revoked, and he was ordered to serve 18 months in prison for his role in the robbery of a pizza delivery driver in September 2011.
Holiday Shores IL March 5 2012 An employee of First National Bank of Staunton in Holiday Shores was arrested Thursday and accused of stealing $37,000 from a local grocery store, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.
Jamie L. Gajewski, 29, of 1211 Nassau Drive in Holiday Shores, was charged with felony theft over $10,000 for stealing from Behme’s Market, 7180 St. James Drive, court documents state. The thefts occurred from January 2011 to January 2012.
Gajewski could not be reached for comment.
Behme’s Market owner contacted the sheriff’s department Feb. 27 to tell deputies he suspected Gajewski stole more than $30,000 from his business account, according to the sheriff’s department and court documents. Robert Behme declined to comment for this story.
Gajewski would steal the market’s deposits before they were entered into the appropriate account, Capt. Mike Dixon said.
Last month, another of the bank’s employees, teller Lori A. Surgant, 51, of 1812 Sextant Drive, was charged with stealing more than $7,000 from the bank, according to the sheriff’s department.
Surgant allegedly stole the money from Nov. 1 to Jan. 20. The thefts were reported Jan. 26 by the bank.
Although the tellers knew each other, there is no indication at this point that the thefts were connected, Dixon said.
“It’s very unusual,” he said. “The first theft brought about the investigation into the second theft.”
The bank is cooperating with the investigations, and there is no indication that any other employee had anything to do with the thefts, Dixon said. A bank manager did not immediately return a call for comment.
The stolen money has not been recovered in either case, Dixon said.
Surgant is scheduled to appear Monday in circuit court. Gajewski posted a cash bond for her $60,000 bail shortly after she was arrested.
LAKE FOREST CA March 5 2012 – A woman wearing only a sweatshirt and underwear was taken into custody after she was seen stuffing items from a bicycle store into her clothes Monday evening, authorities said.
Deputies were called to the store as she continued to grab items, said Lt. Roland Chacon of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The woman was also asking where her pants were.
Authorities were called to the store along the 21000 block of Bake Parkway at 7:10 p.m. after the woman walked into the store without her pants.
Deputies were able to handcuff the woman and place her in the back of a patrol car, but the woman squirmed in the backseat to move her handcuffed hands in front of her, Chacon said.
Deputies were able to calm her down and she was taken to Saddleback Hospital in Laguna Hills for a psychological evaluation, Chacon said.
The woman’s name and age were not immediately available.
MILLERSBURG OH March 5 2012 – A local doctor has been arrested and charged with shoplifting from a village grocery store.
Dr. William Michael Cox, 55, of 647 Bob White Lane, Millersburg, is charged in Holmes County Municipal Court with a misdemeanor count of theft following a Feb. 20 incident at Rodhe’s IGA SuperCenter.
Employees of the Glen Drive business first saw a man filling plastic bags with merchandise in his shopping cart. He was observed leaving with two full bags without checking out, and after management reviewed video footage to confirm the man had failed to pay for the items, although he did purchase a lottery ticket at the service counter, police were called, said Millersburg Police S. Thomas Vaughn.
Vaughn said one of the store employees recognized Cox from Pomerene Hospital.
Later interviewed by police, Cox said he had no recollection of that day, said Vaughn, who, after reviewing the surveillance tape said Cox appears to have left the store without passing through the checkout, and he is seen putting chicken into the cart.
Hospital CEO Tony Snyder said Cox is a member of the medical staff and has privileges to practice anesthesia at Pomerene, however he works for a private group, Tri-County Anesthesia, with which the hospital contracts for services.
“I heard he was having some difficulties; I don’t need to know the details,” said Snyder, noting, “In terms of privileges, he’s been charged, but that doesn’t affect his privileges and it’s up to his employer as far as (his work) assignment (at the hospital).”
“It doesn’t impact our work here at the hospital,” said Snyder, adding that even a subsequent conviction, however, “would reflect on him, but may not affect his privileges.”
“We have 325 employees, all dedicated to serving our community. We have more than 30 physicians on our staff, all loyal to the community. They’re dedicated to quality patient care. We’re doing it today, we did it yesterday and we’ll do it tomorrow,” said Snyder, adding, “We wish Dr. Cox swift disposition of his problems.”
It is not the first time Cox has had theft charges brought against him. In 2008, he was convicted of two counts of theft in Massillon Municipal Court. He was sentenced to a total of one year in jail, with all but one day suspended, and ordered to pay fines totaling $1,250. He also was ordered to participate in psychological counseling as a condition of probation.
He is expected to be arraigned next week.
Rocky Mount NC March 5 2012 A 13-year-old bystander was treated and released from Nash General Hospital after being grazed in the leg by a bullet during a Saturday night shooting at Golden East Crossing mall.
Rocky Mount police Lt. Tim Mehus said the unidentified boy was likely just another one of several hundred people shopping when at least five gunshots were fired around 7:20 p.m. Saturday in the hallway near Bath & Body Works.
“We had just gone in a jewelry store when we heard five or six gunshots and saw people running and screaming,” shopper Sharon Henderson said. “The store owner started closing the gate, and we got on our knees behind the counter.”
Rocky Mount police Capt. Martin McCoy said two groups of teenagers had an argument and when one group started to leave, one of the teenagers from the other group started firing a medium-sized handgun at the other group. One of the bullets reportedly shattered the display window at Victoria’s Secret, and police have recovered five shell casings, he said.
Police said a witness described the shooter as a 16- or 17-year-old black man wearing a red hat and a black T-shirt.
Shoppers said most of the store owners immediately lowered their security gates and locked their stores down once the gunshots rang out.
“After we arrived and took command, we insisted all of the store owners go into lock down in order to maintain security,” McCoy said. “We did a sweep to ensure the shooter or shooters were not on site.”
McCoy said a Nash County Sheriff’s deputy and two off-duty Rocky Mount police officers were working part-time security at the mall when the shooting occurred. Within about 20 to 30 minutes of the gunfire, police evacuated the mall and closed it to investigate the incident. McCoy said the surveillance footage of the mall has been seized, and authorities are reviewing the video.
The shooting is the second in recent history at the mall. In December 2009, Risheen Robinson fired at a group of teenagers near Best Buy. No one was injured in that shooting. Robinson was convicted in 2010 of four misdemeanor counts of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the 2009 shooting.
Anyone with information in the Saturday night shooting is asked to contact the police department at 972-1411 or Crime Stoppers at 977-1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Beach VA March 5 2012 Virginia State Police said a Virginia Beach man stabbed two firefighters after a single car accident early Sunday morning.
The accident happened in the 12000 block of Lankford Highway in Hallwood, Accomack County. Police said the man’s 1999 Honda ran off the road and struck a tree around 6:40 a.m.
When firefighters responded to the scene they said the man, identified as Bradley Colas, 23, became irate and stabbed two of the firefighters.
Then, police said he pulled out a firearm and started shooting at the fire and rescue personnel on the scene. He tried to walk away from the scene, but was stopped by state troopers, police said. He was brought to Eastern Shore Memorial and is behind held for medical observation. The incident is under investigation.
The condition of the firefighters is unknown.