AURORA, Colo. March 11 2012– A vault worker at an Aurora armored car company said he took $50,000, but his plan to gamble with it, keep the winnings and return the cash backfired.
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” said Shane Marquardt, 23, of Lakewood. “I thought I needed it more than they did, and now I’m paying the price.”
For the past two years, Marquardt said, he had been a model employee for Loomis Armored in Aurora, working as a vault manager.
He said the company had no idea his gambling addiction had gotten out of control, and that he was about to lose everything.
Marquardt spoke to 7NEWS reporter Jaclyn Allen from inside the Adams County Jail, where he said he has plenty of time to think about how he got there.
On Thursday, Feb. 9, he said that he realized he didn’t have enough money to pay his bills after his paycheck was garnished by creditors.
“I was paying my bills with my credit cards and using my cash to gamble,” said Marquardt. “Push came to shove, and I thought I had found a way out.”
At Loomis Armored, he said, he had access to large sums of money and a brief window of opportunity. He said he made a plan on Feb. 9 and carried it out the next day.
“I had it in my brain how I could make it work, all the way down to which bag I could take in particular to where it could work where I could put it back,” said Marquardt.
Court records obtained by 7NEWS state that Marquardt was seen on video putting $50,000 in his cargo pants pocket when he was alone for about 10 seconds in the vault.
Then, Marquardt said, he went to Blackhawk, going to one casino after another to gamble with the stolen cash.
His plan, he said, had been to keep the winnings from blackjack and other games, but put back the $50,000 before anyone noticed it was missing.
“I can’t even tell you how I lost that much money in two days with $100 betting limit,” said Marquardt. “I went from casino to casino so no one would get suspicious.”
He said he didn’t sleep that Friday, Saturday or Sunday night, gambling every night.
Records show when Loomis managers called him about the missing money that Monday, he confessed, handing over what was left, only $5,300.
He has been arrested on felony theft charges.
“I feel terrible,” said Marquardt. “I have disappointed so many people. This has taken everything from me. So, it’s definitely the biggest mistake in my life. But I intend to take responsibility. I will pay restitution and do what I need to do to be a good citizen.”
Marquardt said he started gambling when he turned 21, and the addiction has destroyed his life. He hopes his story serves as a cautionary tale.
Records show he sometimes gambled with another Loomis employee, and Marquardt owed that person $400 for gambling loans.
“People always go up there thinking they can turn it into more than it is, and it never happens,” he said.
He said he plans to plead guilty, take responsibility for his actions and contact Gamblers Anonymous.
Loomis Armored did not respond to the 7NEWS request for comment.
FARMINGTON, N.M. March 11 2012—A new television show that follows Navajo Nation police officers as they patrol the reservation’s 17 million-plus acres is set to hit the airwaves.
“Navajo Cops” premieres Monday evening on the National Geographic Channel and features some of the tribal department’s 330 men and women on patrol.
The show follows officers as they provide services and respond to calls across the sprawling reservation. About 180,000 residents live on the nation’s largest Indian reservation, which extends across parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. The officers have to balance modern law enforcement with ancient customs.
“I think one of the most eye-opening things for us was that, if you live in a big city, you’re used to police officers having partners, working in pairs,” show producer and director Sam Dolan told the Farmington Daily Times ( http://bit.ly/zjdK9x). “On Navajo, they’re out there by themselves. There could be 50 miles in between officers. They make huge sacrifices, and it’s a very dangerous job.”
The show is a joint effort between the Navajo Division of Public Safety and Flight 33 Productions.
The days are relentless, Dolan said. The Navajo police force, chronically understaffed and overworked, faces giant obstacles in terms of geography and manpower.
After a pilot episode aired in May, Flight 33 Productions got the green light to produce six more episodes. Crews filmed officers at work in some of the bigger communities on the reservation, including Shiprock and Crownpoint in New Mexico, and Window Rock, Kayenta, Chinle and Tuba City, Ariz., Dolan said. Filming took place during the summer and early autumn.
“We went pretty much everywhere on the Navajo Nation,” he said. “We did work in most of the police districts.”
The film crew rode with about 30 officers, Dolan said, but the show focuses on half a dozen men and women. Those officers allowed cameras into their personal lives, as well.
Although the episodes follow police action on the reservation, including murder, suicide, rape, domestic violence, drugs, gangs and prostitution, Dolan hopes the personal stories also touch viewers.
“These officers go to work every day to preserve their traditions, their cultures,” he said. “They know the people they are policing, they know who they are interacting with. Even though the reservation is very busy for a cop, it has a small-town feel.”
The Navajo Film Office wanted to educate the public about the tribal officers’ work, said Lorie Lee, former media production specialist for the film office. Lee worked with the filming crew during the two years it was scouting for locations and producing the show.
“The main emphasis was that they wanted to shadow and have the officers be documented and have their (stories) told,” Lee said of the production company. “The officers wanted to know that their stories would be handled from their point of view.”
The film office also wanted the production to show some of the law enforcement issues on the reservation, Lee said.
“This is an insight into Native American country, the terrain, the culture, the language,” she said of the show. “This is the positive and negative aspects and the social ills that everyone knows exist, but that they are not quite able to understand until they see it.”
Navajo officers deal with unique challenges, such as lack of street signs, inconsistent backup and areas where their radios don’t have signals, Lee said. Another interesting part of the Navajo force is that more women than men work as officers, she said.
MILTON, Del. March 11 2012 (AP) — A Delaware woman has been charged with threatening to blow up an elementary school.
Police say 48-year-old Lisa Thomas was arrested Friday morning after saying that she would blow up Brittingham Elementary School in Milton.
She was charged with disorderly conduct and felony terroristic threatening.
Police say Thomas entered the school and started cursing and shouting at the staff, and then went outside and threatened to blow up the school. The school was placed on lockdown.
Capt. John Cornwell tells the News Journal of Wilmington (http://delonline.us/zhgvfw ) that Thomas was released on $2,500 unsecured bail and ordered to have no contact with the Cape Henlopen School District.
A phone message left at a listing for Thomas was not immediately returned Saturday.
Santa Cruz Valley AZ March 11 2012
A teacher at Calabasas Middle School in Rio Rico has been arrested on charges that he had inappropriate physical and sexual contact with five students at the school.
Jeffrey G. Lawrence, 50, of Rio Rico, was arrested Thursday and booked into the county jail on three counts of sexual abuse and five counts of aggravated assault, Sheriff Antonio Estrada said. Bond has been set at $500,000 cash.
Rod Rich, superintendent at the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District, said the allegations first surfaced on Thursday afternoon when a female student came to the school office and said she had been inappropriately touched by one of her teachers.
School officials immediately contacted the sheriff’s office, Rich said.
According to Estrada, his investigators learned that several other students allegedly saw Lawrence touch the 12-year-old, seventh-grade student. What’s more, he said, “During the investigation, four additional students came forward and reported similar types of misconduct.“
Estrada said he couldn’t provide more details on the nature of the allegations, but he said all of the alleged victims were 12- and 13-year-old students in the seventh grade.
Investigators also obtained a search warrant for Lawrence’s home, where they seized computer equipment, digital cameras and vehicle, but Estrada said the items were still being examined.
It was not immediately clear if Lawrence has a lawyer.
Rich said school officials plan to send a letter home to parents about the situation early next week.
MONTVILLE NJ March 11 2012 — A former Montville first-grade teacher arrested earlier this week on charges he sexually abused a female student in 2005 was arrested again Friday night on charges he sexually abused another student, according to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.
Jason Fennes, 37, of Bloomfield, was arrested at about 8:30 p.m. at a home in Cranford by members of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes Unit and the Montville Police Department, according to Capt. Jeffrey Paul.
Fennes, formerly of Boonton, was charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. The gender of the child was not released, but Fennes is alleged to have committed the crimes on the student at the William Mason Elementary School during the 2006-2007 school year.
Fennes is being held in the Morris County Correctional Facility in Morris Township.
Fennes, who taught first grade at William Mason, was arrested last Monday on charges of sexually assaulting a female first grader at the school between January and June of 2005.
The prosecutor’s office learned of those accusations in December 2011, according to an affidavit signed by Morris County Prosecutor’s Detective Anne Marie Truppo and filed in Superior Court in Morristown.
Fennes posted $100,000 bail on those charges earlier in the week.
Fennes’ attorney, Juilian Wilsey did not immediately return an email for comment yesterday.
On Wednesday, however, Wilsey told The Star-Ledger his client was the target of false “rumors” spread by a man who sent Fennes’ life “into a tailspin” in 2008 while Finnes was dating the man’s estranged wife.
Wilsey said he doesn’t know whether the man’s alleged harassment of Fennes is related to the criminal charges, but believed there might be a link.
He also said Fennes was investigated by the state Division of Youth and Family Services in 2009 after the unnamed man spread “unfounded allegations” about him. DYFS exonerated Fennes, the attorney said.
Fennes taught in the Montville school district from 1998 until leaving in June 2010, Superintendent Paul Fried has said. He taught first grade at Cedar Hill Prep School in the Somerset section of Franklin Township from September 2010 until Feb. 21, 2012, when he left, principal Donald Seeley said.
Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi is asking anyone with information regarding Fennes to contact his office’s Sex Crimes Unit at (973) 285-6200, the Montville Township Police Department at (973) 257-4300 or the Morris County Crime Stopper Program at (973) COPCALL (267-2255).
Richmond CA March 11 2012 A former Richmond police officer pleaded guilty Friday to buying firearms for young men at his security firm and trying to derail a federal inquiry into the purchase.
Danny Harris, 31, admitted in U.S. District Court in Oakland that he had registered two handguns in his name, sold them to employees of the security business he ran during his off-duty hours, then tried to head off an investigation by forcing one of the men to return the gun.
U.S. District Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said the plea agreement with prosecutors called for Harris to serve no more than three years in prison. The maximum sentence for the charges he faced is 40 years.
Harris will be sentenced June 19 by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken.
He changed his plea from not guilty two days after a former colleague on the Richmond force, Ray Thomas, 34, admitted his role in trying to thwart a federal grand jury’s inquiry into dealings connected to the pair’s side business, Strategic Reliance Group.
Prosecutors said Harris sought in 2009 to arm youthful employees to patrol some of the city’s most dangerous housing complexes.
Harris took $500 from two men, both of whom were under 21, in exchange for guns registered in his name, prosecutors said. Such arrangements, known as straw purchases, are illegal. Federal law also requires gun buyers to be older than 21.
Authorities said that once Harris and Thomas learned a federal investigation was under way, they tried to retrieve one of the guns and retaliate against the young man who refused to give it back.
“He’s sorry for all of it,” said Paul Wolf, Harris’ attorney. “He was under a tremendous amount of pressure from the investigation into him and his business, and he was worried about his job.”
The guilty pleas spare the officers a trial, where prosecutors planned to argue that the men had hired a Concord private investigator to frame their supervisor, whom they believed was responsible for the investigation.
The officers also paid the investigator, Christopher Butler, to arrange the drunken driving arrest of the employee who would not return the gun, prosecutors said.
In court papers, attorneys for Harris disputed the assertion and said Butler and his employees “overreached and went beyond the instructions of their clients.”
Pittsburgh PA March 11 2012
When University of Pittsburgh police officers confronted and killed gunman John Shick in Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, they relied on training they’ve practiced every six months since a deranged student killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007.
“This is what we prepare for and hope it never happens. It happened. I don’t want to think about what could have happened with all those people in there,” Pitt police Chief Tim Delaney said on Friday.
Six officers confronted Shick, 30, of Oakland after he opened fire on Thursday in the hospital lobby. Shick died in a shootout with police after killing a hospital therapist. Six others were wounded by gunfire. Another person was injured in a fall.
Delaney said the officers were under fire as soon as they arrived, about two minutes after 911 dispatchers took frantic phone calls. The officers broke up into two groups of three, which their “active shooter training” taught them. Centering an officer between two others is useful in confined spaces like classrooms, dorms and hallways, Delaney said.
“We’ve trained that way. You have to stop the shooter,” Delaney said.
Shick died of gunshot wounds in the head and chest. Pitt placed the unidentified officers on administrative leave.
“They’re heavy-hearted because it’s not normal to take a life,” Delaney said. “You practice, practice, practice, and you realize if you don’t do that, you’re endangering others.”
A bullet that ricocheted off one officer’s bullet-resistant vest wounded him, Delaney said. Another injured his ankle when he slipped in the lobby.
Two are leaders of the university’s 15-member Special Emergency Response Team, Delaney said. Two to three SERT members work each shift, he said.
“There’s no panic when you train,” Delaney said.
UPMC officials assured staff and employees that they would review security procedures.
“The safety and well-being of our patients and staff always have been and continue to be of utmost importance,” Elizabeth Concordia, UPMC’s president of Hospital and Community Service, said in an internal statement yesterday.
The Pitt police department is the third-largest in Allegheny County with more than 70 officers.
“This violent incident is a stark reminder of the danger that health care workers can face at work,” said Neal Bisno, president of Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania, which represents two of the wounded employees
Sarasota charter school teacher arrested for sexual encounter with a 14-year-old student www.privateofficer.com
SARASOTA Fla March 11 2012 - A teacher at a downtown Sarasota charter school has been arrested on accusations he had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old student seven years ago.
John Garcia has been charged with custodial sexual battery on a child. Sarasota County Sheriff’s deputies say it was inside of his classroom where seven years ago he had sex with one of his female students.
Now he’s suspended from the school and behind bars without bond.
A horrible situation is what the principal at Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences is saying about the arrest of 47-year-old John Garcia, a long-time karate instructor at the school. “The school and the staff will cooperate fully with law enforcement. We certainly are waiting for the results of the investigation. We are going to keep teaching kids and keep everything as safe as possible for our children,” says principal Tara Tahmosh.
Garcia is accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student seven years ago inside of his classroom.
“Whenever there is someone in a position of authority, that takes advantage of a child, it’s offensive to us,” says sheriff’s office spokesperson Wendy Rose.
The victim, who is now 21-years-old, recently came forward by telling her brothers about what happened. Last month, the victim provided a detailed sworn statement to investigators about the incident, saying that Garcia had excused the class and locked the door, fondled the girl, and then had sex with her.
After coming forward, deputies recorded two phone calls between Garcia and the girl. A police report states that during those calls, Garcia made several admissions to having sex with her.
Sheriff’s deputies would not comment if there may be more victims, but they encourage anyone who may know something, to share that information. “Whenever we have this type of information that we can now make available to the public, it’s time for parents and teachers to have conversations with children, to let them know it’s okay to come forward,” says Rose.
The sheriff’s office would not say if Garcia and the girl had sex more than once.
A substitute karate instructor has been hired to take over Garcia’s classes. Students are now on spring break recess, and will return on the 19th.
Parents of students at the school were notified of the arrest via an automated phone message from the principal that went out to every parent after the arrest took place. She explained what happened, and she also said that she and guidance counselors will be available for students to talk to once spring break is over.
Anyone with additional information is encouraged to call Criminal Investigations at 941-861-4900 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS.
Former California Highway Patrol officer sentenced to 50 years in prison for murder of husband www.privateofficer.com
Los Angeles CA March 11 2012 A former California Highway Patrol officer was sentenced Friday to 50 years to life in prison for murdering her husband.
Tomiekia Johnson, 32, slumped over and put her face down toward the defense table as the punishment was announced.
In January, she dramatically collapsed to the courtroom floor when the jury convicted her of the first-degree murder of 31-year-old Marcus Lemons, who was shot in the head while seated on the passenger side of Johnson’s car near a freeway off-ramp on Feb. 21, 2009.
Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry denied a defense motion for a new trial.
“The defendant’s version of the shooting was at variance from the physical evidence,’’ Perry said.
After sentencing, Johnson grimaced as she was led away by sheriff’s deputies, and supporters in the courtroom called out to her and criticized the justice system, according to TV broadcasts of the scene.
Johnson was a CHP officer but was off duty at the time of the killing.
Authorities say that shortly after the couple left a Compton restaurant, Johnson shot Lemons in the head and drove to her parents’ home with the body in the passenger seat.
Johnson claimed they had argued, and Lemons threatened to kill her and began choking her. She testified about a struggle over a purse containing a gun.
“I was scared. I didn’t want to die,’’ she testified. “When I grabbed it tight, it fired.’’
Forensic evidence and testimony from criminalists showed that Johnson fired an intentional contact shot, prosecutors said.
Johnson was sentenced in the same courtroom where a day earlier former Los Angeles police detective Stephanie Lazarus was convicted of murdering the wife of a former lover in 1986. That cold-case prosecution centered on DNA found in a bite mark on the victim.
Marion County MO March 11 2012 A recently terminated Palmyra High School teacher was arrested Friday on charges of statutory rape, statutory sodomy and felony sexual contact with a student while on public school property.
Randall Shephard, 40, of Hannibal, Mo. is in the Marion County Jail on $100,000 bond after his arrest Friday.
The charges involve allegations that Shephard had sexual contact with a 16-year-old Palmyra High School student, according to a release from the Missouri Highway Patrol.
The investigation began Jan. 22 when district officials were notified of the allegations levied against Shephard.
The district placed him on administrative leave and he was officially terminated on Feb. 24.
Shephard spent two years with the Palmyra School District and taught communication arts. He was also an assistant football coach for the varsity football team.
“As soon as we became aware of it, we made sure that he wasn’t around kids,” Superintendent Eric Churchwell said Friday night. “We were looking out for their safety.”
Muscle Shoals AL March 11 2012 Local law enforcement authorities said they left Friday afternoon’s meeting with the vice president of Tennessee Valley Authority security feeling they had just been threatened.
Law enforcement agencies in the Shoals have been asked to assist with responding to emergencies and reports of crimes on TVA property, now that the federal utility has drastically reduced its security operation.
Local authorities met with David Jolley, TVA’s vice president of police and security Friday, to further discuss the issue. And many voiced frustration and concern when they left the meeting at Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville.
“It was strongly emphasized that if we don’t or could not patrol TVA property that the in lieu of tax money that comes to this area would be re-evaluated,” Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan said following the nearly three-hour meeting.
“To me, that’s being threatened,” added Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray.
Representatives from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies throughout north Alabama attended the meeting.
TVA announced two weeks ago it would be eliminate 61 patrol officers, including six supervisors. Six positions in the Shoals are being eliminated, leaving the area with three TVA security employees. TVA plans to use contract security officers to partially offset the losses.
With 2,600 acres on TVA’s Muscle Shoals Reservation and hundreds of acres of TVA property along the Tennessee River in the Shoals, news that patrols were being cut caught local authorities off guard and left them wondering if they would have to patrol what TVA is not patrolling.
Jolley said TVA did not want to be a burden on local authorities, but added they could ask for their help as they have been for years.
Colbert County Commissioner Rex Burleson asked Jolley what would happen if local authorities refused or would not patrol TVA property.
Jolley’s response, according to those in the room, involved the possibility of TVA reviewing the in lieu of tax money that now comes to governments throughout the agency’s seven-state area.
According to TVA records, the agency paid nearly $116 million in lieu of taxes to Alabama in 2011, which includes more than $6 million each to Lauderdale and Colbert counties.
“I don’t think they can do that, but I took it as a threat,” Burleson said.
Colbert County Sheriff Ronnie May said his department does not have the manpower to patrol the TVA-owned property in the county that is outside the reservation.
“I have not changed my stance, which is we will not patrol those areas,” May said.
Much of the meeting between the more than 50 law enforcement representatives and TVA was held after reporters were asked to leave by state Homeland Security and state Emergency Management Agencies officials. The meeting was not considered a public meeting under Alabama’s Open Meetings Law.
Prior to reporters being asked to leave, Jolley said the decision to eliminate the agency’s patrol unit was based on TVA’s finances, which have been on the decline 2007. He said TVA board members made the decision and noted the agency must find ways to be more efficient. Cutting the police force was one of those moves.
He said TVA police would maintain a presence in the area, having an investigator and two inspectors stationed at the reservation in Muscle Shoals.
He added TVA is increasing technology in the security measures.
Jolley said there would be armed contact security guards at Colbert Steam Plant and one at all times patrolling the reservation. He would not answer a question from Rogersville Police Chief Terry Holden about whether those guards would have arrest power.
TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said they would not have arrest power, though. He said the guards can detain someone, and their first call in those situations would be to the investigator or the
Friday’s meeting did not alleviate concerns of most of the law enforcement agents who attended.
“The concerns I had before this meeting, I still have,” Muscle Shoals Police Chief Robert Evans said. “Every department around here could use more manpower, more resources. This will deplete these resources even more.”
Logan said Friday’s meeting was “a waste of time, other than being threatened,”
Ray said the meeting didn’t serve any purpose.
“That’s more than 21/2 hours of my life that I can’t get back,” Ray said.
“I still feel this has been dumped in our laps and we were told to deal with it.”
BALTIMORE MD March 11 2012 – A three-month investigation into a gun and drugs ring culminated with a massive bust by federal and local authorities.
Baltimore City police said its officers and agents from the Department of Homeland Security arrested Ronald van Price Jr., James Keith and Jessica Correa. City police said they started to keep track of the suspects in January through wiretaps after a person was arrested on a handgun charge. Information from the initial arrest spawned the three-month investigation.
Police executed warrants Thursday at four houses in the city, one in Baltimore County, and a storage unit.
Officers seized 16 guns, a large amount of heroin and cash and bulletproof vests worth more than $30,000, police said.
“The commissioner is always talking about getting guns off the street — ‘bad guys with guns off the street’ — and we did just that,” Baltimore City police Detective Donny Moses said.
Moses said the seized items represent “everything that goes hand-in-hand with the drug trade, everything that’s behind and pushing the violence in Baltimore City.”
According to court documents, Keith lived above a dentist’s office on Harford Road in northeast Baltimore. Staff at the office told 11 News he was last seen in January and that he had some suspicious people working for him.
“He just seemed like a really nice guy. I talked to him a couple of times outside,” said Amber Ort, who said she knows Keith. “He had some people working for him, like they were picking up trash outside, and they kind of looked sketchy. So, I thought maybe he was doing something, but never like what we just heard. I never would have thought that.”
Police would not confirm who was arrested first in the case.
Massachusetts credit union arrested for embezzlement said she was victim of extortion www.privateofficer.com
Pittsfield MA March 11 2012 A head teller at a Western Massachusetts credit union has been charged with embezzling $58,000 from her employer after police became suspicious of a story she told claiming that she was the victim of extortion.
Felisa Kazimierczak reportedly told police that she received a note last week threatening her 15-year-old daughter with harm unless the money was delivered, The Berkshire Eagle reports.
Kazimierczak, 43, a head teller at Greylock Federal Credit Union at a branch in Pittsfield, was instructed to place the money in a bag and take it to a specified location, according to a police report. The note also warned her not to call police.
Police were informed of the supposed crime after Kazimierczak allegedly gave the money to the extortionists.
Police say Kazimierczak told two different stories as to how the instructions for dropping off the money came to her. She initially said the instructions were contained in a second note found inside her car.
Kazimierczak later said, however, that she had been given additional instructions by phone. It was after she spoke with police for a second time that officials became suspicious of Kazimierczak’s story and arrested her.
“Although later retracted, there was no second note by Felisa Kazimierczak’s own admission, further suggesting there was no actual extortion but rather an inadequately planned embezzlement,” Pittsfield Police Detective Timothy J. Koenig wrote in his report.
Police say surveillance cameras showed that no one went near her car, a claim Kazimierczak’s husband, David, disputes.
In addition to the charge of embezzlement, Kazimierczak also faces charges of reporting a false crime and witness intimidation, for allegedly misleading police, the Eagle notes. She has pleaded not guilty to all three charges.
Kazimierczak was released on personal recognizance and is set to appear in court later this month. It isn’t known whether she is still employed by the credit union or whether the money has been recovered.
Kazimierczak faces up to 15 years in prison on the embezzlement charge alone, but maintains that she was the victim of a crime.
“She denies this is a false report,” the Eagle quotes her attorney, Jill Sheldon, as saying. “She’s fighting this.”
Syracuse, N.Y.March 11 2012 – Two 17-year-old males stabbed each other in a fight Friday night at Carousel Center Mall, leaving one critically injured, Syracuse police said.
No names were released. Here’s what happened, said Syracuse Police Sgt. Tom Connellan:
At about 10 p.m., mall security were called to a knife fight in the second level near Dunkin Donuts and the entrance to Macy’s. The males apparently had engaged in an argument earlier in the week at a different location, not in the mall.
One of the males was critically injured and taken to Upstate University Hospital for emergency surgery. The other was also taken to Upstate. He was stable, but his condition was not known.
“The mall was getting ready to close, so there weren’t a lot of people around,” Connellan said. “We don’t have a lot of witnesses.”
The incident won’t affect mall operations today, he said.
Connellan would not release any information on the nature of the wounds suffered by the assailants, but said police were still looking for one of the weapons. Anyone with information is asked to call the Syracuse Police Department at 442-5222. All calls will be kept confidential.
Lake County IN March 11 2012 An unemployed bricklayer with a history of driving offenses was charged this afternoon with fleeing in his father’s truck after striking four Lake County, Ind., correctional officers out for a jog on Tuesday, killing one.
Jason R. Cozmanoff, 42, of Crown Point, Ind. turned himself in to authorities at Sheriff John Buncich’s office on Wednesday night, the sheriff said at a press conference this afternoon.
Cozmanoff’s attorney, Mark Thiros, contacted Buncich earlier in the day and accompanied his client when he surrendered.
At the time he turned himself in, Cozmanoff was not yet a suspect. Buncich said police were still slogging through license plate databases to identify the owner of the truck.
“It was only a matter of time until we probably would’ve turned something up,” he said.
Cozmanoff did not make a statement to police, Buncich said. He is charged with four felony counts of failing to stop after an accident.
Together, conviction on the charges could carry a penalty of up to 17 years in prison.
But Buncich said police are taking statements, tracking down leads and awaiting test results that could lead to further charges, including possible driving under the influence charges.
Cozmanoff is currently being held with a $90,000 bail.
“It’s been a very emotional 72 hours for our department,” Buncich said, adding of the three surviving officers that “they’re all lucky to be alive. … Very, very lucky.”
The four officers were jogging east on a grassy strip along West 93rd Avenue near Taft Street in Crown Point when a dark blue 2002 Yukon struck them from behind around 7 p.m. Tuesday. Buncich said that the truck is registered to Cozmanoff’s father.
The truck apparently accelerated before striking the four, police said earlier this week.
Police seized the truck – which has “really extensive damage” – from a garage at the home where Cozmanoff lived with his father.
His father has been questioned by police and could potentially face charges also, Buncich said. Police also seized evidence from their home that was “very helpful,” he said.
Gary, Ind. native Britney Meux, 25, was killed in the crash. She will be laid to rest with full police honors on Monday at First Baptist Church in Hammond, Ind., Buncich said.
A fund for Meux’s 7-month-old daughter Savannah has been established, and donations can be made at any Centier bank branch in Lake County, Ind., he said.
Buncich on Friday also updated the conditions of the other officers injured on Tuesday night.
Delano Michael Scaife, 22, who joined the department just four months ago, remains at an Indianapolis hospital where he was airlifted after the accident. Scaife is in good condition after undergoing two surgeries this week with other surgeries planned for next week, Buncich said.
Latasha Johnson, 34, had surgery to insert metal rods into her broken arm but has returned home, he said.
David Murchek, 26, is for now unable to walk after suffering a broken ankle and severe injuries to his other ankle.
Cozmanoff’s attorney did not return a call seeking comment Friday.
His client pleaded guilty in 2009 to a public intoxication charge after being charged with operating while intoxicated, records show.
HOLMDEL, NJ March 11 2012On March 2nd at approximately 430pm the Holmdel Police responded to Best Buy on Hwy #35 for a theft of a wallet.
Upon arrival Ptl. Andrew Kret reported that the victim, who is an employee at Best Buy stated that someone had stolen her wallet out of the employee break room in the store.
The victim checked her bank account and determined that the yet unknown suspect was currently charging items on her debit card in Holmdel.
Ptl. Kret conducted the investigation and determined that the purchases were just made at the Best Market on Hwy 35 Holmdel.
Store video revealed that the suspect was Eric Aul (age 26) of 17A Matawan Road in Old Bridge who was a temporary employee at Best Market in Holmdel, but had subsequently left the scene.
Additional purchases were made at A&;P on Hwy 35 in Holmdel.
Ptl. Kret’s with the assistance of the Old Bridge Police Department made the arrest of Aul outside his apartment.
He was subsequently transported to the Holmdel Police Department where he charged with 2 counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and theft. He was processed and released.
Western Governors University employee pleads guilty to $500,000 theft from school www.privateofficer.com
SALT LAKE CITY Utah March 11 2012 — A 45-year-old former employee of the online Western Governors University has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $500,000 from the school.
Shelley Ann Wilkinson, of Bellgrade, Mont., pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court this month to two counts of forgery, a third-degree felony. Additional charges of theft by deception, a second-degree felony, and one additional count of forgery, a third-degree felony, were dismissed in exchange for the woman’s plea.
Wilkinson worked for Western Governor’s University from August 2007 through December 2010, charging documents state. In that time, her responsibilities included financial analysis and general accounting, but she was not authorized to generate or sign checks for the school.
After Wilkinson left the position, her successor noticed two checks that had been recorded in the university’s system for 1 cent each. Bank statements showed the checks with the same numbers actually totaled $169,780.81 and $245,000, the charges state.
Scanned images of the checks — which were cashed in October 2010 — revealed they had both been written to Wilkinson and carried two employee signatures.
A third check was eventually found. That check, which totaled $112,000, was cashed in September 2010 and carried the same two signatures.
The two employees whose names were signed to the checks told police they neither signed nor authorized the checks, according to the charges.
One of the employees contacted Wilkinson, who “admitted to taking the money and investing it in a house on the East Coast,” the charges state. She further explained that the home was in Canada and she had written the forged signatures.
Sentencing in the matter has been set for April 16.
BELLINGHAM WA March 11 2012- A security guard at St. Joseph hospital was accused this week of threatening to use his knowledge of security weaknesses to “take out the whole hospital and everyone in it.”
Kevin Lee Conway, 28, was charged with felony harassment Thursday, March 8, the same day he was officially fired.
Conway, who had been employed at the hospital for about four years, had been notified twice in two weeks – Feb. 24 and March 2 -that he was under investigation by the hospital, according to charging documents filed in court. The documents didn’t state, and hospital officials declined to say, what the investigation was about.
Conway was arrested Tuesday after he told a fellow employee that if he were fired, he would “take out as many people as he could,” including his security supervisor, according to the charges.
Conway had access to restricted areas of the hospital. In his threats, Conway put emphasis on his training with hazardous materials, the documents say.
Conway also had a concealed weapons permit. He told the fellow employee that he kept a gun in his car, according to the charges. Security guards at the hospital are not armed on duty.
The fellow employee was “extremely concerned” and went to his supervisor to relay what Conway said, according to the documents.
“The safety and security of our employees, patients and visitors is paramount,” hospital spokeswoman Amy Cloud said in an email. “As soon as we learned of the potential threat we took decisive action to safeguard our campus and have been working in collaboration with the police to provide enhanced security.”
On Conway’s MySpace page, he listed his job at the hospital as “Lead Haz-Mat Instructor.”
Cloud said that was not true, and said many employees have training in cleaning up hazardous material spills.
Conway was officially fired Thursday. He remained in jail Friday in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Gonzales County TX March 11 2012 Belinda Wright Walker, the Gonzales city employee terminated July 8, 2011, after an internal investigation by the Gonzales Police Department found that municipal funds were missing, has been indicted by a Gonzales County grand jury on 13 counts of theft of property by a public servant.
The indictment stipulates that the 13 counts were for theft of property of at least $1,500 but not more than $20,000. The police department had said in July 2011 that the theft was of cash or goods, and that criminal charges were pending.
Those charges came eight months and one day after Walker was terminated.
Charles Windwehen, interim city manager at the time of Walker’s termination, said he could not release the name of the employee until charges were filed.
When the grand jury indictment was handed down on Friday, March 9, it became official that Walker was the city employee who was terminated.
Walker, who was never arrested in connection with the theft of property, is scheduled for an April 26 court date stemming from the grand jury indictment.
FORT LEE NJ March 11 2012 – A municipal court employee is under investigation for allegedly stealing hundreds of dollars over the course of several years, police reports show.
Maria A. Barbara was accused last month of pocketing more than $500 since 2007 by taking money from parties involved in criminal, motor vehicles or other cases without ever disposing of their cases, according to a Feb. 24 police complaint. The “theft by deception” allegation is a third-degree offense, the complaint stated.
Barbara, who appeared in a T-shirt and sweat pants and said she was sick with the flu when reached at her residence in Little Ferry on Friday, said she had been arrested and suspended from work without pay.
She confirmed that she was arraigned March 1 and said a future court date had not been set. She would not comment beyond that without her attorney present.
Fort Lee police Capt. Roy Bortolus said this week that the investigation is ongoing and no formal charges had been filed. He confirmed also that the county Prosecutor’s Office is involved. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said last week that she could not confirm or deny an investigation. Dan Keitel, an assistant Bergen County prosecutor who heads the Confidential Investigation Unit, could not be reached this week.
Judge John DeSheplo, who was assigned to the case, referred questions back to Borough Hall.
Multiple messages left over several days for Borough Administrator Peggy Thomas were never returned.
Mayor Mark Sokolich offered little details other than to say that Barbara has been a borough employee for approximately 20 years.
“I really can’t comment on a matter under investigation,” he said this week. “But the second it was determined that there was suspicious activity, an investigation immediately commenced.”
SAN ANTONIO TX March 11 2012 - An apparent murder-suicide has left a young man and woman dead and the woman’s 1-year-old son in critical condition Friday.
Sheriff’s officials said Landon Joseph Keller opened fire on 20 year old Katie Fierro and her baby, who were in the front yard at Keller’s home in the 6900 block of Oldham in Northeast Bexar County.
A neighbor who witnessed the shooting then challenged Keller with a gun in the front yard of the home, but Keller ran inside, sheriff’s officials said.
“I heard … four gunshot,” said the neighbor, who asked to be identified as “Pops.” “I jumped, looked out my window, and I saw a body laying there.”
After hearing the gunshots, he remembers telling his wife to bring his gun, and walking out the door to see what was going on.
“When I stepped out to where I could see completely down there, the boy that had done the shooting was standing out in front of his house with the pistol in his mouth,” the man said.
Pops said he pointed his gun at Keller, who then turned to run inside the house.
“I didn’t want the guy to open the door and shoot the baby again, so I went running over there and the other boy went running over there to check the baby,” Pops said.
About 30 seconds later, he says he heard another shot, which he believes was Keller turning the gun on himself.
When sheriff’s officials arrived at the scene, they found Keller dead inside the home.
Fierro died at the scene while her baby was airlifted to a hospital.
According to Keller’s Facebook page, he works as a security officer/Guard Supervisor with Statewide Patrol.
Also according to Keller’s Facebook page, Keller claims Fierro is his wife. Fierro’s Facebook page says she is married, but does not say to whom.
So far no word on a motive for the shooting, but in the span of only a minute or two, two people were dead, and a young child was left fighting for its life.