SANFORD, Fla. March 14 2012
The airport here is opting out of Transportation Security Administration screening.
CEO Larry Dale of Sanford International Airport already has top security clearance, so he figures he can make passengers as safe as anyone by hiring a private security firm to do the job.
“They do it better and are more cost-effective,” he said during a press conference with Cong. John Mica (R) at the airport’s Vigilante Room.
It’s the second time the airport applied to opt-out. It’s application was summarily denied the first time, but since passage of a reform law, the federal agency has to take a serious look at every application that comes in from airports nationwide, according to Mica, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Mica’s goal is to cut a bureaucratic agency with 65,000 employees, including almost 10,000 field managers earning six figure salaries on average.
“The agency is too focused on personnel management on a massive scale, and not on setting the most effective security standards and analyzing intelligence,” he said.
Dale said he will pick a security firm once his application to TSA is approved and the airport can advertise for bids. He could not say what kind of cost savings would be passed to passengers.
Most travelers who spoke with WDBO on Tuesday agreed that a private firm could likely do a better job. “The problem with government is, they know how to mess it up,” said one man who was picking up his wife on a flight from North Carolina.
“I think privatizing everything is a good idea. I think the government should get out of everything,” said another.
FORT WORTH TXMarch 14 2012 - United States Postal Service. Dallas County. The University of Texas System. Krispy Kreme Donuts. A Naval Station in San Diego. The Cities of Houston, Tyler and Los Angeles. And Children’s Medical Center Dallas all have something in common. According to a Senate Committee investigation, they have all complained about unauthorized, bogus charges on their phone bill costing them and other American businesses “billions” of dollars!
And it’s not just businesses, it’s customers like Albert Gamboa’s parents from Fort Worth also.
“My first thought was how long as it been on the bill and what is it for?” said Albert Gamboa, who recently started helping his parents handle their bills. When he looked at their phone bills from 2007 to 2011, Gamboa noticed for 58 months, his elderly parents had been paying $12.95 a month to an entity listed as “The Billing Resource.” Neither he nor they had ever heard of the company. Gamboa called AT&T to have the charge removed. He says, AT&T told him he needed to contact The Billing Resource, and someone at The Billing Resource referred him to a company called Personal Voice. Gamboa says a woman at Personal Voice told him that his mother had signed up for the service over the internet.
“That’s crazy,” said Gamboa, “there is no way she could have signed up for it.”
Gamboa says his elderly parents do not have a working computer in their house. And, they’ve never had access to the internet. Gamboa says his parents wouldn’t even know how to get on the internet.
“Everyone who has a phone number is at risk for this scam,“ says Steve Riess, who is the Telecommunications Manager for Children’s Medical Center. For 18 years, Reiss has been paying the 40 telephone bills for the 10,000 phone lines at the hospital, and he has had it with third-party billing.
“You get worn down after a while. You get to the point where you say this should not happen. If you stop it at the source, this should not happen.”
For more than a decade, Reiss has dedicated a full-time employee to scouring the bills, finding the charges and trying to get reimbursed.
“You grit your teeth, go for the refund or give up and pay it. That’s what they’re all counting on, you’ll give up and pay it,” complains Reiss.
But paying it here sometimes amounts to more than $1,000 a month for the nonprofit hospital. Reiss estimates the hospital has lost more than $100,000 to unauthorized phone charges over the years.
“People put in a huge amount of work to raise that much money for the kids.”
So how is it happening? A 1980 law allowed legitimate third party vendors, who provide telecommunication services like fax and voicemail, to bill you on your main phone service provider’s bill, but a recent U.S. Senate Committee investigation reports that companies are using this law as a loophole.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation presented the findings of its investigation in July 2011. The report states lawmakers became aware of the problem back in the 1990s, but “nobody paid much attention to it.” The report goes on to say, “American families and businesses have been paying the price ever since… to the tune of ‘billions and billions’ of dollars.” It estimates “300 million third party charges are on customers’ bills every year.”
The report says, the U.S. Postal Service was charged $500,000 in unauthorized charges that was only noticed when an auditing company reviewed the bills. A U.S. Naval Station was charged $11,000 in unauthorized charges and a small business that owns Popeye’s and Krispy Kreme franchises reported that third party vendors placed more than $4,000 worth of charges on its telephone bills for services it did not authorize or use.
At one point, Dallas County reportedly had dozens of fraudulent charges per month on the phone bill.
Albert Gamboa says big companies like AT&T should be held responsible, and the government report shows major communications companies do stand to make some money.
The Senate Committee investigation states,“Telephone companies profit from cramming.” It goes on to say, “Since 2006, AT&T, Qwest and Verizon have earned more than $650 million through third party billing.” The report says, “Verizon explained that it ‘receives a flat fee between $1 and $2 per charge for placing third-party charges’ on its customers’ bills.”
In a statement to CBS 11 News, Bob Elek of Verizon says,
“Our ‘first call resolution policy’ — which has been in place since 1999 — gives our customers the benefit of the doubt, reversing third-party charges when consumers tell us the charges have not been authorized — no questions asked — and we proactively offer our free Bill Block service also introduced in 1999. Verizon charges billing aggregators flat fees for processing third-party charges which are not based on the amount the third party charges their customer. And to address a possible misperception, Verizon does not take a percentage of the third-party charges that appear on our customers’ bills.”
After CBS 11 aired this story, Verizon sent corrected a portion of its statement to say:
“Related to the Senate Commerce Committee report on cramming, Verizon, in fact, cooperated with the committee, provided it with appropriate data, and has no reason to dispute the Senate calculation of $650 million figure, which is cumulative and reflects the revenue of three companies over a five-year period.”
Mark Molzen of CenturyLink, which is Qwest’s parent company, sent CBS 11 News a statement saying, “When a customer disputes a third party billing, CenturyLink works on behalf of the customer to remove the disputed charges and block future billing. Third-Party billing does not represent a significant revenue stream for CenturyLink.” Molzen also provided the following advice for customers.
•Read the fine print before placing calls in response to a sweepstakes contest.
•Be cautious about calling 800 numbers. Be especially aware if you’re told to enter codes or leave your name and number.
•900 calls are toll calls. If you are asked to call a “free” 900 number, be aware that there is no such thing.
•Consider a 900 number block for your phone. Blocks also are available for international, long distance and local toll calls. Call your local CenturyLink office for details. Also, CenturyLink offers to customers who request it a feature to block third party charges.
•Carefully examine your bill for monthly recurring charges. Watch for fees described as “member fees,” “activation fees,” etc.
AT&T did not want to talk on camera in response to our story, but late last week, the company promised a full refund to Gamboa’s parents. AT&T Senior PR Manager Alejandra Arangao also provided CBS 11 News the following statement and advice for customers: “Here is the information we want our customers to know about how to protect themselves from third party billing. Also, we encourage your viewers to visit our website at att.com, under smart controls — http://www.att.net/smartcontrols-Cramming to get even more information or answer any other questions they may have.”
AT&T recommends the following tips to help prevent cramming or other unwanted charges on your bills.
•‘Cramming’ occurs when unauthorized charges appear on your telephone bill. Customers can request that third party charges be blocked from your bill. If you’re not interested in purchasing third-party services, you may contact AT&T at any time to request that third party charges be blocked from your bill at no charge.
•Avoid placing calls to 900 numbers. The FTC says consumers should consider a 900 number block; it stops calls from going through to 900 number services.
•Avoid accepting collect calls, signing up for sweepstakes or contests online or generally entering your contact information in places that are not considered secure like unsecured websites and solicitations made over the phone. These sometimes have fine print that note by providing your information, you’re signing up for additional services.
•Discuss all charges with other members of your household. Sometimes confusion can arise over charges that show up on a customer’s bill because household members forget to discuss services that were ordered.
•Always read the fine print and know what you’re signing up for. In some cases, customers simply may not have understood a transaction when it took place. Pay close attention to service offers, contests or other scenarios where you may be giving away your information and signing up for services you don’t want.
Below is how AT&T can help if you’ve been crammed.
•AT&T takes immediate action to help customers who contact us and report that they may have been billed for unauthorized third-party charges. To dispute a charge, we encourage customers to first deal directly with the third party that originated the charge, whose name and toll-free telephone number should be printed on the same bill page as the charge in question. Often, the problem can be resolved with a single telephone call.
•Our customers can request at any time to have third-party charges blocked from their bill at no charge. AT&T will proactively offer this option to customers who contact us with a cramming complaint.
•All customers who call us to report cramming complaints will be issued credits and will not be required to pay AT&T for the disputed charges. (Credits generally appear on customers’ bills within one or two months.)
When we asked AT&T about the profit it makes from third-party billers, the spokesperson provided us the following information. “We provide a service to third parties, and we charge for the service. Also, we want to make sure your viewers understand:
•AT&T’s third-party billing contracts require service providers (or their clearinghouses) to submit only properly authorized charges and to comply with all state and federal laws regarding slamming, cramming and truth-in-billing.
•AT&T collects and reviews cramming complaint data on all third-party service providers monthly. AT&T can and will discipline any service providers that bill inappropriate charges — including imposing fees for each cramming complaint, or even terminating the billing relationship.
•The vast majority of service providers adhere to our strict guidelines for sales, verification and billing. In fact, substantially less than 1% of bills that have third-party charges actually result in cramming complaints.”
Atlanta GAMarch 14 2012 Tide laundry detergent is meant to be used for household cleaning purposes, but thieves are turning it into something dirty. Authorities are reporting a spike in thefts of Tide, and in some cities they are setting up task forces where the detergent is sold to track the number of bottles in stores. Police believe thieves are using the soap on the black market, which retails for $10-$20, to buy drugs. On the black market, Tide is often referred to as “liquid gold” and can go for $5-$10 per bottle.
Last year, in St. Paul, Minnesota, a man is alleged to have stolen $25,000 worth of Tide over 15 months before authorities captured him.
Stores such as CVS have amped up security measures to prevent theft; at some locations the detergent is kept in a locked container and an employee must retrieve it for customers.
So why is Tide the only detergent being targeted? Authorities list several reasons: Tide is instantly recognizable because of its Day-Glo orange bottle; it is one of the most expensive brands of laundry detergent; and it does not have serial numbers, so it cannot be tracked.
On social media, people are calling the theft trend “bizarre” and many are blaming it on the tough economy and rising gas prices. One person tweeted that the thefts are “a result of inflation.”
A spokesperson for Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of Tide, called the thefts “unfortunate.”
FORT WORTH TXMarch 14 2012 – A Fort Worth police captain has been fired after investigators found the officer had been using his city-issued computer to search porn sites.
The captain, L.A. Harris, has also been accused of self-gratification while on duty in a city facility and in uniform.
Harris had been assigned as one of two overnight duty captains. An internal affairs investigation found Harris had visited the sites while on duty over a six month period.
In a statement, Chief Jeff Halstead called Harris’ behavior “absolutely deplorable.”
Harris was a 22-year veteran of the Fort Worth Police Department. He had been made captain last June.
LAS VEGAS NVMarch 14 2012 - Las Vegas Metro police are trying to piece together what set off a shooting outside a casino-hotel that led to a second shooting outside a hospital early Sunday.
In a news conference Monday, police addressed the shootings at the Rio Hotel and Casino and University Medical Center, both of which were related and led to the injuries of five people.
According to Metro Deputy Chief Jim Owens, officers working an event at Crown Nightclub inside the Rio were responding to gunfire at the casino’s parking garage around 3:51 a.m.
Owens said the officers took cover when they arrived as shots were being directed at them.
At least two people were struck by bullets in the incident. One of the officers also returned fire in the incident, but police did not say if the victims in the shooting were hit by the officer’s bullets.
Just an hour and a half later, a crowd of 30-40 people were gathered outside University Medical Center where the two gunshot victims were being treated.
Owens said the crowd was of acquaintances of the victims who were wishing them well.
According to Owens, three people walked up to the crowd and opened fire, injuring two people.
A fifth gunshot victim was transported to Sunrise Hospital by private car. All of those injured were expected to survive, Owens said.
Owens said four of the five victims were affiliated with Las Vegas gangs. He stopped short of calling the shootings gang-motivated, though.
Police have stepped up security at UMC since the shootings.
“We are sparing no expense at our resources,” Owens said. “I’m pretty confident we will solve this. We have added security at the hospital now, because several people still in custody. We want to insure nothing like this happens again.”
Police said no bystanders were struck in the shooting at the Rio, which involved at least 30 rounds of gunfire.
Owens said the officers who responded to the shootout were working a special hip-hop music event at Crown Nightclub. He said officers have responded to incident happening at Crown in the past.
No arrests have been made. Owens said two search warrants were executed Monday on two vehicles believed to be tied to those involved in the shooting.
Police urge anyone with information on these shootings to call LVMPD’s Homicide Section at 702-828-3521 or Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.
Phoenix AZMarch 14 2012 Someone set fire to a men’s clothing rack in a Walmart on 15th Avenue and Bethany Home Road in Phoenix early Tuesday morning, according to the Phoenix Fire Department.
Officials believe a man they saw on security tapes set fire to to the clothing at 4:45 a.m., said Scott McDonald, a spokesman for the Phoenix Fire Department.
By the time fire crews arrived, the fire was already extinguished by the sprinkler system. There was a light haze throughout the store and a lot of water damage, McDonald said.
Officials are asking anyone with information to call the Arson Hotline at 602-262-7766 or 1-800-35-ARSON.
COLUMBIA, SC March 14 2012 – Richland County deputies have arrested a state constable from Midlands Technical College on weapons charges.
Capt. Chris Cowan with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department says Errol George Rochester, Jr, 36, was arrested around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday and charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol.
Cowan says investigators found Rochester and a woman who was identified as a known prostitute by the sheriff’s department in the middle of the road with their lights off in the Broad River Road area.
Investigators found a pistol under Rochester’s seat of the car, according to Cowan.
Rochester is being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. The woman who was with Rochester was not charged with anything.
Los Angeles CAMarch 14 2012 A veteran Los Angeles police officer who was moonlighting as a security guard at a Laguna Beach luxury hotel has been charged in connection with a scheme to steal money and other items from its lost and found, Orange County prosecutors said Tuesday.
Jeffry Paul Quinton, 48, of Anaheim Hills, faces two felonies — grand theft and commercial burglary, said officials with the Orange County district attorney’s office. If convicted of all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of three years and eight months behind bars.
Quinton, who was arrested by the Laguna Beach Police Department, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal case, LAPD officials said.
A 21-year LAPD veteran assigned to the Central Division, Quinton also worked as a security guard for the Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach.
As part of his off-duty job, he had access to the hotel’s computerized “lost and found” system. In October 2011, authorities said he accessed that system and changed records that showed that hotel staff had recovered $2,000 from a hotel room.
The cash entry was falsified to reflect that a gold watch had been recovered, authorities said. In addition, Quinton changed the room number where the money was found and changed the record to reflect that the watch was returned to its owner. Authorities said he also stole $960 out of the safe.
Two months later, Quinton covered a surveillance camera in the hotel’s security office with tape for several minutes, prosecutors said. While the view was obscured, he stole $680 out of the safe deposit box in the office, authorities said.
In late January, Quinton is accused of stealing $290 in bedding from a locked hotel storage room and putting the items in his car. Quinton was arrested after Laguna Beach police reviewed security surveillance footage.
Sedgwick County KSMarch 14 2012 A Eudora High School English teacher was arrested last Friday in Sedgwick County on sex crime charges as part of an investigation there, Wichita police Lt. Jeff Weible said Tuesday.
Kristin Magette, a Eudora district spokeswoman, said school officials were notified over the weekend the male teacher was arrested on charges related to alleged improper relationship with a minor or minors in the Wichita area. The district has placed the man on administrative leave with pay, and a substitute teacher began handling his classes Monday.
“To our knowledge the charges don’t involve any Eudora students,” Magette said.
She said the man began teaching in Eudora in August, and before that he taught in the Wichita area. The Journal-World generally does not identify sex crime suspects unless they are convicted.
Weible commands the Exploited and Missing Child Unit of Wichita and Sedgwick County, which investigates reports of possible physical and sexual abuse involving minors. He said the man was arrested after officers followed up on information in the case.
According to Sedgwick County jail officials and records, the man, 32, and a current Lawrence resident, was arrested on three charges of rape, one count of attempted rape, two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and one count of electronic solicitation of a child. The electronic solicitation charge lists the victim’s age between 14 and 16.
Weible said he could not release details about the investigation or the number of alleged victims. Magette said law enforcement had notified school officials the investigation was related to an improper relationship with a minor in Wichita.
“This is a deeply troubling situation to learn of,” EHS Principal G.A. Buie wrote in a message to parents, “but I want you to know that we have a host of procedures and programs in place to protect the best interests of our students.”
The man posted $100,000 bond Saturday, and a Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman said because he posted bond before formal charges were filed he was given a date to appear in court March 26.
“We will be presenting findings of our ongoing investigation to the district attorney’s office (Wednesday),” Weible said.
Magette said the high school notified parents of the teacher’s arrest in automated messages.
“The main message that we’re trying to get out is that anybody with any kind of concerns or information about improper adult relationships (with students) really without delay should go to any of our mental health professionals at the high school, the Eudora Police Department or any other trusted adults,” she said.
Federal judge rejects settlement between former civilian guards at Fort Campbell and Fort Knox and security company www.privateofficer.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. March 14 2012 (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a proposed class-action settlement between former civilian guards at Fort Campbell and Fort Knox and one of the nation’s largest private security companies. The agreement had been reached over a retention bonus that was promised, but later rescinded after the guards signed new contracts.
U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell ruled that the guards at the two military posts couldn’t be accommodated in a single settlement because of differences in their claims.
“There are greatly divergent interests between class members because the claims of the two groups are of different strengths and therefore command a different settlement value,” Russell wrote.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit brought by former Fort Campbell guard Kenneth Callender of Clarksville, Tenn., and former Fort Knox guard Ginger Starrett, of Radcliff, against Coastal International Security. The Lorton, Va.-based company provides guards to the departments of State, Homeland Security and Defense.
Callender and Starrett said Coastal International offered guards a $1,500 bonus to stay on the job, but pulled the offer once the guards signed a new contract.
Messages left for Callender’s and Starrett’s attorney, Rowdy Meeks of Kansas City, Mo., and for Coastal International were not immediately returned.
Under the proposed settlement, Coastal International would have paid $61,080. Class members from Fort Campbell would have received anywhere from $50 to $900, depending upon how long they worked between July 2, 2010, and Sept. 20, 2010 before the company rescinded the bonus offer. Callender, as a class representative, would have received $3,000 and Starrett would have received $1,000.
Other than Starrett, the Fort Knox guards covered by the settlement would have received nothing. The attorneys concluded that the claims of the Fort Knox guards “appeared to be without merit,” Russell wrote.
Russell said an independent attorney would be needed to review and protect the interests of the Fort Knox guards.
“Although the guards at Fort Knox were purportedly represented by Class Representative Starrett, there is no assurance that Starrett operated under a proper understanding of her representational responsibilities,” Russell wrote.
Until Coastal International’s contract expired at the end of September 2010, the company employed 81 armed civilian guards at Fort Knox and 168 at Fort Campbell, the sprawling military post on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line.
The Installation Management Command, which oversees security contracts, switched the job to government employees because private contractors needed to be phased out by law by 2011.
Coastal International Security, a subsidiary of New Mexico-based Akal Security, in June 2010 sent an email to employees in the Army Midwest region promising a $1,500 retention bonus for guards who stayed on between the end of their contract and the switch to government employees.
“This should help offset some financial difficulties faced by employees whom ultimately will be laid off as a result of the contract ending,” wrote Larry T. Stacy, Coastal’s Army program manager.
Two months later, Stacy sent another email informing employees that the retention bonus would not be paid. But he expressed hope that employees would continue until the company’s contract with the Army ended a month later.
“This action is being taken due to the government’s unwillingness to pay for the retention bonuses,” Stacy wrote.
JEFFERSON PARISH, La. March 14 2012– A Metairie man was arrested by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office on 16 counts of video voyeurism, as authorities say the man admitted to setting up a camera in the woman’s bathroom at Heritage Plaza and also at a another location to film women using the bathroom during Mardi Gras.
Frank Hill, 45, confessed to investigators from the JPSO that he set up camera inside the bathroom at Heritage Plaza on Veterans Boulevard and that he “also placed a camera in a fenced area surrounding a garbage dumpster at Melody and Veterans Blvd. during Mardi Gras in an attempt to catch female parade goers looking to relieve themselves,” said Col. John Fortunato, JPSO spokesman.
On Mar. 8, detective Louis Ratliff was notified by Hill’s employer of the video cameras at Heritage Plaza. Hill worked there as a security guard, according to Fortunato. Hill’s boss turned the evidence over to the JPSO.
“Hill admitted to placing the cameras in the restrooms between February 1 to February 23 between the hours of 10 p.m. – 7 a.m. Hill placed the camera near the dumpster from February 10 to February 17,” said a statement from Fortunato.
At Heritage Plaza, Hill said he placed a hidden camera inside a coat hook to catch the unsuspecting women on video, according to Fortunato.
Former St. Paul cop sues 100 officers over accessing of her driver’s license photo www.privateofficer.com
St. Paul MNMarch 14 2012 A former St. Paul and Eden Prairie police officer filed a federal lawsuit Monday claiming that 100 fellow officers invaded her privacy when they looked up her driver’s license photo in a Minnesota state database some 400 times.
Anne Marie Rasmusson, 38, filed the 31-page suit against nine Twin Cities communities, Ramsey County and the University of Minnesota in U.S. District Court.
Rasmusson said those who accessed her private information had no “legitimate business reason to do so.”
“The extent of this illegal access appears to be widespread and pervasive throughout departments, and is a custom and practice,” the suit alleges.
The suit went on to say women are disproportionately targeted by such searches.
Rasmusson became suspicious about 2007, the lawsuit said, when officers began “taking an uncomfortable interest in her.” Newly divorced, she said men who somehow knew where she lived and what kind of car she drove began asking her out.
Rasmusson has said she believes the interest was in her picture. While working in Eden Prairie, she lost about 100 pounds. After she retired from St. Paul, she entered fitness competitions for a short time.
“They weren’t looking me up to see my personality,” Rasmusson said earlier this year.
But the extent of the intrusion became clearer Aug. 30, when she learned from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety that officers from 18 agencies had reviewed her private information since 2007.
“She became physically ill upon learning that fact; she pulled over, opened her car door, and vomited,” the lawsuit said.
By mid-2009, the suit said, Rasmusson began pulling away from former colleagues “and those she considered friends. More and more, she began to live a secluded, even hermit-like, reclusive existence.”
By July 2010, she had moved from the Twin Cities to rural northern Minnesota. She has since closed all social media accounts, installed a security gate and alarm system, and changed her phone numbers, the suit states.
Last October, she learned from the news media that the violations involved about 100 officers on about 400 occasions.
“Upon learning of the sheer volume of intrusions, Rasmusson again became physically sick,” the suit said.
The Department of Public Safety confirmed that officers from the following agencies had viewed the information: Bloomington, Burnsville, Cottage Grove, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Lakeville, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, St. Paul, the Ramsey County sheriff’s office and the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
According to the lawsuits, one of the offenders was Eden Prairie police Sgt. Carter Staaf, who “encouraged his subordinates to conduct their own DVS (Driver and Vehicle Services) queries of Rasmusson’s information because she was very attractive and so they could see that ‘she’s changed and she’s got a new look.’ “
Rasmusson served on the Eden Prairie police force from 1996 to 1999, when she was injured in the line of duty.
In 2001, she became an officer in St. Paul. Two years later, she was diagnosed with nerve damage and an unstable pelvis related to the earlier injury, the suit said. She was granted a full medical retirement in December 2003.
When she met with a representative of the St. Paul Police Department in September 2011, she was told 13 officers had viewed her driver’s license information. Rasmusson alleges in her suit, “upon information and belief,” that 42 St. Paul officers accessed her record 175 times and that 24 Minneapolis officers accessed her record 133 times.
On Monday evening, spokesmen for the Ramsey County and St. Paul city attorney’s offices declined to comment, saying they had yet to review the suit. A Minneapolis city spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment.
The Drivers Privacy Protection Act bars Minnesota law enforcement officers from accessing personal information in the state motor vehicle database unless it’s to carry out a function of their agency. Records are to be accessed only in an investigative capacity.
The suit seeks at least $5,000 for each illegal access of her records, at least $3 million for physical and mental suffering, and court costs.
One of Rasmusson’s attorneys, Lorenz Fett of Minneapolis, declined to comment beyond what was detailed in the suit.
LOS ANGELES CAMarch 14 2012 – Detectives Monday arrested a male substitute teacher on suspicion of molesting a student at a California school.
Ted Nishihara — of Los Coyotes Middle School in La Mirada, Calif., 19 miles southeast of Los Angeles — was detained after a female student’s mother reported to police Thursday that her daughter had been touched inappropriately during class, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
Cops arrived at the school Monday morning and spoke to staff and students.
Nishihara was interviewed at his home later and taken into custody. His bail has been set at $200,000.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Nishihara graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology in 2006. He had previously worked at the ABC Unified School District in Cerritos and Garden Grove Unified as a substitute teacher, and as an instructional aide at Long Beach Unified.
Detectives said they were looking for other possible victims.
The events that unfolded Monday came in the wake of the arrests earlier this year of two teachers at another California school over allegations they committed lewd acts on students.
Mark Berndt, 61, allegedly took hundreds of photographs as he blindfolded young children and spoon-fed his semen to them in his classroom at Miramonte Elementary School.
The alleged offenses, which also include putting cockroaches on the children’s faces, took place between 2008 and 2010 and involved students ranging in age from six to 10, police said.
Berndt’s colleague, 49-year-old Martin Springer, was taken into custody after being accused of fondling a female student.
The scandal prompted the school district to dismiss the entire workforce of Miramonte Elementary and reopen with a completely new staff.
Madison WSMarch 14 2012 A man thrown out of a campus bar for smoking allegedly attacked the bouncers, sending two to the hospital with injuries.
Logan Sloan, 22, Madison, was tentatively charged with battery, substantial battery and disorderly conduct, according to a news release from Madison police.
The incident happened at about 3 a.m. Sunday at Wando’s, 602 University Ave.
“During the scuffle, a large crowd of about 300 people gathered around, with many onlookers using their cell phone cameras to record the scene,” said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.
Police said Sloan allegedly punched one bouncer in the face and elbowed another in the head while still in the bar.
“When they got outside, the suspect allegedly bit the chest area of the bouncer he already had punched, as bar staff tried to hold the suspect down,” DeSpain said.
Before officers came on the scene, the suspect allegedly hit a third bouncer in the face.
The three bouncers were all males, ages 27, 23 and 21.
“Multiple officers from both the city police and the UW-Madison police department responded to the chaotic scene,” DeSpain said.
HOUSTON TX March 14 2012– An armored car driver is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars on his routes.
Jaime C. Hinojosa, 29, is charged with aggregate theft. Court documents state over a period of about three months starting in October 2011, the armored car company where Hinojosa was employed say they investigated a series of cash shortages on car deliveries to ATMs in the Houston area. A total of 40 deliveries had returned short on cash for a total amount missing of more than $35,000.
The armored car company says that the common thread was the Hinojosa was the driver on all of the deliveries. When the company confronted him, police say Hinojosa admitted to the armored car company that he stole cash from all 40 of the deliveries and agreed to pay the company restitution.
The company’s owner says Hinojosa paid him $1,620 in $20 bill which he said was all the money he had left over from the money he took, but that Hinojosa has failed to pay restitution for the remaining $33,500.
Bond has been set at $2,000.
HARTFORD CYMarch 14 2012
An 18-year-old Manchester man was charged with assault charges after police say he bit and fought a bounty hunter in the lobby of the police department early Sunday.
Police said Jeffrey Douglas, of 49 Doane St., was brought into the police department at 12:04 a.m.
He had been arrested on two failure to appear in court warrants with bail totaling $100,000, police said.
Douglas, who was handcuffed in front, started struggling with the bounty hunter and tried to escape, police said. The bounty hunter called for help, then handcuffed Douglas behind the back.
As the bounty hunter was cuffing Douglas, Douglas bit him on the right hand, police said.
Douglas, who was complaining of head and chest pain, was taken to Hartford Hospital for treatment and released. The bounty hunter was taken to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center.
Police charged Douglas with third-degree assault for the incident.
Albuquerque shoplifter flees Walmart with flat-screen television in one hand, a gun in the other www.privateofficer.com
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M March 14 2012. — Police are seeking the public’s helping in finding a man who they said was caught on tape stealing a flat-screen television.
Detectives with Albuquerque Police Department’s Organized Crime Unit said the man already hit twice in just a week.
Officers said the armed shoplifter ran out of Walmart on Carlisle Boulevard at about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday with a flat-screen TV in one hand and a gun in the other.
“This isn’t your average shoplifting case,” said Officer Tasia Martinez, of the Albuquerque Police Department.
Authorities said loss prevention officers ran after the man, who immediately threatened them with his gun.
“It’s very clear in the video that they are afraid for their lives in this situation,” Martinez said.
The video shows the officers stopping on their tracks and backing off as the shoplifter bolted for his getaway car. Second later, a Walmart security rushed to the scene but swerved away because the man pointed his gun at it.
Police said the shoplifter and an accomplice drove off in a white car.
“The fear is that he’s escalating,” Martinez said.
Officers said it was the second time in a week that the man hit up Walmart for flat-screen TVs. The first one happened at the Walmart on Wyoming Boulevard and Academy Road on Sunday.
Police said the man’s gun was in his waistband that day, but on Wednesday, the video showed the man carrying it in plain sight.
“We’re afraid that’s going to escalate into a shooting. To be honest, that’s our biggest fear,” Martinez said.
Anyone with information about the man’s identity is asked to call Crimestoppers at 505-843-STOP.
Ontario County NYMarch 14 2012 Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a man for shoplifting at TJ Maxx in Canandaigua on Friday evening.
Deputies say Santos Rodriguez-Rodriguez tried to remove security tags from nine purses and attempted to leave the store without paying.
The total value of the purses is around $1,260 dollars.
Rodriguez has been charged with Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, criminal mischief in the fourth degree, and possession of burglar’s tools.
He was arraigned before Hopewell Town Court and is currently being held in Ontario County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail and $20,000 insurance bond.
Rodriguez will return to the Canandaigua Town Court at a later date.
NEWBURGH NYMarch 14 2012- Town police have charged the 68-year-old treasurer of a fire department ladies auxiliary with stealing thousands of dollars from the organization.
Marion Long of Marlboro turned herself in on Monday, police said. She faces a felony charge of grand larceny. Police said Long had served for several years as treasurer for Winona Lake Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiliary when newly elected officers noticed discrepancies in the books. The officers contacted police, and the subsequent investigation revealed about $22,000 was missing, police said.
Long was arraigned in Town Court and released pending a future court appearance. Police said their investigation is ongoing.
Myrtle Beach SCMarh 14 2012 A 30-year-old Myrtle Beach man was charged Tuesday with attempted murder and unlawful possession of a weapon after he shot through an apartment door at a security guard and then barricaded himself in an attic of a Myrtle Beach area apartment to elude police, Horry County police Sgt. Robert Kegler said.
Eric Lavin McCrea, 30, of Myrtle Beach, was booked into J. Reuben Long Detention Center at 7:08 a.m. Tuesday on charges of attempted murder and sale or delivery of a pistol to and possession by certain persons unlawful, according to jail records. He is being held without bond.
McCrea was taken into custody after a gunshot was fired through a door about 11:40 p.m. Monday at Broadway Station Apartments on Hitchcock Way in the Myrtle Beach, Kegler said. The apartment complex is in the jurisdiction of Horry County.
A security guard for the apartment complex was investigating a complaint of a theft of a bicycle and went to McCrea’s apartment to speak to him about it, Kegler said. The guard, who announced himself at the door, was seeking information about any possible suspects because someone at the apartment had reported the larceny of the bicycle.
When the guard approached the door, a gunshot was fired through the door and missed the guard, but grazed a witness in the hallway, Kegler said. That person was not seriously hurt and did not require medical attention.
The suspect fled the apartment through a window and climbed into a nearby apartment and barricaded himself in the attic area of that apartment, Kegler said. The security guard and other person retreated from the area and called Horry County police.
Horry County’s SWAT team responded and took the man into custody without incident, Kegler said. A motive in the shooting was not known.
The neighbor in the nearby apartment will not be charged in connection with the events, Kegler said.
Additional details are expected to be released later Tuesday.
SPARTA, Ga.March 14 2012 - Officials with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation say a Georgia police officer was arrested for dogfighting on Monday.
The GBI says Sparta police officer Travis T. Edwards, 33, was arrested following an investigation requested by District Attorney Fred Blight on March 8.
Officials say the execution of a search warrant at Edwards’ home in Hancock County resulted in the seizure of several pit bull dogs.
Also arrested was 42-year-old Reginald Rayshon Shivers of Milledgeville.
Both Edwards and Shivers face charges of dogfighting and cruelty to animals.
The GBI says the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department assisted with the investigation.
More than 300 current and former security police officers sue G4S for violations www.privateofficer.com
Oak Ridge TNMarch 14 2012 More than 300 current and former security police officers have filed a federal lawsuit against G4S Government Solutions, the government’s security contractor in Oak Ridge, claiming violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The lawsuit contends that Oak Ridge guards were required to perform various activities before and after their work shifts without being paid their straight time wages or overtime as required by law. The suit was filed March 9 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville by attorney Garry Ferraris.
G4S does business in Oak Ridge as WSI-Oak Ridge. WSI spokeswoman Courtney Henry said the company had no comment at this time.
The lawsuit is seeking back wages for the past three years, which reportedly is the statute of limitations for willful violations of the federal labor act. If the court certifies this as a collective action, the lawsuit could be opened to hundreds of other Oak Ridge guards potentially affected by decision.
The apparent issue is whether or not certain activities before and after guards report to their work posts is considered part of the work day. While the lawsuit isn’t specific, some of the contested activities reportedly include dressing out in special uniforms, donning protective equipment, picking up their weapons and other gear and later returning them, and time spent going to and from their work posts.
Randy Lawson, president of the International Guards Union of America and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said the guards’ contract contains a clause — negotiated during the 1960s — that includes some miscellaneous activities that are not compensable. However, he said much has changed in terms of equipment and technology over the years, especially since 9/11, that requires more time for the security police officers to prepare for their work shifts.
The lawsuit said G4S “has intentionally and repeatedly engaged in the practice of under-reporting the hours worked by their nonexempt security police officer employees” in violation of the Federal Labor Standards Act. “In addition,” the suit said, “Defendant’s agents and/or employees have specifically required Plaintiffs and others similarly situated to engage in work before the designated starting time and after the designated quitting time to perform miscellaneous work activities.”
The suit said security guards regularly worked in excess of 40 hours per week without receiving overtime compensation — at a rate of one and a half times the regular rate — they were due. The suit also said guards did not always receive the straight time hours they worked.
CORPUS CHRISTI TXMarch 14 2012— A shoplifter who police said scratched a loss prevention employee on the arms and face and her getaway driver were arrested during the weekend.
Officers were called to a store in the 1300 block of Airline Road at 8:17 p.m. Saturday. The loss prevention employee told police a woman attempted to steal merchandise. When the employee asked the woman to go back into the store, the woman scratched the employee and left in a 2004 white Chevy Impala driven by a man.
Corpus Christi patrol officers spotted a vehicle matching the description and stopped it. Officers found merchandise from the store in the vehicle. The driver, 26-year-old Emmanuel Buckingham, was arrested on suspicion of robbery and driving with a suspended license. He was in Nueces County Jail on Monday on bonds totaling $15,500.
Police said they found the woman in a house nearby. Gina Gonzalez, 34, was arrested on suspicion of robbery and was being held on a $15,000 bond.
Sacramento CAMarch 14 2012 A driver who caused a fatal traffic collision when she was text messaging behind the wheel on the freeway last year was sentenced today to five years in state prison.
Sequoia Monay Jones, 22, received the term for the Oct. 24 crash that knocked Robert Wilson, 64, of North Highlands, off his motorcycle and led to his death on the northbound Capital City Freeway near El Camino Avenue.
“Much has been said in recent years about the dangers of text messaging while driving,” Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence G. Brown told Jones at her sentencing. “And yet it persists. This case serves as a tragic precautionary tale. The defendant engaged in reckless and senseless behavior.
“Now, as a result of the incidents, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, a brother-in-law and an uncle is dead.”
A quick search of Bee archives and stories on the internet showed that there have been other cases in the region and in the state where text messaging has been implicated in fatal traffic wrecks, including one in Roseville in 2005 in which Rocklin Police Officer Matthew Redding was killed.
Deputy District Attorney Tan Thinh said he is not aware of any others in Sacramento County.
Several family members of Wilson spoke in court at today’s sentencing in which they expressed anger at Jones, who has been in custody since the October crash. Besides pleading no contest Jan. 30 to causing the wreck that led to the death, Jones also admitted that she fled the scene rather than stop to provide aid for the man who was hit by another car after she knocked him off his motorcycle.
“I hope you never get another cell phone when you get your freedom back,” the victim’s son, Preston Wilson, told the court. “And I hope you’re smart enough to stay the heck away from cars. Because you, my friend, don’t deserve freedom, don’t deserve a vehicle. You don’t’ deserve a cell phone. In my opinion, you don’t deserve your life.”
Through her attorney, Donald Heller, Jones expressed remorse.
“I feel the anguish of the family,” Heller said. “What my client did was totally inexcusable.”