COLUMBUS, Ohio March 15 2012– A man armed with three knives stabbed four people Wednesday afternoon at a downtown office building several blocks from the Statehouse and was shot by a police officer as he tried to leave, authorities said.
Columbus police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner said the suspect confronted one victim in the admissions office of Miami-Jacobs Career College before 1 p.m and stabbed him. He said other people intervened and took away a knife the suspect was using.
“We do know that one of the good Samaritans that came to aid the first victim — he was stabbed also,” Weiner said.
Weiner said those who intervened didn’t realize the suspect had other knives.
Three male victims are in critical condition, and a fourth man has minor injuries. The suspect is also in critical condition. Police have identified the victims and the suspect but haven’t released their names, Weiner said.
Two of the victims were either students or staff at the privately run school, Weiner said. Two other victims were outside in the lobby area when they were attacked, he said. All the stabbings occurred on the first floor.
A knife was recovered inside the school, and two knives were found near the suspect outside after he had been shot.
One officer used a stun gun on the suspect at around the same time that another officer shot him, Weiner said.
The 25-story building also houses offices for Attorney General Mike DeWine, and more than 100 employees work there, DeWine spokeswoman Lisa Hackley said. DeWine’s office isn’t there, and he wasn’t present at the time of the stabbings, she said.
Hackley said she couldn’t confirm yet whether any of the victims were state employees.
Officials don’t know whether the stabbing was random or stemmed from an earlier issue, Weiner said.
Jason Jackson, who works at Gordon’s Gourmet in the building lobby, said he heard that someone had been stabbed, so he ran out of the building.
When he came back to see what was happening, he saw the suspect outside.
“He had a knife, and the police had just pulled up, and they’re saying, ‘Sir, you need to stop. You need to just put the knife down.’ He wouldn’t. They drew guns. ‘Sir, please put the knife down.’ And he kind of lunged at them, so they shot him,” said Jackson, 31, of Reynoldsburg.
Houston TXMarch 15 2012 A Houston firefighter died after suffering an apparent heart attack responding to a fire at an apartment complex Wednesday morning.
Capt. Thomas W. Dillion, 49, collapsed at the scene of a small fire at the apartment complex in the 7520 block of Cook Road around 8:30 a.m., according to The Houston Chronicle.
Colleagues rushed to the 22-year veteran’s aid and began CPR before transporting him to West Houston Medical Center where he died.
Officials said the fire was not directly related to Dillion’s death.
A resident of the unit where the fire originated at the Jade Stone apartments told KPRC-TV that the firefighter collapsed at his doorstep.
“Once they got close to check it out, he collapsed instantly,” Darius Coleman told the news station. “He didn’t even get in the house before he fell out.”
Dillion — who worked at Station 69 — is survived by three children.
LAKEWOOD NJMarch 15 2012 — Five retired law enforcement officers have been hired to fill security positions at the township’s high school and middle school.
The Board of Education voted Monday morning to hire the security guards at an emergency meeting.
The five positions replace security guards from Tri-County Security of Vineland.
Tri-County Security’s contract with the school district will be officially terminated today . In its decision to end the contract with Tri-County Security, the school board cited problems with the company’s guards, including not showing up for work.
Parents and students have recently expressed fears about student safety at the middle and high schools, prompting the board to take action.
John Stillwell, a retired 27-year veteran of the Lakewood police, has been hired as the new director of security at a salary of $45,000 a year.
Stillwell said Monday he believes treating students with respect will be key in a successful relationship. Stillwell said he expects students to reciprocate by showing respect to the teachers, staff and each other.
The school board on Monday also approved hiring James Devaney, Joe Lazaro, Charles Wright, Salvatore Garrone and Kathy Timmerman.
The five are all retired law enforcement officers who worked in Ocean and Monmouth counties. They will be paid $22.50 per hour and will not receive health benefits.
Wright will work full-time at the middle school alongside Lakewood Patrolman Alex Guzman, who is the school’s resource officer. Lazaro and Devaney will be assigned full-time to the high school. Timmerman and Garrone are part-time employees, according to the board agenda.
Salem OR March 15 2012 Mark Carroll of Dallas and Becky Thomas of Monmouth were recognized respectively as the Spirit Mountain Casino’s 2011 employee and supervisor of the year during a recent banquet.
In addition to the recognition and awards, which were presented by Chief Executive Officer Rodney Ferguson, Carroll and Thomas will receive some extra vacation time and preferred parking spots.
Marketing Manager Greg Fritz said Carroll is popular with guests and cohorts alike. He’s also known as a lifesaver. A security officer, Carroll, 58, was described as an “outgoing and ubiquitous figure at the casino.
Thomas, 41, is said to have been instrumental in the recent arrests of two men charged with trying to pass counterfeit $100 bills at the casino.
PHOENIX AZ March 15 2012 – The Arizona Senate is considering a bill that would allow guns in all public places unless the property has an armed security guard and metal detectors.
The House and the Senate Judiciary Committee have already passed House Bill 2729, The Arizona Republic reported Monday.
The law would make it legal for armed individuals to enter public buildings such as police stations, courts, city halls, libraries, public pools and the state Capitol unless a certified state or federal law-enforcement officer is present. It would not apply to K-12 schools, community colleges and universities.
“If I go into a building that says I can’t carry my weapon, I want to make sure my family, friends and myself are secure,” said Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, sponsor of the bill.
A fiscal study by legislative staff said it would cost too much to install the proper security measures if the bill becomes law.
“Maricopa County reports that if firearms are prohibited from all county buildings that currently do not have the security features outlined in the bill, it would cost $19.5 million in ongoing costs and an additional $11.3 million in one-time equipment costs,” the study said.
Chicago ILMarch 15 2012 Police were conducting a manhunt this evening after an off-duty Chicago police officer exchanged gunfire with at least two would-be robbers this afternoon on the Far Northwest Side, authorities said.
No one was injured in the incident about 5:45 p,m. near Lunt and Algonquin avenues, not far from the city’s border with Niles, police said. As of 7:45 p,m., police were conducting a manhunt for the suspects, believed to be traveling in a purple Honda CRV.
A window of the vehicle apparently was shot out during the exchange of fire.
A man who owns a store near Addison and Elston avenues had pulled into his driveway near Lunt and Algonquin, when the Honda pulled up behind him, police said. The robbers, wearing masks, got out of the Honda with guns drawn and tried to rob the man.
Soon after, the off-duty officer, who works security at the man’s store, pulled up behind the robbers’ vehicle, apparently thwarting the robbery, police said.
The officer exchanged gunfire with the robbers, but no one was hit, police said.
The suspects fled the scene in the Honda.
The victim hired the off-duty officer as a security officer recently after being robbed a few weeks ago, police said.
Chicago police cordoned off the 6900 block of North Algonquin Tuesday night, an upper middle-class area lined with single-family homes. A forensics services van and another from the detective division sat in the middle of the block, along with four marked police SUVs.
Another police truck hoisted two bright beams of light across the street from a two-story home, with its garage door open and two cars in the drive way. An evidence technician snapped photos of another truck parked in front of the home.
That home was cordoned off with red tape.
Rocklin CAMarch 15 2012 A 72-year-old man was arrested Tuesday morning, accused of lewd conduct in a Sierra Community College restroom.
About 11:15 a.m., Rocklin police youth services officers assigned full-time to the campus were notified that a man was using a mirror to look at another person while using the public restroom inside the college library, according to a Rocklin Police Department news release. The victim reported that while using the restroom, he saw a person in the stall next to him use a mirror to look at him.
Officers arrested Donald Jackson of Rocklin, who is not a student at the college. He was booked into Placer County Jail on suspicion of engaging in a lewd act in public; loitering in or around a public toilet for the purpose of engaging in or soliciting a lewd, lascivious or unlawful act; and using an instrument to view a person with the intent to invade the person’s privacy.
Anyone with information regarding this or related incidents is asked to call the Rocklin Police Department at (916) 625-5400.
Faith-Based Community Service Rejected At High School; Student Sues Claiming Policy is Unconstitutional www.privateofficer.com
Fairfax County VAMarch 15 2012 A Thomas Jefferson high school student in Virginia is back on the National Honor Society after suing the school district for refusing to give her credit for community service. Why was she removed and her service rejected in the first place? Sarah Stites said she was denied credit for her work because she completed it at her church, which goes against her school’s policy mandating that volunteer work must have a secular purpose and may not include religious services.
While she has since been given credit, she is not dropping the lawsuit claiming the school’s policy is unconstitutional. Stites said she would like them to change the rules so that kids like her “now and in the future can have faith-based community service fully recognized.”
Stites believes that “Community service is community service, no matter where it’s done. I think that as long as it’s at a nonprofit organization it should be recognized because I know that most of what I do in Sunday school is what any preschool teacher would do, beyond teaching the kids biblical values.”
Stites said that the National Honor Society accepts faith-based community service, but it’s her school district that denied it. A spokesman for the Virginia school district said in a statement, “It was an honest mistake. There was nothing sinister about it. Everything is under review right now.” Stites doesn’t believe them because she said in her communications with the district, “it was clear that it was not a mistake.”
Attorney Jordan Lorence, from the Alliance Defense Fund that is proceeding with the lawsuit, weighed in saying that they’re suing based on the First Amendment and free exercise of religion. He said the way the policy is currently written is problematic and needs to be changed, calling it unconstitutional.
Pastor of one of the oldest black churches in the South arrested on sex crimes www.privateofficer.com
PETERSBURG, Va. –March 15 2012
The pastor of one of the oldest black churches in the South was arrested late Tuesday night on charges of using a communication device to facilitate sex with a minor, Petersburg police said today.
Curtis Glendell Mathews, 50, pastor of Springfield Baptist Church in Dinwiddie County, was arrested about 11:45 p.m. at his home in the 7700 block of Rolling Hill Road in Hopewell, police spokeswoman Esther Hyatt said in a release.
He was charged with two counts of using a communication device to facilitate sex with a minor. A guardian of the unidentified teen notified police and authorities initiated an investigation, Hyatt said.
Details of the allegations were not released.
Mathews is being held without bond at Riverside Regional Jail.
According to the church’s website, Springfield Baptist Church was organized in 1867 and is considered one of the oldest black churches in the South.
Source:Richmond Times Daily
St. Cloud MNMarch 15 2012 Police say a patient at St. Cloud Hospital assaulted six people and had to be taken into custody.
Twenty-eight-year-old Matthew Lee Sanders of St. Cloud allegedly assaulted a hospital security officer, four hospital staff members, and a patient. Two of those people were injured, which included needing stitches and having loose or cracked teeth.
Sanders was tased by security officers and taken to Stearns County Jail, where he faces two counts of third degree assault and four counts of fifth degree assault.
Rewards offered for capture of fake armored guard who took $162, 000 from Aeropostale store www.privateofficer.com
SUNRISE, Fla. March 15 2012 – Police are on the hunt for a man who posed as a armored truck guard and walked away from a store with more than $150,000.
The robbery occurred at the Aeropostale store inside the Sawgrass Mills Mall on Nov. 26th 2011.
The suspected is identified by police as 24-year-old John Mortimer, and is caught on surveillance video dressed in fake Brinks security guard attire walking into the clothing store just before opening time during the Black Friday sales. “OK, there is the Brinks security guard, you can see is in a full uniform complete with an identity badge, a phone on his left shoulder,” said Sunrise Police Department Detective Luis Fernandez. “He’s got a hat that says Brinks. Everything is embroidered with patches. He’s got boots, cargo pants, and he patiently waits for the deposit to be handed over to him.”
An unsuspecting manager is seen opening the safe, then handing the suspect $162,000 in cash. The store did not realize they had been robbed after 11 days.
Investigators believe Mortimer has fled to Jamaica but could be still in South Florida. “He is a Lauderhill resident. He is believed to have fled to Jamaica at this time, but there’s a possibility that he is still local,” said Fernandez.
Investigators believe at least one store employee gave Mortimer inside information to get the cash.
Several minutes later, as shoppers begin to enter the mall, he is then seen walking out of the store with the cash. “There he goes right out the store right there,” Fernandez said.
A warrant has been issued for Mortimer’s arrest, along with a $1,000 reward for anyone who turns him in to police.
If you have any information on this crime, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
BURBANK CA March 15 2012 — Police are trying to find a disguised bandit who burst into a Burbank woman’s home and cut her with a knife before getting away with her cash and jewelry.
The man entered a large, gated apartment complex dressed as a security guard.
The victim’s neighbor Adriana Mendez said, “There’s a lot of single women [living here] so it’s scary to hear that.”
Women who live at Empire Landing apartments were stunned to learn a 29-year-old woman was the victim of a home invasion robbery.
“I am shocked – I am paying a lot to ensure my safety. It’s really scary,” neighbor Yvonee Sangudi said.
Police said the woman opened her door to a man dressed as a security guard.
Detectives said he threatened her with a knife, cut her in the hip and forearm, and took $10,000 worth of jewelry and cash before getting away.
“There were probably four police here and two down there blocking the entrances and exits,” said Mendez, adding, “There’s security so I feel safe but knowing anyone can walk in, it’s scary.”
Residents said the complex feels secure and that you can only access the building with a key.
Detectives said they were investigating whether there was any connection to the fact that the victim ordered a pizza 40 minutes prior to the attack.
They were also investigating whether she may have been targeted.
Residents said the victim drove high-end sports cars for her job, but police also said they are looking into whether an ex-boyfriend may have been involved.
“It would surprise me that anyone got in there – there’s a lot of other places to invade,” said nearby resident Betsy Yung.
Detectives said they were having a tough time locating security tape. They were given a vague description of the suspect and were working with sketch artists to release a likeness.
Sunrise Fla. March 15 2012
By: Rick McCann
Private Officer International
When people see a person dressed in the uniform of a law enforcement or security officer, they will more often than not feel a sense of security and trust when dealing with that officer. But in recent years with the rise in police impersonations and now frequent incidents involving bogus security guards robbing and stealing, that trust is often something that must be earned with each interaction with the public.
A rise in armed street robberies as well as detailed, planned and well executed business thefts and robberies perpetrated by individuals dressed as security guards has increased awareness and alarm as well as caused some business owners to rethink who they’ll entrust with their store’s cash deposits.
On November 26, 2011, the busiest day of the year for retailers nationwide, an armored guard showed up at the Aeropostale store inside the Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise Florida for a regular scheduled cash pick-up.
The guard procedurally went through all of the correct stages of picking up $162,000 from the stores manager, signing all of the paperwork in six different locations correctly without asking questions and then left the busy store in normal fashion.
There was no reason to suspect that the guard, now identified as 24-year-old John Mortimer was not an employee of Brink’s Armored Car but was instead a cool, calm and well informed robber who had been able to secure an exact replica of the Brink’s company uniform and knew exactly where to go and what to say to trick store personnel into relinquishing such a large amount of cash to him without questioning his authenticity.
On February 17, 2012 in Durham NC another uniform security officer showed up to collect the daily receipts at a check cashing store and he too knew the procedures for entering a controlled and locked area, signing the proper paperwork and exited without raising any suspicion.
In 2011 in Michigan, Texas, Ohio and Florida, men dressed as security guards scammed business representatives into believing that the bank’s night deposit box was broken and that they were there to collect all of the after hours deposits and would deliver them safely to the bank in the morning. The scam first came to light back in the 1960′s and even today continues to show up periodically throughout the country and often the culprits are very successful in their goals of fleeing with the unsuspecting customer’s cash.
And in San Antonio Texas late last year, police arrested five men who walked into the Methodist Hospital disguised as security guards and used a dolly to roll the ATM machine out of the hospital on a Thursday night at around 7:45 p.m. without anyone questioning their actions.
Bogus security guards are also showing up in other countries such as Sydney Australia where they were able to fool a bank into releasing more than $1million dollars.
Others have not been as cunning or covert in their attempts to steal or rob.
In the first three months of this year, we have already recorded at least six incidents where suspects dressed as security officers stormed into stores and homes, robbing and assaulting the victims.
The most recent incident was reported on Tuesday in the City of Burbank California where a disguised bandit burst into woman’s home and cut her with a knife before getting away with her cash and jewelry.
The man had entered a large, gated apartment complex dressed as a security guard.
There are a number of reasons why such incidents are on the rise across the nation including the use of uniforms to earn trust and make the victim a more willing and unsuspecting target as well as disguising one’s appearance but one of the most disturbing reasons is that in most states impersonation of a security officer is not in and of itself a crime or separate charge as it would be had the robber wore a law enforcement uniform.
This needs to change. Additional legislation should make impersonation of a security officer in the commission of a crime a felony as it does with our law enforcement counterparts.
With these crimes being on the rise, security companies, armored car service and those in the private protection industry need to begin to issue better identification cards with detailed information, holograms and other security measures that can not be easily duplicated as well as altering scheduled patrols and cash pick-ups as well as establishing codes or other methods for business owners to verify that the uniformed person in front of them is indeed an employee of the security company.
Also keep in mind that when security employees are terminated, passwords, security codes, locks and other Internet or physical access should immediately be changed, restricted or deleted.
Security officers should also be ready to challenge anyone entering a business or residential community dressed in any type of uniform who appears to be entering unauthorized areas, conducting activities that are either not scheduled or that seems to be out of place or that the security department had not been informed to expect during their tour of duty.
Don’t assume that because someone is dressed in the uniform of a company that you recognize or that of a public safety agency that their activities are legit. Confirm their identification and ask for a company or agency identification card and if there are still doubts, ask for a phone number to call their supervisor to verify their credentials as well as their purpose on the property.
If confirmation can not be made, always call law enforcement for assistance
SEATTLE WA March 15 2012 — A 3-year-old scrambled out of his child seat after his parents stopped for gas early Wednesday, found a gun police say was left in the car by his father and fatally shot himself in the head.
The accidental shooting in Tacoma marks the third in three weeks in Washington involving young children, and the second death. The spate of gun violence is raising questions about the effectiveness of the state’s gun laws and community awareness of firearm safety.
Tacoma police Officer Naveed Benjamin said the 3-year-old boy’s death highlights the need for people to secure guns.
“It is incredible in light of the other ones,” Benjamin said. “You would think people would take more care, not less.”
Tacoma police said the boy’s death came after his father put his pistol under a seat and got out to pump gas while the mother went inside the convenience store. The boy’s infant sister, who also was in the car when the gun went off, was not injured.
The Pierce County medical examiner has identified the boy as Julio Segura-McIntosh of Tacoma.
Detectives questioned the parents and have called the shooting a tragic accident, Benjamin said. The father has a concealed weapons permit, and no charges have been filed, he said. Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said that he is reviewing the case for possible manslaughter charges.
Washington does not have a law specifically concerning child access to firearms, but state law is very specific about carrying loaded pistols in vehicles.
A person with a concealed weapons permit may carry a gun in a car in Washington state, but is required to have it on his person. If they have to leave it in the car, the law says it must be locked and concealed from view.
The Wednesday shooting follows the death of the 7-year-old daughter of a Marysville police officer in Stanwood on Saturday when a sibling found a gun and fired while the parents were out of their car. And on Feb. 22, an 8-year-old girl was critically wounded in a Bremerton classroom when a gun fired inside the backpack of a 9-year-old boy as he put it on a desk.
The two deaths represent an uptick in the number of these tragic accidents, according to Washington state health officials.
About one accidental firearm death of a child each year is typical in the state, according to state health statistics gathered between 2007 and 2010, said Health Department spokesman Tim Church. During that same time, an average of nine kids 17 and younger ended up in the hospital because of an accidental shooting, Church added.
“You can’t predict what children are going to do,” Benjamin said. “You need to unload and lock it up if you’re not carrying it. … It’s really not that hard to practice firearm safety.”
A spokesman for the Second Amendment Foundation said existing laws are enough to encourage gun safety, as long as the gun owners obey them.
“Responsible people will maintain gun safety whether there is a law or not; irresponsible people will ignore the law,” said Dave Workman, senior editor of the group’s publication, thegunmag.com. He said existing statutes, including child endangerment laws, were designed to prevent such tragedies.
Workman said what he can’t figure out is why the two men left their guns in their vehicles when they were licensed to carry them.
“Most responsible gun owners, especially if they’re licensed to carry, will keep their firearm with them,” Workman said.
Twenty-seven states have some form of law to prevent child access to firearms, but Washington is not one of them. Such laws can include criminal penalties for adults who allow children to get their hands on guns, according to the San Francisco-based group Legal Community Against Violence.
State Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, expressed doubt that the Legislature could succeed at overcoming opposition from gun rights advocates to strengthen state gun laws.
He said a former state representative tried and failed for years to strengthen restrictions on firearms sales at gun shows.
“The forces that be wouldn’t even support doing that. It’s pretty strong from the gun lobby that they don’t want to see any change under any circumstance,” Hunt said.
Washington Cease Fire Executive Director Gregory Roberts responded to the latest shooting, saying, “We think guns are dangerous, but they are not treated as dangerous by our society or by laws or by our regulations,” he said. “We regard guns as some sort of sacred object that should not be subject to regulation.”
The Seattle organization is currently running a campaign of ads on buses urging people to think twice about owning guns. People with guns in their home or car are more likely to injure or kill a family member or loved one than to use it against an intruder, he said.
In Saturday’s shooting, off-duty Marysville police Officer Derek Carlile had parked the family van near Stanwood City Hall, and he and his wife were out of the vehicle when one of their children found the loaded gun and fired. The shot hit 7-year-old Jenna Carlile, and the girl, the oldest of their four children, died Sunday at a Seattle hospital.
The 8-year-old Bremerton girl, Amina Kocer-Bowman, remained in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after nearly dying in the accidental shooting at Armin Jahr Elementary, where a classmate brought a handgun to class.
Authorities believe the boy took the .45-caliber gun from the glove compartment of a car while visiting his mother and her boyfriend at their home. He lives with an uncle.
Former Arizona Rep. Richard Miranda pleads guilty to felony wire fraud and tax evasion www.privateofficer.com
Phoenix AZMarch 15 2012 Former Arizona Rep. Richard Miranda, who resigned from the Legislature last month citing family and health reasons, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to felony wire fraud and attempted tax evasion.
The 56-year-old Democrat from Tolleson will be sentenced in June, and could face up to 25 years in federal prison for selling a Surprise building owned by a non-profit he ran and pocketing the money. He’ll also likely have to pay several hundred thousand dollars in restitution to the non-profit, Centro Adelante Campesino Inc., and tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid federal taxes to the IRS.
“I have accepted all responsibility for my actions,” Miranda said following the court hearing. “I would like to thank my family, friends and supporters in the community. I hope in the future I can overcome the hurt and disappointment I have caused.”
Miranda was required to tell U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver what crimes he had commited. Miranda said he falsified documents to indicate that he had authorization to sell a building the non-profit owned. He then illegally had one bank wire the money from the sale to an Arizona account belonging to the group. Miranda had also given himself sole control of the nonprofit’s two bank accounts.
“I did not have the authority to sell the building, to acquire the monies,” Miranda said. “The board never authorized the sale.”
Miranda’s attorney, Jose Montano, told the judge that Miranda took the plea because “we believe the likelihood of conviction is very high.”
The plea suggests 21 to 27 months in prison, but Silver has the discretion to sentence Miranda to just probation or as many as 25 years.
Montano said he thinks probation is a possibility, but admitted jail time is also a possibility.
Miranda abruptly resigned from the Legislature on Feb. 16. According to the court, the resignation was part of his plea deal. He also had to resign from Centro Adelante Campesino and the Arizona Latino Caucus Foundation.
Weeks before, an individual from the IRS’ criminal investigations division filed a public-records request with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office asking for Miranda’s financial-disclosure reports for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Lawmakers are required to file these reports each year, disclosing companies or organizations that paid them a salary, any property owned other than their primary residence and other business dealings.
Miranda refused to aswer questions about why he did what he did. Montano denied that Miranda’s actions were a violation of the public’s trust.
“This was a personal matter,” he said. “This had nothing to do with his job at the Legislature.”
Montano said Miranda used the money from the sale on “personal debt.”
“He was in debt. It was a crime of opportunity,” Montano said. “He needed the money and he took it from the wrong place.”
Cambridge MAMarch 15 2012 Three young people were arrested at the Cambridgeside Galleria where two of them were allegedly shooting up heroin in a bathroom stall.
Bianca Rose Lavargna, 19, of 60 Bowdoin St., Malden, was charged with possession of a Class A drug and a default warrant out of Chelsea District Court for disorderly conduct and trespassing. Anthony Forte, 22, of 55 Sunnyside Ave., Winthrop, was charged with knowingly being present where heroin is being used and two default warrants out of Chelsea, including one for assault and battery. Andrew Schiavo, 19, was charged with knowingly being present where heroin is being used.
Mall security assembled around the bathrooms after Lavargna was spotted going into a men’s bathroom with Forte and Schiavo. When authorities went into the bathroom they suspected Schiavo as acting as a lookout outside the stall, and after Lavargna and Forte emerged from a stall they allegedly found a plastic bag of heroin and some needles in the stall.
After the bag of heroin was produced, Lavargna allegedly tried to grab it, and Forte and Schiavo allegedly took off running. Schiavo escaped for a short period of time, but was later located in the mall and arrested.
NASHVILLE, TN March 15 2012 - A longtime Nashville paramedic was getting a paycheck from the city, but he wasn’t on the job, on leave or vacation.
Instead, he was in a cell at the Rutherford County Jail, and even his bosses didn’t know what was going on.
Robert Plummer had a recent, serious criminal conviction he had never told his bosses about, and when the Channel 4 I-Team dug deeper, it turns out there is a lot Plummer hadn’t told the Nashville Fire Department.
Plummer had earned a good reputation as a paramedic for Nashville Fire for nine years.
So, when he went on an undisclosed, extended medical leave last May, his bosses in the city figured he was recuperating.
He was spending a lot of time lying around, but it just wasn’t at home. He was serving a sentence for domestic assault.
“When you presented this to us, I’ll be honest with you, we were surprised. And as the events unfolded, we became shocked,” said Nashville Fire Deputy Chief Kim Lawson.
Here’s the problem. It is outlined in the civil service rules that if an employee is convicted or pleads guilty to a crime, they have three days to tell their bosses.
Smyrna court records show in January 2010, Plummer pleaded guilty to domestic assault and spent seven days in the Rutherford County Jail.
But, he never told anyone. And when he came back, he went right back to being a paramedic.
“Domestic assault charges, we take those very seriously,” Lawson said.
When the Channel 4 I-Team found that one domestic assault conviction, we decided to dig deeper. That’s when we didn’t just find one conviction, but three different criminal convictions all while Plummer was employed by the Nashville Fire Department.
And again, no one in the city ever knew.
How can that be?
Records show that after Plummer served that seven-day sentence in early 2010, he kept working until he took the extended medical leave in May 2011.
But just a few months later, he was arrested again for domestic assault, pleaded guilty in September 2011 to the crime and served nearly three more months in the Rutherford County Jail.
Also, while he was in jail, Plummer pleaded guilty to an additional charge of vandalism for tearing up a mattress.
The entire time, his bosses in the Nashville Fire Department believed he was out on medical leave.
We went to Plummer’s home to ask if he planned his jail time to coincide with his vacation and medical leave, but he didn’t answer or return our calls for comment.
After Channel 4 confirmed the information in this story, Plummer was placed on administrative leave with pay and will face internal charges that could result in termination.
San Bernardino CAMarch 15 2012 The FBI arrested a San Bernardino middle school teacher Tuesday on suspicion of child pornography for allegedly exchanging sexually explicit photographs with a 13-year-old girl in New Jersey.
Eugene Ballantyne, 29, was taken into custody at his Running Springs home early Tuesday morning.
Ballantyne told investigators that he also received sexually explicit pictures from a 15-year-old girl two years earlier and traveled 180 miles to have sex with a 17-year-old girl in July, according to a FBI affidavit filed in federal court.
Ballantyne, a social studies teacher at Arrowview Middle School, was placed on leave two weeks ago by the San Bernardino City Unified School District. There is no evidence that Ballantyne had illicit contact with students at Arrowview. The district has launched its own investigation.
Ballantyne allegedly contacted the 13-year-old girl in South Brunswick, N.J., in January through an Internet chat room, and authorities say they later corresponded via cellphone and email. Ballantyne used the false name John Baldwin and claimed to be a 25-year-old schoolteacher from Corona, according to the FBI.
The two exchanged sexually explicit photographs using their cellphones, and “Ballantyne was very demanding during phone conversations with the minor victim and persuaded the victim to engage in sexual activity while they conversed,” according to a statement released Tuesday by the FBI office in Los Angeles.
According to the affidavit, in one email Ballantyne told the girl: “It’s really so nice to have you in my life. I only wish you were here so I could really express my feeling to you. It is hard to be so far apart….”
On Jan. 28, the girl’s mother contacted South Brunswick police and reported that illicit emails and pictures were being exchanged between her daughter and a man in California. She provided copies of the girl’s T-Mobile account information to detectives. The girl initially told Ballantyne she was 15, the affidavit stated.
Investigators from the FBI and South Brunswick police were able to track the emails, cellphone conversations and pictures to Ballantyne’s cellphone.
In one of the photos, Ballantyne was wearing a shirt and tie and appeared to be sitting behind a desk in a classroom. The photo included a Google Maps link showing that the picture was taken at Arrowview, according to the affidavit filed by Special Agent Jeffrey R. Stiff.
Ballantyne was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Riverside on Tuesday afternoon.
EL PASO, Texas March 15 2012 – A 15-year-veteran of the El Paso Police Dept. has been arrested for allegedly shoplifting, according to police officials.
On Tuesday, officers responded to the Walmart store at 9441 Alameda where a store loss prevention officer had observed Anthony Weathersbee shoplift items, according to police. The loss prevention officer then saw Weathersbee pay for some items, but not the items he concealed on his body.
Weathersbee was detained by the loss preventions officer until on-duty officers arrived. Weathersbee was arrested on one count of theft over $50 and under $500. Internal Affairs relieved him of duty and placed him on administrative leave. Once the paperwork is completed Weathersbee will be booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility under a $300.00 bond.
According to Texas Tribune salary database, Weathersbee’s annual salary is $62,287.
Baltimore MDMarch 15 2012 Officer David Reeping was sentenced Tuesday to eight months in federal prison for his role in a kickback scheme that ensnared more than 60 officers over two years, according to trial testimony, and led to 16 criminal convictions within the Baltimore Police Department, along with numerous suspensions.
Reeping was the first to be federally sentenced in the scandal, which involved officers illegally referring the owners of broken-down and damaged vehicles to a Rosedale body shop in exchange for cash. In some instances, they falsified police reports and even added damage to cars to boost the amounts that shop owners claimed from insurance companies, court records show.
Prosecutors called Reeping a low-level player who quickly accepted responsibility for his actions, and his attorney argued for a term of home detention based in part on those claims. But U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Blake said the sentence needed to send a message of deterrence to others and reflect the seriousness of the crime, signaling that prison is also likely for most of Reeping’s convicted colleagues.
“He is, in the range of people involved in this case, among the least if not the least culpable,” Blake said. “Countervailing that, of course, is the fact that we have got to, as a community, hold our sworn police officers to a high standard. We must be able to trust their integrity. It’s essential.”
She said the prison term brings her no pleasure, but is appropriate “considering what this case is about.”
The outcome was bittersweet for Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, who said he’s made it a mission to root out corruption from the force, despite the public relations consequences. The department’s internal investigations section launched the inquiry into the kickback scheme and eventually brought in the FBI.
“Ball your fist up right now as tight as you can and slam your fist into your right eye, that’s what it is physically and mentally like for me to do this. But I know I have to do it. …” he said. “We have a very small percentage of knuckleheads that we have to throw off the bus, and I can’t wait to throw them off the bus.”
In the past year, a Baltimore officer was found guilty in state court of voluntary manslaughter in connection with a drunken bar brawl that left a man dead. Another officer has been indicted on federal charges alleging that he ran a heroin distribution ring; he has pleaded not guilty.
Last week, an officer was charged with attempted theft from a grocery store, while another was suspended so police could investigate his conduct in the aftermath of a 13-year-old girl’s shooting death.
“The Baltimore Police Department has been, unfortunately for the city, the subject of a lot of scrutiny for misconduct and other types of things,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tonya Kelly told the court Tuesday.
She requested a sentence of 10 months for Reeping, 42, though the judge chose a lower term. Reeping admitted referring between four and seven vehicles to the two owners of Majestic Auto Repair — who also have pleaded guilty in the case — for a payout of $1,000. He was ordered to repay the funds to the Police Department.
Reeping’s attorney, Jonathan Van Hoven, said his client was struggling financially when he made the decision to participate in the scheme.
The matter has torn him up; he’ll never be the same,” Van Hoven said. “The public humiliation alone is quite great.”
About a dozen of Reeping’s family and friends attended the hearing, including his adult children, wiping away tears throughout the proceeding. Reeping himself broke down while addressing the court.
“I’d like to apologize to Commissioner Bealefeld and the city. It was wrong what I did, it was stupid. I feel ashamed, embarrassed,” Reeping said. Being a police officer “is a big dream I had and I let it go. It was a poor decision on my part.
“I apologize to all my family and friends who supported me. I let everybody down. This is totally not me, I swear. I’m very disappointed in myself. I’m sorry.”
Friends testified that he was a good person with a good heart, who made some bad choices, and 26 people, including nine current police officers, wrote letters to the court on his behalf.
“He made a mistake, he got mixed up with the wrong clowns, so to speak, people that never should have had a badge in my opinion,” Claude Melcher, who identified himself as a Baltimore police officer, told the judge.
Seventeen officers were criminally charged in the case and suspended without pay during the prosecution. One officer, Marcos Urena, 34, pleaded guilty to theft under $500 in state court and was sentenced to six months’ probation before judgment in January, after agreeing to quit the force, according to the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office.
Of the remaining 16 officers charged federally, 13 pleaded guilty — one of them in mid-trial — and one was convicted by a federal jury. Charges against another officer were dropped, and the final officer, Jaime Luis Lugo Rivera, is scheduled for a re-arraignment next week. He previously pleaded not guilty.
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