PHILADELPHIA PAMarch 23 2012 (AP) – Philadelphia police and public transit officials say increased security is planned in response to a walkout Wednesday by about 200 transit police officers who cover the system’s subways, trains, buses and trolleys.
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority officials said supervisors, private security and police officers will help assure safety on the system in light of the walkout called by the Fraternal Order of Transit Police.
“We do not anticipate this labor action will affect any transit operations whatsoever,” SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said. “In the city, in the suburbs and underground all our systems will be operating normally.”
SEPTA is the nation’s sixth-largest public transportation system, with a weekday average of 1.18 million riders. It offers bus, trolley, subway or regional train service in Philadelphia, four Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey and Delaware.
Maloney called the walkout “totally unnecessary” and said the agency was given only 20 minutes notice. He said the key sticking point has been pensions, and he hopes negotiations will resume soon.
Police said they will deploy additional personnel at two dozen critical spots along Philadelphia’s Broad Street and at elevated line stops from about 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. to provide extra security at school dismissal times and during rush hour. Deputy Commissioner William Blackburn said police also plan frequent unscheduled checks on buses and other critical points on the system.
“We don’t feel this is going to have any impact on our staffing, as we speak. We don’t anticipate any types of problems,” he said.
SEPTA officials also said supervisors will work 12-hour shifts and a private firm will provide 20 security guards during the day and 20 more during evening hours. Additional security will be provided by suburban and New Jersey police forces, as well as officers from Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, officials said.
“In collaboration with Philadelphia’s police department and area police departments, and the utilization of non-represented supervisory police personnel, we think we have adequate coverage to protect all of our passengers until this action is completed,” SEPTA Transit Police Chief Richard Evans said.
Fraternal Order of Transit Police president Richard Neal Jr. said the union did not want to strike but the company had “forced our hand.”
Union spokesman Anthony Ingargiola said members are ready to return to the bargaining table but have not heard from management.
SEPTA was idled for six days in November 2009 when about 5,000 SEPTA workers walked off the job in a dispute centered around pension benefits.
Englewood NJMarch 22 2012 A former Englewood employee who stole more than $50,000 from the city Fire Department — money set aside to run a youth program and provide a scholarship to graduating high school students — has been ordered to pay restitution of $10 a month over three years for a total of $360.
If Englewood wants to collect the remaining $51,241.62 that Antoinette Galluzzo pleaded guilty to stealing, they will have to get a civil judgment and garnish her wages after she completes three years of probation and the $10-a-month payment plan. After pleading guilty, but two months before her sentencing, she cashed out what was left of her state pension.
Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli asked Superior Court Judge Eugene H. Austin on Friday for a hearing to reconsider the sentence. No hearing has been scheduled, the court said Monday.
The theft led to the cancellation of a summer camp last year that had been offered to children ages 12 to 16 and included trips to Newark Liberty International Airport to learn about airport firefighting and a tour of a New York City fireboat. An annual scholarship provided to help a Dwight Morrow High School graduating senior with college costs was also canceled.
Both programs are considered essential in a city where the public schools, despite repeated attempts at integration, primarily comprise black and Hispanic students, many of whom come from low- and middle-income families. And with municipal budget cutbacks over the past few years, residents are already being squeezed by increased pool membership and recreation fees. This year, funding for the library was cut by $268,000, setting off cries that essential programs for children would be cut.
Fire Chief Gerald Marion, a Dwight Morrow graduate, said he is trying to devise ways to bring back the scholarship as well as the summer camp.
“It’s a good program,” said Marion, who was deputy chief at the time of the theft. “We are going to find a way to bring that back. It’s just going to take a little time to figure it all out.”
Marion said donations dropped off after Galluzzo was charged. He said internal controls have since been instituted and the department is working to regain the public’s trust.
“There is absolutely no way that it is going to happen again,” he said.
Galluzzo, 49, of Saddle Brook, worked for the city for nearly 17 years before resigning Dec. 16 as the special secretary to the fire chief at the time, Robert Moran. On Dec. 28, she filed with the state to cash in her pension and was paid $12,439.27, the balance of her pension after deductions, including an outstanding loan, according to the state Department of the Treasury.
Galluzzo was suspended without pay in February 2011 and was charged in May with third-degree theft and third-degree forgery. She used her position to write checks to non-existent employees as well as checks for larger sums than needed, siphoning the funds between 2004 and 2011. She resigned after pleading guilty to the theft charge on Dec. 6 as part of an agreement that dismissed the forgery charge.
City Manager Timothy Dacey said the account was closed and the money now goes into the department’s account, which is controlled by the city.
Galluzzo was sentenced in Superior Court on Feb. 22, but there was confusion over what restitution she had to make to Englewood. The city was told by Molinelli’s office that she would have to pay only $10 a month for three years. But court officials and the Prosecutor’s Office told The Record she was sentenced to pay full restitution. It was not until Monday, when The Record received a video of the proceeding it requested on March 12, that what transpired in court came into focus.
Galluzzo did not comment in court, but her attorney, James Addis of Hackensack-based Galantucci and Patuto Counselors at Law, told the judge she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder three years ago, which may have contributed to her actions, and that she was sorry for what she did. Addis did not return multiple calls seeking comment.
“I know that Antoinette regrets it very much and apologizes to everyone involved,” Addis said on the video. Judge Austin said he saw no way that Galluzzo could pay the money back.
“I don’t know how Englewood is going to collect this,” Austin said at the sentencing. “I don’t know how you get something that doesn’t exist if someone is unemployed and she is barred from public employment based upon this plea, this conviction.”
After she was sentenced, Galluzzo posted a comment on Facebook at 8:43 p.m.
“People can try to keep knocking u down and hurting u all they want..But no one can keep me down,” she wrote. “So keep on knocking me down and u will keep on seeing me get up and stronger than the 1st time!! Life is GOOD..Shout out to Gallantucci [sic] and his wonderful Dream Team!! Love to u all!!”
At the sentencing Assistant Prosecutor Michael Pachioretti asked that Galluzzo make a large initial payment.
“If you break it down over a period of time that she may or may not be sentenced to probation, there’s going to be large payments anyway, judge,” Pachioretti said at sentencing. “We just ask for a good-faith amount upfront.”
Austin said the plea agreement did not mention such a payment and added that Galluzzo is unemployed. He asked Addis what happened to the money.
“Judge, to my knowledge there are no proceeds remaining from it,” said Addis. “I know that Antoinette is unemployed; she had to leave her home and move in with her brother and sister. I don’t think there is any money to be tapped into, judge.”
SALT LAKE CITY UT March 22 2012 — A man dressed as a security officer was arrested Tuesday after allegedly placing two separate calls to police reporting a bomb at Trolley Square.
The first of two calls was placed from the Smith’s Marketplace near 500 East and 400 South and the second came shortly after from a TRAX station, Salt Lake police officer Josh Ashdown said. During the second 911 call, the man claimed a bomb was at the Salt Lake police station.
“We take every single threat 100 percent serious, so the officers are going to respond, they’re going to check the location (and) if there are people that need to be evacuated, they’ll evacuate,” Ashdown said.
In this case, officers went to Trolley Square and the locations where the calls were placed. They did not find any suspicious packages or anything else to confirm the report.
They did arrest a suspect at the TRAX station, Ashdown said. He was wearing what appeared to be a security guard uniform, including a duty belt and shirt labeled “security.”
“He does not work for a security company as we understand,” Ashdown said. “We don’t know what his motive is or where he got the uniform.”
The man admitted making the prank calls and said “he did it because it was a rush,” a jail report states.
Lonnie Thompson, 36, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of making a false alarm regarding a weapon of mass destruction.
High school drug counselor accused of secretly videotaping students having sex www.privateofficer.com
SALINAS, Calif. March 22 2012– A high school drug counselor is accused of secretly videotaping students having sex in his office on campus, police said Tuesday.
KSBW-TV reported that Gilbert Olivares, 34, of Salinas, used his position as a counselor to get students out of class to spend more time with him, and allowed students to have sex with each other in his office, police Sgt. Christopher Lane said.
“Detectives were able to locate 14 videos made by Olivares in his office at Salinas High,” Lane said.
“The videos are of teenage students engaged in sexual activity with each other within Olivares’ office, during school hours,” Lane said. “It appears the videos were taken without the knowledge of the victim students, and Olivares is not in the room at the time.”
Olivares was arrested last week on suspicion that he sexually molested a 14-year-old boy in his office multiple times.
On Tuesday, police said new evidence and information on Olivares’ relationships with students — and how he used his position of authority to create child porn videos — surfaced when investigators searched his house in Salinas.
Salinas High School’s principal and the school district superintendent declined to comment to KSBW after repeated requests.
Police said they identified at least two students who they believe were victimized, and are working closely with Salinas High administrators to identify more victims.
Olivares was back in the Monterey County Jail on Tuesday and held on $1 million bail.
He is employed by Sunrise House, an organization that counsels teenagers on drug and alcohol abuse. Although Olivares has worked as a counselor at Salinas High School for five years and has on office in the school’s building, he is not an employee of the Salinas Union High School District.
“He really is a great person,” Sunrise House Executive Director Jim Rear said last week when Olivares was first arrested. “He’s probably worked better with at-risk youth than anyone I’ve ever had.”
Police said the drug counselor also downloaded child pornography on his home computer.
“During the forensic search of Olivares’ computer were dozens of pictures and videos depicting child pornography. None of the pictures or videos appears to be locally produced. The pornography is consistent with images downloaded from the Internet,” Lane said.
A red flag was raised when a 14-year-old boy’s parents became concerned about a change in their son’s behavior, police Commander Vince Maiorana said.
The parents looked to find answers on their son’s Facebook page and found disturbing private messages sent between the counselor and the Salinas High student, Maiorana said.
Olivares has coached hundreds of kids in the Salinas Continental Little League.
Little League officials and Sunrise House directors said they ran background checks on Olivares and found he had a clean record.
California mother sentenced to six years prison after baby dies from methamphetamine-tainted breast milk www.privateofficer.com
HUMBOLDT COUNTY, California March 22 2012
A Humboldt County, California mother whose 6-week-old baby son died after ingesting methamphetamine-tainted breast milk has been sentenced to six years in prison.
Maggie Jean Wortman denied that her drug use caused her son’s death, suggesting instead that someone else had killed her baby by staging a suffocation scene at the foot of the bed where she was sleeping, according to the Times-Standard in Eureka
Wortman pleaded guilty in February to voluntary manslaughter as part of a deal with prosecutors, who had said they’d otherwise pursue a murder charge, the newspaper reported.
An autopsy on Michael Acosta III found that the baby died of “methamphetamine toxicity” on Nov. 21, 2010. Prosecutors say Wortman should have known the dangers of breastfeeding her child after using the drug.
The 27-year-old woman’s attorney argued during Monday’s sentencing that his client should be placed in a drug treatment program rather than go to prison.
But Judge Bruce Watson referred to a probation report that said Wortman has not fully taken responsibility for her son’s death.
“She … denies that her unconscionable negligence led to the deadly poisoning of her child,” the probation report states, according to the Times-Standard.
The case is reminiscent of the trial of Amy Prien, an Inland Empire woman who was initially convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in the 2002 death of her infant son by feeding him methamphetamine-tainted breast milk.
Prien allegedly used the drug for more than a decade, and friends testified they had used methamphetamine with her throughout her pregnancy and while she cared for son, Jacob.
But Prien told jurors during a second trial that she did not use drugs while she was pregnant.
Before a third trial could be held, Prien pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
68-year-old Alabama police captain demoted as retaliation for opposing effort to abolish city’s ailing pension fund www.privateofficer.com
MOBILE, Alabama March 22 2012 – Charles Kennedy was an exemplary employee of the Prichard Police Department during the more than two decades he was an officer, but that wasn’t enough for him to keep his job, city officials testified during a Tuesday hearing in front of the Mobile County Personnel Board.
Kennedy, a former captain, was demoted to the department’s dispatch room earlier this year. He appealed the demotion to the board, saying that Mayor Ron Davis was retaliating against him for opposing an effort to abolish the city’s ailing pension fund.
Davis said Tuesday that he demoted 68-year-old Kennedy because of his health problems, which include congestive heart failure and other cardiac ailments, not because of his advocacy against pension reform.
Kennedy was an able administrator as the head of the department’s records and communications divisions, testified Chief Jimmie Gardner. But in Prichard, being a good administrator isn’t good enough, he said.
In the city’s understaffed department, all officers, regardless of rank, must be able to perform the duties asked of them by the community, be it chasing down a suspect or pulling someone from a burning building, Gardner said. Kennedy’s heart issues meant that he couldn’t do those things without endangering himself or others, the chief said.
That’s why the city demoted him to the dispatch office, working under a supervisor who used to be his subordinate and cutting his hourly wage by 45 percent, Davis said.
The mayor said that he could have fired Kennedy outright, but offered him the dispatch job as a “good faith” gesture.
Kennedy and his lawyer, Buzz Jordan, painted a different picture.
Kennedy’s health problems date back to a 2007 heart attack. If Kennedy’s health was a liability, Jordan asked, why did Davis and Gardner wait five years to demote him?
Neither Davis nor Gardner answered that question explicitly.
Jordan argued that the timing of the demotion suggested that the move was retaliatory.
Davis has sought for months to finally eliminate the city’s beleaguered pension fund, which he has said is a drag on the city’s finances.
An agreement with retirees had already dealt a near-death-blow to the fund, but didn’t address current employees, who remain participants in the pension program.
In order to abolish the fund, Davis needs to persuade current employees to sign onto a new retirement plan. The new plan, closer to a 401(k) than a defined benefit pension, would drastically reduce the benefits that employees could expect upon retirement.
During a tense October 2011 meeting of the Prichard Pension Board, of which Kennedy is a member, Davis urged board members to endorse the new plan.
Kennedy testified that when he refused to endorse the mayor’s plan, Davis stood up, pounded the table and said, “This is my final offer.”
Davis denied that the demotion had anything to do with his pension efforts.
The Personnel Board has 14 days to issue its decision in the matter.
Andy Daniels, a former Prichard police lieutenant who was also demoted ostensibly for health reasons, has also appealed to the board. His hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
Like Kennedy, Daniels has been a vocal opponent of the mayor’s replacement retirement plan.
Brooklyn NYMarch 22 2012 A Brooklyn gym teacher was arrested Tuesday for sexually abusing a female student — making him at least the 15th city Education Department staffer to face a criminal rap this year.
The arrest of Esran Boothe, an instructor at Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment, was revealed by authorities as the Daily News reported Tuesday that more DOE employees have been collared this year than in all of 2011, when at least 13 staffers were busted.
Boothe, 49, was busted for allegedly squeezing the buttocks of a 16-year-old student during school hours, DOE officials said.
Boothe, who has worked in city schools since 2003 and earns an annual salary of $72,848, was charged with third-degree sex abuse and forcible touching, police said.
He was put on desk duty following his arrest, and city schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott vowed to have him fired.
“A staff member who violates the trust of our students and families does not deserve to work in our schools — period,” Walcott said. “Anyone who does will be removed and we will do everything in our power to make sure they never work here again.”
The rash of arrests of teachers, substitutes and education aides this year has worried parents and spurred DOE officials to make changes in policy.
The DOE staffers who have found themselves in handcuffs this year have been picked up on a variety of offenses, ranging from rape and assault to theft.
The rash of collars began with the February arrest of Taleek Brooks, an aide at Public School 243 in Brooklyn, who is accused of filming child pornography inside the school.
After two other city school staffers were busted for sex abuses and subsequently found to have had previous allegations of misconduct, officials began a review of DOE employees who had been flagged for inappropriate behavior.
That effort identified eight other staffers who had been yanked from their classrooms for sketchy actions, including Jonathan Polayes, 60, a veteran teacher who has been investigated for classroom misconduct three times — yet still draws a city paycheck.
Boothe, who has no criminal record and lives in Brooklyn, has no prior allegations of sexual abuse, Education Department officials said. He was due to be arraigned Tuesday, and it was not immediately clear if he has a lawyer.
Cleveland OH March 22 2012- Authorities say a loaded handgun and knife were found in a carry-on laptop case at a Cleveland Hopkins International Airport security checkpoint.
Police say 60-year-old Richard Buxman was arrested and charged Monday with carrying a concealed weapon. He was released on $1,000 bail and faces a Friday common pleas court hearing.
Buxman is from Poland in suburban Youngstown.
A Cleveland police officer says he found a loaded 9mm handgun, two loaded clips, a folding knife and a loose bullet in the case after a transportation officer saw the gun and knife on an x-ray.
Police say the wife, “in a distressed state,” told an officer she had packed the bag and that both had forgotten the weapons were inside.
A phone message seeking comment was left Wednesday morning at Buxman’s home.
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. March 22 2012 (AP) – Federal prosecutors say seven people have been charged in connection with operating a jewelry-theft ring based in Richmond, Va.
Prosecutors say the suspects stole more than $4.6 million in jewelry from traveling sales representatives in Virginia and at least six other states, including New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee and California.
Those charged had initial court appearances in Newport News, Va., Tuesday.
Court documents say the group has ties to South American theft groups, which federal authorities say are transnational criminal groups that work in teams to steal jewelry, gems and precious metals from those who carry hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise at one time.
Prosecutors say that after a successful robbery, members of the ring would travel to New York to sell the merchandise.
Sacramento CA March 22 2012 A Sacramento Superior Court jury today awarded more than $4 million to the guardians of two girls who say they were sexually molested by a Sacramento City Unified School District physical education teacher.
Judge Alan G. Perkins immediately issued a stay on the entry of judgment until April 13, pending post-verdict motions expected to be filed with the close of the civil trial. Attorneys for the school district argued that the molestations never took place and that if they did, the district was not responsible.
The older of the two girls, identified in court papers as Jane Doe, was awarded $3.625 million. She said she was molested four times by P.E. teacher Abdol Hossein Mehrdadi at John H. Still K-8 School in the Meadowview area.
The second plaintiff, Susan Doe, claimed she was molested once by Mehrdadi. She was awarded $400,000.
Jurors assigned 63 percent of the responsibility in Jane Doe’s case to the the teacher and 37 percent to the district. The split means the district would only pay about $1.35 million.
The panel assigned a 50-50 responsibility split in Susan Doe’s case.
Plaintiffs lawyers argued that the sexual attacks took place in a room off the gym at the school, beginning in 2004 and running through 2007 on Jane Doe, who is now 15-years-old. They said the single assault on Susan Doe, who is now 11, occurred in 2007.
Mehrdadi had initially been named as a defendant in the case, but he reached a settlement with the plaintiffs before trial. The terms of the settlement have remained confidential because, according to his lawyer, no public money was paid out.
Mehrdadi denied molesting the girls and was never arrested or charged in the case. He has remained with the district on paid administrative leave.
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama March 22 2012 – A Montgomery man was sentenced today to 12 years and seven months in prison for five bank robberies, federal authorities announced.
Nathan H. Jenkins Jr., 50, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Maley.
Jenkins had pleaded guilty in June to committing four bank robberies in Tuscaloosa and one in Auburn between April 2009 and October 2010, according to the statement.
One of the robberies was the Oct. 7, 2010, armed robbery of the Bank of Tuscaloosa on North McFarland Circle where he stole about $8,000. The other
robberies were all at the Cadence Bank on McFarland Boulevard North on April 23, 2009, taking about $17,703, Aug. 14, 2009, taking about $8,782, and again on Oct. 23, 2009, taking about $12,501.
Jenkins also pleaded guilty to the attempted robbery of the Bank of Auburn on Oct. 5, 2010, which was broken up by bank security officers before Jenkins was able to obtain any money, according to the statement.
Jenkins was indicted for the Bank of Tuscaloosa robbery along with Tracey Padgett, 48, of Montgomery. Padgett was charged as an accessory after the fact for trying to hide the stolen money in her purse immediately after the robbery. She pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced in August to one year and a day in prison.
“Jenkins went on a manic crime spree in which he robbed the same Tuscaloosa bank three times within six months and robbed another Tuscaloosa bank only three days after being shot at by bank security guards in Auburn who thwarted his robbery attempt there,” Vance said. “Jenkins endangered everyone in these banks and spread fear throughout these college communities. Fortunately, through the combined efforts of local law enforcement and the FBI, this dangerous criminal was captured and convicted of these crimes.”
“I am proud of the investigative efforts of our agents and the Tuscaloosa and Auburn police departments who worked diligently to bring this violent felon to justice,” Maley said.
Iowa Falls sheriff’s office employee charged with forgery and second-degree theft www.privateofficer.com
IOWA FALLS, Iowa March 22 2012 - A sheriff’s office employee has been implicated in a theft case involving a charity for a deputy.
The theft was reported on Feb. 14 from the Greenbelt Bank in Iowa Falls.
Teresa Lynn Knudsen, 51, of Iowa Falls, was arrested and charged with forgery and second-degree theft. She turned herself in at the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office on March 5 and was released on bond.
Authorities said Knudsen forged the signature of another party in order to withdraw more than $1,800 from a bank account collected during a 2010 benefit for Deputy Brad Kirkpatrick.
Knudsen is a 911 dispatcher for the sheriff’s department. She was placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation and her employment with the sheriff’s office was later terminated.
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office will handle prosecuting the case.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.March 22 2012 – Authorities in Tennessee said two men have been arrested, including a former prison guard, for a plot to break out Tennessee’s lone female death row inmate, Christa Gail Pike.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday there was no imminent danger of an escape by Pike.
New Jersey State Police on Monday arrested 34-year-old Donald Kohut of Flemington, N.J., who has frequently visited Pike in prison, on a charge of bribery and conspiracy to commit escape.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that 23-year-old Justin Heflin, a former correctional officer at the Tennessee Prison for women, was receiving money and gifts for his help in the planned escape. Heflin was indicted on charges of bribery, conspiracy to commit escape and facilitation to commit escape.
Heflin was arrested on Tuesday afternoon, and held at the Davidson County Jail on $75,000 bond. Kohut was held at the Hunterdon County Department of Corrections on $250,000 bond, and is awaiting extradition.
Pike was 20 went she was sentenced to death for the 1995 torture slaying of Colleen Slemmer, a fellow Knoxville Job Corps student. She was also serving time for attempting to murder a fellow female Department of Correction inmate in 2004.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. March 22 2012- Toilet parts have been disappearing from restrooms across the Denver metro area and sold for scrap. But now, CBS Denver reports investigators say they know the identity of the man they’ve dubbed the “crapper scrapper” – and yup – he’s a plumber..
48-year-old Donald Allen Citron is accused of stealing toilet parts from several locations, including the Southwest Plaza Mall, the University of Denver, and Craig Hospital. He faces 18 charges, including burglary and theft.
Authorities say the plumber was able to steal the toilet pipes and other parts in just a few minutes. All he needed was a wrench and a screw driver.
“He would carry a bag with him and would go in to public toilets, sometimes lock himself in, sometimes not, and he would very quickly remove all of the equipment from the toilets,” said Jamie Greaser with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies say Citron traded the stolen parts for cash at metal scrap yards. The items he’s accused of stealing are valued at around $6,400, CBS Denver reports.
“What he takes and gets very little money for at these scrap yards is costing these business thousands of dollars to replace,” Greaser said.
One employee realized what Citron was allegedly doing. “He watched the suspect walk in to the bathroom and leave with the parts from the toilet. And he walked outside and got a license plate number and it just went from there,” said Greaser.
Investigators say there are 18 known cases of the toilet parts theft.
And investigators say based on the number of trips to scrap yards, they believe Citron has hit other businesses as well.
Meriden CT March 22 2012 Police arrested a 29-year-old Trumbull man Monday, charging him with stealing $7,000 worth of cell phones from the Meriden store he works at and selling them for his own profit, according to police.
Jim Prosper, of 3223 Avalon Gate, Trumbull, was arrested Monday and charged with third degree larceny.
Prosper is accused of taking 13 HTC Sensation cell phones from the T-Mobile store he worked at in the Westfield Shopping Center in Meriden, Det. Lt. Mark Walerysiak said Monday, and selling them online and in-person.
Local detectives began investigating the thefts after being contacted by T-Mobile’s regional loss prevention manager, Walerysiak said, who believed a spate of missing phones was due to internal theft.
Detectives used phone records and online social media tools to figure out who had the phones, and then trace them back to Prosper, Walerysiak said.
One was sold online, he said, others were sold person-to-person. The retail cost of the phones was $7,000, according to Walerysiak.
Prosper was released on a $1,000 bond, and has a March 30 court date.
Chattanooga TN March 22 2012 A gun discharged when a shoplifter dropped it while fleeing the Highway 153 Kmart early Monday afternoon. No one was hurt.
At 1:50 p.m., Chattanooga Police officers responded to a shot fired at Kmart, 5380 Highway 153. Security personnel had confronted a shoplifter at the exit door when the suspect dropped the stolen items and ran.
As he ran out the door, a handgun fell from him and it fired a round as it struck the ground.
Officers have suspect information and are trying to find him.
CHESAPEAKE, Va. March 22 2012 – A Firefighter Specialist for the City of Chesapeake is facing drug and theft charges after officers say she stole more than $200 worth of prescription medication at the end of February.
Police Officer Specialist Justin Tindall, spokesman for the Chesapeake Police Department, said Martha O. Hawkins, 53, of Virginia Beach has been charged with illegal possession of a schedule II controlled substance and stealing prescription medication valued at $200.
On Feb. 23, officers were informed Hawkins stole prescription medication in the 1500 block of Chesapeake Avenue around 5 a.m.
Heath Covey with the City of Chesapeake told WAVY.com Hawkins was employed with the Chesapeake Fire Department on Oct. 8, 1999 and is currently employed with the City of Chesapeake.
Further information surrounding Hawkins’ arrest has not been released by officials at this time.
New York City NY March 22 2012 FDNY veteran Randy Regan deserves a little overtime.
The hero firefighter, while bicycling to work Tuesday, stopped to save a disoriented woman floating in the frigid Hudson River — and still reached Ladder Co. 20 on time for his 9 a.m. shift.
Regan, a 20-year veteran, knew his work day was starting early when he spotted the woman drifting north in the river near W. 82nd St. as he bicycled south to work.
“I called to her and she looked the other way, and I realized I had to go for a swim,” said the understated Regan, 45, after the chilly rescue.
“The first thing that went through my mind is that I know it’s cold and the current is strong.”
Regan jumped off his bike, climbed over a fence and plunged into the 48-degree water as a pair of women dialed 911 from the shore around 7:30 a.m.
The waterlogged woman, clutching a 5-foot floating log, was eerily placid when Regan reached her about 30 feet off the Manhattan banks.
“She didn’t shout,” said Regan, whose previous saves involved fire rather than water. “She was very calm, like she does it every day.”
Regan pried the woman from the log and swam with her back to shore, where a jogger helped lift her over the fence and back to land.
“I’ve seen a lot in that river, but this was different,” said the father of two, who lives on the upper West Side.
Another person got a blanket to warm up the chilled victim, who was taken to an office at the 79th Street Boat Basin. Emergency medical personnel arrived and brought the woman to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital.
It was unclear how the 54-year-old, who was wearing jogging clothes, wound up in the Hudson — or even where she went in the water.
“We asked, but we didn’t get any answers about how she got in,” Regan said. “She wasn’t saying much. She was shivering.”
The woman left in the ambulance without so much as a thank you for Regan — not that it bothered him.
Once the woman was safe, he climbed back on his bike and headed for the East Village firehouse.
“The cop asked, and I said I was a fireman and have to get to work,” Regan said. He did, arriving a few minutes before his shift began.
The 5-mile ride downtown from the boat basin “wasn’t bad,” added Regan, who took the episode in stride.
“I’ve lived in New York City my whole life,” he said. “As much as it seems like it’s a strange thing, it’s another day in Manhattan.”
His boss was surprised when Regan showed up in dripping wet clothes — but not by his heroism or his on-time arrival.
“We would have to find it in our hearts to forgive him” if he arrived late, Capt. Stephen Campanella deadpanned. “But he’s the type of guy that would show up on time even if he had to pull someone out of the water.”
SAN DIEGO CA March 22 2012 - A woman employed as a campus police officer at Patrick Henry High School was on paid leave Tuesday following her arrest for allegedly stealing a shuttle bus and driving it while drunk at the end of a St. Patrick’s Day party at an East County restaurant-bar.
Deputies arrested Jenifer Michelle Peckham, 37, near Hooley’s Irish Pub & Grill in Rancho San Diego about 11 p.m. Saturday, sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said.
Peckham, an 11-year employee of the San Diego Unified School District, had been socializing at the nightspot with a group that had arrived via a bus with a designated non-drinking driver, according to Caldwell.
Following their holiday outing, the revelers boarded the chartered vehicle and were preparing to leave when the driver became concerned about Peckham’s allegedly unruly and disruptive behavior. Seeing several sheriff’s deputies nearby, the driver got out and walked over to speak with them, Caldwell said.
At that point, Peckham allegedly got behind the wheel of the bus and drove off. The deputies gave chase, pulled her over a short distance away and arrested her on suspicion of drunken driving and auto theft. She was booked into county jail and released on bail Sunday morning.
Peckham has been placed on administrative leave pending the resolution of the criminal charges, school district spokesman Jack Brandais said.
ARLINGTON, Va.March 22 2012 - There are questions about a memo from inside the Arlington County Police Department that appears to be pressuring officers to hand out a certain number of tickets. Now, the police chief is taking steps to reassure people there is not a quota in place.
Five tickets. That is how many parking citations you are expected to hand out on the evening shift as an officer with the Arlington County Police Department. At least that is according to a memo handed out earlier this month. But now the chief says that memo didn’t say quite what we meant to say.
“We do not have quotas and we do not want there to be any confusion with our officers, with the public, that we have numeric expectations and value quantity over quality, because we simply do not,” says Arlington County Police Chief Doug Scott.
Chief Scott says he has rescinded the memo issued on March 1 titled “Proactivity Expectations 2012″ by the patrol command because it has caused confusion. The memo includes each shift and lists monthly “expectations.”
For example, the evening shift officer should make seven arrests, 30 traffic summons and five parking citations.
The police chief says no one is checking numbers and not one officer has been disciplined for failing to reach a quota.
“The mere suggestion of a quota system in a police department damages or sullies the professional reputation of the agency,” says Chief Scott.
Lower Mount Bethel Township PAMarch 22 2012 Concerned about debates on farmland preservation and sludge fertilizer inciting violence, the Lower Mount Bethel Township board of supervisors hired a private security company to attend meetings.
Two guards from Quakertown-based Guidon Security were on hand at Monday night’s board of supervisors meeting and are scheduled to come back for the township’s upcoming informational meeting on the use of biosolids, or sludge, on March 28.
Township secretary and treasurer Lori Stauffer said the board brought in private security because of concerns that arguments could get out of hand.
“The board had some concerns that because of the farmland preservation issue and also with the biosolids issue, the meeting could become rather contentious,” Stauffer said. “They decided that it was best for everyone’s safety.”
According to Stauffer, the total cost to the township was $180 for the night. The township has no municipal police force and relies on state police coverage. While Stauffer said the board has no plan at this time for using private security services regularly, she confirmed that guards from Guidon Security will be in attendance on March 28.
An employee at Guidon Security said in his experience, he had never heard of a municipality calling in private security for a public meeting.
“It was a little unusual to be contacted for security at a township meeting,” he said. “Then again, the township supervisors are responsible for the security of everyone at the meeting, not just themselves.”
Riverdale NJ March 22 2012 A man and woman crime duo that police say shoplifted almost $4,000 in power tools from the local Home Depot and also preyed heavily upon other Home Depots throughout the region was nabbed on Friday afternoon…right before they could pull off another theft, authorities said.
A seven-month investigation into The Home Depot shoplifting spree reached a pinnacle on Friday when Police Officer Eric Hollenstein, one of the key investigators on the case, though off duty at the time, allegedly saw the suspects heading toward the store off Route 23 North in a green Jeep Cherokee known to police as a possible getaway car.
The police action that followed led to the arrest of Deanna Catanzaro, 32, of Kearney and Vincent Salerno, 31, of Jersey City for third-degree shoplifting as well as conspiracy to commit shoplifting. In Riverdale alone, they are blamed for six shoplifting incidents at The Home Depot from September to March for a total loss of $3,902, but Sgt. James MacIntosh said that they also suspected in similar crimes in Dover, Roxbury, Hackettstown, and Hampton. This could put their thievery in the tens of thousands, he said, when all the cases have closed. He said the team focused on power tools, with Salerno entering the stores, grabbing several, and then leaving by a fire door where Catanzaro allegedly waited in a getaway car.
Surveillance photos helped authorities come up with a good description of both the vehicle and the actors, MacIntosh said, and then teamwork among the different police agencies with similar power tool thefts all came together to crack the case.
“We’ve had some (shoplifting) crews before but we’ve been looking for them since September,” said MacIntosh, commending all of the officers who accomplished the arrests, including investigators Hollenstein and Sgt. Chris Biro, who both responded though off duty.
On Friday, MacIntosh said the pair might have been caught red-handed in another shoplifting attempt if not for the tractor trailer that was parked in the loading dock area by the side fire door, which the team allegedly wanted to use as their exit.
To kill time until the truck moved, Catanzaro and Salerno drove over to the BJ’s Wholesale Club lot next door and Salerno walked around the club for a while, MacIntosh said.
When Officers Anthony Famularo and Hollenstein entered the BJ’s Wholesale Club to apprehend Salerno, he allegedly took off running and didn’t stop until he had crossed Route 23, at which time he allegedly called Catanzaro on her cell phone and asked her to pick him up, said police.
MacIntosh said he pulled over the Jeep as Catanzaro headed out the exit and took her into custody without incident, finding in her possession an orange pill bottle with four suboxone, a medication used to treat heroin addiction, for which the suspect allegedly lacked a prescription. The bottle also contained cotton balls associated with the injection of heroin, he reported. Consequently, Catanzaro was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), possession of drug paraphernalia, failure to wear a seat belt, unclear license plate, cell-phone misuse, and possession of a CDS in a vehicle.
As Salerno remained at large, police called upon neighboring departments of Kinnelon and Butler to search for him along the Route 23 corridor. Tips from concerned citizens placed Salerno first at the Riverdale Square on Route 23 North and then in the woods between Riverdale Square and The Grande at Riverdale housing complex. When Butler officers caught up with him, Salerno too was taken into custody without incident, said MacIntosh.
After being charged in Riverdale, Salerno was sent to the Morris County Correctional Facility in default of $20,000 bail.
Catanzaro was turned over to Roxbury in relation to a warrant against her.
Police suspect that the pair was selling the power tools for drug money.
Dupage County IL March 22 2012 A former Illinois Tollway employee who was accused of pocketing more than $800 in tolls and allowing acquaintances to pass through toll plazas without paying pleaded guilty to official misconduct Monday in DuPage County court.
Cheryl Olds, 51, of Chicago, formerly of Woodridge, was sentenced to two years’ probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service.
Olds originally was charged with theft and two counts of misconduct. The thefts took place between November 2009 and August 2011 at the Army Trail Road toll plaza on Interstate 355, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Helen Kapas. Security cameras captured images of Olds stuffing money into either a pocket or purse. When questioned, Olds admitted to the thefts, Kapas said. She has since paid the money back, Kapas said.
Tollway officials also said Olds had, on about 850 occasions, allowed people she knew to go through toll plazas without paying by pressing a button that raised the toll gates, a procedure intended only for emergency vehicles, according to Kapas.
Olds was earning about $52,000 a year at the time of her arrest, Kapas said. She was one of a dozen toll collectors who either resigned or were fired after a tollway investigation indicated they were stealing money or allowing motorists to go through plazas for free. Olds resigned in September, Illinois State Toll Highway Authority spokeswoman Wendy Abrams said.
WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. —March 22 2012
A former Winter Springs teacher and pastor was arrested again, said investigators on Tuesday.
In August, 47-year-old Jimmie Blake was charged with the sexual battery of a boy who was reportedly assaulted between 1998 and 2002, officials said.
The judge dropped those charges last month, but prosecutors are trying the case again with a new strategy, WFTV reporter Kathi Belich learned.
Investigators said Blake faced a Seminole County judge on Tuesday afternoon on six charges of molesting a teenager when Blake was a teacher’s assistant at Lyman High School.
Police said the victim, who is now in his late 20s, told them one of the assaults happened in a school bathroom.
A Sanford police report said Blake threatened to kill himself and the teenager if the boy told anyone.
Last month, a judge dismissed the original two charges against Blake, stemming from the same alleged incidents from 1997 to 2002, ruling the deadline for prosecuting him had long passed.
But prosecutors are trying again, hoping a change in the law in 2003, which lifts deadlines in those types of cases, will keep the Blake case alive.
Blake was arrested at his Sanford home Monday afternoon. Blake is being held at the Seminole County jail on a $25,000 bond.
Blake is suspended with pay from Winter Springs High School, officials said.
He was a pastor at the Morning Glory Church in Seminole County.
BAILEY, NC March 22 2012(AP) – Authorities in Nash County say a 16-year-old high school student is hospitalized after her throat was slashed with a scalpel by a 15-year-old as they changed classes.
The Nash County Sheriff’s Office says the younger student approached Jasmine Barnes from behind around 9:25 a.m. Tuesday at Southern Nash High School. The school resource officer who witnessed the incident took the 15-year-old girl into custody.
Barnes was taken to Wilson Medical Center before being transferred to Vidant Health in Greenville.
Deputies went to Southern Nash last week after a report that two people were fighting with a broken bottle and a gun. When deputies arrived at the school, they discovered a 17-year-old was trying to harm himself with a piece of glass.
SALISBURY, NC March 22 2012 (AP) – Police in Salisbury are looking for the rare thief who’s apparently eager to go to prison.
The Salisbury Post reports that someone broke into the Piedmont Correctional Institution, stole copper from an air conditioning unit and escaped.
The theft was discovered Monday morning. Salisbury Police Capt. Sheila Lingle says no arrests have been made.
Investigators think the thief climbed a fence at the minimum-security prison and dismantled the air conditioner, which is valued at $3,000.
The theft was discovered after authorities found pieces of insulation on both sides of the fence. There’s no security camera footage showing that section of fence when the break-in likely took place.
The guard opened fire after confronting the two men about 3:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the Magnolia Cove apartments at 103 Goodson near Airline, according to the Houston Police Department.
Police said the men were attempting to drive away in what appeared to be a stolen white pick up truck.
Two guards, who work for Spartan security company, were patrolling the complex when they spotted the two men in the truck, said HPD Homicide Investigator Brian Evans. Evans said the guard noticed the truck’s door handle was broken and ordered the men to stop.
When the men got out of the truck, they began to run away from the security guards. A guard chased one of the men, but he escaped. Another guard chased and caught the other suspect. Police said they got into a physical altercation and the man tried to disarm the guard. The guard opened fire, hitting the man, police said.
The man, later identified as John Henry Almanza, died at the scene. No weapon was found with Almanza, Evans said.
The 34-year-old guard, whose name has not been released, was not hurt. No description of the second suspect was available.
Investigators later determined the truck’s steering column was broken, which is common when vehicles are stolen, and the guards seemed to have foiled a vehicle theft, Evans said.
“It appears that they were performing their duties as they were hired to do,” he added.
Spartan officials declined to comment.
Residents at the complex said they often hear gunshots in the neighborhood and that the area has had a recent rash of car thefts and other crimes. The neighborhood, they said, is dangerous.
Rosemary Ortiz said she lives in an apartment near where the shooting happened. She heard two shots and the guard screaming for someone to call an ambulance. Ortiz said she called 911.
Ortiz said her husband’s car was nearly stolen at least twice recently. She said the area is so unsafe that she doesn’t let her grandchildren play outside even during the day.
“I’d really like to move away,” she said. “I’m scared.”
Police said the case is being referred to a Harris County grand jury to determine what, if any charges, will be filed.
Anyone one with information about the case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office partners with local private security companies www.privateofficer.com
Houston TXMarch 22 2012 The Harris County Sheriff’s Office and local private security companies today announced a new partnership to train private security guards as added eyes and ears for the department.
The effort is being led by Sheriff Adrian Garcia and the Law Enforcement and Private Security program, which promotes a positive working relationship between law enforcement agencies and the private security industry.
“This is a no brainer,” says Sheriff Garcia in a statement. “Security professionals are out there in the field every day and night. By enlisting their help we have extra boots on the ground to spot suspicious or criminal activity.”
The partnership will facilitate the exchange of crime information between private security agencies and law enforcement.
“By working together with the private security industry, we will be able to help prevent crimes and even locate individuals we’re looking for, whether they’re missing persons or suspects wanted for a crime,” he added.
On Thursday, HCSO deputies will train private security personnel in an all-day workshop at the HCSO Academy in Atascocita. They’ll be covering numerous topics including, crime scene preservation, note taking, threat detection, and dispute resolution.
“Sheriff Adrian Garcia is the first in Harris County to recognize this previously untapped resource and has made Harris County much safer with this partnership between private security professionals and law enforcement officers,” said Bob Burt, former state president of ASSIST.
The American Society of Industrial Security – International, Associated Security Services and Investigators of the State of Texas are also participating in the effort.
“The Houston chapter of the American Society of Industrial Security – International supports and commends the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for launching another effective Public-Private partnership to the benefit of the community. LEAPS brings additional eyes and ears through the private security industry, creating a better understanding, cooperation and coordination with area law enforcement agencies,” stated Charles Andrews, CPP Chairman, ASIS International Houston Chapter.