New York City NY April 1 2012 A 25-year-old Japanese tourist — sleeping on a Brooklyn pal’s couch — was wounded early today when a cop on a drug raid accidentally fired his gun through the floor above her.
“I heard a bang and jumped up. She didn’t say anything — she was kind of nervous and shocked,” said the victim’s friend, who lives in the apartment and gave his name only as Marcus.
The freak friendly-fire accident occurred about 6 a.m. as Brooklyn South Narcotics officers, armed with a search warrant and looking for pot and crack cocaine, broke down the door at a third-floor apartment at 3003 Clarendon Road in Flatbush, authorities said.
The first cop into the room held his 9-mm handgun in one hand and a large police shield in the other as he announced the raid and shouted “Hands up!” sources said.
Suspect Ernesto Ortiz, 28, who was sleeping on a sofabed with his girlfriend, raised a blanket in front of him, then kicked at the cop’s shield with his foot, sources said.
The cop’s gun accidentally fired — and the bullet went through Ortiz’s sofa mattress, then through the floorboard and down to the second-floor living room below.
Sleeping on the sofa there was the tourist, who had just arrived in New York a few days ago and was planning to fly to Barbados today with her friend, a former Marine, and a female colleague, sources said. She and Marcus are mutual friends with the Marine.
The bullet grazed the tourist’s left forearm.
Wounded but walking on her own, she was taken to Kings County Hospital.
“She looked like she was in pain,” said Jeffrey Diaz, 36, whose construction crew was in the area working on a transformer at the time.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly visited her at the hospital — and arranged for cops to drive her to the airport in time to make her flight to Barbados when he learned of her trip.
Residents of the apartment building couldn’t explain the bizarre shooting.
“The only thing I know is that there’s a bullet in my ceiling,” Marcus said.
Landlord Adrien Bateau said he was stunned.
“You don’t want to wake up as a landlord and hear that,” he said.
Authorities said the 36-year-old cop whose gun discharged had never fired his weapon before.
The officers who executed the search warrant found marijuana inside the third-floor apartment and arrested Ortiz, of 426 Baltic St., who has a record of 25 prior arrests and was on probation. They also arrested his 29-year-old girlfriend, Chanel Spence, who lives in the Clarendon Road building.
Gaston County NC teacher used her own students to distribute and sell prescription drugs www.privateofficer.com
GASTONIA, NC April 1 2012- A Gaston County teacher was fired from her job after police say she used her own students to distribute and sell prescription drugs.
Meredith Burris Pruitt, 31, of Gastonia, is charged with Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver a Schedule IV Controlled Substance, Sell or Deliver a Schedule IV Controlled Substance, Promoting Drug Sales by a Minor, Sell or Deliver a Controlled Substance to a Minor, Sell or Deliver a Controlled Substance within 1000 feet of a School, Hire or use a Minor to Commit a Controlled Substance Offense, Conspiracy to Sell or Deliver a Schedule IV Controlled Substance, and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, according to the news release from Gaston County Police.
The administration of Forestview High School notified Gaston Police on Thursday that school resource Officer J.K. Shaw that a teacher had possibly provided pills to a 15-year-old student while on the school campus that morning.
During the investigation that immediately followed it was determined that the teacher had in fact provided the student with four Clonazepam pills, which are listed as a Schedule IV controlled substance in the North Carolina Controlled Substance Act.
The investigation also revealed that the student who received the pills then sold them to other students and then gave part of the proceeds of the sales to the teacher. These students who received or purchased these pills have all been identified as well.
Pruitt was released on a $15,000 bond.
Officers arrested Bashar Aremu last week. He told them he’d been hiding out in Los Angeles since he learned he was a suspect and had just returned to the East Bay.
Aremu was wanted for sexual assault, kidnapping, and false imprisonment, as well as robbing an Emeryville Subway restaurant at gunpoint.
ELYRIA OH April 1 2012 — An Elyria man was arrested for robbery after he attacked Target loss prevention workers who tried to detain him, according to a police report.
Terry L. Hines, 25, tried to leave the Elyria store with $173.95 worth of DVDs he didn’t pay for Sunday afternoon, the report said.
Loss prevention officer Brandon Sprague told police he approached Hines in the exit vestibule, and Hines kicked him in the groin. Sprague said that Hines was then kicking him in the left leg.
Loss prevention officer Cristee Brianas tried to assist, injuring her hands.
Frank Trampush, an off-duty North Ridgeville police officer who was leaving the store, saw the struggle and helped the pair take Hines to the ground, the report said.
Hines was found to have warrants from Avon Lake and Ottawa County.
Officers took photos of Sprague and Brianas’ injuries. Trampush said he was not injured.
Hines remains in the Lorain County Jail.
West Nyack NY April 1 2012 An accused shoplifter from Queens used a tin foil-lined “booster bag” in an effort to steal $660 worth of merchandise from a Palisades Center mall store in West Nyack, according to Clarkstown police.
Lesly Castaneda, 22, of Queens was stopped by security at the Abercrombie and Fitch store at about 5:15 p.m. Friday. Police said Castaneda is accused of putting items from the store’s displays into the special bag and then attempting to leave the store without paying.
The so-called booster bags are used in an effort to defeat retail store security devices, according to police.
Castaneda was taken to Clarkstown police headquarters in New City and arraigned in Town Court. She was ordered held in the Rockland County Correctional Facility in New City on $500 bail pending a hearing on charges of petty larceny fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and criminal possession of an anti-security device.
Online court records say a preliminary hearing is scheduled Thursday for 41-year-old Joseph Walters.
Walters is accused of stealing donations from a locked cabinet in the pastor’s office at Prince of Peace Church in October.
Investigators say Walters had been present on at least one occasion earlier when the Sunday collections money was removed from the cabinet and on another occasion when the collection money was being counted.
Walters also faces a felony charge of marijuana possession for sale.
He remains in Buffalo County Jail, pending $100,000 bail. His attorney didn’t immediately return a call Tuesday.
West Palm Beach Fla April 1 2012 Blank credit cards, holograms, magnetic strips and stolen account information are selling in bulk on websites that offer identity thieves a one-stop shop for their counterfeit-credit-card schemes.
U.S. Secret Service agents in South Florida are fighting an uphill battle against increasingly high-tech credit card crime, which harms businesses and consumers alike, said Matthew Lynch, resident agent-in-charge of the Secret Service office in West Palm Beach.
It’s a constant battle,” said Lynch. “[Criminals] can get on Interstate 95 and hit a lot of places in a weekend.”
Matthew Francis, 24, and Troy Lemons, 29, were among four men indicted in the last two weeks in two separate cases linked to counterfeit-credit-card crime in South Florida. The men allegedly hit Apple stores in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Aventura, pulling out counterfeit credit cards to make off with thousands of dollars of electronics.
The two are blamed for ripping off more than $600,000 from Apple stores around the country, according a federal indictment filed Thursday. The Secret Service is the federal agency tasked with investigating counterfeit currency and financial crimes.
Florida topped the nation with 33,595 identity-theft complaints in 2011, according to the Federal Trade Commission. It followed California and New York with the most credit card identity-theft complaints that year — 3,412.
Hackers and credit card “skimmers” sell stolen bank and credit-card information from unsuspecting users, then make fake credit cards linked to real accounts. Counterfeit-credit-card trafficking rings make it easy for criminals to get everything online, Lynch said.
On March 16, federal authorities busted alleged members of a nationwide fake credit card operation on racketeering charges. The 19 people arrested, including three men from Florida, allegedly ran a large-scale network of complex financial scams.
On their website, blank credit cards sold for about $20 each, and stolen data from 100 accounts for $1,500, according to a federal indictment filed in Nevada.
In a separate case, two men were indicted March 15 in Fort Lauderdale after police found them at the Galleria Mall with more than 100 fake credit cards.
William Lezama, 21, and Fabian Loya, 20, had traveled from California to South Florida to buy high-end electronics with the fake cards, according to the federal affidavit. Loya bought an iPhone 4s at the Apple store in Town Center at Boca Raton, but a security guard at the Apple store at the Galleria Mall called police when Lezama’s card was declined there.
Both men told police a man nicknamed “Gordo” hired them to make purchases with the fake credit cards, the affidavit said.
“From these purchases, Lezama and Loya were promised a percentage of the profits,” a Secret Service agent wrote in the affidavit.
Each was charged with access-device fraud, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
Criminals are getting smarter and more sophisticated as they try to stay under the radar, said Miami criminal defense attorney Clayton Kaeiser, who handles many identity-theft cases. They’ll travel from place to place to max out the credit cards, but try to keep spending down to avoid attention from the Secret Service, he said.
In the end, the victims are the consumers, Kaeiser said. They’re the ones who get the bill when identity thieves link fake credit cards to their stolen account information. Most banks and credit cards will reimburse unauthorized purchases, but consumers still have to deal with their damaged credit history.
“The worst thing is getting your credit straightened out,” Kaeiser said. “You have to go through a lot of hoops.”
Mishawaka Police are trying to figure out how anyone got inside the mall after hours. By the time the mall opened on Saturday, the U.S. Cellular kiosk was short plenty of items.
An employee discovered that 52 smart-phones and tablets had been taken overnight.
There was damage to some of the cabinets at the kiosk that appeared to be pried open somehow. But, no actual money was taken.
University Park Mall officials declined to comment on the incident. Police tell Newscenter 16 that they are trying to get surveillance video from that night to get a better idea of how this all occurred.
U.S. Cellular sent this statement regarding the incident: “We are cooperating fully with law enforcement and cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.”
Police are also limited as to what they can and cannot say because they are still reviewing what happened and continuing their investigation.
This is a substantial number of items stolen. They say they hope to get leads on this as soon as possible.
About two weeks ago, there was an apparent theft attempt at the mall. The suspects had actually piled merchandise up but did not manage to get out of the mall with it. Still, police said they do not think these two incidents are related.
BATON ROUGE, LA April 1 2012 - A Louisiana state government employee faces hundreds of forgery and theft charges after thousands of dollars went missing from the State Library’s “Louisiana Library Foundation.” Investigators believe it was an inside job.
It’s an alleged theft spanning years, all allegedly done at the hands of a state employee.
The staff said it found discrepancies with the finances when Alison Foster, 39, was on medical leave last October. So Wednesday afternoon, a warrant was issued for her arrest.
The State Library of Louisiana is where Foster spent the past 16 years working as the executive assistant to the state librarian. As part of her job, she was given access to the library foundation’s checkbook and credit card, but only had permission to make small purchases on a case-by-case basis, and every purchase had to be approved.
But Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Kelly said detectives found hundreds of unauthorized purchases.
“From June of 2007 to September 2011, several hundred unauthorized transactions using her state-issued credit card and her state-issued checkbook,” said Sgt. Kelly.
174 credit card purchases, coming out to $27,582.98, 94 checks totaling $82,503.37. It’s a total of $110,086.35 in alleged stolen foundation dollars.
“She denies ever converting any Library Foundation money to her personal use. She denies using a Library Foundation credit card for her personal use or ever issuing any foundation checks for her personal use,” said Bruce Craft, Foster’s attorney.
Police accused Foster of making a variety of purchases with the credit cards. The warrant said Louisiana Library Foundation checks were made out to “Alison Foster” or “cash.” The warrant went on to say, “These check copies also show Foster’s personal bank account number stamped on the back with “Alison Foster” signature as the endorser.
“Alison Foster maintains her innocence. All the facts in the story about what happened will come out at trial,” said Craft.
The State Library falls under the Lt. Governor. They issued an emailed statement saying, “As soon as we became aware of the alleged criminal conduct, we turned this matter over to the appropriate law enforcement officials. The alleged theft involved Louisiana Library Foundation funds but no public monies. The employee has been terminated.”
Foster faces one count felony theft in excess of $110,000, 94 counts of forgery and 174 counts of unauthorized use of credit card.
Craft said his client will turn herself into police this week.
Northville MI April 1 2012 A Farmington Hills couple was arrested by Northville Township police last week on charges of shoplifting from Meijer, located at Eight Mile and Haggerty Roads.
The incidents occurred two days apart.
On March 22, a 25-year-old Farmington Hills man was stopped by Northville Township police after Meijer store security said he was seen shoplifting. According to the police report, the man left the store without paying for a Tigers hat and 12 packs of hockey trading cards. They are valued at $138.
When store security confronted him, he fled the store, according to the report. Township police caught up to him moments later on Haggerty Road at the Target parking lot across the street.
He told police he left his girlfriend at the store. The man was arrested and charged with larceny. According to the report, his car was turned over to his girlfriend. He is due to appear in the 35th District Court in Plymouth in April.
The following morning, the man’s 24-year-old girlfriend, also a Farmington Hills resident, was arrested on shoplifting charges from the same Meijer.
According to the police report, the woman filled a cart with $1,720 in merchandise, ranging from cosmetics to home goods. The woman left the store without paying for the items and was approached by store security.
The woman told police she was stealing items for her son, according to the police report. “However no products were observed in the cart to support that claim.”
The woman was arrested and posted a $300 bond. She is due to appear in the 35th District Court in April.
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -April 1 2012
Today, investigators arrested a Johnson County, Tenn. government employee accused of stealing money from the county.
In November of last year, the Johnson Co. mayor’s office told us Kelly Horne was suspended after a state audit revealed money missing from solid waste transfer station collection fees.
At the time of the alleged incident, Horne worked for the county clerk and the county mayor.
Investigators said Horne misappropriated more than $40,000 by manipulating numbers at the county’s transfer station where trash is dropped off.
The charges against Horne include theft over $10,000, four counts of forgery, official misconduct and four counts of hindering a secured creditor.
The charges include that Horne “knowingly, with the intent to defraud or harm” committed forgery against creditors, including Johnson County Bank & Farmers State Bank. Further charges accuse Horne of unlawfully claiming interest or ownership of a 1997 Chevrolet pickup truck and a 1998 Ford Explorer.
Horne’s bond has been set at $15,000.
The Johnson County Grand Jury indicted Horne on the charges earlier this week.
The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office revealed that Horne misappropriated a large sum of solid waste fees.
Horne was suspended immediately last November, when Mayor Larry Potter was told about the missing cash. Potter told us the audit revealed $22,000 in missing deposits and manipulated checks and $19,000 in missing cash
According to a court document, Amy Carney, 23, worked at Wells Fargo Bank at 715 Center Street in Deer Park until resigning on Feb. 19.
When Carney’s drawer was audited on Feb. 10, it was balanced, the bank said. But when the bank audited the drawer again after Carney resigned, it found it to be $11,245 short, the document states.
The bank told police that it audits money drawers once a month, before a vacation or upon resignation or termination of an employee.
Carney was scheduled for vacation from Feb. 11 to 20, according to the document.
When bank administrators reviewed surveillance video from Feb. 10, they allegedly saw Carney walking to the safe to lock up the money drawer, grabbing some money and sticking it in her bra area, according to the document.
The bank’s vice president then spoke to Carney and obtained a written statement from her admitting that she took the money, the document states.
The bank called police on Thursday, March 22. Deer Park police investigated the case and the Harris County District Attorney charged Carney with felony theft on Tuesday (March 27).
Deer Park police Detective Ian Sawtell said a warrant for Carney’s arrest was issued Thursday (March 29) and that the department’s fugitive task force is looking for her.
A conviction for theft between $1,500 and $20,000 carries a sentence of 180 days to two years in state jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
Vernon CT April 1 2012 Two Tolland residents, both employees of the Vernon K-Mart, are facing larceny charges for theft-related incidents at the store, Vernon police said on Thursday.
Ashley McQueen-Schnubel, 18, of 82 Timber Trail, and Jeffrey Oller, 21, of 150 Noah Lane – both Tolland addresses – were taken into custody on warrants at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, police said.
They have been charged with sixth-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit sixth-degree larceny, according to an arrest report.
Police said the charges stem from store security staff members catching the two improperly scanning items through the registers.
K-Mart is located at 295 Hartford Turnpike in Vernon.
They were both released on $500 bonds and were assigned court dates of April 10, police said.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. April 1 2012– A local grandmother says she regrets going on a shoplifting run with her grandchildren.
Police arrested 52-year-old Shelethia Douglas at a Kohl’s department store on Atlantic Boulevard where she is accused of stealing more than $300 worth of merchandise.
Douglas is now out of jail. She told Action News she regretted her decision to steal and that she was just trying to care for her grandchildren. The mother of the children serves in the Navy and is at sea right now.
“We do see sometimes see shoplifting incidents where they steal the necessities of life, food, medication, stuff they might need, but in this instance I believe she was stealing pillows and perfume,” said JSO spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda. “So, I’m not sure how she can articulate that she was supporting a family.”
Due to the Action News report, the Department of Children & Families has now launched its own investigation.
Armed with a big red stop sign and outfitted in a neon yellow vest, Rosalie Garcia heads to the front lines of the Sundance Elementary School zone in Los Luna twice a day, every day.
Garcia’s job typically involves corralling crowds of kids safely through the crosswalk to and from school, but on Friday, when a car failed to stop for the kids in the crosswalk, she said it was the closest she’s ever come to jumping in front of a car to save a child.
“It was terrifying,” Garcia said.
Garcia said she was helping a boy cross the street on his scooter when a car blew right through the intersection and headed straight for Ryan Acosta, 8.
“When I saw the car near him, I yelled, ‘Wait!’ And that’s when he turned and looked at me, and I think if he hadn’t stopped, (the car) would have hit him,” Garcia said.
“I was scared,” Ryan said.
The boy’s mother, Michelle Acosta, said she was following her son in her car on his way to school and saw the whole thing happen.
“This SUV just went straight across and probably missed him by this much,” Michelle Acosta said. “I can’t wait to see (Garcia) to tell her, ‘Thank you.’”
Garcia said the attention isn’t necessary because she’s only doing what she’s supposed to do.
“I don’t feel like a hero,” Garcia said
Garcia said she would have jumped in front of the car if she had to, but her scream was enough.
Smyrna GA April 1 2012 Former Campbell High School teacher Jonas Magdangal, 55 of Smyrna, was arrested Thursday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 17-year-old student. Detectives also obtained a warrant for extortion for the student after they alleged that she received money and an “A” in the class in exchange for keeping the encounter secret.
Smyrna police say that on Dec. 31 Magdangal drove the victim to a Comfort Inn and Suites on Highland Parkway where they had sexual intercourse. The student later received money and an “A” in the class in exchange for her silence.
According to Smyrna police, the victim’s parents said she would turn herself in by the end of the day Friday. Officer Michael Smith, Smyrna’s public information officer, said Magdangal had recently resigned from his post at Campbell.
Chad Edgehill, 24, of Jersey City, was shot once in the back of the head near the entrance of the college building on Sip Avenue at about 9:20 p.m., Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said. The bullet exited his forehead.
“It was a brutal, wanton act of violence,” DeFazio said of the death of Edgehill, who recently moved to Jersey City from Brooklyn and was employed as a security guard at Lincoln Center in New York.
After hearing the gunshot, an off-duty Port Authority police officer found the body and chased the gunman and an accomplice down Sip Avenue and onto Enos Place, where he lost sight of them.
Police have released an image of the alleged gunman inside a store in the Journal Square Transportation Center concourse. The image shows him wearing a red sweater over a red shirt that appears to have an image of a cobra on it with lettering above, DeFazio said, adding that shirt has long black sleeves. He is described as being about 6 feet tall with a thin build, DeFazio said.
The alleged gunman was with a second man described as being about 5-foot-10, thin, and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, jeans and a baseball cap with a blue brim, DeFazio said. Investigators think the gunman may have handed his sweater and the gun to his accomplice as they ran, DeFazio said.
Just before the shooting, the victim met the gunman and accomplice near the Jackie Robinson statue in front of the PATH station and security video “indicates there was some familiarity and no apparent tension between the men.” The shooter and Edgehill entered a drug store on the PATH concourse and the victim withdrew money from an ATM, DeFazio said.
The three men then left the store and walked toward the college and under the covered walkway that runs along the west side of the building. That’s where Edgehill was shot prior to reaching the school’s entrance, DeFazio said, adding that he was pronounced dead at the scene.
When found, Edgehill had $120 beside his hand on the sidewalk, DeFazio said. The motive for the murder is not clear, although it is possible it was a robbery turned deadly. Edgehill had no weapon on him, DeFazio said. Investigators confirmed Edgehill had withdrawn money at the ATM, but would say only that the amount was not significantly more than the cash found at the murder scene.
There were few people in the area at the time of the shooting and the college was on spring break. Class was back in session yesterday and student Miles Riccardi said as soon as he arrived back at school yesterday morning he was told of the murder.
“I pulled up and I heard it from one of my friends,” said Riccardi. “It’s pretty scary.”
One of a pair of students walking into the college at about 10:45 a.m. yesterday said:“I’m from the hood so it don’t worry me.” His friend echoed him, saying: “Don’t worry me at all.”
Betsy Vorce, a spokeswoman for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, said yesterday afternoon: “Our sympathies are certainly with his family.” Vorce said Edgehill worked at Lincoln Center as a security guard on the midnight shift since 2011.
Anyone with information on the murder is asked to call the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office’s Homicide Squad at (201) 915-1345. Jersey City and Port Authority police are also working on the case.
At 9:09 p.m., a man fled the store without paying for merchandise and when a store security officer tried to take him into custody, he pulled a knife and threatened to stab the officer.
The suspect, along with another man, fled in a red 2006 Chevrolet Equinox, which was driven by a woman. She was described as a heavy set black female.
The man with the folding knife is black, about six feet tall, thin building, wearing a black leather jacket, jeans, and burgundy baseball cap with white lettering.
The second man is black, about six feet, one inch tall, muscular build, wearing a red jacket and red hat.
Anyone with information is asked to call Town of Wallkill detectives at 845-692-6757.
Miami Fla April 1 2012 Gunmen fired a barrage of bullets at a crowd of mourners who were gathered Friday night at a North Miami-area funeral home, injuring 12 people and killing two, according to Miami-Dade police..
The gunmen remained on the loose early Saturday.
Witnesses said one of the two killed was shot in the chest.
The funeral was for Morvin Andre, 21, of North Miami, killed in a March 18 shooting, according to witnesses. He was buried at nearby Southern Memorial Park Saturday morning.
On Friday night more than 100 people were gathered outside the funeral home.
“I was on my way out of the chapel when I heard the shots,“ said A.D. Lenoir, the pastor who officiated at the service. “I told people to look for cover. It was chaos.”
Lenoir, 29, said people were screaming, crying and yelling.
“It hurts me that after such a moving and stirring message, this happens,” Lenoir said, “a shooting at a shooting-victim’s funeral.”
Three of Friday’s victims were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, according to reports, and several more went to other areas hospitals. One victim reportedly was a child, shot in the leg.
As mourners were gathered at about 9 p.m. outside the funeral home, Funeraria Latina Emanuel, a car drove by and at least one person inside the vehicle fired shots at the crowd, reportedly with a high-powered weapon. Yellow police tape surrounded the funeral home and surrounding crime scene.
The shooting happened outside North Miami city limits in the 14900 block of West Dixie Highway. The area is just southwest of Florida International University’s north campus. Several funeral homes and a cemetery are in the busy area, as well as stores and restaurants.
Miami-Dade police were on the shooting scene.
The West Dixie Highway corridor has been the scene of several shootings in recent years. In 2007, the owner of a martial arts studio was fatally gunned down in a drive-by.
Police are looking for six men, who were in a white 2006 or 2009 Pontiac or Impala, according to WSVN-TV. Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.
Two Presbyterian College football players accused of sexually assaulting three Lander University students www.privateofficer.com
GREENWOOD COUNTY, S.C. April 1 2012– Two Presbyterian College football players accused of sexually assaulting three Lander University students appeared before a magistrate this morning.
Lander University police arrested Bobby Henderson and Cameren Jones, both 19, on Friday night.
Both are charged with criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and first-degree burglary.
The magistrate denied bond for both Henderson and Jones on the burglary charge. Bond for both defendants was set at $30,000 for the sexual assault charge and $30,000 for kidnapping.
A general sessions court appearance for Henderson and Jones is set for June 8 at 9 a.m.
Convictions for both criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years. The penalty for a first-degree burglary conviction carries a maximum life sentence.
This morning, Presbyterian College Chief of Staff Bob Staton released the following written message: “Presbyterian College will not tolerate acts of violence perpetrated by our students. These allegations go against everything our community stands for and believes in and we are taking them very seriously. Upon learning of the charges against the two men, we acted immediately to suspend them pending the outcome of the cases in court. As I communicated to our entire campus community, the safety and welfare of our students is our top priority.”
Police said Henderson and Jones held three students at gunpoint and sexually assaulted them at Bearcat Village, a campus housing apartment complex.
A source close to the investigation told WYFF News 4 that a male student, who was trying to be nice, swiped his card to let the men into the building. Then, the pair went to the apartment armed with guns and forced their way in, police said.
According to the incident report, one of the students said that there was a knock on the door, and she could only see a shoulder through the peephole. She said she asked who it was, and the person answered, “It’s a friend.” She said when she cracked the door open to see who it was, two men, one who pointed a handgun at her head, forced their way into the apartment.
All three students were then sexually assaulted, according to the incident report. When the students screamed, the men told them to shut up or they would be shot, according to the report.
The report said one of the students was attacked as she got out of the shower after hearing her roommate scream. The report says she was then raped and punched in the stomach with a closed fist.
The victims were all transported to Self Regional Healthcare for treatment.
Marshalltown IA April 1 2012 Police charged two men with unlawful possession of a 9 MM pistol and a civilian assault rifle Tuesday.
An overnight security guard at an abandoned factory on the 600 block of South 12th Avenue spotted two cars loitering on the property around 2:30 a.m. and called the police, said Capt. Mike Hanken of the Marshalltown Police Department.
Police were able to identify two of the men as William Landgrebe, 25 of Eddyville, and Hector Garcia, 21 of Ottumwa, when the officer pulled over the duo’s car on the 500 block of E. South Street.
The other unidentified man was questioned and released.
Following question, police searched Landgrebe’s vehicle and found the loaded guns along with some marijuana in a console and trunk, Hanken said.
Hanken said the guns were not registered to either of the men, which lead to the aggravated misdemeanor charges.
No warrants exist on the weapons indicating that they had been stolen or used in another crime, but results on who the guns are registered to could take up to three weeks to come back from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, he said.
Former school district security guard charged with workers’ compensation insurance fraud www.privateofficer.com
Julio Santiago, a 52-year-old former security guard for the school district, was arrested Wednesday. He is accused of working as a private security guard while claiming a knee injury prevented him from working at the district.
“We have reason to believe he continued to work while he claimed his injury,” said Angela Brunson, the prosecutor on the case.
Bill Warner, manager of the special investigations unit for the company that handles the school district’s insurance claims, said his office began the investigation into Santiago, but later passed it to the California Department of Insurance after being unable to amass enough evidence against Santiago.
Santiago worked as a campus security officer for the district until February 2011, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Rob Roberts said. He declined to discuss the case further.
Santiago was due to be arraigned on Thursday, but was instead released on bail. He is due back in Los Angeles Municipal Court on April20.
Messages left at a Rowland Heights phone number registered to a Julio Santiago of the same age were not returned.
Santiago’s case is the latest in a string of alleged fraud cases discovered in the district.
Most recently, Mark McCleave, a high school teacher in Hacienda
La Puente, settled with the district for $5,000 after it was discovered that he worked at several race tracks while collecting leave of absence pay for an elbow injury he claimed.
Last year the district saw four other insurance fraud cases.
In early February 2011, Patricia Elena Leon, 41, of Hacienda Heights, was arrested by Los Angeles County Sheriffs Deputies after being charged with insurance fraud, perjury and grand theft.
Leon claimed injuries to her left knee, chest and lower back in September 2010 after being kicked by a special-education student.
Leon claimed to be disabled, but she was videotaped working at a medical clinic for about two weeks.
Leon later pleaded guilty to one count of insurance fraud and was ordered to pay $8,800 in restitution and serve five years of probation.
Also arrested that month was Alfred Thomas Velasquez, 55. Velasquez claimed he injured his neck and shoulder while trying to catch a falling bag of fertilizer in 2009. Shortly after Velasquez filed the claim, an investigator observed him putting up large and heavy Christmas decorations and hammering stakes into the ground at his home.
He later pleaded guilty to one count of insurance fraud and was ordered to pay $4,910 in restitution.
In March 2011, April Metzinger, 39, was arrested and charged with insurance fraud and attempted perjury.
Metzinger claimed she had injured herself while performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking child and further injured herself when she ran into a pole while carrying the child. She said her injuries were aggravated when another child jumped off a trampoline onto her.
Metzinger said she had injuries to her ribs, breast, chest, neck, legs and back, as well as ulcers induced by stress.
But investigators hired by the school district’s insurance company recorded video of Metzinger visiting Disneyland, riding roller coasters, carrying one of her children, going camping for several days in Wrightwood and “moving about without any apparent restrictions.”
In December she pleaded guilty to a single count of workers’ compensation insurance fraud. She was sentenced two to days in jail, two years of probation and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution to the district.
Victoria Jimenez, a 46-year-old payroll technician, was arrested in January 2011 after investigators observed her lifting a child, despite her claims that she had disabling neck and shoulder pain.
Jimenez originally faced two counts of insurance fraud, but both were dismissed in September. Neal Curatola, an attorney for Jimenez, said the charges were dismissed due to lack of evidence.
“The bottom line is the woman was vindicated, she didn’t do anything wrong,” Curatola said.
The prosecutor on the case was not available for comment.
Curatola said the district and Jimenez eventually settled her workers’ compensation claim, with the district paying her $37,500.
The law sets minimum hourly rates for employees of city contractors while they are working for the city.
Kent Security agreed in March to a retroactive pay hike after Miami’s Purchasing Department launched its second investigation into Kent’s payroll records. Based on those records, for periods of 2011, the city sent Kent a letter indicating that 29 out of 34 employees working on city contracts appeared to be underpaid. The company also had increased wages last year after a city investigation, according to the Purchasing Department.
For 2011, the minimum was $11.82 for workers receiving health insurance, or $13.07 for workers without health insurance.
Twenty-eight of the underpaid employees — none of whom had requested or received a health benefit plan from Kent — were getting $12.40 an hour, according to payroll records Kent provided to the Purchasing Department in November 2011. Another employee without health insurance received $12.65 an hour, also an apparent violation. But four employees who were getting health benefits received $12.40 an hour, which is above the minimum. One employee without health insurance was receiving $13.50, also above the minimum.
The company said it offered free health insurance to all of these employees, but most declined, and the company thought it was complying with the law.
“We have always considered ourselves compliant, and we have paid whatever the city wanted us to pay,” said a spokesman for the company Monday. “We have always paid the living-wage rate and, when the city has recast the formula, we have met the city’s requirements every time.”
But a representative of a union trying to organize the guards said the company should be punished.
“Kent has ripped off both their employees and us as taxpayers in the city by pocketing the money and ignoring the law,” said Eric Brakken, director of the Florida chapter of the 32JB, a branch of Service Employees International Union, which helped several guards file complaints with the city.
“So far the city hasn’t sanctioned Kent,” said Brakken. “We are urging the city to do that. The city should actually withhold payment to Kent and send that money back directly to the workers they have taken advantage of. The city should really set an example by demonstrating that this kind of activity is not going to be tolerated.”
The city had the option of imposing fines of $500 per week per underpaid employee, terminating Kent’s contract, suspending or terminating payment under the contract, or declaring Kent ineligible for city contracts for three years or until Kent pays all penalties and restitutions.
This city’s living wage is set each year in April to equal to 110 percent of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Poverty Guidelines for persons in households of four.
Between Oct. 1, 2010, and March 19, 2012, the city has paid Kent $880,598.85 for security services.
Merrick LI NY April 1 2012 A postal supervisor took photographs of the $40,000 in stolen merchandise that he’s accused of peddling on eBay and stored the images on his work computer.
Hermenegildo Lopez, apparently cornered, confessed that he had been stealing parcels that contained UGGS, jewelry, blocks of precious metal, cell phones, DVDs, a Lalique glass vase, a laptop computer and women’s hair care products. Court records show the thefts went on for about a year at a post office in Merrick, L.I.
Lopez, 45, went on his sticky-fingered binge after running into financial troubles, according to the court papers. Authorities said the photographs made it easy to nail the suspect.
“Based upon my review of customer complaints, I was able to determine that the various items depicted in the photographs . . . matched the items reported missing by the Merrick post office customers,” Special Agent Steven DeMayo of the inspector general’s office said in the criminal complaint.
After receiving a complaint from the postmaster about missing packages and large quantities of postage stamps being unaccounted for at the Merrick branch, investigators began scrutinizing the employees’ computers.
Sure enough, the screen shots of the stolen items showed up on Lopez’s computer. Next, Lopez’s eBay account records were obtained showing he had sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of items, including postage stamps at a discount from January 2011 to December 2011.
A sting operation was set in motion on March 6 — a test parcel containing an electronic transmitter was delivered to the Merrick location.
Lopez took the parcel from a clerk and stashed it under his desk, court papers show. A few hours later he placed a mail tub containing the parcel in the back seat of his car and drove away. He was stopped a short distance away by agents and agreed to a search of the vehicle.
“The special agents also found approximately 12 other unopened parcels,” including various loose collectible silver coins, according to court papers.
Lopez estimated that he had stolen about 200 packages over the past year. Agents recovered more merchandise in Lopez’s Manhattan apartment — 60 copper ingots, a laptop computer, five pairs of UGGS boots, 10 Blockbuster DVDs, 10 rolls of postage stamps, 17 books of stamps and two cell phones.
Lopez, who graduated with a degree in accounting from Queens College, filed for bankruptcy in 2004. He has been free on his own recognizance since his arrest on March 7 in the postal scam and could not be reached.
“I’m blindsided,” said a relative who didn’t want his name used. “I love him. I support him on everything he does.”