A civil lawsuit filed on March 28, by an attorney for Karen McQuistion, includes the City of Clinton, Former Fire Chief Mark Regenwether, City Attorney Jeffrey Farwell and City Administrator Jeffrey Horne. McQuistion started as a firefighter/paramedic on Jan. 22, 2001 and was later promoted to the position of engineer/paramedic, according to the lawsuit.
On May 9, 2011, McQuistion became aware that she was pregnant and informed Regenwether on May 11, 2011, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit continues that Regenwether advised her he would try to accommodate her pregnancy by moving her to the front line at fire scenes if it was “possible.” During a May 11 meeting, McQuistion asked to be assigned to light duty. This would include inspections for the city, water hydrant checks, fire prevention duties, work with the juvenile fire offender program and training assignments.
According to the lawsuit, Regenwether refused to assign McQuistion to light duty, claiming he could not afford it. On approximately June 3, 2011, Regenwether, Farwell and Horne discussed her situation and decided to reject her request for accommodation, according to the lawsuit, which says she repeatedly requested to have her “disability” accommodated. She was forced to stop working on Sept. 29, 2011 on the recommendation of her doctor. According to the lawsuit, she could have worked until the commencement of labor if she had been placed on light duty.
The lawsuit maintains that the City of Clinton allows for pregnant police officers to perform light duty assignments in the months leading up to their delivery, but has refused to provide this accommodation for firefighters. The city allows for firefighters injured on the job to perform light duty assignments, but does not provide this accommodation for pregnant firefighters, according to the lawsuit.
“That’s unconstitutional and it violates the discrimination law,” McQuistion’s attorney, Roxanne Conlin, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. The lawsuit claims that the city discriminated against McQuistion because of her gender and pregnancy. It also claims she was denied equal protection by disregarding her right to procreate.
In her lawsuit, McQuistion requests judgment against the defendants in an amount that will fully and fairly compensate her for her injuries and damages and for punitive damages “in an amount sufficient to punish the defendants and deter the defendants and others from the same or similar wrongful conduct,” as well as to pay interest, attorney’s fees and other applicable costs.
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY Fla April 9 2012 — Simultaneous shoplifting crimes at Victoria’s Secret led to almost $5,000 in merchandise leaving the lingerie shop last week, according to reports from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
An off-duty deputy helped capture two suspects and recover more than $2,300 worth of goods, the Sheriff’s Office said. However, two other suspects fled the Indian River Mall store with 175 pairs of panties, worth $2,412. Authorities have not verified whether the two crimes were connected.
The off-duty deputy was walking through the mall in the 6200 block of 20th Street about 4:45 p.m. March 27 when he noticed two men putting panties into a plastic bag, according to reports. The deputy phoned in his information to an active corporal, the reports state. The suspect left the mall in a black Dodge Charger or Magnum, the reports state.
About the same time, the deputies said they noticed Jeffrey Lajuan Nobles, 22, and Kimkesia Valencia Graham, 23, of Riviera Beach, were also in the store behaving suspiciously. The pair fled but were apprehended outside the mall, the Sheriff’s Office said. The pair had dropped a bag filled with sweatpants, T-shirts and tank tops from Victoria’s Secret.
Nobles and Graham were each charged with grand theft and posted $10,000 bond at the Indian River County Jail. They each denied knowing about the suspects who escaped. Nobles served nine months in jail for a 2009 retail theft conviction in Indian River County, according to jail records.
The March 27 thefts weren’t the only crimes committed at the lingerie store last month. Two women from South Florida were apprehended after they attempted to steal $4,500 worth of clothing March 1.
Anyone with information about the suspects at-large should call Treasure Coast CrimeStoppers at 800-273-TIPS (8477) or leave the tip online at tcwatch.org.
Holly Harris, 35, pleaded innocent Thursday in Benton County Superior Court to second-degree theft and second-degree professional gambling.
Her lawyer, Sal Mendoza Jr., objected to the timeliness of her arraignment because the allegations stem from 2009 and 2010.
Trial is set for June 4.
Court documents show that Harris was in charge of selling 50/50 raffle tickets for Sparetime Junior Boosters between Sept. 1, 2009, and Aug. 8, 2010.
Harris was one of three directors for the corporation, which registered as a nonprofit April 7, 2009, according to the Washington Secretary of State website.
That status expired a year later on April 30, 2010, and Sparetime Junior Boosters became inactive Aug. 2, 2010, the site said.
Prosecutors in court documents pointed out that Harris was selling tickets when they no longer were licensed as a nonprofit and without a license to conduct gambling.
“The gross amount of 50/50 raffle proceeds was $12,888,” documents said.
Money raised between March 17 and April 29, 2010, totaled $914.19. It was given to Harris to deposit into the Sparetime Junior Boosters account, but she allegedly never did that.
Clothing store clerk pleads innocent to embezzlement
A clothing store employee at the Columbia Center mall pleaded innocent to charges she embezzled more than $4,233 in one month.
Karina Rubi Sanchez, 21, faces trial June 11 on one count of second-degree theft.
Prosecutors allege that while working at Buckle between July 13 and Aug. 2, Sanchez made multiple fraudulent returns for merchandise that didn’t exist. Sanchez then removed cash from the register in the amount of the fraudulent return, court documents said.
Store security reportedly captured the incidents. Police were notified once the alleged theft was discovered.
Kennewick Officer Josh Sullivan responded to the store and met with Sanchez and the store’s manager and assistant manager.
Sanchez admitted to stealing cash for the past month, but said she thought it didn’t exceed $1,500, documents said.
MILTON GA April 9 2012 – A man and his teenage son were arrested after a series of thefts from local stores all caught on camera, culminating with the father abandoning the child to police.
Store employees said they saw Marcus Tyrone Robinson, 32, of Decatur, walking around the Kohl’s store on Ga. 9 with his 12-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. He and his son were allegedly placing child’s clothing into a push-buggy.
Robinson was seen leaving the store and then pulled around in a silver Chevy Impala, while the son allegedly hid the buggy full of clothing and left the store.
A few minutes later, the son reappeared in the store and began moving the items from the buggy into a shopping bag. He was stopped as he tried to leave the store with the merchandise, totaling more than $900. Robinson drove off, leaving the son to authorities.
He was called by store employees to come pick his son up. Robinson soon walked back into the store, and said he and his children had walked to the store from his girlfriend’s apartment nearby. He denied driving at any point.
Robinson admitted that he had filled the buggy with clothing, but he said a check of his credit showed he did not have enough money to pay for it, so he left it all. While chastising his son, Robinson maintained he had no idea about the theft.
A search of nearby parking lots turned up Robinson’s Impala, which is thought to be involved in two other thefts at the nearby Target a few days prior.
Four days earlier – March 24 – Target store surveillance picked up an older man – thought to be Robinson – pushing a cart with a young boy in his early teens. The pair separated as they pretended to browse the store. The child put a Dyson vacuum cleaner in a cart and he and his father left through the same door at the same time. They both got into a silver Chevy Impala with chrome wheels.
Two days later, the same suspects repeated the exercise. The boy pushed the cart around the store, which the older man loaded with another Dyson, then the pair headed to the exit. The older man paid for something using a credit card while the boy waited with the vacuum by the exit.
The pair then left, stealing the vacuum. They used the same vehicle as before. A check of the credit card used turned up that it was Robinson’s.
Robinson was arrested for felony shoplifting, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and obstruction. His son was also arrested for felony shoplifting and turned over to juvenile authorities.
Trenton New Jersey April 9 2012 New Jersey’s Attorney General announced the arrests today of a ringleader and two associates in a Home Depot theft ring that targeted about 70 stores in the Mid-Atlantic area.
The following men were arrested:
•Julio Arriola Suarez, 49, of West New York, aka Jimmy R. Alcivar, the alleged leader of the retail theft ring, was arrested April 3 in Jersey City. He is being held in Morris County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.
•David Pulgarin, 28, formerly of Union City and West New York, was served with a warrant on April 2 at Lehigh County Prison in Allentown.
•Julio Duque Barahona, 30, was served with a warrant today at Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility in Brocton, N.Y.
Two arrest warrants were issued for:
•Nicolas Arriola Cortez, 48, formerly of Union City.
•Javier Duque Piza, 56, formerly of West New York.
Prosecutors said the men committed thefts at multiple stores per day in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, stealing hundreds of dollars in merchandise by “under-ringing” it through self-checkout areas.
They allegedly made more than 500 illegal transactions worth more than $100,000 in losses.
All five men are charged with second-degree crimes of conspiracy and shoplifting. Suarez also faces a second-degree charge of leading an organized retail theft enterprise. Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
During a recent six-month period, the ring members allegedly committed thefts on more than 150 days, typically striking numerous Home Depot stores and stealing hundreds of dollars in merchandise each day.
The men would allegedly go through the self-checkout areas and not properly scan items. They allegedly would use various tactics to hide their “under-ringing” activity in the self-checkout area from security cameras and any employee assigned to the area. In some instances, a second ring member would distract the store employee.
“Organized retail theft is a growing problem in New Jersey and across the U.S. that retailers estimate costs them up to $30 billion a year,” N.J. Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said in a news release. “Our investigation uncovered a ring of foreign nationals (from Central and South America) who we allege were highly systematic and prolific in their thefts from Home Depot stores in New Jersey and five other states. They allegedly struck multiple stores on most days, and could rack up well over $1,000 a day in stolen goods.”
The charges resulted from an ongoing joint investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the United States Secret Service, and included help from the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, Whitehall Police Department and Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office.