Fallon and Emmanuel Delacruz of 270 Quarry St. have been charged with identity theft and larceny.
Fallon Delacruz, 25, who also has a Dorchester address, was dismissed from her job after police made her employer aware of the investigation. A police report on file in Quincy District Court says Delacruz worked as a patient financial coordinator.
Mass. Eye and Ear has offered one year of free credit monitoring to potentially affected patients, and sent mail notifications to about 3,600 patients whose Social Security numbers Delacruz was able to access.
“We are saddened and disappointed that this former employee appears to have chosen to violate both our trust and that of our patients,” Mass. Eye and Ear president and CEO John Fernandez said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and concern caused by this incident.”
The statement said Mass. Eye and Ear has taken steps to further restrict its staff members’ access to complete Social Security numbers, and will regularly reinforce the importance of safeguarding patient information.
Fallon and Emmanuel Delacruz are due back in Quincy District Court court in June and July for pretrial hearings.
Quincy District Court issued a criminal complaint against them last month, but they failed to appear in court to be arraigned. Warrants were issued for both, and they were arrested in Quincy and Boston on April 21 and April 27 and later arraigned.
Both are charged with three counts of identity fraud and three counts of larceny over $250 by false impersonation.
John F. Stevens, listed in court documents as attorney for Emmanuel Delacruz, could not be reached for comment.
The Quincy police investigation began in January when a West Boylston woman reported that she had received notice from a collection agency that she owed $1,529 in past-due electric bills. The bills were in her name, but listed the address of the Quarry Street apartment building where Delacruz was later found to be living.
The West Boylston woman told police she never lived in Quincy and never opened an account with a Quincy address. She said National Grid told her that her Social Security number had been used to open the account, which was active from January to April before being closed.
Detective Tom Pepdjonovic of the Quincy Police Department determined Emmanuel and Fallon Delacruz were leasing the Quincy apartment that was listed on the West Boylston woman’s bill, and that National Grid had no record of people named Delacruz living at
According to a police report, National Grid said it had four names listed as customers at the Quincy apartment, including that of the West Boylston woman.
Pepdjonovic spoke with two other people National Grid had listed at the address, one a Connecticut resident and the other a New Hampshire resident, the police report states.
“(T)he only similarity I noticed was that they were both patients at Mass. Eye & Ear at some point in their lives,” Pepdjonovic wrote in the report. “I re-contacted (the West Boylston woman) and asked her if she was ever a patient of Mass. Eye & Ear before and she informed me that (she) has been.”
Police allege that Emmanuel Delacruz participated with his sister in the scam, which was designed to avoid paying for electricity by having National Grid send bills to other addresses.
Police said when the bills were not paid, the false account would be closed and a new one opened with a different person’s information.
Nashville TN May 20 2012 - After 26 years on the force, Jim Arts says it will be tough to walk away.
“This is what I know, and this is what I do. I’m a cop,” said Green Bay police chief Jim Arts.
But opportunity came calling just two weeks ago. Now, Arts is leaving Titletown for Tennessee.
“This is a big leap for us. This is a big leap we’ve not been there. I know nothing about Nashville. There’s this thing called country music. I’m not a fan but,” said Arts.
Arts was hired this week to be the new security director for the Tennessee Titans.
Arts says he will have a lot to learn as security director. He says he will have some help.
“I know I can count on my contact with the Green Bay Packers organization. They’ve already reached out and offered some assistance for me as I transition to that new role,” said Arts.
The city needs to find a replacement for police chief Arts. That decision lies in the hands of the Police and Fire Commission, a five-member committee appointed by Green Bay mayor Jim Schmitt.
“Right now we’ll bring someone probably internal in as acting-chief, and then I think we owe it to the city and to ourselves to do a national search, whether that person is already here, or somewhere else. I’m not going to rush. That gives us six or seven months to do that,” said Schmitt.
Arts has been chief since 2006 and currently makes $102,000 a year.
Arts says he is proud of the progress the department has made. He calls it teamwork, from top to bottom.
“We’ve changed the culture in the organization. We’re pulling the rope in the same direction. We’re not fighting,” said Arts.
In the meantime, Arts has to figure out who to cheer for when the football season starts.
“I’m a Tennessee Titan, my t-shirt’s green,” he said.
Arts says he will officially retire from the police force in July. He says by the end of that month, he will be ready to go as the new security director for the Titans.
Greensboro NC May 20 2012 Harris Teeter started putting uniformed security guards at all its grocery stores in the Triad on Thursday.
Danna Jones, a company spokeswoman, said the supermarket chain added the security measure because the company takes the safety of its associates and customers seriously.
“We want both our associates and shoppers to feel comfortable at their Harris Teeter, and we will continue to improve in all areas of operations to be sure we provide them the best possible environment in which to shop and work,” Jones said.
Jones declined to give the exact hours and locations of the security guards, “because we do not want the bad guys to know,” she said in an email.
The announcement comes in the wake of several robberies at Harris Teeter stores in Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem.
On May 13, two men entered the Harris Teeter at 150 Grant Hill Lane in Harper Hill Commons in Winston-Salem.
Capt. Connie Southern of the Winston-Salem Police Department said the men displayed a handgun and robbed a store employee.
“They took some items from his person,” Southern said. “There’s still an active investigation on this.”
She said the police department is collaborating with the Greensboro and High Point police departments because of similar or attempted robberies in their cities.
In High Point, two Harris Teeter stores have been robbed since Dec. 24, 2011. In Greensboro, four Harris Teeters have been robbed since Jan. 31. The most recent was on May 14 at 401 Pisgah Church Road.
HENRICO, Va. -May 20 2012
He battered his bass guitar against the pine tree outside the town house. Window glass shattered, doors slammed and splintered. In the parking lot across the lawn, his aunt’s Geo Prism sedan looked like it had been through a demolition derby.
“He was slamming a tabletop or something on the hood and he broke through the windshield with his amp,” recalled Dennis Pulling, a neighbor, who watched the display of rage April 26 from his home next door. He ventured outside to confront his occasional fishing buddy, Roger Allen Skeens.
“He was just out of his mind. I told him, ‘Hey, stop. I got my little girl inside; you’re scaring her,’ ” Pulling recalled. “But he just stared at me and said, ‘I’m not doing nothing wrong.’ “
About 30 minutes later, Skeens collapsed to the ground, shot in the stomach by a Henrico County police officer. Now, more than three weeks later, the officer’s use of force against an apparently unarmed Skeens is receiving intense scrutiny and is raising new questions about conflicts between mentally ill people and area police.
* * * * *
Kathy Burton had retreated to safety blocks away to call 911; Skeens, the nephew she’d struggled with and raised since early childhood, had run her out of their two-story apartment on Three Chopt Road as the terror began. Gary Crawford, Burton’s longtime companion, said Skeens has a long history of mental problems, suicide threats and dealings with police and Henrico mental health workers.
“He’s never really been able to live out on his own,” said Crawford, who was at work that April day during the outburst.
Henrico police arrived sometime after 3 p.m. Skeens, who is 20 years old and weighs 117 pounds, waited amidst the destruction he’d wrought.
Skeens was wearing gloves at the end of his straw-thin arms, which he held out from his sides as he moved toward two officers, one about 30 feet to his right and one straight ahead, also about 30 feet away.
“Go ahead, shoot. Kill me. Kill me!” he shouted, according to Pulling, ignoring repeated orders to hit the ground. “Make it easy for me.”
Neighbors heard a single shot from police and watched Skeens crumple to the blacktop near his aunt’s car. He was rushed to VCU Medical Center, where he is still recovering..
Forensics experts began marking off the parking lot and measuring relevant distances.
“Late that night, they washed the blood away with a fire hose,” Pulling said, noting that neighbors were fully aware that Skeens had been fighting long-term mental health issues and was sometimes subject to erratic behavior.
“He is a good person and was very sweet with my girlfriend’s little girl whenever he’d come over,” Pulling said. “But he could get upset sometimes, too.”
* * * * *
The gunshot that ripped into Skeens ricocheted inside his midsection, tearing through critical organs, according to people who have had the injuries described to them.
He is expected to recover, barring the onset of infection, but his long-term prognosis appears uncertain. Skeens’ immediate family has declined to comment.
On another front, Henrico police are conducting dual investigations into the shooting: one to determine if the shooting was justified, and another by the department’s internal affairs office that will determine whether police violated department guidelines in the shooting.
Police have offered few details. Nor have they made public whether any officers were equipped with Tasers or had in their possession Mace or pepper spray that they could have used to subdue Skeens.
Henrico police Maj. John Bolling said that an effort has been under way for months to equip all officers with modern Tasers, an effort that could take two more years. He declined to comment on the Skeens case.
Police also will not say whether the officer who shot Skeens fired on his own volition or accidentally, or exactly how close Skeens came to the officers involved, a critical factor in determining when he may have represented a threat. Police said they will not respond to most questions because investigations are ongoing. The officer who fired the shot is on administrative leave.
Police initially reported to media that “shots” were fired after a struggle during attempts to take Skeens into custody. But later in the day, police said a struggle did not occur, and that a single shot was fired “by one of the two officers on the scene.”
Pulling and another witness said as much as a half-hour may have elapsed between the time police arrived and the shooting. At least a dozen officers were present when the shooting occurred, Pulling said, although some were as much as a block from the incident.
Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor said she is purposely avoiding news accounts of the incident to maintain objectivity, but she went to the crime scene that Thursday to familiarize herself with the surroundings.
“I’m going to let the professionals do their jobs,” she said, vowing confidence in the ability of Henrico police to investigate the shooting by one of their own officers. Taylor will be responsible for reviewing a police report into the incident and will decide whether the matter should be referred to a special prosecutor.
“I think it is important that the public understands what happens in these incidents,” Taylor said, promising openness about the situation once facts in the case are more clear.
* * * * *
Court records and interviews with people familiar with Skeens indicate he was taking medications for bipolar disorder, a condition typified by broad mood swings.
Skeens graduated in 2010 from Douglas Freeman High School but attended schools earlier in life for special-needs children. Court documents show that he was receiving federal assistance for his disabilities, and he had been under the care of mental health workers in Henrico before he turned 18.
Skeens describes himself on his Facebook page as a student at Vampire University (“blood alchemist and neck biter”) and draws a favorite quote, inaccurately, from the movie “G.I. Jane”: “Pain is you friend. Pain is not your enemy. If your feeling pain it means your alive.”
The morning of the shooting, Skeens had been in Henrico Circuit Court on a felony charge of embezzling money last year from the Walmart near his home. He worked there as a cashier.
Arrested in October in connection with the theft of about $3,200, Skeens was released from custody and indicted by a grand jury in March. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Cerullo said Skeens has been found competent to stand trial, and that a trial date is now set for June.
Skeens was hoping to make full restitution for the Walmart losses before the trial, Cerullo said. It was uncertain whether Skeens will recover sufficiently to make his June court date, and Taylor stressed that the shooting incident will have no bearing on the disposition of the embezzlement case.
Another matter looming over the Skeens shooting case is the growing scrutiny by mental health workers, affected families and enforcement agencies of police-involved shootings, especially in cases involving a mentally ill person.
Henrico began focusing on Crisis Intervention Training four years ago and is regarded as one of the best-trained police forces in the state in techniques to diffuse confrontations involving a mentally ill person.
In September, Henrico was recognized by an international group of CIT specialists for its training program in CIT issues.
Source:richmond times daily
The guards are all employed by Guard Maintenance Services Corporation, which is party to a monopoly bargaining agreement with Local 24/7. Because California lacks a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payment strictly voluntary, nonunion employees can be forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
In February 2012, the guards reached a settlement with SEIU officials regarding an earlier round of unfair labor practice charges. The settlement required the union to provide employees with an audited breakdown of its expenditures and allow nonunion workers to opt out of paying for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining.
Despite this agreement, union officials failed to provide the guards with any details about their expenditures and sent conflicting information about how much money they could be forced to pay. Union officials then raised the fee for nonunion employees to a level that exceeds the amount paid by full SEIU members; a move the guards allege was retaliation for the first round of unfair labor practice charges.
The guards’ charges will now be investigated by a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency which administers private sector labor law.
“SEIU bosses are trying to keep nonunion workers in line by forcing them to pay more union dues than actual union members,” said Patrick Semmens, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The NLRB should put a stop to this illegal scheme immediately, but the best solution is a California Right to Work law, which would make union membership and dues payment strictly voluntary.”
Memphis TN May 20 2012 A Memphis City Council member is pressing the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office to patrol school crossings instead of the Memphis Police Department.
Council budget committee chairman Jim Strickland informed Sheriff Bill Oldham he will ask the council on Tuesday to cut city funding for MPD crossing guards and shift that responsibility to the Sheriff’s Office. The move could save the city $1.2 million a year, Strickland says.
The Sheriff’s Office monitors school crossings in Shelby County outside Memphis city limits. Strickland said since Memphis residents pay county taxes, the Sheriff’s Office should patrol school crossings inside the city, too.
“Because Memphians are Shelby County taxpayers, we should get the same level of service from the county that citizens of Bartlett, Collierville and Germantown receive,” Strickland said in a letter sent to Oldham. “I understand that it will not be easy to locate funding for this service, but please be assured that I would use the savings achieved by the city in this matter to reduce the tax rate for Memphis city government.”
Oldham currently opposes Strickland’s plan, said his spokesman, Chip Washington.
“(Oldham) stated that he does not support the proposal as stated because at this time, he has had no serious discussions with the County Commission as of yet regarding the issue of funding, or what will happen next year,” Washington said.
“This is a bit premature at this point and will take time and discussion to figure things out from all parties concerned.”
Strickland has invited the public to speak during the City Council’s 5 p.m. budget committee meeting Tuesday at City Hall. Residents who wish to speak should contact Juaness Keplinger at (901) 576-6797.
“After hearing from city government directors and representatives from the employee unions, I want to give citizens an opportunity to weigh in on the substantial tax increase they will potentially face under the proposal by (Mayor AC Wharton),” Strickland said.
Wharton has called for a 47-cent property-tax increase to cover the cost of court-ordered school funding.
The mayor proposed a $628.3 million operating budget next year for city government, up from $606 million in the current year. The administration says higher costs for fuel, materials and supplies, along with debt restructuring, contributed to the increase.
With school funding, the total budget would be around $696 million.
Strickland has introduced a budget counterproposal that would reduce the tax rate by 10 cents as it eliminates jobs and makes a large draw on the city’s reserves.
Wharton said the tax increase he proposed of 47 cents per $100 of assessed value could be reduced if council members use $9 million from the sale of the Defense Depot and $20 million from a retiree health care reserve fund toward the budget.
Source:the commercial appeal
The trio was arrested Wednesday in a nighttime raid in the Bridgeport neighborhood on the South Side. They’re accused of trying to make Molotov cocktails ahead of the two-day NATO summit that starts Sunday.
Defense attorneys told a judge on Saturday that undercover police are the ones who brought the Molotov cocktails, and that their clients were entrapped.
Bond of $1.5 million was set for each defendant. They have been charged with providing material support for terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and possession of explosives.
Connie Chambers, a human resources specialist for TSA in Phoenix, was among the graduates. She said the TSA Homeland Security certificate she earned through GateWay Community College is her first step toward earning a four-year degree in criminal justice.
“For years, transportation security officers have been asking for college assistance,” said Chambers, 48, who has been with the agency since Congress established it after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “This was a wonderful opportunity for me to continue my education in a whole new direction
GateWay Community College, north of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, is among 62 community colleges nationwide that offer the federal certification, TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said.
The federal government is hoping the program can improve retention in an agency that has struggled with that and worker advancement, according to federal-worker surveys and reports by Congress’ investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office.
To qualify as an airport screener, the federal government encourages but doesn’t require a college degree. A screener’s annual salary can start at $29,302 a year, the TSA website shows.
That’s slightly more than the average salary for a taxi driver.
Few screeners have college degrees. The TSA estimates that 14 percent of its 50,000 screeners — an estimated 7,000 workers — have two-year associate’s degrees or higher.
Currently, TSA screeners and other TSA staff at 71 airports can earn the certificate, said Melendez.
The program is in its fourth year. The federal government piloted it in fall 2008 with airport screeners at Baltimore/Washington International Airport and Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C.
The colleges are all part of a network, Global Corporate College, that is dedicated to corporate training.
The certification for TSA officers is voluntary. To earn the certificate at GateWay Community College, the workers complete the following classes: Introduction to Homeland Security, Intelligence Analysis and Transportation and Border Security. The courses at GateWay are taught by former and current law-enforcement officials, said Nance Harris, the college’s director of business and industry training.
The classes introduce TSA officers to the various agencies within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with missions that involve national security and that utilize intelligence-gathering in security operations.
Harris said the courses combine for nine credit hours toward an associate’s degree.
TSA covers the cost of the Homeland Security certification program, which costs $4 million a year. The expense likely will increase as the program is expanded to TSA officers at all 91 hub airports in the country.
Workers who’ve gotten the certificate and want to continue their college education must bear those costs themselves.
Since 2008, an estimated 2,500 TSA workers have registered for the certification program.
Piedmont Airlines pilot arrested with loaded gun at Buffalo International Airport www.priavteofficer.com
Brett Dieter, 52, of Barbersville, Virginia, arrived at the upstate New York airport Friday to pilot a flight to New York City’s LaGuardia International Airport for Piedmont Airlines, a passenger airline that subcontracts under U.S. Airways.
While at a security checkpoint, a scan of Dieter’s bag revealed a .357 magnum revolver loaded with five rounds. It was not immediately clear if the pistol was in his carry-on luggage.
Federal prosecutors in Buffalo allege he began traveling with the weapon when he reported for work on May 16 on a flight from Charlottesville, Virginia, to LaGuardia, but skipped a security screening of his baggage.
“The defendant did not submit this bag to X-ray screening at the Charlottesville airport,” the federal indictment states.
Deiter, and the gun, traveled on “several other flights” over a two-day period, prosecutors allege.
He is charged with unlawfully possessing a concealed firearm, a charge punishable by 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul, whose office in Buffalo is handling the case, said Dieter shouldn’t have been allowed to carry the gun, although sometimes, exceptions are made for law enforcement officials.
“In this day and age, we simply can’t afford to have anyone ignore these important regulations,” he said in a statement issued following the arrest.
Dieter is due in court next week to answer the charge.
U.S. airline pilots who receive special training may carry guns in the cockpit but are not allowed to have them elsewhere in the plane or in airport terminals. The program began some 10 years ago following the September 11, 2001 aircraft hijacking attacks.
Saratoga County NY May 20 2012 29 year-old math teacher, Joseph Bruno, of Gansevoort, is accused of having a conversation with a 14 year-old girl that the Saratoga County District Attorney calls entirely inappropriate.
“If anyone were to have heard this conversation, they would know this is not appropriate and in fact criminal under the penal law,” said District Attorney, James Murphy.
The charges allege that the inappropriate contact and sexual conversation happened at Maple Avenue Middle School in a classroom after regular school hours.
“State police are very careful with these type of things and that is why we don’t rush to judgment,” said Murphy. “The school didn’t rush and State Police feel they have sufficient evidence as do I,” said Murphy.
Parents of students here at the school are obviously in shock, wondering what more can be done to stop these things from happening.
“Talk to your kids,” said Chris Toia, who has a daughter in 8th grade at the school. “There is a lot of that going on, so I think the more you can talk to them, it can only help.”
The District Attorney says there aren’t necessarily more of these incidents happening, but instead students are more comfortable coming forward.
“Knowing there are support systems in place and the police will believe them,” said Murphy. “They know that child advocacy centers are where they can tell their story and prosecutors will take the case seriously.”
The D.A says Bruno has been employed at Maple Avenue middle school for about five years and he does not have a criminal record.
The school district has placed Bruno on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
The D.A. says they don’t believe that any more students were subject to Bruno’s alleged advances, but if any parents have additional information to call State Police.
Cameron County TX. May 20 2012 A 19-year-old, who threatened a security guard with a gun, but then backed down and fled after the security guard pointed her gun at him, was arrested on Thursday.
A Cameron County deputy responded to a call on May 11th about a robbery taking place at the Arcade Game Room on FM 506 in Santa Rosa.
The deputy talked to two female security guards who said two men had approached them, and one was carrying a gun.
Both men were described as being 6 feet tall, around 170 lbs. One was wearing a red and black shirt and the other was wearing a green shirt.
The guard said that the man wearing the red and black shirt, pointed the gun at her demanding money.
She quickly took action by pulling out her gun and asking him to leave.
The suspect turned around and swiftly walked away.
“Scared” is the term the security guard used to describe the man’s expression.
An investigator on the case went to a nearby Stripes convenience store on FM 506 and 107 and gave the clerk the descriptions of the two men.
The clerk recognized the description said they had gone to that store a couple hours before, but he was not able to get the store’s surveillance footage until a manager came in the next morning.
The video tape was obtained in the morning and both security guards went to the Harlingen Sheriff’s Office to identify the men.
Both women recognized the men and pointed out the one that had been carrying the weapon.
The Stripes clerk also identified the suspect as one of his former classmates Jose Angel Carriaga.
A warrant was issued for Carriaga and he was arrested.
The 19-year-old was charged with aggravated robbery and his bond was set at $100,000.
The Telegraph of Macon (http://bit.ly/KqLjvY ) reports that 42-year-old Sgt. John Horton was charged with indecent exposure Friday. Jail records say Horton was released on a $1,300 bond about an hour after his arrest.
Anderson says the alleged incident occurred April 30 while Horton’s wife was “getting her hair done” and in the presence of his wife and children.
Lars Anderson, the attorney of Horton, says his client denies the allegations of exposing himself at the salon. Anderson says the alleged incident occurred April 30 while Horton’s wife was “getting her hair done” and in the presence of his wife and children.
Police say Horton has been suspended for five days pending termination. Horton has been employed by the police department for 15 years.
COLUMBIA, SC May 20 2012 - Surveillance footage from a bingo hall shows six armed and masked suspects swarm the establishment to rob the business.
According to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, deputies received a robbery call from the Carter Street Bingo Hall around 1:40 a.m. back on May 12.
Investigators say the six masked men entered the hall with guns drawn and yelled, “Where is the money?”
Bingo hall manager Donnell Richardson says two of the robbers jumped over his counter and demanded money as he laid face down and terrified.
“I didn’t want to move,” Richardson said. “One guy picked up the copy machine and threw it on me. My adrenaline was pumping. I didn’t feel it.”
Deputies say the suspects made off with cash, cell phones, and purses from customers inside the business.
Richardson says the robbers also took their sense of security.
“Bingo is kind of like a place of refuge, like Cheers. Everybody knows everyone,” Richardson said. “They hurt our family. We just want to make our family whole again.”
If you have any information about this case, you are asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.
An investigation started last weekend after Brunswick County Sheriff’s Special Operation Units stopped a black Chevy S-10 and discovered stolen property, according to spokesperson Del Routh.
Detectives arrested the owner of Right Way Vinyl Construction and are looking for at least two others. Two of the suspects were employees at the business and, Routh said, company trucks were used to transport stolen property.
Numerous stolen Brunswick County items, valued at $30,000, were found in Columbus County, according to Routh.
The following men were arrested and more charges are expected:
•Christopher Lee Hines, 37, of the 16000 block of Peacock Road in Chadbourn, was charged with possession of stolen property and felony larceny. He was given a $12,000 bond.
•James Alfred Blackwell, 47, of the 3000 block of Happy Home Road in Nakina, was charged with obtaining property by false pretense, felony larceny and chop shop activity by theft. He was given a $25,000 bond.
Warrants are outstanding for the following:
•Wilford Benard Gore, 29, of the 1000 block of Cordis Trail in Supply
•Cory Carroll Faircloth, 29, of the 3000 block of Old Cribbtown Road in Chadbourn
David González-Pérez was indicted in a 70-count indictment, along with 16 other individuals who were convicted on September 14, 2010. From in or about September 2009 until March 2010, González-Pérez participated in 15 drug transactions, which totalled over 200 kilograms of cocaine and received $36,000 in payments for his security services during the drug transactions. González-Pérez also recruited 15 others to provide armed security with him during these drug transactions, including his brother and sister-in-law.
The indictment is part of Operation Guard Shack, in which 133 defendants were indicted as the result of 125 undercover drug transactions conducted by the FBI in several locations in Puerto Rico from July 2008 to September 2010.
The defendants’ participation in the drug transactions consisted of providing armed protection to a drug dealer during the sale of multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine. In exchange for the security services during the undercover drug transactions, the defendants received payments ranging from $500 to $4,500 per transaction.
“This sentence reflects the serious nature of the offenses charged in this police corruption case,” said United States Attorney Rodríguez-Vélez. “Police corruption undermines our citizens’ trust in those who are sworn to uphold law and order in our communities. We hope that this tough sentence sends a clear message that this conduct is reprehensible and carries serious consequences”.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s San Juan Field Office, and the case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Courtney L Coker and Jacqueline D Novas.
The family is accusing the state of failing to watch Calvin Finley, the convicted felon who killed 38-year-old Kurt Husted during the June 2009 robbery.
The Husted family says there’s no excuse for why Finley wasn’t locked up behind bars at the time of the killing. His parents are now suing the state, claiming the Department of Corrections failed to keep tabs on Finley.
“This person was recognized as one of the most dangerous people out there,” said Jeremy Johnston, an attorney who’s representing the family.
According to the lawsuit, Finley had been in and out of prison for years prior to the robbery. The suit also contends Finley violated the conditions of his release time and time again, but was never returned to prison.
At the time Husted was killed, there was an active warrant for Finley’s arrest.
“They should have picked him up right away,” said Kurt’s mom, Janet Husted. “They knew where he was. So the jails are crowded. Make them sleep in shifts, I don’t care.”
Wilbert Pina is also suing. He was a customer that day and was hit by the same bullet that killed Husted.
“All of a sudden I felt a push in my shoulder and I heard a bang,” he said.
Pina, who was with his one-year-old son, had no idea he’d been hit until he turned around and saw Husted.
“And he’s lying in his own blood. It’s just, it’s hard to picture it, but to erase it you can’t, it’s just there,” he said.
Pina said he still has daily pain from the bullet that’s lodged in his bone.
“That should have never happened,” he said.
The Department of Corrections released a statement on the lawsuit, stating it does not normally discuss pending litigation and will work to find the best course of action for the agency, taxpayers and all parties involved.
A total of four people were convicted and sentenced, including Finley, for the robbery and shooting,
Detroit MI May 20 2012 A coalition of citizens and community groups is pushing Detroit City Council to make use of a recently amended Michigan law to charge residents for a private security force.
MLive reports the coalition’s plan would allow residents from any neighborhood in the city to form a special district and charge homeowners $50 to $100 fee for private security services.
A section of Michigan’s Home Rule City Act, which was modified last December, allows cities with more than 600,000 people to pass ordinances that assess fees for services like security and snow removal. These ordinances could create special assessment districts that would need the approval of at least 51 percent of property owners in those areas to enforce any charges.
Karen Moore of the Grandmont Rosedale Neighborhood Development Corporation spoke on behalf of the plan before City Council on Tuesday. She said residents want private security to make up for lack of service from the Detroit Police Department.
The city of Detroit’s recent financial troubles have forced the police department to reorganize and scale back on some services.
In January, the department announced the creation of “virtual precincts” plan that closed brick-and-mortar precincts between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m., directing residents to phone call-in centers instead.
Earlier this month, the department proposed setting up a police reserve program that would call on retired officers and recent police academy graduates to volunteer for the force. The city’s Board of Police Commissioners has also proposed a public safety millage to fund the cash-strapped department.
But now residents are taking matters into their own hands.
“The nice thing about this is it will allow us to define security services,” Moore told Talk Radio 1270 host Charlie Langton. “It might be extra patrols, it might be monitoring equipment or security cameras.”
A similar measure that did not cover the entire city was unsuccessfully proposed in 2003, according to MLive.
Hartland MI May 20 2012 The community is coming together to raise money for the 51-year-old security guard who was injured during an accident in the parking lot of Hartland High School.
Susan Hazzard was struck by a teen driver on May 16 while directing traffic exiting school grounds. Hartland superintendent Janet Sifferman said that Hazzard’s condition has been upgraded to fair and although she is still in pain due to her injuries, is doing well.
“Mr. (Chuck) Hughes and Mrs. (Alice) Lashbrooke and I believe Mrs. (Joanne) Franklin (assistant to Chuck Hughes) went to visit her yesterday and she was conscious and talking to them,” Sifferman said. “Obviously in a lot of pain still and has a long way to go but she knew who they were and had good conversations.”
On May 23, cookies and ice cream will be sold during the high school lunch hours with proceeds going to a fund set up at TCF Bank for the Hazzard family. There will also be a “Hats Off” collection where students will pass around a hat for donations during the day.
During the morning hours of May 23, starting at 6:45 a.m., volunteers will be accepting collections from parents and community members in the parking lot of Hartland High School.
According to Livingston County Sheriff Bob Bezotte, the 16-year-old driver will be facing charges in the accident where speed and possible drug use may have been a factor. Test results are still pending.
The Hartland High School student will also receive some type of school disciplinary action, according to Sifferman, but she was unsure what the punishment would be at the time of the interview.
Any direct donations will be accepted at the TCF Bank for the Sue Hazzard Fund.
Esparto CA May 20 2012 A trip to Wal-Mart Supercenter ended with an Esparto man in jail Sunday evening.
Dixon Police officers arrested William Queen, 31, of Esparto, on suspicion of robbery, obtaining goods using false pretenses, battery, conspiracy, obstruction of justice/resisting arrest and parole violation Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
Police said that Queen and his girlfriend went to Wal-Mart and conspired to commit a crime.
“What they were trying to do was, they were taking merchandise from inside the store and attempting to return it for cash,” Dixon Police Sgt. Loren Ellefson said. “They took some items out of the packaging and he and his girlfriend tried to get money for it, but the store people had been watching them and found out what they were doing.”
Store security confronted Queen, Ellefson said, and that’s when Queen allegedly began fighting with them, punching and biting the security guards. The guards called police and Queen allegedly began fighting with Dixon officers as well.
The officers managed to take Queen into custody, his girlfriend had left the store before their arrival, and placed him under arrest on the aforementioned charges.
Ellefson said that cologne and a power tool were among the items that Queen was attempting to get refunds on. Queen is on parole, Ellefson said, and a charge of violation of parole was added.
Queen was taken to jail. No major injuries were reported during the incident.
“A couple of store employees suffered cuts and bites,” Ellefson said.
They were eventually caught, and the related investigation by six Valley police departments nabbed an 18-person shoplifting ring and recovered about $155,000 in merchandise stolen from major retailers such as Sears, Hollister Co., J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Wet Seal Inc. and the Gap.
According to a 2011 survey by the National Retail Federation, Phoenix now ranks 10th in the incidence of organized retail crime, which nationally amounts to losses of $15 billion to $30 billion for the retail industry.
On Thursday, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery announced a collaboration with retailers who do business in Arizona to create a website to monitor shoplifting rings and serious offenders.
The retailers have formed an alliance they call the Arizona Organized Retail Crime Alliance, AZORCA for short, to fight back against shoplifting gangs, and they have set up a secure website so retailers and law enforcement can share information about retail thefts in real time. The website uses video and reports, and sends out e-mails to 240 participants to alert them to gang activity and to ask if any other retailers recognize the offenders.
The thieves generally enter the stores in groups, and while one team member distracts employees, the others lift merchandise. They may fill shopping carts with goods and then just push the carts out the door. They sell the loot in flea markets, smuggle it over the border to Mexico, attempt to return it for cash refunds or sell it online in auction sites such as eBay.
Consumers, as Montgomery notes, are eager to snap up the bargains offered in those venues, no questions asked.
“If you’re finding a deal online that seems too good to be true, you’re purchasing stolen goods,” Montgomery said.
But it’s a lucrative scam.
“Some of these people are making $250,000 a year,” said Rob Peterson, investigations team leader for Target stores in Arizona and New Mexico.
In fact, one of the so-called “mall raiders” told a Maricopa County probation officer that she had been shoplifting for years and made up to $10,000 a month, even while being paid just one-fifth the value of the stolen merchandise.
The thieves were brazen, frequently returning to the same stores. According to court records, store employees often knew who they were but couldn’t catch them in the act. And even when some of the shoplifters, mostly women, were caught in the act, the others would flee and move on to another mall to carry out more thefts.
Several of those gang members have been convicted of fraud and organized retail theft and assisting a criminal syndicate, and have been sentenced to up to five years in prison. Others still face trial.
The point of the AZORCA website is to shorten the length of the crime sprees.
Peterson related that last week, security officers at a Target store in Tucson tried to stop a thief pushing a shopping cart stuffed with $1,200 worth of stolen merchandise out the front door. The security personnel backed away when the thief said he had a weapon.
But they posted photos and video on the new website, and within an hour, Peterson said, security workers from a Tucson Home Depot called to tell them who the thief was, because they had their own incident with the man.
“We view this website as a key tool to prosecuting criminals,” said Michelle Ahlmer, executive director of the Arizona Retailers Association. “It will help tremendously to stem the tide of organized crime.”
Portland OR May 20 2012 A prolific shoplifter who stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from multiple Safeways across the metro area was sentenced to four years in prison Friday.
Though he agreed to a plea deal, Richard Lavern Remington, 58, was anything but agreeable in a Multnomah County Circuit courtroom, blurting out objections when the prosecutor and Safeway investigator described his crimes.
Remington faced 45 counts of first-degree theft and organized theft. He pleaded no contest to 12 counts of first-degree theft and to organized retail theft under the plea arrangement.
“Mr. Remington has been a professional shoplifter, booster in retail for better than a decade,” said Trent Drucker, Safeway senior investigator of organized retail theft.
As Drucker addressed Judge Youlee Yim You, Remington yelled out, “That’s funny, I’ve been in prison for four of those years out of that.”
Later, he interrupted prosecutor Charles Mickley, saying, “That’s not true!” as Mickley described how Safeway investigators spent three weeks going through hours of video surveillance images that caught Remington stealing from multiple stores.
Upon arrest, Safeway officials estimated Remington and his girlfriend had stolen more than $5 million from multiple retailers over a decade-long period. But he wasn’t charged with all those suspected thefts, and Remington reminded the court of that.
“It’s helluva price short of $5 million,” Remington blurted out.
Safeway officials had tied Remington to 103 thefts between November 2010 and January 2011 and estimated their retail loss was $7,707.62 during that period. Of those, 67 occurred in stores in Multnomah County and 36 in Clackamas County.
His girlfriend, Angela Rose Evans, 34, had been previously convicted and sentenced to 40 months in prison.
The pair were stopped in October 2010 by Fairview police with a suitcase full of merchandise from five different Safeway stores.
Investigators found they drove to several stores on the same day in a white van and walked out with everything from shampoos, razors and Rogaine to batteries, DVDs and CDs stuffed in their pockets and coats. His girlfriend told police that Remington would sell the stolen DVDs to pawn shops.
“He’d work 11, 12 hour days, seven days a week,” said Rick Whidden, director of loss prevention for Safeway in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Just catching Remington on basic shoplifting charges didn’t work, because he “continues to come back to our stores” and steal, Drucker told the court.
“And I’ll keep on continuing,” muttered Remington, seated beside his defense attorney.
Remington had at least six prior second-degree theft convictions between 2001 and 2007.
Remington’s lawyer, Stuart Sugarman, said his client has been a model prisoner and believes he intends to change.
“I believe he’ll stay away from Safeway, and stay away from his former lifestyle,” Sugarman said.
Remington was ordered to pay $20,000 to Safeway, and not return to the store again.
If he does, his probation will be revoked and he’ll automatically face another 63 months behind bars.
Yet on Friday, he didn’t seem deterred.
As a deputy sheriff led him out of the courtroom, Remington looked toward the Safeway officials in the courtoom, and said, “I’ll be back!”