Wednesday, October 31, 2007

You'll get Molly if we get the cash

"I need to buy a car, my brother's got attached to the dog and I really want this money to buy a car," stated the voice on the other end of the phone.

Molly the Boston Terrier is back home today after being snatched from outside of a Brooklyn NY laundry. It was hardly a surprise that she surfaced just after the Daily News ran a story highlighting her and how scammers were snatching dogs and returning them for cash.

Stacey Grant and her boyfriend Nick Hallam received a phonecall from a man who claimed to have found Molly walking on the BQE, just yards from the spot where she vanished in Williamsburg Friday October 26 2007. The caller claimed that they had almost run her over but saved her and had taken her to his father's house on Long Island.

The couple became suspicious when the man kept making basic mistakes in describing Molly. He kept refering her as "he" and stated that she was found dragging a black lead when Molly's was burgendy in color. To top things off, he gave the couple a wrong number to contact him with, a number they said was for the museum of New York.

They contacted the police who warned them that it could be a scam and there would be no dog there and even though the man was presistant about making the swap near his Harlem home, they agreed on a neutral location. They got in a cab and drove by, spotting a man holding what looked like Molly.

It was Molly and both Grant and the dog were reunited. That came at a price though, the couple handed over an envelope with $2,500 in return for her, even though one of the men fit the description a witness gave who saw Molly get snatched. Grant and Hallam are glad to have their dog home again and credit the newspaper story for her return. Molly is said to be subdued, spooked, has some blisters on her feet and a faint odor of marijuana but is ok overall.

Grant asked who would take a dog and hold it for ransom........ evidently, there are quite a few who will still attempt this scam. They need the money for whatever excuse and they know petowners love their pet enough to go to great lengths to have them returned. I am glad Molly is home and I hope they manage to find those who profited from her "disappearance."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

He's just a boy

It began as a celebration of a college graduation and it has now headed to court as many things do these days it seems. The center of the debate is a bill for that night of fun which one person claims is far too high.

Joe Salter, 52, of Mary Esther FL is now sueing Club 10, a Florida Panhandle strip club over a $53,000 bill from his son's night of celebrating. Salter feels that the club took advantage of his 24 year-old son Tommy when he was there on August 18 to celebrate his graduation from Georgia Tech.

According to the report from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, Tommy told employess that he could only spend $600 that night. Club 10 owner Tim Beal stated that Tommy purchased at least 19 bottles of champagne priced from $150 to $2,000 each that night. Beal added that Tommy signed a receipt for each champagne purchase and even had added his initials next to the itemized charges.

Joe Salter states that only the signature on the first receipt matches his son's. The sheriff's report alleges larceny and credit card theft and Joe had already filed a complaint with American Express to have some of the charges removed from the bill. Beal states though that Tommy was lucid that night and appeared to know what he was doing. As for the complaint with American Express, Beal has already spoken with them about the dispute and they had decided in Club 10's favor.

Salter's son is 24 years old and a college graduate now, so it seems that his dad wanted to celebrate that. I am guessing that he didn't just drop his son off at the club to celebrate by himself, so there probably were friends of Tommy's along to enjoy the evening. If Tommy had only $600 to spend that night, Joe could have easily handed him the cash and that would have ended any chance of alleged overcharges, just the same as walking into a casino with only the money you have to gamble with.

It looks to me that Joe should have made sure that his son possibly had a quick lesson in how to handle a credit card before he went into the strip club, not afterwards through the court system. His son had one heck of a graduation party though, it seems.

There's a fence for a reason

The public seems to want to get up close and personal with one particular 8 year-old 240 pound Chinese resident these days. Last Monday October 22 2007 was the second time in about a year that it has happened.

Gu Gu, a male panda at the Bejing zoo, was bitten by a drunken tourist. The man jumped the fence surrounding the pandas and tried to hug him but Gu Gu bit the man instead. Evidently being drunk even in China leads to a slightly off kilter sense of what is a correct response as the man then bit Gu Gu on the back.

On Monday, Li Xitao, 15, jumped the 4 and a half foot fence surrounding the panda exercise area while they were being fed and became dessert it seems for Gu Gu. The reports state that he entered the panda area out of curiosity but he left in an ambulence after the three minute attack. The emergency personal stated that he had been bitten so badly that the bones in his legs were showing. Li was taken to Bejing Children's Hospital where his condition was not released and police haven't stated if he will be charged in the incident.

Pandas are generally viewed as being a cute bear can be violent when provoked or startled and no reports yet state whether the fact that the bears were being fed may have added to the attack. The zoo stated that they cannot use higher fences without blocking the view of the bears but they are considering other measures to prevent future attacks both by and of the bears. They added that zoo visitors should act properly when visiting the zoo and love the animals.

As cute and cuddley as a panda bear may look on the toy store shelf........ at 240 pounds, they aren't so cuddley. Evidently, reports that Gu Gu was snacking on bamboo later in the afternoon may mean that he had a bit of clothing stuck between his fangs.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The arrow was off target

"Not only do people feel screwed, but a lot of people are understandably reluctant to come forward and say they signed up," stated John Balestriere, plaintiff lawyer.

It seems that there is a group of rather well-off women who have taken issue that their $1,500 a year membership didn't get them the man of their dreams. They now have filed a civil lawsuit in Manhatten NY federal court against the online dating service - It's Just Lunch.

According to the court papers filed last week, the company which has sold IJL franchises to more than 100 matchmaking entrepreneurs worldwide, they are focused soley on profits at the expense of the client and willing to lie. John Balestriere states that the company lies in the initial interviews and lies about the prospective dates. He adds that the plaintiff's feel that they lie to meet monthly quotas and that the parent company has them use a very well laid out plan for continuing those lies.

The company countered by stating that they believe their uniform training guidelines insure consistant services and quality and the documents that have been cited out of context, don't reflect the extensive interviews conducted before a client is accepted. The company was founded by Andrea McGinty in 1992 after her fiance jilted her weeks before the wedding and it boasts of having more than 30,000 members currently.

As for the complaints about poor matchups... they include a woman who didn't want republicans or religious types and had her first two matches with a Catholic Republican and a Seventh-Day Adventist and other women who found that the art dealer was a guy who worked for a freight company, a landscaping executive who cut lawns, a blind date in bar with a man who was an alchoholic and one woman who found out her date was still legally married.

One affluent former client stated that there seemed to be no pattern to who she was set up with for dates but added, I wouldn't have believed them if they had told me that they were setting me up with a Prince Charming type of guy. In general she stated that she had a good experience with the company and added....... it gets you out of the house.

The cost of this dating service may seem steep to most anyone looking to find Mr Right but when it is targeted at afluent people, that is probably what they spend on getting "Fluffy" clipped at the groomers. Frankly, it's an online dating service and anyone with common sense should know that there are going to still be a lot of toads to sort through, no matter what the cost of membership........ just take a look around the clubhouse of any "exclusive" gym or golf course.......... not too many Prince Charming types there, huh?

H/T to Jason Barney at overlawyered

If pigs could fly, they'd be nervous

"He'd better take a shooting lesson. I'll be keeping my dog inside while he's here," stated Viva Ttanata.

It seems that if you don't own body armor, could possibly be mistaken as a moving target or have a bombshelter, the residents of Lagrangeville NY are either planning to hunker down inside or leave town this week. The reason being is that VP Dick Cheney has a date to stalk the 4,000 acres of the ritzy Clove Valley Rod & Gun Club near there.

The last time that Cheney was in the area was in November 2001 but residents near the $150,000 a year membership club remember what happened in February 2006. That was when Cheney spun around and shot one of his friends and hunting partners, Harry Whittington, 78, while in Corpus Christi TX. It wasn't Cheney's dog though that retrieved Whittington after he was hit in the face and chest with shot from Cheney's gun.

The local officials didn't charge Cheney with winging his pal, stating that they felt the incident that wasn't reported until some fourteen hours after it happened, wasn't alcohol related and was merely a hunting accident. Whittington, certainly a good ole boy and pal, publically apologized for "pretending" to be a quail and getting in the way of Cheney's gunfire. Evidently, there wasn't a public statement from Cheney's dog as to why he hadn't retrieved the downed buddy.

The Clove Valley Rod & Gun Club, near Poughkeepsie, is described as not only ritzy but exculsive. Besides the large membership fee it is reported that there is an extra charge for each downed bird, with nothing listing a flat price for anything downed or just birds. They also are said to be a haven for the good ole boys with the women having their own annex of the clubhouse across the road from the actual one. This certainly should have Cheney feeling like he is at home, though good ole boys seem to also be his latest targets as well.

Residents meanwhile have much the same idea as Ttanata, 63, a farmer whose land adjoins the hunting club's land and Fred Boehmer, 57, a builder who's land adjoins as well ....... they can joke about it but many are scared by the prospect of possibly being in the sights of Cheney's gun and staying inside or heading out of town. Even travel within the town will be disrupted with Cheney and his secret service force in tow, a force I would hope now travels with full body armor when Cheney has a gun in his hands.

Only time and news reports will tell if this years hunting trip will let Cheney bag a legal bird or some hapless hiker or flying pig in the area.

Update: posted October 30

Cheney's visit to the gun club on Monday seems to have ended without any humans winged by the VP but the new controversy seems to involve the conferderate flag that had been photographed by a Daily News photographer there. It has been reported that it was hanging in view of passersby inside a garage on the hunt club property.

The flag, about the size of a pillowcase, is seen covering the top of the window on a door at the back of the garage. The New York Post has reported that the garage is attached to the club headquarters and the Howard Simmons, the photographer has stated that the garage door had been open when he took his pictures.

The local residents and flying pigs are unhurt after Cheney's eight hour visit but there have been no reports on how the ducks and pheasants fared

Winding path to evil

On July 20 2007, he should have been celebrating at the barbeque his friends had organized to celebrate the end of his four year sentence for burglary. The state probation officers had removed the electronic bracelet from his ankle less than 24 hours before. While his friends enjoyed the party at his Cheshire home, Joshua Komisarjevsky sat aside, brooding and burying himself in a bottle of whiskey.

As time has moved on, more has to light about both Hayes and Komisarjevsky, their differing pasts and what may have played a part in their path to the horrific crime they are now charged with. The friends of Komisarkevsky state that he was heartbroken that his 18 year old girlfriend had recently moved to Arkansas with her family and all he talked about was saving money to bring her back and get their own place. Hayes, who was absent from the barbeque, was home dealing with his own sudden problems with his mother.

On the day of the July 20 party, probation officials had visited the Hayes family home in Winsted after his mother had told them it was time for him to go. His mother and brother suspected that he was again using drugs after they found that the money he had been saving for a new truck had vanished. It has been reported that she had wanted him out of the house by the following Monday, the day of the killings.

When state officials released Steven Hayes from prison and placed him in a halfway house, even he was surprised. He had already had 26 seperate prison stints and a history of disciplinary problems but he wasn't going to say no to their decision. He and Komisarjevsky shared a room on the secong floor of the Stillman House on Retreat Ave, Hartford CT.

While the two evidently got along very well, others in the house were baffled as to why. Josh was described by fellow residents as quiet, timid, weird and murders even shied away from him. Steve was described as outgoing, spontanious and a little perverted, someone who spent his free time cruising Wethersfield Ave in Hartford looking for hookers. Steve was said to be a hard worker, funny, always laughing and a little arogant while Josh was a "punk" the guy everyone in prison could steal from and he couldn't do anything about it but sit in a corner and fume.

Both men were working, Komisarjevski for a local roofing company, Hartford Restoration Services and fighting to gain custody of his then 5 year-old daughter Jayda. Hayes was a part-time short order cook in the VIP tent at the Dodge Music Center in Hartford and it is reported that he turned down a job offer from a member of Cheryl Crow's road crew. He also worked part time for a Torrington home contractor and both men had teamed up to start their own contracting business. They had already landed a job for a deck and were pursueing other jobs though Komisarkevsky's cash needs tripled the estimate of a garage renovation job they bid on and probably cost them the $7,000 job.

What is known is that Komisarjevsky liked his girlfriends young, the mother of his child was 15 when she got pregnant and he was 21. The recent girlfriend was 17 when they began flirting on the phone while he was in prison at age 26. He wasted no time in escalating the relationship when he got out. taking the bus every Thursday to the Buckland Mall in Manchester CT to meet her. When they could, they would sneak into the family restroom there and have sex which he sometimes recorded with photos he took with his cellphone.

The girl, a younger sister of Claire Semchenko, 26, an Ellington CT friend of Komisarjevsky from a religeous camp in Maine, is the daughter of an Ellington minister. It is reported that he was not pleased that his daughter was dating an ex-con but they all found him to be respectful though a bit sad. Semchenko described her family as loving and close and stated that she has always wondered what fascinated Josh about their family even though her father didn't like him.

There has been some of Komisarjevsky's youth reported before but more has been released. His troubles with the law began in 1995 when he was 14. Sealed court records do back up the report that he had been raped by a foster child his family had taken into their home then. His family initially tried to help him through religeous outings and spiritual retreats before seeking psychiatric help for him. He spent a short time at Elmcrest psychiatric hospital in Portland CT but refused the drugs he had been perscibed for fear that he would try to end his life with them.

Cheshire police arrested him in August 1995 and charged him with setting an abandoned car dealership on fire. People who knew him well though stated that he blamed his troubles on girls jilting him and that he was what they considered, a chronic liar. They also described him as a chameleon, showing people the face he wanted them to see.

There is less still known about the early life of Steven Hayes. He was born in Florida and dropped out of Canton High School in canton CT when he was 16. He later earned his GED and a certificate as a cook while at Cheshire Correctional Institution. According to his parole records, he had worked cooking at well known restaurants such as the White Hart Inn in Salisbury CT and Apricots in Farmington CT. His parents had divorced in 1979 and when he was out of prison, he lived in Winsted with his mother Diana. His father is listed as being remarried. The records show that Hayes began drinking at 11 and used cocaine by 19 and had a girlfriend, Rosalie Olivieri with who he has two teenage children.

Police officers who had frequently arrested Hayes describe him as a petty criminal who didn't confess his crimes but who would steal anything of value. They all seem to find it difficult to believe that Hayes would be capable of the level of violence used in the Petit murders.

More has surfaced as to the events immediately leading up to the Petit killings. Police believe that both men were desperate for money. They believe that the two broke into two homes in Cheshire on Saturday, July 21 2007 and stole a wallet, credit cards and petty cash. They also believe that Komisarjevsky had spotted Hawke-Petit and Michaela in the Stop & Shop parking lot early Sunday evening and followed them home, targeting them as their next victims. At about 10:30 pm, he called his girlfriend in Arkansas and then headed out of the house after 11 pm dressed in dark clothes.

They now state that they believe Hayes met Komisarjevsky in the Stop & Shop parking lot, left Hayes pickup parked there and went out for a few drinks. Sometime after 3 am Komisarjevsky jimmied the lock on the bulkhead door and both men crept in wearing dark hooded sweatshirts, homemade masks and latex gloves under thicker cotton work gloves. Officials add that Hayes was carrying an air pistol with the orange tip filed off as well as the electrical ties both carried.

They attacked William Petit as he lay on the couch with a bat then took him to the basement where they tied him and placed a plastic bag over his head. Hawke-Petit and the girls were tied to their beds with a combination of electrical ties, ropes and scarves, the house phones were unplugged and the cellphones were collected and placed on the bed in the master bedroom.

At one point during the night, Komisarjevsky raped Michaela and forced her to take a shower. His love for picture taking continued as he used his cellphone to take pictures of Michaela, much the same as he had done with his girlfriend. At dawn, Hayes went out with gas cans from the Petit home and it is believed that he stopped at his truck as well to stash items including wallets, jewelry and Haley's knapsack that contained loose change.

Shortly after 9 am that morning, Hayes drove Hawke-Petit to the bank where she withdrew $15,000, five thousand more than they had demanded, possibly in hopes of saving the family. What happened in the house is a bit more clear now but it will probaly have to wait until the trial to sort out the conflicting statements. What can be verified is that the suspects poured gas from where Hawke-Petit was killed, up the stairs to the girls rooms and then lit the trail of gas.

A police source stated that the pair lit the fire in the first floor sunroom and then exited the house laughing. Komisarjevsky drove the two from the house in the Petit family Chrysler Pacifica and tried to crash through two Cheshire police cruisers that blocked the road. The cruisers were spun apart by the force of impact but the car was heavily damaged and linped to the curb. Under the drawn guns of police, the men were taken into custody, both still wearing latex gloves and Komisarjevsky, wearing Haley's Miss Porter's School crew hat.

What is left now are still numerous unanswered questions and two young girls who now flank their mother's grave, facing the woods at the rear of Plainville's West Cemetery. Personal tokens from friends rest on the the graves: a small sand dollar and a set of wooden rosary beads rest among the flowers on Hawke-Petit's grave, in tribute to her spritual nature, on Haley's grave there is a baseball cap from Miss Porter's School and a baskeball inscribed with lyrics from her favorites songs and on Michaela's, there is a small striped stuffed fish along with a plaster angel who carries a small frying pan on her wings.

For my other posts including the memorial services and police response times, go here, here, here and here.

Update: posted October 30

"There are many tactical reasons to waive the hearing," stated defense attorney Jeremiah Donovan.

Joshua Komisarjevski appeared before a New Haven CT judge today, October 30 2007 and waived his right to a hearing of the evidence against him. He then pleaded not guilty to the charges related to the July 23 killings. His next schedualed court appearance is on November 27.

The defense also agreed with a request by the prosecution that William Petit have evidence returned to him that included his wallet and the $15,000 in cash his wife had withdrawn from the bank. Hayes is schedualed for a similar hearing on Thursday and is expected to waive his as well then.

Judge Richard Damiani also rejected a request today by The Courant to release a memorandum that would explain his decision to edit details out of search warrent affidavits he recently made public. The Courant argued that the judge's reasoning behind the edits should be made public and releasing his reasons could be done without releasing details that had been edited out.

Thomas Ullman, defense attorney for Hayes had argued against the release stating that he believed that The Courant was trying to get additional information from the warrents released.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thought I didn't see you?

On October 27 2007, Cevaughn Curtis Jr, 28, may have thought just that when he broke into a Gainesville FL home at around 3 am. Curtis had knocked on the door of Arthur Williams, 75 and had asked to be let in but Williams refused. Evidently, Curtis should have chose to walk away instead of trying to push his way in through the door.

Williams, a retired taxi dispatcher who has been legally blind for 61 years opened fire on Curtis when he kicked in the door. Police state that Curtis then tried to flee but collapsed on the front porch after being hit in the neck by Williams.

Curtis was taken to the hospital in stable condition and was charged with burglary of an occupied residence and battery on a person over age 65. Williams was praised by police for doing what he had to do in protecting himself. Curtis should make it easy for other would-be robbers to understand that age and lack of vision can ruin their robbery plans very easily.

It's no fantasy

In July 2005, Frank Gagliardi, 62, began chatting in an Internet chatroom called "I Love Older Men" with someone he knew as "Lorie." Monday October 22 2007 a ruling by the 2nd U S Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhatten NY ruled against his appeal of his conviction of attempting to entice a child to engage in prohibited sexual activity.

It seems that Gagliardi had stuck up an online conversation with an adult government informant posing as a 13 year-old girl in the room. His lawyers had argued that the law used to convict him required an actual child victim and was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. They also stated that the law "impermissibly suppresses fantasy speech with adults who happen to be posing as minors."

The arrest of Gagliardi came not after he had engaged in the online chats with the supposed 13 year-old girl but when FBI agents on October 5 2005 had found him waiting in his car. Gagliardi believed that he was going to meet two 13 year-old girls that he had been having online conversations with and authorities discovered condoms and viagra in his car. A jury then convicted him and he was sentenced to a mandatory five year sentence.

The ruling found that law enforcement officers investigating sexual predators can pose as children to catch them, that the First Amendment provides no refuge for such criminals and it is in line with similar decisions by six other appeals panels across the country. Those panels have rejected the same arguments for "sound reasons" and the appeals court found that requiring law enforcement officers to use a real child as a decoy would significantly impede enforcement of the law.

I can understand that some adults may be interested in pretending to talk as an adult and juvenile while both are adults online. Pretending to do that when both agree that they are adults is definately not the same as planning to meet what you believe to be a minor and that is the sign of a predator I feel. I am glad that rulings such as these will allow the police to continue to catch those dumb enough to search for child victims online.

He likes the quiet girls

On Wednesday October 24 2007, a U S Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent made a rather compromising discovery when he visited the men' room in his building. That discovery though landed another building employee in jail.

Special Agent David Hoagland went to the bathroom inside the Hatch Building, 401 First St E in Cedar Rapids Iowa, where his agency has an office. He discovered another building employee there on what seemed to be a 12:47 pm date with his girlfriend.

While the idea of a quick date at the office could be the stuff of fantasy porn stories, Hoagland evidently didn't enjoy this re-creation of it. He had found Craig S McCullough, 47, of 828 Eighth Ave SW, lying on the floor with his pants down next to an"anatomically correct inflatable doll."

McCullough was arrested on a charge of indecent exposure and remained jailed at the Linn County Jail. It was reported that another agency has an outstanding warrent for his arrest as well but the reason for the warrent wasn't clear

This wasn't the first time that McCullough has been found with such a quiet companion. He was convicted in 2004 of burglarizing the Just For Me bridal boutique on 709 Third Ave SE. In that incident officers had found him in a nearby alley carrying a mannequin wearing a bridal dress.

Now I can understand the thrill someone may get from that office tryst during working hours but to be desperate enough for that to blow up your date in a fairly public bathroom? It does make me wonder just a bit.............. how would this one look in a bridal gown?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Drunks seem to all act the same.....

Recently, there were six fatalities in Gauhati, India after a rice beer drinking binge. There had been a similar incident in the same region three years ago that left four dead.

It seems that nearly 40 wild Asiatic elephants came to a village looking for food and some of them found the rice beer that farmers ferment and keep in tin or plastic drums in their huts. There would have been more casualties if the villagers in Chandan Nukat, a village about 150 miles west of Shillong, hadn't chased them away. The elephants who are known for enjoying the taste of the locally brewed rice beer, got drunk and uprooted a power line and were electrocuted.

The northeast region of India is home to the world's largest of wild Asiatic elephants two states there having approximately 7,000 of them living there. They are the smaller cousins of the African elephants, having a smaller size and smaller ears. They are listed as endangered on the ICUN's Red list of threatened animals. Asian elephants have been used as beasts of burden for over 4,000 years and are most often doing work hauling lumber out of forests these days.

"It's great to have such a huge number of elephants, but the increasing man-elephant conflict following the shrinkage in their habitat to the growing human population is giving us nightmares," stated Pradyut Bordoloi, former Assam Forest and Environment Minister.

Possibly a heavy local campaign against drunk elephants along with a drunk tank for them will prevent the loss of life in the future.

It's a used car........

He was working as the driver for Jim Belushi when the movie "Underdog" was doing filming in Providence RI in 2006. It was during that time the beginnings of what seemed to be a very good deal formed.

"The claim is false and frivolous. The exact claim for the same repairs to the same vehicle has already been adjudicated," stated Brian Wolf, Belushi's attorney.

While driving Jim Belushi last year, Ted Lewandowski mentioned that he had been looking to purchase a vehicle for his 78 year-old father Jan. Ted states that Belushi had suggested his 2001 Land Rover and directed Ted to the listing posted on the internet auction site eBay.

Steve VanderPyl, a private investigator for Lewandowski stated that Ted claimed that Belushi had told him that it was in perfect mechanical condition and Ted felt that his being a star would mean that he wouldn't lie. VanderPyl adds that Ted sent a check for $11,500 to srepresentatives in California and then flew to the West Coast to retrieve the vehicle.

The repair bill comes from the trip home when the Land Rover broke down in Arizona and needed a new fuel pump. VanderPyl states that the vehicle still requires a radiator, new water pump and other repairs totalling $5,000.

Now I did just a quick search online and I am only going to guess as I don't know what model 2001 Land Rover is involved. I did use the cheapest model listed though in my search. The price Ted paid for the then 5 year old, "used" car was on the low end of the re sale scale. I also searched for reviews posted on the reliability of that year Land Rover which is something most anyone looking to purchase a used car can and should do these days.

What I did find on one site quickly should have answered the question of it breaking down on the ride back to Rhode Island. The first four reviews I read stated much the same thing......maintenance and repairs are frequent and expensive, major repairs needed before it reaches 100K, unreliable and expensive to replace parts.

My guess is that Ted was swayed by the fact that he was purchasing a used car from a star, one that has a poor record for reliability and one that Belushi himself may have believed was in good repair at that time. If Ted had needed a car for his 78 year old father so badly, he could have easily taken a drive over to one of the largest used auto auctions in the Northeast, held weekly in Connecticut, instead of buying a star's former car in California.

This is serve and protect?

Once again police officers are in the headlines. Many of us grew up thinking that the men in blue were dedicated to protecting the public from criminals but lately, it seems that those officers aren't.

Robert Pavlovich Jr has been suspended from the Marysville PA police department since March 2007. A judge has now ordered him to surrender his badge, have no contact with the girls involved in the indictment and to be held in the Perry County prison on $500,000 bail.

Pavlovich, a police officer, is facing numerous charges including corruption of minors and involuntary sexual deviate sexual intercourse. Yes, this officer has been accused of propositioning or molesting 14 girls from the ages of 12 to 17 and they include girls who are injured, mentally ill or mentally retarded.

This week, the Lake County Sheriff's Office has placed two of it's officers on leave and it isn't "sick leave" either. Deputy Richard Palmer who has been in that office since 1998, was placed on leave after the arrest of his wife October 24 2007. Georgette Palmer was arrested on charges of selling perscription pills and later released on $25,000 bail.

A confidential informant purchased the pills which included Xanax, Lortab, Lexapro and Klonopin from the residence and other locations. Richard has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation. The Sheriff's office would like to know whether he had knowledge of the activity and failed to take appropriate action.

Shawn Heath was the second officer placed on leave after his arrest Monday in Seminole County. Heath, a corrections officer at the Lake County jail since March 2007, had been arrested on charges of indecent exposure, resisting without violence and burglary of a conveyance.

Shawn Sawyer, 34, an undercover NYPD officer for three years, shot an unarmed man Sunday in an apparent case of road-rage. Jayson Tirado, 25, died early Sunday morning after he evidently didn't let the off-duty Sawyer merge with traffic for an exit ramp and then flashed hid hand to immitate a gun. Sawyer then follwed Tirado to the detour in the road and fired at least one shot at him.

Rather than staying on the scene of the shooting, Sawyer drove away and didn't turn himself in for 19 hours. He claims that he shot Tirado in self defense, thinking that he did have a gun but other statements indicate that Sawyer made no attempt to show Tirado his badge which probably would have ended the incident.

Sawyer had privately told other officers that he had a couple of drinks prior to the shooting and he hasn't explained what he did in the 19 hours that he was missing. His claim of self defense will be investigated and that is cited as to why he has only been suspended without pay and not charged with a crime yet. Sawyer also wasn't administered a breathalyzer test when he turned himself in the next day.

Within one week we have an officer who preyed on not only young girls sexually but girls who often were not able to protect themselves, a flashing officer and another who has to prove he had no idea how his wife got the extra money in the family budget. Lastly, the group is rounded out by an off-duty officer who rather than called in a driver with a gun, decided to chase him down and shoot him and then drive off to hide. It is difficult to see how the public is supposed to look to officers for protection when they seem to be knee-deep in crime themselves.

Friday, October 26, 2007

You can't blame the apartment

"I think it happened out of desperation, financial desperation. They couldn't make the rent," stated Connie Hambright.

It comes as no surprize that the "Preppie Killer" has been tossed back into jail but trying to blame the cost of an apartment on it is a bit of a surprize. The one bedroom, rent stabelized, $1,800 a month apartment on E 57th St off Sutton place in New York City is the thing many New Yorkers dream of having. Richard Chambers and his girlfriend Shawn Kovell had that until they were arrested Monday October 22 2007 on charges that the two had been dealing cocaine out of the apartment.

Chambers, 41, was charged with two counts of first-degree drug sale, which carries 15 to 30 years and a dozen other charges. Kovell was charged with two counts of selling drugs and faces less time because she has a clean record. The 14 charges Chambers faces are felonies and stem from seven undercover cocaine buys that police had allegedly made at his apartment.

Chambers was the handsome but heartless prep-schooler who strangled Jennifer Levin- maybe during rough sex as he had claimed or just for kicks as some believe in 1986. Shawn Kovell was the fresh-faced beauty who stuck by him through the sensational trial and then wore lingerie for a sick homemade video that mocked the Levin slaying. Chambers copped a manslaughter plea and Kovell waited 15 years for him to be released from prison. They then took a trip to Ireland and tried to escape from public view.

Connie Hambright, Kovell's godmother, opened her Dalton GA home to them in 2003 hoping to give the two hard-luck cases a chance to get a fresh start. Chambers got a menial job at the Pentafab dye factory and Kovell stayed close to home since she had never learned to drive. The neighbors there reported that they didn't see any evidence of drug activity with the two.

Within a year of moving to Georgia, Kovell's mother Rusty, fell ill with cancer and Chamber's mother Phyllis, a private nurse cared for her until her death. Kovell then inherited the apartment in New York City and the pair decided to move back. One neighbor in Georgia stated that the two had agonized over the choice. By 2005 though, Chambers was back in jail for 100 days for herion possession and it was after that, the neighbors noticed the increased foot traffic to their apartment.

Amber Youell, 28, who lived next door to them stated that they often fought and Chambers would lock her out of the apartment where she would be left to scream to be let back in. Building workers stated that the couple had been served notices for not paying the rent and Hambright added that the last time she had spoke to the two, Chambers had lost his car and their cellphone had been disconnected.

The authorities say that Chambers had acted as a drug middleman, selling cocaine to other dealers out of the apartment. He would have his suppliers or their runners in one room and his buyers in another, sources said. He would meet his suppliers downstairs, make contact with them and lead them up to his apartment. Police have video of the outdoor meetings as well as tapes of the drug buys they made in the apartment or hallway there.

Those tapes could lead to more arrests and will probably mean that Chambers will probably not be given a plea deal this time around. They include numerous shots that can lead to identifying other buyers and sellers and between August 3 and August 29, the seven purchases of a total of $9,600 worth of cocaine that police made.

Manhatten District Attorney Robert Morenthau stated that he expects that Chambers will spend the rest of his life in prison. Chambers reportedly whined to the judge that he didn't know why police had broken into the disheveled apartment with a battering ram. He had the nerve to insist that he didn't know what the charges against him were or even why he had been arrested.

Much of this is no real surprize to me, it would seem that Chambers couldn't stay away from the "high life" of the big city. Living in Georgia with a menial job may have been out of the public view and affordable but I think Chambers may have always enjoyed being in the spotlight. Chambers had much the same attitude when he was arrested in 1986 and it would seem he has learned very little since then.... maybe this next stint in jail will help him see that. At least we won't have to listen to his whining anymore.

For a slideshow of the apartment, go here.

Update: Nov 18

Robert Chambers seems to have fallen back onto his favorite defense now that he is faced with new charges that could send him to jail for the rest of his life........ it isn't his fault. That sounds much like the same defense he used when he was charged with killing Jennifer Levin.

Chambers' court-apponited attorney, Valerie Vanleer-Greenberg filed notice with the court that Chambers will plead not guilty by reson of "diminished capacity." The claim is that he was "stoned out of his mind" when he was peddling dope due in part to his chronic drug use. The court did give Greenberg more time to resubmit the paperwork because they did not give enough details.

She plans to have a forensic pyschopharmacologist examine him as soon as she can find one available and she didn't seek to have bail set for his release. Chambers was also hit with new charges from his scuffling with arresting officers. It may be time for Chambers to face the music finally and stop blaming anything but himself for his actions.

Update: December 7

Shawn Kovell was sprung from Rikers Island on Thursday after her lawyer, Franklin Rothman worked out a plea deal for her. She stated though, she will continue to stand by her man, Robert Chambers, as she has all these years.

Kovell stated that she was weaned off drugs in prison by doing methadone and her deal includes rehab, again for her. She was allowed to plead guilty to criminal sale of drugs, a B felony that carries up to 5 1/2 years in prison. Kovell has to go to rehab and if she stays clean for 18 months, she will be allowed to plead to a C felony, which carries no jail time.

She stated that she has ben through rehab twice before but family crisis have helped her fall off the wagon in the past. It was mentioned that she was also anxiously waiting word on whether her cervical cancer had returned.

If stress has been what led to her going back to drugs, possibly she should forget the man she still loves and has gotten her into so much trouble recently. Chambers is said to be facing life in prison..... Kovell could use her time more wisely possibly by finding other activities to do instead of spending her weekends visiting him as she did when he was found guilty of manslaughter.

It's me

He escaped from Marlboro Camp in New Jersey 28 years ago and after 28 years, authorities have tracked him and captured him in Philadelphia PA.

Maximo Jurado had been served 4 months of a 3 to 10 year a jail term for a drug offense at the now closed state prison when he escaped. Authorities stated that they have tracked him through several states and aliases before catching up with him finally. He was at his Philadelphia home this past Wednesday when they arrived.

Jurado, 75, told them that his name was "Juan" but when he was shown a prison photo of himself from 1979, he admitted that it was him. He is being held in Philadelphia until he can be extradited to New Jersey to serve the rest of his sentence and possibly more time for the escape. Jurado stated that he had not been in trouble with the law since his escape for fear of being caught. The former drug dealer had said that those fears forced him to turn his life around in the past 28 years.

While I applaud the authorities for diligently searching for an escaped convict for 28 years, I have to wonder what the purpose for the expense is. He is 75 years old and at this point, New Jersey will end up spending a lot of money that could maybe be put to a better use than imprisoning someone that old. Not only will they pay to house and feed him but they will take on the added expense of any medical costs an older inmate will have. Would it not be a better use of resourses to find an alternative punishment than filling another bed in an overloaded prison system?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Things are swingin'

"Give me the money. Give me the money," he barked.

What a masked robber got instead of the money sent him running for his life from the Brookhaven NY convenience store October 20 2007. When the clerk stared into the barrel of the gun that he pointed at her, she reached under the counter and came up swinging.

Hafize Sahim, 27, the petite 5-foot-4 clerk at the South Haven Convenience Store on Montauk Highway said that she thought the gun pointed at her was a fake. She reached under the counter for a 3 foot axe that was kept there and came up swinging it at the would be robber.

She had managed to stall the gunman dressed in a black hooded sweatshirt and wearing a mask by pretending to have trouble opening the drawer on the cash register. The surveillance video just released by the Suffolk police shows the rest of the robbery story. Sahim is seen swinging the axe at the gunman's head in the 8 pm robbery attempt and he is seen fleeing out the door.

Police haven't made an arrest yet but I would think that any other robber in the future will think twice about pointing a fake gun at the clerks at that store in particular.

For the video, go here.

We're not making crab cakes here......

"We have over 300,000 species represented in our collection. Even though most of them are not on display, that doesn't mean that small, unpopular insects are less important scientifically," stated curator Kees Moeliker.

The Rotterdam Natural History Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, has appealed publically for anyone to donate just a single crab louse for it's collection, in fear that the species is dying out. They are desperate enough to find a speciman to make this public appeal and promise to keep the donor's name anonymous.

Moeliker stated that he had begun the hunt in earnest for the species, also known as "pubic lice" after reading an article published by british doctors last June. The article, titled "Did the Brazilian kill the pubic louse", hypothesized that bikini waxing was the cause of the drop in infections in women recently and soon afterwards, with men.

Pubic lice can't live without pubic hair stated Moeliker and he does believe the study has a basis in fact. They are also not a reportable STD so there is very little information as to whether the species actually is in decline. Moeliker doesn't want to wait until there is definate proof that it is in decline before adding them to the collection at the museum.

He likens it to the plight of the house sparrow, twenty years ago, no one thought to add one to the collection because they were plentiful. Now they are on the threatened list and near impossible to find in the Netherlands.

I do understand the need to preserve at least one copy of each species before they vanish but "crabs"? I would think that there has to be someone who is willing to mail the museum each and everyone of the little beasts they are infested with, just to get rid of them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

But it worked on television.....

It must have seemed like a very good plan October 22 2007 in Silver Springs Shores FL. That is, until it hit an unplanned glitch.

Jeffrey Mumani, 25, had planned to rob the CVS store there by lowering himself down a ventilation shaft. He climbed up on the roof of the store, removed the air conditioning cover and then tied a rope there to lower himself into the shaft. Evidently, Mumani should have spent the extra cash on a good climbing rope because it snapped and he fell about 10 feet into the shaft.

"He was begging the manager to help him out," stated Marion County Sheriff's Captain James Pogue.

The store emplyees had called the Marion County Fire Rescue at 8:11 am, after Mumani began shouting for help, some ten hours after he had become stuck there. Lt Lonny Blackburn stated that they had to position firefighters at the top and bottom of the shaft to stabilize his position. He added that there was no easy access and mumani was trapped about 10 feet below the roofline with his hands pinned and his feet through the bottom of the shaft.

Mumani was freed after approximately an hour and a half and was transported to Munroe Regional Medical Care Center. He suffered from minor cuts and was in stable condition and for the moment, has charges pending. I would think that Mumani now knows that some plans work great on television but not real well in life.


It began with the adoption of a 4 month old brussels griffon mixed puppy from the Mutts and Moms adoption agency. By October 16 2007, it became a national media story.

When a representitive from the adoption agency called Ellen DeGeneres to check on Iggy's welfare, she found out that the pup had been given to Ellen's hairdresser. That had been in violation of the contract that Portia de Rossi had signed when adopting the puppy, which stated that the dog had to be returned to the agency.

Iggy wasn't dumped on the street but had been given to a family with two young girls, ages 10 & 12 and had been taken care of very well. This had happened after Ellen had paid approximately $3,000 in vet bills, neutering and training of the pup and he still didn't get along well with her cats.

It seems that Ellen had been told to immediately return the dog to the agency or they would go and seize the dog. That is exactly what a representitive of Moms and Mutts did, with police presence, she removed the dog from the home and children because of a violation of the contract. Ellen pleaded for the return of Iggy to the children, the agency stated that they would make sure that the children didn't receive the dog and the situation spun out of control.

Ellen was visably upset about the events, the owner of Moms and Mutts was as well. Marina Batkis, a co-owner of the rescue group, had stated that they "may" have considered the new placement if Ellen had asked them to do so before putting the puppy there. I think that is a very large "maybe" on their part, since they state the agency has a rule barring placement of small dogs with families with children under the age of 14.

Iggy it is now reported, has been placed with another family, which is rather nice that the agency could rush him out the door that quickly during this dispute. It has also been reported that Iggy would not be returned to Ellen because her name had not been added to the microchip he has. That seems a bit of a double standard, the agency states they have a contract and follow it to the letter but they use a technocality to claim Ellen can't prove the puppy is hers?

My final thoughts......... if this agency has a policy of not adopting small dogs into families with children and they evidently monitor their placements militantly...... what happens when a couple adopts a small dog and two years later, has a baby? Does Moms and Mutts point to their policy in the contract and have police stand by as they yank the dog out of the home?

Of note:

Ellen and Portia may well have broken the contract that Portia signed with Mutts and Moms, a contract that it seems now, that many pet adoption agencies have, Marina Batkis's sobbing on television has done little for me to believe that she had Iggy's best interests at heart. She publically stated that there was no way that she would have placed Iggy back with Cheryl Mark's family because of the publicity and the fact that there were "young" children in the home. That can be shown by how fast Mutts and Moms were to place Iggy with another family as soon as they had him back in their grasp.

What has been revealed though from "Iggy-gate" is that there are numerous pet adoption agencies out there, some with little more that the local governement's approval to operate because their facilities meet certain standards. Those standards though often do not include how well trained they are in placing animals and most solicate donations for their "good" works.

The "Smoking Gun" posted several of the emails exchanged between both parties and while some may point to their relevance, I found little in them that excited me........ Batkis evidently felt that not hearing an update for more than 30 days on the placement of one of their pups was excessive and I do wonder........ does anyone who adopts a pet from Mutts and Moms have to send an update every two weeks or so for them to feel confident of the care their former charge is getting?

For a look at those emails, go here.

Update: November 13

"Iggy's doing famously, very well and in a loving home," stated Keith Fink.

It seems that Iggy is destined for some sort of fame at the moment, he is now being paraded on television to prove what a good job Moms and Mutts has done in placing Iggy after the tears and hate of last month. I had no doubt that they would find yet another family to care for the now 5 month-old pup and one that would allow them to exploit him as well.

What isn't being addressed though is the policy that they have, one which many agencies it has been revealed has and specifically, their policy of not placing a dog in a house with small children. That alone would have most likely kept the agency from allowing Iggy to stay with Ellen's friends, especially after it was publically stated that the would be no way that they would get the pup back.

I personally feel that the family who now has Iggy, who is doing famously and probably with the help of the couple thousand Ellen spent on training him, should be living quietly at home.... not paraded on "stage" by Fink, the lawyer for the agency.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Could you move your fin, I can't see

The month of October brings out scarey themed parties and numerous Halloween related activities. Besides those more normal contests, there are complicated corn mazes, flying pumpkins at chukin contests and at dive shops nationwide, carving contests.

Ken and Linda Smith of Sebring FL recently swam away with the top prize at the 10th annual Amoray Dive Resort Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest. Yes, divers do it underwater and this one is held at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary five miles off Key Largo FL.

"The pumpkins want to float, so that makes it difficult. So you are working against your own bouyancy and the pumpkin's," stated Ken Smith.

Most divers will state that the carving isn't easy even if they drop weights into it to hold it down. You only have to think of how difficult it is to carve one on your kitchen table, add the "floating factor" and the numerous other divers and fish swimming through.

These contests are rapidly becoming very popular fun among divers and can be run for charity, prizes or just the fun diving with your friends. The fun factor even has divers in the northern regions, donning heavy gear to carve in 40 to 50 degree waters. The Smith's won a free dive trip for their winning entry of the scariest pumpkin this year and can enjoy the memories for years to come.

For a related post, go here.

Not so booksmart

Wednesday, October 17 2007, finally closed the book on the case of a former Northwest Catholic High School teacher. The once popular teacher who also was a musician admitted in court to having a sexual relationship with a 16 year-old student.

Matthew Glasser, 31, of Oxford St, Hartford CT, resigned from his teaching job at the high school in the spring of 2005, after allegations came to light of a relationship with a student. That student had confessed a fear that she may have been pregnant.

Glasser met the now 16 year old when she was in elementary school and used his position to violate the student's trust, according to the prosecutor. The arrest warrent describes a relationship that began as friends and advanced to internet chats and late night cellphone chats to a sexual relationship according to the victim.

On Valentine's Day 2005, Glasser sent the victim an email that asked her in slang, "Wanna Spoon ha ha." The girl stated that she replied. "Aww yes" and Glasser responded in return with telling her she could whenever she wanted to. Within a month, the relationship had changed and Glasser called the girl's cellphone at about 2 am and asked her for directions to her house. He picked her up and they spent the time driving around.

By April 12 2005, the girl was sneaking out of her home more often and the time spent at Glasser's apartment watching movies had progressed to consensual sexual intercourse. They had used condoms all but once, on May 3 and it was after that, the young girl thought she might be pregnant and sought help from authorities. The arrest warrent doesn't state how school officials found out about the relationship but they contacted authorities immediately after learning of the allegations in early May 2005.

Police then searched Galsser's apartment and seized sheets, pillowcases, cellphone records, a stuffed frog and his computer for evidence. Some of the items had been described specifically by the victim.

While Glasser seems to have taken a similar path as Brenton Wuchae in North Carolina did with his former student, now wife, he faces a very different future than Wuchae. Glasser was 28 at the time of the relationship, 12 years older than the girl he felt he needed to be with. He also resigned as soon as the allegations surfaced but didn't use the apparent escape clause Wuchae did by marrying his child girlfriend.

Glasser doesn't get to look forward to evenings of games and watching movies with a young girl, he instead struck a deal and pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of tampering with a witness and five counts of fourth-degree sexual assault. He was sentenced on October 17 to a seven year suspended prison term and five years of probation. As a condition of his probation, he forfeits his rights to teach in Connecticut, must register as a sex offender and comply with any sexual offender treatment recommended by the state.

It would seem that there is a very big difference in how some states view teachers having relationships with their students.... Wuchae so far is only facing an investigation and Windy's parents are left to try and sue the school board that turned deaf ears and a blind eye to their complaints.

For a related post, go here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Well that sux

The city leaders have finally decided to scrape any plans of continuing the fight. The officials in Sioux City Iowa have been trying to have the designation changed since 1988 to no avail.

"Lets make the best of it. I think we have an opportunity to turn it into a positive," stated Dave Berstein, airport board member.

The decades old battle centers around Sioux Gateway Airports identifier - SUX. At one point, the FAA offered the city five alternatives: GAY, SGV, GWU, GYO and GYT but the airport trustees turned them all down.

They have finally decided to set aside the battle and stick with SUX, making it the center of the airport's new marketing campaign. The code, which is used by airports and pilots worldwide, will be printed on tickets, luggage tags, caps and T-shirts using the new slogan.... FLY SUX. The slogan is also the basis for the airport's new Web site,

Dave Berstein stated that they should embrace the designator that is so easy to remember and added that many of the major airports have very forgettable three-letter codes. Mayor Craig Berenstein had stated in 2002 that the designator was an embaressment to the city, now calls the new slogan a cute way to make light of the situation.

While I have to agree that SUX well, sucks for a slogan.... I don't understand why several of the other choices offered before by the FAA had been turned down. I think it would be a bit better to have a very forgettable identifier than one that frankly, sux.

It's a great plan......

Once again, aspiring thieves have proven that having a well thought out plan will lead to a successful crime while no being completely prepared usually means failure. This seems to be the case in Seminole County FL last night.

The thieves evidently planned to steal cash from a pair of ATMs at the Bank of America on State Rd 434 in Longwood October 21 2007. They planned far enough ahead as to steal a front-end loader from a nearby construction site and drive it to the bank. It seems that they had planned to use the loader to rip the machines out and then get the loot.

It didn't quite work out as planned though. While the loader did a fine job of breaking into the bank, it also did so much damage to the surrounding structure that they ended up burying the machines in debris and crushing them. The bank is closed today to assess the damage and try and repair it.

"They get an A for effort but an F for form," stated Sheriff's Lt Barry Smith.

Deputies and a a police searched the surrounding area for the thieves after the 11:45 pm crime but not successful in finding the unsuccessful thieves. They plan to check with an offsite video camera to try and identify the thieves.

As shown so many times before...... careful planning that includes all possibilities should be done or the result is much like this case. They managed to get to the machines but no cash for the effort.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Since when?

It would seem that the city of Eau Claire WI has to be working on some new signs for a park now, due to a new city ordinance. That is because, almost overnight, there now is no archery allowed at Archery Park.

"Several archers that I've talked to are kind of in disbelief," stated Tom Draper.

That disbelief stems from the new signs outside Archer Park, whis had ben set aside by the city years ago to practice archery in. Despite the earthen berms and practice stands set up within the park, it is now offlimits to use a bow and arrow there.

In September 2007, the city decided that those berms along with the wooded hillsides that are there to keep arrows in the park were not enoughprotection. A neighbor nearby had complained to the city after they found a stray arrow in their backyard. The city then decided to ban archery in the park after this last of several complaints made in the past fifteen years.

Some of the archers who have used the park for years, to practice in, would like to see the city appoint a committee of city representitives, archers and neighbors to review the situation and new ordinence.

Since this sounds like a park that had been set aside specifically for one purpose, it would seem that this was the first thing the city should have done to deal with the complaints. Unless of course, they just enjoy renaming their city parks overnight.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Did they hold a seminar on it?

On Thursday, October 18 2007, deputy sheriffs in South Florida made another arrest. It would seem that their arrest of Gibson proved he was not that unique.

"It was elaborate in the sense that it was a very purpose-built and stealthy vehicle and trailer," stated Jim Soloman, sheriff's spokesman.

Deputy sheriffs caught two men this time in Orange County FL, trying to siphon more than 500 gallons of diesel fuel from the tanks at a Mobil gas station at Goldenrod and Curry Ford roads. The theft was discovered by a leak detector at the On The Run Mobil gas station at 12:03 pm and officers arrived there by 12:06 pm.

Deputy Pamela Porter was the first to arrive and noticed a truck with trailer parked there with it's hood up and a man working on it. She asked him what the problem was and he kept stating "car broke, car broke." The man, later identified as Octavio Garcia, 27, claimed that he spoke no English and had a Georgia drivers license for identification. The front of the truck was littered with items consistant with someone who works on their own vehicle such as car part boxes, power-steering bottles and tools but it started as soon as the officer turned the key.

Porter's backup, Deputy Timothy Graeber, heard noises coming from the trailer and when checking, he spotted a wall of black brushes that blocked the view under the trailer. They discovered Jose Luis Guerra, 25, of Miami in the back transferring fuel. This trailer as well had a hole cut in the floor which allowed Guerra to use a battery-powered siphon to pump fuel into the two tanks the trailer held. Officers discovered a third tank in the truck's bed with a hose that allowed fuel to be loaded there from inside the trailer

The tanks inside the trailer were converted chlorine tanks of 300 and 250 gallons each and the metal tank in the bed was 150 gallons. The men had managed to pump out 182.5 gallons of fuel of an estimated value of $550 and police estimate that they had the capacity to steal approximately $2,100 worth of diesel. To add to the efficiency of their operation, one played the part of the stranded motorist while the other worked inside and they kept in contact through walkie-talkies.

Large scale thefts of diesel and gas have been a problem for years and with the rising costs of late, some companies are willing to purchase the fuel, tax free, that has been stolen. Members of a theft ring in Florida were arrested in June 2005 for using trucks to siphon 1,000 gallons of fuel and a Cottondale AL man was severely burned in June 2005 when the fuel he was siphoning, exploded in flames.

Neither man would talk to police and both have been charged with third-degree grand theft and taken to the Orange County Jail.

It would almost seem that there must have been a seminar offered in this new and dangerous way to profit in the fuel business.

For my related post, go here.

Don't argue, just do it

There seems to have developed a common theme in Alabama this month... guns and cleaning. Some have learned at gunpoint that cleaning isn't what they should be doing, others, that you had better do the cleaning.

"Tears just rolled down my face as I walked in and saw everything gone and piles of trash all over my home," stated Tiffany McKinnon.

Adrian and Tiffany McKinnon returned home after a week away and found that almost everything the family of five owned had been stolen. Adrian sent his wife to see her sister while he inspected what was left behind in the piles of trash. As he was walking into the back sunroom, a man walked in through the backdoor straight into him.

Adrian held the suspect, Tajuan Bullock, 33, who was wearing Adrian's hat, at gunpoint. He told him to sit on the floor until he decided what to do with him. While waiting for the police to arrive, Adrian decided to take matters into his own hands for a bit......... he ordered Bullock to clean up the mess he had made throwing things out of drawers and cabinets.

"This man had the nerve to raise sand about us making him clean up the mess he had made in my house," stated Tiffany.

That's correct, Bullock complained to the police when they arrived that he had been forced to clean up his own mess at gunpoint. It's reported that the police laughed at his complaint and explained to him that anyone else probably would have shot him dead when they had caught him in the house.

Capt Huey Thornton, a police spokesman, stated that Bullock was arrested at 2 pm Tuesday, October 15 2007 on burglary and theft charges. He was being held in the Montgomery County Detention Facility on a $30,000 bond.

"Whenever I hear a noise, I just go grab my gun," stated Ethel

That is exactly what the 81 year-old grandmother did in Mobile AL, Monday October 14 2005, when she heard noises in her laundryroom. When Ethel, who usually uses a walker, got there, she encountered a man in his underwear, washing his clothes in her washing machine.

She took a shot at the man when he came at her, which knocked her to the ground and the man grabbed her gun and pointed it at her. He then grabbed his soaking wet clothes and ran for it. Officers quickly found the man in a nearby community center, possibly because he was bleeding and still only in his underwear. He is expected to survive the bullet that went through his leg to his stomach and will be charged with first-degree burglary when he is released from the hospital.

Sanders stated that she had bought the gun four years ago as protection, since she lives alone but added that she had never shot it before.

I would think now, Bullock would take note of what the officers had told him when he whined to them, he got lucky just having to clean his own mess. Sanders on the other hand, missed a "kill shot" but I am betting people think twice about using her washer for free laundry service.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Don't toss it... chuck it

Some pumpkins find a new home nestled inside a pie this time of year or carved into that special jack-o-lantern. Others though will find a new home, possibly one town over by afternoon.

Yes, it isn't just fall and Halloween........... it's pumpkin-chucking season. That wonderful time of year when pumpkins learn to fly and residents of neighboring towns get nervous. The World Championship Punkin Chukin contest and billed as the oldest, begun in 1983 and largest competition takes place November 2-4 in Bridgeville, Del and organizers stated that more than 50,000 people watched 100 teams compete last year.

The record for distance set there in 2003 was set by launching a pumpkin 4,434 feet, approximately 500 feet short of a mile. Pumpkins can become airborne there with catapults, air compressors, centrifugal machines and trebuchets, whose design dates back to the Middle Ages and uses a counterweight to hurl objects into the air. There is also a "theatrical" category which states that distance isn't the objective but rather, the ability of the team to ham it up.

Another well known event is the Morton Punkin Chuckin contest, held on October 20-21 in Morton IL, home of 85 % of the world's canned pumpkin is manufactured. It began in 1996 and is held about 10 miles southeast of Peoria on the Uhlman family farm and attracts several thousand visitors a year. In years past, winners of the contest have appeared on both the David Letterman Show and with Jay Leno.

Tossing your pumpkins to the wind seems to have become more popular as there are numerous other contests held throughout the U S. These include a Pumpkin Chucking weekend, November 3-4 in Ellicott MD and the Pumpkin Chuck, November 3 held in Cincinnati's Stanbery Park. That event allows you to bring your own pumpkin or purchase one there and for $2, you can launch the hapless pumpkin skyward with a trebuchet.

With these choices, who would want to even think of just leaving that used jack-o-lantern on the front step till April of next year, not that I would ever do that.

For more information, go here and here.

Creative profits

The best way to turn a definate profit in your business is to first keep the costs of your overhead down. One businessman in Winter Haven FL it seems had discovered how to creatively aquire his product and maximize his profits.

Hobert Gibson, 70 did not know that police were observing him on Tuesday, October 16 2007, while he stood outside his pick-up truck at a Cumberland Farms gas station. Not many people would have paid attention to him as he waited, propping his arms on the door window. They probably also had no idea why he was just standing there, waiting but police did.

Gibson it seems had devised a system to steal gas from the underground tanks at gas stations and pump it into the trailer his truck was towing. Polf County detectives stated that they had observed him stealing about 400 gallons of gas from a Lakeland gas station and had followed him to the Dade City store.

Detectives would not state how they had come to suspect Gibson but at least one Lakeland store had reported 11,000 gallons of fuel missing since January 2007. They did state that Gibson was towing a box trailer that had been reported stolen from a Lakeland business in 2005. He had cut a trap door in the bottom in the bottom of the trailer and then park it above the underground fuel tanks at a gas station. Gibson had maritime batteries to power the fuel pumps that would load the gas into his trailer and then offload it to larger tanks at his Winter Haven business, Crews Towing for later sale.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd stated that they believe he had been stealing approximately 3,000 to 10,000 gallons of fuel each week from gas stations and added that this is the first time he has seen this kind of theft. Gibson was arrested for stealing nearly 1,000 gallons of gas and faces two counts of grand theft.

For a related post, go here

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We didn't need that extra insulation?

"Now I know why my bill is so high," stated Ed Arzooman.

It wasn't Arzooman's high electric bill that led to the recent discovery at a one story house on 269th St in Floral Park NY October 17 2007. It was the distinctive smell of marijuana that police officers on a routine patrol in Queens instead.

Arzooman stood by and watched as officers removed 300 live plants and 10 garbage bags of drying weed after the officers had noticed the smell the night before. Three men who lived at the home, ages 23, 28 and 43 have been charged with felony drug possession of the reportedly $500,000 street value pot.

Ed had finally found out that not only had there been a marijuana farm at the home next door but Con Edison informed him that their powerline had been split, so they had been paying for the cultivation for the past year. This explained how their power bill had gone from $300 a month to $800.

I can understand how out of control cost increases and a lack of conservation can lead to a higher bill but to go more than a year with a $500 increase without questioning it.........that makes it a bit more understandable as to how they managed to run a pot farm next door.

The mystery may unravel

In November 1717, English pirates captured the French slave ship La Concorde near the island of Martinique. She was renamed Queen Ann's Revenge and headed north the following spring as the flagship of the pirate fleet.

In May 1718, the pirates, led by Blackbeard, aka Edward Teach, blockaded the port of Charleston SC with his flagship and three smaller sloops. He continued up the coast and lost his the Queen Ann's Revenge while attempting to enter Beaufort Inlet NC and about five months after her sinking, Blackbeard was killed in battle at Ocracoke NC.

In November 1996, the private research firm, Intersal Inc., was winding down their search for shipwrecks in Beaufort Inlet when they discovered a mound of anchors, cannons and ballast stones. They had held permits from the North Carolina UBA to search for the El Salvador, which was lost in 1750 and the Queen Ann's Revenge. The Intersal divers recovered some artifacts including a brass bell which had the date of 1705 on it and they felt that they had possibly found the site of the QAR. After months of secrecy, they finally announced that they may have found Blackbeard's flagship.

The QAR lies in 20 to 25 feet of water approximately 1.5 nautical miles off Fort Macon and about 1,500 feet west of the present Inlet shipping channel. Studies have shown that the channel may have crossed over the ship numerous times in the three hundred years it has sat there and has spent time buffeted by currents or covered by 20 feet of sand.

Since it's discovery, numerous trips have been made to uncover artifacts on the site and map the wrecks location. It is offlimits to divers at this time but in the future, when all work has been completed, it will most likely be available for divers to visit.

This years visit is considered it's most ambitious and has already uncovered more artifacts to study and later display at the NC Maritime Museum at Gallants Bay, Beaufort NC. Items brought to the surface this year include copper alloy cufflinks and straight pin, net weights, pewter plates, a brass trigger guard, gold dust, a yellow glass bead and on one return trip to shore......a five foot spotted eagle ray which leaped aboard the deck of the Shell Point.

After much careful planning, this week they also raised cannon C16, under the watchful eye of a group of reporters from TV, newspapers and radio as well as a German documentary filmaker and a writer and photographer from Archaeology Magazine. On October 17 2007, the cannon made a schedualed stop at the NC Maritime Museum expansion property for another public viewing, which was attended by approximately 100 people.

The cannon will then be taken to the QAR in Greenville NC and placed in a freshwater tank where it will begin a multi-year process of cleaning, study and preparation for display. This cannon is believed to be one of the best links to proving whether the wreck that has been studied for ten years is Blackbeard's famous flagship, the Queen Ann's Revenge.

For more about the Queen Ann's Revenge project, go here.

You're right......

Cynthia Hunter, 38, was arrested in Agust 2007, accused of theft in a Brandon FL Wal-Mart and ended up being jailed for almost two months.

It seems that the police found a small vial in her purse that a police field test suggested was meth. Hunter explained that it wasn't drugs but was instead, dehydrated cat urine for her son's science project. She added that it had been purchased at an animal clinic.

Police arrested her on the theft charge as well as possession of a controlled substance. She was released from jail in October 2007 after the results from the lab tests found that the "controlled" substance was, in fact, cat urine. Hunter pleaded guilty to petty theft and the judge sentenced her to time served.

Now I am not sure of any state where cat urine is a controlled substance and I certainly don't know why they did not investigate far enough as to possibly call the clinic she claimed to have bought it at. I do question what the purpose of keeping a mother in jail for that length of time and away from her son over a possibility it may be drugs.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My math is a bit rusty

On August 11 2007, it seems that serious damage was done in Cipriani 42nd St in New York City NY. A 19-page complaint has now been filed in an attempt to rectify that damage.

It seems that newlyweds David and Elana Glatt are now sueing Posey Floral Design on E 72nd St for ruining their wedding day. In papers filed in Manhatten Superior Court, they detail accusations of a "bait and switch" by the shop as well as wilting boutonniere, dust filled vases, cheap-looking roses used in the bathroom arrangements and the 22 centerpieces at $465 each, didn't specifically match the color scheme in the ballroom.

"She's a lawyer. They're just out for gain," stated Stamos Arakas, shop owner and florist.
Arakas, who's work has been featured in Vogue, Gotham and New York magazines, stated that the couple along with David Glatt's mother Tobi, came to him after he had handled the wedding of Elana Glatt's sister. They claim that they spent $30,000 and twelve months planning the flowers for the wedding and what they got wasn't even close to what they had wanted. Arakas responded that the couple is just looking for the green that is found in wallets and not centerpieces.

A Web site showcasing their love shows the Glatts enjoying themselves at a wedding shower, Cabo San Lucas and Aruba and they did not return emails or phonecalls. It would seem that it is over more than the shade of a flower since they are sueing for $400,000, quite a jump from the money spent on the flowers but I am guessing, would cover all of their wedding costs. If for some reason they should win........... I bet we can view more "happy" photos of the couple on vacations.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who are you hiding behind bullwinkle?

It seems that the lovable moose has been adapting to life in Yellowstone Park in the past decade. They also have been taking advantage of human developement according to a report by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

"The closest moose we had give birth was 50 yards from a road," stated Joel Berger, Wildlife Society biologist.

The researchers tracked the locations of both moose and brown bears in Yellowstone Park from 1995 to 2004 and the results of their report were released online October 9 2007 in the Biology Letters. Brown bears prey heavily on moose calves and they found that over the ten years, the bear population increased rapidly due to conservation efforts. During that same time, they found that moose moved closer to paved roads to calve, where bears typically shy away.

Over the ten years, they found that moose had moved an average of 400 feet closer to the roads each year to give birth, when they normally tend to stay approximately 1,000 feet from the roads. The brown bears try to avoid human contact and stay an average of 1.600 feet from roads in all places, including Yellowstone.

Other species have shown the same methods in protecting their newborns. In Nepal, axis deer have escaped from tigers by staying close to tourist centers and in Kenya, velvet monkeys avoid leopards by staying close to the ranger stations.

The moose apparently have found out how to protect themselves and their newborns....... and they have been using unwitting human park visitors to do that for over a decade.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Forecast: drizzle

According to new reports released by researchers, you should probably pack your wet weather gear if you plan on traveling to Titan. If not, you could spend time getting wet from the morning drizzle.

"The rain could be caused by processes similar to those on Earth. Moisture laden clouds pushed upslope by winds condense to form a coastal rain," stated Imke de Pater, an astronomer at U C Berkeley.

It seems that the morning forcast on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, includes some cold and miserable weather for travelors there, as in 300 degrees below zero and a steady morning drizzle. Scientists state that the process for the drizzle seems to be similar to that on Earth but the rain is methane, an explosive gas here but chilled to a liquid on Titan.

Researchers led by Mate Adamkovics of the University of California, Berkeley have used infared images to analyze the moon and found that most of the images contained methane clouds and drizzle seen in the morning. Depending on the condtions they state, it could be a ground mist or hit the surface of the moon as a steady drizzle.

The researchers also state that the drizzle seems to end around 10:30 am, Titan time, which would seem to leave plenty of time for the day's activities if you are visiting there. Of course you have to take into account, if you are dividing the Titan day into 24 hours and take into account that Titan takes 16 Earth days to rotate once, the drizzle would last for about three Earth days after sunrise on the moon.

Just on those notes, I probably won't be adding Titan to my vacation "to do" list any time in the near future.