Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tarnished ring of blue

The prosecutors stated that they believed the ring of thieves conducted about 40 robberies from 1999 to 2001. They added that they would steal cash and drugs in Los Angeles CA , and then sell the drugs on the streets for more cash.

On Wednesday, William Ferguson, 35, was found guilty of 13 charges and acquitted of five counts. His brother Joseph, 33, was convicted of three counts and the jury was deadlocked on 18 other counts. They were convicted on charges including conspiracy to deprive people of their rights under color of law and conspiracy to possess marijuana and cocaine. Fifteen others involved in the ring pleaded guilty to the charges against them.

What is not so surprizing anymore is that the brothers were cops. William is a former Los Angeles policeman and his brother Joseph is a former Long Beach officer. The suspected ring leader, former LAPD officer Ruben Palomares had pleaded guilty and testified against the brothers at trial. Both William and Ruben had worked in the Rampart Division until they were both fired in 2003.

I am not sure how people are supposed to trust the men and women in "blue" anymore when it seems that they are more the criminal than the person living next door these days.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lightbulbs are brighter.......

McMinn County Sheriff's Deputy Rick Shadrick pulled into the Sweetwater TN church parking lot early Saturday morning. He spotted a car parked near the building and decided to investigate it.

He found Jennifer Hunt, 35, walking out from behind the building. When questioned, she claimed that she was there to go to the bathroom. Her story fell apart though when she began walking to her car to get her ID.

It seems that she may have a bit of difficulty "going to the bathroom" with a crowbar in her pants. Shadrick was there to witness that same crowbar drop from her pants while she was walking to her car. After searching her, he also found a screwdriver on her and further investigation showed pry marks on the church door.

Hunt is now charged with possession of burglary tools and is being held on $2,000 bond pending her arraignment on Tuesday. It seems that she will have a few days in which to work on her future fashion statements.

Suffolk County Police in Ronkonkoma NY encountered another not so bright individual when they were responding to an alarm at M & J Auto at 1:55 am Tuesday morning. They found Jason Thompson, 17, hiding in a dumpster there.

After a bit of investigation, they found that not only had he burglarized the shop that morning but he had also stolen a "General Lee" replica Dodge Charger on Jan 23 at Continental Car Care in Lake Ronkonkoma. That car though had been found hours later when it was noticed parked nearby.

Thompson was arrested and charged with two counts of burglary in the third degree. Fortunate for him, he won't be charged with lack of brains or skill for thinking that no one would notice the "General Lee", even if it were only a replica of the car from the "Dukes of Hazzard"............... maybe down south it could hide in plain sight but not so easy on Long Island.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Just messing around

"I decided to try it because I thought all of the TV shows were lies, but it turns out I was wrong," stated Gavin.

The popular movie "A Christmas Story" exposed another generation to the thrills and humiliation of flag poles. It seems that some didn't think that it was anything more than fiction.

Gavin Dempsey and James Alexander, two fourth grade boys in Chesterton IN had seen the stunt in the movie but James' mother didn't belive that they would actually try and test it's truth. Friday morning though, while both were serving on flag duty at Jackson Elementary School, they put it to the test.

They did find out for themselves that toungues do really freeze and stick to cold metal. Billie Dempsey, Gavin's mom, stated that the school nurse had called her to say that the boys tongues were bleeding . She added that the nurse had asked them who had double-dog dared the other.

James stated that he planned to nurse his injured tongue with ice cream afterwards. One would think that both these boys would be doing whatever they could to stay away from anything cold.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Take anything but her.....

"There was an heirloom ring in the apartment, a camera and family silver. But they took the one thing that's most precious to me," stated Willke.

Wednesday evening, Pam Willke returned to her Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn NY apartment to find the front door ajar. What she found inside was even worse than she could have imagined.

Her belongings were strewn all over the two bedroom apartment after the criminals broke in through a rear window. They had rifled through her jewelry and personal documents but evidently chose to steal something even more valuable to her.

The break-in took place between 9 am and 7 pm while Willke, 47, a senior administrative assistant, was at work. They stole a bright yellow dog crate from the 16th St apartment as well as Willke's 8 year old Maltese named Samantha. Contractors working in an apartment next door stated that they didn't see or hear anything out of the ordinary during the day.

Willke has plastered the neighborhood with posters of Samantha and has offered a reward for her return but so far, no one has come forward. The police are investigating the break-in as well as the theft of Samantha and have stated that they believe it is an isolated case. They added that they don't know yet if stealing the Maltese was the only reason they broke in.

On October 26 2007 though, Molly the Boston Terrier was snatched from outside a Brooklyn NY laundry. Stacey Grant was able to get Molly back though, only after she paid the reward money to several men who sounded as though they had stolen her just to ransom her for money. Unfortunately, it sems that the officers haven't looked far enough back in their records to find a link to stolen daogs and a "need" for cash it seems.

One can only hope that Samantha is unharmed and will be returned out of the goodness of someone's heart and not in a theft for cash plan.

For a related post, go here.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Racing through life......

Florida Highway Patrol Capt Jeff Succi stated that there were yaw marks at the end of the runway, indicating that the car turned sideways before launching over an embankment. It then went through the air about 200 feet before slamming into a large tree. The FHP believes that the car traveled over the 80 to 85 foot embankment at the end of the airstrip and impacted the tree about 15 above the ground. It was also reported that the force of the crash left parts of the car imbedded within the tree and no report has been released yet as to what speed they estimate the BMW was traveling at when it left the runway.

The grey 2008 BMW split in two on impact, ejecting three of the victims and partially ejecting the two others in the accident that was reported at 3:47 am Saturday, January 26, and all 5 were pronounced dead at the scene between 3:55 and 3:56 am. At this time, authorities were unable to state whether any of the young men had been wearing seatbelts or where any of them, besides the identified driver, were sitting. One of the victims though had been reportedly found approximately 100 feet from the oak tree the BMW had hit.

Joshua D Ammirato, 18, of Fairfield FL, was driving his father's $80,000 BMW north on Runway 36, a 1.5 mile long Greystone airstrip adjacent to Jumbolair Aviation Estates when he went airborne. The four passengers and friend's of his were identified as James Devon Hime, 19, of 10660 NE 47th Ave, Ocala FL, Dustin J Dawe, 19, of 13040 NW 80th St Rd, Fairfield FL, James Casey, 19, of 4245 SW 20th Ave, Ocala FL and Isaac Rubin, 20, of 45 Pecan Run Pass, Ocala FL.

The demolished BMW came to rest in flames near the home of Augustine and Kristina Berenguer in the 1400 block of Northeast 95th St. They stated that they were awakened by the sound of the crash and Kristina called 911 after Augustine went outside to investigate the flames. George Borger who lives next to the airstrip stated that he was woken up by the sound of car engines on the airstrip at 3:30 am Saturday morning. He added that he saw them going up and down the runway and they were going very fast.

Hime, Ammirato and Dawe all were former students of North Marion High School, Rubin attended Forest High School and Casey graduated from Trinty Catholic High. North Marion High School principal Kathy Quelland described her three former students as popular and involved students who also wrestled for the school. Rubin had also been a wrestler and Casey had played football in high school and was a defensive back for the Jacksonville University Dolphins.

Alainya Frauenshuh, a senior at North Marion High School was friends with the young men and stated that they had attended a Trinity High School basketball game and then went to a party at a friend's house. They had been celebrating Dustin Dawe's 19th birthday she said. The FHP is still interviewing people but they have stated that the accident may be alcohol related. They will not be certain though, until the toxicology results are returned to them.

Residents in the area have reported that local teens regularly sneak onto the runway through an entrance in a nearby, ungated subdivision. Jeremy Thayer, co-owner of Jumbolair Aviation Estates, where John Travolta lives, was contacted at about 8 am about the accident. He stated that they didn't hear anything unusual in the morning hours and while they chase kids off the runway when they spot them, they added that kids can get out there if they want to badly enough.

The owner of Greystone Airport, James Garemore, stated that the teens didn't access the runway from their property and feels that they had to have gotten onto it from the Jumbolair side of the property. The Garemore's have battled with Travolta since 2001 over a verbal agreement he stated he had that allowed him to access the runway for his own use when he purchsed property there. The accident may bring the safety and access concerns to a forefront again.

Sadly, 5 young lives have been cut short in what seems to be another example of how something that seemed so much fun at the start, ended up tragically, a very poor choice.

Of note: go here for a slideshow.

Update: Jan 27

What hasn't been determined as of yet in the accident investigation are the answers to the following questions: where any of the occupants wearing their seatbelts, how fast the car was traveling when it left the end of the runway, whether there were any other cars on the runway at the time, though there is no evidence of that at this tme and while it it known that they young men had attended a party where alcohol was served, it is unknown at this time who had provided it and lastly, it hasn't been determined how they had accessed the runway.

A memorial service will be held at 6pm Monday at the Central Florida Community College Klien Center. Counselors will be available and Dr Fred Miley, with the Marion County community Crisis Response Team will lead the event on Monday.

A memorial service is planned for Casey at 10:30 am in the gym of Trinity Catholic High School as well.

Photo of the victims from left to right: Dustin Dawe, Justin Casey & James Hime.
bottom row: Joshua Ammirato & Isaac Rubin

For a recent post, go here and a related post, go here. For the latest update, go here.

Update: Jan 29
"Please remember the good, not the bad. Please don't bring anyone hurt," stated Samantha Hall.

Monday was the first chance for many to share the pain and tears they had for the five young men lost in this Saturday's crash. A crowd of about 1,000 attended the memorial for the five this evening. Samantha Hall, Joshua's girlfriend, spoke to the crowd and asked that they not blame him and that they not take their anger over the tragedy out on anyone else as well.

The mayor and speakers from the Ocala Police Department and others spoke as well, giving the audience advice and offers of support. Josh Torch, a graduate of North Marion High asked that everyone sign a petition to get the story of the five out for people to know who they were. He was especially upset by blogger Michael Crook for calling the boys names and making assumptions about their personalities.

Among the parents and families present, Art Dawe was the most outspoken. He stated that he took comfort in that he had hugged Dustin and told him he loved him the night before the crash. He repeatedly told the audience to not be afraid to hug your children and tell them that you loved them.

Earlier in the morning, classes were suspended at Trinity Catholic High School for a mass held in the gym. Each of the five were remembered in prayer there and a poster board with pictures was posted. Casey's framed jerseys from football and baseball bearing the "number 2" were also on display.

Rev Patrick Sheedy spoke about the full life that Casey had led that went beyond football and baseball. He had loved outdoor activities including hunting and rodeo events. A video presentation at the end of the mass of various pictures of Casey growing up was more than some in the audience could handle.

In another developement today, the FHP has backed off their initial statement that alcohol may have played a part in the accident. There are conflicting reports about what the young men did after the basketball game. Rubin's girlfriend, Natalie Thayer, whose parents own Jumbolair Estates, stated that she had dropped off Rubin at the home of Joe and Jolane McAlister and their son Colin Brennan. She stated that she arrived around midnight and didn't see alcohol at the party and it was fairly small and low-key.

None of the five lived in the estates and Thayer stated she didn't know how they got on the runway, she hadn't given any of them the access code. The McAlister's refered questions to their lawyer and stated that there wasn't alcohol available at the home.

Another of Rubin's friends, Andrew Raymond, had a very different story of the events of the evening. He stated that Rubin called him around 12:30 am when he was leaving the McAlister home to tell him they were leaving to go to the store and then meet some friends at the runway. He added that Rubin told him that several of the others had been drinking and commented that he had a bunch of drunk people with him.

The FHP stated that it may take up to 60 days for the toxicology results to be returned and they are backing off the intial statements as they sort out the differing stories they have right now.

It has also been reported that less than twelve hours before the accident, Ammirato had logged onto, as he had done on both Thursday and Friday, to ask for advice on how to shift the 500-horsepower BMW M5. He told forum members that he had only had the car for three weeks, though the car is registered to his father Santo Ammirato and he was interested in advice for smoother shifting and if turning off the stability control would give him higher performance.

Forum members advised him to slowly learn the car and showed genuine concern for his safety in learning to drive it. Many echoed the same concerns for not "draggin" with it but to learn how to handle the car gradually first. Ammirato last posted at 9:02 pm Friday night in the forum, thanking them for their advise.

The M5 was described by writer Michael Joran in Automobile Magazine as a "fearfully intimidating machine" and they found that the SMG transmission left the driver feeling that they more a victim of speed than the master of it.

Another memorial service will be held Thursday at 5:30 pm in the back parking lot of the Ocala Speedway, 9050 NW Gainesville Rd. There will be a bonfire and a flatbed truck for bands to perform on available. Everyone is invited and free drinks will be provided by Pepsi. Musicians are welcome to bring their instruments as well.

Update: Jan 30 ....... funeral plans

The following funeral arraingements have been released:

Visitation for James Devon Hime, 19 will be at the Forest Lawn Funeral Home, 5740 S Pine Ave, Ocala, from 2-4 pm and 6-9 pm Friday. The funeral service will be held at 11 am Saturday at Marion Technical Institute, 1614 Fort King St, Ocala.

Visitation for Joshua D Ammirato, 18, will be held Tuesday from 4-8 pm at the Roberts Funeral Homes, Downtown Chapel, 606 SW 2nd Ave Ocala. There will also be visitation on Wednesday and Thursday from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm. The funeral will be at 11 am Friday at the funeral home.

Visitation for Dustin J "Smiley" Dawe, 19, will be held from 5-8 pm on Wednseday at the Hiers Funeral Home, 910 E Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala. The funeral will be held at 3 pm Thursday at Oak Griner Baptist Church, 6422 NE Jacksonville Rd, Ocala.

Visitation for Jacob J Casey, 19, will be held 6-8 pm on Tuesday at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church. The funeral will be held at 2 pm Wednesday at the church at 5 SE 17th St Ocala.

Visitation for Isaac J Rubin, 20, will be held from 3-4 on Thursday and followed by a celebration of his life at 4 pm, at Heirs Funeral Home, 910 Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala.

The Star-Banner has set up a guest book for those who wish to leave their condolences and comments will be reviewed before they are posted. The address for that is: Comments and rememberances are also being posted on the special page of Now We're Talking blog.

Update: Feb 3

The Florida Highway Patrol investigators plan to meet with and discuss the findings of their accident report before the details of it are made public. They plan to give them a copy of the report and go over it with the families and answer whatever questions they can about it as well.

The expect that the report will be released to the public sometime on Monday. It is expected that the report will include the events that led up to the accident that night as well as a more indepth report later which would consider the toxicology reports. It has been stated that the FHP may be trying to analyze data that may have been recorded by the BMW. That has been countered by reports that there really is no "black box" in the car and if there were, the data wasn't very accurate.

The FHP has stated that no one has been subpoenaed to testify yet, that they also have found no proof yet of a possible second car that may have been racing Ammirato and that they are still working on how the car gained access to the runway. A report released also stated that Ammirato had been ticketed in the past for speeding but upon reading that report, none of his tickets showed him "racing."

Update: Feb 4

Once again, the reporting of a very public accident that has claimed the lives of five young people in both the media and on blogs has been called into question. Readers to online forums have accused many of breaching both ethics and decency and suggest that the families be left to grieve on their own.

The accident in Ocala recently, as well as last year's tragic accident that claimed the lives of Bailey Goodman and her four friends were very public incidents. Family and friends visited the accident sites and left memorials, grieved together in very public services and participated in public rememberances. These are all events that can and should be reported responsibly.

The funerals and posted rememberances of all ten involved, exposed the public to who these young people were in life. The job of a responsible media and blogger is to report the facts, though we are also human and hold our own opinions as do readers. Rumor abound in both print and verbally after such tragedies and it is through the media that the truth and facts can usually be found. A failure to report those things would leave only the rumors existing and not allow those who didn't personally know the victims to see and understand how well these young people lived their short lives.

I agree that failing to report all that is involved in the accidents, fails to allow the tragedy of their deaths, to teach those who live........ how to possibly live our lives better or how to avoid a tragedy such as these to occur in the future.

While the possibility of alchohol being involved in the choices the five young men made that night will be proved or disproved in the very near future, there were other choices made that night. It would be nice to ignore and bury the facts involved but the will still exist and many will be curious as to what those are, instead of accepting rumors.

"If you want a fast car, you want it for a reason," stated Fred

Fred Rich, 62, a retired drag racer who hasn't raced in 12 years, knows what is like to race a quarter mile in seven seconds. He also knows the pull that speed and the adreniline rush from it has had on him his whole life. He stated that even though he is 40 years from his fast youth and has crashed or rolled numerous times, he continues to love the speed factor.

At some point though, Joshua Ammirato's father placed the keys in the hands of a young driver. Those keys were for a vehicle that was registered in his name and was a car that not only allowed the driver to adjust how fast the shifts would be, how much horsepower could be applied..... it allowed the driver to "max it out" as Ammirato evidently was seeking to do when he posted on the m5 board.

His father had purchased a BMW that had a V-10 engine and a gearbox that is derived from a Formula-1 race car capable of going 200 mph. While the manufacturers of such vehicles shouldn't be blamed for offering them, drivers should use caution in using what they purchased.

Young men have been shown in repeated studies to love adventure and being able to show that they can handle problems. They also tend to drive beyond their abilities, whether knowingly or unknowingly. All of the five who died were well within the demographic of those most likely to die in a speed related accident. A recent study by AAA concluded that men ages 16-20 are 26 percent more likely to die in traffic accidents than women of the same age.

While the need for speed is not a dangerous thing, nor do I advocate banning it, I do believe there are plenty of venues available for speed addicted drivers to safely "max out" their cars. I also believe that parents can always learn by the choices made by others who are involved in tragedies like this and the Goodman accident. In both cases, a parent and owner of the vehicle placed the keys in the hands of their child who may not have been mature enough to handle the responsiblity of driving at that time.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Low overhead, high profits.....

"They were just that good at what they did," stated Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

The investigation began over seven months ago after two people were caught shoplifting $4,500 in merchandise from a Publix in Mulberry FL. Several law-enforcement agencies were involved before the arrests weremade this week.

Eighteen people suspected in taking part in the theft ring now face racketeering charges, including Kerry A Coburn, 39 and Steven Lee Coburn, 46 of Lake Mary FL. Authorities state that they believe the Coburns headed the operation that may have stolen up to $100 million worth of health and beauty products from grocery and retail stores in the past five years.

"They were so good at what they did, you could literally watch them steal and not be aware of what they were doing," stated Judd.

Judd stated that the detectives were shocked when they learned of the magnitude of the thefts. The theft ring involved more than a dozen "boosters" who paired up to systematically take products off the shelves at Target, Wal-Mart and various grocery chains. Judd added that the "boosters" would hit eight stores a day and within three minutes, grab about $4,000 in merchandise.

They would grab specific items and hide them in specially designed purses to conceal their thefts. Detectives watched surveillance video from various stores and in one case, a supermarket supervisor walked down the aisle past the "boosters" while they were stealing. Judd stated that the suspects were just that good at stealing.

The stolen merchandise was sold on the at Florida flea markets and on the internet through a site called sale According to state records, Steve Coburn is the director of that company, which sells drugstore like products. He is also listed as the director of Suncoast Liquidation of Lake Mary FL.

Judd stated that the Coburn's did not deal directly with the 13 "boosters" who they describe as relatives or friends of each other. Authorities state that Theresa Parrish, 44 and Ronald Parrish, 41 of Tampa dealt with them. Teresa reportedly gave the "boosters" shopping lists of what products were to be stolen.

On Thursday, 92 law-enforcement officers involved in "Operation Beauty Shop" served warrents at homes and business warehouses throughout Central Florida and Tampa Bay. The Coburns and most of the suspects were placed in custody. Authorities are not sure how many stores were robbed over the five years but they feel that the thieves hit almost every supermarket in Central Florida.

Once again, people have shown us how to make a tidy profit............ keep your overhead low and the profit margin widens immensely. Unfortunately, others suffered the loss for their gain over the past five years.

Friday, January 25, 2008

"Green" getaway

"That just wasn't too bright," stated Sandy Springs police Lt Steve Rose.

It seems that the woman who went into a bank shortly after 1 pm Wednesday in Sandy Springs GA, hadn't thought out her robbery plan completely. She may also have planned on helping the environment while helping herself to some "free" cash.

Channel Monae Gaskin, 22, entered the bank and demanded money but didn't show a weapon there. She was given a bag of cash and authorites state, she ran across the street into a restaurant parking lot. While she was there, you probably have guessed, a dye bomb exploded and she and the money was sprayed with orange colored ink.

Thinking quickly, she ran from the restaurant parking lot and tried to stash the dye-stained clothes and money in a bathroom at a nearby grocery store. Lt Rose stated that she apparently managed to change her clothes as well and then went to the bus stop behind the grocery store.

Gaskin was arrested while she was waiting for the bus there and was taken to the Fulton County jail after she was charged with robbery. While many probably are scratching their heads as to why she would think public transportation is a great idea for a getaway car, Gaskin had a good answer.............. she admitted that she had robbed a bank on Jan 15 in DeKalb County and made her escape on the bus then as well.

Gaskin certainly does seem to believe the advertisment....... "Leave the driving to us."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's no dud

A museum in Cumberland MD, which is a chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, recently found that they had more that what they planned on displaying. They notified the Allegany County authorities when they suspected trouble on Wednesday.

It seems that the 48 inch by 2.75 inch Mark 1 rocket they were displaying may not have been a dud. The rocket that is similar to the ones used on helicopter gun ships during the Vietnam War had been donated by a local veteran.

The Maryland State Fire Marshall's office and the FBI confirmed that their "dud" rocket was far from that. It was found to be very alive and it was removed and rendered safe. They are now investigating how the man came to possess the live ordinance.

Maybe I am a bit odd in my thinking but I would expect that a Veterans museum would have at least someone on staff that was capable of determining if a rocket that size was "safe" to display.............. long before it was put on exhibit.

Stick to fuzzy dice

State Del Lionel Spruill introduced a bill on Tuesday that may cost drivers $250 and he admits, it may also make him a laughingstock. He feels though that it is a bill that must be introduced.

Spruill, 61, stated that he will not let the fact that his "droopy drawers" debate embaressed him and he will move forward with a show and tell if he has to. His bill would charge drivers who display replicas of human genitalia on their cars, liable for a fine up to $250 for the misdemeanor charge.

He was spurred to enter the bill after a constituates daughter spotted a pair of $24.95 trailer testicles on a truck's trailer hitch and they didn't know how to explain it to her. Spruill stated that he feels adornments like that distract other drivers and create a driving hazard.

I have seen some crazy things adorning cars but I haven't noticed that they affected my driving adversly......... unless you call a chuckle, adverse.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kitty vacation?

"Hi, you're not going to believe this, but I am calling from Fort Worth Texas and I accidently picked up your luggage," stated Rob Carter.

Kelly Levy, 24 of Palm Beach Gardens FL dropped her husband and his bag off at the airport and when she returned home, she found the bottom step empty. Her ten month-old cat, Gracie Mae usually sat there waiting for her.

Levy tore apart her home looking for the cat and when she didn't find her, posted "lost cat" signs over the neighborhood. She even had her father remove some bathroom tiles and part of a cabinet to check a crawl space for Gracie Mae.

Tuesday, she received the odd phone call from Rob Carter about her husband's luggage that he had accidently picked up as his own and taken home. He told Levy that when he opened the bag and saw the clothes, he knew it wasn't his bag. Before he could close it though, a kitten jumped out of it and ran under the bed.

Carter, of Fort Worth TX, added that he screamed like a girl when it happened but he eventually got the cat to come out from under the bed. He found Levy's number on her collar and called her to let her know he not only had the bag, but he had their cat as well.

Gracie Mae evidently snuck into the bag when they were packing, went through the x-ray machine, was loaded onto the airplane, thrown onto a baggage claim conveyor belt and was carted to a new home accidently. Carter stated that he would have kept her if he hadn't found her home. Gracie Mae was delivered home though, safe and sound by Carter after another 1,300 miles and an $80 ticket.

It would seem that our "improved" luggage handling at the airports missed a stowaway cat but fortunately for Gracie, she was claimed by someone who cared enough to make sure she returned safely. No word was stated as to whether the Levy's were just as excited to get the clothes back as well.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Drive-thru criminal

The Clearwater FL police must be very desperate for criminals to flood thier system lately or else, they really are strict on upholding the law. This weekend, they managed to haul a 75 year-old woman off to jail, for breaking the law.

Jean Merola, a grandmother of eight was waiting at the drive-thru of a McDonald's for her cup of coffee and fries when the police officer asked her to move her car. She stated that the employee had told her to park there while she was waiting for her order.

Police state that she refused to move forward with her car, so they found another solution for getting her out of the way. They charged her with disorderly conduct, handcuffed her and took her to jail. She was released an hour and a half later on her own recognizance.

There was no word as to why it would take so long for an order of fries and coffee to be completed, nor if she ever did receive it.............. and I found no report as to why the police officer was in such a hurry to get her out of his way in the drive-thru. It does make me wonder how desperately that officer needed a cup of coffee possibly, to dunk his donut in, or did he need to up his arrest numbers for the month that badly?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Leading by example?

Alexander Sepulveda, 28, of Elmont NY was driving his 2004 Nissan on Linden Place in Hempstead NY this past week when he evidently forgot what example he should make of himself.

Authorities state that he pulled his car over and got into a fight with another driver. He then got back into his car and drove through a stop sign on Linden Ave. Nassau County detectives finally pulled him over and they then noticed a marijuana odor in the car.

After the detectives searched his car, they found four bags of marijuana and three partially smoked marijuana cigarettes. They also discovered that he had his three month-old daughter in a car seat in the back seat.

Sepulveda was arrested on the charges of endangering the welfare of a child and criminal possesion of marijuana in the fifth degree. They gave custody of the baby to her mother after the arrest.

It would seem that he didn't really think that his example of fatherly behavior was inappropriate in front of his daughter.............. but then, maybe he wasn't thinking all that clearly then.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cheap trade

"As for my information, I'm gonna need a nice warm-up suit and a pair of white tops, OK?" stated Green.

His wife Sandra, described her husband as "a very good cop" who left a hospital orderly job to join the NYPD about 11 years ago because he wanted to help people. Sgt Roosevelt Green evidently did just that in recent years, while working for the NYPD..

Green was arraigned in a federal court Friday on charges of making false statments to investigators and unlawfully using a computer. Wiretaps had captured Green discussing a license-plate scheme with the alleged leader of a Wyandanch crack cocaine ring. The investigators state that he had been using the NYPD computer to check the license plates of cars the alleged drug dealer thought were following him.

Some of the plates that Green checked were on undercover Drug Enforcement Administration vehicles that were keeping an eye on the accused dealer. He was arrested in a May 2007 raid that picked up a dozen suspects who now have drug charges against them pending.

Green claims that he paid for the clothing he received from the accused dealer and that he neither gave him information or received the clothes for free. Authorities state that he has been suspended without pay and if convicted, he could face up to 10 years in jail.

If he was willing to risk his job for so little......... a track suit and sneakers, I have to wonder what he would have done if he had been offered a new SUV? Given them the keys to the police station, maybe? I guess his wife was correct in stating that he wanted to be a cop to "help" people as well.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Daily double

It would seem that "hitting the daily double" is a good thing most times, at least on some game shows and at the track. Unfortunately, some people have found that it is far from lucky when they do it.

Stacie Warren, 31, of Lyndonville VT found that out recently for herself. According to Vermont State police Trooper Callie Field, Warren had been arrested for bigamy in 2007. That would involve her marrying one man and then moving out on him to marry another shortly afterwards. She evidently didn't pass go and get a divorce or $200 before she married the second man though.

Both she and her second husband were charged with bigamy because it seems, he also forgot to get divorced before he married Warren. Just last week though, Warren was hit with a second charge of bigamy. According to Field, she went out and married Fred Gray in 2007, just two months after she was charged the first time.

Field added that neither of Warren's first two husband seemed to care either way after they learned of the bigamy. She pleaded guilty in the 2007 case and faces up five years in prison for the felony bigamy charge. It would seem that Warren may have thought that double or nothing was a fairly good rule in marriage, as well as her second husband.

The Pullman WA police a WSU student this week for his successful attempt at a daily double as well. The 20 year-old student was arrested along with two others while smoking marijuana in a parking lot.

They were fingerprinted, cited and released shortly after midnight. Less than two hours later, an officer saw three men passing around a pipe in a pickup truck and arrested them. One was the same WSU student arrested earlier, although this time, they were charged with possession of marijuana.

The local police commander stated that he hoped that the student isn't kicked out of WSU, since it is apparent that he needs more education. It seems to me that there is an almost mystic connection with the number two and police arrests in these cases...... or maybe they just have 2 as their "lucky" number.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

So much for 100......

"Of course that's not the norm, but it has happened before." stated Parrish.

This Monday, police in Harlington TX made what seemed to be a routine traffic stop for an expired tag and they uncovered much more than that. They stopped the woman on the 2300 block of East Harrison and she identified herself as Valerie Sanchez. The officer then asked the dispatcher to run her for arrest reports and the dispatcher then asked to verify the driver's name. It was then that they learned that her married name was Ortiz.

Having that for a married name isn't a crime but evidently, having 76 outstanding warrents and $18,986 in unpaid fines dating back to 1998 is. Ortiz, 31, was arrested on charges of having an expired registration, driving on an expired license and having no insurance and appeared in court Tuesday. Municipal Court Judge Valerie Garicia set bond at $1,000 for driving without a license and $1,500 as a minimum payment on the warrents.

Ortiz did get a break from Garcia, as she dismissed some of the warrents because they dated back so far. She left Ortiz with $15,696 in fines and fees to be paid. Sgt John Parrish stated that it is possible but unusual that someone could have that many warrents.

Evidently, in order to arrest someone on a municipal warrent, the officer must have a hard copy of it. If the arrest is made after court hours, they won't be able to get that copy and if they have made prior arrangements to pay off the fines and haven't done so, the warrents would have to be reissued.

Ortiz also had her license suspended on December 16 after she had been charged with driving while intoxicated. She will remain in the Cameron County Jail until she can come up with the minimum payment or the judge can decide to allow Ortiz to get credit for time served already. If she is able to make the minimum payment, she is expected to be released and make arrangements at a later date to pay off the remaining amount due.

At the rate that the police seem to have been unable to catch up with Ortiz when she is free from jail......... it may be a long time before they ever see the rest of that money from her possibly.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Aim high

It seems that a loaded gun really is a dangerous item to handle. In Kokomo Indiana recently, Derrick Kosh, 25, found that to be true while robbing a convenience store.

He entered the Village Pantry on Tuesday morning with a gun and demanded money and a pack of cigarettes. While the clerk was turned to get to smokes for him, she heard his gun go off. Police state that they could see the discharge on suveillance cameras, as Kosh tucked his gun into his waistband.

They added that they found him a short time later, at home with a gunshot wound to his right testicle and lower left leg. Kosh was expected to have surgery at a hospital and be charged with armed robbery.

Carlos Tabor, 36, found that out as well recently as he was driving to a New York City shooting range. Tabor works at one of the jails on Riker's Island and has worked for the Department of Corrections for nearly three years and should be well versed in handling guns.

It seems though, while driving himself to the Bronx NY firing range Tueday afternoon, his gun discharged and he was shot in the left leg. Tabor as well was treated at the hospital for a non life-threatening injury.

It seems that aiming high would be a good course of action to take when handling a gun...... it may prevent leg injuries and in the case of Kosh, that new unbalenced feeling he may have now.

Holy smokes

Monday, a German man learned that mixing his drinks could lead to more than a hangover. The 56 year-old man grabbed the wrong bottle and realized immediately that he hadn't grabbed his favorite drink.

He evidently had grabbed a bottle of gasoline and taken a swig of it, which he then spat out. The gas hit a lit cigarette and started a fire that lit up his apartment according to authorities. Police haven't released the name of the Gross Godems man but they did state that he was being treated for serious burns.

It certainly seems that drinking doesn't mix with many activites well and he will have the reminders of not carefully checking what he was drinking. I do have to wonder though, why would you have gas stored in a similar bottle to your favorite drink?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Some kind of day

Some days are very good ones, others the deck seems to be stacked against you. Last Friday was certainly one of the latter for a New York family.

Dr. Herman Weiss, 37, of West Hempstead NY awoke around 3 am to the sound of smoke alarms and flames climbing up the outside wall of his Long Island home. The obstetrician managed to get his wife and six children to safety and then was paged.

Weiss went to the hospital and delivered an infant at around 6 am that morning. His day didn't stop there though, building inspectors were out to his home to study it and ended up citing him for discrepencies. The family had been living in the home that didn't have a certificate of occupency and there was a discrepency in the plumbing plans.

According to Weiss, they had hired a lawyer to handle the certificate and get one. To add to his already rough day, they have been ordered to tear down the home now and Weiss hopes that they will be able to rebuild on the same lot.

Some days certainly just aren't your best day................ and maybe there are a few days when you just wish it had been skipped on the calender.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A costly mistake

One truck was driven outside a Kodiak Alaska seafood plant and 22 paid with their lives recently because of an oversight........... the retractable fabric cover had been left open.

When the truck loaded with fish waste was left open outside, fifty or more bald eagles swarmed in for a free meal. The birds became too soiled to either fly or clean themselves and with the temperatures near the mid-teens, they began to freeze to death. Others became too weak to struggle free and were crushed in the pile of refuse.

The truck was then brought back into the processing plant and the contents dumped out onto the floor when what was happeneing to the birds was realized. Some of them scattered and tried to escape but they were soon rounded up by the U S Fish and Wildlife Service.

The eagles were then washed off with dish soap in tubs of warm water to remove the slime and oil from their feathers. They were then taken to a heated fish and wildlife warehouse to recover, though some were reportedly in critical condition. Those that are strong enough will be returned to the wild when they are ready.

The birds that didn't survive will be shipped to a U S Department of Interior clearinghouse where their feathers will be available to Native American groups. Those groups can apply to be given the birds or their feathers for ceremonial purposes.

It was stated that requests for interviews from Ocean Beauty Seafoods officials were not returned. I doubt there is much that they can say that will explain how the cover on a truck was left open, that will make up for the loss of so many bald eagles...........especially after so much has been done to bring them back from the brink of extinction.

They did it in the movie....

Once again someone has proven that what may have looked pretty cool on film or in their mind, wasn't exactly that. The unknown man in Hollywood CA last night was the latest to prove this point it seems.

Authorities state that he had attempted to slide down the banister of an escalator when he lost his balence. That wouldn't have been too serious a mistake if he had fallen back onto the escalator. He fell instead several stories down to another escalator and died.

Police quote his friends as saying that the man had been drinking "quite a bit." The mall is in the same complex as the Kodak Theatre, which holds the Academy Awards.

The police haven't released the name of the man yet. I am sure that he won't be winning any awards for his attempt to banister slide but maybe he can discourage someone else from deciding to let the drink decide how to look cool for your friends.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sardines on the go......

"It led me to wonder whether one could conceive of a safe, affordable, all-weather form of transport for such a family," stated Ratan Tata.

Tata Motors unveiled the answer to that question in New Delhi this week. The tiny "Nano" is priced at $2,500 and is being advertised as the affordable alternative to scooters and motorcycles for families in India.

There will be about 250,000 of these cute, more than tiny, 4-seater cars available for sale in India this years and Tata Motors has plans to market the cars in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America in the next few years. Tata Motors Chairman Ratan Tata had observed numerous families balenced precariously on two wheelers and haddeveloped the "Nano" in hopes of providing a cheap, safe mode of transportation for all weather.

In order to further lessen the cost of the "Nano", less materials were used in it's manufacture. Instead of having two windshield wipers, there is only one and Tata Motors states that their car meets all safety norms and all environmental criteria.

Critics state that you won't be seeing these tiny, toy-like cars on U S streets anytime soon, even if they manage to run at 54 mpg. They add that it is very doubtful that it could meet U S safety and environmental standards, partly because they feel that much has been left out of the car during manufacture. Even if it does meet some standards, environmentalists wonder how putting more cars on already congested roads would be helping the environment.

The "Nano" is listed as the "People's Car" in India, much as the Volkswagon Beetle had been designed during the days of Hitler. He had stated that he wanted a car that could carry two adults and three children at about 60 mph and was to be inexpensive, costing no more than a motorcycle.

In 1949, the "Beetle" came to the U S and had an expanded, 1131 cc engine capable of 25 mph and started without a crank. By 1961, the beloved "Beetle" had and engine capable of producing 34 hp, the speedometer had increased to 87 mph, a windshield-wiper washer system became available and a gas gauge had been added.

The cute "Nano" is listed as having a two-cylinder, 623 cc engine jammed under the hood which is almost comparable to the 2008 Honda Four Trax Rincon. That isn't Honda's new entry into the tiny car category, it's an off-road, 4 wheeler that has a four-stroke, single cylinder 675 cc engine powering it. Imagine then, taking that 4-wheeler and draping some fancy aluminum around it and then cutting out doors on it...... yup, that might just be a "Nano" !

While the "Nano" may be cute, easy to squeeze into a parking space and more affordable than most motorized modes of transportation............... it sounds far too much like a sardine can on wheels and possibly may be smaller than the keychain you could keep it on.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

They still get freebies.......

"It's flawed because the numbers do not explain the social situation these women are in. It's not just a business transaction," stated Samir Goswami.

A draft report of a yet to be published study had been presented last week at an economics convention in New Orleans LA and it seems that there already are critics of the conclusions made. University of Chicago professor and author Steven D Levitt and Sudhir Venkatesh of Columbia University studied street level prostitution for two years in three Chicago IL neighborhoods.

Prostitutes from Chicago's Roseland, Pullman and Washington Park neighborhoods were paid $150 a week to participate in the study. They reported an average of $20,000 a year income from prostitution, slightly more if they had a pimp. Not surprizingly, Friday was their busiest working day and Monday their slowest.

Other things noted in the draft were the differences in cost to patrons, whites and Hispanics paying more, blacks and repeat customers paying less. The woman also reported being beaten at least once a month and about 3 percent of them reported they performed "freebies" for the Chicago police to avoid arrests.

The full draft of the paper is on the University of Chicago's website and the authors expect that they will have the completed report released in April. While some may dispute parts of the study and how accurate it is........... it doesn't surprize me that police departments are still in line for "freebies" when they can get them.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Make it special delivery

It seems that laptop computers may have been on the top of at least one employee of FedEx recently. A recent internal audit of undelivered parcels by FedEx personnel revealed that at least nine packages containing laptop computers had been re-routed to an employee's home address.

The discovery led to the arrest of Jin Hui Wu, 20, of Hicksville NY, on charges of grand larceny. The audit found that the nine re-routed packages had ended up at Wu's home between Nov 26 and Dec 31 2007. All of those packages had contained laptops and were worth about ten thousand dollars total.

Only four of the computers had been recovered so far and the investigation is said to be ongoing. Evidently Wu didn't think the entire plan out too well......... did he really believe that nobody would be albe to figure out where he had the "missing" packages sent to?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

It's no bull.....

"My client did step over the line here, but one can certainly understand his frustration, given that the victim was carrying on an affair with my client's wife," stated Hiles.

It seems that Jason Michael Fife, 31, of Hunker PA has discovered that in a civilized society, his method of "warning off" his wife's lover wasn't the best of choices. He began with threatening words and pictures but his action in June 2006 was what sent police to his doorstep.

Authorities in Lower Pottsgrove PA state that Fife had been sending threatening messages and pictures to his wife's lover from May through September 2006. In June 2006, he found a bloody package on his doorstep and police traced it back to Fife.

He had purchased a cow's head at a butcher shop, telling them that he wanted to dry the skull and use it as a decoration. Instead, he froze it to hide the packages contents from the delivery company and sent it out as a much bolder threat to the man. The package arrived on his doorstep frozen but a day in the warm sun left it a bloody mess.

Police tracked both the package and e-mails to Fife and he was arrested on charges of terroristic threats, disorderly conduct, harrasment and stalking. This past Friday he was sentenced to a first time offenders program in which he must serve two years probation and do 50 hours of community service. If he is successful, his record will be cleared of the charges.

The message evidently must have worked in some way..... Fife realizes he went a bit too far in warning off his competitor and he and his wife have also reconciled. No word was said as to where that leaves the former lover in this love triangle, although I bet he is glad the package had been sitting on the porch and not in his bed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sticky fingers of the law

It seems that one officer is going to pay more than a few dollars for his execution of a warrent in 2003. He did though add his name to the never-ending list of police who manage to think that they are above the law.

In February 2003, officers of the Monmouth NJ Prosecutor's Office and the Asbury Park Police Department executed an arrest warrent on a fugitive in an Asbury Park apartment. They raided the home where the fugitive's mother lived and while it wasn't reported if they found the fugitive there, the mother reported that a diamond watch valued at over $2,500 was now missing.

On Monday, U S District Chief Judge Garrett E Brown sentenced former Asbury Park officer Phillip Montgomery, 45, of Ocean Township, to two years in jail and as well as pay a $6,000 fine. It seems that Montgomery had been the one who helped the missing watch leave the raided apartment.

While it isn't any mother's wish I would think to have a child a fugitive, I don't think many of us would expect a police officer to steal valuables from us while they are executing a warrent. At least Montgomery will have a bit of time to think about how dumb he had to be to think that no one would notice the watch was missing.

Monday, January 7, 2008

They'll never notice....

When it came to a recent arrest made by the Lakehurst NJ police this past Saturday, the officers didn't have to travel all that far it seems. It began with the sharp nose of an officer who was leaving work to head home early.

Sargent Ronald Heinzman asked some other officers to come outside and take a whiff according to authorities. He had thought that he smelled the distinct odor of marijuana while outside in the police parking lot. Police state that they not only smelled the offending smoke but they overheard a conversation that mentioned the irony of smoking pot next door to a police station.

Officers then proceeded to the house on the other side of the chain-link fence and knocked on the door. At that point it seems, Benjamin Gordon, 18, of Farmville VA was arrested.......for being a bit too blatent in his pot smoking that night. The irony may be that Gordon's friends wouldn't have to go too far to bail him out that night either.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

and the golden potato goes to.......

This past week, one more of our nation's important competitions took place in New York City, NY. The ESPN Zone Ultimate Couch Potato Competition was held at the ESPN Zone restaraunt in Times Square and the victor was crowned after a mere 29 hours.

Stan Friedman, a Manhattan librarian outlasted his three rivals to take home the coveted prize. All four of them were seated in recliners in front of dozens of televisions to watch continuous sports programs and allowed to order anything to eat or drink. They weren't allowed to sleep or run to the potty except during their allotted breaks every eight hours.

Friedman won after Nate Lopez dashed off to the bathroom before their break and for that, he was awarded a $5,000 prize package that included a recliner, a huge TV and a trophy with a potato on it. Since he only has a 350 square foot apartment, he is going to have a tough time fitting the TV in but he stated that he would make certain he would find the space for the recliner.

I am not sure that I would call 29 hours of non-stop TV grueling............. I bet there are a few mothers who would find that a rather easy thing to pull off in comparison to their grueling daily scheduales.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Mighty expensive bacon.....

Wednesday night brought cold temperatures to much of the state of Florida and residents were warned to care for their plants and pets. A resident of St Augustine FL took the warning seriously and made what seemed to be a good plan to keep his pet warm during the night.

The St Johns County Fire-Rescue department was called to his Francis Ave home at around 10:20 pm though with the report of a house fire in progress. Firefighters state that the fire destroyed the home's back porch and gazebo and it had spread to the eave and attic before they were able to get it under control.

They later discovered that the homeowner had brought his pig onto the back porch and set a space heater out there to keep it warm in the below freezing temperatures that were reported to be due. The pig evidently knocked over the heater and started the fire. They added that everyone managed to escape the home unharmed......... except for the pig, who died in the fire.

The fire caused an estimated $50,000 in damage to the home and just guessing that the pig may have weighed 100 pounds......... that would work out to approximately $500 a pound.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hot pants

"Clearly it depends on what size you are - but I don't want to go there," stated a spokesman for the Cleveland Fire Brigade.

Last Sunday it seems that larger was certainly better in the case of a kitchen fire. John Marsey and his cousin Darren Lines were frying bread in Jenny Marsey's Hartlepool England kitchen when the pan caught fire. Darren's quick actions saved the kitchen but definately put his aunt in the news.

Lines grabbed the first thing he found in his aunt's laundry basket and ran it under the faucet to wet it. He then tossed it onto the fire to smother it on the stove. An official from the fire department stated that it is sound thinking to smother a grease fire whenever possible with a large wet cloth.

Marsay agreed as well, stating that she was thankful for the boys quick thinking. The small grease fire could certainly led to a much greater fire and danger to them all. As for the wet cloth, nothing was stated about the condition of Marsay's powder blue, size XL underpants that saved the day.

That does leave me a bit curious as to how large XL really is and what may have happened if they had been thongs he grabbed first.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

It's a whole new year.......

It would seem that a few people wanted to send off 2007 with a moment to really remember, although, they may not want to really remember it in the coming months. In fact, both of the recent participants in the news-worthy exploits are unidentified.

On a ranch just north of Phoenix AZ, Monday evening, a 75 year-old man decided to saddle up and possibly ride into the new year on his family pet. He did get to ride, just not around the acreage. He was flown to a Scottsdale hospital after the "incident" in rural Cave Creek with non-life threatening injuries.

Authorities state that he saddled up his pet buffalo for a ride but was bucked off and then mauled. They added that people do have buffalos on their property but it is rather rare and more rare to be called to a riding accident involving one. They didn't state though, whether he had made it to the 10 second buzzer on his ride.

The other, "creative" rider was out in Paw Paw Township MI on Monday night. She evidently ran a stop sign and hit a cable supporting a utility pole with her truck. That seems to have caused the pole to become unsupported and it fell along with the wires attached to it.

That wasn't enough to stop the driver, as she was reported to have backed up into the roadway again and continued driving. It is easy enough to understand that if it were just a minor scratch and dent kind of accident. This wasn't the case though, according to Trooper Rick Carlson. She didn't stop until she was forced to stop........ by the flames that had engulfed the truck.

Carlson reported that an ambulence did manage to catch up to her and she was taken to the hospital for burns to her hands and head. Her pug also was burned in the accident but will survive. No word had been released as to how far she drove as a flaming beacon in the night but I am betting that it was easier to spot for the ambulence crew.