Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Senator gets slashed tires for Christmas -- Coventry, RI

Vandals left their mark at the home of a longtime Rhode Island state senator.

Coventry Democrat Leo Raptakis said he woke up Wednesday morning to find eight tires slashed on three family vehicles.

The vandalism happened one day after Raptakis revealed he would be leaving the General Assembly to run for statewide office.

He said he’s considering a run for general treasurer or secretary of state.

Raptakis said he fears the vandalism was politically motivated.

Coventry police said they have not made any arrests.

Two more ATMs stolen -- Mobile, AL

Smash-and-grab thieves plowed a car through the windows of two gas stations early this morning, taking automated teller machines from both locations, Mobile police said.

The incidents happened at the Chevron station at 4444 Government Blvd. about 3:10 a.m. and the Chevron at 3110 Dauphin Island Parkway about two hours later, police spokesman Officer Christopher Levy said. A white Buick four-door sedan was used in both incidents, and the vehicle and one ATM were later found burned in Prichard's Alabama Village community.

The thefts bring to five the total of smash-and-grab ATM incidents in and around Mobile since Dec. 8, when thieves took an ATM from a store on St. Stephens Road, Levy said. A week later, he said, two gas stations on Cottage Hill road fell victim, although one ATM was bolted to the floor and thieves could not move it. Levy said it is likely the thefts are related.

15 Bank windows smashed -- Muncie, IN

An as-yet unknown vandal tossed rocks through 15 of 20 windows at the southside Star Financial Bank branch on Christmas night.

Police responded to the bank, at 1651 E. 29th St., about 7:20 p.m. after a passerby reported to emergency dispatchers that one of the building's doors was open.

Police estimated the damage at $8,000.

Security cameras from the nearby Walmart store recorded a man walking around the bank going from window to window around 6:10 p.m.

The bank was closed Saturday and Monday for repairs.

Six million in jewels and coins stolen -- Lewisville, TX

In one of the biggest robberies in Lewisville's history, two men robbed Harold's Jewelers of an estimated $6 million worth of jewelry and coins early Monday, police said.

The store in the 1200 block of West Main Street was just about to open when a man came to the door indicating he needed a battery for his watch, police Capt. Jay Powell said Tuesday.

When a store employee opened the door, the man displayed a weapon. He and another man and forced the employee to empty the contents of the safe into two black duffel bags, Powell said.

The employee, who was not injured, was told not to look at the suspects but gave police a description of one of the men.

During the robbery, the suspects took the store's video recorder so police don't have any photographs of them, said the store employee, who asked not to be identified.

The man, who confirmed police estimates of the loss, said Harold's Jewelers has been in business for 30 years, and this is the store's first robbery.

Expensive cars stolen from lot and crashed -- Ringgold, TN

A team of thieves stole four expensive cars from Ringgold Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep late Tuesday night.

One of the vehicles - a $100,000 2009 Viper American Club Racer - was wrecked in front of the Krystal on Highway 27 in Fort Oglethorpe.

A second stolen vehicle - a new Jeep - went into a ditch in Ringgold.

A $50,000 used Viper was found in a downtown Chattanooga parking garage.

A fourth vehicle - an SRT-8 Charger - is still missing.

One person has been arrested - an 18-year-old. He was identified as Steven Brien Heberer. He was charged in Catoosa County with obstruction, theft by receiving stolen property, driving too fast for conditions, failure to maintain lane,

driving on the wrong side of the roadway and failure to notify striking a fixed object.

Mike Robbins, president of Ringgold Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, said, "We usually don't have this type crime around here. It sounds like a big-city crime."

Mr. Robbins said the thefts must have happened between 11 p.m. and midnight.
The dealership closed at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

He said he received a call shortly after midnight from the Ringgold Police, saying someone had broken through a gate at the dealership on Highway 41 in Ringgold (7154 Nashville St.)

He said it appeared someone had used a bolt cutter to break a lock on the gate.

Santa Claus "pays the elves" -- Nashville, TN

A gunman dressed as Santa Claus walked into a Tennessee bank demanding cash so he could "pay his elves."

The felonious Father Christmas strolled into a busy branch of the Sun Trust Bank outside Nashville Tuesday morning, carrying an empty sack and wearing sunglasses.

When the teller asked the scheming Saint Nick to remove his shades, the crooked Kris Kringle whipped out a gun and demanded a free gift of money.

The mood quickly turned less merry when the sinister Santa warned that if the teller put a dye pack in with the cash, he'd come back and "kill everyone."

That's when he told the cashier that "Santa needed to pay his elves," according to WKRN-TV.

"It was a little unbelievable. He was actually jovial, which is scary. He explained that he was robbing the bank because Santa had to pay his elves," said witness Richlyn Jones.

The bad Santa walked out with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Cops said most bank robbers don a Halloween mask or even just sunglasses, but not usually such a cheerful costume.

"I don't remember a Santa doing that," police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford told The Tennessean newspaper. "I don't recall when a costume like he had today was used for a robbery."

A jolly old St. Nick usually strikes a few banks around the country each year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A great place for police: 2 cops shot -- Eatonville, WA

Two Pierce County sheriff's deputies were in critical condition early today after they were "ambushed" while responding to a domestic-violence call, according to the Sheriff's Department.

The shooting suspect, identified as 35-year-old David E. Crable, was shot and killed in the Monday night shootout, sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said.

A deputy, shot multiple times, was in critical condition after being flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. A sergeant, shot once, was in stable condition at Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis. He has spoken with investigators, according to a law-enforcement source.

The Sheriff's Department did not immediately identify either deputy.

The officers were responding to a report of an "unwanted guest" at a home near Tanwax Lake, 7 miles north of Eatonville and about 18 miles south of Puyallup. The call apparently was placed by Crable's brother, who invited the deputies into the home.

But Crable, armed with a handgun and a rifle, opened fire at 9:07 p.m. from upstairs in the house, Troyer said. Both deputies returned fire.

"The brother who was upstairs came down opening fire," Troyer said. "One brother basically ambushed our deputies."

Monday, December 21, 2009

$3m Factory vandalism -- Fort Wayne, IN

Police believe an employee might be responsible for vandalism at a northwest-side factory Sunday that caused what the owner estimates to be more than $3 million in damage.

An intruder entered Hoosier Pride Plastics at 6120 Highview Drive and cut wires, destroyed circuit boards and sliced and drained hydraulic lines on the company’s injection molding equipment, Fort Wayne police Sgt. Carl Egly said. Hoosier Pride makes injection-molded plastic products.

Police were called to the plant about 5:15 p.m.

It’s unclear how the vandal gained entrance, but there were no immediate signs of forced entry, Egly said.

The owner told officers that between the damage to the machinery and the lost production time the loss could exceed $3 million.

The owner thinks an employee who was recently fired is responsible. However, until police complete their investigation, all employees with access to the building are suspects, Egly said.

Bank of America ATM stolen -- Richland County, SC

Richland County deputies are searching for whoever stole an ATM machine in Northeast Richland County.

The Bank of America ATM was taken about 4:30 a.m. from a location at Hardscrabble Road and Lee Road.

"This is a heavy ATM, a stand-alone ATM machine that somebody would have had to have gone to great lengths to steal," explains Capt. Chris Cowan of the Richland County Sheriff's Department. "The whole ATM machine was stolen, so we believe a heavy piece of equipment, a heavy piece of machinery would have to be involved in that."

That's something that folks driving by the Bank of America might have taken notice of. Cowan is hoping that what they saw could help crack this unusual case.

"You would think it's early morning, there's not a lot of people there. But we know there's a lot of people going to and from work, they're starting their day," he says, "If somebody saw something suspicious, if they were driving by and they saw somebody they thought was working on the ATM machine in the middle of the night."

That could have also been the case at about the same time Sunday morning, as deputies say someone attempted to steal the ATM from the Wachovia on Farrow Road. In fact, just loading the damaged one onto the truck took the repair guys about 15 minutes. "It was heavily damaged, heavily vandalized," Cowan says. "We believe they were actually trying to steal the whole ATM machine."

Church safe theivery -- Horry County, SC

A church congregation in Horry County is out of an estimated $15,000 after an employee found the cash missing from a safe.

Officers with the Horry County Police Department were dispatched Dec. 14 to the Catholic Church of St. James on Academy Drive in Conway following reports of a larceny. Upon arrival, a complainant told police $15,000 had been stolen out of a safe in the church's administration office.

Police were informed only six people knew the combination and location of a key to the safe. The suspects left the safe open, without signs of forced entry, after taking the money. The key, police found, was still inserted into the safe's lock.

High end clothing store smash n' grab -- Atlanta, GA

Smash and grab thieves hit a high end clothing store in Buckhead early Sunday morning.

The thieves smashed out the front window at 7 Over Escape off Peachtree Street just before 5 a.m. Sunday.

"I went out on a limb and decided to carry denim again," said store owner Malika Hakeem. "My first shipment in and it's gone."

It's not clear how much merchandise was taken.

The burglary comes following the recent arrest of several suspected members of the 30 Deep Gang. Investigators believe the group is responsible for several smash and grabs around metro Atlanta.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

ATM smash n' grab -- Mobile, AL

A crew of burglars smashed a stolen car into two Mobile convenience stores Tuesday, taking an ATM from one store and attempted to steal an ATM from the other, police said.

The crimes were similar to one earlier this month in which burglars drove a stolen truck through a store's front doors and made off with an ATM.

Officer Christopher Levy, a police spokesman, said detectives were looking at the possibility that the Tuesday cases and the earlier case were connected.

On Tuesday, shortly after midnight, Levy said, three men in a white Chevrolet Caprice crashed through the doors of the GB Southern Oil gas station at Cottage Hill and Leroy Stevens roads.

They tried to get money out of the ATM and the register, but both had been emptied by employees, Levy said.

Dennis Braswell, co-owner of the station, told the Press-Register that based on his viewing of the store's surveillance, he believed the burglars' main objective was the ATM, because all three men went straight to it.

He said the machine is bolted to the floor, and the men could not move it. Braswell added that the surveillance indicated one man was gesturing to leave when the other two decided to go after the cash drawer in the register.

"They grabbed the box and ran out of the store, but I guess they were disappointed when they opened it later and found out we had emptied it for the night," he said.

About 30 minutes later, the same car barreled through the doors of another gas station, a Chevron at Cottage Hill and Hillcrest roads, Levy said.

This time, the men were able to load the entire ATM into the car and drive off.

Prichard police later found the burned-out shell of the Caprice.

Flames for city hall -- Mansfield, OH

Federal authorities seek an Ohio man believed responsible for starting an arson fire by throwing at least one fire-causing device through the windows of a city hall in north central Ohio.

Police Chief Phil Messer says something similar to Molotov cocktails started the small fire and set off sprinklers that caused water damage at Mansfield City Hall shortly before 1 a.m. Monday.

Special Agent Kim Riddell of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives says authorities seek 40-year-old Kevin D. Dye on a warrant charging aggravated arson and manufacturing a dangerous ordnance.

Messer says four second-floor windows were broken at the Mansfield Municipal Court, including judges' administrative offices. There were no injuries.,2933,580230,00.html?test=latestnews

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to break out of prison: walk out -- Austin, TX

The big story, hitting all the local media was the leisurely prison break made by two middle-aged men, from Bastrop Federal Prison Camp on Friday evening. Escape was easy: police report that Adan Chavez (53) and Leandro Luna (52) simply 'walked away' from a low security area of the prison, as if they were heading out for a pleasant evening stroll.

Chavez originally hails from San Antonio and was serving a 30 year sentence for offenses involving cocaine and firearms. Luna, from the border town of Edinburg, was doing a ten year stretch for importing marijuana into the US. Luna was spotted in East Austin late Friday, where he has family. As of Monday however, both men are still exploring their new found freedom. Police fear they may be heading for Mexico.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

8 Arrested after attack on home of Berkeley school official -- Berkeley, CA

Protesters broke windows and threw torches at the home of Robert Birgeneau late Friday. No injuries were reported. Between 50 and 70 protesters fled. The rest are being held on $132,000 bail each.

Eight people were under arrest today after several dozen protesters shouting "no justice, no peace" attacked Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's home on the UC Berkeley campus, smashing windows, lights and planters as well as throwing torches at the home and police vehicles, authorities said.

The attack, shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, followed a four-day occupation of Wheeler Hall and the arrest of 66 people who were protesting state funding cutbacks and a steep increase in student fees throughout the University of California system. They were later released.

No injuries or fires were reported in the latest attack. Those arrested were booked on suspicion of rioting, threatening an education official, attempted burglary, attempted arson, felony vandalism and assault. They were being held Saturday in the Alameda County jail on $132,000 bail each.,0,7427385.story

Embassy smashed in solidarity with Greek struggle -- Washington, DC

Around 3am on December 8th, two bricks shattered the window of the Greek Embassy at 2228 Massachusetts Ave NW Washington, D.C. This action was taken in solidarity with those who have taken to the streets in Greece on the recent anniversary of the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos.

The recent socialist government has shown through its use of state repression that is no different in character from the right wing government that took Grigoropoulos's life. State power, regardless of who wields it will be used to repress and murder , and we will never be free of this violence until we've dismantled the rule of state and capital, and confront the roots of power and hierarchy wherever they manifest themselves. [We confront you with brick and manifesto. Sucka!]

We mean to demonstrate that the uprising in Greece, the acts of building and defending autonomous spaces have been an inspiration not only to those in Europe, but the whole world over. With these bricks thrown we've made the Greek embassy in Washington, D.C. better reflect the current landscape on the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki. Let this serve as a reminder to those who hold power, whether their offices are in Athens or Washington, D.C. that their time to murder and silence the voices of resistance has come to an end.

In solidarity,

The Washington D.C. Beautification Project

Fuck your light display -- Ashland, KY

The Winter Wonderland of Lights display in Ashland's Central Park has been targeted by vandals, again.

The project coordinator Marion Russell says it happened late Friday night into early Saturday morning.

Russell estimates about eight to ten thousand dollars worth of damage.

When the lights committee arrived at the park Saturday morning around 7a.m. to do some maintenance work they discovered the destruction.

According to Russell the caboose on the train display has been bent in two places, and was flipped over; the covering on the castle display was ripped off and the lights are broken. He also says a brand new elf display was also destroyed.

Back on December 3rd vandals hit and stole extension courts and did some other petty damage.

Similar crimes have been happening since October when the 70 light displays went up.

Expensive church arson -- Lumberton, TX

Investigators say a fire that heavily damaged a church this week was an arson that may have been set to cover up a burglary.

Police Chief Danny Sullins told KFDM-TV in Beaumont that federal agents and the Lumberton fire marshal made the ruling Friday.

The blaze on Wednesday heavily damaged Fletcher Emanuel Church Alive and destroyed church records. Sullins said it appeared a burglary occured in the office area.

The congregation was founded in 1910 and had been in the same building since 1980.

Lumberton is about 100 miles northeast of Houston.

Eyewear bandits net $75,000 -- Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles police are on the lookout for a pair of thieves who target opticians in the San Fernando Valley.

Police officials said Friday that the two thieves have hit over a dozen optical outlets since April.

Most recently the New York Style Optometry in Van Nuys was burglarized in November.

Police say surveillance video from the crime shows two men wearing black bandanas smashing a glass front door with a crowbar. The suspects took about $75,000 worth of glasses, frames and sunglasses.

The suspects remain unidentified.

Monday, December 7, 2009

$120,000 Stolen with new ATM skimming techniques -- USA

Three ATM skimming operations in Maryland, Illinois and Georgia have netted thieves more than $120,000, according to law enforcement agencies investigating the crimes. These discoveries follow several recent incidents of ATM skimming in other states.

Maryland State Police report that an ATM skimmer was placed on a Bank of America ATM in Eldersburg, MD, and that possibly $30,000 was taken last week. Police have removed the skimmer, but say there could be more. State police have reported other incidents at various other banks in Northern Virginia and Maryland. Two men reportedly were photographed installing the skimming device, which collected card information from customers. The men then come back, removed the device, made counterfeit ATM cards with their stolen information and withdrew money.

In Illinois, thieves used a Bank of America ATM to steal $20,000. Police report the criminals installed a skimming device on a drive-up ATM in Mt. Prospect. The skimmer reportedly was used on Oct. 11, 12, 24, and 25, as well as Nov. 26-29 to steal $20,192 from 316 debit card accounts. The criminals removed the skimmer before employees could find it. Several bank customers complained Monday, Nov. 30, about unauthorized withdrawals.

That report came a week after a similar ploy in Buffalo Grove, where more than $70,000 was taken from an ATM at a Chase Bank branch. Chase Bank officials told police that security video recorded two suspects placing a camera and recording device on the ATM inside the lobby of the bank on November 14. The two then returned on Nov. 16 and used account information that was recorded to withdraw funds from multiple accounts.

Flames for police dispatcher's home -- Quincy, MA

Arson is suspected in a fire Saturday at a two-family house that was heavily damaged by another blaze in September.

Police dispatcher Michael Bowes and his parents lived in the house at 97-99 Hollis Ave. prior to the Sept. 5 fire. The cause of that fire remains undetermined, police Capt. John Dougan said. The damage, which included a collapsed roof, had not been repaired when the second fire happened this weekend, and no one was living there.

Firefighters found the front porches engulfed in flames at 1:36 a.m. Saturday. Dougan said the fire was believed to have been started intentionally, and that police have at least one suspect.

New bank robbery by alleged "TCF Bandit" -- Elmhurst, IL

An Elmhurst bank was the target Monday in a string of robberies by a heavyset white male known to the FBI as "The TCF Bandit."

FBI officials say the suspect entered the TCF Bank in a Jewel-Osco grocery store at 153 E. Shiller Ave. at about 11 a.m. and handed the bank teller a note implying that he had a weapon.

The technique is similar to the one used by a man sought for at least 10 robberies committed since February of 2007 in far west Chicago and the near-western suburbs.

The teller's description of the suspect also matches security images of previous thefts attributed to The TCF Bandit.

"We believe there is a strong likelihood that it's the same individual," said FBI special agent spokesman Frank Bochte.

The most recent bank robbery attributed to the TCF Bandit was a Charter One Bank in Norridge on Aug. 5.

Communique on earlier surveillance camera destruction -- Santa Cruz, CA

In late July and late October, 2009, attacks against intersection and freeway surveillance cameras took place in Santa Cruz County. Thirty cameras had their cables cut, rendering them inoperable. This was done as an act of resistance against increasingly pervasive surveillance technologies.

Through surveillance cameras installed everywhere, they can know our movements and activities. Through ATM and credit card databases, they can know what we purchase and where. Through telecommunication systems, they can monitor to whom we speak and the content of our conversation. Through the internet, they can trace our social networks and know what projects we work on. Modern technologies have perfected social control to a point never before imaginable, allowing the transformation of the entire urban space into an open-air prison.

In late July and late October, 2009, attacks against intersection and freeway surveillance cameras took place in Santa Cruz County. Thirty cameras had their cables cut, rendering them inoperable. This was done as an act of resistance against increasingly pervasive surveillance technologies.

We assume that a police state requires a massive presence of troops, tanks on street corners, and helicopters in the sky. The modern reality is much different. Progress has allowed those in power to replace menacing weapons with the omnipresence of their technological instruments. The most efficient police state is one that has no need to put police on display. The fact of being watched by an inanimate object rather than an armed person does nothing to change our suffocating condition. Even the psychological effects aside, there is always an agent behind a surveillance camera.

Cops and bureaucrats are likely to claim that the cameras are not used for surveillance. Though one cannot take anything they say at face value, this claim partly beside the point. Even unwatched surveillance cameras perform a repressive function. First, their presence accustoms us to being watched, making their proliferation a less frightening possibility. Second, as we become accustomed, the existing cameras prepare the way for more insidious detection and surveillance technology. Lastly, the feeling of being watched has strong psychological effects, not least among them is the normalization of behavior. This normalization of behavior, a “self-policing” of sorts, does not happen haphazardly—in fact, it happens neatly in line with business and government interests.

After Halloween this year, Police Chief Howard Skerry stated that the police helicopter had a certain “psychological effect”. The police are clear about the fact that they wish our communities to live in fear. Recently, cops and bureaucrats have advocated installing additional surveillance cameras in downtown Santa Cruz. We will continue to resist this totalitarian re-engineering of our world.

Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

Keep Santa Cruz Weird.

Nearly 1,100 pairs of expensive shoes stolen -- Cape Coral, FL

Police are investigating the theft of more than $135,000 in high-priced shoes from a Cape Coral store.

The theft was reported Saturday at the Comfort By Design Shoe store on Del Prado Boulevard South.

An employee, Donna Adair, said that she came to work Saturday morning and noticed that the back door had been forced open.

She told police that many pairs of shoes were missing from racks in the back room and she called police.

Owner Rosemary Armstrong said that nearly 1,100 pairs of shoes that sell for more than $250 a pair were stolen, bringing the total loss to more than $135,000.

She said that the thieves only took the expensive brands, including Mephisto and Birkenstock, and left the cheaper brands behind.

Officer V.C. Minillo found that the thieves cut the phone and cable lines to the complex where the store is located.

The officer said the burglar alarm apparently malfunctioned and did not go off when the store was broken into.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Four cops killed at cafe -- Parkland, WA

A gunman burst into a coffeehouse Sunday and opened fire on four police officers as they sat working on their laptops, killing the three men and one woman in what an official described as a targeted ambush.

Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said officers were looking for one male suspect who fled the scene and haven't ruled out an accomplice, possibly a getaway driver.

It wasn't clear whether the officers even had time to draw their weapons to return fire, Troyer said.

''This was more of an execution. Walk in with the specific mindset to shoot police officers,'' Troyer said.

Troyer said the officers -- all from the Lakewood Police Department -- were catching up on paperwork at the beginning of their shifts when they were attacked at 8:15 a.m. Sunday.

Troyer said the attack was clearly targeted at the officers, not a robbery gone bad.

''There were marked patrol cars outside and they were all in uniform,'' Troyer said.

With no known suspects, there was no indication of any connection with the Halloween night shooting of a Seattle police officer. The suspect in that shooting remains hospitalized.

''We won't know if it's a copycat effect or what it was until we get the case solved,'' Troyer said. ''We don't even have a suspect ID right now.''

Hammer time for Target -- Winona, MN

A hammer-wielding man left a wake of destruction in Winona’s Target Store Saturday evening, then fought police and led them on a chase through the store before they apprehended him.

Officers entered the Target Store at 5:15 p.m. Saturday to find a bloody-faced Jerome Charles Eberle, 39, waving a hammer. Customers were streaming out the front doors, according to police reports.

Police had been notified by a shopper inside the store who reported a man using a hammer to smash big-screen televisions while saying “hammer, hammer, hammer” in a monotone voice. Police chased Eberle through the store and he swung the hammer at one officer before police subdued him with a taser.

Eberle, of Chicago, is charged with two counts of assault on police officers, obstruction of justice with force, first-degree property damage and disorderly conduct. After the incident he was transported to Winona Health for a behavioral evaluation, and remained there on Sunday afternoon.

A Target Store manager on Sunday declined to speak about the incident.

ATM scammin' worth 70 grand -- Buffalo Grove, IL

Thieves stole more than $70,000 from an ATM after installing a camera that recorded customers' transactions, Buffalo Grove, Ill., police said.

The camera and another recording device were installed by two people in the lobby of a Chase Bank branch between 3:40 a.m. Nov. 14 and 5:15 a.m. Nov. 16, the Chicago Sun-times reported Saturday.

The two thieves then returned and used information from the recordings to withdraw more than $70,000 from various accounts, police said.

Jewelry store smash n' grab -- South Windsor, CT

Police are searching for four thieves who smashed into a mall jewelry store about 5 a.m. Saturday and fled with an unspecified amount of valuables.

An officer responding to a burglar alarm at the Ultra Diamonds store in the Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk saw that a glass window had been shattered, as had the jewelry display cases inside the shop, police said. Backup was called, including a state police canine unit from Hartford, but no suspects were found during a search of the area.

The break-in was captured on surveillance video, which has not been released. Police said the burglars may have left in a waiting vehicle.,0,5344375.story

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Expensive school fire ruled arson -- Naperville, IL

Investigators say last week's fire at Scott Elementary School in Naperville was arson and the school is implementing new safety procedures.

According to a notification sent to parents tonight, Scott School officials say both the Naperville Police and Fire Departments have determined the fire was deliberately set in a boy's bathroom.

The fire started at about 9:53 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 20, and caused about $100,000 in smoke damage at the school. Everyone was evacuated safely.

The investigation is being called "active" and no one has been charged yet.

University tensions rising -- Los Angeles, CA

The windows of the Covel Commons building pounded in sync with the impassioned chanting of the crowd. Inside, 26 individuals pondered a decision that will deeply impact the lives of over two hundred thousand students in the UC system. The indirect results of the decision may ultimately affect millions of Californians.

Over 300 students, workers, faculty and community members converged in solidarity at the entrance of Covel Commons on the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) campus yesterday to make one last stand against UC Regents proposed 32 percent fee hikes. To keep the crowd from forcing entry into the Regents meeting taking place inside, UC Police Department had a strong presence in the course of events. In a police clash with the crowd, batons and Tasers were used leading to several student injuries. Fourteen arrests were made.

Imari Thomas, a third-year UCLA student, was among those arrested.

“All of us who got arrested had totally clean records, we were willing to get a police record to show the regents how serious we are,” Thomas said.

The 14 students were arrested in two phases, after they stood singing “We Shall Overcome” with linked arms. The first group was cited with Penal Code Section 409, or failure to disperse from a space deemed unlawful. The second group was cited with disturbing the peace. Both groups were later released.

Officers, who were previously providing support in the arrests during the Committee of Finance, ran down the four flights of stairs geared up in the lobby with Tasers, helmets with facemasks, and some with compressed paintball guns.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bank robbery without capture -- Nashville, TN

Metro Police are asking for your help identifying the man who robbing the Regions Bank branch at 315 Deaderick Street Monday morning.

Police say he approached the teller and presented a robbery demand note at 9:50 a.m.

The teller complied and the suspect fled on foot.

Animal research vehicles sabotaged -- Salt Lake City, UT

Numerous tailpipes of vehicles associated with the University of Utah Animal Research Center were stuffed with unmentioned objects yesterday. The anonymous communique is as follows:

"Although it may be cold and snowy outside, University of Utah staff will be in for a warm surprise when they start their vehicles this morning. This evening we placed dozens of surprises deep within the tailpipes of faculty vehicles and shuttles near the Animal Research Center. The same Animal Research Center that unnecessarily tests on a large variety of animals ranging from mice, rats, rabbits and non-human primates to homeless dogs and cats purchased from nearby shelters. Something in which we have just become informed. These tests do nothing more than give the so-called 'researchers' more money in grants by changing small variables in tests that have been going on for years and years with no successful scientific progress at all. The surprises left today are not meant to harm nor hurt anyone. They are simply left as a reminder that we are serious. Seriousness comes at a cost, and unfortunately the cost this time will only be a few thousand in auto-repairs. But DO take this as a warning. We will be back and next time it won't be a couple of small repairs. WE ARE WATCHING!

Students for Animal Liberation."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend vandalism spree -- Boulder, CO

Residents in a University Hill neighborhood say vandals who left a path of destruction this weekend went way beyond typical mischief.

Boulder police received at least seven reports of vandalism Saturday morning.

Police spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said someone, or a group of people, pulled out a parking sign from the First Congregational Church, 1128 Pine St., and threw it through the church's front glass doors.

No one went into the church, Huntley said, and it appears the damage was done just for the fun of it.

Elsewhere, a motorcycle was intentionally tipped over in the 1000 block of 14th Street, and a huge boulder weighing 60 to 70 pounds was lobbed at a parked car in the 1000 block of 10th Street.

Rocks also damaged the hoods and windows of vehicles in the 900 and 1000 blocks of Lincoln Place and in the 900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue.

One homeowner's lawn furniture was stolen in the 1000 block of Ninth Street.

The estimated damage to vehicles ranges from $500 to $1,500, Huntley said.

Investigators think the incidents happened sometime overnight Friday or early Saturday morning.

"Based on the timing and the proximity of the incidents, investigators believe this was probably a spree" by the same person or people, Huntley said.

Turf war -- Naperville, IL

The artificial turf cost a cool $750,000 dollars. Now, school officials in Naperville are trying to figure out how much it will cost to clean up the mess made by vandals armed with spray paint.

CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot reports that police say the person or people responsible, accomplished their crime under the cover of darkness vandalizing the newly installed synthetic turf field at Naperville North High School.

The mascot of Naperville North, a husky, is defaced with various colors of spray paint. Nearly half of the field has obscenities scrawled on it.


The vandals created thousands of dollars in damage to the taxpayer supported project. School workers have been on their hands and knees trying to get some of the graffiti to fade. Right now, the school is looking at three options: trying to clean the spray paint using a professional company, painting over the graffiti, or replacing the damaged parts of the field.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Aluminum heist worth 80k -- Niles, MI

Police suspect three men of planning heist of trailer full of aluminum. Thieves use their own semi to take off with $80,000 worth of product.

A bold heist is under investigation and police believe it is pulled off by a semi-truck driver.

This past weekend, a trailer full of aluminum was stolen by a few thieves.

It happened at a company that makes aluminum extrusions in Niles.

The trailer was packed and ready for a delivery on Monday morning. On Sunday night it was taken from the company's lot. The company says it happened while no one was working but typically the business is manned 24-7.

Police believe the three suspects involved had a plan.

Monday morning workers at Aacoa aluminum in Niles realized a trailer full of aluminum was missing. The trailer was taken by thieves who used their own semi to haul if off.

"It was sitting there. It was staged like it was waiting to be picked up by our driver, who would be bringing his own driver in just like the theft occurred," says Aacoa Extrusions Vice President Jeff Teeple.

It's estimated the trailer and aluminum are worth a total of 80-thousand-dollars.

200 Cars smashed up by two brothers -- Ross Township, PA

Two brothers have been arrested after vandalizing more than 200 cars in several Allegheny County communities, racking up a bill that police estimate to be at least $50,000 in damages.

"I'm pretty disgusted over it," said one man who had the back window of his mini-van completely smashed out. "I don't know what our deductible is, I think $500, and $232 to get fixed. We are stuck paying for that."

Police said Matthew Snyder, 25, and Scott Snyder, 24, of Bellevue, damaged at least 70 of the vehicles in West View, with others being vandalized in Ross Township, Avalon, Ben Avon and Bellevue at about 5:30 a.m.

Early morning bank robbery -- Indianapolis, IN

Police are looking for three men involved in a bank robbery early Thursday morning on Indianapolis' west side.

The robbery happened at the National City Bank in the 1200 block of South High School Road just before 9:30 a.m.

Witnesses told police that three black men wearing black clothing, black ski caps and black gloves came into the bank with handguns and demanded money from a teller.

The men were given money and left in a red minivan, Indianapolis police Sgt. Matt Mount said.

The van was later found still running behind a church in the 700 block of South High School road. Police think the men jumped out of the van and into another vehicle before leaving.

$24,000 Worth of jewelry and laptops stolen -- Rock Hill, SC

A Rock Hill jewelry store was burglarized this week, police say.

Thieves got away with more than $20,000 worth of jewelry and two laptop computers valued at $4,000 after breaking into Angela Woods Interiors and Antiques on India Hook Road after hours, according to a report from the York County Sheriff’s Office.

The lock on the back door had been broken sometime between 5 p.m. last Friday and 10 a.m. Monday, the store’s owner told police.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hackers steal $9.4 million from ATMs -- Worldwide

A federal grand jury has indicted one Russian and six Eastern Europeans for hacking into the computer system of Atlanta-based RBS WorldPay and stealing, in less than 12 hours, $9.4 million from automated teller machines in 280 cities across the world.

“This investigation has broken the back of one of the most sophisticated hacking rings in the world,” Sally Yates, acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said in a statement.

The grand jury in Atlanta indicted Viktor Pleshchuk, 28, of St. Petersburg, Russia; Oleg Covelin, 28, of Chisinau, Moldova; and five Estonians: Sergei Tsurikov, 25, Igor Grudijev, 31, Ronald Tsoi, 31, Evelin Tsoi, 20, and Mihhail Jevgenov, 33. Another person, identified only as "Hacker 3," was also indicted.

In November 2008, Mr. Pleshchuk, Mr. Tsurikov and Mr. Covelin hacked into the RBS WorldPay computer network, according to the indictment. RBS WorldPay is the U.S. payment processing division of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The three alleged hackers decoded the encryption on debit cards used by companies to pay their employees. They then allegedly raised the amount of funds available on the cards and issued 44 counterfeit cards to a network of “cashers” who withdrew more than $9.4 million from 2,100 ATMs in Canada, Estonia, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Russia, Ukraine and the United States.

$128,000 Stolen from beauty school -- Carlstadt, NJ

A state grand jury indicted a Carlstadt man Friday on a charge of second-degree theft by deception for misusing $128,209 from a Fort Lee cosmetology school where he worked, the state Attorney General's Office said.

William J. Reilley, 56, allegedly misled the owner of the Onyx Beauty Academy to believe that he was using the money to pay business creditors when it actually went for personal expenses, such as $25,000 in rental car fees and a $1,000 deposit on a catering hall for a family function, a press release from the attorney general said.

Reilley was hired in 2004 to teach, assist with financial management and apply for government loans and grants, the release said. No grants or loans were obtained.

Near-riot after man Tasered -- Lake Wales, FL

Police in Lake Wales, Florida are investigating a weekend traffic stop that nearly ended in a riot.

Dozens of neighborhood residents swarmed police as they worked to take three suspects into custody during the stop.

Multiple cameras, including the dashboard units mounted in patrol cars and others on one police officers TASER captured the melee.

Two of the three suspects were able to escape because of the crowd's actions.

$156,000 Scammed from gov't welfare -- Monsey, NY

A 58-year-old Monsey man has been accused of stealing $156,000 from welfare programs by the county as part of its continuing investigation into fraud.

Benjamin Ruttner is accused of filing false information to illegally obtain $89,000 in federal rental subsidies from November 2004 to November 2009. He is accused of stealing $67,000 in food stamps and Medicaid benefits from May 2006 to August 2009.

Through his attorney, Kenneth Gribetz of New City, Ruttner denied the Rockland District attorney’s charges of second-degree grand larceny and second-degree welfare fraud.

The charges carry a prison sentence of four to 14 years, and the judge could order the repayment of the benefits.

Ruttner has been released on $5,000 bail. He is the father of 12 children and works as a custodian at a local synagogue, Gribetz said Friday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flames for a judge's office -- McKeesport, PA

Police say a Molotov cocktail or similar fire bomb was thrown through the window of a district judge's office near Pittsburgh causing a small fire.

Police in McKeesport haven't made an arrest in the incident, reported after 7 a.m. Thursday at the office of District Judge Eugene Riazzi (ree-AH'-zee) Jr.

Riazzi is a former police captain in McKeesport, a city about 15 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, but say he doesn't know what could have prompted the attack.

Firefighters extinguished some burning carpet in the office, but an Allegheny County fire marshal says damage was minimal.

Mom robs four banks -- San Diego, CA

A Poway mother is in jail after being accused of robbing four banks, 10News reported.

Roxanne Pennock, 37, is married, has a daughter and has at least two stepchildren, authorities told 10News. However, authorities said Pennock has also filed for bankruptcy at least once.

"It's the sign of the times," said Tom Leete, whose daughter's school was placed on lockdown last week. "The first robbery was about a block and a half away from her school."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Police station attacked -- Eugene, OR

A Eugene police substation has been struck by vandalism for the second time in the past year.

Just before 5 a.m. Friday, police said they received a call that a "large guy on a bike" was breaking windows at the substation.

Officers arrived to find two windows cracked, while a police van and an officer's cruiser in the parking lot had been damaged.

The substation is 1 of 2 in the downtown area open during the day for information about crime prevention or to report minor crimes.

In January, someone painted a police van parked at the substation with graffiti.

Molotov'n attempt on courthouse -- Boston, MA

Police are investigating an apparent attempt to set fire to a Boston courthouse.

Officers were called to Dorchester District Court at about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday by a security guard.

There they found a broken window and a charred carpet inside a court room.

Police also found a glass bottle containing an unknown gelatin-like substance with a wick protruding from it near the scorched floor. Damage was minimal.

$225,000 stolen from Boy Scouts -- Worcester, MA

A Millbury woman pleaded not guilty Monday to charges she stole $225,000 from the Boy Scouts.

44-year-old Cheryl Allen was arraigned in Worcester Superior Court on four counts of larceny.

Allen was a bookkeeper with a company that was contracted by the Mohegan Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Prosecutors say between December 2006 and March of this year, Allen wrote checks totaling more than $225,000 to another company that she was affiliated with.

Allen did not have the authority to write checks for the Boy Scouts.

Two inmates escape prison -- Warren, ME

Authorities say two inmates, 36-year-old Arden Shaw and 28-year-old Robert Fogg, escaped from Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren Saturday night. According to prison officials, Shaw and Fogg were last seen around 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Both men were in prison for burglary and were due to be released in 2013. Officials say Fogg has a tattoo on his neck that says "white trash."

Shaw and Fogg were still at large as of Sunday afternoon.

Church arson -- East Point, GA

East Point officials said they were investigating a fire at a church. Police said the fire was the work of arson.

According to investigators, someone threw a brick into the window of the East Point First Mallalieu United Methodist Church on Church Street Friday afternoon.

Investigators said an accelerant was used to start the fire inside the church. Fire investigators said the fire eventually went out on its own.

The fire remains under investigation.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cyber sabotage still an exciting possibility

(CBS) Nothing has ever changed the world as quickly as the Internet has. Less than a decade ago, "60 Minutes" went to the Pentagon to do a story on something called information warfare, or cyber war as some people called it. It involved using computers and the Internet as weapons.

Much of it was still theory, but we were told that before too long it might be possible for a hacker with a computer to disable critical infrastructure in a major city and disrupt essential services, to steal millions of dollars from banks all over the world, infiltrate defense systems, extort millions from public companies, and even sabotage our weapons systems.

Today it's not only possible, all of that has actually happened, plus a lot more we don't even know about.

It's why President Obama has made cyber war defense a top national priority and why some people are already saying that the next big war is less likely to begin with a bang than a blackout.

"Can you imagine your life without electric power?" Retired Admiral Mike McConnell asked correspondent Steve Kroft.

Until February of this year, McConnell was the nation's top spy. As chief of national intelligence, he oversaw the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. Few people know as much about cyber warfare, and our dependency on the power grid, and the computer networks that deliver our oil and gas, pump and purify our water, keep track of our money, and operate our transportation systems.

"If I were an attacker and I wanted to do strategic damage to the United States, I would either take the cold of winter or the heat of summer, I probably would sack electric power on the U.S. East Cost, maybe the West Coast, and attempt to cause a cascading effect. All of those things are in the art of the possible from a sophisticated attacker," McConnell explained.

"Do you believe our adversaries have the capability of bringing down a power grid?" Kroft asked.

"I do," McConnell replied.

Asked if the U.S. is prepared for such an attack, McConnell told Kroft, "No. The United States is not prepared for such an attack."

"It is now clear this cyber threat is one [of] the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation," President Obama said during a speech.