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.