Monday, August 30, 2010

Anarchists attack two banks -- Tacoma, WA

The communique goes down like this:

"One bank was attacked and another sabotaged in Tacoma, Washington.
One of them being Wells Fargo the main investor in GEO Group and
the Northwest Detention Center, an immigrant detention center
(prison) that sits comfortably in the Tacoma tide flats. “NO
PRISONS (A)” was spray painted on the side of the building and 3
windows where smashed. Bank of America also had an ATM card slot
glued. Bank of America is one of the three joint financial advisers
(including Merrlin Lynch and Barclays Int.) for GEO Group Corp.

In solidarity with all imprisoned, in all prisons,
And for the destruction of the prison world.

- Anarchists"

A night of seemingly unrelated events -- France

Bois Blancs, Lille

Police in response at Bois-Blancs were attacked by thrown missiles on Monday night when they accosted the occupants of a suspicious vehicle. It was during a routine intervention that police officers were attacked around 22:30 Monday night in rue Coli in Bois-Blancs.

Officers were busy controlling the occupants of a suspicious vehicle that had been reported following a theft of car accessories carried out the same morning in the neighborhood when some unknown people emerged and started throwing projectiles at them. The windshields of two police vehicles were damaged. There were no injuries. The police, however, had to curtail their presence on site, taking with them the five occupants of the vehicle, three minors and two majors. They were released yesterday, no link having yet been established with the flight.

The investigation continues on this subject, and another investigation was opened by Lille metropolitan Police regarding throwing of projectiles.

Yesterday afternoon, an identity control was to be conducted in the area of Bois-Blancs. "To show the whole world that there are no zones of lawlessness," explained a police source said yesterday.


About thirty young people participated in urban violence during the night between Tuesday and Wednesday in a northern district of Nantes following the arrest of three of them, it was learned from the prefecture. "A group of people, some hooded, and armed with iron bars, attacked street fixtures, smashing the windows of a store, a school and two vehicles" after arrests for robbery, In addition to bus shelters and school windows being smashed, a burning car and a van were still visible late Wednesday morning in the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood was quiet, without any visible police presence.

The violence occurred at about 23:00, said the prefecture. Shortly before, around 19:00, the arrests took place nearby, in which two policemen were slightly wounded, the source said. Of the three people arrested, one was able to flee, according to deputy prosecutor in Nantes. "The inquiry has been hectic," tear gas had to be used, says one police source.

Shortly after 23:00, many calls from witnesses at the central state were "thirty to forty people picking on bus shelters and bus shops, some were hooded and armed with iron bars, he said. Upon arrival of police, including half a company of CRS, supported by the PBM (local security group), the CDI (Company departmental intervention) and BAC (anti-crime brigade), the demonstrators had fled, police said.


Police came under heavy gunfire and stone-throwing that injured one of them in the night of Tuesday to Wednesday in the sensitive district of Bagatelle in Toulouse. Officers of the Mirail anti-crime brigade were called before midnight to intervene in the city where shots had been fired. In helping a victim of the shooting police were repeatedly fired at with a shotgun by masked individuals, reported the union Alliance. According to another professional organization, the SGP-FO police unit, the first union of peacekeepers one particular individual in a vehicle opened fire on the car of the LAC.

The ensuing chase turned into an ambush when police were confronted with about fifty people engaged in classic stone throwing, said Police Unit SGP-FO.

One policeman was wounded by the hail of stones. An inquest has been opened for attempted homicide of the police officers.

Van Gogh piece lifted with ease -- Cairo, Egypt

When the Vincent van Gogh still life “Poppy Flowers” was stolen from Egypt’s Mahmoud Khalil museum Saturday, no one noticed at first.

The Vincent van Gogh painting known as 'Poppy Flowers' and 'Vase with Flowers,' valued at $55 million, was stolen in broad daylight from the Mahmoud Khalil museum in Cairo, where the surveillance cameras and alarms had long been defunct.

None of the alarms meant to protect the artwork in the museum sounded. Only seven of 43 security cameras were working. Just 10 people visited the museum that day and guards were scarce enough that the thieves were able to drag a couch underneath the painting to stand on while cutting the $55 million painting from its frame in broad daylight.

Those are some of the security failures that Egyptian officials have pledged to address as they react with outrage to the daring heist.

The blame quickly fell on the deputy culture minister, who, as the head of the fine arts department with an office in the museum, has been charged with negligence. Four museum employees were also detained.

“I can’t work with these incompetent employees,” Culture Minister Farouk Hosni told Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm, saying he cannot sleep at night because of concerns over Egypt’s art and antiquities.

“Poppy Flowers” was hanging in the Mahmoud Khalil Museum, the former home of a 1930s Egyptian politician that now houses his collection of more than 300 paintings and 50 sculptures, including works by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gaugin, and van Gogh. Such security failures at a museum with a collection worth an estimated $1.2 billion are surprising, even in Cairo, where metal detectors are ubiquitous but seldom put to real use. (The metal detector at the Mahmoud Khalil museum was said to be broken.)

Zahi Hawas, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a statement Tuesday that Egypt would create a central security office to monitor its museums, and that Mr. Hosni would review museum security procedures.

Mr. Hawass is eager to keep the heist from being used as an argument against his mission to recover the ancient Egyptian artifacts held by international museums. The Ministry of Culture and the public prosecutor‘s office refused to comment on the issue. Hosni caused confusion when he falsely declared the painting recovered and the thieves apprehended at the Cairo Airport, later claiming his statement was guided by false information.

Julian Radcliffe, founder of The Art Loss Register, which maintains a database of stolen artwork, says properly protecting artwork is no simple task. It requires costly technological safeguards, such as burglar alarms and camera surveillance, and guards in every room.

“It's a very expensive and complex operation to keep security at a high level,” he says. “That does not excuse the bad security but it's not cheap and easy.”

Even before the theft, the lack of security was at the small museum was noticeable. Visitors had virtually free rein in the worn interior where many paintings, lacking a glass protectant, hung within easy reach. In most rooms, there were no guards to keep watch.

Egypt has reportedly put border patrols and airport officials on alert to prevent the painting from being smuggled out of the country. Mr. Radcliffe says the thieves will almost certainly attempt to move the painting out of Egypt to access the bigger markets in Europe and the US, if they have not already.

“They will eventually try to put it back on the market or try to get a ransom for it,” he says. “They may put it back on the market as a very good copy.” They will glean a profit even if they only receive a small percentage of its open-market value.

The chances of recovering “Poppy Flowers” quickly is slim. Only about 15 percent of stolen works of art are recovered within 20 years, says Radcliffe. According to him, about 15 to 20 percent of stolen artwork is destroyed or forgotten, while another 15 to 20 percent are sold, and yet another 15 to 20 percent “stay in the underworld for long periods of time.”

The worldwide art theft trade could be as large as $1 to $2 billion a year, according to calculations by The Art Loss Register.

Guards open fire during prison riot -- Folsom, CA

Seven inmates injured in the Folsom Prison riot have been hospitalized with various injuries including gunshot wounds. Prison officials have not stated how many inmates were injured after officers opened fire to quell the riot that began at approximately 7:00 p.m. Friday night. Approximately 200 inmates were involved in the riot, but police are not saying what sparked the riot at Folsom Prison. The riot broke out in the recreation yard of the prison. None of the correctional officers were injured during the riot.

Officials as the prison are not releasing the exact injuries suffered by those who were hospitalized, but they are saying that none of the injuries to the inmates are life threatening.

Folsom Prison is a medium security prison, and was opened in 1880. Johnny Cash recorded a live album there, and wrote the hit song “Folsom Prison Blues” about the facility. The riot ended after approximately thirty minutes, and corrections officers fired tear gas, non-lethal rounds, and rounds from a mini-14 rifle. No employees of the prison were injured in the incident.

The Folsom Prison riot is the latest in a string of riots that has plagued the prison in recent years. The seven inmates injured in the riot are all expected to recover from their injuries. Police have not released what caused the riot, and the matter is still being investigated, but the prison is under lockdown while the investigation is occurring.

Designer jeans heist -- Perth, Australia

Upmarket thieves have targeted three high fashion clothing stores in Claremont and Mosman Park, stealing more than $150,000 worth of designer-label clothes.

Police are investigating a series of Burglary offences which occurred between Monday August 23 and Thursday in the Claremont and Mosman Park areas.

One shop in Claremont was broken into between 2am and 3am on Tuesday and two in Mosman Park were broken into between 3am and 4am Thursday.

The offenders have forced entry to the shops and targeted high-end fashion clothing labels such as “Citizen”, “Paige”, “Velvet”, “Nudie Jeans” and others.

Additionally, other items including jewellery, sunglasses and handbags have been also been stolen. It is estimated the total value of the theft will exceed $150,000.

Students and teachers riot after death of a student -- Berhampore, India

Students and teachers of a school in West Bengal's Murshidabad district clashed with the police on Friday following the accidental death of a student. Twenty people were injured in the violence and road traffic was disrupted.

Four students were injured by bullets allegedly fired by the police while 16 policemen were hurt in brickbatting.

According to the police, Khaleda Khatun, a class IX student of Murari Pukur High School at Suti, was killed on the spot after being run over by a speeding truck while coming to school.

To protest against this, students and teachers of the school put up blockades on NH-34, the highway linking north and south Bengal, disrupting traffic movement, they said.

When the police arrived at the spot, the agitators ransacked their vehicle and pelted stones at them. Following this, the policemen lathicharged the people and fired tear gas shells, sources said, adding 16 policemen were injured in brickbatting.

Locals alleged that the police fired as they failed to control the situation, though the police denied firing by them.

Four students, who sustained bullet injuries, were out of danger, the sources said.

The road blockade was ultimately lifted in the evening after Additional Superintendent of Police Dipnarayan Goswami went to the spot and talked to the agitators.

While Left opposition party Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) called a 12-hour Suti bandh tomorrow, Democratic Students Organisation (DSO) called student strike in entire Murshidabad district in protest against the incident.

Cyber theft for Catholic Diocese -- Des Moines, IA

More than $600,000 has been stolen electronically from a Bankers Trust account belonging to the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines, the bank and diocese said Friday.

The thieves are believed to be “a highly sophisticated operation most likely based overseas” who transferred the money “to numerous recipients across the United States on Aug. 13 and 16,” the diocese said in a statement announcing the theft.

Bankers Trust alerted the diocese to the fraud on Aug. 17. The bank immediately shut down relevant bank accounts and began a process to recover the funds. “To date, approximately $180,000 has been recovered,” the diocese said.

“No diocesan or bank staff is suspected” of being involved in the theft, the diocese said.

The statement said that law enforcement officials have said similar thefts have involved the “participation of individuals who unknowingly act as intermediaries of the funds obtained by theft.”

Des Moines Diocese Bishop Richard Pates said in the statement that the loss is protected by insurance.

“We have been advised that such criminal activity is rampant,” Pates said in the statement.

The FBI and U.S. Treasury were immediately notified of the theft, the diocese said, adding that the FBI has taken possession of several diocesan computers. Officials of neither agency were available for comment Friday morning.

Bankers Trust has sent a memo to its employees informing them that the bank’s “internet system was not breached and continues to be secure.”

“We do not yet know how the criminals infiltrated the diocesan systems, but we expect the investigation will reveal this so we can share with other clients and prevent potential breaches of their systems,” said the memo signed by Donald J. Coffin, Bankers Trust’s chief lending officer.

Flames for new cell phone store -- Montreal, Canada

The arson squad is investigating after a Molotov cocktail was hurled at the ground floor of a commercial/residential building in Rosemont.

An alarm went off at 3:50 a.m. Wednesday when the front window was shattered, and a Molotov cocktail tossed into the store.

Firefighters were quick to arrive at the scene, and were able to limit damage to the front of the building located at 2565 Belanger, near Molson.

Nobody was injured in the attack, and none of the apartments above the store were damaged in any way.

Investigators are gathering evidence to determine who pitched the incendiary device into the new store, which was reportedly set to open soon for business.

Incredibly expensive gold bar stolen from museum -- Key West, FL

They may not be Thomas Crown or Danny Ocean, but two thieves reportedly made off with a gold bar worth about $550,000 from a Key West museum.

Police and the FBI are working to identify the two suspects, who stole a historic gold bar this week from the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.

The 74.85-ounce bar had been on display at the museum for more than 20 years. It was locked in a see-through case that allowed visitors to touch and lift it, while keeping it secure.

Security footage shows the suspects breaking into the case at about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after the museum closed for the night.

The bar was found in 1980 at the Santa Margarita shipwreck off the Florida Keys.

Partygoer teens fight cops and riot -- West Australia

Shocked neighbours told of parents dropping off underage children with cartons of liquor as riot police tried to quell up to 200 drunk and unruly teenagers at a violent 15th birthday party in Mandurah on Saturday.

Police said the parents who supplied the alcohol were irresponsible after up to 30 officers in riot gear were called in to quell the violence.

The police helicopter was also sent to Brandon Wadley's party in Cassilis Court, Greenfields, after terrified neighbours called for help when the celebration turned ugly.

The quiet cul-de-sac was more like an inner-city ghetto by 9pm when 14 patrol cars cordoned it off to break up the out-of-control party and stop more people joining in.

Revellers threw bottles and rocks at houses and police while others used backyards to get to the Wadley home.

Neighbour Steve Ramble said there were about 200 people in the street, which was strewn with broken glass, and his house was pelted with bottles.

"The kids had to stay inside away from the windows," he said. "They were terrified. The police did what they could but it was a bit too late."

He was shocked to see parents dropping children off as riot police battled to disperse the mob.

"How could you let your child in there when riot police are trying to get people out?" he said. "As a parent, you can't imagine it."

Men aged 42 and 19 were arrested for disorderly conduct. No one was injured.

Insp. Danny Mulligan said the behaviour was antisocial, unacceptable and disgusting and the parents of children involved were irresponsible.

It was disappointing that police had had to quell large-scale disturbances in Mandurah three times this month.

An officer was injured when youths threw bottles and rocks at police at a birthday party in the CWA Hall.

Just 24 hours earlier, riot police were called from Perth to an out-of-control 16th birthday party in Salmon Gums Lane, Dawesville, where some of the 200 partygoers threw rocks and bottles at officers.

Insp Mulligan said police would talk to Brandon's parents about the party and would establish whether offences took place.

Brandon's father Aaron Wadley declined to comment but Brandon told the ABC gatecrashers from Rockingham were to blame.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fiery crime spree leaves cop cars in flames -- Warren County, MO

Two men are jailed for a crime spree that police say involved setting fire to police cars, then sending a burning truck onto railroad tracks.

Corey M. Puetz, 21, and Xavier D. Washington, 19, both of Warrenton, are each charged with first-degree burglary, stealing a motor vehicle and stealing over $500. Bond is set at $100,000.

Warren County Sheriff Kevin Harrison said the crime spree lasted from last Thursday morning until Saturday. No one was injured in any of the blazes.

"I honestly think these kids wanted to create chaos," Harrison said Tuesday morning. "They wanted to light fires. They wanted to see vehicles explode."

Harrison gave the following account of the crime spree:

At about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, the duo went to the parking lot behind the courthouse in Warrenton. They put a firework into the fuel filler tube of a Warren County sheriff's patrol car and lit it. But the fire didn't catch, and the pair ran off. They went to a nearby home and stole a can of gasoline. Then, they put a gas-soaked rag into the fuel tank of a patrol car and lit it.

They ran to a nearby park and watched as firefighters put out the fire, Harrison said. The car was gutted. It was worth about $8,000, the sheriff said, and contained several thousand dollars' worth of police equipment.

After that, the pair broke into two homes and stole a truck. Hours later, at about 11:45 p.m. Thursday, they put gasoline into a weed-killer pressure sprayer and sprayed gas onto three cars owned by the Warrenton Police Department. They lit the gas and watched as it burned out. They came back with more gasoline and charcoal lighter fluid. They started another fire on the police cars. An officer saw the fire and used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Only one police car was damaged.

A half-hour later, the men set the stolen truck on fire and drove it onto railroad tracks near the Highway 47 overpass in Warrenton.

A citizen's tip on Saturday eventually led police investigators to Puetz and Washington.

State and federal prosecutors are considering additional charges dealing with the arson to the patrol cars and the truck.

Harrison, the sheriff, said neither Puetz nor Washington has had any prior serious dealings with police here. He said Puetz has been picked up before for minor offenses, such as traffic violations and supplying alcohol to minors. Washington used to live in California and has no prior arrest record, Harrison said.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Flames for cops outside consulate -- Theassaloniki, Greece

A predawn firebomb attack on the Turkish Consulate in Thessaloniki yesterday prompted contact between diplomats in Athens and Ankara, although authorities in the northern Greek city insisted that the Molotov cocktails were thrown at the police guards rather than at the building itself.

Police sources said that three men wearing motorcycle helmets approached the consulate, located on Aghiou Dimitriou Street in the city center, at about 4 a.m. From a distance, they started swearing at the two policemen who were standing guard outside the building. One of the three assailants allegedly shouted: “Pigs, we are going to burn you,” before two firebombs were thrown. One Molotov cocktail landed a few meters from the guards’ sentry post and set fire to a climbing ivy on the outer wall of the consulate; the other exploded in midair. Nobody was injured and no arrests were made.

Authorities are treating it as just another of the many firebomb attacks that take place in the northern city. Nevertheless, due to the sensitive nature of the matter, the Greek government was quick to condemn the incident “absolutely and categorically.”

“Acts like these, regardless of the motives involved, are unacceptable and are directed against Greece itself,” said government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis. “Our society has zero tolerance for such acts. Those responsible will be arrested and brought to justice.

“We express our sorrow to the Turkish government,” he added.

Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu discussed the matter over the telephone. The Foreign Ministry said that Droutsas assured Davutoglu the matter was being investigated and everything was being done to catch the attackers.

Expensive arboretum equipment heist -- Dallas, TX

Thieves have hit one of Dallas’ most popular attractions overnight and stole $50,000 worth of equipment.

Police say it’s obvious those who broke into the Dallas Arboretum knew exactly where to go once they got inside. They got into a garage and stole a tractor, trailer, lawn mowers, a brand new F-150 pick up truck and more.

The arboretum is now scrambling to replace what was taken.

“Any type of loss is painful, especially equipment. You have to take time to replace the monies you didn’t have allocated. You have to find it. It kind of hurts, yeah,” said Terry Lendecker, Dallas Arboretum's spokeswoman.

Dallas police are reviewing surveillance video. They also encourage anyone who may have seen something suspicious while driving on Buckner Boulevard Monday night to call in a tip.

Man dies in attack on police station -- Dallas, TX

A 29-year-old US man has died in a gunfight after he opened fire on a Texas police station.

Patrick Gray Sharp towed a trailer full of explosive materials into the Dallas station's car park in McKinney, set fire to his truck and began shooting at the building, police officials said.

Police chief Doug Kowalski said Sharp died after a shootout with officers but it is unclear whether he was killed by an officer's bullet or one of his own.

No-one else was injured during the Tuesday morning clash, which led to nearby Collin College locking down its campus and warning students and staff to stay home

Sharp may have intended to lure people from the police station so he could shoot at them from a field across the street where he had taken position, Mr Kowalski said. He also may have intended to kill them by blowing up the trailer, he said.

The fire set off ammunition in the truck but failed to ignite the trailer, which was filled with wood chips, ammonium nitrate, petrol and road flares, Mr Kowalski said.

Investigators found an assault rifle, a shotgun and a handgun on Sharp. He fired at least 100 rounds at the police station and Mr Kowalski counted at least 23 bullet strikes on the building.

Sharp was found dead after police fired an unknown number of rounds while pursuing him in a line of trees where he had taken cover and into an open field near the college.

His room-mate, Eric McClellan, said there was nothing about Sharp that would lead him to believe he would try to attack police.

Thieves break into expensive jewelry store -- London, England

Burglars broke into De Beers and Omega at the Royal Exchange in the City last night.

City of London police said they did not yet know the value of the stolen jewellery.

A spokesman said: ''Just after 10pm last night De Beers and Omega were broken into at the Royal Exchange and a burglary took place.

''Police are now investigating the incident.''

The Royal Exchange, built in 1565, is located between Threadneedle Street and Cornhill and boasts more than 30 luxury stores. A security guard working at the imposing white stone building said staff had been told the robbers entered through the back of the property.

The man, who did not want to be named, said: "We've been told that at about 10pm last night a BMW turned up at the back entrance, four men jumped out and managed to get inside the building somehow.

"At the moment we don't know how much has been taken, but with the price of some of the stuff inside these shops just a few items could easily run up to a very, very large amount.

"It's looking as though whoever has done this has been targeting the shops for a long time."

City of London police refused to be drawn on whether they are investigating claims that the robbers had arrived in a BMW.

A police spokesman said it was still too early in the investigation to determine the cost of the items taken.

A number of Royal Exchange security staff were the only people inside the building this morning.

The three men could be seen taking photographs and making measurements.

The up-market shopping centre, which is closed at the weekend, lies just yards from the Bank of England and sits in the heart of the City.

The front of the Grade 1 listed building boasts a vast Corinthian style eight pillared portico, with the entrance protected by sprawling green wrought iron gates.

The shopping centre, which houses high-end stores such as Gucci, Hermes and Cartier, specialist chocolatiers and tobacconists, has three other smaller entrances, each of these protected by iron gates.

The robbery comes almost a year after raiders stole £40 million worth of jewellery from Graff Diamonds in London's Mayfair district.

Prisoners set fires and generally raise hell -- Lancaster, OH

A riot involving 23 prisoners in the west cell block of the Main Street Jail prompted a lockdown and an eventual evacuation of the cell block Monday evening.

SWAT officers, Lancaster police officers, Lancaster Fire Department firefighters and police officers from Fairfield Medical Center converged on the jail at 7:30 p.m. after prisoners began lighting mattresses and toilet paper on fire and throwing items through the cell bars, Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen said.

In all, about 40 law enforcement officers and firefighters responded to the incident.

No one was injured in the riot, which was brought under control by 9 p.m., Phalen said.

Prisoners were strip-searched, bound with Flex-Cuffs and taken to the secure yard behind the jail while debris from the cell block was cleared.

Prisoners were being returned to their cells as of 11 p.m. Monday. Twenty-three prisoners were being housed in the west block's five cells at the time of the riot.

An investigation into the incident has begun, and Phalen said his office will review surveillance footage from the cell block to identify the cause of the riot and its instigators.

"We've had some problematic prisoners that are difficult prisoners to deal with," Phalen said. "We anticipate criminal charges including arson, rioting and property destruction against a number of prisoners."

Thief steals policeman's gun, badge, other items -- San Antonio, TX

Investigators with the U.S. Marshals Service are searching for a thief who broke into a Deputy Marshal's car last Thursday.

The car burglary happened outside the China Sea restaurant near I-10 and Wurzbach Road. Investigators say the thief stole a briefcase containing the policeman's gun, badge, passports, and credit cards among other items.

Investigators do have surveillance images of the man. They say the suspect used the stolen credit cards at an ATM, and used them to buy fuel from a gas station.

"This guy is dangerous," said Tom Smith, a supervisor with U.S. Marshal Services of Southern Texas. "He's probably into drugs. I mean he's pretty bold, and he's got a gun and a badge in his possession. So, we need to get him off the street. We need to get him off the street right away."

Flames for school administration offices -- Delta, MO

Crews continued to clean up after an arson at a southeast Missouri school damaged several administrators' offices.

The state fire marshal and Cape Girardeau have ruled the fire Friday at Delta High School an arson. The fire damaged offices of the principal, secretary, counselor, nurse and the records room. Nearby classrooms also had smoke damage.

Fire restoration crews and electrical contractors were at the school Monday to clean up the school. No suspect has been arrested.,0,7530895.story

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bikers cause cop to crash, taunt him after wreck -- Tukwila, WA

Talk about adding insult to injury.

A State Patrol trooper was pinned in his car, dazed and bleeding profusely from a neck injury after a rollover accident, but the first people who stopped by the side of the road didn't help.

Instead, two motorcyclists, who were part of a group the trooper had been chasing before he crashed, clapped and laughed at him Tuesday evening on Interstate 5 in Tukwila, the State Patrol says.

"Seeing a cop down was hysterical to them. They thought it was the funniest thing they ever saw," said Trooper Cliff Pratt, State Patrol spokesman. "They didn't know whether he was going to live or die and they didn't care. That's what makes it so hard to swallow."

After a night at Harborview Medical Center, Trooper Brian Salyer was released Wednesday and is recovering at home. Meanwhile, Pratt said detectives "have good descriptions and a really good idea of the group we are looking for," but declined to release additional details.

The State Patrol offered this account of the incident:

At about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Salyer spotted a group of about 10 motorcyclists on sports bikes racing over the interchange between southbound Interstate 405 and northbound Interstate 5 at speeds of more than 100 mph.

He attempted to pull them over, but they refused to stop. Salyer narrowed in on the pack's leader, trying to get identifying information from the motorcycle.

As he did, two other bikers in the group cut him off, forcing him to swerve and slam on his brakes.

Salyer lost control of his patrol car on the ramp from I-5 to northbound state Highway 599, struck the guardrail and rolled several times before ending up in a ditch.

As he lay pinned in his wrecked car, at least two of the motorcycle riders pulled up to within 30 feet of his car, got off their bikes and began clapping and laughing. They rode off as other motorists began pulling up to the scene.

Salyer was treated for a concussion, head and neck lacerations and bumps and bruises, the State Patrol said.

According to State Patrol spokeswoman Trooper Christina Martin, witnesses told police that there may have been as many as 60 to 70 riders in the group and that the two that taunted the trooper may have been behind his patrol car during the pursuit, she said.

Even if they weren't speeding, the two riders who taunted the trooper could face charges for failing to summon assistance for an injured person, Pratt said.

According to the state law, a person can be charged with the misdemeanor if he or she was present when a crime was committed, or knew that a person was injured, and failed to call for help.

State Patrol policy on the pursuit of motorcycles is not black and white, Martin said. While it's true that a patrol car cannot typically outrun a sports bike, it is not against policy to pursue riders in some instances.

"Realistically, it's pretty tough to catch them, but every once in a while they stop," said Martin.

According to Pratt, all of the motorcyclists in Tuesday's incident appeared to be riding Japanese sports bikes, which are also known as "crotch rockets" or "cafe-style motorcycles."

In contrast, according to Martin, riders of Harley-Davidson motorcycles generally cause fewer concerns for law enforcement on the roads. "Typically, our Harleys don't cause any trouble. They're riding around trying to be safe," Martin said.

Because the motorcycle-racing groups are "tightknit and don't trust or talk to law enforcement," detectives expect the investigation to take some time, Pratt said.

In addition, Salyer's car was not equipped with a dashboard camera, he said. Pratt said not every patrol car is equipped with a camera because of the $300 to $500 cost.

According to Pratt, troopers frequently encounter speeding motorcycle riders in the summer and they are not limited to riders on their way to impromptu rallies.

"It's a very, very small group, but it makes the rest look bad and casts a dark cloud over the entire sport ... ," said Pratt, who rides a motorcycle. "Their main goal is to go around violating traffic laws and using the highway system as their playground and they don't care if someone lives or dies."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Expensive identity theft for billionaire -- Los Angeles, CA

A criminal complaint alleges California billionaire Donald Bren has had a $1.4 million tax refund check stolen from him in an identity theft case.

Bren, who is listed by Forbes as the 45th wealthiest man in the world, was allegedly targeted by an unknown man who set up bank accounts in his name earlier this year. Federal court documents allege the man deposited the refund check into one of the accounts before transferring the money out.

He will not be held accountable for the stolen money, which will be taken by the bank or its insurance.

Bren is chairman of the Irvine Co., a private real estate company with an investment portfolio with more than 85 million square feet in Southern California. Bren's reported net worth is $12 billion.

Thieves steal expensive watches, throw expensive watches at cops -- London, England

Thieves with sledgehammers broke into a jewellers in a south-west London shopping centre and then pelted police with some of the watches they had stolen as they tried to escape.

Items valued at £500,000 were taken from Fraser Hart Jewellers at the Bentall Centre in Kingston upon Thames.

One of the shop's windows was smashed and a security guard was threatened in the raid, at 0030 BST on Wednesday.

Four men have been arrested in connection with the raid.

The suspects escaped on three mopeds and two men are still being sought.
Series of raids

Two men were arrested in Sandy Lane in Sutton, south-west London, after one moped crashed.

A tip-off led to two others being held in Cecil Road, Wimbledon, south-west London, a few hours later.

The four men are aged 21, 23, 26 and 32.

A police helicopter was involved in the search and a large number of the luxury watches have now been found, police said.

The Met believes the men may be linked to a larger criminal gang responsible for several similar raids across London in recent months.

Goods valued at more than £4m have been taken from branches of Watches of Switzerland, Cartier, Dolce and Gabbana, De Beers and Tiffany and Co.

A warm goodbye for closed fur farm -- Astoria, OR

Le communique:

"We delivered eight incendiary devices to the lovely folks at Ylipelto’s Fur Farm, at 92659 Simonsen Loop Road in Astoria on the morning of July 27th. It is nice to see that the enslavement, torture, and death of thousands of innocent creatures affords certain people luxuries like boats, nice cars, and various (expensive, no doubt) 'farm' machinery, and we were more than happy to alleviate them of these. A careful attack sent structures up in flame both in the front and rear of the property, simultaneously. We hope that this can leave an impression on our friends, Veikko & Eeva, that making such a living off of the subjugation of sentient creatures (for something as selfish and disgusting as the fashion industry, no less) will not be tolerated. We hope that others like them will also consider where their priorities lie (the nearby Wilkinson & Stunkard farms, to name a couple), and decide whether or not they’d like to be next.

– Don’t think that you’ve be given a choice; your actions serve as your voice."

Wal-Mart bank robbery -- Galax, TN

Galax police are searching for suspects in a bank robbery yesterday.

At approximately 2 p.m. on Wednesday a female, approximately 5'4" with dirty blonde hair, entered and robbed the Wood Forest National Bank located in the Galax Wal-Mart.

She was wearing blue jeans, a baseball cap, a black t-shirt and white tennis shoes. She discarded the hat and shirt before exiting the Wal-Mart.

Police are also searching for a male wearing heavy coat, blue jeans, mirrored sunglasses and a white baseball cap.

New courthouse receives damage -- Moncton, Canada

Vandals did more than $10,000 worth of damage to the new Moncton courthouse and construction equipment at that site last weekend.

Codiac Regional RCMP are investigating major vandalism done inside the new Moncton justice centre which is presently under construction. Over $10,000 in damage was done over several floors of the courthouse.

The building has been under construction for some time and is scheduled to be finished in the next few months. Police were called on Tuesday after a construction crew arrived at the scene and discovered the premises had been broken into and vandalized.

Police believe the damage was done sometime between early Saturday morning and Monday afternoon. A window was broken and graffiti was painted on the inside and outside walls of the building.

Also, cabinets and containers of paint were dragged out of the building and thrown off the roof. Many landed on heavy equipment machinery causing extensive damage.

Several floors of the courthouse were damaged in the vandalism spree.

"They just really made a big mess," says Codiac RCMP Const. Chantal Farrah. "They went in there to destroy."

RCMP Forensic Identification experts were called to the scene and seized several items which will be examined.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Erica Parker says it's not known yet if the damage will cause any delays in the project.

"$10,000 is quite a bit of damage, but a lot of the damage is aesthetic, not structural," she says.

Still more smash n' grabs -- Albany, GA

Smash-and-grab burglars damaged two more Albany businesses early this morning. Store owners say they are frightened and frustrated by repeated break-ins and thefts, that cost them big money.

Thieves smashed out windows at an East Albany billing center and a South Albany convenience store and ransacked both businesses this morning, in what business owners say is an almost everyday crime event.

And it seems no matter how well they fortify their stores, the thieves keep coming back.

Surveillance video from the Albany Deli and Food Mart at South Westover and Oakridge shows a man battering down the front window with a hammer, and heads straight for the Newport cigarettes.

"Yea, it's a mess," Store owner Jolly Singh said. "I got to clean up everything. All that. And I hate to see people doing that."

Across town on Cordele Road, about an hour earlier, a thief threw a cinder block through the double front doors at the Artesian Billing and Computers. He says this crime is out of control.

"It is literally a war zone," CEO Errol Markland said.

Markland put up the two layers of store front, surveillance cameras, alarm systems to discourage these smash and grabs, but the thieves still keep smashing in. Nothing was taken, but it will cost 800 dollars to repair the doors. Markland says the thieves are desperate.

"A lot of people out of work, have to feed their family. Get their children back to school so, there is a need for money, and the only way they can do it without a job is to steal," Markland said.

Markland says despite all his security measures, he keeps his gun close at hand. "My employees are worried. They're scared. They worry about their safety."

The Food Mart bandit stole several cartons of cigarettes, but did hundreds of dollars of damage to the store. Now Singh says he will put iron bars across the front of his business, to try to stop the wave of smash and grab thefts.

Both these businesses have been broken into before. District Attorney Greg Edwards says these smash and grab thieves need to remember, if caught they could spend 25 years in prison, and that is a high price for a few packs of cigarettes.

College billboard defaced -- West Palm Beach, FL

If you haven driven east on okeechobee through downtown West Palm Beach to get to your favorite break on the island, I'm sure you've seen the big billboard on the right just before passing Palm Beach Atlantic University. PBA has been promoting the school by how close it is to the beach. It said "FAST LANE, PBA style" and had a skimmer ripping a wave on it. Some though the dude looked like local shredder WILL SMITH. It wasn't. Reguardless, the vandals spray painted "Daddy's $ can't buy you this wave"

The notoriously expensive christian school (20k per semester) said campus security is investigating the crime. Hard to believe nobody was seen climbing up the billboard and spray painting that whole sentence that takes up the entire sign. I mean, Okeechobee is a pretty busy road, even in the middle of the night. Not to mention all the condos around.

University closed after fee hike riots -- Chittagong, Bangladesh

The Bangladesh's Chittagong University (CU) was closed in the country's second largest city Chittagong, 242 km southeast of capital Dhaka, Monday till Sept. 15 following fierce clashes between law enforcers and striking students on the campus.

The university authority at an emergency meeting decided to close the university and asked the male residential students to vacate their dormitories by Monday, and female students by 10:00 a. m. local time on Tuesday, private news agency UNB reported.

At least 100 persons, including 2 police personnel and a journalist, were injured in a series of clashes between police and the striking students on CU campus for four hours Monday morning.

Police charged batons and fired at least fifty tear gas shells to disperse the students.

The law enforcers rounded up at least 70 students after raiding three male dormitories.

A section of the CU students have been protesting since July 26 pressing their three-point demand including cancellation of fee hike.

Thousands of students brought out processions in front of the university's administrative building and the vice-chancellor's office.

Agitating students ransacked almost all faculty buildings, administrative building and IT building and put the science, arts, business studies and social science faculties under lock and key Monday, according to UNB.

The agitating students later damaged at least ten vehicles, including the car of the pro-vice chancellor.

Additional police and Rapid Action Battalion personnel were deployed on the campus to avert any untoward incidents.

Vandals shoot out police and other car windows -- Kearns, UT

About a half-dozen cars, including a Unified Police Department vehicle, had their windows shot out sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

"At least four or five vehicles were hit," said UPD Lt. Don Hutson.

The vandalism spree happened along Impressions Drive, near 5500 West, and between 5700 South and 5900 South, Hutson said. Cars parked along the street or in their driveways had their side or rear windows shot out. The back window of a UPD Durango was among the vehicles hit.

"It appears some sort of object was propelled into the windows," Hutson said.

The object may have been bigger than a pellet or BB, he said. Early damage was estimated with in the thousands of dollars.

Armored car heist -- St. Louis, MO

Heavily armed bandits pulled off a daring armored-car heist early Monday morning in midtown St. Louis and fled with cash, the guards' weapons — and the armored car itself.

The guards were tied up with duct tape and locked in a vault, but police say no one was injured in the 5:30 a.m. holdup Monday inside the armored-car company at 3721 Grandel Square.

The business, ATM Solutions Inc., stocks ATMs around the St. Louis The area is west of the Fox Theater, Grandel Theater and the Sheldon Concert Hall.

The four men, dressed in all black and wearing masks, were armed with assault weapons. The armored car was found abandoned about eight blocks away, but the four robbers are still on the loose, said Police Capt. Mike Caruso, commander of the St. Louis Police Department's 9th District.

"It's certainly alarming, to say the least," Caruso said. "It was carefully planned. They knew what they were doing."

They apparently waited on the lot until the first employee arrived at 5 a.m., police say. They followed him into the gray brick building and took his gun away. They forced him to punch in the security code of the vault, then waited for a second employee, who arrived at about 5:30 a.m. The business requires two employees to punch in codes before gaining access to the money, police said.

"They knew it took two people to get into the vault," Caruso said.

The robbers took several containers of money, which could amount to millions, but police aren't saying how much was taken. They took the keys to one of the company's armored cars on the parking lot, loaded the money containers into the van and drove away.

The guards were rescued about 6 a.m. when a supervisor got to work and found them tied up. That's when they called police.

The parking lot has several surveillance cameras. Police were reviewing those tapes.

Police dispatchers broadcasting an alert for police in other jurisdictions said the robbers took a 2008 Ford Econoline van that had been modified to be used as an armored car. But that van was found about 7:30 a.m. in the 4400 block of Evans Street.

The van says "ATM Solutions" on the side. ATM Solutions Inc., based in Cincinnati, is an armored car company that replenishes ATMs. Police initially thought a second vehicle, an orange Scion, might be involved. Witnesses had seen the car idling nearby before the robbery.

One of the robbers was said to be armed with a small Uzi. Another had an AR15 rifle, and two carried .45-caliber semiautomatic handguns.

The guards' weapons were also taken: .38-caliber revolvers.

No shots were fired, but one of the robbers emptied live rounds from the guard's weapon onto the ground outside the building, Caruso said.

Paul Scott, a spokesman for ATM Solutions' headquarters in Cincinnati, declined comment on the robbery. He said it was too early in the investigation to make a comment.

The FBI and the St. Louis Police Department are working together on the investigation.

Police also recovered a black Pontiac Grand Am about 10:30 a.m. Monday in the 3700 block of Martin Luther King Drive. Police aren't sure if it's connected to the robbery.

This robbery is similar to the still-unsolved robbery at the United Missouri Bank in downtown St. Louis on Oct. 23, 1992. In that case, a Brinks Inc. guard was wheeling a dolly loaded with bags of cash from the bank vault to an armored truck. He was forced at gunpoint into a dark room and tied up with tape.

After that 1992 holdup, the robbers took an elevator to a 13th-floor restroom in the adjoining 20-story Equitable Building, 10 South Broadway, where they left white coveralls they had worn in the holdup.