Saturday, January 31, 2009

Home James

My guess is, after this, he won't be interning at the DA's office anymore.

Do you know who I....was?
By Laurel J. Sweet-Boston

Stinking of booze, Ivy League irritant Charles Claudio Simpkins, 24, allegedly climbed into the back of a police cruiser dispersing night crawlers from the Theater District early Saturday morning and in a refreshing new twist on “Do you know who I am?” demanded of officers, “(Expletive) you, give me a (expletive) ride, I work for the district attorney’s office.”

Simpkins, a politically active conservative, is in his final year at Harvard Law School and - until his bust on charges of being disorderly and resisting arrest - was hand-picked by Harvard to be an intern in Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley’s office.

As an aspiring lawyer, Simpkins perhaps should have known that statements he made to the cops can and likely will be used against him when he’s arraigned next month in Boston Municipal Court.

The career-making lines allegedly include:

“This ain’t (expletive) because I work at the DA’s office. Don’t worry, I will beat this.”

“You (expletives) all lie. That’s why no one likes you (expletives).”

“Dan Conley is a (expletive), but he’ll get you (expletives).”

“If (I) ever get one of (you) on the stand, (I) will lie and cheat to hurt (you) (expletives).”

And its not the cheese

Why were procedures ignored?

Why did it take so long for the audit report to be disclosed?

Methinks something may be rotten in the State of Denmark.

Judson ISD becomes target of probe
By Lindsay Kastner - Express-News

The Judson Independent School District is now the target of a federal probe, spurred by an audit critical of its construction practices.

“The FBI is looking into the matter,” agency spokesman Erik Vasys said Friday. He would not elaborate.

Judson school board President June Adair said she was aware of the situation but had not spoken about it with the superintendent and did not know what federal agents might have requested from the district.

“I have not been contacted by the FBI — yet,” Adair said.

Board member Johnny Harris, whose questions led to the audit, said he had heard from employees that federal agents have started combing through district records.

A spokesman for the district issued a statement saying it will cooperate with any law enforcement agency that contacts it.

“I think really it's all been good news,” Harris said. “There's too many unanswered questions and too much slight of hand.”

Last spring, the district hired a law firm to look into its construction program after problems arose with several projects and both Harris and the public began to raise questions.

The audit found district leaders disregarded everything from state procurement laws to the Texas Constitution to in-house policies, leaving the district vulnerable to legal attacks.

Harris said he welcomed any investigation from both the FBI and Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed, who has issued a subpoena for the audit report. A spokesman for her office said she is awaiting a response from trustees.

“Temporarily this is terrible,” said Orlando Lopez, a district resident who helped form the Judson Accountability Group about a year ago to press the district for more information about how it is spending bond money.

But in the long run, an investigation may be the best thing for Judson, Lopez said.

“I hope that if there is any criminal activity, that those who participated in it are found out and that justice is served,” he said. If so, “the bottom line is that they stole from our kids.”

The fast-growing district is in the midst of work on a $236 million bond approved by voters in 2006.

The audit detailed how the district handed hefty design contracts to PBK architects, promising the firm work from the 2006 bond in exchange for earlier free services. In one instance, the district requested bids for design projects but offered the jobs to PBK even though the firm was not among the 17 to return bids.

Joel HernĂ¡ndez, PBK's partner in charge for San Antonio, has not returned repeated calls for comment.

The audit report — marked attorney-client privileged — was kept under wraps until it was leaked to the media last week, although trustees George Flores and Richard LaFoille had voted in October to make the document public.

Adair said she would plan a board meeting for late next week — after some other board members return from a conference in Washington. — to discuss these latest developments.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I spy with my little eye in the sky

Thank you Google. Another tool in the arsenal of law enforcement.

Problematic as to admissibility at trial. Good enough for probable cause in my opinion.

Get your very own free Google Earth here: Google Earth

Swiss police spy marijuana field with Google earth

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) - Swiss police said Thursday they stumbled across a large marijuana plantation while using Google Earth, the search engine company's satellite mapping software.

Police said the find was part of a bigger investigation that led to the arrest of 16 people and seizure of 1.2 tons (1.1 metric tons) of marijuana as well as cash and valuables worth 900,000 Swiss francs ($780,000).

Officers discovered the hemp field in the northeastern canton (state) of Thurgau last year while investigating an alleged drug ring, said the head of Zurich police's specialist narcotics unit Norbert Klossner.

The plantation, measuring almost two acres (7,500 square meters), was hidden inside a field of corn. But officers using Google Earth to locate the address of two farmers suspected of involvement in the drug operation quickly spotted the illegal crop.

"It was an interesting chance discovery," said Klossner.

Prosecutor Gabi Alkalay told reporters in Zurich that she plans to complete her criminal investigation in February, after which she will formally charge the 16 suspects and ask for prison sentences for all of them.

The gang is alleged to have sold up to 7 tons (7.7 US tons) of hashish and marijuana between 2004 and 2008, with an annual turnover of 3-10 million francs a year, officials said.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not the great escape


This is just too funny. The two were trying to escape from Court.

Well, let's just go to the video.

One of the worst escape attempts ever

Mail Online-

It was less than a Great Escape.

Two New Zealand prisoners who were handcuffed together as they fled a courthouse foiled their own getaway when they ran to opposite sides of a lamp-post, slammed into each other and fell to the ground.

Jailers nabbed them as they struggled to their feet.

Their escapade on Wednesday was captured by a CCTV camera at Hastings District Court on New Zealand's North Island. The footage shows the two men trying to make a break for it - but apparently forgetting they were joined at the wrist.

Hastings police Senior Sgt. Dave Greig said one inmate, Regan Reti, 20, had just been sent to prison for more than two years after being convicted of assault.

The other inmate, Tiranara White, 21, was in custody for allegedly stealing a car and violating parole.

'As they were being led from the Hastings police cells ... they made a bolt for freedom,' Greig said today.

"They fell over and they were sprayed with pepper spray. But they got up and ran out of the court onto the street, across the road to a car park," he said.

'That's where they met the pole - it was all over, rover.'

The pair were back in court today, facing fresh charges of escaping from custody.

Police said Reti, who pleaded guilty to the charge, had a month added to his prison term. White did not enter a plea. He will remain in police custody while a psychiatric evaluation is carried out.

Grainy footage of the escapade shown on TV One News was billed as 'one of the worst escape attempts ever seen.'

You've come a long way, baby!

Equality and opportunity for women is reaching into all facets of American society.

I guess why not in crime as well?

Officials: female criminals increasing
-The Herald Zeitung

Within the first month of 2009, city police have announced arrests of two females alleged to be involved in New Braunfels bank robberies.

Officials say this is a rare occurrence, which could be increasing.

The FBI recorded 101 bank robberies in 2008 in the area from San Antonio to Waco. San Antonio area FBI spokesman Eric Vasses said only two of them were committed by women, and one had a female accomplice.

Out of this year’s 10 bank robberies, Vasses said two of them had been committed by women.

“It isn’t something we see a lot of,” New Braunfels Police Department spokesman Lt. Michael Penshorn said. “We had two female bank robberies recently, but historically and statistically, there are more males than females committing violent crimes.”

According to city data in the FBI’s yearly Uniform Crime Report, between 2006 and 2007 police arrested 68,278 people for robbery. Only 11 percent, or 8,012 were women.

The report also shows that out of the total 6,991,506 violent crimes, 1,744,628 — or about 24 percent — were committed by women.

“I’ve heard from several police departments that more females have been involved in violent crimes lately,” Vasses said. “There was a time when there were nearly no female criminals. It is an equal employment opportunity issue, though.”

Penshorn said aside from the two bank robberies, he has not seen a significant increase in female criminals.

“People commit crimes regardless of gender,” he said.

Both Penshorn and Comal County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Mark Reynolds discussed some of the recent cases of females committing violent crimes.

Tonya Renee Martin, 41, was arrested after officers allege on Nov. 19, 2008, she beat and tied up her 68-year-old mother and took her own 6-year-old daughter to a known drug-trafficking apartment in Austin.

On Dec. 2, 2008, Davia Ann Clark, 39, received an 18-year jail sentence after pleading guilty to five charges, including forgery and fraud.

Laurie Lynette Wolfe was arrested by San Antonio Police Department in early January. Police allege she committed at least five robberies, including a Dec. 29 heist at the International Bank of Commerce inside H-E-B on South Walnut Avenue.

Within weeks of Wolfe’s arrest, police arrested Mary Jo Munoz, who they allege robbed the Wells Fargo Bank at 1000 North Walnut Ave.. Neither woman used a weapon in the robberies.

On Jan. 15, officers allege April Wyne Diaz, 24, shot and killed her one-time step-father at their residence.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

DWI Seminar Day Apology

I am sorry I missed my morning posting today.

I was out of town at a DWI seminar in Bandera for law enforcement and prosecutors put on by the Texas Distriact and County Attorney's Association.

It was a wonderful seminar, very informative and probably the best I have gone to in 20 years.

Plus it was in Bandera Texas. What a great location, look it up in Google if you do not know about it look here. Bandera, Texas

See y'all tomorrow!

Man o' Law

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another multiple murder-suicide

Not another one!

This one according to the LAPD apparently may have been precipitated by a job loss.

God rest their souls.

5 children, 2 adults found dead in home

WILMINGTON, Calif. -- A man apparently upset about his job situation killed his wife and five children before committing suicide at their home, police said.

Responding to a report of a shooting, cops made the grisly discovery of the bodies of a man, a woman, an 8-year-old girl, two 5-year-old twin girls and a set of twin 2-year-old boys, according to LAPD Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner.

"He was despondent, clearly, over his job situation," Garner said of the father.

The gruesome find was made shortly after 8 a.m. in the 1000 block of MacFarland Avenue, said Officer Sam Park of the LAPD's Media Relations unit. Wilmington, about 18 miles south of downtown, is a 10-square-mile community adjacent to the Port of Los Angeles.

Police said the bodies were scattered throughout the McFarland Avenue house.

Either before or after killing his family, the man sent a two-page typewritten letter to KABC-TV, Garner said. The Burbank-based television station called police in that suburb, Garner said.

"Obviously he wanted somebody to find the bodies," Garner said.

Garner said he didn't exactly know the man's job situation, but "it wasn't going well at work."

"In the note, he clearly said he was going to kill himself, his wife and his kids," Garner said.

Radio station KFWB's Pete Demetriou reported the man worked at a Kaiser hospital in Los Angeles.

Authorities withheld the names of the dead, pending family notification.

Los Angeles firefighters and paramedics were also dispatched to the site. News helicopters showed a sizable two-story tract home with a red tiled roof on a tidy street. A children's playset was in the backyard.

A crappy attorney

You thought you had a shitty day?

Think about this poor schmo.

Man attacks his lawyer in court with feces

A mistrial was declared Monday when a home-invasion robbery suspect smeared human feces on his attorney's face then threw more at the jury.

Weusi McGowan, 37, was upset because San Diego Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Fraser refused to remove Deputy Alternate Public Defender Jeffrey Martin from the case, prosecutor Christopher Lawson said.

At the mid-morning break, McGowan produced a plastic baggie filled with fecal matter and spread it on Martin's hair and face, then flung the excrement toward the jury box, hitting the briefcase of juror No. 9 but missing the juror himself.

"That juror didn't even see it coming," Lawson said.The prosecutor said the defendant was compliant after the outburst and was taken into custody without further incident.

After lunch, Fraser dismissed the jury, telling them McGowan would have to get a new lawyer and that his trial would be delayed.

The judge scheduled a status conference for Feb. 9 and raised the defendant's bail from $250,000 to $1 million, finding he is a danger to the community.

Lawson said McGowan originally became upset last week when he claimed one of the jurors saw him in shackles as he entered the courtroom. Fraser dismissed all jurors who saw the defendant in shackles, the prosecutor said."The judge had been very fair," Lawson said. "All jurors who saw it were dismissed."Fraser had also denied McGowan's attempt to represent himself, saying the request was untimely, Lawson said.

The prosecutor said the defendant had previously wiped human feces on himself and was examined by doctors to ensure he was mentally competent to stand trial.

McGowan is charged with kidnapping for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and other counts and could face assault charges in connection with the attack on his attorney and jury, Lawson said.

The prosecutor said the defendant hit a man with a rock in a sock as the victim came out of his home to investigate a commotion on Oct. 17, 2007.

McGowan allegedly ransacked the man's apartment then stole some of the victim's belongings and took off in the victim's car. He was arrested 20 minutes later, Lawson said.

Eight is enough

I couldn't let the day go by without commenting on this story.

What a miracle! I hope the children all stay healthy and get to go home soon.

This is a real challenge. I have triplets, I cannot imagine what this would be like. All of you who know them please be supportive and helping.

God Bless them.

Mother gives birth to healthy octuplets!

BELLFLOWER (CBS)- Doctors say the next few days will be critical for eight babies born to a mother at a hospital in Bellflower. All are listed in stable condition.

Their birth marked the second time in history live octuplets have been born.

"Today we had an unprecedented, very exciting day in our operating room and labor delivery where our team of 46 physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists as well as surgical techs delivered eight babies, all live born," Dr. Karen Maples said at the Kaiser Permanente hospital. "It was a truly, truly amazing delivery. The babies are currently in stable condition."

Kaiser spokeswoman Mayra Suarez said the birth began at 10:43 a.m., and the babies range from 1 pound 8 ounces to 3 pounds 4 ounces.

Doctors said two of the babies, who were delivered by Caesarian section, have had breathing tubes inserted and were on ventilators, and a third needs some additional oxygen. But overall, the infants were crying and kicking and doing well.

The mother was also doing well, doctors said. The mother has asked to remain anonymous and asked officials not to release detailed information about her care -- including whether she had been taking fertility drugs.

"The delivery process went very smoothly," Dr. Harold Henry said. "We practiced several dry runs and the actual delivery process only took about five minutes to deliver all eight babies."

Maples said the babies were delivered about nine weeks premature, and doctors were only anticipating seven of them.

"In anticipation of seven babies, we made sure we were prepared by doing some drills, some preliminary dry runs to make sure we had everything in place for these seven babies," Maples said. "But lo and behold, after we got to Baby G, which is what we expected, we were surprised by the discovery of a Baby H, and that was the eighth baby that we delivered."

Doctors said the first three to seven days are a critical time for such a mass, premature birth, but said the prognosis looked good for all of them. They also said it was not unusual for doctors to have been surprised by the eighth baby.

"It is quite easy to miss a baby when you have seven," Henry said. "When you're anticipating seven, it is extremely difficult to perform an ultrasound."

The first live-born octuplets, six girls and two boys, were born in Houston in 1998. One of the girls died after a week.

The Kaiser Permanente doctors said they were still getting over the surprise of the octuplet birth.

"It was a shock, especially with the eighth baby, my eyes were definitely wide," Maples said. "... And this patient was incredibly courageous, very strong, did all that we asked to ... have an optimal outcome for delivery. She was a marvelous patient."

No joke

This was absolutely horrible. One of the bloodiest, cold-blooded murder rampage I can remember.

I hope he gets the justice he deserves.

My heart goes out to the families.

Kim De Gelder, aged 20, was arrested last Friday shortly after stabbing two babies and one of their carers to death in a gruesome attack that has stunned Belgium. He was dressed and apparently wearing make-up that gave him the appearance of the Batman character the Joker.

Investigators are examining whether the attack was timed to mark the first anniversary of the death of Heath Ledger, the actor who played the Joker in the film Batman, The Dark Knight.

It has emerged that when he was arrested, Mr De Gelder's only words were: "I have a question".

The words echo a scene in Batman: the Dark Knight when the Joker violently gatecrashes a party looking for a the fictional attorney general of Gotham City, Harvey Dent.

"I only have one question: where is Harvey Dent? I'll settle for his loved ones," says the character played by Ledger, before threatening a woman with a knife.

Patrick De Mey, the police officer who arrested Mr De Gelder, described the suspect as being in a passive and trance-like state.

"When I asked him to step off his bicycle and put his backpack on the ground he obeyed perfectly," he told the Gazet Van Antwerpen.

"But in answer to my questions, he clearly had no understanding. He continued to stare at me all the time with wide open eyes and a large grin on his face."

Mr De Gelder has been described by former schoolmates and work colleagues as a "film freak" and "movie addict".

Since his capture, he has not spoken and has gone on hunger strike.

He was reported to be on an intravenous drip in a medical facility in a prison in Bruges on Sunday night.

Ledger died of a drug overdose on Jan 22, 2008, a year and a day before Mr De Gelder is accused of carrying out the attack.

According to witness statements and police drawings, the suspect had painted his face white, blackened his eyes and had coloured his hair red.

His gruesome and bizarre garb prompted investigators to make the Joker comparison and make a link to another cult Goth film, The Crow, which inspired Ledger in his Batman role.

Belgium's Le Soir newspaper has even speculated on the significance of the fact that the name Gelder is an anagram for Ledger.

The Fabeltjesland, or Storyland, creche in the town of Dendermonde where the attack took place has been permanently closed to prevent children and parents being "constantly confronted with the buildings where the attack occurred".

Corneel Vermeir, aged six months, Leon Garcia, nine months, and their carer Marita Blindeman, 54, were killed on Friday when the assailant entered the creche and began to slash at the children and their adult supervisers.

Sources have said that when Mr De Gelder was arrested he had the addresses of three other creches on his person.

The theory that more attacks were planned is supported by evidence that the suspect was armed with three knives, an axe and a replica pistol.

Mr De Gelder will be examined by three psychiatrists before a closed court hearing on Tuesday decides if he is mentally responsible for his actions.

The young man, who lived his whole life within three miles of the family home, in the Eksaarde district of Sinaai, has emerged as a troubled loner.

Former classmates at the Roman Catholic Sint Carolus school, in the town of Sint Niklaas, described him as a fan of Goth music who could sometimes behave oddly.

He was nicknamed Satan because of his long black hair.

Mr De Gelder studied to become a chemist's assistant and successfully completed his exams in 2006.

Denial of review

This was a horrible crime.

She was by all accounts a wonderful teacher and woman.

He is now one step closer to having his sentence carried out.
U.S. Supreme Court refuses review of case
By Michael Graczyk - Associated Press

HOUSTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to review the conviction of a man sent to death row for the rape and slaying of a San Antonio high school teacher.

Ronnie Joe Neal, 38, was condemned for the 2004 fatal shooting of Diane Tilly, 58. She was missing from her Alamo Heights home for nearly two weeks when police found her body in a rural area of Bexar County.

The Supreme Court refusal is an early stage of Neal's appeals. His lawyers could file another round of appeals.

Neal does not have an execution date.

Neal's then 16-year-old daughter, Pearl Cruz, also was involved in the slaying. Testimony showed she knocked on the victim's door under the pretense of needing to use the phone, and when Tilly let her in both she and her father barged in. Neal raped the teacher while the teen held a gun on her.

They also robbed the woman of jewelry, forced her to divulge the password to her ATM card so they could take money from her bank account and then took her away in her own car, which later was set on fire. Evidence showed Neal shot Tilly six times.

Cruz testified against her father in exchange for a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. She testified her father had sexually abused her for years before the murder and sold her to other men for cash and drugs. Cruz gave birth to a son who was fathered by Neal.

At his trial, Neal's attorneys argued he was mentally retarded and should be spared the death penalty. A Bexar County jury disagreed.

Evidence showed Neal tried but failed to use a condom when he raped Tilly, then doused her with hydrogen peroxide in hopes of destroying his DNA. He also used Tilly's .357-caliber pistol for the murder weapon instead of his own gun, which would have discharged casings.

The pair was arrested after using the victim's credit cards.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Holy Cow Batman!


How can Batman save the world at this rate!

Busted for wearing a mask in public. Doh!

Related Links

TAMPA - Batman has had a slew of enemies over the years – The Joker, The Riddler, Catwoman – but in Ybor City last year, he added a new nemesis: Tampa police.

Ybor City's version of the Caped Crusader –his real name is Walsh Ian Nichols – was sitting on a curb eating sushi on Oct. 21 when an officer arrested him for wearing a mask on a public street.

Nichols, 21, failed to use a batarang or fancy equipment to escape the officer. Now he is fighting back in court. His lawyer has filed a motion to dismiss, which will be heard next month.

"Law enforcement approached and detained Nichols who was sitting on the curb eating sushi and wearing traditional Batman apparel, complete with cape and partial mask," the motion to dismiss states. "It was a dark day for the Dark Knight, as he was subsequently placed under arrest for wearing a hood on a public street."

During an interview tonight, Nichols said a sergeant in Ybor City had an issue with his costume and caused him to land _ Pow! Zap! _ in the slammer. The sergeant, Nichols said, had previously advised him to unmask himself and told a fellow officer to arrest him.

"They actually didn't let me finish my sushi,'' Nichols said.

The legal argument outlined in the motion is that the law under which Nichols was arrested is aimed at combating hooded Ku Klux Klan members. The law was crafted to stop crime committers, not crime fighters, the motion states.

According to the motion to dismiss:

A Tampa police sergeant saw a Batman figure drive by on a motorcycle near East 7th Avenue and North 15th Street. The sergeant told Officer Lisa Cordero to track down Nichols, as the sergeant "had apparently advised Nichols to unmask himself three weeks earlier."

Nichols was stopped at East 9th Avenue and North 15th Street and arrested. In addition to the charge of illegally wearing a mask, he was charged with driving a motorcycle without a motorcycle license.

The anti-mask law was created in 1951:

"No person or persons over 16 years of age shall, while wearing any mask, hood, or device whereby any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer, enter upon, or be or appear upon any lane, walk, alley, street, road, highway, or other public way in this state."

The law is part of a section of Florida Statutes relating to criminal anarchy, treason and other crimes against public order.

"The Defendant would note that the Batman character has always fought against such nefarious deeds," the motion states.

Nichols said if investigators search hard enough, they can determine just about anyone is breaking some law.

"There's a godawful lot of laws," he said.

He said he wishes he could go back to the good old days when he could walk around Ybor as the man in the suit.

"I can't go down there really anymore," he said. "Every time I go down there, me and my friends get dirty looks. My friends, meaning, my friend that dresses like Robin."

He's not kidding!

I bet he was.

Driver tells police after crash, "I'm wrecked, Dude"

A man crashed his car into a fence in the wee hours Saturday, got out of his car and told a Port Richey police officer he was drunk and didn’t have a license.

According to a report from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, a Port Richey officer spotted the car going nearly 20 miles over the speed limit on U.S. 19 a little after 2 a.m.

Just as the officer was about to turn on his light, the car veered left, bounced over a curb and smashed into a chain link fence.

A man and woman inside the car were not injured.

The driver’s side door had a metal pole through it, so the driver — later identified as Eric Marusak, 37, of New Port Richey — crawled out the passenger door.

“I’m wrecked, dude,” he told the officer.

Marusak laughed and then added, “I got a suspended license.”

He soon stopped laughing and got angry — kicking the officer in the groin and leg, cursing at him, punching him and then acted like a dog, growling and trying to bite him, according to law enforcement.

Marusak was arrested and charged with DUI, resisting an officer with violence, refusing to take a breath test, battery on a law enforcement officer, simple assault on a law enforcement officer, criminal mischief and violating a pre-trial release.

He is being held without bail at the Land O’Lakes jail.

Go to jail, do not pass go

I don't know what a Nueces County jury would have given him but here in Comal County they would have most likely given him life in prison.

No, I am not kidding.

Man gets 25 years in sex case plea
By Mary Ann Cavazos

— A 28-year-old man took a 25-year prison sentence on Wednesday for molesting three children to avoid having a Nueces County jury decide his fate.

Jurors in Jose Valdez's trial already had heard testimony from four witnesses including the detective who took his confession and a forensic psychiatrist when Valdez agreed to a plea deal.

Valdez pleaded guilty to six counts-- three for aggravated sexual assault of a child and three for indecency with a child, before visiting Judge Robert Pate.

As part of the agreement, Valdez was sentenced to 25 years on each aggravated sexual assault count and 20 years on each indecency count. The sentences will run concurrently.

Valdez originally was declared incompetent in late 2007 and committed to a state hospital. But last summer, he was re-evaluated and found fit to stand trial, according to court records.

Prosecutor Sandra Caggiano said the plea deal ensured Valdez would go to prison and spared his victims, one as young as 5, from having to testify. Relatives of the victims approved of the agreement, she added.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


What was he thinking?

That he was on Iron Chef America and the secret ingredient was people??


Sushi Chef accused of attacking man in road rage incident

NEW YORK (CBS) ― A wild road rage incident on Staten Island could've been a scene right out of a movie.

An angry sushi chef is accused of slicing up another driver during a dispute on the side of the road. But as CBS 2 HD found out, both drivers are facing charges.

"I thought I was dying," Jack Zaiback said. "I actually said a couple of prayers in the EMS."

One minute Zaiback was driving to work; the next, he said, he was fighting off a knife-wielding sushi chef.

"What he did to Mr. Zaiback was he treated him like a slab of tuna. I'll put it that way," attorney Alex Grosshtern said.

Zaiback, 23, was commuting from Brooklyn to a cell phone store he owns in New Jersey when he crossed paths with 37-year-old Yao Zhou and an incident of road rage went off the deep end.

The two men were driving south here on the Western Shore Expressway. Zaiback said he pulled over after accidentally cutting off Zhou. That's when he said Zhou started cutting him.

Zaiback said Zhou first approached the car, but when Zaiback tried exchanging license and insurance information, the attack began.

"He kept trying to reach for my neck and he actually got me right here," Zaiback said pointing. "He did it like seven, eight times."

Zaiback received 100 stitches.

Police have filed assault charges against Zhou and Zaiback, but Zaiback's lawyer said his client's wounds should convince the court his client is a victim.

"This could have easily been a homicide and in my opinion should be charged as attempted murder," Grosshtern said.

Zhou's lawyer declined to speak on camera but told CBS 2 HD there are two sides to every story and, "the truth will come out in time."

Zaiback said he sees meaning in his brush with death.

"I guess God did make a miracle," he said. "Maybe he's trying to make me wake up to something that I'm not doing the right way."

But, he said he has no idea what struck a sushi chef's raw nerve that day.

Zaiback said if it weren't for a passing highway NYPD unit that intervened he could have been killed.

Both men are due in court next month.

War on the streets

This will stir up the gun control crowd for sure.

Look for a new assault rifle ban coming to a legislature near you soon.

Victims say masked gunman responsible for shootings

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Miami police issued a plea for information Saturday after at least one person with an assault rifle opened fire on a crowd of people on a streetcorner Friday night, killing two teens and wounding seven other people.
Miami police cordon off the area where a crowd of people was fired upon Friday night.

"We need the community to come together, someone come forward and give us a tip," Miami Police Officer Kenia Alfonso told CNN.

"There are a lot of people in that area. Someone must have seen something, someone must know who could've done this horrific crime."

Alfonso said two teens, ages 16 and 18, died in the attack, which broke up a game of craps in front of a grocery store about 9:50 p.m. Friday in the city's Liberty City neighborhood.

Five of the shooting victims were still in the hospital Saturday night, according to CNN affiliate WSVN.

Others told WSVN that a masked man with an AK-47 burst onto the scene and ordered everyone to the ground.

"Boy came round the corner; he was like, 'Get down,' and he just started shooting," 16-year-old victim Andrew Jackson told WSVN. Video Watch as resident describes scene as "war zone" »

Six of the nine shot were current or former Northwestern Senior High School students, Alfonso said.

"It was like a war zone," resident Joan Rutherford told WSVN. "I witnessed this guy laying there with his face, looked like it was completely tore off. His eyes was all I could see, and he had a grip on some money and gasping and trying to lift his head up to say something."

Police Chief John Timoney said that at least one man with an AK-47 "discharged numerous rounds, then ran around the corner. There were some more rounds discharged there from an AK-47 and another weapon."

One of those wounded was in critical condition Saturday and undergoing surgery, Timoney said.

"We are convinced that because of the amount of people out here last night that there is somebody that knows the individuals or individual involved, and we need them to come forward," Timoney said, according to WSVN.

"These are weapons of war, and they don't belong on the streets of Miami or any other street in America," Mayor Manuel Diaz said. Video Watch Miami residents call for stricter laws »

Alfonso said police did not know the motive for the shooting and had no suspects.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Quiet! Your book is overdue!

Let this be a lesson to the rest of us.

Never, never, ever piss off the librarians. The library police will come and get you!

Unreturned library book leads to woman's arrest

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa woman has been arrested because she failed to return a library book.

Thirty-nine-year-old Shelly Koontz was arrested Thursday night on a fifth-degree theft charge. She is accused of keeping "The Freedom Writers Diary," which she checked out from the public library in nearby Jesup in April.

Police say the book—which is about a high school teacher's effort to inspire students to write—is valued at $13.95.

Court records show library employees tried repeatedly to contact Koontz by phone and mail. A police officer even visited her home last September.

Officials at the Buchanan County jail say Koontz was released after posting $250 bond. No telephone listing for Koontz could be found in the Independence area.

For a good cause

If you happen to be in New Braunfels on January 30th the Children's Advocacy Center is a great thing for you to support.

Hoping to see you there.

This message is from a letter to the editor in the Herald-Zeitung

Support Children's Advocacy

To the editor:

For those who do not know about the Children’s Advocacy Center of Comal County, it is a crucial entity in the county’s program of child abuse prevention and pursuit of child abusers. Children who are suspected of being abused or neglected are taken to this secure site and interviewed by a forensic interviewer one time.

The event is taped and can be observed by law enforcement people and child welfare people though a one-way mirror or on closed-circuit TV. That way the child is not put through a wringer by being interviewed more than once.

There were 22,549 children living in Comal County in 2007. One thousand reports were made alleging that children were the victims of abuse or neglect in Comal County.

Of those, 136 children were interviewed at CACCC in the fiscal year. A total of 160 were interviewed in the calendar year. In the calendar year of 2008, the numbers of reports were up, and 202 children were interviewed at CACCC.

Child abuse is a horrible plague that seems to be hitting our section of the state badly. Numbers of children were injured and/or died in Texas during 2008 as a result of abuse.

The Knights of Columbus are giving a benefit spaghetti dinner for the CACCC on Friday, Jan. 30, at the KC Hall, 111 Landa St. It starts at 5 p.m., and it costs $5 per person eat-in or take-out.

Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce and The Crossing. Tickets can also be obtained by contacting a member of the Knights of Columbus.

I implore that the good citizens of Comal County support this effort being made by the Knights of Columbus to provide additional funding for the CACCC. It is a United Way Agency but needs additional funds for extraordinary expenses. For instance, every child who is brought to the center is given a stuffed toy for comfort. Other things are also provided.

Cay Quoyeser,

New Braunfels

Police make short work of catching the bank robber

That didn't take very long, did it?

Great work NBPD!

Go Blue!

Police use new technology to nab suspect

New Braunfels Police Department used new technologies Thursday to arrest the 21-year-old female who they allege robbed a Wells Fargo Bank at 1000 North Walnut Ave. Wednesday.

Mary Jo Munoz was arrested at her home late Thursday evening and charged with robbery, New Braunfels police spokesman Lt. Michael Penshorn said.

He said detectives used a new Automatic Fingerprint Identification System to identify Munoz. Penshorn explained that if a fingerprint is obtained from an object at the scene, detectives can use AFIS to compare state and federal records to find a match.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for Munoz’s residence and located the stolen money along with other evidence linking her to the robbery, Penshorn said.

According to arrest reports from the Comal County Sheriff’s Office, Munoz also had two charges for a failure to appear.

She is currently in Comal County Jail in lieu a $30,000 bond.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A good goat will do that

This about says it all.

Nothing I can say will add or detract from this story.

And that really gets my goat.

Newspaper claims suspect transforms himself into a goat

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - One of Nigeria's biggest daily newspapers reported that police implicated a goat in an attempted automobile theft. In a front-page article on Friday, the Vanguard newspaper said that two men tried to steal a Mazda car two days earlier in Kwara State, with one suspect transforming himself into a goat as vigilantes cornered him.

The paper quoted police spokesman Tunde Mohammed as saying that while one suspect escaped, the other transformed into a goat as he was about to be apprehended.

The newspaper reported that police paraded the goat before journalists, and published a picture of the animal.

Police in the state couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Belief in black magic is widespread in Nigeria, particularly in far-flung rural areas.

Bank Derangement Syndrome

More Bank Derangement Syndrome?

I'm afraid we'll be seeing more of this craziness before the economy gets better.

Angry customer creates new drive thru lane at bank

HARMONY, Pa. (AP) - A western Pennsylvania man had several figurative run-ins with his local bank before police said he had a literal one: purposely driving his pickup truck through the bank's front door, causing nearly $100,000 damage.

Police didn't immediately arrest Richard Smorey after the Jan. 1 crash in Jackson Township because they didn't know if it was an accident. But Smorey has now been charged with criminal trespass, criminal mischief and other crimes because financial records revealed he had a motive to be angry with Huntington Bank, authorities said.

Smorey, 59, of Forward Township, was late with payments on his truck loan, was recently denied a $12,000 loan, had restrictions on his checking account because of overdrafts, and had a loud argument with a teller in November, police told the Butler Eagle for Thursday's editions.

Police responding to the crash about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh found Smorey behind the wheel of the truck, with the air bag deployed, and smoking a cigarette. The truck stopped 42 feet inside the bank, which was closed for New Year's.

When police asked what happened, Smorey said, "I drove through the bank," according to a criminal complaint.

Police found no skid marks. "The vehicle's black box indicated it was going 44 mph at the point of impact, and accelerating," said Jackson Township police Chief Len Keller.

Police found no mechanical problems with the truck and said Smorey wasn't intoxicated. There was light snow, but no evidence the truck skidded or slid before hitting the bank.

The Associated Press couldn't immediately locate Smorey for comment Thursday. He's free on bond on the charges filed Tuesday.

Bank makes an error in you favor collect $175,000

Who can blame him?

I mean Barack Obama has been president for three days already and I am checking my mailbox constantly for my stimulus checks and I thought my bills would get paid.

What? I'm just sayin'.

Man considered bank error a 'gift from God'

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania man said he considered it divine providence when a bank error put more than $175,000 in his and his wife's account.

Fifty-year-old Randy Pratt and 36-year-old Melissa Pratt face trial in Columbia County Court on felony theft and conspiracy charges. They waived a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

The trouble started when a $1,772.50 deposit to the Pratts' FNB Bank account showed up as $177,250 last summer. Police say that instead of telling the bank, they withdrew the money, quit their jobs and moved to Florida.

They were buying a house in the Orlando area when the mistake was traced.

Randy Pratt told the Bloomsburg Press Enterprise he did attempt to ask the bank what happened, but was ignored. He said he considered the money "a gift from God."

The couple gave away thousands of dollars, including $25,000 to a Florida church shelter for the homeless, he said.

Randy Pratt remained in county prison. A judge denied a request to lower his $100,000 bail. Melissa Pratt, who told the court she was estranged from her husband, was free on unsecured bail.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Show me the money

What is going on here?

Are we having a plague of female bank robbers? Is the economy so bad that folks are getting desperate?

They'll go to jail, eventually.
Police again searching for female bank robber

Police still are searching for a female bank robber after an unarmed Tuesday afternoon heist at Wells Fargo on North Walnut Avenue.

The suspect was described to the New Braunfels Police Department as a 5-foot, 5-inch, 200-pound Hispanic woman in her late 20s, police spokesman Lt. Michael Penshorn said.

She had dark hair in a ponytail and was wearing sunglasses, Penshorn said. She wore a blue and green plaid jacket and carried a black purse.

She displayed no weapon and left around 1:30 p.m. with an undisclosed amount of cash, Penshorn said. No vehicle description was given to police.

This robbery comes just weeks after New Braunfels Police charged another female — Laurie Lynette Wolfe — with robbery.

The 52-year-old woman was charged in connection with the Dec. 29 heist at the International Bank of Commerce inside the H-E-B on South Walnut Avenue.

According to officials, Wolfe also allegedly was involved in at least four robberies around Texas. She is currently in Bexar County Jail in lieu of a $75,000 bond.


An awful lot of this seems to be going around.

I hope the child and her family will heal after all this.

Man pleads guilty to indecency with a child

Published January 22, 2009

A Comal County man pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of indecency with a child.

According to court documents, Isidro B. Fuentes, 67, originally was charged in May of 2007 and indicted on Oct. 6, 2008.

The case opened when the victim, who was under 17, told her mother she was abused by Fuentes. The documents stated the victim was checked out by a nurse at Christus Santa Rosa in New Braunfels, and the nurse found proof that victim had been abused.

The nurse’s statement coincided with what the victim had told her mother and the court.

Fuentes received a 15-year sentence with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and will have to pay a $2,000 fine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cat flies

Never, never, ever throw a cat in anger.

Angry husband throws cat at wife

A man in New York state is facing charges after throwing a cat at his wife during an argument.

The cat-throwing occurred when 25-year-old Paul A. Wood, of Palmyra, Wayne County, got into a domestic dispute with his wife at about 5.30am last Friday.

In addition to chucking the cat at his wife, Wood also punched a hole in the wall of their trailer park home.

The cat – which wasn't declawed, struck his wife on the back. Neither the cat nor the woman were injured in the cat-throwing, according to authorities.

He now faces charges of fourth-degree criminal mischief, second-degree harassment, and cruelty to animals.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nice wheels mate, where'd you pinch 'em?

Talk about ballsy!

Break into a police lot and steal wheels off a police vehicle!

Thieves make off with police car wheels

By Bronwyn Gerretsen The Independent

(South Africa)-Not even a police station is a deterrent to criminals.

When officers from Isipingo Metro Police arrived at work at 6am one day last week, they were greeted by the sight of one of their vehicles up on bricks.

Thieves had cut through a fence and stolen all four rims and tyres off a Toyota Run-X.

It was not the first time. About three weeks ago, the rims and tyres of four taxis impounded there were also stolen.

And towards the end of 2008, diesel from some Durban Solid Waste trucks, which park on the property because the company has offices there, was siphoned over a period of a few nights. Police caught the suspects while they were in the act of doing so again.

Infuriated sources, however, say access to the police station is not controlled properly and requests to have better lighting installed in the parking lot have been turned down.

They say it won't be long before a private vehicle is stolen from the police station yard.

One source said some council offices were also on the property and when meetings were held, people walked in and out of the police station "like it was a shopping centre".

"People can easily steal the wheels off cars, almost anyone has access, they know where and when the cars are parked. There are security guards but no access control," he said.

The value of the four rims and tyres stolen from the Run-X is about R12 500. Fingerprints on the vehicle were smudged, so convictions will be difficult.

Metro Police director Vincent Ngubane said he was investigating last week's incident and was not ruling out the possibility of staff involvement.

He said his investigation would include finding out how new the Run-X's tyres were, because this could indicate whether the thieves knew what condition they were in and therefore their value.

Ngubane confirmed the other two incidents and said security at the police station was being assessed and would be beefed up.

I did it

Hey, at least he was honest about it.

Man calls Police, says he stole car and crashed it

CEDAR GROVE, Wis. (AP) - Sheboygan County prosecutors say a 21-year-old man who crashed his uncle's car called police to report that he stole the car and had been drinking.

The man was charged Friday with a felony count of taking and driving a vehicle without the owner's consent. The charge carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

According to the criminal complaint, the man had been drinking heavily early Friday morning, then decided to drive for cigarettes about 1:30 a.m.

The man lives with his uncle, who was sleeping at the time. The complaint said the man took his uncle's car and drove about half a mile before crashing and rolling the vehicle.

Prosecutors said the man also told police he didn't have a license.

Oily to bed; Oily to rise

This is a little off what I usually post about but as I used to be in the oil business as an exploration geologist i still watch the industry a bit.

What frankly has me stumped however is the fact that despite the price slump to below $33.00 a barrel and more inventory and supply than before, gasoline prices have gone up. When it was around $44.00 a barrel I purchased gas for $1.29 a gallon, it is now $1.63 a gallon at the same station, which had been $1.69 a gallon on Friday.

Why? It sure doesn't seem like simple supply and demand economics at work, does it? maybe a stronger dollar value accounts for this?

Crude Oil Falls Below $33 a Barrel on Dollar, Contract Expiry
By Grant Smith

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell below $33 a barrel in New York as the strengthening dollar reduced the appeal of commodity investments at a time when demand is declining and stockpiles are rising.

At Cushing, Oklahoma, where the benchmark oil for New York futures is stored, inventories have climbed to 33 million barrels, the highest since records started four years ago. The February contract will cease trading today, so traders have to sell futures or accept the barrels at a time of falling demand.

“Traders are rolling over to the next month to avoid delivery and the dollar is rallying,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst with VTB Capital in London. “All this against a background of falling demand and easing geopolitical tensions.”

Crude oil for February delivery fell to $32.70, down 10.4 percent from last week’s close and the lowest since Dec. 19, on the New York Mercantile Exchange today. The contract traded at $34.40 a barrel at 12:16 p.m. London time.

Floor trading was closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday yesterday. Trades then will be booked today for settlement. The more-actively traded March contract was at $40.40, down 5.1 percent.

The U.S. dollar climbed as high as $1.2921 against the euro, the strongest since Dec. 10, and traded for $1.2965 as of 11:50 a.m. London time. Gains in the U.S. currency diminish the appeal of dollar-priced commodities used to hedge against inflation.

‘Weak Sentiment’

“We’re seeing the dollar stronger again and weak demand is still dominating,” said Hannes Loacker, an analyst at Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich in Vienna. “As long as the market ignores the supply side, we’ll have weak sentiment.”

The U.K. government said yesterday it will spend an extra 100 billion pounds ($142 billion) to support the nation’s banks, a second lifeline in three months. The need for the latest package spurred concern that global financial crisis is worsening.

“For the next six months we’ll see awful economic data coming out, banks possibly having to be nationalized and excess inventories in the U.S.,” said Jonathan Kornafel, a director for Asia at options traders Hudson Capital Energy in Singapore. “There is really nothing that can pull this market higher.”

Brent crude oil for March settlement fell as much as $1.54, 3.5 percent, to $42.96 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. It traded for $44.20 at 12:20 p.m. London time.

Russia Dispute

Russia and Ukraine signed 10-year natural-gas contracts, ending a dispute that squeezed supplies to the European Union for almost two weeks. Shipments resumed today.

Rising U.S. stockpiles and forecasts from the International Energy Agency and OPEC on declining world demand contributed to an 11 percent decline in Nymex crude last week. Prices are down 20 percent this year, after tumbling 54 percent in 2008.

Crude-oil inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, where West Texas Intermediate traded on the Nymex is stored, climbed 2.5 percent to 33 million barrels last week, the Energy Department said this week. It was the highest since at least April 2004, when the department began keeping records for the location.

Congratulations President Obama

In just a few short hours Barack Obabma will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

It is a remarkable achievement for any person, but more notably for Mr. Obama as the first President of African-American heritage. This country has come a long way from when Man o' Law was Boy o' Law and Martin Luther King gave his 'I have a dream' speech.

Mr. Obama you were judged by the content of your mind and your character and not by your color. I hope and wish for nothing but the best for you, your family and our nation in these troubled times.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tom Cruise on the couch

Okay then.

But Tom, you still didn't get to "kill" him in the movie.

Tom Cruise says playing an anti-Hitler plotter in his latest movie "Valkyrie" fulfilled a childhood fantasy.

In real life, the American actor says he harbors feelings similar to his German character, who led a failed plot to assasinate the Nazi leader.

"I've always wanted to kill Hitler. As a child, I used to wonder why someone didn't stand up and kill him," Cruise told reporters in the South Korean capital Sunday.

Studying his character, would-be Hitler assassin Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, Cruise said he "came to greatly admire him."

"Although the story takes place during the World War II, I found the story ageless," he said. Making the movie "was a powerful experience that I will never forget."

Despite early skepticism toward "Valkyrie," the movie had a solid $21.5 million opening weekend in North America in December and has made a total $77.6 domestically since then, according to the box office tracking Web site Box Office Mojo.

Cruise's visit to Seoul, where "Valkyrie" opens Thursday, marks a rare promotional stop by Hollywood to South Korea, which traditionally focuses on neighboring Japan as the industry's main Asian market.

But South Korean movies, until recently the pride of Asian cinema for their ability to fend off American competition, are struggling even at home. Box office results for Seoul up to November 2008 place local films in the top two spots, but Hollywood films accounted for six of the top 10.

"Valkyrie" director Bryan Singer said South Korea was picked as the first Asian country for the movie's release because it's "an extraordinary rising market" for both local and international films.

Digitized pets

I am sure there will be a hue and outcry over this law.

Somehow folks believe they can just let their pets run free, maybe this will be curtailed now.

San Marcos makes animal laws stricter
By Andrea Lorenz American-Statesman

SAN MARCOS — The city strengthened its animal protection laws recently, becoming one of a few cities in the country to require microchips for pets, but it stopped short of banning the chaining of dogs because officials said they didn't want to burden residents financially.

"It's time for people to step up and be a little progressive," said Bert Stratemann, the San Marcos animal services manager. Pets are considered property in Texas, so like other prized belongings — such as cars, bicycles and some electronics — they should be registered, he says.

Among other things, the law will prohibit selling animals in parking lots and on public property, a measure Stratemann said is aimed at deterring unregistered pet breeders, and will make clear what owners are responsible for in terms of providing their pets with adequate food, water and shelter.

The animal control department had trouble enforcing the previous, vaguely written rules about animal care, Stratemann said. The San Marcos Animal Shelter Advisory Board began a review of the ordinance about a year ago. The City Council approved the revisions in December, and the rules go into effect April 1.

Some residents have raised concerns on Internet message boards about the changes, particularly the mandatory microchipping, saying it's an infringement on personal rights. The city has received 10 to 15 calls from people who are angry about the requirement and accuse the city of changing the law to make money in fees, Stratemann said.

Pet owners at the San Marcos dog park Thursday said they weren't worried about the new rules. Of a half-dozen or so dogs, all either already had microchips or had appointments to get them.

San Antonio and Albuquerque, N.M. are among the few cities that require microchips, which are implanted just under the skin on an animal's neck. Owners of lost animals can be identified by the information encoded on the chip and kept in local and national databases.

Microchipping can cost $10 to $60, Stratemann said. The city charges $20.

Pet owners who fail to provide microchips for their cats and dogs could see fines of up to $500. But Stratemann said in most cases, the fines could be lessened or dropped if pet owners show a judge proof of subsequent microchipping. The city plans to hold low-cost microchipping events, but the dates, location and cost have not been set.

John Snyder, the vice president for companion animals at the Humane Society of the United States, said it's hard to tell how many U.S. cities require microchips. The Humane Society recommends microchips, Snyder said, but "first and foremost," pets should wear identification tags on their collars because anyone on the street can read tags.

Chips are helpful if a collar is missing, he says, but the animal must be taken to the vet or a shelter to be scanned.

Officials said the city considered a ban on dog-chaining but rejected it after deciding that the needed fencing would be too costly to residents.

The city shelter euthanized 73 percent of the 5,555 animals it took in last year, according to city figures. The revised animal control law, which also has rules on managing feral cat colonies, should bring that rate down, said Stratemann, who has worked for San Marcos' animal control department for eight years.

"It's my ultimate goal to not have my position," Stratemann said. "If I could make it to where there's no more animals coming in to the shelter and we have to close the facility ... everybody over here would be the most excited people in the world."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Whats good for the goose is good....

Effective deterrent?

Only time will tell.

Graffiti Artists have bottoms painted by police as punishment

Police spray-painted the hair, shoes and buttocks of four teenagers to teach them not to paint graffiti on public property, it has been claimed.

The teens also say police in Mexico slapped and kicked them before covering them in paint.

They presented paint-stained shoes and photos of their painted heads as evidence.

Peek a boo

Its like having a whole other set of law enforcement eyes out there.

Keep up the good work folks and phone it in.

'Wanted' list lands more than 450 arrests
The Herald Zeitung

The warrants division at the Comal County Sheriff’s Office has announced that it has arrested more than 450 fugitives total through its 10-most-wanted campaign.

The program kicked off on Nov. 21, 2001, and warrants clerk Teresa Simpson said it has helped authorities arrest 460 people wanted in Comal County. Every Tuesday, information and mugshots for the 10-most-wanted fugitives run in the Herald-Zeitung, which Simpson said has spurred several responses from the community.

“We always have people calling us,” Simpson said. “We’re always receiving good tips and paying people out for their help.”

She said the program, through Crime Stoppers, has paid more than $10,000 in rewards to people calling in with tips.

“Everything is confidential,” she said. “We just get the information and don’t even want to know who is calling. We give them a number to call to collect their cash reward.”

Sgt. Max Wommack said the anonymity helps authorities stay subjective.

“We don’t want to know who is calling on the phone — we just want the information,” Wommack said. “That person on the phone could end up being one of next week’s most wanted, but they’re still giving us helpful hints.”

Wommack, Simpson and two other officers in the warrants division — Rick Montaneza and Eddie Luna — reminisced recently on some of the more interesting cases they’ve handled.

Simpson said sheriff’s deputies had to chase one man into the belly of a trailer.

“They knew he was in the building, but they just couldn’t find him,” she said. “They heard him make a noise like an ‘oh’ or ‘ouch,’ and realized he was in the air-conditioning vent.”

She said deputies outside the trailer could see the frame of the trailer move as he crawled along the vents. He was fished out and arrested.

“We find people in all kinds of places,” Luna said. “Under beds, inside their mattresses, lying in their bathtubs — all kinds of unusual places.”

Simpson said they were considering meeting with Crime Stoppers to push the program further.

“We want to be able to pay out more for the No. 1 most wanted and maybe even double the pay for tips on people we’ve been looking for,” she said.

No one at the office could say Friday how many convictions have resulted out of the 460 arrests.

The list of the 10-most-wanted fugitives is printed in the Herald-Zeitung every Tuesday and can be found through Comal County’s Web site here:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Too hot for a balaclava

It sounds all rather Monthy Pythonesque.

Hence the witness saying "he was a very silly boy".

Police Use Facebook to nab Burglar

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand police have arrested a safe burglar by using the popular social networking website Facebook to identify and track him down.

Queenstown police in southern New Zealand posted security-camera footage and pictures showing the man's face as he tried to break into the safe of a local tavern on Monday.

"The offender was identified after a movie and images of him were displayed on Facebook. He was identified from members of the public viewing him on Facebook and also seeing him on TV after the Facebook images were displayed on the news," the police station said in a statement on its Facebook page.

Police said the unnamed, 21-year-old Queenstown native would appear in court on Wednesday.

Local media said the man got too hot while trying to break into the safe, took off his balaclava and revealed his face to a hidden security camera.

"He was a very silly young boy. The room is really small and it gets really hot in there at the best of times," the bar's assistant manager, Mel Kelly, was quoted as saying.

"Clearly, he didn't realize there was a video camera there until the last moment. He looks round and sees it and there's just a shocked look ... His face definitely drops."

Staff at the bar did not recognize the man, but Kelly suspected he was a former employee because of his knowledge of the property.

This is not the first time that Facebook, the world's largest online social network, has been used to track down criminals.

In November, an Australian restaurateur left holding a hefty unpaid bill when five young diners bolted used the website to find them, and got them to pay their bill.

(Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Sugita Katyal)