Category: Busted


Walmart Burglars

PRESCOTT, Ariz. — Police in Arizona say two Walmart employees burglarized the store where they worked to pay for a car and a sex change operation.

Police arrested 23-year-old Spencer Danger Cullen and 19-year-old Adriano Valdes Altiveros III on Friday.

Reinhardt says Altiveros reportedly told detectives he stole cash to buy a car. He says Cullen told police she stole the money to go forward with a sex change operation.

Cullen and Altiveros remain in custody. The Yavapai County public defender‘s office would not say Wednesday whether the pair had been appointed attorneys.

Customs officers in San Diego seized more than a ton of pot -- 2,330 pounds, to be exact -- that was mixed in with a shipment of hot sauce coming into the U.S. from Mexico.

Border patrol agents discovered some hot and spicy contraband last Friday when they came across a tractor trailer filled with hot sauce and marijuana, reports CBS Los Angeles.

The weed, valued at $1.4 million, was discovered at the Otay Mesa cargo facility near San Diego, according to KTLA.

Suspecting that something was amiss, custom officials ran the vehicle through the port’s x-ray system and found “inconsistencies in the cargo,” notes Fox News. After unloading the entire shipment, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found 2,330 pounds of pot hidden amongst hot sauce bottles — a little over one ton of the drug.

Smuggling marijuana with hot sauce sounds like a stoner’s dream (just add a burrito and that’s a pretty good Friday evening), but it doesn’t even come close to some of the weirdest ways to traffic drugs across the border. The List Cafe discusses 10 “creative” ways to smuggle narcotics; real life examples include hiding cocaine under your foreskin and in the stomachs of live boa constrictors. Another listicle from Top10Kid.com features sad examples of surgically implanted drugs in puppies and people, as well as “heroin-covered cocaine.” Read these cautionary tales and alternate between marveling at drug traffickers‘ daring and stupidity.

Who says killers can’t be stylish?

Anders Behring Breivik, the gunman who killed 77 people after a shooting rampage at a youth camp and a bombing in Oslo on July 22, insists on wearing Lacoste sweaters on his trips out of prison. And Lacoste is not happy about it.

The Telegraph reported that the French company has called Breivik’s love of Lacoste a PR “nightmare” and according to Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, Lacoste execs have written to Oslo police demanding the terrorist be stopped from wearing their clothes.

Breivik has donned a bright red sweater with the signature alligator logo while driving in and out of prison. But according to Dagbladet, he also wore a black sweater by Lacoste in a photograph he used for his manifesto, “2083: A European Declaration of Independence” (which can be read in full online) and has said that wearing the luxury brand “makes it possible to act as an educated European of the conservative character.”

Needless to say, Lacoste would like to get the confessed terrorist out of its preppy styles.

An Oslo police spokesperson told the Telegraph, “The company feels that such a man sporting their clothes could do considerable harm to their reputation.”

But it may be pointless, writes DagbladetThe newspaper interviewed a local marketing professorwho said that Lacoste is overreacting and thus making the PR worse.

“I do not think there’s much else they can do now than to continue to work to make Lacoste to the strong brand it is,” he said. “If they are asked they should strongly condemn what happened, but otherwise there is nothing they can do with this.”

It remains to be seen whether Lacoste will actually succeed at ripping the fuzzy red sweater from Breivik’s hands.

 

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Three people were killed and two police officers were injured in a gun fight in Brooklyn Monday evening — the latest bloodshed in a violent holiday weekend in New York City that saw at least 48 people shot.

An exchange of gunfire between two men broke out in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood around 9 p.m. Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference.

Officers patrolling the nearby West Indian Parade and Carnival, the site of an earlier shooting Monday, responded to the scene.

“The officers were fired upon and returned fire,” Bloomberg said.

Police identified the gunmen, who both died in the shooting, as Eusi Randy Johnson, 29, and Leroy Webster, 32. Johnson died after Webster shot him in the neck, while Webster was killed by police, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

The dispute started as a fistfight in a hallway, then spilled into the street as it escalated, Bloomberg said. It was not clear what the disagreement was over, the mayor said.

A bullet Webster fired “struck an innocent 56-year-old woman sitting on her stoop two doors down,” Bloomberg said. The woman’s name was Denise Gay and her daughter was at her side when she died, the mayor said.

After rushing to the scene, officer Omar Medina “was hit by bullet fragments in his left arm and chest,” Bloomberg said.

He was taken to a nearby hospital and was in stable condition, police said. A second officer, Avichaim Dicken, received a graze wound on his elbow.

Webster had a lengthy criminal record that included arrests for assault, drugs and guns, Kelly said.

The gun battle comes during a holiday weekend marred by shootings, with 33 people shot on Sunday alone.

Port Angeles border agent Christian Sanchez says he and his colleagues are "paid to do nothing."

On Washington state‘s remote and wooded Olympic Peninsula, major commotion is usually limited to a log tumbling off an overloaded lumber truck.

But lately the peninsula has been roiled by a noisy debate over the expansion of a Border Patrol station in Port Angeles, a three-hour car and ferry ride away from the U.S.-Canadian land border.

The U.S. Border Patrol is spending nearly $6 million to renovate a Port Angeles building that could house up to 50 of its agents.

Prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001, four agents were stationed in Port Angeles, a city of about 20,000 people some 15 miles across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Canada.

“It’s not needed, there’s nothing for them to do up here,” said Lois Danks, a local writer and organizer of Stop the Checkpoints, which last month staged a small protest near where the Border Patrol’s new station is being built.

Map of Port Angeles

She says border agents “drive around and hassle people without any reasonable suspicion of anything except for possibly the color of their skin.”

“They park across the street from Hispanic grocery stores and taco stands and watch who comes and goes,” according to Danks.

Border Patrol officials deny they target any specific community and say that beyond enforcing immigration laws, they guard the peninsula from drug smuggling and terrorist threats.

Whistle-blower’s accusations

In 1999, Ahmed Ressam was stopped by a customs officer at the Port Angeles ferry crossing trying to bring explosives into the country from Canada. Ressam was later convicted of terrorism charges.

Border Patrol officials say most people who live in Port Angeles and the small towns that dot the peninsula support their efforts.

But recent criticism that further ignited the debate came from an unexpected quarter: one of the station’s own agents.

“There’s nothing to do,” Border Patrol agent Christian Sanchez said during a July event in Washington on government whistle-blowers. “There are no gangs or cross-border activity. I haven’t seen it.”

Sanchez told the Advisory Committee on Transparency, a forum funded by the not-for-profit Sunlight Foundation, he never intended to become a whistle-blower, but decided to speak out publicly after he felt his complaints about the Port Angeles station’s “lack of mission” were being brushed aside by supervisors.

Sanchez told the panel he ran afoul of supervisors for refusing overtime he didn’t feel he was entitled to since, he said, there was so little work to do.

“The taxpayers are paying us all this extra money to do nothing on this peninsula, where it’s a water-based border,” Sanchez said during the panel discussion. “It’s a burden on the taxpayers right now especially with the economy, with Medicare being cut, with the foreclosures.”

Through his attorney, Sanchez turned down CNN’s requests for an interview.

His attorney, Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project, which specializes in whistle-blower cases, said Sanchez still works at the Port Angeles station but has requested a transfer back to the U.S. border with Mexico, where he had previously patrolled.

Devine said Sanchez feared more reprisals like the kind that he said took place after he began criticizing the Port Angeles station.

“Retaliation has increased,” Sanchez told the panel on whistle-blowers. “My family has been terrorized, vehicles have been driving by, my mail has been opened.”

Henry Rolon, the deputy chief of the Border Patrol sector that oversees the Port Angles station, said he was unable to comment on Sanchez’s case due to an ongoing investigation.

But Rolon rejected Sanchez’s statements that Port Angeles agents are “bored” and “without a mission.”

“Agents in Port Angeles have a very important mission and there’s lots to do,” Rolon said. “You have to go out there, you have to patrol within the community, on the border. Otherwise you are not going to be there when an incident occurs.”

It’s not clear how many incidents are handled specifically by Port Angeles agents, since the agency does not release statistics for individual stations, according to Border Patrol spokesman Rhett Bowlden.

But last year, the Blaine Sector — which includes the Port Angeles station and four major land border crossings — apprehended 673 people and confiscated 1,897 pounds of marijuana, 270 pounds of Ecstasy, 3 pounds of cocaine, and 1 ounce of heroin, Bowlden said. There are currently 327 agents stationed in the sector, including an estimated 40 at Port Angeles.

Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict said he sympathized with the Port Angeles border agents because they didn’t have enough to do.

“I know (the Port Angeles section’s) activity. I think they made less than 20 arrests last year,” Benedict said during a May community meeting, the Peninsula Daily News newspaper reported.

“I feel a little sorry for the Border Patrol because it is a very lonely, boring job.”

Michael Cox, head of the Border Patrol agents’ union, rejected that position — pointing out that “it’s a different kind of work environment” from many other jobs.

“You’ve got to investigate, you’ve got to use your brains,” said Cox, president of the Northwest Region for the National Border Council. “We have hundreds of miles to protect.”

Border agent Jose Romero says smugglers and terrorists could easily sneak into the country from nearby Canada.

Going on patrol

Port Angeles’ supervisory agent Jose Romero was eager to show some of those miles of territory during a recent five-hour “ride-along” given to CNN.

The tour started in the Border Patrol’s current headquarters, the cramped basement of the downtown Port Angeles federal building.

“It’s a little tight in here,” Romero said, walking through the warren of empty cubicles with papers stacked high on the desks. If Sanchez was in the office that day, he was nowhere to be seen.

Outside, Romero climbed into an unmarked SUV and headed out onto the peninsula’s one-lane roads.

As he drove, Romero pointed out paths leading to marinas, unmarked “logging trails” and small airports.

All were potential smuggling hotspots, Romero explained.

Being a Border Patrol agent on the peninsula involves coordinating with a mishmash of local and Native American tribal police forces, he said.

The Border Patrol’s work on the peninsula sometimes takes on aspects of local police work, according to Romero. Agents often lend their search dogs to police operations and respond to car accidents or when huge logs come flying off timber-hauling rigs, he said.

As the unmarked SUV cut through the thick fog in a wooded area, Romero asked, jokingly, “You’re not scared of vampires?”

He was referring to the nearby logging town of Forks, the setting for the “Twilight” vampire series.

Pulling into a small marina, Romero again turned serious.

Ten miles in front of us — through the haze — was the Canadian coastline. A few vacationers kayaking in bright orange life vests clashed against the deep blue waters.

“Can somebody land here?” Romero asked. “Very possible. Somebody lands in a Zodiac-type boat, watercraft, Jet Ski, they hike it up the road or have a vehicle waiting for them, load it up — whatever contraband it is, human, narcotics,” the Border Patrol agent said.

“And just like that, they are gone.”

48 NYC shootings in a weekend: Trend or random tragedy?

It was a very bloody Labor Day weekend in New York. Forty-eight people were shot, including two law enforcement officers and a woman who was sitting with her daughter on a Brooklyn building stoop. The officers survived; three people have died.

The high number of shootings has captured headlines and led some to wonder whether there’s some specific explanation for the violence.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says there is, and he said Tuesday that lawmakers in the nation’s capital ought to do something to better control gun violence. New York state reportedly had some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but Bloomberg wants Washington’s help. He spoke outside a hospital where the officers were being treated.

“This is a national problem requiring national leadership,” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “But at the moment, neither end of Pennsylvania Avenue has the courage to take basic steps that would save lives.”

Jon M. Shane, an assistant professor at one of America’s most highly regarded policing think tanks, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, cautioned against drawing any conclusions from the numbers alone. Shane spent 20 years with the police department in Newark, New Jersey, which has consistently ranked as one of the most violent cities in the United States.

“I would caution against chalking this up to violence that is going to happen over any holiday weekend,” Shane said, adding that thorough analysis of each Labor Day weekend shooting should be done to extrapolate concrete explanations that go beyond the particulars of each incident. One would need to research possible motives in each case and investigate suspects’ backgrounds and their possible criminal affiliations. Previous crimes at the locations should be weighed from every angle.

In short, 48 shootings sounds like a lot, but drawing any large conclusions, or linking them to a larger trend, will take time.

The woman and the officers were shot Monday hours after the West Indian American Day Parade ended in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. According to the New York Post, two men were “slap boxing” before a shootout in which police became involved. In all, nine people in the area of the parade were shot.

Several people were shot in the Bronx on Sunday. Some of the wounded were children. Four people were shot Monday in Flatbush, Brooklyn, one teenager fatally.

The weekend’s bloodshed put a fine point on figures the FBI released in Mayshowing that violent crime was down throughout the country in the past year but up in New York. The New York Police Department released its own report in January, available in full here (PDF), which visually lays out all of the city’s 536 homicides in 2010

The gunman, Eduardo Sension, 32, of Carson City, Nevada, died after shooting himself, authorities said.

The death toll from a shooting at a Nevada IHOP restaurant has risen to four, officials said early Wednesday morning.

A gunman carrying a variant of an AK-47 rifle opened fire on uniformed Nevada National Guard members as they were having breakfast at the Carson City restaurant Tuesday morning.

In all, 11 people were shot.

Of them, one civilian was killed as were two National Guard members. Another National Guard member, who was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery, later died — bringing the toll to four, said Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong.

The attacker also died of a self-inflicted wound after the shooting.

The suspected gunman was identified as Eduardo Sencion, 32, who lived in Carson City and worked at a family business in South Lake Tahoe, California, authorities said. Authorities said they had not determined a clear motive.

“To say that he was targeting before he came into the restaurant those military persons, we have not been able to establish,” Furlong said. “Clearly, the fact that five of the 11 were military draws a concern by us.”

Sencion had no previous criminal record on file but his family indicated he may have had mental health issues, Furlong told reporters.

The shooting began shortly before 9 a.m. When authorities arrived, those who called in the incident identified the shooting suspect as a man lying wounded in the parking lot between two vehicles. The suspect had continued firing in the parking lot after leaving the restaurant, Furlong said.

The AK-47 was recovered as well as an empty 30-round gun magazine and two other gun magazines. A pistol and assault rifle were found in or near a vehicle, the sheriff said.

Steven Martin, a witness, told CNN Reno affiliate KRNV that he ran to see if he could help after he heard the shots. “There was blood everywhere; broken glass everywhere. It was just a war zone down there,” he said.

The shooting took place just a few miles from the Nevada National Guard state headquarters in Carson City.

Lurchphillips

 

CENTRE HALL, Pa. (AP) — A couple of Pennsylvania newlyweds are behind bars after police say they were caught shoplifting food from a supermarket for their wedding reception.

The Centre Daily Times reports 32-year-old Arthur Phillips III and his bride, 22-year-old Brittany Lurch, were arrested Saturday after taking more than $1,000 in merchandise from a Wegmans supermarket in Centre Hall.

Patton Township police say the couple was captured on surveillance footage loading a shopping cart and leaving the store without paying.

Phillips and Lurch are each charged with misdemeanor counts and are being held on $2,500 bail.


Man Swallows Ring

A home repairman who swallowed a diamond wedding ring he was trying to steal earlier this month has been sentenced to 12 days in prison.

Wilfredo Gonzalez-Cruz was performing repairs at a couple’s home in Cicero, Illinois when the husband approached him and said that his wife’s ring had gone missing. Gonzalez-Cruz had apparently stolen the ring and stashed it in his shoe.

The two men struggled for a moment, during which time the handyman got the ring out of his shoe and swallowed it, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cicero police took Gonzalez-Cruz to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, where X-rays revealed that the ring was in his stomach, NBC Chicago reports (see photo). He was then locked in a rubber room with multiple bedpans and given medication to “force the ring’s expulsion,” according to Cicero town spokesman Ray Hanania.

Gonzalez-Cruz could have faced a sentence of up to three years for the felony theft charge. Instead, he was given a 12-day stint in prison, according to the Associated Press, with two years of additional probation.

The ring, meanwhile, was returned to the couple on August 8th, “after thorough cleaning,” Hanania said.

Pot Brownies Band Camp

Three high school students allegedly passed out marijuana-laced brownies to 23 unwitting classmates at a summer band camp in O’Fallon, Illinois. The students who ate the brownies did not know the brownies contained any drugs, but also didn’t notice any effects from the marijuana.

The three student “bakers” could face criminal charges — giving out drugs to unknowing recipients can obviously be a health hazard. The police learned of the incident after a student told a school official.

Police Chief John Betten remarked that band camp is “one of the last places where you would expect something like this to happen.”

Tell that to Alyson Hannigan.

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