Friday, January 27, 2006

Pregnant mom of 14 arrested; 3 kids found in abandoned house

A pregnant woman has been taken into custody after three of her 14 children, showing signs of abuse, were found taking refuge in an abandoned house, police said Friday.

"The kids told us that the suspect regularly punches them with her fists and hits them with a broomstick and belt," police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said.

Two 9-year-old twin boys and a 6-year-old boy were found Thursday night with scars and bruising to their backs and faces, she said. The abandoned house did not have heat, water or electricity, and the floor was littered with feces and garbage, Schwartz said.

"It's apparent the children have been going there for a while," she said.

Schwartz said the woman, 35, is pregnant and has 14 children, ages 3 to 20. The six oldest children had previously been removed from her custody by child welfare officials, and the remaining children were removed Thursday, authorities said.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hiccups lead to two deaths

A Colombian man accidentally shot his nephew to death while trying to cure his hiccups by pointing a revolver at him to scare him, police in the Caribbean port city of Barranquilla said on Tuesday.

After shooting 21-year-old university student David Galvan in the neck, his uncle, Rafael Vargas, 35, was so distraught he turned the gun on himself and committed suicide, police said.

The incident took place on Sunday night while the two were having drinks with neighbors.

Galvan started to hiccup and Vargas, who works as a security guard, said he would use the home remedy for hiccups of scaring him. He pulled out his gun, pointed it at Galvan and it accidentally went off, witnesses told local television.

"They were drinking but they were aware of what was going on," one witness said.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Alleged Motel Burglar Leaves Room Number

A man on a weekend getaway was arrested after allegedly burglarizing the Fort Bragg motel where he was staying, then leaving a note indicating where to find him.

Enrique Rodriguez Vasquez, 37, was arrested on suspicion of burglary and possession of methamphetamine after police confronted him at the Best Western motel room he'd described in the note.

Police found a computer hard drive, television satellite device and $200 reported missing from the motel, said Fort Bragg Police Lt. Floyd Higdon. The stolen equipment was valued at $1,500.

Vasquez's poorly spelled note berated the motel manager for being absent from the office.

"There was no one here to attend us guest in rm427. You even left the office unattended. You could have been burglurized ... Your lucky I didn't steele," the note said in part.

Vasquez said his companion, Dana Lynn Jensen, 41, was unaware of the theft until afterward. She did however, admit owning half the methamphetamine and the stolen cash was in her suitcase, authorities said.

She was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance.


When greed takes over

The victim said that two women approached her at her work. They told her they found a bag with $67,000 in it and they would split it with her if she first put up $5,000 to ensure them she wouldn’t call the police.

She drove one of the suspects to a bank in Sandy Springs and withdrew the $5,000. She drove the suspect to a building on Roswell Road to meet the other suspect. They told her to give them the money and then go into the building to get her share of the $67,000. They gave her a blue bag to put the money in.

When she tried to enter the door, it was locked and when she looked back to find the two women. Surprise! They were gone.

I know it’s hard to believe that people are this gullible, but greed is a mighty powerful influence. The obvious question is why would the two want to split the money with the victim in the first place?


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Girl Accidentally Shot at Md. Day Care

A gun brought to a day care center by an 8-year-old boy accidentally went off Tuesday, wounding a 7-year-old girl in the arm, police said.

The boy had the gun in the backpack and was playing with it when it went off at the For Kids We Care center, Montgomery County police spokesman Derek Baliles said.

The girl was taken to Children's Hospital in Washington, he said. Her injury was not considered life-threatening.

There were six children in the center at the time of the shooting, which happened around 7 a.m. No one else was hurt.

Police said they do not know where the child got the gun. Names of the children, both from Germantown, a suburb of Washington, were not released.

Police spokeswoman Nancy Nickerson visited the scene shortly after the shooting and said the children were watching television.

"The day care provider there did an excellent job of keeping the children safe and secure and calm," she said.

For Kids We Care Inc. operates two medium-size daycare centers in Germantown, according to its Web site.


Georgia man drives car into casino lobby

A Georgia man is charged with assault for driving his car through the glass doors of Tunica's Gold Strike Casino and doing doughnuts in the lobby.

Authorities said no one was injured during the Monday morning joyride.

Tunica County sheriff's deputies are holding Robert Leon White, of Ringgold, Ga., without bond.

White is charged with seven counts of aggravated assault, assault on a law officer, reckless driving, disorderly conduct, failing to comply, and disturbing the peace.

Security guards stepped in to pull people out of the way of the vehicle and held White until the Sheriff's Department arrived.

Once the car came to a stop, White remained in the car and waited for the authorities, said Casino spokeswoman Mary Cracchiolo.

It remained unclear late Monday why White did it, she said.

"He'd been at Horseshoe Casino just before the crash," Cracchiolo said. "He had also been at the Gold Strike's poker tables earlier in the evening."

Cracchiolo said she did not know whether White had lost any money.

The casino had contractors construct a temporary wall in place of the doors on Monday.

Authorities said they were pursuing a warrant to test White's blood for alcohol or drugs.

Monday was the last night of the World Poker Open.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Suspected Robber Leaves His Name, Address

A man who held up banks by claiming he had a bomb in a bag was arrested after police found the bag actually contained books, including a phone book that had a mailing label with the man's full name and address.

"It was clearly not his best move," Lawrence Police Chief John J. Romero said.

George Melendez was arrested Thursday at his home in Lowell and charged with the Jan. 6 robbery of a bank in Dracut. Police said he is also likely to face charges in bank robberies in Lawrence and Salem, N.H.

Investigators said Melendez would hand tellers a note claiming to have a bomb in his bag and demand large bills. As he left with the cash, he would leave behind the bag, prompting Dracut and Salem police to call in bomb squads as a precaution.

In each case, the satchel-type bags contained tangled wires and books.

After he allegedly hit a Sovereign Bank in Lawrence last week, police found a Lowell-area phone book in the bag the robber had left behind. They went to the address listed on the label and arrested Melendez, who also fit the bank tellers' description of the robber.

"It was so easy, so simple, it was hard to believe," Romero told The Eagle-Tribune.

Melendez was arraigned Friday at Saints Memorial Medical Center in Lowell, where he was taken after complaining of chest pains. He was held on $10,000 cash bail and is scheduled to appear in Lowell District Court on Feb. 16 for a probable cause hearing.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I'm no dentist, but my girlfriend is -- open wide

A British dentist has been banned from working after allowing her unqualified boyfriend to carry out dental work on patients in her surgery, the profession's UK regulatory body said Tuesday.

Mojgan Azari was found guilty of serious professional misconduct for letting boyfriend Omid Amidi-Mazaheri work at her practices in south London between 2002 and 2003, the General Dental Council (GDC) said.

The boyfriend worked on more than 600 people, drilling out cavities without local anesthetic and installing expensive fillings that crumbled within days, often leaving patients in agony, the BBC said.

The GDC said Azari had allowed him to carry on working in her surgeries for seven months after she had been warned that he was unregistered.

"The direct result of your actions was that a recall exercise involving several hundred patients had to be mounted, to establish whether they required further dental remedial action," the GDC said in its ruling.

"This caused the patients considerable distress and inconvenience, and cost the National Health Service (NHS) approximately 180,000 pounds ($317,000)."

The GDC said Azari had pleaded guilty in February 2005 to four counts of obtaining money by deception from the NHS in relation to the case and had been jailed for 12 months.

The BBC said Amidi-Mazaheri, an Iranian national, had received a two-year sentence for similar offences.

Consequently the GDC said its conduct committee had decided to strike Azari's name from the register.

"In view of the gravity of the offences and their effect in undermining public confidence and the damage to the reputation of the profession, the committee is satisfied that the only appropriate sanction in this case is erasure," it said.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Lawyer Allegedly Kidnaps Client Over Fees

A lawyer faces a felony charge of kidnapping for allegedly abducting a client from his wedding celebration in an attempt to collect legal fees.

Police say Paula Allen, 51, took Rolando Castelan from his Dec. 10 wedding and then drove him around in handcuffs as Castelan called friends and family from a cell phone to scrounge up the money he owed his lawyer, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported for its Friday edition.

Allen, who was arrested this week, referred calls to her lawyer, Ron Moody, when contacted by The Associated Press. Moody could not immediately be reached Thursday night.

Castelan, 31, hired Allen in April when he was arrested for possession of a stolen firearm, tampering with a government document and possession of a controlled substance.

Allen vouched for Castelan's bond amount of $5,000, police said. Six months later, a grand jury indicted Castelan on the drug possession charge, but he failed to show up to court.

Allen tried to persuade Castelan to come to court, but when he didn't, the court found her responsible for the $5,000 bond.

Police say she took Castelan from his wedding reception with the help of three "associates," whom police have not identified.

When Castelan's ex-wife agreed to meet and pay the money, Castelan managed to escape the Suburban he had been held in for four hours.

Castelan turned himself into authorities nine days later and remains in the McLennan County Jail for his indictment. His post-indictment warrant does not allow for a bond.

Allen was released from the McLennan County Jail on Wednesday on a personal recognizance bond.


Hide-and-seek goes topsy-turvy

A man had to be rescued after becoming wedged in a washing machine while playing a game with his children, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

A fire officer pulled Robin Toom, 38, out of the machine after Toom became trapped while playing hide-and-seek, according to Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

"I just hopped in there and couldn't even get the lid down, and the kids came in and said, 'Ha, ha! We found you,"' Toom told the newspaper.

Toom, of the Queensland city of Townsville, waited for an hour with his knees pressed to his chest before being rescued by local fire squad member Dave Dillon, the paper reported.

Rather than dismantling the washer, Dillon reached into the machine and pulled out Toom's wedged foot.

Toom said he planned to change the rules of hide-and-seek for his children.

"I hope they don't go hiding in any washing machines now," he said.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Sober driver flees police drink check, crashes

A Japanese driver, afraid of having to take a breath-test, fled a police drink-driving checkpoint even though he was well under the legal alcohol limit, but ended up crashing his car.

The 44-year-old man drove through the checkpoint on a road in the western Japanese city of Ikeda late Wednesday. Pursuing police officers found the car about half a mile away, upside down in a dry riverbed below the road.

The driver, who suffered light injuries to his legs, was sitting beside the vehicle.

"I'd been drinking, so I fled," the Mainichi newspaper quoted the man as telling police.

A spokesman for the Osaka prefectural police said the man was not in breach of drunk-driving laws and they were treating the case as a simple traffic accident.


Best man toasted the groom, then his house

Shannon Gear Williams and her husband, Anthony, look at their burned house in Hampton, Virginia.

A newlywed couple's best man was sentenced to nine years in prison for torching the groom's house during the honeymoon.

Joseph T. Overton, pleaded guilty in October to arson and manufacture of explosive devices. He was sentenced Wednesday and ordered to repay insurance companies that paid claims on the fire. The home is being rebuilt.

Overton was the best man at the wedding of Anthony and Shannon Williams two days before the explosions last April.

Williams said he and Overton had argued a year before the fire, after he told Overton's wife that Overton had been cheating on her. But they patched things up, he said, and Overton toasted the couple at their wedding.

Anthony Williams said he was satisfied with the punishment. "He feels sorry for this, I know he does," he said.

Circuit Court Judge Von Piersall could have sentenced Overton to life in prison. The prosecutor had sought at least 20 years.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Firemen's party ends in fire station blaze

Firemen in a small Japanese town were left red-faced after a party to mark the end of a fire awareness promotional event ended in a blaze that badly damaged their station.

The two-story, wooden fire station in Shimohetsugi, southern Japan, was extensively damaged by the Sunday blaze, a spokesman for the Oita prefectural fire department said.

No one was injured in the fire, which is thought to have been started either by a gas canister used for the firemen's barbecue or by a kerosene heater.

"It's very embarrassing that this should happen to people whose job it is to go and put out fires," the spokesman said.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Maybe you shouldn't answer a stolen phone..

Swedish police caught a burglar after he answered a phone he had just stolen and did not hang up, letting them eavesdrop on his getaway ride in a taxi.

The man broke into a house in Overtornea in the far north of Sweden, stealing a mobile phone and other possessions.

The police rang the stolen phone and heard him swearing about the late arrival of a taxi which he had ordered to take him to neighboring Kalix, 37 miles away.

"The thief answered the phone but then just put it away without turning it off," said Overtornea policeman Kurt Paavola.

The police tracked down the taxi and arrested the man late Monday.


Idiot of the Day - 1/4/06 (Part 2)

Police in a Vancouver suburb reminded residents on Tuesday it was not a good idea to play with a loaded gun while using the bathroom, after a man accidentally shot himself.

A 21-year-old North Vancouver man was facing numerous weapons charges after he shot off one of his fingers while apparently playing with a gun on New Year's Day, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

"Perhaps, our mothers never explained to us that it was not a good idea to play with handguns whilst using the restroom. But then again, maybe that was supposed to be a given," the Mounties said in a press release.


Idiot of the Day - 1/4/06

For those of you who are thinking about embarking on a career of armed robbery, read this one.

Just after 8:30 p.m. an employee of a Roswell Road restaurant emptied a grease pan behind the building. When he turned around, a man was holding a gun to his back. The robber had a mask over his nose and mouth. The employee said he got into a fight with the man and, although he took a hit from the butt of the gun to his nose, he got the man into a headlock.

Two employees, who I’m guessing the robber forgot to check for, got into the act and they smacked the guy and took his gun, shirt and mask. The man fled, but not before he dropped his cell phone.

On the phone’s photo wallpaper was a photo of the man holding the gun sideways like they do in the movies, (which by the way, is a good way to finish second in a gunfight.)

The victim positively identified the man and the gun from his phone picture. Although the gun was a semi-automatic pistol, it only had one bullet in the chamber and contained no magazine, a la Barney Fife. The detectives were working on the cell phone files to identify who the Barney is.


Parents gamble, kids home alone

A California couple left their 5- and 9-year-old children home alone for the weekend while they went to gamble in Las Vegas.

Police said the parents could be charged with child neglect but have not been able to interview the couple in person because bad weather was delaying their return from Las Vegas until Wednesday.

The couple went to Las Vegas on Friday, leaving the children cereal to eat and the father's cell phone number to call in an emergency.

Their apparent hope that, in the words of the city's tourism advertisements, what happens in Las Vegas should stay in Las Vegas went awry when one of their mothers called their home on New Year's Eve and became concerned that no adult was present, said Brian Kilinowski, investigation supervisor for the San Ramon police south of San Francisco.

The children, who ate cereal for breakfast and frozen foods heated in a microwave for other meals, were unharmed.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Teen's New Name:

A 19-year-old PETA staffer has legally changed his name to

Chris Garnett, youth outreach coordinator for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said he changed his name in support of the group's anti-KFC campaign.

"People don't believe me at first when I tell them my name, but it never fails to spark a discussion," Garnett, er,, said in a statement. "Many vow to boycott KFC after I explain the company's indifference to cruelty to animals."

Norfolk, Va.-based PETA's complaints against KFC stem from video footage shot last year recording alleged mistreatment of birds at a Pilgrim's Pride Corp. plant in Moorefield, W.Va. The plant is a KFC supplier.

Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, has disputed the claims of mistreatment. In June, a grand jury refused to indict former workers at the West Virginia chicken plant.

"Stacked" star Pamela Anderson, who has narrated a PETA video showing the alleged abuse, supports Garnett's name change.

"I'm sure Chris can't wait till KFC stops torturing chickens so he can change his name back," the actress said in a statement, adding that the chicken abuse "is awful and has to stop."