Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Man May Get Jail for Ticket Expletive

The parking fine was $10. But the comment Robert Militzer added to the check could land him in jail for 30 days.

The computer programmer from Allen Park got the ticket May 29. When Militzer wrote the check to Berkley District Court, he scribbled on the memo line, "BULL (expletive) MONEY GRAB."

That got Militzer an in-person court appearance — on a contempt of court charge. He's scheduled to go before a judge Wednesday, accompanied by an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who will argue Militzer's remark is protected by the First Amendment.

Militzer, 38, was ticketed for parking in front of a friend's house overnight. He said he obeyed signs prohibiting parking between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. during previous visits, but the signs weren't there the morning he was cited.

"I thought they were gaming me, collecting fines without giving people a fair chance to avoid it," Militzer told The Detroit News. "If the sign had been there, I knew what the law was. I would take my lumps and move on."

Militzer said he realized the off-color notation "didn't solve anything." But, he added, "It let them know I felt they were being unfair."

Richard Eshman, Berkley's public safety director, said Militzer could have requested a hearing to argue against the ticket. "There's an avenue for protesting that kind of thing," he said.

ACLU lawyer Elsa Shartsis said Militzer's "choice of words may not be the best, and it may offend some people, but it's not illegal."


Friday, June 16, 2006

Suspect's dog bites him in police chase

A police pursuit ended when the suspect's dog, not happy about being bounced around in the car, bit its owner on the face.

Iron County sheriff's officers approached Nicholas T. Galanis, 47, of Salt Lake City to talk to him about some stolen property.

Galanis got in his car and fled with his dog.

The chase went southbound on Gold Springs Road, a windy, bumpy dirt road about five miles northwest of Modena, at around 5:38 p.m. Monday, said sheriff's detective Jody Edwards.

"Deputies could see the dog in the passenger seat getting slammed into the window," he said.

The dog, which is partly pit bull, "became so agitated that he bit his owner in the face," Edwards said. "And this is what ended the chase."

The bite removed part of Galanis' nose and he stopped.

Galanis was taken to Valley View Medical Center before being booked into Iron County Jail.

His dog was taken to the Enoch Animal Shelter.

Galanis was held for investigation of supplying false information to police, receiving/possession of stolen property and theft.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mom Gets Prison for Making Child Steal

A judge sentenced a woman to prison for making her 6-year-old daughter steal a volunteer fire company's fundraising jar, a crime that netted the family $1.85.

Judith Weidner, 42, had told police she needed the change for gasoline, but in court she blamed a heroin addiction.

Judge David W. Addy sentenced Weidner on Monday to one to three years in prison for the January 2005 theft.

Security films show Weidner distracting a convenience store clerk while her daughter took a small fireman's boot used to collect change for a volunteer fire company effort. The boot was later found in the trash at a car wash.

"What I did to her was wrong," Weidner said. "I feel so bad about it."

Public defender Paul J. Levy said Weidner, a mother of five from Tobyhanna Township in northeastern Pennsylvania, suffers from bipolar disorder and other mental-health problems. She pleaded guilty last year to corruption of minors and conspiracy to commit theft but failed to show for a November sentencing date. She was then arrested April 29.

Weidner's attorney said her children are no longer in her custody.

"She has hit rock bottom," Levy said. "I think knowing what she did got the better of her."


Man Charged With Stealing Five Newsstands

An apparently frustrated, would-be newsstand operator used a rented crane to steal five newsstands from city streets and redeposit them elsewhere, authorities said.

Fatai King of East Mount Airy had filed 42 applications for newsstand licenses with Philadelphia's Department of Licenses and Inspections only to have each rejected, they said.

So King lifted the boxes into the air and then positioned them on some of the corners where he had hoped to operate, according to authorities who charged him Thursday with theft and receiving stolen property.

He relocated one stand from University City to Center City while moving another from the Northeast to West Philadelphia, officials said.

King was also wanted in Montgomery County for failing to appear for a court time.


School Bus Driver Accused of Pot Sales

A south suburban school bus driver is facing misdemeanor charges after police say she sold bags of marijuana to a teenage passenger.

Margaret Fittante, 26, of Oak Lawn has been charged with selling marijuana on school grounds and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to Orland Park police.

Fittante drove several teenagers from Orland Park to a school for adolescents with emotional problems, police said.

One of the teens said she bought a "dime bag" of marijuana from Fittante once a week for several months. The girl was in drug counseling at the time.

Her mother says she has been "clean for 45 days now" and is in Narcotics Anonymous.

Fittante has been fired from the Alpha School Bus Co. No phone number could be found for her.

She is next due in court on July 14 in Bridgeview.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Robber Sues Victims After They Beat Him

A man is suing an auto-parts store for assault and battery after he attempted to hold up the business and employees responded by beating him with a metal pipe.

Dana Buckman, 46, walked into an auto shop brandishing a semiautomatic pistol last summer, only to have it turned on him by two AutoZone employees, police said. The men beat Buckman with a metal pipe and held him with his own gun.

Buckman escaped and was arrested a week later.

He pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 18 years in prison as a repeat violent felon.

Buckman claims the men chased him out of the store and continued to beat him. He is suing the auto shop and the men for the injuries he suffered and for emotional distress.

"In some respects, you wonder if a case like this even needs a defense. It speaks for itself," said lawyer Patrick B. Naylon, who represents AutoZone and the employees.

But lawyer Phillip R. Hurwitz, who represents Buckman, said the employees crossed the line by pursuing Buckman and attacking him.

"The danger was past," Hurwitz said. "These two employees took it upon themselves to go after Mr. Buckman after he left the store."


Woman Cited for Exposing Herself in Store

A 28-year-old woman has been cited for lewdness for exposing herself inside a store. The woman was riding a motorized cart inside Lin's Market Place on Thursday with her pants around her ankles and not wearing underwear.

Customers didn't notice the woman until she would stand up from the cart and bend over to look at items on the shelf, exposing her buttocks.

The woman told police she arrived in Cedar City with a circus but was left behind.


Parents Accused of Rewarding Sons With Pot

Police have arrested a mother and father and accused them of giving marijuana to their young sons — as a reward for good behavior.

Toni Lynn Carlson, 31, and Aaron Virgil Carlson, 23, were booked on suspicion of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia, possessing marijuana for sale, contributing to the delinquency of minors and endangerment, police said Friday.

The couple were taken into custody Thursday night after detectives served a search warrant at their home and found a quarter-pound of marijuana.

Police said the boys — ages 12 and 11, and a 4-year-old girl — were in the care and custody of a family member.

The investigation began after authorities received tips from a neighbor about the possible usage and sale of drugs at the home, police said.

Detectives said they didn't know about the family possibly smoking marijuana together until the parents and children were interviewed.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Deputy Fired for Allegedly Going Topless

This photo provided Friday, June 9, 2006. by the Garland County Sheriff's Office in Hot Springs, Ark., shows Dawn Rene Roberson, 38, of Royal, Ark. Roberson was fired Wednesday from the Garland County sheriff's office and charged with misdemeanors for allegedly going topless at a campground at Lake Ouachita.

A sheriff's deputy who is accused of going topless at a campground has been fired and charged with indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.

Dawn Rene Roberson, 38, of Royal, was fired Wednesday after she turned herself in on the misdemeanor charges.

According to incident reports, a marine patrol deputy and a park ranger told a topless Roberson to cover up in separate encounters Sunday.

Later, authorities received a complaint that a woman without a top was in view of children.

One report said a grandmother complained that the topless woman became "loud and disorderly" after she told the woman to cover up. Another camper told authorities the woman became belligerent when confronted.

In both instances, the topless woman said she was a law officer, according to the reports.

The next day, one of the people who complained identified Roberson in a photo of members of the jail staff, officials said.

A July 18 court appearance was set for Roberson. She could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine on the exposure charge and up to 30 days in jail and a $100 fine on the disorderly conduct charge.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Umpire, Fan Brawl at Pickup Baseball Game

The umpire called a player safe on a close play at first base. The spectator didn't like it and threw a beer bottle. The umpire dodged it, then punched the fan, knocking out one of his teeth.

That's what Beaufort County deputies said happened at a three-inning pickup baseball game on Hilton Head Island Sunday night.

Tensions between the teams were high because about $3,400 was riding on the outcome, deputies said.

Rony Ruiz, 23, and several other fans stormed the field and began pushing the ump because a run scored on the play at first, cutting the lead of the team they were rooting for to 6-5 in the second inning, authorities said.

After Ruiz threw the bottle at 32-year-old umpire Nelson Montano, he punched Ruiz in the mouth, knocking out a tooth, according to a police report.

The men, whom Montano said are friends, appeared on Monday in municipal court, where they agreed to drop the charges.

And Ruiz's team ended up winning 7-5, Montano said.


Police: Candy Thieves Leave Cell Phone

Burglars who stole $30 worth of Skittles and Starburst candy from a Little League concession stand in this Minneapolis suburb left behind an incriminating piece of evidence. Police found a cell phone inside the building.

According to court documents, sometime after the theft on Saturday night, the phone's owner called the phone and identified himself. Officers arranged to meet him and return the phone, and a witness identified the man as one of the burglars.

Mitchell Scudder, 19, and Brian Current, 21, are charged in the theft. Court papers said a witness saw one suspect crawl out of the building's window and a second join him. Both dropped candy as they ran away.

Under questioning, Current allegedly told investigators he waited outside while Scudder entered the building. The complaint alleged the two filled a backpack with candy and ran when a car drove by.

When officers went to Scudder's door, he chewing on some Skittles. Confiscated from the house were 20 bags of candy and another 20 packages were found in a backpack, the complaint said.

Damage to the concession stand was estimated at $500 to $1,000.


Teacher Seeks Leave to Serve Prison Time

A city teacher convicted of stealing from elderly women tried to take a leave of absence to serve prison time in New Jersey, and now that he's out school leaders say he's not welcome back to the classroom.

Thomas Everett didn't properly report his arrest or conviction to the right authorities, grounds for dismissal, school investigators said Tuesday. But Everett, a disbarred lawyer who taught social studies at Sheepshead Bay High School in Brooklyn, said he hopes to teach again someday.

His strange tale was uncovered earlier this year when he submitted a request for an unpaid leave of absence lasting 60 to 90 days. In the late January request, he wrote that he had "problems with the State of New Jersey Judicial System" and "must fulfill an obligation to the State."

That raised a few flags.

The office of the lead schools investigator, Richard Condon, soon learned that Everett, who lived in West Caldwell, N.J., was convicted in Essex County of misappropriating entrusted funds and theft by deception. The charges stemmed from allegations that he stole more than $1 million from elderly women who hired him to execute their estates in the 1990s. The investigators' report did not specify the victims' ages but referred to them as elderly and said two had been in nursing homes and had died.

In late January, Everett was sentenced to serve up to three years in prison but apparently anticipated a truncated sentence and submitted the application for the short leave.

The length of time it took to arrest and convict Everett allowed him to slip through the hiring cracks, Condon said.

"We get some strange ones, but this one is a little different," said Condon, who was recommending that the schools not take back Everett, whose leave request was denied.

Dogged by allegations, Everett was disbarred in 2002 and turned to teaching. He told Condon's office that when he applied to the schools he said he was under investigation but was told he had to report only arrests and convictions.

He began teaching in the fall of 2003.

Everett was arrested in May 2005 and pleaded guilty that October. He was imprisoned early this year but was let out under special supervision last month. New Jersey officials allowed Everett to enter the supervision program partly so he could work and repay the families of the victims.

Everett, 59, said he hopes to return to teaching, which earned him $54,823 a year.

"I miss the students," he said. "I miss the people."

The city Department of Education said in a statement that Everett was a probationary employee and it would pursue ending his services.

His lawyer, Don Belsole, said finding him a job was the top priority.

"The tragedy in this case is that he's a pretty good fella," Belsole said. "I thought he was doing a terrific job teaching, and he loved it. And he brings with him a lot of life experience going through what he went through."


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Boy in Fla. Custody After Being Left Behind

A 6-year-old boy who was accidentally left behind by his family after they celebrated his birthday at a restaurant will temporarily remain in state custody, a judge ruled Monday.

Michael James Emanuel Jr.'s family said they accidentally left him Saturday night and didn't notice he was missing until the next day. Each relative thought the child was with another family member, they told police.

Employees at the Boca Raton restaurant called police, and the child was taken into state custody, Palm Beach County sheriff's spokesman Paul Miller said Monday.

Diane Duvall, an attorney for the boy's mother, Lacqetta Monroe, 23, told the judge there were 12 kids at the party at a Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant, and as they all piled into cars to leave, the boy was simply overlooked.

The state Department of Children and Families will likely determine Tuesday whether Michael can live temporarily with a relative, Palm Beach County Juvenile Judge Ronald Alvarez said.

Duvall declined to comment on the case outside court. The Department of Children and Families also declined to comment. Monroe's telephone number was not listed under her name.

No criminal charges have been filed.


Judge Orders Woman to Pay Fine for Throwing Lettuce from Car

You could call it the case of the tossed salad. It made its way to the Northampton County Courthouse today. You may remember a woman was cited and fined for flinging a few leaves out the window. But she says lettuce is not litter.

WFMZ's Mike Lowe is live at the courthouse with more on this story.

It all happened last October when Dawn Higgins took her daughters and a friend to McDonald's, when she pulled over in a parking lot to eat her salad. She tossed a few of the leaves out the window.
That's when she was approached by a police officer.

"She was throwing items out of her vehicle. That was lettuce.
"I said: it's not littering. It's lettuce."
"She didn't like the mescaline greens that are part of the McDonalds salad. She tossed them out the window.
"I approached her and she became belligerent."
I said: You must be having a bad day."
"I asked her for her drivers licence."
"He eventually ended up citing her for what was 6 leaves from her McDonald's salad -- no dressing."
"I did have a little bit of an attitude, but who wouldn't. I think anyone in their right mind would have been pissed off just like I was."
"He cited her $50 dollars, plus court costs, plus a $173 fine for those leaves. Probably the most expensive McDonald's salad ever sold."
I feel terrible. I think I got robbed."
"If it would've been any other infraction, it would've shown the public it's OK to litter."

After hearing that story in court today a judge ordered Higgins to pay a fine.
Higgins is asking anyone who agrees with her to send a one dollar donation in her name to the courthouse help pay the costs.


2 found dead inside deflated balloon

Two college students were found dead inside a large, deflated helium balloon after apparently pulling it down and crawling inside it, officials said.

The deaths of Jason Ackerman and Sara Rydman, both 21, appear to be accidental, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Maj. Bob Schrader said.

Their bodies were found Saturday partially inside a deflated helium balloon at the entrance of a condominium complex a few miles north of Tampa.

The 8-foot-diameter balloon was used to advertise the complex.

"It was more a fun thing they thought they were doing," said Linda Rydman, whose daughter was found dead. "You know how you blow up the balloon and suck the helium."

The county medical examiner said Sunday that the cause of death won't be released for six weeks, until toxicology results come back.

Inhaling helium can quickly lead to brain damage and death from lack of oxygen, according to the Compressed Gas Association, which develops safety standards in the gas industry.

Ackerman was an advertising major at the University of South Florida and Rydman was a student at Hillsborough Community College.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Man jailed for mouse-in-burrito scam

A man who stuffed a dead mouse into his Taco Bell burrito in a botched extortion attempt was sentenced Friday to 16 to 30 months in prison.

Ryan Daniel Goff, 20, pleaded guilty last month to a felony count of attempted false pretenses between $1,000 and $20,000.

Sheriff's investigators said Goff complained to a restaurant employee in January that his burrito tasted "funny."

Goff reported finding the mouse to the local health department and Taco Bell's regional manager. According to court records, he allegedly told the manager: "It won't be a good day if the media finds out about this."

But investigators said his girlfriend told them he purchased frozen mice from a pet store and put one of them in his burrito.

Goff's sentencing was just the latest in several recent cases of alleged extortion over body parts and dead animals in restaurant food.

In January, Anna Ayala, 40, was sentenced to nine years in prison for planting a severed human finger in a bowl of chili at a Wendy's restaurant in California in an extortion scheme. Her husband, Jaime Plascencia, 44, who obtained the finger from someone who lost it in an accident, was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.

In April, Carla Patterson, 38, and her 22-year-old son, Ricky, were convicted of trying to extort money from the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain by claiming they found a dead mouse in a bowl of soup in Virginia. Both are awaiting sentencing.


Test scores are in: Northeast still has dumbest drivers

The tiny state of Rhode Island still ranks rock bottom in terms of driving knowledge, according to a national test conducted by GMAC Insurance. Oregon drivers answered the most questions correctly.

The test revealed that about one in 11 licensed drivers in the United States would fail a state drivers test, according to GMAC Insurance.

Rhode Island ranked last year, also, with an average score of 77. Last year, Oregon's average score was 89, which still placed at the top of the rankings that year.

Based on average scores, northwestern states generally ranked highest while the bottom-ranking states were mostly in the northeast. One exception was Vermont, which ranked third. Washington state drivers ranked second. Drivers in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia ranked at the bottom, with D.C. finishing just ahead of Rhode Island.

The 20-question test was based on questions asked in state driver's license examinations. A score of 70 or higher is required to pass a standard state test.

The failure rate for drivers in northeastern states was about 16 percent, according to GMAC Insurance. The failure rate for drivers in northwestern states was from one to seven percent.

The test and an accompanying survey were completed by 5,288 licensed drivers including at least 100 from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey asked about responses to specific driving situations.

(Cheat alert: The following paragraph includes some answers to the test.)

Approximately one in three drivers said they usually do not stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. At least one out of five drivers did not know that pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right of way. At least one in five also did not know that roads are most slippery when it first starts to rain after a dry spell.

State-by-state rankings

Take the test:

2006 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test


Hunt perv caught in a flash

When a pervert exposed himself on a Manhattan subway last week, Thao Nguyen reached for her secret weapon - her camera phone.

The quick-thinking 22-year-old snapped a shot of the smirking sicko, took it to cops and then posted it on the Internet.

Word of her campaign to nail the flasher raced through cyberspace, and more than 45,000 people had viewed the photographic evidence by last night.

"I just hope they catch him," Nguyen told the Daily News.

"Maybe someone will recognize him. Maybe it will stop other people from doing it," she said. "Maybe other women will use their camera phones to stop crime."

Nguyen's transformation from quiet Web developer to feisty crimefighter happened on an uptown R train the afternoon of Aug. 19.

She was on her way back to work after a job interview when a middle-aged, blond-haired man dressed in a black shirt and jeans sat down across from her.

"He kept staring at me," she said. "I could feel his eyes on me. I wanted to avoid eye contact so I looked away, but I could see his reflection in the window.

"I saw him massaging himself and then he unzipped and pulled it out. I thought, 'I can't believe he's doing this in the middle of the day!' "

The subway car was mostly empty and Nguyen felt nervous, so she pulled out her Samsung P777 cell phone, equipped with a 1.3 megapixel digital phone.

"I turned on the camera," she said. "He was still masturbating. I aimed it and quickly took the shot. As soon as I took it, he zipped up and got off the train."

Nguyen said she was disgusted by the incident and immediately reported it to a police officer at the 34th St. station.

The next day she filled out an official complaint, and the following day a detective had her look at hundreds of photos of ex-cons.

None of them was the culprit, but Nguyen wasn't about to give up. She posted the degenerate's photo on the Web sites Flickr and Craigslist, and bloggers began linking to her site.

Her photo and story drew a few juvenile snickers, but most of the comments have been positive. One Netizen wrote: "You go, girl!" Another commented, "I hope his mom sees it." The NYPD, which confirmed Nguyen had filed a complaint, also was impressed.

"It's great she took the picture; it'll help with the investigation," said NYPD Detective Kevin Czartoryski, who warned that a woman should be careful if the flasher sees her taking the picture.

"If it can be done in a safe manner, it'd be helpful to locate the suspect," said Czartoryski, a NYPD spokesman. "Common sense should be used when deciding if a picture can be taken."

Nguyen isn't the first straphanger to use her cell phone to catch a criminal.

In May, two Catholic schoolgirls took a photo of a man en flagrante on the F train and showed it to a cop, who nabbed the pervert.

Nguyen said even if her tormentor isn't caught - and charged with public lewdness, a misdemeanor that carries up to three months in jail - she's glad she took action. "He made me feel creepy," she said. "I want to embarrass him."

If you recognize the man in the picture, call the Daily News at (212) 210-1574 and let us know.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Couple ordered hit on grandkids

A couple tried to hire a hit man to kill their three grandchildren and daughter-in-law to stop them from testifying against their son in his rape trial, authorities said.

The couple, ages 60 and 59, were charged with four counts each of criminal conspiracy to commit murder. They were being held without bond.

Police said the pair initially offered $100 to an undercover sheriff's deputy to kill their son's wife, their 10-year-old granddaughter, two step-grandchildren, ages 14 and 16, and the family dog.

More money was promised after the killings, said Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Christie Mysinger.

The couple's 31-year-old son has been jailed since November on 22 charges of sexual battery on a child, lewd and lascivious molestation and showing obscene material to a minor, court records show.

Detectives say his daughter and stepdaughter are the victims. The Associated Press has withheld the names of the grandparents and the family members to protect the children's identities.

The man tried to solicit a fellow jail inmate to kill his family, the arrest report said.

An informant told detectives about the plot and they arranged to meet the man's parents Tuesday at a Best Western motel in Tavares, a lakefront community about 30 miles northwest of Orlando, police said.

"(The deputy) said, 'You want me to kill everyone, including the dog?' They agreed," Mysinger said.

The son's attorney, Peter Sartes, said he had no details on the parents' arrest. It was not clear who was representing them.


Deputy Fired for Filming Girls in Bikinis

A Martin County sheriff's review board found just cause in the firing of a former deputy who was relieved of duty for using his patrol car's dashboard-mounted camera to film bikini-clad girls at the beach.

Jack Munsey was fired Jan. 30 after an internal investigation found his behavior was not criminal but violated department policies. Munsey had sought reinstatement.

The panel took just four minutes Wednesday to determine his firing was justified.

The daylong hearing included testimony about two previous investigations involving Munsey, including one in 1997 when he used a department computer to view pornography on the Internet while on duty. He was suspended for a week. In 2004, he was suspended after he totaled a patrol car while speeding on his way to work.

Munsey's attorney Larry Fagan called the videotaping a brief lapse in judgment that should not warrant termination.

"This is something that will follow him forever," Fagan told the panel.

Munsey declined to comment after the hearing.

Sheriff Robert Crowder said Munsey likely will not lose his law enforcement certification that could get him a job elsewhere.

"He's not a bad guy, but I think his judgment perhaps was flawed and maybe he's learned from this, and maybe he'd be able to work somewhere where this wouldn't be held over his head," Crowder said.


Ice Cream Truck Driver Charged With DUI

Police say they found a nearly empty pint bottle of vodka between the front seats of an ice cream truck after they pulled over the driver for swerving into the wrong lane.

Goshen Police Patrolman Jared Baer spotted the yellow-and-white van in a subdivision, after several motorists called Saturday to report the swerving vehicle in the city about 25 miles southeast of South Bend, police said.

The van was stopped, and the driver was selling ice cream to children, so Baer waited until Dennis D. Cogburn, 51, of Bowie, Texas, started up again.

Baer said he followed the van and pulled it over after Cogburn failed to signal turns and swerved into the wrong lane.

Cogburn failed field sobriety tests and was arrested on a preliminary charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Cogburn reported having chest pains, so he was taken to a hospital, where a test showed his blood-alcohol level was 0.24 percent, three times the state's legal level to drive a car.

Baer impounded the ice cream van and found the nearly empty bottle of vodka, he reported.

Cogburn told police he's staying in a South Bend motel, working for the ice cream company, but planned to move back to Texas soon.


Man Who 'Sold' Gasoline for $10 Charged

A man who police say pretended to be a station attendant and "sold" gasoline to drivers for $10 a tank was stealing the expensive commodity and pocketing the purchase money.

Joseph K. Boulware, 41, of address unknown, was arrested May 19 at a gas station in West Baltimore where, police said, he dispensed 450 gallons of gas worth about $1,300. He was charged theft, assault and possession of crack cocaine. His bail status could not be determined late Tuesday.

Authorities said Boulware used a magnetic key and a code that effectively places a pump on standby mode, allowing him to dispense gasoline unnoticed.

Boulware had worked for gas testing companies, which is how police believe he obtained the key and code.

A spokeswoman for Austin, Texas-based Tanknology said Boulware worked there from February to May 2004, but would not discuss his employment further, The (Baltimore) Sun reported.

"He asks you, 'You want gas? I will fill you up for $10,'" said Mohammad Mehtabdin, manager of the Citgo station where Boulware was arrested. "Nobody will complain about that."

About 5:30 p.m. on May 19, a $71 charge for pump No. 8 showed up on the register inside the Citgo, catching sales associate Francis Okondu by surprise.

Okondu, Mehtabdin and three other employees confronted the man.

"I was working that night," said Mehtabdin. "He was going pump to pump. He was selling gas to the people. So our employees noticed. We asked him, 'What are you doing here?' He said, 'Nothing, nothing.'"

While trying to flee, the man punched a station worker in the face, the manager said.

"He tried to run away, but we surrounded him," Mehtabdin said. "He was yelling, 'I did nothing.'"

The man fled inside the station. When police arrived, they reported finding the black magnetic key hidden inside a Ritz cracker box on a shelf stocked.

Police recovered the key, and seized $335 in cash and two purple vials containing rocklike substances that Boulware "had in his possession," police said.

Police say they are investigating other gas-pilfering schemes at as many as eight other stations.

"He had a lot of customers," Okondu said.


Alleged Thief Squeezes Calves in Small Car

A man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing seven calves from a Canton farmer, sheriff's deputies said.

Victor R. Gardner, 22, is accused of squeezing seven of the young cattle into the back seat and trunk of a 2000 Dodge Neon. He is charged with third-degree burglary and third-degree grand larceny.

Gardner had the help of an accomplice when he allegedly drove the calves to a barn in DeKalb, St. Lawrence County Sheriff's deputies said.

Two of the calves were sold, the rest are missing and presumed dead.

Gardner, who has a history of burglaries, is being held in St. Lawrence County jail without bail.


Idaho Woman Breaks Into Dog Pound

A northern Idaho woman spent Memorial Day in jail, booked for investigation of burglary and malicious injury to property after police say she forced her way into the local dog pound to free her incarcerated canine.

Coreen Rae Culbreth, 42, was arrested Monday after she was reportedly caught on a security video taking her black Labrador from the Coeur d'Alene Animal Shelter a day earlier, when the facility had been closed.

Culbreth claimed she found an open door, entered and left with her dog — rather than waiting to pay the $40 fine, police said. Police say employees of the shelter told them the door was pried open.

"She said it was a foolish thing to do," Police Officer Mark Knapp said, following Culbreth's arrest. "She knew she would have to pay a fine."

The dog had been taken to the shelter hours before Culbreth retrieved it Sunday, police said. The dog remained at Culbreth's home after she was arrested and taken to the Kootenai County Jail.

A 1st District Court judge in Coeur d'Alene released Culbreth Tuesday on her own recognizance. A hearing is set for mid-June.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Angry girlfriends turn in fake marshal

Richard Kudlik's "not wanted" poster was updated with news of his arrest on the Web site

To some, Richard Kudlik possessed the macho allure of a deputy U.S. marshal on a manhunt.

They say he had the badge, raid jacket, flashing lights on his Dodge pickup truck, even a gun. But the real U.S. marshals -- and a chorus of angry women -- say Kudlik was only acting.

Kudlik, 43, was arrested at his Port Jefferson, New York, home Wednesday after several ex-girlfriends outed him earlier this month on a Web site featuring a wanted poster.

The site calls him a "lying, cheating U.S. Marshal impersonator" and reveals his true identity as a long-married maintenance man.

He pleaded not guilty to possessing a counterfeit U.S. Marshals Service badge and was released on $5,000 bail. His attorney did not return a phone call Wednesday.

Pamela Brown said she began dating Kudlik last year until she received an anonymous e-mail warning: "The man you're dating is not who he says he is."

She tracked down Kudlik's wife, who told her in a phone conversation they had been married 17 years.

Brown began networking online with other women who said they had been wronged by Kudlik, and on May 14 she launched the Web site with photos of Kudlik.

She estimates he used his phony persona to lure at least 10 other women into relationships in the past decade.

"I don't want another woman to go through what I went through," she said. "I hope this taught him a lesson and makes him get help. He's a sick person."