Entries in Crime (61)


Federal Inmates Up by 50% Since 2000

Kevin Horan/Stone(WASHINGTON) -- The number of Americans locked up in federal prisons across the country has boomed over the past six years, growing nearly 10 percent since 2006, and is expected to keep growing through 2020.

The number of incarcerated federal felons has grown by about 50 percent since the year 2000, according to a new report released this week by the Government Accountability Office.

The rise in the population is attributed to a rise in national crime, tougher sentences for convicted felons, and a lack of parole in the federal system. With more criminals staying in the system for longer periods of time, available space in prisons has dried up, according to David Maurer, a GAO spokesman.

“The problem is going to be that these guys are going to be there for a long time and they’re not building any new prisons for anymore.  That’s why crowding continues to become a problem,” Maurer said.

More than 1.6 million individuals — or 1 in 200 Americans — were incarcerated in America as of December 2010, the most recent time period for which there is data, according to the GAO report.  The federal system addressed in the report houses about 218,000 of the inmates. The rest are located in state prisons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Farmer Crushes 7 Police Cars With Tractor

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEWPORT, Vt.) -- Police in Vermont in hot pursuit of a suspect were without wheels when their quarry, an irate farmer with a tractor, allegedly crushed nearly half the department’s fleet of vehicles.

Orleans County police say 34-year-old Roger Pion, of Newport, Vt., drove a red tractor over seven vehicles in the parking lot of the county’s Sheriff’s Department Thursday afternoon, flattening their quest to apprehend the suspect.

Police inside the department’s office were unaware of the destruction happening outside until they received a 911 call and heard a horn blaring outside, Chief Deputy Philip Brooks told the Burlington Free Press.

Left with no cars, Brooks had to run to a nearby service station where another car was being worked on to try to catch Pion.

“We had nothing to pursue him with,” Brooks told the paper. “It’s more than half our fleet. We have 11 cars.”

Pion was caught by authorities from the rural city’s police department about one mile from the Sheriff’s office and arrested on 11 charges.  He is being held at the Northern State Correctional Center in Newport on $15,000 bail.

He is expected in court today to face seven counts of felony unlawful mischief, one misdemeanor count of unlawful mischief on suspicion of damaging the cars, one charge of leaving the scene of an accident, one count of grossly negligent operation and aggravated assault on Newport City police after he allegedly tried to back the tractor into a city cruiser while being pursued.

Police say that Pion had been arrested last month by Newport city police for charges of resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.

Pion was issued a citation in those cases and ordered to appear in Superior Court next Tuesday.  He was also held overnight in jail the night of that arrest at the request of the Vermont Probation and Parole Office, according to police.

No one was hurt in the incident but police estimated damage to the vehicles as high as $250,000.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Police Stop, Handcuff Every Adult at Intersection 

Comstock/Thinkstock(AURORA, Colo.) -- Police in Aurora, Colo., searching for suspected bank robbers stopped every car at an intersection, handcuffed all the adults and searched the cars, one of which they believed was carrying the suspect.

Police said they had received what they called a “reliable” tip that the culprit in an armed robbery at a Wells Fargo bank committed earlier was stopped at the red light.

“We didn’t have a description, didn’t know race or gender or anything, so a split-second decision was made to stop all the cars at that intersection, and search for the armed robber,” Aurora police Officer Frank Fania told ABC News.

Officers barricaded the area, halting 19 cars.

“Cops came in from every direction and just threw their car in front of my car,” Sonya Romero, one of the drivers who was handcuffed, told ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver.

From there, the police went from car to car, removing the passengers and handcuffing the adults.

“Most of the adults were handcuffed, then were told what was going on and were asked for permission to search the car,” Fania said. “They all granted permission, and once nothing was found in their cars, they were un-handcuffed.”

The search lasted between an hour and a half and two hours, and it wasn’t until the final car was searched that police apprehended the suspect.

“Once officers got to his car, they found evidence that he was who they were looking for,” Fania said. “When they searched the car, they found two loaded firearms.”

The actions of the police have been met with some criticism, but Fania said this was a unique situation that required an unusual response.

“It’s hard to say what normal is in a situation like this when you haven’t dealt with a situation like this,” Fania said. “The result of the whole ordeal is that it paid off. We have arrested and charged a suspect.”

The other people who had been held at the intersection were allowed to leave once the suspect was apprehended.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Justice Breyer Is Robbed Again

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has been robbed again. This time a housekeeper discovered that his Georgetown home had been burglarized while no one was home on May 4. The D.C. police is currently investigating the matter, a court spokesperson said.

It was only in February that Breyer was robbed at knifepoint in his vacation home on the Caribbean island of Nevis.

He’s not the first Supreme Court justice to become a victim of crime. In 2004, Justice David Souter was mugged while jogging, and in 1966, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had her purse snatched.

Supreme Court Justices receive government protection when outside Washington, D.C., and when traveling abroad, from the U.S. Marshals Service.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Baby in Road Leads to Grisly Crime Scene

Thinkstock/Getty Images(WORCESTER, Mass.) -- A baby found in a car seat in the middle of a Massachusetts road led police to a brutal crime scene in a case authorities are calling “very disturbing” and “peculiar.”

Two women are in the hospital in critical condition Monday and one man is dead in Worcester, Mass.

At 11:56 p.m. Saturday, police responded to a call from a driver who spotted a baby sitting in a car seat in the middle of the road. The 3-month-old baby boy was unhurt, but taken to a hospital for evaluation. Police began canvassing the neighborhood and knocking on doors in search for the parents. They were directed to a home at 326 Lovell St.

“Police knocked on several of the doors to that apartment, but did not receive an answer,” Worcester police said in a news release. “Police heard sounds of a person in distress inside the apartment, so a forced entry was conducted.”

Inside, police discovered a man and woman lying on the floor. The man was unresponsive and the woman was injured, police said. Another woman was found injured elsewhere in the apartment. A loose pit bull was also in the residence.

The man, later identified as 32-year-old Javier Maldonado, was declared dead and the two women, ages 36 and 18, were taken to the hospital where they are in critical condition, police said. The 18-year-old is the mother of the baby that was found in the street.

Police will not comment on what kind of injuries the women sustained and an autopsy is being performed on Maldonado.

Authorities are tight-lipped about the investigation.

“We’re trying to piece together why the child was left in the middle of the road. It was highly unusual,” Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst told ABC News. “There are a lot of questions we have unanswered right now.”

Hazelhurst called the baby in the road “very disturbing and unusual and peculiar.” He could not comment on how or why the baby was left in the street.

Police have not made any arrests and are “trying to cultivate” a list of suspects.

The baby was unharmed and is in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. The pit bull was taken by a Worchester Police animal control officer.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Muslim Group Offers Reward for Criminals in Muslim Garb

Philadelphia Police(PHILADELPHIA) -- A Muslim group in Philadelphia is offering a $20,000 reward for tips leading to the arrest of criminals who have been dressing up as Muslim women.

A string of bank robberies and a homicide committed by men dressed as Muslim women has inspired the Majlis Ash Shura, a group representing Philadelphia-area Muslim congregations, to put up the reward.

“Philadelphia is a unique city in that Islam is not new here,” Aliya Khabir, a spokesman for the United Muslim Masajid, said.  “It’s up to us to set the tone for how this is addressed.”

Police are searching for suspects in five bank robberies and a murder in which a man wearing a veil similar to those worn by conservative Muslim women shot and killed a barber at a barbershop outside of the city, according to ABC News affiliate WPVI.

“We are seeing this all too often now, cowards dressing in the outer garb of Muslim women, robbing banks, shooting people,” said District Attorney Seth Williams.

A suspect in the murder case has been arrested, but police are still searching for at least two other suspects for the bank robberies. The suspects are described as two black males with thin builds, approximately 5-feet-10. The men were seen in surveillance video wearing loose dark-colored dresses and head coverings, according to the Philadelphia police department.

Authorities do not think that the crimes are the work of a single group, but rather individuals adopting the same strategy.

Imam Asim Abdul Rashid, of the group that is sponsoring the reward, said Tuesday the crimes are endangering members of the Muslim community.

“It puts our women in danger and it puts a black mark on our community in general,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Grease-Covered Burglar Arrested in Underwear

Springfield Police Department(SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) -- A greasy burglar was caught with his pants down in Massachusetts on Wednesday night when police found him stuck in a restaurant kitchen stove vent.

Robert Kuhn, 26, allegedly attempted to shimmy down a kitchen stove vent of Lido’s Restaurant in Springfield, where he was a former dishwasher, according to ABC News affiliate WGGB.

The owner lives above the restaurant and called police when he saw the vent roof moved around 10 p.m.

Officers first rescued Kuhn, dressed in only boxers, an undershirt and covered in grease.  Half his body was in the shaft and half was out.  Police then arrested him.

“I guess the guy missed the place or something,” Sgt. John Delaney of the Springfield Police Department told WGGB.  “Not sure what he was going to try and steal.  But whatever he was doing, he was trying desperately to do so.”

The greasy burglar is charged with breaking and entering, as well as attempt to commit a felony.

Springfield District Court confirmed Kuhn is currently in jail and has not yet posted bond.  He is set for pre-trial April 26.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Baby-Faced Man Busted Buying Beer

WSB/ABC News(ATLANTA) -- A baby-faced man has an upcoming court date after he spent two days in jail for disorderly conduct while trying to buy beer.

At 22 years old, Jose Sanders looks more like a middle school student than a beer-drinking adult due to a pituitary condition, which he said has been a constant source of discrimination.

Police in Brasleton, Ga., said Jose Sanders became belligerent on March 26 when the cashier and a supervisor at a Kroger store cast doubt on the authenticity of his driver’s license.

“He gets mad, starts cursing, gets all upset. We show up and he’s still cursing,” Lou Solis, assistant police chief in Brasleton, told ABC News. “[So] we go ahead and tell him we’re going to arrest him for disorderly conduct.”

Sanders told WSB-TV that he did not mention his condition because he felt it was no one’s business.

“I just said, ‘You can call the police. I have no worry. My whole intention is to buy this beer,’” he said. “I was kind of frustrated, talking to myself. Sometimes I talk out loud.”

Sanders didn’t get his brews. Instead he spent the next 48 hours in jail before he was released on his own recognizance.

Sanders’ court date is set for April 10.

He’ll have to pay a $276 ticket.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gunman Opens Fire at Texas Courthouse

12newsnow/ABC(BEAUMONT, Texas) -- A shooting at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont, Texas, has left one person dead and four injured, according to the Beaumont Police Department.

Five people were shot, including the gunman. The gunman has been taken into custody, but police have not yet disclosed his identity.

Rod Carroll, a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department deputy, told ABC News the shooting was part of a hostage situation at the courthouse.

A county employee told ABC News' Beaumont affiliate KMBT that the victims were visitors, not courthouse employees.

Beaumont Police Officer Doug Kibodeaux declined to identify the suspect, but told ABC News' Houston affiliate KTRK that the gunman was going to court with his family this morning when he opened fire and shot several rounds. Kibodeaux could not say whether any of the victims were related to the suspect.

The shooting reportedly occurred outside the courthouse, near the entrance.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Psychologist: Murder Suspect is Insane and Not Responsible for Crime

Dunwoody Police Dept(DECATUR, Ga.) -- A psychologist for the defense in the murder trial of a man who is accused of fatally shooting his then-employee's husband told a jury Thursday that she believed the defendant Hemy Neuman was insane and thus not legally responsible for the killing.

Neuman, 49, is charged with shooting and killing Rusty Sneiderman, a 36-year-old Harvard graduate and entrepreneur, in the parking lot of the Sneidermans' son's suburban Atlanta preschool on Nov. 18, 2010. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

In testimony at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Decatur, Ga., Adriana Flores said Neuman had suffered undiagnosed and untreated bipolar disorder with psychosis since his early teens.

Neuman had also experienced delusions, and had erotomania, meaning that thought he was having an affair with Andrea Sneiderman, the victim's wife, she added.

Flores also said Neuman had a rescue delusion in which he believed he had to save Sneiderman's children, Ian and Sophia, from their father. He told her he had been visited by a "she-demon" who told him the Sneidermans' children were his.

"He believed he was the father of the children, they were his children and were in danger," Flores told the court. "It was his duty to rescue them, to protect them by killing Rusty, then he could be with his children."

Flores testified that Sneiderman manipulated Neuman, describing the relationship as "more push and pull, I want you, I don't want you … ."

The case has drawn national attention, in part because of the prosecution and defense's tough questioning of the victim's widow, who is not on trial.

Witness testimony last week revealed Andrea Sneiderman may have been involved in an affair with Neuman – an engineer who was her boss at GE Energy, that she gave conflicting statements about when she learned of her husband's death and that she delayed in alerting police when she realized Neuman may have been the alleged killer.

Andrea Sneiderman has not been charged in connection with her husband's death, and she has denied any affair with Neuman, but has been the focus of censure in the court.

She has been barred from the courtroom for the duration of the trial for inappropriate interaction with a witness.

The prosecution has painted Neuman as a calculating killer who planned Sneiderman's shooting for months, going to gun shows, taking a gun safety course, going to target practice, renting a car for the shooting and wearing a disguise.

But his attorney, Doug Peters, said in his opening statements that Neuman believed he had been visited by an angel resembling Olivia Newton-John and a demon resembling Barry White, who told him that Sneiderman's children were his and that he needed to protect them by killing Rusty Sneiderman.

In testimony Wednesday, Neuman's younger sister, Monique Metsch, told jurors that her father had been abusive to Neuman when they were children. That rough childhood marked the start of Neuman's mental illness, she said.

Their father would kick, hit, slap and whip Neuman, she said.

Through her attorney, Neuman's estranged wife cast doubt on the claims of mental illness.

"My client did not see any signs of a mental illness, just the many signs of a man caught cheating," the attorney, Esther Panitch, told ABC News.

Another psychiatrist – who spent three hours meeting with Neuman in jail to assess his mental state – also testified Wednesday. Dr. Julie Rand Dorney told the court that Neuman showed "some possible psychosis," and that she wasn't sure whether the alleged affair was real or not.

"[Neuman] would at one point say he had sex with this woman and at later points when I asked him if he was having an affair with her, he would say, 'I don't know, I guess if she says it didn't happen, I guess it didn't happen,'" Dorney testified.

The trial is expected to conclude early next week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio