Entries in Crimes (4)


Despite Crime Wave, 50 Chicago Police Sent to Dem Convention

ABC News(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Only days after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked for federal agents and U.S. Marshals to help combat the city's wave of violence, about 50 Chicago police officers have arrived in Charlotte, N.C., to work perimeter security details for a week at the Democratic National Convention.

The Chicago officers, in their distinctive uniforms and checkerboard-brimmed hats, said they had been instructed not to talk with reporters about their out-of-town assignment.

"These are officers on their days off and were specially trained as mobile field force officers for the recent NATO summit in Chicago," said Melissa Stratton, a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department.

A Charlotte Police Department spokesperson confirmed that "roughly 50 officers from Chicago" were on duty at the convention.

On Monday morning, some of the Chicago officers were stationed near security screening posts where delegates enter the Charlotte Convention Center.

"I would love to know the logic behind that decision to send them there given all that is happening here in Chicago," the Rev. Ira Acree of the Greater St. John Bible Church in Chicago told ABC News on Monday.

"It's a state of emergency here in Chicago," Rev. Acree told the Wall Street Journal last week.

Chicago police union officials also questioned the use of officers in Charlotte.

"We had two homicides and dozens of shootings this weekend, and we're sending offices out of the city?" said Pat Camden, a spokesperson for the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.  "I think the average person would shake his head over that."

Last Friday, Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy publicly asked for federal help in targeting neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by the city's wave of violence.

"The help comes in the form of additional agents to target guns, gangs and drugs," Superintendent McCarthy said at a news conference.

Chicago's homicide rate is about 31 percent higher than last year, with 346 reported killings as of Aug. 19, according to figures provided by the Chicago police.

Officials said the Chicago officers were sent to Charlotte to reciprocate for police sent by Charlotte to help during the recent NATO summit held in Chicago.

"They are there on their days off and were not pulled off the street," said Stratton.

She said the officers sent to Charlotte will be paid through a special federal grant of $50 million for convention security.

"No funds from the city of Chicago are involved," Stratton said.

"We had a very successful outcome at the NATO convention in Chicago," she said, praising the training of the officers to handle large gatherings.

There was no request for the Chicago officers to assist in security at the GOP convention last week in Tampa, Fla., Stratton added.

The police union has been critical of Mayor Emanuel, a prominent figure in the Democratic party and former White House chief of staff, for substantial reductions in the police budget.

"We've had about a thousand officers retire over the last two years and only about 200 have been hired to replace them," said Camden.

"We've had a collective failure of all institutions to address the violence and I don't give the president a pass either," Rev. Acree said.

A spokesperson for Charlotte Police Chief Rodney Monroe said, "Chief Monroe is grateful to have the assistance of these officers for this monumental event."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Escaped Inmate on Crime Spree in Arkansas

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(POCAHONTAS, Ark.) -- An inmate who escaped from custody four days ago is on a crime spree in Pocahontas, Ark., where police say he stole an officer's gun, threatened the cop's wife and shot his dog.

James Lundry, 39, who was being held on felony charges of improperly using food stamps, escaped from a work detail with other inmates during a lunch break on Friday, stealing a vehicle and heading to Pocahontas, according to Pocahontas Police Chief Cecil Tackett.

Since Friday, police and civilians have had multiple run-ins with Lundry, who has previously been arrested multiple times in Pocahontas on misdemeanor charges.  Lundry is now considered armed and very dangerous, Tackett said.

On Sunday, a caretaker of an abandoned house in the town found Lundry squatting inside, and told police it seemed he had been there for a couple of days.  Police used scent-tracking dogs to follow Lundry's path from a back window to a parked vehicle.  Police believe he entered the vehicle and left, leaving behind stolen items.

Around 11 p.m. Sunday night, Lundry entered the home of a police officer who was on duty elsewhere in the town, and took a .40 caliber Glock pistol, ammunition and a tactical ballistics vest, Tackett said.  He then confronted the officer's wife at the house, and brandished the gun at her before firing three rounds into and killing the couple's pet Pit Bull.

Lundry escaped using a vehicle he had stolen at a local funeral home, police said.

A helicopter with heat-seeking technology and scent dogs on the ground were used Sunday night to track Lundry after he fled the officer's house.  But the helicopter was forced to land after only minutes because of weather problems, Tackett said.

Police are searching abandoned properties and guarding parts of the town in preparation for an expected run-in, Tackett noted.

Lundry is 5'11", weighs 140 pounds, and has multiple tattoos on both of his arms and a teardrop tattoo below his right eye.  Police are searching for a Pontiac Montana minivan that he may be driving.

Lundry now faces a bevy of felony charges from the crime spree, Tackett said. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Violent Crimes, Property Crimes in US Keep Falling

FBI(WASHINGTON) -- Violent crime in the U.S. fell for the fourth consecutive year in 2010, according to FBI figures released Monday, down 6 percent from 2009.

In its annual report, "Crime in the United States," the FBI reported that robbery took the largest dip last year of all violent crime categories, falling by 10 percent, while forcible rape was down by 5 percent; murder and nonnegligent manslaughter decreased by 4.2 percent; and aggravated assault was off by 4.1 percent compared to 2009.

In addition, the incidence of property crimes, which includes motor vehicle thefts, burglaries and larceny-thefts, was down for the eighth straight year.

Overall, of the 13.1 million arrests made in the U.S. during 2010, 552,077 busts were for violent crimes, and property crimes accounted for 1,643,962 arrests.

The FBI report did not elaborate on why violent crimes and property crimes keep declining.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Geovanni Kasanova' Charged with Seducing Bank Tellers to Steal Identities

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New York lothario who goes by the name of "Geovanni Kasanova" has been arrested as the alleged ring leader in an identity theft ring that stole more than $1 million over the course of two years. His main alleged tactic: seducing bank tellers from JP Morgan Chase banks to help him steal identities.

"Kasanova," legally known as Richard Dames, 33, and five members of the alleged identity theft and cybercrime ring were indicted Thursday on 148 counts of stealing the money from at least 80 bank accounts.

"The ring both pickpocketed these victims on the street, and colluded with the bank employees, to steal personal identification that in turn enabled criminal organization to withdraw significant funds from bank branches from New York to Texas to Michigan," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. in a statement.

"If you speak to this guy for a few minutes, he's not exactly smooth or charismatic," Dames' attorney Michael Mays said of his client. "He's overweight and his hair was all over the place. He's sitting up in Riker's Island and is penniless. It's not exactly like he's prince charming."

Dames allegedly seduced Makila Williams, 25, and Kia Wylie, 30, who were working as tellers at JP Morgan Chase banks in New York.

The other three suspects are Jamaluddin Almahdi, 66, Wayne Mitchell, 42, and Ricky McCants, 30. McCants was also an employee of a JP Morgan Chase Bank.

The group was indicted on multiple felony charges, including grand larceny, identity theft and conspiracy. McCants and Wylie are also accused of numerous counts of computer trespass.

After becoming involved with Dames, the women allegedly accepted money from him to obtain personal information through the bank's computer system that allowed Dames to steal identities, according to court papers.

Mays believes Chase is using his client as a scapegoat for its own employees' misdemeanors. He said Dames has been in prison for over a year for previous charges, unable to make bail, and could not be running a crime ring from jail.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio