Entries in Fake (6)


Police Accuse Nebraska Woman of Faking Anti-Gay Hate Crime

City of Lincoln Police Department(LINCOLN, Neb.) -- A Nebraska woman was arrested for faking an anti-gay hate crime in which she claimed three masked men bound her, cut words into her skin and spray-painted slurs on her wall before setting her house on fire.

Charlie Rogers, 33, had told police that the three assailants broke into her Lincoln, Neb., home on July 22.

Rogers, a lesbian and a former University of Nebraska women's basketball star, became a face for anti-gay hate crimes after the alleged attack.

Reports of the alleged assault outraged the gay community, and hundreds of people participated in rallies outside the Nebraska capitol building, and at a park in Omaha.

But now police have charged Rogers with false reporting, disclosing evidence that contradicts her story and points to a faked attack.

Police found white gloves, a box cutter and zip ties in Rogers' home. She had originally told investigators that the gloves were the only item left behind by her attackers, and that they did not belong to her.

But Lincoln police learned that Rogers had visited Ace Hardware in Lincoln on July 17 and purchased the same three items. When confronted about the supplies, Rogers admitted to buying all of them except the gloves, which she said were not hers, according to police.

But DNA evidence suggested otherwise.

"The University of Nebraska Medical Center found DNA evidence that matched Ms. Rogers' inside the gloves that were left at the scene of the crime," Lincoln Police Chief Jim Peschong said at a news conference Tuesday.

"There were no male DNA markers found inside the gloves," he said.

Peschong said that Rogers had no explanation for why her DNA would be in the gloves.

The day after her visit to the hardware store, Rogers posted the following message on her Facebook page: "So maybe I am too idealistic, but I believe way deep inside me that we can make things better for everyone. I will be a catalyst. I will do what it takes. I will. Watch me."

Peschong also said that the circumstances surrounding the cuts on Rogers' body aroused suspicion.

"The cuttings on Ms. Rogers arms were either self-inflicted or she had allowed someone to do them," he said. "The lines were too straight to be accomplished during a struggle, and ... the cuts were all in areas where the victim could have inflicted them herself."

The cuts produced some blood, Peschong said, but that investigators found no blood on Rogers' bedspread. He also said that Rogers had told police that her two dogs were passive during the alleged attack, but Peschong said that the dogs were "fairly aggressive" toward officers investigating the scene.

Police arrested Rogers on Tuesday afternoon and charged her with false reporting. She pleaded not guilty and was released on her own recognizance, or in lieu of bail.

Rogers' attorney, Brett McArthur, did not respond to a request from ABC News for comment Thursday.

Peschong said that the case would not affect the police department's trust in crime victims.

"Criminal incidents, especially hate crimes, are unique and viewed as such," he said. "We do not want crime victims to hesitate reporting crimes in the future."

Rogers' next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 14. The false reporting charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mississippi Highway Shooting Suspect Caught After Rape and Kidnap

Tunica County Sheriff's Office(TUNICA COUNTY, Miss.) -- The man arrested in connection with two Mississippi highway murders was linked to the crimes after he allegedly kidnapped and raped a woman who managed to get away and contact police.

James D. Willie, 28, was arrested Tuesday morning on rape and aggravated assault charges when Tunica County police responded to an apartment where a disturbance was reported. When they arrived, a woman said that Willie raped her.

Police found a Ruger 9mm, semi-automatic handgun in his possession during the arrest, which investigators later determined matched the weapon used in last week's shootings.

The motive for the alleged shootings were "drugs and robbery," authorities said at a news conference Friday. Cops would not confirm or deny if Willie was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crimes.

Willie was charged with kidnapping, rape, felony possession of a firearm and the murder of Lori Carswell, police said. Charges for the murder of Tom Schlender are still pending.

Authorities initially thought the shooter was posing as a police officer to get people to stop on highways on the northern part of the state, but have since backed away from that theory.

"We can't confirm or deny if the car was already parked, if he ran across her or if he flashed her [with lights] to get her to pull over," Tunica County Sheriff K.C. Hamp said referring to Carswell.

Schlender, 74, from Nebraska, was found in his car on Interstate 55 in Panola County on May 8 about 1:30 a.m. Three days later, Carswell, 48, from Mississippi, was found near her car on Highway 713 in nearby Tunica County about 2:15 a.m.

"We did interview [Willie] last night and in the early morning hours," Hamp said. "He's been cooperative to a certain extent. We didn't get a confession directly, but we got a lot of information."

Schlender's family told ABC News that his wallet was missing. Police will not say whether Carswell was robbed, but said her purse, cell phone and wallet were in her car, but the wallet was empty.

Willie, who has an extensive criminal record, has previously spent eight years in prison for burglary charges.

The fear that a killer was posing as a cop to get his victims to pull over had prompted police in Mississippi to warn motorists to not stop if being flashed by police late at night. Instead, the department advised they call 911 to help decide whether the call behind them was really a police car.

If it wasn't a police car, the cops would send help.

Willie is being held in jail without bond and is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


After Mississippi Killings, Man Questioned Following Apparent Fake-Cop Highway Stops

Thinkstock/Getty Images(HUMPHREYS COUNTY, Miss.) -- Authorities are questioning a man over suspicious highway stops in central Mississippi after two fatal shootings last week that apparently occurred during phony police stops in the northern part of the state.

As of late Thursday, the man being held in Humphreys County, Miss., James Lucas, was merely "under investigation," being questioned on two Wednesday-night incidents and not charged with a crime, a Humphreys County sheriff's official said. Police could not say whether the two recent incidents were related to the earlier fatal shootings.

"We're just going to say these are isolated incidents in our county and we're going to deal with that first," Sam Dobbins, an investigator with the Humphreys County Sheriff's Office, told ABC News.

However, Dobbins added, other police agencies in the state, including the Mississippi Department of Investigation, also were investigating, apparently giving the case a broader scope.

At least one detail may not match up to those reported in the fatal shootings from last week: Wednesday's incidents involved a blue Mercury Grand Marquis, possibly the one Lucas was driving when he was pulled over around noon Thursday in Yazoo City, Miss., according to ABC News affiliate WAPT in Jackson, Miss. The fatal incidents, however, were believed to involve a gold Ford Crown Victoria.

The Humphreys County incidents occurred after Mississippi authorities urged drivers to question whether anyone pulling them over really was a police officer.

"We urge everyone to be cautious while driving, especially at night," the Tate County Sheriff's Office posted on its Facebook page. "If someone attempts to pull you over with flashing lights and you feel unsure of stopping, DON'T PULL OVER. Use your cell phone and dial 911 and if it's a real officer then the dispatcher will confirm it for you and if it's not a real officer they will send help to you."

"Our deputies have been told not to overreact if someone does not immediately pull over," the sheriff's office wrote. "Your safety is our primary concern."

Two drivers were killed on northern Mississippi highways within days of each other and investigators in multiple counties and federal officials were working to find out who may be behind the killings.

The recent cases occurred along U.S. 49 in Humphreys County, which is in central Mississippi, between 9 p.m. and midnight Wednesday night.

"We received some calls last night for a blue car similar to a police car, a Mercury Grand Marquis, that attempted to stop two vehicles," Dobbins said.

Although Dobbins believed the person in the Grand Marquis approached the victims' cars in plain clothes, the suspicious car's occupant evidently made indications his was an official vehicle.

"He displayed flashing blue lights, yes he did," Dobbins said. "That's what we call impersonating a police officer."

Both pulled-over drivers grew suspicious and sped off toward Yazoo City in neighboring Yazoo County, where Lucas and the car later were found being brought back to Humphreys County.

One of the two victims grew frightened and fired a gun when he saw the Grand Marquis following him, Dobbins said.

Later, one of the victims identified the seized car as the one involved in the highway stop, Dobbins added.

Dobbins would not comment on whether or not Lucas or the occupant of the Grand Marquis displayed a weapon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man Who Eluded Airport Security Due in Court

Facebook(LOS ANGELES) -- The Nigerian man who flew from New York to Los Angeles with a fake ID and boarding pass last Friday is due in a Los Angeles courtroom Friday.

Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi, 24, faces stowaway charges.  He was arrested in Los Angeles Wednesday after trying to board a Delta flight bound for Atlanta.  FBI agents say they found 10 apparently stolen boarding passes in his bags.

The Transportation Security Administration now admits that Noibi somehow got through security at both New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport before he was caught by the FBI.

Joseph Morris, the former federal security director at JFK Airport, said the incident points to a major problem.

"It certainly shows that there's a weakness," Morris said.

The TSA has also confirmed that its security officer in New York never noticed that Noibi's ID and boarding pass were invalid.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


The Great Christmas Debate: A Real Tree or a Fake One?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Millions of Americans swear by artificial Christmas trees, arguing that they are easier to deal with and better for the environment. Traditionalists say that's ridiculous. And a Canadian environmental firm says it's not even true.

The firm calculated the greenhouse gas emissions from both types and discovered that you would have to reuse an artificial tree for more than 20 years for it to be greener than cutting down a real one every year.

While Americans chop down 30 million trees each year, the real trees can be recycled. Last year, New York City composted and mulched 150,000 Christmas trees. Americans buy about 13 million fake trees every year, which often end up in landfills.

Advocates of fake trees say the smell of a real tree can be replaced with pine spray. They cite convenience as an advantage – not having to haul a tree into your house every year, water your tree or vacuum up pine needles.

"Compared to the environmental impact of normal daily activity, neither type of tree – real or artificial – has a significant environmental impact," said Thomas Harman, CEO of Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Company, the leading specialty brand of artificial Christmas trees. "The main reason for the growth in artificial tree sales in the last 10 years is that with true needle technology, they look and feel like real trees. You get the convenience and safety of an environmental tree." 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Man Builds Career on Helping Students Cheat

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- That nurse taking your blood pressure? She may not have written her college term papers. Ditto for your accountant, your pharmacist, your child's school principal. Cheating has come a long way since the days when answers were written on the palm of a student's hand.

Meet "Ed." He agreed to talk to ABC News as long as his name was changed to protect his identity. He said he's helped thousands of students graduate by writing their term papers, final exams, even doctoral theses. Many of them are on highly specialized topics, including national and maritime security. And his clients rarely get caught.

While his services mean the students don't have to crack open a book, "Ed" says he usually doesn't either. The Internet, he said, has made him a kind of jack-of-all-trades.

"In the midst of this great recession, business is booming," he wrote last month in an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education. "At busy times, during midterms and finals, my company's staff of roughly 50 writers is not large enough to satisfy the demands of students who will pay for our work and claim it as their own."

Despite advances in technology to prevent cheating and an increase in vigilance by professors, estimates as to how many students cheat are still high. According to researchers at the Center for Academic Integrity, more than two-thirds of college students have admitted to cheating.

"Ed" said he was on track to make $66,000 this year before he got out of the business -- more than some of his clients will make after graduating using his work. His longest assignment -- a 175-page accounting paper written over four days -- earned him $2,000.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio