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Entries in Santa Monica (5)

Sunday
Jun172012

Police Release New Photos from Apartment of Boston Mob King 'Whitey' Bulger

ABC News(BOSTON) -- Police have released hundreds of photos from the apartment of accused Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, depicting dozens of weapons, wads of cash and other remnants of his crime-filled past.

Bulger, the alleged head of Boston's notorious Winter Hill Gang, was arrested last year in the small, rent-controlled Santa Monica, Calif. apartment where he lived in hiding for the last 16 years with longtime girlfriend Catharine Greig.

The just-released photos of Bulger's hideout include 30 firearms he kept hidden behind the apartment's walls, an arsenal consisting of pistols, sawed-off shotguns, rifles, and even a grenade. He also hid $800,000 in cash wadded in bags.

Around the apartment, Bulger kept a collection of books about the mafia, including titles like "The Worst Case Scenario Survival Guide," "Mob Cops" and "The Last Gangster," in addition to episodes of the television show "America's Most Wanted" that featured him.

Police also found handwritten pages of Bulger's memoir, a pair of binoculars Bulger had used to search for enemies, and oddities like a dress dummy that appeared to look out the dining room mirror.

But Bulger, whose life as the boss of the Irish mafia inspired Jack Nicholson's character in the film "The Departed," never did fire any of those 30 guns while he was in hiding.

To the contrary, "The reality is that Whitey, now at 82 years old, was living the life basically of a middle class retired couple," said former FBI consultant and ABC News consultant Brad Garrett.

In hanging on to the weapons, the binoculars and the mob-related books, Garrett says "it's really more than anything else an identity thing—actually trying to make himself probably a much bigger person than he was in reality."

Bulger, who was among the FBI's most wanted fugitives, fled Massachusetts with Greig in the mid-1990s, and awaits trial on 19 counts of murder. Greig was just sentenced to eight years in prison for identity theft and conspiring to harbor a fugitive.

In the months since their capture, five separate safety-deposit boxes filled with money have been found in both the U.S. and Europe, and under the agreement signed by Greig she is not required to reveal where any more may be hidden, and is not required to testify against Bulger.

Despite the wealth secreted away by the pair, Greig and Bulger lived a life that was, by all accounts, solidly middle-class.

Living under the names of Charles and Carol Gasco, they managed to live a normal life before their capture.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul012011

Teens Reportedly Chain Black Teammate at California High School

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) -- Members of the Santa Monica High School wrestling team in California could face hate crime charges for allegedly tying a noose around a dummy and later chaining an African-American teammate to a locker, police said.

Though the events that sparked the investigation reportedly occurred on May 4, the alleged victim's mother, Victoria Gray, told the Los Angeles-area district's school board on June 16 that she was not made aware of the reports until weeks later by another parent, despite the fact that administrators and other parents supposedly had known for awhile.

Gray's son entered a practice room on May 4, saw the dummy with the noose and continued into the locker room to change, authorities said, according to The Los Angeles Times. In the locker room, two students approached him. One put him in a bear hug while the other chained him to a locker with a belt.

The students reportedly also were making racial remarks, the Times reported.

While Gray's son did not report the incident, the school was made aware of the situation, according to the paper. But the administrators did not inform the school community until June 16 -- nearly five weeks later -- when Principal Hugo Pedroza sent an email to high school parents about the incident and announced that the involved students "were given appropriate disciplinary consequences, including suspension."

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District declined an ABC News request to comment on the incident, citing an ongoing investigation.

Gray said she was disappointed by the way the school handled the situation, telling the board, "There is no district policy that assures parents will be informed when their children are victims of harassment or bullying." The district superintendent apologized to Gray.

Nevertheless, Gray and her son went to the police on June 21 to file a report, and the Santa Monica police have been investigating the incident.

While authorities have not filed any charges yet, the students could face assault and hate-crime charges.

"The charges depend on what they find during the investigation," Sgt. Richard Lewis said. "But if I were to speculate, they could get charges ranging from assault to battery to hate crime. What constitutes a hate crime will depend on what was done or said during the event."

Darrell Goode, president of the NAACP for Santa Monica-Venice, has met with Gray and district representatives. He told ABC News the incident is difficult to take because of the symbols and words reportedly used in the incident.

While some in the community want to see these students punished further, Goode also wants to make sure that the victim gets emotional help.

"There has been a long time for him to internalize this," Goode said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr112011

Santa Monica Synagogue Blast Suspect Arrested in Cleveland

Federal Bureau of Investigation(CLEVELAND) -- The man suspected of using a never-before-seen launcher to fire a projectile at a Santa Monica, Calif., synagogue was arrested Monday night in Cleveland, Ohio by the FBI.

Ron Hirsch, who was the subject of a nationwide manhunt, boarded a bus the same day he hurled 300 pounds of pipe and concrete into the roof of a building adjacent to the Chabad House and less than a block from the Santa Monica synagogue, police said.

Investigators confirmed that a man known as J. Fisher, a known alias used by Hirsch, purchased the bus ticket. He was originally scheduled to arrive in New York on Sunday, but surveillance video shows him getting off the bus in Denver, Colo., investigators said.

Hirsch, who is believed to have family in New York, is a transient known in Los Angeles for towing a trailer full of possessions behind a bicycle, police sources said.

The projectile appears to have been fired from an alley, bounced off the center's wall and crashed through the roof. The bang shattered windows, punctured a hole in the synagogue and sent the 300-pound metal pipe into a neighbor's house where a young boy was sleeping. The incident took place shortly before prayer services at the Chabad House Thursday morning and triggered the evacuation of about 100 people from a four-block radius.

Hirsch is also known as Israel Fisher, according to information released by police. He constructed the projectile device using elements including concrete, explosive powder, dry ice and what appears to be an expansion joint sealant, or other expanding plastic or foam.

The oddly constructed mechanical launcher appears to have been highly effective at hurling its material, although it did not seriously damage the Chabad House, which appears to have been its target.

Law enforcement officials say Hirsch attempted to stay at a Jewish center in Cleveland, where a rabbi recognized him and notified authorities.

An investigation is underway.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr112011

Calif. Police: Transient's Jerry-Rigged Launcher Attacked Synagogue

Santa Monica Police Department(LOS ANGELES) -- The man who constructed a never-before-seen launcher that fired a projectile into the roof of a building adjacent to a Jewish outreach center in Santa Monica, Calif., is a transient known in Los Angeles for towing a trailer full of possessions behind a bicycle, police sources said.

A joint FBI, Santa Monica police and Los Angeles police manhunt remained underway early Monday for Ron Hirsch, a 60-year-old man who has regularly frequented area synagogues and Jewish community centers seeking handouts, law enforcement officials said. Hirsch was last spotted on a bus in Denver and was heading east, police sources said.

According to multiple officials familiar with the case, Hirsch created a mechanical launcher that hurled 300 pounds of pipe and concrete into roof of a building adjacent to a Chabad House and less than a block from the Santa Monica Synagogue. The incident took place shortly before prayer services at the Chabad House Thursday morning and triggered the evacuation of about 100 people from a four block radius.

The projectile appears to have been fired from an alley, bounced of the center's wall and crashed through the roof. The bang shattered windows, punctured a hole in the synagogue and sent the 300-pound metal pipe into a neighbor's house where a young boy was sleeping.

Even as the investigation and manhunt were underway, officials faced a groundswell of concern across the Jewish community, where early speculation included al Qaeda-inspired terror as a motive.

Instead, a transient with an alias and a grudge that may be seated in a personal relationship at one religious institution was the one officials believe triggered a Friday afternoon security alert by the Anti-Defamation League to synagogues and other Jewish organizations in the Los Angeles area.

Hirsch is also known as Israel Fisher, according to information released by police. He constructed the projectile device using elements including concrete, explosive powder, dry ice and what appears to be an expansion joint sealant, or other expanding plastic or foam.

The oddly constructed mechanical launcher appears to have been highly effective at hurling its material, although it did not seriously damage the Chabad House which appears to have been its target.

According to the Santa Monica Police Department, Hirsch, a heavyset white male is being sought on state charges of possession of a destructive device and unrelated local charges. He "is known to frequent synagogues and Jewish community centers seeking charity from patrons," one police official said. He is known to stay in motels from time to time for a night at a time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr092011

Police Name Suspect in California Synagogue Blast

Santa Monica Police Department(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) -- Police have identified a suspect in a blast outside a synagogue and community center Thursday that was originally believed to have been an industrial accident. Police now say the explosion was caused by an intentionally-placed homemade explosive.

Ron Hirsch, 60, also known as Israel Fisher, is thought to be behind the Thursday morning explosion that sent a metal pipe encased in concrete through the roof of a home next door to Chabad House Lubavitch of Santa Monica. No one was injured in the attack.

Police refer to Hirsch as a transient. He is described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall and 207 pounds with brown hair and green eyes.

Hirsh faces numerous charges including possession of a destructive device.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio