Entries in Crime (15)


Israel Says Strict Checks, Regulation Prevent Gun Crimes

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) — Guns are seen everywhere in Israel — semi-automatics slung from the shoulders of soldiers waiting for the bus, cradled by security guards stationed at checkpoints and building entrances. The sight can be jarring to the uninitiated, but it quickly becomes routine with more time spent in this contentious neighborhood.

Despite how prevalent guns may seem, their numbers among civilians are very low. Israel has highly rigorous background checks, which experts credit as the main reason gun deaths in Israel are relatively uncommon, certainly in comparison to the United States. (A spokesman for the Israeli police declined to provide exact statistics.)

“Israelis do not have the right to bear arms; it’s a privilege granted by the government,” says Dr. Shlomo Shapira, a professor at Bar Ilan University who has studied guns in Israeli society. “They wouldn’t even accept an application unless you have a valid reason. An ordinary citizen from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem wouldn’t even apply because they don’t have a reason.”

The most common reason accepted — aside from working for a security company — is living or working in areas characterized as dangerous, like in settlements in the occupied West Bank amid a mostly Palestinian population. Israelis in the north, which borders Syria and Lebanon, or the south, which borders Gaza and Egypt, are also more likely to be granted firearms because of the perceived security threat. Permits can also be granted for hunting.

Applicants have to provide police and mental health records, in addition to proving that where they live or work is dangerous. They also have to have had training, and undergo training every three years or risk losing their license.

Around 10,000 Israelis apply for a permit every year, of which only 20 percent are granted, according to the Ministry of Internal Security. There are around 170,000 guns registered to civilians, approximately 2 percent of the almost 8 million people living in Israel. Of the permits granted, almost all — 90 percent — are for handguns. The possessions of a semi-automatic for an ordinary citizen “is really an exception,” says Moshe Dyan, the head of the section that issues permits in the ministry.

“Does gun ownership make people safer? I believe that it is if the gun or firearm is given in the hands of people who meet the demands,” he says. “In other cases it might be more dangerous than positive. Multiplying the numbers of firearms among civilians could be much more harmful.”

There are, of course, numerous examples over the years of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians using guns to murder each other.

Shapira has researched terrorist attacks in Israel going back to the 1930s and says that in more than 70 cases, armed civilians played a major role in stopping the attack. But he argues that fewer weapons in society is better because most civilians “lack a level of training and the willingness to undertake risk in society. These two elements you don’t buy in a gun store.”

Off-duty soldiers in Israel are allowed to take their weapons home if they serve in a dangerous area, with bullets but unloaded. Shapira says Israelis are more mature with guns because of the country’s mandatory military service.

“You learn to respect firearms and the potential danger emanating from them. In the military there’s a very strict policy of gun safety,” he says. “On one hand you’re used to having firearms around, on the other you’re aware of the danger.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Shoplifter Busted for Stuffing Widescreen TV in Dress

Hemera/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A 31-year-old woman was arrested in Norway late last week for walking out of an electronics store with a 42-inch TV between her legs.

The Daily Mail
reports the woman and her boyfriend were both arrested as she was observed hobbling to a bus stop after secreting the $3,000 TV under her skirt.

The brazen-but-not-too-bright crime has earned the unidentified suspect the moniker "thunder thighs" by a Norwegian radio station, and has sparked dares of other women attempting the same feat -- though cops say no copycat crimes have been reported.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Teacher Suspended for Showing 'Cannibal' Murder Video

Montreal Police Department(MONTREAL) -- A Canadian teacher has been suspended for showing high school students a video that police believe depicts accused killer porn actor Luka Magnotta murdering and dismembering his Chinese student lover.

Magnotta, 29, allegedly stabbed Lin to death, hacked up his body and mailed Jun Lin's body parts to two Canadian government offices and Vancouver schools. Magnotta sparked an international manhunt when he fled Montreal and was captured in Berlin on June 4.

In addition to the killing and mutilation, the video also allegedly shows Magnotta taking a fork and knife to the body and performing lewd acts with the body parts, police said. Authorities have said that Magnotta posted the video online and by the time police got it removed, copies had already been made that can be found online.

Now, a Montreal teacher is under fire for showing the grisly video to his high school class.

The Cavelier-De LaSalle high school said in a statement that it "condemns with one voice the action of a teacher that showed his students a video with content as inappropriate as it offensive."

"The event was taken very seriously by the establishment and CSMB [the school board] who will promptly put in place all necessary measures," the statement said.

The teacher, unnamed by the school, was suspended with pay on June 4, the same day the video was shown.

In the hours following the video's viewing, the school assembled a "crisis team of psychologists and psycho-educators" to be immediately available to the students. The team remained at the school for two days and a psychologist was present at the school for the rest of the week.

The school was scheduled to meet with the teacher on Wednesday to hear his side of the story before deciding the fate of his job. No decision has been announced yet and the school didn't respond to request for comment from ABC News today.

A spokeswoman from the Montreal Police Department told ABC News that it would be possible for the teacher to face legal consequences for showing the video, but no inquiries have been made yet or charges pressed.

Magnotta is currently in Berlin awaiting extradition to Canada. He is expected to be returned by the end of June.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Polish Dentist Pulls Out Ex-Boyfriend’s Teeth

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WROCLAW, Poland) -- Beware of a scorned woman with dental pliers. A Polish man learned this lesson the hard way when his dentist ex-girlfriend pulled out all his teeth during a surgery days after he dumped her for another woman.

“I tried to be professional and detach myself from my emotions,”  said Anna Machowiak, 34, who practices her trade in Wroclaw, Poland, according to the U.K.’s  Daily Mail. “But when I saw him lying there, I just thought, ‘What a bastard.’”

Machowiak then allegedly gave ex-boyfriend Marek Olszewski, 45, a large dose of anesthetic and yanked all his teeth out. She wrapped his head in a bandage to keep him from speaking when he came to and told him there had been some complications.

“I knew something was wrong because when I woke up I couldn’t feel any teeth and my jaw was strapped up with bandages,” Olszewski told the Daily Mail. “She told me my mouth was numb, and I wouldn’t be able to feel anything for a while and that the bandage was there to protect the gums, but that I would need to see a specialist.”

“I didn’t have any reason to doubt her, I mean, I thought she was a professional,” he said. “But when I got home, I looked in the mirror and couldn’t f***king believe it. The b**ch had emptied my mouth.”

Mackowiak is under investigation for medical malpractice and abusing the trust of a patient. She could face up to three years in prison. And Olszewski’s new girlfriend has dumped him because he no longer has any teeth.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Breivik Indicted in Norway Attacks

AFP/Gett​y Images(OSLO, Norway) -- Anders Behring Breivik was indicted Wednesday for terror acts in the killing of 77 people last year.

Breivik confessed to the July 22 attacks in which 244 were wounded. He initially planted a car bomb in Oslo and then drove to the island of Utoeya, where he shot a number of young people at a summer camp.

The 33-year-old said he committed the crimes to prevent a Muslim invasion in Europe. Breivik faces up to 21 years in prison, however, his lawyers argued that their client is mentally ill and should be placed in a psychiatric facility, reports BBC News. He will undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Breivik is scheduled to go on trial April 16.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Couple Indicted for Imprisoning Daughter for 10 Years

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TEL AVIV) -- A couple living in the West Bank has been indicted for keeping the husband’s daughter locked up in small dark rooms for 10 years.

The State Attorney’s office in the Israeli town of Petah Tikva filed charges Tuesday against the couple, both Israeli-Arabs, for allegedly locking up the now 22-year-old woman since she was 11, abusing her and encouraging her to kill herself.

The indictment said that the young woman, Baraa Melhem, was forced to sleep on blankets with no mattress and was only allowed out of confinement to help with cooking and cleaning.

Melhem was discovered in “deplorable conditions” in the house’s tiny bathroom by Palestinian Authority forces on Jan.  21 in the West Bank town of Qalqiliya after her aunt notified police. They handed the couple over to the Israeli authorities because the suspects are Israeli citizens.

Melhem’s parents divorced when she was 4 and the father, Hassan Melhem, received custody. The stepmother was not publicly identified.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Oxford Professor Suspected in Colleague's Murder

Thinkstock/Getty Images(LONDON) -- An Oxford mathematician was released on bail Friday after being grilled for 36 hours in the death of his best friend who was another Oxford professor.

Dr. Devinder Sivia was arrested in connection with the death of 50-year old astrophysicist Steven Rawlings, although police have not been able to determine how Rawlings died Wednesday night.

An autopsy was completed on Thursday but coroners were not able to pin down the cause of death.

“This is a tragic incident and our investigations are ongoing to establish the cause of death,” Detective Superintendent Rob Mason said.

Mason emphasized that police are looking into “all potential circumstances that could have led to his (Rawling’s) death.  We are mindful that ultimately the death may be a matter for a coroner’s inquest rather than a criminal court.”

Neighbors called police Wednesday night after hearing Rawlings and his mathematician friend fighting. When they arrived, Rawlings was unconscious. A neighbor tried to revive Rawlings using CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the home.

Neighbors said Rawlings and Sivia were the “best of friends.”  The two had known each other for decades.  They wrote a book together in the late 1990′s called “Foundations of Science Mathematics.”

Police believe the professors had dinner at a pub Wednesday night, but it’s not clear what sparked their late night argument.  Police arrested Sivia Wednesday night.  Police questioned him for 36 hours before releasing him on bail Friday.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Swedish Police Follow Snow Imprints to Christmas Tree Thieves

Flickr Open/Getty Images(STOCKHOLM, Sweden) -- It wasn't too difficult for police in Sweden to track down two people who stole Christmas trees from a seller in the European country.

According to Swedish reports, police say someone told them that a man and a woman were nosing around a tarpaulin under which the seller was keeping trees.

The two dragged away three trees, but police noticed the tree's imprints in the snow and followed the tracks straight to the thieves.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cheese Is Most Popular Item, Globally, for Supermarket Thieves

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NOTTINGHAM, England) -- The cheese and meat aisles are popular stops for thieves in grocery stores around the world, according to a recent report by the U.K.-based Center for Retail Research.

Cheese is the most stolen food globally, followed by meat.

The 2011 study traces retail theft in 43 countries across more than 250,000 stores and reports that retailers have absorbed millions of dollars of losses in food products. The profit loss is attributed mainly to theft by employees, organized crime rings and petty criminals.

"Organized crime rings target specialty items and products that are easy to sell in other venues," said Farrokh Abadi, president of shrink management solutions at Checkpoint Systems Inc., a Philadelphia-based retail security firm that funded the study.

Shrinkage is the accounting term for the loss of product.

Organized crime rings that nab cheese often take the stolen goods to smaller markets to sell for a profit. But perishable items such as meat and cheese are more frequently stolen by dishonest employees and small-time crooks than by organized criminals, Abadi said.

Crime rings might be more interested in high-demand, nonperishable items such as baby formula. Infant formula sells for a high price and is sometimes distributed in illegal drug dealings because it can be used to dilute narcotics.

Food theft varies by region. Cheese is a hot commodity in Europe, while candies and infant formula are stolen at higher rates in the United States.

Abadi attributed the disparity to differing cultural tastes. "In areas in Europe, you will see that cheese is higher on the list, because, as you know, Europeans love their cheese," he said.

But struggling economies, coupled with rising food prices across the board, are probably the causes of the increase in retail theft, Abadi said.

"Food prices have gone up in all the regions," he said. "So that combined with economic hardships unfortunately does not make the increase in shrink in these items surprising."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jamaican Drug Lord Christopher 'Dudus' Coke Pleads Guilty

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Jamaican drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Manhattan court, ending an international anti-drug operation that started last May with an all-out urban war in Kingston that killed scores of Jamaicans.

Coke is the leader of the Jamaica-based international criminal organization "Shower Posse," also known as the "Presidential Click." Indicted by the U.S. in 2009, Coke became the target of a massive Jamaican police operation in May 2010, sparking a bloody street battle between local security forces and Coke's gun-toting supporters and mercenaries in the west Kingston neighborhood of Tivoli Gardens.

After a month of violent struggle, it was a popular local preacher that managed to arrange Coke's peaceful surrender to authorities. At the time of his surrender, Coke said that he chose to accept extradition rather than watch the bloodshed in Jamaica continue. More than 70 people had already died in the violence.

Coke's extradition created tension between the Jamaican government and the U.S. Initially, Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding fought the extradition but, after facing criticism at home and abroad, he relented.

Golding, who represents Tivoli Gardens in Parliament, was accused of having strong links to the drug dealer.

Coke pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering.

"For nearly two decades, Christopher Coke led a ruthless criminal enterprise that used fear, force and intimidation to support its drug and arms trafficking 'businesses.' He moved drugs and guns between Jamaica and the United States with impunity," U.S. attorney Preet Bharara said. "Today's plea is a welcome conclusion to this ugly chapter of criminal history."

Coke is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 8 when he could face up to 20 years in prison and deportation back to Jamaica.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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