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May 2006


2 May 2006

After completing his sentence for theft, Joseph Azter was released from a California prison last Monday. The next day, several residents of Redlands saw him standing on a street corner. He was wearing a jacket that said 'CDC prisoner' on the back, so they contacted the police to report an escaped convict. According to the officers who responded, Azter claimed to have been given the jacket by prison officials. Prison officials dispute that claim and say he should have turned in the jacket, which is state property, during his release. He was arrested for investigation of possible possession of stolen property and because he didn't report to his parole officer after his release.

Locked out of his stepmother's home, Michael Urbano figured he would simply enter via the Hayward, California, home's chimney. The 23-year-old Urbano took off his clothes, which he figured could hinder his descent, and began to rappel down the chimney with the aid of a cable television wire attached to the roof. When the cable snapped, he fell until becoming wedged about three quarters of the way down the chimney. About four hours later, his calls for help prompted a neighbour to ring the police. Officers arrived at shortly after 6:30am, found Urbano's clothes at the bottom of the chimney, and spent the next hour pushing the naked man back up to the roof. Police lieutenant Gary Branson said that Urbano, who suffered minor injuries in the incident, was then arrested for being high on drugs.

Two Wyoming teenagers allegedly sneaked from their homes and took a car without permission. They soon ended up high-centring the vehicle on a narrow raised path. The boys, aged 14 and 16, decided to flag down another car for help. The car they chose was driven by Campbell County Sheriff's Cpl. Eric Hyland and was a marked cruiser on routine patrol. The 16-year-old boy was taken to jail. The other boy was returned to his mother's care, as was her car.

The Hindustan Times reported that a police unit responsible for cracking the most difficult theft cases in Mumbai discovered that one of its patrol cars has been stolen from its parking place. Senior police official Dhananjay Kamlakar said: 'We are looking for it,' but there are no leads yet. This incident follows on the heels of another unsolved theft: the disappearance of a machine that the police had seized nine years earlier in a raid. The two-tonne machine, for creating counterfeit banknotes, was stolen from a police 'safe zone' at a railway station.

A car crashed into a guard rail in Missouri when the driver, Carolyn Holt, had a heart attack. Passing by was defibrillator salesman Steve Earle. He said: 'When I saw what was happening, I jumped out and instinctively grabbed the AED [automated external defibrillator], just in case.' It proved useful, as did two nurses who stopped to render assistance when they saw the wreck. Having received timely medical aid, Holt is recovering in hospital.
Mary Blome, one of the nurses, said: 'Two RNs, a man that was able to get her out of the vehicle, the man with the AED - that just doesn't happen.'

Summoned to deal with a disturbance, two police officers in Green Cove Springs, Florida, discovered Emily Marie Dalafield, 56, brandishing a hammer and two knives in the direction of relatives. The officers tried to talk the wheelchair-bound Dalafield into relinquishing the weapons, but she swung them at the officers instead, according to Police Chief Robert Musco. Police used a Taser gun on her, and she lost consciousness. She later died in hospital. The officers have been placed on paid administrative leave for the duration of the investigation.

The BBC reports on Simon Austin Hamilton, a 35-year-old barrister from Haringey, north London, who has been accused of filming up girls' skirts. Appearing before Canterbury Crown Court, Hamilton disputed the charges of taking indecent photographs of children and possessing them for show, explaining that there was no indecency involved. After all, he said, he did not get sexual gratification from 'upskirting', which he likened to stamp collecting. He said: 'Collecting is something my family is very prone to' and that his pleasure came from collecting and cataloguing the images. 'It was the sort of gratification of a job well done,' he said. Hamilton said he quit the habit when he joined the Bar, since it was no longer appropriate.

Reuters reports that a man robbed a German bank, using his girlfriend's car as his getaway vehicle. Horst Roos, speaking for state prosecutors in Trier, said the man 'might as well have left his business card'. It didn't take officers long to discover that the car owner's boyfriend was a member of the Trier police force - and to notice the similarity between footage of the masked robber and the physical appearance of the officer concerned. The day after the robbery, the 52-year-old officer discovered that he was under suspicion, and he confessed.

Responding to a report that several men were beating up another, officers found the victim, who indicated that he had been hit with a baseball bat and relieved of money. Tight-lipped at first, the man eventually explained that he'd been 'annoyed' by the persistence of a man who wanted to buy a little methamphetamine from him, so he had decided to replace the drug with crushed vitamin pills.
That was the motive for the attack. As for the opportunity, the dealer said the disgruntled purchaser rang him back to demand a refund. He agreed. At the rendezvous point, three men confronted him and didn't accept the $30 refund; they claimed the fake drug had cost $50. This is roughly when the assault occurred and the dealer's wallet became lighter by $200.
With the aid of mobile telephone records, police arrested the three men: Curtis James Alexander, Charles Michael Herrald, and Seneca Lee Wiley.

China's Xinhua news agency reports on the final outcome of the June 2005 robbery of a gambling den in Ruichang. The five accomplices decided to use cyanide gas on their victims, and indeed five intended victims did die. So did two of the would-be thieves. A third was unconscious for several hours, then took money and valuables from the corpses before leaving the scene. He and the other two were captured, and they have now been sentenced to death by a court in Jiujiang.

A 15-year-old girl contacted the Green Bay, Wisconsin, police to report that her mother had left her chained to a bed for 17 hours without food or water. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Kendall Kelley said that 36-year-old Kelly Johnston's punishment of her daughter - for stealing her marijuana stash - was worse than the treatment most people give a disobedient dog. Johnston was sentenced to 13 months in jail.

A Gillespie, Missouri, man asked neighbours Ryan Dawson, 21, and Ronald Arnold, 17, to look after his two-month-old puppy, Daisy. When he arrived later to collect the dog, the animal was nonresponsive. The man took the strongly-alcohol-scented Daisy to the home of an off-duty police officer. While the dog was given medical treatment and began a slow recovery, the story emerged that Dawson and Arnold had made the dog lap up a fifth of vodka at a party that evening and dunked her head in a bowl of the spirit. The two men were charged with aggravated animal cruelty. Police believe the dog's owner has fed beer to her in the past, and this as well is to be investigated.

Police in Middletown, Ohio, noticed a car going down the road with one of its back doors open. Stopping the car, they found that Richard and Stephanie North had been driving with a 55-inch flat-screen television hanging out the door. Earlier in the day, officers had responded to a call concerning the theft of a flat-panel television from an appliance store. A connection was drawn between the incidents, and the police said that the Norths should have considered using a larger car.


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© 2006 Anna Shefl