April 10, 2013 Reuters
LOS ANGELES - Police arrested five men who sawed into Los Angeles-area banks through the roofs in meticulously planned heists that involved everything from walkie-talkies to matching sneakers and netted a total of $6 million, authorities said on Wednesday.
The arrests capped a year-long investigation of the men, who police say were involved in a scheme that targeted at least four southern California banks since August 2011.
"This is something out of a movie script," Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca told reporters. "We're talking about a rooftop serial heist crew. We're talking about a lot of money, about $6 million total."
The men, who had been under surveillance, were nabbed on Friday after they cut a hole in the roof of a Citibank branch in the Southern California city of Diamond Bar, Baca said. They were arrested when they tried to leave the site, police said.
Police said the men worked together as a crew. But the suspects were not each believed to have been present at every one of the four banks that were hit, with different members of the crew working together at various times, said Sheriff's Lieutenant Kent Wegener of the major crimes bureau.
They used power tools to gain access to banks through the roofs and busted into bank vaults, police said.
April 9, 2013 Houston Chronicle
At least 15 people were injured and a suspect was in custody after a stabbing at the Cy-Fair campus of Lone Star College Tuesday morning.
The stabbings happened about 11:20 a.m. at the campus at 9191 Barker Cypress, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
Deputy Thomas Gilliland, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office, said one suspect was detained after he was wrestled to the ground by a student.
He is a 21-year-old student, Sheriff Adrian Garcia said in a statement. Video evidence indicates there are no other suspects for now, the sheriff said.
"The entire campus is being searched for evidence," the statement said.
The incident happened near the campus Health Science Center, according to an alert on the college website.
April 6, 2013 Associated Press
Authorities have a video from a police interrogation room that shows a murder suspect shooting a detective to death before killing himself with the officer's gun, a person with knowledge of the investigation said Saturday.
The suspect, Jeremy Powell, was not handcuffed during questioning at the Jackson Police Department on Thursday, the person said on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the ongoing investigation.
Powell overpowered Det. Eric Smith and took his gun, shooting the veteran detective four times before shooting himself in the head inside a third-floor room of the department's headquarters, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said. Other officers heard the shots ring out and rushed to the interview room, but both men were dead.
The AP has asked for the video to be released under open records laws, but authorities have not responded to the request.
Powell, 23, was being questioned about the stabbing death of a man whose body was found Monday near a Jackson street.
Ken Winter, executive director of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police, said it's not unusual for a suspect to be unrestrained during questioning.
April 6, 2013 Reuters
JOHANNESBURG - Thieves have made off with 66 rhino horns worth some $2.75 million in one of the biggest horn heists South Africa has seen after breaking into the safe of a game farm owner.
The horns had been removed from rhinos at the Leshoka Thabang Game Reserve in northern Limpopo province to protect the animals from poachers who supply them illegally to international crime syndicates.
Demand has also been growing for rhino horn in Vietnam, where a newly affluent class has been buying it to treat ailments ranging from hangovers to cancer. The treatments have no basis in science but demand has pushed the price up to $65,000 a kg, making it more expensive than gold.
"In my hands it is worth nothing, but in the hands of the guys who have it now, the horns are worth a lot of money," Johan van Zyl, owner of the game farm, told Reuters by telephone.
He said about 42 kg of horn had been stolen, which, according to prices of Vietnamese traditional medicine deals, would sell for about $2.75 million on the streets of Hanoi.
April 5, 2013 Huffington Post
Prosecutors and police cooperated more than ever before in 2012 to free people falsely convicted of crimes they didn't commit, according to a new study.
Last year, 63 people were exonerated, according to figures compiled by the National Registry of Exonerations. In more than half of the cases, law enforcement officials launched the process to clear the names of the innocent -- or at least cooperated with reviews triggered by others.
The participation of district attorneys and cops in 54 percent of the exonerations stands in stark contrast to previous years tallied by the Registry. Going back to 1989, researchers spotted the helping hand of law enforcement in only 30 percent of the exonerations.
"We see a clear trend. Prosecutors and police are more open to re-investigating cases and clearing the names of innocent people who were wrongfully convicted," said University of Michigan law professor and Registry editor Samuel Gross in a statement. "This is as it should be. The purpose of law enforcement is to seek truth and pursue justice. I’m glad to see they are now doing so more often after conviction, to help correct some of the terrible mistakes we sometimes make."
April 4, 2013 Associated Press
WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — Just months before being gunned down, Sheriff Eugene Crum made good on a campaign promise to do what many in law enforcement have attempted in southern West Virginia — crack down on drugs, especially the illegal sale of prescription pills.
In three months and two days on the job, he'd already helped indict dozens of suspected drug dealers through Mingo County's new Operation Zero Tolerance.
Authorities haven't said whether that work was related to his shooting death at midday on a street in the small town of Williamson on Wednesday, but residents and county officials suspect it.
Crum's team has targeted people "who spread the disease of addiction among our residents," said County Commission President John Mark Hubbard.
Resident Jerry Cline stood near the site of the slaying hours later, the drug crackdown clearly at the forefront of his thoughts.
"He told them right before he got in as sheriff, 'If you're dealing drugs, I'm coming after you. I'm cleaning this town up,'" Cline said. "He got out just to do one thing, and that's to clean this town up. That's all that man tried to do."
April 3, 2013 Associated Press
MANTI, Utah — For six years Troy James Knapp eluded authorities, who say he moved from cabin to cabin across the Utah mountains, taking food and weapons and leaving notes to brag about it.
It all ended Tuesday as authorities made what they say was a surprisingly easy capture outside a remote cabin after the suspect fired off a few harmless shots.
"He was laughing with our guys. He said, 'Boy, you really snuck up on me,'" said Sevier County Sheriff Nathan Curtis. "He threw his rifle down in the snow and said, 'You got me.'"
The 45-year-old survivalist is suspected of burglarizing dozens of Utah cabins and leaving notes telling owners to "get off my mountain" and warning county sheriffs he was "gonna put you in the ground!"
Iron, Kane and Garfield counties have all issued arrest warrants for Knapp on burglary and weapons charges. More charges are expected, including counts of shooting at a police helicopter and officers on the ground during his capture.