Category Archives: Crime

Woman Steals $100k From George Webb, Allegedly

Wow. How does that even happen?

WEST BEND — One West Bend woman is accused of stealing as much as $100,000 from a local business and appeared in court to fight her charges.

Pamela Hastings allegedly stole from a George Webb restaurant between January and May of this year. Police spoke with the restaurant owner, who said he found his daily bank deposits did not add up and realized some were missing entirely. The ensuing investigation led police to the 47-year-old, who was responsible for the bank deposits at that time. Hastings allegedly admitted what she had done verbally and in an apology to the owner. She was able to provide the missing statements and the information she gave matched what the owner observed, according to a criminal complaint.

When questioned by police, the defendant allegedly stated she was in financial hardship and turned to stealing from the restaurant. Hastings admitted stealing before the period the owner noticed money missing, the complaint states, but she could not give the money back because she had already spent it.

If you run a business, non-profit, charity, or anything else that handles money, never trust any one person. Check, verify, triple-check, audit, have multiple layers of sign-off, etc. Even good people get desperate and bad people will put themselves in a position to thieve. In this case, the owner caught it, but only after a lot of money was stolen over five months. If the owner had simply checked his bank account every day to ensure that the deposits were put in from the day before, he would have caught it much earlier. It’s a shame that you can’t trust people to do a simple deposit, but that’s the world we live in.

Elmo Tickles… and is Arrested

You really don’t know who is behind the mask.

A New Jersey street performer dressed as Elmo was arrested for fondling a 14-year-old girl in Times Square.

Inocente Andrade-Pacheco was taken into police custody on Saturday after he allegedly groped a young girl’s rear on Broadway near 46th street.

New York Daily News reports that the victim approached Andrade-Pacheco with her family and asked for a photo with the 54-year-old man.

As the family posed with the costumed man, Andrade-Pacheco hand began on the victim’s back before wandering inappropriately downwards to her backside.

Milwaukie Man Steals ATM by Covering with a Cardboard Box

Clever.

 – A man walked into a hospital in Oregon and covered an ATM using a cardboard box in order to discreetly wheel it out of the building, police said.

The suspect, described as a white male, was captured on surveillance footage around 7:20 p.m. on Aug. 17 walking into the Providence Milwaukie Hospital, police said. The man covered the ATM with a cardboard box, cut the wires and wheeled it out on a hand cart.

The ATM was then loaded into a black or dark-colored Subaru, which appeared to have a sticker in the right-hand corner of the rear window, according to police.

The ATM was reported to have $17,000 in it when the machine was stolen.

Woman Charged With Terroristic Threatening

Too much?

Linda Morford, 43, of Saratoga Springs, Utah, has been charged with one count of terroristic threatening, a second degree felony.

[…]

The receptionist said Morford became angry after being told she would need to rearrange her two kids’ appointments.

It’s alleged that she said: ‘Gun people come in and they shoot everybody.

‘I’ll be there next Tuesday at 2, and if we are five minutes late and you guys make us reschedule, then I will come in and KILL EVERYBODY.

‘That’s what I’ll do… Well, I might this afternoon, because I’m super angry, so watch out.’

[…]

Police told the site: ‘I advised these threats are extremely substantial and based on the high occupancy of the building during the day, this falls under a Domestic Terrorism level.’

This is a good example of the grey lines that make Red Flag laws so unworkable. There is no doubt that she made a threat. Was it serious? Have any of you ever said to yourself, “I’m going to kill someone if…”? Have you said it out loud? Have you said it in front of someone? In an age of increasing surveillance, have you said something like that in front of a smart speaker? What about something a little less drastic… have you ever quoted a movie line or something like, “say hello to my little friend?” Or “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse?”

Then again, we need to take threats seriously. If this woman had actually gone to the dentist’s office to kill the people, the lack of reaction would have been viewed as inexcusable.

Obviously, there are details of this story that aren’t in the brief news story. Here’s what I think should have happened… the receptionist was right to notify the police. The police should have gone to the woman’s house and questioned her. If she doesn’t have a record of violence and was appropriately apologetic, the police should have sternly warned her against making threats and moved on. If she was belligerent and has a record, then perhaps arrest her for disorderly conduct or something.

Without more than a baseless threat made in anger over the phone, putting someone in jail for a felony seems like an overreaction. But we don’t know all of the facts and there may be more to it that made law enforcement decide that a felony charge was appropriate.

But back to my Red Flag comment… under red flag laws, this would certainly have been enough justification to disarm the woman (assuming she has firearms). Then, whether she was serious about the threat or not, she would be put in the position of proving that she was not intending to actually do anyone harm to anyone. Do you see how a red flag laws shift the burden of proof AND force the accused to prove a negative?

As it is proceeding, the burden is upon law enforcement to prove that she made a serious threat and convict her of a felony, which would deprive her of her 2nd Amendment rights. She will be afforded due process and is presumed innocent. This is as it should be and adheres to the Rule of Law that is the bedrock of a free society.

If a Red Flag law were in place and the government decided to take her firearms because the phone threat is certainly a “red flag,” then her 2nd and 4th Amendment rights would have been violated without any due process or presumption of innocence. In fact, the opposite would have been true. She would have been presumed guilty and put in a position of having to prove her innocence in order to have her rights restored. It front of a judge with an authoritarian streak, such a burden would be insurmountable.

I don’t envy law enforcement in this case. It is a judgment call to decide whether or not her threat rose to the level of a crime or not. Their inclination will be to err on the side of caution and let the court system sort it out. Perhaps that is what is happening here, but it would be an entirely different story if Utah had Red Flag laws in place.

Gun Control as Race Control

It’s an important perspective.

Kenyatta, co-founder of Detroit’s Black Bottom Gun Club, points to the growing emergence of violent white supremacist sects and the persistence of structural racism as reasons to reject calls for gun restrictions.

Kenyatta believes that gun control measures are often a  response to black Americans’ attempts to exercise their Second Amendment rights. He points to Michigan’s adoption of gun ownership restrictions after Ossian Sweet, a black physician who bought a house in a heretofore white Detroit neighborhood in 1925, used a shotgun to protect his family against an angry white mob. Sweet was eventually acquitted of murder charges, but in 1927 the state lawmakers adopted legislation giving counties control over the issuance of gun permits, a move designed to limit black gun ownership.

[…]

Kenyatta, who resigned his NRA membership over its demonization of the Black Lives Matter movement, disagrees with 59% of Americans who said they support a ban on assault weapons in a recent HuffPost poll. He points out that out that many mass shootings have been committed by white men with connections to white nationalism, and he believes that if he gives up his weapons, he may be making himself vulnerable to racists who will be unlikely to surrender their firearms.

“I know that there are people who don’t like me just for the color of my skin who are heavily armed, and I can’t in good conscience relinquish my ability to defend myself, my family and my community knowing that law enforcement and even the government doesn’t have the capability and often times isn’t willing to protect my community,” Kenyatta says.

He adds, “It’s incumbent upon especially black men to be armed for means of self-defense. Being in tune with the national rhetoric and being conscious of our history and our present here, I see nothing wrong with being able to match fire with fire with those who have historically attacked our community with physical violence and social-economic violence as well.”

Space Crime

Wow.

NASA is looking into claims that an astronaut accessed her estranged wife’s bank account from space during a six-month stint on the International Space Station.

Decorated astronaut and  US Army lieutenant colonel Anne McClain has been accused of improperly gaining access to Summer Worden’s online bank account using NASA computers, the New York Times reported.

McClain allegedly accessed the bank account as part of a ‘highly calculated and manipulated campaign’ to obtain custody of Worden’s son, who she had given birth to about a year before the couple got married.

Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer, brought a complaint against McClain with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming that McClain had committed identity theft, even though none of Worden’s funds had been tampered with.

Ending the carnage

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print!

Another spate of senseless mass killings have left Americans reeling. Our natural and justifiable instinct is to do something — anything – to stop the madness. While the usual opportunists are pouncing on the latest tragedies to advance their political careers or raise money for their interest groups, there seems to be an evolution in the national discussion this time.

First, we must identify the problem. Mass killings are still rare. Far more people are killed by drug overdoses, crime, distracted driving, medical errors, suicide, and other unnatural causes. But mass killings are sensational, and that is part of the problem.

There have been mass killings for centuries. In our modern interconnected and instant media age, mass killings take on a life of their own. Often before a mass killing is even reported, there are live pictures and video streaming onto social media platforms. The carnage and chaos that can be replayed over and over again eats into the mind of the next killer as he (usually he) plans his virtual immortality. The internet and social media enable a kind of gamification of death where one mass killer tries to outdo the previous one.

But the internet and media do not cause mass killings. They are one facet of a complex issue. The same can be said for guns and gun laws. In most cases, a gun is the instrument used by a mass killer for the simple reason that a gun is a cheap and efficient means of inflicting harm. The United States already bans several of the most deadly kinds of guns and prevents the legal sale of guns to people who have previously committed a heinous crime. Do we need to do more? Can we do more and remain within the confines of the Constitution? Should we?

So far, the proponents of more gun control have centered on two ideas. The first is to implement so-called “red flag” laws. These are laws that allow the government to confiscate a person’s guns if they exhibit “red flags” that indicate that they might be about to commit a crime. Would such laws help? Maybe a little. Is it possible to craft a law that works while still upholding an American’s individual rights protected by the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Amendments? Doubtful.

The second new law proponents advocate is for more rigorous and “universal” background checks. What they mean by that is background checks for when an individual sells or gives a gun to another individual. The vast majority of mass killers obtained their guns legally, so there is little to indicate that expanding background checks would have any impact on abating mass killings. This is simply a reflexive measure designed to give politicians the veneer of “doing something.”

Another serious aspect in the discussion of mass killings is how we treat and help the mentally ill. Here again, do we need to do more? Can we do more and remain within the confines of the Constitution? Should we? Much like the vast majority of gun owners never kill anyone, the vast majority of mentally ill people never kill anyone. And while it is easy for people to assume that anyone who commits mass murder is mentally ill, the truth is that many, or even most, are not. They are evil, but not insane. The mainstreaming of the mentally ill into our society has not done them or our society any favors, but a process started sixty years ago is not responsible for 20-somethings committing mass murder today.

There isn’t a single law or policy that we can implement that will prevent mass killings. Nor, short of a complete police state, will we end them completely. There is a price to be paid for living in a free society that is not always paid on a distant battlefield. The root of the problem lies in our culture; in our homes; on our streets; and on our computers.

According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, “The characteristics [of mass killers] that most frequently occur are males, often hopeless and harboring grievances that are frequently related to work, school, finances or interpersonal relationships; feeling victimized and sympathizing with others who they perceive to be similarly mistreated; indifference to life.” We do not have a deficiency in our laws. We have a deficiency in our culture that leaves people in such isolation and hopelessness.

Passing another law will not deter people in this state of mind, but kindness might. A hand extended in friendship and fellowship might. An invitation to a bowling league, summer community event, or to attend church might. Faith in God and salvation will. It is difficult to feel hopeless and indifferent to life when you are enveloped in the full panoply of human relationships.

Mass killings will never be stopped by a government that respects individual liberty, but they can be stopped by a trillion simple acts of kindness. Love one another.

It’s Hardest on the Kids

Indeed.

Mark Morgan, the acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said on Sunday that children’s reactions to their parents being detained during the Mississippi raids, doesn’t change the fact that they committed a crime.

‘I understand that the girl is upset and I get that. But her father committed a crime,’ Morgan told CNN, dismissing a video of a crying 11-year-old girl who was begging for ICE to release her parents.

He said the young girl, Magdalena Gomez Gregorio, saw her mother, who was home, shortly after the viral video of her sobbing was recorded.

‘I know it’s emotional and I know it’s done on purpose to show a picture like that,’ Morgan said of the video when speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper over the weekend.

If CNN had a mind to, they could go find the kids of any criminal and show how the kids are impacted. The fault lies with the parents for engaging in illegal activities and putting their families at risk.

Investigating Epstein’s Death

Hmmmmmmmmm

NYC’s Chief Medical Examiner has completed Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy but said more information is needed before a cause of death can be determined.

‘The ME’s determination is pending further information at this time,’ Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson said in a statement.

‘At the request of those representing the decedent, and with the awareness of the federal prosecutor, I allowed a private pathologist (Dr. Michael Baden) to observe the autopsy examination. This is routine practice.’

[…]

The news of the delay to the autopsy results comes after a source told the New York Post there was no video of the moment he died in his jail cell at Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Cameras are said to film the doors to each cell which would show anyone who entered or exited, but they do not point inside.

On Sunday it was revealed that the two prison guards at Epstein’s jail who reportedly failed to follow procedure and check on prisoners every 30 minutes were working long overtime shifts the night the pedophile took his own life.

A prison official told The New York Times one of the guards was working his fifth straight day of overtime at the short staffed jailhouse while the second corrections officers had been forced to work overtime.

A source had said that guards are required to make separate checks on all prisoners every 30 minutes, but that procedure was not followed overnight.

In addition, every 15 minutes guards are required to make another check on prisoners who are on suicide watch.

The decision to remove Epstein, who was possibly the most high-profile inmate in the federal jail system, from suicide watch has both baffled former wardens and veterans of the federal prison system alike.

Occam’s Razor would dictate that Epstein killed himself and rank incompetence and/or indifference by prison staff let it happen. But we certainly need to get to the bottom of it.

Summerfest Runs up Security Bill

It sounds like the taxpayers are getting the raw end of a bad deal.

MILWAUKEE — Summerfest 2019 ended on a sour note for taxpayers, as security costs for the Big Gig exceeded the budget by more than $500,000. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said this wasn’t the first year this has happened; it was actually the fourth year in a row. City leaders said it’s time for a change.

On Thursday morning, Aug. 8, Milwaukee police briefed landlords of Maier Festival Park on just how much the department expected the final total to be: $800,000.

[…]

Leaders said in 2009, Summerfest officials agreed to compensate the city for police and fire services when the festival extended its lease through 2030. The negotiated payment this year was $134,00 — only a small fraction of projected costs.

Or are they? It sounds kind of like the costs are being inflated:

Barrett said the cost increase was due to a variety of factors, but not necessarily because more officers were being used to patrol the grounds.

“The costs include the overtime, the fixed costs that they have, and the pension costs that are embedded in this,” Barrett said.

In other words, “the budget is tight, so lets throw as many “costs” into the Summerfest gig so that we can charge them for it.” If the Milwaukee Police aren’t providing any more officers to patrol for Summerfest, then how did costs balloon from $134k to $800k in four years?

Mexico Makes Bid to Change American Laws

Heh.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s government said it considers a shooting at a crowded department store in El Paso, Texas that left eight of its citizens dead an “act of terrorism” against Mexicans and hopes it will lead to changes in U.S. gun laws.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard met Monday afternoon with local authorities in El Paso and said Mexico will participate in the investigations and trial there, as well as take legal action against those who sold the gun to the shooter.

“An investigation will be opened for terrorism, because that’s what it was,” Ebrard said at a press conference. “And the extradition request is not off the table.”

Ebrard also met with families of the victims and the injured and promised to speed up the repatriation process for the bodies of the eight Mexican victims.

“We agree that it appears racism and white supremacy are serious problems in the United States,” Ebrard said.

It’s a bit comical that Mexico – dysfunctional and rife with violence that it is – would take this stance. Glass houses and whatnot.

Wisconsin needs a CLEAR alert system

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here you go:

October 29th, 2017, was a beautiful sunny day in San Antonio, Texas. Nineteenyear- old Cayley Mandadi took advantage of the weekend day to take a break from her studies at Trinity University to attend the Mala Luna music festival with her boyfriend, Mark Howerton.

The two young adults had a good time enjoying the music and partying with their friends. Then things took a turn. The couple ran into Cayley’s ex-boyfriend. Howerton grew visibly angry and the couple argued. Soon Howerton was seen aggressively leading Cayley to his car by her arm.

Cayley’s friends were concerned. They knew that Howerton had a violent history. In another angry altercation the previous month, he had trashed Cayley’s dorm room and threatened to throw her off a balcony, according to her sorority sisters. Howerton also allegedly slammed Cayley’s head into a car window and once brandished a gun.

Knowing Howerton’s history, one of Cayley’s friends tried to check on her that evening. She FaceTimed Cayley, but Howerton picked up, said Cayley couldn’t talk, and hung up. Cayley’s friends were at a loss to help.

Later that night, an unidentified woman was brought into a hospital in Luling, Texas, 60 miles northeast of San Antonio. She was unresponsive, nude from the waist down, had severe bruises around her neck, face, and thighs, and was bleeding. It was Cayley. Despite the best efforts of medical staff, Cayley was gone. She had suffered so much blunt force trauma that her brain no longer functioned. She was removed from life support two days later. Four months later, Mark Howerton was charged with Cayley’s murder and is awaiting trial.

Cayley’s father has been my friend for 27 years. The grief that he and his wife suffered over the death of their only child is the kind of grief that no person should ever have to endure. About a year after Cayley’s murder, they began a process to fix a hole in our emergency alert system that they believe might have saved their daughter’s life.

When Cayley’s friends observed her being led away by her violent boyfriend, there was little that they could do. Cayley was 19. She was too old to issue an AMBER Alert for her possible abduction and too young for a Silver Alert. There isn’t an alert system for regular

adults even if there is a strong indication that a person is missing and might be in danger. Adults in full control of their faculties are presumed to be competent and able to call for help if they need it.

To fill this gap in the alert system, Cayley’s parents set about navigating the Texas legislature to create an adult alert to cover people between the ages of 18 and 65. The end result was signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot on June 6 of this year and will go into effect on Sept. 1. It is called the CLEAR Alert system. CLEAR stand for Coordinated Law Enforcement Adult Rescue, but the letters also honor some victims who might have been saved by it. The “C” is for Cayley.

As a general rule, laws should not be based on an emotional reaction to a traumatic event. And in a free country, adults should be able to move about without undue interference from law enforcement. That is why Texas’ CLEAR law sets forth strict criteria to be used. The missing adult must be in imminent danger of bodily injury or death or the disappearance was not voluntary. The person’s location must be unknown and the person must have been missing for fewer than 72 hours.

When the CLEAR Alert is activated, it will go to traffic signs, cellphones, the National Weather Service’s alert system, news outlets, the lottery commission’s signs in stores, banks, and all law enforcement agencies. It uses the same alert infrastructure as the AMBER Alert System.

Texas led the way in creating the AMBER Alert system that is now used in all 50 states and has saved nearly a thousand children. Wisconsin’s Legislature should pick up the ball and enact the CLEAR Alert System in our state. Let us not wait for a tragedy like Cayley’s murder to spur action. Let us act now.

What to do?

The Wall Street Journal opinion piece regarding the most recent spate of mass shootings is the best one I’ve seen so far. Here’re a few parts, but read the whole thing:

The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend are horrifying assaults on peaceful communities by disturbed young men. American politics will try to simplify these events into a debate about guns or political rhetoric, but the common theme of these killings is the social alienation of young men that will be harder to address.

This is political cynicism. Mass shootings also occurred under Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton. They occur around the world, if much less frequently, such as in Christchurch, New Zealand (2019), Australia (2019), and Norway (2011). The twisted motivations are varied and often too convoluted to sort into any clear ideology.

[…]

This is the rant of someone angry about a society he doesn’t feel a part of and doesn’t comprehend. It is all-too-typical of most of these young male killers who tend to be loners and marinate in notions they absorb in the hours they spend online. They are usually disconnected to family, neighborhood, church, colleagues at work, or anything apart from their online universe.

These men may draw inspiration from one another online, and any communication or common connection needs to be investigated. The FBI says it has made 100 arrests related to domestic terrorism in the last nine months. But blaming all this on one politician or ideology, left or right, without evidence of such a connection is disingenuous and counterproductive.

[…]

The problem is identifying those with mental illness who are a threat, and then allowing society to intervene to prevent violence. Overwhelming evidence suggests that the de-institutionalization of the seriously mentally ill has had tragic results. Libertarians and mental-health advocates who resist such intervention need to do some soul-searching.

The same goes for those in the gun lobby who claim that denying access to guns from those with a history of mental illness violates individual rights. So-called red-flag laws that let police or family members petition a court to remove firearms from someone who may be a threat might not have stopped the El Paso killer. But the evidence in the states is that the laws have prevented suicides and may prevent other mass shootings. Gun rights need to be protected, but the Second Amendment is not a suicide pact.

***

Which brings us back to the angry young men. This is the one common element in nearly all mass shootings: 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz in Parkland, Fla.; Chris Harper-Mercer in Oregon’s Umpqua Community College; Adam Lanza at Newtown, Conn.; Devin Patrick Kelley in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and the rest. All were deeply troubled and alienated from society in our increasingly atomistic culture.

This is one price we are paying for the decline in what the late sociologist Peter Berger called the “mediating institutions” that help individuals form cultural and social attachments. These are churches, business and social clubs like the Rotary, charitable groups, even bowling leagues, and especially the family. Government programs can never replace these as protectors of troubled young people.

The problems we face are complex and multi-faceted. They cannot be solved by just passing another bill or hectoring the American people to be nicer to one another. The problems are rooted in an American, but also a global, cultural upheaval that is facilitated by the global proliferation of technology. The problems are also rooted in some profound cultural things that we don’t want to face like the breakdown of the family, marginalization of faith, stigmatization of mental illness, and discounting the role of fathers and manhood.

Let’s take the two items that the editorial references – institutionalizing the mentally ill and red flag laws. I support both of those ideas, but the devil is in the details. And it’s hard. How do you determine when someone is no longer mentally fit to own a weapon? Who decides? When do they need to be separated from society and institutionalized? Who decides? How do we balance the rights of the individual with the safety of society? This balance is at the core of the American Experiment, and we have some strong difference of opinion as to where that balance should be.

The answers are not found in the glib or heated rhetoric emanating from the latest politician looking for votes. They are to be found in an honest discussion with each other in our homes, churches, clubs, and, yes, online. Until we are willing to have hard discussions about hard issues, we will not find any solutions. Instead, we will just go through another cycle of action, reaction, and retreat into our respective corners.

Hero Cops Save Lives

Heroes, all.

Police fatally shot Betts, who was wearing a mask, bulletproof vest, and hearing protection, within 30 seconds from the start of his rampage.

The video footage shows Betts fall to the ground as police fire bullets into him just before he could enter Ned Peppers.

Betts was shot multiple times and killed on the spot.

Ohio authorities have identified the suspected gunman who opened fire on patrons at a bar early Sunday morning, killing nine and injuring 27 others ‘in less than a minute’ as Connor Betts (pictured)

A motive has not been released.

Dayton police identified the six officers who engaged Betts and likely saved the lives of scores of other innocent people, according to Dayton Daily News.

They are Sgt. William C. Knight; Officer Brian Rolfes; Officer Jeremy Campbell; Officer Vincent Carter; Officer Ryan Nabel; and Officer David Denlinger. 

It is unclear which of the officers shot and killed Betts.

The officers arrived to the scene immediately, and were able to ‘put an end to it quickly’, Lt Col Matt Carper said at a press conference.

Anti-Violence Activists Slaughtered in Chicago

Tragic.

Two women who campaigned against Chicago’s infamous gun violence, have themselves been shot and killed on a street corner where activists frequently stood to keep watch.

The anti-gun violence group Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK), confirmed Chantell Grant and Andrea Stoudemire were killed after a blue SUV pulled up to the corner, and someone in the vehicle opened fired into the crowd.

“People are tired of being afraid. We’re sick of being afraid. We live in these communities and then we somehow are penalised and punished for living here. If you’re poor, you’re poor,” said MASK founder Tamar Manasseh.

“But when women are killed, it’s not their fault. It’s not because they made bad decisions. It’s not they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

[…]

Mr Grant, 26, was mother to three young children. Ms Stoudemire, 35, had two children. They were among a total of 48 people shot in the city over the weekend, eight of them fatally.

Massive Data Breach of Capital One

Wow.

The firm said in a statement released on Monday that the breach affected approximately 100 million individuals in the US and 6 million people in Canada.

The statement added that about 140,000 social security numbers and 80,000 linked bank account numbers were compromised in the US.

In Canada, about one million social insurance numbers belonging to Capital One credit card customers were also compromised.

Taxpayers on Hook for $110,000 to Jailed Felon

Sigh… government screws up and it’s always the taxpayer left to pay the bill.

WAUSHARA COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – A Wisconsin prison inmate is receiving tens of thousands of dollars from the state as the result of a federal lawsuit settlement over what’s been dubbed “The Rat Emoji Incident.”

Taxpayers are footing the bill for that $110,000 settlement. There may be more to come.The lawsuit stems from an incident at Redgranite Correctional Institution. Target 2 Investigates uncovered the story in January.A now-former corrections sergeant at the prison exposed the identity of five inmates who were acting as confidential informants in a high-profile undercover gang investigation by placing pictures or rats next to their names.

“To be honest with you, it was rage. Rage,” former prison gang investigator Jason Wilke says was his first reaction after learning criminal charges were never filed against the sergeant.

One of the inmates filed a federal civil rights lawsuit and the state decided to settle. He’s serving time for armed robbery, and getting a big payout from taxpayers.

Local Woman Confronts Burglar

Good for her.

WEST BEND — A Town of Erin homeowner helped break up a burglary at her house this week after getting into a struggle with the alleged suspect, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office has said in a statement posted to the department’s Facebook page.

The 65-year-old woman was reportedly at home by herself when she saw another woman standing outside her door. That person, a 27year-old Milwaukee resident, asked for directions before leaving, per the sheriff’s office statement.

“The alert homeowner immediately noticed that she was missing credit cards, cash and her vehicle keys out of her purse that was located inside her residence,” the sheriff’s office said.

The local resident, who wasn’t identified in the sheriff’s statement, immediately began to search

the area for the suspect and later found her walking nearby.

“The victim confronted the suspect and a struggle ensued,” law enforcement reported, noting the homeowner was bitten in the incident but was able to get take the suspect’s wallet. The suspect then fled on foot again.

When a sheriff’s deputy eventually arrested the suspect, she was found with property belonging to the homeowner. A search of the suspect’s wallet also uncovered drugs and paraphernalia, the sheriff’s office said.

Officials took the suspect — who was also not named in the sheriff’s online report — to Hartford Rescue for treatment of drug withdrawal symptoms. Once there, the suspect allegedly spat on a nurse and grabbed at another nurse, law enforcement said.

Mom and Daughter Charged With Infant’s Murder

I’m glad to see them taking the death of a child seriously.

(CNN)A mother and daughter accused of murdering a pregnant woman and cutting her baby from her womb were charged Thursday with murder in connection with the baby’s death.

Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and Desiree Figueroa, 24, were charged with the murder of “Baby Ochoa” Yovanny Lopez, said Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County, Illinois, State Attorney’s Office.
The two women appeared in bond court on Thursday, Simonton said. They previously pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery in the April 23 killing of the baby’s mother, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez.
The baby boy died June 14 after weeks on life support.
Police say the women lured Ochoa-Lopez to their Chicago area home with the promise of baby items, including a stroller. Police say the two women then strangled her and cut the baby from her womb.

Meth-Gator Warning

The latest summer blockbuster.

“On a more or less serious note: Folks…please don’t flush your drugs m’kay. When you send something down the sewer pipe it ends up in our retention ponds for processing before it is sent down stream. Now our sewer guys take great pride in releasing water that is cleaner than what is in the creek, but they are not really prepared for meth. Ducks, Geese, and other fowl frequent our treatment ponds and we shudder to think what one all hyped up on meth would do. Furthermore, if it made it far enough we could create meth-gators in Shoal Creek and the Tennessee River down in North Alabama. They’ve had enough methed up animals the past few weeks without our help. So, if you need to dispose of your drugs just give us a call and we will make sure they are disposed of in the proper way.”

The “methed up animals” is likely a reference to Limestone County’s “attack squirrel” case that made headlines across the country. Deputies say that suspect, Mickey Paulk, fed his pet squirrel meth to make it more aggressive. While on the run, Paulk denied this on Facebook Live and on the radio.