Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sheriff Charged with Theft of Federal Funds

Timothy M. Morrison, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana,
announced that MARK T. FRISBIE, 38, Greencastle, Indiana, was charged today with Federal
program theft, following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indiana State Police.

The offense charged involves theft or misapplication of funds from a government agency
that received federal funds. In this case, it is alleged that FRISBIE, at the time Sheriff of Putnam County, Indiana, stole approximately $12,530.46 from the Sheriff’s Department (PCSD) between January 18, 2006 and March 28, 2007. The Sheriff’s Department had received over $45,000.00 in federal grant money during the applicable period.

The charge alleges that FRISBIE committed the offense through the unauthorized use of
the PCSD Visa credit card account at First National Bank, located in Putnam County, Indiana
and the unauthorized use of the Putnam County Sheriff Commissary Account checking account at First National Bank. Specifically, FRISBIE used these accounts for the unauthorized payment of PCSD funds for the following purposes:

a. To reimburse expenses incurred by Frisbie Security Consulting, LLC, a private
business entity operated by the Defendant, related to the training of prospective
employees of said business;

b. To pay for travel expenses incurred by a daughter of the Defendant’s wife;

c. To reimburse expenses for meals and incidental expenses incurred by the
Defendant when the Defendant had previously received per diem payments from
the PCSD to cover said expenses;

d. To pay for campaign supplies related to the reelection campaign of the Defendant;

e. To reimburse expenses incurred by the Defendant on a personal business trip
undertaken by the Defendant related to the operation of Frisbie Security
Consulting, LLC.

According to Assistant U. S. Attorney James M. Warden, who is prosecuting the case for
the government, FRISBIE faces a maximum possible prison sentence of 10 years and a
maximum possible fine of $250,000.

The charge is an allegation only, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty at trial or by guilty plea.

BigFoot Hoaxers Maybe Sued

They claim their hoax was not for profit, but Atlanta residents Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer received $50,000 from a California Bigfoot tracker who now plans to sue to get the money back.

The two Georgia men’s tale of having found a Bigfoot carcass in the North Georgia woods really started to stink when California Bigfoot enthusiasts finally examined the body and found it was just a costume.

“There will be legal action” said Catherine Ortez, who works for Searching for Bigfoot, Inc. in in Menlo Park, Calif. The organization paid for rights to the men’s story and their find. “If this was a joke, it was very methodical and thought-out,” she said.

The Searching site was founded by Tom Biscardi, who authenticated and promoted the alleged Georgia Sasquatch. Biscardi, who did not return calls requesting comment, has his own credibility issues, according to a police officer in a nearby jurisdiction.

“He was involved in a similar hoax a few years back,” said Agent Dan Ryan with the Palo Alto (Calif.) Police Department.

In an interview with WSB-TV Wednesday night, Whitton and Dyer’s attorney, Steve Lister, blamed Biscardi for blowing his clients’ joke out of proportion.

“It started off as some YouTube videos and a Web site,” said Whitton, “We’re all about having fun.”

Whitton, 28, a Clayton County police officer for six years, was fired Tuesday after news of the hoax spread. Dyer, 31, is a former Clayton County corrections officer.

Though, according to their site, the pair are not averse to making money off their amusement. For $500, you can join them for a Bigfoot expedition. They also sell Sasquatch-related T-shirts and caps.

Repeated attempts to reach both men were unsuccessful, and Lister did not return calls seeking comment

Officer Matthew Whitton Fired for BigFoot Hoax

Can you believe it? Georgia’s “Bigfoot” was just a big hoax.

The body of a supposed ape-man found in the North Georgia mountains was nothing but an empty rubber monkey suit embedded in ice, according to California Bigfoot enthusiasts who finally got a chance to examine it last weekend.

The two Atlanta men who stood up at a news conference in California last week and tried to convince the world they had found Bigfoot now apparently can’t be located — just like the real Bigfoot.

Calls to Matthew Whitton, a Clayton County police officer — make that former police officer — and his car salesman buddy Rick Dyer weren’t returned Tuesday.

The answering machine on a “tip line” connected to the pair’s Web site, which still advertises $499 Bigfoot “expeditions,” says they’re still out searching for Sasquatch — as well as leprechauns, dinosaurs, unicorns, Jimmy Hoffa and Elvis.

Searching for Bigfoot Inc., the California outfit that paid an undisclosed sum to Whitton and Dyer for rights to their story and their find, says the pair checked out of the hotel where they had been put up over the weekend.

According to a news release on Searching for Bigfoot’s Web site, the whole scam unraveled when a block of ice containing the “body” melted over the weekend. Whitton and Dyer later confessed that it was just a costume, according to the release.

Why the two Georgians contrived the cross-country con isn’t clear.

What is certain is that Whitton, 28, on medical leave after being shot in the wrist by a robbery suspect earlier this year, won’t be going back to work at the Clayton County Police Department.

As soon as he heard Whitton’s Bigfoot was a big fake, “I terminated him,” said Police Chief Jeffrey Turner said Tuesday.

“He’s disgraced himself, he’s an embarrassment to the Clayton County Police Department, his credibility and integrity as an officer is gone, and I have no use for him,” Turner said. “His behavior is unbecoming of that of a police officer.”

“This turn of events from hero to someone who defrauds a nation is just baffling. I don’t know how he got from one point to the other,” Turner said.

The chief said he wants to send Whitton his termination paperwork and get his uniforms back. However, he said, “We haven’t been able to get in touch with him.”

Kathy Jefcoats of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this article.

Officer Kenneth Williams Sentenced for Soliciting Nude Photos of Girl

A former San Jose police officer has been sentenced to two years in state prison for soliciting nude photos of a 16-year-old Scotts Valley basketball player, according to the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's office.

Kenneth Williams was sentenced Monday morning in Santa Cruz County Superior Court, the district attorney's office reported.

He was convicted Aug. 5 of soliciting nude photos from the girl. He was facing up to four years in state prison but he gave up his right to appeal the conviction and was given a reduced sentence.

Williams had made contact with the girl through his wife, who assisted in coaching the basketball team, according to the district attorney's office.

He was arrested and charged for the crime in December 2005 after nude photos of the girl were found on two of Williams' computers.

In addition to his prison time, Williams will have to register as a sex offender.

Officer Kenneth Anderson Accused of Sexually Assaulting Two Boys


A veteran Winnipeg police officer who also worked for a government child welfare agency has been suspended following allegations of sexually assaulting two 11-year-old boys.

Kenneth Jack Anderson, 47, was formally charged by Manitoba RCMP Tuesday with two counts each of sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation.

Anderson has worked on the city police force for about 17 years.

As recently as last spring, Anderson was “briefly employed” by Manitoba Child and Family Services, police said.

A spokeswoman for the child welfare agency said the accused was placed on unpaid leave.

Citing privacy laws, she would not elaborate on how Anderson was employed and for how long, nor would she say whether the allegations involve clients of Child and Family Services.

Manitoba RCMP Sgt. Line Karpish said she does not have the details about Anderson’s employment with family services.

The charges date back to September 2006. Both of the alleged victims were 11 at the time, Karpish said, but she would not discuss the nature of the alleged incidents.

Police were made aware of the allegations last spring through the city police force, said Karpish.

“There were indications that this happened in our (jurisdiction),” she said.

Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said Anderson was placed on administrative leave around the start of the investigation.

“His employment status is under review,” said Michalyshen.

But Michalyshen did not know if Anderson is getting paid while on leave.

Manitoba Justice has hired Robert Tapper, a Winnipeg defence lawyer, to act as a special prosecutor on the case. It’s department policy to avoid using its own Crown attorneys for cases involving police officers.

Tapper declined to discuss the details of the case.

“It’s just too premature,” he said. “I need to review the file in detail.”

Anderson is not in police custody. He’s due in court Oct. 20 in Teulon, a town about 60 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Officer Vernon Stevenson Arrested for Drunk Driving

For the third time this summer, an Austin police officer has been arrested for drinking and driving.

Vernon Stevenson was off-duty when he was arrested early Monday morning along U.S. in Northeast Austin. He was on his personal motorcycle when an officer headed in the other direction noticed the bike laying on its side and Stevenson trying to pick it up.

According to the arrest affidavit, before the other officer could turn around, Stevenson left the scene. That officer then saw him swerving between lanes.

Stevenson was pulled over and the officer smelled alcohol on his breath and noticed his eyes were bloodshot. He refused to a field sobriety test and was arrested for DWI.

No one in the police department would comment, but Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo has made it clear in the past that drunk driving enforcement is a top priority

Jim Currier of Mothers Against Drunk Driving said officers are not setting a good example.

“Sometimes people in professional roles make bad decisions,” he said.

This is the third Austin police officer arrested DWI this summer. Last month, an APD detective, Joe Lucas, was arrested in Bell County; and in early June, Lieutenant Robert Hernandez was arrested after failing a field sobriety test in Hays County.

Currier believes officers who break the law shouldn't get special treatment.

“It's absolutely a huge disappointment to us and we are thankful that the arresting officers did their job in this case,” he said.

Stevenson was released on a $3,000 bond. He is on restrictive duty while the department conducts an internal investigation.

Three Officers From Same Department in Trouble


More metro officers and a Marion County deputy are in trouble, some facing criminal charges. The metro police chief wants them all fired.

According to court documents, one of them lied during a hit and run investigation. Another threatened two teen girls if they didn't expose themselves. Another is accused of patronizing a prostitute while on duty.

Ten year veteran officer James Ingalls was assigned to the southwest district's late shift. An internal investigation found he may have broken the law instead of enforcing it.

"The accusation is that he did not do his job properly and he has been involved with a person who has been identified as a prostitute and that has criminal implications," said Sgt Paul Thompson of the Indianapolis Metro Police Department.

Detectives will present the findings to the prosecutor.

IMPD officer Christopher Poindexter is charged with false reporting. His fiancé, Kelli Ball, a former civilian IMPD employee, faces charges in a hit and run.

"Mr. Poindexter made the decision to let Miss Ball operate his IMPD issued vehicle which is prohibited," said Sgt. Thompson.

While driving the marked patrol car, Ball hit another vehicle and didn't stop. Court documents state Poindexter was in the passenger seat at the time, but lied to investigators about the damage to the car.

Ingalls and Poindexter are suspended without pay.

Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Joey Smith Junior resigned Monday when officers arrested him for various felony charges including intimidation and contributing to the delinquency of a 13 and 14 year old girl.

According to court documents, the two teenage girls were walking along the sidewalk and Smith in an unmarked car pulled up next to them. He was wearing a uniform and he flashed a badge. He told them a story about how he was investigating two girls flashing in the neighborhood.

The court documents state Smith asked the two girls to pull up their shirts to see if he could identify them as the two suspects.

"I think this shows the community that the chief of police is taking a very aggressive stand on discipline. He's going to do what's necessary to get rid of the people that are causing the problems," said Sgt. Thompson.

Former Deputy Joey Smith Junior is out on bond. His trial is set for October 27. Christopher Poindexter is expected back in court on September 26. Kelli Ball has a pre-trial conference on the fourth of September. So far, no charges have been filed against James Ingalls.

Two Off-Duty Officers Charged With Gang Assault


Two off-duty police officers were charged with gang assault after being accused of kicking, punching and pistol-whipping a man whose open car door was blocking their lane of traffic.

Kollen Robinson, 24, and Michelle Anglin, 37, have been stripped of their badges and guns and are being investigated by Internal Affairs, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Tuesday.

``If these allegations prove true, it's a horrendous case, a horrendous situation,'' Kelly said.

The officers, who have pleaded not guilty to gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon, were in Robinson's sport utility vehicle when they got stuck in traffic around 5 p.m. Friday. A motorist, Marlon Smith, was blocking their lane with his open car door.

One of the officers yelled at Smith to shut the door; he yelled back an insult, and a profanity-laced argument erupted.

According to a criminal complaint, the women got out of their SUV and walked over to Smith's car and he tried to slam the door but Anglin sprayed him in the face with Mace.

Then Smith got out of the car and tried to grab Anglin, according to the complaint, and Robinson started punching him, saying, ``Do you know who you are f---ing with? We are the police.''

Robinson is accused of smacking Smith with a baton, and Anglin is accused of pistol-whipping him with her gun. The motorist also had a gun pointed in his face, the complaint said. The officers eventually left the scene, but a witness got the license plate number for the SUV, which was tracked to Robinson, police said.

Attorneys for the two women had no comment.

Robinson has been on the force since 2006, Anglin since 2005. Robinson told internal affairs officials that she was at the scene with Anglin, according to the complaint.

The motorist was taken to a hospital, where he received 25 staples to his scalp to close three cuts. He also was suffering from blurry vision and bruises on his face.

Last month, an amateur video caught an officer body-checking a man off a bicycle and onto the street during a protest in Times Square. Other tapes of officers hitting men with batons recently have surfaced. Those officers were placed on modified duty but not charged criminally, and an internal investigation is under way.

In Yonkers on Tuesday, a policeman who body-slammed an unarmed woman onto a tile floor, breaking her jaw, was indicted on a civil rights charge.

Officer Anthony Smith Suspended Indefinitely


An IMPD officer has been suspended indefinitely following an internal investigation.

IMPD Chief Michael Spears has ordered 36-year-old Anthony Smith suspended without pay and has recommended his termination to the merit board.

A release from the department states that based on the findings of an internal investigation Chief Spears and Public Safety Director Scott Newman have determined that a criminal investigation is necessary. The prosecutor's office is apparently looking into the findings that apparently stem from a citizen complaint.

At a press conference Tuesday, Chief Spears said Smith violated a ride-along policy early last Friday morning on the east side. The chief declined to talk about the specific allegations but there was a rape investigation from the same morning in the same part of town. The victim's brother in the case said his sister was involved in a sexual assault with an officer, but said he could not comment further.

The chief only spoke generally about officer misconduct at the press conference.

"But when they consciously, intentionally step over the lines of our policies of good judgment and the law, I'm going to be the first person in the police department to do everything I can to separate them from that badge," said Spears.

Police said Smith has been with the department since April of '07. He was assigned to the northeast district late shift.

Lt Steven Ohlheiser Arrested for Drunk Driving


An Anderson police officer was arrested for drunken driving over the weekend.

Lt. Steven Ohlheiser was arrested by a Noblesville police officer and charged with DUI on Saturday. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department says Ohlheiser was stopped by a DUI enforcement detail working an area near the Kid Rock concert at Verizon Wireless Music Center.

Anderson Police spokesman Mitch Carroll says Ohlheiser is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case.

Officer Vincent Cantu Robs Bank


A man arrested for allegedly robbing a La Habra bank last week is a former Pasadena police officer.

The FBI said it is also investigating if the man, 44-year-old Vincent Cantu of Whittier, could be the apologetic "Polite Bandit" who hit three local banks in 2006.

"There are similarities," said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. She said the "Polite Bandit" robbed Banco Popular branches and the La Habra robbery was at a Banco Popular.

The bandit was seen with a gun during the 2006 heists and told victims he was sorry.

La Habra police spokeswoman Cindy Knapp said the man who robbed the Banco Popular in La Habra on Friday had a handgun and was apologetic.

Police got a call at 11:14 a.m. Friday about a robbery at the bank located at 401 E. Whittier Blvd. Officers got a description of the suspect and a vehicle seen leaving the area.

Knapp said police pulled over a silver Toyota FJ Cruiser driven by Cantu at Las Lomas Drive, west of Euclid Street.

Cantu was arrested on suspicion of robbery and taken to an Orange County sheriff's jail. Sheriff's officials said he was released Saturday after posting bond. But the records don't say how much the bail was.

Prosecutors have a month to file charges, if any, against Cantu.

He couldn't be reached for comment on Monday. Public records show his current address as a P.O. box in Whittier.

Cantu worked as an officer for the Pasadena Police Department for eight years and retired in 1996, said police spokeswoman Janet Pope Givens.

West Covina police Chief Frank Wills, who also worked at the Pasadena Police Department at the time, remembered Cantu retired for medical reasons.

"I never saw anything from him that would indicate he would get involved in something like this," Wills said. "It's so unfortunate, certainly not the Vincent Cantu I remember from 15 years ago."

Pasadena Police Officers Association President Robert Mercado said, as far as he knew, Cantu was in good standing with the union and the department when he retired. He said Cantu retired because of a knee injury.

"I hope that it's not true that he was involved in something like that," Mercado said. "It is very surprising if he was involved in something like that."

Cantu has no criminal record in Los Angeles or Orange counties, according to court records. His only brush with the law was for a minor violation.

The San Bernardino County Superior Court showed a Vincent Cantu was convicted June 27, 2002 of not having a required vehicle registration.

The robber dubbed the "Polite Bandit" hit the Banco Popular at 12333 S. La Mirada Blvd. in La Mirada on May 25 and Aug. 28, 2006, then robbed the Banco Popular at 3160 Colima Road in Hacienda Heights on Nov. 23, 2006.

During the May heist, he told one teller:, "I'm sorry, but I have to feed my kids. I'm so sorry."

He also asked tellers if they were OK and thanked them.

The "Polite Bandit" was described as Latino, 30 to 40 years old, with a mustache and stocky build. He weighs about 200 pounds and stands 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall. He has also worn sunglasses and a black bandanna over part of his face.

Sgt. Jeff Brunswick Arrested for Stalking

A Cincinnati Police Sergeant is accused of being on the wrong side of the law.

Sgt. Jeff Brunswick was booked at the Hamilton County Justice Center around midnight Tuesday after being charged with menacing by stalking, which is a misdemeanor.

Brunswick is accused of stalking a female officer who is also on the Cincinnati force.

The incident in question happened in July when Brunswick allegedly harassed the female officer when he showed up at one of her investigation scenes.

She says Brunswick also sent her unwanted text messages, gave out her personal information to another person, approached her son and even harassed her roommate.

Brunswick is a longtime police veteran working out of District 5 on Ludlow Avenue.

He recently had been up for a promotion to the rank of Lieutenant.

Brunswick is out of jail on a $5,000 bond.

Lt. Shawn Murray Arrested for Choking Ex-girlfriend


An Oceanside police lieutenant accused of choking and dragging his ex-girlfriend through his Carlsbad home was free on $25,000 bail Tuesday, it was reported.

Oceanside police Lt. Shawn Murray was arrested early Monday morning at his home in the 3500 block of Flat Rock Street after Carlsbad police received a call for help from Murray's ex-girlfriend, according to a newspaper report.

She “stated that her neck was red and sore and she was pushed down and dragged around by her pants and left arm,” Carlsbad Lt. Marc Reno told the newspaper.
Murray, an 18-year veteran of the Oceanside Police Department, was booked into the Vista jail on suspicion of domestic violence and posted $25,000 bail about two hours later, the newspaper reported.

There were no prior reports of domestic violence at Murray's residence, Reno told the newspaper.

Oceanside police declined to comment on the incident, citing “personnel issues.”

Officers Rape Woman During Bachelor Party


Akron police are investigating at least one of their own after a woman claims that an off-duty officer raped her during a bachelor party in downtown Akron.

The woman claims that she met the officers and others who were taking part in the party at a club near Canal Park Saturday night.

She told a 9-1-1 dispatcher that the men took her back to their room at the Radisson Hotel on West Mill Street where she claims she was raped just after 4 a.m. Sunday.

"Some guy just basically like raped me and came and got me and left me here," she told police about an hour later.

The woman didn't know the attacker's name and at one point told the dispatcher that all of the off-duty officers were named "Jim." She identified the men at the party and the attacker as being members of the Akron Police Department.

Investigators are now interviewing the off-duty officers and others who were at the bachelor party. The officer accused of rape was not the groom-to-be.

"It's under investigation," said Lt. Rick Edwards of the Akron Police Department. "At this point, the officer has been placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation has been completed."

The officer is 26 years old. The woman is 22 years old and lives in Wayne County.

Officer Autumn Wheat Arrested for Drunk Driving

FORT WORTH, Texas — A police officer remains on restricted duty after being arrested for allegedly driving drunk while off duty, authorities said.

Autumn Wheat, a Fort Worth police officer for 16 years, was driving her own car in nearby Burleson late Friday night when an off-duty Tarrant County sheriff's deputy saw her run a red light and drive erratically, said Fort Worth police Lt. Ken Dean.

After Burleson police officers were contacted, they pulled Wheat over, conducted a preliminary investigation for suspicion of driving while intoxicated and arrested her, Dean said.

Wheat was released on bail, and it's unclear if she has an attorney, according to an officer at the Burleson jail.

The Fort Worth Police Department's Internal Affairs Division is conducting an administrative investigation.

Officer Toby Wilson Caught Stealing Can of Soda

According to Philadelphia Police Chief Richard Sistrunk, a store surveillance tape showed one of his officers in the store for almost 30 minutes, apparently looking around, before leaving without paying for a can of soda.

Sistrunk said store officials later approached the police department the evidence.

"He actually never wanted to see the video," said Sistrunk. "I advised him that I did have a video and he elected not to view it, and admitted that he took the drink without paying for it."

Sistrunk says the officer was on duty. The officer who resigned is Toby Wilson. With about 20 years of law enforcement experience, he was just hired in Philadelphia in January. Prior to that he worked for the sheriff's department in Winston County.

Sistrunk said citizens should be reassured about the integrity of the department.

"They can feel assured that our officers are no better than anybody else. If their conduct becomes unbecoming that we as the chief of police, the mayor and the board, we won't tolerate this," Sistrunk said.

Sistrunk said the store did not wish to press charges, so the case is closed.

Officer Harrison Largo Will Stand Trial for Murder


San Juan County Magistrate Stacey Biel ruled Monday that a former Navajo police officer accused of shooting his live-in girlfriend will stand trial.

Harrison Largo faces charges of murder and tampering with evidence in the May shooting death of Frieda Smith, who was found at the couple's mobile home in Thoreau. She later died at an Albuquerque hospital.

According to court records, neighbors heard the couple arguing and saw Smith run from the home before three gunshots were fired.

Biel heard nearly four hours of testimony before deciding that Largo will stand trial. She also denied a defense motion to set bond for Largo, who remains in the Gallup-McKinley County jail.

Largo is expected to be arraigned in state district court within the next couple of weeks.