20 Years Vacate Richard Rosario’s Murder Conviction

Richard Rosario has spent two decades behind bars, insisting for every one of those years that 13 alibi witnesses could prove he was innocent of a 1996 New York City murder.

On Tuesday, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office told NBC News it intends to ask a judge to throw out Rosario’s conviction.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark confirmed that the DA will move to vacate the conviction and ask that Rosario be released from prison “after a review by her office determined that he did not receive a fair trial.”

But, the statement added, “The charges against Mr. Rosario remain open pending further investigation.”

For years, former Bronx DA Robert Johnson stood by the conviction and appellate courts have consistently upheld it. But when Clark took office on January 1st of this year, she vowed that potential wrongful convictions would be a focus for her office, and began to look into the Rosario case.

The news comes just two days before the launch of “Conviction,” a streaming documentary series produced by Dateline NBC that is set to be released on NBCNews.com on Thursday. It documents a producer’s two-year investigation into the long and twisted history of Rosario’s case.

“We are very happy that Richard is going to be free, that he’s going to get a measure of justice after 20 years,” said Rosario’s attorneys, Rebecca Freedman and Glenn Garber of The Exoneration Initiative, a not-for-profit organization that investigates claims of innocence.

The Bronx DA’s office says it has begun the process of bringing Rosario from Eastern Correctional Facility in upstate New York, where he was housed, to the Bronx to appear in court. A law enforcement source tells NBC News that could happen by Wednesday.

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Jamaica security certification enables employment in Caribbean and Europe

Kingston Jamaica March 28 2016 Security guards will soon receive training which will enable them to seek employment in the Caribbean and Europe.

Evening and week-end classes for a 12-week training programme are scheduled to begin in May 2016 at the Excelsior Community College (ECC) main campus, 137 Mountain View Avenue, Kingston 3.

The school is collaborating with Security Administrators Limited (SAL) to start the programme.

Principal of ECC Philmore McCarthy and Managing Director of SAL, Captain George Reynolds, recently formalized the partnership with the signing of a memorandum of understanding at the main campus of EEC.

Marketing Manager of ECC, Trudy-Anne Riley told JIS News that the idea to start the training course came about, because of a need to give accredited certification to guards and persons with an interest in a security career.

She said the Private Security Regulation Authority (PSRA) Act 1992 has mandated that all security guards be certified and to submit evidence of their training and certification in the form of a certificate from an approved PSRA Trainer, effective January 1, 2016.

“They had given them a timeframe in which to get the certification. So based on the fact that we are a community college that responds to the needs of the community, we saw it fit to partner with Security Administrators Limited to offer a certification course for security guards,” she said.

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Gun Storage Presents Problem For Vermont Law Enforcement

Sgt. Jason Covey sits at a conference table in the Middlebury Police Department offices. Displayed out in front of him are three guns. Each one has a little tag attached by a string, looped around the trigger like a price tag, with information about how the department acquired the gun.

“This we’ve had since 2005,” Covey explains, lifting a pistol from the table. “It was a firearm used in a violent crime in Middlebury.”

Putting the first gun down, he picks up another.

“This one we’ve had since 2000 and it’s a firearm that the serial number was purposely defaced and cannot be restored and that gun can legally never be released. So the only thing that can be done with it is stored forever or destroyed.”

These are a couple of guns the department would rather not have. But there are plenty of others that the department would like to be rid of too.

“Off the top of my head, 17 that could be destroyed today,” Covey says with a sigh.

These guns have to be stored appropriately, tagged, sometimes kept in climate controlled areas and preserved in the same shape as when the department acquired them. But they serve no evidentiary purpose.

“They take up a significant amount of space in an already packed evidence room that holds evidence and property from all our cases,” according to Covey. “That is a storage issue.”

Why can’t the department just destroy these guns? Covey says it’s complicated.

“I’m not aware of a specific rule that says we cannot,” he explains. “But the difficulties in doing so would be complying with all … Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms regulations, and having the appropriate means to completely destroy the weapon.”

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Check-Cashing Scheme Voided

Multi-Agency Effort Disrupts U.S. Treasury Check-Cashing and Identity Theft Ring

The treasury checks were meant for military families, taxpayers receiving refunds, and Social Security beneficiaries—but they wound up in the hands of thieves instead.

From June 2012 to September 2014, a band of 19 criminals in Atlanta ran a large-scale U.S. Treasury check-cashing and identity theft ring that defrauded the federal government and retail stores of nearly $1 million. The ring included check suppliers, sellers, identification manufacturers, and “check runners” who used fake driver’s licenses to cash stolen checks.

At the center of it all was career criminal Asad Abdullah, who orchestrated the elaborate scheme from inside a Georgia state prison. With regular access to contraband cellphones, Abdullah was able to contact his younger brothers in Atlanta, and he soon had the resources he needed to mobilize the family-run criminal enterprise.

Here’s how it worked: Thieves stole checks from various sources, including the U.S. mail, and middlemen purchased the checks at a percentage of their face value, usually 25 percent. Meanwhile, identification manufacturers were paid to produce counterfeit Georgia driver’s licenses matching the names and addresses of the victims, but with photos of the scheme’s check runners, who would cash the checks at grocery stores, discount supermarkets, and check-cashing outlets.

While U.S. Treasury check-cashing was a regular activity for Abdullah’s crew, the ambitious enterprise also engaged in credit card fraud. Inside sources working at big-box stores with regular access to customer and store credit card data provided the thieves with a steady flow of personal information. This data was used to produce counterfeit identification documents so the fraudsters could pose as real store club members. Trips to stores throughout Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama resulted in brand new replacement credit cards that were ultimately used to purchase gift cards, gas, groceries, and other items.

The ring was finally derailed following a series of early morning raids and takedowns on September 24, 2014, which turned up weapons, cash, and identity document manufacturing hardware.

“The 16-month investigation was an enormous cooperative effort involving numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement resources,” said an FBI Atlanta agent assigned to the case.

As part of the investigation, a confidential informant assisted the FBI and other law enforcement personnel in recovering stolen checks and false identifications. Several stores also agreed to support the investigation by cashing the stolen checks, thus aiding the Bureau and other agencies in identifying members of the scheme.

“Fraud and identity theft crimes are a serious problem in Atlanta,” added the case agent. “Our combined efforts in this particular case serve as a warning to would-be criminals on the brink of preying on unsuspecting victims.”

Sentencing was announced on February 16, 2016 for 18 of the 19 Atlanta criminals convicted for their roles in the crime ring. The 19th and final defendant is scheduled to be sentenced in the near future.

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Will Unlocking Apple’s iPhone Also Unlock a Pandora’s Box?

Apple is resisting a federal judge’s order that it write new software code to help the FBI break into the iPhone used by one of the attackers who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., in December 2015.

In its court brief, Apple claims the order violates the company’s First and Fifth Amendment rights and oversteps the federal All Writs Act, and that complying with it would “inflict significant harm—to civil liberties, society, and national security.”

The standoff between Apple and the FBI is at the center of the escalating battle between technology companies that are encrypting data in order to protect customers’ privacy and security and the US government, which says it needs the ability to access encrypted data to keep America safe.

BU Research sat down with Sharon Goldberg, a Boston University associate professor of computer science and faculty fellow at the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, to discuss her views on how the case relates to security and the growing debate over encryption.

Goldberg: Well, the headlines say, “Apple refuses to unlock terrorist phone.” That sounds really bad if you assume that the information needed for this investigation is only available on the shooter’s phone and can’t be obtained in any other way.

But it’s important to remember that the information we see on our phones is not just stored on our phones. For example, every phone call we make—who we call, how long we spoke, how often we called them, at what time we called them—is stored by the phone company. You can see this information in your phone bill every month. Your phone also has a GPS, and some cell phone providers use it to very accurately track your location.

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Heritage High School PTO treasurer charged with embezzlement

“A Hoagland woman who served as the treasurer for the Heritage Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (P.T.O.) was arrested Thursday morning following a four month long investigation into allegations she had been stealing money from the PTO according to state police.

An investigation was initiated, at the request of the Heritage High School PTO, by Indiana State Police Detective Clint Hetrick and Allen County Police Detective Doug Keller in November 2015 following an audit after a large amount of money was discovered to have been missing from the elementary PTO.

Hetrick and Keller’s investigation revealed that between January 2013 and November 2014, 36 year old Genevieve M. Meyer had used the elementary PTO’s credit card and had withdrawn money, which totaled came to excess of $18,000 in theft. As a result of their investigation, the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office charged Genevieve M. Meyer with two counts of theft.

Meyer was arrested without incident at her home and incarcerated in the Allen County Jail.”

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Retired cops could provide school security

Grandpa with a gun may soon be guarding your kids in school.

In February a New Jersey Senate committee voted unanimously to start the ball rolling on the creation of a new category of law enforcement officials, called Class Three Officers, eligible to be hired to patrol the corridors and grounds of schools.

They could be armed and prepared to take action whenever it’s called for.

The Bill has bi-partisan co-sponsorship in the Senate, authored by Senator Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, and Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester.

All three Hudson Senators, Nicholas Sacco, Brian Stack, and Sandra Cunningham, are co-sponsors. However, in the Assembly it’s an all-Republican Bill, sponsored by Senator Bucco’s son, Anthony, R-Morris, and four others.

The Bill was introduced in the last session as a response to public fears after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

It was approved by the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee in January but gained no traction before the session ended mid-month. This time the Buccos plan to make passage a priority.

Senator Bucco said having experienced officers in the schools would certainly upgrade safety and using retired officers would mean that municipalities would not have to provide health and pension benefits because retirees were already receiving them.

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Texas police get drones to watch over spring breakers coming to town

Surf’s up and so are the drones at this popular spring break destination in Texas.

The South Padre Island police have ordered two drones and plan on flying them above partying college students, where more than 25,000 spring breakers are expected to pour in this March.

The pair of drones feature a crystal-clear 4K camera so police can keep a watchful eye in the sky on every beer pong match, keg stand and chugging contest on the beach.

But even with an extra point-of-view above the revelers, police don’t think the drones will be a buzz to any parties.

“I don’t think it’s going to change people’s behavior,” Gary Ainsworth, the city’s public information officer, told the Daily News. “Any time you have an eye in the sky, it’s better than having just eyes on the ground.”

Ainsworth said there won’t be a specific schedule during spring break their drones will be patrolling, and pointed out they were not specifically requested to watch over college students on the beach.

The officer told the News they had requested these drones a while ago, and it was just a coincidence they arrived so close to spring break.

This will be the first time the city’s police roll out their two drones in the popular town.

“We can use it for beach patrol,” police chief Randy Smith told Valley Central. “We’re looking at deploying some that have a safety feature that releases a life jacket over a subject that is in distress.”

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Dollar General employee theft ring

ELLOREE, SC (WIS) - An investigation by the Elloree Police Department uncovered an employee theft ring at the Dollar General store on Old Number 6 Highway.

Police say the store’s management reported a loss of merchandise costing more than $56,000 over eight months.

Seven employees have been arrested on charges of felony criminal conspiracy and breach of trust involving more than $10,000. They were booked into the Orangeburg-Calhoun Regional Detention Center where they have posted bail.

According to the arrest warrants, the employees, “while utilizing a scheme, did knowingly, with intent to permanently deprive the owner, remove, carry away or allowed to be carried away, retail merchandise without payment.”

“They would wait until the close of business at the end of the day and they would already pre-load buggies or shopping carts and right when it time to close the business, they would pull those buggies up, pretend to scan the items, and the buggies would be completely full,” Elloree Police Chief Joseph Avinger said. “Then we went back with the video and checked it along with the register tape to see how much money was spent at the register and it would be only a few dollars — $10 to $15 from buggies filled with merchandise.”

Avinger says the investigation was a cooperative effort between the store management, police department, and 1st Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

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Large scale Organized Retail Crime arrests made in Alabama

A weeks-long investigation into an organized retail crime ring led lawmen to seven suspects and hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen goods in what authorities say is the first case of its kind in Alabama.

“Organized retail crime is a huge problem throughout the U.S.,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls.

Those already arrested on theft charges are Nichole Battle, William Mason Jr., Alfred Williams, George Bryant and Carl Humphrey. Two others are still at large.
The probe began when area investigators notice area burglaries going unsolved, and at the same time they were approached by retailers from several big-name stores seeing what they believed was a shoplifting ring. They were able to develop an informant and the probe ballooned.

Dubbed Operation Molten Iron, the effort was led and carried out by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office White Collar Division, the Vestavia Hills Police Department, the Birmingham Police Department and investigators from CVS, Home Depot, Publix, Target, Walgreen’s and Walmart where they had been witnessing some popular items disappearing from their shelves.

Falls said basically items were being stolen, stored and then sold, much like drug operations. The items were then sold at flea markets throughout Alabama, as well as some convenience stores.

To further the investigation, those stores provided merchandise to be used in the undercover operations. Investigators also “allowed” other merchandise to be stolen so they could follow the trail. In all, $55,000 worth of stolen or “loaned” merchandise was used.

The goal of the probe was to identify those responsible for theft of merchandise at the retail level, and to uncover the destination of the stolen merchandise as well as those buying the stolen goods. During

Operation Molten Iron, officers and agents spread out over multiple locations throughout Jefferson County. During that time period they recovered vehicles and merchandise valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Falls said. At one location they also found about 15 pounds of marijuana.

The items ranged from high-dollar lawn equipment to shaving cream and razors, Falls said. Some of the items were stolen off store shelves one or two at a time, such as more expensive tools, while others were taken in warehouse heists. “At one home we found a 5-foot tall set of shrink-wrapped shaving cream in someone’s living room, two deep and two wide,” Falls said. “People were going to flea markets and getting $2,300 lawn equipment items for $700.”

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