COUNTERFEIT PURFUME SEIZED IN MAJOR NEW YORK RAID

CHINATOWN, Manhattan (WABC) — Five people were arrested and large shipments of fake perfume seized in a major raid in Lower Manhattan Wednesday.

Agents with the Department of Homeland Security say businesses were selling dangerous chemicals being passed off as designer products.

The perfume bottles were labeled to make them look like top-of-the-line, brand-name fragrances, but officials said the knock-off scents can contain urine, antifreeze and other unpleasant, flammable or dangerous chemicals that burn when applied to the skin.

The NYPD made the arrests, while federal agents from Homeland Security Investigations seized the merchandise. Shops and warehouses were targeted, with authorities executing nine search warrants across the city in what was described as a two-year joint undercover operation. More than 10,000 boxes were seized.

“What you’re getting is a substandard product,” Homeland Security investigator Angel Melendez said. “You’re getting a product that you don’t know what’s included in it. So these products have been smuggled into the United States utilizing various methodologies. And once they’re here, they’re repackaged and then just distributed. In this particular case, they were distributed to various businesses in the New York City area, and some of them actually made it to e-commerce sites as well.”

Containers packed with the fragrances reportedly came through Port Elizabeth to a temporary warehouse on Henry Street in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Authorities say they were repackaged on Grand Avenue and Broadway, both in Queens, and stored at a storage facility on the BQE. They were then shipped throughout the country, including to Florida, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia and Washington D.C.

Read More

Airlines say TSA fixes shrink O’Hare wait times to 15 minutes

Security lines at O’Hare International Airport have become dramatically shorter — at least for the time being — in the wake of TSA staff increases locally and this week’s ouster of the agency’s head of security.

One airline official said Tuesday that waits were down to 15 minutes at O’Hare after the Transportation Security Administration faced heavy criticism last week for long lines at the nation’s airports. Waits of more than two hours May 14 at O’Hare caused 450 people to miss their flights and dozens to sleep overnight at the airport.

TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger came Friday to Chicago to meet with local officials and expressed regret for the problem, which the agency has blamed on a staffing shortage combined with higher passenger numbers. TSA moved 100 part-time officers at Chicago airports to full-time status last week and brought in a new management team and four new canine units, which TSA officials say helped speed lines by sniffing passengers for explosives.

Another 58 TSA officers are expected to come to Chicago airports in the coming month.

This week, the TSA replaced its former head of security, Kelly Hoggan, who according to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform received more than $90,000 in bonuses from 2013 to late 2014.

A memo obtained by the Chicago Tribune sent by Neffenger on Monday does not name Hoggan, but does name his temporary replacement, Darby LaJoye. Neffenger called LaJoye an experienced federal security director with successful stints at two of the nation’s largest airports, Los Angeles International Airport in California and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

“His strong leadership and proven operational expertise have driven a renewed agency-wide focus on security effectiveness,” Neffenger said.

Read More

Clerical errors have kept hundreds of Alaska inmates in jail

Last Tuesday, a prisoner walked out of the Anchorage jail a free man. Unremarkable, except it was five months after his sentence ended.

By the Department of Corrections’ own admission, the man — who the department would not name — spent nearly an extra six months incarcerated because of a clerical error in the computation of his complicated sentence.

His case is an extreme example of a widespread and insidious problem in Alaska’s criminal justice system.

Over the past five years, DOC has kept — or would have kept if the errors hadn’t been discovered by state investigators — more than 100 inmates in jail for days, weeks and even months after their sentences expired because of clerical errors, an analysis of data from the state ombudsman’s office shows.

That number, attorneys and investigators agree, is probably a major under count. It represents only inmates who’ve completed a lengthy formal process with the Alaska Office of the Ombudsman.

For every prisoner who complains, there are more who just sit a few extra days in jail, said Bethel attorney Jim Valcarce. He consistently fields two to three calls per month from people, almost all in rural Alaska jails, who say they’ve been detained for longer than their sentence.

“I’ve seen it a few days and I’ve seen it as long as a month,” he said.

Those people are missing out on work, family life, subsistence activities, holidays, he says. They are missing out on their lives.

“I can’t think of anything worse, more unfair, than someone who is sitting in jail for no reason. That’s a miscarriage of justice.”

Such errors break one of the foundational contracts of the justice system: That people should go free once they’ve served their time. At the same time, sentence miscalculations cost the already cash-strapped state hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The prisoner released Tuesday alone would have cost the state at least $23,000 in unnecessary incarceration.

View Source

Shoplifting suspects with infant lead Henrico County Va. police on chase

“Police said two shoplifting suspects had an infant in their car while they led officers on a chase that ended in a five-car accident in Henrico County Sunday afternoon.

Henrico police Lt. C.J. Maurice said officers were dispatched for a shoplifting call at the Target in the 9000 block of Staples Mill Road at 4:15 p.m

As officers were about to arrive at the store, they spotted the suspects’ gray car fleeing the parking lot.

Maurice said officers tried to pull over the vehicle, but he said the driver kept going and a brief pursuit began.

Officials said the pursuit ended when the suspect’s car slammed into four other vehicles — while trying to drive in between cars stopped at a traffic light — at the intersection of Staples Mill Road and Hungary Road.

Police said the two suspects were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries. Additionally, five other people in other vehicles were treated for minor injuries. Three of them were transported to area hospitals.

Maurice said the male driver and a female passenger have charges pending for shoplifting. Additionally, the male driver will be charged with eluding police.

Authorities said 32-year-old Jeremy Dodge was charged with grand larceny, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, felony child neglect and felony eluding police.

Twenty-six-year-old Victikia Coker was charged with grand larceny, conspiracy to commit grand larceny and felony child neglect.

Police were seen recovering items from the suspects’ car.”

View Source

Avoid Long Airport Lines, Queue Up At Your Local TSA ‘Precheck’ Office

(CBS) — With the long lines at airports dominating the news, there is now a rush to sign up for the federal service that can move you more quickly through the crowds.

But as CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, you may need some patience to sign up for TSA “Precheck.”

There was a constant flow of traffic Monday at the TSA’s Precheck office in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood. More than half said they were walk-ins.

One woman said reports of log jams at O’Hare spurred her to come in, ahead of a trip later this spring.

Mid-June is the earliest appointment if you book online, because of the rush to sign up for TSA Precheck, by those who either saw or experienced the horrors of long lines at Midway and O’Hare.

Signing up means you could avoid the long lines. For $85, you get your fingerprints taken – and a TSA number that gets you a coveted checkmark on your boarding pass.

You then get to move more quickly through airports to catch your flight.

But to get the precious pass, be prepared to wait.

TSA Precheck means not only do you avoid those long lines, but you can also keep your shoes and jacket on and leave three-ounce liquids and laptops in your bag.

The $85 fee covers a five-year subscription.

View Source

Passengers Stranded At O’Hare Airport Due To Long TSA Lines

“Security lines at airports in Chicago and across the country are longer than ever. Now airlines are fighting back.

About 450 American Airlines passengers trying to fly out of O’Hare International Airport Sunday night couldn’t get to the gate on time. Airport employees offered them cots to sleep on overnight.

“Got here two and a half hours before my flight and security took two to three (hours) to get through,” said Kevin Revis, a stranded traveler.

“I’d never seen this before. Completely unexpected,” said Adnan Ahmed, who was also stuck in Chicago.

Video shot at 5 a.m. Monday shows hundreds of passengers slowly making their way through an hours-long security line in Terminal 3 at O’Hare.

ABC7 Eyewitness News viewer Kim Adele Serritos shared video of lines at Midway International Airport Monday morning on the ABC7 Chicago Facebook page.

American Airlines spokesperson Leslie Scott said over the next week, the company is deploying its own employees to help TSA workers with non-security functions.

“(They will be) standing in line, telling people to take shoes off, take electronics out and bag of liquids out,” Scott said.

The chronically understaffed Transportation Security Administration promises to hire 800 new screeners next month and offer more overtime opportunities for existing employees.

Until the TSA can get more screeners hired and trained, travelers’ only relief is the paid pre-check program.

Otherwise, airlines are recommending passengers arrive two or three hours before their flights are scheduled to depart.

Revis said he’s taking no chances Monday. He got in line four hours early.

Airlines also asked passengers to tweet about how frustrated they are using the hashtag #ihatethewait to put pressure on the TSA to fix this problem.”

Man charged after western NY hospital stick-up

A man accused of walking into a hospital emergency room with guns and demanding drugs Saturday morning has been arrested, according to police in Lockport, New York.

Adam Kibler, 24, was charged with first-degree robbery, police said.

Eastern Niagara Hospital told police the man walked into the emergency room at 4:57 a.m. Saturday and demanded drugs. He was armed with two rifles and claimed to have a bomb, police Chief Michael Niethe said.

Police responded immediately and got there while the suspect was still in the building.

The man made off with some items. Police spokeswoman Julie Snyder told CNN he made off with some prescriptions.

The suspect dropped his weapons and a backpack and fled on foot. One of the officers fired two shots at the suspect. Police don’t think he was hit.

A bomb squad determined that an item in a backpack was an inert device.

“We got lucky at that end,” Niethe said. “We recovered a lot of evidence at the scene.”

Niethe said that the hospital was fully locked down for a number of hours and authorities told residents to shelter in place. Those directives were eventually lifted.

“It took a number of hours to search the area,” Niethe said.

Lockport is in Niagara County and is more than 20 miles north of Buffalo.

Images from CNN affiliate WIVB showed a police SWAT team outside the hospital and a helicopter surveying the area.

Police described the suspect as a white male, 6 feet tall with blond hair. He was wearing khaki pants, a khaki shirt and a ski mask.

No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.

The hospital issued a statement saying, “Patients and staff at the facility are safe.”
View Source

Man arrested after trying to steal security K9

A man “dognapped” a private security K-9 during a training session at UNLV early Tuesday, leading university police on a brief pursuit before retrieving the dog and taking the man into custody.

Hank, a 15-month-old German shepherd, was inside a private security patrol car “with the A/C on” when a man walked up to the car, opened the door and “nonchalantly” walked away with the dog in front of the Thomas & Mack Center, security guard James Lassiter said.

The dog was at the arena with a few handlers and four other K-9s who were in their last leg of training for Dignity Health, where Lassiter works, and Silver State K-9, which trains dogs for security and law enforcement.

“Because of his training and the leash that was on him, he’s pretty much learned that if the leash is on, you go with that person,” Lassiter said, adding that the man’s calm demeanor may have convinced the dog he meant well.

Though Hank was sitting in the patrol car by himself, he wasn’t alone. Three other dogs were resting in the air conditioning within separate vans parked next to Hank’s car as the fifth dog finished his session inside.

“There’s not enough room in one van for all of them,” Lassiter said.

As the dogs waited, one security officer watched over the cluster of cars, pacing back in forth in front of them in the roundabout in front of the arena. That’s when the man took Hank.

When that happened, the man watching the dogs called Lassiter and the woman he was working with inside “and said ‘Hey, do you have someone working with you today?’ ”

“And we said, ‘No,’ ” Lassiter said. “And he said, ‘Well, someone’s walking with Hank. Now they’re running.’ ”

Lassiter and his co-worker looked at each other, then bolted outside and down the arena’s front steps.

“Honestly, my heart dropped,” Lassiter said.

The man watching the dogs caught up with the man who took Hank, who let go of the dog before taking off as UNLV police pulled up.

Read More

Port Authority Warns TSA It Will Be Replaced By Private Security Force Over Long Lines At Airports

“The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is giving the Transportation Security Administration an ultimatum on dealing with long lines at airports.

CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported the Port Authority is warning the TSA in a letter it will be replaced by a private security force.

“We can no longer tolerate the continuing inadequacy of the TSA passenger services,” the letter reads.

The letter states the long waits at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International Airports are “prompting angry complaints from passengers, terminal operators, and airlines alike … citing inconvenience, delayed flights and missed flight connections.”

“Passengers have been waiting up to an hour in lines at security checkpoints.

“They’re pretty long,” one traveler said.

Travel expert Peter Trabucco said travelers should not be concerned if airports turn to private security forces.

“Not really, because the processes and the protocols are all set up,” Trabucco said. “They’re going to be doing the same, that’s why the lines are all long because of terrorism.”

Trabucco said the goal of privatization is to cut costs.

“Time would tell if it would work or not. It depends on the company, it depends on how serious they are. Some are good, some are bad,” Trabucco said. “I still feel the TSA itself has a very, very tough job.”

The TSA said it “will directly respond to the Port Authority.”

However, the agency is trying to get more money to hire extra screeners and pushing “pre-check,” a program passengers can sign up for that screens them before they travel.

“I can keep my shoes on. I believe I can keep my computer in my backpack. It’s easier with children,” traveler Denise Suri said.

Private security companies have already taken over 22 airports, including in San Francisco and Kansas City.”

View Source

NW suburban families file lawsuit in transgender locker room case

A group of 51 suburban families filed a federal lawsuit against their Illinois school district, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday, alleging that the district is violating students’ privacy and safety by allowing transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms of the gender with which they identify.

Northwest suburban Township High School District 211 was forced to do so by the Department of Education, which charged that not accommodating the locker room choice of one transgender student who filed a complaint with the federal agency was a violation of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

But the lawsuit filed by Alliance Defending Freedom and the Thomas More Society, on behalf of the 73 parents and 63 students, maintains that the 1972 federal law actually authorizes schools to retain single-sex restrooms and locker rooms, and Title IX is being unlawfully redefined by the Department of Education, which has overstepped into Congress’ purview in broadening its interpretation.

“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to the opposite sex is not only perfectly legal, it’s a school district’s duty,” said Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom.

“Allowing boys into girls’ locker rooms, a setting where girls are often partially or fully unclothed, is a blatant violation of student privacy.

The school district should rescind its privacy-violating policies, and the court should order the Department of Education to stop bullying school districts with falsehoods about what federal law requires.”

Read More