Two men charged in $1.3 million Houston armored truck robbery

Houston TX Jan 4 2018 Two men have been charged with aggravated robbery after taking part in the theft of more than $1.3 million from a courier carrying money to a Garda armored truck from a southwest Houston Frost Bank, according to court records.

The robbery occurred the day after Christmas in the 9300 block of Kirby Drive, when two masked men armed with guns took bags filled with cash from the courier. Denzel Miles, 25, a former Garda courier, and Davione Owens, 20 have been identified as two of the robbers and both face charges of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon charges, according to charging documents.

Owens is being held in the Harris County Jail with no bond. Miles is currently out on a $40,000 bond.

Miles has identified a Ronald Freeman as an accomplice in the robbery and the co-registered owner of the getaway car, a 2013 Lincoln MKZ, court records show.

Authorities have said the burned body of a man with the same name was found a day after the robbery in the woods near 5700 block of Wenda. But they have not said if that Freeman was connected to the robbery and it remains unclear to authorities how he ended up dead.

The case began when the Garda courier, who was conducting a drop off and pick up of the money, was exiting the Frost Bank with two plastic currency bags and returning to the armored truck. At that point, the two robbers approached him from a Lincoln MKZ, according to court records.

The robbers ordered the man to get on the ground, took the money and fled the Frost Bank parking lot.

According to court records, a Garda employee apparently told her manager on Dec. 24 that Miles was planning to rob an armored bank truck “he was formerly assigned” and said he knew the driver of the route would be an “easy target,” court documents stated.

The employee said that Miles drove a silver Lincoln MKZ vehicle and showed authorities a photo of the man standing in front of the car.

The Garda employee called Miles, but he denied knowing anything about the armored truck robbery and said he was out of town in Louisiana.

A Garda security manager told authorities that Miles had been terminated in October after “failing to cooperate with an internal theft investigation,” at the company, according to court records. The manager also said that Miles knew where the money was picked-up and dropped off at the Frost Bank “was not in a secure location,” according to court records.

Miles was found on Dec. 28–two days after the robbery– in the 3500 block of Woodchase Drive and arrested. A black Glock and a little over $14,000 was found inside the Blue Kia Soul Miles was driving before he was arrested.

After he was arrested, Miles told police that another person called “Poppa” participated in the robbery and his car was used as the getaway vehicle. He gave authorities “Poppa’s” phone number. Authorities identified the user of the phone as Ronald Freeman.

Miles said that he met up with Freeman and another person, before the three men conducted the robbery. The three men then drove to another location after the robbery where they split the money.

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Serial Salem burglar captured with alert security officer’ help

Salem OR Dec 27 2017 A man suspected of breaking into at least 18 local businesses, churches and non-profits was arrested Christmas Eve by Salem police.

Roberto Baney-Mateos, 26, was wanted by Salem police in connection with a series of burglaries, including a break-in at La Bonita Bakery on Portland Road, where thousands of dollars were stolen on Nov. 25.

On Dec. 1, investigators asked for the public’s help with locating Baney-Mateos, a transient with a warrant out for his arrest for violating his probation for a methamphetamine possession conviction.

Security guards spotted Baney-Mateos inside a business complex yard around 8:20 p.m. Sunday. Salem police spokesman Lt. Dave Okada said officers quickly responded and spotted Baney-Mateos in front of one business in the 3100 block of Kantz Court NE.

As officers closed in on him, Baney-Mateos fled into an adjoining business yard. A Salem police K-9 dog found him hiding in the back of a utility truck.
He was taken into custody without further incident.

Okada said as the investigation continued, officers determined Baney-Mateos also burglarized Garten Services three times and was possibly connected to several other break-ins. Baney-Mateos was eventually charged with 22 counts of burglary dating back to Nov. 20.

The break-in at La Bonita Bakery was just one of many break-ins to hit the Salem area in recent months.

According to restaurant owners and police, at least 10 restaurants reported burglaries in the Salem-Keizer area since August.

Romano’s Mexican Restaurant closed for business after a burglar stole thousands of dollars from the company safe.

Salem police spokesman Okada told the Statesman Journal he believed a small number of prolific offenders were behind the break-ins.

Bentley’s Coffee and a Keizer Dutch Bros. also experienced multiple burglaries. After Keizer police released a photo of the suspected burglar, John Herriges, 40, of Salem, was arrested and charged with breaking into the coffee shops.

Following his arrest, Baney-Mateos was taken to Marion County jail. He is scheduled to appear for arraignment on Tuesday.

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Two charged with attempted robbery

Two people face attempted armed robbery and drug distribution charges after police said they followed a man from the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore to the Annapolis Police Department and attempted to hold him up at gunpoint with a BB gun.

Annapolis police said a man drove into the parking lot of the department on Taylor Avenue around 4:40 p.m. after he noticed he was being followed by another vehicle.

According to charging documents, the victim was at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore on line waiting to cash out chips when he was approached by Breiya Evans, 23 of Owings Mills.

After he declined an invitation for a drink, charging documents state that he noticed Evans and another man continued to follow him to the elevator and out of the casino.

 The man then got two security guards to escort him out of the building, police wrote, but he soon found himself being followed in his car by Evans and the man.
Charging documents state the man pulled “several evasive maneuvers” to try to elude the two, but to no avail. He drove from the casino to Annapolis with them following closely behind the whole way, police said.

When he pulled into the police department’s parking lot, police said the other vehicle pulled up behind him and Evans pointed what looked like a handgun at him.

Fearing he was being robbed, he ran into the police department and attracted the attention of an officer, police said.

When confronted, police said the woman was wielding a BB gun designed to look like a real handgun. Police added when they searched her car they found “13 individual baggies of marijuana.”

Evans and the passenger, Patrick Palmer, 25, of Baltimore, were arrested and charged with armed robbery, felony assault and drug distribution charges along with eight other misdemeanor offenses.

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Security agents capture woman who stole clothing at Victoria secret’s store

Norridge IL Dec 24 2017 A 47-year-old Chicago woman was charged Dec. 13 with felony retail theft at the Harlem Irving Plaza Victoria’s Secret store, according to police.

Bond was set at $75,000 for Shavelle Robison, of the 4900 block of Quincy Street. Robison also had outstanding warrants.

She is to appear in court Jan. 11.

A Norridge police officer responded at 9 p.m., Dec. 13 to the second-floor parking garage, where Robison was detained by security officers.

Victoria Secret sales employees told police they saw her select clothing from store shelves, stuffing three bags full of merchandise.

After one employee approached her , she exited the store, they said. The employees told police they flagged down a mall security officer near the entrance of the store. The security officer attempted to approach Robison, who continued walking up an escalator to the second floor, police said.

The security officer continued to follow her to the second floor, where she walked outside, holding her three bags, to a vehicle, police said.

The security guard followed her to the vehicle, where Robison walked to the passenger side of the car, dropped the three bags on the ground, and continued walking away, police said.
Other mall officers arrived on the scene to assist. Robison was detained after getting on another escalator.

One of the police officers followed store employees back to Victoria’s Secret with the recovered merchandise. The merchandise, when laid out and counted, amounted to 67 pieces of clothing, police said.

The total value came to $1,063.25, police said.

Robison was arrested and taken to the Norridge Police Station.

While at the station, she underwent a fingerprint check, which revealed she has active warrants for criminal damage to property and retail theft, out of the village of Rosemont, police said.

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San Antonio security officer helps nab burglary suspect

Police on Friday arrested a 28-year-old man after an apartment security guard caught him stealing three boxes of shoes from his girlfriend, according to court records.

The alleged shoe thief, Brandon De La Rosa of San Antonio, now faces charges of theft, drunk driving and burglary of a habitation. He remains in the Bexar County Jail on a $55,000 bond.

According to his affidavit, De La Rosa was known to the staff members of his girlfriend’s apartment complex because he had been causing problems in the past.

On Dec. 13, a guard saw him drive through the front gate of the complex. Concerned, the guard notified their supervisor and went to check on the victim. He saw De La Rosa’s car on the way and photographed his license plate number. He then went up to the victim’s apartment. Her door was locked and everything appeared to be okay, authorities said.

Upon leaving the victim’s apartment, however, De La Rosa confronted him, asked a few questions and then walked off. “Moments later,” the guard saw De La Rosa walking to his car with three shoe boxes in his hands, according to the arrest affidavit.

The guard went back up to the victim’s apartment and found the door had been kicked in. Police responded to the apartment, and the guard gave responding officers De La Rosa’s license plate number, which came back as belonging to a stolen vehicle, officials said.

Officers with the San Antonio Police Department Vehicle Crime’s Unit went to De La Rosa’s listed address, saw him leave his apartment and then pulled him over and arrested him.

The guard later identified De La Rosa in a line up. It’s unclear if he will face charges in connection to the stolen vehicle as well as the alleged burglary and theft.

The alleged shoe thief, Brandon De La Rosa of San Antonio, now faces charges of theft, drunken driving and burglary of a habitation. He remains in the Bexar County Jail on a $55,000 bond.

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Four College Students Arrested In Alleged Shoplifting Ring

SCOTT COUNTY, Ky.- Four Georgetown College students face charges after they allegedly participated in a shoplifting ring that tried to steal more than $500 in merchandise from a store.

Police reports show officers responded to a call about 4:50 p.m. Monday from Kohl’s when a security officer allegedly saw four women choose merchandise and take the items into the same fitting room. The security officer said the women removed inventory-control tags from the items, and hid the items in a backpack that one of the women carried. Store employees found the tags in the fitting room but no clothing left there, the reports said.

The security guard stopped the women in the parking lot, searched the backpack and found several unpurchased items, the report said. The guard escorted the women back into the store.

The total value of the stolen items was $577, one report said.

Mariah Mackenzie Bolasina, Ariana J. Garner, London R. Polk and Shelby Briannon Webster, all 19 and all of Georgetown, were charged with theft by unlawful taking-shoplifting more than $500 but less than $10,000 and engaging in organized crime.

Georgetown College Associate Vice President for College Relations Jim Allison confirmed the four are students.

Officials say the women had been previously identified as suspects in shoplifting that occurred Nov. 30, but no charge had been filed regarding those allegations.

All four were lodged without bond in the detention center.

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Sam’s employee seen on camera swiping $60,000 deposit

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. – Just a few days after Black Friday, police said a woman employed at Sam’s Club in Colonial Heights snatched a bag of money from the safe.

Store accountants noticed the missing deposit money, and launched an investigation into the missing $60,000.

“As they began their investigation and they realized one of their deposit bags was missing, they began to go through some surveillance tape from inside the store,” said Capt. William Anspach, with Colonial Heights Police.

Store cameras revealed that an employee removed the money from the safe and took it to the family restroom before an armored vehicle picked up the deposit.

Police said 30-year-old Erika Sue Apodaca then met up inside the store with 36-year-old Brian Steven Lindenfeld Jr.

“Ms. Apodaca removed the bag from the safe, took it into one of the family restrooms inside the store and failed to return it back to the area where the Armored Car Delivery Service would pick up the bag,” Anspach said.

“There was an exchange between the two and the male party and female party later met outside, outside in the parking lot,” Anspach said.

Both Apodaca and Lindenfeld were arrested Monday, without incident.

Apodaca is charged with felony embezzlement and conspiracy. Lindenfeld is charged with two felony counts of grand larceny and felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

The money has not been recovered.

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Commodities Fraud Sentencing

Self-professed investment professional Pedro Jaramillo was a pro at promoting himself and his financial prowess. Through a slickly produced online video, phony office space on Wall Street, and promises of unrealistic financial returns, this Peruvian national living in New York managed to convince more than two dozen investors to trust him with more than $1.2 million of their hard-earned money.

Jaramillo, however, never invested a dime of their money—instead, he used it to line his own pockets and keep his Ponzi scheme going. Even his claim to be an investment professional was false—he wasn’t licensed to do anything remotely connected to financial advising and/or investing.

But, as with most Ponzi scheme operators, Jaramillo eventually ran out of funds to keep his fraud scheme afloat, and two unhappy investors reported their concerns to the FBI. After an intensive investigation by the FBI’s New York Field Office—in close coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York—Jaramillo was arrested and charged with commodities fraud in December 2016, pleaded guilty in April 2017, and was sentenced last month to 12 years in federal prison.

Investigators determined that, beginning at least in January 2014 until his arrest, Jaramillo—using his Latin American heritage as a common bond—had been soliciting potential victims mostly from Latin American immigrant communities in the U.S. to invest in commodity futures contracts. He told would-be investors that their money would be invested in short-term commodities contracts with a guaranteed (and unrealistically high) rate of return.

And he established his financial bona fides with potential clients using various methods.

His online video, done in Spanish, opened with flashy depictions of Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. Then, Jaramillo himself made his pitch to potential investors, telling them, “Money is being earned on every transaction. All you have to do is work with a proven winner.” He delivered all sorts of promises about how client investments would be handled—including being set up in individually managed and federally protected accounts. Unfortunately for his investors, none of what Jaramillo said in the video was true.

To further impress potential investors, Jaramillo met with many of them in rented office space on Wall Street, where he touted his prior financial successes and his relationship with a well-known global investment bank. Again, this “relationship” with the bank proved to be non-existent, and he had no prior Wall Street investment successes.

Jaramillo also created and handed out documents with simple charts and graphs that purported to illustrate past successes and his high rates of return. This were yet more false facts he fed to his victims.

The FBI investigation included numerous interviews with the victims of Jaramillo’s scheme. Many of these people—including retirees, working professionals, and manual laborers—lost their life savings, retirement money, or homes.

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22 indicted in ICE-led probe into multimillion dollar theft ring

SAN DIEGO – A San Diego federal grand jury has indicted 22 defendants following a long-term probe spearheaded by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) into a highly organized, often violent theft ring suspected of stealing more than $20 million worth of merchandise from upscale shopping malls in the San Diego area and nationwide.

Twelve of the defendants named in the indictment were arrested Wednesday morning during a carefully coordinated operation in the San Diego area involving more than 250 federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel. Three of those charged in the cases were already in custody. The other seven individuals named in the indictment remained at large as of early Wednesday afternoon. The defendants who are in custody are scheduled to make their initial appearances in federal court Thursday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Lynn Major.

As part of Wednesday’s enforcement actions, investigators searched three homes in Lemon Grove, Chula Vista, and San Diego. The searches resulted in the confiscation of approximately $30,000 in cash, along with about a dozen large trash bags filled with new clothing, the merchandise tags and security devices still attached. The goods included items from Victoria’s Secret, Hollister Co., Guess, Express, and Abercrombie & Fitch, and brands such as Calvin Klein, Hurley, Armani, Adidas, Kenneth Cole, and Puma. Agents also recovered piles of new Louis Vuitton shoes and boxes of security sensors that had been removed from clothing.

The indictment alleges the defendants formed crews of thieves to steal merchandise from retail stores throughout the U.S. The stolen items were then transported across state lines and sold in Mexico. According to the indictment, on Oct. 23, 2013, defendant Maria Angelica Mendez Valdivia had more than $480,000 worth of merchandise stolen from at least 57 retailers. The indictment states the goods were then transported to Mexico and sold to an alleged “fence,” defendant Sara Portilla, who is accused of selling the merchandise from a store she operates in Tijuana.

The highly organized ring, which investigators believe has been in operation for over a decade, assigned members of its theft crews specific roles. Team leaders selected the stores to target, scouted the locations, and choreographed the actions of other team members using cell phones and hand signals. The team’s so-called “mules” smuggled the stolen merchandise out of stores in “booster bags” fitted with metallic linings designed to defeat anti-theft sensors. And finally, the team’s “blockers” prevented store employees from seeing the ongoing theft, either by obstructing their view, distracting them, or by physically preventing the employees from responding.

When necessary, court documents state, the teams used force against store employees, customers, and law enforcement to escape. For example, the indictment alleges that in November 2009 defendant Sergio Manuel Montano Nava knocked over an infant in its stroller and injured the child’s father to avoid being arrested for a theft at a Hollister store in Schaumburg, Illinois. In November 2012, defendants Jose Damazo Herrera, Robin Macias, and others allegedly drove vehicles through a crowd while fleeing a theft from a Hollister store in the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego. In yet another incident in March 2013, one of the defendants allegedly grabbed a loss prevention officer by the throat and threw her to the ground while running from a theft at Abercrombie & Fitch at the Plaza Bonita Mall in National City.

“The mall is supposed to be a safe place for families to shop, eat and enjoy themselves,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson. “Instead, a prolific and violent group of thieves has stolen millions of dollars in merchandise as well as peace of mind from mall employees and customers. With today’s action, we are protecting customers and businesses both physically and economically, and we are restoring and preserving the safety of our community gathering spots.”

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Authorities Are Toughening Penalties To Would-Be Looters

In flooded Houston, with scores of businesses closed and homes evacuated, authorities are sending a message to those thinking of looting or price gouging: Taking advantage of the situation won’t be tolerated.

Police are beefing up security over reports of looting during and after Hurricane Harvey. That includes imposing a curfew and stiffening penalties for crimes committed in the stricken area.

“We’re city that is about diversity and opportunity and all kinds of justice,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. “But we’re not a city that’s going to tolerate people victimizing people that are at the lowest point in their life.”

Acevedo said additional police officers were heading into the Houston area and described the curfew as a “tool to assess the intentions of people that are out there.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner stated that the midnight to 5 a.m. curfew is intended to prevent criminal activity. It “exempts flood relief volunteers, those seeking shelter, first responders, and those going to and from work.”

It’s not clear how many criminal incidents have occurred in areas hit by flooding, and the police chief declined to provide statistics. “I don’t have the numbers. I can just tell you … we’re nipping it in the bud,” Acevedo said.

Fourteen people accused of looting were arrested in the past 48 hours, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement released Tuesday. They will face “heftier penalties” if they are found to have broken the law in the disaster area. Burglarizing a home could mean life in prison.

“People displaced or harmed in this storm are not going to be easy prey,” Ogg said. “Anyone who tries to take advantage of this storm to break into homes or businesses should know that they are going to feel the full weight of the law. … Offenders will be processed around the clock without delay.”

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