Weird News 5.15.16
Weird news of the week.
A Delta Airlines flight attendant has been accused pilfering nearly 1,500 mini bottles of liquor from the airline stash and selling them online. According to ABC News, Memphis, Tennessee’s Rachel Trevor, 28, has been charged with theft, unlawful sale of alcohol and unauthorized transportation of alcohol after her little money-making scheme was found out.
According to authorities, Trevor would fill her purse with the hooch after a flight, and then would post the contraband on Craigslist. While the airline would typically charge in-flight customers about $8 per mini bottle of vodka, rum, gin or whiskey, Trevor was practically giving the stuff away, charging people $1 each. Considering she was putting her livelihood and her freedom at risk to make a quick buck, Trevor should have at least tried to turn a bigger profit!
Just in time for summer, New York City police say an ice cream crime ring has been stealing pints of Ben & Jerry’s and Haagan-Daaz from drugstores and selling them to the city’s ubiquitous corner delis at a discount.
According to the New York Post, at least 10 CVS and Duane Reade stores have been burglarized in the last year, and some of the robberies have been especially egregious. Back in October, and in broad daylight, thieves made off with 242 pints of ice cream from a Duane Reade. Then in February, the NYPD busted seven people involved in multiple ice cream capers that resulted in $1,683 of sweet and creamy stolen merchandise. Not long after that, 300 pints were stolen from another Duane Reade, while a CVS store in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood has been hit three times! Um, maybe it’s time to post a security guard near the Rocky Road?
The problem for the NYPD is that it’s very hard to prove that a deli’s pints of ice cream were originally stolen. And besides that, once they’ve been purchased, the evidence from these heists disappears quickly — into peoples’ stomachs. Their best hope now is to catch some of these treat thieves in the act and see whether they have information that could lead to further arrests.
So where does that leave NYC-area ice cream enthusiasts like, ahem, myself? On one hand, I think stealing is bad, really. On the other hand, I buy ice cream almost nightly (don’t judge me!) from my local bodega (not a drugstore), and would really appreciate seeing some Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie in the freezer soon. Does the ice cream crime ring take requests?
James Edward Loftis was arrested in early March after admitting to shooting two men in his South Carolina home. According to the arrest warrant, Loftis had taken a cab operated by 46-year-old Guma Oz Dubar and had gotten out without paying the fare. Dubar, along with another man,32-year-old James Cody Newland, banged on Loftis’s door and demanded payment, to which Loftis responded, according to his own account, “I’ll get your money.”
Instead, according to police, Loftis returned with a .45-caliber semi-automatic and fired eight shots, killing both men.
Loftis claims the men forced their way into his home and he was forced to shoot them in self-defense, and his attorneys intend to make the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law a key part of his defense. Prosecutors have charged him with two counts of murder and argued against the judge granting Loftis bail, given the nature of the crime and the“heinous” manner in which he disposed of their bodies.
Some of the details are hazy, but according to the police investigation and details from Loftis’s own statement after killing Dubar and Newland, Loftis allegedly drove Dubar’s cab to a nearby area and abandoned it. Loftis then walked to a gas station and bought five gallons of gasoline, and upon returning home, took the bodies out to a hole in his backyard, disposed of his clothing and the towels he used to clean up the blood, and used the gasoline to light the whole thing on fire.
According to Berkeley County Deputy Solicitor Bryan Alfaro, “They were essentially just slow-cooked inside the grave site.”
Loftis was arrested after his wife reportedly called police, and he’s since been charged with two counts of murder.
The judge set bail for Loftis at a mere $250,000, and will be on house arrest, after his attorney argued that he had acted in self-defense. Under South Carolina’s Protection of Persons and Property Act, one of the many “Stand Your Ground” laws across the United States, there are a litany of circumstances where homeowners have the right to use deadly force against someone who is breaking into the home. Loftis reportedly told police that he had the phone in his hand to call 911 after the shootings, but “freaked out” and all of the actions after, like the abandoning of the car and the burning of the bodies, were done in a panic.
“He’s a human being,” Stephen Harris, Loftis’s attorney, said in court. “He freaked out and thought he was going to prison, so he tried to hide the bodies. Nobody knows how you’re going to react when you kill two people.”
Police did note that there is some evidence that could corroborate Loftis’s self-defense argument, like a size-12 footprint by the handle of the house’s front door – a possible sign that someone attempted to kick in the door – and blood on the doorjamb. However, due to the nature of the crime and a number of inconsistencies in Loftis’s story, prosecutors have no intention of dropping the murder charges. Deputy Solicitor Alfaro told reporters that Loftis originally told police that he had let the two men into his home, and then changed his story later to say that Dubar and Newland had forced their way in.
Alfaro has a high bar to reach in the murder prosecution, as noted in the South Carolina Post and Courier, because “the law gives residents the benefit of the doubt when they shoot someone clearly breaking into a home.”
What do you think? Should Loftis have been granted bail? Tell us in the comments
The last thing 40-year-old Wesley Webb heard before she was murdered was, “You want to record it now, bitch?” And according to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, this is not only what was recorded before her death, but what was found on tape after.
On May 2, NBC Philadelphia reports, Webb’s live-in boyfriend, 43-year-old Keith Smith, allegedly fired one shotgun blast into Webb’s chest, shouting, “Fuck you! How’s that? That’s where we just went.” According to authorities, Smith then turned the shotgun on himself, but because he flinched when he shot himself in the face, his own life was spared.
It all began when the couple began to argue earlier on in the night at their Schuylkill Township home. Officials told NBC News that Webb was planning to leave the home with her two children, but when Smith began yelling at her, she instead took a seat on the couch – and turned on her cell phone to record what was happening.
Both of Webb’s kids, plus a third child who was present in the home, according to the report, listened to their mother’s murder play out. NBC said one of the kids was brave enough to call 911 upon finding their mother’s body. When first responders arrived, Smith was still coherent, even though he had reportedly shot himself in the head.
“This was a savage, selfish, and cowardly murder,” Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said. “The defendant did not hesitate to kill his girlfriend. But he flinched when it came to killing himself. Now, the victim is dead, the defendant is alive, and three kids have been badly traumatized.”
Smith is charged with a number of charges including first and third degree murder. NBC said it’s not clear at this point if he has retained an attorney. Hogan said if not for a change in the law a few years ago, the recording might not have been allowed as evidence as his office pursues their case against Smith. Thankfully, Pennsylvania law now considers recordings of this nature to be admissible in court.
If you would like to support Webb’s two kids, a GoFundMe Page has been set up by their aunt and uncle to assist the children through this terrible tragedy.
It was not a calm, quiet Mother’s Day for 42-year-old Virginia Stewart of Holmes Beach, Florida. According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Manatee County, police responded to the residence on Sunday morning after what was described as an abandoned 911 call. When they arrived, they found that Stewart and her husband had been fighting since the night before. According to the police, they were brawling over the candy and flowers that Stewart’s husband and son had given her for Mother’s Day. Stewart allegedly threw more than one cup across the room, breaking them. She also allegedly hit her husband on the left side of his face with coat hangers as well as her fists. Her husband told police that he was afraid of her when the attack occurred.
Stewart was arrested and charged with simple domestic battery. She was released on $750 bond and is under a court order not to have any contact with her husband, and her next court date is expected to be June 9. This may not be her first run-in with the police, as her arrest inquiry on the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office website shows an arrest in August of 2015 for knowingly or willfully abusing a child without great harm. It’s not immediately clear how that case was resolved.
But seriously, what was wrong with the candy and flowers Stewart’s husband and son got her for Mother’s Day? Were they carnations and Mentos or something?
An Indiana man is accused of stealing a car and a home — huh?! — all to woo the woman who stole his heart.
FOX59 reports that Gregory Harris allegedly boosted a BMW SUV and a house in southeast Indianapolis in order to give his girlfriend the impression that he was a millionaire.
Hold on for a second — how did he reportedly steal a home? According to Money magazine, the 48-year-old was reportedly outbid for the $147,000 house, but still decided it was his, even moving in girlfriend’s belongigs and turning on the power, internet and water service in his name. He was caught when realtors noticed the ‘For Sale’ sign was gone and the locks had been changed.
Harris told a CastleRock REO realty representative that he believed the place was his, backing up his claim with fraudulent documents including proof of insurance, purchase and sale agreement and quitclaim deed.
After police allegedly discovered that Harris’s vehicle was also stolen, he was hit with burglary and theft charges. (Among the items discovered inside the stolen SUV? The book TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald, according to New York Daily News.)
Harris’s (ex?) girlfriend explained to authorities that she and Harris had been dating since January and that he told her that he was a millionaire. She claimed she found the house online and Harris later sent her photos of himself inside of it, claiming he had purchased the home.
A French teen who allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a commuter train recorded the ordeal on Periscope, a livestreaming application.
Gizmodo reports that prosecutors say the 19-year-old allegedly “sent an SMS to one of her close relations, several minutes before her death, to announce her intentions … [and] made statements to Internet users, via the Periscope application, to explain her act.”
Investigators are in possession of her phone and are looking into what she sent through the app. Though Periscope has removed the footage, the Independent claims that several mirrors of the stream were uploaded to YouTube with the suicide censored.
During one part of the unsettling video, the teen is seen sitting on a sofa and says, “The video I am doing right now is not made to create a buzz, but rather to make people react, to open the minds, and that’s it,” the New York Times reports. The video concludes with a responding firefighter saying, “I am under the train with the victim; I need to move the victim,” and picking up the phone laying on the train tracks.
The International Business Times reports that a source told AFP that the teen said she was raped and had named her attacker. Police say they are looking into what may have led the teen to take such drastic measures, hinting at the possibility of expanding the scope of their investigation.
Mother’s Day was a strange one for Iowa’s Ashley Hautzenrader, 22, who gave birth on Sunday in the bathroom at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. According to police, Hautzenrader reportedly thought the baby was dead when it did not cry, and tried to flush it down the toilet. When that didn’t work, she told police that she left the baby wrapped in a pillowcase in a trash can, cleaned the bathroom, and left. Hospital staff found the baby alive not long after Hautzenrader disappeared.
It’s unclear why Hautzenrader went to the hospital that day — when she was arrested on Monday, she told police that she didn’t know she was pregnant. (How does this happen so often?!) Due to patient privacy laws, the hospital declined to say how far along Hautzenrader’s pregnancy was when she gave birth, nor could they comment on the current condition of the baby.
Hautzenrader faces one charge of misdemeanor child endangerment without injury which comes with a sentence of up totwo years in jail. As Iowa has a safe haven law in place that allows a parent to leave an infant up to 14 days old at any healthcare facility, police did not charge her with abandonment. During her court hearing on Tuesday, the judge placed Hautzenrader on supervised release, which is similar to probation, and requires Hautzenrader to check in with law enforcement regularly and to stay out of trouble.
Writing about crime can get kind of depressing, which is why we here at CrimeFeed are thankful every day for a little place called FLORIDA. Maybe it’s the humidity, but the Sunshine State never fails to serve up the most ridiculously stupid WTF headlines, taking the edge off and giving us a chuckle. Here’s what the always busy Florida Man and Florida Woman were up to this week!
Florida Woman Rescued By Police After She Gets Stuck In A Banyan Tree
Banyan trees are one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful creations, the expansive limbs drooping down towards the ground creating a natural wooden fortress — literally, it seems. While climbing and exploring through one of Key West’s beautiful banyans, aFlorida woman found herself stuck in between the branches, and the police had to be called in to rescue her. “They popped her out like a cork,” a Key West Police Department spokesperson told Local 10 before posting a photo of the embarrassing rescue on Facebook.
Florida Man Finds Bullet Hole In Arm 3 Days After Accidentally Shooting Himself
Florida man Michael Blevins of Deltona accidentally shot himself while he was cleaning his .22 caliber pistol — but he didn’t notice until three days later, when he discovered a bullet hole in his arm while changing his shirt. According to a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office report, Blevins said he was wearing a black shirt at the time so he didn’t notice that he was bleeding, and attributes the lack of pain one normally associates with a gun shot wound to the medication he takes for a previous back injury. Um, what kind of pills is he popping — horse tranquilizers?
Florida Man Pulled Over With Alligator Foot Sticking Out Of Dashboard
During a recent traffic stop in Loxahatchee, fish and wildlife officers noticed an unusual specimen kicking it in a Florida man’s ashtray — an alligator foot! And there was more where that came from. According to Q13Fox.com, butchered alligator parts littered the back of the man’s truck, and after first claiming he had killed the animal years before, he finally admitted to hunting the beast a few days prior — and without a permit. He was given a citation for the violation, while the officers posted a photo of their discovery on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Facebook page, writing, “I spy with my little eye… an alligator foot in the dashboard!”
Florida Man Charged With Stealing $1 In Robbery
A Florida man is being held on $10,000 bail after he snatched a young woman’s purse outside a grocery store in Greenacres and made off with exactly $1 before being apprehended by police. Authorities say Scott Simzer approached the woman on Monday afternoon and asked her for money — when she refused, he allegedly grabbed her purse, rifled through her wallet and plucked out a crisp George Washington bill before taking off. According to Fox25, he was caught 30 minutes later and is currently in police custody, on account of the fact that he’s $9,999 short on making bail.
With every new report about some predatory creep using Tinder to lure in victims it becomes abundantly clear that those looking for love online are at risk of much more than a broken heart. Because online dating wasn’t sucky enough already, ugh.
The latest story to compel me to delete the Tinder app from my phone comes out of Lawrence, Kansas, where Shane Steven Allen, 30, stands accused of holding his Tinder date hostage for six days, during which he allegedly beat her for “flirting” with his friend.
According to court documents, Allen began exchanging Tinder messages with a 20-year-old sorority student, who he then invited to hang out at his trailer with a few friends. According to the Lawrence Journal World, the court docs allege that later that night when they were alone, Allen accused the woman of “flirting” with his friend, punched her in the face and then refused to let her leave. The following day, Allen allegedly choked the victim until she passed out, telling her she couldn’t go home until her face healed from the blows. He’s also accused of kicking her, strangling her and pressing his knee against her throat with such force that bruising formed on her jaw and ears.
The victim told police she was never left alone during the six days she was held against her will, though Allen did bring her along on various errands. After she promised not to call the cops, Allen agreed to bring her back to her sorority house — but she immediately went to the local hospital, where doctors noted that she had two black eyes, bruising, swelling and broken blood vessels in her eyes. Allen was arrested and is now facing five charges — one felony charge of kidnapping and four battery charges — and 32 years in prison, and is being held on a $100,000 bond.
Unfortunately, a mugshot for Allen is not available, as the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says it is “not required to be disclosed under the Kansas Open Records Act.” Here’s hoping his Tinder profile has been deleted.
UPDATE (May 13, 2015):
Authorities in Rogersville, Tennessee, are heaving a hefty sigh of relief today because Carlie Marie Trent, the nine-year-old girl who went missing earlier this week, has been found safe and sound. And it’s all thanks to Donnie Lawson and Stuart Franklin, two brave citizens who took it upon themselves to scour a parcel of remote back country and called police when they found Trent with, as had been suspected, her uncle, Gary Simpson.
According to CBS News, the area was so remote that police needed to use four-wheelers to even reach the area where Franklin and Lawson had rescued the girl and held Simpson at gunpoint to prevent him from getting away. Cops arrested the uncle — whom Trent’s father said had become “obsessed” with the little girl — and he’s been charged with especially aggravated kidnapping, though additional charges could be possible.
Police took Carlie to a local hospital to be checked out, but she allegedly appeared unharmed and in good health.