Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

George Dore, a librarian in Orlando, Florida was suspended from his position as branch manager after an investigation revealed that he had created a fake identity to borrow library books that were falling out of fashion. His creation, the fictional Charles Finley, was given a career (ballplayer), a drivers license number, an address and a voracious appetite for reading. He was also endowed with a wide-ranging taste in literature.

Basically, Dore was gaming the system. Finley’s reading marathon was engineered to inflate the library’s data, tricking its algorithm by creating the appearance of popularity for books that were not being borrowed much. (Culling books that have not been read for a long time is a common practice at libraries.)

Finley borrowed more than 2,300 books over the course of 2015, increasing circulation at East Lake County branch by 3.9%. He was also a super-fast reader, checking books in and out within an hour. Nine months into Finley’s reading marathon, his speed-reading led to suspicion and an investigation, which began in November 2015.

The notion of rebel bibliophiles breaking the law to save books is undeniably charming to book lovers. But actually, the librarian is alleged to have committed fraud and authorities in Florida are not impressed. The inspector general’s report on Dore states that creation of a fake library card “amounts to the creation of a false public record.”

Dore was recommended for termination and put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. He says he was just trying to save the library time and money, as books that are not borrowed are deemed irrelevant by the software that the local library system uses to track circulation and taken off the shelves. Then they are often repurchased again later.

But there are several twists to this story. Circulation can influence annual funding. Nine city-run libraries in Lake country receive nearly $1 million based on circulation. Chuck Finley’s prolific reading not only made East Lake Country library books seem more popular, it cast doubt on whether other libraries were involved in similar book-checkout schemes. A county-wide audit is underway

Jeff Cole, director of the Lake County Public Resources Department that oversees library services, wouldn’t comment on whether other libraries were involved but he told the Orlando Sentinel, “I think we’d have to evaluate it if the [allegations] bear out.”

Meanwhile, Dore’s library was not among the nine receiving money from the County so funding was not an incentive. He says his aim was actually to save the library money in the long run, by not having to repurchase books which often go in and out of fashion with readers. One of Finley’s choices, for instance, was John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row.”

If Dore is to be believed, he’s not the only renegade librarian fighting the algorithms. His colleague, library assistant Scott Amey, who helped dream up their fictional reader was reprimanded for being part of the scheme. And Dore told investigators that gaming the system with “dummy cards” is common, noting, “There was a lot of bad blood between the libraries because of money wars.”

A librarian in Florida went rogue to save 2,361 books from an algorithm

Thanks to Tracy Lindley for bringing this to the It’s Interesting community.

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A woman who was recently released from prison in Oregon robbed a bank in Wyoming only to throw the cash up in the air outside the building and sit down to wait for police, authorities said Friday.

Investigators say 59-year-old Linda Patricia Thompson told them she wanted to go back to prison.

Thompson said she had suffered facial fractures after strangers beat her at a Cheyenne park last weekend.

She said she couldn’t get a room at a homeless shelter and decided to rob the bank Wednesday because she could no longer stay on the streets, court records say.

She faces a detention hearing Tuesday on a bank robbery charge and doesn’t have an attorney yet.

FBI Special Agent Tory Smith said in court documents that Thompson entered a US Bank branch in Cheyenne and handed a teller a cardboard note that said, “I have a gun. Give me all your money.”

The teller turned over thousands of dollars.

Outside, Thompson threw money into the air and even offered some to people passing by, Smith stated. He added that Cheyenne police Lt. Nathan Busek said he found Thompson with a large sum of money when he arrived at the bank.

“Lt. Busek asked Thompson what was going on, and Thompson replied, ‘I just robbed the bank, I want to go back to prison,'” Smith wrote.

Thompson had been serving time at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon, for a second-degree robbery conviction in Union County until her release in June, Betty Bernt, communications manager with the Oregon Department of Corrections, said Friday.

Thompson told investigators then that she didn’t want to be released and advised the Oregon state parole office that she would not do well on parole.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/07/29/fbi-woman-robbed-wyoming-bank-to-return-to-prison.html

By Peter Holley

For more than two decades, Terry Jude Symansky appeared to lead an ordinary life in Pasco County, Fla.

He had a wife and a teenage son, owned property, and “worked odd jobs,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The only problem, police say, was that Terry Jude Symansky was not really Terry Jude Symansky. He was actually an Indiana man named Richard Hoagland who vanished 25 years ago and has been considered dead since 2003, the paper reported.

The lie lasted more than two decades. In the end, a single online search was all it took for the ruse to unravel.

The truth began to surface when a nephew of the real Terry Symansky — who drowned in 1991 at age 33 — started an Ancestry.com family search, according to ABC affiliate WFLA. Knowing that his uncle was dead, the nephew was surprised to find someone with the same name living in central Florida.

“He looks up his real uncle Terry Symansky and realizes that he died in 1991, which the family knew,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco told the station. “He then starts scrolling down the page and sees more details that Terry Symanksy was remarried in 1995. He owns property in Pasco County, Florida.”

Fearing that their fake relative might try to harm them, family members waited three years before eventually contacting authorities in April, police told the Tampa Bay Times.

Hoagland, 63, was arrested Wednesday and charged with fraudulent use of personal identification, the paper reported.

How exactly Hoagland came to assume the identity of Terry Symansky — who moved to Florida from Cleveland to work as a commercial fisherman — remains a complicated mystery.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that investigators suspect it occurred as follows:

Deputies think Hoagland stole Terry Symansky’s identity like this: Hoagland once lived with Terry Symansky’s father in Palm Beach. Hoagland found a copy of Terry Symansky’s 1991 death certificate and used it to obtain a birth certificate from Ohio. With the birth certificate in hand, he then applied by mail for an Alabama driver’s license and used that to obtain a Florida driver’s license. That’s how deputies think Hoagland came to spend more than two decades living in Florida as Terry Symansky.

As Terry Symansky, he married Mary Hossler Hickman in 1995. The couple lived in Zephyrhills. He also fashioned a medical card to obtain a private pilot’s license as Terry Symansky from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Before he began the process of assuming a new identity, Hoagland left his old life — which included a wife and four children — behind in Indiana, according to Bay News 9. His former wife in Indiana told police that Hoagland had three businesses related to insurance.

She told investigators that Hoagland told her in the early 1990s that he was wanted by the FBI for embezzling millions of dollars and had no choice but to leave town, according to the Tampa Bay Times. In reality, police told the paper, Hoagland told investigators that he left Indiana to get away from his wife.

Eventually, the paper reported, Hoagland’s wife assumed her husband was dead.

“This is a selfish coward,” Nocco said. “This is a person who has lived his life destroying others.”

Gerry Beyer, a law professor at Texas Tech University who studies identity theft, told the Tampa Bay Times that Hoagland’s alleged actions are unusual because most identity thieves steal people’s names to commit crimes.

He told the paper that the fact that the real Symansky never married or had children made him a “perfect” candidate for identity theft.

Yet, he noted, Hoagland’s ability to maintain the lie for more than two decades was shocking. It was a lie that was probably made easier, Beyer said, because it began before digital records were commonplace.

“You just never know,” Beyer told the paper. “It will all catch up with you.”

Hoagland’s Florida tenants told Bay News 9 that they were shocked that their landlord was not who he said he was.

“We’ve been personal with him quite a bit, and Terry’s the nicest guy anyone could ever meet,” Gregory Yates told the station.

“He’s a really nice guy, and he’s a really good landlord,” Dean Lockwood, another tenant, said. “Never would have known this, couldn’t imagine this was happening.”

Perhaps most damaged by Hoagland’s hoax, police said, was his wife in Florida, who learned about her husband’s alleged crimes only when detectives showed up at her door last week.

“For 20 years, she’s been lied to, so now she doesn’t know what she has to do as far as whether her marriage is even legal — what’s going to happen to all the properties they own, their bank accounts,” Detective Anthony Cardillo told Bay News 9. “The son has the last name Symansky.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/07/24/he-left-his-family-then-he-started-a-new-one-using-a-dead-mans-identity-police-say/?tid=pm_national_pop_b

Arapahoe County prosecutors on Wednesday, July 13, cleared a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy in an off-duty shooting stemming from an attempted robbery in January.

Deputy Jose Marquez was shot in the shoulder and abdomen during the Jan. 26 attempted robbery in an apartment parking lot on East Adriatic Drive near Rangeview High School.

One of the suspects fled the scene and has not been identified. The other, Jhalil Meshesha, was wounded in the leg and later arrested, prosecutors said.

In a letter to Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader and Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz, Arapahoe County Deputy District Attorney Rich Orman said Marquez, who was off duty and not in uniform at the time of the robbery, acted appropriately.

“Deputy Marquez reasonably believed that his life was in danger and acted reasonably in shooting Meshesha, and that he used an appropriate level of physical force. I further find that Deputy Marquez’s actions were justified and he did not violate Colorado law,” the letter said.

Marquez told police he was visiting his girlfriend at her apartment when he went outside to grab something from his car. As he walked back, he saw two young men with masks on their face. One of the men told him to “give it up,” Marquez said, and pulled out a pistol.

Marquez said the two men fired first and he returned fire.


One of Marquez’s bullets struck Meshesha’s pistol, traveling straight down that gun’s barrel and disabling it. Police called the shot “one in a billion.”

http://www.aurorasentinel.com/news/jeffco-deputy-cleared-aurora-shooting/

By JEFF BENNETT

Police and car insurers say thieves are using laptop computers to hack into late-model cars’ electronic ignitions to steal the vehicles, raising alarms about the auto industry’s greater use of computer controls.

The discovery follows a recent incident in Houston in which a pair of car thieves were caught on camera using a laptop to start a 2010 Jeep Wrangler and steal it from the owner’s driveway. Police say the same method may have been used in the theft of four other late-model Wranglers and Cherokees in the city. None of the vehicles has been recovered.

“If you are going to hot-wire a car, you don’t bring along a laptop,” said Senior Officer James Woods, who has spent 23 years in the Houston Police Department’s auto antitheft unit. “We don’t know what he is exactly doing with the laptop, but my guess is he is tapping into the car’s computer and marrying it with a key he may already have with him so he can start the car.”

The National Insurance Crime Bureau, an insurance-industry group that tracks car thefts across the U.S., said it recently has begun to see police reports that tie thefts of newer-model cars to what it calls “mystery” electronic devices.

“We think it is becoming the new way of stealing cars,” said NICB Vice President Roger Morris. “The public, law enforcement and the manufacturers need to be aware.”

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it “takes the safety and security of its customers seriously and incorporates security features in its vehicles that help to reduce the risk of unauthorized and unlawful access to vehicle systems and wireless communications.”

On Wednesday, a Fiat Chrysler official said he believes the Houston thieves “are using dealer tools to marry another key fob to the car.”

Titus Melnyk, the auto maker’s senior manager of security architecture for North America, said an individual with access to a dealer website may have sold the information to a thief. The thief will enter the vehicle identification number on the site and receive a code. The code is entered into the car’s computer triggering the acceptance of the new key.

The recent reports highlight the vulnerabilities created as cars become more computerized and advanced technology finds its way into more vehicles. Fiat Chrysler, General Motors Co. and Tesla Motors Inc. have had to alter their car electronics over the last two years after learning their vehicles could be hacked.

Fiat Chrysler last year recalled 1.4 million vehicles to close a software loophole that allowed two hackers to remotely access a 2014 Jeep Cherokee and take control of the vehicle’s engine, air conditioning, radio and windshield wipers.

Startups and auto-parts makers also are getting involved in cyberprotections for cars.

“In an era where we call our cars computers on wheels, it becomes more and more difficult to stop hacking,” said Yoni Heilbronn, vice president of marketing for Israel-based Argus Cyber Security Ltd., a company developing technologies to stop or detect hackers. “What we now need is multiple layers of protection to make the efforts of carrying out a cyberattack very costly and deter hackers from spending the time and effort.”

San Francisco-based Voyomotive LLC is developing a mobile application that when used with a relay switch installed on the car’s engine can prevent hackers with their own electronic key from starting a vehicle. Its technology also will repeatedly relock a car’s doors if they are accessed by a hacker.

This month, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx is slated to attend an inaugural global automotive cybersecurity summit in Detroit. General Motors Co. Chief Executive Mary Barra and other industry executives are scheduled to speak.

Automotive industry trade groups are working on a blueprint of best practices for safely introducing new technologies. The Auto-Information Sharing and Analysis Center, created by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Global Automakers Association, provides a way to share information on cyberthreats and incorporate cybercrime prevention technologies.

In the Houston car theft, a home-security camera captures a man walking to the Jeep and opening the hood. Officer Woods said he suspects the man is cutting the alarm. About 10 minutes later, after a car door is jimmied open, another man enters the Jeep, works on the laptop and then backs the car out of the driveway.

“We still haven’t received any tips,” the officer said.

The thief, says the NICB’s Mr. Morris, likely used the laptop to manipulate the car’s computer to recognize a signal sent from an electronic key the thief then used to turn on the ignition. The computer reads the signal and allows the key to turn.

“We have no idea how many cars have been broken into using this method,” Mr. Morris said. “We think it is minuscule in the overall car thefts but it does show these hackers will do anything to stay one step ahead.”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/thieves-go-high-tech-to-steal-cars-1467744606

A rancher jumped on his horse Friday morning and lassoed a man who was trying to steal a bicycle in the parking lot of an Oregon Wal-Mart, police said.

Robert Borba was at the Eagle Point store loading dog food and a camping tent into his truck when he heard a woman screaming that someone was trying to steal her bike, the Medford Mail Tribune reports (http://goo.gl/L5PTLm).

The 28-year-old said he quickly got his horse, Long John, out of its trailer. He grabbed a rope, rode over to the man who was reportedly struggling with the bike gears and attempting to flee on foot. Borba lassoed the man around the legs and when he dropped, Borba dragged him to one end of the parking lot.

“I seen this fella trying to get up to speed on a bicycle,” Borba told the Tribune. “I wasn’t going to catch him on foot. I just don’t run very fast.”

Borba said the man tried to grab a tree and get away, but he kept the rope tight and the man in place.

“I use a rope every day, that’s how I make my living,” Borba said. “If it catches cattle pretty good, it catches a bandit pretty good.”

Eagle Point police Sgt. Darin May said officers arrived and found the lassoed man and bike on the ground in the parking lot.

“We’ve never had anyone lassoed and held until we got there,” May said. “That’s a first for me.”

Police arrested Victorino Arellano-Sanchez, whom they described as a transient from the Seattle area, on a theft charge.

Arellano-Sanchez is jailed in Jackson County. Staff members at the jail say they don’t think he has an attorney.

http://bigstory.ap.org/bd911de9190d4ec7b03d855312b04e39

thief

An Ohio man chose to wear a sign proclaiming he’s a thief rather than go to jail after trying to steal a 52-inch television.

Greg Davenport, of Liberty Township, pleaded no contest this month to a theft charge for stealing from a Wal-Mart in the township in December.

A judge in Girard gave Davenport, 44, the sentencing option of 30 days in jail or wearing a sign saying, “I am a thief. I stole from WalMart.”

Davenport has to wear the sign in front of the store eight hours a day for 10 days of his choosing.