Posts Tagged ‘theft’

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 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


Investigators have identified the remains of a suspected burglar who was killed by an alligator. Police say it appears 22-year-old Matthew Riggins was hiding from law enforcement when the incident occurred.

Brevard County deputies have determined that Matthew Riggins, 22, was killed by an alligator in Barefoot Bay lake on Nov. 23 while possibly hiding to avoid law enforcement.

Investigators say that Riggins had told his girlfriend he would be in Barefoot Bay to commit burglaries with another suspect who is now in custody but not cooperating with officials, according to Maj. Tod Goodyear with BCSO.

Deputies responded to calls in Barefoot Bay on Nov. 13 that there were two men dressed in black walking behind area houses, who ran from responding officers. Later that day, Riggins was reported missing to the Palm Bay Police Department.

Police searching the area reported hearing “yelling” but could not determine the source that night, Goodyear said. Ten days later, Riggins’ body was found in the lake.

Sheriff’s dive team members encountered an 11-foot alligator behaving aggressively while recovering the body, according to BCSO.

“When the body was found, it had injuries that were consistent with an alligator attack,” Goodyear said. “We had trappers euthanize the gator and when we opened it up, there were some remains inside that were consistent with injuries found on the body.”

Riggins died from drowning and bites were discovered along his legs and body that led investigators to determine he had been dragged underwater by the massive animal.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/12/08/alligator-kills-florida-burglary-suspect-hiding-cops/76966512/

A Chinese woman who swallowed a six-carat (1.2g) diamond was forced to take laxatives and endure colonoscopy. Jiang Xulian, 39, stole the diamond worth Thb10m (£180,000) diamond from the Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

She confessed to her theft to police when an X-ray showed the stone in her large intestine. The woman was later given laxatives before she and her alleged partner-in-crime – identified as Hae Ying, 34 – were held in police custody for legal action.

The couple had been brought to the attention of Thai police by an exhibitor at the fair. CCTV images showed the pair visiting the exhibition stand, where they allegedly switched the six-carat diamond with a fake, after asking to give it a closer inspection while at the jewellery fair.

The stall owner reported Jiang and Hae to the police, and they were detained at Suvarnabhumi airport on Thursday night. The pair tried to evade arrest by claiming they were tourists returning from their holidays, but their tale was proven to be fiction when a scan revealed the precious stone in Jiang’s stomach.

Jiang was given laxatives to speed up the movement of the diamond through her digestive system, but the diamond stayed in place. Jiang finally agreed to have an operation to remove the diamond, after being told that the jewel could cause damage to her digestive system.

The stone was identified as the stolen gemstone by its owner after its removal. The couple face up to three years in prison if convicted of the crime.

https://itsinterestingdotcom.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

The frame on the $500 Yerka bicycle forms a steadfast lock around any tree, pole, or bike rack. To steal it, thieves would need to saw through the frame itself, rendering the bike worthless.


Donald Cooper with scientific colleagues.


Donald Cooper mug shot.

A former University of Colorado professor has been arrested on suspicion of creating a company to sell marked-up lab equipment to the Boulder campus in what prosecutors call a theft “scheme.”

Donald Cooper, 44, was arrested at his home in Boulder on Tuesday afternoon, according to Boulder County District Attorney’s Office officials. It was unclear late Tuesday if Cooper had posted bond, which was set at $5,000.

He is facing a felony charge of theft between $20,000 and $100,000. Prosecutors allege that he created Boulder Science Resource to buy lasers and other lab equipment that he marked up 300 percent and then resold to his university laboratory, according to an arrest affidavit.

The arrangement also benefitted the professor’s father, who received a salary and a car from Boulder Science Resource, according to the arrest affidavit.

In total, CU paid Boulder Science Resource $97,554.03 between Jan. 1, 2009, and April 30, 2013, according to the affidavit.

According to CU’s calculations, Cooper’s markups cost the university $65,036.

Cooper resigned in July 2014 as part of a settlement deal with the university, which had begun the process of firing him on suspicion of fiscal misconduct. He had been director of the molecular neurogenetics and optophysiology laboratory in CU’s Institute for Behavioral Genetics, where he was a tenured associate professor.

After he learned about the university’s internal investigation, Cooper filed a notice of claim in September 2013 seeking $20 million in damages. Any person who wishes to sue a state entity must first file a notice of claim.

Cooper’s attorney Seth Benezra wrote in the notice of claim that Gary Cooper, the professor’s father, was the sole owner of Boulder Science Resource. He also wrote that the company sold CU equipment “at prices that were greatly discounted.”

Donald Cooper also complained that CU investigators had obtained an email about his father’s “alleged mental impairment,” according to the notice of claim.

“(The investigator’s) theory is that Gary Cooper lacks the mental capacity to run (Boulder Science Resource) and so Dr. Cooper must really be in charge,” Benezra wrote. “This assertion was pure speculation based on entirely private information and was rebutted by Dr. Cooper in multiple meetings with investigators.”

Benezra did not return messages from the Daily Camera on Tuesday. It’s unclear who is representing Cooper in the criminal case.

Though Cooper claims that his father was in charge of the company, prosecutors assert that the professor “employed a scheme” to deceive the university for his own gain, according to the affidavit.

“It is alleged that (Boulder Science Resource) was created to defraud the University of Colorado Boulder by acting as a middleman to generate income to employ Gary and to provide personal benefit for Cooper,” wrote Alisha Baurer, an investigator in the District Attorney’s Office.

‘Fake business’

CU was tipped off about Boulder Science Resource by another employee in Cooper’s department, who told investigators that he heard about the arrangement from Cooper’s ex-wife, according to the arrest affidavit.

The ex-wife told the CU employee that Cooper had created a “fake business” using “dirty money” from grants and start-up funds, according to the affidavit.

The financial manager for Cooper’s department told investigators that he never mentioned that his dad owned Boulder Science Resource, and said Cooper only referred to “Gary” by his first name, according to the affidavit.

The DA’s Office determined that Gary Cooper received $23,785.80 from Boulder Science Resource in the form of a salary and a car. They also found that $31,974.89 was paid from the company’s accounts to Donald Cooper’s personal credit card and that $14,733.54 was paid to his personal PayPal account from the business, according to the affidavit.

CU’s internal audit found that Boulder Science Resource had no customers other than the university and Mobile Assay, a company founded by Donald Cooper based on a technology he developed at the university.

Some of the money CU paid to Boulder Science Resource came from federal grants, including $7,220 from the National Institutes of Health and $15,288 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, according to the internal audit report.

CU’s investigation found that although Cooper claimed his father purchased the lab equipment for Boulder Science Resource, the professor used his university email account to negotiate with the manufacturers.

“It is internal audit’s conclusion that the forgoing acts/failures to act were done with intent to gain an unauthorized benefit,” according to the audit report.

Boulder Science Resource was dissolved in December 2013, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Settlement terms

Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Patrick O’Rourke, CU’s chief legal officer, said the university was aware of Cooper’s arrest and will cooperate with prosecutors.

CU settled with Cooper last summer after initiating termination proceedings. In exchange for his resignation, the university agreed to provide the professor with a letter of reference “acknowledging his significant achievement in creating a neuroscience undergraduate program,” according to the settlement document.

CU also paid $20,000 to partially reimburse Cooper’s attorney and forgave an $80,000 home loan. CU provides down payment-assistance loans to some faculty members.

Had the university continued the termination process, which is lengthy, Cooper would have continued to receive his full salary of $89,743 and all benefits during the proceedings.

O’Rourke said the university instead opted to accept Cooper’s resignation and saved money with the settlement.

http://www.dailycamera.com/cu-news/ci_28056525/former-cu-boulder-professor-arrested-theft-case

By SETH BORENSTEIN

The banking industry seems to bring out dishonesty in people, a new study suggests.

A team of Swiss economists tested the honesty of bank employees in a lab game that would pay off in cash if they cheated. When workers at an unnamed bank were asked about their home life, they were about as honest as the general public. But employees who had just been asked about work at the bank cheated 16 percent more.

Bank employees are not more dishonest than others,” said Ernst Fehr of the University of Zurich, author of the study published Wednesday by the journal Nature. But he said when reminded of their job they become more dishonest, so something about the culture of banking “seems to make them more dishonest.”

The American Bankers Association dismissed the study: “While this study looks at one bank, America’s 6,000 banks set a very high bar when it comes to the honesty and integrity of their employees. Banks take the fiduciary responsibility they have for their customers very seriously.”

Researchers studied 128 employees at a single bank (even the country where it is located was not revealed).

They gave them what is a fairly standard honesty test. They were told to flip a coin 10 times; each time they flipped they could earn $20 if it matched what researchers had requested — sometimes heads, sometimes tails. An honest person would report matching the requested flip result about 50 percent of the time. But when workers were asked questions about their work at the bank, placing their work at the forefront in their minds, they self-reported the result that paid off 58 percent of the time.

When researchers repeated the test with more than 350 people not in banking industry, job questions didn’t change honesty levels. Researchers tested 80 employees of other banks and they came up with about the same results as those from the main bank.

Six outside experts in business ethics and psychology praised the study to various degrees. Duke University behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely, author of the book “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty,” said he agreed with the study authors that one possible solution is an honesty oath for bankers, like doctors’ Hippocratic oath.

University of Louisville psychologist Michael Cunningham said while the study is intriguing, it is too broad in its conclusions.

Fehr said recent multi-billion dollar international banking scandals convinced him that he had to test scientifically public perceptions about bankers not being honest.

The study’s findings ring true to Walt Pavlo, though he is not a banker — he was in finance at telecom giant MCI and pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in a multi-million dollar scheme. Pavlo said before joining his company he had worked in the defense industry where ethics were stressed and wasn’t tempted to cheat. That changed in his new job where he was “paid for performance” and was told to be aggressive.

That culture “influenced me in a way that initially I thought was positive,” but led to prison, said Pavlo, who now teaches business ethics and writes about white-collar crime.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/19/bankers-cheat-study-job_n_6186494.html