- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 10, 2005

COLORADO

Suspicious car clears government offices

ARVADA — City Hall and a post office were evacuated and a bomb squad was called in yesterday after a car carrying chemical tanks was parked nearby, but officials later determined the vehicle was not a threat.

The motorist contacted police after seeing television coverage of the scene, where two bomb-squad robots and someone in a hazardous-materials suit had been deployed. He said he left his car after he got tired of waiting for his girlfriend, who was in police offices in City Hall, police spokeswoman Susan Medina said.

Propane and acetylene tanks found in the car were related to the man’s construction work, she said.

NEVADA

Elvis impersonator helps catch suspected thief

LAS VEGAS — A retired Elvis Presley impersonator helped police arrest a man suspected of stealing more than $300,000 worth of memorabilia from the Elvis-A-Rama Museum, authorities said.

Duke Adams said he was approached while in line at a pharmacy by a man offering to sell him items once owned by Mr. Presley, including jewelry, clothing and a revolver.

Remembering the March 2004 museum burglary, Mr. Adams said he asked the man to stop by his business the next day. Mr. Adams went home and called police.

Authorities arrested Eliab Aguilar last week after the Las Vegas man brought all but one of the stolen items to Mr. Adams’ employment agency, police said.

Mr. Aguilar was charged with burglary, grand larceny auto, possession of stolen property and possession of a stolen firearm.

FLORIDA

Jailhouse boast leads to loot

FORT WALTON BEACH — A bank robber’s jailhouse boast about the location of his hidden loot led officers to the stash after fellow inmates shared his secret.

Investigators dug up nearly $5,000 last week that 26-year-old Julian Leon Jordan was convicted of stealing from a bank in nearby Florosa last year, Okaloosa County sheriff’s spokeswoman Michele Nicholson said Tuesday.

Two inmates overheard Jordan telling other inmates where he had buried the cash and contacted authorities, she said.

Investigators failed to find the money in an October search behind a storage and building company in Fort Walton Beach. But they had success the following week when a former inmate who had been in jail with Jordan appeared and asked the business for permission to search for money behind the building. The business called the sheriff’s office, and the former inmate cooperated with investigators to locate the buried cash.

ILLINOIS

Holocaust survivors showcase railroad car

CHICAGO — When Fritzie Fritzshall was 12, she and her family were deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp from a Jewish ghetto in what was then Czechoslovakia. Her grandfather did not survive the journey.

On Wednesday, the 67th anniversary of Germany’s infamous Kristallnacht pogrom, she and other Holocaust survivors gathered to showcase the remnants of a Nazi-era rail car that will be displayed when the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center opens in suburban Skokie in 2008.

LOUISIANA

Five officers fired for being AWOL

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Police Department fired five more officers who went missing when Hurricane Katrina smashed into the city, bringing to 56 the number of employees who have lost their jobs for being absent without official leave.

Four other officers were suspended, police spokesman Marlon Defillo said yesterday. He did not say how long the suspensions will last.

The action came as hearings continued for officers who were unaccounted for during the Aug. 29 storm. The hearings, which began Tuesday, will run for four to six months, Acting Superintendent Warren Riley said.

Police were unable to account for 240 officers on the 1,450-member force after Katrina, but not all are believed to have deserted. Some were stranded by high water, and others couldn’t make contact because of disabled communication systems.

Last month, 45 officers and six civilian employees were fired for being AWOL.

MASSACHUSETTS

Historic house razed without permission

BOSTON — A 200-year-old house believed to have been a way station on the Underground Railroad has been almost entirely knocked down, angering preservationists.

City officials said the owner, real estate agent Eric Stevens, had permits to renovate the home, not to demolish it. The city has stopped work on the house, but critics say it is too little, too late.

“We fear it’s pretty much lost to us,” said James Igoe, president of Preservation Mass. “If nothing else, there has to be a lesson learned that things like this shouldn’t be happening.”

The red-brick, Federal-style home was once owned by John P. Coburn, a prominent black businessman and outspoken abolitionist, and may have sheltered escaped slaves in the 19th century.

Mr. Stevens said he wanted to restore it but it was beyond repair.

MONTANA

Bad-check felon draws bison-hunt license

HELENA — A hunter who drew one of two dozen coveted licenses to take part in one of Montana’s first bison hunts in 15 years is a felon who legally can’t carry a gun.

The state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks acknowledged that it has no authority to strip the man of the license. However, officials have alerted the man’s probation officer.

While the state wildlife agency declined to identify the hunter on probation, a review by the Associated Press of license holders and felons under supervision determined the hunter is Daniel Marshall, 45, of Helena. He was convicted in May 2002 of writing a bad check.

NEW YORK

Reform Rabbi boosts synagogue affiliation

NEW YORK — Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, will ask next week’s biennial convention to start an effort promoting lifelong synagogue membership.

Mr. Yoffie said synagogues are “the foundation of our communal existence,” which makes low affiliation rates “the most serious challenge facing North American Jewry.”

A recent U.S. Jewish population survey showed 46 percent of Jews currently belong to a synagogue. Reform, the largest of Judaism’s three major branches, showed the worst dropout rate.

Mr. Yoffie said half the unaffiliated Jews formerly belonged but have drifted away while the other half have never belonged and “demonstrate little interest in joining.”

NORTH CAROLINA

Explosion kills one at asphalt plant

KINGS MOUNTAIN — A small explosion at an asphalt plant killed one person yesterday, authorities said.

The victim was believed to be an employee. No one else was reported hurt.

The explosion happened about 7 a.m. at Rea Contracting asphalt plant here, about 30 miles west of Charlotte, county officials said.

PENNSYLVANIA

Charge thrown out in attack case

PHILADELPHIA — A judge threw out a manslaughter charge against a young man who fatally stabbed a teenager who reportedly attacked him because he is homosexual.

Municipal Judge Gerard Kosinski also ordered 21-year-old Lucas Dawson, an aspiring singer, released from jail.

Mr. Dawson told police that seven persons began taunting him, chasing him down and beating him as he walked to catch a bus Oct. 29. He said he pulled out a small knife and waved it, but when Gerald Knight, 17, punched him, he stabbed him in the chest. Mr. Knight died within the hour.

Mr. Dawson called police after the attack and led them to the knife. Assistant District Attorney M.K. Feeney praised him for turning himself in to police, but said a jury should decide whether his actions were in self-defense.

TENNESSEE

Tourist bus collides with truck, killing 2

NASHVILLE — A bus returning tourists to their hotels after a riverboat cruise collided with a tractor-trailer, killing two persons and critically injuring three others, authorities said.

All the other 10 persons aboard the Gray Line tour bus sustained less-serious injuries.

Police were investigating whether one of the drivers in the crash late Wednesday ran a red light.

“The at-fault driver has not been determined, so charges have not been filed yet,” said police spokesman Don Aaron.

The truck driver, Jerry Roznosky, 47, of Fort Worth, Texas, and a truck passenger were not injured.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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