- The Washington Times - Monday, April 17, 2006

CALIFORNIA

Businessman charged in Ferrari case

LOS ANGELES — A Swedish businessman involved in the high-speed crash of a rare Ferrari on a coastal highway was charged yesterday with embezzlement and other counts involving the suspected theft of a collection of exotic cars.

Bo Stefan M. Eriksson, 44, was scheduled to be arraigned later in the day on felony charges of embezzlement, grand theft and possession of a gun by a felon. He also was charged with two misdemeanor counts of drunken driving.

Mr. Eriksson, a former executive with the European video-game company Gizmondo, imported two Enzo Ferraris and a rare Mercedes worth an estimated $3.8 million, prosecutors said.

The cars are owned by British financial institutions and leased to Mr. Eriksson, Deputy District Attorney Steven Sowders said in a statement. The lease agreement did not allow Mr. Eriksson to take the cars out of Britain, Mr. Sowders said.

FLORIDA

Small plane crashes into SUV, terminal

GAINESVILLE — A small plane crashed into a sport utility vehicle parked outside an airport Sunday, hurling it through a terminal wall, officials said. Three persons in the plane were killed.

The twin-engine Beech B-60 also sparked a fire behind the airport’s commercial baggage claim area, filling the terminal with smoke, officials said.

About 100 to 150 people were inside the Gainesville Regional Airport terminal, but no injuries were reported on the ground, police said.

The plane took off from the north Florida airport and circled several times before attempting to land, but sent no distress call, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. The plane’s destination was not known.

The terminal was evacuated and remained closed until yesterday, airport spokeswoman Michelle Danisovszky said.

IDAHO

College bans nude art from student show

TWIN FALLS — The College of Southern Idaho is banning nude art from its annual student art show this year after receiving complaints from community members and some students. Instead, the college will have the paintings and sculptures of nudes displayed at an off-campus show.

CSI President Jerry Beck said student art that is adult in nature should be displayed, as long as it’s in the right setting.

KANSAS

Man sentenced for robbing bank

KANSAS CITY — A man who robbed a bank of $144,000 and tried to escape by commandeering an airplane was sentenced yesterday to 32 years in federal prison.

Bennie J. Herring II previously had admitted that he held up a branch of Capitol Federal Savings in Olathe on May 18, then forced several bank employees to strip to their underwear and drive him to an airport.

Officers shot Herring as he ordered a student pilot and flight instructor out of a small plane that was sitting on a runway with its engine running. He had taken flight lessons but did not have a pilot’s license, authorities said.

Herring, 45, of Wichita, pleaded guilty in December to one count of armed bank robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and one count of attempted aircraft piracy.

MASSACHUSETTS

Washington letter returned to archives

BOSTON — A letter signed by George Washington is back in the hands of state archivists, 60 years after it was stolen from the Massachusetts State House.

The future president’s letter, dated April 14, 1783, asked the states to settle their financial accounts with the army before it was disbanded after the war. Copies were delivered to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

When it disappeared in the 1940s, official documents in Massachusetts were open to the public inside the State House. Dozens of historic documents vanished before the archives were moved to Dorchester, and state employees now regularly watch the Internet and auction catalogs for missing documents to reappear.

It was in a February auction catalog that a staff member at the Massachusetts Historical Commission spotted Washington’s letter — valued at $60,000 to $80,000. The letter was among 750 items up for auction from a collector who bought it 50 years ago, apparently from a now-closed Boston book shop, said Tom Slater, director of Americana for Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers of Dallas.

MONTANA

Alien arrests rise in state

KALISPELL — Arrests of illegal aliens are on the rise in western Montana, where construction and other industries are booming.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged 43 persons with illegal re-entry last year, double the number reported four years ago.

Deportation numbers are also on the rise, and officials say the trend likely will continue until the job market slows.

NORTH DAKOTA

Stowaway cat clings to frame of truck

ELDRIDGE — A stowaway who made it past customs agents and into the United States on the metal frame of a fertilizer truck has won over locals, who call her the “sweetest illegal immigrant we’ve ever met.”

The migrant — a cat — hopped aboard a semitrailer hauling fertilizer from Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, to Eldridge, near Jamestown.

Customs agents at the border alerted the driver, but no one could catch the feline. When the semitrailer arrived in Eldridge, the furry stowaway still was clinging to the frame.

The trip Wednesday took about eight hours.

Bookkeeper Jessica Hansen, who rescued the cat, said she and her fellow employees — who named the cat Canada — considered keeping the animal as a mascot, but decided it was too risky with all the trucks around. The James River Humane Society in Jamestown is trying to find the cat a home.

OKLAHOMA

Murder charges filed in cannibalism case

PURCELL — A grocery-store stocker was arraigned yesterday on first-degree murder charges of killing of a 10-year-old girl in what authorities said was an elaborate plan to eat human flesh.

Kevin Ray Underwood appeared before McClain County Judge Gary D. Barger, who entered a not guilty plea for Mr. Underwood.

Mr. Underwood, led into court with his hands and feet shackled, spoke softly as he told the judge that he needed a public defender.

The defense requested a gag order, complaining that officials made “inflammatory, prejudicial and conclusory statements” to the press that had helped fuel widespread interest in the case. Prosecutor Tim Kuykendall said he probably would not oppose the request. A hearing on the gag motion will be held today, the judge said.

Mr. Underwood, 26, was arrested Friday and held without bail after drawing suspicion at a checkpoint set up near the apartment complex where he and Jamie Rose Bolin were neighbors. Authorities said he led investigators to his apartment, where they found the girl’s body in a large tub sealed with duct tape in his bedroom closet.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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