- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2012

NEW YORK — Authorities say a car theft ring “stalked” New York City residents who drove Lexus SUVs and other mint-condition luxury vehicles so it could steal the cars and fill orders from clients in northwest Africa.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Wednesday that members of the ring “used the streets of New York as their own personal auto showroom.” Police have made 14 arrests.

Authorities say a Maryland-based international broker provided the ring with requests for specific makes, models and colors of cars. A locksmith and an employee at an Orlando, Fla., dealership provided special codes that allowed the thieves to steal the vehicles. The vehicles were shipped out of ports in New Jersey and Maryland.

Most went to Africa. Some ended up on the black market in the Chicago area.

TEXAS

Black leaders angry over ex-cop’s acquittal

HOUSTON — A jury’s acquittal Wednesday of a former Houston police officer in the alleged beating of a 15-year-old burglary suspect during a videotaped arrest upset black community leaders who criticized the verdict as unjust and racist.

Andrew Blomberg, 29, was the first of four fired police officers to stand trial for their roles in the alleged beating of Chad Holley during a daylight arrest on March 2010. The incident involving the black teen, now 18, prompted fierce public criticism of the police department by community activists who called it another example of police brutality against minorities.

Mr. Blomberg fought back tears after the verdict was read, then hugged his attorneys and started to cry as he embraced his parents. He could have faced up to a year in jail if convicted of official oppression, a misdemeanor that alleged Blomberg as a public servant intentionally mistreated Holley by kicking him.

Jurors declined to comment after the verdict. Community activists who were gathered in the hallway outside the courtroom yelled “Racism!” and “Injustice!” after hearing the outcome.

“It is pathetic. It is unacceptable,” the Rev. James Dixon of the Community of Faith Church said of the jury’s decision. “This kind of expression says to me, to my children and to every black child in the city, ‘Your life is not worth manure.’ “

CALIFORNIA

Tuberculosis patient jailed, charged with not medicating

SAN FRANCISCO — Authorities in California took the unusual step of jailing and charging a tuberculosis patient who they say refused to take medication to keep his disease from becoming contagious.

Health officials said Armando Rodriguez, 34, of Stockton has active pulmonary tuberculosis, which can include coughing up blood or phlegm and can spread through the air.

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