- The Washington Times - Friday, September 15, 2006


Federal worker pleads guilty to theft

A former Government Printing Office employee pleaded guilty to stealing more than 4,000 laser-printing cartridges and selling them to a Maryland pawn shop for more than $110,000.

When confronted by investigators, Michael Potts first said he donated the cartridges to computer classes for underprivileged children at his church but later admitted selling the devices for “personal profit,” mostly to the King Pawn Shop in Bladensburg, federal prosecutors said.

Potts’ wife, Karren Potts, a former procurement specialist for the GPO, also faces charges. Both have resigned, GPO spokeswoman Veronica Meter said yesterday.

Potts, 50, who worked as a human-capital specialist at the GPO, sold 4,430 stolen cartridges starting in 2003, according to prosecutors. Potts, who pleaded guilty Tuesday, made at least 300 trips to King Pawn to sell the stolen cartridges.

The GPO’s Office of Inspector General uncovered the theft after a budget review.

Potts’ attorney declined to comment yesterday. Potts will be sentenced before U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina in December. The theft charges carry up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

GPO investigators first questioned Potts about the theft in June.

Mrs. Potts, who has been charged with trafficking stolen property, also is expected to plead guilty.

Prosecutors said she sold 239 cartridges to King Pawn that had been stolen by her husband.

Police to buy guns on Sunday

The District will be buying back guns Sunday.

The daylong event will take place at the 1st District station on Fourth Street Southwest, the 6th District station on 42nd Street Northeast and the 7th District station on Alabama Avenue Southeast.

Residents of the District as well as Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Arlington and Alexandria in Virginia are eligible.

The department will pay $100 for assault weapons and automatic or semiautomatic pistols; $50 for revolvers, Derringers, rifles and shotguns; and $10 for BB and pellet guns.

Similar programs in 1999 and 2000 resulted in the recovery of more than 6,200 firearms. Through the first eight months of this year, D.C. police have recovered more than 1,600 guns, a 3 percent increase over the same period last year.

Man charged in jewelry theft

A man has been arrested on charges of robbing a jewelry store in Northwest, D.C. police said yesterday

Cedric Earles, 44, of the 2900 block of Langton Place Southeast, was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree theft. Police are still looking for another suspect, Bruce Sheldon, 59.

Treasure Trove Jewelers at 1305 G St. NW was robbed by two men in the afternoon of Aug. 14.

One of the men asked a store employee to see several pieces of jewelry in order to create a distraction, police said. The other man reached into the open showcase and grabbed a tray of jewelry. They both escaped.

Police said Mr. Earles was arrested after a surveillance tape was aired on the news, prompting several tips.



Ex-priest charged with sex abuse again

A former Roman Catholic priest from Montgomery County was arrested this week by police on charges of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy 28 years ago. It is the second time he was arrested this year for an old case of abuse.

William McSherry Stock, 63, was arrested Wednesday and charged with child abuse and sex offenses. Mr. Stock also was arrested in May by Montgom-ery County police and charged with custodial abuse involving another boy 26 years ago.

Police said a 41-year-old man came forward in June and said Mr. Stock had abused him during confession, at a movie and at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Olney when the man was 14. Mr. Stock is being held in the Montgomery County jail on a $100,000 bail.

In March, police began a separate investigation of Mr. Stock, who was accused abusing a 16-year-old boy, who is now 42 and living in Silver Spring.

Police said Mr. Stock has not served as a priest since 1985 but registered as a substitute teacher in the county school system from the fall of 2003 through March 2004.


Father, daughter drown in ocean

A Columbia, Md., man and his teenage daughter drowned in rough water off the 78th Street beach last night, Ocean City police said.

Police spokesman Pfc. Barry Neeb said Douglas Martin, 46, and his three teenage daughters were swimming about 6 p.m. when they were drawn out very quickly into deeper water.

He said Mr. Martin’s 17-year-old daughter was able to swim to shore and his 13-year-old was floating on her back when she was rescued by an off-duty beach patrol officer.

Pfc. Neeb said Mr. Martin was on his way back to the shore when he realized that his 16-year-old daughter, Amy, was still far out in the water and turned around. Both lost consciousness, and a Coast Guard ship pulled them from the water and took them ashore to waiting paramedics.

Pfc. Neeb said the two were taken to Atlantic General Hospital, where Mr. Martin was pronounced dead on arrival and Amy died an hour later.


Serial killer, rapist sentenced to life

A serial killer and rapist who terrorized the West Baltimore neighborhood where he grew up will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Raymont Hopewell, 35, was sentenced yesterday to four consecutive life terms and several other concurrent terms. He pleaded guilty last month to five murders, four rapes and various other crimes.

Most of his attacks were on women, and all of his murder victims were elderly.

After listening to statements from two women who survived his attacks and relatives of his murder victims, Hopewell issued a one-sentence apology.

“I just want to tell everybody that I’m sorry for their losses,” he said.

Elenora A. McGee, who fought off an attack from Hope-well, said she does not think he showed any true remorse.


Four assaulted in home invasion

Four persons were injured early yesterday when robbers entered their home, the Harford County sheriff’s office said.

About 1 a.m., at a home on Carroll Avenue, four or five persons armed with handguns rushed inside and assaulted and tried to rob the occupants. One of the assailants fired his gun but did not hit anyone.

Four persons in the home suffered head and facial injuries. They were taken to hospitals, but their injuries are not life-threatening.


Teen’s death merits no civil rights charges

Six white men involved in a July 2004 brawl that left a black teenager dead will not face federal civil rights charges, the Department of Justice said yesterday.

The Justice Department said the evidence did not show beyond a reasonable doubt that the killing was motivated by the victim’s race or that his attackers intended to deny him federally protected rights.

Noah Jamahl Jones, 17, was beaten to death in front of a Pasadena home when he and three friends burst into the backyard party, trying to help another friend they thought was in trouble.

The fight was sparked by anger over interracial dating, the county chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said in asking for the federal investigation.

In May, Frank R. Weathersbee, Anne Arundel County state’s attorney, said that after an “exhaustive review,” he decided not to prosecute the five remaining defendants after an all-white jury acquitted Jacob Fortney of involuntary manslaughter, first- and second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment. Mr. Fortney, 19, had faced up to 50 years in prison.


Academy toughens policy on alcohol

The Naval Academy has implemented a stricter policy on use of alcohol by midshipmen with a new range of penalties for excessive drinking and tables telling students how to calculate the concentration of alcohol in their blood.

The policy was implemented after publicity about recent incidents of sexual misconduct by midshipmen, but it is not a direct response to those incidents and was initiated before they happened, the academy said.

“This was something that took several months to develop. It started in October last year,” Cmdr. Ed Austin, public information officer for the academy, said yesterday.

Academy officials hand-delivered copies of the policy to bars and restaurants in the Annapolis area.

Cmdr. Austin said the policy was given to midshipmen when they returned for classes this year. Penalties range from counseling for first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 to possible dismissal for a reading above .20.


State to preserve 1812 battlefield

The state has plans to turn a War of 1812 battlefield into a historic landmark.

A state environmental department spokesman said the site near North Point State Park will preserve nine acres for historians and the public.

Almost 200 years ago, the Battle of North Point was fought to hold off the British from attacking Baltimore.

On Sept. 12, 1814, thousands of Maryland patriots and British Army regulars clashed on the battlefield.



Attorney general opines on amendment

Virginia Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell released a formal opinion yesterday saying that if the proposed marriage amendment that will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot passes, it would not affect the civil rights of unmarried people.

Mr. McDonnell, a Republican who supports the amendment, said the language passed by the General Assembly will not inhibit the legal rights of unmarried couples involving contracts, wills, medical directives, shared-equity agreements, or group accident and sickness insurance policies.

“If this amendment were to do that, we simply would not support it,” he said. “The General Assembly’s clear and express intent in passing the marriage amendment … is to preserve traditional marriage as solely between one man and one woman, while not infringing upon the current legal rights of unmarried individuals.”

Mr. McDonnell said people can still will property to whomever they want and obtain legal documents designating someone to make health care decisions if they are incapable of making their wishes known. He also said domestic-violence victims will remain protected under the law.

Five Republican lawmakers requested the opinion earlier this year.


Man sentenced in soup mouse case

The Hampton man convicted with his mother earlier this year of trying to extort money from a Cracker Barrel restaurant was sentenced yesterday to one year in prison.

Ricky Lee Patterson, 23, also must pay a $2,500 fine.

A Newport News Circuit Court jury recommended the 12-month sentence and fine after convicting Patterson in April on one count of conspiracy to commit extortion.

His mother, Carla Patterson, was convicted on the same charge.

The Pattersons were found guilty of trying to extort $500,000 from Cracker Barrel by claiming they found a mouse in the vegetable soup that Carla Patterson ordered during a meal on Mother’s Day 2004 at the Newport News restaurant.

Carla Patterson was sentenced in July and is serving her sentence at a jail in Portsmouth.

Ricky Patterson is serving time in Williamsburg for convictions in a different case.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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