- The Washington Times - Monday, April 30, 2007

ARIZONA

Pranksters fill truck with rotting fish

TUCSON — A putrid prank went awry when authorities found a rental truck filled with rotting fish, cow parts and pig organs and evacuated residents of a Tucson neighborhood, police said.

Four University of Arizona students had rented the truck and collected the smelly cargo intending to dump it on someone’s front lawn as a prank, said Sgt. Mark Robinson, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

Neighbors disgusted by the foul odor emanating from the vehicle called police Thursday, and officers found the truck packed with 10 city trash cans, Sgt. Robinson said. They also found ammonia and bleach, which prompted authorities to evacuate a square block and call in a hazardous materials team.

After testing the air and finding oxygen levels were fine, police officers moved in and discovered the decomposing contents in the trash cans.

The four students returned to the scene during the police search and confessed to renting the truck and filling it up, Sgt. Robinson said. The students were released after questioning but could face charges, including theft of the trash cans, criminal damage and disturbing the peace.

CALIFORNIA

Police say man stole cars to see girlfriend

LOS ANGELES — Whenever Antonio Moreno wanted to see his girlfriend, police say, he’d jump in a car and drive right over.

But there was a problem. The 26 cars that Mr. Moreno jumped into all belonged to someone else, according to authorities who arrested the 31-year-old near his Inglewood home on Wednesday. They said he was behind the wheel of a 1987 Toyota Camry when they found him.

Since January, police said, Mr. Moreno had been stealing Toyota Camrys and Nissan Sentras by using a simple device that starts Japanese cars of a certain age. Acting on a tip, members of a regional auto-theft task force took him into custody.

His girlfriend, who was not arrested, told authorities that she had been trying to dump him.

COLORADO

Donor helps complete Columbine memorial

LITTLETON — Thanks to an anonymous donor, a memorial to the 13 persons killed at Columbine High School will be completed this summer.

“It’s great news. It is going to be finished in July,” Don Fleming said yesterday. His 16-year-old daughter, Kelly, died with 11 other students and a teacher on April 20, 1999. The two teenage gunmen also died.

The memorial’s total cost, including donated labor and material, is $1.5 million. Bob Easton, chairman of the memorial committee, would not say how much the anonymous donor delivered, but the memorial’s Web site still shows that it is $167,000 short.

Memorial organizers chose to minimize publicity about the donation because it was made on April 16, the day of the Virginia Tech shootings.

The memorial, on a hill above the school south of Denver, includes a stone Inner Ring of Remembrance with a station for each of the 13 victims. Parents and siblings of victims will be allowed to post remembrances of their lost loved ones on the inner ring. Others in the community, including the wounded, will put their thoughts on the outer Healing Ring.

ILLINOIS

Marines drop student after violent essay

CHICAGO — Allen Lee was on the verge of realizing a dream to become a Marine after signing enlistment papers this month. But one violent, profanity-laced English essay later, the 18-year-old’s future with the Marine Corps appears to be over.

Because of pending criminal charges stemming from Mr. Lee’s essay, in which he talked about “shooting everyone,” his recruiter told him Friday that the Marine Corps has discharged him from his contract, said Sgt. Luis R. Agostini, spokesman for the Marine Corps Recruiting Station Chicago.

The senior at suburban Cary-Grove High School was charged last week with two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct after the principal turned his creative writing essay over to police.

“In light of recent events [at Virginia Tech], that is part of the context of what happened that makes the reaction all the more reasonable,” said Tom Carroll, first assistant state’s attorney in McHenry County.

Mr. Lee, who has a 4.2 grade-point average and never has been in trouble before, is being tutored at administrative offices while school officials decide his future, said his lawyer, Thomas Loizzo.

MICHIGAN

Woman rescued 2 days after crash

RICHMOND TOWNSHIP — A badly hurt woman spent two days inside her partially submerged sport utility vehicle before a passing motorist spotted the wreck in a pond, authorities said.

Jennifer Bova, 21, was airlifted to a hospital Friday after a state trooper found her seriously injured inside the 1991 Chevrolet Suburban. She was in critical condition Saturday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Police told Miss Bova’s family that she suffered bleeding in the brain, a broken femur, and multiple fractures to her pelvis, arm and face.

Joe Bova said his daughter called Wednesday night to say she was headed to her grandmother’s house. On the way, she apparently drove off a road, down an embankment, into a tree and finally into the water.

The family left 13 increasingly frantic messages on Miss Bova’s cell phone but never received a response, the Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens reported.

Troopers were dispatched Friday after a truck driver spotted her car in the pond, the Detroit News reported.

OHIO

Terror case relies on FISA evidence

COLUMBUS — The federal government intends to use evidence gathered from secretly issued search warrants to prosecute an Ohio man accused of joining al Qaeda and plotting to bomb European resorts, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Christopher Paul, 43, was arrested April 11 outside his Columbus apartment. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide support to terrorists and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison.

Evidence against Mr. Paul was obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the Columbus Dispatch reported, citing court papers. Before monitoring phone calls and e-mails or conducting searches, government agents must obtain warrants from a secret FISA court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dana M. Peters and Sylvia Kaser of the Justice Department’s counterterrorism section said in the court papers that they will use evidence from phone calls or electronic communication that were obtained under the act.

PENNSYLVANIA

Two deer visit retirement home

NEW OXFORD — A pair of deer took a quick tour of a retirement home after one accidentally triggered an automatic door.

The animals were wandering near the home Wednesday when one stepped on a mat that triggered a clear sliding door, according to staff members and surveillance tapes.

“The joke afterward was that they were trying to get in because it was taco day,” said Frank Buhrman, spokesman for Cross Keys Village/the Brethren Home Community.

The deer ran down a hallway where two staff members were waiting for an elevator. The shocked staffers went into a cafeteria service area and closed the door, Mr. Buhrman said. One deer walked into the elevator, but left before the door closed, he said.

The deer then split up. One made it to a loading dock area and escaped through another automatic door. The other jumped through a window, Mr. Buhrman said.

Their adventure took just over a minute, Mr. Buhrman said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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