- The Washington Times - Monday, September 17, 2007

FLORIDA

Naval air station sees last graduates

PENSACOLA NAVAL AIR STATION — The college graduates who are soon to complete training at the nation’s oldest naval air station will be the final class to graduate from the base’s officer candidate school, ending a military tradition that lasted nearly seven decades.

After graduation ceremonies on Friday, the school will close and consolidate with a training center in Newport, R.I.

“Hundreds of classes have suffered out there” on the exercise field and parade deck at Pensacola Naval Air Station, said Allen Hamby, a 21-year-old admiral’s son and University of Central Florida graduate who plans to be a supply officer. “And we are going to be the last class doing it.”

KENTUCKY

TV show taught burglar his craft

RICHMOND — A man who says he learned how to rob homes by watching a TV show was sentenced to 12 years in prison for a string of burglaries in central Kentucky.

Michael W. Hobbs, 36, of Waco, Ky., pleaded guilty to five counts of burglary. He was sentenced Thursday.

Police said Hobbs learned how to break into homes by watching the Discovery Channel TV show “It Takes a Thief.” The show features two ex-convicts who show property owners how vulnerable they are to theft.

Police Maj. Steve Gregg said the ex-cons on the show say skilled burglars typically don’t keep stolen items.

“He didn’t hold onto any of the property,” Maj. Gregg said of Hobbs.

Maj. Gregg said Hobbs always showed up at the burglary sites.

“He was one of the type of people who would come to the door and ask if [the homeowner] needed any gutter help,” Maj. Gregg said. “Then the houses around there would get burglarized. That’s just not coincidental.”

LOUISIANA

Police accused of stealing snacks

ROBELINE — This village’s only convenience store decided to do something nice for its police officers: give them a free fountain drink or coffee at closing time.

But somewhere along the way, investigators say, it got out of control. Now, all three of the village’s officers are accused of stealing snacks.

“Over a period of time, it evolved into regular drinks and more,” Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s investigator Travis Trammell said. “There’s no telling how it got to this point, but the store started experiencing losses, and they watch their videotapes and see all of this going on.”

Surveillance tapes showed each officer going into the Shop-A-Lott at Lott Oil about closing time and filling plastic bags with dozens of bottled soft drinks, Mr. Trammell said. The officers also are reportedly seen eating an assortment of other snacks without paying.

MISSISSIPPI

Natural-gas blast rips apart clinic

PHILADELPHIA — A massive natural-gas explosion leveled a clinic Saturday, injuring nine persons and shattering windows at a nearby hospital, authorities and witnesses said.

The clinic, which contained four doctors’ offices, was gutted by the explosion and subsequent fire.

“Gas leaked into the sewer line, and that’s how it got in the building,” Mayor Rayburn Waddell said.

Witnesses reported feeling the blast in Union, nearly 15 miles south.

Businesses more than 800 feet away reported windows being blown out and roof damage. Authorities said 35 windows were shattered at the county hospital and nursing home. No one in those buildings was injured.

NEVADA

Fossett searchers to assess mission

MINDEN — Nearly two weeks after Steve Fossett disappeared in the Nevada desert, authorities plan to assess the rescue operation as hopes dim of finding the adventurer alive.

Crews searched by air and ground Saturday for Mr. Fossett, who was last seen on Labor Day. But organizers with the Civil Air Patrol, Nevada National Guard and state emergency management said authorities plan to meet today to decide how to proceed with the operation.

Until then, the mission continues, officials said.

The search has covered harsh terrain twice the size of New Jersey. Civil Air Patrol Maj. Cynthia Ryan said there is still hope that Mr. Fossett will be found alive.

Mr. Fossett, 63, has sailed and flown around the world, setting numerous aviation and distance records. The search for him has included the Civil Air Patrol, Nevada National Guard, search-and-rescue ground crews and private pilots. Organizers estimate the effort has so far cost about $600,000.

PENNSYLVANIA

Woman, 100, rides in cycle sidecar

BERWICK — You might say she was born to be wild — a century ago.

Evelyn Warburton rode to her 100th birthday party Saturday in a motorcycle sidecar. She sported a black leather jacket, a helmet and a pair of sunglasses for the 10-minute ride from her home in Light Street to her granddaughter’s house in Berwick.

“It was fun today,” Mrs. Warburton said.

Her chauffeur on the green 2000 Harley-Davidson Ultra was George Crawford, a friend who had been offering to take her to church on his motorcycle for several years.

Mrs. Warburton finally accepted Mr. Crawford’s offer of a ride to her party. She had actually turned 100 on Thursday.

“She’s always willing to try new things,” said Mrs. Warburton’s daughter, Nancy Hartzel.

TEXAS

3 in family stabbed; 2 bound in closet

DALLAS — A woman and two boys were found stabbed to death at a Dallas home, and two teenage girls were found bound and gagged in a closet, police said. The suspect remained at large yesterday.

A capital murder warrant was issued Saturday for Robert Sparks, 33, who is thought to be related to the victims, said Lt. Vernon Hale, a police spokesman.

The girls were taken to a hospital and thought to be in good condition, police said. They did not release their names or the nature of their injuries.

Authorities identified the victims as Chare Agnew, 30; Raeqwon Agnew, 10; and Harold Sublet, 9.

Lt. Hale told the Dallas Morning News that the woman was thought to be the mother of all four children.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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