- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2008


Extra trains planned for Mass at ballpark

Metro plans to run extra trains to help a huge crowd attend the papal Mass at Nationals Park on April 17.

The transit agency said yesterday that it expects to carry at least 25,000 people early that morning to hear Pope Benedict XVI at the 10 a.m. event. Trains are expected to be busiest from 5 to 8 a.m. Those attending the Mass are scheduled to arrive by 9:15 a.m.

Metro officials said they will have extra personnel on hand to help guide riders at the Navy Yard station. The newly expanded west entrance of the station will be used as an exit only before the Mass and for entry only after the Mass. Metro also will sell a commemorative $9 pass that will be good for the entire day.



Jail officer charged with giving phones

A county correctional officer was arrested yesterday and charged with giving cell phones to inmates, Prince George’s County authorities said.

Public Safety Director Vernon Herron said police arrested Pfc. Pierre Sailsman, 22, when he arrived for work yesterday afternoon at the county’s Department of Corrections. He is charged with three counts of delivering communications devices and three counts of conspiracy to deliver communications devices to inmates.

Pfc. Sailsman’s arrest resulted from an investigation by police after corrections officials found cell phones and chargers inside the jail.

The county said Pfc. Sailsman was suspended without pay. He has worked for the Department of Corrections since March 2006.


Shoplifter trapped in store trash bin

A shoplifter was trapped in a trash bin by employees of a store he robbed moments before, Annapolis police said.

Charles Brown, 46, of Baltimore, was charged with theft after police responded to the Rite Aid store in the 600 block of Taylor Avenue.

Employees told police that Mr. Brown stole several razors and other items by hiding them in his clothing Wednesday night.

Customers and employees followed him out of the store and found him hiding in a trash bin. Police said they kept him confined in the garbage container until officers arrived.


Preservation panel acts on Taney statue

The city of Frederick’s Historic Preservation Commission is poised to settle calls for removal of a racially charged statue in front of City Hall.

The panel was scheduled to vote last night to install a plaque explaining the role of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney in the slavery debate of the mid-1800s.

Taney lived in Frederick. He wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision that slaves and their descendants were not U.S. citizens.

The decision also stated that the framers of the Constitution regarded blacks as “beings of an inferior order” with no rights under the law.

Some local civil rights leaders demanded last year that the city remove the bronze bust of Taney, which was dedicated in 1931. The plaque is a compromise that protest leaders accept.



Sick rabbits taken from man’s farm

Dozens of sick rabbits were seized from a farm before they could be sold as Easter pets at a flea market in Roanoke, Botetourt County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jill Deegan said.

According to court documents, animal-control officers confiscated the 42 rabbits in the past few weeks. The rabbits were neglected and suffering from a skin disease caused by mites that can be transferred to humans.

The farm owner — 81-year-old Jack Cassell — was charged with two counts of animal neglect earlier this month after some rabbits were seized. A judge ordered Mr. Cassell to undergo a mental evaluation.

More rabbits were seized from the property this week.

Mr. Cassell was convicted in 2006 of mistreating horses on his farm.


Inmates evacuated after gas leak

The sheriff’s department briefly evacuated the top floor of the city jail yesterday because of a gas leak.

The evacuation sent 94 female inmates to an outdoor recreation yard.

Sheriff’s spokesman Kathleen Carey said a gas leak was detected at 10:45 a.m. that was affecting a number of downtown streets. She said Virginia Natural Gas workers and firefighters were searching for the source of the leak.

The Circuit and General District courts closed for the rest of the day after some employees reported feeling sick.

The sheriff’s department evacuated the seventh floor of the jail as a precaution because that is the most difficult floor to clear out. The inmates were sent back inside before noon. The jail has an average daily inmate population of 680.


Student threatens to shoot classmate

Charges most likely won’t be filed against a freshman accused of threatening to shoot another Handley High School student last week, Winchester police said.

The threat sent the school into lockdown for about two hours, and then school officials sent students home early because of frayed nerves.

Sgt. Amanda Baker said Wednesday that police are still investigating but there is no evidence the accused teenager threatened another student at school.

School officials said the unidentified 16-year-old was carrying a bag with two pellet guns when he was taken into custody the same day at a gas station near the school.

But Sgt. Baker said there was no evidence the teen had the guns on campus. He was released to his parents.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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