- - Sunday, September 5, 2010

CALIFORNIA

Winner at casino robbed, killed

SANTA ANA | A man who hit it big at a Southern California casino was robbed and killed after apparently being followed from the gambling hall, police said.

Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said the 55-year-old man won several thousand dollars at the Hawaiian Gardens Casino early Friday and was heading home with a woman when a car cut him off in Santa Ana.

Cpl. Bertagna said the driver demanded the winnings, got into a fight with the man and ran over him as he drove away from the scene.

Cpl. Bertagna said he didn’t know how much money was taken. The woman was not injured.

COLORADO

Moose-toddler run-in likely a freak accident

GRAND LAKE | A run-in between a moose and a toddler in north-central Colorado appears to have been a freak accident, authorities said.

The moose ran into the 2½-year-old as he played on the beach of Shadow Mountain Reservoir near Grand Lake with his brother Thursday. His family said he was released from the hospital and was doing well.

The moose kept running after hitting the boy, and it wasn’t clear at first whether the moose targeted him for some reason.

Grand County authorities said it’s likely the moose didn’t see the toddler and was just passing through the area. The animals have poor eyesight.

The boy’s family agrees. They think the moose was likely spooked by something else and was fleeing when it ran into him.

FLORIDA

Suspicious flier once charged in plague case

MIAMI | A senior law enforcement official says the scientist detained at Miami International Airport because of a suspicious item in his luggage had once been charged with illegally transporting bubonic plague.

The official told the Associated Press on Friday that no dangerous material was found on Thomas Butler, 70, after he was detained Thursday night. He was released Friday.

Mr. Butler was teaching at Texas Tech in 2003 when he was accused of illegally transporting the deadly germ. He was acquitted of that charge but was convicted of fraud and served a two-year sentence.

The official said Mr. Butler cooperated fully after he arrived on a flight from the Middle East.

ILLINOIS

First female cop in nation ID’ed

CHICAGO | A retired federal agent researching Chicago law enforcement history says he thinks the country’s first female police officer was employed in the Windy City.

Rick Barrett said he found a reference to Marie Owens as a Chicago officer in the 1890s. The Chicago Tribune said a woman joined the Los Angeles force in 1910, and that Oregon claims it had a female officer in 1908.

Mr. Barrett said Owens deserves “some recognition.”

He describes Owens as an Irish Catholic who wasn’t wealthy. She was tall with long, dark hair, grew up in Canada and was in her 20s when she moved with her husband to Chicago, where they had five children. She became a detective sergeant in 1891 and was given the power of arrest.

Chief Chicago History Museum historian Russell Lewis said Mr. Barrett’s findings are “great for Chicago.”

MARYLAND

8-foot shark caught in Potomac

POINT LOOKOUT | A St. Mary’s County fisherman says he pulled an 8-foot shark from the mouth of the Potomac River.

Willy Dean said he caught the shark Tuesday morning in a net he set the day before at Cornfield Harbor, about three miles north of Point Lookout, where the river enters the Chesapeake Bay.

Mr. Dean said he was hoping to catch cow-nosed rays for a Solomons Island Marina biologist, and was surprised to find the shark, which gave him quite a fight. Mr. Dean said he may have the head mounted, but for now, the shark is in his freezer.

MONTANA

Teen texts sheriff in search for pot

HELENA | A Helena teen sent a text message last week in search of pot, but instead of contacting the drug dealer, he hit a wrong number and inadvertently sent the message to Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton, authorities said.

The text read, “Hey Dawg, do you have a $20 I can buy right now?”

Sheriff Dutton told the Helena Independent Record that he initially thought it was a joke, but he quickly realized it was a real request for drugs. He responded to the text, and a detective pretending to be the dealer organized a meeting with the boy on Wednesday.

“The kids knew that they were going to be at a particular store at a particular time,” Sheriff Dutton told the Associated Press.

The detective spotted two teenage boys and a man at the store and called the phone number three times to make sure he had the right person. Sheriff Dutton said when the detective showed the teens his badge, their faces turned white and their knees began to wobble. One of the boys even fainted.

The man in the group was the father of one of the teens and was “unaware of what was going on,” Sheriff Dutton said.

No citations were issued after the parents of the boys, who were 15 and 16, got involved.

PENNSYLVANIA

Pilot sent to prison for drug-masking mix

PITTSBURGH | A former US Airways Express pilot will spend nine months in prison for selling a powdered drink mix over the Internet that he claimed was “100 percent” effective in helping drug-using truck drivers, pilots and train engineers pass federally mandated drug tests.

U.S. District Judge David Cercone on Friday rejected a request for probation only by Stephen Sharp, 41, of Port Orange, Fla., and scolded him for not considering “the magnitude of the potential harm” of his actions.

The judge interrupted Sharp as he expressed regret for the difficulties his family has encountered — he is married with an 11-year-old daughter and lost his pilot’s job because of his crimes — in the nearly 2½ years since federal agents raided his Sharp Labs.

“If you think those years were hard, how do you think you would have felt if a pilot was able to disguise his intoxication with your product and crashed a plane killing 250 people?” Judge Cercone asked.

UTAH

Settlement reached in proxy baptisms

SALT LAKE CITY | Sixteen years after a Jewish genealogist alerted his peers that Mormons were performing so-called “proxy baptisms” for Jewish Holocaust victims, both sides reached a breakthrough settlement.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Jewish leaders in New York have resolved a dispute over posthumous proxy baptisms, after the Mormons agreed to build a new restrictive computer system.

The names of Holocaust victims or celebrities could not be submitted to the computer system unless they are direct ancestors of the submitters. Those descended from Holocaust victims have to go through a special process to have proxy baptisms performed for Jewish relatives.

The Utah-based church reiterated its willingness to eliminate names of Holocaust victims from its massive genealogical database. The Jewish delegation, headed by Robert Abrams, New York’s former attorney general, acknowledged the church’s good intentions.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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