- - Tuesday, June 26, 2012

CHICAGO — Jewelry collectors who don’t mind if their gems have a rather shady past will soon get the chance to bid on a stash of valuables linked to reputed mobster Frank Calabrese Sr.

Agents found a hoard of jewelry in a secret compartment behind a family portrait in Calabrese’s suburban Chicago home during a raid two years ago.

Now, the Chicago Sun-Times reports, an online auction July 10-24 will sell the items, including more than 250 loose diamonds, earrings and other jewelry.

Calabrese was one of several reputed mobsters convicted in 2009 in a racketeering conspiracy that included 18 decades-old murders. He was blamed for 13, sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay more than $24 million. The auction proceeds will go toward that restitution.


Sting targeted online financial fraud

NEW YORK — Dozens of people in New York City and around the globe were arrested Tuesday in a major international sting targeting online financial fraud.

The arrests were made after a New York-based federal investigation of hackers who exchanged credit card, bank and other information in private Internet forums, according to two law enforcement officials.

Undercover investigators snared the suspects in the United States, Europe and elsewhere by setting up their own forum for them to network, the officials said. The officials estimated that the operation prevented hundreds of millions of dollars in thefts.

Hearst, media titan’s grandson, dies at 84

NEW YORK — Hearst Corp. board Chairman George Randolph Hearst Jr., the oldest grandson of the media titan William Randolph Hearst, died Monday, the company said. Hearst was 84.

The company said in a statement that Mr. Hearst died at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif., of complications from a stroke.

Mr. Hearst was the chairman of a privately held media conglomerate that traces its roots back more than 125 years, when his grandfather took over the San Francisco Examiner. Mr. Hearst was a director of the company for more than 50 years, the company said. He succeeded his uncle, Randolph A. Hearst, as board chairman in 1996.

“As chairman of the board, he brought his vast experience and wisdom to bear during a time of incredible growth and helped guide us through periods of enormous change,” said Frank A. Bennack Jr., executive vice chairman and chief executive officer of Hearst Corp., in a statement.

Hearst Corp. owns 15 daily newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and San Francisco Chronicle. It also owns a long list of magazines, including Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan, plus 29 TV stations and shares in several cable networks.


Remains recovered in deadly train crash

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s medical examiner’s office said Tuesday that it has received the remains of three Union Pacific crew members killed when two trains collided head-on in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

The “very badly burned” remains were sent to the office in Oklahoma City, said spokeswoman Amy Elliott.

The Union Pacific trains collided just east of Goodwell on Sunday morning, triggering a diesel-fueled fireball that appeared to weld the locomotives together. Three rail workers had been reported missing in the wreckage. One conductor jumped from his train and suffered only minor injuries. The NTSB plans to interview him.

The United Transportation Union identified those aboard the trains as conductor Brian L. Stone, 50, of Dalhart, Texas; engineers Dan Hall and John Hall; and conductor Juan Zurita, who escaped unharmed. The Halls are not related.


Bodies of 3 suspected illegals found in desert

TUCSON — Border Patrol agents say the bodies of three suspected illegal immigrants have been recovered in southern Arizona.

Authorities say the three likely died from exposure to the triple-digit desert temperatures.

Agents say the three victims were found in separate incidents Saturday.

Casa Grande Station agents working near Sells located a pregnant woman sitting with her deceased husband. The Guatemalan couple had crossed the border two days earlier and had been abandoned by their smuggler when the husband collapsed.

Later in the day, agents from the Tucson Sector located the remains of a man near Queens Well who appeared to be in his 70s.

Ajo Station agents on Saturday night located another deceased man northwest of Lukeville. The man in his 30s was naked in an apparent attempt to cool down.


Debby downgraded to tropical depression

ST. GEORGE ISLAND — Debby, the guest that wouldn’t leave, is ruining things for a lot of other visitors despite weakening to a tropical depression and leaving Florida’s Gulf Coast behind.

The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday night that Debby the tropical storm had been downgraded to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph as it slogged across northern Florida toward the Atlantic coast.

But the storm system that lingered in the Gulf of Mexico for days before making landfall was still making its presence felt.

Vacationers were wearing ponchos instead of swimsuits at the peak of the summer season because of the tropical storm, which has drenched Florida for at least four days straight, dumping as much as 26 inches of rain in some spots.


2 unhurt in emergency landing at Air Force base

COLUMBUS — An Air Force instructor and trainee skidded to a landing on the belly of their jet after its malfunctioning landing gear wouldn’t deploy.

The Air Force said neither was hurt during the landing of the T-6A Texan ll at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi.

A public affairs officer said the mishap occurred at 4:28 p.m. Monday while student pilots were practicing aerobatics maneuvers, takeoffs and landings. It is under investigation.

The base has 100 T-6A jets for first-year student pilots. The single-engine, two-seat aircraft is the primary trainer used by the Air Force and the U.S. Navy.


Man gets life term in cheerleader’s death

GREAT BEND — A Kansas man convicted of killing a 14-year-old cheerleader and burning her body at the asphalt plant where he worked will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Adam Longoria was sentenced Tuesday without the chance of parole for the August 2010 death of Alicia DeBolt.

Barton County Judge Hannelore Kitts had little leeway in deciding the punishment because a capital murder conviction in Kansas carries a mandatory sentence of life without parole. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.


Jury: Ex-detective was sane during rape

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — A California jury on Tuesday found that a former police detective who blamed the antidepressant Zoloft for his behavior was sane when he abducted and raped a waitress at gunpoint.

Jurors delivered their findings in the case of 32-year-old Anthony Nicholas Orban in San Bernardino County Superior Court, according to the district attorney’s office.

Jurors previously convicted the former Westminster police detective of raping a waitress in a brutal attack that began outside a mall in 2010.

Prosecutors say the off-duty officer used his service weapon to force the woman to drive to a self-storage lot, where he sexually assaulted her and shoved a gun in her mouth. The woman escaped when Orban was distracted by an incoming cellphone call, prosecutors said.

Orban’s attorney had argued that his client could not be held responsible for his actions because he was taking the antidepressant Zoloft, which had rendered him effectively unconscious at the time of the attack.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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