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Drive-by shootings escalate in the Twin Cities (0)

Posted in Solving Crime April 9th, 2008 @ 9:42 am by Linda 

In early March of this year three shootings deaths occurred in less than 11 hours time. This violent weekend in the Twin Cities saw two teenagers gunned down in a drive-by shooting and a woman shot to death through the door and window of her home right in front of her children.

Another episode took place on a Saturday evening of the same weekend where a 14 year old Minneapolis boy was shot. Police believe this shooting could be linked to another shooting of an 18 year old boy later that day. These drive-by shootings that killed Hispanic teenagers, occurred within four hours and 4 miles of each other. So far no one has been arrested. The motives in the drive-by cases are uncertain, but authorities in Richfield and Minneapolis said they are looking into possible gang ties, including to the Vatos Locos gang.

Recently a St. Paul man was arrested on April 4th for his alleged role in a drive-by shooting on Interstate 94 in Brooklyn Center that killed a Fridley man. Isai Flores, also known as “Easy E,” was charged with aiding and abetting, attempted second-degree murder and aiding and abetting a drive-by shooting in a Dec. 10, 2006 drive-by shooting.

Authorities believed that Flores fled to Mexico in early 2007 but returned to the Twin Cities last month. The authorities are also charging Flores with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. The Minnesota Fugitive Task Force arrested Flores without incident at a St. Paul apartment complex.

Bank robbers hit Minneapolis banks in March (0)

Posted in Solving Crime April 8th, 2008 @ 11:22 am by Linda 

The FBI recently sent out a press release about two banks that were robbed in March in Minneapolis.

“On March 6, 2008 at approximately 2:00 p.m., the Wells Fargo Bank, located at 4712 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, was robbed by a lone individual. The robber approached the victim teller and presented a demand note for money. The robber received an undisclosed amount of money and was last seen fleeing north along Chicago Avenue.”

You can see a video and description of the robber on the FBI press release.

“On March 21, 2008 at approximately 8:00 am, the Bremer Bank located at 80 South 8th Street, Suite 240, Minneapolis, Minnesota, was robbed by a lone individual. The robber approached the victim teller and presented a demand note for money. The robber received an undisclosed amount of money, folded the money inside a newspaper he was carrying, and then fled the bank. The robber was last seen fleeing east from the bank through the skyway.”

You can see a video and description of the robber on the FBI press release.

Despite what bank robbers think, robbing banks isn’t a get rich quick scheme. Most bank robbers are looking for quick cash to satisfy their drug habit. Their plans don’t include running off to an exotic island to live the rest of their lives. Also, robbing a bank is a federal crime and offenders face longer time behind bars when compared to robbing a restaurant or a bar. The maximum penalty for armed bank robbery is 25 years and a $250,000 fine. They have to serve at least 85% of their sentence.

If you have information on any of these bank robberies contact the FBI.

Criminal professional shoplifters cause billions of dollars to retailers (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention April 7th, 2008 @ 10:39 am by Linda 

Back in 2005, the Director of Asset Protection for the Target Corporation testified for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security about Organized Retail Theft. According to his testimony, he said that professional shoplifting is a growing problem throughout the United States affecting many sectors of the retail community from supermarkets, and chain drug stores to mass merchandisers and specialty stores. The FBI’s interstate task force also stated that shoplifting accounts for up to $30 billion annually in losses for many retail stores.

These organized professional shoplifter theft rings are highly mobile. They move from community to community, and across state lines stealing large amounts of merchandise from retail stores. They typically target everyday household products that are easily sold through fencing operations, flea markets, over the Internet, swap meets and shady storefront operations. Some items frequently targeted are infant formula and OTC medications. Other items that are in high demand by these professional shoplifting rings include razor blades, camera film, batteries, DVDs, CDs, and smoking cessation products and high-end items including designer clothes and electronics.

Recently a Fargo man admitted helping his former girlfriend run an Internet shoplifting ring. David Soldier, of Moorhead, Minnesota was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to sell stolen goods from three states on the online auction site eBay. His accomplice, Michelle Kartes of Moorhead, was sentenced to two years in prison.

Authorities said Soldier and Kartes sold between $200,000 and $400,000 worth of stolen goods on eBay by shoplifting stores in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

You can stop this type of crime by making sure the items you are buying are from a reputable dealer. If the price is too good to pass up it may be because it is stolen. Consumer beware.

Level 3 sex offender headed to Minnesota (0)

Posted in Sex Offenders April 7th, 2008 @ 10:04 am by Linda 

The Pioneer Press reported that on April 5th a Kootenai County sheriff spotted Logan A. Mattson age 27 at a rest area along the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 west of Couer d’Alene. Mattson is a Level 3 sex offender.

A Level 3 sex offender poses a potential high risk to the community. This sex offender is a threat to re-offend if provided the opportunity. With prior sex crime convictions as well as other criminal convictions, their lifestyles and choices place them in this classification. Some of these sex offenders have predatory characteristics and may seek out victims. In addition, they may have refused or failed to complete approved treatment programs.

On Saturday, deputies pursued Mattson to Hauser Lake but ended the chase because of difficult road conditions. There he abandoned his car. However, about an hour and a half later, a homeowner on Three Forks Road reported that a man knocked on his door and said he was cold and being “chased by the cops.” Deputies responded, but were again unable to pick up his trail.

The police are still searching for Mattson who is described as a being 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 185 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. If you see him use extreme caution and contact your local police agency or call the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department at (208)446-1300.

Keeping Minnesota safe from drunk drivers (0)

Posted in Misc Crime April 7th, 2008 @ 10:02 am by Linda 

Minnesota’s Operation NightCAP patrols are taking drunk drivers off Minnesota roads and making the roads safer. In March 167 DWI arrests were made. Of these arrests, 125 were in the Twin Cities metro area. More than 2,100 vehicles were stopped with more than 777 drivers cited for traffic and equipment related violations.

These patrols target the fifteen deadliest counties for impaired driving. The counties are Anoka, Beltrami, Blue Earth, Cass, Crow Wing, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, Rice, St. Louis, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington and Wright. Between 2004 and 2006 these counties accounted for more than half of Minnesota’s alcohol related deaths of 272 and 762 serious injuries.

Operation NighCAP includes participating law enforcement agencies that include State Patrol, sheriff departments and local police departments. Lt. Mark Peterson of the State Patrol said that they plan to use these enhanced DWI patrols throughout the year. He hopes that these DWI patrols will make the streets safer from drunken drivers.

NightCAP is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

House stealing scams in Minnesota (0)

Posted in Misc Crime April 3rd, 2008 @ 9:18 am by Linda 

The FBI is warning Minnesota residents about a new scam called “house stealing.” This scam combines identity theft and mortgage fraud to claim ownership of your home. The scammer picks out a house to steal. They steal your identity by obtaining your name and personal information from the Internet. They use your information to create fake IDs, social security cards, etc.

With this information in hand, they simply go to an office supply store and purchase forms that transfer property. They forge your signature and use the fake IDs to file deeds with the proper authorities. The house they pick is now theirs.

These scammers look for a vacant house, a vacation home or rental property and do a bit of research to find out who owns it. Once again, they steal the owner’s identity, forge papers and then put the house up for sale and pocket the money without the owner even knowing about it. These criminals are so bold that they even have stolen houses that people currently occupy.

What you can do to make sure that your house isn’t stolen is to be aware of your mortgage information. Make sure that your name is on any mail from a mortgage company, if not follow up with the company. Also from time to time, check with your county’s deeds office to make sure that they have your information recorded.

Gang Violence Prevention classes in Minneapolis (0)

Posted in Solving Crime April 3rd, 2008 @ 9:15 am by Linda 

Last night Minneapolis residents attended a Gang Prevention 101 class for their neighborhood. Recently, a number of violent street gangs have moved in from other parts of the city into the 5th Precinct. Residents were encouraged to attend this class to find out how to combat this criminal activity.

The residents noticed more drug deals on street corners and tagging nearby buildings. They asked police to arm them with non-violent ammunition so they can battle back the street gangs. However, the Gang Prevention 101 class teaches residents how to keep their homes safe, cars safe and what to do if they see suspicious people or activity in their neighborhood. The police are offering to do premise surveys at no cost as well as business surveys to help secure their property and keep the neighborhood safe.

Gangs no longer identify themselves by colors but by behaviors they display among themselves. The best way to fight gang violence and control gang activity in your neighborhood is to contact police if you suspect gang activity in your neighborhood.

More than just a Murderer (0)

Posted in Sex Offenders April 2nd, 2008 @ 12:33 pm by Linda 

Recently, authorities found child pornography on the laptop of Michael John Anderson, the St. Paul, MN accused Craigslist killer. Anderson, age 19, is charged with the second-degree murder of 24-year-old Katherine Ann Olson. He murdered Ms. Olson after she showed up for a fake babysitting ad in October 2007.

At first, Anderson denied any involvement in the murder but when police recovered a .357 Magnum and a spent shell casing in Anderson’s room, he changed his story. He then admitted he was present when Katherine Ann Olson was killed, but that another person had killed her. He also said that he had a friend who thought it would be funny to put an ad for a fake babysitting job.

While in custody, the police confiscated his laptop and found lewd images of nude children. The laptop contained photographs of two nude pre-teen boys engaged in a sex act. This is the same laptop used to post an ad on Craigslist.

This pervert is not only a murderer but also a child predator. He should be kept in jail for the rest of his life. His next hearing is set for May 7th and remains in jail on a $1million bond.

Biggest Mortgage Fraud in Minnesota (0)

Posted in Misc Crime April 2nd, 2008 @ 12:30 pm by Linda 

The FBI and the state of Minnesota are investigating mortgage fraud by Parish Marketing and Development Corp. of Eagan, MN. The alleged mortgage fraud involved nearly 200 properties, $100 million in mortgage proceeds and $50 million in losses.

Cynthia Geis the county auditor for Scott County, an area roughly 30 minutes south of Minneapolis, said that the FBI was in her office at least three times during the last six months looking over records on Parish Marketing. The government was trying to uncover why certain purchases by homebuyers were never recorded with the county.

Here is what happened to an unsuspected buyer that Michael Parish worked with. The buyers found a 3,200 square foot home in New Market, MN. Parish offered a “contract for deed” which is a method of selling a home in which the buyer agrees to purchase the property, pay an agreed upon amount and take possession. But the seller, Parish, keeps the title until a certain number of payments have been made and any other contract terms have been satisfied. After three years, assuming they had good payment record, the new homeowners can move into a conventional, fixed rate mortgage.

However, after several months the homeowners discovered that Parish never recorded the sale in their name but in another unknown name when they were served an eviction notice. Upon further investigation, they found that the mortgage company had no record of receiving close to $40,000 in payments plus a $5,000 down payment.

Recently, the federal government released two plea agreements connected to the Parish case. One was a U.S. Bank loan officer, who admitted to falsifying loan documents. The other was a closing agent and licensed notary, who admitted to falsifying numerous closing documents. Sadly, many more homebuyers may have been harmed. According to the Star Tribune, more than 30 homes built by Parish in New Prague and New Market have fallen into foreclosure. Currently, Parish had not been charged with a crime.

Fraud Schemes in Minnesota (0)

Posted in Misc Crime April 2nd, 2008 @ 12:28 pm by Linda 

A statewide coalition of law enforcement and business partners are mobilizing to combat mail, email and phone fraud in Minnesota. Because of the poor economy, scammers and their schemes promise get-rich quick deals.

Take for instance the “foreign lottery and sweepstakes” scam. Through either email or mail, they ask for money to claim a prize or to be entered into a drawing in a foreign country. They promise to share their winnings with you. But when you send them money, you don’t receive any “winnings”. This type of scam results in at least $8-$10 million in losses to Minnesotans.

Here’s how you can recognize a fraudulent solicitation:

• If you haven’t entered or paid to enter a lottery/sweepstakes, you can’t win.
• Official lotteries do not require you to pay a sum to receive your winnings.
• If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

To report fraudulent email solicitation, forward the email to dps.reportfraud@state.mn.us.

You can also call your local law enforcement agency or the Minnesota Board of Aging LinkAge line at 1-800-333-2433. Or you can mail any documents you receive to Alcohol Gambling Enforcement Division – Fraud Report – 444 Cedar St. #133, St. Paul, MN 55101.

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