Because of the high price of copper, thieves are stealing copper wiring from construction sites, abandoned buildings and even from farms. Copper thieves remove copper from irrigation pivots on farmland and sell the copper wiring worth about $3.00 a pound. They vandalize new construction on homes and buildings, strip the copper, and take it to a recycling company for quick cash.
One group of copper wire criminals recently stole copper from the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The police caught three people in this copper wire crime. They charged them with theft of up to $40,000 worth of copper wire. The thieves worked together to take 40 100-pound rolls of extension cords between July 19 and July 21st.
They were caught because Minnesota passed a new state law that required recyclers to trace the sales of all scrap metal. The thieves took the stolen copper wiring to Northern Metal Recycling of St. Paul. The recycler provided police with videotapes of their transactions and said that these same three people received over $1,000 for at least 344 pounds of the metal around the time of the crime.
This type of crime also causes thousands of dollars of damage through break-ins during the crime as well as during removal of the copper. Homeowners and farmers have to pay additional cost to replace the stolen copper.
The Minnesota legislature has been working hard this last session to pass new laws that affect consumers, crime, elections, energy, health, family, housing and much more. Below is just a few of the criminal laws passed and will take effect on August 1, 2008. To see a complete summary of all laws passed by the 2008 Legislature, go online to the House Public Information Services Office web site.
Here is summary of some of the Crime fighting laws that the Minnesota Legislature has passed.
Dogfight spectator penalties -Under current law, anyone who pits animals against one another, trains the animals, takes admission to the fights or allows others to use their premises for the games is guilty of a felony. Effective Aug. 1, 2008, anyone who buys a ticket to the fights is guilty of a gross misdemeanor; previously this was considered a misdemeanor offense. The new law does not apply to hunting a wild animal.
No touching peace officer gear - Trying to disarm a peace officer could lead to a felony charge. This new law clarifies that it is illegal to take from a peace officer any defensive device issued for their protection, including a firearm, tear gas, Taser or baton. Violation is a felony, with a possible five-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine.
Tougher nuisance law - Under current statute, a public nuisance exists if there are two or more separate instances of various incidents such as gambling and the unlawful sale of alcohol. When it comes to prostitution, unlawful drug sale or possession, or illegal use or possession of a dangerous weapon, the law is modified making it a nuisance if there is only one instance. In addition, the law also replaces the term â€œfirearmâ€ with â€œdangerous weaponâ€ to account for objects such as knives and machetes, or any other object capable of causing serious bodily harm or death.
On July 26, 2008, the FBI celebrated its 100th anniversary. Charles Bonaparte established the FBI with a small group of 34 investigators. Since then the FBI now employs more then 30,000 people who are evolving with the changing threats facing our nation. Their mission is to help protect you, your communities, and your businesses from the most dangerous threats facing our nation. From international and domestic terrorists to spies on U.S. soil along with cyber villains to corrupt government officials as well as from mobsters to violent gangs and child predators and serial killers.
The most famous director of the FBI was J. Edgar Hoover who was the director for the FBI from 1935 through 1972. As the director, his leadership spanned eight Presidential Administations and encompassed several eras such as Prohibition, the Great Depression, World War II, The Korean War, the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Through the years the U S moved from being a rural nation with strong isolationist tendencies to an urbanized superpower.
Over the past century, the FBI has been part of American history and our countryâ€™s most high-profile national security and criminal issues. Some of the myths and misunderstandings about the FBI have evolved over time. Many of these myths are untrue. For example, many people believe that the FBI knows about the X-Files; the FBI prosecutes cases; there were no minority agents during J. Edgar Hoover years; the FBI spies on all Americans; and that the FBI doesnâ€™t cooperate with other agencies.
The men and women of the FBI have always worked to protect us and defend our nation. They work hand-in-hand with law enforcement and intelligence partners across the country and around the globe.
People writing bad checks affect both consumers and taxpayers. We pay higher prices for goods and services because of the losses associated with bad checks. Law enforcement also spends significant resources investigating and prosecuting people who issue these checks. During these tough economic times, businesses are seeing an increase in bad check writing.
Recently, the St. Paul, Minnesota police announced that they are holding an informational session that includes local police, city attorneys, the Financial Crimes Services and private investigation services to discuss their â€œWorthless Check Diversion Programâ€ for businesses. This free program for businesses began this year. So far, the program has recovered thousands of dollars for business owners.
Morrison County already has a program in effect. The main goals of the program are restitution for victims, increase accountability of people who issue worthless checks, educate merchants and residents in reducing the number of worthless check cases and reduce the costs to law enforcement associated with investigating and prosecuting worthless check cases.
The program is at no cost to the taxpayer or area merchants. The people who issue the worthless checks support the program.
Itâ€™s just like taking candy from a baby. Thatâ€™s what burglars are laughing about in Minnetonka these days. As a result, this string of burglaries in Minnetonka has prompted a crime alert.
The burglars are gaining access to homes by using the homeownerâ€™s own garage door openers. At least fourteen residential burglaries have been reported. If you leave your unlocked car outside with your garage door opener in the car, guess what, all these criminals have to do is push the button and get into your home.
The police also said that they are gaining access through open garage doors as well as unlocked doors. Many valuables have been stolen such as purses, wallets, checkbooks, laptop computers, cell phones, cameras, bicycles and other items.
What can you do to prevent or stop this crime? Itâ€™s as simple as locking your doors, closing the garage door and even parking your car in the garage. If you want to leave your car outside, please remove your garage door opener from your car and take it inside with you.
The police are encouraging you to join neighborhood watch groups. Report any suspicious activity or if you see someone not from your neighborhood call the Minnetonka police at 952-939-8554.
Operation FALCON (Federal And Local Cops Organized Nationally) is a nationwide fugitive apprehension operation coordinated by the United States Marshals Service (USMS). This operation uses the resources of federal, state, city and county law enforcement agencies to locate and apprehend criminals wanted for crimes of violence.
This year during the last week in June, FALCON captured and arrested 112 fugitives throughout Minnesota. The suspects had outstanding felony warrants for a variety offenses including assault, narcotics, robbery, and one was wanted for a homicide in St. Paul. Several gang members were also arrested. One suspect who was a sex offender and failed to register was basically off the radar but the officers involved in FALCON tracked him down and arrested him in the Champlain area.
Since its inception in 2005, Operation FALCON has sworn in participating local officers as Special Deputy U.S. Marshals. During the last three years, FALCON has made more than 36,500 arrests of dangerous fugitive felons and cleared more than 45,000 warrants. It continues to be the largest and most successful fugitive apprehension effort in U.S. Marshals history.
Back on June 2, 2008, I posted a blog on â€œCrime knows no boundaries.â€ The blog reported about the killings of 32 bison in Fairplay, Colorado. Good news, today the Texas businessman and ranch owner who allowed this killing spree to happen is being prosecuted in the deaths of the 32 bison.
According to the latest news report , Jeffrey Scott Hawn of Austin has been charged with 32 counts of animal cruelty, one count of theft of more than $20,000 and one count of criminal mischief. The indictment says that he â€œtortured, needlessly mutilated or needlessly killedâ€ the bison that belonged to another rancher.
Even though these charges are misdemeanors, animal cruelty can get you 2-4 years of jail time and theft and criminal mischief can add a couple of more years in jail. My best advice for Mr. Hawn would be to plead guilty, pay the fines and admit that he was stupid in doing what he did. Maybe the judge will waive jail time. If not, that should teach him not to kill one of Godâ€™s creatures and take away a livelihood from a hardworking rancher.
Iâ€™ll continue to follow the progress on this crime and let you know the outcome.
The Sun Newspaper reported that burglars recently broke into a Minnetonka gun store and stole about 30 firearms. These burglars tried earlier that night to break in the Glen Lake Gun Shop but the alarm stopped them.
When police arrived the first time, no guns were reported stolen. After the police left, the burglars came back and within an hour before the first employee came to work, the thieves left behind shards of shattered glass after they smashed and grabbed four cases full of guns. The types of guns missing are 30 handguns, including .22s, .38s, .45s and Glockâ€™s.
About three years ago, 70 guns were stolen at a store in Richfield. In the following months, guns turned up at a high school, on a school bus, one was used to shoot at a police officer and others have been used in violent crimes. Of the 70 firearms stolen three years ago, only a few have been recovered.
It is important that these criminals and guns be found. If you have information, call Minnetonka Police at 952-939-8500 or call the confidential tip line at 952-935-8000.
The Columbia Heights Police Department (CHPD) has started a crime reduction program this summer that addresses crime and offenses in the city. The initiative involves partnering with the Anoka County Sheriffâ€™s Department, the Fridley Police Department, The Anoka-Hennepin Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force (AHDTF) and the Minnesota Gang Strike Force.
They are targeting areas in the city that have crimes against people to enforcement of juvenile offenses â€“ such as curfew and underage drinking. This proactive approach so far has netted 50 arrests and charges for offenses such as curfew violation, possession of drugs and underage consumption of alcohol. In addition, the summer initiative is focusing on two components, one on violent and repeat offenders and problem narcotic areas that relate to many calls to the department.
The CHPD along with AHDTF recently set up surveillance and enforcement operations that resulted in 11 arrests, 2 search warrants and 28 weapons seized since the summer initiative began. By the first week of July, 35 arrests were made, including two felony-level narcotics arrests and three weapons arrests. Some of the arrests identified potential gang members and helped establish safety and security at the Columbia Heights Jamboree festival. This demonstrates that the initiative has a significant impact and brings a real sense of safety and security to the community.
The summer initiative will continue through the end of August and if it works out well, the summer initiative may become a full-time program.
The Mankato Free Press recently ran a story about a homeowner who was stealing electricity from a grain storage facility between Mapleton and Minnesota Lake. It seems that the nearby homeowner ran a line from their house to the facility because back in September 2006 their electricity was shut off for non-payment to the electric company.
Here is where the story gets good. When police searched the house, they found a methamphetamine lab in the house along with processed methamphetamine. The three people were arrested on felony first-degree drug manufacturing charges and felony fifth degree drug possession.
The moral of the story is â€“ if you are cooking meth in your house â€“ pay your electric bill! And by all means donâ€™t run a loose wire to a nearby facility where the police can track you down.
Chalk one up for the good guys for catching another stupid criminal .