Burglars take off with $300K in cash and jewelry after ransacking LA mansion

first_imgJack Berman/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — It appeared to be a well-planned heist.Burglars smashed their way into a multi-million dollar Los Angeles mansion, ransacked the home, and somehow managed to take a 1,000-pound safe with $300,000 worth of money and jewelry inside.Records show the home belongs to inventor Ronald Katz, the brother of Broadway star Joel Grey and uncle of “Dirty Dancing” star Jennifer Grey.Los Angeles Police are now searching for the suspects. Surveillance video obtained first by ABC News shows a woman jumps into the passenger’s seat of a red SUV before it drives away with its hatch up and a massive safe visible from the back.Police say a housekeeper was at home and heard noises, but that she thought it was the owners returning home. Then, she saw the suspects inside the mansion.Detectives believe the suspects smashed their way through the home’s front gate using their SUV. Pieces of that vehicle were left behind — including a side mirror — and they are being analyzed by police.The home is worth around $15 million and is down the street from the Playboy Mansion.The Katz family declined to want to talk about the burglary.The LAPD has been aggressively going after serial burglars who have been hitting L.A.’s wealthiest and most famous homes in recent years.Last month, detectives announced the arrest of 32-year-old Benjamin Ackerman, who is accused of burglarizing numerous celebrities’ homes. His alleged victims included Usher, Jason Derulo, Adam Lambert, and a member of the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Last year, Los Angeles Police also dismantled a burglary ring that targeted wealthy victims. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Thousands of Denver public school teachers go on strike in fight for higher pay

first_imgmartinedoucet/iStock(DENVER) — Thousands of public school teachers in Denver walked off their jobs on Monday and formed picket lines for the first time in 25 years to demand higher wages and stem the tide of educators they say are going to neighboring school district to boost their pay.Members of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association wearing “Red for Ed” T-shirts under or over bulky jackets kicked off their strike at 7 a.m. local time, forming picket lines around schools in the bone-chilling 21-degree weather and chanting, “If they won’t pay us, shut it down.”“I’m anxious, scared, but I’m also angry and I think a lot of us are angry. We have had enough,” Laurel Davis, a second-grade teacher at Bill Roberts Elementary School, told ABC affiliate station KMGH-TV.The teachers’ union broke off negotiations on Saturday after spending 15 months trying to come to an agreement with the Denver Public School District to significantly increase teachers’ salaries to compete with surrounding school districts.There are about 5,600 teachers who work at the district’s 160 schools. It was unclear how many signed in at picket lines.School district officials claimed that only about 2,100 teachers called in absent on Monday, a number that was disputed by the union.The Denver School District has hired hundreds of substitute teacher to keep classrooms open for 92,000 students in the district.The union is proposing a $28.5 million in teacher compensation while the school district’s latest offer came to $23.3 million. Union representatives say the district’s offer ties raises to bonuses and credits for teachers who further their education or work in high-poverty schools.“We feel like it’s been a game they’ve been playing with us for months,” said Davis.For veteran high school math teacher Kathleen Braun, it will be her third strike in the Denver School district in 50 years. Braun joined teachers on picket lines in 1969 and again in 1994.“What we’re really talking about is can a teacher work full-time and do what is necessary for our students?” Braun told KMGH.Union representatives claim many teachers have to work extra jobs just to make ends meet, or leave the district for higher paying jobs in neighboring school districts.“We think it’s important that DPS sees and knows and understands what it’s like not to have teachers in the classroom every day because they need us,” Rob Gould, lead negotiator for the teachers’ union, said at a news conference Monday morning.Henry Ramon, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, said he hopes the walkout will be brief. The union plans to return to the negotiating table on Tuesday.“We really need a cooling off period for both sides to come to the table with proposals that really benefit everybody,” Ramon said Monday. “Bonuses have really proven ineffective and our students are paying the price of this experiment.”The average starting pay for teachers in Denver is $43,255. The union is asking that starting pay be boosted to $45,800.Union representatives say starting pay at the neighboring Westminster Public School District is about $50,000.“We’re looking for a fair and reliable pay system that actually retains teachers in Denver,” Gould said. “We’ve had a 20 percent turnover rate year after year. The district, they’ve been doubling down on these bonuses that are unreliable and they haven’t supported student needs.”Susana Cordova, superintendent of Denver Public Schools, said the district’s latest offer includes $2.5 million to boost overall teacher pay by cutting about 150 administrative jobs.Cordova said that under the district’s offer, all teachers would get an 11 percent raise next year.“Rather than sticking with it and figuring it out, I’m incredibly disappointed that they walked away,” Cordova said of the teacher’s union, according to KMGH-TV.Second-grade teacher Jaimie Jackson said she’ll stay on the picket line as long as it takes. She said she’s not just doing it for herself and other teachers, but also for her young daughter and other children in the school district.“I feel like I’m showing her what it means to stand up for what you believe in,” Jackson told KMGH. “And I’m showing her what it means to do what you need to do to elevate your profession.”The Denver teachers’ strike comes less than a month after 30,000 Los Angeles teachers went on strike for six days over funding and staffing at schools. The teachers approved a contract that hiked their pay by about 6 percent and achieved a commitment from the Los Angeles Unified School District to reduce class sizes over four years.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Treasurer of NYPD charity for slain officers arrested for stealing over $400,000: Prosecutors

first_imgOnnes/iStock(NEW YORK) — When a police officer dies in the line of duty it often prompts an outpouring of generosity from within the ranks to support the officer’s family.But Lorraine Shanley, a volunteer treasurer for Survivors of the Shield, a nonprofit that helps the families of fallen New York Police Department, “monetized people’s generosity” by stealing more than 20 percent of the donations to the organization, federal prosecutors said.Shanley was arrested Thursday and charged with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection to an alleged scheme in which she rerouted more than $400,000 of the charity’s money into an account for her own use.Shanley “fraudulently obtained and expended at least approximately $410,000 held in the checking account of a charitable organization for which she volunteered as Treasurer by, among other things, forging the signature of another authorized signatory of the charity’s checks, double endorsing the charity’s checks and cashing and depositing them into her own personal accounts, writing unauthorized checks and making unauthorized checking account payments to pay for personal expenses and to distribute money to herself and family members,” the criminal complaint said.The criminal complaint said Shanley spent the charity’s money to pay for her grandchild’s private school tuition, landscaping for herself and Barbara Streisand concert tickets.Shanley was the volunteer treasurer of Survivors of the Shield from at least 2010 to 2017, court records say, and in that time the charity received nearly $2 million in donations, most of which came from NYPD employees.“Lorraine Shanley violated her position of trust at a charity and victimized families who have already sacrificed so much,” said IRS-CI acting special agent in charge Jonathan Larsen.Shanley, 68, of Staten Island, faces up to 30 years in prison. She turned herself in and faces an initial appearance in court Thursday afternoon. It wasn’t immediately clear whether she had an attorney.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Storm moving across the country with rain, severe weather for central US

first_imgABC News(NEW YORK) — A storm that brought hail the size of golf balls to Florida on Wednesday has moved out and now we are watching a western storm as it crosses the country and brings more severe storms, heavy rain and even snow.Unsettled weather stretches from the West Coast all the way to the Midwest on Thursday morning with heavy rain and snow. Heavy snow has been falling on Interstate 80 in California over the Donner Summit where traffic has come to a standstill.The rain will continue through the flooded areas of the Plains through Thursday, but it is not expected to be very heavy.By Friday afternoon and evening, a stronger storm will move into the central U.S. with heavy rain and severe storms to the south and snow to the north.A widespread region from Kansas to Indiana is expecting 1 to 2 inches of rain, with localized amounts near 3 inches.To the north and west, more than half a foot of snow is expected in Wyoming — and even a few inches are possible in the High Plains or Nebraska.East enjoys major warmupAhead of the storm, a nice warmup has arrived for most of the East.Highs on Thursday will surge near 60 degrees in Chicago and Detroit, while the warmth will move to the East Coast by Friday and Saturday.The forecast is for 60s and 70s from Washington, D.C., to Boston.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Georgia police officer pinned, dragged by DUI suspect he was about to arrest, dashcam video shows

first_imgFedorovekb/iStock(ALPHARETTA, Ga.) — A Georgia police officer was seen on his own dash camera video being dragged by a suspect he was about to arrest for drug possession and driving under the influence.The officer conducted a traffic stop on Old Milton Parkway in Alpharetta, Georgia, on April 5 after he noticed the driver, 24-year-old Dennis Aguirre, driving “recklessly,” according to a press release from the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety.Aguirre was then ordered to get out of his car after the officer suspected he had illegal drugs in the car and that he may be impaired due to his “responses and behavior,” authorities said.A struggle ensued while the officer was arresting Aguirre, who then got back into his car and attempted to drive off while the officer was still holding on to him, dragging him for several feet, according to the release. The officer then was able to turn the car off, authorities said.“Our officer’s arm was pinned inside of the car by the suspect, which is why he wasn’t able to let go and disengage from the suspect,” the release stated. “Once stopped, Mr. Aguirre continued to fight with and attempt to run with our officer until he was tackled to the ground and taken into custody.”Dashcam footage shows the officer struggling with the driver, who then accelerates the white sedan. After the car stops, the officer is able to get the suspect out of the car, but he breaks free just as the officer throws him up against a fence.The officer then tackles the suspect to the ground, and within seconds several more officers arrive and assist in the arrest.Aguirre and the officer suffered minor cuts and scratches from the incident. Aguirre was taken to the hospital before he was transported to jail, police said. The officer was checked out by paramedics on the scene and did not require a hospital visit.Aguirre was slapped with a laundry list of charges, including aggravated assault against a peace officer, driving with a suspended or revoked license, driving while under the influence, driving with an obscured or missing license plate, possession and use of drug-related objects, reckless driving, sale of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance and willful obstruction of law enforcement, according to online jail records.Alpharetta DPS did not release the officer’s identity.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Sheriff: Woman trying to shoot someone in road rage incident ends up shooting husband in head

first_imgiStock(DODGE CITY, Ala.) — A woman was allegedly trying to shoot someone in a road rage incident in Alabama when she ended up shooting her husband instead, authorities said.The alleged road rage altercation took place at about 6:45 p.m. Saturday on a highway in Dodge City and carried over to a home in Bremen, according to the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office.Erica Cole was trying to shoot an unidentified person, according to the sheriff’s office, but instead a bullet struck her husband, Nicholas Cole, in the head.Erica Cole was arrested for attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment, authorities said.Nicholas Cole was hospitalized and listed in stable condition, according to the sheriff’s office.Erica Cole had a bond hearing on Sunday and is in custody on $30,000 cash bond. Her preliminary hearing is set for July 22.Her attorney did not immediately comment to ABC News.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Woman falls out of moving car during argument with husband, gets killed by passing vehicle on highway

first_imgiStock(HOUSTON) — A woman was killed when she fell out of a moving car and was struck by another vehicle after initially surviving the fall.Houston Police said that a woman became upset with her husband when they were driving back from downtown Houston around 1 a.m. Authorities say she started crawling out of the car when it was going full speed and fell out onto the North Freeway.The woman, whose identity has not yet been revealed, survived the fall out of her vehicle but was then struck by a passing car and killed. Both the woman’s husband and the vehicle that hit her stopped and stayed on scene.A secondary crash then happened when somebody crashed into one of the cars of the people that stopped to help the victim. A third – and unrelated incident – occurred when a driver was stopped for driving under the influence at the scene of the initial accident.“This [second] vehicle also stopped to try to help the woman. So the traffic behind them, they had to slam on their breaks and there was an accident that happened here. Unfortunately, one of the drivers in that accident, unrelated to the fatality, left the scene and so we are investigating that accident as well,” said Sgt. David Rose of the Houston Police to ABC News’ Houston station KTRK.Police say that the woman had been drinking but that her husband, the driver, had not. The northbound lanes near 610 were closed for several hours as police investigated the separate incidents.Said Sgt. Rose: “You just got to be prepared to make sudden stops on the freeway. You never know what’s going to happen.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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‘I should have stopped them,’ reads anonymous letter left at Ahmaud Arbery’s makeshift memorial

first_imgWe need to discover who left this note! https://t.co/AkEIklcEvf— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) May 13, 2020“The family of Ahmaud Arbery is very interested in reaching out to the individual who left the heartfelt note at the site of Ahmaud Arbery’s death,” said the Arbery family’s attorneys S. Lee Merritt, Benj Crump and L. Chris Stewart in a joint statement. “They feel great sympathy for the person who wrote that note and would like to speak with them to determine what they knew or what they saw. If that person would like to confidentially come forward and communicate with the family, they can contact the legal team or reach out directly to Mr. Arbery’s family.”Arbery, an African American, was on his daily jog, his family says, on February 23 when he was encountered by Gregory and Travis McMichael, both white and armed with guns.Cellphone video captured by William Bryan and leaked onto social media on May 5, showed Arbery and Travis McMichael, armed with a shotgun, tussling as Gregory McMichael stands in the white pick-up truck’s flat bed trunk with a .357 magnum handgun.Three shots go off and Arbery collapsed and died.The Glenn County Coroner’s Office’s report revealed that 11 shotgun pellets were removed from Arbery’s chest and there were several injuries throughout his body. Arbery had no drugs or alcohol in his system.The McMichaels were not arrested and charged with Arbery’s murder until May 7, two days after Bryan’s video leaked onto social media and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations were brought into the case. The two previous prosecutors, who recused themselves from investigating Arbery’s death, are under investigation for their handling of the case.The family’s attorneys are seeking federal hate crime charges.Gregory McMichaels told the police after the mid-afternoon shooting that he and his son pursued Arbery as the suspect of “several break-ins” in their neighborhood.Security cameras from neighbors and inside the construction site before the shooting allegedly showed Arbery walking into a house and looking around.In that section of the Satilla Shores community, there was a report of a burglary on Jan, 1 in whiich Travis McMichael’s gun was allegedly stolen from his truck and three reports of an alleged trespasser at a construction site.A 911 call made by Travis McMichael on Feb. 11 was obtained by Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday.Travis McMichael described the alleged suspect as having short hair and standing about 6 feet tall, wearing red shorts and a white shirt.In the police report obtained by ABC News, Larry English, the owner of the property, said he had an ongoing issue with an “unknown male black continuously trespassing and plundering.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. cmannphoto/iStockBy CHRISTINA CARREGA, ABC News(SATILLA SHORES, Ga.) — Within a makeshift memorial in the Satilla Shores, Georgia, neighborhood where Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down during a caught-on-camera confrontation with a father and son, is where a “heartfelt” anonymous note was left. The family of Arbery and their attorneys want the author to come forward.“I’m pleading on behalf of the family that you please make yourself known to the authorities so my family can begin to have closure,” said Wanda Cooper-Jones on Wednesday evening in a recorded video message.The haiku-like note consists of five separated lines written with blue ink on the right side of a folded white letter printed paper.The first line is addressed to Arbery by his first name.“I am so sorry,” the second line read.“I should have stopped,” the third line read with “them” on the fourth line.“I am so sorry,” the note ended without a signature.last_img read more

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In bombshell plea, close friend admits to murdering former Arkansas state senator

first_imgRebecca O’Donnell is seen at a court appearance in Arkansas, Jan. 29, 2020. – (ABC News)By TAMMY GLASS, CHRIS FRANCESCANI and KATE HOLLAND, ABC News(POCOHANTAS, Ark.) — Rebecca O’Donnell faces the death penalty after being charged with capital murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in the death of former Arkansas legislator Linda Collins-Smith.In a surprise twist to a baffling Southern murder mystery, the main suspect in the June 2019 murder of former Arkansas Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, will spend 54 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder in court Thursday morning.The bombshell plea change follows one year after prosecutors in the case announced their intention to seek the death penalty against Rebecca Lynn O’Donnell, 49, who worked as both an aide to the senator, and later an employee of Collins-Smith’s business. The two were considered close friends.Still, many questions remain — most prominently: why? Details remain sketchy.After previously pleading not guilty to capital murder, O’Donnell changed her plea to guilty of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse during a hearing in Pocohantas, Arkansas.O’Donnell also pleaded “no contest” to two counts of solicitation to commit capital murder in another county. Those charges stem from what prosecutors have described as a murder-for-hire plot while she was in custody. Those pleas will be treated as guilty pleas.O’Donnell will serve 40 years for the murder, 14 years for the solicitation counts, and three years for the abuse of a corpse charge.The twists and turns in the case have confounded the small community in Pocohantas, about 145 miles northeast of Little Rock.Numerous judges and a prosecutor have stepped down or recused themselves from the case in the 13 months since the June, 2019 murder — which left the ex-senator’s body so damaged that she initially couldn’t be identified by authorities, even though she was discovered outside her home.The initial judge overseeing the case sealed the records of the investigation before recusing himself, leaving many in the small Arkansas community wondering what could have prompted such a heinous homicide. All prosecutors have revealed to date is that the motive for the murder appeared to be financial in nature.O’Donnell was the last person to see Collins-Smith alive, her fiancé Tim Loggains told ABC News in a recent interview, and the two women were so close that O’Donnell acted as a witness in Collins-Smith’s divorce.O’Donnell was arrested a week and a half after the murder while driving to Collins-Smith’s memorial service.“She’s not capable of this,” Loggains told ABC News’ T.J. Holmes in that interview. “Either she is the best actress in the world and completely fooled me or there’s not a chance she did this.”But pressing questions about the case could soon be answered.“Everything that is not under seal will be available online,” Judge John Fogleman told the court after O’Donnell changed her plea. “It will be a few days before it can get scanned and she can check to make redactions. Be patient with the court and clerk, it will be available online one week from today.”The judge then instructed everyone but the family to leave the courtroom.Defense attorney Lee Short told reporters, “This is good for the Collins’ family, they’ll be able to move on.” Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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