Family robbed after teen posts photo of money on Facebook

By Rosa Golijan

On Thursday, a teenage girl posted a photo of a “large sum of cash” on Facebook. About seven hours later, two robbers arrived at her family’s home. Unsurprisingly, this incident prompted local authorities to issue a warning about the dangers of posting photographs online.

According to BBC News, the 17-year-old girl was helping her 72-year-old grandmother count her cash savings when she decided to snap a photo of the money and post it on Facebook. A press release by the local police force explains that this social media activity occured in Sydney, Australia at about 4 p.m. on Thursday. At 11:30 p.m. on the same day, a house about 75 miles south-west was invaded by two armed men. The girl’s mother, a 58-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy were home at the time.

Brandishing a knife and a wooden club, the two men “allegedly entered the home demanding to speak with the girl about the cash” seen in the Facebook photo. After the girl’s mother explained that she no longer lives at that address, the men proceeded to search the house and “took a small amount of cash and other personal property before leaving.”

It is unclear how the robbers connected the girl’s social media activity to her mother’s home address, but authorities are nonetheless urging “users of social media to take extreme caution when posting photographs and personal information.” I suspect that’s a polite way of saying “Use some common sense, folks!”

 

(Please Note: We take NO credit for this story, all information can be found here!)

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motorcyclist’s 170 mph joy ride ends in arrest

One hundred-and-seventy miles per hour.

That’s how fast Nikkolaus McCarthy was allegedly traveling on his Suzuki motorcycle along the Thruway before finally being stopped in New Paltz, according to State Police.

The 25-year-old McCarthy, of Charlton, was first spotted around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday by a trooper while zipping through Ravena at 166 miles per hour.

When McCarthy slowed down for traffic, the trooper tried without success to pull him over but was able to jot down the license plate number before the Saratoga County man sped off again.

At that point the trooper abandoned the pursuit because of how fast McCarthy was going, but a description of the bike was broadcast over police scanners, police said.

Troopers along the Thruway clocked him at 150 and 170 mph as maintenance workers provided updates on his location, police said.

It wasn’t until McCarthy stopped for gas 50 miles and 20 minutes later in New Paltz that he was arrested and charged with fleeing police, reckless driving, speeding and operating out of class because he didn’t have a motorcycle license.

When troopers told him about the excessive speeds, he allegedly told them the bike can easily exceed 190 mph. He was sent to the county jail on $20,000 bail.

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Transsexual woman ticketed for using ladies room

By NBCDFW.com

A Dallas transsexual woman was issued a ticket for using the women’s restroom at an area hospital.

Parkland police cited Paula Witherspoon, whose legal name is Paul Witherspoon, for disorderly conduct on April 25.

“It was definitely humiliating, degrading,” she said. “I felt like I was being discriminated against.”

A Parkland Hospital representative said the hospital received a complaint from a concerned female patient about a man in the women’s restroom.

 

“This is 2012, and I’ve been transitioning since 2006, and I’ve never had a problem until I went to Parkland Hospital,” Witherspoon said.

Witherspoon said she doesn’t even remember seeing anyone else in the restroom until she walked out.

“There was a lady there that said, ‘That’s a man.’ I just ignored her and kept going,” Witherspoon said.

Minutes later, a Parkland officer came over and cited her, she said. Witherspoon said she offered to show the officer a transition letter from her doctor that states, “She is expected to use facilities consistent with her external presentation, which is female.”

But Parkland police told her they have to go by what is on her license, Witherspoon said.

Under Texas law, Witherspoon must have acted “intentionally or knowingly for a lewd or unlawful purpose” to be cited with disorderly conduct.

“I went to the bathroom, took care of my business, washed my hands and left,” Witherspoon said. “I didn’t even see anyone.”

Parkland Hospital released the following statement: “Because of the complexity of the issue, the incident is currently under review. Parkland strives to treat patients, visitors and staff with dignity and respect, as well as provide a safe environment at all times.”

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Student left for days in DEA cell forced to drink own urine

By Sarah Grieco and Rory Devine, NBCSanDiego.com

 

Daniel Chong, the UC San Diego student who was left in a Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell for nearly five days, said the time spent in his cell was a life-altering experience.

The 23-year-old spoke with NBCSanDiego and said he was increasingly worried throughout the days he spent in a 5-foot by 10-foot cell, where he could not spread his arms out wide.

“They never came back, ignored all my cries and I still don’t know what happened,” he said. “I’m not sure how they could forget me.”

See video, read the full story at NBCSanDiego.com

Chong and his lawyer spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the claim they will file with the federal court system on Wednesday.

“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said his lawyer Gene Iredale, who compared Chong’s experience to Abu Ghraib.

Chong said he was at a friend’s house in University City celebrating 4/20, a day many marijuana users set aside to smoke, when agents came inside and raided the residence. Chong was then taken to the DEA office in Kearny Mesa.

He said agents questioned him, and then told him he could go home. One agent even offered him a ride, Chong said. No criminal charges were filed against him.

But Chong did not go home that night. Instead, he was placed in a cell for five days without any human contact and was not given food or drink. In his desperation, he said he was forced to drink his own urine.

“I had to do what I had to do to survive …. I hallucinated by the third day,” Chong said. “I was completely insane.”

Chong said he lost roughly 15 pounds during the time he was alone. His lawyer confirmed that Chong ingested a powdery substance found inside the cell. Later testing revealed the substance was methamphetamine.

After days of being ignored, Chong said he tried to take his own life by breaking the glass from his spectacles with his teeth and then attempting to carve “Sorry mom,” on his arm. He said nurses also found pieces of glass in his throat, which led him to believe he ingested the pieces purposefully.

Student in DEA custody forgotten without food or water for days

Chong said he could hear DEA employees and people in neighboring cells. He screamed to let them know he was there, but no one replied. He kicked the door, but no one came to get him.
By the time DEA officers found Chong in his cell Wednesday morning Chong was completely incoherent, said Iredale.

“I didn’t think I would come out,” Chong said.

He said when employees discovered him in the cell that they looked confused and nervous. A DEA employee rode with him to the hospital, where they paid for Chong’s visit.

He spent three days in the intensive care unit at Sharp Hospital and his kidneys were close to failing.

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The DEA has not apologized to Chong, said Iredale.

The incident also caused Chong to miss his midterms at UCSD. He said he does not know if he will return to school, as his perspective on life has changed since his isolation.

San Diego defense attorney Gretchen Von Helms said the victim could get millions if he files a lawsuit.

“In all my years of practice I’ve never heard of the DEA or any federal government employee simply forgetting about someone that they have in their care,” she said.

“There has to be repercussions if people do not follow the safety and the care when they have a human being in their custody.”

 

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Drunken grandparents use SUV to tow girl in toy car.

By NBCMiami.com

Two drunken grandparents were arrested for using their vehicle to pull their 7-year-old granddaughter in a toy car, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said.

Belinda and Paul Berloni were arrested on Sunday after a deputy in a marked patrol car saw the SUV pulling a “small plastic hot wheels car” along an access road, authorities said. The vehicle was going about five to 10 miles per hour, the probable cause affidavit said.

The girl was wearing a bathing suit with no protective gear, authorities said. The toy car was attached to the SUV with two dog leashes tied to the trailer hitch, the affidavit said.

Read the original report at NBCMiami.com

Paul Berloni, 49, smelled of alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot and watery, the affidavit said. When asked for his driver’s license, he said it had been revoked for 10 years for a DUI. He also told authorities he had two or three drinks, authorities said. He later said it was more but wasn’t specific, the affidavit said.

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office | WFLA

Belinda and Paul Berloni

Belinda Berloni, 47, was in the cargo area with the rear hatch open cheering the little girl on, the affidavit said. She was also intoxicated and said she had a few drinks, authorities said.

She “also stated that she understood that it was dangerous to drag a child behind the vehicle but stated they were just having fun and had been doing it all day,” the affidavit said.

Belinda Berloni’s son, who is the girl’s father, arrived and was upset with his mother. He also said that he believed they had a drinking problem that may have affected their decision making, the affidavit said.

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“The defendant and co-defendant failed to provide adequate supervision for the child and put the child in a situation that could have easily resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement and even death,” the affidavit said.

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office | WFLA

The deputy who stopped the grandparents said the grandmother was in the back of the SUV calling encouragement to the 7-year-old girl.

Paul Berloni refused to take a field sobriety test and was being held on $7,500 bond on Monday, a jail official said. He faces charges that include a fourth DUI offense, driving with a suspended license and cruelty toward a child. Belinda Berloni was released from jail Monday on supervised release and faces a child cruelty charge.

It wasn’t immediately known if they had attorneys.

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