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   Strategies & Market TrendsThe Economy Made Me Do It.


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To: Smiling Bob who wrote (6)4/4/2009 10:36:04 AM
From: Smiling Bob
   of 21
 
This was reported to be the 4th incident this past month
Lost his job at IBM
----
NY gunman angry over poor English skills, job loss
By WILLIAM KATES, Associated Press Writer William Kates, Associated Press Writer 10 mins ago

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The man who police say killed 13 people in a shooting rampage at an immigrant community center was depressed and angry over losing his job and about his poor English skills, officials said Saturday.

Police Chief Joseph Zikuski told NBC's "Today" that people "degraded and disrespected" the gunman over his poor English. Mayor Matthew Ryan, speaking on ABC's "Good Morning America," said the man, believed to be 42-year-old Vietnamese immigrant Jiverly Voong, was angry about his language issues and his lack of employment.

On Friday, he barricaded the American Civic Association community center's back door with his car, walked in the front and started shooting with two handguns. Within minutes, a receptionist, 12 immigrants taking a citizenship class and the gunman were dead. Another receptionist, who played dead after she was shot in the abdomen, called 911 to get police to the scene within two minutes.

Zikuski said the injured receptionist stayed on the phone for 90 minutes, "feeding us information constantly," despite a serious wound in the abdomen.

"She's a hero in her own right," he said.

Four people were critically wounded in the Friday massacre, and 37 others made it out, including 26 who hid for hours in a basement boiler room while police tried to determine whether the gunman was still alive and whether he was holding any hostages, Zikuski said.

Investigators said they had yet to establish a motive for the shooting, which was at least the fifth deadly mass shooting in the U.S. in the past month.

The suspected killer carried ID with the name of 42-year-old Jiverly Voong, of nearby Johnson City, N.Y., but that was believed to be an alias, said a law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The man was found dead in an office with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a satchel containing ammunition slung around his neck, authorities said. Police found two handguns — a 9 mm and a .45-caliber — and a hunting knife.

A second law enforcement official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the handguns were registered to Jiverly Wong, another name the man used. Both officials were not authorized to speak publicly.

A woman who answered the phone at a listing for Henry D. Voong said she was Jiverly Voong's sister but would not give her name. She said her brother had been in the country for 28 years and had citizenship.

Zikuski told "Today" that the shooter had worked in Binghamton for Shop-Vac, which closed in November. The sister told the AP on Friday that her brother worked at a company where "they make the vacuums."

The mayor told ABC that the gunman "had lost a job recently and was somewhat angry."

"He had language issues, didn't speak English that well, and was really concerned about his employment situation," Ryan said.

Initial reports suggested Voong had recently been let go from IBM, which has roots in the region, but a person at IBM said there was no record of a Jiverly Voong ever working there. His father, Henry Voong, does work there.

The attack at the American Civic Association, which helps immigrants settle in this country, came just after 10 a.m. as people from all over the globe — Latin America, China, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Africa — gathered for English and citizenship lessons in an effort to become a bigger part of their new home.

The gunman parked his car against the back door before barging through the front and opening fire, apparently without saying a word. He then entered a room just off the reception area and fired on a citizenship class while terrified people scrambled into a boiler room and a storage room.

Abdelhak Ettouri, a Moroccan immigrant who lives in nearby Johnson City, told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin he found the back door locked when he tried to flee, then ran to hide in the basement as he heard 12 to 14 shots: "Tak-tak-tak-tak."

Zhanar Tokhtabayeva, a 30-year-old from Kazakhstan, was in an English class when her teacher screamed for everyone to go to the storage room.

"I heard the shots, every shot. I heard no screams, just silence, shooting," Tokhtabayeva told the AP. "I heard shooting, very long time, and I was thinking, when will this stop? I was thinking that my life was finished."

Hoi Nguyen of Binghamton said his 36-year-old daughter Phuong Nguyen, who survived the massacre, was taking an English class in the basement when the gunfire started.

"She said it sounded like a firecracker and everyone in the class was startled," he said. "Then the teacher locked the door, called the police, then told everyone they couldn't leave the room."

Police arrived in minutes, heard no gunfire and waited for about an hour before entering the building to make sure it was safe for officers. They then spent two hours searching the building. They led a number of men out in plastic handcuffs while trying to sort out victims from the killer or killers.

The police chief said the suspected gunman "was no stranger" to the community center and may have gone there to take a class. He said he had no idea what the shooter's motive was.

On Friday evening, police searched Voong's house and carried out three computer hard drives, a brown canvas rifle case, a briefcase, a small suitcase and several paper bags.

Dr. Jeffrey King, speaking at the Catholic Charities office, said he was certain his mother, 72-year-old Roberta King, who taught English at the community center, was among the dead.

Authorities read a list of survivors and his mother's name wasn't on it, he said.

The shootings took place in a neighborhood of homes and small businesses in downtown Binghamton, a city of about 47,000 situated 140 miles northwest of New York City.

The region was the home to Endicott-Johnson shoe company and the birthplace of IBM, which between them employed tens of thousands of workers before the shoe company closed a decade ago and IBM downsized in recent years.

A string of attacks in the U.S. in the last month left 44 people dead in all.

A gunman killed 10 people and himself in Samson, Ala.; shootings that began with a traffic stop in Oakland, Calif., left four police officers and the gunman dead; an apparent murder-suicide in Santa Clara, Calif., left six dead; and a gunman went on a rampage at a nursing home Sunday, killing seven elderly residents and a nurse who cared for them.

___

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Michael Hill, John Kekis and Michael Rubinkam in Binghamton; Carolyn Thompson and John Wawrow in Buffalo, N.Y.; Jessica M. Pasko, George M. Walsh and Chris Carola in Albany; Ben Dobbin in Rochester, N.Y.; Daisy Nguyen in Los Angeles; and the AP News Information Research Center in New York.

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From: Smiling Bob4/19/2009 12:06:56 PM
   of 21
 
No glimmers here
---
Couple, their 3 kids found dead in Maryland home
By ALEX DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press Writer Alex Dominguez, Associated Press Writer Sun Apr 19, 7:42 am ET

MIDDLETOWN, Md. – A Maryland man who killed his wife and three children before fatally shooting himself left behind five notes, including an apology to family members and hints that he suffered from psychiatric problems, authorities said.

The local sheriff said there were also signs that the family had financial problems.

For residents of the small town of Middletown and members of Holy Family Catholic Community Church, where the slain mother taught catechism, reports of the brutal killings were upsetting and baffling.

"We're all in shock and trying to come to terms," said Kevin Farmer, the pastor of Holy Family.

Christopher Alan Wood killed his wife and children, then himself, in their northwest Maryland home, leaving a gruesome scene that authorities said was found Saturday by the children's' grandfather.

The 33-year-old mother and three children suffered "traumatic cuts" and each also had at least one gunshot wound from a .25-caliber handgun, Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins said. Their precise cause of death wasn't immediately known, and Jenkins declined to say what was used to slash them.

Jenkins said Wood, an accountant at railroad operator CSX Corp., apologized to family members in one of the notes he left at the scene. The sheriff wouldn't elaborate on what else was written in the notes.

The sheriff also said there was evidence that Wood faced financial problems and may have been in debt.

CSX did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Saturday.

The family had moved months ago to the home in Middletown, a community of fewer than 3,000 people about 10 miles west of Frederick, friends said.

Jane Durant, the director of Middletown United Methodist Church Preschool, said she last saw the slain mother, Francis Billotti Wood, on Thursday morning, when she picked up her 4-year-old son at the school.

The boy didn't come to school the next day. Durant, the school's director, thought it was unusual. Now, she wonders if something horrible happened Thursday night.

The dead woman's father found the slain family around 9 a.m. Saturday. He had grown concerned after not hearing from them for several days, Frederick County sheriff's office spokeswoman Jennifer Bailey said.

When investigators arrived at the two-story home, the couple's two sons, ages 5 and 4, lay dead in their beds, while the bodies of a 2-year-old daughter and the mother were in the master bedroom, Bailey said. On the master bedroom floor by the foot of the bed was the 34-year-old father, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, she said.

Francis Wood — known by some as "Francie" — returned to her native Middletown from Texas last year to be closer to her family, said Durant, the preschool director. She described Francis Wood as a vibrant, bubbly and loving person.

"I just talked to her every day and she's just one of those people you fell in love with right away," Durant said.

Neighbor Peggy Lawrence described Francis Wood as a good homemaker.

"It wouldn't lead you to believe anything was wrong," Lawrence said. "I'm still sick to my stomach. Just to see it end so quickly is so devastating and makes you realize you never know what's going on in people's lives."

___

Associated Press Writer Gillian Gaynair in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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From: Smiling Bob6/13/2009 1:43:50 PM
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As theft rises, stores step up anti-crime efforts
Retailers step up anti-crime efforts as recession fuels shoplifting, organized theft rings

* Dan Sewell, AP Business Writer
* On Saturday June 13, 2009, 12:50 pm EDT

CINCINNATI (AP) -- With shoplifting on the rise -- including organized teams sweeping through stores and lifting scores of items in minutes -- retailers are beefing up plainclothes patrols and video surveillance, and competitors are working together to prevent crime.

Stores are running online stings and sending security guards onto sales floors posing as customers. The FBI helped create a database for trading notes on suspects and their methods. Minneapolis-based Target Corp. even has a forensic lab and tracks video feed from its 1,700 stores at regional hubs.

"In light of today's economy and the expense pressure, it is an investment that shows good return," said Brad Brekke, a former FBI special agent who heads assets protection for Target. "There is definitely economic pressure generating more activity across the board -- fraud, theft, cyber crime. The intensity has gone up as the economy has gone down."

The National Retail Federation, a trade group, says nearly half of 115 retailers it surveyed are spending more on crime-fighting -- some companies spend more than $1 million a year just on personnel hired to stop crime rings. The NRF, which opens a loss prevention conference Monday in Los Angeles, says 92 percent of the surveyed retailers were victims of organized theft teams last year, an 8 percent increase, even as many saw slumping sales.

More individuals are shoplifting, as in several steak-stealing incidents in Kroger Co. grocery stores across the country this year. But retailers say the vast majority of their losses are from thefts by organized rings that usually send in a small group including a getaway driver, an in-store lookout and several "shoppers."

Joe LaRocca, a senior adviser for the retail federation, said it only makes sense to cooperate with competitors to fight the problem, which officials peg at $35 billion a year and rising.

"You know you're getting hit and your neighbor is getting hit and, by working together, you have a much better rate of identification and prevention," LaRocca said.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Saks Inc., Ann Taylor Stores Corp. and others share information in the 2-year-old national database with the hope of stopping organized teams that take medicines, popular-brand clothes, video games and electronics -- items that can be quickly resold in small shops, flea markets and online.

"I'm even amazed sometimes at what these guys do," said Jerry Biggs, who heads anti-organized crime efforts for the Walgreen Co. drugstore chain. "They're in and out in four minutes. They can go from store to store, do this all day long."

In what Florida authorities dubbed "Operation Hot Milk," 21 people were arrested in March in connection with a multimillion-dollar baby formula theft ring. Generally, men acted as lookouts and getaway drivers while women slipped cans of powdered formula worth about $25 each into their bags. Polk County Sheriff's deputies began investigating in late 2008 after finding stolen baby formula during a traffic stop.

Biggs said the rings know more households are looking harder for bargains -- often online, where many high-volume thefts are fenced, or in flea markets and small shops -- during the recession.

"It's created a larger demand for product at lower price," he said. "People just think they're getting good deals."

Stores are trying to slow the theft rings with new packaging, less-accessible display cases, and electronic gizmos. But how many precautions to take is a delicate issue for retailers, who risk alienating customers by making them wait while items are retrieved from locked cases or embarrassing them when exit alarms go off. Customers could also be turned off by increasingly intense surveillance.

"You've got to balance the value you get from that," said Michael Brown, a retail strategist for the consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates. "You don't want your loss prevention department to become your sales prevention department."

Art Wulfeck, director of loss prevention for Cincinnati-based Kroger, says it trains employees to be regularly engaging customers around the store -- asking whether they need help or have questions -- which also reduces theft opportunities.

Some Kroger stores have begun using the "Lane Hawk," a shopping-cart electronic device that alerts cashiers to items on the bottom, avoiding accidental or intentional failure to ring them up. Wulfeck said Kroger is experimenting with a display rack for selling infant formula that has an automatic delay before another item can be removed -- so a thief can't quickly grab several cans.

"The typical shopper isn't there to buy 10 cans of formula," he said.

Shopper Pat Girod, whose son-in-law is a police officer, knows the crime prevention efforts are all around, seen and unseen, in her Kroger store in central Ohio.

She chuckled about the Lane Hawk: "It's a great idea ... I wish they had that in the parking lot, too, so I don't forget to load something in my car."

National Retail Federation: nrf.com

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

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From: Smiling Bob8/5/2009 3:26:12 PM
   of 21
 
The Associated Press August 5, 2009, 8:14AM ET text size: TT
Spike in suicide calls due to economy

WASHINGTON

Economic woes are weighing heavily on some Americans -- so much so that the federal government is boosting financial support for suicide prevention centers around the nation.

Richard McKeon, the lead health adviser for suicide prevention at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, says calls to suicide crisis centers have increased sharply in the past year -- with more than 57,000 calls in July alone. He said about a quarter of the calls were linked to economic distress.

McKeon said SAMHSA plans to provide more than $1 million in additional money this year to help up to 20 crisis centers facing a big uptick in the number of calls for help as well as possible state and local budget cuts.

"We know that every single day, there are people calling who are in the midst of a suicide attempt," McKeon said in an interview late Tuesday. "Any delay in getting that call answered could be tragic."

SAMHSA helps fund the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which routes calls to about 140 crisis centers across the country that provide suicide prevention services. McKeon says it usually provides a grant for the lifeline of about $2.9 million a year.

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From: Smiling Bob11/1/2009 12:52:41 PM
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Laura Rowley Money & Happiness
Laura Rowley, Money & Happiness
The Rage of Anxiety

by Laura Rowley
Email this Page IM this StoryBookmark this StoryAdd to your Del.icio.us accountDigg this StoryPrint this Story
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009, 12:00AM

The town of Chatham, New Jersey, a few towns away from where I live, is a bucolic suburb of historic homes and refined new mansions, with a population of 10,000.

The median family income is $132,000. Just 45 minutes from New York City, it's the kind of place where it helps to know somebody if you want to buy a home, because properties often change hands without ever making it to the real estate listings.

On the evening of Oct. 22, Father Edward Hinds, 61, pastor of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Chatham, was stabbed to death in the rectory. He was found when he failed to show up to celebrate morning Mass at the parish school, which some of our friends' children attend. The level of shock is difficult to express.

The police subsequently arrested Jose Feliciano, 64, the janitor at the church, a 17-year employee whose son graduated from the school and whose daughter is enrolled there. In press reports, both the priest and the janitor have been described as quiet, kind, amiable, caring and hardworking. Both were known to chat with neighbors while walking their dogs.

The previous pastor of St. Patrick's, Monsignor Ronald Amandolare, said he never saw Feliciano angry or violent. "He was loved by the kids, loved by the parents," Amandolare told the Star-Ledger of Newark. "He was a great, hard worker and very kind. You could call him in the morning, noon and night if anything broke … . You say, 'Jose, can you help me?' 'Sure, I'll be right over.'"

An attorney for the Archdiocese of Paterson told reporters that Hinds intended to lay off Feliciano because of financial problems at the parish. Feliciano had reportedly been beset with money and health issues -- "in and out of the hospital," by one account. The janitor had worked a second job in an electronics store, and lost that position earlier this year.

In 2004, the Felicianos moved from an apartment adjacent to the church to a home they purchased for $145,000 in a working-class city in Pennsylvania, 45 miles away. A neighbor said both Jose Feliciano and his wife, who also worked two jobs, typically left for work at 5:30 a.m. and returned home at 7:30 or 8:30 in the evening.

Obviously there is no excuse for the brutal and horrific attack on Rev. Hines. But I can't help thinking that both the victim and the alleged killer are casualties of a treacherous economy, which continues to batter the ordinary American while the experts proclaim recovery is upon us.

A recent study by researchers in California and London found the stress of recessions, particularly of unemployment, markedly increases rates of death from intentional violence. Looking at joblessness in the European Union between 1970 and 2007, researchers found each percent increase in unemployment raised homicide and suicide rates by 0.8 percent, respectively. An increase of 3 percent in unemployment, for example, is associated with a 4.5 percent increase in suicides, said the study, published in the journal Lancet in July.

"Suicides are just the tip of the iceberg," said lead author David Stuckler, Ph.D., of the University of Oxford and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in a statement. "Rising suicide rates are a sign of many failed suicide attempts and high levels of mental distress among workers and families."

The murder in Chatham makes me think about the millions of Americans who live in a state of perpetual anxiety, an illness or a layoff away from disaster. U.S. personal bankruptcy filings topped 1 million in the first nine months of this year, up 35 percent from the year-ago period, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. It's the highest nine-month figure since 2005, when consumers rushed to file for bankruptcy before stricter laws went into effect. The figures also saw a growth in middle-class filers -- those with associate and bachelor's degrees, and earnings of $40,000 or more a year.

Meanwhile, foreclosure-related filings are on pace to hit about 3.5 million this year, up from 2.3 million last year, according to a report this month by RealtyTrac. New defaults are surpassing the number of people helped by the federal mortgage relief program, which earlier this month reported that 500,000 homeowners had received assistance.

In addition, Moody's says that 2010 loan charge-offs by banks, on an annualized rate, are exceeding the levels of the Great Depression, and will increase in the coming year. In a related twist, analysts described why household balance sheets may recover faster than predicted: People are defaulting on their debts like crazy.

That means, in official economic terms, those obligations don't actually count as "debts" anymore. Apparently this is upbeat news for the larger economy -- a shiny veneer on a national edifice of crushed aspirations and heartache.

Heartache that now includes the tragic story of the priest and the janitor in Chatham.

(For an update on this story, see my blog.)

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From: Smiling Bob7/1/2010 10:45:33 PM
   of 21
 
July 1, 2010
Street Killings Prompt Police to Increase Overnight Patrols
By KAREN ZRAICK and NATE SCHWEBER

The Police Department is increasing overnight patrols after a recent spate of killings on the street, mostly in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Normally, about 65 percent of all shootings take place outdoors, according to the police. But over the past 28 days, about 90 percent occurred on the street, leading the police to believe that high-visibility patrols could deter violence and catch criminals shortly after they act.

Police officials said the number of officers on the street from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in 23 precincts could double or even triple, using dedicated overtime funds.

“In all likelihood, the shift will continue through July 4 and beyond, unless shooting patterns suggest that we readjust again,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the chief police spokesman.

The move comes as the police try to hold down the homicide rate, which is up 11 percent through the end of June. But department officials said they were battling their own success. The homicide rate last year was the lowest since the department’s switch in 1963 to what it considered a more reliable system of tracking killings.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the preponderance of street shootings suggested that “enforcement and aggressive strategies” might have an impact.

“We’re always concerned, and we do everything we reasonably can to deploy our resources,” Mr. Kelly added.

At the start of the recession, many wondered whether economic forces would propel the city toward “the bad old days” around 1990, when killings peaked at 2,245. Those fears have not been realized. As of June 27, there had been 221 killings this year.

Citywide, major crime over all was down 1.3 percent, but there were some notable increases. Rapes rose 13 percent, and shootings were up 7 percent. Grand larceny fell 7 percent.

Thomas A. Reppetto, an author and the former president of the Citizens Crime Commission, said he had seen the homicide rate rise in the first half of previous years, only to come down again. “I would suspect looking at these figures and the past years that we will end up at about the same level of crime in 2010 as we had in 2009,” he said. “Not necessarily in every category, but overall.”

But the police must act swiftly to address emerging patterns, Mr. Reppetto added.

Robert Johnson, 50, a cook, said he had noted an increase in violent crime around his home near Broadway Junction in Brooklyn. On June 20, a 31-year-old man was fatally shot across the street from a playground where he takes his grandchildren.

“The last year has been real crazy,” Mr. Johnson said, citing previous shootings on nearby Hull Street. “I come in a little earlier. When it gets dark, I take them in,” he said of the children.

In fact, the 73rd Precinct, where the park is, had 10 killings, as did the 81st Precinct, also in Brooklyn. The only precincts with more were the 75th, in East New York, Brooklyn, which had 15, and the 47th, in the north Bronx, with 11.

In the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn on Wednesday night, three people were shot, one fatally, while watching a basketball tournament at Kingston Park.

Jamal Jones, 23, said he had organized the tournament, which featured star players from local high schools and drew a crowd of about 100. “It was ugly, people getting trampled,” said Mr. Jones, who sustained a graze wound to his arm. “They’re lucky, because it could have been a whole lot worse.”

Craig Powell, 42, a schoolteacher who has lived in the area for 36 years, brought his daughters, 9 and 7, to the park on Thursday afternoon. He said he long ago became accustomed to a rise in crime during hot weather.

“It’s just living in the ’hood, unfortunately,” he said. “You just hear about it and pray it doesn’t happen to you and yours.”

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From: Smiling Bob6/18/2011 11:07:26 AM
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Pa. man clubs family to death with bat, kills self

The Associated Press

WARRINGTON, Pa. - Authorities in suburban Philadelphia say a man clubbed his wife and young son to death with a baseball bat before committing suicide on a set of train tracks.

Warrington Township police Officer Ken Hawthorn says 44-year-old Christopher Moyer called 911 on Friday night to say that he had killed his 39-year-old wife, Irina Moyer, and their 7-year-old son, Dylan.

Christopher Moyer's car was found parked behind a business near the train tracks. His body was found on the tracks in neighboring Montgomery County after he was struck by a train.

District Attorney David Heckler told the Bucks County Courier Times that police found a bloody baseball bat in the home, and there are indications that the family may have been having financial problems.

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From: Smiling Bob1/25/2013 10:11:01 AM
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Tide Thefts Leave Colo. Retailers Airing Dirty LaundryBy ABC News | ABC News Blogs – 2 hours 42 minutes ago





Tide Thefts Leave Colo. Retailers Airing Dirty Laundry (ABC News)











ABC News' Gio Benitez ( @GioBenitez) and Hana Karar ( @HanaKarar) report:

Retailers in Colorado are cracking down on Tide laundry detergent thefts by locking up the product and hiring undercover security guards to patrol their aisles.

The Colorado Retail Council hopes that such measures will help protect retailers from people who are shoplifting laundry detergent at an alarming rate.

"It's a very large problem that we have to spend a lot on and, unfortunately, that cost gets passed on to the costumer," Chris Howes, president of the Colorado Retail Council, said.

Police in Colorado are searching for a man they believe has stolen more than $8,000 worth of Tide laundry detergent in the Ft. Lupton area in Weld County. Police said the male suspect has been caught on surveillance video knocking off six different stores, taking Tide and expensive face lotions.

Tide is one of the most recognized laundry detergents with its bright-orange container. With a retail price from $10 to $20, Tide has become liquid gold on the streets. It can sell on the black market for half the price and it's impossible to track.

"Tide is highly recognizable, it's very difficult to trace and it's easily resold," said Brad Garrett, ABC News consultant and former FBI special agent.

In March, cameras caught a man stealing more than $6,000 worth of the product during the course of 15 months near Minneapolis.

"Tide is a staple item," Lt. Brad Pyle of Prince George's County, Md., police told ABC News in March. "Everybody uses it day in, day out. And it's the most popular brand, so they can move it and get a lot of money for it."

The National Retail Foundation found last year that 95 percent of companies were victimized by organized retail crime.

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From: Smiling Bob5/4/2014 8:06:25 AM
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When poor parents can't afford diapers, babies wear dirty diapers longer

MCT: Laurie Skrivan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
KeYanna Roddy changes the diaper on her son, Byron, his sixth of the morning, on April 9, 2014, in St. Louis. Because of many medications from his open-heart surgery, Byron can go through 10-15 diapers a day, putting a strain on Roddy's limited budget.
1 day ago By Nancy Cambria of St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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They are the first line of defense against infection and disease — and are even linked to preventing depression and violence.

Desperate people will sometimes steal to get them.

No, this is not a story about illicit pills or drug abuse. It's about disposable diapers, an item the poor need desperately.

Researchers are starting to realize "diaper need" not only causes obvious health problems for children, but leads to depression in moms and poor social and developmental outcomes for the child — even child abuse.

It is estimated that disposable diapers can cost up to $100 a month for one baby. On average, a newborn goes through eight to 10 diapers a day, said Melinda Ohlemiller, CEO of Nurses for Newborns.

Nurses with the organization see the diaper need firsthand with their clients but can offer minimal help.

To provide diapers for their mostly poor clients, Ohlemiller said, the organization would need 8,000 to 10,000 diapers a day. But the agency can supply only about 12 diapers to established clients on an emergency basis.

One of its clients, Catalina Martinez of Overland, Mo., said she was unable to work after having her second child. It's been difficult to afford diapers for a newborn and a toddler on her boyfriend's salary. She's had to keep a diaper on her child longer than she should.

"I even have tried to get my oldest one to potty train. But she wouldn't train yet."

Last summer a study in the medical journal Pediatrics identified "diaper need" among the poor as a growing health and psychological risk for babies and their mothers.

The study determined that as many as 30 percent of poor parents in New Haven, Conn., struggled to afford diapers for their infants. It further linked diaper need as a factor causing maternal depression, which can also lead to poor outcomes for children.

"There's just a great need ... and no one is calling attention to this," said DiAnne Mueller, CEO of Crisis Nursery, a St. Louis-area child abuse prevention agency.

Crisis Nursery workers sometimes go door-to-door in poor neighborhoods asking people what they need. The answer is almost always the same: diapers and formula.

Although formula purchases can be federally subsidized, diapers are not covered by food stamps through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC.

As a result, some food pantries are inundated with requests for disposable diapers. But the pantries don't get steady donations of them and don't always have them on the shelves. When they do, they fly out of the door, said Marcia Mermelstein, coordinator of the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry in St. Louis.

"We're giving people four to six diapers when in reality when most people buy a box of diapers, they're getting 24 or 48. It's like giving one tiny bar of soap a month. It's not enough, it's a token gesture," Mermelstein said.

Families will take what they can get, she said.

"They're taking diapers that are clearly too small and taping them together and using whatever they can."

Although charitable agencies see the diaper need, they can't make collecting and distributing diapers their first priority because it takes away energy and donations from their main services.

"Yes, we need diapers," Mermelstein said. "But in the great scheme of things, we are a food pantry and the highest priority is to give food for survival."

Some cities and regions have developed thriving diaper banks that collect and promote donated diapers and act as a clearinghouse to agencies like food pantries and community outreach centers.

According to the National Diaper Bank Network in Connecticut, about 100 established diaper banks operate nationwide. Happy Bottoms in Kansas City, Mo., for example, has distributed more than 1.5 million diapers to agencies that work with the poor.

But St. Louis is only in the beginning stages of developing such a resource.

Jessica Adams, a social worker, said she has filed the 501c paperwork for the St. Louis Area Diaper Bank and hopes to begin taking donations and making partnerships with agencies soon.

"I think the biggest issue in St. Louis is there's not a roundtable conversation going on about diaper need," she said. "So spreading the word to involve every agency will help everyone."

Adams said she realized the need after she went through a divorce with a toddler and three older children. Money was scarce, and she relied on food pantries to get by.

"I had to call family members for money for diapers," she said. "It's humiliating, absolutely humiliating."

Nurses for Newborns and Crisis Nursery workers hear of mothers rinsing out disposable diapers and reusing them. More commonly they see horrid cases of diaper rash.

Mueller said when a baby presents with bad rashes and even staph infections people unfairly conclude mothers are neglectful. But further questioning almost always reveals families are keeping the diapers on longer than they should because they don't have enough.

"Diapers are mandatory. They're not optional," said Ohlemiller. "And yet families are making really hard decisions: Are we going to buy diapers or formula or are we going to buy food? That stress is putting a lot of hardships on families."

Obtaining diapers can be more expensive for the poor because most don't have enough cash on hand to buy diapers in bulk at a cheaper cost per diaper. So they resort to buying smaller packages at higher prices. If a family lacks a working car, they often buy diapers at the local convenience store, where the price skyrockets.

Ohlemiller said cheaper cloth diapers are typically not an option for the poor who often lack working washers and dryers. Coin laundries often ban diapers in their machines for sanitary reasons.

Child care centers are another obstacle. Day cares often ban cloth diapers for sanitary and logistical reasons. Mothers using day cares are often in a double bind: They can't use cloth diapers, and if they run out of disposable diapers, they can't send their child to day care. Without day care, moms can't work.

Ohlemiller said families sometimes force toilet training on children who are not developmentally ready and fail, adding further stress in the household.

And the long-term issues of diaper needs are more chilling, said Mueller. Babies and toddlers with sore bottoms are cranky, so they cry more and bond less.

"What we see is a higher rate of child abuse," said Mueller. "The child is unable to be consoled, and the parent already has such limited resources both financially and emotionally. If the baby keeps crying and crying, it really gets to most anyone, so the risk of injury to the child is certainly much higher."

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From: Smiling Bob12/20/2014 7:39:05 PM
   of 21
 
Man charged with Doylestown false report in search for Montco killer, Bradley Stone







A Bucks County man has been charged with perpetrating a hoax that brought police to Doylestown in the search for mass killer Bradley Stone.







Friday, December 19, 2014 11:25PM
Bucks County authorities have announced charges connected to a false report in the manhunt for Bradley Stone in the hours following his killing spree in Montgomery County earlier this week.

Luke Sanderlin, 34, of Doylestown Township is charged with filing a false report, reckless endangerment and risking a catastrophe.

The Bucks County District Attorney says Sanderlin claimed that a man fitting Stone's description tried to carjack him. He allegedly told authorities that he fired a gun at the man, who then fled the scene.

Authorities say Sanderlin's story was all a hoax.

Bucks County District Attorney Dave Heckler says it brought numerous agencies away from Montgomery County where they believed Stone was hiding.

Hospitals and neighborhoods were put on lockdown.

Heckler says, "He caused an enormous amount of expense, anguish, anxiety, and some very real risks."

After Stone's deadly rampage Monday morning law enforcement swarmed the area around the four crime scenes: in Souderton where three were found dead and a teenage boy critically wounded; in Lansdale where two others were found dead; in Lower Salford where Stone killed his ex-wife and took his two daughters; and in Pennsburg where Stone dropped his daughters off with a neighbor before fleeing.

Stone's body would eventually be found Tuesday in a wooded area near his Pennsburg home.

However, Monday night while police continued to scour the area they received a report from Bucks County over of a violent encounter, possibly involving Bradley Stone.

It all started just before 8:00 p.m. at the Stonington Farm apartment complex in Doylestown, located near North Shady Retreat Road and Burpee Road.

Sanderlin allegedly told arriving officers that he was walking his dog when he was confronted by a man in fatigues and armed with a knife who demanded his car keys.

Authorities say Sanderlin claimed his dog bit stone, but he had a gun and fired three rounds at the suspect as he ran into a nearby wooded area.

K-9 units and helicopters from surrounding police departments were called in to search the area for Stone. In addition, residents were ordered to "shelter in place" while the search continued.

Authorities say they soon learned that Sanderlin's story was untrue.

Police say they do believe he fired his handgun and he does have a dog. But the rest is a lie.

The motive? The DA says attention for financial gain. The defendant allegedly desperate to raise money for a medical condition.

"The fundraising wasn't going well and we're contending that Mr. Stone's terrible crimes gave the opportunity for that 'something else' to happen," Heckler said.

Heckler says by coincidence there was an acquaintance of stone's in the same apartment complex. So they thought a sighting might be credible.

Sanderlin is currently being held on $250,000 bail.
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