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Texas man robbed store clerk, lit customer on fire, police say

A Texas man is accused of binding two women with duct tape, pouring lighter fluid on them and burning one of them during a convenience store robbery Thursday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Robert Thompson, 40, is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated robbery, according to a news release from the Palestine Police Department. He is being held at the Anderson County Jail in lieu of a $4 million bond, KETK reported.

Police said Thompson robbed the cashier at the Pit Stop convenience store in Palestine and robbed another customer at gunpoint, Palestine police Chief Andy Harvey said Thursday.

“If you can believe that,” Harvey said. “It’s hard to describe watching it on video.”

Muhammad Khan, the owner of the convenience store, released surveillance video to KETK. It shows a man in a white coat with a fuzzy hood, later identified by police as Thompson, bind cashier Linda Camire and Della Witt-Denizeri, a customer, the Palestine Herald-Press reported.

Thompson then allegedly poured lighter fluid on the women and lit Witt-Denizeri, on fire, KLTV reported.

Harvey said Camire was able to help Witt-Denizeri remove her burning shirt, the television station reported. Witt-Denizeri was taken to an area hospital and then moved to a Dallas facility for treatment, KLTV reported.

“She did suffer some burns around her head and her hair was burned,” Harvey told the Star-Telegram. “She was able to put out the flames before they became life-threatening.

Thompson allegedly left with between $700 and $800 in cash, Khan told KLTV.

Thompson was arrested at 5 p.m. Thursday at another convenience store in Palestine, the Palestine Police Department said in its release.

Package containing ashes of Colorado man's father stolen by porch pirate 

A Colorado man, waiting for his father’s ashes to arrive in a package, never received them.

>> Read more trending news 

Austin Baker, of Fort Collins, said he reconnected with his father eight years ago on Facebook, but the man was diagnosed with bladder cancer and died Dec. 23, KDVR reported.

Baker said after his father’s death, his cousin shipped ashes from the East Coast to Colorado, the television station reported.

"Knowing that once you open the package, you know what’s inside of it, I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t try to get them back," Baker told KDVR.

Baker posted a sign on his front lawn and created a Craigslist page, offering $500 for the return of the ashes.

"Having that stripped away, I just wanted that closure, you know,” Baker told KDVR. “Conquer a 14er with him and get to the top and let him rest in peace on top of a mountain."

Report: Man dressed as elf at school Christmas photo shoot is sex offender

A man who dressed as an elf and took Christmas photos with children at an Arkansas elementary has been revealed as a sex offender, KARK reported.

Joshua Duvall was arrested by Pulaski County sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday, the television station reported. He faces a charge of being a registered offender on a school campus, according to court records. 

Friday, the Pulaski County Special School District announced changes to its school visitor scanning process, KARK reported.

The television station, citing a report filed with the sheriff’s office, said Duvall dressed as an elf and went with a man dressed as Santa Claus at Lawson Elementary in Little Rock on Dec. 18. The man dressed as Santa was known to school staff and is a grandparent to one of the school’s students, KARK reported.

The man dressed as an elf was reported as a sex offender by a parent to the school’s principal. The principal reported the information to school district officials, but “no actions were taken” until the principal filed a report with deputies, according to the sheriff’s office.

The Pulaski County Special School District Superintendent Charles McNulty released a statement, saying the Dec. 18 event “fell outside of our normal process of vetting personnel that we allow on district property.”

McNulty added that vetting processes will be followed for all visitors to “ensure our students’ safety.

Oregon man unhurt when stuck car hit by train

A 20-year-old Oregon man was arrested early Friday morning after deputies said he drove his truck onto railroad tracks in Aloha and was hit by a train, The Oregonian reported.

The silver 2002 BMW 3-Series sedan, which was stuck on the tracks, was pushed 15 feet down the tracks by the Portland & Western Railroad train, which had two engines and 33 cars, KPTV reported.

The man was not hurt, police told the television station.

Washington County sheriff’s deputies said they cited the driver, who has not been identified, for driving under the influence, the Oregonian reported.

'National emergency' message on Oregon church sign goes viral

A photograph of a church marquee in Oregon commenting about a national emergency has been shared more than 40,000 times since it was posted Wednesday on FacebookThe Oregonian reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The sign, outside the Clackamas United Church of Christ in Milwaukie, reads, in all capital letters, “National Emergency: 44 million people without health insurance,” the newspaper reported.

Rev. Adam Ericksen, the church’s pastor since 2017, said the reason for the the marquee was to “get our message about God’s love for all people into the neighborhood.”

“I think it’s important to have a sign like this because during the last few years in particular, I have noticed that progressive Christians need to be bold with our message,” Ericksen told the Oregonian. “That message is this: God loves all people and God works for a more just and inclusive world. Jesus always sought to include into his community those who were marginalized by the religious authorities of his day.”

“As for the national emergency message, the sick came to Jesus in search of healing,” Ericksen told the newspaper. “He saw they were in an emergency and he provided them with free health care. We seek to follow Jesus. For us, that means working for a world where everyone is cared for and included in a community of love and justice.”

There are two parts to the sign, however, although the health insurance message is getting the most attention, according to the Oregonian. 

“National Emergency: 553,700 are homeless,” the marquee reads. “Sunday 10:30.”

‘Tears of joy’: Alleged R. Kelly victim says she’s overjoyed by his arrest

One of the alleged victims of Grammy-winning singer R. Kelly told WSB-TV she thought his arrest would never come — until it happened Friday.

>> Read more trending news

“When I first heard the news, I started crying because it was tears of joy,” Asante McGee said.

McGee said she used to live with Robert Sylvester Kelly, better known as R&B artist R. Kelly, at his mansion in Johns Creek about six years ago. She is one of many women accusing him of physically, emotionally and sexually abusing them at his homes in Chicago and North Fulton County.

“To know that we finally got an indictment after two decades, after him getting away with the allegations, it was a joyous moment for me,” she told WSB-TV “Just knowing the things that he was doing to those young girls was really sickening.”

McGee was featured in the recent docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired in January. Kelly has denied all allegations made against him. McGee believes the TV show led to Kelly’s charges, who was indicted Friday on 10 charges of aggravated sexual assault in Chicago.

She met the now 52-year-old entertainer when she was in her 30s, she told the news station. McGee said Kelly took her and two other women to his Johns Creek mansion in 2016. She accused him of making odd demands, controlling them and sexually humiliating them.

“He told me when I go get clothes, to bring all of my stuff to his house including my computer because I’m going to be living here with daddy,” she previously told WSB-TV. “He told me (to move in with him). That was not up for discussion.” 

Following the documentary’s premiere, TMZ reported the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office was investigating the allegations made against Kelly that involve his mansion in Johns Creek. DA spokesman Chris Hopper told AJC.com on Friday the office still has no comment.

However, a no-bail arrest warrant was issued Friday afternoon by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in Chicago. She unveiled a grand jury indictment against Kelly that involves four victims, three of them minors at the time of the alleged crimes.

The singer, known for hit singles such as “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Ignition,” turned himself in to Chicago police around 9 p.m. Friday, according to the Chicago Tribune. A bond hearing is scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Chicago. 

“There’s no way he will get away this time,” McGee said.

Amazon sued over bathroom breaks in federal ADA lawsuit

Amazon is facing a federal lawsuit over bathroom breaks. It comes from a call center employee who says Amazon violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing him for “time theft.”

>> Read more trending news

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, in Lexington, Kentucky, last week and, on Friday, KIRO-TV talked to Jim Adams, who filed the complaint on behalf of Nicholas Stover. 

Stover has the digestive disorder Crohn’s disease, which leads to frequent trips to the bathroom. The lawsuit claims Stover was discriminated against and fired from the Amazon customer service center in Winchester, Kentucky.

“Nick had been a valued employee,” Adams said. “He was never provided with unscheduled bathroom time beyond the very small and draconian bathroom times for all employees.”

Amazon did not respond to KIRO-TV’s request for comment because of the pending lawsuit. But Amazon previously said it does not monitor bathroom breaks.

“We believe the facts of this case will show that every minute, an employee is occupied,” Adams said, “and how they are occupied is electronically documented, and we believe there is nothing an employee does that isn't monitored.”

KIRO-TV has covered past union complaints of the high demand on workers at Amazon fulfilment centers. The current lawsuit out of Kentucky mentions high demands, but it zeroes in on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“A manager told him at the time of his dismissal that the reason for his dismissal was time theft,” Adams said. 

The lawsuit is seeking at least $3 million in damages.

R. Kelly surrenders to Chicago police

Prosecutors in Illinois have filed 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against R&B musician R. Kelly, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said Friday at a news conference.

Foxx said the charges were related to incidents alleged to have occurred between 1998 and 2010 with four separate victims.

>> Read more trending news

Update 9:20 p.m. EST Feb. 22: R. Kelly turned himself in to Chicago police after being charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse.

The 52-year-old singer, whose real name is Robert Kelly, arrived at the precinct in a van about 8:15 p.m. Friday. If taken into custody, he is expected to be held overnight and appear Saturday in bond court.

Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg said he maintains his innocence and looks forward to being acquitted at trial.

Update 6:30 p.m. EST Feb. 22: R. Kelly’s attorney said the singer is “shell-shocked” by the aggravated sexual abuse indictment against him and plans to turn himself in to authorities Friday night.

Steve Greenberg told The Associated Press that his client is “extraordinarily disappointed and depressed” by the 10 counts Chicago prosecutors filed against him.

Update 3:15 p.m. EST Feb. 22: Authorities held a brief news conference Friday to announce the charges against Kelly.

Foxx said the charges brought against Kelly involve four victims, three of which were under the age of 17 at the time of the alleged sexual abuse. The alleged sexual abuse took place between 1998 and 2010, she said.

The charges are class 2 felonies which carry maximum sentences of seven years per charge, Foxx said. She added that they were “also probationable.”

“We anticipate that Mr. Kelly will appear in bond court tomorrow afternoon,” Foxx said.

Update 2:50 p.m. EST Feb. 22: The Chicago Tribune reported that the charges against Kelly involve four victims, at least three of which are underage. The incidents were alleged to have occurred between 1998 and 2010 with minors between the ages of 13 and 16, according to the Tribune.

A judge on Friday approved of a no-bail arrest warrant for Kelly, the Sun-Times reported.

Authorities are expected to provide more information on the case at a news conference Friday afternoon.

Original report: Tandra Simonton, spokeswoman for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, confirmed to The Associated Press that charges had been filed against the 52-year-old Grammy winner but declined to say the specific number. Media reports said there were 10 counts, all involving underage victims.

>> New sex tape allegedly shows R. Kelly having sex with underage girl, according to reports

The charges are felonies that carry maximum sentences of seven years each, if Kelly is convicted, WGN-TV reported.

Kelly, one of the top-selling recording artists of all time, has several times over the years been accused of sexual misconduct, allegations that he’s consistently denied.

Jurors acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges at a 2008 trial. Those charges stemmed from a video prosecutors alleged showed of Kelly having sex with a girl as young as 13.

>> Report: R. Kelly being investigated by Atlanta-area DA after docuseries abuse allegations

The latest charges were filed nearly two weeks after a man gave authorities new footage that purportedly showed Kelly engaging in sexual acts with an underage girl.

The man's attorney, Michael Avenatti, told CNN last week that the man was a whistleblower. Avenatti said his client “worked for and has known R. Kelly for decades and he met the girl on a number of occasions.”

On Friday, Avenatti seemed to announce the charges against Kelly with a two word tweet: “It’s over.”

>> Who is R. Kelly? 7 things to know 

“After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R. Kelly has arrived,” he wrote in a subsequent tweet.

Avenatti said he will provide more information about the case at a press conference Friday afternoon. Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx is also expected to hold a news conference Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

How police uncovered prostitution at Florida spa Kraft allegedly visited

Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, was one of 26 men videotaped receiving paid sex acts at a Florida spa, according to an affidavit signed by police in Jupiter, Florida. 

>> Read more trending news

Police say they staked out Orchids of Asia Day Spa in November 2018 and watched only male customers come and go -- staying about 30-45 minutes. 

Police say they took that information to the local inspectional services and requested a routine inspection. That inspection turned up evidence that three women were working the business and apparently living there with beds, sheet and pillows found in two rooms. 

Investigators say they combed through trash discarded by the employees at the spa during the inspection and turned up a torn-up spreadsheet with names of customers, services and the name "LuLu" -- which they say matched a provider listed on a website cataloging spas offering prostitution. 

Investigators say the discarded trash also contained napkins with semen on them. 

Police say they watched a man enter the business and when he left, pulled him over for a traffic citation. Officers questioned him about his visit to the spa. He told officers Lei Wang -- one of the women arrested earlier this week -- gave him a massage before performing a sex act on him. 

Several other men seen leaving the business told similar stories, police wrote in the affidavit

In January, police got a search warrant to conduct video surveillance in the business. The video was monitored for five days by the Jupiter Police Department. 

The police affidavit then outlines various sexual encounters caught on video involving 26 different men.

Each description involves men paying women for various sex acts in a room and then tipping the women in cash. 

The men are not named within that affidavit but are listed on a separate document. 

Louisiana woman arrested for posting school fight video to Facebook

A Louisiana woman has been arrested for posting a video of a fight that happened at her son’s high school on social media, according to police.

>> Read more trending news 

Maegan Adkins-Barras, 32, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of unlawful posting of criminal activity for notoriety after she posted a video to Facebook showing a fight at Acadiana High School she got from her son’s phone, the Scott Police Department said in a statement. Police said Adkins-Barras admitted to posting the video, which was “shared repeatedly.”

The fight happened Tuesday in a common area of the school, police said. During the fight, one teen throws a punch at another teen, causing him to fall and strike his head on a concrete bench, according to police.

The injured teen was taken to a hospital for treatment and has since been released, The Advocate reported.

One of the teens involved in the fight is charged with second-degree battery, and the other teen faces a charge of disturbing the peace by fighting.

“Parents who receive information concerning criminal activity on school campuses are urged to contact their local police department or school administration,” police said in the statement. “Posting videos and photos of illegal activity on social media is against the law in the State of Louisiana.”

Adkins-Barras faces a $500 fine and up to six months in prison -- but criminal defense attorney Franz Borghardt told The Advocate that prosecuting Adkins-Barras may be difficult. The law she allegedly broke appears to apply only to "a person who is either a principal or accessory to a crime," he said.

Borghardt, who isn’t representing Adkins-Barras, said prosecutors will have to prove Adkins-Barras somehow encouraged the fight and that she posted the video to achieve notoriety or publicity.

"Just because you post something on social media doesn't mean you're looking for that,” he said. “You can share ideas and thoughts. I think they'll have a serious constitutional problem with this crime. I think it just smells of desperation in the sense that they're trying to fit a square peg in a round hole."

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