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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.

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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.

Alabama ‘funeral bandit’ used obituaries to target homes for break-ins, police say

An Alabama woman has been charged with multiple burglaries that she is accused of committing while the homeowners were at the funerals of loved ones.

Jennifer Lynn Azizian, of Madison, is charged with four counts of felony burglary out of Priceville and a single count of misdemeanor burglary by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. 

Sheriff’s Office and Priceville police officials allege Azizian found her targets by reading local obituaries. She then Googled addresses of those listed as survivors and broke into their homes while they were attending the funerals, investigators said. 

“She would then go to the address during the time of the funeral and forcibly enter the home to locate prescription medication,” Sheriff’s Office officials said in a news release.

“As people were laying their loved ones to rest, little did they know that someone was adding to their grief by breaking into their homes,” Priceville police officials said in a statement obtained by AL.com. “It was clear that the suspect had been researching obituaries for some time.”

>> Read more trending news

Princeville police officials said they had video footage of the burglar and her vehicle but did not know who she was, AL.com said. That changed Feb. 20, when Morgan County deputies received a call about a burglary in progress in neighboring Hartselle. 

The deputies performed a traffic stop on Azizian, who was identified by the homeowner, Sheriff’s Office officials said. 

Azizian allegedly gave investigators a statement admitting to the burglaries.

She was booked into the Morgan County Jail with bond set at $60,300. She is no longer listed as an inmate, suggesting she has been released.

Geoff Halbrooks, a longtime employee of Peck Funeral Home in Hartselle, told WHNT News 19 in Huntsville that social media is making crimes like those Azizian is accused of easier to commit.

“(They) look on social media and look at their newspapers and just find those families,” Halbrooks said. “There are ways to do that now without a funeral home or anyone else giving their specific address.”

He urged grieving loved ones to have someone they trust house-sit while they are away at funerals. 

“There are friends and extended family members that would be glad to stay at their home to watch over their personal things while they're handling the affairs of the funeral,” Halbrooks told the news station

Florida 'tag man' accused of selling fake license plates, insurance cards

A man nicknamed the “Tag Man” has been tagged by police in South Florida.

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Police in Boynton Beach arrested Fedelin Pericles, 36, of Royal Palm Beach, on Wednesday, WPTV reported. Pericles was arrested after undercover agents bought two fraudulent temporary license tags and a false insurance card during three different transactions, the Sun-Sentinel reported, citing a police report.

Pericles is charged with three counts of counterfeiting a motor vehicle registration, three counts of falsifying records, three counts of uttering a forged instrument, three counts of organized fraud and three counts of driving with a suspended license, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives received an anonymous tip that the “Tag Man” was selling temporary tags for $60 and fake insurance cards for $100, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Three separate undercover agents met with Pericles, the newspaper reported. Pericles sold one agent a fake plate on Jan. 31, a second agent an insurance card on Feb. 1, and a phony plate to the third agent Feb. 8, the newspaper reported.

The transactions were recorded on video with audio, police said.

Alabama woman used obituaries to target burglary victims, police say

An Alabama woman used obituary notices to target her victims in a series of burglaries, WHNT reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Jennifer Lynn Azizian, of Madison, faces four counts of third-degree burglary and one count of first-degree of criminal mischief, AL.com reported. According to Priceville police, the burglaries occurred while the victims were attending a family member’s funeral, the website reported.

“As people were laying their loved ones to rest, little did they know that someone was adding to their grief by breaking into their homes,” Priceville police said in a statement. “It was clear that the suspect had been researching obituaries for some time.”

Officials at the Morgan County Jail said Azizian's total bond was set at $87,800, WHNT reported. She bonded out Thursday afternoon.

Geoff Halbrooks, who has worked at the Peck Funeral Home in Morgan County for 36 years, said social media is making this type of crime easier to commit, the television station reported.

"Look on social media and look at their newspapers and just find those families. There are ways to do that now without a funeral home or anyone else giving their specific address," Halbrooks told WHNT. "We encourage people to maybe have someone to stay at their home when they are away. There are friends and extended family members that would be glad to stay at their home to watch over their personal things while they're handling the affairs of the funeral.”

Arizona man accused of impersonating deputy, kidnapping

An Arizona man is accused of impersonating a sheriff’s deputy, kidnapping and demanding money from a man at gunpoint, KNXV reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Daniel James Huntington, 61, of Scottsdale, was charged with felony counts of kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, impersonating a police officer and endangerment, according to an arrest report by the Scottsdale Police Department. Huntington also was charged with intimidation and theft, both misdemeanors, according to the report.

According to Scottsdale police, a woman called and said a man who claimed to be a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy was threatening her husband, KNXV reported. 

Police said Huntington, a contractor, hired the victim to do some construction at a home that he owns. According to police, Huntington was not satisfied with the work and reportedly demanded the victim pay him $1,350, the television station reported.

Huntington allegedly showed the victim an identification card and claimed to be a deputy, KNXV reported. He then allegedly pulled out a gun, loaded it and threatened to shoot the victim if payment was not made, the television station reported.

Syrian refugees who fled country’s violence lose all 7 children in Canada house fire

A Syrian family who escaped violence in their homeland in 2017 lost all seven of their children to a house fire in Canada early Tuesday morning.

Halifax police officers, firefighters and emergency responders were called out just before 1 a.m. Tuesday to the family’s rented home in the Spryfield community, where they found parents Ebraheim and Kawthar Barho outside the home. Officials with the Halifax Regional Police said the children’s mother escaped the blaze with minor injuries, but Ebraheim Barho suffered life-threatening injuries. 

He remained in critical condition Thursday, Canada’s Global News reported.

>> Read more trending news

The family’s next-door neighbor, Danielle Burt, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) she awoke to a loud noise in the early morning hours. 

“I heard a huge bang (as) I was laying in bed with my daughter, followed by a woman screaming,” Burt told the CBC. “So I jumped up out of bed and looked out the back window, and all I could see was flames shooting out from the back door going out onto their deck.”

Burt grabbed her own four children and ran outside, where she was among several neighbors who called 911, the CBC reported. 

“It happened all so fast,” Burt said. “The house went up really quickly.”

Later that morning, officials confirmed the horrific news that the couple’s children, including their Canadian-born 4-month-old son, died in the fire, which the CBC described as the most deadly blaze in recent Nova Scotia history. 

Leaders at the Al-Barakah Masjid mosque, which the Barho family attended, identified the children as Ahmed, 15, Rola, 12, Mohammed, 9, Ghala, 8, Hala, 4, Rana, 3, and baby Abdullah. Their funeral was being planned for as soon as the children’s bodies are released by investigators. 

“Please pray for this family, for the father to survive, for the wife to be OK soon, for these little kids to rest in peace,” Imam Abdallah Hussein wrote on Facebook.

Imam Ibrahim Al-shanti, who presides over the mosque, said Kawthar Barho told him she’d gone downstairs to prepare formula for her infant son when she found the first floor of the house on fire. She screamed for her husband, who ran downstairs and tried to extinguish the blaze.

When he couldn’t douse it, he pushed his wife away from the flames and tried to save their children, Al-shanti told Global News.

The HEART Society, an East Hants-based refugee team that sponsored the family when they arrived in Nova Scotia in September 2017, also posted about the lost children. 

“It is with great heartbreak we confirm that all seven children of the Barho family perished in an overnight fire,” a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page Tuesday afternoon reads. “The children’s father was badly injured trying to rescue the children, and he is in critical condition.”

Warm welcome away from danger

The family was warmly welcomed to East Hants, a city in Hants County, Nova Scotia, Sept. 29, 2017, by a group of people waving Canadian flags and giant cardboard maple leaves at the Halifax Stansfield International Airport. The Enfield Weekly Press captured their arrival on video, which showed the Barho parents and their older children smiling broadly at members of their new community. 

“Although the Barho family moved to Spryfield in October, they missed the people of East Hants and planned to move back next week,” the HEART Society’s Facebook post read. “The four school-aged children were really looking forward to returning to their schools, Elmsdale District School and Riverside Education Centre.”

At the time of their deaths, the two oldest children attended Rockingstone Heights, an elementary and junior high school, and the younger school-aged children, Mohamad and Ghala, attended Central Spryfield Elementary School. 

“This is a tremendously difficult day for both school communities and we ask media to refrain from contacting each school at this time so they can focus on supporting the needs of their students and staff,” a statement from officials with the Halifax Regional Centre for Education stated

Additional staff was put in place at both schools to help students deal with the loss of their classmates, the statement read. 

Central Spryfield administrators tweeted their thanks Wednesday to the community for the outpouring of support being shown as the school dealt with the “unimaginable loss.” They quoted the children’s book “Charlotte’s Web.”

“You have been my friend. That, in itself, is a tremendous thing,” the quote read

Rockingstone Heights’ staff members also tweeted their thanks, saying they felt the support and appreciated the kindness being shown.

Burt said the Barho children had become good friends with her own since the family moved in next door last fall. 

“They were just over at our house yesterday,” Burt told the CBC the day of the fire. “It’s just something out of a horror movie that you just never would wish on anybody.”

The HEART Society thanked everyone in the communities where the family lived for making them feel welcome during their time in Nova Scotia. 

“Many people, far too many to name, helped bring the Barho family to East Hants and get settled,” the organization’s post read. “For the past year and a half, the children have been able to enjoy life as kids should be able to: Going to school, riding bicycles, swimming, having friends, running in the yard, celebrating birthday parties and hanging out with the neighbors on their porch swing. 

“They loved every minute of it, and it seems impossible we won’t hear their laughter and feel their hugs again.” 

Imam Ibrahim Al-shanti, who presides over the family’s mosque, described the children as “lovely” and said the family had been filled with hope as they started life in their new country. He said Kawthar Barho is struggling to cope with the loss of her children as her husband now fights for his life. 

“We have all hopes that they will survive this,” Al-shanti told the news agency

About 20 members of Halifax’s Syrian community had shown up at the hospital since the fire to offer the couple their support, the imam said. 

‘It won’t get any easier’

Support has also poured in from across Canada and beyond as government officials expressed their own grief over the children’s deaths. Canada’s immigration minister, Ahmed Hussen, told CBC settlement organizations have brought in crisis counselors to counsel those in the community who have been impacted by the devastating fire. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who attended a candlelight vigil for the children in Halifax Wednesday night, also grieved the loss in a statement. 

“Words fail when children are taken from us too soon, especially in circumstances like this,” Trudeau wrote Tuesday morning on Twitter. “My heart goes out to the survivors of the horrible fire in Halifax this morning, and the loved ones who are mourning this tremendous loss.”

A GoFundMe page set up by the Spryfield community has raised more than $450,000 of its $1 million goal in two days. The funds are intended to help the children’s parents restart their lives. 

The HEART Society is also dedicating all donations received during the month of February to helping the Barhos move forward. The organization’s fundraising page can be found here

Halifax officials said the investigation into the fire that killed the Barho children could take months. It’s the second fire in Nova Scotia in the past 14 months that killed multiple children, the CBC reported. 

The Jan. 7, 2018, fire in Pubnico Head that killed three siblings, Mya Prouty, 7, Jayla Kennedy, 4, Winston Prouty, 4 months, and a cousin, Mason Grant, 7, who was staying over for a sleepover, was caused by heat from the chimney of the home’s wood stove, the CBC reported last February. The siblings’ parents, Phil Prouty and Emma Kennedy, also survived that blaze.  

Deputy Fire Chief Dave Meldrum told the news agency firefighters who responded to the fire at the Barho’s rented home found heavy flames on both floors that made it challenging to fight. The house was gutted and the roof destroyed.

Fire officials have also called in crisis counselors for the first responders, according to Halifax District Fire Chief Mike Blackburn.  

“They’ll process this over time, but it’s very, very difficult and it’s not going to get any easier,” Blackburn told the CBC

Police say tractor was used to impale, kill cow in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Police are investigating a gruesome case of animal cruelty.

According to police, someone stole a farm tractor and caused damage to a farm in Hempfield Township, Pennsylvania, the morning of Feb. 12.

>> Read more trending news 

Authorities say the tractor operator used the tractor’s 4-foot-long forks to impale a cow.

According to The Associated Press, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Stephen Limani said investigators believe the act was deliberate, involving more than one person. 

Police say the cow is valued at about $1,000.

“Most likely, our criminal is going to be somebody who is familiar with these types of tractors,” Limani told WPXI. “It’s pretty alarming and sad that we would have someone who would commit a crime like this.”

Man charged for allegedly putting 4-year-old's hand on stove

A father in Millersburg, Ohio, appeared in court Tuesday after he was accused of putting his 4-year-old son’s hand on a wood-burning stove to punish him.

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The Daily Record reported Jacob Miller pleaded not guilty to a charge of fourth-degree felony domestic violence. Prosecuting attorney Matt Muzic told the publication the charge is at a felony level because Miller has a past conviction for child endangerment. 

According to Muzic, Miller told Holmes County Sheriff’s Office deputies he held his son’s hand on the stove as a form of punishment. He moved it from the top of the stove to a lower area after he decided the top wasn’t hot enough.

Muzic expects more severe charges to emerge once the charges reach a grand jury.

Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terror attack: What we know now

A lieutenant with the U.S. Coast Guard is accused of plotting to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," court documents said.

>> Read more trending news 

Coast Guard investigators and FBI agents arrested Christopher Hasson, 49, of Silver Spring, Maryland, on drug and weapons charges Friday, WJLA reported, citing federal prosecutors.

>> Read the court documents here

Here's what we know so far:

1. Who is he? 

Prosecutors described Hasson's current charges, including illegal possession of a firearm/ammunition and possession of the opioid Tramadol, as the "tip of the iceberg."

The 49-year-old former Marine, who has worked as an acquisitions officer at the Coast Guard's Washington headquarters since 2016, "has espoused extremist views for years," court documents said.

The alleged "domestic terrorist" is "bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct," prosecutors said.

In a 2017 email draft found on his computer, the self-described white nationalist reportedly said he was "dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on earth," prosecutors said. He also considered "biological attacks," targeting the food supply, bombings and sniper attacks, court documents said.

2. Who did he allegedly plan to target?

After reading a manifesto by Anders Breivik, a Norwegian extremist who killed 77 people in a 2011 terror attack, about how to choose victims, Hasson identified several Democratic lawmakers and TV personalities as "traitors," court documents said. They included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer; U.S. Sens. Kristen Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Tim Kaine and Richard Blumenthal; U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson and Ihlan Omar; former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke; MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Chris Hayes; and CNN's Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and Van Jones.

3. He acquired several weapons over the years, authorities said. 

Investigators said they discovered 15 firearms and at least 1,000 rounds of ammunition at Hasson's home this month, according to the court documents.

4. Authorities believe Hasson used the opioid Tramadol and had several bottles of human growth hormone. 

Email records showed that Hasson ordered more than 4,200 Tramadol pills, prosecutors said. Investigators also found more than 30 bottles labeled "HGH" inside his home, according to court documents.

5. Hasson will remain jailed

Federal Magistrate Judge Charles Day on Thursday ordered Hasson be held without bond, but Day said he might reconsider his position if prosecutors file no more serious charges against Hasson in the next two weeks.

Hasson’s attorney argued in court Thursday that his client was targeted by the FBI to prove that the agency “is not just targeting Muslims,” WBAL-TV reported.

In a court filing, prosecutors say Hasson has espoused extremist views for years and drafted an email in which he said he was "dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth."

Prosecutors say federal agents found 15 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition inside Hasson's Maryland apartment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video shows man punch his attorney after sentenced to prison for domestic violence, arson

A man punched his attorney in court after being sentenced to prison.

WKYC reported David Chislton, 42, was sentenced to 47 years in prison on nearly two dozen charges, including aggravated arson, domestic violence and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

Chilston punched his attorney, Aaron Brockler, moments after being sentenced. 

Brockler, who was knocked out and left with a broken nose and a concussion, told WJW the punch came out of nowhere.

>> Read more trending news 

“I went to go turn to tell him ‘I’ll come and see you privately to discuss what your options are,’ and before I could even get the words out, I just got sucker-punched right in the side of the head,” Brockler told WJW. “While his crimes were serious, I think it was just a big number for him and he lashed out against me for whatever reason.”

Brockler was taken to a hospital as a precaution, Cleveland.com reported

Brockler told WJW the incident could have been avoided had his client been handcuffed with his hands behind his back.

“He had the handcuffs around the front of him, so that means he had full range of motion ... Typically the inmates are restrained behind their back, but from the minute he came out, he had his hands in front of him,” he said.

On April 10, 2017, prosecutors said, Chislton pistol-whipped the victim and threatened to kill her after she accused him of sexually abusing her 15-year-old daughter, Cleveland.com reported.  

The girlfriend got away safely, but Chislton barricaded himself and threatened to harm himself and others. WOIO reported he set the apartment unit on fire, which spread other units and has displaced 16 families. Police were in a standoff with Chislton for hours.

In the wake of Chislton’s attack on Brockler, deputies are completing paperwork to file new charges against him.

“What occurred in courtroom 18-C today was unfortunate, and we are thankful that Attorney Aaron Brockler was not more seriously injured,” Judge Nancy Margaret Russo, who sentenced Chislton, said in a statement. “We wish him the best in a speedy recovery.”

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