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Man racks up $8,000 bill at Florida resort with fake credit card, police say

A New York man is accused of charging more than $8,000 at a Florida resort hotel with a counterfeit credit card, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

>> Read more trending news

Gavroch Muller Cadet, 27, of Brooklyn, was arrested Monday and charged with multiple counts of forgery of a credit card and a count of possession of marijuana, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said. He was released after posting $30,150 bail, the Times reported.

Cadet checked into a room at the Don CeSar resort in St. Pete Beach on Friday and gave the desk clerk a phony Connecticut driver’s license and a fake American Express card, deputies said. Cadet used the cards to buy food, drinks, clothes and movie rentals, the Times reported.

The total amount of items charged added up to $8,048.94, the Times reported.

Billboards seek ‘Losing Streak Lois,’ killer grandma wanted in 2 slayings

U.S. marshals have erected billboards in multiple states as they continue to search for a Minnesota grandmother, gambling addict and alleged killer who is suspected in two homicides, including that of a woman she allegedly killed to assume her identity. 

Lois Riess, 56, was last seen April 8 in the area of Corpus Christi, Texas, following what is believed to be a multistate homicide case. She is sought on murder and theft charges in the slaying of Pamela Hutchinson, of Bradenton, who was found shot to death April 9 in a condominium in which she was staying in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. 

Riess, who Minnesota law enforcement officers dubbed “Losing Streak Lois” for her penchant for gambling, is also a person of interest in the killing of her husband, David Riess, who was found shot to death March 23 on the couple’s worm farm in Blooming Prairie.

In each shooting, the victim had been dead for several days when the body was found. Authorities also believe Lois Riess used the same weapon in both cases.

>> Related story: Minnesota grandma sought in deaths of husband, Florida ‘lookalike’ killed for ID

The U.S. Marshals Service on Tuesday updated the search for Riess to major status and announced a $5,000 reward for her capture. Another $1,000 in reward money is being made available by Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers.  

John Kinsey, a deputy U.S. marshal in Florida, told the Star Tribune in Minneapolis that the billboards are going up in Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona. 

“Unfortunately, there have been no further sightings,” Kinsey told the Star Tribune. “She blends in real well. She is an average, 56-year-old white female walking around, and that is part of the problem.”

>> Read more trending news

Florida investigators have said Riess killed Hutchinson, 59, for her identity. The women, who were strangers before Riess befriended Hutchinson, bore a striking resemblance to one another. 

Surveillance footage from the Smokin’ Oyster Brewery, located two blocks from Hutchinson’ condo at the Marina Village at Snug Harbor, shows Riess smiling and chatting with a blonde woman in a hat who Lee County Sheriff’s Office detectives have identified as Hutchinson. 

Hutchinson’s cousin on Monday posted an image from the surveillance footage to Facebook, side by side with an undated image of Hutchinson wearing that same hat as in the footage. 

Officials with the U.S. Marshals Service said investigators believe Hutchinson was killed on or around April 5, when the surveillance footage at the bar was shot. 

Lee County officials also on Tuesday released several snippets of surveillance video, including one piece that shows Riess, wearing the same blue shirt seen in the bar video, calmly walking away from Marina Village toward the parking lot. She is seen on another video driving away in Hutchinson’s white 2005 Acura TL.

Hutchinson’s keys, identification, cash and credit cards were also missing when her body was found.

The News-Press in Fort Myers reported Tuesday that sometime after Hutchinson’s death, Riess went to a Wells Fargo branch there and used Hutchinson’s identification to withdraw $5,000 from the slain woman’s account. 

See the original footage of Riess chatting with Pamela Hutchinson, obtained by the News-Press, below.

Riess was next spotted in Ocala, about 215 miles north of Fort Myers, where more surveillance footage released Tuesday shows her driving up to a Hilton hotel in Hutchinson’s stolen car and checking in as a guest. Again, she is wearing the blue top seen in previous videos, as well as a light-colored fedora-style hat with a black band.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office officials told the News-Press that Riess stayed in the hotel the nights of April 6 and 7. 

Riess used Hutchinson’s identity to check into the hotel around 8 p.m. on April 6. She also used the victim’s identification to withdraw another $500 from Hutchinson’s bank account at an Ocala bank. 

“She’s confident, doesn’t look over her shoulder, like she’s not hiding anything,” Kinsey told the Star Tribune of Riess’ demeanor in the videos. “She was very nonchalant.”

>> Related story: New footage released of ‘killer grandma’ suspected in 2 homicides; $6,000 reward offered for capture

The fugitive was next spotted in the stolen Acura in Louisiana, where an attempt to get $200 at a gas station failed, the News-Press said

Kinsey said Riess was also spotted on surveillance images April 7 and 8 in casinos in Louisiana. 

“She went from casino to casino to make money, or because she is addicted to it,” Kinsey said. “She is consumed by it.”

The final definite sighting of Riess was the following day, April 8 in Refugio, Texas, about 40 miles north of Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi is about 150 miles from the Mexico border. 

Mexican authorities are aware of the search for Riess and are keeping an eye out for her, or anyone using Hutchinson’s identification, at the border, the News-Press reported. A Lee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said she would have to show identification to cross, but there is no guarantee she would not be able to slip through.

The last confirmed sighting of Riess or the stolen car was the day before Hutchinson’s body was found -- and before she was even linked to that homicide. 

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which has been searching for Riess since late last month, describes her as a white woman with brown eyes and pale blonde hair. She is about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds. 

The white Acura she is accused of stealing from Hutchinson has Florida license plate number Y37TAA. 

Riess has been on the run since mid-March, when she is suspected of gunning down her husband, David Riess, on their rural worm farm before stealing $11,000 from his personal and business accounts. Deputies with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office found him after his business partner reported that he had not been seen or heard from in several weeks.  

Lois Riess was nowhere to be found, but investigators learned she visited a casino in Iowa on her way out of the Midwest, investigators said. She is charged with grand theft in connection with her husband’s slaying. 

Dodge County investigators are also anticipated to file murder charges against her sometime this week. 

Riess was initially linked to Hutchinson’s slaying, in part, because her family’s white Cadillac Escalade, which she was believed to be driving after her husband’s murder, was found abandoned in a county park in Fort Myers Beach, the News-Press reported

Court records in Minnesota also show that Riess, who was named guardian of her disabled sister in 2012, stole more than $78,000 from her before being caught three years later. 

Lee County Undersheriff Carmine Marceno described Riess to NBC News earlier this week as a “stone-cold killer” who authorities fear might kill again when she runs out of resources. 

“She smiles and looks like anyone’s mother or grandmother,” Marceno said. “And yet she’s calculated, she’s targeted and an absolute cold-blooded killer.”

Indiana police find 78 pounds of marijuana in SUV

Indiana state troopers decided to spoil the party.

>> Read more trending news

“Somebody’s 4/20 celebration is canceled,” the Indiana State Police tweeted after seizing 78 pounds of marijuana Monday, WXIN reported.

A trooper pulled over a 2017 Ford Expedition SUV for a traffic violation on I-70 near Greenfield around 11 a.m., the television station reported. The trooper then found 78 pounds of marijuana.

Troopers arrested Christian Elie, 51, of Elbert, Colorado, and Austin Johnson, 42, of Indianapolis. They were taken to the Hancock County Jail and booked on preliminary drug charges, WXIN reported.

The street value of the marijuana is estimated to be around $250,000, WXIN reported.

Tennessee man who dressed as Spider-Man sentenced to 105 years for child porn

A Tennessee man who dressed as Spider-Man when washing windows at a Nashville hospital was sentenced to 105 years in prison Monday for producing and distributing child pornography, WKRN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Jarratt A. Turner, 36, was sentenced in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee, U.S. State Attorney Don Cochran said. Turner befriended families and then offered to babysit their children, Cochran told WKRN.

Turner was charged with 16 counts of production of child pornography and transportation of child pornography on June 1, 2015. He pleaded guilty to all counts, WKRN reported.

“The sentence imposed by the court should ensure that this defendant will never have another opportunity to inflict his perverted sexual desires upon another innocent child,” Cochran told WKRN. 

Cochran said pictures and video Turner produced in his apartment included a toddler girl and an infant boy. Other material depicted Turner molesting children between the ages of 12 months and 2½ years, the state attorney said.

According to court records, Turner tried to access young children by dressing as Spider-Man while he washed windows at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, WKRN reported.

In a statement to WKRN, the hospital said patient safety was the facility’s first priority, adding that Turner “was never an employee” but “a contracted service provider washing windows.”

“Children of this community are a little safer with this sexual predator behind bars,” Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigation operations in Tennessee, told WKRN. “The fact he would film, and then upload to the internet, videos of himself molesting an infant and toddler, then take elaborate steps to conceal his activities, represents the extreme danger he posed to the community.” 

Stephon Clark police shooting: New videos confirm delay in medical aid, show more muted body cameras

The Sacramento Police Department on Monday released a trove of new audio and video material that further details officers’ and fire officials’ controversial medical response after Stephon Clark was shot and killed in his grandparents’ backyard last month. 

Clark, 23, died March 18 after two police officers searching for a vandalism suspect opened fire on him as he stood on his grandparents’ back patio. Clark was hit by eight of the 20 bullets the officers fired, six of them from behind. 

The new footage confirms that Clark lay face-down, unresponsive and dying, on the ground for more than five minutes before officers approached him to cuff his hands and begin medical treatment. A pathologist who conducted an independent autopsy on Clark’s body last month found that it took him between three to 10 minutes to succumb to his injuries, which caused massive internal bleeding. 

The new videos also show that multiple officers muted the microphones on their body cameras as they investigated the bullet-riddled scene. 

The Sacramento Bee reported that one officer’s actions, discovered in the first set of videos released last month, prompted Sacramento police officials to change departmental policy on the muting of body cameras. 

“Any time an officer deactivates or mutes their camera, they must now audibly record on that camera the reason for the deactivation and muting before ever muting, Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told the City Council last week, according to CNN.

Officers are now required to keep their cameras and microphones rolling, except in special circumstances. Those circumstances include when they are talking to medical personnel, when they are working with a victim of sexual assault or rape or when a victim or witness refuses to give them a recorded statement, Hahn said

Officers will now also need a supervisor’s approval to mute or deactivate a camera. 

>> Read more trending news

The videos released last month depict the shooting itself, as well as the events leading up to it. The newly released footage shows other officers responding to the scene and their actions from their arrival to the moment Clark is pronounced dead by Sacramento fire medics. 

The new material consists of 23 in-car camera videos, 28 body camera videos, two 911 transfer calls from the California Highway Patrol and the remainder of the footage shot by a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department helicopter circling overhead, a police news release said

Find all of the videos and audio files released by Sacramento police officials, including the new files, here. Warning: The footage contains violence and explicit language that may not be suitable for all readers. 

The previous footage from the helicopter’s infrared camera shows the officers shoot Clark shortly after he climbed a neighbor’s fence and entered his family’s yard. Body cameras from the two officers who fired at Clark also depicted the shooting in detail. 

The officers said they saw what looked like a gun in Clark’s hand. Their body camera footage shows, however, that Clark was unarmed and carried a cellphone when he was shot. 

The new videos show from different angles officers’ decision to hold off approaching Clark, as they debate among themselves whether it is safe to advance toward his motionless body. At least one officer can be heard saying that he cannot see the gun Clark was incorrectly believed to be carrying. 

The body camera footage shows that Clark’s iPhone was under his head and could not be seen until the officers got closer to where he lay. 

As in the previous footage, the new body camera videos show officers calling out to Clark, but not getting a response. 

“Hey, can you hear us?” one officer yells. 

“We need to know if you’re OK,” a female officer says. “We need to get you medics, but we can’t go over there to get you help unless we know you don’t have your weapon.”

After multiple failed attempts to get a response, the officers approached Clark’s body. It took them about a minute to handcuff Clark and search his pockets before they began performing CPR. 

An officer is seen in the videos doing chest compressions, his own body camera jostling around as he tries to pump life back into Clark’s body. 

“Come on, buddy. Wake up. Breathe for me,” the officer doing compressions says. 

Another officer is depicted hurrying back to a vehicle to grab a mask, which she brings to the backyard so an officer can breathe for Clark. 

Fire rescue personnel were cleared to enter the scene about a minute after CPR was begun. By that point, Clark appeared to have already died. 

“We’re fixed and dilated here,” a fire medic is heard saying in one of the videos, referring to Clark’s pupils, which were not responding to light. 

“Nonreactive?” another person at the scene asks. 

“Yes,” the medic responds. 

One of the medics then calls Clark’s time of death: “21:42,” military time for 9:42 p.m.

Sgt. Vance Chandler, a Sacramento police spokesman, told the Bee that the internal investigation into the shooting will look at whether the officers’ delay in rendering medical aid was appropriate. 

Police training expert and Plumas County Deputy Ed Obayashi told the newspaper that he believes the time frame was appropriate under the circumstances, in which the officers could not see both of Clark’s hands. 

“They approached him as soon as safely practical,” Obayashi told the Bee. “From what I am seeing and hearing, the officers in my opinion exercised good tactical decision-making.”

The department is also investigating the muting of the body cameras, Chandler said. 

Clark’s family, members of which have led protests in his name, is heading to New York City on Tuesday to take part in the 2018 National Action Network Convention, hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network. Sharpton delivered a eulogy at Clark’s funeral last month. 

They will be accompanied by Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing the family since the shooting. 

Crump responded to Monday’s release of additional video files by saying that Clark’s shooting has been “shrouded in confusion and misinformation” from the beginning.

“The actions of the Sacramento Police Department -- before and after the shooting -- have left us all suspicious,” Crump said in a statement issued Tuesday morning. “Today, those suspicions were confirmed. This latest horrifying video evidence further proves the reckless, irresponsible and deadly behavior of the police officers involved.

“Though nothing can bring Stephon back to his family, we will not rest until we see those responsible held accountable and clear action taken to prevent tragedies like this from occurring in the future.”

 

New footage released of ‘killer grandma’ suspected in 2 homicides; $6,000 reward offered for capture

Detectives have released three new videos that show a Minnesota grandmother wanted in the slaying of her husband -- as well as the brutal killing of a Florida woman -- driving up to a hotel and checking in following the second murder. 

Lois Ann Riess, 56, was still running Tuesday afternoon from murder and theft charges in the slaying of Pamela Hutchinson, a Bradenton woman who was found shot to death April 9 in the Fort Myers Beach condominium where she was staying. Hutchinson, 59, had been dead for several days. 

>> Read more trending news

Lee County Sheriff’s Office investigators believe Riess befriended Hutchinson at a nearby bar April 5 and either followed her or accompanied her two blocks to the Marina Village at Snug Harbor, where she killed her. Surveillance footage from the bar at the Smokin’ Oyster Brewery shows Riess chatting with a woman in a hat who detectives have identified as Hutchinson.

One of Hutchinson’s cousins also shared on Facebook an image of the slain woman wearing the same hat seen in the video. 

Investigators believe Riess killed Hutchinson for her identity because the two women resembled one another. Hutchinson’s identification, cash, credit cards, keys and 2005 white Acura TL were taken after the slaying. 

Lee County Undersheriff Carmine Marceno described Riess to NBC News earlier this week as a “stone-cold killer” who authorities fear might kill again when she runs out of resources. 

“She smiles and looks like anyone’s mother or grandmother,” Marceno said. “And yet she’s calculated, she’s targeted and an absolute cold-blooded killer.”

>> Related story: Minnesota grandma sought in deaths of husband, Florida ‘lookalike’ killed for ID

In one of the new videos released Tuesday, a car that appears to be Hutchinson’s stolen Acura is shown pulling into the parking lot of a Hilton hotel in the Ocala area. Ocala is located in central Florida, about 215 miles north of Fort Myers. 

Surveillance footage from the lobby of the hotel shows Riess walking in and up to the registration counter to check in. She appears to be wearing the same blue shirt she wore at the Fort Myers bar, as well as in a surveillance image shot at Hutchinson’s condo complex. 

Riess’ alleged path of travel, which led to at least one sighting in Louisiana, indicated she might be trying to make it to Mexico. She was last spotted, driving Hutchinson’s car, in Corpus Christi, Texas, Lee County Sheriff’s Office officials said. 

Corpus Christi is about 150 miles from the Mexican border. 

Agents with the U.S. Marshals Service are actively looking for Riess, and border officials are also on the lookout in case she tries to cross into Mexico. 

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which has been searching for Riess since late last month, describes her as a white woman with brown eyes and pale blonde hair. She is about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds. 

The white Acura she is accused of stealing from Hutchinson has Florida license plate number Y37TAA. 

Marceno said Riess is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who spots her should not approach her, but should call the nearest law enforcement agency. 

People with information on Riess’ whereabouts can also call Southwest Florida Crimestoppers at 800-780-TIPS or the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at 877-996-6222. Callers may remain anonymous. 

The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to her capture, and Crimestoppers is offering another $1,000, according to the sheriff in Dodge County, Minnesota. 

Prior to the Hutchinson homicide, Riess was already suspected of gunning down her husband, David Riess, on their Blooming Prairie worm farm in mid-March. David Riess’ body was discovered, with multiple gunshot wounds, on March 23 after his business partner reported that he had been unable to reach him in a couple of weeks. 

It was unclear exactly how long David Riess, 54, had been dead before his body was found. 

Lois Riess became a person of interest in the slaying when Dodge County Sheriff’s Office detectives could not locate her. They got a tip that she was at a casino just across the state line in Northwood, Iowa, but she had left by the time they arrived. 

Detectives tied Riess to Hutchinson’s death, in part, because the white 2005 Cadillac Escalade she was believed to be driving after her husband’s slaying was found in the area. 

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported that investigators in Dodge County said Lois Riess transferred nearly $10,000 from her husband’s business account to his personal account after his death. She is then accused of forging his signature on $11,000 worth of checks made out to herself and cashing them. 

She has been charged with theft for the forgeries. Murder charges are expected to be filed against her this week in David Riess’ death. 

Police officials in Minnesota said that Lois Riess has a history of gambling problems. The Star-Tribune reported that court records there showed that she was previously accused of stealing more than $78,000 from her disabled sister, for whom she was the court-appointed guardian. 

Court records indicated that the sister, who is now 62, suffers from mental illness and Parkinson’s disease and has the cognitive ability of a 10-year-old child, the newspaper reported

Riess was appointed to serve as her sister’s guardian in 2012. A routine audit three years later found multiple “payments, gifts and loans” from the sister’s account, with no documentation to back up the transactions. 

One $14,000 payment was supposed to have gone to the sisters’ father -- who was already dead. 

An affidavit from the Minnesota Prairie County Alliance, a social services organization overseeing the issue, sought to have Riess’ guardianship terminated.

“I received a report that Lois Riess transfers funds from the guardianship account for (her sister) to Lois Riess’ own account,” the affidavit said, according to the Star-Tribune. “Lois Riess then withdraws the funds at the local casino.”

The new guardian of the sister’s account sought to have Riess repay the funds, but court records did not indicate whether or not she was ordered to, and there is no record that she was ever charged with a crime, the newspaper said. 

Man shoots self in leg, blames ‘2 black men’

A Virginia man is charged with filing a false police report after authorities alleged that he accidentally shot himself in the leg and blamed it on two imaginary black men.

Eric Hunter Jones, 23, is also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, felony receiving stolen property and reckless handling of a firearm, according to Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office officials

Sheriff’s deputies were called around 11:40 p.m. Saturday to an Econo Lodge, where they found Jones suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg. He told the deputies that two unknown black men approached him and shot him. 

>> Read more trending news

While Jones was taken to a hospital, detectives went to the motel and started interviewing potential witnesses in the hopes of locating the assailants. Sheriff’s Office officials said that their investigation led them to the conclusion that Jones shot himself. 

Armed with a search warrant, the detectives found a gun in Jones’ room that they believe he injured himself with, according to a news release. A check of the weapon’s serial number indicated that it had previously been reported stolen by its owner. 

After receiving treatment at the hospital, Jones was released into police custody and charged in the shooting. 

He remained in the Rappahannock Regional Jail Tuesday morning, jail records showed. His bond had not been set at that time. 

Georgia teen shot, killed while walking to store, witness says

Authorities are investigating a deadly shooting in Union City, Georgia,  in which a young man was shot several times Monday afternoon.

A witness told WSB that it was his younger brother, 17-year-old Chevelle Thompson. He said Thompson was walking to a nearby store when he was shot twice

>> Read more trending news 

Police blocked off part of the neighborhood as they investigated. The Fulton County medical examiner was called to the scene.

Witnesses said that, at some point, Thompson got into a car and rushed to find help in a nearby neighborhood.

“My first thing was to call 911 when I came out of the door,” a witness told WSB. “The operator asked me to hold on and she was going to have them give me instructions to apply pressure wherever the gunshot wound was.”

“It sends chills through my body that there’s a murderer out here on the loose,” resident Stephanie Brooks told WSB. “To see a loss of life, this young man who had potential and a future, I can only imagine what his mother is feeling right now.”

So far, no one has been arrested. Union City police said the neighborhood is typically quiet. Those who knew Thompson said the shooting is unnerving.

Mother arrested after newborns found dead in Florida home, police say

An arrest has been made in the case of two newborn babies found dead in a Florida home, investigators said.

Rachael Lynn Thomas, 30, was taken into custody Monday afternoon. The mother of the infants faces two counts of child neglect and one count of tampering with evidence.

>> Read more trending news 

Police were called to a West Melbourne, Florida, home Sunday afternoon.

Police said the deaths are suspicious but did not release a cause for the deaths. One of the infants was taken to a nearby hospital Sunday and the other was pronounced dead at the home.

“It is something that is very serious. We will methodically investigate this to try to get the answers that the children here deserve,” said Cpt. Richard Cordeau of the West Melbourne Police Department. 

Thomas is being held in the Brevard County Jail on $30,000 bail.

Neighbors said Thomas lived at the home with her mother and kept to herself. They said they’ve only seen one infant and an older child with Thomas. 

Melbourne police and the Department of Children and Families said they have not had any previous contact with Thomas. DCF has opened an investigation into what led to the deaths.

The infants’ siblings are being cared for by relatives.

Georgia man chases ex, her new boyfriend and shoots at them, police say

Decatur, Georgia police are searching for a 23-year-old man accused of shooting at his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend Sunday morning.

The couple was leaving a hotel shortly before 11 a.m. when they saw Rickeyon Jenkins, 23, of Baxley, Georgia, according to a post on the City of Decatur Police Department Facebook page.

>> Read more trending news 

Police said Jenkins had a gun and fired toward the couple while they were in the parking lot, prompting them to flee in their vehicle.

Jenkins allegedly pursued and continued to fire, shooting the victims’ vehicle and also ramming it with his own vehicle, a sliver, four-door, early 2000s Mercury Grand Marquis.

The couple had lost Jenkins by the time they reached another street and called 911. 

“Officers observed damage to the victim’s vehicle consistent with gunshots and also recovered physical evidence at the original scene...,” the post said. “Neither of the victims were physically injured.”

Jenkins is charged with aggravated assault.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts or the case was asked to contact mark.hensel@decaturga.com or 678-553-6687. Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta can also take information at 404-577-8477 and allows callers to remain anonymous.

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