Shopkeeper free of charges for killing one of four armed gangsters

Cecil Coley – my hero

A shopkeeper who stabbed a 30-year-old intruder to death has been told he will not be charged with any offence.

Cecil Coley stabbed Gary Mullings, 30 – who was attempting to rob his flower shop in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester – in July. The 72-year-old was arrested on suspicion of murder after Mullings was pronounced dead in hospital…

Nathan Walters, 26, of Salford, Joseph Mullings, 25, of Liverpool and 19-year-old Kyle Mullings, of no fixed address, have been charged with robbery and will appear at Manchester crown court in October.

Coley, who was injured during the incident, was questioned by detectives after his release from hospital. He had been playing cards with a 60-year-old friend, who was also injured, at the time of the incident.

Police said a number of men had tried to rob the shop and that a gun had been found at the scene…

Nazir Afzal, the chief crown prosecutor for the north-west area, said he was satisfied that Coley was “acting in reasonable self-defence at the time”.

He said he had considered all the evidence gathered by Greater Manchester police and decided Coley should not be prosecuted for any offence over the death of Gary Mullings.

It is difficult to envisage a more frightening set of circumstances than these,” he said. “Four men, armed with guns and a knife, forced their way into the shop as Mr Coley was locking up.

“Mr Coley received a number of injuries, including a serious facial injury, and his friend was knocked unconscious. At some point in the incident, one of the guns, a blank firing pistol, was fired.”

The sentence for armed robbery, for committing a crime of violence, life-threatening to the victim – should be life. Warehouse the bastards until and unless a jury of warders decides that any sort of rehabilitation has taken place.

Why turn unrepentant scum back into the streets because some particular metric has been reached? Penal systems can be managed to reduce recidivism while maintaining the safety of a law abiding populace at the same time.

Yes – we do a lousy job at that here in the United States and I doubt the UK is much better. That still doesn’t justify diminishing public safety because all the other institutions failed similarly.

Mad Hatters gang of middle-aged women in Detroit crime spree

Police in Detroit are hunting a gang of middle-aged women, nicknamed the “Mad Hatters”, who they blame for a string of robberies, purse snatching and fraud.

The suspects typically steal a woman’s wallet or purse, police said in a statement. Shortly afterward, the credit cards and checks are used at stores to buy merchandise or at banks to get cash.

Surveillance photographs supplied by police show the middle-aged to elderly women wear hats, usually of the floppy, fisherman variety, at the time of the incidents.

Purse-snatching crimes are not uncommon, but what is unusual is the organised nature of the crimes. “Seldom are there these organised rings doing it, such as this one,” Sterling Heights police Lt. Luke Riley said…

The total value of merchandise and cash stolen could be as high as $500,000, police said. The women stole almost $200,000 from one bank.

Riley said authorities are looking for “at least” five or six women in this group.

Where’s Alec Guinness when you need him? He could do a made-for-TV movie and make ’em a bunch of honest money.

OTOH, they’re certainly not the wives and widows of Republican investment bankers.

3 busted trying to buy military weapons for Mexican drug cartel

Do you really wish to scare the bejabbers out of your local coppers?

Three people have been charged with trying to buy a Stinger missile and other military weapons for a Mexican drug cartel, according to an indictment unsealed last week in Phoenix. The government says the plot was foiled because the people the alleged conspirators were dealing with were federal undercover agents and a government informant.

The object of the conspiracy was to obtain and possess military-grade weaponry, and to then export and transfer that weaponry to the Republic of Mexico, and supply that weaponry to a Mexican drug trafficking organization,” says the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

The three defendants named in the indictment are David Diaz-Sosa, Jorge De Jesus-Castenada and Emilia Palomina-Robles. The charges against them include conspiracy to acquire and export an anti-aircraft missile, conspiracy to possess unregistered firearms and transfer firearms for use in a drug trafficking crime.

Court documents say the alleged conspirators’ shopping list included: a Stinger surface-to-air-missile at a negotiated price of $200,000; a Dragon fire anti-tank weapon for a cost of $100,000; a Law Rocket anti-tank weapon for $20,000; and two AT-4 recoilless anti-tank guns for $20,000. The indictment says the defendants were to pay with some cash and also with illegal drugs.

Enough hardware to attack a small country.

Resident who fought back against gang wins in court

A vigilante resident who was sued after firing a catapult at local troublemakers has been vindicated by a judge.

Bruce Harwood, 38, claimed he was forced to take matters into his own hands after the gang of teenagers waged a campaign of “constant bombardment” against him and his neighbours in a Grade II listed Georgian townhouse.

He told how the youngsters urinated on his front door, hurled eggs at his windows, screamed, shouted and vandalised his gates.

When the police allegedly failed to act, Mr Harwood, an electrician, decided to try and “scare them away” himself.

He fired several metal ball-bearings at his tormenters from a catapult, injuring three of them and causing nasty swellings to their groins and legs.

The injured trio then sued him for damages, demanding a total of £3,600 compensation for their injuries after he pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm.

But Judge Gareth Hawkesworth threw out the claims at Cambridge Crown Court, ruling that the teenagers “brought this very much upon themselves.”

Mr Harwood…claimed the police were frequently called but rarely bothered to turn up and never made any arrests.

Golly – do you believe that could happen, that coppers might be so preoccupied with a donut break that they wouldn’t respond to a citizen’s call for help?

“When you have 15 or 20 hoodies screaming and shouting I had to figure some way of getting them out. I was scared they’d get into the building,” he said after the hearing…

Not that I’m complaining about my own local policing. We’re pretty fortunate in having an honest, aggressive Sheriff here in Santa Fe county, recent years.

Of course, with the infinite wisdom of lazy-ass voters, term limits prevented him from running for re-election when a third term would have been a walkover. His assistant will takeover the office, soon, and we hope he will maintain the same standards.

Yes, I tire of lazy whiners who fear the results of democracy.

‘Rogue’ internet firm 3FN shut down

An internet firm linked to many of the internet’s criminal gangs has been shut down.

The US Federal Trade Commission said Belize-based 3FN aided gangs that ran botnets, carried out phishing attacks and traded in images of child abuse.

The servers and net hardware of 3FN have been seized and are due to be sold off as the firm is dismantled.

The operators of 3FN must also pay back $1.08 million they are reputed to have made by hosting criminal sites…

It was involved in distributing spyware, viruses and trojans, had a hand in many phishing schemes and helped gangs sell illegal images. It also acted as a discussion forum for many spammers.

In particular, said the FTC, the net firm worked with fraudsters who run botnets and helped them steal data by seeding hijacked computers with keyloggers. It maintained a library of more than 4500 malicious programs that could pilfer data from hijacked PCs.

In June last year, the FTC used an injunction to cut 3FN off from other hosting providers and sever its connections to the net.

Now the FTC has gone a step further and won a court order that will see the company stop trading and its hardware confiscated. The FBI has been ordered to carry out the shut down and seizure operation.


Hacker gets 20 years

A holiday snap from DefCon

One of the world’s most notorious computer hackers was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to helping run a ring that stole tens of millions of payment card numbers.

Albert Gonzalez, a 28-year-old college dropout from Miami, had confessed to helping lead a global ring that stole more than 40 million payment card numbers by breaking into retailers including TJX Cos Inc, BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc and Barnes & Noble.

It was the harshest sentence ever handed out for a computer crime in an American court, said Mark Rasch, former head of the computer crimes unit at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Altogether, Gonzalez and conspirators scattered across the globe caused some $200 million in damages to those businesses, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann.

He said it was not possible to quantify how much money was stolen from individuals. “They would quite literally go to ATMS and take out bundles of money from victims’ accounts,” Heymann told the court in Boston.

Under his plea agreement, Gonzalez had faced up to 25 years in prison, but asked the judge for leniency in sentencing, saying he had been addicted to computers since childhood, had abused alcohol and illegal drugs for years and suffered from symptoms of Asperger’s disorder, a form of autism…

Gonzalez, who buried $1 million cash in the backyard of his parents’ home, said that his crimes got out of control “because of my inability to stop my pursuit of curiosity and addiction…”

Throw away the fracking key!

Criminals whining for leniency because “their crimes got out of control” don’t impress. That only says he originally meant to steal at a measured pace.

There’s a much longer, more detailed account – if you find this crook interesting – over here.

17 patients killed in Ciudad Juarez drug rehab center

Bodies being removed from the “El Aliviane” drug rehab center
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

About a dozen hooded gunmen burst into a Mexican rehabilitation clinic near the U.S. border on Wednesday, lining up patients before killing 17 of them.

Drug gangs have targeted rehab clinics in the manufacturing city of Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso, Texas, accusing them of protecting dealers from rival gangs.

The attack was one of the deadliest in President Felipe Calderon’s three-year war against drug cartels, despite the presence of 10,000 troops and federal police in Ciudad Juarez who constantly patrol the city’s streets.

The suspected hitmen stormed their way into the drug and alcohol rehab clinic in Ciudad Juarez and forced patients into a line in a corridor before shooting them, the army and the El Diario newspaper said…

In a separate attack on Wednesday, gunmen killed the deputy police chief in Calderon’s home state of Michoacan in western Mexico.

Jose Manuel Revueltas, appointed just two weeks ago, was intercepted by heavily armed men in two vehicles as he drove down a busy avenue in the state capital, Morelia, a few blocks from police headquarters, police said.

Revueltas, 38, and his two bodyguards died in the intense gunfire that also killed a man traveling on a bus…

Calderon has staked his presidency on crushing the cartels whose brazen fight for control of smuggling routes into the United States worries Washington and has killed more than 13,000 people since late 2006.

Couple decades back, I used to be down that way on business every other week.

You couldn’t pay me enough, nowadays.

William M. Jenkins dies – 49 years after gang shooting

Samuel Jenkins (L), William Jenkins (R)

On Oct. 21, 1960, as “West Side Story” was playing on Broadway, a real blood feud was playing out at a youth dance and on the streets of Spanish Harlem between two rival gangs called the Viceroys and the Dragons.

About 8 p.m. that night, William M. Jenkins, 18, was shot through the stomach and back, rendering him a paraplegic. He continued his life of crime, however, becoming known to the police as Wheelchair Willie, while two teenage brothers in the Dragons were arrested and imprisoned for shooting him.

“West Side Story” popped up again on Broadway last month, and, 49 years after it happened, so did the case of the Jenkins shooting. After Mr. Jenkins died on March 13 at age 66, the city medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide due to infectious complications caused by the gunshot wounds, making it the oldest reclassified homicide in New York Police Department history.

“I can’t believe this,” one of the brothers, George Lemus, now 64, said after he was told the news Wednesday at the computer repair business he runs in Midtown Manhattan. A little while later, he looked down at his arm. “The hair stood up,” he said, holding out the arm, still fresh with goose bumps.

Mr. Lemus’s brother, Robert, died a decade ago at age 58. The shooting haunted him until his death, said his son, Robert Lemus 3rd: “He lived with a level of remorse for the fact that, at his hands, someone had a handicap his entire life over an evening of probable misunderstanding.”

The district attorney’s office said it would not prosecute because the brothers had already served time (Mr. Lemus said he was imprisoned for a year and half and his brother for five years) for the shooting and because witnesses and medical records would be hard to come by, the police official said.

The victim’s brother, Samuel A. Jenkins, even questioned how his brother’s death could be attributed to long-ago violence rather than the myriad medical problems he endured in his life or the recent acute deterioration of his health.

When asked about the Lemus brothers, he said that his family held no grudge: “Willie forgave them and I forgive them, if they are still alive.”

There’s a lot of history better off forgotten. I know how the man feels.

Cincinnati Police and community combine against gang

Some of the confiscated weapons

Something changed in Cincinnati this week.

In a city where police often find themselves begging eyewitnesses to come forward, this week, they have been inundated with solid leads and tips from the community on where to find members of a powerful gang.

The public came through in such huge numbers that phone lines at the police department were jammed with tips about the Northside Taliband. Some parents even gave up their own sons, saying it was time for them to face their charges.

The good citizens of Cincinnati run this city, not the Northside Taliband,” said Capt. Daniel Gerard.

By Day 2, in what police have dubbed the largest roundup ever of gang members, 26 people had been arrested, eight of them on gang charges.

Court paperwork unsealed Monday showed that 13 people are charged in a 95-count indictment. The group, which police say might number more than 90, is the most organized of any gang that police have ever seen here, they said. Some gang members had assigned jobs. Some were the thieves while others were the shooters. Some members are as young as 14.

Police say that by the time they are done, 50 members of the gang will be off the street – some possibly for life.

No dramatic innovations needed to end organized crime. Bust cops on the take. Build a community that considers a neighborhood without crime more important than Cousin Ernie’s gangbanger kids.