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Massachusetts man arrested for dragging badly beaten dog

A Massachusetts man accused of beating a dog so severely it was coughing blood and limping was arrested for animal cruelty, authorities said. 

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Police say, Mark Rodney Hurd, 22, of Everett left the dog in critical condition Friday. Officers said they arrived at a home to find Hurd dragging the pit bull down the driveway after the abuse had been reported to them. 

“It's extremely disappointing to see this type of violence perpetrated on an animal especially a domesticated pet,” Everett police Chief Steven Mazzie said. “The Everett Police Department takes these cases seriously and would like to remind the public to report abuse of this type if they witness it.”

Neighbors said the dog, Chance, is “docile and friendly.” Others said they were awakened Friday morning by the commotion at the house. 

Chance was rushed to a veterinary hospital for emergency treatment, police said.

Hurd is being held without bail as the abuse charges have been added onto a probation violation. 

Police: Man uses fishing line to steal change from car washes

Ohio police are looking for a man who they say is reeling in money illegally from local car washes, WKBN reported.

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According to Boardman police, a man used a $20 bill attached to a fishing line to steal hundreds of dollars in change from car wash coin box machines. Police said that according to surveillance camera video, the suspect is as a white man in his 50s or 60s, heavyset, balding and wearing glasses.

The man was driving a blue Dodge Caravan, police said.

The suspect allegedly stole money from car wash facilities in Boardman, Austintown and Geneva, and also could be responsible for thefts in Illinois and Indiana, WKBN reported.

Florida man arrested after bombs, ammo, school maps found in home

A Florida man was arrested after homemade bombs, an AK-47 assault rifle, ammunition and school maps were discovered inside his bedroom. 

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in a news conference Thursday that deputies were set to search the home Randall Drake, 24, of Dunedin, Florida, shared with his parents for a child pornography investigation.

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During a search of Drake’s bedroom on Wednesday, authorities said detectives found explosives and numerous firearms in a locked closet, The Associated Press reported.

The weapons included the following:

  • An AK-47 rifle with a 60-round clip
  • A .308-caliber rifle
  • A .50-caliber pistol
  • A 12-gauge shotgun
  • Numerous other handguns
  • About 15 knives
  • A baseball bat with protruding nails in it 
  • A crossbow
  • Brass knuckles
  • A container of gunpowder
  • More than 2,300 rounds of ammunition
  • Three incendiary devices
  • A homemade silencer
  • Tactical vests

Detectives also said they found a map and aerial images of an elementary and middle school in Tampa, Florida, as well as the Hillsborough County Water Treatment Plant. According to deputies, journals and a handwritten letter that talked about revenge were also discovered.

Gualtieri said his office is trying to figure out why Drake had the incendiary devices and what he was going to do with them.

Drake has since posted $20,000 bond. He faces two charges of unlawfully making, possessing or attempting to make a destructive device.

Police: 2 arrested after leaving baby in car to commit burglary

Authorities arrested a man and a woman on charges of burglary and child endangering after they were accused of leaving a 1-year-old child in a vehicle while they robbed a woman.

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Butler County sheriff’s deputies were called to a home in the 600 block of Granada Avenue in Lemon Twp. at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday on a report of a burglary.

The woman at the home told deputies that an unknown man came into her house, held her down in bed and took her wallet out of her pocket.

She told police the man ran out of the house and left in an unknown vehicle.

In an incident report, authorities said $800 in cash, debit cards and a prescription for Xanax were stolen.

Justin Newcomb, 34, and Cassandra Tincher, 29, were charged with the crimes and booked in the Middletown City Jail. They will have their preliminary hearing next week in Middletown Municipal Court.

The woman also told deputies that Newcomb might have known the side door of the house was unlocked, because she gave him $150 to install a new door last week, but he never replaced the door and kept the money.

She said she was surprised that her pit bull that usually barks when strangers are in the house didn’t move when the suspects were in the residence, according to the report.

Florida teacher accused of molesting 13-year-old girl

A Florida teacher and another man have been arrested after being accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl in a school classroom, Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies said. 

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Teacher and soccer coach, Sonny Juarez, 29, faces charges of lewd and lascivious molestation, which occurred between November 2016 until March 2017, WFLA reported. 

Juarez, who taught at RCMA Academy in Wimauma, allegedly molested the girl for five months on campus in the back of the classroom while she was pregnant, according to deputies. 

Investigators told WFLA that another man, Felipe Diaz Hernandez, 54, also abused and sexually battered the girl, and is the man who got her pregnant. The victim gave birth to a baby girl in September, WFLA reported. 

Juarez has since been fired from the school and was released from the county jail on a $15,000 bond. Hernandez faces charges of child abuse and sexual battery. He remains in jail on a $600,000 bond, according to jail records. 

3-month-old girl among 84 rescued in sex trafficking sting

A 3-month-old girl and her 5-year-old sister were rescued in Denver by undercover agents during this month’s FBI-led sting operation against sex traffickers, CNN reported.

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In announcing details of Operation Cross Country XI, FBI officials said 82 other juveniles were rescued during a nationwide sweep last week. The FBI said 120 people were arrested.

In the case of the two sisters in Denver, the alleged trafficker was a friend of the children’s family who made a deal to sell them for sex for $600, the FBI said. The friend communicated with an undercover agent. 

"Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested -- and the number of children recovered -- reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.

The average age of the victims recovered from this year's operation is 15, the FBI said. Traffickers would offer the victims to outsiders from hotels, truck stops or from online, the FBI said.

On Oct. 13, the second day of the operation, a minor was rescued by the FBI in El Paso, Texas, when a 16-year-old female victim was advertised online for "entertainment," CNN reported.

The girl was accompanied by a 21-year-old female who offered an undercover agent sexual intercourse with both her and the underage victim for $200, the FBI said.

At a news conference in Denver on Thursday, District Attorney George Brauchler reminded traffickers that undercover agents and task force officers are always lurking, whether behind cameras, on the Internet or in a casino, prepared to make another bust.

"To those out there who are watching this who might avail themselves at the opportunity to exploit children or to engage in even the adult sex trade, this is a bit of a warning. ... The people that you can't see behind those cameras, they are fins. They are fins in the water and they represent sharks who are there all the time,” Brauchler said.

"And my advice to you is to stay out of those waters where the kids are, to stay out of those waters where exploited adults are for sex, because they are out there and they will get you. And when they get you, my office will handle the rest."

Volunteer co-leader of Girl Scouts troop arrested on child porn charges

A Maryland man who was a co-leader of a Girl Scouts troop was arrested and charged with the possession of child pornography, The Evening Sun reported.

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Stacy Mizrahi, 45, of Ellicott City, faces four counts of possession of child pornography and one count of distribution of child pornography, according to a Maryland State Police report.

Maryland State Police began investigating in August, when their Computer Crimes Unit found child porn being distributed from a Maryland residence, WJZ reported. Authorities obtained a search warrant for Mizrahi’s home, and a preliminary forensic review found multiple images and/or videos of child pornography on a computer, The Evening Sun reported.

Mizrahi was a volunteer co-leader for Girl Scouts Troop 715 in Howard County, Maryland, according to the Maryland State Police release.

In a statement, Violet M. Apple, the CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, said Mizrahi has been suspended from the troop.“It is our No. 1 priority to ensure all GSCM members are safe,” Apple said. “All GSCM employees and volunteers are required to pass a background check, and Mr. Mizrahi passed his when he registered as a troop leader.

“It is GSCM policy that male volunteers are not permitted to meet with girls without the presence of a female co-leader," Apple said. "Mr. Mizrahi served as a co-leader with an unrelated female and the troop was supported by four additional volunteers – all of whom passed background checks prior to registering as a volunteer.”

Police have not found any evidence at this time that any crimes have been committed involving the children he had contact with, The Evening Sun reported.

ACLU: Oklahoma school's national anthem policy is unconstitutional

The American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday that an Oklahoma school's national anthem policy is unconstitutional.

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The statement was released after Stuart Public Schools enacted a policy requiring all students, staff and spectators to stand for the national anthem, prohibiting any form of protest.

The Hughes County school's policy was announced amid a nationwide conversation about kneeling during the national anthem. Professional football players started kneeling in protest of police brutality against minorities. The protests received increased scrutiny after President Donald Trump criticized NFL players who chose to join the protests.

While some say the protests are disrespectful to U.S. service members, other say they fall under free speech and raise awareness to an important domestic issue in the country.

The ACLU of Oklahoma's legal director released a statement Wednesday:

“Stuart Public Schools’ new policy is blatantly unconstitutional and unenforceable. The Supreme Court has made clear that students have the right to express themselves. Our Constitution guarantees that public schools can neither mandate forced displays of patriotism and nationalism, nor forbid lawful protests against injustice. Stuart Public Schools has chosen to violate both of these guarantees. This school district’s school’s leaders are in desperate need of a First Amendment lesson, one that they are likely to receive swiftly in the event they actually attempt to enforce this unlawful policy.”

The organization's director of external affairs also released a statement:

“Forcing students to stand for the National Anthem is irresponsible and flies in the face of every conceivable understanding of the First Amendment. If this school district were actually interested in real patriotism, they would do their duty as a government actor to uphold the values of the Constitution rather than waste taxpayers’ time and resources with an unlawful attempt to shut down the expression of their students and staff.”

Fugitive turns himself in, with doughnuts, after issuing challenge to police

A man made good on his promise to turn himself in to police in Michigan this week with a box of doughnuts in-hand after he challenged officers to get a Facebook post shared 1,000 times after taunting the department on social media.

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“You guys suck!” wrote 21-year-old Michael Zaydel, who goes by the name “Champagne Torino” on Facebook, in response to an Oct. 6 post from the Redford Township Police Department.

Zaydel was wanted on multiple misdemeanor warrants and taunted police on social media, writing that he was sure they didn’t know his last name and later messaging officers with a challenge.

“If (your) next post gets a thousand shares I’ll turn myself in along with a dozen doughnuts,” Zaydel wrote, according to a screenshot shared by police. “And that’s a promise. And I’ll pick up every piece of litter around all your public schools.”

The post was subsequently shared more than 4,500 times. Police said they topped the 1,000 share mark in less than an hour.

Zaydel turned himself in to authorities 10 days later, according to authorities.

“He walked in on his own, and not only did he bring the donuts, he brought one bagel!” police said in a Facebook post. “We would again like to express our gratitude for the support of all who followed this, shared it and left us positive feedback.”

Man killed in shooting was previously shot 10 times in six months, police say

An Alabama man gunned down outside a gas station in broad daylight Tuesday afternoon had previously been shot 10 times in a six-month period. 

Antoine “Twin” Collier, 29, of Birmingham, was killed when two unidentified gunmen fired more than 40 bullets in the parking lot of an Exxon service station in the city, AL.com reported. He died on the sidewalk in front of the store. 

A Birmingham police spokesman said the shooting took place just before 1:30 p.m., as Collier and his girlfriend were entering the convenience store. AL.com reported that Collier’s girlfriend was not injured, but a female bystander who had just gotten food at a pizza place adjoining the Exxon was struck multiple times.

The unidentified woman was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition. 

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Police officials were familiar with Collier, who investigators believe was the target in the shooting that ultimately took his life.

“These guys were looking for him,” Lt. Sean Edwards, a police spokesman, told AL.com. “It’s obvious they were looking for him. They definitely targeted him.”

In at least two of the previous shootings in which Collier was injured, he was accused of stealing illegal drugs from another person, police officials said. Birmingham police Chief A.C. Roper said the circumstances that may have led to his killing do not matter.

“It’s a tragedy for his family, but regardless of the circumstances that led to his murder, we need to bring the killers to justice,” Roper told AL.com

In April, Collier’s mother, Kimberly Flowers, spoke out about her son’s past

“I’m the mother who hates to answer the phone,” Flowers said at the time. “You worry about your child.”

Her son, whose name was not made public at that time because he was a target for harm, had been released from prison a year before, but kept finding himself in trouble. The most recent shooting prior to Tuesday’s fatal one had been the most serious, with Collier suffering a gunshot wound to the face. 

At the time of Flowers’ April media interview, Collier was still recovering from that shooting in a protective rehabilitation facility, AL.com reported. In a text message, Collier expressed hope that participation in the city’s Violence Reduction Initiative could help him turn his life around.

“I’ve cried till I can’t cry anymore, ‘cause I’m blessed,” Collier wrote, according to AL.com. “I think when my health gets better, I wanna speak to young black males about violence.” 

Collier was released from the rehab facility this summer. 

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