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  • Shoplifter Pays With His Life

    Saturday morning came and went, mostly quiet. Mostly. However, in Chicago's Little Village, a man stole tubes of toothpaste at a CVS Pharmacy and was caught. He paid the ultimate price for his theft; he died after the struggle.

    The death, resulting from a CVS employee who chased the shoplifter and held him in a choke-hold, has been ruled an accident. A medical examiner ruled the man's death death a homicide, stating the shoplifter had been strangled. Chicago police, however, are not charging the employee.

    "Why would you kill someone over toothpaste?" exclaimed the man's ex-wife, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The shoplifter, who had served prison time for drug convictions, was still battling substance abuse according to sources. The man's family requested a full investigation into the incident, including statements made by witnesses that an off-duty police officer was on the scene.

    Chicago Police deny claims that an off-duty officer was identified in witness statements. Other witnesses, asking to remain anonymous, stated that an officer identified themselves and drew a sidearm, pointing it at the downed man, warning him to stop resisting the CVS employee and other men who were holding the struggling shoplifter.

    Chicago Police spokesperson stated that by the time officers arrived, the man was unconscious and that there was no evidence of officer involvement. However, surveillance video from a recorder is being reviewed to identify the participants to identify any actions that may have led to the man's death. The CPD also asked for any other witnesses to step forward and contact detectives.

    Initially described as being in serious condition, the shoplifter was declared dead 45-minutes after police arrived.

    A CVS spokesman stated that the company was also reviewing video footage.

    While security is a problem for many stores in Chicago, causing them to raise the price on various items, toothpaste doesn't seem to warrant the harsh outcome of this tragic situation. Retailers, outfitted with surveillance equipment and DVRs, still aren't able to identify, and catch, those that feel the need to steal from the stores.

  • Facebook Glitch Allows Eavesdropping

    Facebook admitted yesterday that reports of a bug in its software, allowing users to electronically eavesdrop on others by allowing users to view their friend's chats and messages was true.

    Although Facebook announced that they had discovered, then repaired, the problem, it was actually discovered by TechCrunch's European offices.

    Once reported, Facebook shutdown their chat service and repaired the security hole within hours. The statement from Facebook reads:
    “For a limited period of time, a bug permitted some users’ chat messages and pending friend requests to be made visible to their friends by manipulating the “preview my profile” feature of Facebook privacy settings..."

    Notice that Facebook didn't define the amount of time that  constituted a "limited period."  Thus, the eavesdropping could have taken place since the beginning of the year. However, users began complaining on Wednesday morning, so it is assumed the problem is a recent one.

    Safety and security have plagued Facebook, and it was reported that the CEO of the social site "did not believe privacy." Unless, of course, it has to do with the company he founded.  Unfortunately, there are no electronic countermeasures; users should, however, lock down their privacy settings.


    Facebook's security-related mistakes weren't over. Once again, TechCrunch Europe reported a second security breach, this time concerned with the Prime Minister elections in England. TechCrunch EU noticed that a poll asking users who they wanted as Prime Minister - set to end Tuesday - was still up today. Voting rules in England state that both intention and exit polls are illegal on election day. Facebook's position was that the poll did not ask how people voted, but who'd they like to see as Prime Minister.  Although Facebook denies wrongdoing, the poll disappeared from the site.  Again, no countermeasures on that one.

    If you believe that you're being monitored without your knowledge, send us an email or give us a call at U-Spy Store. We'll provide you with the advice, and equipment, you need to flush out privacy invaders.

  • Police: Man charged with eavesdropping

    Posted: Sunday, April 25, 2010 6:10 am

    GLENS FALLS -- A Granville man was charged with eavesdropping Saturday after his ex-girlfriend discovered a recording device hidden in a child's backpack, police said.

    Donald A. Connolly, 34, of Route 22, was charged with felony eavesdropping after someone in the ex-girlfriend's home spotted a red light on a 4-year-old's backpack, Glens Falls Police Sgt. Keith Knoop said.
    Knoop described the incident as follows:

    Connolly and the ex-girlfriend have a 4-year-old child in common. Connolly had dropped the child off at the woman's Glens Falls home Saturday, and a short time later the light was spotted on the backpack.

    They found what appeared to be a recording device sewn into the backpack, and brought it to the Police Department. Police confirmed it was an audiorecorder.

    Connolly was called to the police station, and admitted he put the device on the backpack.
    He did not explain why, but Knoop said it appeared to be related to a custody dispute.

    He was charged with eavesdropping and released pending prosecution in City Court. Police Officer Dan Habshi made the arrest.

    http://www.poststar.com/news/local/article_f1f9f436-5053-11df-974b-001cc4c03286.html

  • GPS' Use Goes Past Directions

    While most of us are familiar with GPS (Global Positioning System) units that provide directions - like the popular Garmin nüvi or the TomTom - GPS has uses than to tell us, "Turn Right at Intersection."

    For instance, shipping services use GPS to determine where their delivery trucks are at all times. Airlines, the military, and law enforcement use GPS to locate lost aircraft, search for vessels on the high seas, or track cell phone emergency calls.

    GPS receivers are also installed in taxi cabs, as a Chicago man found out early Sunday morning.

    Travis E. Conner III, aged 18, is being charged with one count robbery and aggravated vehicular hijacking after he carjacked man is charged with robbery and aggravated vehicular hijacking after police found him at a gas station through the GPS in a stolen taxi cab.

    Conner stole the taxi at gunpoint around 3:30 AM on Sunday. Unfortunately for him, he made two crucial mistakes; the first was that the cab was equipped with a GPS tracking device. The second? He dropped his cell phone at the scene of the crime.

    Not long after Conner's bungled crime, Chicago police found him at a gas station near 6300 North Central Avenue. He was identified, and police confiscated a semi-automatic handgun during the arrest.

    Clearly, Conner is not up-to-date on today's GPS technology, as evidenced by his theft of a tracked vehicle. However, you can be ahead of the learning curve. Just check out U-Spy Stores GPS tracking devices. Our professionally installed units can be employed to track your teen driver's travels, use of work vehicles by employees, or even to find out is your spouse is going to the places he/she said they were. The GPS can notify you when it has left the designated area. By placing the MT100 in a vehicle, users can have alerts sent to a cell phone or email address whenever the vehicle moves. The user's cell can also remotely track the vehicle in real time, with text messages sent within seconds of the last known position of the vehicle. We also have units that have fleet tracking capabilities.

  • How to Avoid Being Followed Home

    While we don't want to think about the fact that criminals can follow us from a gas station or shopping mall to our homes, it happens more than one would think. Just last week a 58-year-old Chicagoland businessman was followed home and then severely beaten inside the home as his helpless family was forced to watch.

    Abbas Darwish, a convenience store owner, is in fair condition at Good Samaritan Hospital following the April 15th attack. His injuries include broken ribs, a broken nose, and bruised lungs. His wife and two sons were also treated for injuries following the early morning attack.

    The police have two men in custody and are looking for four more. While Mr. Darwish and his family are expected to recover, some aren't as lucky. So, it is always best to be aware of your surroundings and anything that seems to be out of place, whether walking, driving, exercising, etc. as we move into the summer months.

    If you think that you're being followed, there are several precautions to take to keep yourself safe:

    • Frequently check the rearview mirror to see if you are being followed.  If you believe that you are, DO NOT drive home. Instead drive to the nearest police station, fire station or other place of safety such as a crowded parking lot.
    • If you believe you're being followed but aren't sure, make three consecutive left hand or right hand turns. If the car is still behind you, DO NOT drive home.
    • Remember it is important to know where you are so police officers can respond if needed. Know your direction of travel.
    • If you have a cellular phone, call 9-1-1. Try to get a good description of the vehicle that is following you including the vehicle's make, color and license plate number if possible.
    • Don't stop if the vehicle following bumps your car or otherwise tries to get you to pull over.
    • Do not try to be a hero. Don't take any action that would jeopardize your own safety.
    • Carry a small camera, use your cell phone camera, or equip your car with a dash cam and record, or take pictures, of the followers.

    While statistics show that women are more likely to be followed than men, as evidenced by the above story, it can happen to both men and women. The most important thing to remember is to remain calm, and avoid the instinct to stomp on the gas to get away. The more relaxed and controlled you stay, the greater the likelihood that your followers will grow bored with the "chase;" especially if it is a meandering path to nowhere.

  • Think Twice About a Face Tattoo

    If you're going to lead a life of crime, don't get a tattoo on your face...it could be what's known as an identifying mark.

    A transient in San Francisco, replete with the words "Why Try" tattooed on the front of his melon has been charged with carjacking; he forced an elderly man from his car, choked him, and then drove away. He returned minutes later to choke the man again.

    The carjacker reportedly swung the older man around like a rag doll until a resident who witnessed the crime stopped the attack. The elderly many survived, but was hospitalized. According to police, he was just moments away from death.

    Police in Oakland police spotted the tattooed transient driving the stolen car, and he was identified by...you guessed it: "Why Try," a tattoo over the carjackers eyes. He was arrested and positively chosen out of a lineup.

    Now "Why Try" is trying to figure out "Why Me," an answer obvious to the rest of us. He is in jail now, being held without bail on attempted murder, robbery, carjacking, and elderly abuse charges. He also has a prior record...I guess the tattoo doesn't work to well during burglaries, either.

    To all you kids out there, take this down as a lesson...

  • Illinois Attorney General to Stop Sexual Predator's Release

    The office of Illinois' Attorney General (IAG) is working to stop the release of a serial child molester and pedophile who is scheduled to be released at the end of February, filing a petition to halt Danny Schwab from leaving prison.

    Schwab, known as "Dancing Danny" is in prison following a string of sexual assaults in the Belleville area. He was imprisoned in 2002. The nickname "Dancing Danny" stems from his modus operandi of meeting young people at parties and using alcohol and drugs to lower their defenses before assaulting them. His victims were young boys.

    The IAG is using the Sexually Violent Persons Act as the basis for their petition. This act was enacted to keep offenders that are likely to continue committing violent sexual acts in treatment facilities after they've served their time in prison. The act is designed to keep offenders away from the public until it is deemed that they're no longer a threat.

    On Friday, prosecutors head to court to present a case that there is definite evidence pointing to the fact that "Dancing Danny" will re-offend if released. The IAG's office will present significant mental reasons behind their petition to hold Schwab.  According to BND.com;

    Dr. M. Bellew Smith, a state psychiatrist, conducted an evaluation on Feb. 2 that was attached to the petition that found Schwab was a homosexual pedophile with anti-social and narcissistic personality defects.

    Schwab was supposed to spend 40 years in prison but the sentence was reduced to 14 years.

  • Police Seize More Weapons...Including Rocket Launcher

    Once we worried that terrorists were able to access high-tech military equipment, often made by the United States, to use against armed forces. In the past decade, we've worried that criminals were better armed than the police.

    The Chicago Police Department turned up a weapons cache last week that highlighted both those worries as they uncovered another large stockpile of weapons;  the third in three weeks. The first, you may remember, was confiscated after a man shot a dog from his window in a northern Chicagoland suburb. The second was the result of a raid on Chicago's south side.

    The latest took place on the west side, the Organized Crime Division recovering 13 weapons and an anti-tank weapon after searching several properties.

    The man charged in the case is a allegedly a member of the 4-Corner Hustlers, one of Chicago's many street gangs. He was charged with 11 counts of misdemeanor firearms possession and one count of  misdemeanor possession of ammunition.

    The police did not elaborate as to why the crimes were no felonies. The weapons recovered included shotguns, rifles, semi-auto handguns and a disposable Light Anti-Tank Weapon (LAW), or rocket launcher.

    Andre Tatum, 41, of the 800 block of North Lawler is being held on bond for the possession crimes.

  • Drew Peterson Hearing Update

    On  March 1, 2004, neighbors discovered the lifeless body of  Kathleen Savio in an empty bathtub. According to reports from the Peterson hearing on Chicago Breaking News. Neighbor Mary Pontarelli found Kathleen Savio and, upon seeing her lifeless body, threw herself on a bed and beat it with her fists. Savio and Pontarelli were close, their families traveling and spending holidays with one another. In confidence, Savio told her friend that her ex-husband, Drew Peterson, would kill her.

    Other witnesses stated that Savio made sure that the doors were locked and the house secure, fearing that Peterson would eventually attempt to take her life. A locksmith testified that only one of three locks on the door was in use the night of Savio's death.

    Pontarelli's son backed his mom's testimony, stating that Savio had stated that Peterson would attempt to kill her. Savio's death occurred two weeks prior to the property settlement hearing in her divorce from Peterson.

    Pontarelli's son also stated that, according to Savio, Drew Peterson had bugged the home and was recording conversations. She showed the then 14-year old a box attached to a phone extension in the basement.

    Mary Pontarelli stated in court that years earlier Savio had phoned her, stating that Peterson was trying to kill her. Pontarelli went outside and a terrified Savio ran to her, stuffing a letter for an attorney down her blouse. Ptold the court that one day in 2001, Savio called her to say Peterson was trying to kill her. When she went outside, Savio ran out and shoved a letter that she had been trying to fax to an attorney down Pontarelli's blouse. The letter, written anonymously, stated that Peterson was having an affair, and warned Savio to; "Protect yourself and your family."

    An EMT testified that a towel from the crime scene photos had not been there upon arrival. The defense countered by asking him if he had seen towels and a bathrobe behind the door to the bathroom. The EMT stated that he had not.

    Stacy Peterson, Drew Peterson's fourth wife who is missing and presumed dead, confided to her pastor that Peterson had disappeared the night of Savio's death and had coached her to lie about his whereabouts. The Pastor's testimony was taken last Friday.

  • Protect Loved Ones in Nursing Homes

    The Chicago Tribune has been running an ongoing investigation into abuse allegations stemming from nursing homes. That's right, the people that many everyday Chicagoans trust to take care of their loved ones are taking that trust and tearing it right from our beating hearts.

    Since 2006, Chicago authorities have investigated 86 cases of sexual abuse against the disable and elderly nursing home residents in the Chicagoland area. A single case resulted in a single arrest, meaning that the rest of the predators in nursing homes are still roaming free.

    Statistically, this reflects 25% of the city's nursing homes, or 30 homes. Out of those 30, that's 3 sexual assaults in each over a 2 1/2 year period.

    Sexual predators are able to access unlocked doors in nursing homes, able to choose their victims with little fear of being caught. The Tribune reported that of those 86 cases, only 9 were reported at or near the time they occurred, and one was reported months afterwards.

    The sexual attacks are mainly a result of  residents attacking other residents; the one prosecution was an orderly. Police report that a small percent involve visitors or strangers. The high incidence of attacks between residents is due to the fact that Illinois houses younger psychiatric patients in nursing homes, many of them with criminal records; according to the Tribune:

    Government records show that the 30 Chicago facilities where rapes were reported were roughly twice as likely to house convicted felons and mentally ill patients as the 89 city nursing homes without a sexual assault allegation.

    While increasing staff levels will help abate the nursing home abuse, you can take steps to protect elderly patients that cannot protect themselves.  If you fear that some sort of abuse is taking place, whether it's over-medication, physical violence, negligent care, or sexual abuse, U-Spy Store carries a variety of products to help the elderly.

    For instance, you could purchase a personal panic alarm. They're low-cost and extremely loud, drawing attention from the staff or other patients that someone is in trouble. Another method is to install a motion-activated door alarm that can be turned on at night or when a resident does not want to, or is incapable of, receiving visitors. There are also numerous ways to monitor activity when patients are asleep or alone. Discrete audio recording devices will document any conversation that happen in a patients room. Further, hidden cameras are able to be installed anywhere, capturing video of the resident's room. The cameras can activate on motion or sound. Finally, there are cameras pre-installed in normal household items:

    • Clocks
    • Clock Radios
    • Smoke Detectors
    • Air Purifiers
    • A common ink pen
    • Watches
    • Key Chains
    • Personal Radios
    • Coke Cans

    If you need help with any of these items, please contact U-Spy Store. Our email address is info@uspystore.com, or give us a call: (773) 529-2779.

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