National Roundup

Pennsylvania
Man accused of stealing police badges while being questioned

IRWIN, Pa. (AP) - Authorities say a Pennsylvania man stole several police badges while he was being held for questioning in a domestic dispute.

Police say 26-year-old Robert Dingeldein stole the badges Oct. 30 while being questioned by Irwin police. The small town has all its borough offices in one building, so Dingeldein was held in the mayor's office to keep him away from a woman also being questioned in the dispute.

Police say they didn't realize that Dingeldein had taken anything from the office until someone else returned one of the stolen badges last month.

Police say Dingeldein has since apologized and returned the three other badges he took.

He faces a preliminary hearing May 18 on theft-related charges. He doesn't have an attorney or listed phone number.

Florida
Grand jury indicts duo accused of jewelry robberies

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) - Prosecutors say a woman and man accused of robbing jewelry stores across the South have been indicted by a federal grand jury in northern Florida.

The two are charged with conspiracy, obstructing commerce by robbery, and brandishing a gun in a violent crime.

FBI agents say 24-year-old Abigail Kemp and 35-year-old Lewis Jones III stole an estimated $4.3 million in jewelry by robbing six jewelry stores in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Authorities used cellphone records and tips from the public to find and arrest both of them Jan. 8 in the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna, Georgia.

Court records show that both suspects pleaded not guilty. Calls to their attorneys weren't immediately returned Monday.

A trial for both suspects is scheduled for March 21 in Panama City.

Mississippi
Former court clerk ordered to pay back $1M, at $600 a month

MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) - A former court clerk who pleaded guilty to embezzlement must pay back more than $1 million, at $600 a month, a Mississippi judge has ruled.

"We can all do the math," Pike County Circuit Court Judge David Strong told Greta Dubuclet Patterson, 46. "We all understand that $600 a month is not going to get you to a million anytime soon."

It would take more than 141 years at that rate, The Enterprise-Journal reported. But Strong told the former McComb court clerk on Friday that if she misses a payment, she'll go to prison or a restitution center, where she would live and be driven to and from work.

Patterson pleaded guilty in?December.?Strong sentenced her to restitution and 10 years of house arrest, suspending eight years. Friday's hearing decided how much she must repay.

District Attorney Dee Bates said a city investigation found that Patterson had embezzled more than $1 million since 2009.

Mayor Whitney Rawlings said he really wanted Patterson to go to prison, but Bates told him that he couldn't get both restitution and prison time.

"I'm disappointed and I know the citizens of McComb are certainly disappointed at the way this thing has come out," Rawlings said.

If a mayor were caught embezzling $1 million, "they'd have thrown away the key," he said.

Bates said that if Patterson goes to prison, parole and other early-release policies could free her in less than two years. Officials agreed that $600 a month was a realistic amount to expect, he said.

"The one thing that we want for the citizens ... is to get every penny of restitution that we can, and if she doesn't make the payments, she will be housed," Bates added.

Ohio
Judge asked to revoke bond of terrorism suspect

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A federal judge is being asked to revoke the bond for one of four men accused of raising money for a former al-Qaida leader.

Court officials say Sultane Room Salim violated terms of his release twice in January while attending prayer services at a mosque in Columbus near where he has been living with his mother while waiting for a potential trial.

Salim was allowed to leave his mother's home for prayer services, but he left the mosque for about 12 minutes on one occasion and he stayed in the parking lot for close to 20 minutes another time, according to a report from the court.

His attorney, Cherrefe Kadri, said during a brief hearing Friday that Salim, 41, had followed all the rules required under his release except those two occasions.

He said he was late leaving the mosque because he was talking to friends, but he did not explain why he left the building the other time, according to the court report.

U.S. marshals took Salim into custody on Friday, and he was brought to Toledo, where a hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday.

The move comes three months after another federal judge allowed Salim to be released from prison on a $500,000 property bond. Salim was told to live with his mother and outfitted with a GPS tracking device.

His attorneys have denied his involvement in what prosecutors say was an effort to raise money for al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki.

U.S. officials considered al-Awlaki, who was killed by an unmanned U.S. drone in Yemen in 2011, to be an inspirational leader of al-Qaida, and linked him to the planning and execution of several attacks targeting American and Western interests, including the 2009 Christmas Day bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner.

The three other suspects accused of raising money for al-Awlaki remain in jail, including Salim's brother. He was denied bond last month.

Arkansas
Judge to pay $52,000 in Nativity lawsuit

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (AP) - A federal judge has ordered the county and a county judge to pay more than $52,000 to a Mountain Home resident and a nonprofit promoting secularism, three months after he ruled that a Nativity scene on the Baxter County courthouse lawn violated the U.S. Constitution.

The Baxter Bulletin reports that U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks ordered Baxter County and County Judge Mickey Pendergrass to pay Dessa Blackthorn and the American Humanist Association for attorney fees and costs in the suit.

The lawsuit began in December 2014 after Pendergrass was denied a request to place a "Happy Winter Solstice" banner alongside a Nativity scene display on the courthouse lawn.

Brooks ruled in favor of Blackthorn and the association in November, saying the Nativity scene was displayed in violation of the First Amendment.

Published: Tue, Feb 09, 2016

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