National Roundup

Pennsylvania

Binary bandit? Ones, zeros taken from homes

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia police are "addressing" an unusual crime spree: Someone is stealing the ones and zeroes from addresses mounted on people's homes.

WTXF-TV says it's happening in the city's East Kensington section.

Meghan Haley says she noticed the zero missing from her home on Wednesday and saw a woman stealing it when she checked her surveillance video .

Another woman, Krista Ricca, was awakened by the sound of a power drill about 4 a.m. and saw a man stealing a number from her neighbor's home across the street.

The news website Billy Penn first reported the thefts.

Scott Fisher had a zero stolen. He says he doesn't know if "someone is trying to send a message or someone just has an obsession with zeroes and ones."

Louisiana

One for the books: Novelist runs into fiery home for laptop

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Avoiding a nasty real-life plot twist, a writer dashed past firefighters into a burning New Orleans house Thursday to rescue two completed novels stored on his laptop.

"Anybody that's ever created art, there's no replacing that," Gideon Hodge, 35, told The New Orleans Advocate after safely making it out of the burning building with the computer. "It's got pretty much my life's work."

Hodge describes himself as a playwright, novelist and actor.

The fire in New Orleans' Broad­moor neighborhood had spread to the house where Hodge lived from an empty, single-family house next door, where firefighters believe it started. Dozens of firefighters battled the stubborn three-alarm blaze for hours. A huge column of black smoke was visible for miles.

No injuries were reported. Occupants of the second house escaped safely.

Edderin Williams, 38, had enough time to grab his wallet and keys before rushing out of his apartment, one of four in the building, but was not able to save anything more. He does not have renter's insurance.

"I just don't know how I feel right now," Williams said. "I'm just gonna have to pick up the pieces and move on."

Alabama

Execution dates set for 2 inmates

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Supreme Court has set execution dates for two state inmates, including one who unsuccessfully challenged the state's lethal injection process as cruel and unusual punishment.

Tommy Arthur is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 3 and Ronald Bert Smith Jr. on Dec. 8. The court determined both dates late Wednesday.

Arthur was convicted of the 1982 murder-for-hire of Muscle Shoals businessman Troy Wicker. He has been given an execution date on six previous occasions, but has challenged the state's execution methods as unconstitutional. The Alabama attorney general's office in July had asked the court to set an "expedited seventh execution date" after a federal judge dismissed Arthur's most recent challenge. Arthur is appealing, according to federal court records.

Smith was convicted in the 1994 robbery and slaying of Huntsville convenience store clerk Casey Wilson. A jury, in a 7-5 vote, recommended a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to court records. The trial judge, however, sentenced Smith to death.

Alabama is seeking to resume executions after a more-than-two-year lull as the state faced a scarcity of lethal injection drugs and ongoing litigation over the death penalty.

The state in January carried out its first execution since 2013.

An appellate court in May halted the execution of Vernon Madison just hours before he was scheduled to be put to death. Madison was convicted in the 1985 killing of a Mobile police officer. His lawyers argued that stroke-induced dementia left him without a rational understanding of his impending execution.

South Carolina

@ROUND UP Briefs Headline:Indictments: Former officers coerced sex<@$>

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A state grand jury has indicted four former South Carolina police officers in its criminal investigations division on charges of coercing women into sex while on duty and ignoring cases.

The state Attorney General's Office said in a news release that former Horry County police detective Tony Large used threats to get several victims in cases he was investigating to commit sexual acts. Large is charged with misconduct in officer and third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Prosecutors say Luke Green had a sexual relationship with an informant and sexual contact with a suspect during an arrest. Authorities say Darryl Williams and Todd Cox closed or made inactive cases without investigating them.

All three men are charged with misconduct in office.

None of the officers currently work for Horry County Police. It wasn't known if they have lawyers.

Georgia

Police cast wide net, hope to reel in Koi fish thieves

VILLA RICA, Ga. (AP) - City leaders in a west Georgia town are casting a wide net, hoping to catch a group of fish thieves suspected of making off with six to eight Koi fish that cost up to $3,000 each.

Villa Rica City Manager David Milliron took to Facebook this week, pleading for help from the public for leads about the theft, believed to have occurred late last month.

Police say the fish vanished from city-owned pond outside the Pine Mountain Gold Museum, which showcases the city's role in Georgia's gold mining history.

Museum manager Wesley Berninger told police that three men were seen on surveillance video acting suspiciously and later fishing in the pond adjacent to the gem mining booth the night of Aug. 29.

Florida

Deputy: Woman hid pot in girl's lunchbox during traffic stop

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A 33-year-old South Florida woman faces multiple charges after a sheriff's deputy found marijuana in her young niece's lunchbox during a traffic stop.

Broward Sheriff's officials tell local news outlets Tasha Sims was arrested Wednesday in Pompano Beach.

An arrest report says the deputy stopped Sims and smelled marijuana when he approached the car. He asked if she had anything in the vehicle. The deputy says Sims told him she put marijuana in the girl's lunchbox because she was afraid when he pulled her over.

The deputy wrote that Sims admitted she "messed up."

She was charged with child neglect, possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license and issued several citations. The girl was released to her mother.

Records don't indicate whether Sims has a lawyer.

Published: Mon, Sep 19, 2016