National Roundup

Drive-thru is squeeze-thru for McDonald’s thief

COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) —€” A McDonald’s drive-thru window became a squeeze-thru window for a woman who apparently needed a fast food fix.

A surveillance video shows her worming her way inside, helping herself to a soft drink and making off with a box of items.

The video, posted on the Twitter feed of Howard County Police in Columbia, Maryland, shows the break-in early on Nov. 5, when the restaurant was closed. The woman reaches through the window for a soda cup and tries unsuccessfully to fill it from the dispenser.

She then manages to squeeze herself into the restaurant through the small window and gets a soft drink. The camera zooms in on her uncovered face.

The woman puts a box of unidentified items through the window and leaves.

She remains at large.

Man charged for working ‘darknet’ marketplace

ATLANTA (AP) — An Illinois man who federal prosecutors say worked as a spokesman for a “darknet” marketplace for illicit internet commerce has been charged in Atlanta.

Authorities have said AlphaBay was the internet’s largest darknet site — trading in illegal drugs, firearms and counterfeit goods, among other things — before it was taken down through an international law enforcement effort in July.

Federal prosecutors in Atlanta have charged 24-year-old Ronald L. Wheeler III of Streamwood, Illinois, with conspiracy to commit access device fraud.

Wheeler pleaded not guilty Wednesday at an initial hearing before federal Magistrate Judge Janet King. She agreed to allow him to remain free while his case is pending, but said she would require drug testing.

Wheeler’s lawyer, Phillip Turner, said he had no additional comment after the hearing.

Prosecutors wrote in a court filing that Wheeler, known online as Trappy and Trappy_Pandora, began working as AlphaBay’s public relations specialist in May 2015. His duties included moderating the AlphaBay forum on Reddit and posting information about AlphaBay in other Reddit forums, mediating sales disputes among the marketplace’s users, providing non-technical assistance to users and promoting AlphaBay online, prosecutors wrote.

Wheeler was paid a salary in bitcoin, a digital currency, by Alexandre Cazes, the 25-year-old Canadian owner of AlphaBay who was known online as Alpha02 and Admin, the court filing says.

AlphaBay used Tor, a network of thousands of computers run by volunteers, to hide its tracks. With Tor, traffic gets relayed through multiple computers. Identifying information is stripped at each stop, so that no single computer knows the full chain.

From May 2015 through July 3 of this year, Wheeler worked with Cazes and others to use AlphaBay to traffic in personal access information and use these usernames, passwords, email addresses, telephone numbers and bank account numbers without authorization to obtain money, goods and services, the court filing says.

If convicted, Wheeler is to forfeit any proceeds from his alleged illegal activity, including $27,562 in U.S. currency and about 14 bitcoins, the court filing says.

AlphaBay went offline when Cazes was arrested July 5 in Thailand with DEA and FBI assistance. Cazes died in Thai police custody on July 12. The country’s narcotics police chief told reporters at the time that Cazes hanged himself in jail just prior to a scheduled court hearing.

The police agency Europol estimates AlphaBay had done $1 billion in business since its 2014 creation. Cazes had amassed a $23 million fortune as the site’s creator and administrator, according to court documents.

New Jersey
Ex-college coach guilty of sexually assaulting player

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A jury has convicted a former college basketball coach in New Jersey of sexually assaulting a male teenager who played on a traveling team that he also coached.

The panel on Wednesday found 45-year-old Christopher Tarver, of Jackson, guilty of sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, child endangerment, official misconduct and possession of child pornography.

Tarver was the men’s basketball coach at Middlesex County College. He also was recreation director for the town of Dunellen.

Between 2010 and 2011, Tarver sexually touched the boy who had thought Tarver could help him achieve his goal of playing basketball for a major college, prosecutors said.

Tarver used that power and exploited the teenager for “his own sexual purposes,” Assistant Prosecutor Brian Shevlin said.

The investigation began when the victim contacted authorities.

At opening arguments, Tarver’s defense attorney, Peter Weiner, asked the jurors to keep an open mind during the trial and reminded them the prosecutors needed to prove Tarver’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. He said Tarver had coached more than 500 people in the span of 30 years.

Tarver faces up to 50 years in prison when he’s sentenced in March.

He also faces additional sexual assault charges involving three other children.

New York
FIFA defense lawyers grill key gov’t witness

NEW YORK (AP) — Defense attorneys began cross-examining a key government witness at the U.S. trial of three former South American soccer officials charged in the FIFA bribery scandal Thursday, while a judge reviews claims that a defendant made a slashing motion across his throat at the former marketing executive.

A lawyer for Juan Angel Napout, the ex-president of Paraguay’s soccer federation, pressed Alejandro Burzaco on Thursday about whether he personally paid any bribes to Napout.

Burzaco testified that he never directly gave money to Napout. He said that millions of dollars in bribes were instead channeled through various business entities before reaching the defendant.

Napout and the other soccer officials have pleaded not guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges. They’re accused of taking part in a 24-year international scheme involving $150 million in bribes in exchange for lucrative broadcasting and hosting rights for soccer tournaments.

U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen has been scrutinizing video that prosecutors say backs their claim that Manuel Burga, the former president of Peru’s soccer federation, made a threatening gesture Wednesday while staring at Burzaco. The defense said Burga was merely scratching his neck.

The judge tightened bail conditions on Burga on Wednesday and the issue was tabled on Thursday while testimony resumed.

The judge stopped short of locking up Burga, instead cutting off his access of phones and computers and placing him under house arrest at a home in Brooklyn. Burga already had been on GPS monitoring but had some privileges to leave the home.