Monday, September 30, 2013

Two in Two Days

Watch out, they did this twice a couple weeks ago in Overland Park that we know of, and no one else needs to be a victim.  Yes, it’s another scam, and you need to hear about this one if you haven’t already.  It’s referred to on the internet as the “Jamaican Switch Scam,” but just think of it as a bait and switch rip-off.

Both of our victims were approached within a day of each other.  In both cases our victims were initially contacted in a parking lot by one well-dressed black male.  The dapper stranger struck up a very short conversation with the victim about trying to determine what to do with a large sum of loose cash.  In both cases our well meaning victim suggested the stranger needed to put the money in the bank. The victims advised that it’s obviously not safe to walk around with a large sum of money and definitely not safe to be flashing it around.  The stranger told our victims he didn’t know what to do because he doesn’t trust banks.  He said he was worried that if he deposited the money, he wouldn’t be able to withdraw it when he wanted.

Our victims, wanting to prove that you can take money out of a bank, were kind-hearted enough to show our stranger that it could be done.  Somewhere in this mix, a second stranger entered the picture.  That stranger seemed unrelated to the first one but, in reality, it was a team effort.  What eventually happened is our victim withdrew a large sum of money from their own bank that ended up in the hands of our stranger. The scam artist supposedly handed the money back to our victim in an envelope or some other container, which contained no money, of course. When the victim looked for his money, the stranger made a quick getaway.

This scam requires personal contact that continues for several minutes.  It also had our victim driving both strangers to the bank which put them at great personal risk.

In doing a little research to try to better understand how this works, we found some of the following suggestions that were worth passing on:

·  Understand that money and strangers are never a good combination. If a stranger has a proposition involving money, no matter how innocent it seems, it’s not something in which a prudent person should become involved.

·  Beware of the lost stranger. In the Jamaican switch, the perpetrator is often fraudulently posing as a stranger lost in the city. This person often says they are from another country.

·  Take heed of the hapless victim. The Jamaican switch scam often involves a person pretending to have just been part of a scam themselves. This is intended to invoke sympathy for the so-called victim.

·   Be cognizant of any persons or "strangers" with large cash settlements that are in trouble. Often people running the Jamaican switch will operate in teams. When the original person engages a "mark" or victim, they then appeal to another "stranger" and this stranger usually has official letterhead pertaining to a large cash settlement that they cannot access.

·  Appreciate that charity is sometimes not a good thing. The Jamaican switch relies on the charitable heart of the target. The intended money or scam will often be tied to charitable acts for the homeless or underprivileged.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Couple Dies in Car Crash

Overland Park has an average of five fatality crashes a year.  Until yesterday we only had one for the year, but when officers responded to the intersection of 79th Street and Mastin yesterday just after 3:30 p.m. that changed.

The call came in that two vehicles were involved in a crash at the intersection.  When officers and paramedics arrived extrication was started to remove the driver and passenger from one of the vehicles.  The driver, Norman J. Russell, age 86, and his passenger, Norma F. Russell, age 80, both from Overland Park, were transported to a local hospital and later died from their injuries.

Traffic Safety Units returned to the scene today to continue their investigation.  Any charges that may result from this case are pending the completion of the investigation.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Suspect Posing as a Water Company Employee and Targeting the Elderly

Yesterday afternoon, the Overland Park Police Department took two separate reports from residents who stated a white male subject came to their door posing as an employee of the water company. The subject asked to come inside the residence in order to check the pipes in their back yard.

Once he got in the back yard, he started taking measurements and asked for help from the victim. He then states he has to go back outside get some more equipment from his vehicle . While the victim is still in the back yard, he steals items from inside the house and quickly leaves.

 The suspect was described as a white male approximately 6 feet tall and 170lbs, with brown hair, dark blue ball cap, plaid shirt with a black undershirt, gold necklace, blue jeans and black work shoes.

 The Overland Park Police Department is advising residents to ask for proper identification before letting someone inside their homes to do any kind of repair or utility work. If in doubt, residents, especially the elderly, are encouraged to contact the utility company or the police department to assist.

 Anyone with information on this person’s identity is asked to contact the Overland Park Police at 913-344-8750.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Out of Service

Yesterday we told you about the Commercial Motor Vehicle check lane at 135th Street and Pflumm.  Today we have the results from the efforts put forth by the officers.

The officers completed a total of 64 inspections.  This resulted in the discovery of a total of 242 violations.  19 of those violations were what are considered “out of service” violations and officers put 12 different trucks and 5 different drivers in an “out of service” status.  Out of service means that the nature of the violation caused a safety risk and required immediate work to be completed before the vehicles were allowed to continue.

For the most part the drivers who were put in an out of service status were even not qualified to be driving the type of vehicle they were stopped in.  The vehicles that were placed in an out of service status were primarily because of brake issues.  Scary thought that the brakes might not be working properly on one of those commercial vehicles driving down the roadway or that the driver operating that big rig might not even be licensed to do so.

Overland Park officers have worked two commercial motor vehicle accidents with overturned trucks in the past week.  Hopefully their proactive work at this check lane will keep this type of accident from happening too frequently.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Not What You Might Think

Have you seen the activity at 135th Street and Pflumm today?  Chances are, if you were in the area, you were probably wondering what was going on there.  If curiosity got the better of you, you might have made one of the many calls we received today about this area.  But if you haven’t called and still want to know what’s going on there, it is a commercial motor vehicle check lane.

Overland Park Police, along with officers from several area agencies, have been in the area today since 10 am.  They are working a county-wide commercial vehicle inspection initiative.  The goal is to identify safety violations and locate stolen equipment.

The lane will be wrapping up around 5:00 pm.  So far, Officers have checked more than thirty vehicles.  Results from their efforts will be posted later.

Monday, September 23, 2013

2nd Homicide in Overland Park for 2013

Brandon L. Holmes
On September 20th, around 3:20 in the afternoon, Overland Park Police responded to a medical call in the 9100 block of Robinson Street.  When officers arrived on scene they found the victim, later identified as Brandon L. Holmes (2/15/92), deceased with an apparent gunshot wound.  

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Overland Park Police Detectives continue to investigate the circumstances of this crime and do not have a suspect in custody.  

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Follow up to Tuesday's Blog

As a follow up to the blog we posted on Tuesday entitled: They'll Take Anything, Anytime, Anywhere, we wanted to provide an update on the incident that began as an auto burglary and eventually culminated in an aggravated battery.

Detectives believe they have identified the person of interest from the earlier blog and possible charges could be forthcoming in the future on this case.

Thanks to everyone that assisted in this case.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Did you like the Chief’s football game this past weekend?  It was an exciting one.  Football season can bring out the best or worst in people and alcohol is frequently the culprit when things go south. Such is the story of one opinionated fan on Sunday.

Our fan had the pleasure of attending the game but upon returning to the Overland Park area via bus, he decided to express his unsolicited opinion of the game to others.  Whatever he said was not well received and a disturbance broke out.  Officers were called and managed to get all parties calmed down. It was decided amongst the involved parties that no one wanted to press charges.

Later, our fan, who refused to accept the advice given to him earlier to go home, decided to go to a nearby drinking establishment and impart his knowledge of the game of football with yet another group of people.  This time he wound up with a split lip, lost a tooth and got arrested.

People sure can be passionate about their football.  So tonight, when you are enjoying the game, remember our opinionated friend and consider your audience.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Busy Morning Rush Hour

Did you make it to work on time yesterday?  The rush hour commute was extended for some drivers to due to wet roads and back-ups from a few more accidents than normal.

Yesterday morning, between 7 am and 9 am, officers responded to 11 accidents, three of which were reported as injury accidents.  All of these listed wet roads as a contributing factor.

This might be a good chance for us to remind drivers that wet roads increase your overall stopping distance.  Remember also to take into consideration that if it hasn’t rained in a while, the rain water will mix with oil and debris on the roadway creating a slick road surface.

Rush hour doesn’t mean you have to rush.  Take your time and drive safe.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

They'll Take Anything, Anytime, Anywhere

On Tuesday September 10th,  around 3:45 P.M., a male in his 50's was heading back to his vehicle in the parking lot when he observed someone stealing items out of the back of his pickup truck. The victim said the suspect was placing the stolen items in the back passenger side of a small green sedan. When the victim confronted the male, he ran and got into the driver's seat of the vehicle, which was already running.

The victim ran around to the rear of the suspect vehicle and leaned into the vehicle trying to get the keys. The vehicle suddenly backed out and struck the victim's leg with the left rear tire. The victim was thrown to the ground and the suspect vehicle leave the area heading west through the parking lot.
 
The suspect was described as a white male in his 40's, 6-feet tall, wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans. He also had on a red ball cap. 

The suspect vehicle is described as a 4-door sedan, possibly a Dodge Neon or Avenger, green in color with a big spoiler on the back, and displaying Missouri tags. Please see the surveillance photos below. 

The victim in this case was lucky as he only sustained minor injuries and didn't need to be transported to a local hospital. The suspect got away with about two hundred dollars of tools and proved that they'll do anything to take your stuff.
 
If you have any information on the suspect, please contact the Overland Park Police Department at (913) 344-8750.
 



Monday, September 16, 2013

Always a Need

Officers selected a slightly different location for the DUI check lane this past Friday.  The goal is always to detect and deter impaired drivers, but this time they decided to target a side street that drivers commonly use to avoid being seen on one of those major thoroughfares.  The results were fewer cars checked, but the same percentages of impaired drivers.

We looked at the average numbers for the past three years and found that officers meet and greet about 558 drivers in a DUI check lane in Overland Park.  Roughly 7% (40) of the drivers are tested and of those tested about 15% (6) are arrested.

Friday, 276 drivers entered the check lane.  Officers tested 17 drivers (6%) and arrested 3 of the tested drivers (17%).

In addition to the impaired drivers 8 drivers were charged with transporting open containers of alcohol.

It goes to show that even when there are fewer drivers, the likelihood of impaired drivers is still there and wherever there is a possibility of an impaired driver, there’s going to be a need for DUI enforcement.

Friday, September 13, 2013

They Didn’t Grow Legs and Walk Away

No, they don’t just grow legs and walk away, but leave one lying around or unsecured and someone just might ride away on it.  Of course we’re talking about bicycles.

 Last year 58 bicycle thefts were reported in Overland Park.  So far this year there have been 33.  Stolen bicycles range from the very expensive models to low-cost children’s models.  It doesn’t matter the price tag on the bike or the age of the owner, the person left wondering where their ride went finds themselves a victim of a theft.

 Frequently, especially on the children’s bikes, we will find these abandoned somewhere.  These could be returned to the owner, if only we knew who that owner was.  Marking your bicycle with a phone number, name, driver’s license number or other type of distinguishing number to track you down, might help us get your bike back to you if someone else rides away with it.

 One smart individual once marked a set of keys with an old and expired rabies tag she had left over from one of her pets.  It might sound funny, but with a quick phone call to the veterinary office, we were able to reunite the keys with the owner.  Now there’s an idea that might work for your bike too!

 Recovered bicycles that we can't reunite with their owners are eventually donated to a worthwhile charity. While they are still going to a good cause, we’d much rather the rightful owner end up with the bike.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Prostitution Sting Results in 5 Arrests

The Overland Park Police Department conducted a Vice Sting on Wednesday, September 11th, which resulted in the arrests of five prostituted women.

The Overland Park Police Department’s Vice Unit is committed to making Overland Park an undesirable location for prostitution. To that end, the Vice Unit has partnered with other units within the Police Department, area law enforcement agencies, as well as hotel and apartment community management.


Through these and other efforts, we believe we are effectively sending the message that prostitution is not welcome in Overland Park.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

That Time Again - DUI Check Lane

The Overland Park Police Department and several other Kansas police agencies will be conducting a DUI Check Lane on Friday, September 13th.  This task is being conducted with the goal to reduce alcohol related auto accidents and discourage impaired driving within our communities. 

 If you're going to drink...

·        Designate a driver.

·        Call a cab.

·        Stay at your home or hotel.

·        Call a friend or family member.

DUI Takes Its Toll...

·        50 percent of Americans will be involved in an alcohol-involved traffic collision in his or her lifetime.

·        Nearly 23,000 people are killed every year in alcohol-related traffic collisions.

·        One life is lost every 22 minutes in an alcohol-related traffic collision.

Make the right decision for yourself and the many innocent people on the roadways so you won't have to do what 22 year-old Matthew Cordle did after killing a man in Ohio. The dramatic video  below is his confession after he drove drunk on June 22nd, 2013, and killed 62 year-old Vincent Canzani, while going the wrong way on the highway.
Watch the video and read more about this tragic event here:


 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Long Awaited Improvements

Good news!  The improvements to 91st Street between Neiman and Antioch are wrapping up.  This section of roadway was closed earlier this year so improvements could be made.

The work included new curbs, paving and a new walking and biking path.  Since 91st Street is one of the major feeder streets in the area, the closure meant drivers spent the summer finding detours to get around the closure.  However, today it will be open from Antioch to England and tomorrow it will reopen completely.

If you are one of the drivers who uses this street regularly, enjoy the improvements, but don’t forget, the speed limit for 91st Street between England and Reeder will still be 25 mph.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Your Target, Your Backstop and Beyond

Excitement on I-35 Highway Friday night resulted in unexpected detours for some and injuries for others.  While an explanation regarding the shooting incident on I-35 Highway is still pending, one possible explanation brings up a good subject matter for us:  Discharging Firearms within City Limits.

Overland Park municipal code 11.60.070 states it is unlawful to use projectiles upon property of less than 30 acres.  If you are not the property owner you must have the written consent of the occupant or landowner and there can be no use at all within 500 feet of a residential building.  Pretty clear except for that projectile part, right?

It lists projectiles as items that are shot, launched, thrown or projected, any arrow, dart or stone capable of doing grievous bodily harm to persons or animals.  You may be wondering if air rifles, air pistols, BB guns, pellet guns and other similar types of “toys” are included.  These types of guns are also prohibited unless they are being fired on sections of land that are at least 15 acres and primarily rural or devoted to agriculture.  Again, you are required to be the landowner or have written consent of the occupant or landowner.

The laws are established to help keep everyone safe.  If find yourself with the opportunity to do a little target practice, keep in mind to be aware of your target, your backstop and beyond.  It might surprise a few to learn just how far a bullet or BB can travel.  While they don’t happen often, we do take calls from time to time regarding damage or injury from a stray projectile.  It’s still not clear what happened on I-35 Highway Friday night, but following the laws and gun safety guidelines can help prevent anything similar from happening here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Laboring Away

338 – that is the number of hours Overland Park Police Officers dedicated to this year’s Labor Day  – You Drink, You Drive, You Lose - S.T.E.P. Campaign.  221 of those hours were worked between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am, meaning the officers pulled several overnight shifts.
 

 The campaign ran from August 15th through September 2nd, and was conducted with the principle focus on DUI deterrence and detection in an effort to reduce alcohol related accidents.  Officers also looked for speeding violations, seat restraint violations, bicyclist violations, and pedestrian violations. 

 In all, they stopped 563 vehicles which resulted in a total of 256 adult seatbelt violations, 16 juvenile seatbelt violations and 14 DUI arrests.  That’s 272 lives that may remember to buckle up the next time they get into a vehicle and 14 drivers that may have been stopped before altering someone’s life forever.

 It may have been Labor Day weekend.  It may have been a time when most people are taking a few days off from work.  But for the officers, it was another day to make an impact and maybe save a life.
 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Are You a Mandatory Reporter?

It’s not something new.  We’ve mentioned just a time or two recently.  You might wonder why we’re going to talk about it again.  Well, after some brainstorming, we decided to look at it a little differently and in doing so, we learned a little something that was worth passing on and came up with a few new ideas.

We’re talking about the lottery scam that seems to continually make victims of our elderly residents.  It is not unusual for our victims to lose thousands of dollars or even tens of thousands of dollars.  What we do want is to try to come up with a solution to a problem that starts where we can’t be.

These things start as phone calls, letters and emails.  Some type of communication that promises big things.  Talk to your loved ones about these types of communications.  Help educate them on what to watch for or be aware of.  Set junk and spam filters on email to help keep the scams out of your loved one's email inbox.

The second part of this scam is the withdrawal of money or purchase of large sums of gift cards.  That’s where the banks and businesses come in.  This may be something a bit more difficult to accomplish because there’s always the worry that you might offend someone if you ask or maybe you are concerned about company policy.  We want businesses to start what-if type dialogs to address these types of purchases.  Discuss what may look out of place, what is worth making further inquiries about and call police when it happens.

Here’s the big point we learned that we want to make sure people know.  Elder abuse requires mandatory reporting and banks employees, by law, are mandatory reporters.  Just like child abuse must be reported by certain groups of people, elder abuse has mandatory reporting guidelines and this type of fraud or exploitation is covered by elder abuse.  So how does this apply to a bank or financial institution?  Like doctors, nurses, social workers and other health care providers, bank officers and any other officers of financial institutions are required to report this type of activity to police.  Worried about violating someone’s privacy?  Don’t, as a mandatory reporter you are protected from privacy violations (KSA 39-1402).

When the money is passed down the road, the victim and the scammer are commonly the only two parties that are “present” or participants in this part.  This is why it is imperative to be involved before it gets to this point.

One more thing that seems to be common practice with our scammers - after they start getting money from our victims and that money is cut off by the victim or victim’s family, they start to threaten violence.  They make claims that they know where you live, have financial or medical information and so on.  In most cases, these scammers are thousands of miles away, maybe even in different countries, but they can seem very convincing and cause a lot of distress.  It’s just something else they do to keep money coming.

Police only hear about the scam after the money is gone.  By that time, it’s usually too late and these cases can be very difficult to follow up on and close.  The best way to combat any crime is to stop it from even happening.  This crime is no different.  Through some mandatory reporting, maybe we can prevent it from happening in the future.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Major Ed Salazar Retires after 40-Years of Faithful Service

To be hired as a police officer is an accomplishment.  The reality is to make it past the 5 or 10-year mark can also be an accomplishment.  Any more, about half of the people who dream of being a police officer end up deciding within a few years that the shift work and stress of being a police officer isn’t what they thought it would be.  That being said, when a member of the police department makes it to the 40-year mark, it’s definitely worth calling attention to.

Major Ed Salazar officially began his law enforcement career in 1968 as a Fingerprint Technician with the FBI.  In 1972 he went to work for the Belton, Missouri Police Department and by December of 1973 he landed with the Overland Park Police Department. When his took the oath to join the department back in 1973, you can be sure that Ed never foresaw that he'd be here for the next 40 years.

Major Salazar has faithfully guided and served in numerous divisions, roles and assignments. Some highlights of those assignments include:  Field Sergeant, Patrol Division Watch Commander, Training and Personnel Director, Community Policy Unit Coordinator, Investigations Division Commander, Administrative Services Division Commander and Support Services Division Commander.

 Major Salazar has had many notable accomplishments.  He has been recognized as the Officer of the Year by the Kiwanis Club, and he has received the Department’s Public Safety Award for his role in establishing El Centro’s Overland Park Office at Metcalf South Mall.

 Throughout his career, Major Salazar has been noted for his consummate professionalism and integrity.  The entire police department has benefited immensely from his devotion to duty and his constant pursuit of technological advancement.

 After all the years he’s dedicated to the public and the City of Overland Park, he and his family have earned the time together that retirement will now bring.  Thank you Ed for all your service and we wish you nothing but the best in this new chapter of your life.
Last Day September 3, 2013

The Early Years
 
Major Salazar with KMBC Channel 9 News Personality, Stephanie Ramos,
who sang the National Anthem at the ceremony.


Major Salazar reflects on his career.
 
Ed and Bonnie Salazar
 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ready-Set-Go

So what comes to mind for you when you hear the word preparedness?  It’s a word that seems to be used a lot more frequently than ever and in short it means being prepared.  Being prepared is nothing unusual.  Whether you are setting up a room for a new baby or simply gathering things for your daily life, you’re preparing.  Since this month is National Preparedness Month, we want you to think bigger.

 The Federal Emergency Management Agency uses the month of September to push out their Be A Hero, Preparing Means Caring campaign.  They encourage everyone – families, communities and business – to think about the “what if” and prepare for those “what if” emergencies.  Disasters like the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, this summers flooding and super storm Sandy prove that people need to be ready – be prepared.

 This year’s campaign focuses on FEMA’s baseline for emergency preparedness with four simple steps:

 1. Be informed about emergencies that could happen in your community, and identify sources of local information that will be helpful before, during and after an emergency.

2. Make a plan for what to do in an emergency.

3. Build an emergency supply kit.

4. Get involved

We agree with FEMA, preparedness is a shared responsibility; it takes a whole community.  We encourage you to take part, start thinking about “what if” and then get ready.
 
Visit www.fema.gov for more information and resources.