Friday, June 27, 2014

Be Careful Taking Money From These Tricksters

The guys depicted in the pictures below have a knack for trying to confuse cashiers into giving them more money than they're entitled to, or they'll simply take it when you're not paying attention.

So far we've had two separate reports, that we know of, where we believe it's possibly two people working together conducting a "quick change" scam on unsuspecting employees. In both incidences, the suspects were able to confuse the cashier by presenting a large bill and requesting multiple transactions, usually asking for different denominations back in change.

The whole transaction happens so fast that most people don't realize they've been ripped off until later when they go to balance their register at the end of the shift.

Our first case occurred back on June 17th at a local bakery. The suspect walked in and wanted to purchase a small cupcake. He was told they were out and that he'd have to buy a larger one. He decided he just wanted to buy a bottle of water instead and tried to pay for it with a $100 bill.

As the cashier was giving him the change, the suspect then had the epiphany to ask about any job openings and asked the employee to write the website down where he could apply online. The employee turned their back for a second to get some paper and didn't realize until later that he had taken back the original $100. He was able to get away with his $100 bill and another $100 in change that he defrauded the business of.

The second report came in on June 20th at a local coffee house. The suspect in that case also wanted to buy a bottle of water and gave the casher a $5 bill. As the employee was finishing up that transaction, the suspect pulls out his $100 bill and asks to get change for it. He then tries to confuse the employee several times by changing the denominations that he wanted back.

The suspect also had a desire to work at this business and asks several questions of the employee, obviously trying to further distract them. The employee never realized what had happened until later when their drawer was $100 short and surveillance video confirmed the suspect never handed the bill to the employee in the first place.

This second event took place a few minutes after an attempt was made on a nearby gas station cashier, but the suspect in that incident was unsuccessful.

Although $200 doesn't seem like a lot, quick-change artists usually aren't after a lot of money when they pull the scam - maybe $10 to $20, because the small amount doesn't arouse suspicion. If they keep hitting up unsuspecting businesses, the total can add up quickly.  

Anyone with information on the identity of these people is asked to call the Overland Park Police Departments Investigation Division at 913-344-8750.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

DUI Saturation Patrol Tomorrow Night

The Overland Park Police Department is conducting a DUI Saturation Patrol on Friday, June 27, 2014.  It is the police department’s goal to reduce alcohol related auto accidents and discourage impaired driving within its community. 

The DUI Saturation Patrol will begin at 10:00 PM, and the enforcement will not end until 2:00 AM.  The Traffic Safety Unit will hold a briefing at the Myron E. Scafe Building, 8500 Antioch, Overland Park, KS, prior to initiating the enforcement.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Attempt to Identify Person’s Involved in Distraction Theft

Our Investigations Division is currently working a distraction theft case and would like the public’s help identifying persons of interest related to the case.

On June 12, 2014 around 3:00 p.m., the female victim was in a grocery store located in the 7400 block of W. 91st Street in Overland Park, when she was distracted by a white female asking her thoughts about ice cream. 

The female engaged her in a short conversation and then left. A short time later the victim attempted to pay for her groceries and found her wallet missing from her purse.

Credit cards from the wallet were immediately used to make several different purchases at an area retail store totaling over $3000.

The suspects involved in using the stolen credit cards are two white females and a white male.

The attached surveillance photos show the three subjects detectives would like to identify.

Anyone with information on the identity of these people is asked to contact the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or the Overland Park Police at 913-344-8750.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Overland Park Officers Investigating a Fatality Accident - W. 153rd Street and Quivira

On 6/24/14 at 3:02 a.m., the Overland Park Police Department responded to a one-vehicle fatality accident involving a motorcycle, in the area of W. 153rd Street and Quivira Road.  

The operator of the motorcycle, identified as R. "Brock" Rodgers of Overland Park, age 24, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Preliminary information indicated speed was a factor in the crash. The driver was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

The Overland Park Police Traffic Safety Unit continues to investigate this accident.

This is Overland Park's first fatality accident of 2014.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Help Us Identify a Trailer Thief

On Thursday, June 19th, around midnight, someone in a white Ford Explorer decided to steal a trailer that was parked on a lot in the 9500 block of Metcalf.

The Ford Explorer parked near the trailer around 11:50 p.m., left the area, then returned at midnight and drove off with it.

The white, 26 foot trailer, is used to store and transport self-defense training equipment for the Ali Kemp Education Foundation. The value of the contents inside the trailer was over $15,000.

The trailer's front passenger-side fender was torn off and there was a crease near the top on the driver`s side.  The rear door lowered down so it could be used as a ramp and there was as small access door on the passenger side.

Please take a look at the video and photos below. The male in the picture is considered a person of interest and someone we'd like to identify.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8750.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Co-Responder Fills Big Role

In the summer of 2013 the Overland Park Police Department began working with members of the Johnson County, Kansas Government to apply for a federal grant through the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).  The purpose of the grant was to collaborate with the Johnson County Mental Health Center to staff a full-time clinician at the police department known as a “Co-Responder”.  

In November of 2013, the federal grant was approved and a selection process was initiated to identify candidates for the co-responder position.  The successful co-responder candidate started full-time in the position in May of 2014.  The co-responder is assigned to our Myron E. Scafe Police Building and is a member of the Community Police and Problem Solving Section.

What makes our co-responder unique to others in the area is the compliment of a full-time Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Officer to partner with for case management.  Together, the CIT officer and the co-responder form the nucleus of the Department’s CIT program.  Overall, the mission of our CIT Program is to serve Department Members, and individuals with mental illness, with dignity and respect in response to crisis situations requiring effective, and efficient problem solving methods, while showing genuine concern for the well being of all.

The co-responder has resources to manage cases and problem-solve before clients experience a crisis.  Further, if the crisis occurs while the co-responder is on-duty, she may be called to the scene to provide an assessment of the person’s mental health and to help the officers problem-solve the situation.  Partnered with the CIT officer the co-responder can conduct outreach contacts with clients to problem-solve before, or after a crisis.

The primary goals of the department’s CIT program is to reduce the number of repeat mental health related calls, proactively help clients manage crisis situations and reduce the officers on-scene time on mental health related calls.  Secondarily, the CIT program goals are to provide training to police department personnel on how to efficiently, and effectively, handle mental health related calls.

To date, the mental health co-responder has been involved in over 95 reports or contacts, and has made 12 site-visits for assessments.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Arrest of Suspect in the Murder of Chidozie "Joe" Ojiaka

On June 18th, Overland Park Police Investigators arrested 22 year-old Edward William Scott, Jr. in relation to the murder of 51 year-old Overland Park resident, Chidozie "Joe" Ojiaka. His body was discovered in his home by police on June 8th.

See the press release below issued today by Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Hot Car Isn't a Friend to Pets

The heat and humidity of summer is upon us and now is no time to leave your pet in a hot vehicle, even for a short amount of time. During the course of summer, Overland Park Animal Control Officers will routinely respond to several calls a week on reports of pets left inside unattended vehicles.

Before leaving a pet in a car for even a minute, consider that if the outdoor temperature is 82 degrees, inside a vehicle it can reach 109 degrees. An afternoon outside temperature of 101 degrees can increase the heat inside a vehicle to 119 degrees. With windows slightly open, the inside temperature can still exceed 110 degrees.

Animals are not able to sweat like humans do. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, animals can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal's body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving the animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.

Overland Park Animal Control Officers can forcibly rescue a pet if it is determined there is danger to the animal. Each officer carries a gauge to determine the interior temperature of a vehicle.

Pet owners are subject to prosecution for animal cruelty. Next time you think it will take only a minute, consider your pet’s safety and well-being. Its life is dependent on your careful consideration.

If you see a pet inside a car on a hot day, call 913/895-6300 and police dispatchers will notify an animal control officer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Going Out Together

Last week we posted a blog talking about a couple of employees who recently retired after long, distinguished careers with the police department. Yesterday we held another retirement ceremony for two more such employees.
The two employees we honored at yesterday's ceremony were both assigned to the Crime Analysis Unit (CAU) and have become close friends through the years. So close in fact, that they decided to have a joint retirement ceremony and, basically, go out the doors together for the last time. Did we mention they were close?

Well, Mary Dixon and Carol Stanton were both born in Duluth, Minnesota.  They were born in the same hospital in the same city, although the births were a couple of years apart. This fact did not come to light until they had been working side- by-side for several years.

Mary Dixon has been with the City for the past 35 years and Carol Stanton has been here for 39 years. For those of us who are not math wizards - that's a total of 74 years of experience and job dedication. Not only were they good at what they did, but they were loved by all their fellow employees. It certainly won't be an easy task to replace the two of them.

Please join us in expressing our appreciation to Mary and Carol for their years of service to the Overland Park Police Department and the citizens we serve.  Their dedication and commitment is an example for all to follow and we wish them the very best in their retirement.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

66 Years of Experience Retired, but Not Forgotten

Recently, the Overland Park Police Department celebrated the retirement of two employees who are leaving the city with a combined 66 years on the job. The contributions these two have made to the police department and the City is immeasurable.

We want to send each of them our best wishes as they forge ahead into the next chapter of their lives. They will certainly be missed by all of us here in the police department as well as the citizens they served. It's now time for both of them to relax and enjoy time with their families.

Officer Greg Powell

Greg began his Overland Park career on August 18th, 1986 and retired on May 16th, 2014 after 27 years with the department.

Greg’s law enforcement career actually began with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department in 1985. He would only spend a year there before he crossed over the state line and began his Overland Park career on August 18th, 1986.

This move would be his last as he’s proudly served the citizens of Overland Park and this police department for the last 27 years. 

Greg has been assigned to several different positions during his career, but the majority of his time was spent serving in the Patrol Division. He’s also been a member of the TAC Team and has served as the Booking and Transport Officer for the Patrol Division.

During the last few months of his career he worked on archiving numerous print and digital photographs that have been accumulating in the police department over the many years. This tedious task was an important element in recording the history of our department and identifying those who’ve served us faithfully through the years. 

Please join us in congratulating Greg Powell on all of his accomplishments and his retirement from the Overland Park Police Department.

Senior Dispatch Supervisor Tony Bernal

Anthony Bernal has been employed by the City of Overland Park in the Police Department since September of 1975. Although his given name is Anthony—he is best known as “Tony”. 

In addition to projecting a deep and easily recognized voice on the radio, Tony became well known by his Dispatching peers throughout the Kansas City Metro area. On countless occasions he has placed a call and introduces himself as “Tony”. He rarely if ever needs to say his last name. His voice is unique and immediately recognized.

Winning a lifetime achievement award says a lot, and in April of 2013, he received just such an award. He was honored by his peers during the Mid-America Regional Council’s (MARC) annual Telecommunicator Appreciation Celebration dinner. 

Tony has not only been an integral part of the City of Overland Park but has been an active contributing member to Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO). 

During his 39-year tenure, Tony has compiled a long list of complimentary letters and commendations from the public, from supervisory staff of the Police Department, and members of the Governing Body. But the highest points of pride that Tony points to in his career are the relationships, friendships, and great memories he has garnered. Everyone recognizes his hearty laugh, ear-to-ear smile, and big heart.

 Congratulations on your retirement Tony!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

UPDATE: Homicide Investigation 7900 block of W. 75th Street

The individual involved in yesterdays homicide investigation has been identified as 51 year-old  Overland Park resident, Chidozie "Joe" Ojiaka.

 Mr. Ojiaka is the registered homeowner of the house where his body was found.

 The circumstances surrounding his death are still under investigation. 

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8769.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Overland Park Police Investigating a Homicide

Overland Park Police detectives are currently in the 7900 Block of W. 75th Street conducting a homicide investigation involving an unidentified male and unknown circumstances.

Officers were asked to check the welfare on a resident yesterday around 3:00 p.m. and found the subject deceased.

Detectives are working this as a homicide and will release more information as it becomes available.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call the TIPS HOTLINE at 816-474-TIPS or the Overland Park Police Department at 913-344-8769.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Police Need Help Identifying Playground Arsonists

During the early morning hours of May 28th, Overland Park Police and Fire Departments responded to the playground area of John Diemer Elementary School (9600 Lamar) regarding paper and rubber mulch that was on fire.

The fire was quickly extinguished and there was no substantial loss to the playground. Investigators want to catch the people responsible and make sure they realize the seriousness of their actions.

The young arsonists left a trail of shredded paper from a recycling bin to the area of the playground where they set it on fire along with the mulch. We were fortunate that a passing motorists saw the smoke coming from the playground and called it in before any major damage could occur.

Setting fire to playground equipment has become a problem recently and we've seen damages over the past year and a half that has cost thousands of dollars to replace. During the last year, there have been four arson cases involving school playground equipment, including a previous report at John Diemer in October.

Please take a look at the video and pictures below and see if you can recognize any of the individuals. The two males were seen on video carrying the shredded paper and starting the fire. The two females were with them at the time and all four ran off together once the fire was lit.
If you have any information on their identity, please call the Overland Park Police at (913) 344-8750.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Results of the Memorial Day Click it or Ticket Campaign

The Overland Park Police Department conducted a Memorial Day – Click it or Ticket - S.T.E.P. Campaign from May 19th through June 1st.  The campaign was conducted with the principle focus on adult, teen, and child seat restraint violations. 

Officers also looked for speeding violations, texting while driving violations, bicyclist violations, pedestrian violations, and DUI violations to help reduce alcohol related auto accidents.       

Please review the statistical results:

398 - Hours worked

960   - Vehicles stopped

25     -    Speeding violations

890   - Seat belts (18+)

14     - Safety Belts (14-17)

5       -  Safety Belts (8-13)

12     - Booster Seats (4-7)

5       - Child Seats (0-3)

11     - Texting While Driving

261   - Hazardous Moving

55     - Other Violations

9       -   Warrant Arrests

6       -   DUI Arrests

0       -   MIP Arrest

4       -   Drug Arrests

2      -   Transporting Open Container Arrest
2     -   Other Arrests