Man, 22, charged with rape, assault in store bathroom attack | Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a department store bathroom in Philadelphia has been charged with rape, robbery and aggravated assault, police said.

Police announced charges Wednesday afternoon against 22-year-old Jaleel Uqdah, who had been arrested that morning at his west Philadelphia home.

Investigators allege that he entered a third-floor restroom Sunday morning at the Macy’s on Market Street in Center City and waited for about 20 minutes before a 55-year-old woman entered. They allege that he then jumped into the woman’s stall, dragged her into another stall, menaced her with sharp wooden skewers and threated to kill her before sexually assaulting her and fleeing with between $60 and $80 stolen from her.

Captain Mark Burgmann of the Special Victims Unit said Uqdah has a previous record but not involving sexual offenses. He called the attack “pretty brazen” and said investigators are taking “a good hard look” at whether the defendant might be responsible for other crimes in the city.

Burgmann said the perpetrator went into the bathroom “within three minutes” of entering the department store.

“He went nowhere else but that bathroom,” Burgmann said. ”So it sure seemed like that was his intent when he got there.”

Burgmann credited help from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in finding the suspect. Surveillance video from SEPTA buses and businesses near his west Philadelphia residence allowed investigators to track the suspect’s movements and identify him, Burgmann said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Uqdah had an attorney; a listed number for him couldn’t be found Wednesday.

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Man charged with crashing stolen pickup truck into Public Garden fence, seriously injuring pedestrian

A Boston man was charged with stealing a pickup truck in downtown Boston Thursday and then seriously injuring a woman when he crashed the vehicle into a fence at the Public Garden, Boston police said Friday.

Keith M. Andrade,58, is to be arraigned Friday in Boston Municipal Court on charges including larceny of a motor vehicle, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident resulting in personal injury, police said.

The woman, whose name was not released, suffered life-threatening injuries. She was walking near the intersection of Boylston and Charles streets when she was hit around 4:23 p.m. by the dark-colored pickup truck, police wrote in a posting on

“Witnesses on scene provided a description of the [driver] who was observed fleeing the scene by casually walking across Charles Street attempting to blend in with the crowd,” police wrote, but officers were not able to locate him despite searching the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Later Thursday night, officers spotted a man who matched the description of the driver walking near Washington and School streets in downtown and started to have a conversation with him, police wrote.

The man “identified himself and officers immediately discovered he had provided an alias,” police wrote.

The man was eventually identified as Andrade,who was being sought on two active arrest warrants. Police determined Andrade was the alleged driver and formally arrested him, police said.

Andrade also faces two pending charges of larceny from a person.

John R. Ellement can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.

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Woman charged with sending ricin to the White House pleads not guilty, will be held without bail

A woman charged with making threats against President Trump by mailing a package containing ricin to the White House was ordered held without bail Monday by a judge in Buffalo who cited “a very strong case” against her based on an indictment in Washington, D.C.

Pascale Ferrier, 53, of a Montreal suburb, was arrested a week ago as she tried to enter the U.S. through a border crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario, and Buffalo. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea on her behalf Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. cited a long history of assassinations and attempted assassinations of U.S. presidents since the killing of President Abraham Lincoln in finding that Ferrier was an ongoing threat to the president and others.

He also read from a letter that prosecutors allege Ferrier wrote to Trump and included in the ricin-laden container, in which she allegedly threatened to find a more dangerous poison or to use her gun to stop him from his presidential campaign.

“It would appear to me the government has a very strong case, especially assuming the legal validity of the alleged admissions at the time of her arrest,” Schroeder said of the woman, who has French and Canadian citizenship.

He ordered her transfer to Washington to face the one-count indictment.

The envelope containing the toxic substance and the threatening letter was addressed to the White House but was intercepted at a mail sorting facility on September 18. No one was harmed.

Besides the letter’s threats was a command to Trump to “give up and remove our application for this election,” authorities said.

The FBI discovered that six additional similar letters appeared to have been received in Texas a few days earlier, according to a criminal complaint.

Her lawyer, Fonda Dawn Kubiak, argued that she should be granted bail. “As Ms. Ferrier sits here today, she is presumed innocent,” Kubiak said.

She called her client “highly educated” with the equivalent of a master’s degree in engineering in France and who was employed by an aircraft engineering company.

Kubiak said Ferrier could reside with her son in Quebec or possibly with family members in Texas.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Lynch said Ferrier was trying to enter the United States last week when an officer approached and asked if she was OK. “No, I’m wanted by the FBI for the ricin envelope,” he quoted her as responding.

He said authorities handcuffed her and searched her vehicle, in which they found a semiautomatic handgun loaded with seven rounds of ammunition, nearly 300 rounds of other ammunition, pepper spray, a knife and a stun gun.

“She was loaded for bear, Judge,” the prosecutor said.

He said that ricin had been located at her apartment outside Montreal and that she was likely to face additional charges in Washington, Texas and Buffalo.

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Male Connecticut College student charged with voyeurism in connection with incident in dorm bathroom, police say

A Connecticut College student was arrested Saturday night and charged with voyeurism after an incident in a dorm bathroom, police said Monday.

Nicholas Spellman, 19, was charged with voyeurism and disorderly conduct after police seized multiple electronic devices, New London police Capt. Brian Wright said.

Police were called to the dorm a few minutes after 10 p.m. Saturday after a reported incident in the bathroom, but police did not release further details Monday. 

Spellman, who is from Wilbraham, Mass., was released on bond and is scheduled to appear Nov. 20 in Superior Court in New London.

Police have asked anyone who has reason to believe they were a victim of of this type of crime or who has information about this incident or others like it to contact the detective bureau at 860-447-1481 or submitting an anonymous text tip to “Tip411” at 847411.

Police made a similar arrest in March 2019 when they charged former student Carlos Antonio Alberti, then 21 years old, with seven counts of voyeurism for allegedly recording female students in dorm bathrooms from October 2018 to January 2019. Alberti pleaded not guilty and pre-trial proceedings are scheduled to begin next month in Superior Court in New London.

Zach Murdock can be reached at [email protected]


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Canadian woman charged with sending ricin-laced letter to White House

A Canadian woman has been charged with threatening President Donald Trump by mailing a letter laced with the deadly poison ricin to the White House, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

The woman, Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 53, who lives in Quebec, was carrying a knife and a loaded gun tucked into her waistband when she was taken into custody along the U.S.–Canada border Sunday, prosecutors said.

“I found a new name for you: ‘The Ugly Tyrant Clown,'” read a rambling note found inside the letter that arrived at the White House’s mail sorting center Friday, according to court documents.

“You ruin USA and lead them to disaster. I don’t want the next 4 years with you as president. Give up and remove your application for this election. So I made a ‘Special Gift’ for you to make a decision. This gift is in this letter. If it doesn’t work, I’ll find better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come.”

Ferrier is also alleged to have sent letters containing a powdery substance to people at jails and detention centers in Texas, where she had recently been arrested on weapons charges. Those letters, like the letter addressed to Trump, also used the phrase “if it doesn’t work I will find a better recipe,” the complaint said.

Ferrier was taken into custody after investigators matched her fingerprints on the letters recovered in Texas with fingerprints of Ferrier in FBI databases.

The FBI said that on Sept. 9, she made postings on Twitter and Facebook saying “#killTrump” and used the same phrase found in the letter to the president: “Ugly Clown Tyrant.”

According to the complaint, she told Customs and Border Protection officers at the U.S.-Canadian border crossing in Buffalo, New York, that she was wanted by the FBI for the ricin letters.

Ferrier was ordered held without bail at her initial court appearance in Buffalo. Her lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Daniella Silva contributed.

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Great-uncle charged after 3-year-old finds loaded gun in kitchen drawer, shoots himself in Florida

A negligent gun owner was arrested in Florida over the weekend after his 3-year-old great-nephew found a loaded firearm inside a kitchen drawer and shot himself, authorities said.

a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: James Romano

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James Romano

The boy, who’s expected to survive, apparently climbed onto the counter, opened an unlocked drawer and pulled the trigger, shooting himself in the hand and thigh, police said in an arrest report obtained by local news outlets.

His great-uncle, 61-year-old James Romano, admitted to smoking two marijuana cigarettes before the child was dropped off at the home Sunday in Juniper Inlet Colony, according to The Palm Beach Post. He also told police that he forgot he had left the 9-mm. semi-automatic handgun in the kitchen drawer that day.

The West Virginia resident was charged with culpable negligence and unsafe storage of a firearm. He was arrested Sunday night and released Monday after posting $1,000 bond, jail records show.

The boy was at least the second U.S. child to shoot himself with an unsecured firearm in recent days.

A toddler in North Carolina died from a “self-inflicted gunshot wound” last week during an incident that is still under investigation. The 2-year-old was home with two adults and a teenager when the shooting happened.

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Woman accused of sending ricin letter to White House charged with making threats against the president

A letter sent to the White House containing the toxic powder ricin has been traced back to Pascale Ferrier, a woman who was arrested on Sunday while trying to cross the U.S. border from Canada, authorities said Tuesday. Ferrier has been charged with making threats against the president of the United States. 

At her initial court appearance in Buffalo on Tuesday, Ferrier asked the court to appoint a federal defender, which will be paid for by American taxpayers. That defender requested an identity hearing, in which the court would determine that she is in fact the person named in the criminal complaint and the arrest warrant, as well as a probable cause hearing. 

Ferrier’s next hearings, which will include the identity and probable cause hearing, were scheduled for September 28. She was returned to the custody of U.S. Marshals. 

Court documents released Tuesday detail how on Friday, the U.S. Secret Service flagged the letter postmarked from Canada to the FBI. The FBI found that it “contained a white, powdery material,” which was later confirmed to be ricin.

The letter also contained a note Ferrier allegedly wrote to the president, calling him “The Ugly Tyrant Clown”  and claiming he, “…ruin[ed] USA and lead them to disaster,” according to the documents.

“I have US cousins, then I don’t want the next 4 years with you as president. Give up and remove your application for this election,” Ferrier allegedly wrote to Mr. Trump. “So I made a “Special Gift” for you to make a decision. This gift is in this letter. If it doesn’t work, I’ll find better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come. Enjoy! FREE REBEL SPIRIT!”

The affidavit claims that Ferrier made similar negative comments about the President on her social media accounts.

A mug shot of Pascale Ferrier

The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office

Law enforcement officials said they learned during the toxin screening that six additional letters sent from Canada had been turned over to FBI field offices in Texas earlier in the week. Those letters were allegedly addressed to individuals employed at penitentiaries and detention centers in the state. The letters also allegedly contained a powdery substance, had matching language, and were similarly signed “FREE REBEL SPIRIT.” Law enforcement officials said they were also able to identify her fingerprints on four of the letters in San Antonio.

Ferrier was previously arrested in March 2019 by the Mission Police in Texas for weapons possession and was transferred into ICE custody. According to court documents, the letters sent to Texas were addressed to individuals that worked at facilities at which she was held during her detention in 2019.

When Ferrier was arrested Sunday while trying to enter the U.S. from the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, she allegedly told CBP officers she was “…wanted by the FBI for the ricin letters” and had a gun and a knife in her possession.

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Man charged with 7 hoax ‘swatting’ calls that brought police to same house, police say

A 35-year-old New Jersey man swatted Ramsey police seven times since June by leaving anonymous tips about made-up domestic disturbances, authorities said.

Vadim Pinskiy was arrested last week at his Fair Lawn home following a months-long investigation and charged by Ramsey police with seven counts of making false reports to law enforcement as well as one count each of harassment and stalking. Pinskiy knew the victims, though Ramsey police didn’t say how.

Pinskiy began his swatting spree in June when he sent an anonymous tip to the State Police’s Regional Operations Intelligence Center reporting a domestic disturbance involving possible violence at a home, Ramsey police said.

When cops arrived, the learned the tip was a hoax. Pinskiy provided six more tips to the Ramsey police department’s anonymous tip line about domestic disturbances at the same home since June, none of which proved to be accurate, police said.

Police eventually traced the IP address for the tips and obtained a search warrant, officials said

Under a tougher law passed in 2015, the crime is punishable by five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

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Jeff Goldman may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.

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Miami Gardens brothers charged with abducting, beating man

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office say Miami Garden twin brothers Devon Cooke and Donavan Cook, abducted and assaulted a man in an attempt to collect ransom money.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office say Miami Garden twin brothers Devon Cooke and Donavan Cook, abducted and assaulted a man in an attempt to collect ransom money.

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Twin brothers under house arrest on murder charges duct-taped a man and cut his face and toes demanding a ransom payment, authorities said.

On Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida announced 23-year-old twin brothers Devon Cooke and Donavan Cooke, of Miami Gardens, were charged with carjacking and kidnapping after they allegedly abducted and assaulted a man in an attempt to collect ransom money.

The brothers were under house house arrest on murder and attempted murder charges when the incident happened.

Authorities say on Tuesday the victim, who was not identified, drove to the twins’ home in Miami Gardens to collect money. When he arrived, the brothers assaulted him, snatched his car key and dragged him out of the car and into their house.

The brothers then bound him to a chair using duct tape and began beating him, authorities said. They used a knife to cut his face and toes and wrapped a dog leash around his neck, chocking him unconscious.

A witness told authorities they heard the man pleading for his life. The brothers threatened to kill him if he didn’t come up with the ransom money, the press release read.

With a gun to the man’s head, he was forced to make a call to an unknown person and told them to put cash, a Rolex and other jewelry into a bag and drive to a spot the twins designated.

An accomplice to the brothers then arrived at the home and stuffed the man into a car and took him to the exchange spot. Once there, the man ran away and the accomplice drove off with the ransom.

Authorities say investigation led by police officers led to the Cooke twins. FBI agents found some of the items used in the abduction and beating.

The twins are in federal custody and made their first appearance in Miami federal court Friday. Each brother faces up to 15 years in federal prison on the carjacking charge and life in prison on the kidnapping charge.

Miami Herald Real Time Reporter Devoun Cetoute covers breaking news, Florida theme parks and general assignment. He attends the University of Florida and grew up in Miami. Theme parks are on his mind in and out of the office.

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Bradenton man charged with trying to rape woman in restaurant bathroom

A 32-year-old Bradenton man followed a woman into the bathroom of a Manatee County fast-food restaurant on Wednesday and tried to rape her, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say Alfred Payne Jr. walked into the bathroom behind the victim, locked the door and pushed the victim against the wall. According to the arrest report, Payne told the victim, “I’m going to rape you twice,” and attempted to force himself on her.

Deputies say the woman was able to fight Payne off and escape the bathroom.

The Bradenton Herald is not naming the restaurant to protect the identity of the victim.

According to the report, Payne had gone to the restaurant several times attempting to flirt with the victim and on one occasion exposed himself to her.

Payne was arrested Thursday and booked into the Manatee County jail on charges of attempted sexual battery and false imprisonment. He remains in custody without bond pending a future court date.


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