Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

National Night Out and Crime: Revenge of the Squeegee Guys

This started out as a rant about squeegee guys, but I decided to make an overall crime post. First, the squeegee rant, does anyone else feel like they’re living in NYC circa 1989 all of a sudden?

On my way to take the kids to day camp, I stopped on the northbound frontage of I-35 at Riverside. An aging bearded guy in a Guero’s shirt came up to my car with a squeegee and a wet rag. I immediately rolled down my window, told him that I didn’t have any cash or change (which was 100% true) and asked him not to clean the windshield. He proceeded to do it anyway, which stunned me. He said something about having kids in the car, so I suppose it turned into a good deed in his mind. However, I think cleaning the windshield when told not to do it is crossing the line, even if he didn’t demand money for it. Anybody else think that?

On my way home, I passed the southbound frontage of I-35 and Oltorf and found a second guy with a squeegee. I also passed the guy from the morning who was still in the same area, but on the southbound frontage.

In other crime news, last night was National Night Out. Our neighborhood had a small gathering of roughly 20-30 people with reps from APD, Fire and EMS. We feel we’ve been experiencing a spike in crime over the last year or so, but I’ve heard things from those living in Hyde Park and there was a story about a Rundberg neighborhood getting fed up with crime this past week. What about you? Do you feel crime is on the rise in Austin?

Last, the new police chief, Art Acevedo, seems to be busy making changes at APD. He’s in his third week on the job and there’s been at least one or two news stories a week on what he’s been up to, just search his name on Statesman or News8Austin. A local blog reports that at a talk last week Acevedo said that Austin is a major metropolitan center and we can’t run the police department like we’re a college town with a few thousand students. It’s early to tell, but it appears that he might make a difference.

Local Reporting on the Car Accident and Beating Death

There’s a lot of local and national coverage of the beating death of David Morales, passenger in a car that apparently hit a 2-year-old yesterday. The child was described as having non-serious or non-life threatening injuries.

Initial coverage, including the APD press release seemed to imply that there was a huge mob of 1,000 or more involved. It now appears that there were only 20 people in the immediate area and only 5 or fewer were involved. A larger crowd from a nearby Juneteenth celebration may have formed after the incident and were merely spectators to the aftermath, but the updated APD press release is very careful not to associate the incident with the Juneteenth festivities at least 2 blocks away.

The News8Austin story says that our incoming new police chief pushed for the more moderate update of the press release. This is the last thing APD needs given recent events and their current reputation in the community, especially East Austin. The city has been making a big deal about the selection of the new police chief, Art Acevedo. It looks like he’s got his work cut out for him.

Free VIN Etching

I caught this in the Chronicle. The first session just started at the Federal Building downtown. There’s another session this Saturday and then three more after that.

FREE VIN ETCHING Preventing crime is always preferable to reacting to it after the fact, so Austin Police Department is hosting several workshops this summer in which you can have your vehicle identification number etched on your windshield. Doing so will make your car more easily identifiable and therefore less likely to be stolen.

  • Thu., June 21, 10am-1pm: Federal Building, 300 E. Ninth.
  • Sat., June 23, 10am-1pm: Target, 11220 FM 2222.
  • Thu., June 28, 5-8pm: St. James Baptist Church, 3417 E. MLK.
  • Wed., July 11, 10am-1pm: Wal-Mart, 9300 S. I-35.
  • Sat., July 21, 10am-2pm: Dolores Catholic Church, 1111 Montopolis. 974-5017.

More Bomb Threats? WTF?

The Statesman is reporting that there have been two bomb threats to St. Edwards University and one to the Texas School for the Deaf since 10pm last night. This is in addition to the bomb threat that shut down St. Ed’s on Tuesday and in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings on Monday. I was going to stay away from talking about any of this, avoid drawing parallels to the Charles Whitman shooting, but this is getting ridiculous. What the hell is going on around here?

Zune This!


Xeni at BoingBoing points to some photos over at losanjealous that appear to show a man being arrested for trying to post Zune propaganda. It looks like it happened on Sixth Street right in front of Casino El Camino.

We’ll have none of your crappy mp3 player propaganda in our city, buddy!

A stroke that slays us all

When tragedy occurs at UT, each drop of bloodshed plinks and ripples throughout the campus.

The murder of Jennifer Cave in 2005 was shocking then, even when we didn’t know the full and gruesome story. Youth is on our side at this time in our lives and we are invincible, it seems, so when we heard about her West Campus murder the gossip and confusion spread like wildfire- she was a slut, she was a cokehead, she was a great girl but HE was really messed up, why else would he run off to Mexico OF COURSE he did it, etc. People who knew the suspect, Colton Pitonyak, wrote messages of disbelief and sorrow on his Facebook wall. He was a suspected murderer….but he was still someone they’d shared their life with. He was still their friend.

After the murder Pitonyak and his (soon-to-be-tried) accomplice Laura Hall ran for the border in Hall’s Cadillac. They got into Mexico and tried to sell the car but didn’t have the title, and were strongly averse to going back to Texas for it, according to testimony from the manager of the inn where they stayed. The two were apprehended in Eagle Pass, Texas, as a result of collaboration between US and Mexican law enforcement.

The ensuing trial for Pitonyak has been covered meticulously by the Texan, and today they found him guilty of Cave’s murder, sentencing him to 55 years in prison. It’s not life, but for a twentysomething, it might as well be. The Cave family was there to watch the trial- the end of a 17-month wait for some sort of retribution for what they’d lost, as if anything could be enough.

I’m not convinced he did it, honestly. I’m not. There’s too much unexplained- why did Hall supposedly mutilate the body but not shoot the bullet that killed Cave? Why are there both prints on the gun? The more I read about it the more questions I have. Hall’s trial will yield more answers, and more questions, but the only one certain to be on everyone’s minds will be How could this happen here?

UTPD Campus Watch: Best of 2006

The UT Campus Watch newsletter from UTPD has released their best crime stories of 2006. There’re an awful lot of ties, which kind of defeats the purpose making it a top ten, but who am I to argue?

Enjoy the results after the jump. Drum roll please. Number 10…

Benefits of a Good Education

Earlier this month, Austinist pointed me to the UT Campus Safety reports and they’ve been providing endless amusement ever since. I couldn’t help but post a few highlights from last night.

You’ve got to love the sarcastic tone of the reports and kudos to the second subject who appears to have thoroughly marked his territory at the intersection of Guadalupe and 26th. I can’t help but wonder what these people have planned for the rest of the weekend. It was only Thursday night for cryin’ out loud. I guess they’re just trying to live up to the #1 Party School ranking released at the end of August. Well done, kids.

10-27-06, at 12:33 AM. – 2000 BLOCK RIO GRANDE
Public Intoxication: A UT student was observed staggering and stumbling as she attempted to walk along a flat sidewalk. The officer observed that the subject was missing a shoe. During the investigation, the officer detected a very strong odor of alcohol on the subject’s breath and noted her confused state of mind. The subject informed the officer that she had drunk too much at a party and that the boys were kissing her. She then informed the officer that she got upset when her boyfriend left the party. The officer allowed the subject the opportunity to use a life line and contact a friend, the friend hung up on her. The subject was taken into custody for Public Intoxication and transported to Central Booking.

10-27-06, at 2:07 AM. – 400 BLOCK WEST 26th STREET
Public Intoxication: A UT student was observed falling into a metal fence while providing alcohol-enriched compost for a local area home owner. After filling the allotment, the subject continued to vomit on himself. During the investigation the officer observed that the subject had attempted, unsuccessfully, to evacuate other bodily fluids. During the investigation, the officer detected a very strong odor of alcohol on the subject’s breath and observed that his eyes were bloodshot and watery. While talking to the subject, the subject lost his balance and fell, causing the officer to catch him before he hit the ground. The subject was taken into custody for Public Intoxication and transported to Central Booking.

10-27-06, at 3:28 AM – 100 BLOCK WEST 21st STREET
Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor (2 Counts): A UT student was observed supporting another UT student as both were attempting to negotiate the hidden contours of a straight sidewalk. During the investigation, the officer detected a very strong odor of alcohol on the breaths of both subjects. The officer discovered that both subjects were under the legal age of 21. Both subjects were issued a field release citation for Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor.

Willie’s Stash

By now you’ve all heard that Willie Nelson got busted a few days after ACL in Louisiana (why is it always Louisiana or Florida?) for drug possession. Others have pointed out that this has to be the easiest bust of the year. Congratulations to Louisana’s finest.

Anyway, Smoking Gun has a shot of the contraband, check it out. Kelso of the Statesman also weighed in on the world’s easiest drug bust today.

Austin’s Day of Infamy – Part 3

Too many new stories today not to start a new post:

Check out Part 1 and Part 2.

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