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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Chief Chat: Beware of fraud, especially around the holidays

  • Drug watch: On Dec. 16 the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department initiated a selective enforcement operation on County Road 7300.
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  • Drug watch: On Dec. 16 the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department initiated a selective enforcement operation on County Road 7300.
    This operation was conducted to enforce voluntary compliance with State and local traffic laws. At about 12:55 p.m. Deputies stopped a silver Mitsubishi passenger car for running a stop sign.
    During the course of the traffic stop the deputy became suspicious of other criminal activity and a department K-9 was called for.
    When the K-9 arrived he was deployed and alerted on the vehicle. A subsequent search of the vehicle found almost 200 pounds of marijuana in the trunk.
    Denise L. Cazee-Manes, 59, of Tucson, Ariz. was arrested for drug trafficking in the 1st degree. She was incarcerated in the Phelps County Jail on a $250,000 bond.
    The charges for which Mrs. Cazee-Manes has been arrested are merely accusations and are not evidence of guilt. Evidence in support of the charges must be presented before a court of competent jurisdiction whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
    Each year, during the holiday season, we receive complaints of internet and email fraud. I'm sure many of you get these types of emails, as I get them all the time. These are fraud attempts; many times are coupled with viruses and if you open them, you can infect your computer.
    Other types of fraud are the type where they want you to respond so they can try to get a hook into you and get your money. A good general rule is that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
    Here is an example of a fraudulent email:
    From: Webster Bank [mailto:WebsterWeb-LinkNotifications@WebsterBank.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 10:02 AM
    To: Mark Kearse; other city employees taken out.
    Subject: Wire Released
    Wire Transfer Processed Notification
    Amount: $184,224.08 Please review the transaction details in attached report. This E-Mail box is not equipped to handle replies. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Webster Cash Management Services at 1-888-932-2256.
    Please be wary of this type of criminal activity and avoid opening or interacting with these types of emails.
    Over the past few months we have received complaints of motorists speeding in residential areas. Last week, we had received complaints of speeders on East 7th street, so officers began selective enforcement in the area, and reported speeds in excess of 50 and 60 miles per hour.
    I would not have believed that people drove that fast on that street. In addition, we have been receiving reports of thefts of cemetery flower vases from Ozark Memorial Gardens. We received similar reports a few years ago and were able to apprehend the perpetrators and recover most of the vases. We will do our best to do the same in this case.
    Page 2 of 4 - I know many of you have problems with speeders in your neighborhoods and I wish we could spend the time needed to work your areas. The truth is I just don't have the manpower to keep up with all the areas. We handle around 37,000 calls a year, mostly around the time that we should be working traffic in the neighborhoods, and then they have to write reports, follow up on investigations etc...
     
    So I apologize for not being able to be out there like we need to be. As many of you have said, there is a speeding problem almost everywhere in town. We have all this technology so we can get more done and faster, but yet we are always running behind and in a hurry. Someday I would like to have a true traffic division of three officers that would work nothing but high traffic locations, neighborhoods and DWI enforcement. Maybe someday, until then we will do the best we can. Thank you.
    We are also investigating complaints of items stolen from cars while parked and unattended. Please remember to keep your vehicles secured and do not leave items of value in plain view inside the vehicle. The same advice works for your homes. Lock your doors and windows, keep garage doors shut and valuables such as bicycles, mowers and skateboards out of sight.
     
    Do not advertise your belongings. If you are going out of town for the holidays, place interior lights on timers, have a trusted neighbor or family member check your home and contact us about a vacation security check. Our officers and VIPS volunteers will check your home while you are away and report anything suspicious.
    This next entry is from Detective Derrick Dillon, who took it upon himself to spearhead our campaign to assist in stocking the food pantries in the community. Derrick writes: Our food drive has come to an end. The Rolla Police Department cannot thank you enough for your generous giving. We delivered the donations to Denny Ford. They will be donated to local food pantries. For everyone who brought in a donation and signed up for the give-away, we will draw for it in the next couple of days. If you forgot to sign up and you donated items, feel free to email me at ddillon@rollacity.org. I will put your name in for the drawing. Please don't send an email if you did not donate. Once again, thank you so much. We delivered two SUV's full of donations. You guys are great. Merry Christmas. -Det. Dillon.
    In closing, I would like to include these holiday safety tips as I do each year. Some of these tips were mentioned earlier in this article but are good enough to mention again.
    Page 3 of 4 - If You Are Traveling
    • Get an automatic timer for your lights.
    • Ask a neighbor to watch your home, shovel snow, and park in the driveway from time to time.
    • Don't forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. If it piles up, it's a sure sign you're gone.
    If You Are Out for the Evening
    • Turn on lights and a radio or TV so it looks like someone's home.
    • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave, even if it's just for a few minutes.
    • Don't display gifts where they can be seen from outside.
    If You Are Shopping
    •  Stay alert and be aware of what's going on around you.
    • Park in a well-lighted space, and be sure to lock the car, close the windows, and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.
    • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
    • Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Don't overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the   straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
    • Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.
    Protect Your Vehicle
    Loading up on all those gifts is a sign of progress in the holiday shopping. But if those packages are left out in the open after they're in the car, your car has become a likely target for thieves. Remember the old cliché "Out of sight, out of mind?" The same idea applies to items in your car.
    Always lock your vehicle and store all items out of sight. Breaking into an empty car isn't worth a thief's time. However, anything left in plain view – from your holiday gifts to spare change, sunglasses, CDs, cell phones or briefcases – may tempt a thief.
    Help prevent your vehicle from being stolen by always locking your car and using anti-theft devices. And although it's cold, never leave your vehicle running while you run inside your home or a store – even if for only a minute or two.
    If a Stranger Comes to the Door
    Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts. And it's not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others' generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there's no charity involved. Ask for identification, and find out how the funds will be used. If you aren't satisfied, don't give. Help a charitable organization you know and like instead.
    Page 4 of 4 - Last but not least, don't let holiday stress get the best of your holiday spirit. Make time to get together with family, friends, and neighbors. And think about reaching out in the spirit of the season and helping someone who's less fortunate or lonely.
    Do your part to make the holidays a safe and happy time for everybody—except criminals.
    After You've Opened the Gifts
    Burglars know that many households have new, and oftentimes expensive, items in their homes following the December holidays – especially items such as new computers and peripherals, stereo components, televisions, cameras and other electronic equipment.
     
    In too many cases, residents make it easy for burglars to figure out which homes to target by putting boxes that identify their new gifts in plain view with their other garbage. Avoid becoming an easy target for post-holiday burglars by not leaving boxes for new electronics and other items in the alley or other garbage pick-up locations for several days at a time.
     
    Instead, break down any boxes you are throwing out, put them in garbage bags and place them inside a trash can. (In many cases, especially with computer equipment, you might consider keeping the boxes for safe storage, shipping or moving in the future.) Think about keeping broken-down boxes inside – in a garage, for example – until the evening before your regular garbage pick-up.
     
    Some burglars actually look inside garbage cans for evidence of holiday gifts. And, of course, if you see someone suspicious casing your alley, call the Rolla Police Department’s non-emergency number at 308-1213.. If you see a burglary in progress, call 9-1-1.
    Take a Holiday Inventory
    The holidays are a good time to update—or create—your home inventory. Take photos or make videos of items, and list descriptions and serial numbers. If your home is burglarized, having a detailed inventory can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to file.
    Make sure things like TVs, VCRs, stereo equipment, cameras, camcorders, sports equipment, jewelry, silver, computers, home office equipment, and power tools are on the list. Remember to check it twice!
    Celebrate Responsibly
    The holiday season is a time of celebration and revelry. Drinking and driving is a danger to everyone on the road. Anyone with a BAC of .08 or higher is in violation of Missouri law and may go to jail. Remember that the risk isn't worth it–if you choose to drink alcohol at a party, don't drive. Take a cab, use public transportation or a designated driver, or call a friend or family member.- Have fun, but remember to celebrate responsibly. Have a great week!

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