State Briefs 3/27/09
Student claims he was Maced by security guard
PEORIA – A Manual High School senior who was arrested Tuesday alleges he was sprayed with Mace and roughed up by a security guard in a hallway of the high school.
Timothy Lowe, 18, was arrested by Peoria police Tuesday night and booked on charges of aggravated battery to school personnel, criminal trespass and obstructing police. He is accused of pushing and striking the security guard during a run-in earlier that afternoon.
The District 150 officer, Kasey Groenewold, was listed as the victim on the Peoria Police Department's report of the incident and indicated on the report that he is seeking prosecution.
District 150 spokeswoman Stacey Shangraw acknowledged that a complaint was filed Wednesday by a parent and that an investigation of the incident will be initiated.
Lowe posted $122 bail to be released from Peoria County Jail. Reached at home Thursday night, Lowe declined to comment except to confirm his allegations.
Peoria Journal Star
Teens apologize for cemetery fire
PEORIA – Four of the five teenagers who caused a fire that destroyed much of the savannah area of Springdale Cemetery on March 19 have confessed and apologized.
The cemetery's general manager, Pat Lewis, said four of the teens, ages 15 to 17, explained what happened. Lewis said he doesn't plan to press charges, and instead would like to have the teens - whom he did not identify by name - perform some work at the historic cemetery to make things right. Lewis is hopeful the fifth teen, whose identity he knows, also will step forward.
The teens were believed to be hanging around in the Cole Circle area, which has a large granite ring and tall monument and often attracts trespassers.
A man walking through the cemetery saw the grasses burning but had no cell phone. By the time he called for help, the fire had spread.
About two-thirds of the state-protected 20-acre savannah, which features high grasses and other plants native to the area, was destroyed. It took more than an hour to get to extinguish the fire in the high, secluded area.
Peoria Journal Star
Police investigate man taking pictures of children
SPRINGFIELD – Police are investigating a complaint of a man in a white truck taking photos of children on the playground at Ridgely Elementary School.
The school’s principal called police Thursday morning to report that a man driving a white truck had been taking photos of children playing outside at noon Wednesday. No arrests have been made. Anyone who sees a suspicious man in a white truck taking pictures of children at any school is urged to call Springfield police at (217) 788-8325.
Woman accused of real estate fraud
SHERMAN – A Sherman woman has been arrested in connection with an alleged real estate fraud scheme, including trying to sell property she did not own and conducting a mortgage rescue scam, authorities said.
Tamptha S. Hickman, 39, turned herself in to police after a warrant for her arrest on a charge of felony theft was issued Tuesday. She was released from jail after posting $1,000 bail.
According to the Buffalo-Mechanicsburg Police Department, which investigated the case, Hickman tried to conduct several real estate transactions under the business name Capitol City REO Investors, even though she has no real estate license.
She also allegedly tried to sell real estate she did not own, with at least one owner having no idea Hickman was trying to sell their property.