Saturday, November 23, 2002

Tristate A.M. Report

Compiled from staff and wire reports

Ringleader in ID thefts gets 10 years

A 30-year-old Kennedy Heights man, who was the leader of an identity theft ring that at one point amassed $300,000 in fraudulent loans, was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.

Derrick Rogers pleaded guilty last month to seven charges - engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and three counts each of tampering with records and theft.

From April to September last year, Mr. Rogers was the leader of a "nonstop identity theft/bank fraud crime wave," prosecutors said. They said he is responsible for stealing the identities of 15 Georgia residents and tampering with Ohio Bureau of Motor vehicle records, which he used to get 23 fraudulent loans equaling more than $308,000.

He refused to tell prosecutors how he stole the identities. Authorities were alerted when one of his victims called authorities in Blue Ash to report that her identity had been stolen.

He had initially been charged in a 13-count indictment, but three of those charges were dropped after a plea agreement with prosecutors. He could have faced about 27 years in prison.

Man shot outside Winton Place home

A Winton Place man was shot outside his house Friday morning by men who might have been trying to steal his truck.

Donald Whitt was leaving his East Epworth Avenue house for work at about 5 a.m. when the men approached him, police said. He headed back toward the house and was shot in the chest.

Mr. Whitt's son called 911. Mr. Whitt was taken to University Hospital, where he was in serious condition.

Boy, 17, charged in stickup attempt

A 17-year-old with the tattoo "Money First" was arrested Thursday in Avondale after three brothers accused him of sticking a gun in their car and demanding money.

The teenager was arrested about 3 p.m. after the three men described him and police briefly chased him. The men told officers, who were nearby, that he stuck a .380-caliber handgun in the window and said: "Y'all give up everything." He got $27.

The teen was charged with aggravated robbery.

Man taken to forest faces drug charges

The man left in Mount Airy Forest this spring by two Cincinnati police officers faces drug charges again, this time first-degree felonies because police said they found him with a large amount of crack cocaine.

Courtney Evans, 23, was charged Thursday with three counts of drug trafficking after agents of the Regional Narcotics Unit said he sold 10 grams of crack Monday, 25 grams Tuesday and 100 grams Thursday. He remained in the Hamilton County jail Friday morning in lieu of posting three $50,000 bonds.

Mr. Evans, of Westwood, is the man taken to Mount Airy Forest in April by Officers Michael Mercer and Robert Litman. They resigned from the force in connection with a plea deal in court under which they admitted to unlawful restraint.

Another man, Craig Jones, 26, also of South Cumminsville, was arrested with Mr. Evans. He also faces drug-trafficking charges in the three incidents. .

`Jock tax' hearing delayed until Dec. 2

A mix-up over the advertising requirements for a public hearing on the so-called "jock tax" has delayed Cincinnati City Council's hearing on the issue a week.

The Finance Committee will take up the tax ordinance, which would apply the city's 2.1 percent earnings tax to visiting athletes and performers, at 1 p.m. Dec. 2.

A separate hearing on the "living wage" ordinance, which would require the city and its contractors to pay employees at least $8.70 an hour, will go forward Monday as scheduled.

Family sues over CSX worker death

The family of a CSX worker killed in a truck-train collision at the Queensgate rail yard Nov. 15 filed a federal suit Friday in Covington, seeking to have evidence in the case preserved and asking for damages.

Gary Oak, 51, of Carrollton, Ky., was driving a pickup truck on the tracks when the vehicle was hit by an automated train. Mr. Oak and the truck were dragged 300 yards.

His body was found under the truck.

The suit claims CSX Corp. failed to provide a safe workplace.

"They just want to know what happened to their loved one," said Covington attorney Phil Taliaferro, who filed the suit.

Cheviot's creche now at parts store

CHEVIOT - Decades of Christmas tradition here will not be displaced by new development.

Setup has begun on the city's Nativity scene on the grounds of a new Auto Zone store at Harrison and Washington avenues.

The creche has a 39-year history in the city's business district, 25 of which have been at the Harrison and Washington location. Before being redeveloped, the property was home to Centennial Bank.

"The Nativity has been a major fixture in the business district, and we were concerned about the fact that we wouldn't be able to carry on the tradition," said Mayor J. Michael Laumann.

"We were more than happy to do it,'' said Greg Letner, a manager at Auto Zone.

The Nativity will lighted at a dedication ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6.

5 teens rounded up, accused of truancy

Five teen-agers were arrested Thursday in a Cincinnati truancy sweep.

Police officers from District 5, with the Cincinnati Public Schools' security team, arrested a 14-year-old girl from Walnut Hills High School; two 15-year-old boys from Woodward High School and Jacobs Center; a 16-year-old boy who was supposed to be in class at Taft High School; and a 17-year-old boy from North College Hill High School.

Ex-coroner accused of drug scam
Want to blow up Cinergy Field? Buy a ticket for the chance
Speeches, letters honor Rev. Booth
Sycamore teachers talking strike

New displays, kids' activities featured
$100K raised for criminal reviews
Heart device cuts deaths, hospitalization
Obituary: Louis J. Gerwe, ran Bromwell's
Tristate A.M. Report

RADEL: Meeting a need
MCNUTT: Christmas walks
GUTIERREZ: Home-sales slump
FAITH MATTERS: Love served for Thanksgiving

Portman backs schools in legal fight
Hamilton group wants baseball team by '05
Firm to design Milford park
Clermont kids learn to help those in need

Political parties unite to oppose `eccentric' board member
Ohio ethnic groups hail NATO growth
Malpractice bill contains lawmakers' message for court
Twister wrecks tight city budgets
USDA suspends regional director
Veterans wait for state's second home

N.Ky. market idea gets one OK
Researcher denies fish poaching
Union reps accuse Patton of `bad faith'
Craven did not waver in denials
New hall is on the way
Former Salvation Army worker charged in Christmas toy theft
State may release felons to save money
`Hillbillies' reality show under fire