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Old 03-04-09, 12:36 PM
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Police Aide Arrested, Accused Of Witness Tampering
Woman Worked For Fort Pierce Police Department For 7 Years
updated 5:46 p.m. ET, Fri., Feb. 6, 2009
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A Fort Pierce police community service aide was arrested Thursday after being accused of witness tampering in a shooting case.

Police arrested employee Ebony Baret, who has worked for the Fort Pierce Police Department for seven years.

The department's community service aides are non-sworn personnel who assist sworn officers by investigating minor traffic crashes, other minor offenses, nonemergency calls for service and other incidents that do not require the authority of a sworn officer.

Police said Baret, 28, was in contact with a possible shooting suspect and tipped him off to law enforcement involvement.

According to a phone recording between Baret and suspect Ned Childress, police said, Baret notified Childress that officers were "strapping up." She also allegedly gave him a description of police vehicles that would soon be arriving.

On Feb. 5, police said Baret admitted to gaining access to confidential information. A police interview with Baret revealed that she conspired with Childress and other known gang members to intimidate the witnesses in Childress' jury trial.

Baret faces four felony charges and remains in the St. Lucie County Jail.

She has been charged with obstructing information sought by a police warrant, obstructing justice by intimidating or threatening, disclosure or use of confidential criminal justice information and official misconduct.

URL: Police Aide Arrested, Accused Of Witness Tampering - News-

Police: Man Threw Bucket In Driver's Face
Man Became Angry After Driver Took His Parking Space, Arrest Report Says
updated 2:16 p.m. ET, Sun., Feb. 15, 2009
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - An Okeechobee man was arrested Wednesday after he threw a bucket in the face of a driver who took his parking space, Fort Pierce police said.

According to an incident report released Friday, Prentis Hatfield was waiting in his truck for an available parking space when Edwin Lugo drove around him and parked his vehicle in the space Hatfield had been waiting on.

Lugo, 65, told police that Hatfield, 60, approached him as Lugo got out of his vehicle and began yelling and cursing at him. Lugo said Hatfield then took a bucket from his truck and threw it at him, striking Lugo in the lip.

Hatfield told police that he was upset Lugo had taken his parking space and that he didn't think it was OK for someone to do whatever they want to do, according to the report. Hatfield then apologized to Lugo, who said he wanted to press charges, according to the report.

Hatfield was charged with battery and taken to the St. Lucie County Jail.

URL: Police: Man Threw Bucket In Driver's Face - News-

St. Lucie County Student Jailed For Pushing Bus Driver
Sheriff's Office: Student Upset After Being Asked To Turn Down Music
updated 4:47 p.m. ET, Sun., March. 1, 2009
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A Thursday morning bus ride ended with a trip to jail for a St. Lucie County student.

Darryl Constant is accused of pushing his bus driver after she took away his MP3 player.

According to the bus driver, Audrey Greenslade, Constant was listening to music too loudly. She asked him several times to turn it down because it was distracting. When he refused, she confiscated the music player. That's when, Greenslade claims, Constant pushed her. He also threatened to punch her if she didn't return the MP3 player.

At that point, Greenslade radioed in to school security about the incident.

When the bus arrived at Indian Hills School, the 11th-grade student was arrested because he is 18 years old.

URL: St. Lucie County Student Jailed For Pushing Bus Driver - News-

Woman in adoption scam gets 20 years
She is accused of abusing 11 disabled children she adopted
The Associated Press
updated 2:43 p.m. ET, Thurs., Feb. 5, 2009
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A Florida woman accused of abusing 11 disabled children she adopted — while pocketing more than $1 million in subsidies — has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Circuit Judge Robert Belanger on Wednesday called Judith Leekin's actions "reprehensible" and handed down the maximum punishment allowed in the plea agreement. Leekin, 63, pleaded no contest to four counts of aggravated child abuse and four counts of aggravated abuse of disabled adults. The adoptees are now in their mid-teens and 20s.

"I'm very sorry," Leekin said several times during a brief statement to the court.

Leekin was arrested in July 2007 after police were called to a supermarket where authorities said she'd abandoned an 18-year-old girl.

Authorities say they found the adopted children had been held like prisoners in Leekin's home, often handcuffed together and forced to soil themselves because they were not allowed to use the bathroom. They said they had never seen a doctor or a dentist and had not been allowed to attend school or leave the house. All were near starvation when they were found.

Leekin used four aliases to adopt from different agencies and created fake report cards to show the children's progress, even though they were not attending school, according to court records and officials. The children were adopted in New York City before Leekin moved to Florida in 1998.

New York City records show she received more than $1.2 million in subsidies for the disabled children she had adopted.

Leekin, who moved to the U.S. from Trinidad, was sentenced in July in New York federal court to nearly 11 years in prison for fraud. That sentence will run concurrently with the Florida prison term.

A phone message left for Leekin's public defender by The Associated Press was not immediately returned Thursday.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
URL: Woman in adoption scam gets 20 years - Crime & courts-

Second firefighter arrested for growing pot
Reported by: WPTV staff
Email: [email protected]
Last Update: 2/18 2:34 pm

FT. PIERCE, FL -- A second St. Lucie firefighter is facing two felony charges for growing marijuana.

According to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, Edward Joseph Nobles II was arrested after detectives issued a search warrant at his home in Ft. Pierce Tuesday evening.

According to the arrest report, Nobles confessed to detectives that he had been "growing marijuana in his shed for the purpose of selling the pot for extra money."

Detectives recovered a grow light, four pot plants, and more than one hundred seedlings.

A 9mm handgun was also recovered from Noble's residence.

According to officials, detectives received information after Herman Gonzalez, another St. Lucie County firefighter was arrested early Tuesday for cultivating more than 80 pot plants inside of a warehouse in Stuart.

St. Lucie County officials could not confirm a connection between the two firefighters, only that information from the first firefighter's arrest from Stuart led officials to the arrest of Nobles in Ft. Pierce.

Edward Nobles was held on $10,000 bond at the St. Lucie County Jail, but was released Tuesday at about 8:00 p.m.

Herman Gonzalez was held on $105,000 bond at the Martin County Jail, but was released Tuesday at abaout 8:30 p.m.

Both face felony charges for cultivation of marijuana and marijuana possesion with intent to distribute.
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