All posts tagged police

Porch decoration collector

Published October 2, 2018 by justicewg

An odd thief has been caught on cams stealing from the porches of Grandview homes.

He likes to steal wreaths off doors, large planters, and pumpkins from the front porch of homes. He commits his crimes both at night and during the day.

These videos are from Pullman Way and Urlin Ave. One of the videos has a fairly clear image of the suspect vehicle that we believe to be a silver mid-size SUV or hatch back vehicle. He also wears what appears to be Adidas sandals during the offenses. Anyone that may be able to identify him is asked to contact our police department at 614-488-7901.

Sometimes crime makes no sense at all. What is this guy doing with the wreaths, planters and pumpkins? I can’t see how he can sell the stuff, it would be obvious they are stolen to any purchaser. My guess – this guy has a shrine at home, decorated with all of the plunder. Probably has a map on the wall behind, with string connecting pushpins, showing the deep connection between all of the stuff.


Reynolds adds some drama to council meeting about kid’s helmets

Published June 19, 2017 by justicewg

Council 6-5-17Have you been following the city council as they debated a new law to require helmets for kids on bikes? Did you express you opinion to a council member? According to city council member Steve Reynolds, the process to explore new rules has been rushed through the council law making process, leading to a proposed law that has not been given enough thought.

If your kid gets a proposed ticket for riding a bike without a helmet, are you ready to spend some time attending the Mayor’s court with your child, at which you will be lectured and fined some amount of money?

The new law as read by Reynolds says that the bike of an offending child can be seized by the ticketing police officer. Do you think it is a good idea to have police snatching away kid’s bikes for failure to wear a simple helmet? Is it a good use of police time to deal with taking away bikes, storing them, and arranging for the return of them after a fine has been paid?

The 9/11 of council drama

Reynolds said the council president didn’t follow her own promise to hold off on writing down a proposed law. Reynolds added some hyperbole to the debate by saying that there was a perception that the council make laws outside the council chamber, and that rushing this law “is throwing jet fuel onto that”. He didn’t feel that any positive reinforcement (cops giving treats to kids who wear helmets) could be done now that the law punishing kids for no helmets has been written.

The above video will start at the point where Reynolds begins his complaint (if it doesn’t in your app skip to 40:20). Skip forward to 1:23:55 for Panzera’s heated reply to Steve.

Read the rest of this entry →

Thieves stealing Grandview car wheels in daylight

Published January 19, 2017 by justicewg

Police in Grandview have reported that thieves stole the wheels from 5 vehicles in the past week. What makes these thefts unusual is that most happened in full daylight, on streets and parking lots that were open and in view of any passing car. I have some theories about how the tire heists were done, but first a solution that will keep your wheels safe (probably).

Wheel Locking Lugs are inexpensive

wheel-locksThe cheapest way to secure your wheels is a set of locking lugs, $20 to $30 will provide moderate security (if thieves want your expensive rims, they will find a way). The lugs are easy to install by yourself, just remove one nut from each wheel, slip the locking key on top of the replacement lug, and tighten to specs. for your car. You will need to keep the security key in a safe place (not the glove compartment, thieves know to look inside). You will also need to use the key to remove the wheel if you break down on the side of the road, so don’t lose it!

Guessing the M.O.

The news reports listed some similarities in all of the thefts, this gives us some clues to understand how they got away with these bold tire ripoffs.

Both wheels on one side of the vehicle were taken. There were bricks or blocks left under the cars. And the daylight thefts would have required speed – they probably had the wheels off and were thrown into the getaway car within a few minutes. I’m not an expert, but I have changed enough tires to make some good guesses.

The getaway vehicle was driven up to the side of the target car, and parked. They could have used a van, and opened the side door, to have quick access to the tools. Parking close to the target gave them some cover, and blocked the view for 180 degrees.

The first guy pulled a floor jack out and placed it under the side of the car, centered between the wheels. This allowed him to lift the whole side of the car in one motion, and allowed the removal of both wheels on one side.

The second man was working on the first tire while the car was being jacked up, popping off the hub caps and loosening the nuts. He probably used a battery powered impact driver, which could have the nuts off within a minute (something like the air wrenches used in garages, but quieter). As the jack man finished, the wrench man moved down to the second wheel and started on that set of nuts. Meanwhile, the other guy was finishing removal of the tire and throws it into the van. The nut removal guy finishes the second wheel, and moves it out of the way. The jack man has been placing blocks under the exposed brakes. They throw the second tire inside, drop the car onto the blocks, and slide the jack out and into the van.

Total time might be no more than 5 minutes for a well practiced couple of thieves.

I’m not too sure how they avoided setting off car alarms, most of them contain tilt sensors that are triggered by lifting the car. Possibly the thieves check for alarms before they start? And how can they avoid being seen by passing cars? Somebody is going to see something, and report to the police the make and model of the getaway vehicle. I’m guessing by that time the crew will have moved on to the next city.

No matter if these guys are caught, you need locking nuts to protect your car, if you don’t want to walk out one morning and find your wheels missing.

(April 11 update) GHPD caught a tire thief in the act, he had already removed the tires from one car and was in the process on a second when the police caught him. I’m surprised this was one person, he must have been really good at removing wheels to get away with it by himself.

(April 27 update) The same guy was allegedly dragging a cop while he attempted to flee in his car, and was shot and killed by the officer.

Who owns the trash in alleys?

Published January 12, 2016 by justicewg

Xmas TrashmanYou’re taking the trash out early one morning on the way to work. Across the alley you notice a nice picture frame set out beside your neighbor’s trash can. You walk over and check it out – nice condition, clean, the picture is nothing you want but the frame will fit perfectly in your living room with a new photo. You begin to walk back to your house, when suddenly a blinding light comes from a car you didn’t notice rolling up the alley. A loud voice comes from the police car.

“Sir, please stop. You are in violation of Grandview Ordinance 955.06 . Put the frame on the ground and place your hands behind your head!”

Could that happen in Grandview? I’m not sure if you can be arrested for picking items out of the alleys, but you certainly can be ticketed by the Grandview cops. Every couple months there is a story in the TVN police beat where people are ticketed “for removing material from alleys without a permit”. I wondered – what is the real deal on this law, can the city really make it illegal to remove trash – which was headed to packer trucks, then shredding and the landfill? Who owns stuff that is thrown away? Wouldn’t it be better for this stuff to be used by anyone who wanted it, or recycled for the value of the materials? And what is the “permit “ that is mentioned in the news stories, who gives these permits out?

Taking broken electronics from alleys

I have written about the topic of junk in the alleys before, please read this old post for more on why this issues is something I care about.

I have a more selfish reason to care about junk in the alleys, I belong to a small and nerdy group of people who look for old electronics equipment, do repairs, and use this old stuff. Watch this video from a YouTube guy who is well known for fixing discarded equipment.


My own attempts to learn electronic repair have been limited by a shortage of old electronics to practice on. Nobody tries to sell the old stuff on Craigslist, they either sell working equipment that is a few years old (for too much money), or they throw the old stuff in the trash. I have found a few treasures in the past, but I am limited in looking in the area around my house, I don’t want to have to explain to police officers why I want that old radio that is sitting on top of a trash can.

I asked for information from the Grandview police – exactly what ordinance is used to ticket people who take stuff out of the trash? How does one get a permit?

Official reply from Grandview Police

I asked the police chief some questions about the laws covering removal of trash from the alleys in Grandview, this is what I was emailed.

My name is Officer Janna Cohill with the Grandview Heights Police Department. I’m our Public Information Officer if you have any future questions.  The ordinance is 955.06-Private Collection Restricted, and it is posted under the Streets, Utilities, and Public Service Codes. I will attach a copy of the ordinance to this email.

The police department started enforcing the ordinance approximately five years ago, because we noticed that many of the people driving through to “scrap” were also committing crimes, such as, theft and criminal trespass. The thefts included items in residential yards, open garages and construction material that were obviously not scrap or trash. This ordinance assisted with monitoring our alley ways and combating crime in our city.

As far as obtaining a permit for this, the Mayor has the authority to issue them, but I do not believe he is approving any at this time.


Officer Janna Cohill

This is the ordinance that was attached to the email.


After January 1, 1955, no person, firm, or corporation shall engage in the business of collecting, hauling, or transporting along or over the streets, alleys, or public ways of the City and garbage except as is provided for by this chapter.

(Ord 63-54. Passed 12-6-54)

The obvious question this information provokes – it says you can not “engage in the business of collecting”. But if you are just a Grandview resident taking a picture frame leaning against the neighbor’s trash can, you are not engaged in any sort of business. How can this ordinance apply to you?

What the internet says about taking trash from alleys

I found a number of online legal resources, all of them said that it is not illegal to take something that has been thrown away, and that discarded items are in the public domain. You can’t trespass, you can’t take things that are not clearly trash, you can’t make a mess while looking in the alley, but it is not illegal to take discarded items.

The highest law in the land, the Supreme Court, made a decision in 1988 called California v. Greenwood that is the final words on the ownership of trash. From the MyReporter.com website:

“CALIFORNIA v. GREENWOOD, 486 U.S. 35 (1988) stemmed from a 1984 investigation in Laguna Beach, Calif. Investigators suspected Billy Greenwood of drug trafficking and found evidence in his curbside trash. The evidence enabled them to obtain a full search warrant of his house which lead to his arrest, but charges were dropped because of the unwarranted search of his trash citing fourth amendment rights.

In California v. Greenwood, the Supreme Court ended up ruling in favor of investigators and held that “the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the warrantless search and seizure of garbage left for collection outside the curtilage of a home.”

Because the police want the right to go through trash looking for evidence of crime, the Supreme Court has ruled that all trash is public domain. Anyone who wants it can take it, police or private citizen.

If you are uneasy about the though of either police or snoopy neighbors looking in your trash can, understand this – your trash has always been a weak security spot, no matter what the laws say. If you throw important paperwork out without shredding, if you toss computer equipment away without wiping the hard drives, you have set yourself up for identity theft. It is your responsibility to keep vital information secure, so that nobody can use it. This is identity theft prevention 101, it has been hammered in the news reports about identity security, and by police who are trying to stop this crime.

Even if Grandview could make it illegal to take items from the alley, where do you think that stuff goes after it leaves the trash trucks? Do you think the people who work further down the trash pipe have security clearances?

Grandview considers the law as written

After I asked further questions about the ownership of discarded trash and the city ordinance, I was told that more consideration is needed.

I’ll be posting more on the questions about this issue. Stay tuned.

Previously – Junkman in the alley

Junkman in the alley, part two

The final word on taking junk from the alley –

Khouzam agrees that taking discarded stuff from the alley is legal

Jennifer Cook murder still unsolved, and lie detectors still don’t work

Published August 13, 2015 by justicewg

Jennifer CookeTwo years have passed since the murder of Jennifer Cook, a Grandview parent. My condolences to her family. There was a letter from Cook’s mother published in a Ch 10 story in which she tells us about the anguish she feels about her daughter’s death, and the disappointment she has with the police investigation.

This CH 10 story includes a repeat of the fact that Cook’s ex-husband, Dave Culbertson, has not taken a lie detector test offered by the police, as though that were a clue to solving the mystery of the murder. It tells us nothing except Culbertson has a good council who correctly told him that it is stupid to take police lie detector tests, even if you are innocent.

Lie detector machines are modern voodoo

The results of scientific studies are in, and they all say the same thing. Lie detector machines don’t work to indicate lies. What they show are stresses, and there is no way to differentiate the stress an innocent person will show when asked aggressive questions from the stress of a lie. A guilty person can easily learn to fake the responses of an innocent person when he is wired to the machine.

The police have good reason to make exaggerated stories up about the effectiveness of the test. In order to do a machine examination, the suspect must answer as many questions as the technician wants, often for hours. The more questions asked, the better the chance a mistake will be found, because we all have imperfect memories. Innocent mistakes can then be claimed to be lies, and the stress of being grilled on these mistakes allows the examiner to say “stress readings shows that this person was untruthful during the test”.

Some crimes have been solved when suspects believe that the machine works, and break down and confess during the examination. It doesn’t happen often, because even a cursory search of the net for the question “do lie detectors work” shows pages of stories that have proved the tests are bunk. There are also plenty of people who are selling “how to beat lie detector” courses. It mostly is instructions to fake stress during some questions, and relax during important questions.

If you have a competent lawyer, they will tell you to never take a police lie detector test, even if you are innocent. Passing the test will still allow the police to say “this person was intentionally trying to beat the machine”. Failing the test, which happens often to innocent people, will lead to further questioning and investigation by the police (wasting police resources that could have been used to find the real guilty party). Test results will not be allowed in most courtrooms.

The police need to stop using lie detection machines, and claiming they work. Police work should be based on science, and the science has spoken – the machines are garbage.

Ask the police to do their jobs

The letter from Cooke’s mother, Charlyn Marie, is heartbreaking. She is sick with grief, and wants justice for her daughter. You could read this letter as a request for justice outside of the police system, she says “No arrests have been made. There is no longer any progress or hope. I feel that this is such an intolerable, shameful injustice to my daughter Jennifer.”

We all feel bad for Charlyn Marie, I wish there was some way to give her peace. However, taking your own acts to provide justice outside of the legal system would be a dark path to go down. Even if you are convinced the police and prosecutor in Grandview are not up to the task, any action you take will be seen as “Making someone pay, even if we can’t prove they are guilty”. I don’t think that would be helpful to the image of our town.

What you can do is send an email or letter to the Chief of Police, and/or the Mayor of Grandview, and ask them to continue to investigate and bring charges against the murderer. As long as there are people pressing them, they have reason to continue the investigation. When nobody cares any more … why should they?

Staying off the path that leads nowhere

I should have guessed that there would be people who have strong opinions about the guilt or innocence of a suspect in the Cook murder. Some are convinced that there is plenty of circumstantial evidence, and we are failing to honor Jennifer if we don’t charge Culbertson. Others think Ch. 10 was using yellow journalism to try to rile up a gang mentality against a person who has not been charged, and should be assumed innocent.

If you have new evidence, and you think you can solve the case, talk to the police. I’m sure they will be happy to listen.

If you think Ch 10 was wrong in printing that story, send them a strongly worded letter.

I’m not going to allow this blog to be used as a fighting arena between the two viewpoints. Nobody has a special knowledge about this case that will allow them to win the fight. Unless you are the killer, in which case you can just go to the cops and let them know what a smart person you are, and how you got away with it. Until that happens, I’m not allowing comments that lead nowhere.

(Update Aug. 2016) The TVN printed a story about the Cook murder, but it had no new info. The Grandview police say they still working, but said nothing about a break in the case.

Police Standoff at Third Ave. and Cambridge Blvd.

Published December 15, 2014 by justicewg

The city blog had a report this morning of a woman making suicidal threats near W. Third Ave. and Cambridge Blvd. The area was barricaded for an hour, and the person was talked into going with police for medical treatment. A knife was recovered by police, this was not a gun standoff that could have injured bystanders.

Grandview Heights City Blog Link.

Grandview Police have not found Cooke’s killer

Published August 11, 2014 by justicewg

Jennifer Cooke There are a few anniversary stories in the media as one year has passed since the murder of Jennifer Cooke. The most important story – when the Grandview police will announce they have found the person who committed the crime – still has no resolution.

The Dispatch reporter asked the police why they announced that the crime was not a random act at the time of the initial investigation. Officer Cohill, a police spokeswoman, had no answer to that question. Neighbor Wanda Jones, who found the body, said that the police have stopped asking questions and have given no updates. Cooke’s ex-husband, David Culbertson, is still referred to as a “person of interest” but no other info was given. His attorney said Culbertson has not heard from police since last fall.

Channel 4 has a story that was headlined “Police still pursuing leads”, but the question that is not answered – what leads? There has been nothing of substance announced in any of the anniversary stories.

Channel 10 has a headline, “New Evidence In Unsolved Grandview Heights Murder”, but the evidence they have found is only some video from a civil court hearing of a woman who said Cooke’s ex husband had been stalking her. If the accusations against Culberson are all true it would be an indication that he was a jerk. There is a long way to go between being a jerk and being a murderer. Sorry, Channel 10, unless you have some evidence of violence or threats of violence against Cooke, your “new evidence” is weak sauce.