Recap: Crime Solvers, reckless driving and hiding in attics

While my fiancee is prepping for a friend’s wedding we’ll be attending this evening, I thought to reflect on my previous few days that have seemingly flown by. It’s nice to have a quick opportunity to glance back and see the tribulations and trials (literally) that have come along on the beat.

Before I forget to mention, last week I was able to get a sneak peak of Prince George’s County’s Crime Solvers program. It’s a nonprofit that offers rewards for anonymous tips leading to arrests in high-profile crimes. These programs are all over the country, but it was interesting to go into their office (run out of the county police department building) and see the back end of what happens when a tip comes in and how it is handled to eventually being the single piece of information detectives were looking for to close a rape case, homicide, etc. This particular Crime Solvers was responsible for the tip leading to the arrest and indictment of the East Coast Rapist, who is now in prison awaiting trial in Prince William County, Va.

County Councilwoman Karen R. Toles (D-Dist. 7)

Another big ticket item on my plate this week was the now infamous case of the Prince George’s County Councilwoman who was stopped for reckless driving over 105 miles per hour on the Capital Beltway. The incident occurred in February and after a lot of developments and new traffic citations following a police-ordered executive review, her trial was heard in district court this past week. A judge found her guilty of reckless driving and was faced with a fine, though was only given probation before judgement, meaning no additional points were added to her driving record, which currently has three, according to her MVA records I obtained. this was widely covered so it was slightly entertaining sitting among the tv, radio and print reporters in the back of the courtroom as the councilwoman’s attorney presented their case.

Additionally, there’s another interesting story I’ll blog more about next week after its published. It’s dealing with a brand new organization that’s created a business incubator specifically targeted to prison inmates and those being released from incarceration. It’s an effort to bring ex-offenders out of jail and into becoming entrepreneurs and business owners as opposed to becoming repeat offenders or walking through life with no direction.

Apart from story coverage there were some interesting connections on Twitter.

Incidentally, I was twice asked via Twitter to pursue the proverbial “other side of the story.” In one instance, I wrote about a sheriff’s office initiative linked with Father’s Day weekend where the office upped their warrant deputy patrols to locate and arrest fathers who have open warrants for failing to pay their child support. More than 50 fathers were apprehended and more than 100 failed child support cases were closed. I was subsequently asked to look into the other side of that story and speak with noncustodial parents who may have unique scenarios and reasons for the child safety situations. I’m looking forward to speaking with a couple of sources she’ll provide and hear their story. The other case involved a fatal shooting and the family of the victim contacting me to see if I “ever report positive stories.” Of course I do and if my portfolio seems bogged down with tragedies and mind-boggling sob stories, it is only because of the nature of my position and the consistent exposure to the tragedies as opposed to the hidden gems behind the story. The person who contacted me for this case said the family has a “final letter” from the victim they’d like me to see to make an interesting story.

It’s unfortunate to hear someone ask “do you ever report on positive things?” but at the same time, I’m glad they have reached out to me. Hard-hitting crimes stories admittedly excite me for various reasons, but the stories that are hidden under rocks and when brought to light make change in people’s lives, that’s what really takes reporting to the next level.

That’s just a snapshot of the week. I’ve been pecking at keys quite a bit these last few day so I’ll stop for now, but I hope to reach out again soon. Besides the fact, it’s almost time to put on the tie and head off to an evening June wedding in Bel Air, Md. Cheers.

P.S. – Didn’t want to leave this one out, mostly for the uncanny photo, but a D.C. woman was re-arrested for an April homicide in District Heights. How was she re-arrested, sheriff’s deputies and U.S. marshals found her hiding in her attic. My story here.

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