Felonious Dishonesty?

Posted in Current Events on September 15th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , ,

What do you think about this: a guy goes to the drive-up window at his bank, and they accidentally give him $3350 that was supposed to go to another customer.  He drives off.  He is now facing felony theft charges.

I wanted to blog about this because I really disagree with it.  Morally, it wasn’t right of the man to drive off with money he knew did not belong to him.  Ethically, he should have notified the teller of his or her mistake, and the teller should have thanked him profusely.  But I believe that to charge this guy with theft is wrong.  Sure, he took someone else’s money, but it was a bad decision made in the heat of the moment.  He saw a lot of money, it had been given to him, and he made a mistake.  It was a bad decision, and a greedy one at that, but deserving of a felony?  I think not.  If convicted, this man will have a felony record.  He will have trouble finding employment, and he will lose basic freedoms that many people take for granted, such as owning a gun or being able to vote.  I believe it to be a bit severe to slap him with a felony record when his crime shows no premeditation nor malice toward another.  For all he knew, he was given the money and he might not have realized that his taking it would have hurt anyone.  He did not hold up the bank, and order a teller to give it to him or use a gun to get the money.  Again, clearly the wrong thing to do morally, but were his actions criminal?

What do you think?  Check as many answers as you’d like, and feel free to add any thoughts or opinions you have in the comments section.

Does the punishment fit the crime?

View Results

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If you would like to  read the article before voting in my poll, below is a copy of the original article that was printed on dailyherald.com.  Hmm, I see that his court date is only days away.  I will post an update to this story if I come across one.

A man who reportedly drove off after a bank teller mistakenly gave him $3,350 that was supposed to go to another customer now faces felony theft charges.

The teller at a drive-in window of Chase Bank, 2555 Golf Road, Hoffman Estates, accidentally sent the cash to the wrong customer and quickly told the recipient to come inside the bank, said Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Moe Ahmad.

But the driver, whose name and address was known to the bank because of his transaction, drove away, Ahmad said.

Hoffman Estates police arrested Luis Villarreal, a 26-year-old stay-at-home father, Thursday in his home in the 600 block of Alcoa Lane in Hoffman Estates. Ahmad said police found $2,920 in a diaper bag.

Cook County Associate Judge John J. Scotillo set Villarreal’s bond at $25,000 and ordered him to appear at 9 a.m. Sept. 16 in room 108 of the Rolling Meadows Courthouse.

Nightmare On Alumni Street

Posted in Movies on April 28th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As has been the trend lately, they are going to remake a popular horror movie from my youth – Nightmare On Elm Street.  When the movie came out in 1984, I was too young (and scared) to watch it, but the main character, Freddy Krueger, was everywhere.  Everyone wanted to be Freddy for Halloween, and just his picture was enough to scare me silly.  I think even people who don’t like horror movies know who Freddy Krueger is – a burn victim with a hideously scarred face who has knives for fingernails and invades the dreams of his victims.  We tried watching Nightmare On Elm Street as adults not too long ago, and it wasn’t scary – it just came across as dumb.  So maybe a remake IS in order.  I just hope it’s not horrible like Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake.  Actually, the Friday the 13th remake wasn’t so great either.  I did enjoy the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake though, and I really liked the remake of My Bloody Valentine – two movies that prove slasher films can be successfully remade.  So I hope this Nightmare on Elm Street is on par with the latter two I mentioned.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I read an article about how they are going to be filming this remake in Chicago, with some scenes being filmed at the high school my husband attended.  The students had a surprise assembly on Friday, where they were told that their high school is going to be used to film a movie and that extras would be needed.  How cool of an assembly would THAT be?  The article mentions that the movie will be out April 16, but it doesn’t specify which year – I’m hoping they mean 2010 because I’m anxious to see it!  I just hope they don’t try to do any funky computer stuff for Freddy’s face or glove.  I think good old fashioned makeup is sometimes what makes things scarier!  Here is the article about the choosing of the high schools.  And just for fun, here is the trailer from the original Nightmare on Elm Street:

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MISSING

Posted in Current Events on March 2nd, 2009 and tagged , , , , , ,

I like to read the news stories on dailyherald.com  – probably because they have much more interesting news than my local newspaper.  But hey, that’s not a complaint since more interesting news = more crime to write about.  But I grew up in the Chicago area, so when there are interesting stories on dailyherald.com, I know where the town is they’re talking about, which is another reason why I frequent the site.  Today’s edition had an interesting (but sad) story:

Naperville police are desperately searching for a missing 12-year-old child who allegedly took the keys to his family car and left the home.

Cmdr. Dave Hoffman of the Naperville Police Department said the child is 5-feet, 8-inches tall, about 140 pounds, has wavy brown hair and brown eyes. He is believed to be wearing gray cargo pants and a white T-shirt and a green winter Army jacket.

Hoffman said the boy allegedly took the keys sometime after 2 a.m., left his house, backed the vehicle out of the garage.

Hoffman added the boy also has a history of sleep walking, but has no history of taking the family vehicle for rides when sleep walking.

The vehicle missing is described as a light blue, 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe with an Illinois registration number of A744198.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Naperville Police Department through 9-1-1 of or contact your local law enforcement agency.

Hopefully this kid is going to be alright.  Does a 12-year-old know how to drive, especially in his sleep?  At that age, it’s quite possible that he decided to run away also, but he does have a history of sleepwalking.  The article fails to mention how they KNOW he took the keys and left – was there a witness?  I know where Naperville is; in fact, I used to live there.  It’s a nice town, but it’s a dangerous world.  I am hoping they find this kid safe and sound.  It’s a sad story, but let’s hope there’s a happy ending.  I know some of you loyal readers know people who sleepwalk and have interesting tales – let’s hear them!

*UPDATE* – The kid was found safe and sound at O’Hare airport.  Apparently he was not sleepwalking but was trying to run away.  How a 12-year-old was able to navigate the expressways to get to O’Hare I don’t know – but thank goodness he is safe.

A Stricken State

Posted in Current Events on December 9th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I took the tv away from the kids today (not that they watch it that much anyway) so I can watch the events in Illinois unfold as their governor Rod Blagojevich is arrested on corruption charges.  No surprise there, just an interesting story being followed by a former resident of that state.  In fact, we left Illinois for good in 2003 just months after Blago assumed office, which was mostly a coincidence, but I would say that his being elected to the governor’s office did add to the feeling we had that the state was falling apart.  It was that obvious from the beginning that Blago was no good.  Over the years, I’ve been following news stories in Illinois by reading dailyherald.com, an online version of a suburban newspaper.  Every time there was anything in the paper related to Blago, there was no shortage of comments from readers about the purported corruption of the governor.  In October of this year, the governor’s approval rating was a measly 4%.  And today, the you-know-what has hit the fan.  The governor of Illinois is in prison – the second gov in a row from that state to serve time, as a matter of fact.  As we speak, err, as you read this, former Illinois Governor George Ryan is probably watching the Blagojevich coverage from the federal prison he currently calls home.  I’m just curious if it makes anyone nervous that our new President-elect is from a state that can’t seem to keep its leaders out of the slammer.  Hopefully, Barack Obama can set a new standard for politicians from Illinois – that would be refreshing.

But in the meantime, watching Blago’s saga unfold is compelling – the reporters on CNN are saying that the breadth of the corruption is unimaginable.  They’re saying Blago engaged in a ‘crime spree’ while in office and the details are troubling – including allegations of $8 million in funding being pulled from a children’s hospital because its CEO did not contribute $50,000 to Blago’s campaign.  And I’m not writing this to pick on Blago or make any sort of political statement – it’s not that I’m the type of person who smiles at the misfortune of others either, but hey, he did this to himself.  I just feel badly for the residents of Illinois who trusted this man to be their leader and their representative, and now they’re forced to watch with the rest of the world while he is exposed for what he truly is, giving their state a horrible reputation in the process.  The main victims in this situation are the Blagojevich family, and it’s sad that Rod’s two young children will probably have to grow up now without a father in their lives.  And unfortunately, Blagojevich is just the latest in a long line of corrupt officials from the Land of Lincoln.  Since the early 1970’s, 3 former Illinois governors have served time in prison, not including Blagojevich who is a current governor.  Here’s to hoping the politicians of Illinois can get their act together amidst their growing tradition of disreputableness.

Sleep With The Angels

Posted in Current Events on November 30th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The title of this blog post is based on a book called To Sleep With the Angels, which details the horrible tragedy of the Our Lady of Angels school fire in Chicago, Illinois.  Ninety-two children and three nuns perished on December 1, 1958 – 50 years ago tomorrow.  The incident became the precedent and the inspiration for sweeping changes in laws and regulations regarding fire safety; such as the installment of sprinkler systems in public buildings, automatic fire alarms, smoke detectors, fire drills, and the end of grandfather clauses which eliminated older buildings from having to comply to fire regulations.  Our Lady of the Angels had undergone a fire inspection just a few weeks before the fire, but because it was an older building, it did not have to comply to all the fire codes because of grandfather clauses.  I came across this website about the tragedy, and it’s full of fascinating info related to the inferno – photos, news articles, maps, models, survivor lists and stories, and more.  Here is a little excerpt from the website olafire.com about the cause of the fire:

Was It Arson?
Although the cause has never been officially determined, all indications point to arson. A boy (age 10 at the time, and a fifth grader in room 206) later confessed to setting the blaze, but subsequently recanted his confession. He was more afraid of confessing to his mother and step-father than to the police.The boy confessed to setting numerous other fires in the neighborhood, mostly in apartment buildings. In his confession, he related details of the fire’s origin that had not been made public and that he should therefore not have known. While there was strong evidence that he was indeed the culprit, neither he nor anyone else was ever prosecuted, at least in part because the catholic judge in the case felt he should protect the Church.Officially, the cause of the fire remains unknown.

I’m curious if the boy who confessed is listed in the survivor lists.  Somewhere else I read that another reason the judge didn’t convict the boy is because it would have meant a sure death sentence for him.  One thing remains true – this was a tragedy of great proportion, and the damage is still being felt by those who witnessed the atrocity and those who survived and their families.  This is evident when you read some of the survivors’ stories on the website listed above.  Many of them have not spoken much about that day, and it seems that almost all of them remember it like it was yesterday.  My husband and I both grew up in the Chicago area, and we agree that most people we knew were associated with the tragedy in one way or another – whether they witnessed it, survived it, or watched it unfold on television.  It’s been 50 long years, and there are still raw wounds.  It was agreed upon by all those that knew Michele McBride, a survivor of the Our Lady of Angels fire, that she died of her wounds sustained in the fire, and that was as recent as 2001.  From olafire.com:

Michele was burned over 60% of her body and hospitalized for four and a half months. She underwent numerous operations which continued for years afterwards. The fire that ravaged her body left her in continuous, lifelong pain. Her pain finally ended in July 2001 when she died of multiple organ failure, no doubt a result of damage inflicted by fire so many years before. In 1979 Michele wrote a book (“The Fire That Will Not Die”) about her experience the day of the fire, and her life thereafter. Michele’s sister, Dae Hanna: “Michele died on July 4th 2001, from long term physical problems suffered from the fire many years ago. May she rest in peace. She never had a day without pain in her legs and joints. May she rest in peace. She disagreed vehemently with many of the theories in the ‘To sleep with the angels book’. Her book THE FIRE THAT WILL NOT DIE was certainly well titled, and the only first hand account of that day. May she rest in peace.”

I was reminded of the 50th anniversary of the Our Lady of Angels school fire by an article in the dailyherald.com, prompting me to do some research into the tragedy and to share with others the olafire.com website which contains so much helpful information.  My thoughts and prayers are with all of the families involved in this horrible chapter of Chicago’s history.

If I Didn’t Know Any Better…

Posted in Current Events on November 20th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’d think these are the same person:

The Cowardly Lion, fictional movie character, 1939

  

Drew Peterson, suspected wife murderer, 2008

    

I got an email a few months ago comparing a bunch of people’s faces to other pictures.  It was funny to see the resemblance between people you wouldn’t have otherwise thought about – like the two pictured above.

For those of you who don’t know, Drew Peterson is a former police officer who lives in the suburbs of Chicago.  He is somewhat of a celebrity these days because his young 4th wife Stacy went missing over a year ago.  During the search for her, his 3rd wife’s body was exhumed and another autopsy was performed.  Following this autopsy, they changed the 3rd wife’s cause of death from accidental drowning to homicide.  This and other aspects of this case always point to Drew being responsible for some sort of foul play on Stacy.  The man is very smug, and some of the things he’s said to the media are shockingly rude and callous toward Stacy.  He is an infamous jerk, and I think he actually likes the public and media attention.  I’ve take an interest in the case because I’m originally from the area where they lived, and during the national coverage of this case, I follow along, knowing the towns and areas they’re talking about.  Drew was on the Dr. Phil show the other day, and he was smug as ever…  He is in court currently on a weapons charge, and I got the idea to compare his picture to the cowardly lion when someone posted a comment on the story on dailyherald.com – good observation!  If I can dig out that original email comparing the pictures, I should post it on my blog and add these two to the email!