Crime

Photo of the Day

Machine Gun Kelly being led by United States Marshals to prison following his conviction.

Machine Gun Kelly being led by United States Marshalls to prison following his conviction.

Kathryn and “Machine Gun” Kelly

Kathryn Kelly made a career out of crime. With a lust for danger, she masterminded crimes that took Kathryn, her husband and others, who included her own mother and stepfather, on a spree across Minnesota, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas. Starting off with small crimes including bootlegging and smuggling liquor onto an Oklahoma Indian reservation and other petty crimes, she got her husband, George Barnes aka George Kelly, to move up to more serious criminal activity, eventually escalating into bank robberies, kidnapping and extortion.

Kathryn was given the same birth name as Cleo Epps, queen of the Tulsa bootleggers, she who was pitched into the dank darkness of a west-side cistern after asking why she had to die. Cleo Mae Brooks didn’t like that name and became Kathryn in eighth grade to seem more elegant.

And eventually, it worked.

But she started small in 1904 near Saltillo, Mississippi, eight years before Elvis Presley’s mother was born there. After becoming Kathryn, she married at fifteen, divorced after her daughter Pauline was born and moved with her parents, James and Ora (Coleman) Brooks, from Mississippi to Oklahoma, where she was briefly married again.

Kathryn’s mother Ora divorced Brooks, married Robert G. “Boss” Shannon, and moved with Kathryn and Pauline to his place near Palestine, Texas, north of Fort Worth. He was in the hospitality business, catering to gangsters; his rate was fifty dollars a night.

Kathryn’s ticket out of that stark, weather-beaten farmhouse was her third marriage; this time the groom was Texas bootlegger Charlie Thorne.

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NZ Herald columnist, Megan Nicol Reed, admits to stealing

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Megan Nicol Reed is a columnist at the NZ Herald.

In her latest column, she admits to stealing…and admits that her husband is a thief as well.

Because I am an anally retentive sort of a person, and because I fancy it makes the checkout operator’s job that little bit easier, I like to group my groceries on the conveyor belt. Bananas with the broccoli and beetroot. Toilet paper with the toothpaste and tampons. You get the idea. Anyway, last Sunday I had a new category. Gummy eyeballs with the spider webs and pumpkin. Stocking up, eh, commented the woman serving me. Halloween’s huge around this area, isn’t it, she said. And then, sotto voce, you know, I hear they come all the way from South Auckland for the trick or treating. Whole carloads of them, she sniffed. So? I said it quite boldly, and it was not what she was expecting. She had wanted my indignation, that we might quiver together in shared outrage. Instead we finished our transaction in an awkward silence. Afterwards, loading my purchases into my car, I thought about her oddly-misplaced snobbery, about her thinly-veiled racism, about what else I could have said. As I was lifting out my last bag, I saw, languishing in the back of the trolley, a round of brie. A round of brie I hadn’t paid for, that sub-consciously I knew I had deliberately left in the trolley. You see, I make a habit of checking my supermarket receipt, and more often than not find I have been overcharged, two boxes of teabags rung up when I only bought one, that kind of thing. And because sometimes I don’t have time to return to the store to have the error rectified, and because I know how dishonorably supermarkets can behave towards small suppliers, and because it irks me to pay more than I owe, occasionally I take matters into my own hands. Accidentally omitting to pay for some small thing of similar value the next time I do my shopping. Slipping my stolen cheese in with the yogurt, milk and butter, it occurred to me that, had the checkout operator witnessed my small act of thievery, she would quite probably, and perhaps rightly, judged me as harshly as I had her.

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Barry Soper on his time as a gang member

Who knew Barry Soper was born to be wild?

There are some things you do in your career that you’d rather not have done. Mine was infiltrating a southern motorcycle gang more than 40 years ago and riding to the Alexandra Blossom Festival which you’d think would be a most unlikely place for gangs to assemble, but that they did from all over the country.

The gangs had complained they’d the previous year been roughed up by the police who weren’t wearing their identification numbers, which of course they’re required to do by law.

Riding through the countryside with around a hundred thundering bikes certainly gave you a feeling of power, but that feeling turned to disgust at what they got up to when several hundred of them set up camp at an area on the outskirts of the Central Otago town called The Pines.

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Key moves to mitigate Winston’s inroads into law and order

Law and Order issues are normally the purview of National. But last week Winston Peters made a big play towards addressing those issues in his speech to the Police Association.

Winston Peters promised tougher sentencing for violent offences and 1800 more Police.

John Key has seen the risk and has moved quickly to attempt to mitigate.

Prime Minister John Key says he understands concerns about law and order – saying as a parent he worries about his daughter getting hassled or even raped.

This morning, he told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking that there was “no question” that more frontline officers helped, but that was only one factor and the overall structure of policing needed to be considered.

“You really need is to take a bit more of a sophisticated approach and say, ok, let’s just accept there are more resources…let’s talk about how do we deliver what New Zealanders really want, which is not just a number…that a politician barks out at you.  Read more »

This is why we have a crime problem, judges practice catch and release on our criminals

Fairfax ran a story on the weekend about the effects of drugs on society with the main thrust being the hurt that drug addiction causes.

But in the middle of all the tears and angst were these little nuggets of information.

The summary of facts for the offending outlined how unstuck Joshua Morton’s life became.

On January 1, the defendant was at Waitara’s Marine Park when he saw the victim in a parked car. He walked up to the victim and punched him in the head through the half open window.

As the victim tried to get out of the car, the defendant kicked at the door repeatedly  and then launched more punches, causing the window to smash. Joshua Morton then presented a set of nunchuks (two small metal bars joined by a chain) and used them to smash the windscreen and punch the victim’s head. The victim was left with a split nose and a facial cut, a sore jaw and abrasions to his back.

Later the same month, Joshua Morton smashed his way into his parents’ Waitara home, stole his father’s ute and left.  After the matter was reported to the police, the defendant was spotted on Cracroft St.

After activating the red and blue lights, police did get Joshua Morton to stop and get out of the car.  However, he got back into the ute and drove off at speed. He was arrested a short time later.   Read more »

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We got it all wrong. Having no money makes you a criminal

biggestRadio NZ are pushing so many poverty tropes at the moment it is hard to keep up with them all.

The latest one is that poverty makes you a criminal…as well as a dead beat parent.

Some womble do-gooder from University and a left-wing activist with the Child Poverty Action Group thinks Judith Collins is wrong too:

There’s help there for all those who need it, she argues. Well, those who work with struggling families know how much more difficult it is to get the help needed under this government.

Ms Collins’ position is strange, to say the least, because the evidence doesn’t support her and she’s part of a government which says it is committed to evidence and to effective use of knowledge and research to support policies and actions.

Interesting how selective the use of evidence can be.

Studies from around the world tell us several important things about poverty and crime. Poverty is linked with crime. Those who experience poverty are much more likely to be the victims of crime than those in more affluent communities. As a British review of the research noted: “Most children raised in poverty do not become involved in crime, but there are higher victim and fear of crime rates in disadvantaged areas”.

That said, there is good evidence that, compared with their more affluent peers, children brought up in poverty are more likely to be reported as having behavioural problems, more likely to be reported for aggressive and/or risk-taking behaviour, more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to be the victims of criminal behaviour, more likely to grow up in communities with limited social and recreational opportunities and facilities.

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Spot on Judith: “I see a poverty of ideas, a poverty of parental responsibility, a poverty of love, a poverty of caring.”

Judith Collins is dead right in her comments about who is responsible for the so-called child poverty issue.

Of course, the perpetually outraged have decided to scream and the Media party have joined in.

Children’s advocates are upset by Justice Minister Judith Collins’ comments apparently blaming many child poverty problems on parents.

At the Police Association annual conference in Wellington, the minister responded to a question from a Northland police officer, who said police were often busy with gangs, RNZreported.

Gangs often had members who experienced poverty as children, he said.

New Zealand child welfare policies were criticised by the United Nations in its latest report, which called for urgent measures to combat violence, abuse, and neglect.

Collins said the government was doing more for child poverty than the UN and money was available in New Zealand for those in need, the report said.    Read more »

Sam’s tax increase has sparked a crime wave

Sam Lotu Iiga was all proud as punch when he beefed up tobacco taxes.

Perhaps he won’t be so pleased as a crime wave sweeps across the nation all because of increased taxes.

Dairy owners are fortifying their businesses as the lucrative black market for tobacco fuels a wave of commercial break-ins.

Burglars have targeted up to 20 cigarette retailers – predominantly dairies and service stations – in about the last fortnight in Christchurch, making off with thousands of dollars worth of tobacco products.

Police have launched an investigation dubbed Operation Smoke as they try to catch those responsible. They are yet to make any arrests, but have some suspects.

A dairy owner, who did not want to be identified, said thieves smashed through the wooden backdoor of his business in south Christchurch, about 1.30am on September 24.

They used a crowbar to open a locked cabinet inside and stole about $10,000 worth of tobacco products.   Read more »

Yuk!

If this doesn’t make you throw up your muesli I don’t know what will.

A father and daughter pleaded guilty to incest when they appeared in the Dunedin District Court this afternoon.

Judge Kevin Phillips convicted them and remanded them on bail, with conditions prohibiting communication between the pair, for sentence in November.

The pair – aged 37 and 23 – have previously been convicted of incest, after the woman gave birth to a child in 2011.

The pair, who have interim name suppression, had troubled upbringings.   Read more »

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What a good idea, criminal bludgers to have their benefits docked

Mark Mitchell has proposed that criminal bludgers have their benefits docked if they don’t comply with court orders.

Concerns have been raised about a new bill that could see benefit payments cut for offenders who breach their community sentences.

Parliament’s Social Services Committee is currently calling for public submissions on the the Social Security Amendment Bill, which was put forward by National MP Mark Mitchell.

The bill would allow Corrections to have benefit payments for offenders stopped if they continued to disregard written warnings to comply with their community sentences.

Offenders serving community sentences are on probation, which means they are able to serve their sentences in the community but with restrictions on their movements.

Some organisations are worried about the impact the bill could have, and have questioned if it will only drive offenders to re-offend.

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