Presence of accused rapist at Broward school scares parents

Parents attended a town hall meeting Wednesday at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek with hopes of discussing why an accused 18-year-old rapist is being allowed to go to school there. They left disappointed. 

Gibson Sylvain was arrested in August, after he was accused of raping a woman at a bus stop just north of West Hills Borough Boulevard.

A father said he wanted to know why parents weren’t notified. A mother said she wanted to know if there were any security measures in place to avoid more victims at the school. 

Broward School Board member Nora Rupert said Sylvain had a right to an education. 

“We value the safety of our students, our community and our family and there’s more to the story than you all know,” Rupert said. 

The parents’ questions were not answered at the meeting. They want the school board to organize a town hall to discuss Sylvain’s presence at the school. Sylvain was set to appear in court next week.

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Motorcyclist without a helmet crashes in Northwest Miami-Dade

A motorcyclist lost control and crashed on Interstate 75 Wednesday night in Northwest Miami-Dade. 

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Felipe Lay said the adult was not wearing a helmet.

Broward Sheriff’s Office air rescue personnel took the adult to a nearby hospital. 

Both Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Broward Sheriff’s Office responded to the I-75 Extension near Northwest 202 Street. The crash site was on the counties’ border line.



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Enterprising thieves steal airbags in Broward County

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies report enterprising thieves have stolen airbags from more than 70 cars in Broward County during the last two weeks. 

To satisfy the demand of an active black market for the safety devices, the deputies reported that the thieves hit 13 cars in Tamarac, nine in Weston and about 50 in Deerfield Beach. 

Keyla Concepcion, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said their latest crime spree was on Monday. The drivers of about 20 cars woke up without their airbags at the Crystal Lake apartments in Deerfield Beach.

“The thieves are targeting large apartment complexes where they can burglarize a large number of vehicles in a short period of time,” Concepcion said. 

Conception said the thieves appear to have a preference for Acuras and Honda Civics and Accords, which have a bigger resale market. The airbag thieves also seem to prefer cars parked in dark areas of low visibility, where they can get in and out of the car in less than a minute. 

Last year, a man who was repairing his Honda was the 12th in the U.S. whose death was linked to a defect on Takata’s airbag inflaters, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This prompted a growing massive recall that included about 11.4 million Hondas — 2008-12 Accords and 2006-11 Civics — with defective airbags. 

While the used airbag for a Honda Accord can cost between $75 to $390 online, the new airbag is at least double the price. Without any regard for the potential safety risks, deputies say auto shops can purchase a stolen used airbag in the black market and bill the insurance company for the market price.

To curve the demand for the stolen airbags, the National Insurance Crime Bureau suggests that consumers to inspect the packaged airbag before it is installed and request the invoice to ensure the repair shop purchased the airbag from a manufacturer. 
Detectives were asking anyone with information about these airbag thefts to contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477. There is a reward of up to $3,000 for tips leading to an arrest.

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Pembroke Pines officers search for man accused of threatening children

A teenage girl told police officers a man driving a gray Toyota Scion SUV followed her Wednesday in Pembroke Pines. 

She said she got off her school bus and was walking home about 4 p.m. when he got off the car and started to walk behind her. She said he told her he just wanted to talk to her. She ignored him and continued walking home. 

The girl said he told her that, “He had a gun and if she did not stop in three seconds, he would pull his gun out,” Pembroke Pines Police Department Sgt. Angela Goodwin said.

Goodwin said detectives believe this was the same man who attempted to lure a boy and two girls to his car in September. In one of the incidents, witnesses said the man was driving a newer-model four-door white Mazda 3. 

The teen used her cellphone to call her dad and when he ran outside, the man turned around and ran back to his car. She was able to take a picture of him with her phone. Goodwin said the photo matched the description of the sketches in other incidents. 

Goodwin said they released a sketch of a suspect in several investigations. They are asking anyone with information to call the police department at 954-431-2200 or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.

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Hollywood commissioners approve 3 names to replace Confederate street names

Hollywood commissioners voted 6 to 0 Wednesday to change the names of three streets named for Confederate generals after a contentious debate.

The Hollywood City Commission agreed to change the names of streets named for Robert E. Lee, Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Bell Hood to Freedom, Hope and Liberty.

Commissioner Peter Hernandez was the only commissioner to refuse to participate in the vote.

The renaming issue has been a contentious one for more than a year.

The commission decided to change the names in August after six hours of heated debate and heightened security for protesters on both sides of the issue.

Some residents and Confederate preservationists did not feel the change was necessary and thought it was inconvenient. Other residents and civil rights activists said it was the right thing to do. 

“I think it is time for the racist history in Hollywood to be acknowledged,” Dara Hill said. “There is no reason for children growing up in Hollywood to have to look at street signs that were named after the Civil War, after a reconstruction period that includes a revisionist history.”

“It was a witch hunt,” Cynthia Baker, who opposed the street renamings, said. “It was really a witch hunt over dead people. The people are dead and, in all honesty, the people that should be heroes are the people that named the streets for both sides.”

The streets were named 91 years ago, when the city was chartered.

More than 100 people signed up to speak for and against the change at a commission meeting last summer. One anti-change protester was arrested when police said he tried to fight a group of pro-change demonstrators.

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Hollywood to vote on Freedom, Hope, Liberty to replace Confederate street names

Hollywood is expected to change the names of three streets named for Confederate generals after a contentious debate.The Hollywood City Commission is expected to vote Wednesday to change the names of streets named for Robert E. Lee, Nathan Bedford Forr…

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