Man robs 2 South Florida banks, says he needs $40,000 for sick grandson, FBI says

A man accused of robbing two South Florida banks claimed that he needed the money because of a sick relative, according to the FBI.

“My grandson is sick. I need $40,000 now, ” Abraham Maghen told a teller Tuesday at a TD Bank on West Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton, according to a federal criminal affidavit. 

After handing the teller a note, Maghen yelled, “Hurry up. He’s going to die,” the affidavit said.

The teller gave Maghen, 26, about $1,800, which included a GPS anti-theft locating device, Special Agent Joseph Oliver wrote in the affidavit.

FBI agents tracked Maghen to a home in the 2600 block of North 66th Avenue in Hollywood. Maghen told agents that he drove to Boca Raton to start a graffiti removal company, Oliver wrote.

When agents searched his home, they found a police scanner and two pairs of ear buds believed to have been used in a May 2 robbery at a Chase Bank branch in Pembroke Pines, the affidavit said.

Agents also noticed that Maghen had a news story about a bank robbery on an open internet browser on his computer, the affidavit said.

The landlord at Maghen’s home told Local 10 News reporter Terrell Forney that he recently moved to South Florida from New York and was only supposed to stay with her for a month as a favor to a friend.

Andrea Itzkowitz-Martinez said Maghen ended up staying at her home for two months and asked to borrow her car before the Boca Raton robbery was reported.

“He said he didn’t want to put mileage on because it’s a lease,” she said.

Itzkowitz-Martinez said she helped get Maghen a job in the loan department at a bank, but he ended up getting fired.

“He was always in and out,” she said.

“OK. Did he tell you why he got fired?” Forney asked.

“He was late to work all the time,” Itzkowitz-Martinez said.

Less than an hour after the May 2 robbery in Pembroke Pines, Maghen spent $2,755 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, the FBI said.

During a search of Maghen’s room, agents found a mask resembling an old man, which they believe was used during both robberies, the affidavit said.

Maghen was arrested Tuseday and is in federal custody in connection with the robberies.

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Ex-police officer charged in Corey Jones shooting to remain on house arrest

A former Palm Beach Gardens police officer who is charged in the fatal shooting of Corey Jones will remain on house arrest while he awaits trial.

Palm Beach County Judge Samantha Schosberg Feurer ruled Thursday that Nouman Raja must remain on house arrest, but she will consider modifying the conditions so that he can go outside to mow his backyard.

According to a motion filed by Raja’s attorney, Raja has been on house arrest since June 2, 2016, and has complied with all the conditions of the order.

The conditions included that he had to surrender his passport and any firearms, have no contact with any members of the Jones family and no contact with the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department.  

 

Raja was also not allowed to seek employment as a police officer or any other position using his law enforcement certification.

“The issue is whether Mr. Raja is a danger to the community or a flight risk,” defense attorney Richard Lubin wrote. “He is not.”

Raja is accused of fatally shooting Jones, 31, on Oct. 18, 2015, while Jones was stranded on the side of an Interstate 95 exit ramp. Police said Raja, who was not in uniform and was driving an unmarked van, approached Jones and exchanged words with him before firing.

Jones, who was a drummer in a reggae band, was leaving a performance in Jupiter early that morning when his SUV broke down.

Raja was arrested in June 2016 on charges of manslaughter by culpable negligence and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm.

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Ex-police officer charged in Corey Jones shooting to remain on house arrest

A former Palm Beach Gardens police officer who is charged in the fatal shooting of Corey Jones will remain on house arrest while he awaits trial.

Palm Beach County Judge Samantha Schosberg Feurer ruled Thursday that Nouman Raja must remain on house arrest, but he will be allowed to go outside to mow his backyard.

According to a motion filed by Nouman Raja’s attorney, Raja has been on house arrest since June 2, 2016, and has complied with all the conditions of the order.

The conditions included that he had to surrender his passport and any firearms, have no contact with any members of the Jones family and no contact with the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department.  

Raja was also not allowed to seek employment as a police officer or any other position using his law enforcement certification.

Raja is accused of fatally shooting Jones, 31, on Oct. 18, 2015, while Jones was stranded on the side of an Interstate 95 exit ramp. Police said Raja, who was not in uniform and was driving an unmarked van, approached Jones and exchanged words with him before firing.

Jones, who was a drummer in a reggae band, was leaving a performance in Jupiter early that morning when his SUV broke down.

Raja was arrested in June 2016 on charges of manslaughter by culpable negligence and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm.

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Woman facing charges in Delray Beach police officer’s death headed to Keys

A woman arrested in connection with the death of a Delray Beach police officer who was vacationing in Key West has been released from a Miami-Dade County jail and is on her way back to the Florida Keys to face charges.

Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department spokesman Juan Diasgranados said Lacy Morris was picked up early Wednesday morning by Monroe County authorities.

Morris, 32, of Sugarloaf Key, was arrested May 2 in Broward County. She faces DUI manslaughter and other charges in the death of Officer Christine Braswell.

Braswell, 40, and fellow Officer Bernenda Marc were on vacation together and riding a motor scooter April 8 when they were struck by a 2006 Nissan Altima driven by Morris.

According to a crash report, Morris was driving west on Truman Avenue when she turned into the path of Braswell and Marc, who were traveling east on a Yamaha Zuma.

Officer Jesse Young wrote in his report that Morris’ eyes were “extremely red, glassy and bloodshot.” Young wrote that he also smelled alcohol on her breath when she spoke.

Morris told Young that she was turning in to the parking lot of a nearby Dion’s Quick Mart because she and a passenger wanted to get some fried chicken, the report said. Morris claimed that she thought the scooter was speeding but thought it had plenty of time to stop and that it wouldn’t crash into her car, Young wrote.

During a search of the car, another officer found “a fresh but barely smoked marijuana cigarette” on the driver’s side floorboard, the report said.

Braswell, who joined the Delray Beach Police Department in 2005, was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, where she died.

Marc was treated at Jackson South Community Hospital and released.

Police said toxicology reports showed that Morris had a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 percent. The state legal limit is 0.08 percent.

After her arrest, Morris was transferred to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami-Dade County.

Her attorney, Evan Hoffman, said his client was not going to run and was never a flight risk. He told the Palm Beach Post that he was critical of the way her arrest was handled, believing that an arrangement was in place to have her voluntarily surrender to authorities.

Instead, Hoffman said, Morris has been stuck in jail for more than a week.

“This is ridiculous,” Hoffman said.

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Deaf Belle Glade man accused of beating girlfriend’s husband with rock

A deaf Belle Glade man was arrested Saturday after he struck his girlfriend’s husband with a rock and seriously injured him, according to an arrest report.

Vincent Poole, 35, faces a charge of attempted first-degree murder.

According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office report, Poole and the victim, Israel Hester, 46, got into an argument Saturday morning. During the dispute, Hester threw his wife’s mattress off the second-floor apartment into an alley below and Poole started to hit Hester and threw a rock at his face.

Hester’s wife told deputies that Poole also used the rock to hit his face.

Two witnesses told deputies that they saw Poole attacking the victim.

The arrest report said that Poole is deaf in both ears.

Israel was flown to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach to be treated for multiple skull fractures, including both orbital bones and his jaw, and bleeding in his brain. Israel was listed in critical condition.

Poole was being held without bond in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Main Detention Center.

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Uber driver accused of raping woman after taking her home from SunFest

A South Florida Uber driver was arrested early Tuesday morning after he gave a woman a ride home from SunFest and raped her, threatening to return and kill her if she told anyone and forcing her to drink his urine, according to a police report.

Gary Kitchings, 57, faces charges of kidnapping, sexual battery and burglary of an occupied dwelling.

According to a Jupiter police report, the woman was taking an Uber ride home early Sunday after attending SunFest in downtown West Palm Beach when her driver, later identified as Kitchings, began to flirt with her.

The woman told police that Kitchings touched her leg and tried to put his hand up her shirt, but she pushed it away and told him to stop.

Police said the woman claimed that she tried to jump out once they were off the highway, but the door was locked.

Kitchings saw her try to get away and told her that he had a gun under his seat, threatening to kill her if she didn’t do what he wanted, according to the report.

The woman told police that Kitchings forced her to perform oral sex on him and told her that he was going to urinate, making her drink his urine, the report said.

When they arrived at her home, the woman got out of the car and was running to get inside, but Kitchings followed her, grabbed by the arm and pushed her into the house, the report said.

The woman screamed for help, but Kitchings closed the door and told her that he would “kill her and her dogs if she didn’t shut up,” the report said.

Police said the woman, believing that Kitchings had a gun under his shirt, complied with his demands, taking off her skirt and pantyhose and performing oral sex. Police said Kitchings also had sex with her without using a condom.

Before leaving, Kitchings told the woman that he would come back and kill her if she told anyone, the report said.

Police said the woman called 911 and told the dispatcher, “I’ve been raped.” She told the dispatcher that she had locked herself in her bedroom “in case the guy comes back.”

Kitchings was being held without bond at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Main Detention Center.

“What the rider reported is deeply disturbing,” Uber said in a statement to Local 10 News. “The driver has been removed from the app.”

Kitchings was also involved with Place of Hope, a faith-based organization providing foster care for children.

Florida Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Jessica Sims said Kitchings is a house parent at the KidSanctuary Campus in West Palm Beach, but he is not licensed by DCF as a foster parent.

“This is a deeply disturbing incident,” Sims said in a statement. “We have high standards for the individuals who work in the child welfare system, as their jobs are extremely important in ensuring the safety of children. DCF staff is working closely with ChildNet and Place of Hope and has opened a child protective investigation to ensure that no children were harmed as a result of this individual’s alleged illegal actions.”

Place of Hope said in a statement that Kitchings has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

“Our first priority is for the care and security of children and youth placed with Place of Hope,” the statement said. “Place of Hope takes any allegations of assault or abuse very seriously, given our mission to protect the vulnerable from abuse, neglect and abandonment.”

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