‘Cross-dressing’ gang faces federal charges in failed conspiracy to rob jewelry stores

A group of burglars donning red lipstick and wearing wigs, black gloves and women’s clothes failed miserably. Their disguise was so obvious that before they walked into the LSO Jewelers, an off-duty police officer spotted them. 

One of the burglars, who was wearing a pink jumpsuit, told a jewelry store employee that they were looking for an engagement ring. Once the store was closed, he pointed a gun to her head, and used a walkie-talkie to communicate with an accomplice on the lookout.

When police officers arrived, the burglars panicked and left behind a bag with $1 million in jewelry. Officers found one hiding under a bush with the walkie-talkie in hand.

Another managed to break into a home and kidnapped a family forcing them to drive him from Port St. Lucie to Broward County. He left his fingerprints on the blinds when he checked to see if the cops had followed him there, and he also left behind a bottle of water that he had drank from. 

An agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took over the case with help from FBI agents who used social media and cell phone tower records and Sunpass toll records to solve the crime.

Authorities identified the armed burglars as Jerome Simmons, 29, Christopher Brinson, 32, and Adrian Hardy, 33, from Fort Lauderdale, and Emory Moore, 33, from Coral Springs. 

Simmons, who faces robbery and use of a fire arm in relation to a crime of violence, was caught during their failed heist April 13. Hardy, who was accused of kidnapping the family, was arrested May 8 in Orlando. He faces robbery, use of a fire arm in relation to a crime of violence, carjacking and kidnapping charges. 

Brinson, who was arrested April 21, faces robbery and use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. Moore was arrested April 6 for violation of his probation. They pleaded not guilty. Their federal trial is scheduled for January. 

It turns out the gang had big plans. They are also facing charges for conspiring to rob Class Jewelers in Deerfield Beach, March 3; Lilli’s Jewelry store in Spring Hill, March 16, where authorities say Moore left his cell phone, and Bishop’s Jewelers in Georgia, April 1.  

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Philadelphia neurologist admits groping patients, gets probation

A Philadelphia neurologist pleaded guilty this week to seven counts of sexual misconduct with patients and was sentenced to seven years probation.

Dr. Ricardo Cruciani, 63, the former chairman of Drexel University’s Neurology Department, must also register as a Tier 1 sex offender and can no longer practice medicine, a judge ruled Tuesday in Philadelphia County Municipal Court.

He was fired in March after the university investigated allegations from seven patients that he had groped them. There also was a criminal investigation.

In a plea deal, Cruciani pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of indecent assault and harassment.

“The victims are not happy that he’s not receiving one day of jail time,” said Jeffrey Fritz, an attorney representing some of Cruciani’s victims. “But they are happy that he can’t victimize any further patients.”

Fritz is representing at least a dozen women in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York who have accused Cruciani of similar crimes in the last 12 years.

Criminal investigations are still under way in New York and New Jersey.

Sara Hicks, 31, was Cruciani’s patient while he was a doctor at Capital Health Medical Center in New Jersey, and followed him to Philadelphia so he could continue to treat her chronic migraines and stomach pains. Hicks said the doctor touched her inappropriately.

“My anxiety has become an everyday event that is now coupled with panic attacks,” Hicks said in court Tuesday. “When I am around men I get tense and feel like my guard is always up, which is exhausting.”

Hicks said the first time Cruciani was inappropriate with her was in December 2015, when she was pregnant and he inappropriately touched her chest. Hicks said she was having issues with health providers in New Jersey in treating her pain, and felt that Cruciani, knowing her health struggles, took advantage of her vulnerability.

Hicks said she felt that as long as she took someone else with her to appointments, the touching would stop, but Cruciani continued to be inappropriate even with her sister in the room, she told CNN.

“He fully accepts responsibility and apologizes for all the pain that he has caused,” Cruciani’s attorney, Linda Dale Hoffa, said in a statement.

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CEDA therapist faces battery, indecent exposure charges

A patient at CEDA Orthopedics and Interventional Medicine thought she was there for physical therapy, but Jorge Aguayo, a registered chiropractic assistant at their clinic in Hialeah, had other ideas.

He allegedly told the woman to take off her clothes, put on a medical gown and face up on the therapy bed. Even though she had been undergoing therapy with mechanical machines, he told her the doctor had ordered a massage.  

She told police officers Aguayo placed both of his hands under her medical gown and massaged her breast and “rubbed his unexposed erect penis” on her body, according to the arrest report. The woman said Aguayo did the same thing again during two more sessions. 

Hialeah Police Department officers arrested Aguayo, 46, of Citrus Springs, Monday. He was facing battery and indecent exposure charges. CEDA said he was fired. 

In a statement, CEDA claimed that this was he first time an allegation of this nature was made about one of their employees during their 24 years in business. 

“We take any patient complaint seriously, and have done so in this instance,” the statement said. 

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FDLE activates ‘missing child alert’ after teen vanishes with woman

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a state-wide alert Wednesday after 15-year-old Logan Mott, vanished from his home in Duval County.

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office detectives believe the teen is with Kristina French, 53, traveling in a silver, four-door 2015 Dodge Dart with Florida tag DLLT42.

They were last seen in the area of the 400 block of Seagate Avenue in Neptune Beach. 

“When located, do not approach,” authorities said in a statement. 

Deputies were asking anyone with information about their whereabouts to call the FDLE Missing Endangered Persons at 1-888-356-4774 or the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or 911. 

 

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