Tragedy in California where an off-duty San Francisco police officer killed himself moments after he was pulled over by Richmond police. Authorities say a Richmond police officer made the traffic stop around 1:30pm but heard a gunshot as he approached the black coupe in a shopping mall parking lot. Unable to see inside the vehicle due to "heavily tinted" windows, the officer called for backup and responding officers used a "shotgun-propelled beanbag to break the suspect's windshield." Lt. Felix Tan told reporters the man inside was "alone and deceased." Sources have named the deceased officer as Antonio Cacatian, a nine-year veteran of the force who was under investigation for sex with a minor in Las Vegas. Nevada authorities had reached out to their Richmond counterparts for help. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Sandals Did Me In!
In Arlington, Arizona, 18-year-old Hipolito Rodriguez has been arrested for shooting at power plant employees in the desert-and it was his sandals that did him in. According to deputies Rodriquez was wearing unique sandals that exactly matched the prints left at the shooting scene. The sandals were made from recycled tires and numbers from those tires made the distinctive shoe prints at the scene. Later officers searched Rodriquez's home and found a shotgun they believe was used in the murders. When they interviewed Rodriguez, they found he had meth on him. He was booked into jail on two counts of aggravated assault and one count of promoting prison contraband. (AZFamily.com)
How America Treats Veterans
Believe it or not, we've got a whole slew of predatory lending schemes going on in this country-that are targeted specifically at veterans! These schemes are reminiscent of the toxic practices seen during the housing boom and targeted at thousands of veterans nationwide who have VA home loans. The abuses involve serial re-financings that generate hefty fees for lenders and loan brokers but leave borrowers in worse financial shape than they were before the transaction. Fortunately the Feds are planning a major crack down on this scum of the earth. Lenders are dangling teaser interest rates, "cash out" windfalls and lower monthly payments, sometimes using shady marketing materials that resemble official information from the Department of Defense. Not infrequently, officials say, borrowers end up in negative equity positions, owing more on their loan balance than their house is worth. Officials at the Government National Mortgage Association, better known as Ginnie Mae, say some veterans are being flooded with misleading re-fi offers and are signing up without assessing the costs and benefits. Some properties are being refinanced multiple times a year, thanks to "poaching" by lenders who aggressively solicit competitors' recent borrowers to re-fi them again and roll the fees into a new loan balance. The bottom line for VA borrowers: Look skeptically at all re-fi promotions. Run the numbers to see whether refinancing will leave you better off -- or deeper in debt. If you're not sure, get help from a financial person you trust. (Boston Herald)
Beware the Army General Facebook Scam
The FBI is investigating after a 70-year-old Oklahoma woman said she was duped out of more than $225,000 by someone posing online as a US Army general stationed in Syria. Phyllis Lindsey says she was contacted on Facebook by someone alleging to be "Gen. Lester Holmes." The widow says they began talking and a "romance happened really fast." You can guess what happened next. An FBI affidavit says Lindsey made four wire transfers in October. She believed the money was being used as payments for the delivery of luggage containing his discharge papers and money. The fourth wire transfer was frozen after Lindsey's son found she was being scammed and contacted the FBI. Records show the transfer for $100,000 was recovered this month from an Atlanta bank. (The Oklahoman)
Disney's Hall of President Now Features Trump
Disney World's revamped Hall of Presidents reopened yesterday and there have been some changes. The center stage spot is now held by an animatronic President Trump with Barack Obama shifted to the side. Robot Trump, which stands between Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant, moves its hands as it recites dialogue the president recorded earlier this year. Robo-Trump says, "Above all, to be American is to be an optimist -- to believe that we can always do better -- and that the best days of our great nation are still ahead of us." The Hall of Presidents debuted in 1971 and has featured a speech from every sitting president since Bill Clinton. Reviews from visitors who got a preview of the animatronic Trump on Monday were mixed, with those who voted for the flesh-and-blood Trump most impressed by the robotic version. But on social media, some called the figure "creepy," while others said it looks a lot more like Jon Voight than the president. (Orlando Sentinel)
Death by Menorah
A menorah is to blame for the fire that roared through a Brooklyn home on the sixth night of Hanukkah, killing a mother and her three young children. The fire department released a statement saying the accidental blaze was caused by an "unattended lit menorah." Neighbors said the family kept the menorah in a living room window throughout the eight-day holiday, also known as the Jewish Festival of Lights. Mother Aliza Azan was found dead on the second floor of the single-family home near the children who perished: 11-year-old Moshe, 7-year-old Yitzah, and 3-year-old Henrietta. The children's father and two teenagers were hospitalized in critical condition. A sixth child and a cousin escaped. Nigro says the children's father saved two of his older children from the fire and was seriously burned trying to get back inside the burning house. Firefighters warned that unattended candles, overloaded outlets and power strips, "and many of the holiday traditions we all hold dear" often cause fires. (New York Post)
What the What?
The two apps responsible for a lot of the infidelity in the world are going at each other. The infamous Ashley Madison has threatened to sue a rival, accusing it of copying its trademarks. Ruby Life, the firm which owns Ashley Madison, has ordered hook-up app CasualX to immediately change its branding and slogan or face legal action. The cheating website is concerned that CasualX, which markets itself as "the Tinder for casual sex," advertises its services with the words "Life is boring. Desire a fling?" Ashley Madison feels this is too similar to its own slogan: "Life is short. Have an affair." It also called on CasualX to stop using a picture showing a masked woman pressing a finger to her lips, which is allegedly similar to an image used by Ashley Madison. Just to keep all this straight, Ashley Madison is dedicated to helping married people have affairs, while CasualX is just interested in helping anyone enjoy a bit of no-strings-attached sex. And in case you've forgotten, back in 2015, Ashley Madison was hit by hackers who exposed the identity of up to 35 million users-causing some of those users to commit suicide out of shame. (Metro)