Busybody do-gooders seem to be alive and well in New Zealand these days.
When Danu Sefton showed someone a photo she had taken of her 7-year-old daughter Madeleine in a bathtub, she hardly expected to get a knock on the door from police.
The image also struck a chord in the photography industry, with the Palmerston North UCOL student taking out a silver at the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography Awards.
But not everyone was on the same wavelength, calling it a depiction of child abuse.
“Some people in my class said I needed to stop what I was doing. I have been held and shaken because of it.”
Some had asked if Madeleine understood about consenting to be in photographs. Ms Sefton said her daughter was always more than happy to be in photos.
“She’s been in theatre since she was 4 – she understands make-believe. If she wasn’t competent at understanding those things, I wouldn’t have asked her to be in a picture.”
The bathtub was full of warm water at the time and her daughter was fully clothed.
“What kid doesn’t want to be told to put their clothes on and jump in the bath?”
Ms Sefton, in her second year of a bachelor of applied visual imaging at UCOL, said she had the idea for the image in her head for some time.
She took the photo during a semester break to “capture that in-between state” between life and death.
Several people came to understand where Ms Sefton was coming from, but one person had not and had complained to the police. So they knocked on the door, asking to see any pictures of Madeleine that were online.
“It was on a Saturday before ballet and we were having pancakes, but we both weren’t feeling too good, so we were in our dressing gowns and they knocked on the door,” Ms Sefton said.
But they immediately saw there was nothing to worry about.
“They saw it and said ‘oh, that’s art’,” she said. “It’s nice to know the police are art literate as well.”
Despite the police presence, Ms Sefton said she always knew she would be all right. She had books of research about the photography style she was trying to emulate and had not gone out to harm her child.
“I felt secure that what I had done wasn’t wrong.” There were far worse pictures that people put online or in the public sphere, she said. “What about kids naked running around the garden?”
Niagara Regional Police officers have been visiting pizzerias in the peninsula recently asking one important question: where did you get your cheese?
It’s part of a larger internal investigation into cheese smuggling, allegedly by some members of their own force.
Police sources say that charges are expected soon against a few officers who are alleged to have been involved in the movement of caseloads of cheese from the US to sell to Canadian pizzerias and restaurants.
The alleged scam involves jamming cases of “brick” cheese — used as a common pizza topping — into their vehicles to smuggle across the border.
With US cheese being as little as a third the price it is in Canada, drivers are making $1,000 to $2,000 a trip, according to numerous sources.
Canada Border Services Agency officials say anyone, officer or civilian, caught smuggling large shipments of cheese into Canada would be in violation of the Customs Act for failing to declare, and pay duties on, the controlled goods.
As well, CBSA says it would be a violation for failing to have proper permits and licences from both the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
The accused officers either face police act charges (internal discipline) for either discreditable conduct or neglect of duty or criminal code charges of breach of trust if any were found to have intentionally plotted to avoid customs and duties.
The cheese-smuggling investigation stems from information gathered from a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) arrest in April of Niagara Regional Police constable Geoffrey Purdie in Buffalo on charges of conspiracy to smuggle more than half a million dollars in anabolic steroids and other drugs into Canada.
According to US court documents, a joint Border Enforcement Task Force has been using surveillance and at least one confidential informant in an ongoing probe into the steroid allegations of Purdie and others, including civilians.
It is unknown which specific officers will face charges, or whether Const. Purdie himself is directly linked to the cheese allegations.
The Niagara Regional Police Association won’t discuss the allegations against the officers, but confirms a number of their members have been formally notified they are under internal investigation.
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Sheriff’s deputies in Oregon who were responding to a burglary call, say that they found a 20-year-old man asleep on the kitchen floor of the home.
The Washington County sheriff’s office says that the homeowner discovered the sleeping stranger early Friday.
Deputies arrived to find Cristian Villarreal-Castillo, who had in his pockets small electronic devices believed to be stolen from unlocked vehicles.
Deputies say that many items in the home in the Rock Creek neighborhood of Hillsboro had been ransacked in an apparent attempt to find valuables.
They believe that Villarreal-Castillo entered the home through an unlocked door and was in the process of gathering items when he fell asleep.
He is charged with burglary, attempted theft, trespassing and criminal mischief.
Investigators also linked him to a burglary that happened a few hours before his arrest.
A man being questioned in a DUI investigation smelled of alcohol and told deputies he’s “not taking no sobriety test. I done seen it on the MythBusters,” Dustan Edward Carpenter, 35, is quoted as saying on Sept. 12.
A St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputy stopped Carpenter shortly after 11 p.m. after spotting his Ford Focus travelling without the headlights on.
Carpenter, of Auburndale, Florida, initially said he was coming from Applebee’s and had one beer.
He had slurred, mumbled speech and bloodshot eyes.
Carpenter said he’s “not taking no sobriety test, I done seen it on the MythBusters.”
MythBusters is a TV programme that “aims to uncover the truth behind popular myths and legends by mixing scientific method with gleeful curiosity and plain old-fashioned ingenuity to create a signature style of experimentation.
Myths tested involving alcohol include whether drinking will help you feel warmer (busted) and whether drinking will make you think people look more attractive (plausible).
In the parlance of MythBusters, Carpenter was busted – arrested on a DUI charge.
A “fat and aggressive” cat named Oscar was arrested by police at the weekend for trespassing into a home in northern Swedish home and stealing food.
A family in Piteå took action after what they first thought was a stray cat had been terrorizing the family’s own felines.
They left out a cat trap for the mischievous pussy and captured him soon thereafter.
They then put a call into local police, who arrived on the scene and promptly took the cat into custody.
After taking the cat burglar down to the station, the police soon realized the offending feline was no wild outlaw.
“It is a fat, well-groomed and well-cared for cat – it’s no stray cat,” said Erik Kummu of the Norrbotten police to the Aftonbladet newspaper at the time.
The cat nevertheless spent the night in the lock-up, with police waiting to see if an owner would show up as the cat didn’t match any of those that had been reported missing.
The police told local papers that if no owner claimed the cat as their own, it would be put down.
On Sunday night, however, the cat-owner reclaimed the pet, which goes by the name of Oscar, no doubt saving at least one of the cat’s nine lives.
However, the cat-owner refused to comment to the paper on his pet’s alleged crimes.
Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office used Facebook to track down a missing sex offender after his girlfriend “liked” the department’s page on the social networking site.
29-year-old Dyllan Naecher is a convicted sex offender in Maryland. He was allegedly hiding out with his girlfriend Samantha Dillow, 22, in Virginia.
It is not sure what motivated Dillow, but for some reason she decided to “like” the local police department’s Facebook page.
Tazewell County police then used the geographic stamp left by Dillow’s “like” to pinpoint her residence.
Naecher was taken into custody and now faces charges in Virginia for failing to register as a sex offender. He could also face federal charges for crossing state lines.
And if he’s given Internet access in jail, don’t be surprised if one of his first activities is unfriending Dillow on Facebook.
Dillow herself is also in trouble with the law, facing charges of obstruction of justice for harboring Naecher.
A Welsh man who went shopping after repairing a pub’s lights was Tasered by armed police because he still had a screwdriver in his pocket.
Chris Thomas received four bursts of 50,000 volts from police officers after they confronted him in the Peacocks store in Swansea city centre in February last year.
An armed response vehicle had been called after he had been spotted by security staff in BHS with the screwdriver protruding from his pocket, and then followed by city centre rangers.
But the case against the 45-year-old, who had been charged with a public order offence, was thrown out by magistrates, after an application by his representative, Grayson Tanner, who argued the evidence given to the court from the five witnesses in the case was inconsistent, and that officers had not followed correct procedures before they had brought him to the floor in the shop, and used the Taser.
Mr Thomas said after the case: “I am really happy the case has finished, it has gone on a long time.
“I have a very supportive family and it’s been difficult for them too, and I’m very grateful to them, as well as my bosses, who have given me the time to come to court.”
Magistrates were told Mr Thomas, an electrical engineer, was a member of the Railwaymen’s Club in Wind Street, and had been mending lights on the premises as a favour.
But when he left to go into town, he had forgotten he still had two small screwdrivers in his pocket, and a small knife.
Three rangers were called to court and they described Mr Thomas, who had drunk several pints of cider, as walking in an “unsteady” manner, but otherwise not acting suspiciously.
But some of their evidence was described as inconsistent, with one telling magistrates that Mr Thomas had put his hands up when instructed by police, and others who did not give the same information.
At the start of the case, Andrew Smith, prosecuting, said: “This was something of an unfortunate incident, when a man was arrested out of a misunderstanding.”
Mr Thomas was praised for his first aid efforts in 2004, after being first on the scene at a car crash in Fabian Way, which killed three people.
He added: “It is a ridiculous waste of tax-payers’ money to bring this to court. But I just want to move on now.”
Some upset people who have been caught speeding in Palmer Park, Maryland, are taking their rage out on the cameras themselves.
But now the police have come up with a cunning plan to combat this: cameras to watch the cameras.
One is already in place, and Prince George’s County Police Maj. Robert V. Liberati hopes to have up to a dozen more before the end of the year.
“It’s not worth going to jail over a $40 ticket or an arson or destruction of property charge,” says Liberati.
Liberati is the Commander of the Automated Enforcement Section, which covers speed and red-light cameras. Since April, six people have damaged speed cameras.
“It costs us $30,000 to $100,000 to replace a camera. That’s a significant loss in the program. Plus it also takes a camera off the street that operates and slows people down. So there’s a loss of safety for the community,” says Liberati.
The Prince George’s County Police Department decided it needed to catch the vandals, or at least deter them.
Speed cameras themselves can’t be used for security because under Maryland law speed cameras can only take pictures of speeding, says Liberati.
“We’ve taken the additional step of marking our cameras to let people know that there is surveillance.”
Liberati says the cameras aren’t a case of Big Brother nor a cash grab, police are simply trying to keep the public safe from reckless drivers.
A man, who was naked and bleeding profusely, gnawed on woman’s head all while “screaming like an animal” during a wild neighborhood rampage, Pennsylvania state police said.
The bizarre incident played out in the early morning hours of September 7th in Hawley Boro, which is in Wayne County, Pennsylvania.
According to investigators, the incident began when 20-year-old suspect Richard Ciminio Jr. parked his car behind a home on Hudson Street, got out and stripped down to his underwear.
State Police say Ciminio then tried to break into a home, but was unsuccessful. Police say Ciminio then took off his underwear and continued down Hudson Street and broke into an unoccupied home.
While inside that home, police say Ciminio walked up to the home’s second floor and jumped out a window, causing severe injuries to his arms and legs when he hit the ground.
Bleeding profusely at this point, Ciminio then encountered two females who were walking down the street.
State Police say Ciminio tackled one of the females, causing injury to her and covered her in his blood. Investigators say Ciminio then “began to gnaw” at the victim’s head while “screaming like an animal.”
The two females were able to escape from Ciminio and call police.
When police arrived, they found Ciminio lying in the roadway, covered in blood and displaying “delusional and confrontational behavior.”
Officers eventually were forced to tase Ciminio, but that did not stop his bizarre behavior as police say he punched an EMT, who was treating him, in the face.
Police were able to finally subdue Ciminio and he was taken to Geisinger Community Medical Center for treatment of his severe injuries.
It was not immediately known what, if anything, Ciminio was under the influence of during the frightening ordeal.
Ciminio is facing several charges, including aggravated assault, indecent exposure and burglary, among others.
A southwestern Pennsylvania woman has been jailed on charges she was flagging down motorists and offering to take off her clothes for cash.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for 35-year-old Jackie Hatter, of Uniontown. She remained jailed Wednesday unable to post $25,000 bond.
The Herald-Standard of Uniontown reports Hatter was arrested about 8:40 a.m. Sunday and charged with disorderly conduct and marijuana possession.
Police say they were told she was stopping cars to offer the striptease at an intersection in the city about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh.
Police say Hatter was mumbling incoherently and fighting with officers.
A preliminary hearing on the charges has yet to be scheduled.