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Crime Int'l: Venezuela, Ireland, And More

Grisly murders in Venezuela and Ireland, dirty pond water and an angry French baker are among the recent crimes on our global blotter...

1. Ireland's Grisly Chess Murder, Sicilian Under Arrest

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2014-01-13 Read Later


DUBLIN — An Italian man has been charged with the murder of Irish religious writer and former journalist, Tom O’Gorman, after a dispute over a game of chess in the early hours of Sunday morning.


Sources from Gardaí, the Irish police force, say that the men were playing and one attempted to move his king, leading to a dispute over the movement of the piece. The accused, Saverio Bellante, who had been living with O’Gorman for a few months as a lodger, told officers at the scene that O’Gorman had then asked him to move out, which he agreed to do. The victim was then bludgeoned to death with a dumbbell before being stabbed, writes news website The Journal.


Saverio Bellante, 34, a native of Sicily, has lived in Dublin for the past two years, reports the Irish Independent. The Gardaí say that alcohol and drugs were not involved, nor did Bellante have a predisposition towards violence in the past.


Several newspapers have reported that two of O’Gorman’s organs were removed in the assault. According to the Irish Mirror, sources say that Bellante claimed to have eaten the victim’s heart, but a post-mortem exam found no damage there. But it was noted that one of the man’s lungs was missing. 


Bellante is due to appear in court Monday morning in Dublin.


Photo by _kyledouglas_ via Instagram

Crunched By: Julie Farrar

2. Waste Crackdown: Roman Garbage King Arrested

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2014-01-09 Read Later


ROME — Seven people were arrested Thursday in Italy’s capital after a five-year investigation into waste management in Rome's region of Lazio. Those arrested include Manlio Cerroni, owner of Malagrotta landfill and, Bruno Landi, two-time Lazio governor, as well as five other men, according to weekly magazine, Espresso.


Deemed possibly the biggest landfill in the European Union by Business Week back in 2009, the Malagrotta site processes 1.46 million tons of waste annually. The waste treatment center produced Refused Derived Fuel (RDF), which the government paid for per estimated amount. The investigation found that the numbers did not add up correctly and gave Cerroni’s company “an unfair advantage to the detriment of serious economic entities for public administrations.”


As well as charges of conspiracy to traffic waste, the suspects, all of whom are currently under house arrest, have been accused of violating public administration and fraud of public funds, reports La Stampa.


Movable and immovable assets of eighteen million euros were seized, reports Rai News, in the operation conducted by the Italian Tax Police, the Guardia di Finanza.


Espresso writes that these arrests have come, symbolically, a few months after the final closure of Malagrotta. Cerroni and his men had begun to move pieces in order to win the post-Malagrotta business, trying in any way possible to obtain the necessary permissions to keep monopoly on the state’s landfills, by using one of the many reservoirs already purchased.


Photo by maxilgatto via Flickr 

Crunched By: Julie Farrar

3. Former Miss Venezuela And British Husband Murdered In Highway Robbery

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2014-01-08 Read Later


CARACAS — Venezuelans have expressed shock and outrage after a well-known actress and former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear, and her British ex-husband, Thomas Henry Berry, were killed during a highway robbery as they returned from a reconciliation vacation together.


President Nicolas Maduro spoke late Tuesday night, offering his condolences to the family and speaking to the nation. “If we can take any lesson away from this incident that has moved us all, it should be that we must unite together as a society in order to overcome crime that has originated from capitalism, that degrades vital elements of human beings, like the respect for life.”


Others noted that the case has highlighted the government’s poor record on crime. Maduro also announced that the security meeting scheduled for the end of January was moved up to Wednesday, reports The Telegraph. This meeting will bring together state governors and mayors of Venezuela's 79 most dangerous cities


The Monday night murder happened after the couple's car wheels had been punctured. As the couple and their five-year-old daugther waited for help, robbers approached the car, and the family locked themselves in the car. The assailants then opened fire at the vehicle, killing both adults. The daughter, named Maya, was injured in the leg and has been relaying facts to police, according to the Caracas website Últimas Noticias early Wednesday. 


The puncturing of the car’s wheels follows a pattern in Venezuela of late-night attacks where vehicles are damaged with obstacles placed on roadways, or by removed sewer covers.


Thomas and Maya. Photo via Thomas Henry Berry's Facebook Page.


Speaking to the State-owned television network, Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), the director of the country’s investigative police, José Gregorio Serralta explained that there are five people being questioned to determine whether they are connected to the murders. Two of these five are minors, , aged 15 and 16, reports El Nacional.


Though this particular case has caused nationwide outrage, it is hardly the only murder. During the first seven days of 2014, writes El Universal, there have been at least 11 other reported homicides.


Photo via Facebook

Crunched By: Julie Farrar

4. Spanish Princess Facing Money-Laundering Allegations

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2014-01-07 Read Later


PALMA — The daughter of King Juan Carlos of Spain, the Infanta Cristina, has been summoned by a Spanish judge to appear before a court over accusations of money-laundering and fraud. 


Infanta Cristina, 48, also referred to as the Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, is now a formal suspect in the case as she has been linked to her husband’s, Iñaki Urdangerin, “dirty business,” reports Madrid daily El Pais. Prosecutors believe that  the Duke of Palma de Mallorca, Urdangerin, a former team handball player, had misused millions of euros in public funds given to their charitable foundation, the Noos Institute. 


The Infanta Cristina, seventh in line to the throne of Spain, was on the board of this institute, as well as jointly owning another company with him called Aizoon, which prosecutors believed served as a front for the embezzlement. 


A conviction for money-laundering in Spain carries a penalty of up to six years imprisonment, reports El Mundo, as well as a fine which can be up to triple of the amount of money laundered. 


The Duchess is expected to appear in court on March 8. 


Photo by Scott Keeler/Scott Keeler/Tampa Bay/ZUMA (L-R: Urdangerin, Infanta Cristina, Bill Foster, Jorge Dezcallar)

Crunched By: Julie Farrar

5. Gang Arrested For Injecting Dirty Pond Water Into Lamb Meat

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2014-01-06 Read Later


China has held seven people in the Guangdong province for injecting dirty pond water into lamb meat to increase its weight and price, state television reported as part of a documentary.


The suspected gang slaughtered up to 100 sheep daily at an illegal warehouse, pumping bacteria-ridden water into the meat before it was sold at markets, food stalls and restaurants in major cities such as Guangzhou and Foshan, China Central Television reported.


Up to 6 kilograms of water were added to each sheep, Reuters reported.


About 30 carcasses injected with water were apparently found during a raid on the illegal slaughterhouse along with 335 live sheep, forged inspection stamps, and equipment used for the injections, according to Radio Television Hong Kong.


China is no stranger to food safety scandals. Close to 40% of the population believe food safety is an issue in the country. It was reported last week that Walmart’s donkey meat snacks also included fox meat.

Photo: Daho90 via Wikimedia

6. French Bakery Clerk Takes On Armed Thief With Broom, Wins (Video)

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2014-01-02 Read Later


SAINT-MAUR-DES-FOSSÉS — An armed man tried to rob a bakery in this town near Paris but was chased out by a woman wielding a broom, reports Le Figaro. (See video below)


A man, dressed all in black, came into the bakery, demanding the cash register be opened. The employee replied that it was difficult to open and there wasn’t much in there anyway. She went into the back, emerging with a big broom. 


After a few moments of confusion, the man managed to escape, attempting to break the window. 


The employee said that she was afraid and taken by surprise during the incident, but also enraged. The thief is still at large. 


This news report from BFM.TV shows the CCTV footage of the incident, beginning at 00:09. 








Photo: Screengrab from BFM.TV video

Crunched By: Julie Farrar
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