This Week in Weird

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

David Silverman

Payne

Man accused of attacking wife over shoveling argument

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- A Framingham man faces charges that he tried to strangle his wife last Sunday because she did not finishing shoveling snow, police said.

David Silverman, 45, was ordered held on $5,000 bail after pleading not guilty in Framingham District Court yesterday to several charges, including attempted murder.

On Sunday, at 7:35 p.m., police received a 911 call from one of Silverman's two sons, police spokesman Lt. Paul Shastany said.

The 13-year-old boy said, “Dad's hitting Mom,” but when police arrived at the 67 Prior Drive home, Silverman was gone. He later was stopped while driving on a nearby street.

Silverman's wife, whom police did not identify, said her husband had “pushed, punched and choked her” after an argument, Shastany said.

“He was apparently mad because she didn't finish shoveling, and he said she ruined his Sunday,” the lieutenant said.

Wal-Mart worker woes, part I

MACEDON, N.Y. -- A Wal-Mart Supercenter employee who was trying to thwart a pair of alleged thieves wound up taking a ride on the hood of their getaway car.

Monday afternoon’s crime caper left the employee, Wayne Harris, of Ontario, Wayne County, “banged up” but not seriously hurt — and the two culprits in the Wayne County Jail, said John Colella, officer-in-charge of the Macedon Police Department.

According to Colella, Thomas W. Potter, 25, of Rochester and Anthony V. DeGennaro, 18, of Spencerport were spotted by “Wal-Mart asset-protection members” — security — stealing items from the store, including a cellular phone, video games and a video game console.

The security guards and a few other employees, including Harris, who works in the Supercenter’s tire and lube department, followed the two men out to their car, where they planned to detain them until police arrived. However, Potter allegedly drove the car — a Pontiac Grand Am — toward Harris in the parking lot. “It appeared he was trying to get their plate number, and they drove right at him and hit him, which threw him up on the hood of the car,” Colella said.

Harris grabbed the hood and held on, Colella said. The driver, Potter, allegedly swerved the car back and fourth “violently in attempt to dislodge the employee who was hanging on for his safety,” Colella said.

Police were told that Potter tried to dislodge Harris by turning on his windshield wipers, but Harris held on as the car traveled across the parking lot and onto Route 31.

Colella said store security video footage shows Potter “darting right out into traffic,” nearly hitting a minivan on Route 31. “They tried to shake him off the car on 31,” then pulled into Mobil Mart gas station at the nearby corner of Wayneport Road, Colella said.

The total trip was about a half-mile, Colella estimated. He said the car was moving fast, but he wasn’t sure what speed.

Colella said as he understands it, Potter stopped at the gas station, a group of customers saw the man clinging to the front of the car, and they immediately jumped into action to help him and try to apprehend the driver and his passenger. “They tried to drag the passenger out of the car, but he had his seat belt on,” said Colella.

A clerk working at the gas station saw the getaway car continue down Wayneport Road. “I saw it go right by me,” he said, of the car with the clinging man. “He was hollering for the driver to stop. The guy fell off down Wayneport Road.”

Police eventually were able to stop the flight.

Wal-Mart worker woes, part II

BELVIDERE, Ill. -- A woman punched a Wal-Mart greeter who tried to stop her from leaving the store with more than $1,500 in stolen merchandise, police said today.

Vivian L. Payne, 19, of Rockford was stopped by two female greeters in their mid- to late 60s last Friday afternoon when the anti-theft alarm sounded as she tried to leave the Belvidere Wal-Mart after buying two trash cans, according to police reports.

Payne punched one of the women in the face and fled into the parking lot. Wal-Mart employees tracked down Payne and apprehended her until the police arrived and arrested her.

The greeter who was punched, 65, was taken to OSF Saint Anthony Hospital for a cut on her face.

“The police department would like to acknowledge the exceptional bravery and due diligence in the apprehension of a fleeing felon,” Police Chief Jan Noble said.

Payne tried to hide $1,514.63 in merchandise into the garbage cans she stored in her shopping cart. More than 180 items of clothing, jewelry, candy, a CD, a cell-phone charger and three packages of diapers were among the stolen items, reports say.

Payne also reportedly asked police to return her “sack of weed” when she was being taken into custody, according to the report.

What a nice grandson

PALMYRA, N.Y. -- A local man is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from his grandmother in what police are describing as a case of identity theft.

Jason N. Moon, 34, of Macedon led police, with warrant in hand, on a manhunt after he failed to register a change of address with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department. Moon, a convicted Level 1 sex offender, is required to notify officials of his current address. He was located by Ontario County deputies Dec. 15 at the Super 8 Motel in Canandaigua.

The warrant was issued by state police investigating reports of identity theft. In September, said police, Moon’s 79-year-old grandmother discovered someone had been using her three Bank of America credit cards without her consent. Bank of America confirmed “possible fraudulent activity” on the three cards.

Investigator John Stubbe said the investigation led them to the woman’s grandson.

Among the many transactions on the cards, Stubbe said, were charges for stays at hotels in the Rochester area, and on Sept. 15, Moon allegedly withdrew $9,000 to transfer to PayPal, an Internet payment system frequently used on sites like eBay.

Moon allegedly racked up some $25,000 in charges on his grandmother’s three cards. Stubbe said that when questioned, Moon admitted to making the transactions.

Jesus sign angers some

UTICA, N.Y. -- When firefighters at the Shepherd Place firehouse display a homemade sign every Christmas that states, “Happy Birthday Jesus – We love you,” people notice.

For some people, the sign serves as an inspiring reminder of the meaning of Christmas.

For others, the placard has sparked questions of whether such a display is appropriate for a public facility.

Utica Fire Chief Russell Brooks said the two or three negative letters he has received this year pale in comparison to the outpouring of cards, baked goods and friendly words the sign has prompted.

But one person recently contacted a local chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which then brought the issue to the attention of City Hall, officials said.

According to several U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the 1980s, as well as President Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center, the Utica Fire Department is well within its right.

If such a sign was displayed by itself, that may be a problem, U.S. Supreme Court justices have ruled. But the addition of other holiday symbols, such as Santa Claus, a Christmas tree or a menorah, makes the sign part of a larger – and less religious – holiday theme, the rulings state.

“There is a national holiday that recognizes Jesus’ birth, no matter what your belief is,” Brooks said.

In addition to the sign, the firehouse also displays wooden images of Santa and Mrs. Claus, a toy soldier, a holiday wreath and a Christmas tree with lights.

Brother Courtney Muhammad, a local representative of the Nation of Islam and student minister at Muhammad Study Group of Utica, said he isn’t bothered by the sign’s religious reference. He does have a problem, however, with Santa Claus.

“I would rather see Jesus’ name raised up on Dec. 25 than Santa Claus,” Muhammad said. “My problem is the gross commercialization of Christmas. Instead of honoring Jesus, we give honor to Santa Claus.”

GateHouse News Service