Entries from blogs tagged with “lawrence”

Unforeseen perils in the world of electronic cigarettes; new information on Jan. 17 Playerz shooting

The rebel look has changed throughout the years. Much to my chagrin on this particular Friday I'm envisioning Marlboro Red cigarettes, an acid-washed jean jacket and that Whitesnake music video (you know the one).

These days, however, the old cigarettes have been replaced with electronic and vapor-producing cigarettes or pipes. I've read they're a healthier nicotine alternative, but now I'm not so sure.

A man, smoking in a downtown alley with a friend, had his vaporizer pipe forcibly taken from him on Wednesday, police said.

The victim and his friend were in the alley east of the 1000 block of Massachusetts Street around 3:50 p.m. when Jeremy Walter Miles, 40, allegedly approached them, asking if he could "take a hit off the pipe," according to a Lawrence police report.

Miles then allegedly grabbed the pipe, raised his arm as if to hit the pipe-owner, then walked away with the pipe, according to the police report. The pipe was valued around $100.

The victim then called the police, and Miles was arrested on suspicion of robbery.

A jail booking record lists the Lawrence Community Shelter as Miles' home address.

On an unrelated and more serious note, more information has come to light in the Jan. 17 shooting at a Lawrence sports bar.

Early on Jan. 17, a fight broke out between two people in the parking lot of Playerz Sports Bar, 1910 Haskell Ave., according to an arrest affidavit filed in Douglas County District Court. Bar patron Lee Simmons Jr. told police he heard about the fight and went outside to break it up.

Eventually the two people involved in the argument stopped fighting, the affidavit says. In the aftermath, Geoffrey Eugene Morrison, also known as "Cutty," allegedly approached Simmons, 32, pressed a gun against his stomach and fired one shot.

Simmons told police he has known Morrison for between three and four years and the two had never before had any problems, the affidavit says.

Simmons was transported to a Kansas City-area hospital, where he was listed in stable condition later that day.

On Jan. 23 Morrison turned himself in to the Douglas County Jail on suspicion of felony aggravated battery. He was booked into the jail on $15,000 bond. He posted bond and was released later that day.

Morrison is scheduled to make a first appearance in court at 3 p.m. Friday.

I report on crime and courts for the Journal-World. I can be reached by email at cswanson@ljworld.com, by phone at (785) 832-7284 or on Twitter @Conrad_Swanson.


Some look to help Floyd Bledsoe transition out of prison after 15 years of wrongful incarceration

Fifteen years ago I was in junior high. I was big on Pokémon, the smooth stylings of Carlos Santana and swimming as often as I could.

Fifteen years ago Floyd Bledsoe was heading into prison for the murder of 14-year-old Zetta "Camille" Arfmann, a crime he did not commit.

In late 2015 newly admitted DNA evidence proved that Floyd couldn't have committed the crime and incriminated his older brother, Tom Bledsoe. Their father, also named Floyd Bledsoe, was thrust into the picture as well when his DNA was found on the victim's socks, a shocking revelation for the younger Floyd.

Floyd Bledsoe was released from the Lansing Correctional Facility on Dec. 8. His brother killed himself in November, confessing to the murder in his suicide letters.

The Midwest Innocence Project has told the Journal-World that Bledsoe's wrongful conviction might have been avoided if his interrogations were recorded.

Since Bledsoe's release Rep. Ramon Gonzalez, R-Perry, has introduced a bill that if passed would require interrogations to be recorded.

Plenty can change in 15 years, and I'm sure that statement is even more true if you've been locked in prison for that amount of time.

Kate Glavin met Floyd Bledsoe while she taught writing classes at the Lansing Correctional Facility from 2011 to 2014. She has since moved to Boston, but the two have kept in touch.

Now that Floyd Bledsoe is a free man and living in Hutchinson, Glavin said, he's working to acclimate to the outside world, which is presenting a significant challenge.

To help him move forward, Glavin established a GoFundMe account for Floyd Bledsoe. The account's fundraising goal is $60,000; Glavin said she thought long and hard about that figure.

"I sort of felt like every number was too low for what he went through," she said. "I felt like that was a comfortable number to help him build a savings account, to help him find some emotional support services, to help him buy some reliable transportation and for procuring housing while he looks for a job."

Since his release Floyd Bledsoe has been volunteering much of his time at Prairie Lighthouse, an organization meant to help others transition from prison into the outside world.

He has also been able to pick up an odd job here and there, but nothing steady, Glavin said.

"He did have some jobs lined up, but they fell through for various reasons," she said.

Although finding consistent work is tough, Floyd Bledsoe has had his hands full, Glavin said.

"He is really busy," she said. "He has some speaking engagements, he's working with the Midwest Innocence Project, and he's speaking out against the death penalty."

In the meantime he is still looking for more work, even potentially looking to use some of the skills he learned while incarcerated, Glavin said. "I believe he has training in plumbing and electrical services that he received while in prison," she said.

As of Wednesday morning, the account, which Glavin started on Monday, has raised $1,270 through the donations of 14 people.

While the money raised so far is short of the goal, Glavin said it's early yet and she's received positive feedback from the account.

Any money raised will go toward helping Floyd Bledsoe reclaim a piece of his own life and toward helping him recover from 15 years of wrongful incarceration.

"I really can't emphasize enough that because of the nature of his situation he is really in need of emotional support services that he cannot afford," she said.

Glavin's GoFundMe account for Bledsoe can be found online at www.gofundme.com/floydbledsoe. Through that site Glavin said she is able to answer any further questions about the fundraising.

I report on crime and courts for the Journal-World. I can be reached by email at cswanson@ljworld.com, by phone at (785) 832-7284 or on Twitter @Conrad_Swanson.


Police: Rural Baldwin City resident at home when two men break in

Just before midnight on Thursday police received a call from a rural Baldwin City resident. The caller was a resident of the home and was inside the home — along with two people who weren't supposed to be there.

A deputy was in the area at the time of the call and headed toward the home in the 600 block of East 2100 Road, said Douglas County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Kristen Dymacek.

The caller reported the two suspects had broken in, Dymacek said.

Before they were out of the driveway, the deputy stopped the two suspects, noting they were in possession of several personal belongings from inside the home, Dymacek said.

Cody Daniel Goodlett, 20, and Sabastian Michael Robinson, 23, both of Baldwin City, were arrested at the scene, Dymacek said. Neither of the two men apparently was aware anyone had been inside the house.

Goodlett was booked into the Douglas County Jail on suspicion of criminal damage, aggravated burglary, possession of a stimulant/narcotic, driving while suspended and two counts of theft, Dymacek said. He is being held in lieu of $10,000 bond.

Robinson was booked into the Douglas County Jail on suspicion of criminal damage, aggravated burglary and two counts of theft, Dymacek said. He is also being held in lieu of $10,000 bond.

While burglaries are not uncommon, Dymacek said it is a bit of a rarity for them to take place while the residents are home.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing, and Dymacek said she could not release additional information.

Dymacek refused a request for booking photos, saying in an email that Goodlett's and Robinson's booking photos were "not required to be disclosed under the Kansas Open Records Act."

— I report on crime and courts for the Journal-World. I can be reached by email at cswanson@ljworld.com, by phone at (785) 832-7284 or on Twitter @Conrad_Swanson.

Reply 1 comment from Michele Montour

Police pepper spray two men accused of fighting across street from police station

You know, I've been in a fracas or two in my day, but whenever possible I try to avoid taking part in any shenanigans directly across the street from police stations. Call me old-fashioned, but I try to be a man of principle.

One man was arrested early Friday morning and another was given notice to appear in court after the two fought outside Fuzzy's Tacos, 1115 Massachusetts St., police said.

At 1:44 a.m. officers responded to a report of two men fighting outside the restaurant, said Lawrence Police Sgt. Trent McKinley.

In all, seven officers responded to the scene.

Even after police arrived the two men continued fighting, McKinley said. An officer then pepper sprayed both men, effectively stopping the situation, McKinley said.

Both men were offered treatment for their injuries and their exposure to pepper spray, McKinley said. One man refused treatment at the scene, but requested to be taken to the hospital for a possible head injury. He was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital and given a notice to appear in court on suspicion of disorderly conduct.

John Henry Liebau, 24, was treated at the scene by paramedics and arrested on suspicion of battery. He was booked into the Douglas County Jail in lieu of $100 bond.

McKinley could not say what the two men were fighting about, nor could he say whether alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident.

Neither man appeared to suffer serious injuries, McKinley said.

I report on crime and courts for the Journal-World. I can be reached by email at cswanson@ljworld.com, by phone at (785) 832-7284 or on Twitter @Conrad_Swanson.

Reply 8 comments from Bob Smith Samuel Brown Michael Dennis David Barrett Will White Conrad Swanson Paul Beyer

Two accidental shootings in less than a week; police advise gun owners to use caution

It is better to be safe than sorry, and that strategy is probably doubly important when you have a gun in your hand. It seems that advice is worth passing along as accidental shootings have sent two Lawrence men to the hospital in the past week.

Early Wednesday morning officers met a 21-year-old man with a bullet wound in his hand at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, said Lawrence Police Sgt. Trent McKinley.

The man told police he was in the middle of disassembling a newly purchased .40-caliber handgun — at 12:55 a.m. — when the gun discharged, shooting him in his left hand, McKinley said. The man was driven to the hospital by a friend.

While investigating the shooting officers found the handgun and discharged round at the western Lawrence residence where the incident occurred, McKinley said.

Police do not believe the shooting involved any criminal activity. A condition report on the victim was not immediately available Wednesday morning.

Because police are viewing the incident as a medical emergency rather than a crime, McKinley could not say whether drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor.

Another man was sent to the hospital Saturday night for what is most likely an accidental shooting, police said.

Around 9:15 p.m., officers arrived at a home in the 1500 block of Pinewood Drive, where they found a 21-year old man lying in the garage with a towel wrapped around his calf, said Lawrence Police spokeswoman Kim Murphree.

Four witnesses on scene told police the suspect, a 25-year-old man known to the victim, was holding a handgun when it fired and hit the victim, Murphree said. The handgun was recovered at the scene.

The victim, whose name was not released, suffered a single gunshot wound to the leg, Murphree said. He was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital and later transferred to a Kansas City-area hospital for treatment.

Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to the Douglas County district attorney, said in an email the office was examining the shooting, which appeared to be accidental.

"We are reviewing the reports to determine if any laws were broken," she wrote.

Police won't seek out the suspect unless the district attorney's office issues an arrest warrant, Murphree said.

McKinley said accidental shootings can be classified as several different things and they're not always reported to police, which makes it difficult to say how frequently they happen.

"There are likely many incidents of accidental weapons discharges which don't get reported to us, especially where no injury occurred or where the incident was not witnessed or heard by others," he wrote.

And while the frequency of accidental shootings is uncertain, there are a few good tips for avoiding them, McKinley said.

Most weapons manufacturers release safety recommendations with each weapon and it would behoove firearm owners to review that literature, McKinley said.

"Individuals should also treat every weapon as if it were loaded and visually and physically verify a round is not in the chamber before pulling the trigger to disassemble the weapon or for other reasons," he wrote.

Reply 11 comments from Dorothy Hoyt-Reed Ron Holzwarth Bob Smith Bob Forer David Barrett Rick Masters Marc Wilborn Monty Scott Scott  Morgan Terry Sexton

Driver in early-morning pursuit ditches running vehicle; alleged road rage incident ends after victim displays handgun

Lawrence roads may not have been the safest place to be last night, according to the Lawrence Police Department’s 911 call log.

The following two traffic incidents that occurred overnight struck me as out of the ordinary for our typically quiet Monday nights in Lawrence. Let’s take a look:

Tuesday, 12:51 a.m.

A Lawrence police officer using a speed radar in the 1500 block of West Ninth Street clocked a vehicle going about 18 miles over the 30 mph speed limit in the area, LPD spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said. Naturally, the officer flipped on the patrol car’s lights and siren, and followed the car as it turned north onto Missouri Street.

You can probably guess where this one’s going: The driver did not pull over for the patrol car and instead sped away. The vehicle then went east on Seventh Street, north on Mississippi Street and east on Fifth Street before turning north on the dead-end road of Ohio Street, McKinley said.

Faced with a dead end, the driver then allegedly hopped out of the vehicle without putting it into park, and attempted to run away, McKinley said. The driverless vehicle then continued on until it struck a parked car in the area.

An officer followed after the suspect on foot and soon caught up with him. They struggled for a bit, but the officer was eventually able to arrest the man.

He was later booked into the Douglas County Jail on suspicion of his second DUI, refusal to submit to a breath test, attempting to elude police for at least the third time, obstruction of the legal process, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

However, according to Douglas County Jail booking logs, the man was apparently released from jail today around 1:15 p.m. The log indicates he was released because he was not charged in the case. Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to the Douglas County District Attorney, said the district attorney's office is "waiting on additional investigation reports."

Monday, 11:04 p.m.

Lawrence police responded to a report of road rage in town after a “traffic dispute between two parties,” McKinley said.

McKinley said that the report on the incident had not yet been completed with information from both parties, but said that the victim recounted the following narrative:

The victim was driving in town when another driver allegedly cut him off in traffic. Later the other driver allegedly exited his vehicle to confront the victim.

The victim claimed he was “fearful about the other driver’s actions,” McKinley said, during the confrontation. The other driver then allegedly tried to open the victim’s car door, so the victim allegedly flashed a handgun at him.

The display of the gun was apparently enough to scare off the other driver, and he returned to his vehicle and left.

No one was arrested or injured in the incident, McKinley said.

According to the Douglas County Booking logs, six people were arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

Reply 3 comments from Kendall Simmons Rebecca Woolfolk Bob Smith

Thanksgiving travel safety tips; Community discussion Tuesday to address human trafficking in Lawrence

It’s almost Thanksgiving and law enforcement are celebrating by cracking down on drunken drivers and those without seat belts.

If more folks are safe this holiday season, that’s something we can all be thankful for.

I reported last week that the Lawrence Police Department would be participating in the statewide “Kansas Thanksgiving Enforcement Campaign” funded by the Kansas Department of Transportation. LPD spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said officers will be “focus(ing) on identifying impaired drivers and those not using seat belts and child restraint devices.”

Well, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Kansas Highway Patrol said that starting today, they are joining the enforcement campaign.


HOLIDAY TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT Today marks the ... by Douglas County Sheriff's Office

So, don’t let that Turkey get to you. Be a smart driver this week, and buckle up.

None by GA Highway Safety

Speaking of holiday travels, here are a few safety tips that the Kansas Department of Transportation offered up for those who plan to venture out on a road trip for their turkey dinners:

  • Before you go, check that your vehicle is in proper condition to be taking a long trip. You’ll want to make sure the tire tread and pressure are good to go, as well as your vehicle’s fluid levels and mechanical equipment.

  • Just in case something goes awry, it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit. KDOT suggests including bottled water, blankets, nonperishable food, phone chargers and a flashlight with batteries.

  • Allow plenty of time to get to where you’re going. If you hit the road last minute, you’re more prone to speed and put yourself – and others – in danger.

  • Check road conditions before you set out on your way. You can do this for Kansas routes by calling 511 or visit kandrive.org. This is particularly important during inclement weather, KDOT said.

And if you find yourself in a roadside emergency, you can dial 47 on your phone for the Kansas Highway Patrol of 582 while on the Kansas Turnpike to ask for someone to come and assist you.

The Willow Domestic Violence Center will be leading a community discussion Tuesday on human trafficking in Lawrence.

We’ve seen glimpses of the realities of human trafficking this year when a Lawrence couple were arrested after a months-long investigation into a Lawrence massage parlor that turned out to allegedly be forcing women to perform sexual activities, according to Douglas County prosecutors.

Ending human trafficking takes the efforts of ...

Ending human trafficking takes the efforts of ... by The Willow Domestic Violence Center

But Kristine Chapman with the Willow said there’s more than just that one case that’s going on in our community; they may just not be getting reported. The Willow provided services to 42 survivors of human trafficking the past year.

“It's not that this is a new problem, it's just that up until our human trafficking program started two years ago, no one was asking these questions of potential victims,” Chapman said. “Human trafficking is often hidden in plain sight.”

Chapman said the discussion Tuesday will “help people find practical ways to engage in the ending of human trafficking in Lawrence and Douglas County.”

“A lot of people still do not believe that human trafficking is something that happens in the Midwest, let alone Lawrence, Kansas,” Chapman said. “We know it is a reality for too many of our neighbors, coworkers and students.”

So, how do we stop human trafficking in our community? Chapman said the first step is education, which will happen at the library event Tuesday.

“The purpose of the discussion is to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking in our community,” Chapman said. “Human trafficking hides in plain sight, so education and awareness are critical to help ending this modern day form of slavery.”

The discussion will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St., in meeting room B.

If you can’t make it Tuesday, the Willow will be hosting another discussion on Dec. 17 at 7 p.m., also at the library.

Reply 1 comment from Kristine Chapman

Walker trials underscore complexity of felony murder concept

If you’ve been following my coverage of Dustin D. Walker’s felony murder retrial, you know that Walker was convicted at his first trial in February of aggravated burglary, but jurors could not make a decision about his felony murder charge.

The issue itself is a bit confusing. Felony murder falls under the first-degree murder statute, but is different than what we typically associate with first-degree murder. Felony murder, defined by Kansas statute, is “the killing of a human being committed in the commission of, attempt to commit, or flight from any inherently dangerous felony."

Basically, felony murder is what you get when someone dies – accidentally or otherwise – while you are committing an “inherently dangerous” felony, such as kidnapping, arson, or, in the present case, aggravated burglary. Those “inherently dangerous” felonies are referred to as “underlying felonies” in felony murder cases.

As prosecutor Amy McGowan told Walker's retrial jury this morning in closing arguments, "(jurors) must first find that an aggravated burglary occurred, then decide if Patrick Roberts was killed" in order to convict Walker of felony murder.

Seems straightforward, but things are rarely that way in the criminal justice system. Jurors in Walker's first trial convicted him of an underlying felony, aggravated burglary, but did not find him guilty of the felony murder charge.

I know, it’s seemingly contradictory to agree that the underlying felony was committed and know that a man died during it, but not find the defendant guilty of felony murder even though all of the elements of the charge were apparently established. Did jurors doubt that Roberts was killed? Unlikely, said Walker’s first-trial attorney, Sarah Swain.

“In my opinion, jurors did not believe that my client was responsible for the killing,” Swain said. “Unfortunately, under the felony murder law my client doesn’t have to be responsible for the killing. All my client has to be is found guilty of the conduct in the underlying felony murder law.

“I see the original verdict of that jury as an indictment of the felony murder law,” Swain said.

Swain wouldn’t say whether she thought that was jury nullification, a phenomenon that occurs when jurors know a defendant is guilty of the crime as charged, but do not convict on the charge because “the result dictated by law is contrary to the jury's sense of justice, morality, or fairness,” according to the definition in the Wex Legal Dictionary. This is legal for jurors to do, but illegal for lawyers to tell jurors about it.

Things with Walker’s case became even more confusing in his retrial because his retrial jurors don’t know he’s already been convicted of his underlying felony. Douglas County District Judge Paula Martin ruled that in fairness to the defendant, jurors should not be prejudiced by that information.

So, what happens if Walker’s retrial jurors acquit him of felony murder, essentially saying they don’t believe an aggravated burglary occurred? What does that do for his aggravated burglary conviction?

Well, nothing immediately, Swain said. But it could raise an interesting issue for Kansas Court of Appeals justices if Walker should appeal his aggravated burglary conviction. Swain said if that occurs, it would be an “inconsistent verdict.”

If jurors do convict Walker, it will be the first time in a series of three cases in which Walker has been charged in a shooting. Another jury acquitted him of attempted second-degree murder and possessing a firearm as a felon after Darrick Dew was shot during a large party at an apartment in 2010.

And in 2008, Walker was suspected in a robbery at a Lawrence apartment that resulted in a man being shot in the leg. But in 2011, Douglas County prosecutors dismissed the case before it went to trial because both the victim and witness were unable to recall the incident, precluding prosecutors from pursuing the case.

I guess we’ll wait and see. As of 11 a.m. today, the case had been submitted to the jury.

Reply 2 comments from Todd Kennedy Bob Forer

Olathe man booked twice into Douglas County Jail on same day; municipal court alleged trespasser; neighbor tussle; golf club vs. sword alleged altercation

Well, one Olathe resident apparently had quite the bad day in Lawrence yesterday. He was arrested and booked into the Douglas County jail not once, but twice on Tuesday, according to jail booking logs.

John Chandler Keeley, 28, was first arrested around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday in the 600 block of Ninth Street on suspicion of theft and consuming alcohol in public.

He had gone to the Presto gas station at 602 W. Ninth St. earlier and asked the clerk for a carton of cigarettes, which the clerk provided, Lawrence police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said. Keeley then allegedly snatched the cigarettes, thanked the clerk and fled the store without paying for the smokes.

Officers found him nearby, McKinley said, and Keeley was taken to the jail and booked on a $200 bond.

Keeley posted the $200 in bail around 3 p.m. that day, according to jail records, but it wouldn’t be long until he was back behind bars.

Around 10 p.m. Tuesday, Keeley was driving a car that allegedly rear-ended another vehicle that was stopped at a stoplight at the intersection of Highway 24/59 and Highway 40 (a.k.a. Tee-Pee Junction), Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sgt. Kristen Dymacek said. He then allegedly drove away from the scene, and someone reported the incident to the sheriff’s office.

An alert must have gone out to other are law enforcement agencies, because someone spotted him in Tonganoxie near the Tonganoxie Police Department. Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies responded and arrested Keeley, Dymacek said.

During their investigation of the incident, the sheriff’s office found reason to believe Keeley may have been driving under the influence of alcohol. They also discovered Keeley’s driver’s license was suspended.

But the story doesn’t end there. Dymacek reported that as a sheriff’s deputy was driving Keeley back to the jail, Keeley “made threats to the deputy.” Thus, adding another couple potential charges to his platter of alleged crimes.

Keeley was then booked on suspicion of aggravated battery, criminal threat, driving while intoxicated, driving while suspended, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident.

Keeley remains in the Douglas County Jail as he awaits his first court appearance.

No injuries were reported from the accident.

Wednesday, 12:51 a.m.

Lawrence police were dispatched to the Municipal Court at 1006 New Hampshire St. to respond to an alarm going off at the building.

Once they arrived, they found a 31-year-old man inside — but he wasn't stealing anything or causing a ruckus, he was just sleeping.

He was asleep in a sort of foyer in the northwest corner of the building. He had gotten in through the exterior doors of the building, but did not make it past the locked interior doors that lead into the building.

A court employee then unlocked the building so Lawrence police could check the building, but no one was found inside and there were no signs that a burglary had occurred, Lawrence police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said.

The man was then arrested and booked into the Douglas County Jail on suspicion of criminal trespassing. As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, he’s still in the jail on a $100 bond.

Temperatures reached a low of 45 degrees overnight, with a wind chill of about 38 degrees, said meteorologist Kyle Poage with the National Weather Service. We tend to see this type of stuff when the weather gets chilly.

Saturday, 3:56 a.m.

A couple of neighbors in the 1700 block of West 24th Street allegedly got into a spat in the middle of the night that escalated until police were called.

The argument began when a man came home during a break from work to let his dogs out. His neighbor then allegedly confronted the first man for making too much noise while doing so, Lawrence police spokeswoman Kim Murphree said.

The argument eventually became physical when the man with the dogs allegedly pushed his neighbor “after he thought he saw a knife.” Police responded, but didn’t find a weapon.

Police have sent the information on the incident to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office for review, Murphree said.

Sunday, 5:38 p.m.

A woman and a man who knew each other were verbally arguing in the 700 block of Arkansas Street when the woman allegedly struck the man, Murphree said.

The man was uninjured from the whack, but the woman then allegedly reached for a golf club and “held it in a menacing manner,” Murphree said.

That’s when the man allegedly grabbed a sword in its sheath to protect himself, but allegedly never threatened or struck the woman with the sword.

The woman was then arrested on suspicion of criminal damage to property, domestic battery and assault. She’s since bailed herself out of jail after posting a $1,000 bond.

Reply 2 comments from Mary Lee Norris Bob Smith

Scam alert: Area officials warn of phone scammers impersonating local agencies

There seems to be a rise in rip-offs targeting Lawrence and Douglas County residents as three local agencies issued phone scam alerts Monday evening.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Lawrence Police Department are warning about an apparent scheme to steal Social Security numbers and cash from area residents. Someone not affiliated with the agencies is allegedly calling citizens under the guise of “Sheriff Marshall” with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Our sheriff’s name is Ken McGovern, in case anyone was wondering.

We have received reports of Lawrence citizens ...

We have received reports of Lawrence citizens ... by City of Lawrence, Kansas - Municipal Government

“Sheriff Marshall” is allegedly telling people that he has a “grand jury warrant” for their arrest or — get this — a warrant for their arrest for “missing jury duty.” He then purportedly says they can “take care” of this warrant by going online to make a payment, according to the LPD and sheriff’s office.

The faux sheriff has reportedly told victims to purchase a pre-paid card or to use a credit card to pay to make the warrant go away. He also allegedly asks for personal information such as Social Security numbers, which should always raise one’s suspicions.

This is a scam. Don’t fall for it.

Area law enforcement agencies “will never call you to ask for payments for warrants over the phone,” the sheriff’s office said. That’s because warrants are dealt with either in the courtroom or at the jail.

Law enforcement agencies will also never call and ask for a credit card number, bank account information, Social Security number or other personal information over the phone, the sheriff’s office said.

“The only time law enforcement agencies in this area will ask for some of your personal information over the phone, like name, date of birth, address, etc., is if YOU have initiated a call to us for a report,” the sheriff’s office said.

If you think you may have been victimized in this scam and sent money to “Sheriff Marshall,” don’t be embarrassed. It’s unfortunately common for folks to fall prey to these scams. Instead, call law enforcement to file a report.

You can call non-emergency dispatch at (785) 843-0250, the (real) sheriff’s office at (785) 841-0007 or Lawrence police at (785) 832-7501. The Kansas Attorney General's Office Consumer Protection Division at (800) 432-2310 will also investigate reports of scams.

Also on Monday, the city announced that it has received complaints that some Lawrence residents received calls from a person identifying him or herself as the “Lawrence Utilities Department,” then asking for personal checking account information.

This is also a scam.

The city said their Utility Billing Department representatives “will never ask you for your checking account information over the phone.”

If you receive a call that sounds similar to this, do not give the person your information. Hang up immediately, then call police dispatch at (785) 832-7509 to report the scam.

Reply 8 comments from Bob Forer Thomas Bryce Jr. Dorothy Hoyt-Reed Rick Masters Richard Heckler Caitlin Doornbos Chris Bohling

Transient Lawrence man pepper-sprayed, Tazed and arrested after allegedly camping out in stranger’s backyard, ‘struggling’ with police

There’s been a lot of talk about whether the county needs to create a mental health facility as part of a proposed jail expansion.

Douglas County officials and the sheriff’s office recently hosted a public meeting to discuss the potential projects for a jail expansion and mental health crisis intervention center. The idea is that addressing the needs of those with serious mental illnesses is not only good for those people and for the community, but it also may help combat crowding in the jail.

Research by criminal justice consultants Huskey & Associates indicated that 18 percent of bookings into the jail are people with serious mental illness and that 80 percent of those individuals had not been convicted of a violent offense.

After reading about that meeting in an article by my colleague, Rochelle Valverde, it piqued my interest when I saw the Douglas County jail briefly added to its inmates another man who may fit the mold of a person with a potential mental health issue booked on a nonviolent offense.

A transient Lawrence man was booked into the jail around 2 a.m. Thursday, but was released more than eight hours later “after speaking with" Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, according to booking logs – an anomaly I don’t recall often seeing on the logs.

Here’s what happened with the man that led to his arrest, according to Lawrence Police Department spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley:

At 1:51 a.m. Thursday, someone called police to report a man was sleeping in the backyard of a house in the 600 block of West Ninth Street. When an officer arrived, the officer recognized the man as someone whom police had contacted just hours before on Wednesday about illegal camping.

The officer approached the man and as the officer spoke, the man “became increasingly upset” with the officer about the police contacting him, McKinley said. The man then allegedly “threatened to beat the officer and called (the officer) a racial slur.”

The officer then told the man to sit down while the officer spoke with another officer over the police radio about the man’s alleged prior illegal camping incident. But as the officer was speaking on the radio, the man asked “What did you say to me?” The man then allegedly came toward the officer while screaming profanities and clenching his fist.

The officer drew his Taser and told the man to stay back, which he initially did. But when the officer called for backup and tried to handcuff the man “based on his assaultive behavior,” the man allegedly began struggling with the officer. That’s when the officer decided to use his pepper spray on the man “in an attempt to gain control of the suspect,” McKinley said.

That apparently didn’t work, as the man continued struggling, even with additional officers who arrived on scene. So, one of the officers chose to deploy a Taser on the man, which McKinley said “was effective in controlling the subject and allowing him to be handcuffed.”

The man was then taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for an evaluation, as per LPD protocol when a Taser is deployed. Once checked out and released, the man was booked into the Douglas County Jail on suspicion of municipal court violations of illegal camping and suspicion of interference with the duties of a law enforcement officer.

Jail booking logs indicate the man was booked on a $200 bond, but was released by his own recognizance “after speaking with Bert Nash.” I’m not yet sure what that means, but I’ll try to find out.

The Lawrence Police Department does have a program underway where it is training officers on how to best deal with situations involving suspects with mental illnesses. About 44 Lawrence police officers so far have completed Crisis Intervention Training, which is in part aimed at de-escalating situations with those in mental health crises. McKinley was unable to tell me Friday if the officers involved in the arrest were among the 44 certified in CIT.

Reply 1 comment from Bob Forer

Gun spook at laundromat; ex-girlfriend allegedly confronts, batters woman in man’s bedroom; wanted man flees on bicycle

A man at the Lawrence Laundromat at 711 W. 23rd St. had a scare last night when he thought someone may have attempted to rob him using a gun.

Lawrence police responded to the laundromat after a man reported he’d been the victim of an attempted armed robbery. There was a language barrier between the man and officers, so police spoke with him via a translator.

The man said he went to the Tryyaki Asian restaurant to call police after an incident at the laundromat. The victim said he had called because he had seen a person inside the laundromat with a handgun and “acting strangely,” Lawrence police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said.

The allegedly armed person — gun visible in waistband — had been asking people if they needed help with their laundry, the man claimed.

Officers investigated the report and ended up finding the armed individual, McKinley said. Officers determined the gun was actually an AirSoft pistol rather than a firearm.

Since no one was injured or threatened —– and both concealed and open carry are legal in Kansas — officers did not make an arrest.

Wednesday, 12:48 p.m.

A man and woman were in an apartment bedroom when they allegedly heard the apartment’s front door open.

Soon after, the man’s ex-girlfriend allegedly burst into the bedroom and confronted the woman. The ex-girlfriend then struck the woman twice in the face before the man was able to push the intruder out the front door.

They called police, who issued the ex-girlfriend a notice to appear in court on suspicion of battery and criminal trespass. She was released at the scene and did not have to be booked into the jail.

Sunday, 4 p.m.

A 44-year-old Lawrence man who was wanted on three misdemeanor warrants led police on a brief pursuit after an officer on patrol spotted him walking in the breezeway of 1601 W. 23rd St., according to Lawrence police spokeswoman Kim Murphree.

The officer, who was on foot, recognized the man from the warrants and attempted to stop him. But as he spoke with the man, the man quickly pedaled away on a bicycle.

The officer ordered the man to stop, but the man allegedly kept riding. Nearby officers spotted the man shortly after as he rode the bicycle into the Dillons grocery store parking lot at 1015 W. 23rd St.

There, the officers arrested the man, apparently without further incident. He was booked into the Douglas County Jail.


Gusty winds cause damage, power outages; window-break scare; Two men accused of DUI hit walls; report of gunshots verified, but legal

Watch out today. It’s quite blustery out there.

Throughout the day in the newsroom, I’ve been hearing report after report of winds blowing over trees and power lines throughout Douglas County. At 2:25 p.m., Douglas County was put under a “high wind advisory” until 6 p.m.

Among the reports I’ve heard over the scanner recently include a tree knocked into the roadway near Seventh and Locusts streets and a downed power line in the 2300 block of Crestline. Both incidents occurred around 1:15 p.m. and caused traffic to be blocked in the area.

According to Westar Energy, about 64 of their customers are without power between Lawrence and Eudora in the area along East 1900 Road from Kansas 10 Highway to North 1550 Road. Additionally, seven of their customers in Lawrence and seven customers south of town near North 1100 and East 1200 roads are also without power.

To keep up with the outages, check Westar’s outage map at http://outagemap.westarenergy.com/external/default.html. The information is updated every 10 minutes.

The National Weather Service reports southern winds are reaching about 30 to 35 mph, with gusts as high as 45 to 55 mph in the area. The gusts are expected to continue throughout the night, with a west wind coming in at 25 to 30 mph this evening. Those should reduce down to 14 to 20 mph after midnight.

I was on vacation Monday and Tuesday, so let’s get you caught up on some crime blotter items since Friday.

On Monday about 8 p.m., employees at the Kmart Distribution Center at 2400 Kresge Road got quite the scare when a window was blown out in the security area of the building.

Thinking the window may have been shattered by bullets, employees there called police to report possible shots fired at the facility. Family of Kmart distribution center employees told me that the building was put on lock-down as a precaution during the ordeal.

But when officers arrived, they determined that the window had cracked simply because of the temperature change, according to Lawrence police Sgt. Amy Rhoads. When the glass shattered, it had startled a security guard. No one was injured in the incident.

Tuesday, 1:05 a.m.

A Lawrence police officer noticed a vehicle “moving erratically” westbound on Sixth Street, Lawrence police spokeswoman Kim Murphree said. The officer followed the vehicle and saw it “drive onto a curb as it exited a drive through.”

The officer then turned on his emergency lights and attempted to stop the vehicle, which accelerated, then slowed and turned into the Raco Car Wash parking lot at 1300 W. Sixth St. The vehicle stopped in the parking lot, but when the officer approached, the driver started up again and exited the lot, then continued west on Sixth Street.

The car then turned into the parking area of Highpointe Apartments at 2001 W. Sixth St., but “crashed into a wall,” Murphree said. Medics were called to the scene and took the man to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for treatment of a “minor head injury.”

After the driver was treated and released from the hospital, police arrested him on suspicion of his third DUI (which is a felony), alcohol test refusal, obstruction of the legal process, fleeing law enforcement, driving without car insurance and driving on an expired driver’s license, Murphree said. He was then booked into the Douglas County Jail.

Saturday, 5:10 p.m.

A Lawrence resident reported hearing more than eight gunshots and children yelling after each shot. Lawrence police responded to investigate, but determined the shots were coming from an area just outside city limits, Murphree said.

The police officer then handed the case over to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and a sheriff’s deputy responded. After further investigation, the deputy discovered the shots were coming from a group of people legally trap shooting in the 1300 block of North 1540 Road.

Saturday, 12:27 a.m.

A Lawrence police officer saw a truck in a parking lot at Seventh and Vermont streets exit the lot after hitting a retaining wall, Murphree said. The driver then went north in the 600 block of Vermont Street, which is a southbound one-way street.

The officer stopped the truck, but the driver was uncooperative while the officer attempted to conduct DUI tests, Murphree said. Thus, the driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI, refusing a Breathalyzer test, transporting an open container of alcohol, driving without proof of insurance and driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

And now for our regular 911 call roundup. As always, I’ll remind you that this is a list of noteworthy calls I pulled from the Lawrence Police Department call log. Not all calls yielded police reports, and many may have gone unsubstantiated. The list is meant to give you an idea of what kinds of calls police are responding to within a given time period.

This list is a collection of calls that police responded to between Friday and Tuesday afternoons:


  • Disturbance (verbal or physical arguments): 23

  • Disturbance with weapons: 1

  • Domestic disturbance: 17

  • Battery: 6

  • Criminal threat: 2


  • Noninjury accident: 31

  • Injury accident: 3

  • Police pursuit: 2

  • Road rage: 1

Person crimes

  • Sex crime report: 1

  • Prowler: 1

  • Harassment: 4


  • Medical: 12

  • Death investigation: 1

  • Suicide threat: 3


  • Suspicious activity: 16

  • Noise or Nuisance: 20

  • Vicious animal: 2


  • Adult welfare check: 20

  • Child welfare check: 3

  • Runaway: 4

Substance concerns

  • Alcohol poisoning: 4

Property crimes

  • Burglary: 8

  • Auto burglary: 1

  • Stolen vehicle: 2

  • Theft: 19

  • Criminal damage: 1

  • Trespassing: 11

Reply 5 comments from Don Varnau Bob Smith Thomas Moore Bob Forer

Confrontation at College Motel; teens allegedly try to rob man of cellphone; man head-butted in tussle; woman wakes to chair thrown through window

It’s been a couple days since we’ve had some crime blotter items in Lights & Sirens, so, without further ado, let’s get you caught up on some of the police reports in Lawrence lately.

Wednesday, 11:56 a.m.

Lawrence police saw “five or six” people run toward a room at the College Motel at 1711 W. Sixth St., Lawrence police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said. When they got to the room, the people were allegedly kicking the front door and hollering “threatening statements” to the folks inside the room.

As the police approached, the suspects ran away, but officers soon found individuals from the incident inside two vehicles nearby. Officers later determined the group had gone to the motel room to confront a woman staying there after having a “prior altercation” with her.

Four of the suspects were then arrested on suspicion of charges including criminal threat, criminal damage, interference with law enforcement and outstanding warrants.

Police also seized illicit drugs and a firearm during the investigation, McKinley said.

Wednesday, 1:13 a.m.

A 20-year-old man reported that he was walking near the intersection of Ninth and Kentucky streets while talking on his cellphone. He quickly put the phone away when a group of three teenage boys approached him.

One of the boys allegedly shoved the victim, telling him to hand over his cellphone. The victim refused, he told officers, and instead said “I’m not interested” and walked away, McKinley said.

The victim said that the boys followed after him, so he began to run toward Massachusetts Street. The teens allegedly chased after him for a while, but they could not catch up.

Police were informed of the situation and couldn’t immediately find the teens, but noted that the description of one of the boys matched that of a teen recently reported as a runaway. Officers were eventually able to identify the runaway’s friends and found the group at one of the teen’s homes.

The officers then took them to the Douglas County juvenile detention center. The victim was not injured in the incident.

Thursday, 1:15 a.m.

An allegedly drunken man reportedly decided to intervene in an argument between a man and woman who have a domestic relationship at a Lawrence apartment.

In an apparent attempt to come to the woman’s aid, the intoxicated man allegedly attacked the male victim by “head-butting” him, McKinley said. The two then wrestled for a bit and the drunk man allegedly pulled the male victim’s hair and bit him before leaving the apartment.

Police were called, and officer found the suspect at another location and interviewed him. He was then arrested on suspicion of domestic battery and two outstanding warrants, McKinley said.

The men received minor injuries in the tussle.

Thursday, 1:24 a.m.

A Lawrence woman woke up to a loud noise in the living room of her home in the 1100 block of Tennessee Street. When she went to investigate, she found quite the mess.

Someone had apparently thrown a chair from her porch through a storm window to her home. The chair was found lying among shards of glass near the window.

She called police, but no suspect was found. A damage estimate was not available.

Wednesday, 8:15 p.m.

The Jimmy John’s restaurant staff in the 900 block of Massachusetts called police after a man believed to be intoxicated was allegedly belligerent inside the store and stole from them.

McKinley said the man allegedly went to the restaurant that evening and “was asking the clerk about a ‘free food item.’” He apparently grew frustrated when the sandwich shop employees declined to give him anything for free, so he allegedly grabbed “bread and other items” and left the store.

Police found the man nearby and issued him a notice to appear in court on suspicion of theft, McKinley said.

And now for our regular 911 call roundup. As always, I’ll remind you that this is a list of noteworthy calls I pulled from the Lawrence Police Department call log. Not all calls yielded police reports, and many may have gone unsubstantiated. The list is meant to give you an idea of what kinds of calls police are responding to within a given time period.

This list is a collection of calls that police responded to between Wednesday and Thursday mornings:


  • Disturbance (verbal or physical arguments): 4

  • Disturbance with weapons: 1

  • Domestic disturbance: 4

  • Domestic disturbance with weapons: 1

  • Domestic battery: 1

  • Battery: 2

  • Criminal threat: 1


  • Noninjury accident: 9

  • Road rage: 1


  • Medical: 5

  • Suicide threat: 2

  • Suicide attempt: 2


  • Suspicious activity: 6

  • Noise or Nuisance: 8

  • Vicious animal: 2

  • Shots fired: 1


  • Adult welfare check: 5

Substance concerns

  • Alcohol poisoning: 2

  • Bar check: 1

Property crimes

  • Auto burglary: 1

  • Stolen vehicle: 3

  • Theft: 8

  • Criminal damage: 2

  • Trespassing: 9


Missing tortoise found after attempted burglary at Lecompton sanctuary; story of bird recovered from stressful situation ‘goes viral’

How about a happy little Lights & Sirens today?

Remember Kevin, the missing teen tortoise who escaped his home at the Tallgrass Parrot Sanctuary in Lecompton after a burglar cut the chain lock on the sanctuary’s gate?

Well, a farmer found Kevin snacking on his soybean field yesterday, sanctuary owner and Kevin’s caretaker Kail Marie said. As it turns out, Kevin had himself quite the adventure, traveling about five miles from the sanctuary to the farmer’s field over a span of more than two weeks.

None by Caitlin Doornbos

On Oct. 20, the 17-year-old, 75-pound and 2-foot wide tortoise took off with the sanctuary’s goats, chickens and pigs after someone left the gate open after attempting to steal a lawnmower on the sanctuary grounds.

The attempted burglar failed, however, leaving the mower in the middle of the driveway, Marie said. Kevin’s farm-animal accomplices returned home on their own after a while, but Kevin did not.

Marie was worried sick while the tortoise was on the loose. How does a tortoise the size of a preteen become impossible to find on the rolling plains of western Douglas County? She thought then that someone driving past their place between County Road 200 and 300 along Highway 40 spotted him on the shoulder of the road and took him for a pet.

The good Samaritan farmer and Kevin.

The good Samaritan farmer and Kevin. by Caitlin Doornbos

She said she was thrilled to receive the call from the farmer who found Kevin. The farmer had been on his combine in the soybean field when he started noticing unusual patterns in his pasture, Marie said. Luckily, the farmer had been extra alert trying to figure out what kind of animal had made the markings, and when he saw the massive tortoise, he recognized it as Kevin and stopped the combine.

“Close call, Kevin,” Marie joked.

The good Samaritan farmer who spotted Kevin was offered $200 in reward money, but refused to take it, Marie said.

The tortoise’s trail appears as though he made a straight trip, trotting diagonally from the sanctuary indicated by the yellow figure in the upper right corner of the map image below to the farmer’s field in the bottom left corner.

None by Caitlin Doornbos

The cold-blooded animal was out about 16 days, many of which had some frigid temperatures. Marie said when she got Kevin home, she gave him a hot shower to warm him up.

Marie said Kevin is a little dehydrated from his trek, and that she is taking him to Kansas State University veterinarians for a check-up. Other than that, he seems to be recovering well. Marie said that she’s been feeding him his favorite Romaine lettuce and even treating him to some bananas. Marie said fruit isn’t the best for tortoises, but Kevin loves them so much — and after his ordeal, he deserves a little pampering.

None by Caitlin Doornbos

As if Tallgrass Parrot Sanctuary hasn’t had enough going on with Kevin, one special cockatoo they’ve recently taken in has “gone viral.” The bird’s story has appeared recently on CBS’s "Inside Edition," Huffington Post, Dodo.com and more.

Javi (pronounced Ha-Vee) the cockatoo came to the parrot sanctuary from a stressful situation in a Junction City home on Sept. 30. Her previous owner was being evicted and called the sanctuary when she couldn’t take the bird with her, Marie said.

Marie said the sweet little bird reeked of “stale cigarette butts and rotted garbage,” but, most significantly, Javi was so stressed at her former home that she had plucked out nearly all of her own feathers.

This is Hobby. She just arrived here at the ...

This is Hobby. She just arrived here at the ... by Tallgrass Parrot Sanctuary, Inc

Marie said the 19-year-old cockatoo “is why we do what we do” at the sanctuary. She’d never had a bath before she came to the sanctuary, and they are giving her the best care they can. She’s dined on bananas and apples, been to the vet and is progressing well.

Javi’s original name was “Hobby,” but Marie said she changed it to Javi “because no living being should be someone’s hobby.” Marie said the bird loves to say her own name over and over again, and call herself a “pretty girl.” You can check her out in the video below.

It’s unclear whether Javi’s feathers will grow back, Marie said. Sometimes the feathers do come back, but other birds never quite break their feather-pulling habit once they’ve learned it, Marie said.

“We have had success with many birds, but a lot of them never stop plucking,” Marie said. “It’s like someone chewing their fingernails is how I explain it to people.”

Reply 2 comments from Carol Bowen Cindy Bell

Teens vandalize, steal liquor and cash from country club; Train Depot vandalized; domestic violence; stranger attacks man on Halloween night; trick-or-treating fight among adults

The Kansas University football goal posts and Massachusetts Street street signs weren’t the only casualties of vandalism this weekend. Two other agencies in Lawrence reported destruction to their facilities over the Halloween/World Series weekend.

Monday, 12:45 a.m.

Lawrence police were alerted to an intrusion alarm at the Lawrence Country Club, 400 Country Club Terrace around 12:45 a.m.

Responding officers checked the area around the country club and found that a rock had been thrown through one of the building’s windows, Lawrence Police Department spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said.

The hole in the glass was luckily too small for a person to enter to get into the building, but the officers continued to search. A second window was then found smashed, which McKinley said was large enough to climb through.

McKinley said the damage to the windows was estimated at $1,000.

Country club staff soon arrived on scene. Inside, they found several bottles of liquor had been stolen along with a cash box that contained “a small amount of cash,” McKinley said.

Surveillance footage showed “what appeared to be two teenage males” — one white and one black — committing the crimes, McKinley said. The investigation remains ongoing.

The vandalism and thefts occurred about an hour after the Kansas City Royals won the World Series, but it’s unknown whether this was some sort of “celebratory” act.

Saturday morning

Someone reported that an individual had damaged the glass window and door at the Santa Fe Train Depot at Seventh and New Jersey streets.

Police responded after being informed that a transient man who allegedly broke the glass had walked west on Seventh Street. Officers located the suspect near the intersection of Seventh and Vermont streets and spoke with him, McKinley said.

The man allegedly told police that he had been camping near the river when the water “began to rise.” McKinley said the man therefore went to the depot to “summon help,” but when he couldn’t get in, he broke two windows.

McKinley said the man “was cooperative in showing the officer the damage” and admitted his responsibility. The man was then arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

Saturday, 10:17 p.m.

A transient woman and a man with whom she has a domestic relationship agreed to meet at the intersection of Sixth Street and Schwarz Road, McKinley said.

When the woman got there, the man was allegedly upset because it had taken her “too long” to make it to their meeting spot, McKinley said. The man then punched her in the face and she fell to the ground. She received visible facial injuries in the attack.

The woman started calling for help from witnesses nearby and as she did so the man stole two of her bags and walked away. He was last seen going south on Schwarz Road. Police have identified the man but have not located him, McKinley said.

Sunday, 12:04 a.m.

Lawrence police were called to the intersection of Eighth and Massachusetts streets after a man said he was walking with a group of friends when somebody “ran up behind him and began punching him in the head,” McKinley said.

The victim said that after he took several punches to the head he was “able to stop the attack,” McKinley said. The victim and witnesses said the allegedly violent stranger was also hollering at other people nearby and tried to start fights as he walked away from the scene.

McKinley said the suspect was described as a white man dressed in a Royals shirt. Officers were unable to find him — and with a description like that this past weekend I can see why.

Saturday, 5:26 p.m.

Two people had contacted each other to pick up some children to go trick-or-treating. But when the people met up at a home in the 1100 block of New York Street, the adults began arguing, leading one person to punch the other in the face, McKinley said.

Police were called, but the suspect had left before officers could arrive. Police later found the suspect at another home and issued a citation for battery, McKinley said.

Saturday, 1:49 a.m.

Police were called shortly before 2 a.m. on a report that a man was attempting to break a woman’s apartment door down.

Earlier that evening, the woman had been at a bar when she and the suspect were in an argument. The man punched the woman in her face at the bar, and others around separated the two afterward.

A male friend escorted the woman home for her safety after the alleged battery. The man arrived at the home shortly after and allegedly attempted to force his way in. Eventually, the man was able to break the door open, and it struck the male friend who had walked the victim home.

When the man learned police had been called, he allegedly ran away. Officers then called him on the phone, but the suspect refused to meet with police, McKinley said.

“He was belligerent with officers on the phone and threatened to shoot any officer who tried to arrest him,” McKinley said.

Police later found the man in the 1400 block of Apple Lane and arrested him on suspicion of domestic battery, criminal damage and criminal threat.

And now for our regular 911 call roundup. As always, I’ll remind you that this is a list of noteworthy calls I pulled from the Lawrence Police Department call log. Not all calls yielded police reports, and many may have gone unsubstantiated. The list is meant to give you an idea of what kinds of calls police are responding to within a given time period.

This list is a collection of calls that police responded to between Friday afternoon and Monday morning:


  • Disturbance (verbal or physical arguments): 10

  • Disturbance with weapons: 1

  • Domestic disturbance: 13

  • Domestic battery: 10

  • Fight in progress: 8

  • Battery: 1


  • Noninjury accident: 39

  • Injury accident: 7

  • Road rage: 1


  • Medical: 8

  • Suicide threat: 5

  • Suicide attempt: 1

Person crimes

  • Sex crime report: 7

  • Harassment: 3

  • Criminal threat: 3


  • Suspicious activity: 20

  • Suspicious activity with weapons: 1

  • Noise or Nuisance: 22

  • Vicious animal: 2

  • Fireworks: 8

  • Shots fired: 9


  • Adult welfare check: 13

  • Child welfare check: 4

  • Animal welfare check: 3

  • Runaway: 1

  • Kidnapping/abduction: 1

-Missing child: 2

Substance concerns

  • Drug activity: 2

  • Alcohol poisoning: 6

  • Alcohol complaint: 3

  • Bar check: 2

Property crimes

  • Burglary: 3

  • Armed robbery: 2

  • Auto burglary: 6

  • Stolen vehicle: 4

  • Theft: 16

  • Criminal damage: 10

  • Trespassing: 13

  • Shoplifting: 1

Reply 1 comment from Rebecca Woolfolk

Mass Street Madness: Did the Royals World Series celebration go too far?

I hate to be a fun-sucker, but can we have a celebration without destruction, Lawrence?

After the Royals took the crown last night in the World Series, fans took to the streets with screams of joy. Fireworks boomed, car horns blared and people flocked to Massachusetts Street.

But then things got ugly.

Folks were climbing downtown light posts, stomping on car hoods, stopping drivers in the middle of the intersections and surrounding their vehicles. A few people even made away with some Massachusetts Street street signs, to the bemusement of the crowd below.

None by Caitlin Doornbos

A street sign remains askew Monday afternoon at Seventh and Massachusetts streets following a large downtown celebration of the Kansas City Royals' World Series title Sunday night.

A street sign remains askew Monday afternoon at Seventh and Massachusetts streets following a large downtown celebration of the Kansas City Royals' World Series title Sunday night. by Mike Yoder

Amid the crowd, I kept wondering, “Where are the police?” I saw several patrol cars, but no officers. That is, until about four swarmed from seemingly nowhere around midnight, zoomed through the crowd and tackled one of the young men who had been tugging away at a stubborn street sign that just wouldn’t come off.

Once police had the man on the ground, he did not resist arrest and a situation that seemed like it could have tipped in the wrong direction did not. But as the officers were cuffing the suspect, crowd members yelled swear words at law enforcement and shrieked “police brutality” and “(expletive) the police.”

It definitely felt near riotous instead of celebratory. People were trampled in the ordeal, some fights broke out and even I was knocked to the ground.

None by Caitlin Doornbos

Later, the “party” continued south down Mass Street, with crowds circling in around a car in the intersection at Ninth and Massachusetts streets that was playing music. Dancing broke out, but then several loud bangs were heard. I couldn’t tell if they were fireworks or ammunition.

It continued throughout the night with explosives being set off all over downtown and within mere feet of crowds gathered. The Lawrence Police Department’s 911 call log this morning looked like a war broke out on the Fourth of July with all the sound of gunshots and fireworks reports.

None by Caitlin Doornbos

Later this morning, of course, we learned of the vandalism and criminal damage at Kansas University after apparent Royals fans took down the football field’s goal post and flipped Port-a-Johns near the stadium.

None by Anna Del Slay

None by Nick Krug

Still, the Douglas County Jail booking logs this morning are not full with those arrested around and after midnight with celebrators gone awry. Just the one arrest from the man who took down the Seventh and Mass street sign on suspicion of criminal damage to property and interference with the duties of law enforcement. There’s also a littering arrest and two DUIs.

You know, I remember when "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" chose KU to film its World Series giveaway segment last week, some criticized why the show would pick Lawrence as it "wasn't a baseball town." Well, congratulations, Lawrence, I think we've proved our allegiance to the Royals – though perhaps we should have done it in a safer way.

This, of course, topped off a triple-whammy of a weekend with KU Homecoming, Halloween and the end of daylight saving time with the bars staying open until 3 a.m. Saturday. I’ll have more on antics from those circumstances later.

Reply 15 comments from Bill McGovern Barb Gordon Gregdivilbiss Dorothy Hoyt-Reed Scott Burkhart Bob Smith Ricci Moyer Adam Kasson Steve Jacob Richard Heckler and 2 others

Presto robbery suspect arrested; hotel guests overstay welcome, allegedly batter concierge; auto burglaries on Ohio Street; dog tag violation turns ugly; domestic violence

Remember the guy from Tuesday’s Lights & Sirens who allegedly tried to rob the Presto convenience store at 1802 W. 23rd St. but gave up and ran away when the store clerk refused to obey his commands to open the cash register? He’d ridden away on a bicycle after the incident with a bag full of goodies from the store, and police couldn’t find him.

Well on Tuesday evening, a police officer spotted him near the Dillons at 1015 W. 23rd St., recognizing the man from surveillance video of the Presto incident. The officer tried to stop the suspect, but the man again fled on his bicycle, going south on Naismith Drive and then onto the Naismith Valley recreational trail.

Officers continued to search for about 90 minutes until finding the man in the 2000 block of West 31st Street. They took him into custody “without further incident” and detectives interviewed him, Lawrence Police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said. He was later booked into the Douglas County Jail on suspicion of robbery and obstruction of law enforcement, as well as on two warrants out of Leavenworth County.

Sunday, 6:51 p.m.

Two women and a man rented a room at the Days Inn, 700 Iowa St., but failed to vacate the room on the day they were supposed to check out.

When the two women eventually did go to the front desk to check out, they learned the cash deposit they’d paid to rent the room was forfeited as they didn’t just stay past “checkout time," but actually stayed an entire extra day.

This apparently upset the women, who allegedly “became irate,” batted a cup of pens on the counter, striking the concierge, McKinley said. One of the women then allegedly spit on the concierge’s face before finally storming off.

Police were called after the suspects had gone, but officers were able to find them nearby. Both women were given notice to appear in court on suspicion of battery.

Wednesday, 7:36 a.m.

If you live on or near Ohio and 21st streets, you might check to see if anything’s missing from your car, as there were at least two vehicle burglaries in the 2100 block of Ohio Street Wednesday morning, McKinley said.

One of the victims reported that a duffle bag and clothing valued at about $500 were stolen from an unlocked vehicle. The burglaries allegedly happened between 9 p.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. Wednesday.

I feel like I shouldn’t have to keep repeating this in Lights & Sirens, but always lock your car doors. It’s maybe the easiest crime prevention step you can take. Though anyone could bust through a window, a locked door is at least a deterrent to thieves.

Tuesday, 11:16 p.m.

A Lawrence police officer on patrol spotted three people and a pit bull inside the shelter house at Hobbs Park around 11:15 pm., and approached to let them know the park was to close in 15 minutes, McKinley said.

But during the interaction with the group, the officer “felt they were acting suspiciously,” McKinley said, so he asked a couple of questions. He then noticed that the dog didn’t have a vaccination tag, and the people said they hadn’t vaccinated the pit bull.

(In case you didn’t know, it’s a city ordinance that all dogs must be vaccinated against rabies and have vaccination tags on their collars. Still, McKinley said it would be pretty rare to give a citation to a person who said his dog was vaccinated, but didn’t have the tag or collar. That is, unless the dog had bitten someone.)

After learning the dog wasn’t vaccinated, the officer asked the dog’s owners for their IDs. The female owner refused and left with the dog despite the officer’s demands to stop. The male owner did fork over his ID but “quickly became uncooperative,” McKinley said, when the officer “asked additional questions.”

The man then also ran away, but the officer chased him and took him to the ground. He then allegedly got up and came at the officer “in an aggressive fashion,” McKinley said, and allegedly said he was going to “beat” the officer.

Then, the officer turned on the laser light on his Taser, pointing it at the man and telling him to get on the ground, McKinley said. The man refused, but didn’t make any attempt to assault the officer, so the officer didn’t deploy the weapon. More officers later arrived and arrested the man on suspicion of assault of a law enforcement officer and obstruction of the legal process.

The man didn’t have any warrants for his arrest, but investigating officers did find a bag of stuff including used syringes and a glass pipe with residue. McKinley proposed that that was the reason the confrontation turned sour.

“It is likely the behavior of the three was based on knowledge of the presence of the drugs and contraband and was an attempt to thwart the officer’s ability to investigate the drug violation,” McKinley said.

Tuesday, 8:50 p.m.

A Lawrence police officer found his- or herself in the right place at the right time while responding to a dumpster fire Tuesday night. Someone saw the police outside and ran to an officer to report a domestic disturbance was happening in a nearby home.

When the officer approached the home in question, he allegedly heard a woman yell, “Don’t hit me,” then a loud thud and the sound of a woman crying.

The officer demanded entry to the apartment and a man opened the door. The officer learned the man had been arguing with the woman and had refused to let her leave the residence. He allegedly had grabbed her and caused minor injuries that were visible to the officer.

The man was arrested on suspicion of domestic battery.

We’ve still got two more days left of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You never know what’s going on behind closed doors — though domestic violence can happen anywhere. It’s all around us, unfortunately. One in three women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, reach out for help. The Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence has a 24/7 hotline at 1-800-770-3030 or (785) 843-3333.

Reply 3 comments from Rebecca Woolfolk Adrienne Sanders Tom Thomson

Alleged drunk driver passes out in running car; DUI checklane planned for Halloween night; Halloween safety tips

There’s drunk, and then there’s druuuunk.

Obviously, one should be neither behind the wheel. But alas, Lawrence saw 24 total DUI arrests over the weekend. And that’s not even an inordinately large number for an average Friday through Sunday in town.

But one of the 24 arrests stood out from the rest, causing much ado for Lawrence police.

Friday, 2:31 a.m.

An officer on patrol noticed a car stopped with its headlights on and engine running in the 1400 block of Crestline Drive, Lawrence Police Department spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said. Intrigued, the officer got out of the police car to see what was going on.

The officer approached the car and found a male driver passed out at the wheel with his foot on the brake at the top of a hill facing south toward Bob Billings Parkway. The officer then called for backup before trying to wake the driver.

Assisting officers placed patrol vehicles against the front and rear bumpers of the suspect’s car in case the man “suddenly awoke and hit the accelerator,” which McKinley said police “know from experience does occur.”

Once the vehicles were in place, the officers knocked on the man’s car windows in an attempt to wake him. When that didn’t work and they found the doors were locked, officers broke the man’s passenger window. Police then got into the car and put it in park.

The driver then woke up, reeking of alcohol. McKinley said he also had “other signs of impairment,” so officers conducted a field sobriety test, after which he was arrested.

Investigating officers found that the man’s car also had “what appeared to be fresh damage to it” besides the broken window, McKinley said. Police believe the damage is connected to an accident at Sixth and Iowa streets earlier that morning in which a vehicle struck a concrete barrier on the north side of the roadway and left the scene.

The man was booked into the Douglas County Jail on suspicion of DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.

Learn from the incident above, especially for this weekend. We’ve got one heck of a Saturday night coming up with not only Halloween and Kansas University homecoming, but also the end of daylight saving time at 2 a.m. Sunday, meaning bars will stay open an extra hour.

For most, this means F-U-N – but for this crime reporter, it potentially means a lot of work. The Lawrence Police Department apparently has similar sentiments, as it is conducting a DUI check lane that night.

From midnight to 3 a.m. Sunday (which is actually a span of four hours with the time change), Lawrence police will be out in force checking for drunken drivers at an undisclosed location in Lawrence. But though the check lane starts relatively late, officers will still be “closely monitoring the streets for unsafe behavior throughout the night,” McKinley said.

“Halloween night traditionally brings large numbers of people into neighborhoods and surrounding streets, increasing the potential for pedestrians being struck by vehicles,” McKinley said in an email. “While early portions of the evening are marked by children flooding the streets trick-or-treating, later hours often involve adults attending parties or events which involve alcohol.”

And if you’re trying to do the right thing by walking, McKinley still has some safety tips for you:

1) If in costume, wear an item that’s reflective or bright to help drivers see you.

2) It’s best not to don masks and other items that affect your ability to see. If you just have to wear that “Jason” mask, take it off when crossing streets.

3) As always, it’s a good idea to travel in groups.

4) Use crosswalks where available and cross the street at intersections to help motorists see you while driving.

If you’re driving:

Be extra vigilant in obeying speed limits, especially in residential neighborhoods, and be prepared to stop suddenly with trick-or-treaters (and later, drunk people) running amok.

“Children focused on trick-or-treating often dart into the roadway without thinking about traffic,” McKinley said.

And of course, be sober.

If you plan on consuming alcohol, designate someone in your group to remain sober so the person can drive you home safely, or make alternate transportation plans. Lawrence has Uber now, so you can check that out by downloading the app on your phone. Or, you can do it the old-fashioned way by calling a cab; I’ve listed the local taxi services and their phone numbers below:

Ground Transportation Services (GTS) – (785) 842-8294

Jayhawk Taxi – (785) 843-8294

RedyCab – (785) 505-8294

Lawrence First Class Transportation – (785) 409-1994

Reply 6 comments from Rando1965 Jhorus Tom Thomson Randy Laggart Caitlin Doornbos

Alleged retirement home burglar threatens police with imaginary weapon; Lawrence man allegedly held up, robbed; alleged attempted robbery at Presto; $3,000 tire theft

What the heck is going on with Lawrence lately?

After reviewing the following recent crime reports on the Lawrence Police Department call log since Friday, I’m thinking today’s may be the most dramatic list of calls in Lights & Sirens yet.

Saturday, 9:19 p.m.

Staff at Arbour Court Retirement Community, 1510 St. Andrews Drive, noticed a man — later identified as Derrick Adam Wright, 22, of Tonganoxie — standing outside one of the building’s exterior doors. An employee went to the door to see what the man was up to, LPD spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said. Wright allegedly said he was “there to visit a friend.”

Wright was able to provide a name of an Arbour Court resident, so the staff member let him inside and escorted him to the resident’s room. When he got there, Wright allegedly began making small talk with the elderly resident.

After a few minutes, the resident became suspicious of Wright and went to summon staff for help. That’s when Wright allegedly ran to the resident’s window, cut the screen with a knife and hopped out to flee before staff could call police.

When officers arrived, they began to search the area when a second burglary was reported at nearby Seminole Drive residence. Wright had allegedly gone to a man’s home and opened its screen door.

The resident armed himself with a golf club and went to greet Wright at the door. Looking over his shoulder, Wright allegedly told the resident, “I just need to run through your house,” McKinley said. But no dice. Instead, the resident whacked him with the golf club and Wright ran away.

Nearby officers on foot then noticed movement behind a vehicle in a carport and approached. But as they did, Wright allegedly stood up and brought his hands up in a threatening shooting stance, so officers pulled their weapons and took cover. Wright then ran, climbing over a wooden privacy fence and fleeing, but officers chased him down and successfully arrested him.

McKinley said that when police interviewed Wright, the man said he’d gone to the retirement home looking for someone who had allegedly robbed him earlier and was associated with an Arbor Court employee. So when the staff member contacted him, Wright said he made up the story of knowing an elderly resident just to get inside the building.

Wright also told officers that he took the shooting stance when officers approached him “because he thought he had a weapon” because he had taken illegal drugs before the ordeal, McKinley said.

Saturday, 10:35 p.m.

A Lawrence man was cooking around 10:30 p.m. in his Village Square apartment, 1500 W. Ninth St., when he opened his back door for ventilation. As he went back to cooking, two young men allegedly entered the open door and one of them pointed a handgun at him, McKinley said.

The suspects then allegedly demanded money from the victim, taking his wallet and electronics from his home before running away, McKinley said.

The man described the suspects as 5-foot-10-inch black men in their late teens or early 20s. Witnesses in the area told police they saw two men matching that description running across the apartment’s parking lot and into a wooded area to the north of the complex.

Officers and a patrol service dog searched the area for the suspects but could not find them. No one was injured in the incident.

Tuesday, 2:51 a.m.

Someone allegedly entered the Presto convenience store at 1802 W. 23rd St. early Tuesday morning and began selecting several items and brought them to the front counter to purchase, McKinley said.

But as the store clerk was in the process of bagging the items, the suspect allegedly “announced a robbery,” McKinley said, and ordered the clerk to open the cash register.

The clerk refused and the suspect threatened the clerk, McKinley said. Still, the clerk did not open the register.

The suspect then grabbed the bagged items and left the Presto on a bicycle headed for Ousdahl Road. Officers responded to the scene shortly after but were unable to find the suspect. The investigation remains ongoing.

No one was injured in the alleged robbery attempt, but I worry it could have gone another way. I know businesses often have policies on how to deal with robbery attempts, and some employers advise their employees to let a robber take what they demand to avoid a violent attack. Dollar bills can be replaced, but a life can’t.

Sunday, 10:14 a.m.

A father and son duo were allegedly seen driving a white Ford van to the back of Briggs Automotive, 2300 W. 29th Terrace, then getting out and covering up their license plate, McKinley said. The witness then allegedly saw the pair load the van up with about 30 new tires from a rack behind the business.

The witness reported the alleged incident to police, and officers set up a perimeter on the outskirts of the city, eventually finding the van traveling east on Kansas 10 Highway near Franklin Road, McKinley said.

The vehicle actually stopped for police (something not usually seen in Lights & Sirens), and officers arrested the two occupants on suspicion of felony theft.

The tires were valued at about $3,000.

Reply 2 comments from Bob Smith Randall Uhrich

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