Briefs

Local and VCU

Shockoe Bottom robbery videotaped

Richmond police are seeking help from the public in identifying the people responsible for a robbery and vicious assault in the city’s Shockoe Bottom entertainment district last week, a crime the suspects videotaped and later posted on the Internet.

Police said they had received a number of leads from the public since the video was posted on YouTube but that investigators were continuing to gather information.

The video was taken Jan. 21 about 1 a.m. in the 1700 block of East Cary Street and shows a male being attacked by several other males, who punched and kicked him repeatedly and yelled obscenities at him. The victim’s wallet was taken during the struggle.

YouTube said the video was subsequently removed by the user.

Police said information on the video was helpful in leading to the possible identification of the people responsible for its production.

Police said Friday that there is no indication the Shockoe Bottom robbery was related to any of the three robberies that were reported in a three-day span this week in the Stuart Circle area of the Fan District.

Brief by the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Cuccinelli says Va. Guard may have to abide by U.S. on gays

The Virginia National Guard could exclude gays from service once federal regulations repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy are issued, but the federal government would have the ability to condition its funding of the state guards on compliance with the new rules, according to an opinion issued by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

The opinion released Friday came in response to a request by Delegate William R. Janis, R-Henrico, and on the heels of legislation submitted by Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Prince William that would keep in force the current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” policy in the Virginia National Guard.

In a four-page opinion, Cuccinelli said that he was unable to specifically address the issue because the actual federal regulations repealing the policy have yet to be issued.

Brief by the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Three robberies in three days in Stuart Circle Area

Richmond police are reallocating their resources to establish a greater presence in a section of the Fan District that has seen three high-profile robberies this week.

Victims were assaulted in two of the robberies but, in both cases, they said their injuries did not require hospitalization.

The lone similarity in the three cases appeared to be that all three victims were walking alone. In only one of the robberies did a victim report seeing what appeared to be a gun, and the suspects were described as three black males in one robbery, a lone black male in another and a white male in the third.

The robberies occurred Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights in the Stuart Circle area of the Fan, just west of VCU’s main academic campus.

“We’ve gotten patrols stepped up in that area,” Richmond police Lt. Edward M. Capriglione, whose sector includes the Fan, said Friday. “We’re also working with VCU police to try to identify these folks and make arrests.”

Brief by the Richmond Times-Dispatch

National and International

Man arrested with explosives in Michigan mosque

Authorities in Michigan say a 63-year-old California man who had explosives with him has been arrested outside one of the nation’s largest mosques in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.

Dearborn police say Roger Stockham was arraigned Wednesday on one count of making a false report or threat of terrorism and one count of possessing explosives with an unlawful intent. A statement from police says Stockham had class-C fireworks.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter says Stockham was arrested Monday in the parking lot of Islamic Center of America.

Stockham remained jailed Sunday on a $500,000 bond. A preliminary examination is scheduled for Friday.

Brief by The Associated Press

NY Sen. Schumer wants ban on drug-like bath salts

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York says he wants the federal government to ban new designer drugs known as bath salts that pack as much punch as cocaine or methamphetamines.

The small, inexpensive packets of powder are meant to be snorted for a hallucination-inducing high, but they are often marketed with a wink on the Internet or in convenience stores as bathing salts.

The Democratic senator is announcing a bill Sunday that would add those chemicals to the list of federally controlled substances. He is also pushing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban the substance in the state.

A handful of states have already banned the active ingredients in the powders.

Schumer says the bath salts “contain ingredients that are nothing more than legally sanctioned narcotics.”

Brief by The Associated Press

Egypt military steps up presence in chaotic Cairo

Egypt’s most prominent reform advocate called on Sunday for President Hosni Mubarak to resign after the powerful military stepped up its presence across the anarchic capital, closing roads with tanks and sending F-16 fighter jets streaking over downtown.

The army’s show of force appeared aimed at quelling looting, armed robbery and arson that broke out alongside pro-democracy protests and have turned the cultural heart of the Arab world into a tableau of once-unimaginable scenes of chaos.

The military made no attempt to disperse some 5,000 protesters gathered at Tahrir Square, a plaza in the heart of downtown that protesters have occupied since Friday afternoon. They have violated the curfew to call for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, which they blame for poverty, unemployment, widespread corruption and police brutality.

Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei appeared in the square around 7 p.m.

The official death toll from five days of growing crisis stood at 97, with thousands injured, but reports from witnesses across the country indicated that the actual toll was far higher.

Brief by The Associated Press

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