crime

James Williams / Creative Commons

The owner of the Mystic Pizza restaurant made famous in a 1988 film was sentenced to prison for tax evasion and concealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in income. 

First in a three-part report on solitary confinement use in U.S. prisons.

In the yard at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, gray-haired men make their way up to a small stage. A towering stone prison wall rises overhead. One by one they sit at a scratchy microphone and tell their stories — of being locked up 23 hours a day in a place that just about broke them.

"This place here really did something to me psychologically," says former inmate Anthony Goodman.

Massachusetts is joining a national movement to reexamine get-tough-on-crime policies.

Massachusetts state leaders earlier this month committed to a comprehensive review of the state’s criminal justice policies with a goal to reduce the cost of incarceration and improve public safety by reducing recidivism. 

The FBI is seeking the public’s help in solving a significant New England art theft.

The head of the Boston FBI office, Special Agent in Charge Vincent Lisi announced a $20,000 reward for the return of two N.C. Wyeth paintings stolen from a private collector in Portland, Maine.

" Anybody who has any information about these paintings, the whereabouts, or who may have stolen them can contact the FBI via our online tip line, or telephone directly," said Lisi.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Despite an uptick in shootings in Bridgeport, Mayor Bill Finch is defending his city's public safety record.

Hartford Police Department

The search for a Hartford mother who has been missing for a week has ended in tragedy. The body of 23-year-old Tashuana Jackson was found in Bloomfield on Tuesday.

A group of hackers, who calls itself the Impact Team, purportedly released a huge trove of data that appears to contain the account details of more than 30 million users of a website that helps married people cheat on their spouses.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

From a 12-year-old girl to a 73-year-old farmer, Connecticut has executed about 160 people over the nearly 400-year history of the death penalty. Two state justices invoked that history while writing in support of the court's decision to overturn capital punishment. 

John Phelan / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of a full repeal of the state's death penalty on Thursday.

The decision comes more than three years after a repeal of the death penalty for crimes committed after the law was enacted. It means that eleven people currently on death row in the state will be spared execution.

Some 30,000 African elephants die each year as a result of poaching, and many of their ivory tusks wind up hundreds or thousands of miles away. Investigative journalist Bryan Christy wanted to track the route of the poached tusks, so he commissioned a taxidermist to create two fake ivory tusks, which he embedded with specially designed tracking devices.

"These tusks ... operate really like additional investigators, like members of our team, and almost like a robocop," Christy tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Days after a police officer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area city of Arlington fatally shot a young man at a car dealership, Arlington's police chief says that Officer Brad Miller has been fired.

Protesters are calling for criminal charges and police reforms, citing what they call a pattern of violence. Demonstrators held a rally and a march Monday at which people held placards bearing the names of people who have died at the hands of police. Miller, 49, is white; he shot Christian Taylor, 19, who is black.

President Obama's perhaps most notable statement on race came recently in Charleston, S.C. That's where he gave the eulogy for nine African-Americans killed by a white man in a church.

The president has also continued to address the killings of black men at the hands of the police, and he's pushing to reduce the number of prison inmates, who are disproportionately black.

U.S. Department of Justice

A federal appeals court has reinstated a brutality lawsuit against Hartford police by a man whose back and a rib were broken during a drug arrest in 2009.

Chion Wolf

A Central Connecticut State University professor is suspended after the latest in a string of arrests. Ravi Shankar, a poetry professor, was arrested for third-degree larceny after attempting to return unpaid merchandise for store credit at a Middletown Home Depot.

The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a semi-submersible vessel carrying more than 16,000 pounds of cocaine in the Pacific Ocean in the largest bust of such a vessel in the agency's history.

The cocaine seized was worth more than $181 million. The Northern California-based Coast Guard crew also apprehended four suspected smugglers after a Navy aircraft detected the 40-foot, self-propelled vessel traveling approximately 200 miles south of Mexico last month.

FBI

More than 25 years ago, one of the most infamous art heists in history occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. On Thursday, federal law enforcement officials released new surveillance video from the eve of the heist that shows a possible "dry run" of the theft.

Kuzma/iStock / Thinkstock

A new panel has begun a two-year review of issues facing sex offenders and victims in Connecticut, including whether changes need to be made to the state's sex offender registry.

ilirjan rrumbullaku / Creative Commons

A 25-year-old man has died after a Saturday night shooting in Hartford in the city's 20th homicide this year. There were 19 in all of 2014.

Yuri Samoilov / Creative Commons

University of Connecticut officials said a data breach discovered in March at the School of Engineering was criminal in nature.

Robert Couse-Baker/Creative Commons

The city of Hartford has seen 19 homicides so far this year, the same number as all of 2014. While there’s nothing new about an increase in violence during the summer months, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has admitted the police force needs help. He called on the state to provide more manpower and resources. 

Sam Hudzik / NEPR

An Adams, Massachusetts man accused of plotting to attack a college on behalf of the self-declared Islamic State has pleaded not guilty. Alexander Ciccolo, 23, was arraigned Wednesday at federal court in Springfield.

A Glimpse Into The Dark Side of Technology

Jul 27, 2015
elhombredenegro/flickr creative commons

We all depend on technology and its vast, positive potential on everything from poverty to medicine, but there’s a flip side. As we gear up for the Internet of Things, with greater connections come greater risks. 

Free Babar Ahmad / British Justice for British Citizens

A British citizen who was imprisoned in Connecticut for supporting terrorism has just returned to the U.K.

Goats Seized at Cornwall Farm Up for Auction

Jul 24, 2015
Courtesy Department of Agriculture

Thirteen goats from a herd which became part of the legislature’s budget discussions are being auctioned off. 

Updated at 2 a.m. ET

Lafayette, La., Police Chief Jim Craft said a gunman opened fire in a movie theater during a Thursday night screening of Trainwreck.

Craft said the gunman killed two people and wounded seven others before shooting and killing himself. At least three of the wounded remain in critical condition.

Police said they have identified the shooter but are not yet releasing his name. He was described as a 58-year-old white male armed with a handgun. Law enforcement officials said the gunman was attending the movie alone.

Dylann Roof, who police say carried out a ruthless attack that killed nine black worshippers in a Charleston, S.C., church, is now facing federal hate crime charges along with more than a dozen other serious charges he's already accused of.

"Hate crimes are the original domestic terrorism," Attorney General Loretta Lynch says.

The 33 counts center on both the victims' race and their identity as church-goers who were attempting to follow their religious beliefs when Roof attacked.

Lori Mack / WNPR

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was in Connecticut on Tuesday as part of a national community policing tour.

Our weeklong series on violence in the region continues now. In part two of Crime in our Communities, WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Jim Levulis reports on Pittsfield, where a few incidents in recent years have raised the awareness of violence in Berkshire County’s largest city.

Authorities in Massachusetts’ third largest city are using innovation, technology, and more police on patrol to combat violent crime.

Total crime is down about 8 percent in Springfield so far this year, according to the Springfield Police Department.  It is in keeping with a national trend of steadily declining crime rates. But, the crime that makes the headlines – homicides – stands at 13, just one shy of the total number of murders Springfield recorded for all of last year.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

A spike in violence in the city of Hartford has already left 18 people dead this year. 

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