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Creek toy thieves nabbed
couple is accused of stealing "thousands" of toys and
selling them online from their Coconut Creek home, according to the
Broward Sheriff's Office.
months-long investigation led deputies to Krishna Ramotar and his
wife, Sela Nafi, sheriff's spokeswoman Gina Carter said. They were
arrested Wednesday and were being booked into jail, she said.
toys were stolen from Toys "R" Us, Target and Wal-mart
stores in Deerfield Beach and surrounding cities, authorities said.
on Wednesday afternoon planned to remove the thousands of toys from
the suspects' home.
man killed crossing street
Sheriffs Office traffic homicide detectives are investigating
the death of a man who was struck by a utility van Monday night in
Communications received the call around 7:11 p.m. The adult male had
been attempting to cross West Copans Road from north to south, just
west of Blount Road, when he was killed. According to witnesses, the
man was not crossing at a crosswalk and was narrowly missed by a tow
truck on the right thru lane prior to being struck by the van in the
left thru lane.
Beach Fire Rescue pronounced the man dead at the scene.
driver of the utility van, Lester Williams, 49, remained on scene to
assist in the investigation and does not face charges.
traffic homicide detectives continue the investigation. The
pedestrians name is being withheld pending notification of the
next of kin.
promoter pleads not guilty in $300M fraud case
former concert promoter recently extradited to the U.S. from Brazil
has pleaded not guilty to fraud and money laundering charges in an
alleged $300 million fraud scheme.
Utsick entered the formal plea Tuesday in Miami federal court. He
was actually extradited last year following a lengthy Brazilian court
fight, but encountered difficulties hiring a lawyer. Utsick is
currently represented by a public defender.
say Utsick operated his Worldwide Entertainment Inc. promotion
company as a Ponzi scheme, repaying older investors with money from
newer ones. The scheme allegedly defrauded an estimated 3,300
investors out of nearly $300 million.
company also staged tours of top-name acts including the Rolling
Stones, Elton John, Aerosmith and the Pretenders, among others.
tentative March 23 trial date has been set.
mob Ocoee mall after being denied entry to 50 Shades
now must be accompanied by an adult at night at an Orlando-area mall
that teens mobbed over the weekend after they were denied entrance to
the movie Fifty Shades of Grey.
Oak Mall officials in the Orlando suburb of Ocoee said Monday that
all teens must be accompanied by an adult after 9 p.m.
policy was implemented after 100 teens rushed a movie theater after
they were denied tickets to see Fifty Shades of Grey,
which is rated R and requires the viewer to be accompanied by a
parent if they are under age 17.
of other teens rushed the malls food court.
one was injured, and there wasnt any damage.
panthers killed in southwest Florida
say two Florida panthers were found dead in southwest Florida over
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that a
16-year-old, collared female was recovered Friday in Big Cypress
National Preserve. The cause of death is listed as unknown. A 1-year-old,
uncollared male was recovered Sunday just north of the Seminole
Tribes Big Cypress reservation. It was killed in apparent
vehicle strike. Both cats will be taken to a Gainesville facility for
a necropsy.This brings the total number of recorded panther deaths
this year to seven, with five killed by vehicles. Florida set a
record last year with 25 road kills and 33 overall deaths.
panthers once roamed the entire southeastern U.S., but only around
180 remain in the wild.
gathering in Keys
500 amateur and professional astronomers are setting up telescopes
in the lower Florida Keys this week to observe southern
constellations, comets and stars during the 31st annual Winter Star Party.
founder Tippy D'Auria said Monday the Keys' latitude of 24.5 degrees
means astronomers can see down to minus 65 degrees on the horizon.
That enables them to view celestial objects that can't be spotted
from most other locations in the contiguous United States.
Florida Keys' clear night skies and relative absence of city lights
contribute to prime viewing conditions.
Star Party also features workshops and presentations by speakers
including planetary photography expert Dr. Donald Parker.
Floridians getting another week to buy health insurance
health officials are granting a special enrollment period for
consumers who unsuccessfully tried to buy health insurance before
Sunday's deadline and were sidelined by long wait times or computer glitches.
consumers who tried to pick a health plan through healthcare.gov or
its call centers were unable to complete their application because of
the high volume of callers or technical problems with income
verification. If you were in line by Feb. 15, health officials are
giving you until Feb. 22 to complete your application.
you enroll during that time, health coverage will start on March 1.
1.4 million Floridians have signed up for health insurance through
the federal marketplace.
has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country and is leading
enrollment among states using healthcare.gov.
and run car accidents on the rise in Florida
law enforcement officials say hit and run crashes are increasing at
an alarming rate. That's why they're launching a new campaign to let
drivers know that leaving the scene of an accident can result in
had more than 80,000 hit and run crashes last year. Fatal hit and
run crashes increased by 23 percent in Florida between 2013 and 2014
and nearly half of those victims were pedestrians, according to the
Florida Highway Patrol. The agency is hosting press conferences
around the state this week to educate drivers on the consequences of
leaving a crash.
Rick Scott signed a law last year that enhances the penalties for
leaving the scene of a crash, making it a second-degree felony and
requiring a mandatory minimum four year sentence for a driver
convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal crash. Drivers who leave an
accident could also have their license revoked for three years under
the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act.
the driver was under the influence during a fatal crash, the law
increases the mandatory minimum sentence from two to four years in prison.
the scene makes the situation worse, not only for those who flee,
but even more so for the victims left behind," said Department
of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Terry L.
Rhodes. "It is crucial that all individuals involved in a crash,
including witnesses to a crash, contact 911 and remain at the scene
until help arrives. Every life matters and every second counts."
enforcement officials say those involved in an accident should call
law enforcement, remain calm, get vehicle witness and driver
information, sketch the scene to show vehicle crash locations and
help the injured.
million tourists visited Florida
record number of tourists flocked to Florida last year as the
nation's economy continued its recovery after the Great Recession.
Rick Scott was to announce Monday during a visit to Tampa
International Airport that more than 97 million visited the state
last year according to estimates prepared by Visit Florida, the
state's tourism marketing arm.
the fourth year in a row that the state has had a record number of
tourists come to the state. Most of the visitors were from the United
States, but millions also came from overseas and from Canada.
natural beauty, pristine beaches and exciting attractions continue
to bring countless visitors to our state and provide valuable jobs
for our families," said Scott in a statement.
the record year of 97.3 million tourists Florida fell a little bit
short of reaching Scott's goal of having 100 million tourists visit
in 2014. Nearly 94 million people visited the state the previous year.
Florida, the state's tourism marketing company, estimates that 11.5
million visitors were from overseas and 3.8 million tourists came
from Canada. Those are increases over 2013 as well. State officials
told a legislative committee last year that Florida is "growing
at the expense of our competition" as Americans are shifting
away from visiting other places to come to Florida.
becoming governor Scott has pushed to increase the amount of money
spent on marketing and advertising by Visit Florida. This year he is
seeking an increase of $17.5 million. It's not clear, however, if
state legislators will go along with the request.
Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater and chairman of the committee that
oversees Visit Florida's budget, said last week that while the
numbers have jumped the last few years that another large boost in
funding may not produce another large jump in the number of visitors.