National Roundup

Thief stuffs snake in his pants at Portland pet store

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A snake thief smuggled a 2-foot-long python from a Portland pet store by stuffing it down his pants.

Sgt. Greg Stewart said no arrests have been made in Friday’s theft. But Christin Bjugan, an owner of A to Z pet store, said video surveillance has helped viewers and police detectives identify a suspect, and she expects to have the snake returned soon.

“We know who did it,” she said Monday. “We know where he lives, we know where he works, we know all about him and his girlfriend. We’re just waiting to get our snake back.”

The video shows the suspect with a blue-haired woman who appeared to be in on the theft. He handed her some keys before taking the snake from a tank and shuffling out of the store.

Bjugan says it was “pretty gutsy” for the man to put the python down his pants, and potentially a bad move because it was close to feeding day.

On the other hand, she added, the snake does like warm, dark places.

The snake is a black pastel ball python and sells for $200.

“We have a cheap price, usually they go for about $400,” Bjugan said.

Stewart said the department has investigated thefts at pet stores, but this is the first time it has involved someone putting a snake in their pants. It also seemed more purposeful than usual.

“If you look at the theft of stuff from pet stores, a lot of times it’s someone wandering in drunk and doing something stupid,” he said. “This one’s a little bit different, although putting a snake down your pants is not super bright. There’s a lot of different ways that could go wrong.”

New Jersey
Dad charged with murder in death of boy, 3

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — The father of a 3-year-old boy found dead in a park last year has been charged with his murder, prosecutors announced Monday.

David Creato Jr., 22, also faces a child endangerment charge in the death of his son, Brendan. The child’s body was found Oct. 13 in Cooper River Park about three hours after Creato reported him missing from his Haddon Township home.

When Creato called 911, he said he had woken up around 6 a.m. and soon realized the boy was gone.

“I don’t know if he wandered out or what happened,” Creato told the operator. “I don’t know where he is. The door was locked. I guess he unlocked it and left.”

The 911 call prompted a townwide search until the boy’s body was found.

Creato was arrested Monday in Washington Township, Camden County prosecutors said. He’s due to be arraigned Tuesday, and his bail has not yet been set.

Prosecutors declined to comment further on the charges, the investigation or what led them to consider as a Creato a suspect, citing court rules that they say prevent them from making statements outside of the courtroom that might prejudice the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

Authorities have said that the boy’s autopsy results were inconclusive and that a cause of death could not be determined.

Creato’s attorney, Richard Fuschino Jr., told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he would “vigorously defend this case.”

Fuschino claimed that authorities pointed to Creato because pressure was mounting from the public to identify a suspect, and because there were no other obvious clues in the case. He said he worried that the indictment “is the result of just not having any other answers.”

In the days after the body was found, Fuschino had said investigators told him his client was not a suspect. He also said Creato spoke to investigators without a lawyer present and had been told police had no suspects.

The indictment accuses Creato of purposely or knowingly causing the child’s death or causing serious bodily injury that caused the death, but it did not provide further details on those allegations.
Brendan’s father and his mother, Samantha Denoto, do not live together. She has not spoken publicly about her son’s death since a vigil held the day the child’s body was found.

Cops: Man used basement hole to burglarize home

BATH, Pa. (AP) — State police have charged an eastern Pennsylvania man with burglarizing a neighbor’s home by cutting a hole that linked his basement to the neighbor’s.

Twenty-two-year-old Paul Buskirk has been in the Northampton County jail since Sunday on burglary, theft and other charges.

Police say he sawed through his wall and created a hole to get into a woman’s home sometime on Dec. 4. Police say Buskirk then stole $200 worth of quarters the woman had stored in several envelopes.
The woman called police when she came home and found sheet rock materials in her basement — along with a shirt covering a large hole in the wall. Police say Buskirk’s mother told them he slept in the basement of her home.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Buskirk who faces a preliminary hearing Jan. 19.

Retired officer charged with stealing money

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A retired Massachusetts police officer has been charged with stealing about $400,000 from the Springfield department’s evidence room.

Kevin Burnham, a decorated and highly-respected officer who retired from the force in 2014 after 43 years, was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty Monday to multiple larceny counts.
Prosecutors say he stole cash from evidence envelopes related to drug investigations multiple times from 2009 until his retirement. They allege he took money when he recounted cash, and replaced money he stole with previously seized counterfeit money or with newer money put into circulation after the original seizure date.

Burnham’s attorney, Charles Dolan, says his client pleaded not guilty because the defense has no information about the nature and details of the allegations.
Springfield’s police commissioner and mayor expressed shock.

2 words bring 5 more years in retaliation case

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Two little words have earned a convicted assailant five more years in prison.

The words were “Bang, bang.” Devon Davis said them to the victim’s mother as he was led from a Hagerstown courtroom by sheriff’s deputies in 2014 following his conviction for assaulting and exposing himself to a 5-year-old girl. He got four years for those offenses.

Eight months later, Davis was convicted of retaliation against a witness for making the comment, and sentenced to two more years. But it didn’t end there.