Crime & Public Safety

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Have You Seen These Paintings? Cardenas Artwork Stolen From Former Bring Funeral Home Space

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 3:48 PM

Dreamer by Cristina Cardenas is one of five paintings stolen from the former Brings Funeral Home.
  • Dreamer by Cristina Cardenas is one of five paintings stolen from the former Brings Funeral Home.
On Sunday, March 26, five paintings by Tucson artist Cristina Cardenas were discovered stolen from an office space that's part of the former Bring Funeral Home on Scott Avenue downtown (236 S. Scott Ave.).

Cardenas is a member of the Citizens Artist Collective at the Citizens Warehouse, 44 W. 6th St.

Cardenas says the art was part of an informal group show. The former Bring Funeral Home is a Peach Properties space. Patricia Schwabe from Peach Properties met with some Citizens artists to ask if they would be interested in lending their work to hang in an area of the building used for office space and events. Cardenas was one of seven artists who agreed. It was on Sunday that Cardenas received an email fellow Citizens artist Titus Constanza who was reportedly contacted by Schwabe.

"'Patricia told me that your pieces are missing. Did you happen to remove them by any chance?'" Cardenas recalls.

cardenas2.jpg
When the paintings were stolen isn't exactly clear. Police reports were filed this week by Schwabe and Cardenas, but neither report was available at the Tucson Police Department when I went there yesterday to request copies. I was told the police were just called, so written reports would be available later this week.

Schwabe and I exchanged a few voicemails, and she responded to an email I sent asking about the theft. She wrote that a few months ago she reached out to Citizens artist Constanza about hanging art in the building.

"I love having local artists show when possible and I believe the building created a great setting. White beautiful walls. Titus was very helpful, he brought his art and later art of other artists. The building is occupied by offices mostly. The (Owls Club) bar occupies its own space, with its own entrance," Schwabe wrote.

cardenas5.jpg
"This past weekend I noticed some pieces missing, I contacted Titus immediately. I did not know the name of the artist that had painted the pieces missing. I did not know if she/or he had picked up the art. It was peculiar because no other items in the building were missing. I did a walk through and didn't see anything else out of the ordinary."

Schwabe wrote that her office is in the building and she is there almost every day. Constanza, she wrote, contacted the artist and told her Cardenas hadn't taken the pieces.



"Then I contacted our tenants. They were all very surprised that something would be missing. No idea of what happened and had not seen anything suspicious. ... Titus, Cristina and I met the next day and I offered to file a police report. ... I think this incident is awful, it doesn’t reflect the principles or culture of the people in the area or that visit the building. Whoever took it, took advantage of a positive situation," Schwabe wrote.

Cardenas says that she was told an event took place at the property on Saturday night, and most likely that's when the paintings were stolen—three small pieces, gouache paint on wood panel and two medium size pieces, gouache paint on wood board.

cardenas1.jpg
"When I went there (Monday) with Titus, Patricia showed me the nails where the paintings were hung. It would be easy to take them. There is no security camera," she says.

It's understandable that Cardenas is upset about her work being stolen and was working with Schwabe to compensate her for the paintings.

Cardenas has been an artist and art instructor in Tucson the past 30 years. Her work is part of the permanent collection at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, the Museum of Art in Chicago and the Mexican Museum in San Francisco, among others.

Cardenas says the value of the work stolen comes to $6,150, and she is asking that Schwabe pay her $4,614 with half paid immediately and the other half next month. Cardenas says Schwabe had offered to pay $3,000 over several payments, which Cardenas says is not acceptable.

However, no payment is expected to be made, since Schwabe confirmed she is filing an insurance claim, but she told me she doesn't know when or if the insurance payment will be made or how long the process will take.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Do You Know This Idiot?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 8:29 AM

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Yesterday, the Islamic Center of Tucson posted this idiot's picture on their Facebook page, claiming that this man is a suspect in a break in at the university area mosque and center.

From their post:

Yesterday morning, March 13th, the Islamic Center of Tucson (ICT) was broken into and vandalized. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

The camera footage leads us to believe the sole intent of this individual was to damage the center's religious property. The Tucson Police Department responded quickly. As always, they were kind, courteous, and thorough with their investigation.

Although we are disheartened by this incident, we understand that this is an isolated incident. The ICT has been a part of the Tucson community since the late 1980’s and since then, the Tucson community has been kind, welcoming, and supportive.

Unfortunately the vandal has not yet been caught. We are asking the supportive Tucson community for their help. Please see the image below. If you know who the individual is: Call 88-CRIME or 911.

We thank the Tucson Police Department for working hard on this investigation. We thank the Tucson community for their continued support.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Is Antisemitism Rising to the Threat Level?

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 4:28 PM

COURTESY OF STATIC FLICKR.COM
  • Courtesy of static flickr.com
I'm Jewish. I've watched intently as the antisemitic alt right has grown in prominence during and after the presidential campaign. Breibart.com gave the haters a voice, orchestrated by Steve Bannon, Breibart's executive chair. Trump retweeted some of the alt right's garbage because he liked the way it sounded. After his election, he made Bannon his closest advisor, making Bannon the most powerful man in the White House except for, or maybe including, Trump himself. An exultant group of alt righters gathered in D.C. after the election, ending their celebration with a speech by Richard Spencer who exalted white people using language reminiscent of the Third Reich. He ended his speech with, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail Victory!"

But through all that, I honestly wasn't very worried that antisemitism would rise to the level of a serious problem. I've been focused on the very real threats to Muslims and Hispanics whose daily lives have been harmed and whose feeling of safety within our country has been imperiled. Worrying too much about antisemitism as I sit on my reasonably safe, secure societal perch has felt a bit self indulgent. Sure we're seeing some visible signs of hatred toward Jews, but it has always been there hiding just under the surface, and watching it peek its ugly head out of the cess pool where it lives didn't seem too consequential.

Until now. Now, following the desecrations of Jewish cemeteries and the bomb threats called into Jewish Community Centers across the country, including our JCC here in Tucson, it's beginning to look real. I'm still trying to keep it in context. The Trump administration's moves against immigrants and Muslims are a far more immediate, day-by-day concern. But I'm no longer unconcerned about the threat of antisemitism.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tracking the Tricked: Police Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 9:55 AM

click image MIKE CHRISTY FOR ARIZONA DAILY STAR 2014
  • Mike Christy for Arizona Daily Star 2014

The Southern Arizona Anti-Trafficking Unified Response Network task force, known as SAATURN, received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to research, track and combat human trafficking in Tucson for three years. The grant and task force began in October 2015.

Tucson Police Department is one of three grantees for this task force, joining CODAC Health, Recovery and Wellness and the University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women.

Detective Jennifer Crawford has been investigating violent crime for nearly 17 years, and currently works in TPD's Street Crime Interdiction Unit—the unit responsible for studying human trafficking in Tucson.

Crawford said events like the Gem Show or large sporting events can draw more trafficking activity because the exploitative industry tends to "follow the money" and crowded events can attract an influx of trafficking of girls from other cities.

She said one of the main ways police keep tabs on trafficking is through online sites such as Backpage, where third-party contributors, such as escorts, can sell "dates."

The money from the grant allocated for TPD is spent on operational equipment as well as training and outreach programs, according to Crawford. The Street Crime Interdiction Unit is comprised of four detectives and two federal agents, and grant money will also be spent on funding the team's investigative hours should they have to work overtime.

"They help support us and we're able to do a lot more than we used to and also work at a federal level if we need to," Crawford said.

Crawford said trafficking tends to be a harder crime to prosecute than others. Reasons being victims can be hesitant to disclose information and it can be difficult to keep victims on track during an unfortunately tedious court process.

"I'd say we've definitely made a lot of strides and we've moved forward a lot in the last year since we've gotten our task force up and running and with our support service people as well," Crawford said.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Death in the Arizona Borderlands

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 5:06 PM

Since 2001, thousands of migrant have died in the desert of the U.S.-Mexico border. Activists, professionals and migrants talk about the continuing humanitarian crisis in the Arizona borderlands.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Carmona Takes The Gloves Off

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 12:45 PM

Dr. Richard Carmona speaking on behalf of Pima County Sheriffs Deputies - JONATHAN HOFFMAN
  • Jonathan Hoffman
  • Dr. Richard Carmona speaking on behalf of Pima County Sheriffs Deputies

On Thursday, Oct. 6, Dr. Richard Carmona held a press conference to act as a spokesman for Pima County Sheriff's Deputies who have allegedly been blacklisted, threatened, harassed, had their wives harassed and who have been improperly reassigned and demoted by Sheriff Chris Nanos and his cronies. As Carmona put it, the Pima County Sheriffs Department is taking actions that are "immoral, unethical, and possibly criminal;" or more generally speaking," a reign of terror," a phrase he repeated at least twice.

Carmona began his press conference in the early afternoon in a small conference room at the Viscount Suite Hotel. standing behind him were some of the people for whom he was speaking—fifteen members of Pima County Deputy Sheriffs Association. They wore tee shirts with a small PCDSA logo. A representative of the Tucson Police Officers Association, Officer McGinnis, was present and at one point declared the union's solidarity with PCDSA. The corrections officers representative was not present, but they too stood in solidarity with the deputies. The audience filled the room, there were about as many people standing as seated. Television media was present.

Carmona identified Nanos, Chief Deputy Chris Radtke and Chief of Staff Bradley Gagnepain, as those whom he believed to be responsible for the "reign of terror." Nanos was originally appointed by the Pima County Board of Supervisors to the post of Sheriff after Clarence Dupnik resigned, he is now running for election to that post. Bradley Gagnepain had retired from the Sheriffs Department, but was brought back by Dupnik to be a "special advisor;" later, Nanos appointed him to fill a position newly created by Nanos called "Chief of Staff." Gagnepain died of a gunshot wound in June of this year, around the time he was named in an FBI corruption investigation of the Pima County Sheriffs Department.

Specifically, the FBI was looking at possible misuse of funds acquired through the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act. The funds come from money and property seized under the act and may be spent by law enforcement but only on a narrow list of areas. Illegal spending of RICO money is a felony. On Oct. 10, Chris Radtke was indicted by the FBI for just that. Radtke immediately resigned his post. Sheriff Nanos declined to comment on the matter.

Speaking of the death of Gagnepain, Carmona reported that he received phone calls from deputies at the scene who told him that Nanos and Radtke showed up, took command of the crime scene, and "kept them from doing their job;" specifically, they were not allowed to establish a chain of custody regarding evidence or interview witnesses.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Looks Like Brother Dean Got Arrested For Kicking A Student In The Chest

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 3:52 PM

Dean Saxton, whom you might know as "Brother Dean" or the "You Deserve Rape" guy, appears to have finally crossed a legal line and assaulted a student.

UAPD confirms that Saxton was arrested and given a one-year exclusionary order banning him from campus until next Fall after students reported seeing him kick a woman in the chest.

The reaction from UA students has been undeniably celebratory: 

Check in on student media websites The Tab and The Daily Wildcat for more details and reactions from campus. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Two Tucson Women Hold Rally for Law Enforcement

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Tucsonans rally at Ronstadt Center in support of law enforcement
  • Tucsonans rally at Ronstadt Center in support of law enforcement

Adriana Chairez and Margo Susco, two local business women, held a nine-hour rally to support law enforcement near downtown's Ronstadt Center on Wednesday, July 13.

Concerned with what they viewed as the general lack of support for police both at the national and local levels after the murder of five police officers in Dallas, the women were convinced that now is the time to show appreciation for the work that the police perform on behalf of their communities.

Susco said that though the local officials profess support for Tucson Police Department, the actions of those officials do not reflect that rhetoric. Both Susco and Chairez share the opinion that TPD police officers have been asked to do more and more, extending duties beyond those of  traditional law enforcement—providing water 
Adrianna Chairez (left) and Margo Susco (right) wave signs in support of law enforcement at downtown rally
  • Adrianna Chairez (left) and Margo Susco (right) wave signs in support of law enforcement at downtown rally
to homeless people, for example—without a concomitant increase in resources.

Some ongoing problems include police compensation and equipment.

A pattern has developed in which TPD officers are recruited, sent through the academy, then after a couple of years are "poached" by neighboring jurisdictions, which offer higher wages and benefits. Tucson makes the investment, neighboring jurisdictions reap the majority of the benefits. This would appear to cost the City of Tucson more than would a substantial increase in wages.

New TPD officers receive body armor (vests) upon completion of their academy training, but they degrade over time and need to be replaced after five years. TPD does not supply replacement the body armor. The officers must pay for them out of their $640 annual equipment allowance, which is used for the purchase of gear including vests, service weapons, restraints, etc. With quality armor often costing in excess of $1,000, officers are faced with yet more tough choices. The Tucson Police Foundation does help with replacing expired armor.

There was a brief counter to the women's message which consisted of a few young men chanting "Fuck the police!" from across the street, but after a little conversation and more than a little water provided by the women, the young men had a change of heart and abandoned their efforts. 

Jonathan Hoffman is the Weekly's resident libertarian columnist. 

Signs posted at downtown rally in support of law enforcement
  • Signs posted at downtown rally in support of law enforcement

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