Sunday, September 21, 2003

Regional Report

Paroled robber charged again

DOWNTOWN - A convicted robber is back behind bars, suspected in a series of downtown robberies.

Darrin Johnson, 38, of the West End, was arrested Friday night. He is charged with one count of robbery in a Sept. 15 after $6 was taken from a parking lot attendant and $117 from his booth on Race Street.

Officer Dan Kreider suspected Johnson after checking with the state for paroled robbers.

Kreider assembled several pictures, including Johnson's, and showed all of them to the victim, who picked out Johnson as the robber.

Kreider then made a wanted flier with Johnson pictured and circulated it to other officers.

Johnson was serving a two-year prison sentence beginning in 1999. He was sent back to prison in 2002 for six months on a possession-of-cocaine conviction.

Kreider said he expects to charge Johnson in several more robberies.

Another Red Cross worker heads east

A third Cincinnati-area Red Cross worker is heading to the eastern seaboard to help with disaster relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel.

Vince Costello will serve as the Disaster Welfare Inquiry officer in Greenville, NC, officials said Saturday.

A level-5 officer - the highest rank a disaster volunteer can attain - Costello will help reunite families. He is charged with locating and determining the health and welfare of families affected by the hurricane.

He is director of International Services at the Cincinnati-area chapter of the Red Cross, and has 28 years experience in reuniting families, officials said.

Ashcroft returns to town Monday

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft will visit Cincinnati Monday as part of a national tour to talk about the Patriot Act.

Ashcroft will speak to law enforcement officers at the Aronoff Center for the Performing Arts, in between similar appearances Monday in Milwaukee, Wis., and Pittsburgh, Pa.

The attorney general is on a 16-city tour to defend the Patriot Act against civil libertarians who say it gives federal agents too much authority to snoop into citizens' private lives - even allowing access to library records.

At a speech Friday in Minneapolis, Ashcroft accused detractors of fomenting "hysteria" and said "charges of abuse of power are ghosts, unsupported by fact or example."

The attorney general last visited Cincinnati in April 2002, when he signed a police-reform agreement with city officials a year after the police shooting of an unarmed man in Over-the-Rhine.

Activist accused of making threats

OVER-THE-RHINE - The leader of one of the groups engaged in an economic boycott of Cincinnati was arrested last week, accused of threatening a relative of a Cincinnati police lieutenant.

Kabaka Oba, 45, of Lincoln Heights, was released on his own recognizance Friday following his arrest a day earlier on an aggravated menacing charge.

According to court documents, Oba is accused of threatening a relative of Cincinnati Police Lt. Jeffrey L. Butler Jr. The incident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Findlay Market, 100 W. Elder St.

Oba is the leader of the Black Fist.

He is scheduled to appear Sept. 26 before Hamilton County Municipal Judge Timothy Black.

- Compiled from staff and wire reports

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