Monthly Archives: October 2011

Gay Couple Target of Vandalism

**UPDATE:  My station ended up doing a report.  Click here to view***

I was sent a couple of disturbing photos from a gay couple out in Parker, Colorado.    I sent the information and photos to the station assignment desk for a possible story.

The first photo is vandalism on the garage belonging to the couple.  They said they found the message yesterday.

A garage belonging to a gay couple in Parker, CO

And then this morning, the couple sent me another photo of a noose left at their front door.

A noose left at the couple's front door.

Pretty disturbing.   The couple says they have notified law enforcement.    Who’s behind the vandalism?  Good question.  The couple says they have been the target of harassment where they live (in a condo complex).

The couple tells me they are afraid to even walk outside of their condo.   Right now the station is contacting law enforcement to verify a report has been filed and to see what investigation, if any, is being done.

The Wells Fargo Imposter Scam – Watch Out

Over the last several weeks the newsroom has been bombarded with emails and phone calls from viewers reporting the Wells Fargo Imposter Scam.

How it works:

In some cases, people will receive a call from an unknown number or even a text message reporting their card or account has been frozen or deactivated.  The message or voice behind the number will then ask people to enter personal identifying information so their account can be unfrozen.  The culprits can use that information to steal your identity and clean out your account.

What Wells Fargo says:

Wells Fargo says it will never ask for personal information over the phone.  From the company’s website:

Telephone scams:Unless you initiated the contact, do not give out personal information over the telephone. If the call is not initiated by you, always ask for a call-back number. Use legitimate sources to verify Wells Fargo contact information, including:

  • Wellsfargo.com
  • 1-800-869-3557
  • Official contact information on your bank statements
  • Phone numbers listed on your ATM, debit or credit card

What to do about it:

You can report the scammers’ numbers here to reportphish@wellsfargo.com.

These types of phishing scams are quite common  and can hit thousands of people at one time.

A real-time search shows the Wells Fargo Imposter Scam is hitting people in several states.

I remember when I lived back in Albuquerque I received numerous text messages from a credit union claiming my account was frozen.  I wasn’t even a member of the credit union.   Beware.

In the Middle of Occupy Denver – What I Saw [PICS BELOW]

As you’re reading this I’ll likely be in bed after covering the Occupy Denver movement downtown for 10 hours.  Hopefully my journalism was fair, objective and accurate.

Covering protests are challenging because any observations I make, how I phrase words and my tone of voice can be interpreted as bias.

There’s no doubt there’s a lot of passion behind the protests and a lot of skepticism too.    I tried to be as neutral as possible while making significant observations.

My work began tonight/today after a regular shift at work.  I got home but I couldn’t sit still as the Occupy Movement was making news.  I headed downtown with the intent to tweet everything I saw.

You can read all of my twitter posts here.  You’ll have to scroll down quite a bit to see my first tweet with the #occupydenver hashtag.     I did quite a bit of tweets.

There was so much I saw and experienced, it’s hard to put everything in a nutshell.    But here are my impressions:

On the Protestors:

-Most protestors wanted to be peaceful.  Some tried to echo this attitude with megaphones.  They were successful at peace for the most part.

-A very small minority of protestors seemed to be trouble makers.  One suggested to break into the Governor’s house. At the end of the protest, some were yelling a lot of cuss words at police and calling them pigs.   It was clear these few protestors were trying to bait police.

-While there was no clear leader or organizer, some protestors wearing orange vests tried to self-police the crowd.  In many cases they were successful by removing drunks who were causing trouble. They also did a good job of keeping people from entering Broadway.

-Rumors were rampant in the crowd.  Several times some protestors announced with assurance police were coming at a specific moments.

-Spirits were high and there was a lot of comradery among protesters.

On our presence

-Someone said they saw a protestor throw a rock at our news unit.  I didn’t see this.

-I mentioned on air that some protestors seemed to be aggressively posturing at the capitol building.   Later we were yelled at by a guy with a mega phone who said we were promoting violence on air.

-Many protesters were happy we were there to document and observe and thanked us.

-One protestor started verbally attacking the wife of one of my  co-workers.

-One protestor was a champ and stood behind our crew and looked out for us as encounters between some protestors and police got intense.

-People who were able to see our live video coverage said we did a good job and actually came up to us on scene to shake our hands.  That felt good.

On Police

-I expected people to physically resist once police started breaking down and removing tents.  That didn’t happen.  Protestors mainly watched officers in riot gear dismantle tents methodically.

-With loads of vulgarities tossed at police towards the end of the protest, officers didn’t seem phased at all.  They remained stoic and reserved.

-Organization was clear.  It was clear there was a plan to surround protestors bit by bit.  It also seemed police didn’t move in quickly.  They waited until the weary went home and the crowd got smaller.

Overall:

In the end it was a fascinating scene to see everything play out.  Props to the peaceful protestors.  Props to the police who restrained themselves despite some pretty inciting comments from some people.   With the exception of a few bad protestors, this event didn’t result in serious injury or death.

While some have said there is no clear message among the protestors, it is clear they don’t like corporate greed and its influence over government.   Here are some of my cell phone pics:

A Walk Through Occupy Denver – Video & Pics

Just west of the capitol building is the Occupy Denver movement.   I’ve been wanting to walk through here for a while to check it out.  Today I got my chance after work.

Here’s about 4 minutes of raw video I shot with my cell phone as I walked through the area full of tents.  There’s some commentary.  I spoke to one protestor and got video of a booth of people who were handing out free food.

Here are some photos I snapped in the area.

I was only there for a few minutes, so my observations clearly aren’t representative of the whole Occupy Denver movement.  Here’s what I saw while I was there briefly:

-Passionate protestors with signs who seem to believe in what they’re doing

-I couldn’t tell if some people were homeless or if they were there to truly protest.  I don’t mean to offend, but I’m just being honest.  A lot of people were sleeping at around 5:30 pm when I got there.   I saw a couple of shopping carts next to tents too.

-I could smell marijuana constantly and I saw some folks drinking beer.  A very Woodstock vibe.

-It doesn’t appear to be out of control at all.  There seems to be a self-controlled order to the area and among the people.

-Everyone was friendly

-For as many tents I saw there, I didn’t see much litter at all.  It was pretty clean, although it did smell bad in some areas around some tents. I can’t describe the smell.  Maybe a little bit of body odor.

Overall, I found it fascinating to see a slice of a nation-wide movement.  Whether you agree with the Occupy Wall Street movement or not, its part of American history now.  Let’s see what happens next.

My Time in a Police Simulator

Today I got the chance to jump into a police simulator.  Check out the story here and what it’s all about. 

I’ll tell you, when I was in the middle of it, my heart was racing.

When I first gripped the gun, I could feel my palms sweat and my pulse rate skyrocket.

The scenario I was placed in was an active-shooter situation inside a police station.   When the suspect came across the screen the first time, I didn’t shoot hoping to engage him verbally.

Bad mistake.

The suspect entered a room and shot another victim.

As a reporter I’ve covered numerous officer involved shootings.   Often I would receive emails from viewers asking why the cop didn’t shoot the suspect in the arm or leg to subdue them.

After today’s simulation I can clearly declare things don’t work out like they do in the movies and TV.    Police have a tough job.

I fired off 12 shots during the simulation and only hit the two suspects three times.  As I said in the video, the simulation was quite nerve racking.  I could only imagine how real life experiences feel.

Nails in Cheese Photo an Urban Legend

Someone by the name of Matt (I won’t reveal his last name or email) sent the newsroom the following message Tuesday:

Myself and friends of mine have been making some pretty horrific finds at local dog parks around town. Someone is putting small inch long nails into chunks of cheese and scattering them throughout the parks. I have attatched pictures of the pieces I collected which really tells the story. I really hope you guys could at least mention this in your broadcast so dog owners out there are aware of it and are watching their dogs super carefully when they take them to the dog parks. Thanks so much and keep up the great reporting!

Thanks,

Matt (last name redacted) 

Here’s the photo Matt included in his email:

A photo floating around the internet - An Urban Legend

Before Matt sent this email to the newsroom, I saw the same exact photo on Reddit.  I’ve also seen the photo floating around on Facebook.

Here’s an article I found calling the photo an urban legend.

Other recent news articles I’ve read also say this *may* have happened in Buenos Aires.