*~ November, 2008 -- Page 1 ~*
Security cameras outside Broward
County businesses deferred until January (11/14/08)
By Scott Wyman |South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Widespread opposition from retailers has at least temporarily stalled a push to require thousands of security cameras to be installed at drugstores and shopping centers across Broward County.
County commissioners promised in the summer to debate and vote Thursday on the extensive surveillance that was sought after the shooting death of a sheriff's deputy in a drugstore parking lot in 2007.
Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, the primary sponsor of the proposal, said a lack of cooperation from businesses hampered his work to draw up specifics. But he plans to have them ready by January.
"I wanted to work together to write an ordinance, but we got the same rhetoric from the retailers from day one," Eggelletion said. "They are saying to the public that they want their money, but they aren't concerned about their safety."
Broward Sheriff's Sgt. Chris Reyka was slain in August 2007 outside a Pompano Beach Walgreens. There were no cameras in the parking lot, and the shooting remains unsolved.
The initial proposal by Eggelletion would have required around-the-clock surveillance outside 13,000 businesses. Commissioners in August created a task force that included representatives of large and small retailers to study the idea.
Retailers questioned whether the surveillance systems would deter crime and whether many businesses could afford them. Costs could vary widely, but county officials have cited estimates that a surveillance system for a small shopping center could cost more than $11,000.
Eggelletion had said from the beginning of the debate that he was willing to compromise on details. On Thursday, he said the proposal he will offer in January would not require 24-hour surveillance, would phase in installation over three years and would set different standards on the extent of camera coverage based on other security measures.
Scott Wyman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4511.
By Patty Pensa |South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Boca Raton police on Friday launched a multipronged effort to fight crime — from new Web sites and e-mail alerts to signs with catchphrases.
The latest initiative is part of the department's overall anti-crime strategy. Part of the new programs depend on residents getting involved.
In time for the holidays, the department introduced the "Watch your bag Boca!" public awareness campaign to encourage residents to be more vigilant with their belongings. But Police Chief Dan Alexander said the catchphrase applies year-round, considering 94 percent of the city's crime is property crime.
The latest initiative includes ads in newspapers and at movie theaters, street flags, window clings and a mobile billboard. The VIPER logo will be predominant. VIPER, which stands for Visibility, Intelligence, Partnerships, Education and Resources, was introduced after Nancy Bochicchio and her daughter, Joey, were found bound and shot to death in their SUV outside the Town Center mall in December.
"The original VIPER launch was a good framework," Alexander said. "Now we've added a lot to that framework in order to connect with the community in a meaningful way."
The department is trying to be more creative in discouraging crime, Alexander said.
More about the effort can be seen at bocaviper.com.
By CHRISTINA DeNARDO
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 15, 2008
BOCA RATON — Boca Raton police have unveiled a beefed-up version of its crime prevention program including a new website, bocaviper.com, that will give residents access to daily alerts on crime news that they can share on social networking sites and let them know when a sex offender moves into their neighborhood.
The program, called Viper Vantage, will also contain a youth-oriented web site, bocaviperkids.com, to educate children on safety and crime prevention, including anti-bullying tips and "What If" scenarios. The program - expected to debut soon - even has a mascot, Viper, which schools can invite to talk to students about safety tips and crime prevention.
"We need to engage the public," said Boca Police Chief Dan Alexander. "We need to get people informed about what is going on around them."
The department is embarking on a major marketing campaign of its Viper Vantage program, which soon will be seen on storefronts, traveling billboards, movie theatres and flagpoles. In time for the holidays, its "Watch your Bag Boca" initiative aims to educate people about keeping their belongings safe. Though it's a common sense approach to curbing crime, even Boca Raton's mayor could use the reminder.
At an event to launch the program on Friday, Mayor Susan Whelchel left her bag on stage as she chatted across the room.
"We need to go back to basics," she said.
BOCA RATON, FL -- It has been 20 months since Randi Gorenberg walked out of the Town Center Mall toward her SUV, only to be discovered murdered an hour later, and 11 months since Nancy Bochicchio and her 7-year-old daughter Joey were discovered shot to death in their SUV at the same mall.
Since then, there has been stepped up mall surveillance, a composite sketch of the suspect, a third possible victim who survived and grainy footage of two men trying to make $1,000 in purchases in Massachusetts and Connecticut using Randi Gorenberg's credit card.
The sketch is now enhanced.
John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" is back in the area and displaying a picture of two young men who could be tied to the case.
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw doesn't necessarily believe they are suspects but wants to talk to them just the same.
"My sense is they just got the card and used it, that doesn't mean they don't know the person they got it from," said Sheriff Bradshaw.
On South Beach Wednesday was a familiar crime fighter taping a segment for "America's Most Wanted."
With him was Sheriff Bradshaw, who has a team of detectives trying to help Boca Police break a case the Sheriff acknowledges has gotten under his skin.
"There's hardly a day goes by I don't think about it," Bradshaw says.
Each man is saying that when they think about the case, little Joey stares back at them, neither necessarily believing the two men in the sketch are killers.
So where is the case?
The first anniversary of the murder of a little girl and her mother at a high end Mall, in a high priced town approaches.
"Somebody murdered two women and a seven-year-old girl," Walsh says, "They have to be taken off the street. I'm the father of a murdered child."
Though 40 percent of the crimes addressed on "American Most Wanted" are solved, it is just a TV show, not an investigating agency.
The fact that this is the fourth time the show has covered the mall murders says a lot about the lack of progress of the investigation.
By Dianna Cahn |South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hoping to make a break in the 2007 slaying of a woman who had just left the Town Center mall in Boca Raton, a top TV crime show this weekend will air enhanced photos of two men who made purchases with the woman's credit card.
America's Most Wanted sent blurry photographs released in September by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to NASA and had them enhanced so that the men might be identified, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera. The TV show also filmed a segment with Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw on Wednesday.
Randi Gorenberg, 52, was fatally shot less than 40 minutes after leaving the mall March 23, 2007.
Investigators said the men made $1,000 worth of purchases in Connecticut and Massachusetts on Aug. 12 with Gorenberg's credit card number.
Gorenberg was recorded on surveillance cameras leaving the mall at 1:16 p.m. At 1:54 p.m., a witness heard gunshots and saw her pushed from her Mercedes SUV in Delray Beach.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Sgt. Bill Springer at 561-688-4013, or Crime Stoppers at 800-458-8477.
By MICHAEL LaFORGIA
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Courtesy of NASA and a national TV show, detectives now know a little more about the men suspected of using a credit card stolen from Randi Gorenberg, the prominent wife and mother whose March 2007 murder remains unsolved.
America's Most Wanted, which took an interest in the case soon after Gorenberg was shot to death on March 23, 2007, after shopping at the Town Center mall in Boca Raton, asked the space program's specialists to examine footage from a mall in Holyoke, Mass, where detectives said Gorenberg's credit card was used to buy food and video game consoles a year and a half after Gorenberg's death.
Authorities still are looking for the men.
After analyzing the footage, the specialists concluded that one of the men was wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap, said Teri Barbera, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.
It's another small scrap of information in a case that still haunts the communities in southern Palm Beach County.
In a park west of Delray Beach, near Morikami Park and Jog roads, witnesses heard gunshots and saw Gorenberg pushed to the pavement from her black Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle.
The SUV sped away and later was found abandoned behind Home Depot less than 2 miles away, at Jog Road and West Atlantic Avenue.
Anyone with information about the case can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS (8477).
John Walsh and America's Most Wanted are going to attempt Saturday (WSVN-Ch. 7, WFLX-Ch. 29, 9 p.m.) to do something that has eluded South Florida law enforcement--create a break in the Boca Raton Town Center mall murders.
The credit card of Randi Gorenberg, one of the victims, has reportedly been used in Massachusetts and Connecticut. America's Most Wanted has images taken from surveillance video of the man who allegedly used the card.