percival_james.jpgPalm Beach County

McDonald’s restaurant employee Percival James, 22, of Delray Beach, was fired and arrested after, authorities say, he stole credit card numbers from customers.

James is accused of using a card scamming device to steal information from the cards while working at the drive-through window at the McDonald’s at 701 W. Yamato Road, Boca Raton and selling the information from each card for $500. Several customers began contacting police about unauthorized charges appearing on their cards, leading to his arrest. Some customers said the McDonald’s was the only place they had used their cards. James reportedly confessed after video showed him using the device.

Boca Raton Fire Chief Thomas R. Wood can assure residents that their fire department has some of the best firefighters and paramedics in the state. The department is now the “Best in Florida” after winning a statewide life-saving competition which involved teams from departments from around Florida. When the dust settled, Boca Raton captured first place.

Boca Raton financial adviser Kevin L. Dowd has been charged with insider trading. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey filed criminal charges. Dowd is accused of providing inside information about the New Jersey-based pharmaceutical firm Pharmasset Inc. which is up for acquisition. Authorities say he received $35,000 and a personal watercraft dock for the information.

Rikki Joseph, 16, and Jodens Cius, 17, were arrested for allegedly robbing a teenager of his laptop computer at knife-point. Days after the robbery was first reported, the victim spotted the duo in his neighborhood and called police, the authorities said. The suspects, who denied any involvement, were arrested and charged.

Thoniel Noel, 19, of Lake Worth was charged with sexual battery on two girls, ages 8 and 9. One of the children is a relative, according to police. Noel has admitted having sex with the girls on numerous occasions, police said. It was unclear how the allegations first came to light. He faces seven counts each of sexual battery on a child, lewd or lascivious battery and lewd or lascivious molestation.

Broward County

David Golt, police chief of the School District of Broward County, announced the appointment of Ed Costello as the new investigator with the department, effective the first week of March. Costello worked for 25 years with the Wilton Manors Police Department, where he faced controversies, including allegations that he carried on a relationship with a subordinate in violation of department policies.

Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) broke ground for  a makeover of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Boulevard (also known as Hammondville Road). The corridor runs through the heart of the predominantly black section of the city. The project will include a redesigned streetscape and landscaping and other upgrades. The project begins at a time when residents are praising the upgrading of Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale which is nearing completion and which can be credited to then City Commissioner Carlton Moore. By coincidence, Moore is now consultant for Pompano Beach’s CRA and the Martin Luther King Jr., project which is expected to be just as successful.

Sean Lyons, 26, of Sunrise was charged with several counts of identity theft after officers found a book with hundreds of the names and personal information of people, police said. They also found more information on a laptop he had inside his car, according to the report. He allegedly confessed that he used the information to commit fraud but mostly to file fake income tax returns.

Miami-Dade County

Arnulfo Valdivia Machuca, president of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME), has honored Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho with the Mexican government’s Ohtli Award. It is the highest honor for a civilian living outside of Mexico and is given to those who seek prosperity for Mexican communities abroad. The award was presented at the national conference of the National Association for Bilingual Education. Carvalho joins notables such as former United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson in receiving the honor.

Maury Hernandez, a 33-year-old former Broward Sheriff’s deputy who retired after being shot in the head by a suspect during a traffic stop in 2007, has been arrested. Police, who were called to his Miami Lakes home, arrested him on domestic battery charges after he allegedly tried to strangle his wife who is also a police officer. Hernandez shot a homeless man at a Miami Lakes Haagen-Dazs shop during an altercation in 2011 but was cleared in that case.

Keep an eye on Reggie Johnson, a 6-foot-10, 300-pound center for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. The Hurricanes continue to lay waste to opponents in the Atlantic Coast Conference, where they have crushed Duke and NC State to remain undefeated in conference play. While increasing comparisons to Shaquille O’Neal may be premature, Johnson is emerging as a force in college basketball.

Monroe County

Mini-cell phone towers called “distributed antennas” are being installed in South Florida communities. They are deigned to fill coverage gaps in areas where signals are non-existence or weak, like Monroe County.  Most residents are unaware that the poles and electrical boxes are cellular towers but some communities are catching on and raising questions about radiation and health concerns.


The Florida Keys has a serious cat infestation and wildlife officials have decided to begin a massive project of trap setting to control the population. The “Final Integrated Pest Management Plan” has begun in the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges. Conservation organizations have complained for years that the cat infestation is altering the balance of migrating and wading birds in the Keys because they are defenseless against cats that prey on them.