November 16, 2005 in Nation/World

Woman arrested in cell phone case

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Centreville, Va. FBI agents arrested a woman Tuesday who is suspected of robbing four banks in suburban Virginia while appearing to be talking on a cell phone.

Candice R. Martinez, 19, was arrested just before 4 a.m. at a house in nearby Centreville, Va., after an FBI agent spotted a car nearby with license plates they had been searching for.

Martinez is suspected of robbing four Wachovia Bank branches between Oct. 12 and Nov. 4. Security cameras filmed the suspect walking up to tellers and handing them a note demanding cash – all while appearing to be chatting on her cell phone. Investigators weren’t sure whether Martinez was actually talking to someone while she demanded cash or if it was just a cover, the FBI said.

According to an affidavit filed by the FBI, Martinez confessed to the four robberies. Her boyfriend, Dave C. Williams, 19, also confessed to driving the getaway car.

San Francisco adopts law regulating pit bulls

San Francisco The city and county of San Francisco on Tuesday became the first in the state to pass a law regulating pit bulls, in the wake of a state law change last month that allows municipalities to enact limited measures regulating specific breeds.

Mayor Gavin Newsom sought the change in state law after the mauling death in June of a 12-year-old San Francisco boy left alone with two family pit bulls.

The mauling triggered a heated debate in the Bay Area on whether breed specific rules are appropriate or would constitute an unfair ban on pit bulls. A well-organized lobby of pit bull supporters derailed an earlier – and much broader – bill that would have allowed cities to call for mandatory insurance and placement of identity microchips on breeds considered dangerous. The narrower version, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last month, is limited to the regulation of spaying and neutering and backyard breeding.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors was ready to go with just such legislation. Passed unanimously Tuesday was a bill that requires, with certain exceptions, the spaying and neutering of pit bulls. It also strictly regulates breeding of pit bulls.

Murderers escape from Iowa prison

Iowa City, Iowa Authorities searched on Tuesday for two convicted murderers who escaped from the Iowa State Penitentiary by using a homemade grappling hook to scale an unguarded section of the prison’s limestone walls.

Martin Shane Moon, 34, and Robert Joseph Legendre, 27, broke out Monday night from the prison in Fort Madison, where they were serving life sentences.

State Sen. Gene Fraise said he was told by prison officials that the inmates somehow got around a wire that is supposed to activate an alarm when touched.

Fred Scaletta, a Corrections Department spokesman, said the inmates used upholstery webbing, a material used by inmates who made furniture at a shop inside the prison, to scale the wall. The guard tower in that section was unmanned at the time because of budget cuts, he said.

Miami mayor wins easy re-election

Miami Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, seeking a second term, cruised to victory Tuesday in an election delayed two weeks by Hurricane Wilma.

Diaz, a registered independent, had been widely expected to win re-election based on Miami’s improvement in several key areas, including a lower jobless rate, a reduction in crime, more efficient city management and renewed economic activity.

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