Things That Matter

A Man In Need Of Support For His Sick Child Robbed A Pharmacy With A Written Note

Philadelphia police are currently searching for a man who allegedly robbed a Rite Aid pharmacy on January 3. While robberies are certainly commonplace in any urban setting, this particular instance stood out because the man in question quietly presented his demand note to the clerk without violence, aggression, or even showing a weapon. The note read in part: “Give me all the money. I’m sorry, I have a sick child. You have 15 seconds.”

In the video released by Philadelphia police, the suspect, wearing a gray hoodie and dark gloves, entered the Rite Aid store and took an item to the register. The store clerk can be seen scanning the item and putting it in a plastic bag. Then, according to a police statement on the screen before the video is played, the man handed his note to the employee. As the employee reads the message, the video shows the suspect reaching into his pocket, then leaning over the counter. The clerk then opened the register and placed cash into the same plastic bag, which the man concealed in his pockets before leaving the premises on foot. It is unknown how much money the suspect got away with, but the surveillance video does show the employee accessing the register twice.

While the police haven’t identified the suspect, they stated that the event on January 3 resembles an attempted robbery that occurred in the city a few months earlier.

According to CNN affiliate KYW, a man with a handgun intended to rob the 1 Stop Smoke Shop in July, citing his daughter’s kidney transplant as the reason for doing so. A clerk proceeded to give him several hundred dollars, but then the robber stopped, saying that the stolen money “probably wouldn’t help” his daughter’s operation. The suspect then left moments later without the cash. He did not harm any employees, though he had originally threatened to shoot if the clerk did not comply.

Despite the similarities, Philadelphia Police Officer Tanya Little said that the two incidents are not related, adding that the suspect from July’s attempted robbery was never identified. On the day of the attempted robbery, the suspect wore a long coat, sneakers, blue latex gloves, and a black-and-white face mask. He was described as a heavy-set man around 6 feet tall in his late 20s or early 30s. The recent Rite Aid robber has not yet been identified either, though he’s been described as a black man with facial hair between 30 and 40 years old, under 6 feet tall. In the video, he was also wearing glasses.

“We certainly understand that people have needs. That’s just not the way to go about fulfilling those needs,” Philadelphia Police Capain Sekou Kinebrew commented. He added, “There may be some specialized services for this individual and his family that he could be in need of, too. Unfortunately, the only way at this point he may be able to get them, is if he comes in and sees us.”

Although no one can know for sure whether either suspect was actually trying to support a sick child with stolen funds, there is evidence that shows that access to health care reduces crime.

The authors of a 2017 study titled “The effect of Medicaid expansion on crime reduction: Evidence from HIFA-waiver Expansions” found that when Medicaid was expanded, rates of aggravated assault, robbery, and larceny theft fell from 2001-2008. Based on their research, the authors assert that this effect was fueled by not only increasing access to substance abuse treatment, but by increasing access to mental health care and ultimately reducing financial strain spurred by excessive healthcare costs. Over the course of those seven years, the authors estimate that a ten percent increase in such treatment (at an annual cost of $1.6 billion) yielded an annual benefit of $2.9 to 5.1 billion in avoided crime, suggesting that making resources like Medicaid more accessible might serve as an effective way to prevent crime in the future—regardless of the reason for committing it.

Another 2017 study examined the effects of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act between 2010 and 2015. Author Jacob Vogler finds that over the course of these five years, violent crime was reduced by 5.8% and property crime dropped by 3%. He estimates that the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansions resulted in a $13.6 billion savings due to overall crime reduction, and he asserts over and over again that healthcare and criminal behavior share a causal relationship. While there are certainly alternatives to robbing stores, people often commit crimes out of desperation, and as these studies indicate, it would probably be a good idea to examine the causes of this desperation as a preventative measure toward crime reduction in the future.

Hacker Attempts To Steal $4 Million From Puerto Rican Government In Phishing Scam

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Hacker Attempts To Steal $4 Million From Puerto Rican Government In Phishing Scam

John Piekos / Flickr

Hackers attempted to steal $4 million from the Puerto Rican government using a common phishing scam. The scams referred to as business email compromises, target public and private entities every year on the U.S. mainland. Here’s what we know so far.

A hacker attempted to steal millions of dollars from the Puerto Rican government.

Credit: @DavidBegnaud / Twitter

According to reports, hackers were able to infiltrate various agencies in the Puerto Rican government through phishing emails. The hackers attempted to access $4 million dollars by targeting Puerto Rico’s Industrial Development Company and the Tourism Company.

The Industrial Development Company sent around $2.6 million while the Tourism Company wired over $1.5 million. According to the AP, the agencies received emails from a fraudulent employee claiming there was a change of bank accounts.

Federal officials say they were about to freeze the money to prevent loss to Puerto Rico.

David Begnaud of CBS News took to Twitter to update people on the latest developments. According to Begnaud’s conversation with federal authorities, the hackers had not received the money from Puerto Rico and they were able to freeze it. They are working to send the money back to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is not the only victim in a phishing crime. During the same time as the hacking of Puerto Rico, a school district in Manor, Texas lost $2.3 million and another $800,000 were stolen from officials in Griffin, Georgia. More than 23,000 of these scams stole $1.7 billion from businesses and agencies in the U.S. mainland last year. The FBI was able to recover around $300 million.

The news is surprising people on social media.

Credit: @MilagsCon / Twitter

Corruption in Puerto Rico’s government has been a topic of discussion since Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Puerto Rico was recently devastated by a series of earthquakes while still recovering from the 2017 hurricane that devastated the island. Missing relief funds and misplaced supplies have angered Puerto Ricans in recent months as it comes to light.

This latest financial and security shortcoming of Puerto Rico’s government is not helping its reputation.

Credit: @J_Fort47 / Twitter

Puerto Ricans have been showing their displeasure with the elected officials on the island for years. Recently, Puerto Ricans protested and marched until Ricardo Rosselló resigned from his office. The former governor was caught in a group chat scandal in which he made derogatory comments about the LGBTQ+ community and women. There were also allegations of corruption and misuse of funds within his admi9nistration that led to a series of investigations.

READ: The Puerto Rico Department of Justice Is Seeking An Independent Investigation Into Ricardo Rosselló

Mexican Newspaper Slammed After Publishing Graphic Photos Of Woman’s Tragic Death

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Mexican Newspaper Slammed After Publishing Graphic Photos Of Woman’s Tragic Death

SkyNews/ Twitter

In Mexico, the recent brutal mutilation and slaying of a 25-year-old woman are spurning conversations about the country’s efforts to prevent femicide and laws that protect victims from the media.

On Sunday, Mexican authorities revealed that they had discovered the body of Ingrid Escamilla.

According to reports, Escamilla was found lifeless with her body skinned and many of her organs missing. At the scene, a 46-year-old man was also discovered alive. His body was covered in bloodstains and he was arrested.

As of this story wasn’t troubling enough, local tabloids and websites managed to bring more tragedy to the victim and her family by splashing leaked graphic photos and videos of the victim’s body. In a terribly crafted headline, one paper by the name of Pasala printed the photos on its front page with the headline “It was Cupid’s fault.” The headline is a reference to the fact that the man found at the scene was Escamilla’s husband.

According to leaked video footage from the arrest scene, Escamilla’s husband admitted to stabbing his wife after a heated argument in which she threatened to kill him. He then claimed to have skinned her body to eliminate evidence.

Mexic City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, revealed that prosecutors will demand the maximum sentence against the alleged perpetrator.

“Femicide is an absolutely condemnable crime. It is appalling when hatred reaches extremes like in the case of Ingrid Escamilla,” Sheinbaum wrote in a tweet according to CNN. According to reports, Mexico broke records in 2018 when its homicide record reached over 33,000 people that year.

The publication of Escamilla’s mutilated body has sparked discussions regarding the way in which reports about violence against women are handled.

Women’s rights organizations have lambasted the papers that originally published photos of Escamilla’s body and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also expressed criticism of the media’s response to the brutal slaying.

In a press conference on Thursday, President López Obrador expressed his determination to find and punish anyone responsible for the image leaks. “This is a crime, that needs to be punished, whoever it is,” he stated.