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.

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North Carolina Spanish Teacher Dies In Shootout With Mexican Cartel

Things That Matter

North Carolina Spanish Teacher Dies In Shootout With Mexican Cartel

Union Academy Charter School / Facebook

A beloved Spanish teacher at a North Carolina school was killed in a shootout with a Mexican cartel. The Spanish teacher and coach was popular among students, faculty, and staff and lived by the motto “All Love…No Fear.”

Coach Barney Harris was beloved at the Union Academy Charter School.

Harris’ death stunned the community and the school’s social media lit up with memorials and remembrances of the teacher. Students responded with notes honoring the coach. Yet, the varsity basketball and track coach for the Charlotte-area charter school was hiding a secret that quickly came to light shortly after his death.

As students, faculty, and staff expressed sorrow for his sudden death, details emerged that changed the narrative. Turns out that Harris was killed in a gunfight with a Mexican cartel. Authorities in North Carolina revealed that Harris’ body was found in a mobile home in Alamance County, where he allegedly met with drug runner Alonso Beltran Lara.

The details of Harris’ death have shocked more than his community.

The school’s social media pages quickly deleted tribute posts to the Spanish teacher when the details were revealed. Authorities were cautious with releasing the information to make sure that the facts were verified.

“I can tell you this right now. When we are dealing with the Mexican drug cartel, somebody’s probably going to die as a result of this right here, somewhere else. And we did not want to put it out there until we could get a good grip of what’s going on here,” Sheriff Terry Johnson told WCNC.

According to authorities, it is believed that Harris, along with his brother-in-law, killed a drug runner for the cartel and a gunfight ensued. Harris was killed during the shootout.

According to authorities, the two interstates, Interstate 85 and Interstate 40, have created a well-used corridor for moving money and drugs for the cartels.

Authorities seized five firearms, about $7,000 in cash, and 1.2 kilograms of suspected cocaine from the scene. No other people in the mobile home park were injured.

READ: It’s No Surprise El Chapo’s Wife Is In Jail, Her TikTok Was A Look Inside #CartelLife

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Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

Things That Matter

Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

New York Post

A recent video shared by a border patrol agent highlighted a shocking moment of smugglers literally dropping two little girls over a 14-foot high fence in the New Mexico desert. Right in the dead of night.

In the disturbing video, the smugglers can be seen climbing the fence and then dropping the two 5-year-old and 3-year-old sisters to the ground.

El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez shared that the incident occurred “miles from the nearest residence.”

The two little girls (Yareli, 3, and Yasmina, 5) were rescued after agents spotted them during a virtual surveillance sweep. The two sisters are from Ecuador and were dumped by human smugglers at the border wall according to an official.

“[US Immigration officials] need to verify the identity of the parents and confirm they are the parents and make sure they are in good condition to receive the girls,” Magdalena Nunez, of the Consulate of Ecuador in Houston, explained to The New York Post on Thursday. “It’s a process … We’re working to make sure it’s an expedited process and the girls spend as minimal time as possible separated from their parents.”

“Hopefully it can happen soon, in a week or two, but  it can take up to six weeks. We are working to make sure sure it happens as quickly as possible,” she explained before noting that the two sisters are “doing very well.”

“We have been in contact with them and confirmed they are in good health,” Nunez shared. “Physically, they are perfect — emotionally, obviously, they went through a hard time, but I guarantee you right now they are in good health and they are conversing. They are very alert, very intelligent.”

In a statement about the incident, the Ecuadorian consulate confirmed that the two girls had been in touch with their parents, who live in New York City.

“The Ecuadorian Consulate in Houston had a dialogue with the minors and found that they are in good health and that they contacted their parents, who currently live in New York City,” explained the consulate.

In a statement from the girls’ parents sent to Telemundo, the girls’ parents had left their daughters behind at their home in Jaboncillo, Ecuador, to travel to the US. The parents of the two girls have been identified as Yolanda Macas Tene and Diego Vacacela Aguilar. According to the New York Post, “The girls’ grandparents have asked President Biden to reunite the children with their parents. Aguilar paid a human smuggler to take his kids to the border — though the grandparents didn’t know how much they paid.”

“[The parents] wanted to be with them, their mother suffered a lot, for that reason they decided to take them,” paternal grandfather Lauro Vacacela explained in an interview with Univision.

It is still uncertain as to whether or not the girls’ parents are in the country legally.

Photos of the girls showed them having snacks with Agent Gloria Chavez.

“When I visited with these little girls, they were so loving and so talkative, some of them were asking the names of all the agents that were there around them, and they even said they were a little hungry,” Chavez told Fox News. “So I helped them peel a banana and open a juice box and just talked to them. You know, children are just so resilient and I’m so grateful that they’re not severely injured or [have] broken limbs or anything like that.”

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