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Wanted Osceola sex offender's business associate helped him flee country, cops say

<p> An accused child molester is behind bars, after a year-long manhunt that ended by chance, when drug agents working an unrelated case discovered him in the Bahamas.</p><p> Justice may finally come for Loomes Wheeler's alleged victims.</p><p> <a href="" target="_blank">Wheeler, who was wanted in Osceola County since September 2013,</a> was located on the Exuma Islands in the Bahamas on Monday and <a href="" target="_blank">is being booked into the Osceola County jail on Thursday.</a></p><p> Wheeler said he was not on the run, saying instead, "I needed a vacation," and that he spent the months away "fishing."</p><p> Two young girls said the 70-year-old raped them at his home and at the stables where he worked in Kissimmee.</p><p> After his arrest, deputies said Wheeler ran with help from Patrice Smith Bullard. U.S. Marshals arrested her Thursday as she tried flying out to the Bahamas to escape the charges she now faces.</p><p> Deputies said Bullard drove Wheeler to a hotel in Miami and helped him take a boat to the Bahamas to hide out with her ex-husband.</p><p> Wheeler was only caught because Drug Enforcement Agency agents busted the ex-husband's house during another investigation.</p><p> Wheeler told Local 6 nobody helped him get to the Bahamas but had no further statements before he was hauled away to jail.</p><p> Twis Lizasuain, with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, said of the alleged victims, "We hope that they have some relief in knowing that he is going stand trial for his charges."</p><p> When asked if he has anything to say to the victims, Wheeler said, "What victims?"</p><p> Wheeler remains in jail without bond. He is not cooperating with the investigation and he refused to talk with detectives.</p>

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 04:05:19 GMT

Orange County teacher pay raises approved

<p> Orange County teachers will get their pay raises, but it took the Orange County School Board more than five hours to approve how exactly it will be structured.</p><p> In a 6-2 vote, board members decided to give teachers a raise based off "pay for performance."</p><p> Vice chair Kathleen Butler Gordon and Rick Roach voted against the contract.</p><p> According to the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association all teachers will get a base increase of $1,475. Above that developing teachers will get an extra $500, effective teachers will get an extra $1,000 and highly effective $1,300.</p><p> In a release, highlights of the recommendations and school board decision included the following:</p><p> --The school board will include retroactive pay to August 2013 in whatever contract is implemented before a May 31 deadline set by the Florida Department of Education.</p><p> --The salary offer preserves the contractual rights of Professional Services Contract ("tenured") teachers through the adoption of the new salary schedule prior to July 1, 2014.</p><p> --99 percent of teachers who had an evaluation during school year 2012-13 will receive at least a $2,475 increase in salary.</p><p> --Of the 99 percent, teachers rated as "highly effective" will receive a $2,775 increase in salary.</p><p> The pay will be retroactive from August 2013, the beginning of the school year. The board spent several hours asking questions and making comments clarifying their options before the vote.</p><p> All 13,000 teachers will get to vote on the school board's decision, but according to the teacher's union the board's decision is final.</p>

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 04:08:20 GMT

Man accused of stalking 12-year-old girl in Volusia County

<p> Deputies have arrested a man they say stalked a 12-year-old girl in Volusia County.</p><p> At 8:05 a.m., a deputy responded to 1621 Elizabeth Street in New Smyrna in reference to an assault of a juvenile.</p><p> Upon arrival, the deputy made contact with a man who said Tarrence Green, a neighbor who lives down the street, has been continuously following her daughter.</p><p> The man told the deputy her daughter has previously complained to her about Green and his attempts to initiate unwanted conversations.</p><p> The girl told deputies some of the instances in the past, including when Green approached the girl outside a McDonald's.</p><p> Green allegedly told the girl, "I want to talk to you about how you and my daughter are getting along."</p><p> The girl said she and Green's daughter were fine and didn't talk much, and then walked away with her friends toward her school.</p><p> Green then got inside his pickup and followed the girl, asking her to get inside his truck because he wanted to talk to her. Deputies said she refused and when Green left the area, he almost hit one of her friends because he was driving on the sidewalk behind them. The girl told her mother about the situation afterwards.</p><p> A week after the incident, deputies said Green began following the girl and her sister on a scooter. The girl told deputies Green asked her, "Why did you run from me at McDonalds?" The girl ignored Green and continued walking down the street. Deputies said Green began yelling her name, asking her to come back and talk with him. The two girls then ran to a neighbor's house and waited until Green left.</p><p> On Thursday, deputies said the girl was walking north again on the street while on her way to school when she saw Green outside a neighbor's house. He approached her and asked what door he should knock on to get in contact with the neighbor whose house he was standing at. She pointed towards the front door and continued northbound, not speaking with him, deputies said.</p><p> The girl told deputies Green began to ask her questions about his phone and how to get Wi-Fi. She answered his question and said she had to go to school and could not talk.</p><p> The girl saw Green enter a green four-door Buick and he began to drive alongside her while she was walking. While driving at a slow pace next to her, Green asked her to come with him to find Wi-Fi. Deputies said she told him, "No," and began to call her mother on her cellphone.</p><p> According to the girl, when Green realized she was on the phone with her mother he put his finger in front of his mouth as a gesture for her to be quiet. Deputies said Green then sped ahead and parked in a driveway. The girl was in fear to continue walking down the street and went back to her home.</p><p> Later on Thursday, deputies attempted to perform a traffic stop as Green's vehicle merged onto westbound Interstate 4. However, Green proceeded west onto the westbound I-4 without stopping.</p><p> After catching up with Green, the deputy read Green warnings from an issued Miranda warning card. After receiving the warning, Green said he failed to stop because of the fact that he had a suspended drivers license, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.</p><p> Green was then charged with fleeing and eluding, and driving while license suspended. Green was additionally charged with aggravated stalking of a child under 16 years of age.</p>

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 03:38:51 GMT

Students hold 'fight week' at Brevard County school

<p> Merritt Island High School was placed on a code red lockdown Thursday afternoon because of disruptions caused by social media about a "fight week" at the school,  officials said.</p><p> The lockdown was implemented by the school as a precautionary measure, according to Brevard County Schools.</p><p> A rumor was spreading through the school by social media about a "fight week" at Merritt Island High School.</p><p> "The way we're understanding it is, the rumor was that it if the school had eight fights in one week, then there would be a week of school off," district spokeswoman Michelle Irwin said.  "That is not true, but kids were trying to stage some things to try to get that to happen."</p><p> Students remained in their classes until the school day ended.</p><p> The Merritt Island Fight Club Twitter page was created on Thursday and an anonymous student wrote "we may not have got a week of school off, but we still succeeded in 3 periods of no school today."</p><p> "It really caused some disruptions today. The principal, in conjunction with the superintendent, decided to leave students in classrooms to get this kind of settled down," Irwin said.</p><p> Students tell Local 6 they recorded several fights, which broke out in the cafeteria, in the halls between classes and after school, on their cellphones.</p><p> "I feel like my daughter is in a zoo," said mother April Rumbaugh, who came to pick up her daughter early after getting a recorded message from the school's principal Thursday afternoon.</p><p> "In consultation with the north area office, we have called a lockdown for the remainder of the day," said Merritt Island High School Principal Carol Green.</p><p> There is no school in Brevard County on Friday, and Green urged parents to discuss with their children the consequences of being involved in fights.</p><p> Watch Local 6 News and stay with for more on this story.</p>

Published: Thu, 17 Apr 2014 23:16:42 GMT

Is your smartphone protected against data dangers?

<p> This winter, the Target data breach put tens of millions of consumers on alert.</p><p> [WEB EXTRA:<a href="/news/web-extra-encyprting-your-smartphone/25536406" target="_blank"> Encrypting your smartphone]</a></p><p> In April, the Heartbleed threat put passwords, credit cards and other sensitive data at risk.  </p><p> These troubles have consumers thinking a little bit more about how safe and secure their private information is especially on their mobile devices.</p><p> Thanks to the convenience of our smartphones we send important work e-mails and text messages. We bank. We even shop. But how protected are consumers when they use their mobile devices?</p><p> When Jeremy Banner sends sensitive information to others from his computer he protects it using encryption technology. That means he uses a program which turns his information into a secret code so no one but the intended person can read it.</p><p> "I personally have had information stolen from me, my social security number, and I don't want to be- fall victim to that kind of thing again," said Banner.</p><p> But as we move from computers to mobile devices that risk increases.</p><p> So there are a growing number of apps like Silent Text that help you protect everything from text messages to account numbers.</p><p> “Some encryption software is easy enough to use that even your grandma could use it," said Philip Zimmerman who created Silent Text.  He says it keeps your text messages secure.</p><p> There are other apps like Chatsecure and Textsecure, which also encrypt messages.</p><p> Other apps even let you encrypt voice and video messages too.</p><p> Something to keep in mind though is the cost after downloading the app.</p><p> You may have to pay a monthly fee for some services and many use a data connection so that may cost you more money.</p><p> It's important to point out the person you communicate with also needs the app in order to decrypt what you send.</p><p> "It takes two to tango. Consumers are sort of stuck, figuring out which one do they use and then convincing their friends to also use that app, too,” said Zimmerman,</p><p> Now that's talking and texting. How about surfing the net on your phone? That's easier to lock down.</p><p> Browsers like Orweb or Onion Browser help make you invisible online.</p><p> But no matter which service you might select experts suggest consumers do a little bit of research online and see what people are saying about them.</p><p> And remember even when using encryption apps, there's always a possibility your communications could be compromised.</p><p> But in Banner's opinion, any protection is better than none.</p><p> "If you don't use any kind of security, you're really, pretty much, just like leaving your car door unlocked and leaving your wallet on your seat," he said.</p><p> Another important fact: these apps tend to require a very good network connection, so they're less likely to work well in remote environments.</p>

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 03:59:17 GMT

Winter Park packs crowd onto the street

<p> The 13th annual "Dinner on the Avenue" was held on Park Avenue to a sold out crowd. The City of Winter Park closes Park Avenue to traffic and sets up tables that are sold to patron to decorate and provide their own dinner. Most show up in costume to go along with their table themes. On Monday we'll have photos of the people in costumes and in party mode. Today we have some of the table that were decorated at the event.</p>

Published: Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:31:13 GMT

Most-fattening Easter candy

<p> You may pack on the pounds stealing these goodies out of your child's Easter basket.</p>

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:00:00 GMT

Osceola deputy arrested on bribery charges after soliciting nude photos

<p> An Osceola County sheriff's deputy was arrested on Thursday after investigators said he solicited nude photographs from a woman in exchange for dropping her charges.</p><p> Osceola Sheriff's Deputy Marc John Jordanides, 33, has been charged with one count of bribery of or by a public servant.</p><p> According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Jordanides is believed to have used the influence of his position to get the woman to send him nude photographs if he helped get her charges dropped.</p><p> It's not clear what the woman in custody was charged with.</p><p> Jordanides, who worked in the Criminal Investigations Division, was booked into the Osceola County Jail on $10,000 bond.</p><p> According to deputies, Jordanides was immediately removed from duty on Oct. 8, 2013, when FDLE notified OCSO about the criminal investigation. Jordanides, who was hired in 2004, resigned from the sheriff's office on Thursday and an internal investigation is underway.</p>

Published: Thu, 17 Apr 2014 22:13:22 GMT

Video shows duo leading Marion County deputies on high-speed chase

<p> Two Marion County men were arrested with thousands of dollars in their vehicle after leading deputies on a high-speed chase that reached nearly 100 miles per hour.</p><p> Marion County Sheriff's Office charged Jason Champt, 27, and Eliott Graham, 34, with resisting arrest for Wednesday night's chase in Ocala.</p><p> Deputies said the duo failed to stop when deputies attempted a traffic stop for Champt not using a turn signal when he changed lanes on NW 27 Avenue.</p><p> “The vehicle then accelerated and began to flee at a high rate of speed,” according to the arrest affidavit.</p><p> Video showed Champt racing away, nearly hitting a pedestrian, ignoring red lights and<br/>blowing through stop signs, deputies said.</p><p> Deputies then used the precision immobilization technique maneuver, stopping the car. As Champt spoke to deputies, Graham jumped from the vehicle and hid in the woods until a K-9 found him, according to the report.</p><p> Deputies confiscated $38,000 from their vehicle.</p><p> The driver, Champt, will face charges of aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer.</p>

Published: Thu, 17 Apr 2014 22:35:32 GMT

2nd woman arrested in animal torture sex porn investigation

<p> A second woman was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of animal torture after police investigated a pornographic video in which several women tortured and performed sex acts on animals.</p><p> Stephanie Hird, 29, was arrested on five counts of animal cruelty with intent to injure or kill, Local 6 sister station WPLG-TV reported.</p><p> Sara Zamora was arrested April 4 on eight counts of animal cruelty for her role in the video called "SOS Barn," Miami-Dade police said.</p><p> According to a police report, the video shows Zamora and "other unidentified women torturing and killing a wide variety of animals, including chickens, rabbits and more for the sexual gratification of its viewers."</p><p> Hird was arrested as she tried to board a plane Wednesday at Miami International Airport.</p><p> No other details were immediately released.</p>

Published: Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:47:12 GMT

Michaels hack hit 3 million customers

<p> A security breach at Michaels Stores lasted eight months and affected about 3 million customers, the company said Thursday. </p><p> The news comes three months after the nation's largest crafts chain told customers it learned of a possible hack. It's been investigating since then. </p><p> Some customers' credit and debit card numbers as well as expiration dates were compromised, but the company said there is no evidence that information such as a customers' names or PINs were stolen. </p><p> The breach occurred between May 8, 2013 and Jan. 27, 2014 and affected about 7% of transactions made with cards during that time. Not all stores were impacted and a "limited number" of those cards were subsequently used fraudulently, Michaels said. </p><p> The Michaels subsidiary Aaron Brothers was also hacked. Information from another 400,000 cards was potentially stolen at the Aaron Brothers stores between June 26, 2013 and Feb. 27, 2014.</p><p> "We want you to know we have identified and fully contained the incident, and we can assure you the malware no longer presents a threat to customers while shopping at Michaels or Aaron Brothers," wrote CEO Chuck Rubin in a post on the company's website. </p><p> The initial Michaels announcement came just weeks after Target also disclosed it was hacked. The attack on Target affected as many as 110 million customers, including 40 million credit and debit card shoppers at the height of the holiday shopping season.</p>

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 00:28:58 GMT

Solar Bears lose game 1 of playoff series

<p> In front of a very loud, very anxious crowd of over 4,500 Thursday night, the Orlando Solar Bears lost the opening game of their ECHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series 4-2 against the Cincinnati Cyclones.</p><p> The Solar Bears had plenty of chances, shooting the puck at the Cyclones goal keeper 36 times, however, they were unable to sustain any momentum throughout a long stretch of the game after scoring two quick goals in the first period.</p><p> Cincinnati was up 3-2 late in the 3rd period when Cyclones forward Trevor Lewis scored a heartbreaking goal to put the game out of reach for the Solar Bears.</p><p> Good news though Solar Bear fans, it is a best-of-seven series and game 2 will be Sunday at 7 p.m.</p>

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 04:10:30 GMT

On this day: April 18

<p> Paul Revere rides, an earthquake and fires ravage San Francisco, Albert Einstein dies, Grace Kelly becomes a princess, and the U.S. embassy in Beirut is hit by a deadly car bomb, all on this day.<br/></p>

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:00:00 GMT

Photos: Florida mug shots

<p> Here's a look at some of the individuals who have been arrested recently in the Sunshine State.</p>

Published: Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:37:00 GMT