FBI Pittsburgh(PITTSBURGH) — What’s a two-year wait for a 400-year-old Bible.The Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh unwrapped its Geneva Bible, dating back to 1615, on Thursday, two years after it was stolen. The Bible was recovered in the Netherlands — purchased by the American Pilgrim Museum in Leiden — and sent neatly to the U.S. in a small metal box and tucked in a decidedly post-17th century invention: bubble wrap. The owner of the museum, dedicated to the refugees who fled England over religious persecution, discovered the book had been stolen when it was announced last year.“This Bible is more than a piece of evidence in a case,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones said at a press conference. “It is a priceless artifact of religious significance to people of many faiths.”The thefts — as well as many books that were not stolen, but damaged — were discovered in July 2018. There were a total of 288 rare, historical books either stolen or damaged at the Carnegie Library, according to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office. Some were worth tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.The thefts, allegedly an inside job and conducted over two decades, resulted in the arrests of archivist Gregory Priore, and a bookseller, John Schulman, who allegedly conspired with him, according to The New York Times.The stolen and damaged material was worth a total of about $8 million, according to authorities.Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala commended the museum owner for being “an honest person” and contacting authorities.“Since the investigation was initiated, with the help of the FBI, 18 books have been recovered, 293 associated maps, plates and pamphlets have been recovered from areas all over the United States of America, as well as London and now the Netherlands,” Zappala said.The recovered edition is a rare version of a Geneva Bible, called a Breeches Bible. The word “breeches” refers to a printing change in the story of Adam and Eve that refers to them wearing breeches.The investigation and recovery of the missing books continues with authorities asking anyone with information to get in touch with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.Carnegie Library’s main location and five smaller branches were established in the late 19th century thanks to a $1 million donation by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, once acclaimed as the richest man in the world. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
DigitalGlobe via Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) — A standoff with the federal government is putting the future of Burning Man at risk.The problems started when the event’s organizer, Burning Man Project, applied for a permit from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to hold the event in northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for another 10 years.Then the BLM responded.The agency, which is part of the Interior Department and manages public lands, issued a draft of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) required for the permit on March 15.BLM wants 10 miles of concrete barriers installed on the event’s perimeter for security, a requirement that organizers install dumpsters and hire companies to haul out the trash and authorities in place to conduct vehicle searches at the gate.The decision didn’t sit well with Burners.“Many of the measures recommended by BLM are unreasonable, untenable, attempt to solve problems that don’t exist, and/or create new (and worse) problems,” Burning Man Project wrote in a fact-checking statement.“Altogether, these requirements would fundamentally change the operational integrity and cultural fabric of Black Rock City, and would spell the end of the event as we know it,” the group added. “This is not an exaggeration.”The organizers encouraged Burners and their supporters to submit comments to the agency by a Monday deadline.“I get they’re trying to save the land but the majority of burners aren’t a——-,” Jessyca Jones, 29, from Salem, Oregon, told ABC News in a message. “We pack it in, pack it out. We have crews literally SCOURING the ground to pick up the tiniest bits of things someone left behind just to make sure the playa is left at its best. We have a trash fence. We have us to keep the perimeter safe.”Burning Man is a “Leave No Trace” event (organizers and hardcore burners do not like the term “festival”), where “camps” form their own communities for a week, share resources and create art together. At the end, there should be no evidence of what happened and the land is supposed to be returned to a cleaner state than before.The event has become such a big phenomenon that it’s developed its own vocabulary, compiled in a glossary on its site. A playa, for example, is defined as: “The Spanish word for beach, also used to describe dry lake beds in the American west such as the Black Rock Desert.”It’s been around for nearly three decades, but the last few years have seen an influx of hipsters and tech moguls and their followers, which have made the event a cultural phenomenon or target, depending on who is opining.The conditions of the permit wouldn’t affect this year’s conclave, which is slated for Aug. 25 to Sept. 2. It could potentially derail next year’s event, though.But central to the ethos of the week is sense of self-governance, which is why the new government proposals are particularly ingratiating.“We are our own city. We have no government, and I’m not saying it would work in everyday, but keeping the feds as far away as possible from encroaching into the event has worked OK thus far. Now, that’s not to say they aren’t present every year. But they’ve not built a f—— wall around us and it’s been just fine,” Jones said.The tension with the government has taken some longtime Burners by surprise.“They, Burning Man Project, has worked with BLM together for so long, it’s generally been a very collaborative relationship,” said Cabe Franklin, a New Yorker who has attended 14 times since 2000.He said he knows that it might be hard for some non-Burners to understand why trash cans are a contentious issue.“Once you have trash cans, people just dump their trash, people fill them up and they overflow,” Franklin said. “If you know there’s not a trash can you don’t walk out of your tent with your trash. You leave it inside and leave with it. This may sound silly but, say you take cereal, before you go, you take the bag out of the box. You get rid of a lot of excess packaging even if [it’s from] before you get there.”The government also has concerns about lights being used at night, including large work lights, high-intensity lasers and search lights, which BLM said can disrupt birds and other wildlife, and contribute to light pollution. As a result, the potential to ban or curtail some of the lighting is on the table.Burning Man Project isn’t having it.“Back on Earth, Burning Man has a robust nightlife which, combined with the artists’ technical creativity and the darkness of the playa, heavily features light-based artwork,” the organization said in its fact-checking statement. “The nighttime Black Rock City skyline has become a hallmark of the Burning Man experience, including innumerable LEDs, lasers, and searchlights throughout the city.”It denies that the night lights affect the local fowl population. “In fact, birds are rarely encountered on the playa in hot summer months,” they said.Organizers also call the idea of vehicle searches at the gate “unconstitional” and unnecessary.“For many years, BRC has published and widely publicized a list of prohibited items that are not allowed into Black Rock City, including weapons, narcotics and fireworks. We enforce these restrictions when items are discovered in vehicles during entry,” Burning Man Project said.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Alex/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court on Thursday said a 40-foot, 16-ton Latin cross in Bladensburg, Md., can stand, upholding the constitutionality of a religious symbol on public land, but stopping short of creating a clear new standard for evaluating similar displays nationwide.“Although the cross has long been a preeminent Christian symbol, its use in the Bladensburg memorial has a special significance,” Justice Alito wrote in the opinion.“For nearly a century, the Bladensburg Cross has expressed the community’s grief at the loss of the young men who perished, its thanks for their sacrifice, and its dedication to the ideals for which they fought,” he said. “Its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of a ‘hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions.”The decision was 7-2. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
wingedwolf/iStock(EDINBURG, Texas) — An American teenager has been released from immigration custody in Texas after being detained for almost a month, according to federal officials.Francisco Erwin Galicia, an 18-year-old U.S. citizen who was born in Dallas and lives with his family in the Texas border city of Edinburg said he was driving with his brother and some friends on June 27 when they were stopped at a U.S. Border Patrol inland checkpoint in Falfurrias. Galicia said the federal agents separated him from his brother, who was born in Mexico but was living undocumented in the United States, according to ABC Dallas affiliate WFAA.Galicia said he had his Texas state driver’s license, U.S. Social Security card and a copy of his birth certificate in his wallet at the time, but he was detained by Border Patrol for three weeks then transferred to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Pearsall, Texas.“They thought they were fake,” Galicia told ABC Dallas affiliate WFAA in an interview Tuesday. “I had all my papers, but they still didn’t believe me. I don’t know the reason why.”Galicia said he lost at least 20 pounds while living in terrible conditions in detention.“There were up to 70 people in a room,” he told WFAA. “They wouldn’t let us brush our teeth or go to the bathroom. There were people who were very sick inside, and it’s really inhumane the way we were treated.”Galicia told the affiliate that his mother eventually called Texas-based immigration attorney Claudia Galan for help. Galan said she took Galicia’s birth certificate and other documents to the facility where he was being housed two weeks ago but didn’t have any luck until she contacted members of the press. Galicia’s story soon captured national news headlines.Galicia was released from ICE custody on Tuesday, officials said.“Francisco’s English is not good. So they probably thought, if he was a U.S. citizen he should be able to speak English,” his lawyer told WFAA. “They also probably thought that because he’s with other undocumented immigrants that he was one too.”A joint statement from ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection appeared to accuse Galicia of providing agents with “conflicting reports” and “multiple birth certificates” while in custody.“Generally, situations including conflicting reports from the individual and multiple birth certificates can, and should, take more time to verify,” the federal agencies said in the joint statement, obtained by ABC News on Thursday. “While we continue to research the facts of the situation, this individual has been released from ICE custody. Both CBP and ICE are committed to the fair treatment of migrants in our custody and continue to take appropriate steps to verify all facts of this situation.”Neither agency would comment on the status of Galicia’s 17-year-old brother, Marlon, who told The Dallas Morning News that he agreed to be returned to Mexico.Galicia’s attorney said she believes her client was profiled and that she plans to file a lawsuit on his behalf against both agencies in the coming weeks.“Their job is to deport people. Their practice is to be tough,” Galan told WFAA. “But they should have looked into his claim from day one. They had the documents.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Stelsone/iStock(BALTIMORE) — A Maryland father has been hit with multiple charges after authorities said he physically abused his teenage son and gave the boy, who was having suicidal thoughts, a shotgun.“Just do it,” Anthony Lewis, 46, allegedly said after putting the shotgun into the hands of his 14-year-old son earlier this year, according to court documents obtained by ABC station WMAR in Baltimore.The victim told authorities that on at least three instances, his father beat him with a belt 20 times each, according to WMAR. The teen said his dad strangled him, too.“I saw weird colors in my eyes and it started turning black,” he said of the incident, the station cited the court documents.The alleged incidents happened between Jan. 19 and June 30, according to court documents obtained by the stations. It was not clear on which date the alleged shotgun incident occurred.The victim — who told authorities his father allegedly forced the shotgun into his hands after he admitted to thinking about suicide — was not named by authorities. The child was not injured or wounded in the alleged shotgun incident.A warrant for Lewis’ arrest was issued on Nov. 20. He’s been charged with three felonies and four misdemeanors, including; first-degree assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, child abuse in the 2nd degree, assisted suicide by providing means, firearm use and failure to send a child to school.Lewis is being held without bond at the Jennifer Road Detention Center, according to jail records.According to court documents obtained by WMAR, he waived an attorney at his initial appearance on Nov. 21.His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 23.If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 [TALK] – for free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
ABC News(NEW YORK) — A powerful storm brought very heavy and powerful winds to the Northwest on Saturday. Over eight inches of rain was reported in parts of Washington state with widespread reports of wind gusts over 50 MPH with even more significant gusts at the mountain tops.It has been a remarkable start to 2020 in the Northwest United States. Forks, Washington, recorded its wettest January and wettest month on record – totaling 30.78 in for the month. Also in Forks, it rained every day of January for the first time ever. Seattle also tied a record number of wet January days for the city.As a result of so much precipitation, major river flooding is occurring or forecasted to impact some rivers in Washington state, causing flooding in some of the suburbs outside of Seattle. The threat for landslides will persist due to the ground being very saturated. This powerful frontal system is forecasted to track east and part of this system will track across the country this week going to coast to coast.Today the immediate concern is the gusty winds that will be spreading across California and Nevada. Gusts in parts of Central and Northern California could exceed 50 MPH at times today.The strong winds will spread into Southern California and Southern Nevada Sunday night and Monday. Gusts could reach as high as 70 MPH or higher in higher elevations. This could cause downed power lines and downed trees.Additionally, heavy mountain snow will spread into parts of the northern Rockies on Sunday and reach the front range of Colorado on Monday.Then Late Monday and Tuesday a part of this system will track eastward and bring some snow to parts of the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandle. The system will also spread strong storms, including severe weather to the Southern U.S.Severe weather will be possible beginning Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday across parts of the Southern U.S. from Texas to the Carolinas. Damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes will all be possible.The result of all of this is locally one to two feet of mountain snow for the Rockies, with locally over three inches of snow in the Denver metro area as well as locally over six inches of snow to parts of Oklahoma and Texas. Meanwhile along the Mississippi River valley, locally two to three inches of rain will be possible. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
BlakeDavidTaylor/iStockBy ANTHONY RIVAS, ABC NEWS(EL PASO COUNTY, Co.) — The stepmother of an 11-year-old Colorado boy who went missing before his body was found across the country two months later is facing a new charge of solicitation to escape the jail where she’s being held for his murder.Letecia Stauch sought help from a fellow inmate at El Paso County Jail through both a conversation and letters in which she laid out a plan to break through her cell window with a broom handle, according to a probable cause affidavit.The inmate who reported Stauch said she was probably asked for help because she was “Italian and kind of the bad boy.” Staunch also offered to give money to the inmate, who had access to a broom, in exchange for help, according to the affidavit.“You have my word to make sure we are MIA,” Stauch said in the letter, according to the affidavit. “I got us covered!”The inmate said she wasn’t going to help Stauch because she didn’t want to make “her own situation worse” and because she knows about Stauch’s charges and “doesn’t want to be involved or have anything to do with her,” the affidavit said.A shakedown of Stauch’s cell uncovered a letter addressed to her daughter saying that if “something comes up on the news like she is no longer in the jail or is missing to not be afraid.” She also urged her daughter to keep normal and focused.Stauch is being held for first-degree murder in addition to other charges related to the death of Gannon, who went missing Jan. 27 and was found 1,400 miles away near Pace, Florida, on March 20.Stauch was the last person to have seen Gannon. She told police he had stayed home from school, but that he’d left to go to a friend’s home in the afternoon.One of Stauch’s neighbors came forward with surveillance footage a few days after Gannon went missing. It appears to show Stauch entering a red pickup truck around 10:13 a.m. and Gannon entering soon after. The video showed Stauch returning with the vehicle four hours later, without Gannon.Gannon’s father, Al Stauch, was on deployment with the National Guard from Jan. 25 to 28 and has cooperated with authorities. He filed for divorce from Letecia in March. Gannon’s birth mother, Landen Hiott, had spent months pleading for her son’s safe return.Letecia Stauch faces life in prison without parole if she’s convicted of first-degree murder. She has yet to make a plea, but is set to appear in court for a status conference on Friday.ABC’s Clayton Sandell contributed to this report.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Department of JusticeBy MARK HANRAHAN, ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Cards which were being offered for sale online purporting to exempt the bearer from ordinances requiring face coverings to be worn in public are fraudulent, according to Department of Justice officials. The cards, which for the moment are no longer available for purchase, say “wearing a face mask poses a mental and/or physical risk to me. Under the Americans with Disability [sic] act, I am not required to disclose my condition to you.” The card also carries a warning that violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act could be met with “steep penalties,” including fines of $75,000 or $150,000. The cards feature a Department of Justice logo and a logo incorporating a bald eagle for the group that produced them, the Freedom to Breathe Agency. The cards also warn: “Denying access to your business/organization will be also [be] reported to FTBA for further actions.”“Do not be fooled by the chicanery and misappropriation of the DOJ eagle,” U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin of the Middle District of North Carolina said in a statement. “These cards do not carry the force of law. The ‘Freedom to Breathe Agency,’ or ‘FTBA,’ is not a government agency.” FTBA’s Wix website and Facebook group page have been taken down. A new, private Facebook group was created last week, and now has over 400 members. The FTBA’s communications team said the cards were as “an educational tool” to help people “understand their legal and human rights so they can stand up to the unlawful, unscientific and unconstitutional mandates,” in an email to the New York Times. The group’s founder, Lenka Koloma, advertised versions of the cards which did not feature the Department of Justice logo on her personal Facebook page. Her post advertising the cards was flagged as false information by the social media giant’s fact checkers. Her personal website also features videos on how to deal with “face mask shaming.”ABC News has reached out to the FTBA for comment. Face masks have been a flashpoint for conflict during the coronavirus outbreak, with a string of violent encounters — including the murder of a store security guard — tied to confrontations over the coverings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Breonna Taylor FamilyBy BILL HUTCHINSON, SABINA GHEBREMEDHIN and STEPHANIE WASH, ABC News(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — The city of Louisville, Kentucky, has reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor, the emergency medical technician shot to death by police in her own home, sources told ABC News.The settlement is expected to be announced by city officials and Taylor’s family on Tuesday afternoon and includes a police reform package, sources said.Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Taylor’s family, has called a news conference for 2 p.m. ET at the Louisville mayor’s office to announce the “significant update in the Breonna Taylor case.” Crump said in a statement that members of Taylor’s family will attend the news conference.Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping inside their Louisville apartment on March 13 when officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department attempted to execute a “no-knock” search warrant. Three plainclothes officers opened Taylor’s front door and “blindly” opened fire into their apartment, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed in April by Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer.Taylor, a licensed EMT, was shot at least eight times and died, according to the lawsuit filed by Palmer.Taylor was accused of accepting USPS packages for an ex-boyfriend who police were investigating as an alleged drug trafficker, according to the warrant.The police said they knocked several times before using a ram to open the door and were allegedly met with gunfire. Walker said he called 911 before firing one shot from his licensed firearm, hitting one of the officers in the leg.The three officers involved in the shooting, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and detectives Brett Hankinson and Myles Cosgrove, were placed on administrative reassignment pending the results of an investigation. Hankison was later fired for his role in the incident.According to his termination letter that was shared with local reporters, Hankison violated procedure when he fired 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment while executing the warrant.“I have determined you violated Standard Operating Procedure … when your actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life when you wantonly and blindly fired ten rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor,” the letter stated.No charges have been filed against the officers. Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s attorney general, released a statement this week saying the investigation was still ongoing.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
pinkomelet/iStockBy BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News(BOSTON) — All in-person learning for Boston Public School students has been suspended after health officials found that the citywide COVID-19 positivity rate jumped significantly in the past week.Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said in a letter sent on Wednesday to school district employees that all in-person learning activities are to cease starting on Thursday due to an alarming jump in new coronavirus cases citywide.Cassellius’ announcement came just hours after the Boston Public Health Commission released data showing the citywide seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate has jumped from 4.1% to 4.5% to 5.7% in the last three weeks.“We remain committed to providing in-person learning opportunities to our students as soon as it is safe to do so, and will continue to prioritize our students with the highest needs for in-person learning,” Cassellius wrote in the letter obtained by Boston ABC affiliate WCVB.In-person learning will not resume until the citywide COVID-19 positivity rate falls below 5% for two straight weeks, officials said.Despite the positively rate climbing above 4%, school officials had allowed high-needs students to continue in-person leaning until now.About 1,300 high-needs students, which include students with learning disabilities and homeless children, had been attending class as part of a hybrid model, and more students were expected to begin in-person learning this week, officials said.Since the academic year began on Sept. 21, the bulk of Boston’s public school students have been attending school remotely.Last week, a judge rejected a request from the Boston Teachers Union for an injunction to stop teachers from going into school buildings after the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate surpassed 4%.“The BTU supports the decision to switch to all-remote learning in light of the troubling increase in COVID positivity rates announced today,” the union said in a statement. “However, we remain very concerned about the impact on the learning experience of high-needs students. We continue to advocate for a safe and sustainable plan that safely provides the additional services that many of our special education, EL and other students continue to need.”The seven-day average for new coronavirus cases across Massachusetts has been steadily rising for nearly seven straight weeks — jumping by 86% in the last month, officials said.“We have said all along that we will only provide in-person learning for students if the data and public health guidance supports it, and this new data shows that we are trending in the wrong direction,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said at a news conference Wednesday.The problems in Boston and across Massachusetts mirror a trend sweeping the country. New coronavirus cases in the United States saw a major increases over the last week, according to an internal memo by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services obtained by ABC News.The memo said 387,590 new cases were confirmed during the period of Oct. 12 and Oct. 18, which represented a 12.6% increase from the previous seven-day period.The national test-positivity rate decreased to 5.7% from 5.9% in week-to-week comparisons. Roughly 21% of hospitals across the country have more than 80% of their intensive care unit beds filled, according to HHS.The agency said 44 states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new cases, four jurisdictions are at plateau and eight are going downIn the Northeast, Connecticut and New Jersey, which have had relatively few new cases of coronavirus, both announced increases this week in their respective weekly positivity rates. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Tuesday that his state’s weekly positivity rate climbed to 3%, the highest it’s been since June. New Jersey’s positivity rate has climbed to 3.5%.The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut released a joint statement on Tuesday urging “all of our residents to avoid unnecessary or non-essential travel between states at this time.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.