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Cops, Courts & Fire - Yardley Borough

Central Bucks Woman Ordered to Stand Trial for Harassment of Three Teens Daughter’s Cheer Team

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A 50-year-old Chalfont woman was ordered Friday, May 14, 2021 to face trial for harassing three teens on her daughter’s cheerleading squad.

Raffaela Spone was charged in early March following an investigation by the Hilltown Township Police Department with three counts each of cyber harassment of a child and harassment, both misdemeanors of the third degree.

Following a preliminary hearing on Friday, Magisterial District Judge Regina Armitage found enough evidence was presented to send all charges to the Court of Common Pleas.

The evidence presented included a photograph of a minor victim manipulated in a way to make her falsely appear to be unclothed in a public place. Investigators say they can track messages sent to or about the three minor victims back to Spone’s home and, in some cases, her cellular telephone itself.

While investigators originally believed at least one video showed evidence of the use of so-called Deep Fake face replacement technology, police are at this point unable to confirm the video evidence was falsified.

The police investigation, with the assistance of the Bucks County Detectives, is ongoing.

“Harassment is a crime. It is illegal for an adult to harass a child” District Attorney Matt Weintraub said. “Pennsylvania law does not permit an adult to repeatedly and anonymously annoy, alarm or harass someone.”

“While the original assessment that some of the evidence was created by media manipulation may not end up being accurate, a neutral finder of fact will ultimately have the opportunity to determine if the evidence in this case shows Ms. Spone sent photos, videos and texts designed to harass three innocent children. Judge Armitage’s decision shows she was satisfied the Commonwealth’s evidence met the necessary initial burden.”

The investigation began in July after the mother of one of the victim’s reported to Hilltown Township Police that she received text messages/phone calls from blocked or unknown numbers telling her “you should kill yourself.” She also reported that photos were taken from her daughter’s social media and edited.

Hilltown Township police met with the parents of two additional victims in December. Those parents said they received harassing text messages in August about their daughters. Those messages included pictures of the girls labeled with cruel captions.

Police used a series of search warrants to determine information about the phone numbers the messages were sent from, leading them to the IP address that traced back to Spone.

At the time, all three victims cheered for the Victory Vipers in Doylestown, as did Spone’s daughter.

District Attorney Weintraub said, “Though not legally required to do so until after Ms. Spone’s formal arraignment, we’ve made the digital forensic evidence available now for the defendant’s expert to review.”

“We remain committed to the fairness and integrity of the criminal process, which includes protecting both the rights of the victims and those of the accused.” This case is being investigated by Hilltown Township Police Department and Bucks County Detectives and is assigned for prosecution to Assistant District Attorney Julia K. Wilkins.

Sourced via CRIMEWATCH®https://bucks.crimewatchpa.com/da/29567/post/chalfont-woman-ordered-face-trial-cyber-harassing-three-teens-daughter%E2%80%99s-cheer-squad

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Cops, Courts & Fire - Yardley Borough

Two Women in Separate Incidents, Each with Probation Warrants Set off License Plate Reader Notifications Jailed

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Back to back arrests of two women with arrest warrants whose license plates set off notifications to police were jailed in separate incidents earlier this week.

According to police, on July 15  just before 7 pm., an officer on patrol on the  200 block S. Main street was notified of a hit via the automatic license plate reader  on a vehicle with a registration suspended for insurance cancellation. The officer then observed the same vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on the subject vehicle. Upon confirming that the operator of the vehicle had an active arrest warrant issued by Bucks County Adult Probation, the officer arrested the 42-year-old woman from Yardley on the warrant.  The woman was processed and remanded to Bucks County Prison. The vehicle was released to a family member.  Additional motor vehicle violations may be filed.

On July 16, at approximately 8:18 pm, Yardley Borough Police were on patrol  and received a notification of a hit via the automatic license plate reader on a vehicle with an expired/suspended registration. The officer observed the subject vehicle and utilizing a timing device noted that the subject vehicle was speeding.  The officer conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle on the 200 block of South Main Street. The driver of the vehicle was determined to be operating the vehicle without a valid license, registration, or insurance, said police.

Upon confirming that the operator of the vehicle had an active arrest warrant issued by Bucks County Adult Probation, the officer arrested a 23-year-old woman from King of Prussia on the warrant.  The woman was processed and remanded to Bucks County Prison. The vehicle was impounded.  Additional motor vehicle violations may be filed. The matter is pending court, police said. 

Both matters are pending court dates.

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire - Yardley Borough

More than 80 Police Departments across Southeast Pennsylvania to Target Aggressive Drivers during Statewide Mobilization

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that more than 80 municipal police departments from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties will join the Pennsylvania State Police in a coordinated aggressive driving enforcement wave. This collective effort, part of a statewide mobilization running through August 18, is aimed at reducing the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our area roadways, ensuring your safety on the road.

The enforcement wave will target heavy truck violations, pedestrian safety, red light running, and tailgating. Motorists demonstrating unsafe behaviors, such as driving too fast for conditions or other aggressive actions, will also be cited.

Law enforcement will utilize strategies such as traffic enforcement zones, saturation patrols, speed enforcement details, corridor enforcement, work zone enforcement, and multi-jurisdictional patrol to identify and cite aggressive drivers.
The enforcement is part of Pennsylvania’s Highway Safety Program and is funded by part of PennDOT’s investment of federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If you encounter an aggressive driver, PennDOT offers these tips:

  • Get out of their way and don’t challenge them.
  • Stay relaxed, avoid eye contact, and ignore rude gestures.
  • Don’t block the passing lane if you drive slower than most traffic.
  • Do not attempt to follow or pursue the vehicle. You or a passenger may call the police. But, if you use a cell phone, pull over to a safe location.
  • >

    According to 2023 PennDOT crash data, there were 1,363 aggressive driving crashes, resulting in 39 fatalities and 104 suspected serious injuries in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. Aggressive driving crashes involve at least two aggressive driving factors in the same crash. Factors include, but are not limited to, running stop signs or red lights, tailgating, careless turning or passing, and driving too fast for conditions.

    The goal of targeted enforcement is to reduce the number of aggressive driving-related crashes, injuries, and deaths on roadways throughout the state. Any aggressive driver stopped by police will receive a ticket.

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Cops, Courts & Fire - Yardley Borough

Local Lawmakers Want to Expand DNA Sampling in Criminal Cases

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Last week a group of Bucks County Republican lawmakers with local authorities held a press conference to discuss changes they said need to be put in place regarding the collection of DNA from potential criminals.

State Senator Frank Farry state Rep. K.C. Tomlinson, Rep. Joe Hogan, Rep. Kristin Marcell, Rep Labs, joined First Assistant District Attorney Ed Louka, Bucks County Sheriff Fred Harran, Chief of Lower Southampton Police Department Ted Krimmel, and local law enforcement officials at Comic Collection, in Feasterville to discuss the importance of DNA technology in Pennsylvania’s Criminal Justice System.

Specifically legislation the legislators  are working on would expand the number of DNA samples in the criminal justice system by requiring post-arrest testing of anyone charged with a felony or certain misdemeanors.  This sample-taking would be much like the established process of taking an arrestee’s fingerprints.  Nineteen states currently collect post-arrest DNA samples.

The press conference highlighted the impressive work by the Lower Southampton Police Department in an investigation of a violent robbery at Comic Collection in September 2022, where a DNA match led to the charging of two Michigan men 18 months after the crime.

It will also in mind the importance of conviction integrity served by advanced use of DNA identification. A sample can prove the innocence of someone else who has been incorrectly accused or convicted and imprisoned for a crime when the DNA ends up matching someone.

SB988, and its companion bill HB2030, would also expand the collection of DNA samples for those offenders convicted of criminal homicide, which under Pennsylvania law are their own classification of crime and technically not classified as felonies. This legislation would close that loophole and require collection of DNA samples from these offenders to solve other cold case murders and crimes.

 

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