Region/state briefs 05/14/03

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Police warn local businesses of scam

Cape Girardeau police are warning businesses about a scam artist asking for quick loans.

Over the past month, about a dozen businesses were targeted by a man posing as either a relative of the previous owner of the business or as a fellow professional in need of some quick cash, said patrolman Jason Selzer.

The man calls the business and tells the person answering his car was just towed and he needs a loan of $45 to $60 to get it out. He assures the person that he is good for the money and arranges to come by and pick it up. He promises to pay it back within a day.

"He just catches people off guard, they give him the money and then he's gone," Selzer said.

Police have a suspect, but no charges have been filed as of Tuesday.

"We think we know who it is, but we need people to report it," Selzer said.

The man has posed as a relative of a person who previously owned the business and as a dentist visiting the city. So far, his explanation about getting a car out of an impound lot has remained the same.

River Campus hearing set for May 28 in Jackson

Circuit Judge William Seay has scheduled a hearing for May 28 on the city of Cape Girardeau's motion to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to block the use of city tax dollars to help fund the River Campus arts school project.

Southeast Missouri State University wants to develop a former Catholic seminary into a school for the visual and performing arts.

The Dent County judge scheduled the hearing in a telephone conference call on Tuesday with lawyers involved in the case brought by Cape Girardeau businessman Jim Drury.

The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. in the Cape Girardeau County Courthouse in Jackson.

Nightclub dance floor collapses, injuring one

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Investigators were trying to determine what caused an upstairs dance floor to collapse at a nightclub in historic downtown Springfield, injuring one girl.

The Deep End was preparing to host a concert on "teen night" about 8:50 p.m. Monday in the upstairs dance room when patrons began to notice the floor was unstable, Springfield assistant fire chief Barry Rowell said.

The dance floor collapsed onto the bar below.

There were about 650 people inside the club at the time, he said.

One girl, whose name and age were unavailable, suffered what appeared to be a broken ankle while trying to get out.

Federal health guidelines prevented authorities from gathering more specific details about the girl or her injuries, Rowell said.

Building inspectors returned to the scene Tuesday to continue their investigation.

Former Boy Scout leader pleads guilty to assault

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A former Boy Scout leader faces sentencing next month after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting several boys.

David Brown, 41, of Blue Springs, reached a plea agreement with Jackson County prosecutors to drop all but five of the 32 first- and second-degree statutory sodomy counts brought against him last July. Brown pleaded guilty to those five counts last week.

Brown's sentencing is set for June 19.

Prosecutors said the assaults occurred at Brown's home, at campouts, and at an Independence, Mo., movie theater.

Court documents state that most of the boys were between 12 and 15 years old, but the youngest was 9 when Brown was charged.

Police said the victims knew Brown through scouting.

-- From staff, wire reports

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