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Alleged Alameda Bank Robbers Arrested

ALAMEDA, CA Two brothers with criminal records have been charged with multiple felony counts for a string of five armed robberies at banks in Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley and Fremont, police said.

Russell Bartlow, 53, and Jerron Bartlow, 36, who live together in the 2000 block of 100th Avenue in East Oakland, were arrested in Oakland last Wednesday and were charged last Friday. They’re scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland on April 10 to enter pleas. Berkeley police Officer Mike Parsons wrote in a probable cause statement that the Bartlow brothers were arrested for robberies at a Chase Bank branch in Oakland on Nov. 19, a Citibank branch in Alameda on Dec. 19, a Bank of the West branch in Oakland on Jan. 23, a Chase Bank branch at 1870 Solano Ave. in Berkeley on Feb. 9 and at a bank in Fremont on March 18. A total of at least $40,000 was taken in the robberies, Parsons said.

Security camera footage and motor vehicle records connected the Bartlow brothers to the series of crimes, Parsons said. One of the suspects wore a security guard jacket and was armed with a small-framed black revolver, according to Parsons. In addition, a records check indicated that Russell Bartlow was on probation for a conviction in federal court for a bank robbery, Parsons wrote.

When officers searched the brothers’ home they found a security guard jacket, black cargo pants, black Nike shoes and a small black revolver that were all consistent with what authorities believe Russell Bartlow wore
or used during the bank robberies, Parsons said. Russell Bartlow ultimately confessed to four of the five robberies, including both incidents in Oakland and the incidents in Berkeley and Fremont, according to Parsons.

He also admitted to wearing the security guard uniform and being armed with a revolver during the robberies, Parsons said. Russell Bartlow is charged with nine counts of second-degree robbery and one count each of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm and possession for sale
of a controlled substance.

Jerron Bartlow is charged with two counts of second-degree robbery and one count of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm. Prosecutors say Russell Bartlow has seven prior felony convictions dating back to 1985. They say he has three convictions for armed robbery, two for second-degree robbery, one for second-degree commercial burglary and one for possession for sale of a controlled substance.

Prosecutors say Jerron Bartlow has a prior conviction for possession for sale of cocaine base.

Russell Bartlow is being held in custody in lieu of $1.2 million bail and Jerron Bartlow is being held in lieu of $410,000 bail.

Bay City News; Image by Renee Schiavone, Patch

Senators move bills to help felons re-enter society

LINCOLN Since originally being sentenced to death at 17 for shooting two men and killing one of them, Shakur Abdullah changed his name and found a new life helping others. He was released in January 2016 after more than 40 years in prison, and now works as a case manager for Omaha-based Reconnect Inc., a nonprofit organization founded by another former inmate that teaches current and former prisoners job and life skills. But under Nebraska law, Abdullah will not be able to vote until 2018. Nebraska lawmakers ended the state s permanent ban on felon voting in 2005, but added a two-year waiting period as a last-minute compromise to make sure the measure had enough votes.

The same sentence that has been discharged is being used to prevent you from voting, Abdullah said. It makes you feel like a pariah or a second-class citizen.

That would change under one of several bills moving forward in the Nebraska Legislature that aim to help felons re-entering society after prison stints. A measure Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha designated as his priority bill, increasing the likelihood it will be debated by the full Legislature this session, could restore voting rights to about 7,800 Nebraska felons as soon as they finish their sentences. Wayne said his bill would reverse a racially motivated decision Nebraska lawmakers made more than 140 years ago to keep newly enfranchised black Americans from voting. People of color are disproportionately represented in Nebraska s prison system: racial minorities made up 15 percent of Nebraska s population in the last census but are nearly half of its prison population.

They knew it was a way to keep minority voters at the time disenfranchised, Wayne said. We cannot escape that history. Wayne s bill has advanced from committee and is awaiting a first vote from the full Legislature. So are measures that would require jails to offer inmates state-issued IDs before leaving, extend a 2014 ban on asking about criminal history on public employers job applications to include private employers and allow people who had been incarcerated to petition to have their convictions set aside. Bills that would allow drug felons to receive nutrition benefits are stalled in committee, but their sponsors plan to work on compromises over the summer.

The bills are part of a larger comprehensive approach Nebraska lawmakers are taking to the criminal justice system, American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska executive director Danielle Conrad said. On the front end, senators have introduced legislation that would change how bail, fines and fees are charged to keep indigent people out of jail for being unable to pay, and the Legislature narrowly advanced a bill that would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders, though supporters lack the 30 votes to override a near-certain veto. And lawmakers are considering a measure that would limit solitary confinement and other restricted housing in the state s prison system.

We no longer have the luxury of focusing on one discreet area in the spectrum, Conrad said. Three of the four re-entry bills have no price tag, and the Secretary of State s office predicted the felon voting change would cost about $1,000 to remove references to the two-year waiting period on its website and other information. Those fiscal notes make the measures a common-sense, low-cost alternative to more prison spending as Nebraska faces a projected $895 million revenue shortfall during the upcoming two-year budget cycle, Conrad said.

Each of these pieces working together are critically important in ensuring we re presenting returning citizens with opportunities for civic engagement, Conrad said.

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Those returning citizens now can get help through organizations like Omaha s Reconnect Inc. and church-based organizations, which Abdullah said have seen a groundswell of support in the decade since then-President George W. Bush signed the Second Chance Act of 2007. Reconnect Inc. helps current and recently released prisoners pay for state IDs and birth certificates, but it can t use grant money for IDs and would be able to do more if prisons would make sure inmates had IDs before they left, he said. State prisons now issue ID cards that identify the holder as a recently released inmate, but those aren t seen as official IDs needed to apply for a job or apartment. Prisons would offer state ID cards or driver s license renewals, but not new driver s licenses, under an amended bill sponsored by Sen. Matt Hansen of Lincoln and unanimously endorsed by the Judiciary Committee.

A measure sponsored by Sen. John McCollister of Omaha that would prevent private employers from asking about criminal history on job applications advanced on a 4-3 party line vote from the Business and Labor Committee. It s opposed by the Nebraska chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which says delays in learning about potential employees criminal history could lead to expensive hiring delays.

Knowing the criminal history certainly is relevant if they ve been convicted of identity theft and are going to work with credit cards, or if they re going to be a security guard or day care worker who was convicted of sexual assault, state director Bob Hostelman said.

Finding a job, voting and otherwise reintegrating with the community will help reduce recidivism rates, said Jasmine Harris, a member of the Urban League of Nebraska Young Professionals who organized an inaugural Black and Brown Legislative Day in February.

The most important thing that people need to know is that people deserve second chances, Harris said. We need to make them feel welcome.

Woman catches man recording her in Macy’s fitting room at Mall at …

ROBINSON TOWNSHIP, PA

A woman experienced a dressing room nightmare. Advertisement

On March 25 around 7 p.m., Heather Lipinski says she was trying on bathing suits in the fitting room at Macy’s at the Mall at Robinson.

“I did not even have the top put on fully, and I noticed this phone,” said Lipinski.

Lipinski says the phone stuck out of a pocket on the floor, so she reached down for it.

“I grabbed it, and he came underneath and grabbed it out of my hand,” said Lipinski. Startled, she peered out the door and told a nearby associate.

Lipinski added, “My biggest fear is he has me naked on his phone.”

Mall security showed her surveillance video. Lipinski says it shows a man rushing out of the dressing rooms and out of the mall to his car in the parking lot.

“The mall security guard came in and saw the guy and was like, oh that’s our guy,” said Lipinski.

Robinson Township police released a still image from that surveillance video hoping someone can identify him.

Lipinski shared her experience on Facebook to warn other women. Since Saturday, it has been shared more than 2,000 times. Another young woman reached out to Lipinski on Facebook to let her know the same thing happened to her. Hannah Chauvet described an experience similar to Lipinski’s – a cellphone peeking out of a pocket. The only difference is that she says it happened in a fitting room in the Forever 21 at the Mall at Robinson on Feb. 8, 2016. Chauvet just turned 18 but says she was only 16 at the time. Lipinski wants it to stop.

“I am not OK,” said Lipinski. “No, I am not going to let it go. I am not going to let it go until they find him.”

The Mall at Robinson released this statement: “The safety of our customers and associates is our top priority. As a company we do not comment or provide any additional information on ongoing investigations. Please contact the local Robinson Township Police Department with any questions.”

Macy’s released this statement: “TheMall at Robinson s top priority is to ensure a pleasant and safe shoppingexperience for all of our guests. We are cooperating with RobinsonTownship Police Department regarding an incident inside Macy s Department Storeon March 25.”

WEBVTT ED CLOTHING ON IN THEMALL.SHANNON: HERE IS PITTSBURGH’SACTION NEWS 4 ALYSSA RAYMOND.ALYSSA: A WOMAN SHARED HEREXPERIENCE ON FACEBOOK TO WARNOTHER WOMEN.IT HAS SINCE BEEN SHARED MORETHAN 2000 TIMES, AND NOW WE ARELEARNING SHE IS NOT THE ONLY ONETHAT EXPERIENCED THIS EXACT SAMETHING AT THE SMALL.HEATHER: MY BIGGEST FEAR IS HEHAS ME NAKED ON HIS PHONE.ALYSSA: ON SATURDAY, HEATHERLIPINSKI WALKED INTO A FITTINGROOM IN MACY’S AT THE MALL ATROBINSON AND STARTED TRYING ONBATHING SUITS.HEATHER: I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE THETOP PUT ON FULLY, AND I NOTICEDTHIS PHONE.LIPINSKI SAYS THE PHONE STUCKOUT OF A POCKET, SO SHE REACHEDDOWN FOR IT.HEATHER: I GRABBED IT, AND HECAME UNDERNEATH AND GRABBED ITOUT OF MY HAND.ALYSSA: STARTLED, SHE PEERED OUTTHE DOOR AND TOLD A NEARBYASSOCIATE.MALL SECURITY SHOWED HERSURVEILLANCE VIDEOLIPINSKI SAYS IT SHOWED A MANRUSHING OUT OF THE DRESSINGROOMS AND OUT OF THE MALL TO HISCAR IN THE PARKING LOT.ROBINSON TOWNSHIP POLICERELEASED THIS STILL IMAGE,HOPING SOMEONE RECOGNIZES HIM.HEATHER: THE MALL SECURITY GUARDCAME IN AND SAW THE GUY AND WASLIKE, “OH THAT’S OUR GUY.”ALYSSA: ANOTHER WOMAN REACHEDOUT TO LIPINSKI TO LET HER KNOWTHE SAME THING HAPPENED TO HER.SHE SHARED THIS PICTURE WITH USTAKEN ON FEBRUARY 8, 2016 FROM ADRESSING ROOM IN FOREVER 21 INTHE MALL AT ROBINSON.SAME DEAL — A CELL PHONEPEEKING OUT OF A POCKET.SHE SAYS SHE WAS 16 AT THE TIME.LIPINSKI WANTS IT TO STOP.HEATHER: I’M NOT OKTHEY’RE GOING TO CONTINUE –“LET US GO.”NO, I’M NOT GOING TO LET IT GO.I’M NOT GOING TO LET IT GO UNTILTHEY FIND HIM.ALYSSA: THE MALL RELEASED ASTATEMENT TO US, SAYING SAFETY