Golden Grove Prison Renamed John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility

FREDERIKSTED The Office of the Governor, in conjunction with the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections, hosted an official renaming ceremony of the John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility on Thursday.

Lieutenant Governor Tregenza A. Roach attended the official renaming ceremony of the facility at the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections on St. Croix.

“Mr. Bell deeply cared for all these islands. He had a common sense approach to the people of the Virgin Islands,” Lieutenant Governor Roach said. “His life is really a testament to how we should look about relating to people who have committed offenses. The best thing we can do to honor his memory is to really be a place of rehabilitation and take up the cause as he has. Thank you, Mr. Bell for how you have touched the territory with your good work.”

In accordance with Act. No 7645, sponsored by former Senator Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, the ceremony celebrated the accomplishments of John A. Bell, Sr., a noted native son of the soil and public servant, according to the BOC. He has received one of the highest honors a Virgin Islander can receive from one’s community.

Golden Grove Prison Renamed John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility
Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections Director Wynnie Testamark at the renaming ceremony in St. Croix on Thursday.

John A. Bell, Sr., served six terms as a Senator in the Legislature of the Virgin Islands from 1975-to 1982 and 1985-to 1986. For his indelible service and commitment to the people of the Virgin Islands, the 30th Legislature of the Virgin Islands bestowed upon him a Medal of Honor.

It also named the Correctional Facility, located in Estate Golden Grove, on the island of St. Croix, in his honor on July 28, 2014.

“After eight years of the enactment of Act No. 7645 and Mr. John A Bell, Sr. waiting for his name to be affixed at the facility, the Bryan/Roach Administration has found it fitting to host this ceremony,” said BOC Director Wynnie Testamark.

Tropical Wave To Bring Showers; Risk Of Rip Currents For St. Croix

SAN JUAN A tropical wave will bring a few rounds of showers to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico today.

A high risk of rip currents continues across northern Puerto Rico, Culebra and St Croix, the National Weather Service said this morning.

In total, the National Hurricane Center is monitoring four tropical waves in the Atlantic basin, including one in the Caribbean, according to the latest advisory.

But for the Caribbean Sea, North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, no tropical cyclone formation is expected over the next five days, according to the NWS.

Tropical Wave To Bring Showers; Risk Of Rip Currents For St. Croix

Una onda tropical producirá aguaceros durante el día.

El riesgo alto de corrientes marinas continua a través del norte de Puerto Rico, Culebra y St. Croix.

No se esperan nuevos ciclones tropicales durante los próximos cinco días.

Social Security Resources That Can Protect Elders From Scams

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is on June 15. On this day, communities, seniors, caregivers, governments, organizations, and the private sector unite to prevent the mistreatment of and violence against older people.

Social Security scams are widespread across the United States and its territories. Scammers use sophisticated tactics to deceive you into providing sensitive information or money. They target everyone – especially the elderly – and their tactics continue to evolve.

Here are five easy-to-use resources to prevent Social Security fraud:

· Check out our Fraud Prevention and Reporting page to learn about Social Security fraud – and how we fight scammers at www.ssa.gov/fraud.

· Read our Scam Alert fact sheet to learn what tactics scammers use and how to protect yourself at www.ssa.gov/fraud/assets/materials/EN-05-10597.pdf. · Create your own personal my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount to stay one step ahead of scammers. Please read our blog post at blog.ssa.gov/my-social-security-what-to-know-about-signing-up-or-signing-in for more information about creating or signing in to your personal my Social Security account.

· Learn about other types of fraud on our Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) Scam Awareness page at oig.ssa.gov/scam-awareness/scam-alert. You’ll also see how to report these scams to our OIG and other government agencies.

· Read our blog post to learn how to guard your Social Security card – and protect your personal information at blog.ssa.gov/guard-your-card-protect-whats-important-to-you/.

If you suspect that have been a victim of identity theft, please call the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-438-4338 or access www.idtheft.gov .

Please share this information with your friends and family to help spread awareness about Social Security imposter scams.

For more information on Social Security benefits and services, please call 1-800-772-1213, access www.socialsecurity.gov or visit your local field office available at www.ssa.gov/locator/.

By VICTOR RODRIGUEZ

Public Affairs Specialist

Social Security Administration, Puerto Rico and USVI

Man Who Raped Underage Girl Arrested As He Lands At Airport

FREDERIKSTED A man who allegedly raped an underage girl in Carlton last month was arrested when he landed at the St. Croix airport, authorities said.

Detectives from the Criminal Investigation Bureau arrested Benjamin Osorio-Torres upon returning to the territory at the Henry Rohlsen Airport at 6:25 p.m. Wednesday, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

“CIB Detectives investigation revealed on May 19, 2020, Osorio-Torres 43-years-old sexually assaulted a minor female in Estate Carlton, Frederiksted,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said.

Osorio-Torres was arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by the Honorable Judge Darryl Donohue for Aggravated Rape in the First Degree.  

Bail was set at $50,000; Osorio-Torres was remanded to Bureau of Corrections pending his Advice of Rights Hearing on Friday, June 10, 2022, at the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands.   

All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Woman Stole Credit Card Info To Buy $2,337 In Gold Jewelry: VIPD

FREDERIKSTED — A St. Croix woman is accused of stealing customer’s credit card information in order to place an order with Crucian Gold for $2,300 in jewelry, authorities said.

On March 8, 2022, Detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit initiated an investigation into Ms. Leah Benjamin and fraudulent activities, the Virgin Islands Police Department said. 

The investigation revealed that Leah Benjamin admitted to stealing several unknown customer’s credit cards information to maliciously make numerous purchases at different businesses, which included Crucian Gold, where she ordered $2,337.00 worth of jewelry, according to the VIPD.

On June 9, 2022, at approximately 1:01 p.m., Detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit executed an arrest warrant in #213 Williams Delight, where Leah Benjamin was placed under arrest without incident.   

Benjamin 22-years-old was charged with Obtaining Money by False Pretense, Grand Larceny, and Access to Computer for Fraudulent Purposes.  

Bail was set at $20,000 for the alleged crime. Unable to post bail, Leah Benjamin was remanded to the Bureau of Adult Corrections Facility pending Advice of Rights Hearing scheduled for Friday, June 10, 2022, at the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands. 

All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Man Stole Check From Cancer Charity To Pay For Print Job

CHRISTIANSTED A St. Croix man who allegedly stole a check from a cancer charity to pay for his own personal printing job has been placed under arrest, authorities said.

Noel Chaparro, 33, surrendered to detectives with the VIPD Economic Crimes Unit at 9:25 a.m. Thursday, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Chaparro was served with a warrant for his arrest at that time and charged with obtaining money by false pretenses, forgery and grand larceny, according to the VIPD.  

“On January 13, 2021, Detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit initiated an investigation that revealed on December 23, 2020, Noel Chaparro stole a check belonging to Ribbons for A Cure, which was written out to the order of WSTX,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said. “He then added his name on the check, then used the check to pay House of Printings for items he purchased.”

The comments on social media today about Chaparro’s arrest were not particularly kind or constructive.

“Wow really rastaman go and plant some some we’d and sell with ur nonsense,” Jeffrey Winston said on Facebook.  

“I  tell u them vegas dangerous on St. Croix meh-son.” Jorge Acevedo said.

Bail for Chaparro was set at $20,000.00. Unable to post bail, he was remanded to the custody of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections pending an advice-of-rights hearing scheduled for today. 

All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Man Charged With Vehicular Homicide For Killing Pedestrian

FIVE CORNERS A St. Croix man is facing an aggravated vehicular charge after the Jeep he was driving crashed into a pedestrian in La Grande Princesse as he was leaving 2+2 Nightclub, authorities said.

The Traffic Investigation Bureau (TIB) officers were notified by the Emergency Call Center 911 to investigate a vehicle collision at 10:22 p.m. Tuesday, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

The collision involving a pedestrian occurred in the westbound lane of Northside Road Route 75 in the vicinity of 2 Plus 2 Bar and Restaurant in Estate La Grande Princess, according to the VIPD.

Upon arrival at the scene the Officers observed the pedestrian, a male individual later identified as Mr. Howard Dyer laying on the southern edge of the westbound lane, and the vehicle involved a Suzuki Vitara, at a stop in the westbound lane approximately five (5) feet from the pedestrian. 

The preliminary investigation reveals that the vehicle operated by the driver was heading westbound. The victim exited the Two plus Two establishment and began walking eastward then came to a stop facing south in front of the crosswalk. Mr. Dyer was observed waiting for the traffic heading eastbound. The evidence indicated that when it appeared to be safe to cross Mr. Dyer began to cross the roadway in the crosswalk. 

The evidence further indicates that while in the crosswalk, heading south towards the area where he parked his white pick-up truck, Mr. Dyer saw a vehicle traveling westbound towards him at a high rate of speed, so he began to run southward while still in the crosswalk then was struck by the operator of the green Suzuki Vitara. 

Howard R. Dyer, 79-years-old, succumbed to his injuries at the scene of the collision. He was identified by a family member. 

On Wednesday, June 8, 2022, 29-year-old Sayif T. Brooks was arrested by the Traffic Investigation Bureau Investigators for Negligent Homicide.

Bail was set at $25,000; Brooks was remanded to the Bureau of Corrections pending advice of rights hearing. This incident is an ongoing investigation by TIB.

Woman Charged With Stealing $30K From Elderly Couple

CHARLOTTE AMALIE A St. Thomas woman was arrested in prison and charged with stealing at least $30,000 from an elderly couple, authorities said.

K’zsa Hodge, 26, of Estate Altona, was arrested on elder financial abuse and exploitation charges including embezzlement, forgery, grand larceny, possession of forged instruments and obtaining money by false pretense, V.I. Attorney General Denise George said.

Ms. Hodge was arrested at the Bureau of Corrections based on a warrant signed by Superior Court Magistrate Judge Paula Norkaitis on June 3, 2022, according to AG George.

Woman Charged With Stealing K From Elderly Couple
VIDOJ mugshot of K’zsa Hodge.

K’zsa Hodge is currently an inmate at the Bureau of Corrections serving a two-year sentence year for a prior forgery case. She has served six months and is up for parole consideration.

According to an affidavit of probable cause in support of the arrest warrant, dated June 3, 2022, on or about January 28, 2022, VIDOJ investigators received a complaint from a senior citizen in relation to allegations of a theft and forgery of his by his wife’s caretaker, Kzsa Hodge.

Hodge was hired to take care of his wife who was suffering from a hip injury. The complainant and his wife are each senior citizens ages 76 and 84 respectively. The complainant was able to identify 31 of his checks made payable to K’zsa Hodge, which he had not authorized or issued. The total amount of the checks fraudulently drawn on the accounts of the complainant totaled $30,100.00.

Superior Court Magistrate Judge Norkaitis found probable cause and set bail at $30,000 on the arrest warrant.

Hodge is scheduled for an advice-of-rights hearing on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at 10:00 am.

Attorney General George reminds the public that any person charged with a crime in the Virgin Islands is considered to be innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction

V.I. Port Authority Temporarily Closes Cyril E. King Airport

CHARLOTTE AMALIE The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) temporarily closed the St. Thomas airport at 4 p.m. Monday “to perform a minor repair.”

But by 4:50 p.m., VIPA said the Cyril E. King Airport’s runway was reopened.

“VIPA thanks the traveling public for their patience,” the quasi-governmental authority said on Twitter.

CIB Investigating Woman Found Unresponsive in West Caret Bay 

CHARLOTTE AMALIE  A male individual contacted 911 at 1:41 p.m. today and reported that he traveled to the residence of his female friend and discovered her unresponsive in her apartment in West Caret Bay, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.

Emergency Medical Technicians responded to the scene, checked the female, and discovered she had no vital signs, according to the VIPD.

“The woman was identified as 37-year-old Megan Frazier from Indiana,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said. “The cause of death is unknown pending an autopsy. There were no apparent signs of foul play.”   

Anyone having any information about this incident please contact the Virgin Islands Police Department at 340-774-2211 or the Criminal Investigation Unit’s Major Crimes Division at 340-642-8449. You can also contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.