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Crime

Cleaning Service Employee Faces Legal Action After Confronting Employer Over Delayed Payment; Charges Levied

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ST. THOMAS — An incident at a local cleaning service has resulted in felony charges against Yolande Joseph, a previous staff member. The charges include third-degree assault and causing a public disturbance, stemming from an altercation with the company’s proprietor.

Court records indicate that local authorities were alerted to a commotion at the Human Services building on a recent Thursday evening. Upon their arrival, they took statements from the cleaning service’s owner. She narrated that around 7:00 p.m. that day, some of her staff had raised concerns about Joseph’s unsatisfactory performance. This feedback led to a heated exchange between Joseph and the owner. In an attempt to calm matters, the proprietor opted to temporarily remove herself from the vicinity.

A vigilant security personnel, having been made aware of the escalating disagreement, escorted Joseph out of the premises. However, this was not the end. Outside the building, Joseph reportedly confronted the business owner again, urgently requesting her due salary and a transport facility home. The employer reassured Joseph, specifying that she would process the payment on September 1, once she had verified the hours worked. She also arranged for her spouse to transport Joseph back to her residence.

Unexpectedly, the situation took a dramatic turn. Joseph, overwhelmed by her emotions, fell to the ground. In a conspicuous act, she disrobed partially, vocalizing her reluctance to depart in Creole. Things took a violent twist when she purportedly hurled a water container at the owner, followed by a physical onslaught. The onsite security personnel tried to mitigate the situation but also became a target of Joseph’s ire. It wasn’t until the timely arrival of another security member that the matter was brought under control, as described in the court filings.

The business owner, although declining medical care, made the decision to file a formal complaint against Joseph, leading to her arrest. The subsequent court appearance for Joseph was on Friday morning. The judiciary, after deliberating, granted her pre-trial freedom, subject to specific stipulations. These comprise a $25,000 unsecured bond, the requirement for her to continue her role at the cleaning firm while ensuring a minimum distance of twenty feet from the owner and her colleagues.

The next scheduled court hearing for Joseph is on September 15. Additional mandates for her include staying within the confines of the St. Thomas/St. John/Water Island region, unless there’s a sanctioned exemption from the court, handing over her travel documents, and engaging in weekly telephonic check-ins with the local probation department.

For USVI News, remember to stay updated on this and more developing stories from around the region.

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Crime

Daring Nighttime Maritime Operation Foiled by CBP Agents

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In a bold effort thwarted by vigilant Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, a man now faces charges in the Virgin Islands District Court following a thwarted human smuggling operation from Tortola to St. John.

The drama unfolded on the night of February 23, near the serene Leinster Bay in St. John. CBP Marine Interdiction Agents, during their coastal patrol, detected an unlit boat making its secretive journey from the shores of Tortola. Employing night vision technology, the agents meticulously tracked the vessel as it stealthily crossed international waters, arriving in the tranquil vicinity of Leinster Bay, near the historic Annaberg ruins, under the cloak of darkness.

The boat’s attempt to slip back to Tortola was abruptly halted when the agents, revealing their presence with activated lights and sirens, demanded the vessel to stop. Lorenzo Charles, the captain hailing from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, was apprehended, and the boat was seized and towed to St. Thomas.

The capture revealed Charles and five passengers aboard: three individuals from India, including a minor, an Argentinian, and a Dominican Republic national. It was determined that none were U.S. citizens, having entered the country without authorization.

Charles promptly acknowledged his wrongdoing upon interrogation, confessing to a Homeland Security Investigations special agent about the illicit nature of his actions. He disclosed a desperate attempt to settle a $4000 debt by performing the smuggling operation, arranged after a mysterious lender demanded repayment.

According to Charles, the operation was meticulously planned, with the embarkation from Tortola’s West End under the guidance of his creditor, who loaded the five passengers onto his vessel. Despite lacking GPS equipment, Charles was confident in his navigational skills, having observed St. John from Tortola. He admitted to previously smuggling individuals into the U.S. and hoped this operation would extinguish his remaining debt.

The passengers shared a different story, claiming payment to another for their transport from Tortola to St. John, highlighting the complex web of human smuggling operations.

A detention hearing for Charles is scheduled with U.S. Magistrate Ruth Miller. Prosecutors advocate for his detention, citing a significant flight risk, though they remain open to conditional pre-trial release given the identification of a reliable third-party custodian.

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Crime

Law Enforcement Swiftly Captures Suspect in Christiansted Robbery Spree

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Following a series of robbery incidents in Christiansted on February 20, the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) demonstrated remarkable efficiency by arresting 28-year-old Koi Thomas. The alarming events, reported to the emergency services in close succession at approximately 10:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., prompted a swift and thorough response from the VIPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau detectives.

Eyewitness accounts from the victims were crucial in the investigation, enabling law enforcement to quickly gather surveillance footage pinpointing Thomas as the perpetrator. In a fortunate turn of events, Thomas had been apprehended earlier the same day on unrelated larceny charges in the Gallows Bay area, and was already under detention at the John Bell Correctional Facility.

Detectives visited the correctional facility on February 22, where they officially charged Thomas with two counts of third-degree robbery. Subsequently, Thomas was processed at the Wilbur H. Francis Command Police Station, with his bail determined at $25,000.

Despite Thomas’s court hearing being scheduled for the following Friday, information pertaining to his legal proceedings had yet to be disclosed publicly by Sunday. This arrest underscores the vigilance and dedication of the Virgin Islands law enforcement in maintaining public safety and swiftly addressing criminal activities.

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Crime

Tragic Shooting in St. Thomas Leaves Young Man Dead

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A tragic incident unfolded in the Bovoni Housing Community of St. Thomas late on Thursday night, claiming the life of a young resident. Omar K. Fontaine, a 20-year-old local, fell victim to a lethal shooting, succumbing to multiple gunshot wounds.

The incident was detected by the ShotSpotter Detection System, which notified the V.I. Police Department of the gunfire at precisely 11:11 p.m. Officers from the Mariel C. Newton Command swiftly responded to the alert and discovered Fontaine unresponsive. Despite the prompt arrival of emergency medical technicians, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fontaine’s untimely death has sparked a thorough investigation by the Major Crimes Unit of the VIPD, which is determined to bring those responsible to justice. The police are appealing to the community for assistance, encouraging anyone with information to step forward. Contributions can be made directly to the Major Crimes Unit at 340-642-8449, through a call to 911, or by submitting tips anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8476 or online through their tip form.

This devastating event underscores the urgent need for community cooperation and vigilance in combating violence and safeguarding our neighborhoods.

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