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Local Man Faces Multiple Charges Following Vandalism Incidents at Calvary Christian Academy

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ST. THOMAS — A local resident was apprehended by authorities in connection with a string of vandalism incidents at Calvary Christian Academy, a small private institution, spread over two days, culminating in numerous felony charges against him.

On the morning of October 11, law enforcement officers were notified about a potential unauthorized entry at the academy. The individual, identified as Kadeem Barnes, allegedly gained entry through a rear entrance, inadvertently leaving his driver’s license within a classroom. The incident initially seemed harmless as no damage was reported.

However, the narrative took a drastic turn the following day when police were called to the scene post reports of significant property damage. The school’s head, in conversation with the officers, voiced her suspicion that Barnes might be the culprit. Later in the day, a staff member discovered his vehicle had been vandalized. Eyewitnesses pinned Barnes as the perpetrator, allegedly hurling stones at parked vehicles within the school premises.

The saga continued into the late afternoon of October 12, with police being alerted once more to Barnes purportedly engaging in similar destructive behavior. However, Barnes vacated the premises as a vehicle owner confronted him.

Upon further probing, a pattern of Barnes’ frequent presence around the school emerged, often accompanied by disruptive noises, as per local accounts.

Authorities were able to apprehend Barnes shortly after the incidents. Documents submitted in court reveal that Barnes voluntarily admitted to his wrongdoings. Post his arrest, Barnes reiterated his confessions in a recorded statement at the Richard Callwood Command police station.

Subsequently, Barnes expressed a desire to exit the territory, deeming the Virgin Islands unfavorable for him. However, he was slapped with multiple charges including two counts each of third-degree burglary and vandalism, three counts of vehicle damage, and one count of disturbing the peace.

During a court session on Friday, Magistrate Paula Norkaitis ruled there was adequate evidence to sustain all charges against Barnes. Bail was fixed at $25,000, subject to a 10% cash provision. If released on bail, Barnes’ movements will be confined to the St. Thomas/St. John district, specifically to the Simmonds Alley region. Furthermore, Barnes is prohibited from entering the vicinity of both Calvary Christian Academy and Calvary Baptist Church, including the associated parking areas.

As a part of the ongoing proceedings, Magistrate Norkaitis mandated a mental health assessment for Barnes by the Department of Health’s Division of Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse to ascertain a diagnosis, treatment plan, and evaluate if Barnes poses a threat to himself or others. Barnes is slated to appear in court again on October 27.

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Crime

Kansas Man Charged for Not Declaring Firearm During St. Thomas Visit

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ST. THOMAS — A Kansas man is facing charges in the District Court of the Virgin Islands for failing to declare a firearm during his visit to St. Thomas.

Customs and Border Protection officials, conducting routine inspections at the Cyril E. King Airport on Thursday, discovered the undeclared weapon during a secondary search prompted by a canine alert on a bag belonging to Robert Dean Zoch’s travel partner.

The search revealed a loaded Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver in Zoch’s checked luggage. The firearm, packed with five rounds of ammunition, was accompanied by an additional 10 rounds in speedloaders.

Zoch, a resident of Kansas, was on his way home on a Spirit Airlines flight with a layover in Orlando, Florida, when he was detained and questioned by Homeland Security Investigations agents. He admitted to knowingly packing the weapon in his bag without securing it, citing haste as the reason for his oversight. Zoch also confessed to not informing the airline about the firearm on either leg of his trip and admitted to lacking a federal license for the firearm.

According to court documents, Zoch claimed he carried the gun for protection due to reports of shootings in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Charged with failure to provide written notice of a firearm to a common carrier, Zoch appeared before U.S. Magistrate Ruth Miller. He was ordered to sign an unsecured $15,000 bond for his release pending trial. His travel will be restricted to Shawnee County, Kansas, and St. Thomas. Additionally, his firearms will be held by authorities, and he must report regularly to the U.S. probation office.

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BVI Pastor and Radio Host Arrested on Allegations of Fraudulent Government Contracts

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Claude Skelton Cline, a well-known pastor and radio personality in the British Virgin Islands, has been arrested and charged with obtaining property by deception, false accounting, and proceeds of crime.

The arrest follows an announcement from former Governor John Rankin last March, revealing that an audit, recommended by the Commission of Inquiry, scrutinized government contracts awarded to Cline between 2008 and 2010. According to Rankin, the audit uncovered “failures in good governance and improper use of public funds.” The findings were forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecution, and the police.

BVI police stated that Cline’s arrest on Friday culminated an 18-month criminal investigation initiated by the audit’s findings. The audit revealed that Cline received over $350,000 during this period with negligible results from his consultancy work, leading auditors to conclude that the contracts primarily benefited Cline financially rather than providing value to the government.

“The government failed to receive value for money on these contracts,” the report stated. In response to the public disclosure of the audit findings last year, Cline asserted his innocence, claiming, “I did a phenomenal job for my part in a two-part contractual arrangement.” He further stated, “I feel no compunction to defend myself.”

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Joseph Anthony Ramirez Faces Attempted Murder Charges After Assaulting Officers in St. Croix

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At the Candido Guadalupe Housing Complex in St. Croix, a report of domestic violence on Sunday afternoon quickly turned perilous for responding officers, culminating in attempted murder charges for 37-year-old Joseph Anthony Ramirez.

The sequence of events unfolded when the Virgin Islands Police Department received a call around 2:33 p.m. from the 911 Emergency Call Center regarding a disturbance at apartment 85, building 7. Upon arrival, officers were informed by the victim that Ramirez had vandalized her apartment. As one officer began to investigate, Ramirez unexpectedly attacked, initiating an assault by placing the officer in a chokehold, threatening his ability to breathe.

The attack escalated even after a good Samaritan and the victim intervened, enabling the officer to momentarily escape. Despite being informed of his arrest, Ramirez attacked again, this time inflicting a severe laceration above the officer’s eyelid and resuming the chokehold. The situation required backup, with two additional officers arriving at the scene before Ramirez could be subdued and arrested.

Charged with attempted murder and third-degree assault, Ramirez was subsequently read his Miranda Rights, booked, and transported to the John Bell Correctional Facility. Unable to meet the initial $100,000 bail, Ramirez was held until a court hearing on Tuesday where his bail was reduced to $10,000. He remains in custody, with a bail hearing scheduled for later today, May 15.

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