FBI: Man Went Violent on Flight to Amsterdam, May Have Been High

A man who allegedly swore and acted violently on a flight from Boston to Amsterdam in November faces federal charges.

Kurt Haberstroh, 20, left the lavatory in a bloody mess on a Delta flight to Amsterdam Nov. 17, angerly swore at flight attendants and repeatedly punched his traveling companion in the face, according to an FBI affidavit.

Haberstroh was refused entry upon landing in Holland and was deported to the United States Nov. 19, the affidavit said. A charge of intimidating a flight crew member was brought against Haberstroh Monday, according to court filings. Haberstroh was remanded in custody of U.S. Marshals with an interview and hearing scheduled Tuesday, according to court filings.

While boarding the flight at Logan International Airport, Haberstroh could be heard loudly swearing in conversation with a friend, and the behavior continued through the flight, according to the affidavit, written by FBI Special Agent Daniel Romanzo.

“After the aircraft doors closed, Haberstroh suddenly hit the armrest and shouted ‘Let’s get this fucking plane in the air already,'” the affidavit said.

Mid-flight, there was a medical emergency, and a flight attendant went to retrieve equipment from the cabin above Haberstroh, the affidavit said. When some of the items fell to the ground, Haberstroh warned the attendant to “be more careful with that shit,” Romanzo wrote.

Later in the flight, Haberstroh couldn’t find his cellphone and allegedly began to tear through his carry-on luggage and pull apart his coach-class seat.

“They stole my fucking phone! They took my fucking phone!” Haberstroh said, according to the affidavit.

When a man traveling with Haberstroh tried to calm him, Haberstroh allegedly repeatedly punched him in the face. The man eventually convinced Haberstroh his cellphone was in his bag, the affidavit said. The man said to Haberstroh, “You’re fucked up. You’re high. I told you not to take all of that shit before you got on the plane,” according to the affidavit.

About four hours into the flight, several crew members heard loud noises coming from one of the lavatories. The door swung open and Haberstroh emerged with his hands and arms covered with blood according to the affidavit.

When a flight attendant asked Haberstroh if he had trouble opening the door, he responded, “Fuck you!” the affidavit said.

The inside of the lavatory was also covered in blood, and when a flight attendant asked him to clean it up, Haberstroh allegedly stood an inch from his face and said “Are you talking to me? Who do you think you’re talking to?” according to the affidavit.

After he returned to his seat, another flight attendant brought Haberstroh a towel to clean his hands, but he apparently didn’t want it.

“I don’t need it, get that fucking thing away from me!” Haberstroh said, according to the affidavit.

Flight attendants warned Haberstroh that if he did not calm down, they would place him in plastic zip cuffs for the rest of the flight, the affidavit said. flight crew members met with a federal agent who was aboard the flight, and showed him the disheveled bathroom as Haberstroh continued to fight with his flight companion, kicking the seat in front of him and punching his friend in the face, the affidavit said.

Following a violent struggle with his friend, several federal agents aboard the flight surrounded Haberstroh and arrested him, the affidavit said.

When the flight landed, Haberstroh was denied entrance to The Netherlands and ordered deported to the United States as soon as he was medically cleared, the affidavit said. He was sent back on a Delta flight on Nov. 19 without incident.

Court records show Haberstroh is a resident of Brighton, but a press release issued by the office of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz Thursday said he is from Watertown.


Mom Claims Camp Counselor Coaxed 4-Year-Old to Cuss

A Dorchester woman is suing a city-run summer camp for special needs children, claiming a camp counselor instructed her 4-year-old to swear, recorded the child doing it, and posted it on YouTube.

The woman’s son was attending Camp Joy at the Holland School in Dorchester in August 2010, when she learned from her brother that a video of her son saying “Fucking Ass Bitch” was being circulated on Facebook, according to civil court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Boston by the mother on Monday.

The video features a counselor at Camp Joy instructing the child to say the swears, and telling him to say them louder and louder, the court papers say.

The mother called the director of Camp Joy, who told her she would be firing the individual responsible for the video.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction requiring the video be removed from YouTube, and seeks financial rewards for the child’s family.


Senior Citizen Indicted in Murder-For-Hire Plot on Prosecutor

An elderly man who allegedly plotted to have an assistant district attorney killed has been indicted on a charge of commissioning murder-for-hire.

Pernell Powell, 73, of Roxbury, was jailed on an OUI charge when he allegedly offered $4,000 to a fellow inmate at Worcester County House of Corrections to murder an assistant district attorney who was prosecuting him on a drunk driving charge, according to an FBI affidavit.

It was the fifth time Powell had faced an OUI charge, and prosecutors were seeking a four to six year term against him, the affidavit said.

Powell was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on a charge of commissioning a murder for hire, court records show.

The FBI learned of Powell’s plans to have the prosecutor killed when they received a letter from another inmate at the jail, who said Powell offered him $2,000 up front and another $2,000 after to carry out the killing.

The inmate told the FBI he gave Powell the name of a relative in Florida to send the money to, with the intent of taking the first $2,000 and not carry out the murder, the affidavit, written by agent Michael Dwyer, said.

The inmate later agreed to wear a wire and record a conversation with Powell in early August, according to the affidavit.

During the conversation, Powell reaffirmed he wanted the killing carried out, the affidavit said.

“I want it,” Powell told the inmate. “I mean what do you think I put that money up for? I want his ass either way man.”

When asked again, Powell said. “Yea, I want it done.”

Powell has a lengthy record of minor crime and driving violation, according to a Boston Globe story from earlier this week.

Powell’s attorney, Timothy Watkins, told the Globe Powell would be exonerated.

“We’re confident that once all of the facts have been brought before a jury at trial, justice will be done and he will live out his life as a free man,’’ Watkins said told the Globe.


Member of Detroit Jewelry-Heisting Crew Arrested in Mass

An alleged member of a massive, nationwide jewelry theft ring was arrested in Massachusetts this week.

Ventrous Stewart, 21, of Detroit was allegedly part of a “grab and go” robbery ring based in Detroit, but conducted heists around the country, according to an FBI affidavit. The ring has stolen about $1.2 million in goods through 45 heists in 22 states, according to investigators.

At least one of those robberies occurred in Massachusetts – and Stewart was allegedly the man who did it.

On Oct. 7, 2009, Stewart allegedly snatched an $18,000 watch from an employees hand at a jewelry store in Auburn, Mass. The watch broke and Stewart fled with only its dial, authorities said. Stewart was allegedly identified through fingerprints found in the store.

He was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Massachusetts Wednesday on an outstanding warrant casted by a Federal Judge in Michigan in April, the warrant does not specify the charges against Stewart.

The members of the ring went to great lengths to make the thefts appear as though they were isolated incidents, but a total of 19 individuals have been identified through wire tapped conversations on prison phone lines, according to an affidavit written by FBI agent Brian Max.

Typically, the ring carried out the thefts by sending one man into a store and ask an employee to show them an expensive watch or ring, Max wrote. The suspect would grab the jewelry from the employees hand and dash from the store to a waiting getaway driver, waiting in a rental car.

The ring would rotate who went into the stores and spread out the thefts across the country, Max wrote. The goods were brought back to three stores in Detroit where they were re-sold, according to the affidavit.

The most common items taken were Rolexes and diamond rings.

Stewart was previously arrested in Michigan in 2009 on a charge of grand theft, according to bustedmugshots.com.


Dealer Allegedly Used RMV Bathroom for Crack Sales

A man charged with distributing cocaine allegedly used a bathroom at the Washington Street Registry of Motor Vehicles to sell crack.

On June 17 about noon, London Lee, 18, of Roxbury allegedly sent an undercover police officer who approached him on the street to a second-floor bathroom of the RMV. Lee met the officer there and traded two bags of crack for $30, according to a police affidavit written by Boston Police Sgt. William Dwan.

Before leaving the restroom, Lee also gave the undercover his cell phone number – should he want to buy crack again – and told him to file it under “Murda,” the affidavit said.

A strip-search of Lee found bags of crack and heroin hidden in his buttocks, the affidavit said. Along with the hidden drugs, Lee also had a folding knife and $214 on him, police said.

Lee is charged with distributing cocaine within 1000 feet of a school because of the proximity to University High, the affidavit said. Lee was approached by the undercover officer at the corner of Boylston and Washington Streets, where he was standing with three other men near a flower pot, police said.

He was indicted on the charge in U.S. District Court last week.

The arrest was part of a heightening investigation into drug sales around the Common, Theater District and Chinatown, Dwan wrote.


Northeastern Ph. D Student Held on Witness Intimidation Charge

A Chemistry graduate student will remain jailed as he awaits trial on charges alleging he tried to sell a large batch of ecstasy, then threatened the person who set him up.

Dennis Szymanski, 30, charged in separate indictments with conspiracy to distribute a drug and threatening to injure or kill a confidential witness, had asked that he be released while the charges pend so he could finish his Ph. D at Northeastern University. But a Magistrate Judge Timothy Hillman denied that request, calling Szymanski a potential danger to the public.

“I have found the evidence against him to be substantial, if not overwhelming,” Hillman wrote in his detention order, issued July 20.

Szymanski was arrested in April in Philadelphia after he allegedly drove there from Boston with plans to sell two kilograms of ecstasy for $36,000. But when he allegedly made the swap, he was swarmed by law enforcement and arrested.

After being released on $50,000 bail on that charge Szymanski returned to Boston. In early July, he allegedly drove from his Boston home to a library at the UMass Medical School campus in Worcester to send a threatening email to the man who cooperated with investigators to set him up.

The email was titled “You Rat Fuck,” and was sent from “ratexterminator105@yahoo.com.”

Szymanski’s attorney, Charles Rankin, previously asked he be released to the custody of his parents on the condition he only leave the house for medical treatment or to work on completing his Ph. D. Szymanski is a graduate student in Chemistry at Northeastern and is employed as a research assistant at a lab there.

The measures Szymanski took to send the message and conceal his identity showed he was a potential threat to the public, Hillman wrote.

“He took pains to attempt to hide his identity by traveling outside the area where he lives and creating false on-line persona while using a public computer terminal,” Hillman’s order said.

Along with the email, he also allegedly sent threatening messages to the informant’s girlfriend and mother on Facebook, using the alias “Kim Spence.”

“This will last for 20 years until both of you pay, you will both pay dearly for this,” one of the messages said. “REMEMBER THIS YOU WILL BOTH PAY DEARLY.”

Szymanski’s attorney, Charles Rankin, previously asked he be released to the custody of his parents on the condition he only leave the house for medical treatment or to work on completing his Ph. D. Szymanski is a graduate student in Chemistry at Northeastern and is employed as a research assistant at a lab there.


Man Claims He was Wrongly Labeled a Sex Offender, Jailed for Two Months

(Author’s Note: The following report is on a case that is civil, not criminal)

An anonymous man is suing the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board claiming it miscategorized him as a sex offender, leading him to spend over two months in jail.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Boston Tuesday under the pseudonym “John Doe,” claims a 50-year-old illiterate homeless man who lives in Boston was wrongly classified as a level 3 sex offender in Massachusetts and was charged with failing to register at least three times.

In September 2008, the man was convicted and spent 73 days in Suffolk County jail, according to the filing written by attorney John Bita.

The root of the alleged error can be found in 1982, when the unidentified man was convicted in Bronx County, N.Y. on a count of endangering the welfare of a child, the lawsuit said. He was also charged with sexual abuse, rape and public lewdness, but was not convicted, the filing said.

The closest Massachusetts law to endangering the welfare of a child is “reckless endangerment of children,” which isn’t a sex crime, and even if it was, the requirement to register as a sex offender would have expired 20 years after the conviction, the lawsuit said.

While jailed on unrelated charges in 2006 in Suffolk County, the man was instructed to sign two forms related to registering as a sex offender, and, having a fifth grade education and being functionally illiterate, he agreed, the lawsuit said.

The state’s sex offender registry board tried to send the man two letters in 2007, notifying him he must register and that he had failed to register. But they were both returned to sender.

In September 2008, the man was convicted in Suffolk County for failing to register as a sex offender and spent 73 days in jail.

But in either 2010 or 2011, an attorney for the man reviewed his file and realized he was not required to register. He notified the sex offender registry board, who sent a letter admitting the man did not have to register because the Bronx conviction of endangerment of a child occurred well over 20 years ago, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also names Public Safety Secretary Mary Heffernan, former secretary Kevin Burke, sex offender registry board chair Saundra Edwards and former chair Jennifer Franco.

It calls for the registry board to expunge the man’s sex offender status and for the court to award any damages it sees fit.