Pahrump police chase suspect in suspect's own car

October 22, 2014

On Saturday, Nye County police arrested Pahrump resident David Plinske following a confrontation which culminated with him driving off in a cop car and officers chasing him with Plinske's own car. He also allegedly wrestled a cop and egged on the police, even telling them to shoot him. Police were already familiar with Plinkse from previous encounters and knew him to act erratically.


This latest incident began with police pulling over Plinkse for driving close to 100 mph in a 35 mph zone on state Route 160, and it ended near the Parhump Courthouse. Since the police saw Plinkse was unarmed, they elected not to use firearms on him and instead employed pepper spray. The officers have been commended by the Nye County Sheriff for showing restraint.

Bail was set at $20,000, and Plinske bonded out on Monday. He will be charged with various felonies including intimidating police officers, auto-theft, and possession of a stolen vehicle. For more information on this story, read:

Vegas man gets probation in pawn-shop robbery

October 14, 2014

Yesterday Victor Park was sentenced in Las Vegas to three years of probation for shooting 21-year-old Thomas Cola to death in 2006. Video surveillance video shows Cola entering Park's pawn shop, where Cola then stole a Cartier watch. Park shot at Cola as he ran away, killing him.


Cola had a substantial criminal record, and on the night of his shooting, he was reportedly high on cocaine and employed fake identification in order to get Park to show him the watch. Park had been robbed years earlier, during which he sustained a bullet in his head. Cola was not armed the night of this robbery.

Park was initially charged with murder for killing Cola. In June Park submitted an Alford Plea to voluntary manslaughter, which means he admitted no guilt but acknowledged the prosecution could prove murder. The judge had the discretion to impose up to 6 years in prison. For more on this story, go to:

Former cop found guilty in car crash that killed a Nevada woman

October 7, 2014

Last week an Albuquerque jury found former New Mexico policeman Adam Casaus guilty of two misdemeanor counts of careless driving. The February, 2013 incident resulted in the death of 21-year-old Nevadan Ashley Browder. The wreck also seriously injured Browder's sister Lindsay.


Apparently Casaus ran a red light and crashed into the SUV that Lindsay Browder was driving. Casaus claims that at the time he was attempting to catch up to an alleged drunken driver. However, there are no records of a DUI in that area at the time of the accident. Casaus will be sentenced on December 5, 2014 and may be jailed for up to 90 days.

Ashley Browder used to be in an Air National Guard unit located in Reno. She had graduated from Douglas High School in Minden in 2009. For more on this story, read:

Former Las Vegas chiropractor busted for multi-million dollar fraud scheme

October 1, 2014

This morning a 53-year old former chiropractor from Las Vegas pleaded not guilty in Nevada Federal Court to wire fraud and conspiracy. Robert Buckhannon is accused of a scheme to defraud hedge fund investors out of $34 million. He remains out of custody on his own recognizance pending his December trial.


The government accuses Buckhannon of comingling money from hedge fund investors for three years starting in 2008. He is also accused of stealing some of the money to give to his family and friends. $60,000 of the money went towards an engagement ring for his fiance.

Currently Buckhannon is not considered a flight risk because his passport has expired, and he has only $300 in the bank. Federal prosecutors have also summoned 66-year-old Terry Rawstern to appear in court, an alleged co-defendant in the case. For more on this story, read:

Henderson man gets 2 years for pointing laser at Metro helicopter

September 23, 2014

Today a federal judge sentenced Henderson resident James Zipf to two years in prison for aiming a laser at Las Vegas Metro police helicopters this past January and February. After his incarceration, the thirty-year-old is required to submit to substance abuse and mental health treatment as well as three years of supervised release. Zipf expressed his remorse for his actions, which threatened the lives of the people aboard the helicopters.


In June, Zipf pleaded guilty to one count of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. In return for his guilty plea, the remaining five charges against him were dropped. His actions caused a pilot to become disoriented and end his shift early. He was convicted for the same crime once before in 2011 in Arizona.

Zipf is currently out of custody on his own recognizance and must turn himself in to serve his prison sentence by December 30, 2014. He claims to have been clean of methamphetamine for 7 months, following an 11 year addiction. For more on this story, read:

Clark County family court judge pleads guilty to fraud

September 17, 2014

Today a suspended Clark County family court judge entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to carry out wire fraud, stemming from an investment scheme worth close to $3 million. In return for Judge Steven Jones entering the plea, several related charges were dismissed. Jones has also promised to step down from his judgeship and give up his bar card.


Jones' sentencing is scheduled for January 26, 2015, where prosecutors will ask that he be sentenced to prison for no longer than 27 months. At that time the judge will also determine restitution. Had Jones gone to trial instead and been found guilty, the judge could have imposed a 12 year prison sentence.

Jones' is one of six defendants indicted two years ago in this fraudulent scheme. Four are pleading guilty today, and one entered a plea last month. The fraud allegedly spanned ten years, and the defendants reportedly deceived people to lend them money in order to buy property and water rights. For more on this case, go to:

Sparks man claims "self-defense" in trespass murder case

September 10, 2014

This past May, 73-year-old retired school teacher Wayne Burgarello shot two people allegedly trespassing in his Sparks home. Neither of the alleged trespassers were armed, and one of them died from the shooting. Today Burgarello pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder and attempted murder.


Burgarello's home is a duplex that has been frequently burglarized. He reportedly claims he was acting in accordance with Nevada's "self-defense" laws. Burgarello's bail was initially set at 2 million dollars but was eventually reduced to $150,000, which allowed him to bail out this past August.

This case is another in a string of incidents that calls attention to Nevada's "stand your ground" laws. The next court hearing in this case is October 15, 2014. For more on this story, go to:

Reno shootout ends with robbery suspect dead

September 2, 2014

On Sunday an alleged robbery incident in Reno culminated with a shootout between the police and suspect, who died from the police's gunshots. The suspect reportedly was robbing a CVS when he shot another shopper, who sustained non-lethal injuries. The suspect then drove away, and a police chase ensued during which they blew out one of the tires of the suspect's car.


The gunbattle between the cops and suspect took place near the Peppermill Resort and Spa Casino. No police officers were shot or otherwise injured. Witnesses reported hearing around 30 gunshots.

Currently the matter is being investigated by the police departments in Reno and Sparks, the D.A.'s office, and the sheriff's office. The officers who carried out the shootout have been put on administrative leave, which is a routine procedure in cases like this. For more on this story, read:

Nevada considering more than 500 applications for medical marijuana establishments.

August 27, 2014

To date, the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health has received 502 applications from hopeful medical marijuana establishment owners. The close-to-200 applicants for dispensaries are competing for only 66 slots available statewide. The rest of the applicants propose to open cultivation facilities, production facilities or testing laboratories.


The majority of medical marijuana facility applicants are from Clark County. All applicants were required to submit a $5,000 fee in order to be considered. The state will likely decide which applicants are accepted by this November.

Applicants ultimately accepted by both state and local government to open a medical marijuana facility are required to pay another fee, this time for $30,000. It is expected that the first dispensaries will begin operation early next year. For more on this story, go to:

9th Circuit overturns ruling denying inmate eye surgery

August 18, 2014

Last week the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a District Court ruling that would prevent 67-year-old inmate John Colwell from getting cataract surgery. The Ninth Circuit Circuit considered Colwell's condition serious and the denial of medical treatment as cruel and unusual punishment.

Colwell cataracts caused his right eye to go blind twelve years ago. He has since injured his hand doing prison work, and the injuries may have been caused by his impaired vision. If he ultimately gets the surgery, it may cost the prison more than $3,230.

Colwell is serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole at the Southern Desert Correctional Center. Elderly inmates represent less than six percent of the prison population, but the cost of their medical care represents a significant portion of the prison's budget. In America, housing elderly inmates comes at a cost of $16 billion.

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Nevada road-rage driver gets possible life in prison.

August 11, 2014

In Carson City last week, a District judge sentenced 28-year-old Leonardo Cardoza to a possible life sentence for the first-degree murder committed in a bout of road rage. The victim was a teenage girl.


The incident occurred in early 2013 when the defendant began tailgating the victim. After the victim pulled over and exited the car, Cardoza drove into her, causing fatal injuries.

Cardoza is expected to appeal the murder conviction on account that he was too drunk to premeditate a murder. Cardoza will be eligible for parole after serving 29 years of his sentence.

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Burning Man may cause increase in bike thefts

August 7, 2014

Reno police believe the annual Burning Man festival may prompt a surge in bicycle thefts. Authorities see a substantial increase in stolen bike cases leading up to the week-long event, which commences on August 25th. Since Burning Man takes place in the desolate Black Rock Desert playa, festival-goers use bikes as their primary mode of transportation.


However, some believe the rise in bike thefts has nothing to do with Burning Man. Rather, there has been an increase in people using bikes to travel around Reno, and this increase naturally correlates with a rise in bike thefts. Furthermore, Burning Man provides free bike rentals to dissuade thefts.

Stealing a bike qualifies as the Nevada crime of larceny. If the bike is worth less than $650, it is petty larceny and carries up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. If the bike is valued at $650 to under $3,500, then it is grand larceny and a category C felony, carrying up to 5 years in Nevada State Prison and maybe up to $10,000 in fines. Otherwise, bike theft is category B grand larceny carrying up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

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