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This is infuriating, made all the worse by the fact that the suspects were impersonating POs:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/10/16/nevada.boy.kidnapped.ap/index.html

Maybe, just MAYBE, an incident like this will finally cause some federal legislator with half a brain to think of enacting laws regarding purchase and possessions of uniforms and insignia. I bet these idiots bought their equipment on eBay or some other unchecked, profit-hungry place where no credentials are required. I do realize that such laws exist here and there, however I think the time for a blanket federal law, with zero-tolerance enforcement to follow, is long overdue.

I just may put to pen to paper and write my Congressman on this one, attaching a printout of that news article of course.

This kind of crap is only going to continue unless someone does something drastic, and soon.
 

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National search for boy taken by police impostors



LAS VEGAS -- Two men posing as police officers kidnapped a 6-year-old boy in a drug dispute after entering his family's home and tying up his mother and her boyfriend, police said Thursday.
An Amber Alert was expanded nationwide as police searched for Cole Puffinburger, who was taken Wednesday, police said.
There is a definite "drug nexus," Las Vegas Police Capt. Vincent Cannito said at a news conference Thursday. "Significant money and drugs" were involved, he said, but he would not provide more details.
Two men identified themselves as police officers to gain entry to the home several miles northeast of downtown Las Vegas, Cannito said. They demanded money, and the home was ransacked and the couple tied up, he said.
"This child witnessed that," he said. "This child was ripped from the home."
Cannito would not say whether the family had been contacted about paying a ransom.
The boy is described as 3 feet 11 and 48 pounds, with blond hair, blue eyes and silver-framed glasses. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, tennis shoes, a black shirt, and a black zip-up sweat shirt with white, black and blue stars.
Authorities said that the two men posing as police were Hispanic and that a third man was also believed to be involved.
One suspect is described as having black, shoulder-length, slicked-back hair. The man, in his early 30s, is about 5 feet 7 and 150 pounds and was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.
Authorities do not have a description of the other men or the getaway car, which delayed the initial posting Wednesday of the statewide alert.
"We're urging people, if they've seen anything, to contact our missing persons detail," Las Vegas police Officer Bill Cassell said.
"We've had a lot of tips," Cassell said. "The frustrating thing is we have nothing new at this point."

http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/national/BO91784/
 

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LAS VEGAS—The grandfather of a kidnapped 6-year-old boy was named Friday as a "person of interest" in a nationwide search for the child and his abductors, who are believed to be Mexican drug dealers. Clemens Fred "Clem" Tinnemeyer, 51, was involved in drug dealing with "Mexican nationals," from whom he stole millions of dollars, Las Vegas police Capt. Vincent Cannito said. Cannito called the boy's kidnapping at gunpoint a "message" from the drug dealers to Tinnemeyer.
"Tinnemeyer has stolen a large sum of money, all proceeds from illegal drug activity," Cannito said.
"Message sent, message received," Cannito said of the boy's Wednesday morning abduction by three Hispanic men who posed as police officers to gain entry into the home where young Cole Puffinburger lived with his family.
"They got the attention of an entire nation. We will not stop looking for this child."
The FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Drug Enforcement Administration were involved in the investigation, police said.
A nationwide Amber Alert remained in effect for Puffinburger, a blond-haired, blue-eyed first-grader with silver-framed glasses. He was described as 3 feet 11 inches tall and 48 pounds, and was last seen wearing a black shirt, a black zip-up sweat shirt with white, black and blue stars, blue jeans and tennis shoes.
Cannito said authorities were looking for Tinnemeyer and his white 2004 Dodge extended-cab pickup truck, which he said bore Mississippi license plates KA6251. He was described as 5-foot-10 and 210 to 250 pounds, with hazel eyes and brown hair. Tinnemeyer's last known address was in Las Vegas. He was last seen by family members in May but phoned family members in August. He was reported missing Sept. 11, said Officer Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas police spokesman.
Tinnemeyer allegedly stole tens of millions of dollars from a methamphetamine distribution ring, said Johnson.
"Money is a huge factor, obviously. Drugs are a huge factor," Johnson said. "The only innocent person involved in this entire operation is the boy."
Authorities were investigating whether other family members also had ties to the drug operation, Johnson said.
Cannito said police had "several" other persons of interest in the case, but no suspects in the abduction.
Investigators have said two Hispanic men identified themselves as police officers to gain entry to the house in a residential neighborhood several miles northeast of downtown Las Vegas. They demanded money and tied up the boy's mother and her boyfriend, and ransacked the house before making off with the boy. Cannito said a third man was believed to be involved.
Authorities offered a vague description of one suspect—a man in his early 30s with slicked-back, black shoulder-length hair. He was said to be about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 150 pounds, wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.
Police had no description of the other men or a getaway car, which delayed the initial posting of the statewide alert.
MERCURY NEWS
 

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Amber Alert may have western Mass. connection

Cole Puffinburger
Clemens Tinnemeyer


AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) - A drug-related kidnapping that sparked an Amber Alert out west may have a western Massachusetts connection.

22News has learned that 51-year-old Clemens Tinnemeyer, the man held by California authorities as a "person of interest" in his grandson's kidnapping, has roots right here in the Springfield area.

A man describing himself as a friend of Tinnemeyer's tells 22News, that Tinnemeyer is an Agawam High School graduate, who was a small business owner before leaving western Massachusetts to re-settle in Las Vegas some eight years ago.

Tinnemeyer's 6-year-old grandson, Cole Puffinburger was snatched from his Las Vegas home Wednesday and is believed to be in danger.

Authorities believe a Mexican drug dealers abducted Cole to send a "message" to Tinnemeyer who allegedly owes them millions of dollars.

http://www.wwlp.com/global/story.asp?s=9199623&srvc=developing
 

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Police focusing on 3 in Las Vegas boy's abduction



Sat Oct 18, 6:37 PM ET

This undated photo provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police via the Las Vegas Review-Journal shows Jesus Gastelum. Las Vegas police identified Gastelum during a news conference in Las Vegas Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008 as a 'person of interest' in the kidnapping of Cole Mason Puffinburger.(AP Photo/Las Vegas Metropolitan Police via the Review-Journal)

Slideshow: Nevada boy missing

Play Video Video: Grandfather of abducted Nev. boy arrested AP

LAS VEGAS - Authorities investigating the abduction of a 6-year-old boy from his Las Vegas home focused Saturday on three people, including a Mexican citizen and the youngster's grandfather, who they said may have stolen millions of dollars from drug dealers.
The Mexican man, identified as Jesus Gastelum, is in his mid-30s and believed to be in Las Vegas or Southern California, police said at a news conference. The other "person of interest" was not identified.
Authorities already had arrested the grandfather of Cole Puffinburger, who was abducted Wednesday morning by two men posing as police officers. Police said they believe that the men were Mexican drug dealers and that the kidnapping at gunpoint was a "message" to the grandfather, Clemens Tinnemeyer, 51.
Tinnemeyer was arrested late Friday in Riverside, Calif. He was being held in nearby San Bernardino, and authorities hope his arrest will help lead them to Cole's abductors. Detectives continue to investigate "a very strong network, all in very close proximity," Las Vegas police Capt. Vincent Cannito said Saturday.
"As we start putting those pieces together, certainly we're optimistic that it's leading us in the right direction," Cannito said.
He told reporters the investigation had resulted in "a number of search warrants in several jurisdictions." Officials also uncovered a "large amount of cash," but Cannito would not say where.
Authorities had issued an Amber Alert that triggered a public search for the boy and flashed the photo on billboards and highway signs throughout Nevada and California. The alert was called off Saturday because it helped lead to the arrest of Tinnemeyer, and its effectiveness "had run its course," Cannito said.
But the hunt for Cole continued.
Police concentrated efforts on a largely Hispanic neighborhood northeast of the Las Vegas Strip. Along with children's advocates and members of the Nevada National Guard, they circulated fliers in English and Spanish with photos of Cole - a slight, bespectacled towhead - grinning wide.
Cole's father, Robert Puffinburger, distributed the fliers earlier in the week.
In an interview aired Saturday on CNN, he spoke directly to his son's abductors: "I just want him home. Drop him off somewhere, I don't care. Just let him go."
The two men entered the home and tied up the boy's mother and her boyfriend. The home was then ransacked and the boy taken; Cannito said earlier that a third man was believed to be involved. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Tinnemeyer was Cole's maternal grandfather.
Tinnemeyer may have stolen millions of dollars from the Mexican citizens, said Officer Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas police spokesman. Johnson declined to say what role Tinnemeyer played in the drug operation or whether the kidnappers were seeking a ransom.
Police believe methamphetamine was involved, Johnson said.
"Money is a huge factor, obviously. Drugs are a huge factor," Johnson said. "The only innocent person involved in this entire operation is the boy."
Las Vegas police didn't know Saturday whether Tinnemeyer had a lawyer.
Court records show Tinnemeyer and his wife filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2001, claiming $226,500 in assets and $329,000 in liabilities. The couple listed tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081018/ap_on_re_us/nevada_boy_abducted
 

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Abducted 6-year-old boy found alive in Las Vegas



Sun Oct 19, 4:52 AM ET

Robert Puffinburger talks at a news conference in Las Vegas early Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008. Robert's son Cole Mason Puffinburger, who was kindapped on Oct. 15, was found alive Saturday in Las Vegas.(AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

LAS VEGAS - A 6-year-old boy kidnapped from a Las Vegas home by alleged drug dealers posing as policemen has been found alive in a neighborhood northeast of the Las Vegas Strip, police said early Sunday.
The child was "in extremely good condition" and had been taken to University Medical Center in Las Vegas for examination, Las Vegas police Capt. Vincent Cannito said at a news conference.
"He is safe and in our custody," Cannito said. "It's a blessing this child has been found."
Cole Puffinburger was recovered at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday after a caller informed detectives about a child walking alone on a street in a middle-class neighborhood of tidy, modest-sized homes about 5 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas police Officer Jay Rivera said.
Detectives discovered Cole outside a large Methodist church in the neighborhood. The area was being treated as a crime scene, but police gave no information about how Cole got there or where he had been kept since his Wednesday morning abduction.
The child was kidnapped at gunpoint by men who tied up the boy's mother and her boyfriend and ransacked their home.
Cole's father attended the news conference wearing a T-shirt with his son's photograph, but would not comment on when he planned to see his son or whether Cole would be returning to his home or the boy's mother's home.
"This is just about Cole being home," Robert Puffinburger said as he choked back tears. "Cole's back."
Authorities arrested Cole's grandfather Clemens Tinnemeyer late Friday in connection with the boy's disappearance. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Tinnemeyer was Cole's maternal grandfather.
Police believe that the abductors were Mexican drug dealers and that the kidnapping at gunpoint was a "message" to Tinnemeyer, 51, whom they said may have stolen millions of dollars from dealers.
Tinnemeyer was arrested in Riverside, Calif., and was being held in nearby San Bernardino on a material witness warrant issued by a federal court in Nevada.
Officer Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas police spokesman, declined to say what role Tinnemeyer played in the drug operation or whether the kidnappers had been seeking a ransom.
Police believe methamphetamine was involved, Johnson said.
Las Vegas police didn't know Saturday whether Tinnemeyer had a lawyer. He was scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate Monday in Riverside.
Authorities investigating the abduction were also focussing on two other men, including a Mexican citizen identified as Jesus Gastelum.
Gastelum, who is in his mid-30s, is believed to be in Las Vegas or Southern California, police said. The other "person of interest" was not identified.
Police and child advocates had concentrated their search efforts on a largely Hispanic neighborhood a few miles from where Cole was found. They distributed fliers in English and Spanish with a photograph of Cole, a slight, smiling blonde in glasses.

Robert Puffinburger said he had just stopped passing out the fliers for the night when he got the call alerting him Cole had been found. "I'm just so glad he's safe," he said.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081019/ap_on_re_us/nevada_boy_abducted
 

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Vegas kidnapping shifts to drug investigation

Authorities think the abduction of a 6-year-old boy, who is found safe on a Las Vegas sidewalk, is linked to a Mexican drug cartel.

By Nicholas Riccardi
Los Angeles Times

LAS VEGAS - Six-year-old Cole Puffinburger was the subject of a desperate four-day search after police said he was kidnapped at gunpoint by Mexican drug dealers. But it was a bus driver who ultimately found him, healthy, unharmed and walking on an empty sidewalk here, authorities said Sunday.
The driver spotted Cole walking near the Strip about 10:30 p.m. Saturday and pulled over to offer the boy a ride. When he realized who he was, the driver called police. Two detectives, who were handing out missing person fliers nearby, arrived to retrieve Cole.
"It's a blessing this child has been found," Las Vegas Police Capt. Vincent Cannito said at a news conference early Sunday. He said that Cole was taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure but that the boy appeared healthy and in "extremely good condition."
Police say they think the boy was kidnapped by Mexican drug dealers as revenge after being ripped off by the child's grandfather.
The abduction alarmed law enforcement because it resembled kidnappings that are common in Mexico, where warring drug cartels snatch rivals, children and civilians.
Police said Cole was taken Wednesday by three gunmen who tied up his mother and her boyfriend and ransacked their house. Police said the abduction was triggered by millions of dollars stolen from a drug cartel by Clemons Tinnemeyer, Cole's maternal grandfather.
Tinnemeyer, 51, had been hiding for several weeks but was arrested late Friday in Riverside. He is being held as a material witness and is due to appear in federal court there today.
Police have not explained how they think he took money from the drug cartel but say he is involved in drug trafficking.
On Saturday, police served search warrants in Las Vegas and other areas and reported recovering large amounts of cash. A photo of a man believed to be involved in the abduction, Jesus Gastelum, was released and broadcast nationally. They said another person of interest was in custody.
Police said that Cole was dropped off on Oakey Boulevard about 10:30 p.m. Saturday and that they were uncertain why he was released but speculated that his abductors were spooked by the national attention.
"They definitely didn't feel comfortable sitting there with this kid," Las Vegas police spokesman John Loretto said.
Police said their investigation was shifting to untangling the kidnapping scheme.
"The investigation regarding this child is concluded," Cannito said. "The remainder of the investigation shifts, and our focus now goes onto the drug dealing, to potential extortion issues as well as other issues certainly that are involved in this investigation."
Cole was released to his father, Robert Puffinburger, 28, who joined police at the Sunday news conference wearing a shirt emblazoned with his son's photo and on the verge of tears.
"I thank this whole community. I can't thank you enough," he said. "Thank you so much for helping me find my son."

Wire Service
 

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Grandfather, woman held as witnesses in kidnapping

Associated Press - October 20, 2008 9:03 PM ET
LAS VEGAS (AP) - A U.S. magistrate has ordered a grandfather and another person to be detained as witnesses in the investigation of the kidnapping of a 6-year-old boy in Las Vegas.
The FBI said 42-year-old Terri Leavy was taken into custody in California on Sunday. She is believed to be the companion of Clemons Fred Tinnemeyer, whose grandson was kidnapped last week and found safe Sunday.
U.S. Magistrate Oswald Parada late Monday ordered Leavy and Tinnemeyer turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service. Under a federal statute, they can be held for a "reasonable amount of time" until a deposition can be taken or they testify under oath.
Leavy and Tinnemeyer have not been charged in the case. Their attorney Joan Politeo declined to comment.

http://www.wwlp.com/Global/story.asp?S=9209643
 
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