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Police seek con couple

TORONTO -- Police say a couple wanted in a Toronto kidnapping scammed several people out of money and jewelry in recent months and may have committed offences from Montreal to Vancouver.

Det. Sgt. Savas Kyriacou said a man and woman have been linked to at least nine incidents in Toronto between May and October of last year and another earlier this month.

He said the couple typically approache their target by claiming an illness or asking for directions to a hospital, then offer a fake gold necklace as a reward for assistance.

Kyriacou said one of the suspects then tries to place the necklace around the victim's neck and uses the opportunity to steal real gold jewelry the person is wearing.

In the most recent incident, police allege the suspects pressured a 68-year-old woman into buying a fake gold necklace, then followed her home and intimidated her into giving them more money. Police say the suspects then drove her to a bank to withdraw more cash, which they took -- an incident police are calling a kidnapping.


U.S. deserter sentenced

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- A female soldier in the U.S. Army has pleaded guilty to desertion after fleeing to Canada to avoid a second tour of duty in the Iraq war.

Pfc. Kimberly Rivera entered her plea Monday and was sentenced to 10 months in prison and a bad-conduct discharge.

Rivera, now a mother of four, was assigned to Fort Carson's 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Colorado and served in Iraq in 2006. She has said that, while there, she became disillusioned with the U.S. mission in Iraq.

While on a two-week leave in the U.S. in 2007, she crossed the Canadian border after she was ordered to serve another tour in Iraq. She lived in Toronto with her husband and young children.

She applied for permanent residency, but Canadian immigration officials ordered her to leave the country or face deportation.

Rivera turned herself over to the United States in September last year. She was arrested, detained and transferred to U.S. military custody as soon as she crossed the border.


Magnotta trial set for 2014

MONTREAL -- The trial of accused killer Luka Rocco Magnotta will begin in September 2014, more than two years after his arrest in the death of university student Jun Lin.

Magnotta appeared Monday in a Montreal courtroom, where his jury trial was set for Sept. 15, 2014. It is scheduled to last six to eight weeks.

Defence lawyer Luc Leclair requested an earlier start date and even asked the judge whether April 2014 would be a possibility. Justice André Vincent replied nothing was available before September.

"I expected an earlier date, but it's a busy courthouse," said Leclair, who has, for the most part, declined to speak to reporters.

The shackled defendant, who sat quietly behind a glass barrier around the prisoner's box as the date was set, will have a pretrial conference later this year, on Sept. 3.


-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 30, 2013 A11

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