Local Leads: 09/18/09 - NBC4 Washington

Local Leads: 09/18/09

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    The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4: 

    Old Town Alexandria is in the midst of a crime wave. Over the course of the last month, the Alexandria Police Department has reported 13 separate incidents of breaking and entering in the neighborhood. Houses have been ransacked, and items that have been stolen include televisions, bicycles, alcohol, jewelry, clocks, computers and clothing. Police have responded by stepping up their presence in the neighborhood, looking for suspicious people and engaging in a public relations campaign to encourage people to leave their porch lights on at night. In nine out of the 13 cases, police officials say that the victims were out of town when their houses were robbed. (Alexandria Gazette Packet)

    Last month's rate stood at 6.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted and unadjusted basis, down from 6.9 percent in July and 7.3 percent in June, according to a U.S. Labor Department report on state unemployment released this morning. The state's unadjusted rate stood at 4.3 percent in August 2008. (Richmond Times Dispatch
    Teenagers under 18 would be banned from using indoor tanning beds if Howard County officials get their way. County Executive Ken Ulman and health officer Dr. Peter Beilenson will ask for new regulations that would prohibit youths from using the beds because they increase the risk of skin cancer, the officials said in an announcement. (Baltimore Sun)

    A former Montgomery County English teacher has been sentenced to six months in jail for distributing cocaine to a student. Attorney William Brennan says his client Theresa Duarte apologized at sentencing Thursday to the Thomas S. Wootton High School community for the embarrassment caused by the crime. (ap/wtop.com)

    A man who pleaded guilty last week to a Michigan murder may have been involved in an unsolved triple homicide that took place in Springfield last November. On Sept. 10, Lorenc Babu, 24, pleaded guilty to the premeditated murder of 30-year-old Rebekah Seely in a Detroit suburb. Seely, who suffered from cerebral palsy, had been bludgeoned with a tire iron and thrown into a pond and left to die Nov. 17. Babu’s guilty plea stunned Michigan prosecutors because it was made without any bargaining or any promise of a reduction of his charges. The plea automatically subjects Babu to a mandatory sentence of life in prison. But William L. Cataldo, with the Macomb County, Mich., prosecutor’s office, thinks Babu may have had a strategy in mind when making his plea. He said that Babu may have been involved in the triple homicides of Springfield residents Terence Strope, 38, his brother, Ryan, 26, and Andres Yelicie, 26, on Nov. 19, 2008 in a narcotics-related robbery that remains unsolved. (Fairfax Times)

    Despite all the talk about small cars, many used car buyers are thinking big again. Used small cars are taking the biggest hits on value in the resale market, Kelley Blue Book says. Even the once-hot, tiny Smart ForTwo is suffering, KBB says."It's part of a larger trend that's been happening all year," says Alec Gutierrez, a senior market analyst for KBB. "Some of the weakest segments are subcompact, compact and hybrids." The trend reflects, for one thing, that gas prices seem relatively low and stable. A gallon of regular went for $2.55 on average nationally Thursday, down 8 cents from $2.63 a month ago and $3.86 a year ago, AAA reports.  (USAToday)

    It was probably the closest thing Annapolis will ever experience to having Capt. Jack Sparrow drop the Black Pearl's anchor at City Dock. Actor Johnny Depp's yacht, the Vajoliroja, sits at the Annapolis Yacht Basin Co. dock Tuesday. Idle "dock talk" around the marina led many locals to wonder if the celebrity was actually inside the yacht.  (The Capital