Tuesday, March 3, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 4:25 PM

A Bucks County man is in jail after refusing to turn over his three children to social services, whisking them away instead to Florida for 11 days, police said. The kids – ages 3, 10 and 12 – were returned unharmed.

For reasons not stated in the affidavit, a judge had ordered Michael Perkins, 51, of Bristol Township, to hand over his kids to Bucks County Children and Youth. But Perkins and the kids were gone when social workers and police arrived at his house to pick them up.

Authorities didn't hear from Perkins for six days, during which time police and social workers repeatedly called his phone, knocked on his door and checked area motels. Perkins finally called a Bristol Township detective after the detective repeatedly called Perkins' mother.

Ben Finley @ 4:25 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 1:47 PM
DNA strand.

The Bensalem Township Police Department will offer parents the opporunity in April to obtain a copy of their child's DNA profile through a program conducted with a professional DNA lab, according to a press release from police.

The DNA profiles will not be kept by the lab - Bode Technology, in Virginia - or the police department, the release says. Rather, the DNA will be collected through what police say is a non-invasive procedure, then sent back to parents after being processed in the lab. Parents can then store it in case it's ever needed to identify their child - if the child goes missing, for example.

The event will be conducted on April 6 at the Bensalem Municipal Building (2400 Byberry Road, Bensalem) between noon and 3 p.m. Entry is free, as are DNA profiles. More information is available at 215-633-3711.

Chris Palmer @ 1:47 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 5:38 PM

A federal judge on Tuesday rebuked attorneys on both sides of a lawsuit involving a former Bensalem fire chief and several high-ranking township officials - including Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo and Public Safety Chief Fred Harran - saying that the lawyers were "playing games" in the suit and delaying progress for the sake of legal strategizing.

Questions about pointed accusations in the suit - such as the assertion that the officials invoked the Fifth Amendment in the case - were not answered during the hearing. Instead, the hour-long proceeding was focused on routine items like agreeing to a deposition schedule.

U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson, noting the inability of the opposing attorneys to agree to deposition dates, forced the two sides to agree on times into early next month for the depositions to occur. And he told them, "I don't want to have strategy take the place of the truth," just one of several frustrated remarks he offered before the hearing's end.

Chris Palmer @ 5:38 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 4:58 PM

A retired executive in the federal government has announced that he will challenge state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney (R., Bucks) this November to represent a large swath of the county in Harrisburg.

Steve Cickay, 59, a Democrat from Newtown, said in a statement that he would work to increase Pennsylvania's minimum wage, legalize gay marriage and expand the state's Medicaid program. Cikay also takes aim at Gov. Tom Corbett and his fellow Republicans for failing to dedicate more funding to public education and to infrastructure projects to fix the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Cikay worked in the federal government's Senior Executive Service where he managed 600 people in the information technology field. He and his wife Susan have lived in Newtown since 1985. His two children attended Council Rock schools.

Ben Finley @ 4:58 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, March 7, 2014, 2:03 PM
Based on his extensive facial injuries, Marissa Sargeant said she believes police assaulted her son, Joseph Williams, 14 (pictured). (Photo provided by Marissa Sargeant)

She made national headlines last year, alleging police brutality after officers used a Taser on her handcuffed son, 14, who fled police and fell; the image of his bloodied face going viral.  

Marissa Sargeant is back in the news again, this time for allegedly shoplifting from the same Bucks County Walmart at which her son was arrested for shoplifting and subsequently injured.

Sargeant , 32, of Levittown, and a relative allegedly took $100 worth of unnamed items from the store in Tullytown on Thursday and were arrested after a Walmart employee called police. Sargeant remained in Bucks County prison Friday, unable to post bail and facing felony theft charges because she has three prior shoplifting convictions, court records stated.   

Ben Finley @ 2:03 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, March 6, 2014, 10:37 AM

An 86-year-old Bensalem man with dementia has been found safe in Delaware County, Bensalem police have reported.

As we reported, John Howarth went missing on Wednesday. 

Ben Finley @ 10:37 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 4:21 PM

Bensalem police are looking for a missing 86-year-old man with dementia who may be in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.

John Howarth, who may be driving a 2010 gray Ford Focus, once lived and worked in Kensington and may believe he still does in his worsening mental state, police said.

He is a white male with gray hair and blue eyes. He has a full gray bear and wears dentures. He was last seen wearing a blue flannel shirt and blue jeans. He stands about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weights about 175 pounds.

Ben Finley @ 4:21 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 4:08 PM

Bucks County is reporting an uptick in its homeless population, with the number of people who lack regular sleeping accommodations – including shelters - doubling in one year, officials said Wednesday.

The count of homeless individuals who sleep outside or in cars rose from about 50 in 2012 to nearly 100 this year during the county’s annual tally taken in late January. Those individuals avoid staying in shelters, with some refusing to take advantage of emergency shelters that open during cold weather.

The number of people who are served by county shelters throughout the year also rose between 2012 and 2014 to nearly 960, an increase of about 100.

Ben Finley @ 4:08 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at cpalmer@phillynews.com, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, FactCheck.org and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at bfinley@phillynews.com, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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