Austin Energy warns against phone scammers threatening to cut off power

Statement from Austin Energy:

08.14.11 Alberto Martínez AMERICAN-STATESMAN -- A large utility pole off US 183 is part of the grid that distributes power throughout the city. Austin Energy is reporrting a boom in business as the brutal summer prompts people to consume more electricity.

Several Austin residents have reported receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be from Austin Energy, demanding payment of their utility bill within a half-hour, or power will be shut off. If the resident fell for the scam, the scammers presumably would ask for credit card, gift card or bank account information to complete the payment.

Austin Energy, the City’s electric utility, was alerted to the scam callers by the Austin Police Department.

Austin Energy — which manages City of Austin utility billing for water, electricity and other services — does not phone customers with cut-off deadlines, and does not ask for credit card or wire transfer information over the phone.

Austin Energy accepts walk-in payments ONLY at the city’s two walk-in service centers or the following authorized locations: the customer service counters of most Austin H-E-B stores, ACE Cash Express, Money Box, Fiesta Mart and Randall’s.

Staff at authorized locations will ask to see the customer’s utility bill statement before accepting payment.

If an Austin Energy customer receives a phone call threatening to interrupt service, demand immediate payment, or request credit card or bank account information, hang up and dial 3-1-1 or (512) 974-2000 and report the incident immediately.

In addition, anyone who has received such a call and is uncertain of his or her account status can call the Customer Contact Center at (512) 494-9400.

Customers also can call the City of Austin’s Customer Contact Center to ask about the locations and hours of the City’s two walk-in customer service centers.

  • Utility Service Center (east branch) Rosewood-Zaragosa Center, 2800 Webberville Road, Austin, Texas 78702
  • Utility Customer Service Center (north branch), 8716 Research Blvd, Suite 115, Austin, Texas 78758 (near Ohlen Road and Highway 183)

City of Austin utility customers who wish to make a utility bill payment by credit card can do so online at www.coautilities.com or by calling (800) 959-7063, which connects the customer to the City of Austin’s automated utilities payment service (Bill Matrix) to make a payment via credit or debit card or electronic check. City of Austin customer service representatives may give customers this web address or phone number but will NOT ask for a customer’s credit card number to accept payment.

Victoria mosque fire: Authorities offer $30,000 reward in arson case

From the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:

 

HOUSTON – The Houston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Victoria Islamic Center Mosque, and Crime Stoppers are announcing a reward of up to $30,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for the fire that destroyed the Victoria Islamic Center Mosque.

victoria-fire
A reward of up to $30,000 has been offered for information about a suspected arson fire that destroyed the Victoria Islamic Center Mosque last month.

On Jan. 28, 2017, at 2:11am, the Victoria Fire Department responded to a fire at the Victoria Islamic Center Mosque located at 201 E. Airline Road in Victoria, Texas. The fire fully engulfed the building causing an estimated $500,000 in damage.

The ATF, along with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Victoria Fire Marshal and Department of Public Safety immediately began conducting an investigation into the origin and cause of this fire.

The investigative agencies have classified the fire as incendiary, or intentionally set. At this time, the evidence does not indicate the fire was a biased crime.

“Houses of worship are a sacred place in this country, and ATF is committed to devoting the necessary resources to solving this crime,” said Fred Milanowski, the special agent in charge of the ATF Houston Field Division. “We are working closely with our local law enforcement and emergency service partners on this investigation and ask that anyone with information about this incident please report it.”

Victoria Fire Chief Taner Drake said “The investigators are working feverishly to follow all leads that will lead to the arrest of the person(s) responsible”.

ATF and The Victoria Islamic Center Mosque are each offering a $10,000 reward and Crime Stoppers is offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for this crime.

Anyone with any information about this crime should contact ATF at 1-888-ATF-FIRE (1-888-283-3474) or Crime Stoppers at 361-572-4200. Individuals can also submit information through the mobile ReportIt® app, available both on Google Play and the Apple App Store. All individuals providing tips can remain anonymous.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov.

Travis County sheriff’s office seeking volunteers to help crime victims

From the Travis County sheriff’s office:

The Travis County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit is seeking volunteers to provide immediate assistance to victims of various criminal and crisis circumstances including, but not limited to: Family Violence, Sexual Assaults, Child/Elder Abuse, Aggravated Assaults, Robberies/Burglaries, Suicides, Structure Fires, Death Notifications, Natural/Accidental Deaths and Major Traffic Accidents.

Volunteers must complete a comprehensive training program that is scheduled for March 13 – April 1, 2017. (Mondays 6 – 9pm, Thursdays 6 – 9pm, Saturdays 9am – 5pm) Volunteers will also be accompanied on a series of calls before being cleared to take calls independently.

TCSO is seeking persons of excellent moral standing with the sensitivity and self-awareness necessary to provide effective assistance to those in crisis. Volunteers need to be 21 or older, with a reliable, insured vehicle, a working cell phone and a schedule that allows for (4) four-hour shifts of on-call duty per month.

To volunteer, visit https://www.tcsheriff.org/victim-services/volunteers.

Decades-old New Hampshire homicide mystery has possible Texas ties

Bob Evans
Bob Evans

A man who may have spent time working in Texas and had acquaintances in Austin during the 1970s and 1980s is thought to be connected to a string of homicides in New Hampshire, authorities say.

Since 1985, New Hampshire law enforcement officials, working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, have been trying to solve the mystery surrounding the deaths of a woman and three children, whose bodies were found wrapped in plastic and placed in steel barrels in the woods outside Allenstown, N.H.

The victims remain unidentified, but authorities hope to find some answers if they can get more information about a man they think is their killer.

WATCH: Video recaps mysterious case of bodies found in barrels in New Hampshire

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, investigators say DNA has linked one of the victims found in the barrels to a man known as “Bob Evans,” who died in prison in 2010.

Authorities have said Evans “referenced the state of Texas on multiple occasions when speaking of places he spent time during the early 1980s. He told investigators he spent time in Travis, Nueces, Harris, Dallas and Matagorda counties

In Travis County, investigators say Evans might have known someone residing at an RV park in Austin during 1986. He called two RV parks – Austin Lone Star RV Resort and Pecan Grove RV Park, officials said.

Evans also claimed to have worked as an electrician with Brown and Root in Houston during the 1970s; as an installation mechanic at Big Three Industries during the 1970s and 1980s; and as an instrument repairman for Bay City Electric in Bay City during the 1970s.

The family of a missing woman, Denise Beaudin, believe she and Evans left New Hampshire and traveled to Texas to avoid financial difficulties.

More information about the case has been prepared by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, the Manchester Police Department and New Hampshire State Police, and can be obtained by emailing the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at media@ncmec.org.

 

Unlucky Friday the 13th? Austin DJ Miguel Angel plays show hours after getting stabbed

ulovei-miguel-angel
Austin DJ Miguel Angel, aka ulovei. Photo from Facebook

Austin DJ Miguel Angel, also known as “ulovei,” said he was the victim of a stabbing in East Austin on Friday night but he was still able to play a show just hours later.

Angel chronicled the night on social media, proving the old adage, the show must go on.

Austin police had responded to a stabbing around 9 p.m. Friday in the 800 block of East 14th Street, according a Statesman report. A person with a minor stab wound was taken to the hospital, and police had a suspect in custody after the stabbing, police said.

Angel said he was the victim in that report and has identified his attacker to police and plans to press charges. The Statesman reached out to Austin police, but they were unable to confirm details of the incident Saturday night.

Angel said the incident occurred at his East Austin apartment where he was waiting for a friend so they could go together to a show he was scheduled to play.

He said someone knocked on his door and, thinking it was his friend, he opened it to see a man in a mask with what looked like a samurai sword. “He just started swinging me and attacking,” he said.

Angel said he grabbed the blade with his hands to keep the man from stabbing and slashing him further, but then the attacker pulled out a dagger from behind and stabbed Angel in the back.

The DJ said when his friend, Kirkland Audain, got to his apartment the attacker began running after Audain.

Audain said he was able to get into his car, lock the door and call police. “It’s just surreal,” he said. “He was going to kill my friend if I hadn’t shown up.”

On Friday at 10:48 p.m., Angel posted video and photos of himself on social media at the hospital after he said he was stabbed.

Angel told the Statesman he suffered three stab wounds, including a large stab wound in the back, and multiple injuries to his hands, arms, face and neck. He said he suffered no internal damage from the incident.

 

The DJ also retweeted posts from his friends showing him being treated at University Medical Center Brackenridge.

 

Angel said doctors did not want him to leave the hospital and told him to rest, but he knew he wanted to make it to the show he was scheduled to play.

After getting treated, Angel said he left the hospital around 12:30 a.m. and was able to play the last part of the show.

Around 1:30 a.m., Angel posted a video showing him spinning at The Volestead bar on East 6th Street for a Friday the 13th show with DJ Luis Espada, also known as King Louie.

“I just didn’t want anybody to know that they can keep me down,” he said. “This guy wanted to hurt me (and) wanted to stop me, so I’m not going to let that happen.”

Angel said it was painful to spin at the show due to cuts and fresh wounds on his hands and fingers, but his friends were there to help carry bags and equipment.

Angel said seeing his friends at the gig and playing to the crowd was just what he needed after the traumatic incident.

“I didn’t just want to be at home crying in bed or something. That wouldn’t have helped me,” he said. “It feels good to know that so many people have my back here in Austin.”

Angel said he has received calls, social media messages and texts from friends, acquaintances and people he hasn’t spoken to in years wishing him well after the incident.

https://twitter.com/DamnDtae/status/820352395083481089

He said he planned to DJ two shows Saturday night despite pain in his hands from the recent injuries.