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tv   Caught on Camera  MSNBC  August 12, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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rescue workers battle to save a man teetering at the brink of niagara falls. >> we've got to go. we've got to go get him. a daredevil attempts a stunt that goes up in flames. >> my life was in perilous danger. this guy pummels his own lawyer. and a twist in the story an investigative reporter never saw coming. >> you hear him scream to his wife, honey, get the gun. >> videos that don't get any more shocking -- >> video shows i pushed your kid. what are you going to do about it? >> -- or more strange -- >> i remember standing there in disbelief. >> or any more sinister. >> the puppy could have died, he could have broken the dog's
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neck. "caught on camera: sinister, strange, shocking." journalists are taught to stay objective, to avoid becoming part of the story. john mattes is an investigative reporter in san diego, and he's not afraid to chase down any lead. but in trying to expose a bad guy, he found himself smack in the middle of an unbelievable story. his cameraman captured some shocking video, and it was all the evidence the cops needed to throw someone in jail. >> stop that [ bleep ] camera right now. >> a confrontation between a local tv reporter and this irate woman could have ended here. >> uh! >> but it quickly escalates into a shocking assault that leaves san diego's tv reporter john mattes battered, bruised, and bleeding when her husband shows up. >> hey, joe. joe, call the police. call the police. >> the video was broadcast
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nationwide. >> i assume you've looked better than you look this morning. >> reporters getting beaten up in the line of duty. >> some video you just got to see. >> this vicious beating is the result of a series of reports by mattes into the affairs of this man, sam suleiman. a local landlord and developer. >> call the police. >> mattes had been reporting on his business dealings for the fox tv station, news 6 in san diego. >> for three months i had been investigating mr. suleiman and his real estate empire, which was based on allegations of mortgage fraud. >> no fraud charges are ever filed by the san diego district attorney. but mattes continues to report on suleiman. and after his third story, mattes says he gets a frightening phone call. >> in the middle of the night, i'm going to come get you. you're an insect. you better retract. >> mattes says threatening late-night calls to his personal cell phone become regular and frequent. >> all of the threats were directed at my reporting. all of the threats were directed
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at shutting me down. >> the now notorious mauling starts while mattes is interviewing this man, b.k. phillips, for a fourth story about a pair of previous run-ins with suleiman. >> this is our house. >> phillips lives next door to one of suleiman's buildings and he says, first, they have a neighborly squabble. and on a second occasion, as phillips walks through his neighborhood back to his home on a sunday afternoon, he says suleiman crosses the line. >> suleiman shows up out of nowhere, screeched up in his car, kicked open his car door, ran out and literally was posturing like i'm going to kick your butt, i'm going to beat your ass and a bunch of colorful expletives. >> phillips immediately calls police to the scene and later gets a restraining order against suleiman. so when reporter john mattes comes to interview him, he's all too happy to share everything he knows. >> i'd basically had enough harassment from this man. john was just about to interview
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me when rosa barraza shows up. >> rosa is suleiman's wife and she's angry. >> stop that [ bleep ] camera right now. >> out of nowhere, his wife drives up in a car from there and comes running up and starts screaming. >> why are you doing this? you didn't have enough with what you air. >> and i'm thinking, what am i doing to you? you've just invaded someone's private property. you invaded our personal space, and now you're interfering with an interviewer. and then she proceeds to smack me with a bottle. that's not appropriate. >> i don't give a [ bleep ]. >> it doesn't end there. >> you like tijuana or ensenada? which one you like better? >> she's asking him where on the other side of the mexican border he wants to be buried. >> i'm going to put you on the other side of the country. >> next barraza turns her attention to the cameraman. >> stop it! >> she's leaving and then proceeds to batter the camera and knocks the cameraman down. >> as he pulls his camera back from looking at the ground, if you listen very closely, you can hear tires screeching.
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suleiman shows up, and at this time i'm thinking he's actually coming to fight with me because we've had words so many times. i got there in enough time -- what i thought was enough time to keep john from getting a lot of damage but suleiman, he fights like a badger. >> i feel this hand coming across my face, and he's putting these long fingernails in my ears trying to rip my ears off, and i can feel him trying to rip my mouth apart. the three of us were in this pile of flesh trying to grapple, but he's proceeding to shred my face. and this continues on, and i'm thinking, okay, my life is flashing. i'm thinking, well, okay, i'm going to be maimed. i'm going to lose my eyesight. but i'm going to live. then i hear him scream to his wife, honey, get the gun. >> a gun? it could have gotten much worse, but lucky for mattes, no gunfire. >> they were so excited about the opportunity to whack me, they forgot to bring the gun.
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>> by this point, a crowd was formed, and the police are on their way, called by witnesses to this very bizarre street brawl. >> stop. >> get off him. >> turn around. get on the ground. get on the ground! get on the ground! >> suleiman is a crazy person, obviously. when the sirens start getting closer and closer, you could literally see the switch in his eyes where the adrenaline must have stopped pumping, and he's like, oh, what did i just do? he literally looked like he was chemically imbalanced at this point. >> the onlookers stand by in disbelief. >> in fact, tourists who came upon the fight scene thought this had all been scripted, that this was some kind of hollywood production because of this whole elaborate setup of cars in the street and with his wife running around looking for the gun. they couldn't believe the blood flying around was anything but fake. >> but the blood and the injuries to john mattes are all too real. he's all cut up, bruised, a few
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broken ribs, and has to spend the night in the hospital. >> get on the ground! get on the ground! >> in court, sam suleiman as part of a plea agreement, pleads guilty to felony assault. he's sentenced to a year in jail and three years probation. his wife pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and is placed on three years probation. she's also ordered to do 30 hours of community service. >> john mattes, i'm going to sue the living -- out of you. >> thank you. >> john mattes is still concerned this may not be over. >> at the sentencing, the judge gave mr. suleiman an opportunity to apologize to me, and yet he turned to me and said, that man was the cause of my problems. that man is dangerous. he uses a microphone as a deadly weapon. >> mattes is thankful that b.k. phillips decided to intervene. he's also thankful the cameraman thought better and decided not to intervene. >> he kept shooting the whole time so that when the police came, it couldn't be mr. mattes attacked me. no. the cameraman says, why don't you look at the tape.
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they looked at the tape, and that was it. he was gone. so the cameraman saved this situation, saved me. coming up, rescuers battle to save a man at the edge of niagara falls. >> if you go over at this particular spot, you're not going to survive. >> we thought for sure we were going to see this poor guy go right over the brink. and this man -- >> i'd rather have the prosecutor be my attorney than him. >> -- a new lawyer. when "caught on camera: sinister, strange, shocking" returns. you'll inevitably find yourself on a desolate highway in your jeep grand cherokee. and when you do, you'll be grateful for the adaptive cruise control that automatically adjusts your speed when approaching slower traffic. and for the blind spot monitoring that helps remind you that the highway might not be as desolate... you thought. ♪
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niagara falls, the largest set of water falls in north america. its beauty is mesmerizing, its power awe inspiring. but on this day, it's the force of men, not nature, that's the biggest miracle of all. an unbelievable rescue mission
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to save one man who has crept dangerously close to the edge of the falls. the call comes in on march 19th, 2003, 5:08 p.m. sergeant pat moriarty is on duty. he's a 19-year veteran of the niagara falls state park police. >> our radio man yelled down the hall and said, we just got a call from the canadians. there's a man on the ice at terrapin point. >> not a safe place to be. terrapin point is a piece of land that sits as close to the falls as you can get. >> the drop from that point, terrapin point, is over 180 feet straight down. if you go over in that particular spot, you're not going to survive. >> when moriarty arrives on the scene, it's even worse than he expected. the man is not on the icy formation on land, he's waist-deep in frigid water. >> when i saw the victim standing almost in waist deep water right at the brink of the falls, the hair on the back of my neck went up. >> moriarty immediately calls the fire department and the
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helicopter rescue unit. he also calls the power company upriver and asks them to use their dam to lower the water level. within minutes, niagara firefighter gary carella arrives on the scene. >> where the victim was standing is almost impossible to fathom. it is one of the most dangerous positions that a person can put themselves in. if i was a betting man, i would bet 99.9 times out of 100, that no one could stand that close to the falls. >> carella, moriarty, and the rest of the rescue team meet to come up with a plan. they know there isn't much time. darkness is setting in, and it's only getting colder. >> our training and experience tells us we only have slight minutes to get him out of that position, or he may go into shock or even cardiac arrest due to hypothermia. >> the decision is made to lower carella and moriarty into the water.
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these two men, who have met only in passing before, know they'll need to trust each other. >> we shook hands and looked each other in the eye and i think we understood, i'm there to save your life and you're there to save mine. >> as they're lowered into the water, they both have two ropes attached to their harnesses. one ties them to a small shrub on the shore, and the other is controlled by about 20 rescuers. they will use all of their strength to keep those men from getting swept over the falls. >> the water going at such a rate and then dropping at such a distance creates this tremendous thunder. you actually feel like you're in a small earthquake, and it's just an unsettling feeling. >> looking down from the shoreline when we first hit the water, i pulled on gary's arm and pointed down. directly down river from us, the brink of the falls along the shoreline, the water had undercut the ice. i said to gary, if we lose our footing, we'll end up under the ice under the water, and that was the last thing i wanted to have happen. >> moriarty can't know it yet, but he would soon face his greatest fear. but for now, they inch out into
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the raging waters, hoping to get the man a life ring. onshore, a rescue worker finds a suicide note from the man now fighting fiercely for his life. but carella and moriarty know nothing about the note, and they're able to make contact with the victim. >> we wanted to reassure him. tell him, we're coming to get you. we're here for you. >> he was able to yell loud enough that i can't stand here much longer. i'm cold. and he said he's getting weaker. >> carella and moriarty can't stand there much longer either. >> we could feel our feet being pulled from under us, and we looked at each other and i said, this is going to have to be a no-go. so plan "b" kicked in at that time. >> fortunately, plan "b" arrives from the air. captain kevin caffery hovers above, trying to get a rescue basket close enough for the man to grab. >> we made four or five attempts to get him with the rescue basket.
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we got pretty close to him. the problem is with the treacherous air current, it was almost impossible to control the aircraft. >> at some point he said, i'm running out of power. we're not going to be able to do this. >> another failed attempt. the chopper returns to land. so the team can come up with plan "c." in the water, carella and moriarty know time is not on their side. >> at this time now, it's starting to get dark. gary and i were getting colder in the water because we'd been in there for a while. i know my hands were getting numb. i was getting concerned, if we did get close enough to the victim, am i going to be able to grab onto him and hold him? our victim, who's soaking wet at this time, is telling us he can't last much longer. what we originally thought he'd only last for a few minutes, now he's been in there over an hour. i'm very, very concerned we've run out of time. >> the life ring they've been tossing is repeatedly washed back to them by the strong currents. but co-pilot art litsinger suggests they get the life ring to the victim from the air. >> we'd have to get fairly close and actually try to toss this
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ring out to somewhere where he could get a hold of it. >> i knew our biggest problem was the rotor wash from the aircraft itself, the wind speed. and i was afraid we were going to knock him over. >> but they're willing to give it a shot. >> we're probably only about a foot or two off the water. we tried to get in close. i was trying to get our side of the aircraft in close to him so he could throw the gentleman the ring. and as soon as we got that rotor wash next to him, we could see the guy starting to stumble. >> i was looking right at him, and he got a little disoriented, and then he got wobbly, and then he fell. >> seeing his head go under, i cringed and closed my eyes a little bit and said a little prayer and said, oh, boy, he's gone. >> can rescuers get to the man in time? >> the danger level increased 100%. >> what was a difficult rescue is about to get even tougher. >> his legs went right over the brink.
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it's march 19th, 2003. rescuers have been trying for more than an hour to save a man from falling nearly 180 feet over the edge of niagara falls to his death. from the air rescuers are attempting to toss him a life ring. but suddenly the man slips, and they fear they've lost him for good. >> when he first fell, he grabbed onto the rocks. and then within a few seconds, he slid back probably another two or three feet. and at that point, his legs actually went over the brink. >> but against all odds, the man is able to pull himself up on a rock. >> and then there's just jubilation. he stands up, and it's miraculous. it's an unbelievable experience
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to see somebody just sheer will and drive of that person to not go over and just stand up. >> he's up, but it's not time to celebrate yet. the man's footing is still unstable. co-pilot art litsinger knows he has precious seconds to act and only he can save the man now. but spray is pelting him in the face. and so blindly he tosses the life ring into the teeth of the swirling wind. >> fortunately, i got pretty close to him, and the current took it right across in front of his face, about two foot in front of him. >> now it's do or die for the man who has held on for so long. >> he got it. >> he actually had to let go of what he was holding on to to get the ring. it was about a foot or two in front of him. he let go, and he grabbed the ring. we did see that his legs went right over the brink. >> on shore, rescuers start pulling the rope, plucking the man from certain death. >> i can't describe the feeling of, for 30 seconds anyway, of feeling this relief that he finally has it. finally we have him. we have something connected to him. he's not on his own anymore. and we start to bring him in. >> as carella and moriarty watch their peers pull the guy to shore, the feeling of relief is short-lived.
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if standing feet from the edge of niagara falls isn't dangerous enough, almost unbelievably the stakes are about to go up even higher. the man slips under that menacing ice shelf, the very thing moriarty feared most. >> upon being dragged underneath the ice floe, the danger level increased 100%. he now is on a rope that is unable to be pulled back because he goes underneath the ice. he's also being dragged by a current that is unbelievable because now it's pressurized. it's formed underneath the ice. he's almost like a water skier in a curre being just straight out. >> now it's critical. so i looked at gary and said, we got to go. that's it. we got to go. we've got to go get him. >> rescuers on top of the ice cautiously give carella and moriarty the rope they need to reach the man, who is still holding on to that life ring just a few feet from the edge of the falls. >> when we first got up to him, the water was literally running completely over his face. i could see his eyes -- he was looking up at me under the water, looking at me. it was surreal.
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>> i never will forget this as long as i live because his arm was outstretched. he's almost losing the ring. pat reaches under and grabs the only thing that he could, the fingers that are out of the water. and he had him just by the four fingers, he's holding him. >> i pulled as hard as i could. i was able to get his face out of the water so he could breathe. >> he could breathe and talk. >> he just told us, let me go. he just gave up. he said, save yourselves. let me go. let me go. >> we more or less had some choice words for him and told him that we didn't come this far to let you go now, that all of us are going up. you've got to help us. >> carella manages to get underneath the victim and is able to slip a harness around his body. once the harness is on, he wraps his arms and legs around the man and braces himself. >> pat yelled for them to pull, and i'll tell you what, it was the quickest ever i thought i would go up an embankment. must have been the adrenaline on top because we slid out of there in a matter of seconds.
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>> and minutes later, sergeant moriarty is pulled to safety too. it's a chaotic scene, but now both on solid ground, the two men who just risked their lives to save another search for each other in the crowd. >> we shook hands, and we -- it was just an understanding that only people that do this can understand the feeling of gratitude and pride in the job we had just done. it was like, i can't believe we just did that. >> every time i see pat, i get that little smile and that feeling inside, and i think back to that day and i know he'll be a friend for life. coming up, parents out of control at a kids' football game. >> i f'ing pushed your kid. what are you going to do about it? >> also, what kind of person would steal a puppy? >> every time it happens, i lose
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more and more faith in people. >> and what in the world is this guy thinking? a stunt gone terribly wrong when "caught on camera: sinister, strange, shocking" continues. [ male announcer ] if you think any battery will do, consider the journey of today's athletes. their training depends on technology. and when it takes a battery, there are athletes everywhere who trust duracell. they rely on copper to go for the gold. duracell. trusted everywhere. and soon...even more reason to trust duracell. duralock power preserve. it locks in power for up to 10 years in storage. guaranteed. duralock. coming soon to every duracell battery. to experience the lexus performance line... including the gs and is. [ engines revving ] because control is the ultimate expression of power.
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they are riding a wave of enthusiasm from tobacco grower to the badger state. mitt romney and paul ryan wrapped up their second day. they are heading for an event at ryan's home state of wisconsin. the oil tanker crashes into u.s. navy destroyer. an oil tanker ran into it. month one was hurt. both vessels are still operable. now back to "caught on camera." is there anything more innocent, more fun than kids playing sports? they play for the love of the game, and between the lines of
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the playing field, they can learn respect, responsibility, rules -- all valuable life lessons. so what happens when a huge fight breaks out? the grown-ups calm things down. right? well, what if it's the adults who are out of control? the roar of the crowd. the pop of the pads. it's friday night in western texas, and it's intense. but far, very far from those famous friday night lights, on a saturday morning here in stockton, california, these boys play for the love of the game. and they know how to hit pretty hard, too. it's less than a minute to go in the game when the referee blows the whistle on number 58, 13-year-old brian woods of the stockton bears. that's a late hit. seconds later, a friendly game of football turns into an
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all-out brawl. 36-year-old cory petero, an assistant coach, is seen on home video charging onto the field. petero's son is the one on the receiving end of the late hit. to everyone's horror, petero finds woods and knocks the teenage player to the ground. >> i was like walking back to the sidelines. it was a kickoff, so offense was coming out. i wasn't like expecting it. he caught me off guard. >> you don't run out on the field and take actions into your own hands and hit a child. that's what the referees are there for, to call the penalties, and the game moves on. >> denise champion, brian's mom, can't believe what she's seeing. >> next minute i know, there are people running onto the field, everybody's fighting. people trying to break it up. there are kids crying. it was just a big chaos. >> when the dust settles, the man who started it all, 36-year-old father and assistant coach, is nowhere to be found. >> i thought the coach jumped over a fence and then there was like a car waiting for him. >> that day after the incident,
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he turned himself in to stockton police when he learned they were looking for him. >> scott smith is a reporter who covered the case for the "stockton record." >> he was arrested initially on felony child abuse charges, which brings potentially a state prison sentence. >> but petero has no previous record. as part of a plea deal, the charges are reduced to a misdemeanor, inflicting injury on a child. he accepts the deal. cory petero is sentenced to 45 days of community service and instructed to take an anger management class. >> i really wasn't pushing the issue for the jail and court and all that because, you know, things happen. people get upset. i was really looking for an apology. >> the apology never comes, but denise and her son are trying to put the whole ordeal behind them. >> i just have to teach my son to move on and do what makes him happy. we can't let that get the best of us. >> and brian is moving on. next stop, he's trying out for his high school football team. >> i'm going to continue to play and make that all fall behind.
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>> down the road from stockton in southern california, another shocking piece of amateur video. parents out of control at a kids football game. just before this raucous scene is caught on camera, the pico rivera dons are playing the downey razorbacks. 12, 13, and 14-year-old boys are playing football. the pico rivera quarterback drops back for a long pass, but a downey razorback makes a nice play, intercepting the ball and racing down the sideline. and after the play, a little extracurricular activity. watch as a very upset pico player says something to his coach and points toward the stands. then seconds later, an unbelievable brawl breaks out between parents. spilling out of the bleachers and onto the field. rene gamboa is the mother of the boy who just said something to
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his coach. she thinks a parent of a player on the opposing team pushed her son, and she's mad. >> so i turned around to the people in the bleachers, and i said, i want to know what parent pushed my kid. and the man with the blue jersey stood up and said, i f'ing pushed your kid. what are you going to do about it? >> the man in the blue jersey is this guy, who after the exchange with gamboa, is being viciously kicked and beaten. his name, dessie tubbs. tubbs said he never made the threatening comments to rene gamboa. and as for pushing her son, couldn't have been him. >> i wasn't even on the field, i was in the stands. >> but after a short confrontation with gamboa's husband, tubbs soon find himself out of the stands in the middle of a vicious melee. >> they knocked me down to the ground, and some guy starts hitting me. well, i focus on him and i get on top of him. and i was able to get a couple of punches in. then i was pulled off of him, kicked, beaten, stomped, everything. he even tried to pull my pants down. >> the men seen on the tape
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doing most of the kicking, stomping, and beating are these two brothers. gino and joe sirocco. after cops get ahold of the footage, the brothers find themselves in real trouble. they're arrested on felony assault charges, and both plead no contest. joe is sentenced to five years, and gino to two. pico rivera coach tony gonzalez has a hard time explaining to his team just what their parents were thinking. >> it's a shame. our kids are very upset. because they feel that -- their innocence got taken away from them. this is a game, a football game. they're 14-year-olds, 13-year-olds, and 12-year-olds. coming up, a man robs a bank with a bomb strapped to his neck. >> i'm not lying. >> is he in on the sinister plot or an unwilling participant? and a daredevil plays with fire.
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talk to your doctor. not one, not two, but three sinister puppy thefts -- all caught on camera and all from the same store. >> if you can't afford to buy a puppy, adopt a puppy. don't steal a puppy. >> cindy darrell, owner of precious puppies, sells designer and purebred puppies to the residents of plantation, florida. >> we like keeping our puppies in baby cribs. it's better for the puppies. people that come in to see the puppies, they can pet the puppies. there's a lot of human interaction. >> but unfortunately, what's
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best for the puppies may not always be what's best for the store. >> because the puppies are out in the open for people to be able to play with them and touch them and hold them, we've had a number of thefts. >> these dogs can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,500. but it's not the loss of revenue that bothers cindy most about puppy thefts. >> a man walked in the store, stopped and looked at that puppy. and he reaches through the hole and pulls the puppy out by its neck. puts the puppy under his shirt, and walks out the door. it was devastating that he could handle a puppy that way. the puppy could have died if he would have broken the dog's neck. >> cindy quickly releases the tape to the local media and says, thanks to viewer tips, the puppy is recovered in good health. the bow wow bandit is arrested and pleads guilty to grand theft. this next canine theft is more of a team effort. >> three young girls came into the store, walked around the store together for a few minutes. one girl holds the purse open.
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another girl put the puppy in the purse. the third girl gave her jacket to the girl that had the stolen puppy and helped her conceal the puppy. >> then suddenly, as the thieves make their getaway, it appears this woman has a change of heart. just after her two friends exit the store, the girl with the stolen puppy in her purse, strangely puts the dog back. but what seems like a stroke of luck for one pup turns out to be bad news for another little guy. >> she did steal a different puppy instead. so she took the puppy out of that purse, put the puppy back, and chose a different puppy. >> again, cindy releases the theft video to local media, and again, the puppy is returned unharmed. only the girl who carried the puppy in her purse is arrested. cindy darrell has more than a dozen security cameras in her store, and she wants would-be thieves to take notice. >> we have cameras. we have signs that tell you we have cameras. we're not hiding the fact. i just don't understand why people continue to steal knowing
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that that day they're going to be on the news. >> but cameras won't stop everyone. these thefts can happen in the blink of an eye, like this one. watch as this woman asks an employee questions about a chihuahua. >> one of my employees that actually had been helping her had to step away for maybe 15 or 20 seconds. in that short amount of time, she reached into the crib, shoved the puppy underneath her jacket, and walked out the door. >> because of her good video evidence, cindy gets the puppy snatcher arrested and charged with grand theft. the woman, seen in the video, pleads no contest and is sentenced to two years' probation. despite her good intentions and against her wishes, she may soon have to put those innocent puppies behind bars, too. >> every time it happens, i lose more and more faith in people. i really don't want to put the dogs behind glass or in cages, but if this epidemic continues,
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i'm going to have no choice. 911, what's your emergency? >> yes, i'm calling about that bank robbery at pnc bank, summit town plaza. >> august 28th, 2003, a bizarre robbery is reported at the pnc bank in erie, pennsylvania. >> yeah, what happened? >> the guy just walked out with i don't know how much cash in a bag. he had a bomb or something wrapped around his neck. >> minutes later, the suspect is arrested and handcuffed. but strangely, he's not hauled off to jail. instead, what happens next leaves a police force and an entire town scratching their heads in utter disbelief. >> i don't have a lot of time. >> the bank robber is brian wells, a pizza delivery man. strapped to his neck and shoulders is a bomb, attached with a crude looking metal collar that locks. state police corner wells,
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barely 100 yards from the bank, in the parking lot of an eyeglass center. as employee dina mcphee watches. >> they cuffed him and then he must have said something about a bomb or said that he had something on him. because then he -- the police officers proceeded in running in different directions. >> as the area is evacuated, cameraman dan holland holds his position. he has his lens trained on the scene where wells is trying to convince the police he was forced to rob the bank by someone else. the same person who put the bomb around his neck. >> i'm not lying. did you call my boss? >> the man was strangely calm. he was just kind of sitting there. i mean, i know if i would have had a bomb on my neck, i would have probably been in a panic mode. >> as witnesses and media look on, wells talks out loud about the bomb to anyone who will listen. >> he pulled a key out and started a timer. i heard the thing ticking when he did it. it's going to go off.
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>> for 20 tense minutes, police keep their distance, waiting for the bomb squad to arrive. in obvious distress, wells pleads with police as the clock ticks. >> why is no one trying to come get this thing off me? >> he seemed to be having a conversation with the police. just very, very eerie stuff. media crews are warned to move back. >> state police are urging us to move from our location because, if this bomb goes off and there's shrapnel, we could get hit. but i think we're safe. >> just a few minutes later, time runs out. the bomb explodes. the footage, too gruesome to show. police react instinctively, running closer with guns drawn. but brian wells is dead. >> it was pretty much a shock. i remember standing there for a few seconds in disbelief, not thinking anything like this could have ever happened. >> news 12 interrupts this program. >> local news stations go live.
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>> we want to interrupt regular programming to bring you the latest on a breaking story. >> wells' death leaves more questions than answers. the 46-year-old delivery man, a longtime employee of mama mia's pizzeria, lived in this modest rented home with his cats. his friends and co-workers are stunned. >> how did this happen? brian did not do this. i mean, this is so far out of character. this is against everything that he believed in. >> the bizarre case baffles law enforcement. did he act alone? was he part of a conspiracy, or was he telling the truth? did someone force him to rob the bank? >> if he was doing this just on his own, why did he use a live bomb? >> the fbi launches an investigation. they retrace wells' steps. he left mama mia's to deliver two pizzas to an address that only adds to the mystery. >> we visited the site that afternoon and evening to where he made the delivery, and that
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delivery was down a dirt road. and at the end of the dirt road was a radio tower. and that's all that was there. >> the next time he's seen is in the bank, demanding $250,000 with a bomb strapped to his neck. >> it's going to go off. >> this is the first time we've ever seen anything like this where somebody has actually put a live bomb around them and alleged that other people have told him to do this. and then the bomb has actually gone off and killed him. >> with so many unanswered questions, the fbi announces a $50,000 reward, but the case remains unsolved for four years. then in 2007, federal prosecutors announce indictments against two local people. they say wells was not an innocent victim, but instead, almost unbelievably, in on the plan, at least in the beginning. >> it may be that his role transitioned from that of the planning stages to being an unwilling participant.
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>> the indictments say this woman, 58-year-old marjorie diehl armstrong apparently planned the robbery with the other person charged, kenneth barnes. prosecutors say armstrong needed cash to pay barnes to murder her father. so they enlisted wells, the pizza delivery man, to rob the bank. prosecutors say armstrong and barnes even watched wells rob the bank from a safe distance. wells' relatives insist he had nothing to do with this strange and complicated plot. >> he did not know any of these people. that's why they had to lure him to the tower to plant the bomb on him. >> prosecutors say wells could have alerted someone before robbing the bank and they don't know whether wells ever knew the bomb was real. kenneth barnes eventually pleads guilty to two felony charges and is currently awaiting sentencing. he is sentenced to 45 years but
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it's february 4th, 2008. peter hayfer is in a kentucky courtroom on burglary charges, and he thinks he deserves a better lawyer. >> he ain't doing nothing i'll tell ya, this ain't working. i'd rather have the prosecutor be my attorney than him. he probably give me a better
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turn. >> when the judge says no, what happens next can only be described as shocking. >> i just hit him. i mean, i just -- just went into rage and, you know, i really didn't realize what i was doing until i was like, you know -- i was on the ground when they grabbed me. >> i've had some bruising in the face, some swelling. i had a cut on my cheek. >> doug crickmere is the lawyer you see on the screen. >> they took me to the hospital. had a ct scan. >> he's been a public defender for years, and despite being slugged by his own client, he isn't angry. >> well, i think mr. hayfer was just frustrated. he's been in jail for quite some time. he has some new charges coming at him. he's got some anger management issues. i think he just snapped. >> the incident wines up costing
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hayfer. he's sentenced to six months in jail for contempt of court. and in an interesting twist, he gets his wish when he heads back to court to face his original burglary charges he's appointed a new lawyer. >> oh, my god. >> an ill-conceived stunt goes horribly awry in sydney, australia. 39-year-old brian companon, an aspiring stunt man and self-described daredevil, lights himself on fire and rides a bicycle off this roof on to these mattresses. >> we're about to watch brian do a bit of a stunt and this is his preparation. that's his landing pad. that's his son over there. >> it's a family event. >> 26th of october. >> the voice you hear is one of his kids who films and narrates the action.
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>> he's going to set himself on fire on just the edge there of the building, cut on a motor bike and jump on that ramp, throw the motor bike off and land on those pads. >> cancanan builds this crude ramp and places it on the roof of a public restroom facility, but don't worry, he's filled a garbage can with water that he'll use to douse the flames. >> i had all the necessary safety clothing. >> the stunt doesn't seem to make much sense, but ryan says he's performed several successful fire stunts before. this time he doesn't take all the precautions he needs. >> wasn't 100% prepared. i didn't go to enough trouble to organize a safety program. >> how's it going, bri? tell us what you're doing. >> put me off thinking and i can't -- >> i'm not interviewing you, i'm just showing the preparation. >> please.
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>> as he prepares for the stunt, a small crowd gathers and a couple of unexpected guests arrive, too. >> i tell ya. well, brian's preparing for the jump and we have some company here. the police has arrived. oh. his landing pad. i think we're getting ready. >> brian says he panics. >> all the police pulled up. i started to watch and i knew it was a matter of time before they were going to can the stunt. >> so he hurries faster than he originally plans. now doused in gasoline, he lights himself on fire. >> i think he's -- oh, my god. >> and away he goes. a loud thunk. ryan lands just short of his intended target, the mattresses, falling from a height of nearly 30 feet.
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ouch. >> put out my wrist. hit face first, bloke my nose. cut my tooth. got a big flash of light. >> dazed, confused, and on fire he stumbles around looking for the trash can of water. as precious seconds tick away, what was supposed to be a fun stunt turns gravely serious. >> my life was in perilous danger and i had to do something quick here otherwise i'm going to burn and friday. >> he says his broken wrist makes it impossible for him to lift the trash can and pour water on himself. >> my ears started to get burned and it started going through the clothing. >> no one seems to know what to do. finally possibly seconds from death he lays down as one of the police officers who stopped earlier to see what was going on comes to his aid and goes for that can of water. >> i picked it up and doused the
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man that was on fire out and called for an ambulance to attend to help save his life. >> when it appears brian is okay, the crowd laughs and a plauds. he's alive but in serious need of medical attention. >> he's alive. >> but police are not amused by the situation. >> it is a serious and dangerous stunt and it's one that we do not encourage. >> do you feel a burn anywhere? >> all of it's singed. >> just hop in the ambulance, will you? >> he spends three days in the hospital. >> hey, brian. >> i'll catch up with you soon, all right. i hope you get better. see ya. and he set himself on fire. say bye-bye, brian. >> police decide not to charge brian with anything, but the
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incident makes him ask himself, what was i thinking? >> i won't do anything similar or remote to that stunt. that was just crazy. >> but brian says he isn't giving up entirely on his passion of lighting himself on fire or his hopes of becoming a professional stunt man. >> every stunt, every bit of experience you get you learn from. >> at least we got the fire out. >> if i was more organized and precautionary i might be more recognized for my skills. >> brian sees himself as one of the most extreme daredevils in the world, and despite the danger, he says he won't stop pursuing his dream of becoming a professional funt man. oh, and he says he's fixed the flaw in the stunt that nearly killed him. he hasn't stopped lighting himself on fire, but these days he combines it with another passion of hi


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