Posted tagged ‘Wells Fargo’

Man Sought In Aspen Bomb Threats Found Dead

January 1, 2009

Police in Aspen, Colorado say a man they wanted to question in two bomb threats that forced the evacuation of much of downtown on New Year’s Eve has been found dead.

From the Associated Press:

The Aspen that James Charles Blanning knew as a competitive skier, lumberjack and truck driver was nothing like the swank resort town it is today, and friends and family say it ate at him.

“Aspen became trendy,” said Dieter Bibbig, a retired ski instructor who knew Blanning for 50 years. “I didn’t let it bother me; I just accepted it. Not Jim.”

Police say the disgruntled 72-year-old former resident left four gift-wrapped bombs in downtown Aspen on New Year’s Eve, forcing thousands of well-heeled revelers to abandon plans to ring in 2009. He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound a few hours later east of town.

Bank robbery was the apparent motive, but people who knew Blanning said he had long been disenchanted with his hometown as it changed from a former mining town to a playground for the rich. In 1994, he climbed atop the county courthouse, wrapped a noose around his neck and threatened suicide for hours in what he later said was a protest against the “elitists” of Aspen and for working people.

On Friday, working people were among those most furious about Blanning’s attack. The bomb cleanup forced police to clear the mountain resort just as thousands of revelers were pouring into town for dinner, costing bartenders, waiters and other workers on what is usually the town’s biggest night of the year.

“People were expecting to pay their rent with that money, and now they’re wondering what to do,” said sandwich and coffee server Sami Hibner, 21.

One private club had expected to charge guests more than $500 for New Year’s Eve dinner and dancing; a nearby sushi restaurant had to close its doors and throw out a pricey shipment of fresh seafood flown in for the holiday.

Aspen, which already had been getting fewer tourist dollars and lower hotel occupancy rates because of the poor economy, tried to recapture the holiday spirit with a belated New Year’s fireworks celebration on Thursday night. But revelers numbered in the hundreds, not the thousands.

“We were the ones hurt,” said 22-year-old Milagritos Caballero Alen, a medical student in Lima, Peru, who paused her schooling to come to Aspen on a seasonal work visa.

Alen serves banqueters for tips at The Inn at Aspen, which wasn’t shuttered by Blanning’s threats. But she said most workers like her took a major hit when the town was evacuated. “It’s awful. That was such a big night.”

From CNN:

Authorities identified the suspect as James Blanning, 71, and said the cause of his death is under investigation.

Blanning was identified through bank surveillance video, police said.

Public records show a James Blanning with an address in Denver, Colorado. Those records say Blanning turned 72 years old in November.

A phone message left by CNN at that address was not immediately returned.

The packages were destroyed safely by bomb squads using high-pressure water cannons, police said.

A section of downtown Aspen was temporarily evacuated on New Year’s Eve, one of the busiest days of the year for businesses in Aspen.

Arrest Made in Oregon Bank Bombing

December 14, 2008

It is being reported this evening that police have arrested a suspect in the Oregon bank bombing that killed two officers and critically injured a police chief.

UPDATE: The man arrested is Joshua A. Turnidge.

Associated Press

Credit: Associated Press

From the Associated Press:

Sheriff Russ Isham of Marion County declined to release the suspect’s name, saying it would jeopardize the integrity of the investigation and the safety of officers still working the case.

Officers made the arrest shortly after the sheriff released surveillance photos of a “person of interest.” It was not immediately known if the man in the photos, apparently taken with a security camera, is the same person under arrest. Isham would not release the precise location where the arrest occurred, and said the suspect’s name likely wouldn’t be released until Monday afternoon.

“I’m really proud of those who tirelessly worked to get us to this point and am humbled by the community’s support,” Isham said. “We know there is still a lot of hard work ahead of us, but this development will help bring relief to the local community and the officer’s families.”

Earlier Sunday, Isham said cell phones and items that might have been used to make the Woodburn bomb were bought in the central Oregon city of Bend last month. Authorities would not elaborate on how cell phones might have been used. Bombers often use cell phone signals to remotely detonate explosives.

Second Officer Dies From Oregon Bank Bombing

December 13, 2008

An Oregon State Police bomb technician became the second victim today of a bomb which exploded yesterday in a Woodburn, Oregon, bank branch.

From CNN:

Technician Bill Hakim, a senior trooper, and Woodburn Police Capt. Tom Tennant were killed in Friday evening’s blast, Hastings said. Both men were 51 years old.

Woodburn Police Chief Scott Russell, 46, was critically injured. A female bank employee also was injured. She was treated at a hospital and released, the State Police said in a written statement. Her name was not immediately available.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are offering a $35,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible.

The 5:24 p.m. explosion at West Coast Bank came after the nearby Wells Fargo Bank had received a threatening telephone call Friday morning from an unknown person, Oregon State Police said.

When authorities arrived at Wells Fargo Bank, they discovered a “suspicious object” that was later determined not to be dangerous.

Bank President Bob Sznewajs said Friday that his employees told him authorities “scanned it outside, then brought it in.” Video Watch a witness describe the explosion »

He said the two bank employees who had not been evacuated were in another part of the bank when the bomb went off. They received minor injuries. One may have been hit by flying debris, and another was “bothered by the sound,” Sznewajs said.

Hastings urged anyone with more information about the bomb to come forward.

“This individual or individuals took the life of two police officers and critically injured the chief of police and potentially could have killed one or both of the bank employees that were still inside,” Hastings said.

“That person is very dangerous, and that person needs to be found as soon as possible,” he said. “And if it takes a $35,000 reward, or if that reward even grows, to convince someone to come forward, to give us that information that’s going to break the case, then that’s money well spent.”

Bomb Blast Kills 1 at Woodburn, Oregon Bank

December 12, 2008

A bomb exploded inside a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, late Friday afternoon after explosives experts arrived to check on a suspicious object. Authorities have said that at least one person was killed by the blast. I’ve been to this bank before after a trip to the Woodburn Outlets.

From the Associated Press:

Oregon State Police said the explosion at the West Coast Bank caused “serious injuries” and that police officers were in the area when the device detonated. They did not say how many police officers were injured.

A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told The Oregonian at least one bomb technician had been injured.

Marion County deputy medical examiner Rodge Womack said he has been told of at least one fatality. He said he did not know the identity of the victim.

Bank President and CEO Bob Sznewajs told The Associated Press that some bank employees might have been injured by flying glass but that none was seriously hurt.

Before the detonation, a Wells Fargo Bank branch nearby got a call that was “a potential bomb threat” but police searched and found nothing, Sznewajs told The AP.

He said his bank then got a call “from an unknown person saying that we should look for one as well. We called authorities, but they looked and found nothing.”

Bank of America To Cut Up To 35,000 Jobs

December 11, 2008

Bank of America has announced that it expects to cut 30,000 to 35,000 jobs over the next three years.

From the Associated Press:

The final number could be even higher, analysts say. Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America said it hasn’t yet completed its analysis for eliminating positions, and won’t until early next year. The company and Merrill have about 308,000 employees in total, and the cuts will affect workers from both companies and all types of businesses.

Bank of America is considered one of the country’s healthier banks, and its decision to slash so many jobs illustrates the breadth of the layoffs hitting the United States. The nation lost more than half a million jobs in November alone, and economists expect many more to come.

Bank of America’s action is a particularly hard blow for Charlotte — which is also home to the beleaguered Wachovia Corp., a once strong bank that is now being acquired by Wells Fargo & Co. in what amounts to a fire sale. Just three months ago, when the Merrill Lynch deal was announced, Charlotte was dubbed Wall Street South; now, the banking center is being hit as hard as Wall Street and other towns across America, where people go to work in the morning unsure if they will still have a job that night.

Thursday’s announcement of job cuts at Bank of America was hardly unexpected, considering the merger and the wave of job losses seen in the banking industry and in other sectors over the past few months. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch have already eliminated thousands of investment banking jobs over the past year, as have other banks, in an effort to lower costs as they face increasing defaults in mortgages, credit card debt and other loans.

Readers Not Buying Corporate Blogs

December 10, 2008

Only 16% of corporate blog readers trust what they’re reading, according to a recent survey by Forrester Research. But blogger Richard MacManus at Read Write Web has pointed out that even within a single company, there are many blogs with varying degrees of trustworthiness and usefulness. Great piece. Please see the link below for more information.

From Read Write Web:

According to a new report by Forrester Research, corporate blogs are the least trusted information source of all. Only 16% of online consumers who read corporate blogs say that they trust them. You can grab a copy of this report for free by filling in a form at Forrester. The full trust scale is below, with ‘Email from people you know’ the most trusted at 77%.

We have some reservations about the findings of the report – and to prove our point in this post we check out a good and bad example of corporate blogging, from Dell and the Walmart blog respectively.

The report stated that regular blog readers and bloggers trust company blogs a little more, and those that trust corporate blogs are more likely to trust other media. Consumers are skeptical, says Forrester, because they view corporate blogs as unbalanced. So their advice is: if you’re a company thinking of starting a blog “about your company and its products”, you probably shouldn’t bother. For those companies that already have blogs, Forrester says that “if your blog generates leads, links, positive reviews, buzz, or PR, it’s probably worth keeping.” Otherwise shut it down.

The Forrester report was noted by the Blog Council, an organization which is focused on “the business of blogging and social media at the corporate level.” The council listed a number of its own member blogs which they (naturally) regard as trustworthy: