Democracy Dies in Darkness


Local Digest: Man charged with tampering with fire hydrants in D.C.

September 11, 2018 at 6:04 PM


Man accused of

opening fire hydrants

Authorities said Tuesday that they have arrested and charged a ­34-year-old man in connection with several incidents involving tampering with fire hydrants in Washington.

The incidents happened over the past few days, involved 20 hydrants and posed a safety risk, according to D.C. Water.

D.C. police said they arrested and charged Neema Kordestani of Danville, Calif. He faces charges of water violation and other offenses.

According to a police report, he was seen Monday evening opening a hydrant with a wrench in the 800 block of First Street NE. He was caught doing the same thing in the 500 block of First Street NE, police said.

Kordestani did not return a phone call and email Tuesday seeking comment.

D.C. Water spokesman Vincent Morris said that the incidents were rare and that officials did not know the motive behind the tampering.

“We’re mystified of why someone would tamper with these,” he said. “It’s a huge public safety risk,” Morris said. “If a hydrant has blown out its water and there’s a fire on the block, that’s going to jeopardize the ability to fight it.”

The hydrants that were tampered with were mostly in Northeast Washington.

— Dana Hedgpeth

and Peter Hermann

Two women, female juvenile are stabbed

Two women and a female juvenile were stabbed Tuesday in Southeast Washington, D.C. police said.

All three were described as conscious and breathing after the attack, said Officer Hugh Carew, a police spokesman.

According to Carew, the stabbings occurred about 6:45 p.m. in the 4400 block of G Street SE. It was not immediately known what led to the attack.

Police said they were looking for a woman in connection with the incident.

The site, in the Benning Terrace area, is near the Benning Terrace housing development. D.C. Housing Authority police were assuming control of the investigation, Carew said.

— Martin Weil


Baccarat dealer faces cheating charges

A Maryland baccarat dealer accused of cheating has been charged with one count of conspiracy.

Ming Zhang, who used to be a dealer at the MGM National Harbor, was expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Maryland for a hearing Tuesday.

Zhang, of Alexandria, showed a portion of the baccarat deck to his co-conspirator, who then took a picture of it before the cards were put into play, according to a federal indictment filed last week.

The co-conspirator then played baccarat at Zhang’s table, and the two men planned to split the winnings, the indictment alleges. The scheme occurred on Sept. 27, 2017, according to the indictment, which was first reported by NBC4.

Baccarat is a card game in which players bet on which hand will get closest to nine.

“Ming Zhang is no longer employed by MGM National Harbor,” casino spokesman Malik Husser said in a statement. “We have provided our full cooperation with authorities throughout this investigation.”

Zhang’s attorney, Marc Hall, declined to comment.

— Lynh Bui

Officer is dragged

by car at traffic stop

A Baltimore police officer was injured after he was dragged by a car following an attempted traffic stop.

Police spokesman T.J. Smith said the officer is in stable condition at a hospital. He said the officer did not sustain life-threatening injuries when he was dragged Tuesday — and even managed to apprehend the driver.

The motorist was arrested when he ditched the car he was driving and tried to run away after dragging the officer. Smith said that even with his injuries, the wounded officer “was able to get up and pursue the suspect on foot.”

Details about the suspect and the identity of the police officer were not immediately disclosed.

— Associated Press

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