Author Archives: StaceyG

WITH SERIAL GROPER STILL ON THE RUN IN GRAPEVINE, MORE WOMEN LEARNING SELF-DEFENSE

Author: Bradley Blackburn

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Police rendering of suspect (Courtesy Grapevine PD)

GRAPEVINE, Texas — A suspected serial groper remains on the run in Grapevine, and more women are trying to protect themselves through self defense. 

At least five attacks have occurred since April at a Grapevine apartment complex, most of them clustered along Mustang Avenue. The encounters have included physical assault, indecent exposure and one instance when a woman was left with a broken collar bone after she tried to fight her attacker off.

Read more from WFAA…

Editor’s Corner: So, I witnessed a robbery…

By Stacey Doud

XchangeI was driving to the store this afternoon and passed two cars parked next to a curb, one behind the other. I thought nothing of it until the front car sped off, tires screeching, passing me up illegally in my lane. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the driver of the other car, who was obviously agitated, hitting the car hood with his fist. The driver looked to be no more than 16 or 17 years old.

Concerned, I backed up until I was close to the young man’s vehicle. He started flagging me down, so I rolled down my window.”Did you see that?” he asked me.”Yeah…what the heck?” I said.”I was buying a Playstation 4 from this chick and she just totally ripped me off! I gave her the money and she drove off!” he said. “I feel like an idiot!”I found out his name was Zane.* He asked if he should call 9-1-1, which I encouraged him to do, and then tried to talk him down out of his anxiety. It turns out the girl got away with $180. “I feel so stupid!” Zane kept saying. “My dad is going to kill me!”

Pretty soon, three Grapevine Police Department units showed up, and one stayed to take Zane’s statement. Amazingly, Zane remembered the license plate number of the thief’s car. And unsurprisingly, this thief already had an established police record. This was definitely not her first time to rob someone.The officer and I ended up telling Zane basically the same things: the chances of getting his money back was slim, though if the girl was caught, she’d end up serving some time in jail; he’d done everything right as far as getting the license plate number and calling the police; and the next time he meets someone to exchange money for items, he needs to insist on meeting in a “Safe Exchange Zone.”

Zane, like many people, wasn’t aware of “Safe Exchange Zones.” These designated areas were first implemented in Texas in 2016 for the purpose of providing a safer alternative for the exchange of goods purchased over the internet. In Grapevine, there are zones at the QuikTrip gas station, located at 801 Ira E. Woods, and the Public Safety Building, located at 1027 Ira E. Woods.The Grapevine Police Department suggests the following for anyone conducting these kinds of transactions (Craigslist, eBay, etc.): 

  • Be very suspicious of a buyer or seller who changes the agreed upon location;
  • Always meet the buyer or seller in a public place and with plenty of people around;
  • Avoid meeting on side streets or places that are not well lit;
  • Always take someone with you and inform the buyer / seller that you will not be alone;
  • Strongly consider conducting transactions in E-Commerce Exchange Zones;
  • Trust your instincts – if it sounds like a scam it probably is; and
  • Complete the transaction during daylight hours.

Zane finished giving the Officer his report and got a business card with his case number written on the back. I doubt that Zane will see his money again (I hope I’m wrong), but he did learn a valuable lesson, and I hope he passes it on to his young friends. I gave him a much-needed hug, assured him that he wasn’t an idiot and told him that he wasn’t the first person for this to happen to and he won’t be the last. I left knowing that he learned something, even though he lost a good bit of money. The bottom line is to be safe and smart out there!

To learn more about E-Commerce Exchange Zones, click HERE.

*Zane is not the young man’s real name.

Chris Kraft, NASA’s first flight director, dies at 95

By Amanda Jackson, CNN

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NASA Mission Control founder Chris Kraft in the old Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in 2011.

Chris Kraft, NASA’s first flight director, died Monday, two days after the agency celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, according to NASA. He was 95.

“America has truly lost a national treasure today with the passing of one of NASA’s earliest pioneers — flight director Chris Kraft,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement. “We send our deepest condolences to the Kraft family. Chris was one of the core team members that helped our nation put humans in space and on the Moon, and his legacy is immeasurable.”

Read more from CNN…

Editor’s Corner: Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation assists injured Texas law enforcement

By Stacey Doud

POAF-LogoThe Police Officers’ Angels Foundation (POAF) is a non -profit organization that “provides emotional support and short-term financial assistance to any Texas Law Enforcement officer following a serious or life changing line-of-duty injury. POAF’s success relies on strong community partnerships standing behind our peace officers and their families,” which is their mission statement.

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Barreda-Alvarado (Photo courtesy of POAF)

Maria Barreda-Alvarado started the Foundation after her son, Corporal Rick Barreda, who served with the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Airport Police Department, was killed in the line of duty on February 14, 1997. A vehicle struck his motorcycle as he sat on the side of the road gauging speeds. Rick also served on the DFW SWAT team and, for a short time, for the DFW Fire Department.

“Our official name is Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation because some folks confuse the word ‘Peace’ with ‘Police.’ We use ‘Peace Officer’ because we also serve our DPS Troopers, Deputies and Sheriffs’ Offices. POAF serves cities, state, and counties,” Barreda-Alvarado said.

In fact, POAF serves all 254 counties in Texas. “We are focused on the smaller cities and towns in Texas – the ones that don’t have support like a 100 Club,” Barreda-Alvarado said. “That doesn’t mean that we won’t help when we can in a big city. We just want to make sure the smaller places are covered, too.”

The POAF relies on memberships and fundraisers to stay afloat. They are hosting their inaugural golf tournament on Monday October 7, 2019 at the Walnut Creek Country Club in Mansfield. They, along with partner TLEOMF (Texas Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund), organize the annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Night at a Texas Rangers game every fall. This year, it will be held on Friday, September 13 at Globe Life Park as the Rangers take on the Oakland Athletics.

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As the last few years have seen a record number of first responder deaths and injuries, the POAF is very busy and is always in need of volunteers and financial support.

For more information or to find out how you can help, visit POAF.org. All donations are tax-deductible and a receipt will be provided.

“No donation is too small to make a difference.” – POAF Motto

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Download the Rangers Flyer Here (.pdf)

Editor’s Corner: Grapevine Cruise Night ‘makes Main Street fun again’

By Stacey Doud

Show9I got to go to “Cruise Night” in Grapevine on July 19, 2019. It’s an antique (and sometimes not so antique) car display in downtown every Friday night at 604 S. Main Street in the Blagg Goodyear parking lot from about 6 – 9pm.

I was there to support my friend Richard and his 1937 Dodge police car, but I love antique cars and modern speed demons.

Cruise Night was started in April 2016 by Steve and Barbara Trenkle and Ben Flanagan. They grew up in Grapevine, where it truly was like the movie “American Graffiti.”

“We would cruise Main in our cars, then stop and discuss and compare cars and engines. We wanted to do that again. Our motto is, ‘Make Grapevine Main Street fun again’,” Barbara said.

The event has gotten so popular that the City of Grapevine has a web page for it.

The owner of the 1937 Dodge, Richard Borisenko, and I met around 5pm to set up. There was a steady stream of people all night – some were locals that come out to Cruise Night every Friday, and some were tourists in town, walking down Main and happening upon us.

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“Texas Rich” from Busted Knuckle Magazine (L) and Richard Borisenko

Car owners swapped stories and chatted with visitors, showing off their labors of love. There was also a representative from Busted Knuckle Rod and Truck Magazine which only features Texas vehicles, unlike the more widespread mags like Road and Track or Hot Rod.

It was a very pleasant evening, and Richard got to show off his “baby,” turning on the roof light, sounding the siren (which is so loud, it freaked people out!) and the undercarriage lights after it got dark. He brought his mannequins, “Bonnie and Clyde,” which were a big hit, especially since the dastardly duo had caused problems in Grapevine way back when. There is a plaque about them at the corner of Northwest Highway (Business 114) and Dove Road.

 

All of the car owners, without exception, were very friendly and happy to talk about how they had restored their vehicles.

Cruise Night happens every Friday in the Blagg Goodyear parking lot, located at 604 S. Main Street in Grapevine from about 6 – 9pm. Check out their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/GrapevineClassics/.

Editor’s Corner: 81-year-old car brings new purpose to its owner and invigorates interest in law enforcement

By Stacey Doud

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Borisenko and the restored 1937 Dodge D-7

Richard Borisenko, the owner of a 1937 Dodge D-7 police car, lives in Cleburne, Texas and has interesting stories to tell about the vehicle. He has made appearances all over the state with the antique car. The Grapevine Source was fortunate enough to interview him and take photos of the car at the Grapevine Public Safety Building.

“I sold a house and I had some money from that sale, and the whole time I’d been looking at this police car, but I didn’t really care at that time about the police part,” Borisenko said.

He has never worked in law enforcement, so sentimentality was not an issue.

“I was in trouble with the police a lot when I was younger. They helped me out by letting me sit in the back seat,” Borisenko laughed. “After that, I met a man who was a minister and I turned my life over to Christ, and completely did a U-turn in my life,” he said.

So why did he buy this antique police car?

“This car was on my mind, but I didn’t care much about a police part, so I contacted people about taking the siren out and taking the light off. They said I’d have to do steel, not Bondo [a quick-fix for vehicular blemishes]. I’d have to do some welding and things like that,” Borisenko explained. “So, at night, I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing and turning, thinking about that car, because I really liked the body style. I thought it had a lot of class,” he added.

Borisenko ended up calling the owner of the vehicle to see what could happen.

“I called the guy up and said that I’d like to see that car. He wanted a lot of money for it, and I would text him with what I’d give him for it, and he wouldn’t even respond because what I was offering him was so low. I finally got a hold of him and said that I’d like to see it. He asked me when I could come look. I lived in Arlington at that time and he was on the other side of Waco. We figured it out and I drove down to his garage,” Borisenko explained.

“The car was pretty rough looking. All of the windows were broke out. The hood was white. The trunk lid was white. It had no obvious chrome on it whatsoever. So we drove down the road, and it drove real good, so I thought the car had good potential,” Borisenko said.

They were able to make a deal, and Borisenko became the new proud owner of a 1937 Dodge D-7.

“When [the owner and his help] dropped off the car, the guy said, ‘I need to get this get out of here before I get emotional,’ because I think he used that car in parades and different stuff, even though it was in rough condition. It was after they left that several people came by to look at the car. One was a Tarrant County Constable that helped in the convoy to get the car to me. His girlfriend was really excited about the car, and then after that, several people came by and liked the car [in its original condition]. I think that was the minute I changed my mind and decided to put it back into the best shape a 1937 police car could be. I don’t change my mind often, but this seemed like a big Divine message,” Borisenko said.

“I took all the chrome off – the chrome that was on it was painted black. I took off the bumpers. Every day, I did something new. I had it re-chromed, painted the hood black, painted the trunk lid black, had an air conditioner put in it with the help of some friends, had the inside reupholstered and put lights all underneath the car,” he explained.

“I had a lot of trial and error when fixing this car up. I’d put hubcaps on that didn’t look right, so take them off and put new ones on until it looked right. I got some 1937 papers [auto manual] after they sold me that car, so I had a frame of reference. I tried to make it as authentic as I could,” he added.

The engine in the car is not original. When Borisenko bought it, it came with a .318 Dodge engine in it. The whole lower chassis was replaced with parts from 1970 because 1937 Dodge parts are difficult to acquire.

“I went out to Gas Monkey – they had a show out there – and I won several things. I ran into a guy that had a ’38 Dodge pickup and he told me that he had given up. I asked him why and he said that there were no parts out there. So in 2014, I spent over $8,000 on eBay buying what I needed. I really didn’t need a whole lot of stuff, but it got pricey,” Borisenko said.

The car has won numerous awards, but Borisenko is not too concerned with that. A true servant heart, he just wants folks to enjoy the car as much as he does.

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Dodge Brothers emblem

He spoke about the Dodge Brothers emblem that is original to the car. “Take a look at the emblem – it has a Star of David on it,” He said. “Can you imagine that in 1937? I’m very careful with these emblems because, if I can even find more, they are about $700 apiece.”

Borisenko has been offered $90,000 for the car – twice. He’s turned both offers down because, “I don’t believe anybody can do what I’ve done because there are no parts out there. That car is solid steel. There’s no fiberglass and it’s no kit car,” he said, with a bit of pride in his eyes.

“People often tell me, ‘I bet you never get pulled over.’ I say, ‘Man, I get pulled over all the time!’ When they ask why, I tell them it’s usually because [the police] want to take a picture of my car. Then they want to hear the siren. I warn them that it is loud, but they want to hear it anyway. They always say that it’s louder than any police car they’ve got!” Borisenko said with a chuckle.

The car is even popular just driving down the road locally to the supermarket.

“Sometimes I think I need to put a sign on the car that says, ‘Not Responsible for Whiplash,’ because people whip their heads all the way around when I drive by. I think they’re shocked to see an 81-year-old car going down the road.

“I saw a guy that was broke down on the side of the road and he was driving a brand new car. I went by and I thought, ‘Man, I’m in an 81-year-old car and this guy’s broke down in his brand new vehicle.’ It was sad and kind of a metaphor for how cars are made today versus even fifty years ago,” Borisenko said.

He has had some fun with the car, crafting props for it.

He has two mannequins, which he calls, “dummies,” that occasionally ride in the back seat. The windows of the car are tinted, so it is difficult to see into the car from the outside.

“Sometimes people jump or scream because they don’t expect anyone to be in the back seat,” he said with a laugh.

He also has some wooden Tommy Guns (with fake shells) and a cowboy hat that seem to transport him back to the Bonnie and Clyde days.

Since Borisenko is now a Cleburne resident, he keeps Cleburne Police Department magnets on the sides of the car (complete with “bullet holes”), though he has used Johnson and Tarrant County signs in the past.

“Johnson County [the county where Cleburne is located] has been very supportive. They always offer me a chance to gas up for free,” Borisenko said appreciatively.

As our interview was winding down, several Grapevine Police Officers asked permission to take pictures of the car, and Borisenko was happy to oblige.

“I’d like to thank law enforcement for their support. I went through Fort Worth one time, and a few officers saluted me. I thought, ‘You don’t need to be saluting me. I need to be saluting you!’ I appreciate them with all my heart.” Borisenko added.

The car and Borisenko will be making an appearance outside Globe Life Park in Arlington on Friday, September 13, which is the Texas Rangers’ Police Appreciation Night.

To inquire about appearances, email Richard Borisenko at 37Dodge@att.net.

Editor’s Corner: The Grapevine Escape provides opportunities to exercise the brain, encourages teamwork

By Stacey Doud

GE Outside SignageMy stepdaughter and I recently visited The Grapevine Escape, located at 160 N. Main Street in Grapevine. We had a terrific time!

Escape Rooms are a relatively new form of entertainment in which the participants are “locked” in a room (there is always the option of leaving the room for potty breaks, illness or other needs) and are given 60 minutes to escape. Each room has a theme and a backstory.

Escape Rooms have gotten so popular that there was a movie made this year called, amazingly, “Escape Room.” It is classified as a horror/thriller, but fortunately, we were safe and sound in The Grapevine Escape.

FocusTecWhen we visited, our room was called “FocusTec Labs.” The backstory, which is available to read on the website, involved the Chief Technical Officer of the fictional FocusTec Labs going missing, and unfortunately, she was the only one who could keep the lab functional. Our job was to figure out a series of puzzles, find out what happened to the missing executive and escape the room.

When I say puzzles, I don’t mean crosswords or a box with 1,000 pieces in it. I mean that we had to investigate the room, find clues, keys, combination numbers and the like. It was a real mind-bender with some really awesome special effects. I am lucky that my stepdaughter has a natural talent for puzzles. I’d still be in the room had I been by myself! The rooms encourage critical thinking, teamwork, time management and problem solving, all which exercised our noggins!

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Co-Owner Amber Sebastian

Participants are allowed three hints, though our Games Master took pity on us and gave us a couple of freebie hints. Our Games Master was one of the owners, Amber Sebastian, who sat in a back room, watching and listening to everything we said and did. When we ran into a situation we couldn’t figure out, Amber was able to send hints to the television screen in the room.

“Building escape rooms is quite a challenge, but it is also lots of fun!” said Sebastian, who is co-owner, along with her husband, Russell. “We design rooms full of puzzles – a creative sandbox that kids and adults get to play in, and we simply love creating them! However, building escapes is only half the fun – watching teams escape them is the real joy,” she added.

The Grapevine Escape is not only fun for families – many companies use escape rooms as team building exercises. If more than one group books a room for the same time (10 people are allowed in a room at one time), then participants may be paired with strangers to give the experience a whole new dynamic.

There’s also an offering that I have never seen from an Escape Room company. “Escape Excursions” are travel rooms that are administered by The Grapevine Escape personnel in a remote location, such as a company, a birthday party, a family reunion or a just-for-fun party. While not as visually complex as being in one of their Escape Rooms, excursions offer the additional convenience and flexibility of the puzzles coming to you! 

While we didn’t actually “escape,” we came close and had a fabulous time trying. The Grapevine Escape currently offers three Escape Rooms. You can check out the backstories and learn more about the experience at TheGrapevineEscape.com or give them a call at 817-601-5663.

GRAPEVINE POLICE INVESTIGATE DEADLY CRASH

PRESS RELEASE

GRAPEVINE, Texas – Grapevine Police are investigating the cause of a deadly crash that killed two people on the eastbound SH-114 service road at Main Street.

Just after 7pm on Friday, July 12, 2019, a gray Hyundai Elantra crashed into a black Mazda 3 that was stopped at a traffic light. The driver of the Mazda was able to get out, but two passengers had to be extricated from the vehicle by Grapevine Fire. All three people in the Mazda, along with the driver of the Hyundai, were transported to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Grapevine. The two passengers in the Mazda, 65-year-old Patricia Nealy and 62- year-old Craig Nealy of Odessa, died at the hospital. Both drivers were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Witnesses say the Hyundai was traveling at a high rate of speed. Investigators are looking into any additional factors that may have contributed to the crash. Two other vehicles were involved in the crash but nobody else was hurt.

The eastbound SH-114 service road was shut down for several hours from Mustang Drive to Main Street for the investigation and cleanup. No charges have been filed at this time.

Females targeted on Mustang Drive

PRESS RELEASE

GRAPEVINE, Texas  –  Grapevine Police are searching for a Hispanic man targeting females primarily along Mustang Drive. Surveillance video of the most recent assault may help police identify the suspect. The video shows the suspect grabbing a victim and carrying her into a breezeway.

All of the victims were able to fight off the suspect, but in one case, a woman’s collarbone was broken in her struggle to escape.

Investigators are working at least five separate cases where a man exposed himself or physically grabbed women. The crimes happened from April 8, 2019 and July 9, 2019, primarily at complexes between the 2800 and 3000 blocks of Mustang Drive.

The man is described as Hispanic, in his early twenties, with short, curly black hair, a thin build, and between 5’3” and 5’8:”. Grapevine Police are working with a sketch artist and one victim to create a sketch of the suspect. The sketch will be made public once it is complete.

Grapevine Police praise each victim for getting away and reporting the crimes. Officers are actively patrolling the neighborhood and urge women to keep close watch of their surroundings, travel in pairs when possible, and call 911 immediately if they see anything suspicious. Anyone with information on the suspect should call Criminal Investigations during business hours at: 817.410.3200 or 817.410.8127 after hours.  

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Heat Advisory in Effect

It will be hot/humid today. A Heat Advisory is in effect from 1 pm today until 8 pm Wednesday across much of the area. Highs today = mid-upper 90s ; Heat index values 105 to 110 degrees in the advisory area. Stay hydrated and take frequent breaks.