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How you can honor the memory of legendary SETX football official Beau Hicks

BEAUMONT - Friends of a legendary football official from Southeast Texas are asking you to help honor his memory.

Beau Hicks died Sunday, August 24. He was just a few days short of his 83rd birthday.

KFDM was invited to a ceremony August 18 at Harbor Hospice. A large group from the Texas Association of Sports Officials presented Hicks with its lifetime achievement award.

He was an official in the Southwest Conference and Big 12 for 59 years. He worked nearly a dozen bowl games including the Cotton Bowl and Aloha Bowl.

Visitation is from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, September 2 at Broussard's on Major Drive in Beaumont. Funeral services are at 10 a.m. Wednesday, September 3 at Wesley United Methodist Church.

In lieu of flowers you can donate to the Texas Association of Sports Officials Scholarship Fund. The donation is tax deductible.

Officials who attend the funeral are asked to wear striped shirts to honor Hicks. Coaches are asked to wear the shirts or jerseys from their school.

 

Why Attorney General Greg Abbott backed out of debate with Wendy Davis
KFDM News - Attorney General Greg Abbott backs out of one gubernatorial debate with opponent Wendy Davis.

According to a spokesperson for Abbott, the campaign canceled the Sept. 30 debate due to a disagreement over the format. Abbott's campaign says it's working to set up another debate with Davis following the cancellation.
 
Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis have only one other debate planned, but Abbott's spokesman says the campaign is trying to schedule another one.

KFDM News will broadcast a debate between Abbott and Davis at 6 p. m. on Sept. 19. Our parent company -- Sinclair Broadcasting Group -- has the exclusive rights that debate between the candidates.

KFDM learns State Comptroller has seized Finch Hutton Restaurant for nonpayment of sales and franchise tax

NEDERLAND - KFDM News has learned the State Comptroller's Office has seized Finch Hutton Restaurant in Nederland for nonpayment of taxes while the office is working with the taxpayer to resolve the liability, according to a spokesman for the Comptroller's Office.

A sign on the door of the restaurant states 'this property has been seized for nonpayment of taxes owed the State of Texas. The Comptroller of Public Accounts has seized this property for nonpayment of taxes, penalty or interest due the State of Texas. It is against the law to enter, dismantle, take possession of or remove anything from this property.'

Kevin Lyons with the Comptroller's Office told KFDM News the restaurant at 1147 Boston Avenue in Nederland was seized August 28. The liability owed is $32,572.84 related to nonpayment of sales and franchise tax. The period in question is April, May, June, and July of this year. The Comptroller's Office is working with the taxpayer to resolve the liability.

 

Hardin County deputies say they arrested a copper thief
HARDIN COUNTY - Hardin County deputies are crediting citizens with helping them stop a suspected copper thief.

Hardin county deputies were called out to a house in Lumberton. The house was vacant with the lights turned off.

Neighbors gave a description of the vehicle at the scene and a short time later, deputies received a call about a vehicle matching that description.

A towing truck driver heard the description over his scanner and blocked the vehicle from leaving.

Deputies say they later found Dagan Joshua Becker in the car with electrical wire, wire cutters and gloves in the backseat.

The 34-year-old claimed he was an electrician, but neighbors who witnessed Becker on the property identified him.

Becker was charged with theft, and his bond was set at $2,500.

He has bonded out of jail.

CASA volunteers needed, especially African American volunteers
JEFFERSON COUNTY - An organization that helps abused children is in need of volunteers.

CASA -- which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates -- especially needs African-Americans to because child advocates. CASA officials say 133 of the 229 children, who are being helped by CASA, are African American.

CASA of Southeast Texas helps to give the children a voice during the court process so they are placed into safe homes.

Virtual kidnappers use fear, intimidation to pressure victims into wiring money

HOUSTON - from FBI

The Houston FBI seeks to warn the public about a rise in "virtual kidnapping" fraud schemes and the recent targeting of Houstonians in these schemes.  Over the past several years, the FBI and law enforcement agencies around the country, and particularly along the border, have received reports from the public regarding extortion or fraud schemes, often referred to as "virtual kidnappings."  These schemes typically involve an individual or criminal organization who contacts a victim via telephone and demands payment for the return of a "kidnapped" family member or friend.  However, no actual kidnapping has taken place.  It's all a fraud scheme designed to scare victims into wiring them money.  

The callers often use co-conspirators to convince their victims of the legitimacy of the threat.  For example, a caller might attempt to convince a victim that his daughter was kidnapped by having a young female scream for help in the background during the call.  Callers, sometimes representing themselves as members of a drug cartel or corrupt law enforcement, will typically provide the victim with specific instructions to ensure the safe "return" of the allegedly kidnapped individual.  These instructions usually involve demands of a ransom payment.  Most schemes use various techniques to instill a sense of fear, panic, and urgency in an effort to rush the victim into making a very hasty decision.  Instructions usually require the ransom payment be made immediately and typically by a wire transfer.  These schemes involve varying amounts of ransom demands, which often decrease at the first indication of resistance.

Callers will often go to great lengths to engage victims in ongoing conversations to prevent them from verifying the status and location of the "kidnapped" individuals.  Callers will often make their victims believe they are being watched and were personally targeted.  In reality, many of these calls are originating outside of the United States.  The fraudsters are simply making hundreds of calls, possibly using phone directories or other phone lists, knowing at least some of those targeted will fall for the scam. 

While the reported number of "virtual kidnapping" schemes appears to be increasing, a recent trend indicates perpetrators of these schemes may be targeting physicians- to include dentists, general practitioners, and various specialists- in Houston and across Texas.  During the past few weeks, the FBI has fielded calls from victim physicians located in the Houston area.  In June and July, the FBI received multiple reports indicating physicians in McAllen, Laredo, Brownsville, and Del Rio, Texas, were targeted in similar "virtual kidnapping" schemes. 

Due to the rising prevalence of these types of incidents, coupled with the increased victimization of members of the medical community in the Houston area and across Texas, the FBI is attempting to raise awareness within the health care industry and the public at large. 

To avoid becoming a victim of this extortion scheme, look for the following possible indicators:

*         Incoming calls made from an outside area code

*         Multiple successive phone calls

*         Calls do not come from the kidnapped victim's phone

*         Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone

*         Callers prevent you from calling or locating the "kidnapped" victim

*         Ransom money is only accepted via wire transfer service

If you receive a phone call from someone who demands payment of a ransom for a kidnapped victim, the following should be considered: 

 *         Stay calm

*         Slow the situation down

*         Avoid sharing information about you or your family during the call

*         Listen carefully to the voice of the kidnapped victim

*         Attempt to call or determine the location of the "kidnapped" victim

*         Request to speak to the victim

*         Ask questions only the victim would know

*         Request the kidnapped victim call back from his/her cell phone If you have any question about whether the call is a scheme or a legitimate kidnapping, contact your nearest FBI office immediately.  Tips can also be submitted online at https://tips.fbi.gov.  All tipsters may remain anonymous.

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