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New squad will take up hundreds of Austin’s delayed rape investigations

Freight train derails just outside of Manor


Freight train derails; none injured

An Austin Western freight train derailed early Thursday just outside of Manor, injuring none but disrupting traffic in the town just east of Austin.

According to authorities, three of its trailing cars left the tracks and spilled fertilizer and gravel around 2 a.m, near the intersection of Blue Bluff Road and Old Highway 20, on the town’s western edge.

None of the materials is considered hazardous, but Hanna De Hoyos, a spokeswoman for Capital Metro, which owns the track where the derailment occurred, said that cleanup could take the entire day.

Traffic was being diverted around the scene. De Hoyos said the spill will not affect CapMetro’s Red Line commuter rail service.

— Nolan Hicks, American-Statesman


Police warning against card skimmers

Round Rock police have taken to social media to tell the public that scammers are snagging debit and credit card information.

The warning comes after police received several theft reports from people who were filling up at gas stations.

On Facebook, police gave comprehensive advice on how to “check before you swipe.” According to the post, credit card skimmers are installed inside the gas pump’s internal card reader cabinet or even attached to the outside of it. Most skimmers communicate the credit card information through the use of Bluetooth.

Police recommend using pumps in view of the sales counter, regularly reviewing bank statements and paying inside the gas station when possible. They also advise using credit rather than debit cards, or using the debit card as a credit transaction to avoid entering a PIN number. Customers should also use caution and grab the reader port to make sure it is a manufactured part of the pump’s car reader and not an add-on.

Victims or those who have witnessed suspicious activity at gas pumps should notify police and report credit card abuse, police said.

— Dahlia Dandashi, American-Statesman


Affidavit: Inmate charged after bragging he’s high

There are certain things you never say in jail. Gabriel Higdon, 22, of Cedar Park, learned that the hard way, according to an arrest affidavit.

Higdon said, “Man, I’m high as f***,” to a correctional officer who entered his cell at the Williamson County Jail during a security check at 4:30 a.m. on May 4, the affidavit said. It said the officer smelled marijuana and saw a bowl of peanut butter mixed with a green leafy substance.

The officer called a supervisor and Higdon was taken to the booking area for a strip search, the document said. During the search, it said, a clear plastic baggy containing marijuana, four Clonazepam pills and 15 Lyrica pills fell from Higdon’s buttocks.

Lyrica is a prescription pain medication. Clonazepam is a prescription medicine used to treat anxiety and seizures.

Higdon, who was in jail for a public intoxication charge May 3, now faces a charge of having a prohibited substance in a correctional facility. It is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Higdon was being held Thursday in the Williamson County Jail with bail set at $10,000.

A judge ordered a mental health assessment for Higdon on May 4, according to a court order.

— Claire Osborn, American-Statesman

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