Police Reports: Halloween handcuffs won’t come off, two fraud complaints

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MONROE, CT — Firefighters gave a family an assist when their daughter’s friend handcuffed her hands behind her back for fun at a Halloween party Sunday — then couldn’t find the keys.

Police said the girls’ parents tried to remove the handcuffs, which were metal, not plastic, for about two hours, at one point trying to drill out the key hole. Police said that would not work.

Finally, they gave up and took their daughter to the police station for assistance.

Monroe Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Catalano said officers did not have a key or a pick that would work on the handcuffs, so the fire department was called in.

“I was expecting a toy set when the call came in,” Catalano said. “It wasn’t what I expected. It was actually a tough operation. They were very thick and tight on the wrists. It was painful and the kid was getting concerned. But it was a happy ending.”

“We tried bolt cutters and a ring cutter, then finally a special battery operated tool to cut it off. We had to be careful, because it was close to the skin,” he said.

Catalano said a splint material was used to protect the girl’s wrists and arms, while allowing firefighters to get the tip of the cutting tool in between the metal.

“We did it very carefully so as not to damage her hand and wrists,” he said. “The guys did a good job to keeping the kid calm.”

After the handuffs were removed, Monroe Emergency Medical Service volunteers evaluated the girl, who appeared to be around middle school age, according to police. Catalano said it was recommended that she be taken to a doctor for an evaluation of her wrists as a precaution.

Two months ago, firefighters were called to Jockey Hollow Middle School when a student’s finger was stuck in one of the picnic tables. Catalano said they used cooking oil to help slide her finger out.

“We have to figure it out on the fly,” Catalano said, adding of the handcuff incident, “the guys did a good job. They have to think outside the box sometimes and find different solutions to problems.”

When firefighters tried one thing, Catalano said they already had another option in mind in case it didn’t work. He said there must have been at least four different plans for removing the handcuffs.

In his 30 years of being a firefighter, Catalano recalls helping to free children whose legs got stuck in bicycle spokes and helping someone whose head got stuck between the slats of a wooden a chair. But he said Sunday was his first call involving handcuffs.

A Facebook scam

A local woman received a Facebook message from a friend telling her she could receive $90,000 after buying $2,000 worth of gift cards in order to claim the money.

The next day she got a text message asking her for copies of the front and back of the gift cards. After sending it, she called her friend to say she did it. But police said her friend knew nothing about it. It turned out her Facebook account was hacked before a scammer sent the message to the victim.

Police said the woman managed to cancel five of the six gift cards, with the exception of a $500 card that had already been used.

Credit card fraud

A local woman told police on Oct. 29 that someone used her credit card number to make an unauthorized $650 purchase from Tiffany & Co.

Police said she learned of the fraudulent charge after Tiffany & Co. contacted her about the order. Then she checked her credit card information and found the charge.

Police advised the victim to notify the major credit bureaus and to monitor her credit.

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