Author: Greg Bates

Murder Most Preventable

Could the rape and murder of Kristine Gable been avoided? At first glance, the story sounds like something out of the first ten minutes of CSI: a swimming competition is going on at a Sugarhouse Boys and Girls club, leaving Fairmount Park overrun with adolescent competitors and their families. Three hundred yards away, in a public restroom, the mutilated body of a local woman is found. Suddenly, and without warning, the raucous activities of the day are invaded by a macabre, brutal scene that existed previously only in the minds of horror’s most twisted contributors. Salt Lake City Police were notified on December 18, 2010 of suspicious circumstances at the aforementioned public restroom. Officers were already present at the park providing crowd control for the swim meet, and responded to the scene at around 2:40 PM. Inside the restroom was the body of a transient woman, Kristine Marie Gabel, 45. Paramedics were called to declare the woman deceased, and found a grisly image they won’t soon forget. Gable had been raped, strangled, and disemboweled by Michael David Vara, a local family man who had relocated to Salt Lake just two years prior to the incident. Vara is also the prime suspect in another rape that happened four days previously at Pioneer Park, also to a transient female. As of today, Vara is being held on charges of rape with...

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Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

Orem joins the list of cities that have banned spice A recent ruling has outlawed the possession and sale of Spice in Orem – and not the kind that you dash on your meat and potatoes in an effort to add variation to your cuisine. For those who have been in the dark, spice is a blend of dried herbs sprayed with a synthetic cannabinoid compound to mimic the effects and act as substitute to its highly known and longtime illegalized stepbrother, marijuana. The Orem City Council passed a law prohibiting the sale and possession of spice on Jan. 13 and gave warning to all tobacco shops and retailers to sell out the rest of their stock or return it by Jan. 17. After the 17th, Orem will be considered officially “spice free” in the eyes of city lawmakers. Although it may not be the primary forte of most tobacco retailers, many store workers say that it will still weigh a noticeable impact on their businesses. “Half of the phone calls we get a day are usually about spice,” said a clerk from the smoke shop Stogies in Orem. “With this ban, customers are more than likely going to go to other cities and surrounding areas for spice purchases, possibly for their tobacco purchases as well.” Despite this objection, most city legislators from neighboring cities are thinking of following...

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Tour de Felony

Salt Lake City police were stumped on Friday, Jan. 7, when a young man held up Bank of the West at around 1 p.m.  The suspect, in his 20s and around 5’8”, reportedly entered the bank during the lunch hour and handed the teller a note describing his demands. The teller complied, and the suspect fled the scene with an unknown amount of money. This event is surprising in and of itself, but the suspect’s colorful exit is what left SLCPD scratching their heads. The clever criminal, foregoing the clichéd Lincoln as his getaway, instead hopped on a ten-speed and pedaled to freedom. Yes, ladies and gentleman, a bank robber in a major metropolitan city was able to escape on a mountain bike. The suspect, in fact, was seen headed southeast from the bank, right past the Public Safety Building that houses Salt Lake City Police Department headquarters. Police have no leads as of yet and are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect. And yes, we checked, Lance Armstrong’s alibi is airtight. There’s no question that this particular criminal made a pretty bold move, but what seems even more incredible is that he was able to get away in such a pedestrian fashion. According to The Highway Cycling Group, the average human male, just like the suspect described, is able to maintain a speed of 14-17...

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