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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Police, investigating press release hoax, raid Bloomfield Avenue business (UPDATED)

Posted By on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Last night, Pittsburgh police raided the Bloomfield Dreaming Ant/Crazy Mocha -- apparently gathering information about the dissemination of a hoax press release involving the Jordan Miles case.

Word of the raid has been circulating online. And an employee of Crazy Mocha, Shannon Lyons, confirms that police seized computer equipment from the coffee shop and video rental store, which share space on Liberty Avenue. 

"They took [Dreaming Ant's] computer and they took our wireless router," Lyons told our reporter Chris Young. She says staff has been told the seizure had to do with the Miles case.

Dreaming Ant owner Dean Brandt could not be reached for comment -- his voicemail box is full -- but Lyons says he was "really disappointed" with the police action, which has forced the temporary closure of his business ("due to unusual circumstances," according to his web site).  

The hoaxed press release suggested that the Fraternal Order of Police Local #1, which represents city officers, had reversed its position on the police involved in last year's beating of CAPA student Jordan Miles. The press release was quickly revealed as a forgery, but when news of the stunt came to light last week, the FOP angrily called for an investigation and to press charges against whoever was responsible. 

Bram Reichbaum, the Pittsburgh Comet blogger who was briefly gulled by the hoax, recently twittered that police were pursuing the matter, and that he was "more than excited to help."

Pittsburgh police spokesperson Diane Richard initially had little to say about any investigation. "I didn't even know about [the raid,]" she said when reached by City Paper this morning. "I didn't know where the [press release] investigation had gone."

(UPDATE: Detective James Glick, who is leading the city's investigation of the press release, has confirmed that last night's raid was connected to the press-release hoax.)

Stay tuned here for more information as events develop.

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