High security for Times Square eve

NEW YORK - New York City will ban backpacks, set up barriers, and deploy undercover officers in Times Square as part of security for New Year's Eve, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said yesterday.

There are no known specific threats against the city, and the NYPD isn't making any particular changes to its security plan after the Christmas Day attempted airliner attack in Detroit. "We assume here that New York is the No. 1 terrorist target in America," Kelly said.

The NYPD will place uniformed and plainclothes officers throughout the city, deploy countersniper teams, search garages for bombs, and set up detectors for radiation and biological agents, Kelly said.
- Bloomberg News

Homeless thief crashes a plane

FREDERICK, Md. - A homeless man trying to leave town in a stolen single-engine plane crashed it on a municipal airport runway without ever leaving the ground, police said.

Calvin C. Cox, 51, wanted to fly away from Frederick early yesterday but ended up in jail instead, unable to make $10,000 bail on felony charges including theft, burglary, and trespassing. No attorney was immediately appointed.

Cox wasn't hurt when the Piper Super Cub ran off a runway at Frederick Municipal Airport and upended in the grass about 2:15 a.m., police said. A canine team tracked him into nearby woods, Frederick Police Lt. Clark A. Pennington said. Pennington said Cox had lived in a tent in the woods and somehow became familiar enough with the airport and planes that he was able to get inside a hangar and start the aircraft.

The Piper's engine and propeller were damaged. - AP

No bond for Md. kidnap suspect

A man charged with kidnapping an 11-year-old Maryland girl whose body was found on Christmas Day has been ordered held without bond.

Thomas J. Leggs Jr., 30, of Salisbury, Md., was returned to the Wicomico County Detention Center after a bond review hearing yesterday in Salisbury.

Investigators allege that Leggs kidnapped Sarah Haley Foxwell last Tuesday from her home on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Her body was found near the Delaware line.

Leggs is to face a preliminary hearing Jan. 21 on charges of kidnapping and burglary. County Sheriff Mike Lewis said Leggs would face additional charges. - AP

Elsewhere:

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons and first lady Dawn Gibbons reached a settlement yesterday in their divorce, averting a messy public trial that could have had damaging repercussions for the first-term Republican's struggling reelection bid. Dawn Gibbons had accused him of having affairs with two married women - allegations he denied.

Controlled explosions yesterday brought down the 80-year-old Lake Champlain Bridge between New York and Vermont. It was closed Oct. 16 when engineers deemed it unsafe because of severe erosion to its concrete piers. Construction is to begin in the spring on a new span.