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    President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon was removed from the National Security Council Wednesday, NBC News reported.

    As part of the shakeup announced Wednesday, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry was added to the NSC's Principals Committee. Two other officials were also added back to the committee: the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford. 

    A White House official told NBC News that Bannon was originally placed on the NSC's Principals' Committee as a "check against Michael Flynn," Trump's former national security adviser.

     

    Flynn resigned in February after it was revealed he misled Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation he had with Russia's ambassador prior to Trump's inauguration. 



    Photo Credit: AP

    File photo.File photo.

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    Payless ShoeSource has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it will close nearly 400 underperforming stores immediately, including five in Connecticut.

    The stores closing in Connecticut are at:

     

     

    The company also posted a list of nearby stores that will remain open:

     

    • 67 Newtown Road, Danbury
    • 7 Backus Ave., Danbury
    • 220 Route 12, Unit 4, Groton
    • 71 William Shorty Campbell Street, Hartford
    • 500 Connecticut Ave., Norwalk
    • 100 Greyrock Place, Stamford
    • 950 Wolcott St., Waterbury
    • 495 Union St., Waterbury
    • 850 Hartford Turnpike, Waterford
    • 38 Kane St., West Hartford

     

    Check the Payless website for all local stores. 



    Photo Credit: Charlie Riedel/AP

    File photoFile photo

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    The Democratic Working Women’s Group will host a hearing Wednesday to address the ongoing issue of nonconsensual pornography within the United States military.

    Victims of the scandal involving Marines accused of sharing nude photos of female service members will testify at the House hearing alongside Attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing the women.

    Former Marine Erika Butner and Lance Cpl. Marisa Woytek, whose images were posted and shared without consent on a closed Facebook group titled “Marines United,” will appear at the hearing to explain how women Marines have been targeted, exploited and endangered by the scandal.

    The secret Facebook group involved tens of thousands of members. Users shared nude images of active female Marines, veterans and other women, some of which were taken without their knowledge and shared without their consent.

    The scandal prompted an investigation into hundreds of Marines and the U.S. Marine Corps' top general vowed to prosecute those found responsible for posting photos of naked female service members on social media and other image-sharing boards.

    "We all have to commit to getting rid of this perversion of our culture," Gen. Robert Neller said at hearing before a House Armed Services personnel subcommittee in March. "We will take action to remove this stain on our Marine Corps."

    In the wake of the scandal, the Marine Corps issued a detailed social media policy that lays out the professional and legal ramifications for service members culpable of online misconduct. The new policy makes it clear how existing rules and the Uniform Code of Military Justice can be used to prosecute offensive, indecent or disrespectful online activities.

    But some lawmakers say the tackling the issue as a social media problem isn't enough because the problem is "cultural rot" that has spread and thrived within the military. 

    "This is about service members deliberately trying to degrade, humiliate, and threaten fellow service members. They encouraged stalking, distributed stolen intimate photos, and have reduced their comrades to a collection of parts," Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., told the military officers during the subcommittee hearing.

    Speier notes the Armed Services Committee has yet to hold a full committee hearing on the issue and on Tuesday, her office said the Marine Corps leadership backed out of attending Wednesday’s hearing.

    Marine Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller or a Marine Corp representative was scheduled to attend Wednesday's hearing on the scandal, according Speier. Speier tweeted, “Last week, when I called the #Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Neller, I was assured a rep would be here to stand with these brave survivors.”

    Instead, Neller’s assistant wrote in a letter to Rep. Speier’s office offering to meet members of the Women’s Caucus individually.

    A spokesman for the general denies that Neller or the assistant commandant withdrew from the hearing. “I believe it is true that Rep. Speier (or the Democratic Working Women’s group) invited the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, but I do not believe he ever agreed to attend this working group’s session,” Lt. Col. Eric Dent said.

    Florida congresswoman Lois Frankel, the chair of the DWWG, said in press release announcing the hearing, though the issue of nonconsensual pornography has been most recently highlighted by the Marines United case, it has long existed in all branches of the U.S. armed forces, including in the Marine Corps in 2013.

    Also testifying at the hearing Wednesday are Miranda Peterson, Executive Director of Protect Our Defenders, Elizabeth L. Hillman, President of Mills College, and James LaPorta, a former Marine and journalist with the Daily Beast.



    Photo Credit: Rep. Jackie Speier

    Democratic Working Women’s Group hold hearing on Marines United nude photo scandal with victims and attorney Gloria Allred.Democratic Working Women’s Group hold hearing on Marines United nude photo scandal with victims and attorney Gloria Allred.

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    Crews responded to a fire on Riverview Avenue in New London overnight. 

    The fire was on the second floor of 73 Riverview Ave. 

    No additional information was available.



    Photo Credit: New London Fire

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    Two police officers were injured trying to take a suspect into custody during a chase in Westport Wednesday morning.

    According to Westport police, officers were called to OptiCare at 877 Post Road East for a report of a man who seemed disoriented. Police said that before officers arrived, the man, later identified as Tracy Edwrads, 44, of Bridgeport, took a pair of glasses and left the store, speeding off in a gray Pontiac.

    Officers followed the Pontiac, which was traveling at a high rate of speed west on Post Road East. Police cut off the pursuit as the driver headed into the center of town, police said.

    Minutes later police found the Pontiac crashed off the road near the river on Imperial Avenue. Police said that Edwards took off on foot, and when police caught up with him he kicked and punched officers, resisting arrest. One officer was injured on his face and another sustained a hand injury during the struggle. The injuries appeared minor, police said.

    Edwards was taken to Norwalk Hospital for evaluation. He faces charges of larceny, engaging in a pursuit, and assault on an officer.



    Photo Credit: Westport Police Department

    A suspect fleeing Westport police crashed his car near the river on Imperial Avenue Wednesday morning, according to police.A suspect fleeing Westport police crashed his car near the river on Imperial Avenue Wednesday morning, according to police.

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    The state Department of Correction has closed the Radgowski Annex Building at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Montville.

    Gov. Dannel Malloy made the announcement this afternoon and said closing the building, which is capable of holding up to 254 inmates, will save the state around $3 million per year.

    “As crime in Connecticut has dropped to its lowest level in two generations and the prison population has subsequently declined to its lowest level in 23 years, we’ve been able to create efficiencies by closing outdated prisons and portions of facilities, and reallocating these resources toward efforts that will further enhance public safety initiatives and keep our neighborhoods even safer,” Malloy said in a statement. “Across the nation, elected leaders from both sides of the aisle are recognizing that these kinds of reforms are working, and Connecticut is leading these efforts. Violent, high-risk inmates are serving more of their original sentences than ever before. We are making real progress and in the process, improving lives and bettering our communities.”

    “The closing of infrastructure is a good indication that fewer people are returning to prison,” DOC Commissioner Scott Semple said in a statement. “The reduction in the offender population not only speaks to successful criminal justice reforms, but also represents the dedicated work of the men and women of the Department of Correction.”

    The state’s total inmate population is approximately 14,560, according to the governor’s office. They said the all-time high population peaked in 2008 at 19,894 inmates.

    The state has closed several correctional facilities over the last several years, including four units at the Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers in December 2016, the Niantic Annex in January 2016, the Fairmount Building at Bridgeport Correctional Center in July 2015, the Bergin Correctional Institution in Storrs in August 2011, the Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic in June 2011 and Webster Correctional Institution in Cheshire in January 2010.



    Photo Credit: Getty

    File photoFile photo

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    A 24-year-old Hartford man was shot and killed on King Street in Hartford this morning, according to police, and they believe he was targeted.

    Police said around 12:50 a.m. officers responded to a shot spotter activation near 42 King Street. When they arrived they found Jimmy Gonzalez in the driveway of 38 King Street. He had been shot several times.

    Gonzalez was taken to Hartford Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:30 a.m. 

    One neighbor pointed out bullet holes that punctured the side of her house, including one that landed under her stairwell.

    The Hartford Police Major Crimes Division is investigating.

    This was the tenth homicide in Hartford of 2017.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Hartford police are investigating a shooting on King Street Wednesday morning.Hartford police are investigating a shooting on King Street Wednesday morning.

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    An 86-year-old Southbury woman is dead after a head-on crash in Newtown on Tuesday morning. 

    Police said a GMC Terrain SUV and a Buick LeSabre collided in the area of Mount Pleasant Road and Taunton Lane just after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. 

    Both drivers, as well as Delores Hake, the passenger in the GMC Terrain, were taken to Danbury Hospital. 

    Hake, 86, of Southbury, later died from injuries sustained in the crash, police said. 

    Police are investigating and said it appears that the driver of the Buick LeSabre crossed the center line and hit the vehicle Hake was traveling in.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A pursuit in Westport ended with the driver almost ending up in a river and two officers injured.

    Westport Police officers were dispatched to the OptiCare on Post Road East at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday to check on a man who "appeared disoriented", police said. 

    While officers were on their way to the store, the man, identified as Tracy Edwards, had stolen a pair of glasses and left the story. Westport Police officers saw Edwards speeding out of the parking lot in a gray Pontiac as they arrived, police said.

    Police engaged in a short pursuit as Edwards sped west down Post Road East, but stopped when police determined the chase was too dangerous. 

    A short time later, police were notified that Edwards was located on Imperial Avenue, where he crashed off the road near the river, Westport Police said. 

    Edwards resisted arrest by punching and kicking officers. One officer was injured in the face, while the other injured their hand. Officers were able to get him under control and later found about one ounce of PCP in his car.  

    The 44-year-old suspect was transported to Norwalk Hospital for behavioral evaluation and released. 

    Edwards was charged with larceny, engaging police in pursuit, two counts for assaulting an officer, possession of hallucinogens,  reckless driving, evading responsibility of a motor vehicle crash, operating a vehicle under suspension. 

    His bond was set at $100,000. 



    Photo Credit: Westport Police Department

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    A car crashed into an apartment building in West Hartford on Wednesday afternoon.

    Police said a Subaru Legacy crashed into a unit at the West Hartford Fellowship Housing complex at 20 Starkel Road around 2:40 p.m.

    The car backed up into a unit, collapsing the wall, according to fire officials.  One person was in bed in the apartment, but was not injured.

    Fire officials said the elderly driver likely stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake.

    No one was injured.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    It may be too late for people who waited until now to start booking their summer rentals on Connecticut's shoreline. 

    It's thanks to sites like AirBNB and VRBO that every weekend in July and August is booked solid for Lynsey Malone’s Mystic rental.

    With a waterfront view and restaurants and shops down the street, it's not surprise that June and September are almost fully booked too.

    "In years past, guests would go on (short-term rental sites), they'd ask a bunch of questions and they would sort-of think about whether they wanted to rent. This year and toward the end of last year, a lot more people would actually just book it right away," Malone said.

    Malone's seen people start renting summer shoreline homes as early as a year in advance.

    Professional real estate agents said they're mostly rented, too.

    Broker Yolanda "Yo Yo" Carroll has rentals in the Groton Long Point area and said all that's left to rent are some of the higher-end homes, or the few homes that just went on the rental market.

    People started snatching them up in January, while others began renting as early as the end of last summer, according to Carroll.

    "Most of them at that point are saying, I'll be back next year. Keep my deposit," Carroll said.

    Buying a shoreline home is even a challenge.

    According to Amanda Lewis, branch leader of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, there aren't enough homes on the market.

    Right now there are about 99 homes for sale in the East Lyme area, but Lewis said she usually sees up to 160 homes for sale this time of year.

    There's a big demand and it's becoming more of a seller’s market on the southeastern shoreline, Lewis said.

    "Right now, they're not sitting. Houses aren't sitting in the East Lyme area or anywhere on the shoreline," according to Lewis.

    Part of the reason the housing market is doing so well is because of the economy, Lewis added. She isn't seeing many short-term rentals in East Lyme. Many people are using their homes for the summer, she said, and if they're renting it out, it's for at least a year.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    New Jersey teen Ziad Ahmed wrote "#blacklivesmatter" 100 times on his application to Stanford University and to his surprise, Stanford accepted. 

    Ahmed, a senior at Princeton Day School in Princeton, New Jersey, tweeted a screenshot of the essay and acceptance letter Saturday afternoon with the caption "I submitted this answer in my @Stanford application, & yesterday, I was admitted... #BlackLivesMatter"

    Since Saturday, the tweet has garnered over 3,000 retweets and 7,000 likes. 

    The essay question that prompted the response asked, "What matters to you, and why?"

    After gaining attention for his acceptance to Stanford, Ahmed tweeted "it's important to note that this response was one answer on one application. Not my college essay or etc. There's a lot more to it." 

    "Also, I want to clarify that I know this one answer on one application does not qualify as 'activism,'" he said. "This is a statement, not work." 

    Stanford University confirmed Ziad's acceptance to NBC News but declined to further discuss the student's application.

    Ahmed told Mic.com, "It's critical to realize that one-fourth to one-third of the Muslim community in America are black ... and to separate justice for Muslims from justices for the black community is to erase the realities of the plurality of our community."

    Ahmed is also the founder of Redefy, an organization centered around defying stereotypes, and JUV Consulting, centered on youth counseling. 

    The teen activist has also been accepted into Princeton University and Yale University.


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    Using an Earth-sized telescope, scientists may be able to see a black hole for the first time, NBC News reported.

    Eight radio observatories across the globe will be pointed toward the supermassive black hole in the Milky Way’s center, which scientists hope will allow them to image the black hole’s event horizon, the gravitational point of no return, for the first time.

    Such an image would back up evidence that black holes exist, while putting Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity to the test. It would also assist astronomers in understanding the way black holes rule over their respective galaxies.

    "We hope to see the un-seeable," said Shepard Doeleman, director of this Event Horizon Telescope. "We want to see something that by its very nature tries to do everything it can not to be seen. It's the ultimate cloaking device."



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra

    Computer artwork of the Milky Way galaxy, which contains our solar system. Using an Earth-sized telescope, scientists may be able to see a black hole, located in the Milky Way's center, for the first time ever, NBC News reported.Computer artwork of the Milky Way galaxy, which contains our solar system. Using an Earth-sized telescope, scientists may be able to see a black hole, located in the Milky Way's center, for the first time ever, NBC News reported.

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    The New Britain Board of Education recently approved name changes for several schools in its district.

    Superintendent Nancy Sarra recommended bringing uniformity to the Consolidated School District of New Britain.

    All of the New Britain schools which are named after an influential person will change their formatting to the last name only. All schools that were titled “academy,” “village,” “magnet,” or other like names, will be changed to elementary or middle school, according to the Consolidated School District of New Britain.

    Some of the schools affected by the new formatting are Smalley Elementary School, Vance Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary School, and DiLoreto Elementary and Middle School.

    Going along with New Britain’s recent downtown re-branding, the school district has installed all new school signs.

    “This past summer, we re-branded the school district with a new logo, so it’s a great time to streamline the appearance of our buildings and branding,” said Superintendent Nancy Sarra. “Not only does it revitalize the schools’ exteriors, it also serves to greater showcase our unity.”

    "While these changes are a small piece of the puzzle, they are part of the Board's commitment to consistency across the district,” said Nicholas Mercier, Board of Education President. “We were happy to partner with City Hall and the Mayor's office in making these changes.”


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    In the early morning hours of June 15, 2016, Michael Papadelis was asleep under a bridge at the corner of 19th and C Street in San Diego, California.

    He remembers a "pair of eyes" looking down on him, he said. And then it happened.

    "I was being hit, and all I can remember is I look up and I saw a pair of eyes," said Papadelis. "And I saw something silver coming down on me, so I kind of sat up and put my arms up to try to protect myself."

    He remembers screaming for help as blood poured from his head.

    "Somebody help me, help me, somebody help me. And eventually I heard somebody say 'what happened to you,'" said Papdelis.

    Papadelis, 56, was allegedly attacked by the man now suspected of at least 12 assaults on homeless and elderly people.

    Jon David Guerrero, 40, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to felony charges that include murder, arson and assault. He ultimately could face the death penalty.

    Papadelis survived the brutal attack, but is now blind in his right eye. Doctors had to rebuild his crushed eye orbit. He now has a plate around his eye orbit, and now has trouble seeing out of his left eye.

    He considers himself lucky to be alive, based on the severity of attacks on Guerrero’s other alleged victims.

    “I could have been struck in the head, too, with a spike. I’m lucky," said Papadelis. "He attacked me with a hammer, a mallet, whatever, and then he moved on. So I’m lucky to be alive."

    Papadelis also said a week before the attack, he remembers a man with a bicycle standing over him as he slept in the same spot under the bridge. He believes it was the same man who would return a week later.

    "And I woke up and there was a man with a bicycle standing over me. As soon as I woke up and looked at him, he walked off," Papadelis said.

    His perspective on the attack might surprise many people.

    Papadelis said he harbors no anger toward his attacker, and besides his physical injuries, he has no lingering psychological issues.

    "I’ve heard that people that go through violent assaults like I did suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, but I’ve had no bad dreams, no depression, no suicidal thoughts, or anything like that. I’m healed pretty good," said Papadelis.

    Papadelis was in court for Guerrero’s arraignment and plans to attend as many future court dates as possible. Guerrero’s preliminary hearing is scheduled on July 11. Papadelis is expected to testify and says he wants to see justice.

    "He obviously can’t be on the streets because he’s a danger to other people. So the best thing is he’ll be off the streets," said Papdelis.

    Guerrero’s crimes make him eligible for the death penalty, which Papadelis said he favors, should the District Attorney decide to pursue it.

    "He was vicious. He smashed them. He put a spike through their head and chest. He set them on fire. For the viciousness of the crimes against those people that were sleeping, I believe, if its out there, I agree with the death penalty," Papadelis said.



    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

    Michael PapadelisMichael Papadelis

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    For any parent whose kid racked up a big bill making in-app purchases on Amazon, a refund may be on the way, NBC News reported.

    The FTC and internet retailing giant Amazon agreed Tuesday to set aside their appeals in a case over this very issue and set the stage for a potential $70 million in refunds for purchases made from November 2011 to May 2016.

    A court found last year that Amazon hadn't gotten parents' consent when their children made some in-app charges.

    The FTC has filed similar cases in the past against Apple and Google. Following outcry, Apple added additional default protections to make it harder for children to make in-app purchases without the account holder's parents' password.



    Photo Credit: AP
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    Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., spoke out against President Donald Trump and Fox News host Bill O'Reilly in an appearance on MSNBC Wednesday night after sexual harrassment allegations against O'Reilly came to light, NBC News reported.

    Waters claimed that the president, O'Reilly, and others have created a "sexual harrassment enterprise" at Fox News. "They need to go to jail," she said on "All in With Chris Hayes."

    Waters also said that Trump and O'Reilly are "two of a kind," considering the sexual allegations also brought against Trump during the campaign. Waters believes "the president didn't do himself any good" defending O'Reilly.

    In reference to Trump's overall role as a leader, Waters said, "I don't really want him speaking for the United States."



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Alex Wong, File

    In this July 27, 2016, file photo,U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, D-Calif., delivers remarks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.In this July 27, 2016, file photo,U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, D-Calif., delivers remarks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

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    People dealing with chronic pain say recent moves by Ohio's governor to fight the plague of opioid overdoses could leave them suffering, NBC News reported.

    Gov. John Kasich restricted how many painkillers may be prescribed to patients, but people who rely on the drugs say the rules could force them to go underground to find relief from their anguish.

    "We are being punished for being in pain," said Amy Monahan-Curtis, 44, who has been living in agony since 1993 due to a condition called cervical dystonia, which causes her neck muscles to contract involuntarily.

    She doesn't believe assurances from officials that the rules only apply to acute pain, not chronic pain.



    Photo Credit: Toby Talbot/AP

    OxyContin pills are arranged in this Feb. 19, 2013, file photo.OxyContin pills are arranged in this Feb. 19, 2013, file photo.

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    Dozens of Hamden residents spoke out to town officials on Wednesday in an attempt to prevent a large-scale housing development from being built on property along Rocky Top Road.

    The developer, Mountain View Estates, LLC, has proposed constructing nearly 300 new luxury apartments on the hilly terrain in between Sherman Avenue and Shepard Avenue.

    At a public meeting of the Hamden Inland Wetlands Commission, a large group of residents let it be known that they are adamantly opposed to the project. Since the project was announced a few months ago, neighbors around Rocky Top Road said it has become their mission to stop it; or at least slow the process down.

    “Obviously, we’d like to see it stopped. I just don’t think this is the right place," said resident Brent Borgnine. “You’re just destroying it over there," he said."

    Residents said they worry about the massive excavation of trap rock, the hundreds of additional vehicles on the narrow and winding road, and the impact on the environment.

    The town's Inland Wetlands Commission must approve the plans proposed by Mountain View Estates, LLC, before the project is able to move forward for approval by the Planning & Zoning board.

    “The developer of this project has unlimited funds and we have to fight in our numbers," said Debra Finn, who is opposed to the project.

    One of the developers of the project, Gary Richetelli, told NBC Connecticut that crews working in the Rocky Top Road area would attempt to keep noise at a minimum as well as try to preserve the 'woodsy natural character' of the land. Richetelli also said that hundreds of thousands of dollars would be spent to make sure there is no adverse impact to neighborhoods.

    On Wednesday, the Inland Wetlands Commission decided it would need more information from the developer about the plan before voting. The next chance the board may take up the vote would be at the next public meeting, which is scheduled for May 3 at 7 p.m. at Hamden Town Hall.


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    Photo Credit: East Windsor Police

    A man with a gun robbed the Noble Gas Station at 76 North Road in East Windsor this morning and forced the clerk into a cooler, police said.The robber held the clerk at gunpoint around 3:13 a.m., ordered the employee to empty the cash from the register into a plastic bag and then forced the clerk into a cooler, police said.A man with a gun robbed the Noble Gas Station at 76 North Road in East Windsor this morning and forced the clerk into a cooler, police said.The robber held the clerk at gunpoint around 3:13 a.m., ordered the employee to empty the cash from the register into a plastic bag and then forced the clerk into a cooler, police said.

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