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    The Milford Police Department’s front lot and lobby were closed to the public as police investigated a suspicious package, but the department is back open.

    Police said in a Twitter post that the package was turned in at police headquarters. Then they followed up and said state police removed the item from the Milford Police Department and will dispose of it.

    The police department was deemed to be safe and has reopened to the public.

    No additional information was immediately available.

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    Sixteen-year-old Carlos Santana may never have full use of his hand again. He lost two fingers when a homemade explosive device unexpectedly blew up.

    “I just seen a ball of aluminum foil,” Santana said. “I just thought it was garbage.”

    Santana was playing with other children at a friend’s home on Gray Street in Hartford back in October when he noticed something about the size a golf ball underneath a car parked in the backyard. He picked it up and it exploded in his face.

    “All I seen was white and I got really nervous because I thought I was going to be blind,” said Santana. “I looked down to check everything. I thought it was a dream. I couldn’t believe it. My hand was really messed up, my chest, my shirt.”

    At the hospital, doctors were able to save three of Santana’s fingers. They had to use six pins to hold his hand together.

    “I was scared. I never saw my son in that kind of state,” said Santana’s mother, Tanisha Gabriele. “Just to be a mom, getting over there. I didn’t know what happened. I just held him and waited.”

    Police say the device was made with common household products. Their investigation into how it got there and why continues today, and so far no arrests have been made.

    “I do not want my son’s tragedy to go unsolved,” Gabriele said. “He’s going to live the rest of his life like this, and for him not to know why or who, it would be the most painful thing.”

    Santana still faces many months of occupational therapy. He’s learning to do things in a new way every day. He hopes to be an inspiration to others.

    “I’m not going to let it restrict me,” said Santana. “There are still so many things I can do.”

    Photo Credit: Contributed Photo

    This x-ray shows the six pins doctors used to save three of 16-year-old Carlos Santana's fingers after a homemade explosive device exploded while he was holding it.This x-ray shows the six pins doctors used to save three of 16-year-old Carlos Santana's fingers after a homemade explosive device exploded while he was holding it.

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    Two Maryland sisters furloughed during the government shutdown are turning to a sweet side hustle to stay afloat.

    Like many of the 800,000 federal workers going without pay, Nikki Howard and sister Jaqi Wright have struggled past-due bills and other expenses. Both women also have husbands who can't work due to disabilities.

    "How do I look at my child and say, 'I can't send you back to school,'" said Howard, who works with the Food and Drug Administration.

    So they turned their love for baking into a business plan.

    "Cheesecake has been my weakness since I can remember," Howard said.

    "Our mother said, 'You know what girl, you could sell these cheesecakes' and ding ding ding ding went off in my mind. And it's like, we can sell these cheesecakes," Wright said.

    And thus, the Furlough Cheesecake was born.

    "We prepared for rain, but we got a monsoon," said Wright, who works at the Department of Justice.

    In a little more than a week, the sisters have received nearly 100 orders.

    "Atlanta, Indiana, Texas," the sisters said in unison.

    Howard and Wright said they plan to go back to their government jobs once the shutdown ends, but they'll continue to sell as many cheesecakes as they can in the meantime.

    "We need to make sure that we're securing a future for ourselves and for our families and hopefully for others as well. So we’re going to keep going," Howard said.

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    Peter Mielert bought a 2012 Honda Odyssey at Liberty Honda in Hartford and decided to get the vehicle protection package offered by the dealership, thinking it would be a good idea to protect his investment.

    That’s until the West Hartford resident said he ran into a problem trying to use the coverage.

    “It was frustrating,” said Peter Mielert.

    In November of 2017, Mielert filed a claim with the dealership to remove the stains on the leather seats of his mini-van.

    The vehicle protection package covers permanent stains to the leather, vinyl, and fabric in the car’s interior and damage to the exterior, according to the company that provides the protection.

    Mielert showed us the documents which shows he paid $629 for the seven-year vehicle protection package that he bought in 2011.

    “Over the years of having a mini-van and a family there were some stains on the seat and the floor,” said Mielert.

    When Mielert brought his vehicle to the dealership for the stained seats, he said the service representative took pictures and filed the claim.

    Three months later, Mielert called the dealership to check on the status.

    “There was a different service rep assigned to it at that point, they could find no record of it,” said Mielert.

    Mielert had to re-submit the claim.

    “Two months go by and again with the third rep and finally by this past summer 2018 we reach out to the service manager,” said Mielert.

    Mielert and his wife spoke with a service manager at the dealership who assured him the claim would be taken care of. But Mielert ended up dealing with two different service managers about his claim.

    In October, Liberty Honda’s General manager emailed Mielert stating that the Service manager forwarded his previous emails.

    The general manager apologized and explained that he was out of town that weekend and would look into the matter when he returned.

    Mielert said he didn’t hear back and turned to NBC Connecticut Responds.

    “They weren’t supporting the product they sold us,” said Mielert.

    When Responds contacted Liberty Honda, the General manager told us:

    “I thought I was waiting for Mr. Mielert to bring the vehicle in so I could take a look and resolve the claim. If he would like to do that I would as well. If he wants a refund I would be happy to oblige with that as well. I apologize for the issues just let me know how to proceed.”

    Within a few days, Mielert said the dealership reimbursed his $629 for the vehicle protection package.

    “Responsive was what I wasn’t getting out of the company and responsiveness is what you got for us,” said Mielert.

    Mielert admits that he didn’t ask enough questions about how the claim process works. And said he would do more research on products offered by the dealership.

    The Better Business Bureau said whether it’s a vehicle protection package or an extended car warranty, you should always read the fine print.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    In November of 2017, Peter Mielert filed a claim with the dealership to remove stains on the leather seats of his mini-van.In November of 2017, Peter Mielert filed a claim with the dealership to remove stains on the leather seats of his mini-van.

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    Some of your favorite brews may never make it to your local restaurant or store as a result of the partial shutdown of the federal government, and some businesses may not be able to open at all.

    Federal agencies touch just about every sector of the economy, including beer.

    Brewers across Connecticut are essentially in a holding pattern if they want to bring products to the market, whether it’s a new beer or a beverage they normally release at a certain time of the year.

    The Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau, an agency many people don’t even know exists, is in charge of labeling and licensing for beer.

    Thomas Hooker Brewing Company President Curt Cameron said the system works pretty well, when it’s running.

    "A massive backlog is being created and labels that we have in for, let’s say a spring seasonal we have coming out, possibly won’t be approved until the middle of summer, so that might mean we’re not even coming out with that product,” Cameron explained.

    Michael and Rachel Haseltine were hoping to open Better Half Brewing in April, but with the shutdown, they’re in a holding pattern.

    “Our equipment is actually on trucks, on its way here from Oregon and so we’ll have equipment that in our facility that’s being renovated currently, and we can’t do anything with it,” Rachel Haseltine explained.

    U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said the brewing industry is a microcosm of the impact of the shutdown.

    “It’s more than just the beer, it’s the business,” the Democrat said.

    When a brewery applies for a new label, it typically takes between two to four weeks to get federal approval. When you combine a month-long shutdown with that timetable, and about 6,000 breweries across the country, that could mean a wait time of months.

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    From Kent to Haddam and other parts of the state, powerful ice jams clogged rivers last January causing big trouble for Connecticut homeowners and businesses.

    It was unlike anything David Papallo had seen before.

    “Nor do I care to ever see one again,” Papallo said.

    In his 19 years owning Andrews Marina in Haddam, Papallo has never encountered an ice jam as intense as the one from last January.

    “Snapped pilings, broken docks, high stress levels, low bank accounts,” Papallo said.

    He had to hire a company to dive under the docks at the marina and use a chainsaw to remove some of the pilings snapped by the ice.

    While he called the project very expensive, he did not disclose the close.

    The January 2018 ice jam forced Haddam leaders to declare a state of emergency. It even crept into backyards.

    The Coast Guard even came in to chop it up and eventually, the rain came. Business owners said they didn’t know if when the ice broke free, it would cause even more damage.

    The ice jam caused $8,000 worth of damage to RiverQuest’s dock that’s now two-toned because of some fresh wood and pilings.

    “Last winter was a little bit tough on us,” RiverQuest Owner Mark Yuknat said. “We do six weekends for eagle cruises and we lost three of them because of weather.”

    Last year, RiverQuest was docked in Essex at the time, so it was spared.

    “Last year if it was here (in Haddam), it would’ve been swept away and crushed,” Yuknat said.

    This year he’s taking no chances and moving it back to Essex for the winter this weekend.

    On the other side of the East Haddam swing bridge, Papallo is celebrating the lack of ice this January.

    “I’ve never seen our basin not frozen in January,” Papallo said.

    He’s hoping it stays that way.

    “I’m happy! We get a lot less damage when there’s no ice,” Papallo laughed.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    Conditions at Andrews Marina in Haddam in January 2018 and 2019.Conditions at Andrews Marina in Haddam in January 2018 and 2019.

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    A regular day at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital doesn't usually involve holding a Super Bowl ring for Marquet Bell. But on Friday, it did.

    Every year, patients at Yale-New Haven Children’s hospital get a special visit as part of the annual Walter Camp Weekend. This year, the star in town is more than just a talented athlete.

    It’s Bell’s hero, USC Football’s long snapper, Jake Olson. Bell is 17 and battling sickle cell anemia.

    “You put such a big smile on my face right now,” Bell told Olson. "You're a living inspiration right now."

    Not too long ago, Olson was in a similar place-- battling cancer as a child and eventually losing his sight. But he didn't let that get in his way.

    He lives by the USC Trojan mantra, “fight on.” And he hopes the kids met on Friday, like Bell, do just that.

    "No matter what circumstance you're up against, there's no excuse not to go out there and just do the things you love and what makes you happy,” said Bell. “Dreams and goals are rearranged and have to shift a little bit but that doesn't mean you can't go out there and achieve the dreams you want."

    Bell heard this message loud and clear.

    “I feel just so happy watching my inspiration,” he said. “It feels like that was a dream. It’s a dream come true because when I saw him play that inspired me to go to school more and more often and not let things stop me from you know, thinking about my pain. If he could do it, I could do it."

    Jake Olson is a senior at USC and graduating in May with a degree in business. Bell is a high school junior, and hoping to go to college in a couple years to study robotic engineering.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    USC Football’s long snapper Jake Olson visited patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital Friday as part of Walter Camp weekend.USC Football’s long snapper Jake Olson visited patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital Friday as part of Walter Camp weekend.

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    A West Hartford man is accused of carjacking a victim who was trying to sell their vehicle on the website OfferUp.

    Eighteen-year-old Dajour Hines was arrested Friday.

    Glastonbury police said on Thursday the victim brought the vehicle to Spring Street in the area of Copper Drive in their city, meeting who they believed to be a potential buyer. Police said the suspect pulled a gun and ordered the victim out of the car.

    Investigators found the car in West Hartford Friday.

    Hines is charged with carjacking, first-degree robbery, first-degree threatening, reckless endangerment and larceny. He was held on a $250,000 bail and is due in court Monday.

    Photo Credit: Glastonbury Police Department

    Dajour HinesDajour Hines

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    Mashantucket tribal police are searching for a man wanted in connection with a stabbing at Foxwoods casino on New Year’s Eve.

    Police said they have an arrest warrant for 19-year-old Kevin Shan of New London. He faces charges of first-degree assault, violation of a protective order and breach of peace.

    Anyone with information on where he is should contact Mashantucket tribal police at 860-396-6662.

    The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

    Photo Credit: Mashantucket Tribal Police

    Kevin ShanKevin Shan

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    Photo Credit: Steven Frischling

    Chief Robert Tompkins, of the City of Groton Fire Department, said the fire was at 351 Lestertown Road.Chief Robert Tompkins, of the City of Groton Fire Department, said the fire was at 351 Lestertown Road.

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    Thousands of federal employees missed their first paycheck of the year Friday as the government shutdown reached day 21 and counting.

    In Connecticut, the state Department of Labor announced financial relief is on the way, but only for some.

    The DOL announced days ago they would try to offer unemployment benefits to federal employees in Connecticut affected by the shutdown, but Friday they said they had no choice but to turn down the overwhelming majority of applications they’ve seen so far.

    Patrick Wynne, a correctional officer, missed his paycheck even though he’s required to do his job at the Danbury Federal Corrections Institute despite the shutdown.

    “What I’m going to be doing all day tomorrow is starting to call credit card companies and tell them look I didn’t get paid this week, what could you do for us. You know it’s gonna get bad,” Wynne said.

    Richard Dionne is also working without pay as an air transportation systems specialist at Bradley International Airport.

    “I’ve actually started breaking into my savings,” he said.

    Approximately 1,500 federal employees in Connecticut are impacted by the shutdown. The state DOL is offering some of them employment benefits, but while Wynne and Dionne are not being paid, the fact that they’re working at all disqualifies them from that help.

    The DOL said only furloughed employees who are not allowed to work can file for unemployment. A department spokesperson said they’ve received approximately 175 applications so far, but about 80 percent of them are not eligible.

    “I can’t collect benefits that I’ve been paying for all these years. And still going to work!” Wynne said.

    Wynne is worried some of his coworkers will soon leave their jobs at the prison, which he says is already critically understaffed. He hopes the standoff in Washington ends soon.

    “If it goes on another two months, what does my mortgage company say. What do the uh car people, are they going to come take my car?”

    The state DOL said they are doing what they can within federal guidelines to help, but even those furloughed employees who can file for unemployment may not see any. The department still needs to be able to request information on those employees, which may be impossible due to the shutdown.

    Photo Credit:

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    Plainfield Police are investigating after a home invasion early Saturday morning.

    Officers received a 911 call from a home on Hope Road around 2:00 a.m. reporting an active home invasion.

    The caller and homeowner said he was woken up from bed to his front door being kicked in.

    The homeowner said when he grabbed his gun to investigate, he was met by a masked intruder, who was also armed with a gun.

    According to police, the homeowner told officers that he shot at a second intruder, who was exiting from another room. The homeowner said he was not injured.

    Officers believe the two masked intruders also were not injured as they fled the scene.

    The investigation into the incident is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Plainfield Police at (860) 564-0804 or the anonymous tip line at (860) 564-7065.

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    Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont is getting some extra time to craft his first state budget proposal.

    Traditionally, the governor's budget would be presented to the General Assembly on the first Wednesday following the first Monday of February. That would mean Feb. 6 this year. But under state law, a new governor is allowed some extra time to present a tax-and-spending plan.

    Lamont and legislative leaders have agreed the budget package will be presented to lawmakers on Feb. 20.

    Lamont spokeswoman Maribel La Luz says the ability to extend the deadline will allow the governor and his administration "as much time as possible to put together a responsible budget."

    The former businessman promised during his recent inaugural speech he'll present a budget that will be in balance for the foreseeable future.

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    Norwalk Police have arrested a man who is accused of exposing himself during separate incidents in Norwalk and Fairfield.

    Officers in Norwalk received a complaint that a man had driven up to the victim walking a dog on Winfield Street on September 26, 2018.

    Police said the man exposed himself to the victim while he sexually pleasured himself. The man then drove away, but circled back by the victim two more times while he continued to sexually pleasure himself before leaving the area.

    According to police, there was limited information at the time and a suspect was not identified.

    Detectives later learned that the Fairfield Police Department had a similar incident in October of 2018. The victim in the Fairfield incident was able to provide a marker plate that matched the vehicle description given in the Norwalk incident, police said.

    Investigators determined 29-year-old David Sharpe, of Fairfield, was a suspect in both the Fairfield and Norwalk incidents.

    Sharpe was arrested by the Fairfield Police Department in December of 2018.

    Detectives in Norwalk obtained a warrant for Sharpe's arrest and he turned himself in to Norwalk Police on Friday.

    Sharpe is facing charges including public indecency and breach of peace. His bond is $50,000 and he is scheduled to be in court on January 25.

    Photo Credit: Norwalk Police

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    Stratford Police are investigating after a man was shot and killed early Saturday morning.

    Officers were called to Regency Terrace around 2:20 a.m. after getting a report of a shooting.

    When police arrived, they said they found a man who had been wounded by gunfire. He was taken to Bridgeport Hospital, where he later died. Officials have not released his identity.

    A preliminary investigation revealed that two men were sitting in a parked car on Regency Terrace when they were approached by two men on foot.

    Officers believe the men exchanged words when one of the men showed a gun and fired at least one shot, hitting the victim, who was in the car.

    The two men on foot fled the area, officers said.

    Anyone with information is asked to call Stratford Police at (203) 385-4140. Information can also be shared anonymously on the Stratford Police TIP411 app.

    Photo Credit:

    Stratford PoliceStratford Police

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    Family, friends, and classmates gathered Saturday to say goodbye to the 12-year-old West Hartford girl who died in a domestic attack at her home last month.

    Brigid Curtin was stabbed to death by her twin brother in the attack on Dec. 17, 2018, inside the family's Stoner Drive home, according to West Hartford police.

    Brigid's mother, Janemarie Murphy, was also stabbed and suffered serious injuries, police said.

    Mourners arrived at St. Patrick - St. Anthony Church in Hartford on Saturday afternoon for a funeral mass for Brigid.

    "Today they celebrated a beautiful mass to honor their dear daughter, Brigid. Her wonderful life - all too brief life - that touched so many," family spokesperson Chuck Coursey said after the service.

    Brigid was a seventh-grader at Sedgwick Middle School.

    The family was also especially touched and moved by Brigid's teammates and classmates who came to the service today to pay their respects to their cherished friend," Coursey said.

    Brigid's 12-year-old brother has been charged as a juvenile with murder with special circumstances and first-degree assault.

    Police have not said what led to the attack.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    A funeral was held Saturday for Brigid Curtin, the 12-year-old girl who police say was killed by her twin brother in their West Hartford home in December.A funeral was held Saturday for Brigid Curtin, the 12-year-old girl who police say was killed by her twin brother in their West Hartford home in December.

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    An Army veteran from Queens was able to thank doctors Friday for his second chance at life, months after he miraculously awoke from a monthlong coma while loved ones were planning his funeral. 

    “They didn't give up on me. They absolutely didn't give up on me,” said Michael Mendez.

    Mendez came to Northwell Health (formerly Long Island Jewish) Valley Stream hospital last summer with stomach pains — a case of pancreatitis. But within days the father of two was placed on life support as his vital organs started shutting down.

    “I just remember feeling numb,” Mendez’s fiancée, Sarah Insolera, said.

    According to Insolera, Mendez’s state was so bleak the family bought a funeral plot.

    But a team of 36 doctors and nurses didn’t waver and stayed by Menendez’s side, hoping for a miracle.

    “One day he opened his eyes,” Dr. Lisa Chen, Mendez’s doctor, remembered. “We said, ‘You know what? Maybe he is still in there.’”

    Insolera remembers that day clearly. 

    “I jumped up. I started screaming and ran to the nurses and said his eyes are open,” she said.

    Three weeks later, the 46-year-old was out of bed walking on his own.

    “I believe he was truly a fighter — he still is,” nurse Jackie Nicholls said.

    Mendez’s nurses say his 15 years in the Army have made him a fighter. Mendez acknowledges his service also left him with the PTSD and alcohol addiction that nearly killed him.

    “I was the last guy who thought I could come out of this and even stop drinking and I did it,” he said.

    And if you've ever wondered if coma victims can actually hear what's going on around them, Mendez revealed he could hear the words of love and support from his fiancée who came here every day as well as his family and caregivers.

    “I feel we've both been given a second chance,” Insolera said.

    Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

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    Two people were killed in a crash on I-395 in Norwich on Saturday night.

    State police responded to the crash in the area between exits 14-18 around 6:30 p.m. Saturday night. 

    The highway was shut down in both directions for most of the night.

    Two cars crashed head on, according to Deputy Chief B.J. Herz of the Yantic Engine Co. 1.

    A woman in the second car was critically injured, Herz said.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A fire ripped through the historic Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford early Sunday morning.

    Firefighters received the call around 1 a.m. and arrived to find heavy fire coming from the building on Elm Street.

    The heaviest fire was in the area of the stage, according to fire officials.

    Firefighters fought the flames from outside the building due to the size of the fire, fire officials said.

    The building collapsed while firefighters were trying to put out the flames.

    The theater has been vacant for several years.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A multi-vehicle crash in New London ended with one of the vehicles being suspended on its back wheels.

    The crash happened Saturday night at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Boulder Drive, according to fire officials.

    Firefighters arrived to find three vehicles involved in the accident. Two of the vehicles were parked and the other, an SUV, was being suspended in midair by a guide wire attached to a utility pole, fire officials said.

    No one was seriously injured.

    Two utility poles were also struck and power was out for some of the buildings in the area.

    New London police are investigating the crash.

    Photo Credit: Battalion Chief Mark Waters

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