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    Two convicted felons are facing charges after police found an illegal assault rifle and high-capacity magazine in their Bridgeport home, authorities said.

    According to police, officers were conducting a “compliance check” at the North Avenue apartment of two felons out on probation when they discovered an SKS7.62x29mm rifle in the back of a closet, along with a 100-round magazine containing 95 .233-caliber rounds and “other weapon-related items.”

    Giovanni Candelario, 20, and Ramon Candelario, 23, both of whom were on supervised release, were charged with criminal possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of an assault weapon.

    Each suspect’s bond was set at $100,000.

    The two had been previously arrested and convicted on felony drug charges.



    Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

    Giovanni Candelario (left) and Ramon Candelario (right), both convicted felons out on probation, were arrested after police reportedly found an illegal rifle in their Bridgeport apartment.Giovanni Candelario (left) and Ramon Candelario (right), both convicted felons out on probation, were arrested after police reportedly found an illegal rifle in their Bridgeport apartment.

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    Two men stole $460 worth of condoms and family planning materials from a Tampa CVS, authorities said.

    Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detectives are asking for the public’s help identifying the two suspects, who they said swiped the condoms and other goods from the convenience store at 8603 West Hillsborough Ave. on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at about 2:48 p.m.

    The shoplifters put the items in a backpack and left without paying, the sheriff’s office said.

    The suspects are connected to a newer model four-door white or silver Honda, according to the sheriff's office.

    Authorities ask anyone with information on the suspects to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200 or to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.

    More NBC South Florida Stories:



    Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

    Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detectives are seeking the public's help identifying these two men.Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detectives are seeking the public's help identifying these two men.

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    A 21-year-old New Canaan woman was killed in a crash in Virginia early this morning.

    Virginia state police said Kelsey H. Durkin, 21, of New Canaan, was a back seat passenger in the 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe that went off the road in in Rockbridge County around 1:30 a.m., hit a tree stump and flipped over.

    Durkin was a senior at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, according to a school statement.

    She was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the SUV, according to Virginia State Police. 

    A private car brought her to the Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

    “There are no words to express the grief we feel over the loss of someone taken from us so suddenly and tragically. In the days ahead, in the weeks and months ahead, our sadness will be lessened only by the memories of her time with us,” a statement from the school says.

    Ten Washington and Lee students were in the vehicle that the crash in an area that appears to be about 9 miles away from campus.

    The driver, who police identified as Nicholas Perry Hansel, 21, of New Orleans, was brought to Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital to be treated for minor injuries. He was released and charged with driving under the influence and refusal and is being held in police custody.

    Two other students were airlifted to the University of Virginia Medical Center and one was airlifted to a Virginia hospital.

    Three other students were treated for their injuries at Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital and two students refused treatment, police said.

    The Washington and Lee 2013-2014 sorority recruitment book lists Durkin as a recruitment counselor who guided women through the sorority recruitment process.


    View Larger Map



    Photo Credit: Virginia State Police

    A 21-year-old New Canaan woman was killed in a crash in Virgina.A 21-year-old New Canaan woman was killed in a crash in Virgina.

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    Route 354 has reopened in the area of Jan Drive in Colchester following a two-car crash Tuesday evening, police said.

    The road was shut down in both directions. It's not clear how many people were involved or how serious their injuries may be.

    No additional information was immediately available.

    Check back for updates.


    View Larger Map



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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    Police are looking for the driver of a pickup truck that hit a pedestrian in a plaza on Route 83 in Somers Tuesday.

    Officers responded to the Plaza Restaurant around 1:55 p.m. and found a woman in the parking lot suffering from head injuries

    The vehicle that struck her did not remain on the scene, according to police.

    Witnesses told NBC Connecticut's Len Bestoff that the woman had just left a party at the Plaza Restaurant when she was hit.

    The extent of the woman's injuries is not known.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    A woman was struck by pickup outside the Plaza Restaurant on Route 83 in Somers on Tuesday afternoon.  The drivre of the pickup took off, according to police.A woman was struck by pickup outside the Plaza Restaurant on Route 83 in Somers on Tuesday afternoon. The drivre of the pickup took off, according to police.

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    Shelton police are investigating after a semiautomatic handgun was reportedly stolen from a car parked at the Lincoln Technical Institute.

    According to police, officers responded to the school at 8 Progress Drive around 10 a.m. the morning of Dec. 3. Police said a 38-year-old man, a student at the institute, told them he had parked his car at school that morning and left a handgun inside.

    The complainant told officers the gun was hidden from public view, but that when he returned to his car, he found that a window had been smashed and the weapon stolen.

    Police searched the area but weren’t able to recover the handgun. School was dismissed as the investigation got underway, police said.

    Authorities are still actively investigating.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Shelton police at 203-924-1544.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    A semiautomatic handgun was reportedly stolen from a car parked outside the Lincoln Technical Institute.A semiautomatic handgun was reportedly stolen from a car parked outside the Lincoln Technical Institute.

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    Police are investigating the fatal crash that closed Route 5 in East Windsor for hours Tuesday afternoon.

    Police said a man in his 40s was killed when his car crossed the yellow line and hit a dump truck head on. The car went airborne and then hit a utility pole, according to police.

    The crash happened around 2 p.m. Both sides of the road are shut down near East Windsor High School.

    Police said the victim was the only person in the car.  He has not been identified, but police said he was an Enfield resident.

    Authorities are investigating.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact East Windsor Police Corporal Jones at 860-292-8240.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    A crash closed Route 6 in East Windsor on Tuesday afternoon.A crash closed Route 6 in East Windsor on Tuesday afternoon.

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    An associate professor in the University of Connecticut Chemistry Department is on administrative leave after allegedly getting drunk and vandalizing several high-end cars in Greenwich, police said.

    According to police, 46-year-old Gabriel Fenteany, of Vernon, became intoxicated at a friend’s house on Lafayette Court in Greenwich the afternoon of Oct. 26, then walked through nearby parking lots and vandalized a number of cars.

    Police said Fenteany spit and urinated on the cars, kicked them and ripped off side-view mirrors. The targeted cars included two Audis, a BMW, two Lexus models and a Honda Civic.

    Fenteany is charged with three counts of criminal mischief and one count of breach of peace.

    UConn officials said Fenteany has been placed on administrative leave and banned from campus.

    "UConn has placed Mr. Fenteany on administrative leave and has prohibited him from campus until University and/or criminal investigations of the allegations have been concluded," said UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz, in a statement released Tuesday evening. "Arrangements are being made to cover his teaching duties and other professional responsibilities."

    He was arrested at the UConn Storrs campus on Dec. 2 and turned over to Greenwich police.

    Fenteany was released on a promise to appear, police said. Fenteany is due in court on Dec. 9.



    Photo Credit: Greenwich Police Department

    Gabriel Fenteany, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Connecticut, is accused of vandalizing several high-end cars in Greenwich.Gabriel Fenteany, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Connecticut, is accused of vandalizing several high-end cars in Greenwich.

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    Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday approved a bill proposed to fund the state's $100 billion unfunded pension liability.

    The House voted 62-53 in favor of the bill — just two votes more than it needed for passage — and the Senate voted 30-24 in favor, the bare minimum it needed to pass.

    The bill proposes changing how cost of living adjustments are paid out, creating pauses up to five years when those COLAs are funded and raising the retirement age for those aged 45 and under.

    Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill.

    "Since I took the oath of office, I've pushed relentlessly for a comprehensive pension reform solution that would erase a $100 billion liability and restore fiscal stability to Illinois," Quinn said in a statement. "Today, we have won. The people of Illinois have won."

    Senate President John J. Cullerton issued a statement the passage of the bill lauding his fellow legistors for compromising.

    "When it comes to pension reform, a compromise was found at the intersection of policy and political feasibility. The General Assembly stumbled at this intersection for years. Now it's time to move forward and allow the courts to rule on the constitutionality of our approach," Cullerton said.

    The bill was backed by Quinn and the state's four legislative leaders, who announced the pension reform deal last week with intentions of cutting $160 billion over 30 years.

    It faced an unknown outcome from rank and file members and created some unusual political alliances.

    GOP gubernatorial candidates Bruce Rauner and Dan Rutherford found themselves aligned with labor and Lt. Governor Shelia Simon in opposition.

    Sen. Mark Kirk said the Illinois General Assembly "shouldn't pass a bill that neither lawmakers nor the voters have had time to read," and Madigan admitted last week the vote will be "very difficult."

    Retirees who worked for the state fear the deal will seriously cut their monthly income and have asked lawmakers to vote no.

    "We put in a certain amount, and they're supposed to match it," said Gloria Smith Armstrong, a nurse for 29 years. "Well we've done that, but they haven't. So now they're saying they want to take our money to cover what they didn't put in."

    "I'm very old at this point in time," said Gwendolyn Lee who spent 32 years as a social worker. "I cannot go back and start working with the mentally ill who are with substance abuse and who are prone to violence."

    Now that the pension deal is approved, a legal fight is expected from labor unions.

    "Litigation is inevitable, and I hope that the courts issue an expedited ruling as to the constitutionality of the legislation," Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford said. "The sooner the better, so we can move our great state forward."

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement praising the bill's passage, but also said the lawmakers' work is not finished.

    "The pension crisis is not truly solved until relief is brought to Chicago and all of the other local governments across our state that are standing on the brink of a fiscal cliff because of our pension liabilities. Without providing the same relief to local governments, we know that taxpayers, employees, and the future of our state and local economies will remain at risk," Emanuel said.

    Illinois has the worst-funded state pension system in the country.


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    Route 110 has reopened in Shelton between Montgomery Street and Belmont Avenue following a one-car crash.

    The crash was reported around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Police said a car struck a utility pole and crews from United Illuminating are headed to the scene.

    The road is shut down in both directions and reopened after 10 p.m. Tuesday.

    There has been no word on injuries.

    Check back for updates.


    View Larger Map


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    A suspicious package discovered outside a home on Wade Avenue in Bloomfield turned out to be nothing dangerous, police said.

    Police said the landlord at 61 and 63 Wade Avenue found the unmarked package inside and an enclosed porch and opened it to discover some wiring. The landlord threw the package onto the front lawn and dialed 911 around 3:30 p.m.

    Authorities arrived to inspect the package and described it as small and containing wiring and LED lights. Bloomfield police were not able to determine whether the package contained explosives, so a Hartford Police Bomb Squad was called in. The bomb squad worked to disassemble the package and determined that it contained no threat.

    No one was arrested and no injuries were reported, although the fire department and volunteer ambulance company were standing by.

    Now police are investigating to determine who delivered the package and why. Officers theorize that it may have been left in an effort to scare someone.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A 49-year-old Westchester mother of five says she feels fortunate to be recovering after the Metro-North train she was taking to work in Manhattan Sunday jumped the tracks and skidded through an embankment in the Bronx, stopping just short of the river. 

    Fidajete Brucaj was on her way to her job as a maid at a midtown hotel from her home in Yorktown when her regular commute was jolted. 

    "I remember being happy and heading off to work, and then after that, I don't know what's going on," Brucaj told NBC 4 New York from her hospital bed at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, where she was recovering. 

    Brucaj's daughter Quin added that all her mother remembered "is a couple of bangs, and I think at that point the passengers had been flying off their seats. She had been knocked unconscious right away." 

    Quin, her four siblings and her father were home Sunday when they turned on the television and saw their mother's mangled front-car train thrashed along the bank of the Hudson. Not everyone in Brucaj's car made it out alive, all the more reason her family is grateful, even as questions linger about whether human error played a role in the derailment. 

    "I feel bad for the conductor and his family," said Quin Brucaj.

    The family is focused on the recovery of Fidajete Brucaj, who says she feels "very sick and very tired." X-rays have revealed she has a fracture in her spine, and her family says it will take a long time for her to regain her health.

    Still, Quin says her mother is "lucky."

    "All that matters is that she's here and there's nothing life-threatening. Eventually she'll be OK." 

    Brucaj, whose five children range in ages from 15 through 27, remains in serious but stable condition at Montefiore. It's not clear when she'll be released. 


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    Two Willimantic residents are facing a slew of charges after police say they sexually assaulted children under the ages of 10 and 13 years old.

    Franklin and Tina Gelinas, of Memorial Drive in Willimantic, are accused of sexually assaulting children in Willimantic.

    They were arrested on Dec. 3 following a police investigation that started in March when the Department of Children and Family Services contacted authorities, police said.

    It’s not clear how many children the couple is accused of assaulting and how the victims are connected to the Gelinas pair.

    Franklin Gelinas, 44, is charged with a total of six counts of first-degree sexual assault: three for allegedly assaulting a victim younger than 10 years old and three for a victim of under 13.

    He’s also charged with six counts of illegal sexual contact with a victim of under 13 and one count of second-degree sexual assault. He’s being held on a $500,000 bond.

    Tina Gelinas, 45, was charged with first-degree sexual assault of a victim under 10, illegal sexual contact with a victim under 13, second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. Her bond was set at $100,000.

    Both are due in court on Dec. 4.



    Photo Credit: Willimantic Police Department

    Franklin and Tina Gelinas, of Willimantic, were arrested Tuesday and charged with sexually assaulting children under the ages of 10 and 13.Franklin and Tina Gelinas, of Willimantic, were arrested Tuesday and charged with sexually assaulting children under the ages of 10 and 13.

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    Greenwich Police are warning residents about recent thefts from residential mailboxes.

    There have been over a dozen reported thefts and Greenwich police say most are occurring in the mid-county region.

    Homeowners should avoid putting checks, credit sensitive information, personal information and valuables in their mailboxes for outgoing mail and should instead use collection boxes or send mail from the U.S. Post Office, police said.

    Police are continuing to investigate.

    Any information or suspicious activity should be reported to the Greenwich police at 203-622-8001.

    Incidents of mail theft can be reported to the U.S. Postal Service at 203-625-3168.



    Photo Credit: NBC10

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    A D.C. police officer was arrested and charged with production of child pornography while on duty, the Metropolitan Police Department announced Tuesday.

    Officer Marc Washington is accused of taking digital photographs of a 15-year-old girl after ordering her to remove her clothes.

    Washington -- an officer with MPD since 2006 -- was arrested Monday, shortly after the victim's mother called police, authorities said.

    According to charging documents, Washington first made contact with the family when the girl's mother called police to report her missing. Washington went to the family's home to take a missing persons report.

    The girl returned home Sunday afternoon, but later that night, according to authorities, Washington went back to the apartment and asked to speak to the girl privately. He entered her bedroom and ordered her to remove her clothing, telling her he needed to take photographs of any injuries she'd sustained while missing, say charging documents.

    The girl said she wasn't hurt, but he told her it was part of the procedure and she complied, the documents say.

    After he left, the victim told her mother, who called police.

    Washington was pulled over while still on duty. Authorities recovered a dozen images of the girl from his camera, including nine that had been deleted but were recoverable, authorities said.

    Authorities also found other photos -- including nude images -- of unidentified people on Washington's camera.

    They said at least two of the subjects appear to be minors.

    "We invest a great amount of time and effort to ensure that we are hiring the right people and we continue to proactively monitor integrity across the department," said Police Chief Cathy Lanier. "But to learn of an allegation of this kind against a person who is sworn to protect our children, it is both shocking and disturbing. We are fortunate that someone came forward to alert us of this behavior to ensure that we prevent future victims."

    Police are working to learn whether there may be additional victims, they said.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact authorities at 202-727-9099 or Youth Investigations Division at 202-576-6768. Those wishing to remain anonymous can submit tips by text messaging 50411.


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    Miami is the perfect place for artist Tracey Emin’s neon and glass work.

    That’s what the London-born artist said at the unveiling of her exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami titled “Tracey Emin: Angel Without You.” The exhibit, with more than 60 peices, is her first ever at a U.S. museum and it runs until March 9, 2014.

    “I don’t have to explain neon to people from Miami. They get it,” Emin said.

    She has been making neons for almost 20 years and this show, with its dark blue rug and walls, was very difficult to put together, and it took many months to of planning to organize, Emin said.

    She curated the show with Bonnie Clearwater, the former director of the museum, who now is the director of Nova Southeastern University's Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.

    "So it was more or less like an evolution of the work. It was mainly about how its gone up and how we displayed it that’s important," Emin said.

    She has made about 100 neons over the years.

    "It isn't about which ones I liked best. It was about showing a different quality and the different neons and how they work or whatever," she added.

    The show opens with her 1995 piece “The Tracey Emin Museum” and her film “Why I Never Became A Dancer,” which has scenes from her childhood home in the British town of Margate.
    Many of the works are epigrams transcribed into neon from her own writing.

    Works on display line the dark walls of the exhibition room. One reads in pink neon: “I Felt You and I Know You Loved Me.”

    “Only God Knows I’m Good,” reads another in neon green.

    “You Forgot To Kiss My Soul,” is another with blue writing surrounded by a pink heart.

    “I have never seen so many neons anywhere in my life before, not even in Las Vegas, not Times Square, not the seaside, nowhere, ever. So I actually wanted to do something which I have never seen before and I've never seen this,” Emin said.

    But the message is deeper than love and sexuality, she said.

    “A lot of it is about God as well isn’t it? A lot of it is about enlightenment. So, it’s not one dimensional. It’s about how we think. As human beings we have souls. That is the main message. The soul is as important as any other aspect of our lives, any other aspect of our body,” Emin said.

    Clearwater said the works become like love letters, but they are also “very cryptic and universal.”

    By using pronouns like “you” or “I” in the work, she could be addressing God or even herself, Clearwater said.

    "The opportunity in an exhibition like this is to put an artist in perspective,” Clearwater said.

    And Miamians may be seeing more of Emin as she now lives in the Magic City part time.

    “I like the people, I like the nature, I like the sea, I like the Intracoastal, I like the architecture and I like the fact that it doesn’t feel like the rest of America,” she said.
     


    Tracey Emin at MOCA.Tracey Emin at MOCA.

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    A man was arrested after he persuaded, sweet-talked and fleeced two women for $130,000, Hallandale Beach police said.

    According to police, 32-year-old Joe Alvarez claimed he was a spiritual adviser and convinced the victims that they were possessed by evil spirits, their money was evil too, and only he could help them.

    “The curse was put on me to be poor, it was put on money, so that's why I had to give all that money, to reverse it,” one of the victims told NBC 6.

    Police, acting on a tip, arrested Alvarez at an apartment just off Fort Lauderdale Beach on the day before Thanksgiving. He is being held in the North Broward Bureau on $16,000 bond and faces two counts of grand theft and two counts of obtaining property by gaming, online jail records said.

    The second victim said Alvarez, posing as a spiritual advisor, told her she needed to be cleansed, along with her money.

    “The money that you got that you have is unclean so you have to take it out of the bank and keep it with you, like sleep on it, just keep it with you because of all the cleansing that I am doing with you and your body,” she said.

    Between February and May, police said, Alvarez fleeced the women collectively for $130,000, most of it in cash.

    Victim one gave Alvarez $12,500 dollars initially, then followed up with several $5,000 payments. He convinced victim two to withdraw $43,000 and hide it under her bed.

    Part of his shtick, said investigators, was setting the money on fire.

    “That money was supposed to come back to me but then it's like we got to burn it now, so if you have this big bin and he just threw it in there and then I'm like ‘My money!,’ and he's like ‘You have to leave, you have to leave, like everything’s getting dark, there are spirits that are going to come in, leave fast before they follow you,’” one of the victims said.

    That cash set on fire was fake money, done with sleight of hand, investigators said.

    Police said Alvarez met the victims at the Aventura Mall – randomly approaching them inside, striking up a conversation about their aura, then selling them his spiritual services.

    “His ability to get into them and know that they are into spirituality and to use that as an access into their personal life is impressive,” said Hallandale Beach Police Det. Edward McGovern.

    More NBC 6 South Florida Stories:



    Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

    Joe Alvarez, 32Joe Alvarez, 32

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    Hialeah Police have arrested a 24-year-old woman for seducing a teen boy.

    Caridad Munoz, 24, is accused of coercing her boyfriend’s 15-year-old nephew into having sex with her Nov. 25, while staying at his family’s home on the 5900 block of W. 26th Ave. in Hialeah.

    The teen said he saw Munoz smoking marijuana before she made her way into his locked bedroom, where she and the teen had sex.

    The 15-year-old said he used a condom that he found in his wallet before they had intercourse. Once finished, he told detectives, Munoz requested oral sex from him, and after their encounter, he said Munoz placed the used condom and the wrapper in her purse.

    After her Miranda rights were read, police said Munoz made statements supporting her accuser’s claims. She now faces charges of lewd and lascivious battery of a minor, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

    “He cannot legally consent to having sex with an adult. She's 24, he's 15, and now, she's in trouble for that,” explained Hialeah Police spokesman Carl Zogby. “If convicted, she could serve up to 10 years and have to register as a sex offender.”

    Munoz’s bond was set at $32,000, and it wasn’t immediately known whether she has an attorney. As of Tuesday night, authorities said it did not appear Munoz has a prior criminal record.



    Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

    Caridad Munoz, 24Caridad Munoz, 24

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    A 100-year-old Fremont woman was sworn in as a U.S. citizen Tuesday.

    Needless to say, this doesn't happen very often.

    Suke Haan Yu Cheng is originally from China. She spent most of her life living in Hong Kong.

    When she was 80 years old, she decided to move to Canada to join her son and daughter-in-law.

    When she was 90, Cheng came to America to live with her daughter. She speaks only Cantonese.

    Her daughter translated when asked what she likes best about the Bay Area: “She likes the weather and the people.”

    To give some perspective, in the past 50 years, less than 20 people 100 years or older have been naturalized.



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

    Suke Haan Yu ChengSuke Haan Yu Cheng

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  • 12/04/13--04:49: Cyber Monday Draws $1.74B

  • Cyber Monday is still on top.

    Retailers from Wal-Mart Stores to Amazon started rolling out "Cyber" deals at the beginning of November, and kept them going on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. That led some to wonder if earlier sales would put a dent in Cyber Monday sales. The date has been the biggest online shopping day of the year since 2010.
     
    But shoppers delivered. In fact, shoppers bought online at the heaviest rate ever Monday, according to research firm comScore Inc., which tracks online sales.
     
    The group said Tuesday e-commerce spending rose 18 percent from last year's Cyber Monday to $1.74 billion, making Monday the top online spending day since comScore began tracking the data in 2001. The figure does not include purchases from mobile devices.
     
    "I always wait for the deals on Cyber Monday," said Stephanie Appiah, 25, a student who picked up a Google Chromecast video streamer with free shipping on Monday. "It's better than Black Friday because you don't have to deal with other people."
     
    The strong online performance was in contrast to overall spending. Over the four days beginning on Thanksgiving, spending fell an estimated 2.9 percent to $57.4 billion, according to the trade group the National Retail Federation. Overall, the NRF expects holiday spending to rise 2.9 percent to $602.1 billion.
     
    "Any notion that Cyber Monday is declining in importance appears to be completely unfounded," comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a statement Tuesday. "While it's true that many retailers are bleeding their Cyber Monday promotions into the weekend before and the days afterward, Cyber Monday itself continues to be the most important day of the online holiday shopping season."
     
    However, he did say that early promotions had some consumers buying more items earlier in the weekend, suggesting that Cyber Monday could have even been stronger were it not for the emergence of this trend.
     
    Consumer electronics and video game consoles and accessories were among the biggest sellers of the day. Home and garden products, clothing and accessories, as well as sports and fitness products also performed well.
     
    ComScore tracks U.S. online sales based on observed behavior of a representative U.S. consumer panel of 1 million Web users.
     
    One big online shopping trend so far this year is shoppers researching and buying on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, said Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.
     
    "There was an enormous lift in the number of people who use mobile devices, and it's been trending that way for the last couple of weeks," she said. Forrester forecasts $78.7 billion in U.S. online sales this holiday season, a 15 percent increase over 2012.
     
    Meanwhile, IBM Benchmark reported on Tuesday that Cyber Monday sales rose 20.6 percent. IBM Benchmark takes sales results from over 500 online retailers and analyzes the data to estimate total online spending. Mobile sales, including smartphones and tablets, made up 17 percent of total online sales, an increase of 55.4 percent compared with last year.
     
    Department stores were the strongest performers, with sales up 70 percent. The group does not give dollar amounts. Over the five-day shopping period beginning on Thanksgiving, sales rose 16.5 percent compared with 2012.
     
    Jay Henderson, strategy director of IBM Smarter Commerce, said the fact that there were strong online sales on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday bodes well for the rest of the season.
     
    "We should see continued growth straight through the holiday season," he said. "Consumers seem to be online and spending in force."
     
    The name Cyber Monday was coined in 2005 by NRF's online arm, called Shop.org, to encourage people to shop online. After retailers revved up deals for the day, it became the busiest online shopping day in 2010.
     
    The name was also a nod to online shopping being done at work where faster connections made it easier to browse.
     
    ComScore said Tuesday that even with high-speed connections being the norm these days, nearly half of consumers are still shopping online at work on Cyber Monday.


    Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

    An employee packages a customer order ahead of shipping at one of Amazon.com Inc.'s fulfillment centers in Rugeley, U.K., on Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. Online retailers in the U.K. are anticipating their busiest day as shoppers flush with end-of-month pay-checks seek Christmas deals on the Web.An employee packages a customer order ahead of shipping at one of Amazon.com Inc.'s fulfillment centers in Rugeley, U.K., on Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. Online retailers in the U.K. are anticipating their busiest day as shoppers flush with end-of-month pay-checks seek Christmas deals on the Web.

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