Articles on this Page
- 08/29/14--17:14: _Gang Ties in Abduct...
- 08/29/14--16:26: _Man Arrested in Two...
- 08/29/14--20:19: _Fetus Found at High...
- 08/29/14--21:14: _Secret Service: Man...
- 08/29/14--18:43: _Taxi Hits, Kills Wo...
- 08/29/14--17:21: _Security Heightened...
- 08/29/14--17:24: _Second Amendment Ri...
- 08/29/14--19:58: _1-Day Sentence for ...
- 08/29/14--20:18: _Willimantic Police ...
- 08/29/14--21:14: _Old Saybrook Police...
- 08/29/14--12:35: _Teen Is Hit by Car ...
- 08/29/14--21:19: _Secret Service Inve...
- 08/30/14--10:22: _Accused Nurse Showe...
- 08/30/14--09:23: _Napa Wineries Open ...
- 08/30/14--08:45: _Convict Charged in ...
- 08/30/14--11:38: _Police Arrest Burgl...
- 08/30/14--14:24: _Accident Closes Mai...
- 08/30/14--18:15: _Drunk Federal Agent...
- 08/30/14--18:23: _Police Seek Suspect...
- 08/30/14--18:27: _1 Man Robs 2 Banks ...
- 08/29/14--17:14: Gang Ties in Abduction, Murder Case
- 08/29/14--16:26: Man Arrested in Two Robberies
- 08/29/14--20:19: Fetus Found at High School: Police
- 08/29/14--21:14: Secret Service: Man May Pose Threat
- 08/29/14--18:43: Taxi Hits, Kills Woman in NYC
- 08/29/14--17:21: Security Heightened at State Capitol, LOB Buildings
- 08/29/14--17:24: Second Amendment Rights Group Endorses Foley
- 08/29/14--19:58: 1-Day Sentence for Deadly Crash
- 08/29/14--20:18: Willimantic Police Make Arrest in Shooting
- 08/29/14--21:14: Old Saybrook Police Recover Three Rifles
- 08/29/14--12:35: Teen Is Hit by Car on Way to School
- 08/29/14--21:19: Secret Service Investigates Possible Threat to President
- 08/30/14--10:22: Accused Nurse Showed Baby's Room
- 08/30/14--09:23: Napa Wineries Open for Labor Day
- 08/30/14--08:45: Convict Charged in Mom, Kid Attack
- 08/30/14--11:38: Police Arrest Burglary Suspect, Seek Accomplice: Cops
- 08/30/14--14:24: Accident Closes Main Street in East Haven
- 08/30/14--18:15: Drunk Federal Agent Arrested
- 08/30/14--18:23: Police Seek Suspect in Credit Card Theft
- 08/30/14--18:27: 1 Man Robs 2 Banks Back-to-Back
Police have narrowed their search for the suspects who killed two brothers -- slitting their throats before dumping their bodies in the Schuylkill River -- and critically injured another man over a $100,000 debt.
"We'll be coming to get you shortly," said Philadelphia Police. Capt. James Clark when asked if he had a message for the five people suspected in the abduction and double homicide.
Authorities learned of the barbaric crime Wednesday morning when the surviving victim, 23-year-old Thanh Voong, climbed from the banks of the Schuylkill River and began screaming for help around 4 a.m.
Hours earlier, the abductors were holding the three men -- who have ties to gangs and are well-known to authorities -- at a home on the 2400 block of 72nd Street, according to investigators.
The suspects were holding the brothers -- both in their late 20s and originally from Vietnam -- captive after they gambled away $100,000, which they were given to buy drugs, according to reports.
Voong showed up at the house with $40,000 to pay off the debt, but it was not enough to satisfy the suspects, sources said.
Early Wednesday morning, investigators found the bodies of the two brothers submerged in the water. Their throats were slit and both were bound with tape and tied to buckets.
Investigators removed similar buckets filled with roofing materials from the home on the 2400 block of 72nd Street Thursday.
Neighbors told NBC10 a woman and five children lived in the home. But they fled in an apparent rush since food was still on the stove when police arrived, according to reports.
Authorities also towed away an Audi A8 sedan Thursday as part of the investigation. They did not disclose how the vehicle,which was found on the 22nd Street overpass above the Vine Street Expressway, was related to the crime.
Police said they know who committed the crimes, but they are still searching for the suspects.
"They have obviously means, they have a lot of money, " Clark said. "They have a lot of different locations they've lived at through the years so right now we don't know where they're at or where they're headed."
As the investigation continues, Voong is recovering from seven stab wounds at Hahnemann University Hospital.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut
Photo Credit: NBC10.com
Police search for clues in the abduction and killing.
Bridgeport police arrested a 30-year-old man connected to two commercial robberies in the city and are investigating whether he is tied to robberies in nearby towns.
Bridgeport detectives who are members of the U.S. Marshal's Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force found Terrence Police hiding in a third-floor bedroom in a home on Arch Street in Ansonia and arrested him, police said.
Police is suspected in an Aug. 4 robbery at the Success market at 536 Success Avenue and another one on Aug. 6 at Oasis market at 629 Connecticut Avenue in Bridgeport, police said.
Police said that the suspect, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, demanded money at gunpoint at both locations. Bridgeport detectives obtained video surveillance of the two robberies and showed it to the public to help find the suspect.
“This person was responsible for at least two robberies in our city and possibly more in other towns,” Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. said in a statement. “Our detectives have received training from the FBI on techniques for securing video footage and quickly getting it out to the public, and it is paying dividends. The community has stepped forward and provided valuable information in this case and others. We’ve taken dangerous people off the street.”
The suspect has a history of felony charges, including first-degree assault and first-degree robbery, police said.
He was charged with two counts each of first-degree robbery, carrying a pistol without a permit and criminal possession of a firearm by a felon in the Bridgeport robberies, as well as violation of probation, police said.
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch applauded the police department's apprehension of the suspect in the two robberies.
"Kudos to the police who work hard every single day to keep our streets safe for kids and families,” Finch said in a statement. “This is one more criminal we're taking off of our streets. And, we're remaining vigilant in continuing efforts to decrease our city's crime rate, which is lower than it has been in decades.”
Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department
Authorities are investigating after they say a human fetus was found in a girls restroom Friday afternoon at Woodrow Wilson High School in East Dallas.
A staff member made the discovery, officials said, and responding medical authorities determined the remains to be a human fetus.
Dallas police said surveillance video at the school is being reviewed, and they tweeted that the investigation is in the preliminary stages:
.@DallasPD investigating possible fetus found @ Woodrow Wilson High School. Investigation in preliminary stages more info forthcoming.
— Dallas Police Depart (@DallasPD) August 29, 2014
Dallas ISD said parents and guardians of Woodrow Wilson students will be notified, and they encourage families to discuss the situation. Counseling support will be available to students and staff members into next week.
— Ray Villeda (@RayVilleda) August 29, 2014
Officials ask that if any student knows who the fetus may belong to or has any other information that could help, they should contact Dallas police.
DISD released the following statement Friday evening:
Dallas ISD is deeply saddened by the situation that occurred today at Woodrow Wilson High School. This afternoon, responding medical authorities determined that a human fetus had been found in a girls restroom at the school. The Dallas Police Department, assisted by Dallas ISD Police, is handling the investigation.
Dallas ISD immediately dispatched staff from the district’s Psychological Services Department to the school to provide professional support for students and staff members. Additional counseling support will continue to be available next week. The district encourages any member of the Woodrow Wilson community to utilize these services.
Dallas ISD is in the process of notifying parents and guardians of Woodrow students via the school’s webpage and SchoolMessenger phone system. The district encourages parents and families to discuss the situation with their students, and when appropriate, encourage their students to meet with counseling staff at the school.
Dallas ISD will continue to provide additional support and resources to the school community during this difficult time.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut
Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, Texas
Police in Westchester and Secret Service were investigating a report of a "potentially suspicious person and vehicle" near where President Obama visited Friday for a set of fundraising events, authorities say.
An official with the Secret Service told NBC News the agency was working with local police to determine the validity of the report.
The official did not elaborate on why the person and vehicle were considered suspicious.
Connecticut State Police were also told by Secret Service to be on the lookout for the suspicious person as Obama prepared to head to another fundraiser in Rhode Island later in the evening, a police spokesperson said.
Obama landed in Air Force One at Westchester County Airport shortly before 2 p.m. Friday, and the presidential motorcade headed toward Sound Shore for the first fundraising site. The president then headed to Purchase later in the afternoon to attend a DNC Labor Day barbecue.
Area streets were closed off as the president made his way through the area. He left the area at 5:30 p.m. for another fundraiser in Rhode Island.
President Obama arrives in Westchester Friday, Aug. 29
A 58-year-old woman died after being hit by a taxi SUV as she tried to cross a Manhattan street Friday afternoon, police say.
Police say the 30-year-old taxi driver was making a left turn onto East 79th Street from Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side around 2 p.m. when he hit the woman as she was crossing the street, pinning her underneath the cab.
"Everybody was screaming. We just wanted to know what happened," said Guillermo Silva, a construction worker who was working nearby.
Silva and a group of good Samaritans, including at least six other construction workers, lifted the taxi and pulled the woman from under it, their only thought to "gotta get her outta there, gotta get her outta there," said Silva.
One of those bystanders, Justin Havlik, said: "I took what strength I had and belted it out and lifted the car. The other two guys pushed it and we rested it on my thigh. We braced ourselved and then tossed it over."
Witness Stephanie Knepper said: "I saw them lift up the car to bring a woman who was trapped under the car."
Despite the good Samaritans' attempts, the woman was pronounced dead at Lenox Hill Hospital, according to police.
Silva said he would do it all over again if there was any chance the woman could have been saved.
"We would do that for anybody. Nobody wants to see stuff like that, you know?" he said.
It wasn't clear if the driver of the taxi was hurt, or if he will face charges.
Photo Credit: @SeamusPK via Twitter
For the first time, visitors to the Connecticut Capitol and the Legislative Office Building will all have to be screened by security.
“It’s just a step” said Scott Driscoll, of the Capitol Police. “It’s a progressive step that we’ve taken over the course of the years, of all the steps we’ve taken to ensure the safety here.”
At the entrances to both the Capitol and the LOB, visitors could expect to be screened by contracted security guards and the Capitol Police. The security measures aren’t uncommon. Since September 11, 2001 officials at state and federal buildings across the country have stepped up their approaches to safety.
Driscoll says it might take some time for visitors to get used to the new processes like emptying their pockets and walking through metal detectors but eventually it should become a routine.
“We’re going to be working out some kinks in the road” Driscoll said. “It’s going to take a couple of days into it but we’re going to be doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible to get people into the building.”
Taxpayers will be providing the cash to pay for the new staff and equipment. According to the Office of Legislative Management, the estimated cost of the new security checkpoints is $600,000.
Amidst much speculation the group, Connecticut Citizens Defense League announced Friday that it would endorse GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley in the 2014 race.
The group's president said the endorsement was an inevitable one.
"Tom is far ahead in the polls" said Scott Wilson, the President of the 15,000 member CCDL. "Tom has indicated that if by some miracle that a repeal would be brought to him, he would sign it."
The CCDL has been by far one of the most vocal Second Amendment rights groups in the region since Connecticut's General Assembly passed one of the most sweeping gun control measures in the country. The legislation came in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took the lives of 26 people, including 20 children in December 2012.
Foley's campaign embraced the endorsement from the state's strongest gun rights group.
In a statement, Foley campaign spokesman Chris Cooper said, "We welcome the support the CCDL and any group seeking change in Connecticut. CCDL members have been bullied by Governor Malloy as have teachers, state workers, and parents."
Connecticut's Democrats say the endorsement is a sign that Foley has gone too far right in his second bid for the state's highest office.
Devon Puglia, a spokesperson for the party, said "it is clear now that Tom Foley would take us backwards on our smart, strict gun law."
"This is an extremist group that Tom Foley is standing shoulder to shoulder with because he has promised to repeal our gun law," Puglia added.
Wilson with CCDL resents the label of his group being labeled "extremist." He said he thinks the Malloy campaign has orchestrated a campaign to smear the group.
"We're everyday people and we go to our communities and we are citizens of the state of Connecticut," Wilson said. "Our only mission is to defend and protect our Second Amendment rights."
Photo Credit: Getty Images
A woman who pleaded guilty to causing a head-on crash that killed an off-duty firefighter in Campo last year will only spend one day in jail, a San Diego judge ruled Friday.
On Friday, Wood was ultimately ordered to spend one day at Las Colinas Detention Facility for the deadly crash and was given three years of probation and community service in what a judge called a "very terrible, tragic, one-time mistake."
Steffey's mother, Jill Reid, was overcome with emotion at Wood's sentencing. She spoke in court about everything Steffey's family will have to miss now that he's gone.
"It means no wedding celebration, no grandchildren to love, no family gatherings that we would be a cherished part of," said Reid.
The mother said she recently spent her son's birthday not celebrating with him, but rather visiting his gravesite at Miramar National Cemetery in "the most painful way imaginable."
Steffey's sister, Heather Steffey, also addressed the court, speaking about how her only sibling's death has forever changed her life.
“There is nothing in life that will ever be worse than losing my brother. He was my built-in best friend, family and support. [His death] has crippled my existence, left me almost hysterical and unable to deal with the things that I used to be able to deal with," she said. "It has broken my life.”
“I valued no person more on this Earth. That’s what you took from me," Heather added, holding back tears. "I wear my brother around my neck in an urn every day and sometimes hear his sweet voice joking around as we used to.”
Steffey's girlfriend, Jessica Raddatz, also spoke at the sentencing. She said she and Steffey had planned to get married and some day start a family. Since losing Steffey to the deadly crash, Raddatz said she's suffered from depression and PTSD, and still can't believe he's gone.
“My world no longer shines. There are days when I just lay on the couch. I may not have been on the back of that motorcycle but I may as well have been killed because [Wood] has killed me too,” Raddatz said, sobbing.
“The defendant killed a man. And it was so preventable,” a prosecutor told the court, speaking about the dangers of speeding.
According to police, Wood was driving at more than 70 mph – about 15 miles over the posted speed limit – when she lost control and veered into northbound traffic lanes on Buckman Springs Road on Oct. 3, 2013.
Wood’s vehicle collided head-on with Steffey, who was riding his motorcycle. He was killed in the accident.
Steffey, also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and former hotshot firefighter, was on his way home from work at the time of the deadly crash.
The collision happened just a mile away from Steffey’s fire station. His colleagues were the first responders on scene.
Wood's father, Carlos Wood, also spoke at Friday's sentencing. He said his daughter had been unexpectedly called into work on the day of the accident, which may have played a role in how rushed she felt as she drove.
“I don’t justify speeding in any way, shape or form, but I believe this was an accident,” said Carlos.
The defendant's father said his daughter feels extreme guilt for causing the crash and "wakes up in the middle of the night screaming because of what she did."
Wood's attorney also told the court her client "regrets every day what she did, driving on that road too fast," and is truly sorry for taking Steffey from his family.
Since the accident, Steffey’s family, girlfriend and friends have been working to get justice for their loved one.
In January, Steffey’s mother spoke one-on-one with NBC 7 about her beloved son and urged others not to speed while driving.
Steffey's loved ones maintain a Facebook group that follows their fight for justice in this case.
Raddatz has also created a "Darin Steffey Roadside Memorial Fund," which collects donations to erect a permanent roadside memorial sign in Steffey's honor that will "remind others of the tragic consequences of reckless driving." To donate, click here.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut
Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego
Natasia Wood, 22, was sentenced to one day behind bars on Aug. 29, 2014, for the Oct. 3, 2013, crash that killed U.S. Forest Service firefighter Darin Steffey, 37.
Willimantic police have arrested a 19-year-old man for a shooting that left a 16-year-old injured.
Half a dozen people were taken into police custody for questioning Tuesday after a 16-year-old was shot in the arm in a Willimantic alley near the 700 block of Main Street, according to police.
On Friday, police say they took Jaime Padilla, of Ash Street, into custody. He is charged with 1st-degree assault with a deadly weapon and 1st-degree reckless endangerment. He is being held on a $150,000 bond and expected in court September 2.
Police said the victim was walking with three other teens in an alley that runs between Main Street and Riverside Drive around 4 p.m. Tuesday when a man appeared in the alleyway and fired at the group.
The victim was struck once in the left arm and was taken to Windham Hospital, then transferred to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, according to police.
His injuries were non-life threatening.
The shooter ran from the scene. Police are calling it an isolated incident and said they don't believe there's any danger to the general public.
Police said they don't believe the shooting was random.
Main Street/Route 66 was closed in the area of Riverside Drive for several hours Tuesday while authorities responded to the scene.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
Authorities are investigating a shooting in the area of Main Street and Riverside Drive in Willimantic.
Old Saybrook police have recovered three assault rifles and drug paraphernalia at Fenwood Drive Friday night.
Police say they were executing a search and seizure warrant at 66 Fenwood Drive in connection to an investigation into a gun theft at Grouse Perch on North Main Street earlier this week.
Officers confiscated three assault rifles. One was left out and loaded.
“Imagine an assault rifle leaning against a tree leaning against a walking path fully loaded with its safety off,” Chief Michael Spera said.
Detectives also found drug-making equipment inside the home. One man was taken into custody, but it’s not clear if he’d been arrested or charged with a crime.
Earlier this week, police arrested Thomas Russo, 25, of Fenwood Drive and charged him in the gun theft. Police say they believe the man taken into custody tonight is Russo’s conspirator and that the pair planned to sell the weapons.
A 17-year-old girl was hit by a car on her way to a magnet school, CREC Medical Professions and Teacher Preparation Academy, at 600 Slater Road in New Britain on Friday morning.
Police said the girl is at the hospital after being struck at Sterling Street and Slater Road. Her injuries are not life-threatening, according to police.
The driver stopped at the scene, police said.
The crash is being investigated.
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
There is a crash in New Britain.
Police are searching for a reported suspicious person driving a vehicle with Connecticut plates who may have threatened President Barack Obama, according to authorities.
A United States Secret Service official told NBC News that the agency and police are investigating the report's validity, but the official did not release further details.
Authorities said that the person is driving a car with Connecticut plates. The vehicle was described as a 2014 blue Volkswagen Jetta. Connecticut State Police confirmed they are looking for the car.
President Obama landed in Air Force One at Westchester County Airport just before 2 p.m. on Friday before heading to fundraising events in New York, NBC New York reported. He is expected to land at Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island on Friday evening. Local police in New York received reports that someone possibly trying to harm the president was headed in that direction in the Jetta.
A number of police bulletins went out in New York and Connecticut searching for the car, but so far there have been no reports that the vehicle has been found.
The president is scheduled to fly back to the White House Friday later evening.
Stay tuned for more details.
Photo Credit: AP
A longtime friend of a San Diego nurse accused of molesting a 2-month-old foster child said she visited the suspect at his home before the graphic allegations came to light and he even showed her the nursery he had set up for his new baby.
Michael William Lutts, 50, a pediatric nurse working at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, allegedly sexually abused a foster child in his care, recording the crimes on camera, according to a complaint filed by the FBI Wednesday.
He’s accused of beginning the lewd acts on Aug. 4 – the very same day he received custody of the prematurely born baby. According to graphic details in court documents, the alleged abuse included Lutts touching and manipulating the baby boy’s genitals while masturbating, among other things.
Lisa Rosenfeld and her family have known Lutts for the past 20 years.
She said Lutts once worked with her sister caring for children with autism. Rosenfeld’s father was also Lutts’ landlord, renting him an apartment for many years.
On Friday, Rosenfeld told NBC 7 she was completely shocked and disturbed by the accusations of child molestation against Lutts.
She said she had recently visited Lutts at his new home where he showed her the room he had prepared for his incoming foster child.
“I had gone to see him at his new house and he showed me the room he had all set up because he was going to adopt a baby boy,” Rosenfeld recalled. “The room was set up beautiful – all set up for a baby boy.”
Rosenfeld said Lutts mentioned he “had to do a lot of stuff to show he was a proper parent” prior to becoming a foster father.
She said she never imagined Lutts would soon be charged with the molestation of the baby boy.
“I was shocked to hear this, like, ‘Oh my God.’ Totally shocked; it’s not acceptable. Nobody should do that to a baby,” she said. “I never dreamed he would do something like that to a baby.”
Rosenfeld said she saw no signs that Lutts might commit these alleged crimes.
While he was a tenant at her father’s apartment, Rosenfeld said Lutts had no problems, always paid his rent on time and had lots of friends, all of whom were “age-appropriate.”
Given his job as a pediatric nurse and access to children, Rosenfeld said officials will have to thoroughly investigate just how far his interactions with young patients went. She also hopes investigators look at Lutts’ time working with children with autism to ensure there were no victims there.
Rosenfeld said that if Lutts is guilty of the sexual abuse, he should be in prison.
“That’s the kind of person that needs to be locked up. It doesn’t matter who it is – anybody that’s going to do harm to a baby. It’s a baby. That’s not acceptable,” she said.
“I never saw this coming. Wow. There’s nothing else you can say,” she added.
On Friday, Lutts appeared in federal court for a detention hearing with his head down, shackled at the waist. He did not speak and appeared sullen.
Through his attorney, he agreed to spend at least the next two weeks in jail without bond
Prosecutors could not comment on the case due to the ongoing investigation but did say Lutts may be indicted before his next court appearance, which is scheduled for Sept. 9.
Lutts was arrested Tuesday after the FBI raided his College Grove home. Investigators allegedly found thousands of photos and videos on his phone and computer depicting graphic sex acts with children, including his 2-month-old foster child.
According to court documents released this week, Lutts was also videotaped naked in his living room with the baby near him while he performed lewd acts on himself. Pictures show the hospital tag was still attached to the infant’s leg.
FBI agents said the newborn can be heard crying through many of the videos. The abuse happened over the course of at least five days, according to investigators.
The 2-month-old victim has since been placed in the care of Child Protective Services.
On Thursday Kaiser Permanente said Lutts had been suspended from work and would not be returning until the investigation and criminal proceedings are completed.
The medical group's spokesperson said the hospital has had no indication from law enforcement that their patients were possible vicitms but its administration is working with authorities.
Photo Credit: NBC 7
Michael Lutts' home on Tierra Baja Way was searched by FBI agents in August 2014 in connection with a case of child molestation.
Napa city leaders are hoping swarms of tourists will flock to wine country for the holiday Labor Day weekend – and spend money that was lost this week after Sunday’s earthquake.
Workers at Saintsbury’s Winery - which suffered many broken bottles - spent Friday morning picking up grapes and allowed the public to be part of the process. The winery's co-founder, David Graves, said reservations this weekend are solid.
"We have had a few cancellations, but I think people realize Napa is open for business," he said.
While some of Napa is open for business, several blocks of the downtown area remain fenced off. In addition, several restaurants and shops on Main Street remain closed.
City officials on Friday said more than 1,000 structures have been tagged unsafe due to damage sustained from the 6.0-magnitude earthquake.
It has been a frustrating week for the owner of Velo Pizzeria -- building inspectors closed the restaurant on Thursday. Owner Lewis Chilton said he started the business nearly three weeks ago.
"For the last year we've been investing money in this business," Chilton said. "Our landlord has been investing money in this business."
Chilton is hopeful the restaurant will reopen soon so that he can start earning some of the money he has invested in opening the business back.
"It's a big weekend, a kick-off of the harvest of Napa Valley," he said. And it's important for our employees. It's a big weekend for them to make money too."
The city is hoping all the attention from the quake will help entice the tourists back.
Meanwhile, businesses depending on locals are suffering. A local deli said business is down 30 percent since the temblor hit and a hair salon reports a 70 percent drop this week.
Photo Credit: AP
Cellar worker Daniel Nelson looks over toppled barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon following an earthquake at the B.R. Cohn Winery barrel storage facility Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. Winemakers in California’s storied Napa Valley woke up to thousands of broken bottles, barrels and gallons of ruined wine as a result of Sunday’s earthquake. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
A man convicted of kidnapping and robbery in the 1990s was arrested for allegedly posing as a livery cab driver and assaulting a mother and two of her young children before hitting the youngest with the door of his fleeing car after driving them to a Queens homeless shelter, authorities say.
Pedro Vargas, 48, faces charges of misdemeanor assault, two counts of felony assault and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child after the alleged attacks outside the shelter that sits on the site of the former Pan Am Hotel in Elmhurst, prosecutors say.
Vargas, of Yonkers, was arrested late Thursday, four days after a man claiming to be a cab driver picked up a 26-year-old mother and her three kids -- ages 1, 3, and 5 -- and said he would drive them to the shelter. The man drove them around the back of the building and started to assault the family.
The attack was captured by surveillance cameras. Footage shows the man, allegedly Vargas, hurl the 3-year-old child from the back of the cab to the sidewalk, then elbow the 5-year-old, forcing her to the ground. Prosecutors allege the man then fought with the mother as she held her 1-year-old child in her arms, and the 1-year-old fell to the sidewalk. The man allegedly then got back into his car and sped off with the front passenger door still open; the car door hit the 1-year-old as the man drove away.
The children were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with minor injuries, including bruising and swelling. Their mother wasn't hurt.
Vargas' attorney Howard Greenberg claimed the victim tried to "proposition" his client after she refused to pay the fare.
"He just wanted to get rid of her and them," he told reporters. "Some of it might have been a bit somewhat of an overreaction but there's no injuries to the children. So what's the crime?"
Police say Vargas was arrested 12 times between 1984 and 1994, including on kidnapping and robbery charges in Manhattan and the Bronx. He served 18 years in jail on those charges.
Vargas admitted in court he did not have a license to operate a taxi.
-Lori Bordonaro contributed to this report
Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York
Pedro Vargas, inset top left, was convicted of kidnapping in the 1990s.
Police arrested a suspected copper metal burglar and are looking for his accomplice after a neighbor reported a break-in on Union Street in Bristol Saturday morning.
Carlos Rivera, 39, of Bristol, is facing multiple burglary charges.
Police responded to 38 Union Street at 8:44 a.m. after a neighbor called police to report that two men were breaking into an unoccupied home on his street, police said. The two men fled when police arrived and officers apprehended one of them during a short foot pursuit, according to police.
Officers said that the second suspect hasn't been located at this time.
The burglars cut copper piping and removed radiators and stacked the items in a first floor room, police said. The homeowner and a plumbing contractor came to the scene and determined that there was about $20,000 to $25,000 dollars in damage to the plumbing system at the house, according to police.
Police charged Rivera with third-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary, criminal attempt to commit first-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny, possession of burglary tools and first-degree criminal mischief.
Police held River in custody on a $50,000 surety bond and he is scheduled to appear in Bristol Superior Court on Sept. 2.
Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
Crews are on scene at Main Street in East Haven after a car struck a pole Saturday afternoon, according to police.
Police say there are wires down and Main Street is closed between Kimberly Avenue and Pardee Place. It was not clear how long the road will be closed.
Details of the accident were not immediately available.
Check back for updates.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
A drunken federal agent was arrested in Burbank after allegedly pulling out a handgun and telling someone to follow him early Wednesday.
Officers responded to a report of a person brandishing a gun around 12:30 a.m. in the 300 block of East Santa Anita Avenue, according to a news release from the Burbank Police Department.
The victim told police that they were ordered by a “very” intoxicated man armed with a gun to follow him. After following the man for a short period, the victim ran away and was able to escape, officials said.
Police searched the area and found Andrew Leconte around 1 a.m. near San Fernando Boulevard and Angeleno Avenue, less than one mile away.
Investigators later learned that Leconte is an agent with the United States Marshals Service.
Leconte was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and brandishing a firearm, police said. Burbank police were investigating the incident.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut
Photo Credit: NBC Chicago
Manchester police are seeking the public help to identify a woman they believe racked up over a thousand dollars’ worth of charges on a stolen credit card.
Police say surveillance video shows the suspect snatching a wallet off a store counter after an elderly woman mistakenly left it there on Thursday. The suspect then visited multiple stores using the victim’s credit card, according to police.
The suspect is described as a heavy-set female with a large afro. Police say she was accompanied by a male accomplice.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Manchester police at 860-645-5500 Ex. 15176.
Photo Credit: Manchester Police Department
Manchester police are seeking the public's help in identifying this suspect.
A lone suspect may have been responsible for two back-to-back robberies at two different banks in the same Mira Mesa shopping center Saturday, officials said.
According to San Diego police, the robberies happened within minutes of each other, just before 12:30 p.m. One was at a North Island Credit Union at 9420 Mira Mesa Blvd., while the other was at a U.S. Bank at 9400 Mira Mesa Blvd. The banks are in the same shopping center, separated only by a small parking lot.
Police said an unknown man entered the North Island Credit Union first, approached a teller and verbally demanded cash. After receiving some money, he left the bank and popped into the U.S. Bank across the way, using the same strategy.
The man then fled the area on foot and was last seen heading westbound on Mira Mesa Blvd., police said.
No demand note or weapon was used in the robberies. Officer did not immediately locate the suspect. For now, the man is only described as 5-foot-6 with a heavy build. He wore a light grey hoodie, black hat and white gloves.
Though the robberies are under investigation, police are fairly certain the same suspect is responsible for both.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut
Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego
The scene of the two bank robberies on Aug. 30, 2014.