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    New London police have arrested a local man after investigating sales of synthetic marijuana at the Sam's Food/Ravi Petro Convenience Store at 290 Broad St. in New London.

    Police conducted a raid around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and said they confiscated approximately 500 packages of synthetic marijuana -- also known as k2 or Spice.

    "We've seen a lot of arrest for what's sometimes called spice. Some members of our local military have been caught up in it as well, so to address this concern protects the people of New London," New London Mayor, Daryl Finizio said.

    Police also seized more than $34,000 in cash, around 1,000 pieces of drug paraphernalia, several pieces of narcotics packaging material, cutting agents, scales and concealment devices. 

    "Local law enforcement are aware of where the problem areas are and we do the appropriate surveillance work and when it comes to fruition, we make the bust," Finizio said.

    Police also seized several illegally copied DVD movies and illegal weapons, including brass knuckles and switch blade knives.

    Sunny Singh, 26, of New London, a clerk at the store, was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school, operating a drug factory and possession of a dangerous weapon. 

    Signh was held on a $25,000 bond.

    Anyone with information concerning illegal drug activity in the City of New London is encourage to call the New London Police Department narcotics hotline at 860-447-5288 and all calls will be kept confidential.


     


    Police arrested Sunny Singh, of New London, after a raid at a convenience store in the city. They found synthetic marijuana, cash and illegal weapons.Police arrested Sunny Singh, of New London, after a raid at a convenience store in the city. They found synthetic marijuana, cash and illegal weapons.

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    Police arrested a man they said admitted to videotaping women in a bathroom on the Wesleyan University campus.

    Michael McKenna told investigators he is aroused by videotaping women in bathrooms and can't help his fetish, according to police.

    Officers were called to the Olin Library at 252 Church Street around 8 p.m. Sunday. A female student reported seeing someone recording her with a small digital camera as she used the restroom.

    The woman told police she walked into the women's bathroom on the library's third floor and heard a faint beep. She also noticed a pair of feet in black socks visible in the last stall, the woman told police.

    She told officers that as she began to use the bathroom she felt uneasy, decided to lean over and looked underneath the stall. She saw a silver digital camera with an orange light pointed at her. The victim immediately left the bathroom.

    She and a friend returned to the bathroom, but it was empty. The two spotted a man standing in a hallway nearby. The two described the man to police.

    Officer found Michael McKenna, of West Hartford, and began to interview him. McKenna told officers that he was not a Wesleyan student, but had been in an argument with his roommate and was on the campus to walk around, according to police.

    Investigators asked McKenna if he had a silver camera, he said "no" and told officers they could search his vehicle, police said. According to police, as the officers accompanied McKenna to his car, the 30-year-old asked is he would receive leniency if he cooperated with police. After officers told McKenna it wouldn't hurt to cooperate, McKenna admitted to hiding a camera behind the driver's seat in his car.

    According to police, investigators found 14 videos on the camera, including some showing women using the toilet.

    After his arrest, McKenna admitted to police that he used a personal computer at his West Hartford home to store and share videos of women using the bathroom, police said. He told officers he is not proud of his fetish, but that he is sexually aroused by it and cannot help it, according to police.

    McKenna was charged with voyeurism, breach of peace and criminal trespass. He was released on a $15,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court March 4.



    Photo Credit: Middletown Police

    Michael McKenna, 30, is accused of videotaping women at a library bathroom on the Wesleyan University campus in Middletown.Michael McKenna, 30, is accused of videotaping women at a library bathroom on the Wesleyan University campus in Middletown.

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    It's anyone's guess what the sex of the 10-day old Sumatran tiger at the San Francisco zoo is.

    That's because no human has been inside the Lion House to see the cub, born Feb. 10 to parents Leanne and Larry. Still photographs taken from the video camera inside the grotto show the striped cub nuzzled against its resting mother.

    Zoo spokeswoman Abbie Tuller said the gender of the cub will be revealed in a couple of weeks when a veterinarian goes in for a routine wellness check.

    Tanya Peterson, executive director and president of the San Francisco Zoo, said that Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species and the population in the wild is estimated at less than 400.

    Zoo officials also pointed to the excellent prenatal care the Mama tiger received. Leanne is one of the  few tigers in the world trained to receive examinations and prenatal sonograms without general anesthesia.

    Leanne is a 9 1/2-year-old female Sumatran tiger.  She came to the SF Zoo from the San Antonio Zoo in 2006.  This birth is her second litter; her first was in 2008 when she gave birth to three males, who were transferred to other zoos to participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.  Leanne is named for the late Leanne Bovet Roberts, a former SF Zoo trustee and very generous donor and supporter of animal care organizations.

    Larry is a 6-year old male Sumatran tiger that came to the SF Zoo in 2012 on breeding loan from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, with a stop at the Jackson [Mississippi] Zoo in between. This is the first litter he has sired.  He is named in honor of Lawrence Hauben, the late husband of SF Zoo donor Margaret Hauben, who always signed his correspondence, “Love, Larry the tiger.”

    This birth represents the first tiger born at the SF Zoo since 2008.  Prior to that, the last litter of tigers born at the SF Zoo was in 1976.

    Arguably the best known tiger in the Bay Area was Tatiana, who fatally attacked a young man on Dec. 25, 2007, and was killed by police. But she was a Siberian tiger and has no relation to the new baby cub.
     


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    Two San Diego County sheriff's deputies were shot and wounded Wednesday afternoon after someone fired shots at them from a residence, officials said.

    The incident occurred around 3:30 p.m. in the coastal community of Encinitas where officials were looking for a stolen vehicle.

    Police said the gunman is not yet in custody and have deemed the immediate area "unsafe." The sheriff's department says a man is threatening to shoot deputies who try to enter a house on Del Rio Avenue.

    A SWAT team is also searching the perimeter and dozens of police cars are currently at the scene. A witness told NBC 7 San Diego that he saw officers with guns pointed at the residence and he heard multiple gunshots. Homes in the area have been evacuated as a precaution.

    Both deputies were transported to local hospitals—one with a minor head wound and the other with a gunshot wound to the leg.

    One Deputy was sitting up and smiling while he was wheeled into the hospital. He suffered a minor head wound.

    Sheriff William Gore said neither of the deputies have life-threatening injuries and are expected to make a full recovery.
     


    View Deputies Shot in Encinitas in a larger map


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    Milford Firefighters are still battling an apartment fire Wednesday night.

    Fire crews responded to the Brismont Housing Lodge at 79 North Street just after 10 p.m.

    Residents inside were evacuated. There are no reports of injuries.

    We will have more information as soon as it becomes available.

     

     



    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

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    Police make a second major drug bust in Connecticut that involved synthetic marijuana Wednesday. 

    The first case was in New London,  then hours later, in Torrington.  Investigators did not believe the cases were related.

    Torrington Police released pictures to NBC Connecticut of what they found during the bust.  They seized more than 100 bags of synthetic marijuana and over a dozen cases of bath salts, all packed for sale.

    "We've been trying to get them off the street for a while," said Lt. Mike Emanuel, from Torrington Police.

    Investigators said 59 year old Ronald Scheibel was caught with the drugs and a lot of cash when they pulled him over on Main Street.  They told NBC Connecticut he was about to deliver them to a convenience store.

    A spokesperson for the business, Lilly's Torrington Payment Center, denied the allegations.

    "No not at all...the owner had no idea what was going on," said Katie Hennessey.

    According to police, Scheibel distributed merchandise to stores across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.  They said he might have ran a large scale operation, and could have sold drugs to the stores.

    "It's very possible he was selling it and distributing them he did have it in his vehicle," Lt. Emanuel explained. 

    This was especially concerning for law enforcement considering synthetic marijuana and bath salts were made illegal in the state less than a year ago because so many teens were getting sick from using them.

    "We had young people getting in the hospital with breathing problems and heart attacks," Lt. Emanuel explained. 

    After the bust, police sent a message to businesses that might be selling them.

    "Be careful of what you have on the shelf because we will arrest you for it," Lt. Emanuel said.

    Police said Lilly's Torrington Payment Center was not in trouble, but told NBC Connecticut this could change depending on the investigation.


     


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    The FBI has arrested an Connecticut woman accused of threatening to carry out a mass shooting at Gateway Community College in New Haven, Conn.

    Amanda Bowden, 19, of East Haven, Conn., was taken into custody Tuesday.

    Bowden is accused of threatening to commit a Newtown-style mass shooting at the community college.

    "As alleged, this defendent made a series of threats that described in great detail her intention to carry out a suicidal mass murder at a community college in New Haven," said U.S. Attorney David Fein.

    According to federal authorities, Bowden made several threats by text message with a witness cooperating with investigators between Feb. 4 and Feb 16.  She also had text message and verbal conversations with an undercover officer, discussing her plans to commit a mass shooting and bombing at Gateway, authorities said.

    Bowden claimed to have guns and claimed that she had constructed at least two napalm-based bombs at her home in East Haven, according to Fein.

    The FBI and New Haven police chief Dean Esserman notified Gateway Community College President Dorsey Kendrick about the threats on Feb. 5, according to a school spokesperson.

    "Chief Esserman and GCC security had been contacted by the FBI, and were told that there was no imminent danger as a result of the post, but an investigation was underway," said Evelyn Gard.  "The chief requested that Dr. Kendrick and GCC security keep the matter confidential until the investigation was complete."

    Bowden was arrested on state charges Tuesday.  Federal agents searched Bowden's home in East Haven after her arrest and did not find any firearms or explosives, according to authorities.

    Bowden appeared in Milford Superior Court on state threatening charges Wednesday and was then taken into federal custody and moved to Bridgeport Federal Court, where she appeared on a charge of false information and hoaxes.

    She remains in custody pending a hearing on March 1.



    Photo Credit: Facebook

    Amanda Bowden, 19, of East Haven, is accused of threatening to carry out a Newtown-style mass shooting at Gateway Community College.  She is seen holding a gun in this photo posted on her Facebook page.Amanda Bowden, 19, of East Haven, is accused of threatening to carry out a Newtown-style mass shooting at Gateway Community College. She is seen holding a gun in this photo posted on her Facebook page.

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    The outrage continues in Rocky Hill, over plans to build a nursing home for prisoners and mentally ill people and opponents of the home will hold a rally on Wednesday.

    The private developer, iCare Management, plans to open the facility where the Rocky Hill Nursing Home used to be on West St., but some residents want to keep that from happening.

    “It’s dangerous to all families that live around here, and it’s just an unsafe place,” said Tim Herrick.
    “This is very densely populated. There’s families surrounding the entire facility,” said Nicole Crawford.

    Crawford was among the dozens—including State Rep. Tony Guerrera (D-CT) and Mayor Anthony LaRosa (D-CT) who packed a room in Town Hall Wednesday night, to lead the effort against the nursing home.

    “This is not the place for it,” said Crawford.

    Many petitioned against it. Many LaRosa said Rocky Hill is also suing iCare. The facility is labeled a “nursing home” for terminally ill prisoners and mentally ill people, but Mayor LaRosa argued it could still pose a danger to the community.

    “This is not your typical nursing home. They’re going to be locked down. If they’re going to be locked down…that’s a prison,” said Mayor LaRosa.

    However, other residents in Rocky Hill disagreed with the mayor.

    “These people are sick, and they need help and I don’t think there’s a problem,” said Janet Brown.
    iCare is planning to open the facility next month, but organizers and leaders against the project vowed to do it takes to keep the nursing home from opening.

    “[I’m going] all the way. I’m not going to stop,” said State Rep. Tony Guerrera.

    “I’m willing to do whatever I can. I have several friends in different areas of town that I can hand out petitions to,” said Barbara Robinson.

    The facility would house less than 100 people.

    A rally against the facility’s opening will begin at 11 a.m.
     



    Photo Credit: Randy Hendricks, NBC Connecticut

    Opponents of a nursing home for prisoners and mentally ill people held a rally on Wednesday.Opponents of a nursing home for prisoners and mentally ill people held a rally on Wednesday.

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    The FBI has arrested an East Haven woman accused of threatening to carry out a mass shooting at Gateway Community College in New Haven.

    Amanda Bowden, 19, of East Haven, was taken into custody Tuesday.

    Bowden is accused of threatening to commit a Newtown-style mass shooting at the community college.

    "As alleged, this defendent made a series of threats that described in great detail her intention to carry out a suicidal mass murder at a community college in New Haven," said U.S. Attorney David Fein.

    According to federal authorities, Bowden made several threats by text message with a witness cooperating with investigators between Feb. 4 and Feb 16.  She also had text message and verbal conversations with an undercover officer, discussing her plans to commit a mass shooting and bombing at Gateway, authorities said.

    Bowden claimed to have guns and claimed that she had constructed at least two napalm-based bombs at her home in East Haven, according to Fein.

    The FBI and New Haven police chief Dean Esserman notified Gateway Community College President Dorsey Kendrick about the threats on Feb. 5, according to a school spokesperson.

    "Chief Esserman and GCC security had been contacted by the FBI, and were told that there was no imminent danger as a result of the post, but an investigation was underway," said Evelyn Gard.  "The chief requested that Dr. Kendrick and GCC security keep the matter confidential until the investigation was complete."

    Bowden was arrested on state charges Tuesday.  Federal agents searched Bowden's home in East Haven after her arrest and did not find any firearms or explosives, according to authorities.

    Bowden appeared in Milford Superior Court on state threatening charges Wednesday and was then taken into federal custody and moved to Bridgeport Federal Court, where she appeared on a charge of false information and hoaxes.

    She remains in custody pending a hearing on March 1.



    Photo Credit: Facebook

    Amanda Bowden, 19, of East Haven, is accused of threatening to carry out a Newtown-style mass shooting at Gateway Community College.  She is seen holding a gun in this photo posted on her Facebook page.Amanda Bowden, 19, of East Haven, is accused of threatening to carry out a Newtown-style mass shooting at Gateway Community College. She is seen holding a gun in this photo posted on her Facebook page.

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    A car bomb struck a security checkpoint near the headquarters of Syria's ruling Baath party and the Russian Embassy in the capital Damascus on Thursday, leaving smashed and burning cars on a main thoroughfare and at least four dead bodies lying in a nearby park, according to witnesses and opposition activists.

    Syrian state TV also reported the blast in the central Mazraa neighborhood, calling it a "terrorist" attack by a suicide bomber on a heavily populated area near a mosque, a hospital, a bus station and a school. It said at least four children were among the wounded.

    The state news agency published photos of two dead bodies lying in the street.

    The pro-regime TV station Al-Ikhbariya showed images of what appeared to be at least four dead bodies on the ground and cars on fire. The footage shows firefighters trying to douse cars on fire and lifeless and dismembered bodies lying on the grass of a public garden.

    The Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast caused tens of dead and wounded.

    For more world news coverage, click on NBCNews.com

    Eyewitnesses at the scene said a car had exploded at a security checkpoint between the Russian Embassy and the central headquarters of the ruling Baath party of President Bashar Assad.

    "It was huge. Everything in the shop turned upside down," one local resident said. He said three of his employees were injured by flying glass that killed a young girl who was walking by when the blast hit.

    "I pulled her inside the shop but she was almost gone. We couldn't save her. She was hit in the stomach and head," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution for speaking with foreign media.

    Ambulances rushed to the scene of the blast, which shattered windows and sent up a huge cloud of smoke visible throughout much of the city, witnesses said.

    Russia's state owned RIA Novosti news agency quoted a Russian Embassy official as saying the Embassy building had been damaged in the blast but no one was hurt.

    The blast followed two mortar attacks in as many days on the capital. On Wednesday, two mortar shells exploded next to a soccer stadium in Damascus, killing one player. The day before, two mortar shells blew up near one of Assad's three palaces in the city, causing only material damage.

    Not long after the first blast Thursday, a security official reported a second blast in the capital's northeastern Barzeh neighborhood. He had no other information and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

    For more world news coverage, click on NBCNews.com

    The Observatory, which relies on a network of anti-regime activists inside Syria, said two car bombs had exploded near security centers in Barzeh, followed by intense clashes between rebels and security forces.

    Damascus has so far mostly avoided the large-scale violence that has destroyed other Syrian cities, though deadly car bombings have targeted government buildings in the capital.

    In May 2012, twin car bombs exploded outside a military intelligence building, killing 55 people in the deadliest attack against a regime target in the capital since the uprising began 23 months ago.

    And in July, rebels detonated explosives inside a high-level crisis meeting in Damascus that killed four top regime officials, including Assad's brother-in-law and the defense minister.

    Syria's conflict began in March 2011 with political protests against the government and has since evolved into a civil war between Assad's regime and hundreds of rebel groups seeking to topple it. The U.N. says some 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, this photo shows Syrian security agents next to a vehicle on fire following a huge explosion that shook central Damascus on Thursday, Feb. 21.Released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, this photo shows Syrian security agents next to a vehicle on fire following a huge explosion that shook central Damascus on Thursday, Feb. 21.

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    Scientists on the lookout for habitable planets outside Earth's solar system found a small wonder with a notable distinction -- Kepler-37b is the smallest planet yet discovered that orbits a star similar to our sun.

    The planet's discovery was announced Wednesday by scientists who are part of NASA's Kepler mission. It is located near what researchers consider the "habitable zone" -- a system in which water might exist on planets.

    It probably does not have an atmosphere that can support life and the 800-degree Fahrenheit surface temperature would be too hot, but Kepler-37b is still a significant find because it suggests the universe is packed with tiny planet candidates.

    And, in the haystack of space, Kepler-37b is the needle.

    "We uncovered a planet smaller than any in our solar system orbiting one of the few stars that is both bright and quiet, where signal detection was possible," said Thomas Barclay, Kepler scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute in Sonoma, Calif. "This discovery shows close-in planets can be smaller, as well as much larger, than planets orbiting our sun."

    Since Pluto was re-categorized from planet to dwarf planet, Mercury has become the poster-planet for tiny planets. Kepler-37b -- located about 210 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra -- is only slightly larger than the moon.

    "The fact we've discovered tiny Kepler-37b suggests such little planets are common, and more planetary wonders await as we continue to gather and analyze additional data," said Jack Lissauer, a planetary scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field.

    The potential for detecting planets such as Kepler-37b has increased as technology allowed researchers to find and measure planets smaller than Earth.

    The first planets discovered that orbited a sun-like star outside our solar system, called exoplanets, were relative giants. Kepler, launched in 2009 on a hunt for Earth-like planets, provided scientists with a sizeable techological leap.

    The space telescope -- Southern California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory managed Kepler mission development -- measures the size of an object when it passes in front of a star. The percentage of light blocked from the telescope's vantage point helps scientists determine the size of the planet.

    But to do that, scientists have to determine the size of the star. Using a process called asteroseismology, scientists studied sound waves created by the boiling motion under the star's surface.

    The waves create oscillations detected by Kepler -- small stars have high tones, largers ones produce lower tones in the same way different size bells create different tones. The Kepler-37 star's radius is just three-quarters of the sun, so it produces high-frequency oscillations that make it "the smallest bell in the asteroseismology steeple," according to researchers.

    The mission's finding were published Wednesday in the journal "Nature."



    Photo Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

    Kepler-37b in a lineup with some relative giants in space. Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-CaltechKepler-37b in a lineup with some relative giants in space. Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

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    A Whole Foods supermarket in New York has removed a sign that used a drawing of President Barack Obama to advertise a sale on chicken after complaints that the ad was offensive.

    The sign outside the supermarket on Manhattan's Upper West Side, featuring an apparent caricature of Obama advertising an upcoming sale on whole organic chickens, outraged neighbor Woody Henderson.

    "There are certain things that have been used to put down black people — watermelon, fried chicken," he said. 

    Jason Nunez of the Bronx said, "Even if he's not the president, you're going to have an African-American promoting the sale of chicken? They can do better than that." 

    Residents and passersby agreed the man in the sign looked like Obama, but not all thought it was derogatory.

    "Obviously it looks like the president, but I don't think it's racist," said Joseph Joshua.

    A spokesman for Whole Foods said store artists create a variety of pop culture imagery to promote sales and events. The sign advertising the chicken was put up earlier in the week but taken down "once it was brought to our attention by a shopper that it may be perceived as offensive," said the spokesman. 

    "There was no disrespect meant at all," the spokesman said.

    Henderson thinks the chain should take more responsibility. Another neighbor, Jeffrey Schaper, said, "I don't think you can find a more pro-Democratic neighborhood. They're sort of shooting themselves in the foot. It is pretty outrageous."

    More New York Stories


    This sign, with an apparent caricature of President Barack Obama advertising whole chickens, outside a Whole Foods supermarket in New York was decried by neighbors and passersby.This sign, with an apparent caricature of President Barack Obama advertising whole chickens, outside a Whole Foods supermarket in New York was decried by neighbors and passersby.

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    Vice President Joe Biden urged tougher gun control laws at a conference on gun violence Thursday just miles from Newtown, Conn., still reeling from December's shooting massacre at an elementary school.

    "There is a moral price for inaction," Biden said during an impassioned speech. "We can't remain silent. ... We have to speak for those 20 beautiful children."

    The vice president pointed to the 1,900 people he said have died from gun violence since a 20-year-old gunman massacred 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14.

    Biden said that there will be a lot of voices in the debate on gun control, but the loudest voices will be for the people who lost their voice. 

    "We have an obligation to act," he said.

    Discussions at the forum Thursday have focused on expanding criminal background checks, requiring them for ammunition sales and getting high-capacity magazines — or, as one speaker described them, "war weapons" — off the streets.

    There has also been discussion of changes in mental health services and initiatives.

    The parents of Grace McDonnell, a 7-year-old girl killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, are also attending and received a standing ovation.

    “We ask that our representatives remember 26 beautiful lives we lost and pass meaningful laws. I owe it to my daughter Grace,” Lynn McDonnell told audience members at the forum.

    Biden said during his address that universal background checks are a necessity. He also called on limited high-capacity magazines

    "It makes a difference," Biden said.

    The vice president also said a federal gun trafficking law is needed, as well as more police on the streets.

    Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy also made a big announcement about his own proposals at the forum.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Vice President Joe Biden is addressing gun violence at a forum in Connecticut.Vice President Joe Biden is addressing gun violence at a forum in Connecticut.

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    A Manchester mom has arrested in connection with risk of injury after leaving her two young children in the car on a cold day to shoplift at Gap Kids, according to South Windsor Police.

    Store security at the Gap Kids at Evergreen Walk detained Sharmerra Canty, 26, of Rachel Road in Manchester, on Wednesday and responding officers learned that she’d left her 1- and 3-year-old children locked in the car in the parking lot, police said.

    The car was not running, so there was no heat on a day when the outside temperature was about 34 degrees. 

    The children were alone for about 15 minutes, Canty said, according to police.

    Police said arrangements were made for the grandmother to take custody of the children and officers referred the case to the state Department of Children and Families.

    Canty was charged with risk of injury to a minor and larceny in the sixth degree.

    She was released on $5,000 surety bond and is scheduled to appear at Manchester Superior Court on Feb. 28. She declined to comment when NBC Connecticut reached out to her.

     


    Sharmerra Canty is accused of leaving her young children in a cold car while she shoplifted at Gap Kids in Manchester.Sharmerra Canty is accused of leaving her young children in a cold car while she shoplifted at Gap Kids in Manchester.

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    You may have to think twice before recycling cans and bottles in Michigan. 

    Michigan lawmakers debated Tuesday legislation that would fine or even jail those who attempt to cash in on the state’s recycling refund by using out-of-state cans and bottles, The Associated Press reported.

    The state offers 10 cents per container, double the refund offered by such other states with a similar policy as New York, Delaware, Hawaii and Vermont. Michigan's neighboring states - Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois - have not passed a container deposit refund law, allowing people to collect out-of-state can and bottles, only to get paid for them in Michigan.

    The 10-cent refund was the subject of a 1996 episode of "Seinfeld"  - Kramer and Newman plotted to bring thousands of empty cans and bottles into Michigan on a postal truck to get the bigger 10-cent deposit.

    The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association estimated Michigan loses up to $13 million a year from out-of-state cans in the state's high recycling refund.

    Four counties in Michigan, two in southern Michigan and two in the western Upper Peninsula, have already taken action to prevent fraud bottles from being refunded, according to the Detroit Free Press. At a cost of $5,000 per machine, they have purchased new technology that identifies and will reject the container if it was purchased out-of-state.

    The new legislation proposes a penalty of a $100 fine for returning 25 to 100 nonreturnable containers, a $1,000 fine for returning 100 to 10,000 nonreturnable containers, and jail time of up to 93 days for a second conviction, according to the AP.

    "I don't want to put people in prison for this," State Rep. Kenneth Kurtz told the Detroit Free Press. "But I want to send the message that you don't want to defraud the citizens of our state."



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    View of empty cans to be recycled.View of empty cans to be recycled.

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    The online lottery for tickets to the White House Easter Egg Roll began at 10 a.m. today.

    Starting then, parents can enter the online lottery for the chance to spend Easter Monday at the White House. The lottery will close at 10 a.m. on Feb. 25. You can enter any time during that time period for an equal chance.

    Winners will be notified March 1. The egg hunt is set for Monday, April 1, the day after Easter. The White House expects some 35,000 people at this year's egg hunt.

    Other than the egg roll itself, the event also features musical performers, sports activities with star athletes, a story corner and more. Past guests have included J.K. Rowling, Reese Witherspoon, Dominique Dawes, Brian Orakpo and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" author Jeff Kinney.

    ALSO SEE:

     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    President Barack Obama helps a young participant roll an egg during the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn, April 9, 2012.President Barack Obama helps a young participant roll an egg during the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn, April 9, 2012.

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    Willimantic police are urging residents to avoid leaving running vehicles unattended and keeping valuables in plain sight after several car thefts and auto break-ins in town in the last two months.

    Police said several cars have been stolen as the owners went inside their homes and left the cars running and unattended while warming them up.

    The thefts have happened in the late night or early morning hours.

    An employee of a local business provided police with enough information to identify several suspects and arrests are pending, police said.
    But officers are urging people to protect themselves by taking the following steps:

    Never leave your vehicle running when you are not inside, even for a few minutes. One vehicle is stolen in the United States every 26.4 seconds, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

    Always lock your car.

    Don’t leave anything in plain view inside your vehicle, including loose change.
    Keep your eyes out for potential thieves in daylight hours and in large parking lots.

    If you are the victim of a car theft or break-in, immediately report it to police to increase the chances of catching the perpetrator.

     


    Willimantic police are warning residents to lock cars after several car thefts and break-ins.Willimantic police are warning residents to lock cars after several car thefts and break-ins.

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    Burger King sold to McDonald's! Jeep sold to Cadillac! With a few swift strokes of the hacker's keyboard, jaw-dropping messages can be broadcast on Twitter, setting off a chain of rumors and reaction than can leave a company sifting through the ashes of its reputation.

    After the two high-profile companies were hacked earlier this week -- and two others, MTV and BET, fake-hacked themselves as a publicity stunt -- there's a renewed focus on social media security. And it's not just major brands that need to be concerned.

    For most people, the real danger isn't that a hacker will post something embarrassing, but that he will  use your social media feed to dupe others.

    "Most of the reason people want to take over Twitter accounts is spam advertising, for things like online pharmacies," said Seth Schoen, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "For a run-of-the-mill Twitter account compromise, someone might hope to tweet a few spam links to one of these online pharmacies that's paying a commission to the spammer for the number of people who visit the site."

    But other hackers go after Twitter feeds with much more malice, Schoen warned. Once a hacker has access to one of your accounts, he can send a message to your friends suggesting they install software. The software, Schoen said, can be malicious, such as a key logger that records everything you type.

    "And one thing you can do with that is get someone's password for Gmail or Twitter or Facebook, because they type it in and the key logger records that," Schoen said

    And once a hacker has your Twitter password, there's a good chance they've got your password to a number of sites, notes Schoen, who says password reuse is a subtle but very real security issue.

    "Someone breaks into a more obscure site, not necessarily Facebook or Google or Microsoft, but maybe an e-commerce site, or a doctor's office or a web forum," Schoen said. "And maybe they're using out-of-date software or it wasn't configured properly, there's some kind of vulnerability, and someone was able to compromise that site. The problem is the attacker then gets a database of usernames and passwords… then goes to Twitter and Gmail and Facebook, and tries those same names and passwords there."

    Schoen has protected himself from such attacks for more than 6 years by using a password manager, a piece of software that remembers more than 100 passwords for him. In fact, it even generated the passwords and enters them when he wants to log onto a website--Schoen himself doesn’t know his passwords, except for the one to his password manager.

    "It's quite likely that some of those sites may have been compromised during that time. So it's a nice thought for me that none of those passwords are going to work on any of those other sites."

    Schoen's password manager is installed locally on his computer, which means he can only access certain sites from that single machine, though there are password managers that are web-based. While he confesses to being "paranoid," he's amazed by people who use computers other than their own.

    "The thing that makes me especially anxious, since I know about key loggers, is thinking about machines that I don’t really control," Schoen said. "If I were visiting a relative's home, I would actually not want to log into my email from a relative's PC."

    Even more vulnerable than a friend's computer is one you might encounter at an Internet café, where the security is only as strong as the least tech savvy customer who came before you.

    "That situation is one of the reasons that Google created that two-step authentication, which is that your password alone is not sufficient to get into your account on a new machine," notes Schoen.

    Google lets users opt for two-step authentication, which requires you to enter both your password and then a six-digit passcode that's been sent to your mobile device any time you try to access your account from a new machine or browser. Schoen suspects the folks at Twitter are contemplating a two-step log-in process.

    "I think in Google's case it's been very helpful, it's a major security advantage relative to other web mail providers that don’t offer that," Schoen said

    Computer users should also try to keep their own devices safe, and probably the most significant thing there is to be cautious about software you install. In general, whether you're confronted with questionable tweets, dubious pop-ups or strange computers, Schoen says one of the best tools for protecting yourself "is a lot of skepticism."

    Four keys to cyber-security

    • Use strong passwords -- a mix of letters, numbers, symbols and upper- and lower-case characters -- and don't reuse passwords for multiple sites. You can use a password manager to make this more manageable.
       
    • Use two-step authentication whenever possible. Many password-protected services now support this, including Google and Facebook.
       
    • Check the approved applications in your social accounts on a regular basis. Remove anything you don't use on a regular basis.
       
    • Be skeptical of any links you receive -- if it looks suspicious, don't click on it.

     



    Photo Credit: NBC Local Media

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    The first weapon authorities in Bridgeport bought in their December buyback was an assault weapon, an AR-15, one of 656 firearms brought in after the nightmare in Newtown.

    "I think this was an outpouring from our community that was testimony to how aghast we were at the tragedy that occurred there," Mayor Bill Finch, (D-Bridgeport) said while standing behind tables displaying a sample of the weapons.

    From "street-sweeper" to "Saturday night special" the guns, large and small, were all bought with $70,000 donated for the buyback. Police pay for the guns and ask no questions.

    "We just want to grab their guns and get 'em off the streets and pay cash for 'em," said Finch.

    The next buyback is March 2 in Bridgeport.



    Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia

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    Putnam fire officials will host a fire prevention event this weekend to honor the lives of two young girls who died in a house fire in town.

    Alexis Auger, 3, and her 9-month-old sister, Ava, died Jan. 22 when a fire ravaged through a multi-family Victorian-style house on Prospect St., where they lived with their parents.

    On Saturday, the Putnam and East Putnam fire departments, along with Putnam EMS will host the "Alexis and Ava Fire Awareness" event at the Putnam Fire Department. The goal of the event is to promote fire safety and prevention, according to officials.

    The victims' mother, Lauren Auger, is expected to attend.  She will help unveil a banner naming all future fire prevention events in Putnam after her two daughters.

    Members of the fire departments will hand out fire detectors, people can tour the facilities and are encouraged to ask questions of the first responders during the session.

    The "Alexis and Ava Fire Awareness" event is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Putnam Fire Department, 189 Church St. from 9 a.m.- to 12 p.m.



    Photo Credit: Steve Miller, NBC Connecticut

    Two little girls were killed in a fire in Putnam.Two little girls were killed in a fire in Putnam.

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