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Man Forces Women Into Prostitution at Milford Motel: Cops


A Massachusetts man is accused of picking up two women and kidnapping a third, then giving them heroin and cocaine and driving them to Connecticut to act as prostitutes.

Barry Davis, 36, of Burlington, Massachusetts, was arrested in Milford on Thursday and charged with second-degree unlawful restraint, promoting prostitution, trafficking of a person and two counts of possession of narcotics.

Police found Davis and the three women at the Motel 6 on Schoolhouse Road after authorities from Lawrence, Massachusetts, tracked a victim's cellphone and learned she was in the area.

Accoridng to police, the woman had texted her boyfriend to say she was "being held against her will and treated like a sex slave."

The other two women told investigators they had worked as prostitutes for Davis before and were afraid of him.

Davis, who was found with heroin and cocaine, was held on $250,000 bond, according to police. It's not clear if he has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Milford Police Department

I-84 Ramp Reopens After Truck Crushes Bridge Inspector


The West Hartford highway ramp where a bridge inspector was crushed and killed Wednesday afternoon remained closed for more than 24 hours before crews finally managed to remove the truck that tipped over.

William Shook, 43, of Middlefield, was performing a routine bridge inspection for the state Department of Transportation when his truck tipped over and crushed him on the exit 43 entrance ramp from Park Road to Interstate 84 eastbound, according to officials.

Shook was using a snooper truck, which has an arm and bucket that hangs down below the bridge, to inspect part of the ramp.

Officials said he was standing between the truck and the bridge railing, retracting the truck's arm, when the 62,000-pound vehicle tipped over and pinned him.

Shook was killed.

The truck hung upside down over the edge of the ramp Wednesday and was removed Thursday night. DOT officials said the heavy vehicle was unbalanced, creating a "dangerous" situation, so crews from a private contractor had to disassemble the truck and move it piece by piece.

It was the second bridge inspection incident in two days. Firefighters rescued workers on Tuesday after the bucket of a snooper truck owned by the same company got stuck hanging over the side of the Gold Star Bridge in Groton.

DOT officials said McClain & Co., a subcontractor out of Virginia, was involved in both incidents. The state has suspended all services with the company as a safety precaution.

"They're going to have to do the investigation to find out what went wrong. Two incidents in two days; I guess the prudent thing would be to suspend them until you find out exactly what happened," West Hartford Asst. Fire Chief Richard Winn said.

McClain & Co. has declined to comment on the situation.

Officials from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration said there have been no other incidents involving the company.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Kidnaps, Feeds Person He Thought Was Homeless: Cops


A Danbury man is accused of kidnapping a man he thought was homeless, then feeding him in his home.

Police responded to a home on West Wooster Street just before 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday after receiving an animal complaint and met with a 77-year old man who told them the strange series of events leading up to the complaint.

He said he'd been pushing a carriage of cans and bottles down Lincoln Avenue when another man approached him, and insisted that the man follow him, police said.

The victim said the man, identified as David Pope, grabbed him by the arm, escorted him back to Pope's residence and then brought him inside, police said.

While they were inside the home, Pope's dog -- a pit bull or Staffordshire Terrier -- bit the victim’s leg, police said.

Even after the dog bite, Pope proceeded to feed the victim, a news release from police says.

At one point, the victim was able to leave Pope’s house without being detected, went to his own house and called police.

When police officers went to speak with Pope, he refused to put his dog away so officers could not safely interview him.

When officers did eventually speak with Pope, he appeared to be drunk and said he thought the victim was homeless and was offering him food.

Pope was charged with interfering with the duties of an officer, second-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree kidnapping and disorderly conduct.

David was held on a $500 bond. It's not clear if he is being represented by an attorney. 

Photo Credit: Danbury Police Department

UConn Gears Up for Largest Freshman Clash in History


Move-in weekend begins Friday at the University of Connecticut's main campus in Storrs, which is already buzzing as school officials get ready to welcome the largest freshman class in university history.

Roughly 5,200 freshman will attend UConn this year, including 3,800 who will take classes in Storrs.

"I’m incredibly honored because a lot of people applied and to get into the Storrs campus is awesome," said incoming freshman Alexandra Anagnostopolous.

It's bittersweet for her mother, who is getting ready to be an "empty nester."

"My baby girl is going to college tomorrow," Jill Fuller said. "We’re very excited for her, but as a mom, I’m a little anxious."

A larger freshman class translates into more customers at businesses near campus like Dog Lane Café, which is located in the Storrs Center development on Route 195.

"Last year, this week was our biggest week of the year and this week, we are already ahead of those numbers," said owner Brian Jessurun.

It's only going to get busier as move-in weekend gets underway Friday. Classes start Monday.

Police Seek Man Who Robbed Bridgeport Market at Gunpoint


Police are searching for the man who robbed a Bridgeport market at gunpoint Monday evening.

Surveillance footage from the D.R. Retail Market at 730 Maplewood Avenue shows a robber clad in black standing at the checkout counter.

The man, whose face is obscured by a pair of sunglasses, reveals a handgun in his waistband and accepts wads of cash from employees standing around him.

City public safety officials said the robbery happened around 5:30 p.m. Monday. The man got away running southbound on Colorado Avenue, then turned west onto Denver Court.

Authorities said he stands about 6 feet tall and was wearing a Buffalo Bills baseball cap, black shirt and gray sweatpants at the time of the robbery.

It's not clear how much money he stole.

Anyone with information is asked to call Bridgeport detectives at 203-581-5201.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Public Safety

Where is Former FEMA Chief Michael Brown Now?


 The former FEMA chief who became the face of the botched federal response to Hurricane Katrina is out of the public sector now — but he's not always out of trouble.

In the 10 years since his resignation following the storm and its chaotic aftermath, Michael Brown has become an author, a consultant, and a radio talk-show host. Throughout it all, whenever an opportunity to voice an honest opinion has presented itself — even if that opinion ruffles feathers — he's taken it.

Now living in Denver, the 60-year-old Brown hosts a daily show on 630 KHOW, his city's radio station that is also home to shows by Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and other fiery conservative figures.

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Parents on Alert After Report of Kidnapping, Sex Assault


Concern is mounting in New Britain, where a girl was allegedly grabbed from her bedroom window and sexually assaulted earlier this month.

The investigation is now in its eleventh day.

"I’m worried because I have my kids," said Marcie Haran, a New Britain resident and mother of three.

Parents in New Britain are keeping a closer eye on their children after a young resident was kidnapped through her unlocked bedroom window on Aug. 16, according to police.

"A juvenile female reported she was taken from her home outside, touched inappropriately, taken back inside the home," explained New Britain police Capt. Thomas Steck.

He said two other children were asleep in the same bedroom at the time of the alleged incident.

"It’s very bizarre," said Haran.

Police hope surveillance video from neighboring businesses will help them catch the suspect, but questions remain.

"It should be someone familiar, you know? The other kids should have known who it was," said Kiara Negron, who is also raising three children in New Britain.

Parents are pushing law enforcement to take action and prevent something like this from happening again.

"It’s upsetting because it seems like nobody’s controlling or monitoring the area. We need a parent-watch program for these kids so they can stop being taken," said New Britain mother Kayleigh Motel.

New Britain police said the department has allocated quite a few resources to the investigation but needs the public’s help.

The suspect is described as a thin man with a dark beard and short, dark hair. The victim told police he was wearing a dark hat with a blue lightning bolt on the front.

Police are asking anyone with information to call Det. Lopa at 860-826-3155 or make an anonymous tip by calling 860-826-3199.

Hartford Mayoral Candidates Hit Airwaves


You don't often see television advertising for local political races in Connecticut. The reason for that is with so many cities and towns, a commercial could end up getting lost on voters with no interest.

Don't tell that to Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and challenger Luke Bronin. Both have purchased time on the air in recent days to try to reach voters on TV.

"I can’t remember the last time there were actually TV spots for the Hartford mayor’s race," said Steve Wolfberg, the creative director of Cronin and Co., Connecticut's largest advertising firm. "I can’t remember seeing them, actually."

Bronin has purchased more time on TV than Segarra at this point. That's to be expected, since his campaign has raised more than $600,000, a very high number for such a race.

Bronin's ad shows him walking around Hartford neighborhoods in casual clothes, meeting with neighbors and hearing their concerns. He mentions his plans to improve education, hire more young people and improve conditions for economic development.

Wolfberg, who has no connection to either campain, said Bronin is sticking to a tried and true script.

"It is right out of the playbook. A couple of graphics. The only thing that’s not in there is showing the other guy in demonic black-and-white stills. Maybe that will come later, but it’s really pretty typical, what you’re seeing so far," he said.

Wolfberg added that the production value of the spot is very high. He said everything has been thought out with a purpose, like lighting and imagery.

"It’s optimism. It’s saying, 'I’m going to take you to a brighter path,' perhaps. It is shot very well. Well lit. Well art directed. So I think the sub-message of that is a fresh new start with a fresh new guy, perhaps," he said.

Segarra's ad includes details from his childhood. The incumbent says he knows the experience of Hartford residents because he was raised by a single mother, his father was a victim of gun violence and he went to home hungry many nights.

"He’s basically saying, 'I am one of you.' Which is basically like saying, 'Bronin is not one of you,' which is the tack he’s taking," Wolfberg explained.

Wolfberg said each ad clearly conveys the position of each candidate in the race.

“I think it’s clear who’s the incumbent and who’s the challenger, and generally when you see the spots up to the election, that’s usually paths they usually take," he said.

Police Investigate Bank Robbery in Westbrook


State police are investigating after a man robbed the Citizens Bank in Westbrook on Thursday afternoon.

Police said the robber walked into the bank at 1187 Boston Post Road around 3:15 p.m. and demanded money. He did not display a weapon, despite implying that he had one.

No one was hurt during the robbery. It's not clear how much money was stolen.

Police said the robber stands between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall and has a medium build. He was wearing a white T-shirt, gray or blue cargo shorts, sneakers and a denim baseball cap at the time of the robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Kevin Slonski at 860-399-2119.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Aerospace Manufacturer Brings 200 Jobs to New Britain


Polamer Precision, an aerospace manufacturing firm, plans to add 200 jobs in New Britain.

The company moved its headquarters to the city this spring after expanding from Newington.

Mayor Erin Stewart said Polamer Precision continues to grow.

"They’re looking at expanding their relationship with GE, and hopefully soon," said Stewart. "(They are) building an additional building on top of the one they just built and spent so much money on to accommodate all those extra contracts."

The company currently has about 100 employees. About 75 percent are residents of New Britain.

It’s still too soon to know what type of jobs will be available.

"I think it’s great to get new jobs, everybody needs jobs. There’s a lot of people that I know that can’t get a job so I think it’s great. The more opportunities the better," said New Britain resident Liz Watson.

The expansion also earned Polamer Precision the city’s "Beautification Award" this week.

"Taking what was once an empty parcel of land building this world class facility, but also employing residents of New Britain to helping New Britain become a beautiful place," said Stewart.

The new jobs will become available over the next four years.

Exclusive Peek Inside Virginia Shooter's Apartment, Car


The failed TV reporter who shot two journalists during a live broadcast lived in a sparsely furnished $600-a-month apartment decorated with pictures of himself, a video provided to NBC News shows.

According to an inventory of items found in a search warrant return, Vester Flanagan also had a wig, six magazines of ammunition, a brief case that contained three license plates, and a to-do list in the car he was fleeing in before he killed himself.

Police said Flanagan texted a friend "making reference to having done something stupid" following the shooting of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, cameraman Adam Ward, and local chamber of commerce director Vicki Gardner — who was also shot and survived.

Photo Credit: AP
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Woman Dances After Pursuit


A 25-year-old woman was arrested after breaking into a dance and taunting officers at the end of a pursuit Wednesday night near downtown Los Angeles.

Spike strips were used to destroy the car's tires, but the woman, identified as Kelsey Wood, continued driving on the vehicle's wheels. The pursuit began around 10 p.m. in the downtown area.

Wood was suspected of driving under the influence, according to the LAPD. She was being held on $75,000 bail on suspicion of "felony evading," police said.

Wood drove over the spike strips, which appeared to deflate the tires.

The pursuit ended when Wood got out of the vehicle and began dancing in front of officers.

She got back into the vehicle before officers arrested her.

No injuries were reported.

It was not immediately clear whether Wood had an attorney.

Photo Credit: ANG

New Haven Campaigns to End Hunger


Three nonprofit organizations are working together to "STOP Hunger" as part of Hunger Action Month, which kicks off in September.

Residents can donate $25 to receive discount cards from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Pitkin Plaza at 157 Orange Street.

The cards can then be used to toward discounted purchases at the following locations throughout the month of September:

  • Elm City Market is offering 5 percent off
  • Idiom is offering 20 percent off a handbag
  • G. Café Bakery is offering 15 percent off a purchase
  • Jack’s Wayback Burgers in Orange is offering 15 percent off
  • Trinity Bar and Restaurant is offering 10 percent off

Customers are also encouraged to donate as part of the Pin-Up Campaign, in which the donor's name and amount are written down and posted on the wall of one of the following businesses:

  • Christy’s Irish Pub in New Haven
  • Duffy’s Tavern in Orange
  • Modern Apizza in New Haven
  • Trinity Bar and Restaurant in New Haven
  • Woodbridge Gathering in Woodbridge

Community Soup Kitchen, FISH of Greater New Haven and Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry are behind the initiative. Together, the three organizations feed more than 100,000 people annually.

More information is available online at www.stophungerinnewhaven.org.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Residents Chase Burglar From Stamford House


Authorities are searching for the man who broke into a Stamford home in broad daylight Monday and came face to face with residents, who chased him out of the house.

Police said the intruder was in a bedroom on the second floor of a home on Cummings Point Road when the residents confronted him around 11:20 a.m. Monday.

The burglar got into a pale green Nissan Sentra or similar model sedan and drove north on Cummings Point Road, according to police.

Police said the getaway car is missing its rear bumper and has two indentations in the driver's side front quarter panel. There is also a small white sticker on the driver's window, and the license plate may be a cardboard temporary registration.

Surveillance video shows the vehicle leaving the area.

Residents who recognize the suspect should not approach him and should contact police.

Anyone with information is asked to call Stamford police at 203-977-4407.

Photo Credit: Stamford Police Department

90-Degree Heat Possible Next Week


High pressure will deliver dry weather today as puffy cumulus clouds roll in from the west and temperatures will peak near 80 degrees.

Tomorrow is another “weather winner” with sunny skies and no humidity. Once again, temperatures will be in the upper-70s to near 80 degrees, and this weekend should be a fabulous close to August.

Saturday features mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the middle-80s.

A few more clouds are likely on Sunday, which will result in a mix of sun and clouds. It will be dry with a touch of humidity as temperatures rise into the middle- and upper-80s.

Next week a large, long-lived upper-level ridge sets up shop over much of the country. This means a very warm stretch of weather is ahead, with some days reaching 10 degrees above the average high, which is roughly 80 degrees.

High temperatures through Thursday will be in the upper-80s to near 90 degrees inland. Along the coastline, with the sea breeze, temperatures will be a tad cooler in the lower- and middle-80s.

Each day will be mainly dry with clouds mixing with sunshine. An upper-level disturbance rides through the flow early in the week, but most indications are that it won’t be a problem for Connecticut.

A shower or two is possible on Monday or Tuesday, but even that could be erased from the forecast in the coming days.

The tropical focus is currently on Tropical Storm Erika, the lone storm in the Atlantic Ocean.

The storm has redeveloped a bit south and west of earlier National Hurricane Center projections, which means it will track very close to Hispaniola. The terrain on that island is unforgiving for tropical systems, so the potential exists that Erika gets torn apart.

As of Thursday, Erika is expected to track north and east along the eastern Florida coast, but remain just offshore as a category 1 hurricane.

Connecticut shouldn’t be worried about a hit as that potential is very low right now. However, with a storm in the Caribbean, staying abreast with the latest storm information is advised.

Stay with the NBC Connecticut First Alert weather team for the very latest forecast on-air, online and on the app.

West Nile Virus Found in Hartford Mosquitoes


Mosquitoes trapped at Keney Park in Hartford have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to city officials.

Hartford is the latest Connecticut municipality to identify the virus this summer, which has been found in at least 15 other communities around the state.

A spokesperson from the mayor's office said the risk of contracting West Nile remains low, but the city's Department of Health and Human Services is urging residents to take precautions.

The following measures can help prevent against infection:

  • Wear insect repellent when spending time outside
  • Wear long, tightly-woven clothing outdoors, especially during dawn and dusk
  • Remove standing water in and around homes
  • Limit time spent outside during dawn and dusk, when mosquito activity is highest
  • Make sure door and window screens are tight-fitting and secure
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outside

More information is available through the state Department of Public Health Epidemiology Program, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, state Department of Environmental Protection and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Student Fatally Shot at Savannah State University


A college junior died after being shot Thursday night in Savannah State University’s student union building.

Christopher Starks, a junior from the Atlanta area, died at a local hospital, the college said in a statement.

According to two women who were in the union, there was a fight that ended in one person being shot in the collarbone area, NBC affiliate WSAV reported. The station said that other students applied pressure to the wound before first responders arrived.

The shooting prompted a lockdown at the Georgia campus. It wasn't immediately clear whether a suspect was in custody. No further details were immediately available.

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Baby Sitter Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Toddler's Death


The baby sitter accused of causing the injuries that killed a 19-month-old New Haven boy last year has been found guilty of first-degree manslaughter, according to the judicial district.

Kinjal Patel was arrested in January 2014 after the toddler was rushed into surgery at to Yale-New Haven Hospital's Pediatric Emergency Department. The child could not be saved.

Police said the baby suffered cuts on the inside of his mouth and tongue, bruises on his chin and a severely fractured skull. His death was ruled a homicide.

After her arrest, Patel admitted to becoming angry with the child and forcing him down the floor, where he hit his head and started to cry and convulse, according to police.

Court officials said Patel entered an Alford plea Thursday, which means she maintains innocence while still pleading guilty to manslaughter.

She will be sentenced Oct. 29, according to the court.

The child's parents, Thenmozhi Rajendran and Sivakumar Mani, were also arrested and charged with risk of injury to a minor and interfering with an officer. They are both due back in court Sept. 1.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Ansonia Raises Thousands for Families of Young Crash Victims


Community members in Ansonia have raised thousands of dollars for the families of two 6-year-old girls who lost their lives in separate car accidents days apart.

Nyah Marcano, a student at the Prendergast School, died Aug. 18 when she was thrown from an SUV that rolled over on Route 8 in Shelton and tumbled down an embankment.

Two days later, Leah Rondon, who studied at the John C. Mead School, was struck by a car while playing at her friend's house in Ansonia. She died at the hospital.

"Two times in one week. It's really shocking and it just tears the community apart," said Ansonia resident Kim Higgins, who knew Leah from summer camp and whose daughter was friends with Nyah.

Those affected by the twin tragedies gathered at a benefit dinner for the families of the two young victims Thursday evening, raising $4,876 as of about 8:30 p.m., according to the event organizers.

A separate fundraiser – the sale of blue balloons to be tied outside homes across town Saturday evening – has raised $3,500 so far.

"Their smiles were infectious, and I can just see them right now hopefully overlooking and seeing how Ansonia has come out for them," said Ansonia superintendent Dr. Carol Merlone.

Henry Rondon, Leah's father, said Ansonia is a "small town but extremely supportive" and that community members "really have come to the rescue for us."

"Every time I turn around, somebody is there to say, 'What can I do?' and 'How can I help?'" said Leah's mother, Colleen Rondon. "We will spend a lifetime paying it forward."

The efforts continue this weekend, when Ansonia plans to go blue for Leah and Nyah. Community members are selling balloons at Ansonia High School, as well as the Mead and Pendergast schools.

"It’s $5 apiece. You hand them out to all of the people’s mailboxes all throughout the city," said Cassetti.

The balloons will be displayed around town between 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday and can be purchased until then.

All proceeds will benefit the families of Leah and Nyah.

Photo Credit: GoFundMe/Family Photo

2 Dead in Hazmat Situation


Two people are dead, one critically injured and four first responders have been hospitalized in a mysterious hazardous materials situation in unincorporated Des Plaines.

Around 3:30 p.m., police were called to a northwest suburban townhome in the 9400 block of Harrison Street after receiving a report of three people in distress.

Upon entering the home, four Cook County sheriff's officers were unexpectedly overcome by some sort of hazardous agent, authorities said. 

“They started feeling sick,” said Rick Dobrowski, chief of North Maine Fire Protection District. “They were having some kind of breathing difficulties, we don’t know for sure.”

The officers were taken to area hospitals to be treated. They have since been released and are in stable condition.

Inside the home three adults – two males and a female – were found not breathing, according to police.

No information has been released as to what room of the house they were in or their relationship with one another.

The Cook County medical examiner pronounced both men dead and the woman was transported to a hospital in critical condition. A preliminary investigation revealed the victims likely died due to inhalation of a deadly substance.

Several residences around the home were temporarily evacuated while hazmat teams worked late into the night Thursday to try to figure out what that substance is.

“They didn’t find anything in particular but they were able to rule out anything that was bad – as far as any kind of alkali or acid that was still in there, fumes” Dobrowski said. “They were also able to test the water that they found to make sure there was nothing mixed, chemical wise.

Police said surrounding residents are not in danger, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t on edge as they surveyed the scene of dozens of emergency crews.

“I’m terrified,” one neighbor told NBC Chicago.

Investigators remained at the home near Potter Road well after dark to continue to sweep for evidence.

“They’re just trying to determine what possibly caused this,” said Cook County Sheriff's spokeswoman Sophia Ansari.

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