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Man Tries to Enter Zoo's Lions' Den


A man tried to get into the lions' den at the National Zoo Wednesday afternoon.

The man climbed over the first line of protection between the public and the lions' den about 4:30 p.m., when the zoo was crowded, but authorities got to him before he could access the area where the lions could have attacked him.

He was placed in custody then taken involuntarily to a psychiatric facility for evaluation.

Later he said he hears voices in his head telling him to hurt himself, according to the police report.

He has not been charged with a crime.

The den meets or exceeds safety standards set out by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a zoo spokesperson said, and there are no plans to update security or the enclosure.

$50,000 Reward For Suspects


A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of three suspects believed to have killed a Fox Lake lieutenant on-duty earlier this week in Illinois. 

Detective Christopher Covelli with the Lake County Sheriff's office said the reward is being offered by Motorola Solutions but several other offers and donations for a reward were received as well.

Anyone looking to provide reward money can contact Lake County Undersheriff Raymond Rose at (847) 377-4367. 

A tip line and website has also been set up for residents looking to report any information surrounding the case. Tipsters can call 1-(800)-CALLFBI or go to fbi.gov/FoxLake

Authorities on Friday revealed that they now have several videos they believe will aid in their search for the three "extremely dangerous" suspects.

Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko said new video has been retrieved in the case that authorities believe is "more significant" than any other video they've received.

Filenko noted the videos are being put into chronological order and "there's a commonality" between them. The videos are expected to be reviewed Friday afternoon or evening. 

"I think we’re optimistic about all of these videos right now because they all come together chronologically," Filenko said.

Officials were expected to review home surveillance video a resident claimed could aid in a search for the suspects, but Filenko said that video wasn't reviewed as of Friday afternoon.

Filenko said the three suspects accused of killing Lieutenant Charles "Joe" Gliniewicz are believed to still be in the area, about 60 miles north of Chicago, and authorities say they've made "significant progress" in their search.

"Obviously we have a lot of transportation means in this area — trains, cars, buses — we’re still working off the fact that we’re presuming there’s a good probability that they are still somewhere in the area," Filenko said. "Now whether they're in Fox Lake or any of the surrounding border communities that remains to be seen."

Filenko confirmed Friday that the officer’s gun was recovered at the scene but could not confirm how many times, if any, it had been fired. 

The gunmen are described as two white men and one black man, but further details on their descriptions have not been made available.

More than 100 officers were canvassing the Fox Lake area Friday, revisiting areas and searching new territories. Canines returned to the scene of the shooting Friday in hopes of finding more information. 

Residents, family members and officers from Fox Lake and surrounding communities gathered Wednesday night for an emotional vigil to honor Gliniewicz, a 30-year veteran of the police force affectionately called "G.I. Joe." A funeral has been scheduled for Monday in Antioch, Illinois. 

Austria, Germany Pave Way For Refugees and Migrants


Migrants and refugees stranded in Hungary will be allowed into Austria and Germany, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said in a Facebook post early Saturday.

"Because of today's emergency situation on the Hungarian border, Austria and Germany agree in this case to a continuation of the refugees' journey into their countries," Faymann said in the post, Reuters reported.

Hundreds of migrants and refugees refused to wait for permission to get onto trains and began walking to Austria. Earlier, Hungary said it would send a fleet of buses to the main Keletic train station in Budapest to bring the people to Vienna. 

Over 1,200 people walked all day and into the night along the highway to reach Vienna. 

Photo Credit: AP

Third Guilty Plea in Stamford Smash-and-Grab


A third Detroit resident has pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with the smash-and-grab robbery of a Stamford jewelry store in November 2014.

Dajuhn Griffin, 26, of Detroit, Michigan, is accused of using hammers to break through a glass display case at Sidney Thomas Jewelers in the Stamford Town Center Mall and stealing more than $250,000 worth of Rolex watches.

Griffin and two accomplices ran off, with security guards tailing them, according to federal prosecutors. Guards caught one accomplice, Richard Mathew Bailey, while he was trying to leave the mall.

Griffin was arrested in Detroit on April 6 and pleaded guilty Friday to one count of interfering with commerce by robbery. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Bailey and the group's getaway driver, Brian Moore, 26, of Detroit, Michigan, have also pleaded guilty to the same charge, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Information on attorneys for the group was not immediately available.

Concern Over Efforts to Keep GE in Connecticut


Gov. Dannel Malloy downplayed recent concerns that the state may have bungled its meeting with General Electric in an effort to keep the company in the state.

In the end, the governor said, the decision will likely come down to corporate brass and may not have anything to do with what he and other state officials do to keep GE.

"Look, GE is talking to a lot of states. We’re going to have a chunk of GE one way or the other. We’d like to keep their headquarters but they get to decide that and that usually comes down to one person’s decision," Malloy said.

The possible issue, raised by State Rep. John Frey, a Republican from Ridgefield, had to do with a stock image on documents and in the presentation used by the state during its meeting with General Electric.

The photo is one of several meant to showcase what Connecticut is proud of and has to offer.

Alongside images of parks, a lab and a submarine is a photo of a Pratt and Whitney jet engine. Pratt and Whitney is headquartered in East Hartford and is a chief competitor to GE Aviation, which has several engine plants and facilities around the country.

Frey wasn't available Friday, but top House Republican Themis Klarides described the state's economic development efforts as "willy nilly" and being far too reactive in many circumstances.

"I’m concerned that we’re not doing the job we should be doing," said Klarides, a Republican from Derby. "Clearly, with the laws that we make, we’re not a business friendly state, but on another level you’ve got to keep a business. I would do everything I could to keep that business here."

Malloy said the state is doing many things to keep businesses happy and improve its so-called business climate.

"If you’re like me and you talk to corporations every day, their biggest complaint about Connecticut is transportation, but we’re doing something about it," he said of the state's $100-billion plan that will take about 30 years to complete.

Many projects are already underway, like improvements to Interstates 95 and 84 and the Metro-North Railroad.

Malloy did say that many in Connecticut are too negative and that they need to be more positive when it comes to courting businesses and promoting growth.

"I sometimes joke that this is the state where 'the glass can only be half empty' was invented," he said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Wrecker Driver Critically Injured in Fiery Crash on I-95


A 53-year-old man was airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries after the heavy duty wrecker he was driving blew a tire on Interstate 95 northbound, hitting the Route 2 overpass in North Stonington, according to police.

State police said the wrecker was leaving the scene of a prior crash at the time. The wrecker spun out of control, hitting the guard rail on the left-hand side of I-95 north, then plunging down a 1,000-foot embankment in the center median.

The wrecker struck a tree at the bottom of the embankment and burst into flames, police said.

Other drivers stopped to help the driver, John Martins, 53, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and pulled him from the burning vehicle. He was airlifted to Rhode Island Hospital, where he's listed in critical condition, according to police.

I-95 south was shut down for about an hour in the area of exit 92. The northbound side of the highway remained closed for three hours while authorities responded to investigate the crash and remove the burning wrecker. The highway has since reopened.

State police are warning drivers to be cautious.

Authorities continue to investigate the crash and are asking witnesses to call Connecticut State Police Trooper First Class Rob Scavello at 860-848-6500

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police/Liz Dowling

Man Took Video Up Women's Skirts at South Windsor Target: Cops


Police have arrested an Ellington man accused of putting his cellphone in a shopping basket and using it to take video up women's skirts at a Target store in South Windsor.

Peter Krystofalski, 25, is facing voyeurism charges.

Police said they began investigating after receiving a complaint in July.

Security footage showed Krystofalski put his phone in a shopping basket and lower it while walking by women in the store on Buckland Hills Drive, according to police.

Police identified Krystofalski as the suspect and charged him Thursday with voyeuristic recording of another person and breach of peace after obtaining an arrest warrant.

He initially denied "the activity," but late confessed in an interview with police, officers said.

"What motivates these people to do these things?" said Vernon resident Tricia Willis. "That's my question. I don't understand how you would spend your time thinking about doing this to get pictures of random women's underwear?"

Police said they have no indication Krystofalski posted his videos on the Internet or that victims knew what he was allegedly doing.

He was released on a $20,000 surety bond and is due in Manchester Superior Court on Sept. 17.

It's not clear if Krystofalski has an attorney.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

2 Teens Charged in North Stonington Armed Robbery


Police have arrested two teenagers in connection with the armed robbery of a truck stop in North Stonington.

According to state police, Christopher Devin Hilber, 19, of Stonington, and a 17-year-old boy entered the American Auto Truck Stop at 273 Clark Falls Road the afternoon of July 15 armed with a gun and a knife.

They held up the store clerks and got away with more than $300 cash, according to police.

Police arrested the 17-year-old on Aug. 27 and arrested Hilber the next day.

The 17-year-old was charged with second-degree robbery and fifth-degree larceny. He was held on $350,000 bond ahead of a court appearance the day of his arrest.

Hilbert was charged with first-degree robbery and fifth-degree larceny. Bond was set at $550,000 prior to his court appearance Aug. 29.

It's not clear if Hilbert has an attorney.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fire Breaks Out at Abandoned Bridgeport Factory


Bridgeport fireboats are converging on the area of the Stratford Avenue Bridge, where an abandoned factory caught fire twice Friday, sending plumes of smoke up over Interstate 95.

Route 130/Stratford Avenue is closed in both directions between Kossuth and Water streets while crews battle the blaze, according to the Bridgeport Fire Department and state Department of Transportation.

Footage from the scene shows thick black smoke rising up in to the air. The smoke is visible from the highway.

Bridgeport fire officials said flames first ignited Friday morning and were quickly snuffed out. The fire rekindled later on and spread.

Crews are fighting the fire from outside the vacant building because the fire department does not feel safe to enter, according to officials at the scene.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Former CCSU Professor Charged With Sex Assault of Student


A former adjunct professor at Central Connecticut State University has been charged with sexually assaulting a student.

CCSU spokesman Mark McLaughlin said Daniel Gula resigned on Sept. 30, 2014 and was "not in good standing" with the university at the time. He said the alleged victim was a student at the university.

According to online court records, Gula was arrested Sept. 2 of this year in New Britain in connection with a sexual assault incident that occurred on Sept. 15, 2014.

Gula has been charged with third-degree sexual assault, first-degree unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct.

McLaughlin declined to comment on the charges, citing pending litigation. Online records indicate Gula was a member of the English department.

Gula's bond was set at $10,000, court records indicate. He's due back in court Sept. 23.

It's not clear if he has an attorney.

New London Police Investigate Untimely Death


A New London woman was found dead behind a New London commercial building a day before her birthday.

New London police responded to 36 Bank Street Friday morning after a concerned citizen found an unresponsive female, alerting others. They found a 26-year-old woman, identified as Emily Eshenfelder, 26, of New London. Medical personnel pronounced her dead at the scene. She would have turned 27 on Saturday.

New London police and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner are investigating her cause of death.

Police haven't said whether they believe there was foul play involved.

Police ask anyone with information on Eshenfelder's whereabouts late Thursday evening or early Friday morning to call New London police at 860-447-5269 or to leave an anonymous tip through the department's 411 system. Police are also asking anyone with video of the area where Eshenfelder was found to contact the police department's Investigative division.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Seymour Man Accused of Kidnapping, Sexually Assaulting Wife


Police have arrested a Seymour man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting his estranged wife, then trying to ram a police cruiser and leading officers on a wild chase last weekend.

Alan Gombos, 33, has been charged with second-degree kidnapping, first-degree unlawful restraint, first-degree strangulation, sexual assault of a spouse and second-degree assault.

Police said Gombos kidnapped his estranged wife during a fight early Saturday. Investigators headed to his home on Brookdale Road after a neighbor called around midnight to report hearing a woman scream for help.

According to police, Gombos tried to ram a police cruiser in his 2004 Ford F-150 pickup truck when they arrived in the neighborhood and tried to pull him over. Officers chased him onto Route 8 southbound and lost sight of the pickup near exit 14.

That evening, both Gombos and his wife showed up at the police department. Gombos was arrested on motor vehicle charges and released from custody.

Investigators then obtained a second arrest warrant charging Gombos with kidnapping his wife. They found him at a home in Shelton on Friday morning and took him into custody again.

Gombos posted $200,000 bond and is due in court Sept. 8. It's not clear if he has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Seymour Police Department

Dry, Very Warm and Comfortable Labor Day Weekend


Abnormally dry weather continues across Connecticut, and it’s not only impacting lawns but also local orchards.

A big ridge over the eastern United States means any major rain will stay away for days to come. In fact, not a drop of rain is expected this weekend!

Unlimited sunshine will be the story Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

High temperatures will start in the lower-80s Saturday but soar to near 90-degrees by Labor Day.

The 90-degree weather will stick around through Wednesday of next week.

At the shoreline, temperatures will be near 80 Saturday, in the lower-80s Sunday and in the middle-80s Monday.

Despite the increasing heat, the key to the forecast is that humidity will stay away!

The dry weather sticks around through Wednesday of next week, but then a dip in the jet stream finally arrives. That means the potential exists for a thunderstorm on either Thursday or Friday, and the humidity will be moderate by then.

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

11 Sets of Twins Start Kindergarten


Kindergarten teachers in one Long Island, New York, school district will have their work cut out for them this year trying to keep straight the names of the 11 sets of twins who are about to start school.

One set of identical twins, seven sets of twin brothers and sisters, two sets of fraternal brothers and one pair of fraternal sisters all began classes at the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center in Lynbrook on Wednesday, the school said.

It breaks a record seven sets of twins in the district set in 2011.

The twins all started school in different classes, said Principal Ellen Postman. They try to do that with every set of twins that come to the school so they can develop their own identities and make new friends.

"You see them hug each other goodbye when they get off the bus, then talk about their day when they get back together," she said.

At least one of the twins didn't seem to mind, telling NBC 4 New York crews he didn't miss his brother. Others, meanwhile miss their siblings. 

Postman said she's not sure why the school has so many sets of twins this year but added that it will be "exciting" to watch them grow up over the next 13 years.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Chipotle Linked to Norovirus


Health officials believe a food-borne illness that sickened dozens of customers at a Southern California Chipotle is Norovirus.

About 80 restaurant customers and 18 restaurant employees reported symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness after eating at the restaurant located at 1263 Simi Town Center Way in Simi Valley during the week of August 18, officials said in a press release Friday.

A joint investigation between the Ventura County Environmental Health Division (EHD) and the Ventura County Public Health Division found that seven of out of 18 specimen samples tested positive for Norovirus, a "very contagious virus."

After the reported food poisoning, the restaurant voluntarily closed, threw out all remaining food products and sent home a number of affected employees, officials said. Health officials also inspected the facility.

The EHD said employees who tested positive for the virus will remain off duty until they are cleared to return to work.

"Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States," said Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County Public Health Officer. A person can contract Norovirus from contaminated food or water, by touching contaminated surfaces or through affected people.

There have been no further reports of illness since the initial reports, according to health officials.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Police Respond to Crash on Route 8 North in Derby


Route 8 northbound was closed for hours Friday night near exit 17 in Derby following a crash on the highway, according to state police.

Police said two cars collided Friday night.

There has been no word on injuries.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Motorcycle Crash Closes Route 32 in Montville


Route 32/Norwich-New London Turnpike is closed in both directions in Montville while troopers investigate a serious motorcycle crash, according to state police.

Police said first responders were at the scene around 10 p.m. Friday.

The road is closed in the area of Cook Drive.

Few details are available, but police described the crash as serious.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Old Saybrook Lighthouse Sold to Owner of Hepburn Estate


The man who owns Katharine Hepburn's sprawling Old Saybrook estate has also purchased the nearby Breakwater Lighthouse.

Frank Sciame, chairman and CEO of a renowned builder serving New York City and the tristate area, bought the lighthouse from the U.S. Coast Guard for $290,000 as part of an online auction.

The lighthouse, built in 1886 on Long Island Sound, is listed on the National Register for Historic Places and is the first in Connecticut to be sold under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.

Sciame plans to renovate and restore the lighthouse for personal use.

"We are delighted to have participated and succeeded in the exciting auction process for this historic lighthouse. We look forward to working alongside Connecticut’s State Historic Preservation Office to carry out this restoration," Sciame said in a statement Friday. "Having purchased and renovated the former Katharine Hepburn property, I have been admiring this Lighthouse for more than 10 years. Once restored, it will be a quintessential accessory building to our family summer home"

Breakwater Lighthouse is walking distance to the 3.4-acre estate in Old Saybrook's Fenwich borough where Hepburn lived until her death in 2003. Sciame purchased the estate the following year.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth O'Brien-Deitz

LifeStar Responds to Bristol


LifeStar responded to Bristol on Friday night, according to dispatchers for the medical helicopter service.

Dispatchers for LifeStar said they believe the victim may have fallen, while police said it appears the patient was involved in a bicycle accident.

LifeStar landed on Route 6/Farmington Avenue, but police said the accident happened "on the other side of town." The exact location is unclear.

Police said the scene is clear and no road closures are in place.

There has been no word on the person's condition.

Tom Brady Thanks Supporters


It's been a long, tumultuous offseason for Tom Brady.

After the Patriots won the Super Bowl, the quarterback was suspended four games for his accused role in the deflation of footballs during the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

He appealed the decision, sparking a summer-long battle inside and outside of the federal courtroom where Judge Richard Berman ultimately overturned the suspension.

Friday, Brady took to Facebook to thank his supporters and express his excitement to begin the regular season.

"The regular season starts tomorrow morning and I can't wait to fully commit my energy and emotion to focus on the challenges of the 2015 NFL season," Brady wrote. "I want to thank my family, my friends, all of the fans, past and current players and my teammates for the support they have given me throughout this challenging experience. I also want to thank Judge Berman and his staff for their efforts to resolve this matter over the past five weeks. I am very grateful."

Although his tone was mostly celebratory, Brady reflected on the black mark that has been Deflategate.

"While I am pleased to be eligible to play, I am sorry our league had to endure this," he wrote. "I don't think it has been good for our sport - to a large degree, we have all lost."

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Photo Credit: AP
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