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Crews Responding to Brush Fire in New Milford

7 Iranians Charged With Cyber Attacks on US Banks, Dam


The U.S. Justice Department announced seven Iranian computer experts linked to the government in Tehran were charged with hacking American banks and a dam in New York.

Forty-six major financial institutions, including Bank of America and Capital One, were targeted from 2011 to 2013, stopping hundreds of thousands of customers from accessing their accounts and costing the businesses millions of dollars, the feds charged.

The hackers allegedly also broke into the control system for Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye Brook, about 20 miles north of New York City, the indictment says.

FBI Director James Comey, speaking at a joint press conference Thursday morning with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, said the cyberattacks are proof there "is no place safe in this increasingly smaller world."

Photo Credit: Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

State Police Searching for Person After Incident at Traffic Stop on 395


Police are searching for someone who fled after an incident at a traffic stop on Interstate 395 in Thompson this morning.

State police said a state trooper tried to stop someone on I-395, near exit 99 or the new exit 50, in Thompson. After that, some kind of incident ensued and the person took off, police said.

Police said there is an active search with police dogs in the woods in the area of Wilsonville Road, near exit 53.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Pets OK After Fire at Wethersfield Apartment Complex


Firefighters battled a fire that caused significant damage at the Village at Wethersfield Apartments in Wethersfield this morning and a cat that was missing made it out OK.

The fire was reported at 73 Village Lane, one of the streets within the complex, and no injuries are reported.

One of the residents was able to escape with his dog, Leonard, but was worried about his cat, Howard. By afternoon, Howard appeared and was reunited with the family.

Officials said both animals are OK and Howard is being rehabbed.   

Part of the Berlin Turnpike was shut down as firefighters battled the blaze.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Brussels Attacks Won't Inspire US Copycats: FBI Director


FBI Director James Comey says the agency has found no connection between the terrorists responsible for the Brussels attacks and anyone in the United States, according to NBC News.

Comey said the FBI looks for signs of copycat attacks whenever terrorists strike overseas, with agents looking for any kind of connections, including family relationships and communications, with people in the U.S.

"When people see images of innocent men, women, and children being slaughtered around the world, I hope that will reinforce the notion that the Islamic State, so-called, is not engaged in some heroic, romantic battle on the side of good, but instead they'll see it as a bunch of savages occupying a space that's hell on earth right now."  

Photo Credit: AP

Police Issue Warning After Man Poses as Norwalk Blight Officer


Police are issuing a warning to residents after a man claiming to be a city of Norwalk blight officer approached a resident of South Norwalk and asked for access to the resident’s house.

The resident refused to allow the man in and he left, police said.

In the wake of this, police are asking residents to be aware of potential distraction-type scams.
Norwalk Police Department.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Stop Trump Efforts Ramp Up in Wisc. Ahead of Primary


Anti-Trump groups are ramping up their efforts to stop the GOP front-runner’s candidacy as Wisconsin gears up for its primary race, NBC News reports.

Two conservative anti-Trump groups have announced plans to engage in the state. Club for Growth has invested $8 million worth of television ads, while Our Principles PAC has plans, but hasn’t announced anything specific.

Conservative radio host Erick Erickson said there’s a feeling Cruz could stop Trump from winning a majority of the delegates. If Cruz does not perform well in Wisconsin, Erickson said, discussions about a third party option could be revived quickly.

With a majority of states having voted, each opportunity becomes more important for the anti-Trump movement.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images

If Dogs Diddn't Find Homes by Saturday, They'd Be Put Down


The animal shelter in Hartford that was at capacity has until Saturday to get all pups adopted before they would be euthanized and people came forward to help clear the shelter. 

"It's ridiculous," animal control officer Sherry Degenova said on Thursday. "We literally have no room down here. We're completely full."

Hartford's animal shelter was hoping to find homes for more than two dozen dogs. 

Employees are usually off on Good Friday. but Degenova said she would be at animal control to help "save a life."

"If we don't find homes for these dogs, they're gonna be euthanized," Degenova said. "It's something we don't want to do."

Degenova said most of the dogs are pit bulls or pit bull mixes which are breeds that generally have a "bad reputation."

She said prospective owners can rely on her recommendations that is based on 17 years of experience.

One dog that found a home in Farmington was on the leash of his owner, who was back for more.

"It's like he knows he was rescued. He's so appreciative. There's absolutely no problem. We're here looking to rescue another dog," said Jack Shepherd.

Adopters can look the dogs over online at Hartford Animal Shelter's Facebook page then make an appointment at the shelter.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Malloy Defends Bond Commission Approvals, Criticizes Republicans


The state's bond commission approved more than $700 million in projects ranging from schools to infrastructure projects.

But the focus of the meeting quickly turned to politics during a press conference with Gov. Dannel Malloy challenged Republicans who rail against bonding projects that total billions each year, but then applaud and celebrate finished projects in their districts.

“I routinely have Republicans show up at ribbon cutting for things that they never supported," Malloy told a group of reporters following the 40 minute meeting.

"They all show up to put the shovels in the ground so if they really mean this they shouldn’t vote for these things in the bond meetings and they shouldn’t show up for the ribbon cuttings.”

Republicans responded by challenging some of the claims of the Malloy administration when it comes to school construction projects. They argue the Rell administration, a Republican, used bonding more often for schools than Malloy has.

Sen. Rob Kane, (R - Waterford), said Thursday that the governor has used the bonding commission with more regularity for other projects than previous administrations.

“No one is asking to increase our bond amounts the way this governor has over the last six years," Sen. Kane said. "He’s gone way above the normal policies we’ve seen over the years.”

Kane said the state should be selling debt to finance vital capital improvements in communities around the state that depend on such projects.

“I think you can justify core functions of government: public safety, education, infrastructure, public health, but beyond that, if it’s playscapes, and street lights, and sidewalks, we shouldn’t be doing it. So if we’re going to reduce spending, we should reduce our bonding as well.”

The governor was also asked whether committing to billions worth of a future obligations was responsible or spending mixed messages during a time of budget turmoil, he asked of investing, "If not now, when?"

He said with interests where they are, he's trying to make up where previous administrations didn't commitments.

Without bond commitments to housing, infrastructure, and school projects, the governor argues that landmark accomplishments would be fantasy.

“We would not have been the first state to be recognized for ending chronic homelessness among veterans if we didn’t build more housing. We wouldn’t be the second state to end homelessness among veterans if we hadn’t made those investments.”

Photo Credit: AP

3 Dead in Wisc. After Spring Storm Hits Midwest


Three people died in Wisconsin after a powerful storm reached the northern Midwest Thursday, NBC News reported.

A van spun out of control on an icy interstate northeast of Milwaukee Thursday morning. The vehicle slid across the median into oncoming traffic, colliding into an 18-wheeler. The van's driver and a passenger were killed.

Another driver, a 23-year-old man, died Thursday afternoon in the same county in a two-car crash. The other driver, a 71-year-old woman, suffered minor injuries.

Three Michigan counties were hit by snow, ice and wind, knocking out power to hundreds of homes, according to The Associated Press. In Colorado, transportation officials helped nearly 200 people who were stuck on on interstate.

Clusters of storms were expected in Alabama and in the Florida panhandle, according to Weather Channel meteorologist Dave Houtz.  

Photo Credit: AP

Homeowner Busted in Tunnel Case


Augustin Enrique Cruz, also known as "Tinky," the owner of a house hiding a secret, cross-border tunnel found in the Southern Californian desert, has been arrested, authorities announced. 

The 416-yard tunnel starts at a hole in the living room of a 3-bedroom, 2-bath home in Calexico, California, 120 miles east of San Diego, and runs across the border and into the kitchen of a restaurant in Mexicali, Mexico, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said at a news conference Wednesday.

The house is the first in California to be built for the sole purpose of hiding the exit to a tunnel used for transporting drugs, Duffy said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations agents took Cruz into custody Thursday in Tucson, Arizona. He has been charged with narcotics trafficking, money laundering and tunnel-related crimes. 

About 100 federal, state and local law enforcement officials found the tunnel inside the home at 902 E. Third St. Wednesday. A hole in the floor – covered with tile – leads to a shaft, descending underground. The tunnel is the 12th large-scale operational drug smuggling tunnel discovered along the border since 2006, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Southern California. 

“We repeatedly see cartels trying to build these tunnels, they spend years doing it, they spend millions of dollars doing it, to create their own private underworld of secret passageways to move drugs unchecked into this country,” Duffy said. “But for the builders, for the financiers, for the operators of these passageways, there’s no light at the end of these tunnels.”

Authorities seized more than 1,350 pounds of marijuana smuggled through the tunnel, following the lengthy, multi-agency investigation. The drugs were worth more than $6 million in street value. 

Officials claim Cruz traveled back and forth between Arizona and Calexico from November to December 2015, looking for the right property to serve as the exit point for the tunnel. It was not immediately clear if Cruz had an attorney. 

The U.S. Attorney's office alleges Cruz and co-conspirators hired local contractors to build the home. Cruz's boss allegedly instructed the contractor to leave a space in the foundation when pouring concrete for what they said would be a "safe."  

The U.S. Attorney's office also alleges Cruz arranged for the purchase of multiple vehicles that were used to transport marijuana. 

Once construction on the $86,000 house was finished in December, Cruz allegedly rented a "walk-behind saw and concrete blade" from a local El Centro business, Duffy said, presumably to create the tunnel exit. Investigators said they believe the traffickers began using the tunnel on or after Feb. 28, 2016, based on intercepted calls, Duffy said. 

While serving a search warrant at the tunnel home Wednesday, authorities also served two additional search warrants. Officials served a warrant at a so-called "stash house" two miles away, at 1056 Horizon St. The drugs were then taken to a warehouse at 260 Avenida Campillo, Suite A, Duffy said, where they were stored before being moved north.

Four people have been arrested in connection with the tunnel.

A mother and daughter were arrested in Arizona on Tuesday, along with two additional people Wednesday in Calexico. All were charged with drug trafficking, money laundering and tunnel-related charges.

Joel Duarte Medina was arrested in the Horizon Street house in Calexico and Manuel Gallegos Jiminez was arrested inside the tunnel residence. Marcia Manuela Duarte-Medina and her mother, Eva Duarte De Medina, were charged in Arizona with multiple charges, including conspiracy to import drugs. Court documents detail how Eva helped move vehicles loaded with drugs between the tunnel home and the stash location. It was not immediately clear if they had attorneys.

Officials said several years ago, they discovered a secret drug tunnel at the residence next door to the Third Street home, though it was not complete. That residence is now empty.

The recent finding marks the first complete tunnel to be discovered in the area in a decade, as the soil composition makes the land difficult to dig through. The residential neighborhood makes it more difficult to hide smuggling activity, Duffy said. 

More than 75 cross-border tunnels designed to smuggle drugs have been discovered along the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years, mostly in California and Arizona. In California, most tunnels tend to be in the Otay Mesa region, where warehouses hide typical drug smuggling activities. 

Dozens of tunnels designed to smuggle drugs have been found along the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years, mostly in the Otay Mesa region. Some have been equipped with hydraulic lifts and electric rail cars.

Mexico's Sinaloa cartel has long controlled drug trafficking along the border in California's Imperial Valley, which offers easy freeway access to Los Angeles and Phoenix.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Adults Involved in New Britain High School Fight Appear in Court


Three adults involved in a brawl outside New Britain High School Wednesday faced a judge.
Anthony Gutierrez, Brunilda Merced, and Brenda Alvarado were arraigned by a New Britain Superior Court judge.

Gutierrez is the uncle of two of the students involved in the fight. Merced is their grandmother. Alvarado is the students' mother.

They were three of the 11 people arrested when students were being dismissed Wednesday.
Court documents released Thursday said the fight started as a verbal altercation during dismissal time and escalated quickly.

School Resource Officers tried to diffuse the situation…. when 3 adults related to students involved in the fight allegedly charged the officer.

A mother of one of the students was tased in the incident after court documents say the officer asked them to back up, but did not follow the command and continued walked towards the officer.

Police say Gutierrez was observed swinging a knife back and forth at a crowd of students. One student appeared to have an injury consistent with a knife cut.

The fight was caught on cell phone video shot by a witness.

NBC Connecticut spoke to family members off camera about why the fight started. They said Alvarado's kids were being bullied and students wanted to fight them. They tell us her kids called to alert her of the situation.

The family said Gutierrez, Alvarado and Merced were defending the students being bullied.

There was also extra security at New Britain High School Thursday.

Gutierrez is being held on the $250,000 bond. Merced is being held onto $75,000 bond. Alvarado was held onto $75,000 bond but posted bond Thursday evening.

All three adults are scheduled back in court April 14.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Iraqi Refugee Family Resettles in Shoreline Town


 An Iraqi family is adjusting to life on the Connecticut shoreline.

“It's gratifying that so many in the community have jumped on board," said Betsy Hyde, a member of the First Congregational Church in Branford.

Members of Hyde’s church, along with others from the First Baptist Church and St. Mary Church, joined together to give three Iraqi refugees a new life in the United States.

"The family we have is a mother in her 30s, who is the mother of set of twins, a boy and girl, and today is their fifth birthday," said Bill Hall, a member of Branford’s Refugee Welcoming Committee.

The family from Baghdad arrived Tuesday night after a 13 hour flight from Jordan.

“It is an incredibly brave thing to do,” Hall said, “we don't know her background in detail yet because part of what IRIS tells us is just recounting it can be very traumatic for the mother."

IRIS is the Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, an organization in New Haven that matched the Iraqi family with the Branford Refugee Welcoming Committee.

“I wish more communities, more churches, more synagogues, more mosques would get involved with them," Hyde said.

The biggest challenges were overcoming the language barrier and finding affordable housing, Hyde and Hall said.

"We were very lucky in that a member of our congregation gave us, rented us an apartment at less than market rate," Hyde said.

The committee found a husband and wife from the First Congregational Church who speak Arabic, so they have become the family’s translators.

Both Hyde and Hall say this country should continue welcoming refugees fleeing violence and persecution.

"This is a holy week for Christianity and it's amazing how that dovetailed with the arrival of our family here in Branford," Hall said.

Wedding Band Found in Putnam Walmart


Did you lose your wedding band recently? You may be in luck.

Police are looking for the owner of a wedding band found at Walmart in Putnam. 

A 14k gold wedding band with the incription "PMN to NRL 2-10-53" was found on Thursday. 

A shopper found the ring and turned it over to state police.

If anyone can decipher the date and initials or knows of someone missing a wedding band please contact Sgt. Ericson at Troop D at 860-779-4913.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Police Respond to 3 Different Car Accidents, 1 Rollover, in Hamden


Hamden police responded to three different accidents on Thursday night, including one rollover crash.

Dispatch said police addressed three different crashes: one at 715 Tuttle, one at Dixwell and Church, and the rollover on Pine Rock Ave.

Minor injuries were reported for the accidents on Tuttle and Dixwell but no injuries reported for the rollover crash on Pine Rock Ave. 

There were no other details at this time.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police

Uptick in Warm Weather, Car Break-Ins


Car break-ins are a frustration across the state right now.

There’s also concern the problem could become worse with warmer weather.

Police reported the crime taking place recently in Canton, Columbia, Fairfield, Litchfield, Milford, and Windsor Locks.

In Milford, the crooks were captured on camera.

Three or four males in their teens or early 20’s struck at least 24 cars, grabbing whatever they could out of the unlocked cars.

In Litchfield, police say 100 drivers left their cars unlocked and someone took advantage of the mistake.

And in Fairfield, police say the suspects mostly roamed neighborhoods.

Police say thieves usually swipe valuables such as smartphones, small electronics, credit cards, cash, and sunglasses.

So how can you protect yourself?

Canton police posted advice on Facebook:
1. Lock your car, even in your driveway
2. Don’t leave tempting belongings
3. Take spare keys inside
4. If you have a garage door opener, make sure it’s out of sight

“I try to always have my doors locked and my windows locked because you never know,” says Ana Rios of Hartford.

Police say the busiest time for crooks is when you’re usually asleep.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

7 Detained in Raids Linked to Brussels Attacks


Seven people were detained in raids around Belgium linked to the Brussels terror attacks, officials said Friday, NBC News reported. The raids came as French officials said an operation in the northwest suburbs of Paris thwarted a potential attack. 

Meanwhile, a fifth suspect in the Brussels bombings was named in media reports Friday which described him as "armed and very dangerous." Naim al-Hamed, 28, is a Syrian on a list of suspects circulated to security services in other European countries after Tuesday's attack, Belgian newspaper De Morgen and news site DH reported citing police. NBC News was unable to immediately confirm the reports.

Al-Hamed is thought to have been involved in the Nov. 13 massacres in Paris.

His name was listed alongside the four other suspects: Mohamed Abrini, Najim Laachraoui and brothers Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui, according to the reports. Sources have told NBC News that suspected Paris attacks bomb-maker Laachraoui also died at the airport — but Belgian authorities have not officially commented on that.

Photo Credit: AP

Viral Video of Incredible Jump


A 10-second, slow-motion video of a teenager from Florida's Hialeah, leaping over a tall fence while wearing a Superman shirt, recently got more than one million views online. The video was so incredible, NBC 6 decided to go find out if it was truly authentic. 

Our search brought us to Champagnat Catholic School in Hialeah. Braithe Ferguson, 17, is the jumper. He plays basketball at Champagnat.

The fence from the video measured out to 5-feet, 11-inches tall. Ferguson said he had just finished basketball practice when his friends offered up a challenge, "They know I can jump, so they dared me to jump over it."

"Everybody doubted him," said Thierry Lafortune, the Champagnat senior who shot the viral video on his phone.

Without any hesitation, Ferguson easily jumped over the fence.

"It was crazy," Lafortune said. And yet, after Ferguson pulled off the high-flying feat, he wasn't surprised at all.

"I know I (could) do it because I jump way higher than that," he said.

But what he didn't know is that the video, after getting posted on Twitter, would quickly go viral, "It was on Bleacher Report, World Star, ESPN."

Ferguson said his record jump is close to 6-feet, 6-inches. He was so confident about his skills, he didn't even flinch when NBC'6 Adam Kuperstein asked him to do it again, on the spot. This time, in front of TV cameras, teachers, coaches and even his principal, he jumped the fence with even more room to spare.

Ferguson is hoping all the attention will help him land a college scholarship, and he doesn't mind what it's for. He'd be happy to play basketball, football or even compete in track-and-field, which would be quite a feat in itself, considered he's never officially participated in the high jump.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com

Man Arrested After Aiming Car at Officer and Fleeing Twice in 1 Day: Police


Bristol police have arrested a man they said tried to run over one police officer and led officers on a chase twice in one day.

The first incident began around 10:45 a.m. on Thursday when officers responded to 26 Birchwood Drive to investigate a suspicious person and vehicle and found a 2014 Hyundai with New York marker plates.

As they approached the driver, Michael Lowery, 34, of Bristol, he put his hand on the gear shift and began speeding up, police said, and the officer was forced to jump out of the way to avoid being seriously injured.

Lowery then sped into Farmington and officers lost sight of the car.

Police then applied for an arrest warrant and it was approved, police said.

Later in the evening, police saw Lowery driving in the area of 1299 Stafford Ave. and tried to stop him, but he fled again.

Police said Lowery was driving fast and recklessly as he fled, but he then parked the car and tried to run away.

Police were able to take Lowery into custody in the area of Farmington Avenue and Collins Road.

Police arrested him at 11:08 p.m. and Lowery was charged with criminal attempt at assault on a police officer, criminal attempt at assault in the second degree, reckless driving and disobeying order of a police officer. Bond for these charges was set at $50,000.

He was also charged with reckless driving and engaging police in pursuit. Bond for these charges was set at $15,000.

Police said no officers were injured in wither incident.

Photo Credit: Bristol Police

DPH Investigates E.Coli Outbreak Potentially Linked to Farm


Connecticut's Department of Public Health is investigating an outbreak of E. coli and whether it is linked to a goat farm in Lebanon.

Officials said seven people have been infected with E. coli and at least two of them were children. Six of the seven patients have a direct link to Oak Leaf Dairy in Lebanon, the DPH said.

The patients' ages ranged from 2 to 25 years old, according to the DPH.

“Most people recover, but this can be a fatal illness,” Dr. Matthew Cartter, director of infectious diseases at DPH said. “That’s why we are very concerned about those who have been hospitalized.”

Connecticut Children's Medical Center said two patients have been diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which attacks the body's kidneys and is associated with the E. coli infection.

“If it goes unrecognized and untreated, you may have very severe renal failure and very severe blood abnormalities,” Dr. Nicholas Bennett, Medical Director of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at Connecticut Childrens Medical Center said.

HUS is a severe, life-threatening complication that occurs in about 10 percent of those infected to E. coli and can lead to kidney failure and issues with blood clotting. E. coli is generally spread through contaminated food or beverages, or exposure to animals carrying the bacteria. Typical symptoms can include abdominal cramping, watery diarrhea, frequently bloody, vomiting, and a low-grade fever. Symptoms usually resolve over several days, according the the DPH.

As a precaution, the farm is currently not permitting the public to visit its animals, the DPH said. The agency said they are bringing experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to help investigate the outbreak.

“It’s really important to get the word out to those who visited the farm. They had several events earlier in March where people were allowed to pet the goats. We think that’s important in this case,” Cartter said.

The DPH is asking anyone who visited Oak Leaf Dairy to contact them.

NBC Connecticut has reached out to Oak Leaf Dairy for comment. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Ikon Images
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