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Man Allegedly Exposed Himself at Denny's


A Hartford man was served an arrest warrant for allegedly exposing himself at a Southington Denny's almost seven years ago, police said. 

Jose Luis Rodriguez, 45, was taken into custody by Hartford Police over the weekend. 

In Jun. 2009, a Denny's waitress said when she served Rodriguez, he was exposed and touching himself, Southington Police said. 

The waitress ran from th booth and Rodriguez fled the restaurant without paying his bill, police allege. 

Rodriguez sometimes goes by the alias Guillermo Hernandez. 

The warrant charges Rodriguez with public indecency, second degree breach of peace and sixth degree larceny. His bail was set at $5,000 and he is expected to appear in court on Apr. 4. 

Photo Credit: Southington Police

Father of Baby Who Died With Alcohol in System Sentenced


The father of a 5-month-old baby boy who died with a blood alcohol content of .04 will spend a year in prison after a conviction on a risk of injury charge. 

Police arrested Jorge E. Chiclana, of Bridgeport, in May 2015, just over a year after his son's death.

Police began investigating on May 16, 2014 after first responders were dispatched to an apartment on Ely Avenue in Norwalk because a baby had stopped breathing.

Emergency personnel tried to revive the infant and brought him to Norwalk Hospital, but the baby couldn't be saved.

On Aug. 18, 2014, the office of the chief medical examiner revealed to police that the baby had alcohol in his liver tissue and urine. Police followed up with the child's parents and sent the bottle to a state lab for testing, according to the warrant. Those tests showed the bottle in 5-month-old Jacob Isaiah Chiclana's crib contained 25 percent alcohol, enough to make a 50-proof cocktail.

Police again questioned Jacob's mother, who first said she didn't remember who had prepared the child's bottle that day and insisted she did not keep alcohol in the house.

She later told police Chiclana had prepared the bottle, according to court documents, and that he was not happy about the attention she had been giving the child.

She went on to say the baby was teething and Chiclana had joked about giving Jacob alcohol to help him sleep.

The autopsy report found alcohol in the baby's blood, liver, gastric contents and urine and said Jacob likely died because he was asthmatic and had been placed face-down in the crib. According to the report, Jacob's breathing was likely affected because the alcohol depressed his nervous system.

Chiclana was originally charged with with second-degree manslaughter and injuring and impairing the morals of children. He was convicted of risk of injury to a child and sentenced to five years in prison, suspended after one year, and five years of probation.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department

'I Will Kill You': Cop Accused of Threatening Ex


 A Bridgeport cop is accused of threatening his ex girlfriend and displaying his gun during an argument, according to a police incident report. 

Over the weekend, Officer Jose Sepulveda, 52, was charged with first degree threatening, first degree criminal mischief and second degree breach of peace.

According to an incident report, the victim, Sepulveda's former girlfriend, approached the officer near the Bridgeport police headquarters at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday. The report said the victim was upset that Sepulveda was seeing a new woman. 

When Sepulveda was approached, he took out his firearm and held it towards the ground by his side. 

"I will kill you and your kids," the victim told police Sepulveda said to her during their argument. 

 After the incident, Sepulveda allegedly followed the victim towards Main Street and the two began to argue in a parking lot. The victim told police the officer pushed her shoulder while she sat in her car and left the scene.

The victim said she followed Sepulveda and the two continued to argue somewhere on Frenchtown Road. The officer allegedly punched the victim's windshield and broke it, according to police. 

Sepulveda voluntarily turned himself in to Bridgeport Police. 

NBC Connecticut has reached out to Sepulveda's attorney. 

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police

Man Robbed Ansonia Shell Station at Gunpoint


A man robbed a Shell gas station in Ansonia at gunpoint early Tuesday morning and police are looking into whether the same person robbed the XpressMart in town.

Officers responded to Smith’s Shell, at 8 Great Hill Road, around 1 a.m. after a man robbed the store and stole around $200.

The robber, who might have been in late teens, had a large gray gun and was wearing a gray hoodie, black pants and white sneakers, police said. He ran north out of the parking lot and toward the Dunkin Donuts in the Tri-town Plaza.

Ansonia and Seymour officers responded, but didn’t find anyone in the area.

Police said no one was injured during the robbery. They are working on obtaining video footage and will release photos when they become available.

A man with a similar description also robbed a Shell gas station at 696 Main St.

Anyone with information should call Ansonia Police at 203-735-1885.

Photo Credit: Ansonia Police
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CT GOP Treasurer Resigns Amid Child Endangerment Allegations


The state GOP treasurer has resigned after being accused of child endangerment earlier this month. 

Gary Schaffrick, 52, is accused of allegedly taking a bath with a child while both were naked, according to court documents. The Connecticut official handed in his resignation on Monday.

Earlier this month, Schaffrick was arrested and faces charges for impairing the morals of a minor.

Schaffrick would babysit a child about every other night, court documents said. During this time, Schaffrick would get in the bathtub and have the child he was looking after sit on his lap while the two of them were naked, the affadavit said. 

After the bath, the child and Schaffrick would sleep in the former treasurer's bed together. When the child wanted to sleep in a different bed in the home, the victim told police Schaffrick would give them candy so they could sleep in a bed together, the affadavit said. 

The victim's parents because suspicious of Schaffrick in Jan. after he made several comments about "bath time" while smiling during a small party.

After an investigation began, Schaffrick went to the Bristol Police station and told police he would never touch "that kid."

Photo Credit: Bristol Police

Belgian Minister: Don't Blame Attacks on Intel Failures


Belgian emergency management officials have again revised the death toll in last week's bombings in Brussels – this time lower – as Belgium's justice minister defended the government's terror laws, NBC News reported.

Belgium's crisis center said Tuesday the number of victims is back down to 32, including four Americans, after it was discovered some victims were counted more than once. The figure does not include three suicide bombers identified by prosecutors. Reports on Monday had said the death toll was up to 35 people killed by the bombers.

Investigators are still looking for at least one suspect – identified as a "man in white" seen in airport surveillance – in the March 22 attacks.

Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens on Tuesday took particular issue with criticism that the small European nation remains a soft target and its security services are ill-equipped to deal with extremist networks: "We cannot say that enormous and systematic mistakes were made."

Photo Credit: AP
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Man Climbs Scaffolding, Steals From High-Security Courthouse


A man climbed the scaffolding of a high-security courthouse and stole a TV over the weekend, a U.S. Marshal told NBC Connecticut. 

At least one person broke into the high-security federal courthouse in New Haven and entered through the second floor window. 

The person ended up in a gym used by employees but is separate from the courthouse itself, the U.S. Marshal said. The room is dived by a secure door. 

A TV that was mounted to the wall was taken. 

There was no other information provided.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Bicyclist Sent to Hospital After Accident With Car in New Haven


A bicyclist in New Haven was sent to the hospital after an accident with a car. 

Temple Street between Elm Street and Chapel Street are currently shut down to all traffic as police investigate what they said is a collision between a vehicle and a bicyclist. 

The severity of the bicyclists injuries is unknown. Witnesses said the person was taken to the hospital by ambulance. 

Police confirmed that the person riding the bike was hit by a vehicle but it is not known who the driver is. 

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Yorkie Killed by Unknown Dog in Owner's Backyard


Southington Animal control needs the public's help searching for a dog that mauled a Yorkie and may be on the loose in town.

Edward and Katherine Hayes said they are heartbroken over the loss of their nearly 2-year-old dog, Simon.

Edward Hayes said he took Simon out in his back yard on Deer Run around noon Monday and a large black dog came into his unfenced yard.

The unknown dog attacked and killed Simon.

“He had him in his mouth and was shaking him (for) a couple minutes maybe? Before he let him go,” Hayes said.

Hayes said he had to separate the animals and the dog who attacked Simon fled.
The dog is described as possibly a Labrador/boxer mix, weighing about 100 lbs., black with tan streaks.

“It’d be very dangerous if this dog is on the loose and no one knows who’s dog it is or where it’s from,” said neighbor Paul Zissis.

Neighbors said they are also concerned the dog may attack one of the many children living in the neighborhood.

The dog has not been identified by animal control.
Call the Southington Dog Pound/Animal Control at 860-628-8053 if you have information.

Photo Credit: Hayes Family

Illinois' Kirk Meets With Garland


Sen. Mark Kirk became the first Republican senator to meet with President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland Tuesday afternoon in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Details remain scarce about the meeting between Kirk and Garland, which lasted just under a half hour. Prior to the meeting, Kirk addressed the press in his D.C. office.

The senator said he was leading by example by meeting with Garland, but also noted he hadn’t lobbied for other Republican senators to meet with the nominee. Kirk also said he would consider voting for Garland if the opportunity presented itself, NBC News' Alex Moe reports.

“We need open-minded, rational, responsible people to… make sure the process works,” Kirk told reporters in his Senate office prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

A group of senators, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is looking to stifle Obama’s appointment by not holding confirmation hearings for the Chicago native.

Kirk tweeted a photo with Garland Tuesday captioned with a message to fellow Republican lawmakers.

“As the first #GOP Senator to meet with #MerrickGarland, I urge my colleagues in the #Senate to do the same,” Kirk wrote.

Earlier this month, Kirk called on fellow Republican legislators to “man up and cast a vote” on Garland. Two other Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Jerry Moran of Kansas, have also called for a hearing for Garland in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We should go through the process the Constitution has already laid out,” Kirk said. “The president has already laid out a nominee who is from Chicagoland and for me, I’m open to see him, to talk to him, and ask him his views on the Constitution.”

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, the Democratic nominee in the race for Kirk’s Senate seat, addressed the meeting in a statement provided to Ward Room.

"Senator Kirk seems to expect extra credit for doing the bare minimum- in this case his job,” Duckworth spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement. “While it’s nice that he’s meeting with Judge Garland, Kirk’s cynicism was revealed when he told a conservative talk radio host that he didn’t expect Mitch McConnell to allow the nomination to proceed, and he’s done absolutely nothing in the meantime that would make McConnell feel the least bit inconvenienced for his obstruction.”

"Instead of going through the motions, Senator Kirk should show leadership by putting pressure on McConnell and urge him to give an eminently qualified Illinois native a fair hearing followed by an up-or-down vote,” McGrath added.

In that release, McGrath alluded to statements Kirk made earlier this month on the Big john Howell Show.

“I think that given Mitch’s view, I don’t see his view changing too much,” Kirk said. “You know, eventually, we’ll have an election and we will have a new President. The new President will obviously come forward with a nomination. And that’s all for the politics of a new time.”

A vacancy on the country's highest court was left after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in February.

Photo Credit: Mark Kirk

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1st Selectman Planned to Kill Wife, Self: Police


The First Selectman of Bozrah was upset about a difficult divorce and sent letters to family members, saying he had planned to kill his wife and himself, but a visit from the couple’s daughter kept him from carrying out the murder-suicide, according to a warrant for his arrest.

State police arrested Glenn Pianka, 59, of Bozrah, last week and charged him with threatening, second-degree harassment and breach of peace.

According to the arrest warrant, Pianka’s wife contacted police on March 3 and said the couple was going through a turbulent divorce and he’d sent her some correspondence that concerned her.

While the notes were vague, the concerning comments included, “over our dead bodies,” “Maybe a little jail time would do me some good,” I promise to make lives as miserable as mine is becoming … locks, court orders etc. will be useless,” and “This is my life and I am prepared to die defending the work of my life,” according to the arrest warrant application.

On March 18, police said they learned of a disturbing letter Pianka sent to his wife and other family members.

It said he’d had many sleepless nights since being served divorce paperwork and was depressed. It went on to say he had gone to the couple’s home in Lebanon, where he retrieved a loaded pistol and took it back to their Bozrah home, where he sat and waited for his wife to come home because he planned to shoot her and then himself, according to the arrest warrant application.

The only thing that stopped him was that the couple’s daughter came home “at the right time” and “saved them from a tragedy,” the court paperwork says.

According to the arrest warrant, Pianka is a retired state police sergeant and has three pistols registered to him.

Police arrested him on March 23 and he hasn’t entered a plea, according to online court records.

No attorney is listed for him and Pianka was not at town hall when NBC Connecticut went to the building for comment.

He is due back in court on April 20.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Spot the International Space Station Tonight


The International Space Station will pass over Connecticut for three minutes this evening.

Weather conditions should permit viewing the station, though there will be thin, high clouds overhead.

The clouds will be at about 17,000 feet above ground, but they should be thin enough to see through.

The small, fast-moving bright light will appear just above the southwest horizon and quickly rise to a max height of 76 degrees.

The appearance will last three minutes, from 8:56 p.m. to 8:59 p.m.

It will disappear high in the southern sky.

Most sightings of the ISS are lower in the sky, so tonight, be prepared to look very high in the sky.

Massive Shark School in Florida


A school of at least 50 sharks was seen congregating around Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday morning.

While shark schools are not uncommon in South Florida, sightings so close to shore often prompt beach closures.

Researchers at the Nova Southeastern University Guy Harvey Research Institute, however, say migrating sharks are not a threat to humans.

Another giant school of sharks was spotted off the Florida coast last April.

Photo Credit: WTVJ

Committee to Vote on Sale of UConn West Hartford Campus, Discuss Plan to Close Torrington Campus


The Academic Affairs Committee of UConn’s Board of Trustees is meeting today and will be discussing a proposal to close the Torrington campus, and will also vote on selling the land and buildings on the West Hartford campus, which will relocate to downtown Hartford.

The West Hartford campus is moving to Hartford in Fall 2017 and UConn is negotiating with potential buyers, including Weiming Educational Group, a private buyer offering more than $12 million to turn the 58-acre property into international high school.

The town of West Hartford also has the right to match that amount and buy the property for the town.
UConn plans to move to the former Hartford Times Building and is looking for upgrade part of the Hartford Public Library and share space there for the university’s library and collections.

The committee will also watch a presentation on the plan to close the Torrington campus, but they will not make a decision.

Eighty-eight full-time students attend the Torrington campus and the proposal to close the school is in response to the state plans to cuts millions of dollars from the university's budget.

Torrington residents argue that’s because UConn has transferred classes and professors to other campuses and Torrington mayor Elinor Carbone met with UConn and asked the university to keep an open line of communication.

“We feel that the university has systematically reduced resources to the campus. This is a course of action that appears to be designed to set the stage for the failure of the campus since its earlier attempt 1983 to close it,” she said.

Residents say the closing the campus will have a ripple effect on business in the northwest corner of the state and they feel more options should be explored to partner with other entities to keep it open.
However, UConn officials argue that they have tried through advertising to increase enrollment and it’s been unsuccessful.

“Waterbury is a half an hour away and we believe that we can make the transition a smooth one for our students and do what is in the best interest of our students,” Sally Reis, vice provost for academic affairs, said.

The board will not make a final decision on closing the Torrington campus until its next meeting on April 27. If approved, the campus would close in May after final exams.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Fire Displaces 13 in Waterbury


More than a dozen people have been displaced after fire gutted the top floor of a house on Willow Street in Waterbury.

The fire started around 4 a.m. and officials from the fire department said three adults and seven children who live in a second floor apartment and three other residents have been displaced.

All the residents were able to get out of the house on their own and were not hurt.

The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Minneapolis Cops Won't Be Charged in Fatal Shooting


Two white police officers involved in the deadly shooting of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis last fall will not be charge, NBC News reported.

Prosecutors on Wednesday announced the decision not to criminally charge officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze in connection with death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark. It comes after weeks of racial tensions in which protesters camped for 18 days outside a police precinct and clashed with officers.

Clark was shot in the head during what police said was an early-morning struggle with officers during a domestic dispute between Clark and his girlfriend.

Members of the community had said Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, although the local police union disputed the claim and said Clark was going after one of the officer's guns.

Photo Credit: Kenya McKnight

7-Year-Old Helps Save Dad


A 7-year-old girl in Silver Spring, Maryland, is being hailed as a hero after she called 911 when her father collapsed in their apartment.

JoJo Viloria had a diabetic seizure last month and fell to the floor unconscious. His daughter, Jenna, found him and tried to wake him but could not. 

Viloria said at a ceremony to honor her Wednesday at Montgomery County Department of Fire and Rescue Services headquarters that her mother taught her how to respond to emergencies when she was just 3 years old. 

"She told me first two things that were important -- the address and the number," she said. "That was really scared to me, but I did it by myself."

In a critical moment for her father, she used what she learned: 

Dispatcher: “How old are you, honey?”
Viloria: “I’m 7 years old.”
Dispatcher: “OK. Is your mommy or daddy there?”
Viloria: “My dad is on the floor, and he’s on the ground sleeping.”
Dispatcher: “OK, is there anyone else there with you?”
Viloria: “No, it’s only me. My mom is at work, and my grandpa’s at work.”

Dispatcher Amanda Poore sent paramedics and instructed Viloria on how to count her father's breaths. 

"I went ahead and went for it. I knew she was smart and she could do it," Poore said. 

A member of an EMS crew gave JoJo Viloria a glucose shot and revived him.

Viloria was happy her father was awake, but she was concerned when her mother came home.

"I said, 'Are you mad that I called the 911?'" Viloria said. "And then she said, 'No, I am not mad. I'm very proud of you.'"

Viloria is a model for how children can help in the event of an emergency, Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said. 

"Jenna is a poster child for doing everything right when faced with the challenge and stress of a potential life-threatening crisis," he said.

JoJo Viloria said he thanks his daughter daily for helping him.

"I told her, give me a hug and thank you for saving my life. Every day, every night," he said. 

Photo Credit: NBC Washington

Hospice Owner Told Worker to 'Make Patient Go Bye-Bye': FBI


The owner of a North Texas medical company regularly directed nurses to give hospice patients overdoses of drugs such as morphine to speed up their deaths and maximize profits, an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit for a search warrant obtained by NBC 5.

Brad Harris, 34, an accountant, founded Novus Health Care Services, Inc. in July 2012, state records show. The company, located on Dallas Parkway in Frisco, offers hospice and home health-care services, according to its website.

Harris instructed a nurse to administer overdoses to three patients and directed another employee to increase a patient's medication to four times the maximum allowed, the FBI said. He allegedly sent text messages like, "You need to make this patient go bye-bye."

In the first case, the employee refused to follow Harris' alleged instructions, according to the FBI affidavit. The document does not say whether the other three patients were actually harmed.

Harris also told other health-care executives over a lunch meeting that he wanted to "find patients who would die within 24 hours," and made comments like, "if this f----- would just die," an FBI agent wrote in the warrant.

No charges have been filed against Novus or Harris, who did not return NBC5’s messages left with a receptionist and at his Frisco home.

Health-care providers do not necessarily make more money on longer hospice stays because hospices are subject to an "aggregator cap," which limits Medicare and Medicaid payments based on the yearly average hospice stay, according to the FBI. If patients live too long, the provider can be forced to return part of their payments to the government.

"Hence, hospice providers have an incentive to enroll patients whose hospice stays will be short relative to the cap," an agent wrote in the affidavit.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the investigation. The agency first began investigating Novus in October 2014 over allegations the company had recruited patients “who did not qualify for services” and billed the government for services that were not medically necessary, according to the affidavit.

An FBI agent investigating the case said he was working with investigators from the Department of Health and Human Services' Inspector General's office. 

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Facebook

Navy Picks EB for New Subs


As part of the Navy’s new submarine construction plan announced on Monday, General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton was selected as the main contractor to design and deliver a new class of ballistic-missile submarines.

Primary construction will begin in 2021 on a dozen submarines to replace the Ohio class and the Navy expects Electric Boat to complete the lead ship by 2027.

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Congressman Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut Second District) toured a Virginia class attack submarine and Electric Boat’s shipyard on Tuesday afternoon.

“There will be a lot riding on the work that goes on at this shipyard over the next several years that is just fundamental to our country’s security,” Thornberry said.

Once complete, the dozen Ohio replacement submarines will carry about 70 percent of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, Thornberry said.

“The one area where we are still clearly superior is underwater,” Thornberry said, “but other countries are working that area too, so it’s not something we can take for granted.”

Not only does Electric Boat’s shipyard fall in Rep. Courtney’s district, he’s also the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces. “It just really underscores the fact that EB’s role as the prime contractor in that program is just the ultimate validation of the great work that the men and women who come to work here are doing every single day,” Courtney said.

Building the new state of the art submarines provides a boost to the region’s economy. Electric Boat’s president projects the company’s workforce will grow from 14,000 to 18,000 by 2020.

“This is not just sort of wishful thinking,” Courtney said, “this is having a tangible effect in terms of the Department of Labor’s most recent numbers in terms of New London County.”

Recently, EB hired 95 new employees and made 140 offers at a job fair, Courtney added.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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