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Drug Dealing Couple Hid Knife Under Baby: Cops


A Danielson couple charged with operating a drug factory kept a 14-inch butcher knife under the pillow of a sleeping 4-month-old baby, according to state police.

State police troopers executed two search and seizure warrants at an apartment at 10 Prospect Avenue around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. During the search, police found 87 ecstasy tablets packaged for sale.

Police also found the 4-month-old child sleeping in a bedroom. When police checked under the baby's pillow, they found the large butcher's knife, authorities said.

Troopers arrested Ashly McFarline, 24, and 25-year-old Pedro Galindez. Both were charged with possession of ecstasy, possession of ecstasy with intent to sell, operating a drug factory and risk of injury to a minor. McFarline and Galindez were held on $25,000 bond each and are scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

The Department of Children and Families has taken custody of the baby.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

WARNING: Graphic Images: Deputy Shooting Dash-Cam


WARNING: Graphic Images: Montague Sheriff Paul Cunningham released dash camera video of an attack on deputy James Boyd during a traffic stop on March 21.

Church Youth Group Leader Charged With Child Porn Possession


A youth group leader from a Plainville church man will be in court today to enter a plea on possession of child pornography charges.

Bristol police have charged Jonathan Spann, 28, of Bristol, after finding more than 500 images and 13 videos of child pornography on his computer, police said.

Spann appeared in court on May 9 to face an illegal possession of child pornography charge and was ordered to have no contact with anyone under the age of 16. He is also prohibited from using a computer. 

Police started investigating in February 2012 after a special agent from the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Hartford called local police about a local IP address accessing a child pornography Web site, according to an arrest warrant application.

When police seized Spann’s computer, they recovered around 3,000 images of child porn from “unallocated space” on hard drives, indicating that the files had been deleted, according to police.

Police returned to Spann’s home in December 2012 for more evidence and Spann admitted that he was responsible for downloading and possessing child pornography on the computers that were seized and said he wanted to take responsibility, according to court documents.

Spann told police that he downloaded thousands of images and videos depicting child porn over a period of seven years, especially pornography of young boys with adult men, according to court documents.

“Information has come forward since then that he was involved in a youth group in his church in Plainville,” Lt. Donn Watson, of the Bristol Police Department, said.

Spann is affiliated with New Life Fellowship, a nondenominational church in Plainville. His current role with the church is unclear. NBC Connecticut has contacted the church, but has not received a call back.

Spann expressed remorse and told police that he often becomes disgusted with his behavior, so he rarely saves the images, and hopes to get help for his problem. 

According to court documents, Spann’s wife told police that she recalled one concerning incident about four years earlier when she found an inappropriate cell phone photo of a young boy, spoke with her husband about it, they worked through their issues and she was unaware of any further incidents.

Police said Spann turned himself in to Bristol Police because of an outstanding warrant for his arrest on April 22. He was released on $20,000 bond.

On May 9, he walked out of Bristol Superior Court, holding his wife's hand and had no comment on the case.


Photo Credit: Bristol, Connecticut Police

Police Learn How to Process Bombing Scenes


It takes highly specialized and trained officers to investigate crimes of terror like the Boston Marathon Bombings.

This week the FBI conducted a week-long training academy in Preston, Connecticut on the campus of the former Norwich State Hospital.

The demonstrations were set up in a large yard outside the former hospital. More than a dozen loud explosions reverbed, one by one, as the instructor explained the chemical ingredients and makeup of each.

From a large tire sent flying in the air, to an uncooked chicken blown to pieces by explosives, each demonstration aimed to show different impacts of bombs at crime scenes.

Chief Thomas Casey is the fire chief and marshal of the Preston Fire Department.

“In the world that we live in today, it’s helpful to learn how to process the scenes,” said Casey. “How to investigate a blast when it does, God forbid, occur.”

Casey and his team were responsible for making sure the demonstrations, which used pounds of black powder and liquids like nitromethane and helix, were executed safely. One of the explosions vibrated the scene so much it set off the security alarm of a car in a distant parking lot.

Some firefighters in Chief Casey’s unit have also completed this rigorous training and instruction – lessons that go far beyond every day crime scene analysis. In fact, students are required to do more than simply investigate post-blast crime scenes. They must also reach probable cause for an arrest or search warrant that would potentially lead to a prosecution. Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s office assist in making sure that students’ conclusions are applicable in real judicial settings.

Many of the participants have previously been certified through this training program, but the FBI encourages officers to take a refresher course every few years to sharpen their skills and become familiar with new technology. In all, 62 officers from Connecticut State and local police, the Transportation Security Administration, Federal Protective Service, and other agencies attended.

Preston, Connecticut sits almost 100 miles from Boston. Chief Casey feels this annual training exercise was just as relevant before the marathon bombings as it is after.

“It was significant during Boston, before Boston, after Boston, and it will [continue to] be for our lifetimes anyway,” he said.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Company to Investigate Deadly Maryland Garage Collapse


A contracting company in charge of renovating a garage that was the site of a deadly accident Thursday will conduct an investigation into the incident.

A 50,000-pound section of the Westfield Montgomery Mall's garage collapsed just before 2 p.m., killing one construction worker with Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

The mall's garage, near Macy's and the food court, was under renovation. Only construction workers were inside during the accident.

The second worker was trapped for more than four hours before being hospitalized with serious injuries. He gave News4's David Culver a thumbs-up as he was being transported.

Several other construction workers suffered minor injuries.

Emergency medical personnel from the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore responded to the scene, as did as many as 100 other emergency responders.

Maryland's Go-Team, an advanced resuscitation team from Shock Trauma that can respond to seriously injured patients and those that face extrication that may last an hour or more, was called to the scene as well.

One woman who had parked close to the parking garage told News4's Tom Sherwood that she had gotten into her car and was driving away when she heard a "loud crash."

There was no structural damage to the mall. But one section of the mall was closed, and entrances near the parking garage were taped off. 

Westlake Drive and Democracy Boulevard is closed to traffic at this time.

The collapse happened on the first level of the multi-story garage, Segraves reported. There was no immediate information as to the cause of the crash.

The Westfield Montgomery Mall opened its doors in March 1968. It originally featured a Hecht’s, Garfinckel’s, Sears and 58 smaller shops. The mall, located on Democracy Boulevard near  I-270 and I-495, is the largest in the Bethesda area.

In 2007, The Montgomery County Planning Board approved plans to add 360,000 feet of retail space to the 1.2 million-square-foot mall.

There are plans underway to construct a 16-screen, 60,000 square foot ArcLight Cinema above the parking garage on the west side of the mall that was projected to open in spring 2014. Redevelopment plans also include a new and expanded dining terrace.

This renovation project closed the food court parking garage, which is expected to reopen in fall 2013.

Representatives with the Westfield Mall released the following statement Thursday evening:

"As has been reported, earlier today a construction-related accident occurred at Westfield Montgomery. The accident occurred in a parking deck that was closed for redevelopment. Unfortunately, the accident resulted in serious injuries to what is believed to be two victims, including one fatality. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies go out to the victims and their families.

Emergency responders continue to operate on site, Westfield is working closely with these authorities and is grateful for their rapid and comprehensive response. Responders and investigators are working in and around the closed and quarantined parking structure."

Mila Mimica, Mark Segraves, Tom Sherwood, David Culver and Joshua Axelrod contributed to this report.


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Five Charged in Home Invasion and Jewelry Store Heist


Federal officials have charged five people in connection with the Meriden home invasion and $4 million heist from a jewelry store in Fairfield in April.  

Police said several men entered an apartment on Gravel Street in Meriden on April 11 and bound and gagged two men inside their home with electrical tape.

While the intruders were in the middle of the home invasion, two of the victims’ friends arrived at the home and the intruders tied them up as well, according to officials.

The men drove the original two victims to Lenox Jewelers, the jewelry store they own in Fairfield, and stole more than $4 million in jewelry from the store safe, then fled, police said.

The entire robbery happened in five minutes, according to officials.

When the victims heard the robbers leave, they were able to free themselves and call 911, police said.

One minute later, the victims who were being held in Meriden were released, according to police.

Police believe multiple firearms were used in the crimes but none of the victims were seriously injured.

Fairfield Detectives said they have been working closely with Meriden Police and consulting with the FBI to determine if this robbery has any similarities to other robberies in the northeast.

Five people have been charged by federal criminal complaint, according to the U.SA. Attorney’s Office of the District of Connecticut.

Jeffrey Houston and Christopher Gay were charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery and use of a firearm during an act of violence. They have been detained and probable cause hearings will be held on June 13 unless a grand jury issues an indictment.

Officials said Houston was arrested in Allentown. Both are represented by attorneys.


Photo Credit: DoingItLocal

House Approves Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants


After a heated debate that extended through the night, members of the Connecticut House of Representatives have approved a proposal that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, register their vehicles and get insurance.

The debate on the bill to allow licenses regardless of citizenship or immigration status started around 10 p.m. and stretched for more than seven hours, ending with a 74-55 vote.

Supporters said the legislation would create millions of dollars in state revenue and make the roads safer.

“There is a stark contrast here,” Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey said. “There are 54,000 untrained, unlicensed, and uninsured drivers on our roads. We believe we should deal with this reality now, while those opposed  simply want another study. ”

Opponents said more research should have been done on the bill.

State Rep. Themis Klarides called the process the bill came through the state Legislature "irresponsible" and "disappointing."

“Without a study or any effort to thoroughly vet this concept, we can only speculate the impact this bill will have on homeland security, public safety, insurance policy holders and insurance companies. Perhaps even more troubling is that we have no plan to allocate the financial and staff resources needed for the DMV to manage the colossal influx of demand that will cripple their day-to-day operations,” she said in a statement.

“Connecticut would be the only state on the east coast to allow such a program, making the state a magnet for illegal immigrants who bring with them a host of increased costs to state government,” State Rep. David Scribner said in a statement.

Now the debate goes to the state Senate and is not expected to come up until next week, according to a Senate Democratic aide.

Mayor John DeStefano Jr., an outspoken advocate for immigration reform, took on the issue seven years ago by offering undocumented immigrants resident identification cards and released a statement in support of the legislation.

"Like the municipal ID, granting immigrants driver licenses regardless of immigration status is good policy.  Drivers’ licenses will reduce the number of uninsured motorists on the road and will establish training and testing standards to ensure driver safety.  Moreover, like the Elm City ID, drivers’ licenses can help connect immigrants with banking services to help reduce street crime, increase the reporting of crime and help to create a sense of community identity,” DeStefano said in a statement.

More than 10,000 cards have been issued since the program's inception and the ID cards have gone a long way in strengthening relationships between residents and the city’s police department, DeStefano said in March.


Photo Credit: Vernon Ogrodnek / Press of AC

Storms Bring Flooding


Heavy rain, lightning and winds of up to 60 miles per hour have been moving through the state from the west and flooding is reported in Danbury.

Police said there is flooding on several streets, including Main Street at Wooster Street,  West Street by Benedict Street and Morgan Avenue at Beaver Brook Road in Danbury.

A flash flood warning has been issued for Hartford County and central Tollan County until 6:15 p.m.

One is in effect for Litchfield County. until 7:15 p.m., while flood advisories have been issued for Fairfield and New Haven counties until 6:15 p.m.

Other warnings have expired.

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for New Haven County and Fairfield County and expired before 3 p.m.

In Waterbury, the storms brought several trees down on Hamilton Avenue and in the area of Edgewood Avenue and Sylvan Avenue, according to police.  The city had minor flooding in the area of Watertown Avenue and Robbins Street, police said.

As crews deal with weather-related calls, firefighters responded to a report of a house on Roxbury Road being struck by lightning this afternoon, but said there was no incident.

Keep track of the storms through the interactive radar.

If you take weather photos, send them to photos@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Researchers Found No High Cancer Rate at Pratt & Whitney Plant


Former workers at Pratt & Whitney, and their families were in disbelief  Thursday night after a new study released said the company is not to blame for hundreds of workers diagnosed with brain cancer.

Tammy Denesha says she has a hard time believing it.  She and dozens of others heard the results of the brain cancer study at the Pratt & Whitney Jet Manufacturing plant in Connecticut.

“I can’t trust something that's funded by the people who might have started the problem and might have a stake in what the outcome is,” Denesha said.

The results showed employees were not at risk of getting brain cancer at the workplace.  Tammy Denesha strongly questioned that. 

Her father was a mechanic there in the late 1960’s and was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. “I thought we would have more warning, but six months ago all the sudden he has 6-12 months to live out of the blue it's very upsetting,” Denesha said.

Pratt & Whitney paid $12,000,000 for the research that started 12 years ago at the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Illinois. 

Researchers took data from nearly a quarter million workers from 1952-2001.  Roughly 700 were diagnosed with brain tumors, and more than 200 were cancerous.  “It seems like it's bigger than a coincidence,” Denesha explained.

The first two phases of the study were inconclusive.  The final phase was just completed and researchers said the chemicals workers were exposed to at Pratt & Whitney did not contribute to their health problems. 

“They had ample opportunity to receive exposures in occupations before working here. Some of them left at an early age to continue working in other places,” said Gary Marsh, with the University of Pittsburgh. 

Marsh's explanation is one that Tammy Denesah said she couldn't accept.

“I see it first hand, he worked at Pratt &Whitney for several years in the late 60s, early 70s. OSHA wasn't what it is now,” she said.

A spokesperson with Pratt & Whitney told NBC Connecticut the company would not look into this issue any further.  He said there was full confidence in the results, because the State Department of Health oversaw the investigation.


Convicted Rapist Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison


The man convicted of raping a jogger in West Hartford was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Thursday.

In October 2010, Eddie Monroig-Rosario attacked the female jogger in the front yard of a home on Fern Street. Monroig-Rosario was charged with first-degree sexual assault, unlawful restraint and second-degree strangulation.

As part of a plea deal, a judge handed down the 18-year sentence and also sentenced Monroig-Rosario to seven years of special probation when he is released.

In December, Monroig-Rosario was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a string of burglaries and his 18-year sentence on the sexual assault charges will be served at the same time.

The victim told the judge the sexual assault sentence essentially amounts to only three extra years behind bars.

"It's a slap on his wrist and a slap on my face," the victim said.

The judge and prosecutors told the victim the 18 years actually amounts to an additional 10 years more than when Monroig-Rosario could be released on parole for the burglaries.

Monroig-Rosario will also have to register as a sex offender when he is released from prison.


Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

Hartford Building in Danger of Collapsing


Six families have been forced to evacuate on Putnam Street because their building in Hartford was in danger of collapsing Thursday.

"We have been informed that an imminent building collapse will occur at 26-28 Putnam Street," said Maribel La Luz, spokesperson for Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, in a statement.

Many of the families lost just about everything they own.

"We only had 15 minutes to evacuate," said resident Alex Rodriguez. With the multi-family apartment building in danger of collapsing, many residents had to wonder what they could carry out.

"Clothes, that's it. Nothing else but clothes," Rodriguez said.

Janice Com stock lived on the second floor, just above the crumbling, brick wall on the side of building. She says a building inspector knocked on her door and told her to evacuate immediately.

"I just hung around here in hopes I can get my medication and some clothing," said Janice. All she had left is what she can push down the street, but takes comfort knowing Janice had to give up several of her cats.

A city building official says its taken years for the brick wall to protrude and grow 8 inches and they need to act fast.

"If that bulge actually ruptures it's going to take out the whole side of the building, so the imminent threat is there," he said.

The building will be demolished Friday morning.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Crash Scene on I-84 Waterbury Clear


Traffic was congested on Interstate-84 Westbound in Waterbury after car and a dump truck collided this morning.

One injury was reported.

The traffic has since cleared. 

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation Cameras

Cicadas Surprise Reporter


Cicadas have emerged from the ground in North Branford, Connecticut. One family found them in their backyard and our reporter gets a close-up look at the critters.

Norwich Teen Reported Missing


Police have issued a Silver Alert for a missing 17-year-old Norwich girl.

Kalyn Dae Jones was last seen on Briar Hill Road in Norwich around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, according to police.

She was wearing black yoga pants and a T-shirt. She was carrying her laptop and cell phone, police said.

Kalyn has brown hair with blonde streaks and blue eyes. She is 5-feet-5 and weighs 125 pounds.

Anyone with information on Kalyn’s whereabouts is asked to call Norwich police at (860)886-5561.

Photo Credit: Silver Alert

Oklahoma Pets Rescued


Many animals orphaned by this week's storms in Oklahoma are bound for PAWS Chicago, where they'll be nurtured back to good health and put in the agency's adoption network.

Thieves Targeting Houses During Funerals


Over the past few months, residents of Glastonbury and the Marlborough area have returned from wakes and funerals of family members to find that burglars struck while they were paying their final respects.

It appears that thieves have been going through obituaries and targeting mourning residents when they know people will be out of their homes.
This type of burglary is not a regular occurrence, according to a Facebook post from Glastonbury police, but there have been two reports of this type of burglary in town and two others in nearby towns.

Now police are warning residents so they can guard homes against burglars.

“These events are normally publicized and it is easy to conclude the home will be vacant,” police said in the post. “We ask that you consider alerting your neighbors during the times when you will be away for such events and to have neighbors contact the police if there appears to be any suspicious activity.”

Thieves, referred to as “obituary burglars” have struck in other states, and this is not the first time such burglaries have happened in Connecticut.

Earlier this year, Christopher Teneyck was sentenced in connection with a string of this type of burglary in Branford and North Branford.

Some funeral homes have advised residents to have someone housesit while at a wake or funeral, according to NBC News.

"The best thing they can do is have someone stay back at home, especially if it’s the deceased’s home or a close relative. Have someone stay at the house just as a precaution," Kathe Dupuis, president of the Buckingham Cemetery Association, said. "Because it is in the paper, what the calling hours are, when the funeral is."

Rollover Crash in Glastonbury


An ambulance transported people from the scene of a fiery rollover crash on Route 17 in Glastonbury this morning.

At 9:35 a.m., police received the call about a crash on Route 17 eastbound at exit 8.

Four cars were involved, police said. One vehicle rolled over and was on fire.

No information was immediately available on the extent of the injuries.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford Police Investigate School Cell Phone Incident


Hartford police are investigating an incident at West Middle Elementary School and said it involves juveniles and cell phone video evidence.

Little information is available, but police said the Special Investigation Division is investigating and detectives have been in contact with school administrators as well as the Connecticut States Attorney’s Office.

Police said they are not aware of the video being published to any public Web site or through social media.

West Middle Elementary is a Pre-Kindergarten through grade 5 school on Asylum Avenue.

No additional information was immediately available.

NTSB: Engineer Saw “Unusual Condition” Before Crash


The Bridgeport train crash and derailment on May 17 happened in the area where maintenance work was done in April and an engineer told investigators he saw “an unusual condition on the track” moments before the crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB team investigating the Metro-North train crash left Bridgeport on Thursday and will be analyzing photos, video, data, reports and records, and other evidence.

Inspection reports revealed that Metro-North personnel in April repaired a joint bar, used to join two sections of rail together, the month before the crash, according to NTSB.

Investigators removed sections of rail in the area of the derailment and shipped them to the NTSB materials laboratory in Washington for further examination.

Investigators said the eastbound train derailed and stopped.

The westbound train struck it about 20 seconds later, after the engineer applied the emergency brakes, according to investigators.

The engineer of the eastbound train NTSB investigators he saw what he described as an unusual condition on the track as he approached the Interstate 95 overpass and that the train came to a stop before being struck by the westbound train.


Stamford Police Officers Investigated for Alleged Misconduct


Two Stamford police officers are under investigation for possible misconduct, according to the mayor’s office.

 “I am extremely troubled by the serious nature of these allegations but remind everyone that it is imperative that the investigative process be completed before rushing to judgment,” Mayor Michael Pavia said in a statement.

He said the investigation is active and the State’s Attorney’s office has been involved from the very beginning, according to the mayor’s office.

“I expect nothing short of full cooperation from those involved,” Pavia’s statement said. “This conduct, if true, will not be tolerated and is not reflective of the fine men and women of our Police Department.”


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