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Police Use 'Record Producer' Ploy to Nab Burglary Suspect


Glastonbury police arrested a burglary suspect by convincing him to meet with a 'record producer' in town.

Zoe Dowdell, 19, was wanted for several car burglaries in the area in May, according to police.

Dowdell allegedly stole credit cards from vehicles and used them at multiple stores in the Hartford area, police said.

Officers knew Dowdell was an aspiring rapper, and contacted him to ask him to meet with a 'record producer,' which he agreed to do, police said.

When Dowdell arrived for the meeting, he found police waiting for him and they took him into custody.

Dowdell is charged with third-degree burglary, credit card theft, illegal use of a credit card and larceny.

Dow Falls 100 Points After Release of Trump Jr. Emails


Moments after Donald Trump Jr. tweeted four pages of a email exchange about a meeting with a Russian attorney Tuesday the Dow fell 100 points, CNBC reported. 

Donald Trump Jr. set up a meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya to acquire information on the Hillary Clinton campaign days after President Donald Trump was nominated as a candidate for the Republican party. 

The email exchange was with music publicist Rob Goldstone show that Trump Jr. was told the Russian government had information to "incriminate" Hillary Clinton.

In a statement Tuesday, Trump Jr. said he posted the emails "to be totally transparent."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Trump Jr. Meeting Raises Question: Is Collusion a Crime?


As details of the meeting with a Russian lawyer and top members of the Trump campaign emerge, a talking point among some right-wing pundits has been that collusion, in and of itself, would not be a crime.

Some experts disagree, arguing that assistance by the Russian government to the Trump campaign could amount to an illegal campaign contribution by a foreign principal, NBC News reported.

But even if the lawyer was somehow representing Russia, and even if she passed on national security information, it would be difficult to see a prosecutable case, legal practitioners say.

"I just don't see an easy crime to prove here," said Amy Jeffress, a former top Justice Department national security lawyer in the Obama administration. "Collusion is wrong, but I'm not sure it's a crime."

Other legal experts — who tend to be professors, not practitioners — have argued that collusion itself could run afoul of some anti-corruption statutes.

Still, some say it may be more likely that crimes could have been committed in covering up alleged collusion.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Connecticut Police Attend Funeral for Fallen NYPD Officer


Dozens of Connecticut law enforcement officers, including 25 state troopers, traveled to New York Tuesday for funeral services of a fallen NYPD officer.

Miosotis Familia, 48, was killed last week when a gunman walked up to the RV-like command post she was sitting in and shot her in the head.

Familia had a 20-year-old daughter and 12-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. She was also caring for her 86-year-old mother.

“No matter what agency you work for, we’re all brothers and sisters. Today we are here to show our respects for a fallen family member,” said Lt. Eric Peck, a Connecticut State Police trooper who attended the funeral.

Peck said Familia’s death reminds police just how dangerous their jobs can be. “It’s a very dangerous business. I’ve been doing this for a long time, a lot of us have been doing this for a long time. Sometimes we take our safety for granted. But it’s definitely a solemn reminder,” Peck said.

Familia’s commanding officer said she was a true asset to the department, a beautiful person inside and out who always had a smile on her face.

Familia began her career as a police officer in 2005 in the Bronx precinct where she was killed.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY

Ex-USA Gymnastics Doctor Pleads Guilty to Child Porn


The gymnastics doctor at the center of the sport's recent sexual abuse scandal pleaded guilty to child pornography charges Tuesday after striking a deal that has outraged some of his accusers, NBC News reported.

The agreement, which still needs to be accepted by a judge, would mean Larry Nassar does not face federal criminal charges that he molested Olympic and national team gymnasts anywhere outside of Michigan as Team USA's doctor for two decades, though the charges of Michigan-based crimes would still be tried.

Nassar could also have his possible prison sentence for the pornography charges reduced by as much as 38 years. An attorney for some of the elite athletes whose cases will not be prosecuted said, "My clients feel betrayed." 

After a flood of complaints against Nassar that began last summer, federal agents seized hard drives in his home and office that contained tens of thousands of images of child pornography. In court, he admitted to downloading and possessing these and then destroying the evidence.

Photo Credit: Michigan Attorney General's Office via AP, File

$60K Worth of Equipment Stolen From Oakdale Theatre


Wallingford police have arrested a man accused of stealing $60,000 worth of audio equipment from the Oakdale Theatre.

Anthony Amato, 45, of Hamden, was arrested Monday.

Police began an investigation in March after four audio loud speaker processors were stolen from the theater on South Turnpike road. The processors were valued at about $12,000, police said.

The investigation led to Amato, a contracted union employee who works at events at the Oakdale. Police said Amato had been stealing several pieces of equipment over a number of months and selling them.

In all, police said the equipment was worth approximately $60,000.

Amato is charged with first-degree larceny by ongoing scheme. He was released on $15,000 bond and is scheduled to be in Meriden Superior Court on July 24.

Photo Credit: Wallingford Police

Teen Accused of Stabbing Ex-Girlfriend in Stratford


A New York man is charged with attempted murder after police said he stabbed his ex-girlfriend in Stratford on Monday night.

Nelson Santiago, 19, of Brooklyn, New York attacked his former girlfriend outside a home on Dewey Street around 11:20 p.m. on Monday, according to police.

He stabbed the woman several times before running from the scene, police said.

An officer spotted Santiago a short distance from the scene and arrested him after a foot chase.

In addition to attempted murder, Santiago also faces charges of breach of peace and interfering with an officer. He was held on $1 million bond.

The victim was treated at Bridgeport Hospital and is in stable condition, police said.

Photo Credit: Stratford Police

Coffee Drinkers Seem to Live Longer, According to Researchers


Go ahead and order that second cup.

Studies have found that people who frequently enjoy a cup of joe could live longer lives, according to researchers at the University of Southern California.

"We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association," said Veronica W. Setiawan, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and lead author of a new study, which will be published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and respiratory and kidney disease for African Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos and whites, according to the study that used data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study.

"Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention," Setiawan said. "Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this 'elixir effect,' it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle."

Don't do caffeine? The study still stands regardless of whether you enjoy regular or decaffeinated coffee.

People who drink one cup daily were 12 percent less likely to die from these diseases. People who drink up to three cups a day had an 18 percent lower risk of death.

A separate study of more than 520,000 healthy people in 10 European countries, meanwhile, also found coffee drinkers were associated with lower risk for death, specifically from digestive and circulatory diseases, the "Today" show reported. That study was also published in Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday. 

But an editorial in the journal cautioned "it’s 'premature' to recommend that people drink coffee to live longer or prevent disease," the "Today" show reported.

Coffee drinkers could have other things in common that factor into their health.

The editorial instead notes at a takeaway that moderate daily coffee intake "is not associated with adverse health effects in adults and can be incorporated into a healthy diet." 

The Multiethnic Cohort Study, which a team from USC conducted in collaboration with the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, is an ongoing study that proclaims itself as the most ethnically diverse study that examines lifestyle risk factors that may lead to cancer. It has more than 215,000 participants.

The study is important because "lifestyle patterns and disease risks can vary substantially across racial and ethnic backgrounds, and findings in one group may not necessarily apply to others."

But it's safe to say the association applies to other groups, Setiawan said, since it was seen in four different ethnicities.

"If you like to drink coffee, drink up!" Setiawan said.

Suspect Fired Gun During Domestic Dispute: Willimantic PD


A man faces charges after firing a gun off during a domestic dispute in Willimantic, according to police.

Police said that on Tuesday around 10:53 a.m. they were called to a home on Peru Street for a reported dispute and possible gunfire.

Witnesses told police they saw two males arguing with each other and one of them, later identified as 42-year-old William Maldonado, showed a gun and fired it off before fleeing the scene.

No one was hurt during the incident, but during a check of the area officers found a young female and an infant inside the home.

Police said an arrest warrant for Maldonado is being prepared. Maldonado is already on parole for a 2011 armed robbery in Willimantic.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on Maldonado’s whereabouts is asked to contact Willimantic police at 860-465-3141.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

NYC Toddler Siblings Were Beaten to Death: Officials


The toddler siblings who died hours after being put to bed in their Bronx home Sunday night appear to have been beaten to death, the New York City medical examiner says. 

Olivia Gee, 2, and her 3-year-old brother Micha Gee, both died of blunt impact injuries to the torso, the medical examiner's office said Tuesday. 

Both children had histories of asthma and 911 was called after they allegedly had trouble breathing, but that condition apparently did not cause their deaths, the medical examiner's report indicates. Both deaths were ruled homicides.

No arrests have been made, though police earlier described an active investigation into the toddlers' deaths. 

Authorities have said the siblings' 31-year-old mother and her boyfriend had put the two to bed in the same room of their Van Cortlandt Park South home around 8:30 p.m. Sunday. The boyfriend woke up around 1 a.m. Monday and went to check on the kids, noticed they had breathing difficulty and called 911, according to the initial police report. 

Both kids were unresponsive when officers arrived; they were pronounced dead at a hospital. 

Olivia and her brother Micha had histories of asthma, and police said Monday it wasn't clear if they were looking at that as a possible factor in their deaths, though that was before the autopsy was completed. 

The boyfriend was interviewed by police and released, according to a law enforcement source. He has asked for a lawyer. 

Detectives hadn't been able to talk to the kids' mother, though, who was so distraught she had to be hospitalized, the source said. 

The siblings lived in an apartment at Amalgamated Houses, a tight-knit co-op community, according to people who live there. The children's grandmother works as director of education for the co-op and has lived there 25 years, building manager Charles Zsebedics told NBC 4 New York. He said Monday the children were "angelic and happy," and that "anyone that sees them knows they are well taken care of." 

Learning on Tuesday the children had been killed, he said, "We're as shocked now as we were yesterday, this is the unthinkable. Our worst fears were realized, we couldn't imagine this is something that could actually happen. We are very, very sorry for the entire family." 

Photo Credit: Facebook

Crews Battling Junk Yard Fire in Milford


Crews are battling a fire at a junk yard at South Washington Street and Bridgeport Avenue in Milford.

The fire is at the Milford Auto Recycling Co. on South Washington Street. Fire officials said no injuries have been reported.

Thick black smoke can be seen in the area. Multiple crews are responding to contain the blaze.

Milford police warn drivers that traffic on Boston Post Road near Bridgeport Avenue is extremely heavy due to the fire response. Drivers should seek alternate routes if possible.

NBC Connecticut has a crew on scene will provide updates as they come into the newsroom.

Photo Credit: Contributed Photo

Lawmakers Remain Divided on State Budget


Eleven days into the new fiscal year and Connecticut lawmakers still have not agreed on a budget.

On Tuesday lawmakers provided an update. House Republican leaders stood their ground, saying no sales tax increases and demanding their budget be put on the floor for a vote when they meet next week.

The House minority leader continued to press on getting more from the unions, but Governor Dannel Malloy has said it’s unrealistic and that the deal that has been negotiated – which was being voted on by union members Tuesday -is as good as it gets.

House Republicans say they want significant structural changes. Among some of the proposals – they want pension changes for current non-union employees, a three-year wage freeze for state employees, and a 10 percent reduction in the state work force.

“Our caucus is ready, willing and able to sit down and have those conversations. But tax increases - I don't know how else to say it - are not going to get us there. They got us to a $5.1 billion deficit,” said minority leader Rep. Themis Klarides (R- Derby, Orange, Woodbridge).

“Part of budget process is evaluating things. and maybe accepting some things you don’t like to retain the things you do like,” said Speaker of the House Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D- Berlin, Southington).

The House Speaker said in response to the Republican’s budget that he’s interested in going through their proposals. He said he expects a budget to pass by the end of the month – but Republicans are less optimistic.

The House is expected to head back into session to vote on the Democrats’ budget next week.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Seek Suspects in Brooklyn Walmart Theft


The Brooklyn Resident Trooper’s Office and Connecticut State Police are trying to identify three suspects accused of stealing televisions from Walmart.

Police said that around 12:51 a.m. Tuesday, the suspects arrived at the Lisbon Walmart in a white truck with an arborist-style body. Two male suspects got out of the truck and tried to make off with four televisions, but were approached by stole personnel and abandoned the effort. A third person was inside the truck.

Around 1:30 a.m. the same suspects arrived at the Brooklyn Walmart, at 450 Providence Road. Police said the suspects made off with three televisions from that location.

Anyone who recognizes the suspects or the white truck is asked to contact Tfc. Corradi at 860-779-4900 or text TIP711 and the info to 274637. All information will remain confidential.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Bomb Threat Phoned in to New Haven City Hall


New Haven police are investigating after a bomb threat was phoned in to City Hall Tuesday evening.

City spokesman Laurence Grotheer confirmed that police and fire responded to investigate the threat and the building was evacuated as a precaution. The all clear was given shortly after 6 p.m. 

The roads were shut down in the area while police investigated. City Hall is located at 165 Church Street.

So far there is no evidence that it was a credible threat, Grotheer said.

The incident remains under investigation.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Waterford Firefighter Backs Truck into Fire Company Building


An aerial ladder truck is out of commission and the Cohanzie Fire Company’s building damaged after a firefighter accidentally backed the truck into building Sunday night, according to Waterford police.

The crash happened just before 8:15 p.m. on July 9, police said. Firefighter Mark Parker, 49, was returning from fueling one of the engines.

According to the police report, Parker said his foot slipped from the break and onto the accelerator. He hit a support column between the bays, “pushing it backwards on an angle and separating the bay doors from the building.”

Parker is a 23-year career firefighter with the town, wrote Bruce Miller, director of fire services for the Town of Waterford, in an email to NBC Connecticut. But he couldn’t comment on any other personnel employment details.

There’s visible damage to the truck’s nozzle and the water pipe, according to Miller. He said he’ll know the extent of the damage after the unit is evaluated by the manufacturer’s repair personnel.

If a new truck is needed, it could cost around $1 million dollars, Miller said, but he does not expect the repairs to be that extensive.

Waterford First Selectman Dan Steward said the town’s insurance should cover most of the cost of the truck and the building. The building is stabilized right now.

There were no reported injuries and no toxicology testing, since there was no suspicion Parker was under the influence, said Waterford Police Lt. David Burton.

“I heard him beep, beep, beep. All of a sudden, slam! (Parker) turned around and he realized what he had done,” said Jim Campbell, who watched what happened from across the street.

He described the sound like a shotgun.

“I felt bad for the guy, actually. I really did,” Campbell added.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Thunderstorms Expected on Wednesday and Thursday


Our First Alert Weather Team is forecasting scattered thunderstorms for Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. Some thunderstorms have the potential of being strong to even severe.

NBC Connecticut Meteorologists have issued a 'First Alert' ahead of the storms expected on Wednesday and Thursday.

We're forecasting the storms to arrive after the lunchtime hour on Wednesday and linger into the early evening hours.

The main threat with these storms will be damaging winds and heavy rain which could lead to flooding issues. 

Another thunderstorm threat exists on Thursday with another chance for damaging winds and heavy rain. 

Make sure to download the NBC Connecticut App for up to the minute weather updates. Click here for information on downloading our app.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

Mosquitoes in West Haven Test Positive for West Nile Virus


Mosquitoes trapped in West Haven have tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to state officials.

The mosquitoes were trapped on June 29 as part of the State of Connecticut Mosquito Management Program. The West Nile virus season typically begins in late June to mid-July and continues through September. These are the first positive test results this season.

Residents should take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites, such as covering bare skin and wearing insect repellent, especially during dawn and dusk hours.

Most people who are infected with West Nile virus show no symptoms, but less than one percent can develop serious, sometimes fatal neurological illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

West Nile virus has been detected in the state every year since 1999. Since 2000, there have been 131 human cases of West Nile in Connecticut and three fatalities.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Agriculture Station, Department of Public Health, Department of Agriculture, Department of Pathobiology at the University of Connecticut are all involved in the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program. There are 91 mosquito trapping stations across 72 towns throughout the state.

For more information about West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program website here.

Enfield Police Officer's Act of Kindness Hits Social Media


An Enfield police officer is getting some much deserved credit tonight after he stopped to help a woman clean up a big mess on her driveway.

A neighbor captured the gesture on camera and it’s getting a lot of attention on social media.

On Sunday morning, 91-year-old Margaret Bimler found grass clippings all over her driveway and yard. There was also debris from a shattered trash barrel after a car appeared to have slammed onto the barrel on the side of the road.

“The barrel was hit over there and it was hit so hard it landed over here and there was a mess all across the front,” said Bimler.

One of Bimler’s neighbors, Athena Doughtie, stepped outside and noticed the mess – then noticed an Enfield police officer with a broom. She took out her cellphone and filmed the officer helping the woman sweep the driveway.

“The officer had his lights on and everything and he had taken the broom out of the women’s hand and started cleaning everything up for her,” said Doughtie.

The officer in the cellphone video was Chris Dufresne. He is one of three K9 police officers at the Enfield Police Department.

Officer Dufresne could have just gone to the home to take note of the complaint, but when NBC Connecticut asked why he did more, he said, “I don’t feel like it was more. I feel like it was a thing any officer put in the same position who is an elderly female who lived alone who had no means to pick up her driveway or leave her driveway if I was to leave that behind so I took it upon myself to clean the yard waste.”

For Bimler, it was a realization that there are still good people out there and that whether you’re in uniform or not, a good deed can really go a long way.

“He went beyond the call of duty to help me and I think that’s wonderful and I think that made my faith in the youth today that there’s more good out there,” said Bimler.

The video has been going viral over the internet, by approximately 5 p.m. on Tuesday, it has more than 49,000 views on Facebook.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Man Struck, Killed by Vehicle in Granby


East Street in Granby is closed after a fatal pedestrian-involved accident, according to police.

Police confirmed that a man was killed when he was struck by a car around 7:30 p.m. The victim was not identified.

The driver remained on scene and was not hurt, police said.

The Accident Reconstruction team has been called in to investigate.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Residents Question Conditions in Apartments Across Hartford


Dozens of complaints involving tenant issues in Hartford all trace back to the same property owner, and now residents are demanding action of city leaders and housing officials.

The complaints include things like windows being nailed shut, doors broken, mice infestation issues and more.

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters requested documents from the city of Hartford and learned that 22 of 30 properties owned by Ah Min Holding, LLC of New York City have complaints on file.

Residents are threatening a rent strike.

The Troubleshooters poured through hundreds of pages of open and closed complaints and violations from Hartford's License and Inspections office.

There were a total of 129 complaints since 2011 for apartments owned by Ah Min Holding - a dozen of which remain active. Five were unfounded. Mice issues topped the list at 19 - followed by other rodents - eight, and roaches - seven.

Complaints also included no heat, broken refrigerator, no lights in hallway, bad smells in basement, clogged drain.

Tenant Yolanda Gonzalez told NBC Connecticut, “there's issues, there's mices in the properties. When you tell them they do nothing about it."

Dozens of other tenants living in these apartment buildings across Hartford's north end say conditions are deplorable.

"For over two years I complain about the roaches and mice, manager didn't respond," said resident Joshua Serrano.

The company Ah Min Holding, LLC out of New York City, has 30 properties in Hartford, 26 of which are subsidized by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Milagros Ortiz is another resident who has filed a complaint.

“My windows were broken. They fixed them by nailing them shut. If there’s a fire blocking my door how will my children escape?" she said.

Some tenants said they are afraid to show their faces, out of fear they'll get evicted.

One unidentified mother of four who spoke with NBC Connecticut has a brand new baby and ceiling leak.

“The landlord you barely see him, you gotta argue and deal w/the office. Nothing getting fixed. There's mold," she said.

Others shared photos of mice traps and droppings.

Teri Morrison, “I've experienced mice on my stove while I'm cooking."

Many of the tenants are now banding together with the Christian Activities Council filling a local church to demand action.

On Tuesday Reverend AJ Johnson put community and HUD housing leaders on the spot.

"Will you provide apartments free from mice and mold, do you agree?” he asked of city leaders and HUD leaders.

HUD leaders in Hartford and out of Boston now promise change.

“As you've heard we've committed to all you've asked us to do. we don't want you to be afraid to speak up to your local HUD office,” said Suzanne Piacentini with HUD.

Joe Crisafulli of HUD actually apologized to the residents and said things would change.

NBC Connecticut also reached out to Ah Min Holding for comment.

This is the full statement from Emmanuel Ku, owner of Ah Min Holding.

“Ah Min Holding, LLC is aware that several tenants have issues with housing at Clay Arsenal Renaissance Apartments (CARA). In particular Ah Min is aware and concerned about the increased rodent activities in the last several months due to the recent demolition of the meat packing building close by. Ah Min has worked continuously with the exterminating company to combat the problem. Progress is being made but the issue is not yet resolved. Ah Min encourages all tenants to sign up and partake in the free exterminating services for their apartments which Ah Min offers twice a week when the exterminator comes to provide treatment in the common areas of the property. We have undertaken recommendations irrespective of the cost by the exterminator. It is our mission to provide a safe and clean living environment to all tenants at CARA. Similarly, in 2011-2012 Ah Min fought to combat crime in the neighborhood by installing surveillance cameras on the property. The problem was not solved overnight but working together with the tenants and the police department, CARA became a safe place to live, walk and play. In 2012, 2013 and again in 2016 CARA received written commendations from the City of Hartford Police for their cooperation and efforts to combat crime in the community. CARA cares about the community and on a daily basis assist with cleanup of the surrounding neighborhood.

Christian Activities Council (CAC), a community base advocacy group, has complained to Ah Min’s owner and staff about the rodent problem. Ah Min welcomes the opportunity to work with CAC to resolve this and other issues. Ah Min has held tenant meetings in the past which have proven to be very productive in engaging tenants to learn about issues and working together to resolve them. Unfortunately, CAC unilaterally scheduled a meeting for Tuesday July 11th with less than one week notice. Due to a scheduling conflict, I am unable to attend. I have requested CAC on two separate occasions to work with me to reschedule to a new date but no one at CAC has responded to my requests. I look forward to meeting with the representatives of CAC. In the meanwhile, Ah Min will continue to hold tenant meetings to resolve issues at CARA.”

The City of Hartford also responded to the concerns:

“Several weeks ago, we were made aware of the severity of unreported violations at this group of properties. Since then we have been in touch with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development as they have begun a thorough inspection process. The conditions in many of these apartments remain absolutely unacceptable, and we are grateful to residents for raising their concerns. We encourage residents to contact the city to report their complaints and allow our inspectors to review their property because it helps us build a record of problems we can refer to. Property owners have an obligation to provide safe and secure housing, and we will be as aggressive as possible in making sure these problems are addressed effectively,” Hartford spokesman Vas Srivastava told NBC Connecticut.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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