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'So Dire': Middlebury Animal Rescue Needs Pets Adopted


An animal rescue in Middlebury said they need more than a dozen pets placed in forever homes or the shelter will be forced to shut down. 

"I can no longer bear the personal financial burden of this rescue. We have twelve long-time canines, and a ton of felines, needing adoption," the leader of the Brass City Rescue Alliance, Jennifer Humphrey, said. 

Humphrey said if the animals aren't placed by the rescue’s last scheduled event on Aug. 5, she may have to close the shelter due to mounting expenses.

The facility's operating costs exceeded $70,000 in 2016. Thanks to a slow adoption season, the facility is now behind in the monthly rent it pays to the Town of Middlebury for use of the rescue’s Service Road building.

"Just like anything, you need to bring money in to pay the bills. This is so dire," Humphry said.

The rescue also takes in animals from Odessa, Texas, that would otherwise be euthanized. Twenty-eight of those animals are expected to arrive in Connecticut this weekend, making the need for adopting pet parents even more serious.

Anyone looking to adopt a dog or cat can check Brass City Rescue's website here

The rescue is located at 2 Service Road, Middlebury, Connecticut. 

Photo Credit: Brass City Rescue Alliance

Bloomfield PD Looking for Suspects Using Fake Credit Cards


Bloomfield police are searching for suspects using fake credit cards to withdraw money from ATMs and make large purchases.

Police said they've seen a number cases where suspects use fraudulent credit cards after skimming devices obtain victims' credit cards information from local fuel station pumps. 

The information captured from skimming devices are used to create the fake credit cards and suspects are using them to either withdraw money or make purchases, police said. 

Two suspects were caught on camera withdrawing money with fake cards at Citgo on Blue Hills Avenue on Thursday. 

Police said this is an ongoing investigation.

Bloomfield Police asks that anyone having any information regarding the suspects or the cases call (860) 242-5501.

Photo Credit: Bloomfield Police Department

17 Face Federal Charges in Cocaine Distribution Ring


Seventeen people face federal drug distribution charges after investigators seized around seven kilograms of cocaine in central Connecticut.

Police believe that the suspects were big-time drug traffickers with multiple sources across the state of Connecticut.

According to the state US Attorney's office, packages of cocaine were regularly transported via the U.S. Postal Service from Puerto Rico to Suffield and then to New Britain where the alleged trafficking ring was located. One of the accused members of the operation was a U.S. Postal Service employee.

One of the accused was was Orlando Quiros of Suffield who is suspected of receiving the packages from Puerto Rico. Police intercepted his vehicle on the way from Connecticut to New York and discovered $240,000 inside it.

Search warrants were conducted on Wednesday and police found seven kilograms of cocaine, several pounds of marijuana, three firearms, and nearly $100,000.

“The arrest of these individuals is an example of the commitment of Postal Inspectors and their law enforcement partners to bring to justice anyone who uses the U.S. Mail to facilitate the transport of illegal drugs, ensuring the safety of the mail, our employees and customers,” Inspector in Charge Shelly Binkowski wrote in a release.

Thirteen of the 17 defendants were also arrested Wednesday, although police are still searching for one of the accused.

2 Arrested on Heroin Charges in Killingly


Connecticut State Police have arrested two people accused of selling heroin from their home in Killingly.

Julia Valetin, 52, and Linda Eldredge, 46, of Prospect Avenue, were arrested after police served three search and seizure warrants at their apartment on Friday and found 60 bags of heroin and $600 in cash. Police said they also found 10 bags of heroin on Valentin’s person.

Both were charged with possession of heroin with intent to sell and possession of heroin. Valentin was held on a $75,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on July 31. Eldredge was released on a $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 9.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Images Show Teen Drinking Liquid Meth at Border


Surveillance video shows U.S. Customs and Border officials watching a Tijuana teenager ingest liquid methamphetamine moments before the chemical led to the teen's death.

Cruz Marcelino Velazquez Acevedo, 16, of Tijuana was stopped by federal officials after he entered the U.S. from Mexico through the San Ysidro Port of Entry on November 18, 2013. 

NBC 7 has obtained stills from the surveillance video from local attorney Eugene Iredale. He represented the teenager's family. 

In his backpack, Velazquez carried two bottles containing an amber-colored liquid -- which turned out to be liquid methamphetamine.

When an agent asked what was in the bottles, Velazquez called the liquid a juice.

At secondary inspection, Velazquez once again explained the bottles contained juice, but agents believed they contained controlled substances.

The family claims in the lawsuit that agents "coerced and intimidated Cruz into taking a big sip from one of the bottles." A previous Medical Examiner report said Velazquez voluntarily took a sip.

Family members argued the teen was "coerced and intimidated" into drinking the liquid and was taken into custody instead of being given medical attention.

"It's true that Cruz was doing something that was against the law. And that he did not have to be doing. That's a fact," said Gene Iredale, a family attorney. "It's also true that they did not point their guns at him or physically threaten him but in a social context in which this occurred, they knew exactly what they were doing."

Around 6:45 p.m. that day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said that 16-year-old Velasquez carried in a bag filled with two amber-colored bottles. He was using his border crossing card.

When agents asked him what was in the bottles, Velasquez claimed they were full of juice. At the secondary inspection area, they told him to take a sip to prove it.

Velasquez hesitates for a moment and then takes a sip. Then another and another. He drank four sips of the concentrated liquid methamphetamine in total.

Three years after his death, the family received $1 million settlement, according to court documents.

After a K-9 alerted agents that Velazquez had controlled substances, agents handcuffed Velazquez and took him into custody.

Shortly after, Velazquez began sweating, and then "screaming in pain and clenching his fists," according to the suit. 

In the lawsuit, the family alleged that Velazquez began yelling "the chemicals" in Spanish and then, "Mi corazon! Mi corazon!", or "My heart! My heart!" He began to seize uncontrollably, according to the suit. 

Agents called paramedics, who had to sedate the teen before transporting him to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital several hours later, according to the Medical Examiner. The ME ruled his death an accident. 

When asked about the potency of methamphetamine in a liquid form, a member of the UCSD Poison Control center said the substance can show life-threatening side effects within minutes because it hits the stomach quickly.

The agents involved in the case, Valerie Baird and Adrian Perallon, remained with the CBP in San Diego.

Another attorney, Alex Ozols, explained that a Supreme Court case has set a precedent that allows for the use of certain tactics to get a confession, which is an argument the CBP could make.

"What happened here, it looks like their tactic backfired," said Ozols. "They expected this individual to say hey there are drugs in here. I'm not going to drink it. He did start to drink it and that created a problem."

The family attorney said that the agents could have resolved the issue with a simple two-dollar test. He's fighting for the proper treatment of people crossing the border, as well as discipline for bad behavior and better training of agents.

Photo Credit: NBC San Diego

Lock Your Vehicles to Avoid Theft: State Police


Police in Marlborough are reminding drivers to lock their vehicles and secure valuables after a series of car break-ins and thefts overnight.

Police said they received multiple reports of thefts from vehicles overnight from South Road, Ruby Road, Ogden Lord Road, Williamsburg Road, Sturbridge Road and Washington Road. In one instance, the car was actually stolen and recovered a short distance away.

All of the vehicles were left unlocked in driveways, and some had the keys in them, according to police.

Police departments from all over Connecticut have reported similar incidents and authorities stress that drivers should lock their vehicles.

Anyone who was a victim of these crimes, or saw anything suspicious, should report it to Troop K at 860-465-5400.

Waterbury Man Arrested on DUI and Drug Charges


A Waterbury man was arrested on DUI charges after being pulled over on Route 8 early Saturday morning.

Jamarle Hill, 34, was pulled over after troopers spotted a red Acura traveling erratically near exit 30 on Route 8.

Hill failed standardized field sobriety tests. Police also discovered drugs inside the car.

Hill was arrested and charged with operating under the influence of drugs/alcohol, failure to drive in a proper lane, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession with intent to sell, and illegal possession of narcotics.

He was released on a $2,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 8.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Man Injured in Ansonia Shooting


Ansonia police are investigating after a man was shot in the north end of the city Thursday evening.

Police said the shooting happened around 8 p.m. near the intersection of Star Street and Fifth Street.

A 27-year-old male victim was shot once in the lower body while in a vehicle and drove himself to the hospital. His injuries were not life-threatening, police said.

Detectives have identified a possible suspect. Anyone with information on this crime should contact police at 203-735-1885.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Border Wall Push Creates Flap at National Butterfly Center


A national butterfly preserve is the latest flashpoint in the border wall debate as Democrats accuse the GOP of rigging the process to slip wall funding into a pack of House spending bills possibly up for a vote this week, NBC News reported.

While there are not specific details on exactly where $1.6 billion proposed for President Trump's border wall will be spent, an amendment sponsored by Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, calls for $498 million to go to 28 miles of "new bollard levee wall" in Hidalgo County in Texas' Rio Grande Valley — home to the National Butterfly Center.

The butterfly center’s executive director Marianna Treviño Wright said she found a work crew on the butterfly center’s property last week, and she worried that their efforts might be related to construction of the proposed border wall. The workers had chain saws and work trucks and had cut and shred brush, trees and plants, she said. Treviño Wright said she found surveyor stakes and "X" marks on the property. She posted photos on the center’s web site and Facebook page.

In a previously issued statement, the Army Corps of Engineers denied that its contractors cleared or removed trees at the center, but acknowledged the crew placed X markings on the ground for mapping and wooden stakes flagging proposed locations to bore holes for possible construction. The agency said its contractor collected two soil samples from the levee but did so away from the butterfly center.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Motorcyclist Seriously Injured in Crash on I-95

Pedestrian Struck by Vehicle in Torrington


A pedestrian was rushed to the hospital after being struck by a vehicle in Torrington on Saturday evening.

The accident happened around 6:00 p.m. at the intersection of Main Street and Lois Street, police said.

The pedestrian was first transported to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.  However, due to the nature and severity of the pedestrian's injuires, they were flown by Lifestar medical helicopter to Hartford Hospital, police said. 

A tan minivan remained at the scene and caution tape roped off the intersection. The Torrington Accident Investigation team has now taken over the investigation. 

Photo Credit: Josie Altertson-Grove, Republican-American

Guitars Stolen in Hamden Smash-and-Grab Burglary


Hamden police are investigating after someone broke into a music store and stole several guitars.

Police said around 3 a.m. Friday the burglar alarm at Brian’s Guitars at 3000 Whitney Avenue went off. When they arrived they found that someone had smashed the front door and stole several guitars, valued at thousands of dollars.

Surveillance video showed at least three suspects involved.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact the Hamden Police Department Detective Division at (203) 230-4040.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Crews Recover Body of Swimmer at Millers Pond State Park


The body of a 33-year-old man was pulled from the water at Millers Pond State Park in Durham on Saturday evening.  

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the man from Queens, New York was at the park with his family.  He was last seen swimming in the afternoon.

Multiple agencies responded to the emergency call at 5:20 p.m., including State Police, Middletown and Haddam Fire departments and the State Environmenal Conservation (EnCon) Police.

The Middletown South District Department Dive Team found the man's body just before 7:00 p.m.

The park is a popular spot for swimming in the summer.  However, signs posted at the entrance specifically caution people that it is not a "designated swim area" with no lifeguards on duty. 

EnCon Police is investigating the incident but no further information was available.

Photo Credit: Matt Austin, NBC Connecticut News

Crews Recover Body of Queens Man at Connecticut Park


The body of a 33-year-old man was pulled from the water at Millers Pond State Park in Durham on Saturday evening.  

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the man was last seen swimming in the afternoon.

NBC Connecticut spoke with the nephew of the victim, who identified him as Ramiro Bonilla, of Queens.  Bonilla was also at the park with his wife. 

Multiple agencies responded to the emergency call at 5:20 p.m., including State Police, Middletown and Haddam Fire departments and the State Environmenal Conservation (EnCon) Police.

The Middletown South District Department Dive Team found the victim's body just before 7:00 p.m.

The park is a popular spot for swimming in the summer.  However, signs posted at the entrance specifically caution people that it is not a "designated swim area" with no lifeguards on duty. 

EnCon Police is investigating the incident but no further information was available.

Photo Credit: Matt Austin, NBC Connecticut News

Police Still Searching for Man Who Exposed Himself to Girls


Hamden police are still searching for a man who exposed himself to two young girls who were selling rocks in Hamden.

The girls were selling the rocks in front of a home on Maher Avenue on July 15 when the man exposed himself to them, according to police.

Officers responded to the street around 5:30 p.m. and learned that a bald man who appeared to be in his 30s stopped and bought a rock, then returned in his vehicle and told the girls he wanted to buy another rock.

When one of the girls approached the man’s vehicle, she saw him “playing” with his exposed genitals, then he made a lewd comment, police said.

The man was in what was described as a two-door silver Honda Accord that fled toward Lincoln Street.

Police said the driver was wearing round-framed glasses and a black shirt.

Officers searched the area but could not find the man, but a car matching the description of the vehicle was spotted near the entrance to Legion Field before the incident and police were able to get security camera footage. 

Anyone with information or who recognizes the vehicle above is asked to call Officer Kelley Cushman at (203) 230-4030.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department

Homemade Library Set on Fire in West Hartford


Someone lit a West Hartford man's community library on fire Wednesday night, according to the owner.

"I pulled one of the books out, and the book is completely burned," said Owner Bryan Bywater.

The homemade take-a-book leave-a-book library stands in front of Bywater's Whiteman Avenue home.

The pastor said around 10:30 p.m. he heard kids outside his house. When he looked out his window, he watched a boy on a bike race away to a group of kids up the road. The next morning, when Bywater checked the year old library he found charred books and ash.

"I'm a dad, and at first, it was like, you burned my kids joy," said Bywater.

Police said this burning is not related to a string of garbage fires set in both West Hartford and Hartford the night before.

Bywater said the community library has been salvaged and will continue to be a resource for anyone who wants to use it.

Authorities are investigating.

Photo Credit: Bryan Bywater

Bank Robbery Foiled by Alert Citizen: Norwich Police


Norwich police foiled an attempt to rob a bank when an alert citizen reported a man acting suspiciously Saturday afternoon.

Police responded to the area behind Dime Bank at 115 West Town Street around 11:50 a.m. When they arrived they spotted a man in a vehicle armed with two knives and wearing several layers of clothing.

According to investigators, the man, later identified as 30-year-old Maximilian Beres, was planning to rob the bank before closing.

Police said that Beres has an extensive criminal history including a previous arrest for bank robbery.

Beres was arrested and charged with criminal attempted robbery, criminal attempted larceny, carrying a dangerous weapon, and illegal possession of a marker plate. He was held on a $250,000 bond and is due in court Monday.

Photo Credit: Norwich Police Department

3 Hurt in Danbury Plane Crash


Three people are hurt after a plane crash at Danbury Airport, according to the mayor.

Mayor Mark Boughton tweeted Sunday that a plane crashed while taking off from Danbury Airport. Three people were taken to the hospital. The extent of the injuries was not immediately clear.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Teen Charged in Crash That Killed Hartford Woman


A Hartford woman who lost both legs after being hit by an SUV full of teenagers on July 18 has died, and a teenager has been charged in the crash.

Family members say 56-year-old Rosella Shuler died Saturday night. Shuler lost both of her legs when she was hit by Toyota Highlander full of teenagers while she was standing on the sidewalk on Ashley Street in Hartford. A man who was standing on the sidewalk was also hurt.

Police believe six teens were in the Toyota, which was stolen out of West Hartford, but they all fled the scene of the crash. Through surveillance video police identified the person behind the wheel as 18-year-old Deykevious Russaw.

Russaw was already behind bars on an unrelated case. Because he was juvenile at the time, police will not release the circumstances surrounding that arrest.

But sources close to the investigation say he was one of two teens arrested for the shooting death of 63-year-old Jeffrey Worrel of Hartford on July 16 in the Westland Street area. He faces a murder charge in that case.

Russaw faces charges of first-degree assault, second-degree larceny, evading responsibility, reckless driving and operating without a license for the crash, and police said more charges are pending.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Price: HHS Will Continue to 'Follow The Law'


Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that the administration will continue to “follow the law” when asked whether it was his job to continue to implement the Affordable Care Act as it was intended, NBC News reported.

But he would not say whether subsidies for low-income insurance policies would continue.

“Our job is to follow the law of the land and we take that mission very, very seriously,” Price said.

“The role of the Health and Human Services Department is to improve the health, the safety and the well-being of the American people," Price said. "And what we understand, what the American people understand is that their health and well-being are being harmed right now by the current law. And so our goal is to make — is to put in place, as well as the president's goal, is to put in place a law, a system, that actually works for patients. You can't do that under the current structure.”

Photo Credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images
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