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Rare Tiger Cubs Born at National Zoo


The National Zoo has two new residents.

The Zoo's Sumatran tiger Damai gave birth to the cubs Monday. Zoo officials say both cubs appear to be healthy, adding Damai is doing a great job with her new cubs.

This is Damai's first litter of cubs, fathered by the Zoo's 12-year-old male tiger, Kavi.

"It's taken more than two years of perseverance getting to know Damai and Kavi and letting them get to know each other so that we could reach this celebratory moment," said zoo biologist Craig Saffoe. "All I can do is smile because the team has realized our goal of producing critically endangered tiger cubs. Damai came to us as a young tiger herself, so it's really special to see her become a great mom."

Damai underwent an ultrasound back in June after she started gaining weight and exhibiting behaviors indicative of pregnancy.

On Tuesday, Damai left the cubs for the first time, which officials say is a good sign that she is comfortable.

The public won't be introduced to the cubs anytime soon. Zoo keepers want to give Damai time to bond with her babies. The new family will be watched remotely and will not be put on exhibit for several months. The cubs must first undergo a series of health exams and received all the necessary vaccinations. Keepers also want to make sure they're acclimated to the exhibit before the cubs are released into the yards.

But tiger fans can get a glimpse of the cubs on the Zoo's Tiger Cam.

Kavi will remain on exhibit.

Neither cub has been named. 

Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species. It is estimated that between 400 and
500 exist in the wild. There are 65 Sumatran tigers living in accredited
zoos in North America in addition to these cubs.

The Zoo could hear the pitter-patter of little paws in another exhibit soon. The Zoo's female giant panda has also shown behavioral changes and is spending most of her time inside sleeping. The Zoo says that's normal toward the end of a pregnancy or a false pregnancy in which her hormone levels rise.

Drunk Man Forces Flight to Return to Philly: Police


A U.S. Airways flight heading to Barcelona turned around and landed back at Philly International due to a drunk passenger Wednesday night, according to police.

Police say U.S. Airways flight 742 took off at 7:51 p.m. and returned to Philly at 9:47 p.m. The plane turned around after an intoxicated passenger became unruly during the flight, according to police. Brenda Pfahnl, a passenger on the flight, claimed the passenger was threatening the lives of airline employees. The unidentified man was taken into custody.

No one was hurt. The flight was scheduled to leave again at 1:15 a.m. Thursday but never did due to a mechanical problem. Once the problem was fixed it was too late for the crew on board -- they had times out and weren't allowed to fly, according to US Air.

The airline is trying to get passengers on another UA Air Barcelona-bound flight scheduled for Thursday or by putting passengers on another airline.

Earlier Wednesday, a plane from Ireland landed in Philadelphia after an "unsubstantiated" threat, according to Philadelphia Police. Sources close to that investigation say it was a bomb threat called in to the Philadelphia Airport by an unknown male.

After investigating, federal agents and local police said the threat was unfounded.

As a precaution, the plane was taken to a remote area of the airport so that Philadelphia police and Homeland Security could search passengers and luggage.

All 171 passengers and 8 crew members were escorted off the plane and loaded onto buses. They were taken to a secure area and screened as well as interviewed. Luggage was also removed and screened. Bomb-sniffing dogs went through the plane, which is standard procedure. 

Photo Credit: conskeptical/Flickr

Suit Claims Dental Tool Went Down Man's Throat


A Chicago man on Monday filed a lawsuit against an Skokie dentist, accusing her of dropping a metal instrument down his throat that ultimately got stuck in his stomach.

It was last November when 92-year-old Bernard Bell said he went to visit Dr. Toni Wolf for a dental implant fitting and the one-inch long tool fell down his throat.

"I'm lying all the way back, and all of a sudden, she says, 'Did you catch it?' and I said, 'Catch what?'" Bell recalled Wednesday.

Instead of flowing through Bell's digestive track, he said the object stayed lodged in his stomach. He needed an MRI and ultimately an endoscopy to fish the device out.

"They couldn't find it," said Bell. "It wasn't in the same location that the MRI or X-Ray showed."

That meant a second endoscopy that Bell described as being extremely painful. He said doctors had to hold his arms because "the pain was unbelievable."

On top of that, he was stuck with more than $20,000 worth of extra medical bills. The two-count suit charges Wolf and the practice, Old Orchard Smiles, with medical malpractice and negligence and seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

"There are certain precautions, certain steps, that are standard care that were not taken here," said Bell's attorney, Raphael Strzelecki.

But Wolf's attorney, Bob Larsen, disagrees.

"Dr. Wolf was not negligent here. And when the facts of this case come to light, should it go to a jury trial, I'm confident the jury will find that to be the case," he said. 

Truck Down Embankment Slowed Traffic on I-84 in Waterbury


A truck carrying chocolate and rice went off the highway in Waterbury this morning and landed in the stream below, causing heavy congestion during the early morning commute. 

Police said Michael Case, 47, of Indiana, was driving the truck and pulled off the right shoulder. The truck went through the wirerope guardrail and 20 feet down the embankment, into a stream, police said.

Neither Case, nor his passenger were injured.

The cargo was not affected by the crash, but around 35 gallons of diesel fuel leaked into the street between the highway and Reidville Drive, according to state police.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Department of Consumer Protection were notified.

Traffic on Reidville Road was held up for several hours while the truck was pulled from the stream.

Interstate 84 East was congested during the early commute this morning in Waterbury.

Case was issued an infraction for failing to stay in a proper lane.

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Photo Credit: Ricky Kulmann

Teachers, School Administrators Meeting Tonight on School Safety


It’s summer, but school is still in session for teachers and other administrators across our state.

Many will meet at New Britain High School Thursday evening to discuss school security.

Education professionals will speak to the School Safety Infrastructure Council, a panel that was created after the Newtown tragedy to improve security in our schools. The panel is considering installing bullet-proof glass, electronic locks and cameras on school grounds to enhance security.

The panel has until Jan. 1 to submit its new safety standards to the state.

The enhanced security measures are covered by a $15 million grant under the state’s gun control law, which was passed earlier this year.

Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Falsely Reported Home Invasion


A Suffield, Conn., woman charged with falsely reporting a home invasion and brutal assault has pleaded not guilty.

Kelly Wilson, 29, of Thrall Avenue, was arrested on July 3, after a nearly three-month investigation by Suffield Police and appeared in court on Thursday.

Police said she admitted to causing injuries to herself and trashing her home to make it look like an intruder.

On April 13, police forced their way into Wilson’s home shortly after midnight when she reported that a man with a handgun broke in through a back door, beat her and sexually assaulted her.

At the time, police said it was one of the most disturbing crime scenes and violent stories they have ever come upon.

Wilson told police that the masked man knocked twice on her door earlier in the evening and asked for help with his broken down car, police said.

Wilson, who was alone at the time, gave police a detailed description of the alleged intruder.

Property records show she and her fiancé purchased the house just weeks before the incident. At the time, police said her fiancé was away on military leave.

For days, police asked town residents to remain vigilant and report anyone suspicious matching the description of the alleged intruder.

Checkpoints were set up in the area of the Thrall Avenue address, with police asking drivers if they noticed a broken down car or a man matching the description given around the time of the alleged incident.

Suffield Police Chief Michael Manzi said investigators shortly after found discrepancies in Wilson's story.

“The investigation soon turned from finding a suspect to determining whether the story was fabricated,” Manzi said.

An FBI profiler from Quantico, Va., was brought in to aide in the investigation, Manzi said.

On May 22, Wilson gave a written statement admitting she contrived the whole story, Manzi said.

Wilson admitted to causing the injuries to herself and trashing her home to make it look like an intruder, Manzi said.

As for the reason, Manzi would only say it was “emotional in nature.”

Soon after the written confession, Suffield police turned the case over to the Office of the States’ Attorney.

Manzi said an arrest warrant was signed and issued on July 2 and Wilson was arrested the following day.

She is charged with falsely reporting an incident, making false statements and misuse of the emergency 911 system.

All charges are misdemeanors.

The case has been continued to Aug. 29.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

"Here's Your Stuff Back," Burglars Say in Apology


Burglars who stole computers from an office building returned the items – along with a letter of apology – after apparently realizing they had ransacked a nonprofit that helps victims of sexual violence.

The thieves broke into the San Bernardino County Sexual Assault Services office on the night of July 31, police said. They apparently came in through the ceiling about 10 p.m. and hurriedly took several computer towers and monitors, along with a laptop.

Police arrived and summoned the nonprofit's executive director, Candy Stallings.

"One of the officers had talked to some transients around the street about what was going on. He was telling them about what we do," Stallings said.

The following morning about 4:30 a.m., Stallings said she got another call from police about suspicious activity taking place at her office.

This time when Stallings arrived, she was astonished by what she found.

"All my stuff was in front of the door," Stallings said. "There was a shopping cart, and there were the PCs that were taken, there was the laptop - everything was there."

An investigator who was about to dust the laptop for fingerprints opened it and found a note tucked inside.

"We had no idea what we were takeing. Here your stuff back we hope that you guys can continue to make a difference in peoples live. God bless," said the note with misspellings.

"We were all pretty shocked," Stallings said. "You've got to be kidding me. I was in disbelief, I got chills, I got very emotional."

Some of the officers were surprised, too.

"This is the first time in my career I have seen the return of stolen items," said San Bernardino Police Lt. Paul Williams. "It appears the guilt of taking the property caused the return of the items."

Stallings said the note was taken as evidence. She said she made a photo copy of it and plans to frame it.

More Southern California Stories:


Photo Credit: Candy Stallings

Businesses Concerned About Route 147 Project


Construction on Route 147 has been underway since the spring and some business owners in Middlesex County are worried that it will be a traffic nightmare to get around during future events, including the Durham Fair.

The construction on Route 147 is causing delays and business owners are joining together to voice their concerns that the project might hurt their businesses.

“Particularly around commuter time, it gets pretty congested” Steve Ciskowski, of Lyman Orchards, said.

The Durham Fair draws thousands of people every year and fair president, Daniel Miramant, has been worried that the road project will turn off visitors.

“It’s happening primetime during our fair and that’s one of the major arteries that our traffic flow comes through,” he said.

There is relief on the way, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Officials told business leaders during the Chamber of Commerce meeting this morning that there is a plan to ease traffic during the event.

“During the weekend of the Durham Fair, we will close (Route) 147 at Cherry Hill going toward Middlefield and detour them back to 147,” Jim Ruitto, of the DOT, said.

Leaders from businesses, including Lyman Orchards, are concerned about what will happen during the rest of the year.

“September and October are a busy time of the year for us, so we’re very interested in how they’re going to handle the traffic,” Ciskowski said.

The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2015.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Ebony Unveils "We Are Trayvon" Covers Featuring Spike Lee, Dwyane Wade


Ebony magazine is paying tribute to Trayvon Martin with four cover photos that feature famous African-American men sporting grey hoodies with their young sons.

The September issue will hit newsstands in the wake of George Zimmerman's trial, which sparked public outrage after a Florida jury acquitted the former neighborhood watchman of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of 17-year-old Martin, who was unarmed. Zimmerman argued the shooting was in self-defense during an altercation with Martin.

"To be 17, black and male, specifically, is tantamount to a crime, so said the actions of a certain George Zimmerman, Trayvon's killer," Ebony's editors wrote in a statement. "After an emotional trial in the state of Florida, so too, it seems, said a jury of Zimmerman's peers."

The "We Are Trayvon" covers include one of Martin's family -- Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin and their son Jahvaris Fulton. Director Spike Lee poses with his son Jackson, while actor Boris Kodjoe clutches his son Nicolas in another -- all in grey hoodies. NBA star Dwyane Wade and his sons Zaire and Zion round out the four covers.

The editors promise "in-depth coverage on the trial and the aftermath." The issue includes an exclusive interview with Trayvon's parents and a story that explores how Lee, Kodjoe and Wade broach the topic of racism with their sons.

Scroll down to see the four covers:

Search for Missing Teen Expands to Oregon, Washington


Amber Alerts for a San Diego man wanted for arson and murder and a teenager he allegedly kidnapped have been expanded to include Oregon and Washington.

However, San Diego County sheriff's homicide investigators say several recently reported sightings have not yet been confirmed.

James Lee DiMaggio, 40, of Boulevard and Hannah Anderson, 16, are the subjects of an Amber Alert issued by authorities in San Diego Monday.

DiMaggio is believed to be driving a blue Nissan Versa with California license 6WCU986.

A blue Nissan Versa was reported along Highway 395/299 traveling north from Alturas possibly toward Oregon or Nevada. There was another possible sighting of the car in southern Oregon, near Lakeview.

Then Thursday morning, a Washington radio station learned from the state troopers that a driver near Bremerton reported the car on Highway 101 with a man driving and a woman passenger.

DiMaggio is suspected of killing two people and torching his log-cabin style home in the remote community of Boulevard east of San Diego and just north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sheriff’s homicide Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said the bodies of Christina Anderson, 42, of Lakeside and an unidentified child were found on the property. Giannantonio said it could be several days before DNA test results will provide a positive identification of the second victim.

For now, Christina’s 8-year-old son Ethan is also the subject of the Amber Alert which was expanded Thursday to include California, Oregon and Washington.

Christina's father, Christopher Saincome, said Wednesday that his daughter visited DiMaggio's home last weekend to say goodbye before he moved to Texas.

"He must have had this planned," Saincome told the Associated Press.

Saincome said nothing seemed amiss when he called his daughter at work Friday to let her know she didn't call on his birthday. Anderson, a medical assistant, said she would call back that night but never did.

Christina’s longtime friend Angelina Amati said the Dimaggio's infatuation with the 16-year-old Hannah might just keep her alive.

“Jim is sick enough in the head that he has so much love for her that he won't hurt her,” Amati said.

The NBC station in Seattle spoke with Dimaggio's ex-wife who asked not to be identified but responded to some questions.

She says never saw anything weird about DiMaggio however their divorce was completely shocking and not the person she married.

She said she was shocked to learn the news since DiMaggio has been best friends with the family for such a long time.

Authorities don’t believe the relationship between Christina Anderson and DiMaggio was anything other than platonic, Giannantonio said

3 Accused of Hate Crime in Upstate NY Paintball Attack


Two men and a woman face hate crime charges after allegedly yelling anti-Semitic slurs while firing paintballs at two friends who were chatting on an upstate New York street Wednesday night, sending one of the victims to the hospital, police said. 
Police say the injured victim and his friend, both of whom are members of the Town of Ramapo's Jewish community volunteer patrol group, Chaverim, were leaning against the friend's car on Rita Avenue and talking at about 11:30 p.m. when the duo says a car bearing a North Carolina license plate approached them. 
The friends told police they both saw a male passenger fire about fix or six shots from what looked like a black rifle. One of the friends was hit twice in the stomach with paintballs; his friend's car was struck three or four times, police said.
The victims used their portable radios to broadcast a call for help, and members of their Chaverim group who had been patrolling the area arrived in time to follow the suspects' vehicle. The patrol members cornered the vehicle not far away in Monsey, and police officers arrested the three individuals inside when they arrived.
Police say they recovered a carbon dioxide-powered paint ball weapon from the car.
The friend who was taken to the hospital suffered minor injuries and is expected to be OK, police said.
The suspects, identified as Shashi Ramsaroop, 23, of Clarkstown, 20-year-old Lindsey Peaks, of Spring Valley, and 19-year-old Demetrius Torain, also of Spring Valley, were charged with second-degree assault as a hate crime, a felony. 
They also were charged with aggravated harassment, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal tampering. They were scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning. 

Information attorneys for them wasn't immediately available.

Newtown Students Work With Broadway Pros on Suessical


More than 100 children from Newtown and the surrounding area are putting on a musical with help from some Broadway professionals.

Newtown resident Michael Baroody founded the 1214 Foundation to help the Newtown community heal after the tragedy last December and the organization is sponsoring “Seussical the Musical” to help children heal through the arts.

The performances start tomorrow night, after five weeks of preparing and rehearsing.
Eighty-four students, between 5 and 18, from the Newtown area will be directed by Michael Unger, an established theater and opera director. They will also work with choreographer Jennifer Paulson Lee and Broadway musical director Jeffery Saver. 

 “These people coming in and helping us put this show together just shows the care, respect, and support they have for our town,” said Madi Aug who plays a Birdgirl in the production. “It’s just amazing that we’re not the only people who haven’t stopped thinking about what happened in Sandy Hook.”

“And the show specifically relates to our situation,” she added. “The planet Who is a place that has gone through hardships and a lot of tough times – and then Horton the elephant comes along and helps them keep safe and helps them heal. I feel like this show and everyone involved in it are like the ‘Hortons of Newtown’ because they’re really helping us get through and heal through this situation. It really means a lot to me and everyone in this town.”

 Emmy Award, Tony Award, and Drama Desk Award nominated John Tartaglia  will portray “The Cat in the Hat.”

Performances will be held on Aug 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 10 and 11 at 2 p.m. at Newtown High School, 12 Berkshire Road in Newtown.

There will be two casts with two performances each. Tickets are $22 for the general public and $17 for seniors/students, which includes a credit card convenience fee.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.1214foundation.org/seussical.
Proceeds will go to the foundation, which hopes to build a performing arts center in Newtown in memory of the Sandy Hook School shooting victims.

Photo Credit: B Brown, Shutterstock

Philly Schools May Not Open on Time Without More Funding


Philadelphia's schools chief says the district may not be able to open its schools on time this September without tens of millions in additional funding to reverse draconian cuts and major layoffs enacted earlier this year.

School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. William Hite said Thursday that he's "deeply frustrated" over the lack of help from city and state officials to close a $304 million budget deficit with just four weeks to go before school opens.

Philadelphia's 136,000 public school students are set to go back to school on September 9, but Dr. Hite says if the district does not get at least $50 million in additional funding by next Friday, August 16, he might have to push back that date.

Dr. Hite says there are three scenarios that could play out if the district doesn't get the cash. One option would keep all 218 schools closed past September 9. Another would only open a portion of the schools and in a third option, the schools would open, but only operate for half days.

"Our students are the most important part of this equation, and it is both saddening and frustrating to be in the position of telling them and their families that I do not know when their education will resume," he said.


The superintendent says the schools cannot operate without the proper amount of staff. He says it's all about safety.

"Fifty million allows us to tell parents that when their child is walking through the hallways, eating lunch or at recess, an adult will be supervising them," Dr. Hite said.

He added that no principal can run a 3,000 student high school or 400 student elementary school without support staff.

The School District of Philadelphia, the nation's eighth-largest public school system which is controlled by a state reform commission, laid off nearly 4,000 employees in June. The layoffs included all assistant principals, secretaries and guidance counselors. Hundreds of teachers and teacher's aides also lost their jobs.

The $304 million funding hole also causes schools to shelve extra-curricular activities and non-core programs like art.

An infusion of $50 million will allow the district to reinstate about 1,000 of those laid off employees. He says they would include assistant principals and secretaries.

Dr. Hite said while the money would allow the schools to open on time and for full days, it's still not enough.

"Fifty million will only allow us to open the doors, but not give our students the quality education they deserve," he said.


A total of about $151 million has been promised to the district through various local and state plans, but that's just about half of the total deficit.

Following Dr. Hite's public ultimatum Thursday, Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke presented a plan to provide funding using real estate.

Under the plan, Clarke says the city would purchase all of the district's real estate liens and surplus properties -- valued at nearly $200 million -- and then sell or convert them for reuse.

City Council would then provide the district with a $50 million advance to ensure schools could open.

"Thereby fixing a number of problems, providing revenue immediately to the schools and fixing up currently vacant and derelict buildings in these neighborhoods," Clarke said.

Clarke said council members have drafted a bill that they plan to present for vote. Should it pass, Clarke says, the city will be providing upwards of $90 million to the district. He says the city was only asked to provide $60 million in funding.

The bill also includes taking $140 million raised through extending the 1-percent sales tax hike and splitting that revenue between schools and the city's underfunded pension plan.

Council leaders have previously promised the city would provide funding to knock down part of the deficit, but that plan never materialized.

In addition to the city's money, another $45 million in forgiven federal debts could come to the district via the state, but Gov. Corbett says Philadelphia won't get the cash unless the district enacts reforms -- including $133 million in teacher union concessions.

The teachers, who are currently in contract negotiations, have said they can't give back any more.

"The district's current contract proposals will not create better schools; rather, they will cause a mass exodus of high quality educators and a deterioration of teaching and learning conditions in our schools for years to come," Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan said in a statement following Dr. Hite's address.

As for the state, while they control the one-time federal funding, officials have only pledged an additional $16 million in Commonwealth funding to the school system. All of the other funding in Gov. Corbett's previously proposed $140 million funding package relies on other entities, like the city, to collect the cash.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter urged City Council to come up with the money for the district. He says he would not allow schools to open without having them properly staffed.

“I stand shoulder to shoulder with Dr. Hite that we, and certainly I, will not allow schools to open with currently only the staff that he can afford,” he said.

Addressing calls for the city to take money out of the its General Fund, which is essentially the city government's bank account, Mayor Nutter said it's not fiscally responsible.

“Tapping into the city’s fund balance puts our own city finances in serious jeopardy. We simply cannot afford to go on that path," he said.

Should the schools not open on time, questions remain as to how they would make up the days lost. The Commonwealth's Public School Code states all schools must complete 180 days of instruction by June 30 of each year, according to Pa. Department. of Education Press Secretary Tim Eller.

Asked for comment on Dr. Hite's scenarios, the Pa. Department of Education has yet to respond.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia

5 of the World's Priciest Parking Spaces


A parking space in London is on the market for whopping $465,000, putting to shame anyone who complains about the going rates for New York City's shoebox-sized apartments.

To put the price into perspective, $465,000 can buy you a four-bedroom house in Kansas City, according to NBC News. The 11 by 12 feet of space in the exclusive Hyde Park Gardens area, however, is not the first parking space to come with a hefty price tag.

Check out these other hot parking spots:

  • New York City's first million dollar parking spot — attached to a $120 million luxury condo — went on sale in May 2012, making it the city's most expensive to date. The space is 12 feet wide, 23 feet long and more than 15 feet high, which makes it easy to convert into a duplex if the owner wants to park more than one Maserati in the garage.
  • A real estate company in April sold a parking space in San Francisco for $80,000, and with it comes easy game day access to AT&T Park and proximity to a major shopping area. The space is in an enclosed garage complete with secured entry.
  • A Hong Kong executive owns two $640,000 parking spaces in the dense cosmopolitan Chinese city that boasts some of the world's most expensive real estate. Jacinto Tong, CEO of property firm Gale Well Group, calls one of his two 8-by-16-foot slabs of concrete the best parking spot he's ever had. "You can go straight to the office and the elevator," he told CNN. "Only 20 steps!"
  • The only fancy amenities to two parking spots in Boston's Back Bay area are the straight white stripes painted on the black asphalt — and yet the tandem spots sold for $560,000 at an auction in June.
  • A luxury high-rise in Singapore comes with a much-needed amenity: an elevator that takes your Lamborghinis up to your $24 million penthouse.

Photo Credit: AP

Man Hit Woman in Head With Shovel: Police


A Middletown man was arrested yesterday, accused of throwing a shovel like a spear off a third floor porch and hitting a woman in the head. The victim’s injuries were so serious that she needed 10 staples in her head for the laceration, according to police.

Police responded to 36 Liberty Street on Wednesday for a report of an assault and found a woman sitting on the ground and a man standing above her, holding a rag to her head, according to police.

As police investigated, they found a spade-tipped shovel on the ground and witnesses identified Kirk Lisica, 39, of Middletown, (also known as “The Duke”) as the suspect, police said.

Witnesses told police that the altercation started when the victim accused Lisica of hitting a family member and causing injuries.

This led to a yelling match and Lisica and threw the shovel like a spear, witnesses told police.

Then, he walked back inside and showed no remorse, according to the arraignment report.

Police interviewed the victim at Hartford Hospital and she said she confronted Lisica about an alleged assault, they got into a yelling match and Lisica walked away.

As he was walking away, she heard people yelling “Kurt no!” and “Kurt stop!,” then felt pain in her head and saw blood on the ground. She did not remember much else.

Police took Lisica into custody.

At first, he refused to be processed, police said.

When he was placed in a holding cell, Lisica punched the doors and walls, threw his food, urinated in the cell and broke and disassembled a camera in the booking room, according to police.

He was charged with second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree breach of peace in connection with the alleged assault.

He was also charged with criminal mischief in connection with destruction of the camera.

He is due in court today.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police

DUI Prevention Device Thwarts Shoplifters: Police


A drunken driving ignition device kept a suspected shoplifter from fleeing from Farmington with thousands of dollars in designer handbags last night, according to police.

Levar Fulgham, and Jasmin Mancini, both 34 and of the same address in Milford, are accused of stealing 29 items worth $4,500, including Michael Kors handbags, from the TJ Maxx at 1600 Southeast Road.

Officers were waiting when Fulgham, Mancini and another person left the store because store security had called police to report the thefts, police said.

Fulgham ran when he spotted authorities and jumped into a car that was idling, but was not able to get away because he did not know how to operate the ignition interlock device, police said.

Since last year, ignition interlock devices are mandatory on vehicles owned by anyone who has been convicted in the state of drunken driving, including first-time offenders.

Drivers are required to blow into the device and pass a breathalyzer for the car to start.  

When Fulgham tried to run away, police chased him and took him into custody, according to the arrest log.

When police checked the car the three people had been in, they found bags ranging from $230 to $1,500 each, as well as designer socks, police said.

Police photographed the items for evidence and will get them back to the store.

Fulgham refused to be fingerprinted and provided police with a false name, police said. He was charged with several counts of larceny, interfering with an officer and refusal to be fingerprinted. He is being held on $100,000 bond, police said.

Mancini was charged with several counts of larceny and posted bond.

Both are due in court on August 14.

Photo Credit: AP

Body Recovered from Connecticut River Identified


The body pulled from the Connecticut River in Middletown on Saturday afternoon has been identified as Daniel Persaud, according to Middletown police.

Persaud disappeared on Dec. 14, 2012 after falling near the East Hartford Boat Launch while walking with friends.

Two fishermen noticed Persaud's body floating in some debris just north of the Arrigoni Bridge around 3 p.m. on Saturday and the body was pulled from the river.

Last weekend, authorities said the body had probably been in the water since the end of 2012.

The medical examiner has determined that the cause of Persaud's death was accidental drowning.



Former Hartford Chief of Staff Granted Accelerated Rehab


Jared Kupiec, the former chief of staff to Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, has been granted accelerated rehabilitation after driving a city vehicle more than 1,000 miles after leaving his city job.

Kupiec was arrested and charged with using a Ford Explorer without the city's permission and interfering with police.

He was in court on Thursday and was granted the special program based on the circumstances and his clean record.

Kupiec will have to pay at least $2,662 in restitution, provide 100 hours of community service and provide full disclosure to any potential employer.

He will also be under supervision for one year.

If earned, his dismissal date would be Aug. 8, 2014.

According to a police report, an officer responded to a report of damaged vehicles on Capitol Avenue on Monday, July 8 and found several cars with broken windows and other damage.

As police checked vehicle files to locate the owners, they noticed that a silver Ford Explorer was registered to the City of Hartford and had previously been assigned to Kupiec, who left his post with the city on June 21. The car was outside Kupiec's apartment, police said.

Police called his cell phone.

Kupiec first denied having possession of the car or knowing how the car ended up outside his apartment, police said.

He then told police he had turned the vehicle over to city hall, kept the keys because he was uncomfortable leaving them in the car and never heard back from city officials requesting the keys, police said.

When police interviewed city officials, they said they didn't recall Kupiec saying he had the keys.

Kupiec also told investigators he was never told he could no longer use the vehicle and admitted to using it about 12 times since leaving his job with the mayor's office, according to the warrant.

City officials denied the claim and said Kupiec had been told he could no longer  use city property.

Kupiec admitted to police that he used the car on July 7 to transport baseball players he coaches to and from playing, according to the arrest warrant, and wanted to apologize to the officer for misleading him during his investigation.

Police said the car had been driven 1,202 miles between June 13 and July 7, including a trip to Dunkin' Donuts.

The calculated the cost of operating the vehicle during the time frame is $508.50, according to police.

Minnesota Man Celebrates Powerball Jackpot Win


Powerball winner Paul White, 45, of Minnesota, is presented with a fake check for $149.4 million — one-third of Wednesday's jackpot winnings — and discusses the events leading up to the day he bought the winning ticket.

Pipe Falls on Vehicles in I-84 Tunnel


A pipe holding electrical wires that runs under a highway overpass in Hartford came down  around 12:30 p.m. onThursday and the highway was shut down for a while, according to Judd Everhart, of the state Department of Transportation.

The pipe came down the area of exit 50, affecting both the east and westbound sides of the highway.  The pipe hit at least two vehicles and damaged them, but no one was seriously injured according to state police.

DOT crews are trying to determine how the pipe came down, but they are investigating the possibility that it was struck by a truck, Everhart said.  It was still not clear how the pipe could have been low enough for a truck to come in contact with it, he said.

Interstate 84 was closed for about 10 minutes.

Photo Credit: Connecticut DOT
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