Channel: NBC Connecticut
Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

PETA Creates Billboard After Camden Child's Chaining


Kids don't belong in chains. Dogs don't, either.

That's the message a new billboard will soon be sending to the people of Camden, N.J.

Designed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the billboard is a response to Tuesday's arrest of a Camden mother, who along with her boyfriend, allegedly chained her son to a radiator pipe.

The billboard depicts a baby boy with a shackle around his neck attached to a chain going into the ground.

The image is accompanied by the words: "CRUEL! Kids don't belong in chains. Dogs don't, either. Families belong indoors."

"Just as abused children suffer psychologically as well as physically, so do chained dogs, who are subjected to everything from temperature extremes to attacks by abusers to mind-numbing loneliness," PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch said in a statement. "We call on all guardians to allow their dogs indoors -- year-round."

PETA applauded Camden for having a no-chaining ordinance which prohibits pet owners and caretakers from leaving their pets restrained outside for more than two consecutive hours a day.

The case, which prompted PETA to create the billboard, did not involve a baby, rather a 10-year-old Camden boy.

The boy, named by authorities simply as M.P., was allegedly chained by the ankle to a radiator pipe in his mother's bedroom for two weeks.

Camden County Metro Police say they learned about the boy's treatment after he ran away from home and reported missing.

When he was found, authorities say the boy told detectives he was forced to sleep with his ankle chained and that his hands were zip-tied at times.

The boy's mother, Florence Pollard, 31, and her 29-year-old boyfriend Brian Craig are charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Criminal Restraint.

"To treat a child this way is inhuman," said Camden Metro Police Sgt. Janell Simpson told NBC10.com on Tuesday.

Asked whether PETA was concerned the organization might muddy the message they're trying to send by using such a stark image, PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt tells NBC10.com the bold imagery helps people make a connection with the problem.

“We often do ad campaigns that talk about the things that we share in common with animals," she said. "A dog suffers, just as a child does."

Rajt says the organization plans to put up one billboard in the city, but has not yet determined where. She says they're currently in negotiations with outdoor signage companies.

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

Photo Credit: PETA

Hartford Public Works and Finance Directors Resign


Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra announced today that he has accepted the resignation of the city’s Director of Public Works and Director of Finance.

Kevin Burnham, former Director of Public Works, has stepped down after 11 years with the city, according to a release from the mayor's office.

Former Director of Finance Julio Molleda began working as Director of Finance in 2011 after holding positions at the Hartford Public Library and city Board of Education, according to the release. Their resignations take effect Oct. 4.

Maribel La Luz, Director of Communications and New Media for the city of Hartford, said the resignations are “part of the Mayor’s on-going strategy to enhance performance, streamline and improve City services.”

Joseph A. Ruffo will take over as Interim Director of Finance and Keith Champman will serve as Interim Director of Public Works, according to the release.

Ruffo formerly served as auditor, accounting instructor and budget reviewer for the Government Finance Officers Association and has also been the Comptroller and Deputy Comptroller for the city of Norwich.

Chapman has been the Newington Town Manager and Special Advisor to the City Manager of New London and Hartford. He has has formerly headed up the Newington and New London Public Works Departments.

Ruffo and Chapman will start on Monday, according to the release.

IMAGES: Massive Boardwalk Fire


A fire engulfs a popular Jersey Shore ice cream shop on the boardwalk in Seaside Park.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Police Search for Meriden Bank Robber


Meriden police are searching for the man who robbed a Wells Fargo Bank around 4 p.m. Thursday.

According to police, the suspect entered the bank at 820 East Main Street, approached the teller and demanded cash. He made off with an unspecified amount of money.

Police said the suspect did not display a weapon and that no one was hurt.

They’re asking for the public’s help in tracking him down.

He’s described as a heavyset black man between 30 and 40 years old, standing about six feet tall.

Police said he was wearing a bright yellow shirt and a black baseball cap.

A K-9 unit assisted the search. Police are actively investigating.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Meriden Police Department at 203-630-6250.

Photo Credit: Meriden Police Department

New Haven Restaurant Gets Creative With Outdoor Dining


With a new sandwich shop opening on Crown Street, the owner of another local restaurant has decided to set his place apart by doing things a little differently.

“We want to do things that only exist in places like New Haven, that only exist in New Haven. We want to be part of the city; we want to be part of the environment,” said John Ginnetti, who owns Meat and Co.

Ginnetti has worked with the city of New Haven to provide outdoor dining in an unconventional space. He's renting a parking spot outside his shop for the next 30 days and setting up tables and chairs in its place.

“John paid the average cost of parking for the average parking space in the city," said Jim Travers, Director of Transportation, Traffic and Parking in New Haven. "He'll pay that every day for every meter that's open for the time that he's here.”

It does take up a valuable parking space in an already crammed downtown, but Ginnetti said he weighed that in before setting up.

“There's parking lots next door. There's parking over there; there's parking around the corner; there's parking across the street; there's no shortage of parking," he said. "So I think it would be more beneficial to my guests to come in and be able to take advantage of a program like this.”

It's a pilot program. The city says if this goes well, this kind of outdoor dining could pop up in other spots in the downtown area come next spring. As for the people trying it out, they say so far, so good.

“It's interesting. It's lively, sometimes loud, but right on the road, so it makes sense,” said Andrew Barthel, who stopped for lunch during his visit to New Haven.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Kittens Survive 5-Day Train Ride from Chicago to Canada


Workers at the Edmonton Humane Society are calling the survival of two kittens “a miracle” after they made a five-day train trip from Chicago to Edmonton, Canada with no food or water.

The kittens were found by a worker who heard a "meow" in a container that was stowed on the train for an estimated five days and discovered the two kittens.

The worker took the two one-month-old kittens to a nearby humane society where workers say they were dirty, timid and extremely hungry.

“No one seems to know how they got in there,” said Shawna Randolph, spokeswoman for the Edmonton Humane Society. “We’re pretty sure they just got stuck in there and was sealed up and no one knew they were inside. It is a miracle that they are alive.”

Randolph said the train ride from Chicago was a five-day trip, but the kittens could have been stowed away in the boxcar for longer.

The shelter said the kittens could have been placed in the container by a stray cat that didn’t make it back to the train before it was sealed.

“We’d hate to think that someone purposely put them in there,” Randolph said.

But despite the lack of food and water, Randolph said the shelter’s medical team expects the kittens to survive.

“They’re still extremely timid, but they have full tummies now,” she said. “They were extremely hungry and thirsty but otherwise OK, which is just astounding.”

The miracle kittens were dubbed Chicago Joe and Boxcar Willemina.

Photo Credit: Edmonton Humane Society

Fairfield Bank Robber Could Be Suspect in 4 Other Heists


He may have done it again – two Fairfield banks were robbed this afternoon, and police said the suspect could be responsible for two bank robberies in Greenwich and two in New Jersey.

There's already a $2,000 reward from the CT Bankers Reward Association for information leading to his arrest.

Two Fairfield train stations were shut down and three trains were held this afternoon following the robberies, authorities said.

They're searching for the man who robbed a Bank of America at 1466 Post Road and a Chase Bank at 340 Grassmere Avenue within 20 minutes of one another.

The banks are minutes apart and are located near the Interstate 95 entrance and exit ramps.

Investigators originally said they were looking for two different men, but now believe the robber is one and the same. They think he might have changed clothes between heists.

Police said the man was armed but did not display a weapon. No one was injured in either incident.

Police are calling this an unusual circumstance and have been working to post officers at each of the more-than-22 banks around town. They brought out K-9 units this afternoon.

Fairfield police said the suspect might also be behind string of other recent bank robberies, including two in Greenwich, one in Linden, N.J. and one in Wood-Ridge, N.J.

Investigators are working with Greenwich police to identify the suspect and track him down.

Surveillance footage from all four robberies appear to identify the same man.

One potentially related incident shut down the Greenwich Metro-North station on Aug. 28 while police searched trains for an armed robbery. It happened after the robbery of a nearby People's United Bank.

This afternoon, the Fairfield Metro-North Station and Fairfield Metro Center were closed briefly during the police search. A Metro-North train and two Amtrak trains were held at the stations.

Fairfiled, Greenwich and MTA police are working together to investigate.

Photo Credit: Fairfield Police Department

New Haven Teacher Charged With Sexual Assault


A New Haven teacher was arrested and charged yesterday after allegedly sexually assaulting three students at the MicroSociety Magnet School during the 2011-to-2012 school year, according to police.

New Haven public schools special education teacher Robert Schmitt, 48, of Hamden, turned himself in following a months-long investigation into the alleged sexual assault of three magnet school students under the age of 13, authorities said.

According to police, investigation into the first incident began in April, when a social worker contacted police after speaking with the 12-year-old victim. The school principal and the state Department of Children and Families were also notified, and Schmitt was escorted from school grounds.

He was suspended and has not been back inside the building since. The school system is now taking action to terminate Schmitt’s employment, police said.

A second incident was reported in May when the father of a 14-year-old girl called school officials, authorties said.

The second victim told authorities that Schmitt touched her inappropriately while they were alone in his office with the door closed. She told investigators that she had also seen Schmitt touch the first victim, according to a warrant for Schmitt's arrest.

According to the warrant, the second victim has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability.

Days later after the second assault was reported, detectives met with a third victim, a 12-year-old boy, police said.

A MicroSociety school social worker described Schmitt as "quirky" and said he lacked social skills. School principal Rosalyn Bannon Bannon said she thought Schmitt might be mentally ill, according to the warrant.

Bannon said she moved Schmitt out of the private office after taking over as principal in 2012 because she "did not want the children to feel isolated." She said Schmitt "was very upset and pleaded several times" to keep his office, according to the warrant.

Schmitt was charged with two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, two counts of risk of injury to a child and one count of third-degree assault.

New Haven school superintendent Garth Harries released the following statement after Schmitt’s arrest:

“The safety and wellbeing of our students must be the absolute top priority for the school district and our staff. Children should feel safe in school and parents should feel safe sending their children to school. We work hard every day to maintain safety and wellbeing and we act immediately to investigate any concerns brought to our attention. In this case the principal acted immediately to remove the teacher once allegations were made. We reported the incident, cooperated fully with DCF and police and are moving forward with termination proceedings.”

MicroSociety is a public magnet school for students in grades Pre-K through eight. It’s located at 311 Valley Street in New Haven.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Fire Destroys 80% of Boardwalk in Sandy-Ravaged Town


Flames spread rapidly along the boardwalk in Seaside Park at the Jersey Shore as dark smoke was spotted from miles away.

“I see thick, billowing, black smoke with ruby red flames. It’s still raging out of control," said Justin Auciello, of Jersey Shore Hurricane News, who was on the scene this afternoon.

The fire, which started around 2:30 p.m. near Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard shop on 1800 Boardwalk, has destroyed at least 80 percent of the boardwalk in Seaside Park, according to Seaside Park’s Police Chief, Francis Larken. More than 50 businesses have also been destroyed.

Six hours after it started, crews had the fire under control, according to Seaside Heights Police Chief Thomas Boyd. But as of 2 a.m., firefighters continue to put out flames.

"This is obviously just an unthinkable situation, for us to be standing here and watching this, what's going on behind all of you is just unthinkable," said NJ Governor Chris Christie earlier today. He also said that when he first heard the news he told he staff 'I feel like I want to throw up' after all the work this area did to rebuild.

Gov. Christie estimates that 400 firefighters were called to the scene. Those crews cut a 20-foot wide trench along the the boardwalk at Ocean and Lincoln Avenues, in the hopes of stopping the fire from spreading.

Everything south of the trench is expected to be a total loss, said Christie. They are trying to save as much as possible north of the trench.

Christine Hemingway was working inside Kohr Brothers this afternoon and said it appeared as if the smoke was rising from underneath the boardwalk.

"Our manager came running through the stand and said 'get out,' we go around the corner in front of Biscayne Candy and there was smoke coming up from the boardwalk," said Hemingway. "There was a little smoke and then all of a sudden, it got real thick and black." 

A dispatcher for Seaside Fire Radio also received a report that the fire was coming from underneath the boardwalk.

"Report of flames showing underneath the boardwalk by the Sawmill," that's the audio call put out to crews dispatched to the scene.

Strong winds, whipping at speeds of 20 to 30 miles per hour, were the biggest challenge for firefighters called in to respond from neighboring NJ counties.

“It’s an all call, which means anybody that has equipment [in Ocean County] are asked to respond," said Al Della Fave, of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, who is handling calls for the Sheriff's office while they are on scene. That means up to 33 municipalities can respond.

“It’s all hands on deck and they’re doing the best they can, but the winds are really making it difficult," said Della Fave.

Embers blew for at least 8 blocks, igniting a fire at the nearby Royal Sands Condominium complex at Sumner Avenue and Ocean Terrace, which was quickly put out. Those embers also landed on area homes and businesses.

Nancy O’Brien runs EJ’s Dance Club at 919 Boardwalk, which is about a mile and a half from the fire. Even at that distance the smoke was a real nuisance.

“It’s pretty acidy. Our eyes are burning. It’s very, very windy,” O’Brien told NBC10.

The area of the boardwalk between Stockton and Farragut Avenues, in front of Funtown Pier, was not destroyed during Superstorm Sandy, but the pier itself was, becoming a symbolic image of the storm's destruction.

An estimated 90% of the 33 rides on Funtown Pier were lost in the storm. The pier, which was not open this summer, became fully engulfed in flames, destroying the small portion that was left standing after the storm.

“It’s just devastating to the area. It’s just heartbreaking to see.  After what we just went to almost a year ago, and now this. I’m just in disbelief and shock over this. I can’t believe it, " Larkin said.

NBC10 cameras captured part of a structure on that pier falling down.

The fire also spread to at least four blocks of the boardwalk in neighboring Seaside Heights, which was destroyed by Sandy and then rebuilt.

“Mainly after everything they just went through. I feel so sorry for the people that had businesses and didn’t have insurance and put their own money back into it to make it work," said Patty Dibiase, who watched as the fire burned.

Several firefighters suffered minor injuries, mostly heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

 New Jersey Natural Gas isolated gas service just to the boardwalk area. No residents have been affected.

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey had more than a dozen personnel responding to the scene to assist.

Non-emergency personnel are being told to stay away.

“We are asking people to stay away from the area so that firefighters can fight this fire," said Donna Flynn, Public Information Officer for Ocean County Emergency Management.

The Mathis Bridge, which connects Toms River to the Seaside area was closed to non-emergency vehicles, as of 5:30 p.m.

All roads leading into the area of Seaside Heights and Seaside Park are closed except to residents.

Seaside Park Mayor Bob Matthies estimates the damage from the fire will be in the millions.

“The resiliency that was demonstrated before will be called upon again to rebuild this section of the town and the commerce on the boardwalk," said Matthies.

Below is a before and after look at the landmark Funtown Pier.

Contact Lauren DiSanto at 610.668.5705, lauren.disanto@nbcuni.com or follow @LaurenNBC10 on Twitter.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia

Stratford Dam Causing Problems


A Stratford dam has been damaged and deemed unsafe, and now residents of Circle Drive look out over an empty, smelly pond.

They're not happy about it.

“It's gross. It's beginning to smell because a lot of fish are dead, and it's terrible,” said Alberto Caraballo.

Cook's Pond was drained after problems arose with the dam that controls the water. It's been damaged, and officials are trying to figure out what happened and how to fix it.

The dam is on private property, and its owner contacted the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection when he noticed an issue last week.

“I said yes, lower it, we'll get out there as soon as we can. We'll do an inspection," said DEEP Supervising Civil Engineer Arthur Christian. "We don't know what happens if it were to fail.”

Neighbors believe the damage is a result of blasting in the area. Crews have been working on nearby Cutspring Road to build an AvalonBay apartment complex.

“They are doing it properly. They have the seismographs there. They have the Fire Marshal witnessing it. They are local to the blast. The problem that I see is that people are claiming there are cracks to the dam, their houses, they're not monitoring with seismographs in that area which I think they should,” said Ralph Grasso, who is building a home on Circle Drive.

DEEP authorized the owner to drain the dam last week. Officials will investigate on Tuesday to evaluate the cause of the damage and the nature of the repairs it will require.

Once officials determine the cause, the next step is to come up with a plan to fix it.

a cause is determined, the next thing would be a plan of action to fix the problem. But neighbors, whose backyards are now full of mud, say their worried they'll have to pay.

“If this is $50 to $100,000 to fix, I think it's going to be a significant issue,” said Grasso.

Stratford Conservation Administrator Brian Carey told the town Patch on Thursday, "The dam has been in poor condition for years. There is no evidence that AvalonBay caused any further damage to the dam. The pond was drained as precaution under the authority of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection until their dam inspection unit can come down to the site and inspect the dam."

An AvalonBay representative said the company agreed with Carey’s assessment.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Boxing Gym Helps Turn Lives Around


From the streets to the ring, a local gym and its owner are helping people use boxing to knock out life’s biggest challenges and make a difference in East Hartford.

Their stories are similar – many were looking for a purpose and a sense of direction.

“I was in and out of school," said East Hartford resident Richard Rivera. "I really couldn't find myself.”

“I had a little temper problem, a little anger problem,” said Alana Royale.

They said Bare Bones Boxing Gym and Gwen Tompkins helped them turn their lives around.

“We’re a family here,” said Tompkins, who owns the gym.

Tompkins and her husband opened the boxing gym in East Hartford's Silver Lane Plaza simply because she liked the workout. But it soon grew into a way to help many who had lost their way.

Rivera overcame a broken home and his brother’s death to discover that boxing is his passion.

“I really don't know where I'd be" without the gym, Rivera said. "I'd probably be locked up right now.”

Royale went from having fights in school that got her kicked out of class, to going undefeated in her weight class.

“As soon as I got a grip on remaining calm and keeping my composure, that's when everything started to flow,” she explained.

Despite the dozens of people who use this gym, Tompkins runs it at a loss.

“It's hard on the pocket, but it makes it all worth it at the end of the day,” she said.

People who can't afford a membership can pay off their gym time by cleaning equipment.

“It's hard to charge a membership to kids that don't have anything,” Tompkins said.

But Tompkins said she doesn’t know how long she can keep the gym going unless a sponsor steps in.

Gym members are hoping someone can save the gym that helped save them.

“It’s like a second family to me,” said Royale.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Mt. Diablo "Morgan Fire" Sparked by Target Shooting


Cal Fire investigators on Thursday said the Morgan Fire burning around Mount Diablo in California was sparked by target shooting.

Firefighters had contained 90 percent of the blaze Thursday – 20 percent more than the day before.

Residents who live near the fire line in Contra Costa County are not surprised by target shooting being the cause of the blaze.

"A lot of people shoot guns up here," Pat Haley said. "I don't know the mountains are really overgrown and it was going to happen sooner or later."

Cal Fire on Thursday reported more than 1,110 firefighters remained on scene to battle the brush fire that had charred about 3,100 acres and broke out Sunday afternoon along Morgan Territory Road, southeast of Clayton, hence the name of the fire. Of the 100 homes threatened, none were lost.

"We didn't lose any residential structures in this fire," said Robert Marshall, spokesman for the Contra Costa Fire District, who thanked residents for keeping defensible spaces around their homes. "And we got lucky, too."

Investigators are not releasing further details about how they determined target shooting is to blame for the wild fire. An investigation on the cause is ongoing, officials said.

Cal Fire said they expect to completely contain the Morgan Fire on Friday.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Teen Gets 30-Year Sentence in Videotaped Beating Death


A 19-year-old man was sentenced to 30 years in prison Thursday for the beating death of a 62-year-old Chicago man that was recorded on a cell phone and uploaded to Facebook.

Anthony Malcolm was convicted of first-degree murder and robbery for his role in the attack that killed 62-year-old Delfino Mora.

According to prosecutors, Malcolm and two other co-defendants last July decided to play a game they called “Pick ‘em out, knock ‘em out.” The three targeted Mora who was in an alley in the West Rogers Park neighborhood collecting cans to sell for cash.

“I’m sorry,” Malcolm said in court. “I can feel your pain.”

One of the teens, Malik Jones, punched Mora and knocked him unconscious then stole his money. The father of 12 and grandfather of 23 died the following day.

Malcolm recorded the attack on a cellphone and uploaded the video to Facebook.

Judge Joseph Claps said Malcolm is an accessory not only for videotaping the attack but also because he never reported the attack to authorities.

“He left him in the alley like a piece of garbage," said prosecutor James Murphy. “To them it was funny, they laughed.”

Malcolm’s family believes he should not go to prison for holding a cellphone.

“He was a studious child. Respectful,” Malcolm’s aunt and retired Chicago Public Schools teacher Rosemary Rodriguez said. “I never saw anything else but that.”

Despite the family's pleas, Malcolm was sentenced Thursday to 22 years for murder and eight more for robbery.

“It should be no surprise good people do bad things,” Claps said. “There are two Anthony Malcolms. There must be a deterrent for people who choose violence for some past-time.”

The remaining two defendants are still awaiting trial.

Minor Lightning Strike Rattles Danbury Boy


The Danbury Fire Deparment is reponding to 15 Park Avenue, where a clothesline struck by lightning carried an electric current into the house.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Charly Slagle, an 11-year-old boy was sitting on the couch holding a remote control when he was jolted by electricity.

Slagle said he suffered a minor shock when the current traveled from the clothesline to the remote in his hand.

The boy was shaken up but wasn't hurt, fire officials said.

Slagle said the department has received multiple calls regarding lightning strikes in the area, but so far all the incidents have been minor.

View Larger Map

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Hartford Police Make Arrest in Suspicious Death of Toddler


Hartford police have arrested a 19-year-old man in connection with the suspicious death of a toddler this afternoon.

David Brown-Barrett was arrested tonight after an afternoon of questioning. Brown-Barrett is the boyfriend of the toddler's mother, and was with the baby at the time of her death, according to police.

The 13-month-old girl died suddenly around noon on Thursday. Police said Brown-Barrett took the toddler from a home at 162 Middlefield Street to Saint Francis Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Saint Francis Hospital staff called police to report the death Thursday afternoon. Hospital officials said the baby went into cardiac arrest.

"About 12:30, we got a call from Saint Francis Hospital saying they have a baby in cardiac arrest they're currently doing CPR on," said Lt. Brian Foley of the Hartford Police Department.

Police taped off the house on Middlefield Street and were seen removing evidence on Thursday night.

The street was closed between East Raymond and Greenfield streets while police investigated.

It's two blocks east of Hartford's Keney Park.

Police have also taped off a home on Burnham Street in connection with the investigation, but said they are focusing their attentions on the home on Middlefield Street.

"We're working with the family, obviously, to find out what had happened," Foley said.

Officers have also been talking to neighbors in an effort to learn more. People who live in the area said they've seen a young boy at the house and are hoping for the best, given the cirumcstances.

"Any time something happens to a child, I am kinda stopped in the heart by it," said neighbor Andriena Baldwin.

Special investigations detectives and officials from the Department of Child and Family Services are working to determine the child's cause of death.

Brown-Barrett  is expected to appear in Hartford Superior Court Friday morning.

Suspect Charged in Stratford Hit-and-Run


Six months after a shocking moment caught on tape, police believe they've found the driver who sped off after knocking 82-year-old Juana Hostos to the ground unconscious at a Stratford gas station, an incident that landed her in the hospital for nearly a month.

"She was just tossed like a rag doll," said the Hostos' daughter, Miriam Parsons.

Parsons spoke outside of court saying her mother has memory loss as a result of what happened and must now walk with a cane.

"It breaks my heart because my mother has always been an active person," said Parsons.

28-year-old Michael Hainsworth faced a slew of charges in Bridgeport Superior Court on Thursday including Reckless Endangerment and Leaving the Scene of an Accident.

In the surveillance video police say you can see the driver and a passenger get out of the car to check on the victim but then get back in and just drive away.

Hainsworth had nothing to say outside of court.

NBC Connecticut spoke with the victim back in July.

"I went to the gas station to get coffee because it was a little chilly, and the bus didn't come right away. And then I hit the parking lot, and I don't remember nothing," said Hostos.

Hainsworth was released on $1,500 bail and is due back in court October 1st.

The victim and her family now feel a sense of relief, saying the justice system is working.

"I'm a Christian, and I believe that, you know, everybody has to be looked at through lenses of forgiveness," said Parsons.

Smuggling Bust Nets 18 Arrests, Ton of Pot


More than 2,000 pounds of marijuana were seized and 18 people arrested after authorities busted a panga boat that came ashore at a Santa Barbara County beach Friday, law enforcement said.

It’s the latest bust in what officials have called an increase in illegal maritime drug smuggling along California’s central coast.

Members of the California National Guard first spotted the boat, pictured below, as it came ashore at Arroya Quemada Beach early Friday, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. They saw nearly two dozen people offloading from the boat bales of what the guards thought could be narcotics.

The group took off running when sheriff’s deputies arrived at the beach, but were later found hiding in the bushes, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said in a news release. Fourteen people were ultimately arrested at the scene.

Four more people were arrested hours later, found hiding near the beach where the bust began.

Later, Homeland Security agents in Camarillo stopped a truck suspected of being involved in the alleged smuggling scheme. Bales of marijuana and “other evidence” linked the truck to the panga boat found on the beach, authorities said.

Those traveling in the truck – authorities could not say how many – fled on foot, and authorities are asking anyone with information in the case to “immediately call law enforcement.”

Many of those arrested are from the Los Angeles area, officials said, adding that they would not be identified until they are formally charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The bust was called an “example of how federal, state and local agencies are coming together to address the recent increase of illegal maritime drug smuggling activity on the central coast.”

Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the California Highway Patrol (CHP), Ventura County Sheriff’s Department K9 Unit and air suppor, and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to the scene.

Friday's discovery is one in a rising number of cases in recent years in which suspected smugglers use fishing boats -- called pangas -- from Mexico to ferry drugs and people into the United States, authorities said.

There have 10 panga boat busts – involving drug and human smuggling – in Santa Barbara County since October 2012, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security. More than 9,735 pounds of marijuana has been seized in those busts so far.

More Southern California Stories:

Photo Credit: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department

Christie to Provide Counselors for Seaside Residents


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will deploy crisis counselors to provide emotional support for Seaside residents in the wake of Thursday’s devastating fire.

The fire broke out Thursday afternoon and engulfed more than four blocks of the Seaside boardwalk that was rebuilt only five months ago after it was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. Authorities in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights say more than 50 businesses were badly damaged in the blaze. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

“This heartbreaking tragedy comes so closely on the heels of Sandy devastation,” said Jennifer Velez, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, which oversees the Disaster and Terrorism Branch (DTB) and deploys crisis counselors to impacted areas.  “People still recovering from the stresses caused by Sandy are now experiencing more trauma, and likely will need some emotional support.”

Officials with the Christie administration say counseling will be available at the Seaside Heights Community Center at bay and Hancock Avenues from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and into the week if necessary.

“So many of these residents have just gone through an extended period of anxiety and uncertainly, and, now, the fire. We expect they will need emotional support,” said DTB Director Adrienne Fessler-Belli. “Many business owners already have seen their livelihood threatened and may be facing more losses.”

According to researchers, people who are dealing with a prolonged disaster recovery can experience increased anxiety and depression when the return to a regular routine is delayed.

“Following two large disasters in this community within 12 months, The American Red Cross wants to let the community know our resources are available for them," said Dr. Raymond Hanbury, a clinical psychologist who serves as the American Red Cross’ New Jersey State Lead for Disaster Mental Health. “One of these resources includes our Disaster Mental Health Unit to help individuals employ their own coping skills and resources to deal with these extremely stressful and tragic circumstances.”

There are currently more than 600 credentialed disaster crisis counselors in New Jersey and around 200 Hope and Healing counselors. For more information about New Jersey Hope and Healing, call 1-877-294-HELP (4357. For the Disaster Mental Health Helpline, call (877) 294-HELP (4357).

For confidential clinical mental health services, call 1-855-HOPE4U1.

Photo Credit: AP

Cleared Person of Interest in Dallas Rapes Still in Jail


Alan Mason will spend another weekend in jail, even though Dallas Police say he is no longer a person of interest in the South Dallas rape investigation.

"It's probably one of the worst weeks of my life. I'm glad it's almost over," Mason said Friday from the Dallas County Jail.

The 29-year-old insurance agent was arrested at his Arlington apartment last weekend after Dallas Police Chief David Brown named Mason as "person of interest" on Twitter.

An informant fingered Mason, but DNA tests later linked 38-year-old Van Dralan Dixson to several of the sexual assaults.

The DNA tests cleared Mason.

Nine women were raped since June in the area east and south of Dallas Fair Park.

"The women are the true victims," Mason said. "I don't want to take any attention from what happened to them because that was way worse than what I’m going through."

Mason remains jailed for an outstanding DUI probation violation but he believes the time he is serving in jail will satisfy that case by Monday.

He might never have wound up in jail for that case if not for the rape investigation.

His grandmother Shirley Clerkley is upset that police have not apologized. She worries Mason's good reputation will be tarnished by the incorrect connection to a rape investigation.

"He's not that type of guy. He's a real good guy. He's respected wherever he goes and he respects other people," she said.

Mason is considering a lawsuit over what happened, but he believes his job will still be waiting for him and he's hoping to get his regular life back in order.

"First step is to get out of here, go to the barbershop, get my appearance back right, visit my daughter, go to my grand mother's house, eat dinner," he said.

Dixson was arrested in Louisiana this week. He will be transferred to the Dallas County Jail at some future date.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Suburban School Bus Driver Charged With DUI


An elementary school bus driver is accused of driving drunk Friday along her West Chicago route.

Jill Beebe, 42, was charged with one count of Aggravated DUI, a class 4 felony.

According to the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office, Beebe picked up her bus in St. Charles Friday morning and began picking up and dropping off children.

A Pioneer Elementary School employee alerted her principal after smelling alcohol on the driver's breath.

West Chicago Police met Beebe at her next stop and administered field sobriety tests and took her into custody.

Not surprisingly, parents and area residents are furious.

"You've got kids in the car, you've got to be responsible for that," parent Jose Hugado said.

"I think they should go to jail," Walter Jaskula said. "Not just a slap on the hand."

Beebe was being held on a $100,000 bond.

Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live