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Police Standoff in Manchester Ends Peacefully


A man who was barricaded in a Manchester home Thursday  night has been taken into police custody, according to officials.

Manchester officers were asked to respond to a home at 194 Lydell Street and make contact with a man who violated a protective a order in West Hartford, according to Captain Christopher Davis.

Officers and SWAT surrounded the home after the man made threatening comments, barricaded himself inside the home and held a large knife, police said.

The intersection of Fenwick Road & Lydall Street was blocked off. 

The suspect was eventually taken into custody without incident around 11:00 p.m.,  Davis said.

No homes in the area were evacuated.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Contaminated Gasoline Damages Cars in Hartford


Contaminated gasoline is costing drivers some big bucks. Dozens of cars have been affected and city inspectors uncovered the problem at a gas station in Hartford.

Filling up at the Speedy Food Mart on New Britain Avenue and Broad Street, is something Charles Nelson regrets. “I’m pretty vexed right now,” Nelson said. 

Nelson said he put premium gas in his car Sunday afternoon, and an hour later there were problems. “The car clunked out on me on Park Street,” he explained.

The next day he went back to Speedy Food Mart to find the owner.  He said a handful of customers with engine failure were there looking for him too. “They were hysterical they couldn't believe their car stalled out because of the gas,” Nelson added.

After getting a few similar complaints, city inspectors showed up Thursday and checked out the tanks.  They said water somehow got in, and the high grade gasoline was contaminated.

“I won’t be back at that gas station ever again,” Nelson said.  That was because fixing his engine won’t be cheap. “It’s costing me $1,000 to get my car back,” Nelson said.

NBC Connecticut tried contacting the owner several times on his cell phone, but he did not return the phone calls.  The Better Business Bureau said he should pay for the damages, and they are now investigating.

“If there is a problem with the product the owner should resolve it with the consumer and reimburse them,” said Howard Schwartz with BBB. 

Schwartz told NBC Connecticut, dozens of motorists could be affected.  If you’re one of them, he said Speedy Food Mart will need proof, so keep your receipt from the gas station and mechanic. “To make your case you have to have some sort of paperwork,” Schwartz added.

Charles Nelson just wanted this business to be accountable for the supposed damage caused at the pump. “You made a mistake…fix it,” Nelson said.

The city said the gas station owner was cooperating, and trying to figure out how water leaked into the gas tanks. 

If your car was damaged, the Better Business Bureau wants to hear from you. You can reach them at 203- 269-2700.


Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Customers Speak Out about Soaring Electric Rates


Upset customers complained about their electric rates at a public hearing in Waterbury Thursday night.

They signed up with third party supplies then saw their bills skyrocket.

“In one month it was $855. I was like are you kidding me,” said Jacqueline Sheppard, who was alarmed by that number. It’s one that’s usually in the $200-$300 range. “There's no one there. I have a wood stove. Really? People don't even pay that for rent.”

Sheppard had signed up for an alternate supplier six months ago, “not knowing that my bill was going to double and do things that they do. They don't tell you all of that.”

It was an experience several shared Thursday night at public hearing in Waterbury before the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority or PURA.

“There have been some eye-popping increases in a lot of these rates but in our hearings we've heard from people who said listen I never looked at the terms,” said Michael Caron, Utility Commissioner.

The terms and questionable marketing tactics some suppliers use to gain customers have been under scrutiny by the state. In fact, complaints have poured into our Troubleshooters for months.

“We just went and switched over and we were very happy up until December,” said Suzanne Martin of Madison.

But that switch to Xoom Energy backfired for Martin when she got this eye-popping number. It was a nearly $1100 bill which was substantially higher than her $450 bill.

“We were given a great rate and it didn't occur to me that there'd be an end to this,” Martin added.
NBC Connecticut reached out to Xoom Energy over the phone and by email but didn’t hear back but Martin and others want some answers.

“All these people come on board to save us money and then they turn around and pull the rug out from under us,” said Martin.

PURA says it doesn’t know if it’s legally feasible to reimburse customers. But the state says it will question these third party suppliers at a hearing in the coming weeks.


Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Kerry Kennedy Jury Deliberates


The jury in the Kerry Kennedy drugged driving trial began deliberating Thursday but left without a verdict, and is expected to resume its work Friday.

Kennedy, the daughter of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, swerved her car into a tractor-trailer on a New York interstate highway in 2012, and tests later found a small amount of sleeping medication in her blood.

She is charged with one count of driving while ability impaired.

The trial began Monday.

Kennedy said on the stand during the trial that she believes she accidentally took the sleeping pill instead of her daily thyroid medication. Both were set out on the counter, in similar bottles, in preparation for an upcoming overseas trip.

Prosecutors argued that she should have pulled over once she realized something was wrong. Her lawyers said, and Kerry testified, that she never realized she was impaired until after the crash.

Her sister, Rory, was a character witness for the defense, and her mother, Ethel Kennedy, was in the courtroom for the trial.


Photo Credit: Getty Images for Robert F. Kenne

Fire Destroys House in Bridgewater


Fire destroyed a house on Henry Sanford Avenue in Bridgewater overnight.

Fire broke out around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday at the single-family house and two people who were inside got out safely before firefighters arrived.

Several fire departments responded and it took a few hours to put the fire out completely.

The fire, driven by the wind, was heavy and the house is a total loss.

The cause of the fire under investigation.

UCSD's Dr. Seuss Collection Grows


Sunday marks the birthday of late renowned writer, poet and illustrator Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel, but it’s the library at UC San Diego that’s receiving a huge gift: more than 1,500 new Dr. Seuss items from his personal archive.

With this big donation – added to the university’s existing Dr. Seuss Collection, which is housed in Mandeville Special Collections within Geisel Library – a famous, fitting Dr. Seuss quote comes to mind:

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

According to UC San Diego, the materials were donated to the library by Dr. Seuss’ wife, Audrey Geisel. The couple – longtime residents of La Jolla – has supported the university for many years.

The materials include hundreds of rough sketches and drawings for a variety of unpublished projects such as “Cat Ballooning,” “The Pet Shop,” “Bee Watches,” “How Welk Can You Spelk,” “The Clock Book,” and “Arabian Adventures.”

Also among the new items: Dr. Seuss’ ink drawings for a version of “Daisy Head Mayzie.”

There’s also a screenplay treatment by Dr. Seuss for something called “Tex McTarbox and the Fountain of Youth,” described by the beloved author as “the treatment for half of a screen play which I thought had great possibilities for mirth.”

Audrey Geisel told UC San Diego that passing along her late husband’s work to the library helps preserve his legacy.

“I am pleased about more of Ted’s work and memorabilia being in Mandeville Special Collections at Geisel Library,” she said in a statement to UC San Diego. "His Seuss history will be preserved for posterity.”

For more than 20 years, the UC San Diego library has had an extensive, longstanding collection of Dr. Seuss drawings, notebooks and other memorabilia given to the university after Dr. Seuss’ death in 1991.

Over the past decades, Audrey Geisel has continued to generously donate funds and materials to the Geisel Library.

Today, thanks to those colorful contributions, Mandeville Special Collections houses more than 10,000 items in its Dr. Seuss Collection, including original drawings, sketches, manuscript drafts, books, notebooks, photographs and memorabilia. The items document the full range of the author’s achievements, from his high school activities in 1919 through his death.

Brian E. C. Schottlaender, The Audrey Geisel University Librarian, said the new materials are highly valuable to the university.

“The UC San Diego Library is thrilled to receive this addition of creative materials to our fabulous Dr. Seuss Collection. We greatly treasure our Dr. Seuss materials and view Ted Geisel as much more than one of the most popular authors of children’s books. He is also a symbol of extreme creativity and innovation, values that are part of this University’s DNA,” said Schottlaender.

UC San Diego chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla agrees.

“Theodor and Audrey Geisel have been generous and stalwart supporters of UC San Diego and our Library,” said Khosla. “We are honored and grateful to receive these amazing new materials and feel certain that they will inspire more phenomenal Dr. Seuss books. It is clear that Ted Geisel’s creative genius never ceased to burn bright.”

The new materials will be exhibited through the end of March in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

Lynda Claassen, the director of the Library’s Special Collections & Archives, said they’re certainly worth exploring.

“It’s an amazing collection of rough drafts, sketches, project notes, and more…further evidence of Ted Geisel’s whimsical imagination and ever-present creativity. They add another dimension to the wealth of materials we already hold by illustrating how he expanded on early ideas with new freshness or how many ideas he had that were never fully realized. There are several unpublished book-length manuscripts in the gift, and these will probably be forthcoming from his publisher in the next few years.”

As is done every year, UC San Diego will hold its annual birthday party for Dr. Seuss. This year, the celebration takes place Monday at noon in front of Geisel Library. The party will boast a giant, inflatable “Cat in the Hat” and 2,000 cupcakes will be served with the help of Khosla and Schottlaender.

The party will also feature live musical entertainment from The Teeny Tiny Pit Orchestra, playing songs from “The Cat in the Hat Songbook.”

Photo Credit: Image copyrighted by © Dr. Seuss Enterprises

Wind Chill Advisory Remains in Effect


The Polar Vortex has returned to Connecticut and wind chills will drop well below zero this morning.

Wind chill advisories were issued for Hartford, Litchfield, Windham and Tolland Counties from 10 p.m. Thursday through 9 a.m. Friday.

Temperatures for this morning are well below normal.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has enacted the state’s severe cold weather protocol, which will remain in effect until Saturday, March 1.

Malloy said the state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has activated an internet-based communications network allowing emergency officials to share information about shelter capacity and conditions around the state.

Anyone in need of shelter is urged to call 211.

Malloy also encouraged communities to open warming centers.

Bloomfield will open the following warming centers Feb. 28 and March 1-2 and will provide water at all locations:

  • Alvin & Beatrice Wood Human Resources Center at 330 Park Avenue, 860-769-3566
  • Prosser Library at 1 Tunxis Avenue, 860-243-9721
  • McMahon Wintonbury Library at 1015 Blue Hills Avenue, 860-242-0041

We could see some flurries over the weekend, and the threat of a significant storm on Monday is increasing, according to NBC Connecticut Meteorologist Brad Field.

Photo Credit: Amanda Kennedy

Man to Be Sentenced for Killing Meriden Store Owner


The man who has been convicted of robbing, shooting and killing a Meriden convenience store owner in June 2012 will be sentenced today.

On morning of June 27, 2012, Ibrahim Ghazal, a father of six, was working at EZ Mart, located at 271 East Main Street in Meriden, when he was killed.

Police said Frankie Resto, a convicted robber who was out on early release at the time of the robbery, killed Ghazal during the armed robbery of Ghazal’s convenience store.

According to police, Resto entered the store and demanded money. Ghazal handed over the cash and was then shot in the chest.

Resto was arrested and charged with murder and first-degree robbery.

The case created a firestorm of controversy over the state's early release program, which allows inmates to earn credits toward an earlier release date and there are efforts to repeal the law.

Resto will be sentenced at New Haven County Court. The hearing begins at 11:30 a.m.

Ghazal's family is expected to make some emotional statements at the sentencing.

In October, Resto rejected a plea deal that would require him to serve 40 years in prison. In November, he was found guilty of murder and robbery.



Bridgeport Officer Who Shot Himself to Face Judge


A Bridgeport police officer who accidentally shot himself in the leg in a crowded bagel shop will be making his first court appearance in the case.

Officer Juan Santiago is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday in Bridgeport Superior Court on a charge of unlawful discharge of a firearm. He and his lawyer have declined to comment.

State police said Santiago was sitting with three other city officers at the Bagel King on Main Street on Dec. 17 when he mishandled a pistol that fired a shot through his left thigh. Santiago was treated at a hospital, but no one else was hurt.

Some city residents protested and criticized police in the weeks after the incident for not immediately arresting Santiago, who was charged earlier this month by state police.   

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Dunkin' Donut to Donate Proceeds to Officer Morgan Fund


A Dunkin' Donuts opens in New Britain this morning and all proceeds from the day will go to help a local police officer who was struck and dragged while investigating a car theft case.

The new donut shop is opening at 135 Main Street, New Britain, in the same building as the New Britain Police Department.

New Britain Police Officer Brett Morgan was badly injured on Sunday, Jan. 19 when he was dispatched to North and Willow streets to investigate. He was struck by the car and dragged 100 feet on the pavement, according to police.

Dunkin' Donuts at the New Britain Police will donate all proceeds raised today to the Brett Morgan Benefit Fund.

More information about the Brett Morgan Benefit Fund is posted online.

Kerry Kennedy Found Not Guilty


Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, was found not guilty of drugged driving by a jury in New York Friday after her 2012 arrest for plowing her Lexus into a tractor-trailer on an interstate highway while on sleeping medication. 

Kennedy smiled as the verdict was read while her mother, Ethel Kennedy, hugged other relatives in the courtroom. Outside court, Kennedy said she was "completely blessed by this amazing family" that supported her.

"And I really did have great, great lawyers," she added. "And most people don't have access to that. And we need to take a hard look at our criminal justice system in the United States to make sure that it truly is just and that everyone in our country has true access to fair chance."

Kerry Kennedy was arrested after she swerved into the tractor-trailer on I-684 at about 8 a.m. on July 13, 2012, and tests later revealed a small amount of a sleeping medication in her blood.

She said on the stand during the trial that she believes she accidentally took the sleeping pill instead of her daily thyroid medication. Both were set out on the counter, in similar bottles, in preparation for an upcoming overseas trip.

Prosecutors had argued that she should have pulled over once she realized something was wrong. Her lawyers argued that she never realized she was impaired until after the crash.

The jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon after a trial that started on Monday.

The Westchester DA said in a statement, "we respect their verdict."

Kennedy is the ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the niece of President John F. Kennedy. Her famous family was brought up in court when she was asked about her background while on the stand.

Kennedy testified that she and her siblings were raised by their mother after their father died when she was 8.

"He was shot when he was running for president," she said.

The family lived in Virginia, she said, because "daddy" was the attorney general there.

Long, Bumpy Road for Pileup Victims


In the wake of the massive pileup on the Pennsylvania Turnpike two weeks ago, Steven Coney says his life has been turned upside-down.

"This car pileup has been very stressful. I am depressed," he said. "It’s been hard financially."

The 29-year-old was lucky to escape serious injury when his Mitsubishi was crushed under a tractor trailer in the mess, but his car was left unusable.

Since then, he’s been renting a car, at his own expense, because he says a Pennsylvania State Police report he needs to provide to his insurance company isn’t done. Coney said police told him it might not be completed until April. This is an issue others involved in the pileup, like Coney, are likely facing as the investigation into the incident draws on.

"The State Police have not started a police report yet. They have not said who is at fault yet. It’s just a big mess," Coney said. "I have to work overtime just to cover expenses. I am basically doing everything on my own with no help."

It was around 8:25 a.m. on Feb. 14 when five tractor trailers and 10 cars collided in the eastbound lanes of the Turnpike about a mile from the Bensalem, Bucks County, Pa. interchange. Behind that first crash, a number of other collisions followed with some vehicles spinning out, catching fire, flipping over and being lodged under trucks. Area hospitals accepted 27 drivers who were hurt in the pileup, some seriously, but none suffered life-threatening injuries.

The limited access highway was closed for more than eight hours and more than 75 vehicles were involved. Most had to be towed away, according to the Pa. State Police.

Cpl. Richard Dean, public information officer for Troop T, which patrols the Pa. Turnpike, says troopers are working as fast as possible to complete their final report, but could not provide a timeline for when the investigation will be finished. He says investigators continue to get new information.

"Every time we get something finished another person comes forward and says 'I was involved in it,'" he said. "It turned into a big snowball, no pun intended. It was not one two vehicles here. It’s not 10 vehicles. It’s more complicated."

The Pa. Turnpike Commission is conducting an inquiry into the incident and the Pa. Senate Transportation Committee will also hold hearings on the pileup and the response by police and emergency personnel.

Attorney Robert Braker, head of the motor vehicle department at Philadelphia law firm Satlz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, says trying to determine who is at fault in the crash is an uphill battle as some cars were smashed into groups of tangled metal along the roadway.

"It’s going to be very complicated and it almost seems impossible to say who was stopped and who was pushed into somebody else," he said. "A lot of times you could [more easily] make the argument whether you’re stopped or moving. But in this you’re still going to have damage from being hit from behind or hit from the front, so it’s going to be very difficult to tell…"

Braker has tried and overseen thousands of cases, although no massive pileups, which he calls rare. He said with major accidents like the pileup, police typically call an accident reconstructionist to the scene to try and determine how the crash happened and who is at fault.

"Police officers who are not certified in accident reconstruction are not permitted to testify about their opinions about an accident in a courtroom," he said.

However, Dean says State Police did not dispatch one of their three accident reconstruction investigators to the scene, because the crash, although high-profile, did not match their criteria.

"It has to meet the criteria of serious injury or a death and this doesn’t meet that," he said.

Once police do finish their report, Braker says motorists will have a tough time suing for damages.

"You hope that the police did a great job sorting it all out, but it is going to be a challenge when there’s upwards of 50 cars that in theory you could point the finger at," he said. "The injured folks will be hoping that you’ll be able to prove that the fault is by a commercial vehicle that would be able to have the bigger policy."

Questions have been raised as to whether the Turnpike was properly plowed and salted prior to the accident. However, Braker says suing the state for that issue is out of the picture.

"Failing to salt a roadway is not a recognizable exception to government immunity so an injured person wouldn’t be able to sue…for failing to salt a public road," he said.

For Coney, however, the here and now is more of an issue for him as he tries to get his life back on track.

"I just want a car so that I can get back and forth to work," Coney said.

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Crash Causing Backup on I-84 East in Hartford


A crash is backing up traffic on Interstate 84 East in the Hartford area.

State police said there is a crash just before exit 48.

No information was immediately available on how many cars are involved or the severity of the crash.

Interstate 91 North is also backed up.

State police said they are not sure what is causing the backup because there is no crash there.


Man Charged With DWI Blames GPS


An alleged drunken driver stopped in Connecticut on Thursday blamed the GPS on his cell phone for sending him the wrong way in Interstate 84, according to police.

West Hartford Police Officer Peter Senick was assigned to the DWI patrol when he saw a car go from Park Road onto an off-ramp on around 2 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, driving the wrong way despite the “Wrong Way” signs, police said.

Officer Senick immediately went after the man and stopped him about 200 feet onto the ramp, according to police.

The driver, identified as Robert Howe, 43, of Springfield, Mass., told Officer Senick that he was not from the area and was following the GPS on his phone, which led him to drive the wrong way on I-84, police said.

Howe's blood alcohol concentration was found to be .101 and .095, according to police.

He was arrested and charged with DWI and driving the wrong way.

Howe has been released on a $500 non-surety bond and is due in court on March 6.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

Emergency Roadwork Ties Up Traffic on I-91 in Wethersfield


The State Department of Transportation is conducting emergency roadwork on the northbound side of Interstate 91 in Wethersfield on Friday and it has caused heavy traffic congestion in area.

Only one of the four lanes on the northbound side of the I-91 is open between exits 24 and 25, according Kevin Nursick, DOT spokesperson.

The pothole situation has become so severe, the DOT decided to mill the pavement on a 2,500-foot stretch of the highway in an effort to provide a more stable and even surface for drivers, Nursick said. The lanes will have to be repaved, but asphalt plants will not be operating for a few more weeks, so the repaving project won't happen immediately.

The DOT hoped to have the work completed by 2:30 p.m., but said the cold weather is causing some delays in the project.  They now hope to have the highway completely open by 5 p.m.

There are no plans to mill any other sections of highways in other parts of the state, according to Nursick.

Photo Credit: Conn DOT

Hoffman Died of Toxic Mix of Drugs


Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a toxic mix of drugs including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine, the medical examiner's office has determined.

The medical examiner also ruled Hoffman's death an accident.

The 46-year-old Oscar-winning actor died Feb. 2 at his West Village home of an apparent heroin overdose.

Hoffman was found with a syringe in his arm and dozens of packets of heroin in his apartment. 

Hoffman spoke candidly over the years about past struggles with drug addiction. After 23 years sober, the versatile actor reportedly checked himself into rehab for 10 days last year after relapsing in 2012.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Deal Reached to Save Crown Market in West Hartford


A deal has been reached to keep West Hartford's beloved Crown Market open.

A group of community leaders, including Henry Zachs, Alan Lazowski, Brian Newman and Leonard Udolf finalized an agreement on Friday to allow the 74-year-old landmark to operate at its current location at 2471 Albany Avenue in West Hartford, according to a release.

Two weeks ago, owner Mark Bokoff, who bought The Crown in 2009, announced he was closing the kosher market due to tough economic conditions, increasing competition and "one of the worst winters on record in a decade."

The news shook the community, which shopped at the market for decades for specialty items not available in other stores.

Community members vowed to do everything in their power to keep the store open, and they have succeeded.

According to investors, the key to keeping the market open is a new 25-year lease signed on Friday with Udolf Properties, the owner of the building. The new terms of the lease will dramatically lower operating costs at The Crown.

“We simply could not stand by and let this store just close its doors. It has been a pillar of our community for generations,” said Leonard Udolf. “By offering well-below market rates, we’ve now ensured that The Crown Market will survive. This is not a business deal for us. It is a matter of all of us working together toward a common goal. We felt that it was critical to preserve traditions that we hold dear.”

Terms of the agreement were not released.

"The Udolfs' spontaneous generosity and the investors' support have made this project a reality," Alan Lazowski said in a statement.

Bokoff said he was thrilled the market will remain open and that he would work with the new owners to ensure a smooth transition.

Obama, Biden Workout Together


Who needs sneakers or a gym to get a little exercise?

President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden showed in a playful workout video that even the leaders of the free world can get a little exercise — even if it means running laps through the White House in a shirt and tie.

The video, released Thursday as a part of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move fitness challenge, shows Biden entering the Oval Office as Obama is reading at his desk.

"Mr. President, are you ready to move?" Biden asks. Then both men set out running down the halls of the White House, outfitted in dress shoes and ties.

The first dogs Bo and Sunny look on quizzically as the pair jogs together outdoors. Finally, the president and vice president stretch before heading back into the Oval Office for a drink of water.

"After a good workout, you've got to drink up; otherwise, we're going to be in trouble with Jill and Michelle," Obama said.

The video was posted after Michelle Obama’s appearance last week on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," where she announced an online contest to promote staying healthy. If enough people participated, she said, the president and vice president would share how they move, too.

The contest challenged Americans to post on social media about how they exercise and eat healthy foods, and in response, thousands of users — including celebrities from Ryan Seacrest to Nancy Pelosi — submitted their habits on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #LetsMove.

"I want to see how people around the country are moving and changing the standards of health for our kids, because people are doing some amazing things," the first lady told Fallon.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Let's Move/YouTube

Police Arrest Hit-and-Run Driver After Child Struck in Norwich


Police have arrested a driver for a hit-and-run incident in Norwich Friday night.

Officers responded to 159 Norwich Ave where a 10-year-old child was struck by a vehicle that fled the scene just before 7:00 p.m.

According to police, the child suffered a leg injury and was taken to William W. Backus Hospital. His injuries are non-life threatening. 

The driver, Theresa Morgan of Norwich, was arrested a short time later after the accident.

Morgan is charged with evading responsibility and released on a $2,500 bond. She is scheduled to appear in Norwich Superior Court on March 11th.



Spike Lee's Former Block Vandalized


Three days after Spike Lee lashed out in a passionate rant against the gentrification of Brooklyn, someone vandalized the director's former childhood home and the house next door.

One or more vandals spray painted the stoop of Lee's former childhood home on Washington Park in Fort Greene on Friday. The damage was worse at the home next door where a window was smashed and "Do the Right Thing" written in spray paint on the first floor of the house.

"I was very angry about that," said Dianne Mackenzie, who lives in that home. "It's mindless and it's senseless, and it's pretty stupid."

Mackenzie wouldn't say whether she thought the crime, which police are investigating, was tied to Lee's remarks.

"They can speculate all you want, but I don't know why," Mackenzie said. "It's not something that happens in this neighborhood. It's not usual."

The tagger only managed to write "Do the Right" on Lee's former home, leaving out the rest of the title of the 1989 modern classic that solidified his reputation as a filmmaker.

Lee sparked controversy on Tuesday when he said that longtime residents of Fort Greene and other New York City neighborhoods were being pushed out by people with "Christopher Columbus Syndrome."

"You can't discover this! We been here. You just can't come and bogart," the director told an audience Tuesday at the Pratt Institute in Fort Greene.

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