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Fire at Wolcott Metal Recycling Facility Under Control


Firefighters have a fire at Continental Scrap Metal in Wolcott under control and no injuries are reported.

Crews responded at 11:04 a.m. and have the blaze under control in an hour.

The company, located at 1275 Wolcott Road, includes a 20,000 square-foot metal recycling facility.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Photo Credit: Submitted

Case Continued for Enfield Man Accused in Wife's Death


An Enfield man accused of killing his wife because he was tired of changing her diapers every day did not enter a plea when he appeared in court Tuesday.

The case against John Dewees Jr., 49, who is charged with first-degree manslaughter, was continued to July.

Police said they found Anja Dewees, 46, dead at the couple's home on 4 Magnolia Drive last month.

The body was wrapped with duct tape in a deflated waterbed mattress. It had been in house for two days, according to the arrest warrant application.

Police began investigating the death after a neighbor had called authorities about a possible death and said John Dewees Jr. "was acting a little weird," according to police.

Crisis intervention officers responded and police set up a perimeter around the house. John Dewees Jr. came outside to speak with officers, police said.

After getting a search and seizure warrant for the house, Enfield officers and members of the Connecticut State Police Major Crimes Unit went inside and found Anja's body in a bedroom.

During an interview with police, Dewees Jr. said his wife had been ill for about four years and he had been taking car of her, feeding her and bathing her, according to the arrest warrant application.

He told investigators that he and his wife had been drinking on Tuesday night and his wife hit her head when she "came out of his hands" as he was putting her into the tub, according to the arrest warrant application.

After the bath, Dewees Jr. said he put his wife to bed and went to sleep next to her. When he woke up on Wednesday, he knew his wife was dead, but did not want to call anyone because he wanted to stay with her for a couple of days, he said, according to the police report.

Police continued to probe and asked Dewees Jr. why he didn't call an ambulance.

"She was dead. I didn't think there was anything I can do," he said, according to police.

But police noticed inconsistencies in the story and explained that to Dewees Jr..

Then, Dewees Jr. admitted to pushing his wife into the tub and hitting the side of her head because he was tired of changing her diapers every day, according to the arrest warrant application.  

He said he was upset because his wife had soiled herself and ruined their good time as they were listening to music and drinking on Tuesday night and punched her, according to the arrest warrant application. 

The medical examiner performed an autopsy and determined that Anja Dewees died of blunt force injury to the head with a skull fracture, but that comes paired with broken ribs, bruises and possible strangulation.

He is due back in court on July 9.


Photo Credit: Enfield Police Department

Chicago Lands George Lucas Museum


Chicago has come out on top in the intense competition for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

City Hall officials confirmed that the city has beat out San Francisco and Los Angeles for the museum, which will host more than 500,000 pieces of art and movie memorabilia from "Star Wars" director George Lucas' personal archives. The museum was initially supposed to be called the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, but the name change was announced Tuesday, along with the decision.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed building the museum on two parking lots located near Soldier Field and offered to lease the land to Lucas for $1, a similar arrangement other large cultural institutions have with the Chicago Park District.

Emanuel said in a news conference Tuesday that the museum will serve as a partner with the city's schools and an opportunity to create jobs.

"I can't thank George and Mellody enough for choosing Chicago," Emanuel said. "This will be a tremendous opportunity, a significant step for the city. No other major American city has these types of cultural and educational institutions, with a great Northerly Island creating a vibrant, green museum campus unparalleled in the United States."

The proposal still needs to go through the Chicago Plan Commission and the earliest it would open is 2018.

Museum officials say the facility will be dedicated to narrative art -- the telling of stories visually, and that the key objective will be to inspire and educate future generations.

Chicago received the nod "because of the quality of the site proposed by the city's task force," and the "unparalleled visitor access" on the 17-acre site.

"Choosing Chicago is the right decision for the museum, but a difficult decision for me personally because of my strong personal and professional roots in San Francisco," said Mr. Lucas, a native of Modesto, Ca.

San Francisco was pushing a piece of property near the water in its downtown area after city officials rejected the first targeted location.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti promoted the use of a #WhyLucasInLA hashtag to build support through social media. The museum would have been located near the University of Southern California, where Lucas attended film school.

Emanuel lobbied hard for the museum to come to Chicago but family ties likely played a part in the decision. Lucas' wife, Mellody Hobson, is from Chicago and the two share a home in the city.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bedroom Was Dedicated to Marijuana Growing: Cops


Police searched a West Hartford home on Monday after receiving several anonymous tips and said they found an entire bedroom being used to grow marijuana.

Police searched a home on Flatbush Avenue around 6 a.m. on Monday and said they found 46 marijuana plants in an upstairs bedroom. Some of them had grown to 5 feet tall.

Police also found hydroponic tents with heat lamps, as well as a ventilation system, fertilizer, plant food, mason jars and plastic bags.

They also found loose marijuana in the home, police said.

A resident, Travis Adams, 28, was arrested and charged with sale of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, cultivation of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession with intent to sell near a school.

West Hartford police said they dismantled a mid-level marijuana grow operation by making the arrest.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

Motorcyclist Seriously Injured in Route 9 Crash


A 33-year-old Hamden man is in serious condition after crashing his motorcycle on Route 9 in New Britain, according to police.

Police said Patrick Thomas was driving his motorcycle on Route 9 southbond near exit 27 when, "for an unknown reason," he drove off the left shoulder of the highway and struck a utility pole around 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Thomas was taken to Saint Francis Hospital for treatment of a serious head injury sustained in the crash. It's not clear if he was wearing a helmet.

Route 9 southbound was closed for several hours between exits 27 and 28 following the crash.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Connecticut Coffee Heading South to Fort Hood


Troops at Fort Hood are about to get a whole lot of joe – a coffee shipment from Wallingford is headed their way.

Tomorrow afternoon, on June 25, a tractor-trailer carrying upwards of 28,000 pounds of coffee will begin its journey from Connecticut to the Texas military post.

The generosity comes courtesy of Con-way Truckload, which will be delivering the coffee to Holy Joe’s Cafe, a nonprofit that works to provide coffee for all active duty United States military personnel worldwide.

The shipment will be leaving Wallingford tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Teen Changed Grades: Prosecutors


A 16-year-old high school sophomore in New Jersey is accused of breaking into his school's computer system to change grades and attendance records for as many as 24 students.

Prosecutors in Essex County say officials from Orange High School alerted police that someone without authorization had gained access to the school's computers. Cyber crimes investigators were then notified.

Authorities say the teen used a faculty member's password to get into the system and changed the grades and attendance records. 

"This is not a case of sophisticated computer hacking by any means -- this is really the oldest trick in the book," prosecutor Robert Laurino told NBC 4 New York. 

One 18-year-old student told NBC 4 New York that the teen charged kids for the work. Laurino confirmed prosecutors are looking into that.

"I think they probably didn't think that they would get caught," said Scott Thelusma, 18.

The district disciplined several other students who were allegedly involved, prosecutors say.

The teen is charged with several counts of second-degree computer theft and has been released. The case will proceed in Family Court and his identity is not being released.

The school's graduation is Thursday.

Elderly Woman Eyed in Purse Thefts


Police are looking for a woman, believed to be in her 70s, who grabs purses off the backs of chairs in Brooklyn restaurants.

The elderly thief with white hair and dark-rimmed glasses is suspected of stealing a handbag at Mullanes Grill on Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene, and another at a location in Park Slope, according to a law enforcement source.

She may also be linked to other thefts, the source said. 

Surveillance video from Mullanes shows her walking past tables and slipping a bag from a chair where a woman is sitting with a child on her lap.

She then walks calmly out of the restaurant.

Police ask anyone who recognizes her to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.


Deadly DUI Suspect's Fiance Speaks


The fiancé of 21-year-old Kayla Mendoza, accused of killing two women in a wrong-way crash while drunk, said the now-infamous "2 Drunk 2 Care" tweet she sent minutes earlier was directed at him.

A tearful Javier Reyes can be heard on interrogation tape telling Florida Highway Patrol investigators the couple had gotten into an argument about her driving his car and not coming directly home after work.

"It was all my fault. It was all my fault," Reyes says in the tape. "I should have just been like, 'It’s okay, baby. It’s okay. Just go eat, have fun. Just come home to your baby.'"

Instead, Mendoza allegedly drove the wrong way on the Sawgrass Expressway, slamming head first into another car.

FHP's investigative report says that Mendoza, 20 at the time, was driving a white Hyundai the wrong way on the highway last November when she slammed into a red car being driven by Kaitlyn Ferrante and her best friend Marisa Catronio. Both Ferrante and Catronio, who were 21 at the time, died.

Authorities said Mendoza had gone out to a bar after work with her colleagues from a T-Mobile store before the crash.

Reyes told investigators during the interrogation that Mendoza rarely drank alcohol.

FHP: So you've never seen her drink any alcoholic beverages?
Reyes: I mean, once or twice, like on her birthday, but it was home. It was safe. No vehicle or anything.
FHP: What type?
Reyes: Just beer?

Mendoza, who called herself the "pot princess" on Twitter, tweeted "2 Drunk 2 care" just minutes before the crash, according to FHP. Authorities said she was driving with a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit.

Mendoza faces charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide for the accident. She pleaded not guilty during her formal arraignment in May.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com

Court Acquits Man Charged in New Haven Carjacking


The man initially accused of a brutal carjacking in New Haven has been acquitted, according to the city court.

Kareem Forrester was charged with kidnapping, robbery, carjacking and larceny in March of last year, and earlier this month, all charges were dropped, according to the court.

The alleged victims, two women, told police last year that Forrester assaulted and robbed one of them, then sped off in their car with the other still in the passenger seat.

According to defense attorney Stuart Hawkins, “the complaining witnesses provided the State’s Attorney a different version of events that lead to the arrest of Mr. Forrester. On June 4, 2014, the State’s Attorney advised Judge [Jon] Blue that because of ‘serious issues with their credibility’ the State was entering a nolle on all counts.”

The charges were subsequently dismissed, and Hawkins said in an email Tuesday he hopes Forrester’s story will bring to light “the effects and consequences that can flow from the wrong of providing inaccurate and/or false statements.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Retired New London K-9 Dies of Cancer


A former New London police K-9 has died of cancer, according to the police department’s Facebook page.

Retired K-9 Buck was taken off the job last year after the department couldn’t pay for the mounting cost of his arthritis medication. Buck went to live with his handler, Officer John Michaud, and stayed with the family until his death.

New London residents raised money for Buck’s medication last year in an effort to keep him in the police force, but the K-9 retired in June 2013. He lost his battle with cancer a year later.

“In Buck’s years with the New London Police Department, he was a valued member of the entire team and an asset to the citizens of the City,” the New London Police Department wrote on its Facebook page Tuesday. “We ask you to help us in offering our condolences to the Michaud family as they adjust to the loss of their beloved family pet.”

Buck’s retirement came in a time of controversy surrounding the city’s K-9 unit, as budget constraints threatened to diminish its size. After overriding Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio’s veto, the city council ultimately passed an ordinance to maintain a four-dog K-9 unit.

Photo Credit: New London Police Department

Police Search for Suspect in Hartford Church Burglary


The man accused of breaking into a Hartford church during Bible study to disable the alarm, then stealing two television sets the next morning has been identified as Miles Harris, who is also a suspect in other church burglaries, according to police.

The video surveillance shows the man ripping two flat-screen televisions off the wall of the Family Worship Center on Blue Hills Avenue last Thursday morning and police are hoping that video can help investigators track him down.

Police said Tuesday that Harris is wanted for questioning in connection with the burglary.

He is also wanted on outstanding felony charges pertaining to the assault of an elderly man in Hartford, according to police.

Authorities have not been able to locate Harris and are asking for the public's help in tracking him down.

According to surveillance footage from the Family Worship Center, the suspect hauled one TV across the parking lot, then went back minutes later and took another TV.

“At first, chills were all over my body,” said Pastor Cecil Hume, who arrived at the church a short time later to discover the TVs were missing. Then, he checked the surveillance footage.

“It's like you're watching a movie,” Hume said.

The suspect was strategic, Hume said. The man walked in the night before and paced the hallways while the Boble study group men in the back room.

“It hurts me to know we were in that room for 25 or so minutes, this man was walking up and down the foyer out there,” Hume said.

The culprit disabled the alarm system and unlocked a back window so he could get in undetected the next day, according to Pastor Hume.

“For years, we have been doing this without any problem. This is the very first time we experienced anything like this,” Hume said. “It's a church. I was angry.”

Anyone with information about the burglary or Harris' whereabouts is asked to call Hartford police Sgt. Brandon O'Brien at 860-757-4089.

Above photos courtesy of the Hartford Police Department.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department/Family Worship Center

Ellington Remembers Teen Killed in ATV Accident


Ellington residents gathered at the high school Tuesday night to release balloons and remember a 19-year-old former student who lost his life in an ATV accident in Suffield last week.

Police say Austin Tautkus was riding his ATV at his family's farm when the vehicle flipped, pinning him underneath. Each balloon sent up to the sky tonight contained a note written to Tautkus – one final goodbye.

"I still don't believe it, and I won't believe it for a long time, but I eel better knowing that he's going to get a little word from us," said Cody Fongemie, a good friend of Austin's, at the memorial Tuesday night.

His father Keith was there that day, and spoke of the accident at a vigil last week.

“It’s just an unfortunate accident that happened,” Keith Tautkus said at the vigil. “It was a disaster for him.”

Keith Tautkus added that, rather than focusing on the incredible loss he and his family must endure, he hopes the community can remember his son for the way Austin Tautkus lived to the fullest.

“[He was] a happy kid all the time,” Keith Tautkus said. “He was more concerned about others than himself. I think that’s what made him special.”

Austin Tautkus was a football star at Ellington High School. After he graduated last year, he took his talents to Western Connecticut State University, where teammates say he was a natural leader.

His loss is a blow to his college community.

“I’m still in shock,” said teammate Joe Leslie. “It doesn’t seem real.”

Friends from back home said Austin Tautkus spent time giving back to the community and helping others.

“He volunteered his time for the kids with the Little League and stuff like that,” explained neighbor Peter Sherba, who said the teen was taken “too soon… Very tragic for such a young man.”

Community members lit candles last Thursday night to honor Tautkus' memory, paying tribute to a teen who touched their lives.

“This is unbelievable to see all the people here, telling stories about him,” said Keith Tautkus. To him, the support makes all the difference and has been instrumental in helping him get through the past couple weeks.

"I think, as a community, it's going to be really hard to get through this," said 19-year-old Hillary Pueragbe, at the Tuesday night memorial. "But we're strong, and we'll be able to do it with everyone's help."

Keith Tautkus said his son’s organs will be donated to about 10 people in desperate need of transplants.

Photo Credit: Facebook/NBCConnecticut.com

Bristol Man Accused of Cutting Window Screens to Enter Homes


Bristol police are searching for the man they say broke into homes and stole from residents while they were sleeping last week.

Luis D. Cantre, 28, of Davis Drive in Bristol, is accused of cutting out window screens and crawling through unlocked windows to enter houses in the area of Jerome Avenue and Mix Street.

Police say six homes were burglarized at night while the families slept in their beds Monday through Wednesday of last week. Cash and jewelry were among the items stolen.

Cantre has been identified as the suspect. Police have obtained a warrant for his arrest charging him with first-degree burglary and fourth-degree larceny.

He’s described as a dark-skinned Hispanic man standing 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 165 pounds.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call Bristol police at 860-584-3011.

Photo Credit: Bristol Police Department/NBCConnecticut.com

Police Arrest Suspect in West Hartford Break-In, Assault


Police have arrested the man accused of breaking into a home on New Britain Avenue in West Hartford and assaulting an elderly resident who caught him rifling through her drawers, according to police.

Luis M. Ortiz, 29, is charged with home invasion, first-degree burglary, third-degree robbery, sixth-degree larceny, assault of an elderly person, third-degree criminal mischief and interfering with an officer.

He's accused of breaking into the home of two elderly residents on New Britain Avenue across from Westfarms Mall around 2 p.m. Tuesday, then chasing and assaulting the woman when she caught him digging through the contents of an upstairs bureau.

"I'm mad," said the victim, identified only as Estelle. "I'm very angry... that that man came into my home, but I'm fine."

Estelle said she was in the bathroom and her husband was mowing the lawn when the intruder entered their home. He reportedly got in by pushing out the screen to the back door and turning keys that had been left in the lock.

"I looked at him and said, 'Who the hell are you?'" she explained.

West Hartford police said Ortiz attacked her when Estelle tried to get away.

"She turned and ran," said West Hartford police Lt. Stephen Estes. "He chased her through the house, grabbed her and threw her into a table. He stole some items and from there he fled the residence, and that's when the foot chase started."

Estelle said she ran outside to her husband, who was mowing the lawn, and called 911.

Ortiz reportedly led officers into Newington, where he was taken into custody on the busway from New Britain to Hartford about an hour later, according to police and NBC Connecticut crews at the scene.

"They took me in the cruiser down to where they were holding him and I identified him," Estelle said, "because I had looked at him full in the face!"

Ortiz was transported to the West Hartford police barracks, where he remains in custody. Police are holding on to the cash and jewelry he allegedly stole to use it as evidence.

"I don't care how long they keep it," Estelle said, "as long as they have him and he's behind bars, and he's not going to hurt anybody and get into anybody else's house."

Police from Newington and Farmington helped in the manhunt.

It comes a week after a series of residential burglaries in town had residents on high alert.

The investigation is ongoing.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Shot and Killed on Adams Street in Hartford


A 23-year-old man has died after he was shot in the chest near 153 Adams Street in Hartford Tuesday night, according to police.

Police responded to the scene around 9 p.m. after someone called 911. Deputy Chief Brian Foley said the victim was shot once at close range during an outdoor barbecue and believes other guests may have witnessed the shooting.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was pronounced dead at Saint Francis Hospital.

Hartford Police Major Crimes detectives are investigating.

Anyone with information or who may have witnessed the shooting is urged to call Hartford Police Det. O'Brien at 860-750-4089.

A young Hartford mother was shot in the head and arm on Adams Street earlier this year.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

I-95 Accident Causes Traffic Delays


A minor accident at Exit 26 near Wordin Avenue on Interstate 95 South is causing traffic delays.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Truck Crashes on Beech Street in New Haven


A truck crash closed State Street and Beech Street in New Haven on Wednesday morning.

New Haven fire officials said the truck crashed into a pole and knocked down some power lines.

The crash caused minor power outages, which affected less than two dozen customers in the area.

Beech Street has since reopened. State Street remained closed as of 5:30 p.m.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Investigating on I-84 West


State Police have responded to Interstate 84 West at exit 65 in Vernon.

They have not released much information, other than to say there is an active police investigation and a lane closure.

The highway remains open.

No additional information was immediately available.

Drunk Driver in Ledyard Crash Had Children in Car: Police


Police arrested a Mashantucket woman accused of disabling an ignition interlock device, then crashing head-on into another car while driving intoxicated with two children in her car, police said.

Elizabeth Whipple, 29, crossed the center line on Center Groton Road, or Route 117, in Ledyard in her 2012 Honda and struck an oncoming Kia that Deb Hobert, of Ledyard, was driving, police said. Hobert’s husband John was also in the car. The crash happened at 10:34 p.m. on Tuesday.

“God gives you your children and they’re your responsibility and at a minimum you shouldn’t be drinking and driving with your children because you’re their person that they trust and love and you need to take care of them,” said Deb Hobert, still shaken up by the accident.

Whipple's vehicle had an ignition interlock device installed, but she somehow avoided using it before driving intoxicated, police said.

“A person has one installed as a result of a past behavior of intoxicated driving. When it’s installed, before that person is able to start their vehicle they’re supposed to blow into that device,” said Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police.

Whipple was convicted of driving under the influence in 2012, according to online court records.

Whipple was found guilty after a July 10, 2011 drunken driving incident in Stonington, according to the state judicial website.

She was also convicted the same year in a state police case for an incident days before in 2011 involving driving with a suspended license and evading responsibility, according to the judicial website.

Ledyard police, firefighters and volunteer emergency squad responded to the crash on Tuesday, as well as the Gales Ferry Fire Department and Lawrence & Memorial Hospital paramedics.

Police charged Whipple with operating under the influence of alcohol, tampering with an ignition interlock device and risk of injury to a minor. She was also cited for failure to drive right.

“The end result could have been an innocent person being injured or, equally as bad, this intoxicated operator and/or her passengers being injured,” said Vance.

There was no answer at Whipple’s home when we stopped by.

Police released her on a $10,000 bond and she is scheduled to appear in court on July 10.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com
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