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Teen Accused of Beating Student and Stealing His Sneakers


Police have arrested a teen accused of taking part in the beating of a 15-year-old after he got off the school bus in Hamden last month and stealing the sneakers right off his feet. 

Jaywon Lacy, 18, of Hamden, was taken into custody on Thursday night while riding a bicycle on Dixwell Avenue, police said. 
He is accused of taking part in a beating at Burke and George streets that the victim told investigators “seemed like forever.”
The victim was attacked by at least four teens, police said. They punched and kicked him until he fell to the ground, then stole his book bag and took the sneakers he was wearing, police said. 
Lacy was charged with robbery in the second degree, assault in the second degree, larceny in the sixth degree and conspiracy. 
He is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden on July 10.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police

Cause of Massive Portland House Fire Still Uncertain


After a week-long investigation, authorities still haven't determined the cause of the two-alarm fire that decimated a Porland home last Wednesday as one of the teenage residents was preparing for his high school graduation.

The fire broke out at a home on Belle Vista Heights and tore through the house the afternoon of June 18.

All five residents made it out safely, and firefighters managed to save the student's cap and gown. He and his family attended Portland High School graduation that night, despite the devastation to their home, firefighters said.

Fire officials said Friday that the flames started on the south side of the home but the cause remains unknown.

"The whole thing moved very quickly," said Wayne Schmidt, who lives nearby and saw the billowing flames from his backyard. "Within the course of 10 to 15 minutes, that whole upstairs was gone."

Portland fire officials said wind carried the flames and caused the fire to intensify.

"I couldn't believe it," said neighbor Sean Healey, who caught sight of the smoke from his car down the road. "[There was] just black smoke everywhere. I was shocked coming through."

Almost everything in the home is destroyed. Only the garage remained untouched.

"The whole house is black," Shea said. "You're never going to be able to get into that house again. It's without words."

The State Fire Marshal, Portland Fire Marshal and insurance investigators and engineered conducted the investigation and were unable to determine the cause of the fire, according to the Portland Fire Department.

The above photo is courtesy of Maria Appell.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Arrest Machete-Wielding Man in East Haven


East Haven police have arrested a man who they said grabbed a machete when officers went to question him about a harassment complaint. When he would not put it down, they shot him with a Taser, police said. 

One of Langdon Johnson’s neighbors called police shortly after 10 p.m. on Tuesday to report the man was making harassing comments, police said. 

When police responded to Carmen Street to investigate, they learned that there were several warrants for Johnson, 48, and went to his home to investigate.   

Johnson went into another room, police said, and grabbed a machete. 

Police ordered Johnson to drop the machete, but he refused and police shot him with a Taser, accoriding to a news release from police. 

Johnson was arrested and charged with breach of peace in the second degree and interfering with an officer. 

Police also served Johnson with the four warrants.

He was held on bond and arraigned in New Haven Superior Court on June 25.


Photo Credit: East Haven Police

Reward Offered for Information About Stamford Arson


The Stamford Fire Marshal's Office has determined that two fires that broke out at Asian restaurants in the city last month were intentionally set and are offering a reward for information about the arsonist.

Fire struck Sushi XII at 109 Atlantic Street on May 18. Less than 10 days later, on May 27, Pearl East Restaurant at 2720 Summer Street also caught fire.

Sushi XII was able to reopen the next day, but Pearl East suffered heavy fire damage and remains closed, according to the fire marshal.

The Stamford Fire Marshal's Office and Stamford police have determined that both fires were arson and are offering a $3,500 reward for information leading to an arrest, the fire marshal's office said Friday afternoon.

The Fairfield County Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans has contributed $1,000 toward the sum, according to the fire marshal's office.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Arson hot line at 1-800-4ARSON or 1-800-842-7766. All informatoin will be kept confidential.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Golden Gate Bridge to Get Barrier


Golden Gate Bridge officials have approved a plan for a suicide barrier on the iconic bridge.

The 19-member board unanimously voted to approve funding for the project Friday morning.

In an emotion-filled board meeting, the directors approved spending $20 million for the $76 million project. The rest of the money will be covered by the state and federal government.

Construction on the proposed steel cable net system would is expected to be completed by 2018, with bidding on the job expected to begin next year.

Some people oppose the barrier, saying it will be unsightly, but officials say the barrier will not mar the landmark bridge's appearance.

District general manager Denis Mulligan said the bridge district staff's opinion is that "construction of the suicide deterrent simply is the right thing to do at this time."

The motion for Friday's vote came from board member and former bridge district director John Moylan, whose grandson, Sean Moylan, jumped off the bridge to his death earlier this month.

A tearful Dan Barks of Napa, who lost his son, Donovan, to suicide on the bridge in 2008, said after the vote that he was almost speechless. ``A lot of people have done so much incredible work to get this accomplished,'' he said.

After the vote, he rose from his knees and shared a tearful embrace with Sue Story of Rocklin, whose son Jacob jumped off the bridge in 2010.

``We did it, Dan! We did it! It's no longer the Bridge of Death anymore,'' she said.

More than a dozen family members of those who have taken their lives on the bridge spoke at the meeting, all with the same plea.

“My main thing for being here is to prevent future deaths, prevent future families from going through what we’re going through,” said Manuel Gamboa, whose son Kyle jumped to his death from the bridge last year.

At least some of the money still requires additional approval. The bridge's board, however, has now taken its final step in adopting the net.

The Golden Gate Bridge, with its sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, has long been a destination for people seeking to end their lives. Since it opened in 1937, more than 1,400 people have plunged to their deaths, including a record 46 suicides last year, officials said.

The bridge's board voted in 2008 to install a stainless steel net, rejecting other options, including raising the 4-foot-high railings and leaving the iconic span unchanged. Two years later, they certified the final environmental impact report for the net, which would stretch about 20 feet wide on each side of the span.

The funding plan includes $22 million of federal Local Highway Bridge Program money programmed by Caltrans, $27 million from federal Surface Transportation Program funds programmed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, $7 million from California Mental Health Service Act funds and $20 million from the district's reserves.


The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Is Oakland the New Silicon Valley?


Tech companies are now branching out into the East Bay, favoring Oakland after being priced out of San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.

Erik Collier serves as one of the general managers of Ask.com, a search engine company that moved into Oakland's City Center from Emeryville in 2004.

"We knew it was cool before it was cool," Collier said. "We were looking for more space. Oakland seemed to be a great spot, a central location to transportation."

Other startups and tech companies moving into Oakland point to the cheaper costs of doing business, especially compared to San Francisco or on the Peninsula.

The average price for an apartment in San Francisco is $3,500. Oakland's average rent is about $2,000 a month for an apartment.

"All the young techies want to be in the East Bay," Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney said. "It is so hot. They don't want the sterile environment of those isolated campuses of the old tech."

McElhaney considers old-tech powerhouse companies to be the likes of Facebook, Google and Apple, all of which helped make Silicon Valley famous, simultaneously driving up rents south of the City in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, neither of which have much in the way of rent control.

She is touting Oakland as the next big thing for the tech industry.

"At this point, Silicon Valley is old money," McElhaney said.

The Sears and Roebuck building in Oakland will soon become part of  the city's renaissance. The building has been sold and the new owner plans to turn the building into retail and office space for more start-up companies.

Oakland restaurateur Irfan Joffrey, owner of Camber, said the upswing seems to be gaining momentum.

"A lot of new businesses are moving in," he said, "just because other businesses are coming into town so they can benefit from the economy."

Woman Finds Pot in French Fries


A Maryland woman found a little something extra in her fries after taking a trip to a local Sonic restaurant this week.

Carla McFarland, of Frederick, took her children to the fast food restaurant on Guilford Drive on Wednesday, The Frederick News-Post reported.

Everything was fine with the food she passed to her children, but when McFarland reached into the bag for her own food, she found a small bag of what appeared to be marijuana in her fries. 

“I kept thinking, what if my kids had eaten it?” McFarland told the newspaper

Both McFarland and the restaurant's management called the police.

An employee, who was later fired, took responsibility for the marijuana, explaining that it must have fallen from her apron.

"When she asked the three employees, one of the young ladies stepped up and said it was hers," McFarland said. "It didn't take very long, and I guess at that point they just said that they fired her."

McFarland got a new meal and was refunded her money.

The Frederick County Sheriff's Office has the marijuana as evidence, but it is not clear whether the employee will be charged, News4 Washington's Darcy Spencer reported.

According to the restaurant's website, the Guilford Drive location recently opened and is the only Sonic in the county.

Photo Credit: Carla McFarland

Police Search for Brooklyn Gas Station Armed Robbers


State police are searching for two men responsible for the armed robbery of a Brooklyn gas station late last month.

According to police, the men entered the gas station at 500 Providence Road around just before midnight May 29. One suspect “forcefully took physical control of the cashier” and held a metal object against the clerk’s neck while the other started opening the cash register.

The first suspect demanded money and the clerk handed over an unknown amount of cash, according to police.

Police said the men left the store on foot. Troopers, detectives and K-9 units searched the area but came up empty handed.

Anyone with information is urged to call State Police Troop D at 860-779-4944.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Judicial System Warns of Jury-Related Scams


The state judicial branch is warning of nationwide jury-related scams that have been hitting Connecticut.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, three people in Connecticut have reportedly received calls from a man identifying himself as "Lt. Steve Smith" with "Badge number 8031" from the U.S. District Court in Bridgeport.

The man reportedly referred to a false case number, told the residents they had failed to show up for jury selection and said there was a warrant out for the residents' arrest.

He then told them bond had been set but "the matter would be resolved" if the victims gave him four green dot pre-paid $500 Visa cards, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. One victim bought a card and gave the number to the scammer.

According to the judicial branch Web site, the Jury Administration will never call or email potential jurors. The U.S. Attorney's Office warns residents not to provide any personal information or money over the phone.

Anyone who receives a call or email claiming to be from the Jury Administration should not respond and should report the scam to the FBI in New Haven at 203-777-6311 or 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).

"Identity thieves and scammers defrauding the public will be vigorously prosecuted when identified," said U.S. Attorney Dierdre M. Daly, in a statement on Friday.

You can call the Jury Administration for more information at 1-800-842-8175.


Photo Credit: File Photo

Missing Miami Teen Found Safe


Missing Miami teen Carolina "Caro" Macias has been found safe hiding at a friend's house, after she went missing Thursday night following an argument with her mother about SAT scores, police said Friday.

The 17-year-old had last been seen Thursday night near Soul Purpose, a dance studio she volunteers at near The Falls shopping center in southwest Miami-Dade, family and friends said.

After arguing with her mother on the phone, Caro had hid her phone in clothes, left it in the studio and walked out, police said.

Police treated her disappearance as a runaway case and didn't believe foul play was involved.

The girl's mother told NBC 6 that her daughter was also seen at a Publix grocery store with another girl before she went missing.

Police said Caro was captured on surveillance video at Publix renting a DVD from RedBox with the other girl, whom they're trying to identify.

Twitter hashtags #helpfindcaro, #prayforcaro and #findcaromacias were being used to spread the word about Macias, who attends Westminster Christian School. Sen. Marco Rubio even tweeted about the incident Friday morning.

Check back with NBC 6 South Florida and NBC6.com for updates.

I-84 West Reopens in Newtown After Crash


Interstate 84 westbound has reopened in Newtown following a six-vehicle crash, according to state police.

All westbound lanes were shutdown for a time Friday afternoon between exits 9 and 10.

It's not clear if anyone was injured in the crash.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Masked Men Rob New Haven Bank at Gunpoint


Police are searching for the men who robbed a New Haven bank at gunpoint Friday afternoon.

According to police at the scene, two men wearing bandanas over their faces walked into the First Niagara bank at 36 Fountain Street and demanded money from two tellers. One was armed with a handgun.

The suspects made off with an unknown amont of cash, then fled south on Central Avenue onto West Elm Street, where a white sedan was waiting to pick them up.

Detectives are reviewing surveillance video in an effort to identify the suspects and determine how much money they took.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Reward Offered for Tips in 2011 New Haven Homicide Case


A reward is being offered to help police solve a 2011 homicide case.

Albert Jenkins was shot and killed outside Poor John’s Pub in New Haven on the morning of May 21,2011, according to police, and a $50,000 reward is being offered for tips that lead to a conviction.

Jenkins, a convicted felon who is on parole at the time of the shooting, was shot in the head, back and face, according to police.

At the time, he was wanted by the New Haven Police Department on outstanding warrants for alleged drug sales.
If you have information that will help police solve the case, call Detective Michael Wuchek at the New Haven Police Department 203-946-6304.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Gun Found in Luggage of Man Bound for Bradley Airport


A 76-year-old man has been arrested after trying to bring a gun on a flight from Chicago Midway International Airport to Bradley International Airport, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

TSA discovered the firearm, a Jennings J-22 pistol, in his carry-on bag and notified law enforcement officers, who arrested the man on criminal charges.

It’s the fourth weapon found in carry-on bags at Chicago Midway this year, according to TSA.

“TSA takes the discovery of prohibited items seriously and urges all passengers to check the contents of their bags before leaving home to ensure they are not bringing any prohibited items to the airport — including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition,” the agency said in a statement Friday. “Firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags, but can be transported in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline.”

Photo Credit: Transportation Security Administration

Operation Dry Water Aims to Keep Boaters Safe


Boaters beware: Operation Dry Water is in effect.

This weekend, Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environment Protection along with Environmental Conservation Police, the U.S. Coast Guard and state and local police will be out in force to ensure people are boating safely and sober.

Officers will be checking for boaters with a blood alcohol content exceeding that state limit of .08 percent, as well as stepping up state wide patrols and checkpoints.

“We look for the same thing as vehicles: erratic operation, if they are up in the wake zone, boats overloaded, children not wearing their PFDs,” said conservation officer Liam O’Brien.

According to the DEEP, boating under the influence is still a major problem in Connecticut and across the United States.

Between 2008 and 2012, 47 percent of the boating accidents that resulted in fatalities were alcohol related. It is easy to see the problem, but difficult to catch in the act.

“If you are behind the wheel with someone operating under the influence, you can see them go over the lane or the curb,” said O’Brien. “Obviously on the water it is a little trickier.”

The Environment Conservation Police warn the ramifications are just as serious.

“Make no mistake, if you are caught boating under the influence, you will face the consequences,” said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen.

According to Captain Ryan Healy of the EnCon Police, “fines are anywhere from $500-$1,000 for a first offence, six months in jail and suspension of boating privileges.”

Operation Dry Water runs Friday, June 27 through Sunday, June 29 and, with a great forecast predicted, officials are ready for plenty of water traffic. They welcome the waves of boaters, and promise they will be watching.

“We want boaters to enjoy themselves, but there will be zero tolerance for BUI,” said Healy.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Fredrik Rubensson

Most Entertaining Graduation Speech Ever


Wethersfield High School graduate Gregory Corning’s graduation address was not really a speech, it was a musical medley to the class of 2014’s four years in high school. It's one you will definitely want to see.

“I wondered what the most popular songs from each of our years in high school would sound like if their lyrics were actually about the lives of WHS students,” he said in video that has since been posted on YouTube.


The talented student made the songs about his classmates by changing the words to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.,” to “Freshman Year, Turned Out OK,” about what it was like to start fresh at a brand new school. 

He rewrote Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” as “Oh, Sophomore Year.” One of the lyrics was: “We finally learned the power of those three words – girls, girls, girls."
Then, he altered Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” to be about taking SATs, getting a driver’s license and touring colleges. 
Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” was about their own wrecking ball -- the school renovation. He finished up with his own versions of Lorde’s “Royals,” about post-high school plans and One Direction’s “Story of My Life” with “Stories of Our Lives at WHS.” 
Corning's speech might be more memorable than he expected. It has more than 3,000 views and is sure to get many more since people began sharing it through social media.
He is heading to Notre Dame in the fall and we certainly look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.


Photo Credit: YouTube

State to Investigate FUSE and Jumoke Academy


The state education commissioner is calling for an investigation into the Jumoke Academy and its parent organization, Family Urban Schools of Excellence, after the CEO was terminated due to questions about his background and qualifications.

Connecticut Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor has requested an investigation into the “operations, finances, governances, and other issues related to recent revelations regarding Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE) and Jumoke Academy,” according to a release sent from the commissioner’s office Friday.

It comes days after the termination of FUSE CEO Michael Sharpe. It was recently revealed that Sharpe had never completed his doctorate studies, although he has gone by “Dr. Sharpe” for years.

The discovery prompted Hartford Public Schools to drop their three-year contract with FUSE, which had taken over operations at the Milner school in the city’s North End.

According to the release from Pryor’s office, education lawyer and former Waterbury Board of Education business administrator Frederick L. Dorsey will spearhead the investigation.

Investigators plan to interview Jumoke and FUSE’s staff members and governing boards and analyze relevant documents, according to the release. Dorsey will work with the State Department of Education’s Office of Internal Audit to oversee a financial audit of Jumoke Academy.

“We are deeply concerned about recent revelations regarding FUSE and Jumoke Academy. Like all operators of public schools, these organizations have an obligation to meet high standards of organizational governance. That way, we ensure that our students and parents are being served well. I am confident that, working with the State Board of Education, and with the assistance of a professional of Mr. Dorsey’s capability, we can achieve a full understanding of the totality of the situation – and of the next steps required,” Pryor said in a statement Friday.

The State Board of Education will hold a special meeting June 30 at 10 a.m. to discuss the upcoming investigation.

Residents Head to Connecticut Beaches


Days like today that make you want to kick the cubicle and trade board meetings for board shorts. Back to back beautiful weekends have beach-goers forgetting the winter blues and looking for that summer sun.

“It’s perfect,” said Lisa Watson of Enfield. Her summer selection is a beach day with friends, but Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen reminds the state holds so much more.

“Beaches, campgrounds, mountains, lakes, river trails; whatever you want to do in the outdoors we can provide it in Connecticut,” said Whalen.

The promise brought the Wiater family in from Massachusetts looking to continue a longtime family tradition at Hammonasset State Park.

“It does’t get any better than this sunshine with the family all camping together. It is great,” said Katie Wiater.

Those who can enjoy it, however, aren’t the only who love it. Great weather also means great business for waterfront restaurants and shops.

“We had a little slow start since it has been such a long winter,” said Glenne Fennelly of Bill’s Seafood in Westbrook. “Now it is full force.”

As they do every year, Bill’s is welcoming back its summer regulars and adding a few new faces. On a perfect summer weekend you can expect to be greeted by a long line, but they promise you will leave a happy, and hopefully lifelong, customer.

“They are all very happy to be outside and be on the water. It is a very New England feeling here,” said Fennelly.

The DEEP says summer is in session and in Connecticut all are welcome.

“Come on down, we would love to see you.” said Whalen.

Photo Credit: Amanda Raus, NBC Connecticut

Westport Police Nab Suspected Car Burglars


Police have arrested the men accused of breaking into cars in Westport after a homeowner caught them in the act early Friday morning.

According to police, James Fleming admitted to breaking into multiple cars after police arrested him at a Norwalk motel. His getaway driver and “lookout,” Gary Cappiello and Brian Martinez, reportedly confessed to helping Fleming carry out the burglaries.

Officers tracked them down after a resident of Imperial Lane called police around 3 p.m. to report that someone had broken into a vehicle at the home. The resident provided police with a description of the suspects’ getaway car and police pulled them over in the area.

A search of the car turned up a “large machete type knife” on the floor behind the driver’s seat, according to police. Cappiello and Martinez were in the car and Fleming was found at a motel in Norwalk.

All three were arrested.

Fleming was charged with third-degree burglary of a motor vehicle and criminal attempt to commit sixth-degree larceny.

Cappiello was charged with conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit sixth-degree larceny and carrying weapons in a motor vehicle, and Martinez was charged with conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary and conspiracy to commit sixth-degree larceny.

Bonds for all three men were set at $2,500 and they were each arraigned in Norwalk Superior Court today.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Plane Makes Emergency Landing


The pilot of a single-engine plane made an emergency landing on a highway ramp in Arlington Friday afternoon.

The plane landed on a highway ramp going from U.S. Highway 287 northbound to westbound Interstate 20 just before 5 p.m.

The pilot was uninjured, but the plane hit a vehicle, which may have caused injuries to at least one passenger, the Federal Aviation Administration told NBC 5.

One person is being transported to the hospital, the Arlington Fire Department said.

The plane was towing a banner near the interchange when the pilot told air traffic controllers that it had lost oil pressure, the FAA said. The pilot then said he was dropping the banner and would make an emergency landing.

The highway shut down for a few hours after the crash. The lanes reopened at about 8:15 p.m.

The FAA is currently investigating the situation.

NBC 5 has crews on the way and we'll update this story with more information as soon as it's available.  As this story is developing, elements may change.

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