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Fake License Plates Turning Up in Waterbury


Major cities in Connecticut have recently caught drivers using replicas of temporary license plates, which the Department of Motor Vehicles commonly issues car dealers.

“In the past couple weeks, we've seen an increase in fraudulent plates, paper plates, temporary plates, that are not real. It appears people are making them out of computer, then laminating them. Typically they replicate a dealer or repair plate,” said Waterbury Deputy Police Chief Chris Corbett.

Waterbury police pulled over a car with a fake plate and found two pounds of marijuana inside. Corbett said it can be dangerous because a fake plate means no record of the car.

“We can't track these people down. So, if they commit a crime, and a witness writes down license plate, it comes down to nothing, such as a hit and run, or a violent crime,” said Corbett.

Temporary plates are designed for customers who buy new cars and are waiting on plates they've ordered. They're usually accompanied by a signed agreement that drivers store in the glove box.

“If someone came in, for instance, and purchased a car, didn't have a plate, the dealer could give them a plate to put on the car,” said DMV Commissioner Melody Currey.

Currey said that often, people using false plates don't have insurance or the proper safety inspections done on the unregistered vehicles. Her office has been monitoring the problem for some time now and is looking for solutions.

“The staff is going to be issuing me a report tomorrow on status and suggestions on what we can do to really perfect this, so it doesn't happen as often,” said Currey.

Right now, using a fake plate is only an infraction.

Cobra Bite Victim Thought She'd Die


A Florida wildlife sanctuary employee bitten by a cobra while cleaning a snake cage is out of the hospital and looking forward to going back to work.

Aneth McCarthy told WPTV that she thought she was going to die after she was bitten Thursday on the hand by a 3-foot-long spectacled cobra at the privately run McCarthy's Wildlife Sanctuary in Loxahatchee.

She says she'll return to caring for the cobra when the swelling in her hand goes down. She still likes the cobra, and she'll continue to clean its cage, she says, though now she'll be more careful.

McCarthy's husband is the sanctuary's director. He says he's been bitten by snakes nearly a dozen times, but this was his wife's first snake bite.

Photo Credit: Flickr/robphoto

Drum Set and Equipment Stolen From Bridgeport Church


Police are searching for the person who stole a drum set and electronic equipment from the United Tabernacle Apostolic Church in Bridgeport on Sunday.

According to police, a burglar moved scaffolding in front of the building located at 2155 East Main Street and broke through a door.

Once inside, the suspect made off with a drum, amplifier, and several large speakers, police said.

Authorities are working to identify and track down a suspect.

Anyone with information is urged to call Bridgeport police.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bystanders Lift Taxi Off Cyclist


A bicyclist hit by a taxi near Columbus Circle Monday morning was rescued by a group of bystanders who rushed to lift the car off the elderly woman, police and witnesses say. 

The FDNY says a bicyclist was struck at 60th Street and Columbus Avenue at about 9:30 a.m. 

The victim was pinned underneath the SUV taxi, according to witnesses, and several people -- most of them construction workers from a work site nearby -- ran to her aid and lifted the vehicle. 

Shannon Algeo, who was walking by when he saw the commotion, said about seven to 10 people lifted the vehicle while others got the woman out. 

She was responsive but clearly injured, Algeo said.

Another person on the scene with medical training assisted by talking to the victim. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

McD's Worker Surrenders


The South Jersey McDonald's worker wanted in the brutal beating of a young mother in front of her toddler and a group of bystanders turned herself in to police Monday night and is in jail.

Latia Harris surrendered to Salem City Police without incident around 7 p.m. after an extensive search, officials say.

She is being charged with aggravated assault and two counts of making terroristic threats and was lodged in the Salem County Correctional Facility in default of $35,000 full bail.

Harris, 25, had been hiding from authorities since cell phone video surfaced of an attack near a McDonald's in Salem City last Tuesday where both Harris and the victim, 27-year-old Catherine Ferreira, worked.

The beating was videotaped by many of the onlookers, who did nothing to help Ferreira or stop the attack. The only person to try to help the victim was her 2-year-old son, who could be seen in the video yelling and kicking his mother's attacker.

"Mommy!" the boy cried as his mother was beaten just inches away.

"Cannibal Cop's" Conviction Overturned: Report

"I think it's messed up no one came to my rescue," Ferreira said.

The nearly minute-long video was posted online. It showed a woman, who police identified as Harris, punching, kicking and spitting on Ferreira, who admits talking about her attacker's love life, a move that she says provoked the beating.

"I'm trying to tell her, I don't want to fight you," said Ferreira.

But the attack continued, ending when the suspect threatened to kick the toddler before making one last threat to the victim.

"It's not over... you almost made me lose my job," Harris allegedly yelled at Ferreira before spitting on her and walking back to work.

The victim contacted police after the attack, which left her with a concussion, a broken nose and two black eyes.

Photo Credit: Salem Police Department

Women Catch Bridgeport Man Snooping Through Car


When two women caught a strange man rifling through a purse in the backseat of their car, they did the only thing they could think to do – grabbed him and held on until police arrived to place him under arrest.

According to police, 50-year-old Darren Green, of Bridgeport, was inside the car Sunday digging through a purse when one of the women walked out and saw him in the backseat with the light on.

She asked him to get out, and instead of leaving the vehicle, he invited her in, police said.

The woman then grabbed Green and pulled him out of the car. Her friend, the car’s owner, helped detain him until officers arrived on scene, according to police.

Green reportedly told police he got into the wrong car.

He was arrested and charged with burglary. His bond was set at $25,000.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

Police Find Missing Greenwich Girl, 13


Police found 13-year-old Shyana Perez, of Greenwich, Tuesday.

She went missing after heading to the train station to visit family in New Haven.

According to Greenwich police, Shyana was supposed to board the 5:55 p.m. train from Greenwich to New Haven on Friday to visit family, then had planned to stay at another relative’s house in Meriden.

Shyana’s mother told police she never made it to her father’s house in New Haven.


Photo Credit: Greenwich Police Department

Amber Alert Mom and Infant Found in Arizona


Police have canceled an Amber Alert issued early Monday morning for a 1-month-old baby girl from Torrington.

The alert was canceled around 4:15 p.m. Monday. Police said the infant, Shiloh Gilber-Alfar, and her mother, 30-year-old Amirah Alfar, were found in Prescott Valley, Arizona, at the home of a family member.

Shiloh was found unharmed and was placed in the care of the Arizona Department of Children Services, according to police. She was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation.

The Department of Children and Families has an order to remove the baby from Amirah Alfar's custody, but the mother and daughter were gone when DCF went to serve the order, according to Torrington Police.

The two were missing since Saturday.

Details regarding the order for custody removal from the mother have not been released.

A woman at Alfar’s home, who claimed to be Shiloh’s grandmother, said she had no idea where her daughter or the baby were. 

The FBI child abduction unit, the state police child abduction unit and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were called to help find the child.

Shiloh Gilbert-Alfar weighs 7 pounds and is 24 inches long. Amirah Alfar has brown hair, brown eyes and is 5 feet tall.

Anyone with information is asked to call Torrington police at 860-489-2090.

Photo Credit: Torrington Police

Strange Man Approaches Bristol Teen


Parents are keeping a closer eye on their children after a stranger in a gray commercial van approached a 14-year-old girl while she was walking on Peck Lane in Bristol Sunday night.

Police said the van driver, a man, stopped after passing the girl and began reversing toward her. One of the two people inside the van got out and the teen ran home.

A neighbor walking in the area spotted a man matching the van driver's description not long after the incident, which happened around 8:30 p.m., according to police.

Jon Riedel, who lives nearby, said the incident raises "genuine concerns."

"[My wife and I] are both up front with our girls about not talking to strangers and being proactive about their surroundings," Riedel said.

Police said the man is thin, stands between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall and is in his mid 20s. He was wearing a dark tank top, khaki cargo shorts and white sneakers.

The van has white lightning bolt stripes on the sides, according to police.

Neighbors said they'll be on the lookout for the man and his vehicle.

"I watch out for all my neighbors, and hopefully they'll do the same here for us," said neighbor Max DeFilippis.

People's Bank Warns of Text Message Phishing Scam


People’s United Bank is warning customers of a phishing scam that comes in the form of a text message telling customers their debit cards have been blocked and requesting their bank information.

According to an advisory posted to the bank’s Web site, the text messages read something like, “support.peoples-united-bank. Debit Card BLOCKED! Click to reactivate,” and include a fraudulent link to reactivate the card.

People’s Bank says the link is malicious and urge customers not to follow it and to avoid providing any personal or bank information.

“These text messages are fake and should be deleted. People’s United Bank does not contact customers via email or text about blocked debit cards or for purposes of obtaining sensitive information such as PIN, passwords, account numbers, username, personal, or account information,” People’s Bank said in the advisory.

Kaycee Baransky, of Hamden, received one of those fraudulent messages and followed the link. She immediately noticed something was off.

"The People's United Bank sign was distorted," Baransky explained.

But more concerning was the information it requested.

"It asked me for my name, it asked me for my email address, it asked me for my social security number," she said.

She went to the Hamden branch and verified that the bank would not have used a text message to notify her of a problem with her account.

Baransky wants to spread the word and hopes others will be cautious.

Anyone who received a fraudulent text message and gave out any information should call the People’s Bank call center immediately at 1-800-894-0300.

The above image is an example of the phishing text messages People's Bank customers have received. Photo courtesy of People's Bank.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Mike Mozart

State Investigates Charter School Management Group


A Connecticut Board of Education is bringing in a special investigator to comb through operations of Jumoke Academy and its parent organization, Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE).

State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor says that investigator will be Hartford attorney Frederick Dorsey of Kainen, Escalera & Mchale, P.C.

The moves come as questions swirl around the background and qualifications Michael Sharpe. Sharpe became the CEO of Jumoke in 2003 and then the CEO of FUSE in 2012.

He was recently terminated when it was revealed he never completed his doctorate studies, although he has gone by “Dr. Sharpe” for years.

Today, Pryor announced new administrative actions to prevent such problems going forward. According to Pryor, the department will now require charter schools and charter management organizations to conduct background checks on all employees.

“We are clarifying that point and that will be effective immediately,” said Pryor.

Beyond Sharpe, there are other serious concerns about FUSE and Jumoke. The commissioner says the unsolved questions include but are not limited to:

  • The relationsihp between FUSE and Jumoke and "the potentially ambiguous leadership structures of the organizations"
  • Current and former "familial relationships between governing board members and employees
  • Properties and assets that belong to FUSE and Jumoke
  • "The fiscal controls and practices" of the charter management group and the academy

“There are potential issues that we see signs of. That is why we are initiating this investigation,” said Pryor.

According to the commissioner, Dorsey’s investigation will cover the finances, governance and operations or FUSE and Jumoke. It will require interviews, as well as collaboration with the CSDE’s Office of Internal Audit in relation to the audit of Jumoke already being conducted.

There is no exact timeline for the investigation, but Pryor estimates that the first phase alone will “likely require a month.”

“It is important that we have answers within that month long period because the reopening of school is just around the corner.”

Over the course of the investigation, the commissioner will determine whether or not to place Jumoke on probation. If that happens, the Jumoke must file a corrective action plan with the CSDE and interim reports describing the plans implementation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Investigate on Madison Street in Hartford


Part of Madison Street in Hartford was blocked off early Tuesday morning, as of 4:30 a.m., for a police investigation.

Neighbors told NBC Connecticut that they heard three shots fired and that a man walked to a nearby hospital, but police have not confirmed that information.

The scene has since been cleared.


Police Search for Motive in Apparent Murder-Suicide


Police are investigating after Stuart and Brigitte Duncan were found dead in their Windsor Locks home on Monday in an apparent murder-suicide.

The medical examiner's office said Stuart Duncan, 51, shot his 44-year-old wife before turning the gun on himself. The two died of gunshot wounds to the head.

According to police, a family member showed up at the home on Webb Street around 1 p.m. Monday and saw blood leading to the bedroom. There he discovered the bodies of his brother, Stuart, and his sister-in-law, Brigitte.

Police arrived at 1:16 p.m. and found the Duncans' bodies in the first floor bedroom, according to a news release. Both were pronounced dead at the scene and police said that Stuart Duncan "suffered from obviously catastrophic injuries."

An investigator from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington examined the bodies at the scene, finding "what appeared to be gunshot wounds" on both bodies, police said.

While police are still investigating, they said that "the evidence appears consistent with a murder-suicide."

Authorities recovered a handgun from the house and said Stuart Duncan did have a firearms permit. It's not clear if the weapon was registered.

The shooting happened overnight but no one in the neighborhood reported hearing gunfire, according to detectives at the scene. Police said the bodies were there for hours.

Children live in the couple's home, but police said that neither were home at the time of the incident and that they are staying with family.

The cause is still a mystery. Police notified and interviewed the family.

"A lot of family is coming forward talking about things that have gone on," said Det. Sgt. Paul Cherniack, of the Windsor Locks Police Department.

Neighbors said the Duncans were private, but they never noticed anything suspicious about the family.

The State Police Major Crime Squad is investigating along with Windsor Locks police Criminal Investigation Division and the law enforcement agencies searched the home on Monday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Stranded Travelers Walk


Travelers apparently desperate to make it to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Tuesday morning abandoned their rides and walked along the side of the expressway -- with luggage in tow -- only to be turned away by airport security.

The last-ditch effort was an attempt to escape a massive traffic backup caused by flooding in the area and traffic attempting to merge onto one lane.

"There's absolutely no way into the airport. So here we go," said Jami Cloud, who was trying to make a 7:30 a.m. flight. "We tried to take a cab and then started walking. ... We've been in traffic for about two hours and weren't going anywhere."

Sharon Rogers was stuck in her car during the time her flight to New Jersey was to board.

"Fortunately we are rescheduled for another flight at 11:50 [a.m.] so hopefully I'll get to Philadelphia today and then get to New Jersey," she said while trying to remain positive.

Her trip east is to spend time with her ailing mother, she said.

But some of those who tried to walk to the airport were turned away by security before they even set foot in the facility, leaving frustrated would-be travelers trying to reconnect with the rides that were still stuck in traffic.

"They just said, 'Get back in your cars,'" said traveler John Cain.

Heading to the airport, just one lane of Interstate 190 was open at Mannheim Road. Even worse, for those attempting to leave the airport, all lanes of eastbound 190 were blocked just east of the property until 8 a.m. with Illinois Department of Transportation Crews detouring drivers to northbound Mannheim Road.

On Twitter, some O'Hare pilots and crew members were posting messages indicating they were also stuck in the traffic jam.

IDOT crews were called in with snow plows to attempt to move the standing water left from Monday night's dual line of storms. IDOT officials could offer no explanation as to why the water pooled where it did and why it wasn't drained by the morning rush.

 Snow plows were used to clear the standing water.


Photo Credit: NBC Chicago

Ex-Gang Member Gunned Down While Playing Dodgeball With Kids


Sixty children witnessed Allen Calloway being gunned in broad daylight - including his 10-year old son - as he was playing dodge ball in a San Francisco park . And now, his family and community members are mourning the loss of a former gang member who they say had been turning his life around.

Calloway, 32, was playing with the group of kids at about 2 p.m. Friday at Herz Playground in the Visitacion Valley area when a man walked up and shot him multiple times.

"As Allen gets the ball they just started shooting," Natae Armstrong, Calloway's niece, told NBC Bay Area. "All the kids ran to the corner and were crying and screaming."

Calloway was transported to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.

Witnesses and community members expressed shock and outrage over the brazen daylight shooting.

Calloway was named in San Francisco's 2010 gang injunctions as a marijuana dealer, but had left the gang life behind him. Relatives said he was trying to turn his life around after spending time behind bars.

"When he got out of jail he said he wanted to make it right," said Latae Armstrong, his niece.

Calloway was working for Together United Recommitted Forever as a part-time outreach worker, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He usually showed up for his shift early in order to play with the kids.

A memorial of balloons, candles and empty liquor bottles mark the area where Calloway was gunned down. Police have beefed up patrols in the area and said officers will continue to keep up their presence at Herz Park as the investigation continues.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Route 63 in Naugatuck Reopens After Crash


Route 63 in Naugatuck reopened just before 11 a.m. after serious crash Tuesday morning.

Police said a motorcycle and a motor vehicle collided in the area of Laurel Avenue. The driver of the car was pulling left out of Laurel Avenue at the time of the collision with the motorcycle, which was headed southbound on Route 63.

The motorcyclist was transported to the hospital to be treated for serious injuries and the driver did not have serious injuries, police said.

Police are not releasing the identities of either driver at this time. There were no passengers in the car and the motorcycle driver was the only one riding the vehicle during the crash.

The road was closed for several hours and traffic was detoured.

The Central Naugatuck Valley Regional Accident Reconstruction Unit, which includes Naugatuck, Middlebury, Watertown and Wolcott police officers, is investigating the crash.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Rescue Ducklings from Storm Drain


Plainville police rescued some baby ducks stuck in a storm drain behind Lowe's Home Improvement Tuesday morning.

Officers were sent to the New Britain Avenue hardware store at 7:45 a.m. after receiving a report that about half a dozen ducklings were stuck in a catch basin nearby and needed to be rescued.

Witnesses said that the mother duck was headed toward the woods with her babies. But when the mother tried to hop over a curb to get there, eight of the ducklings fell 15 feet into a storm drain. Two ducklings didn't fall and were with the mother when police arrived.

A Plainville police officer removed the storm drain cover and climbed down the built-in ladder to rescue the ducklings.

Plainville's animal control officer also responded.

Using Animal Control's net, the officer scooped up the eight ducklings and lifted them to safety and reunited them with their mother and siblings.

This sort of incident happens periodically, according to Animal Control.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Connecticut Natives Make it to 2nd Round of "America's Got Talent"


Three Milford musicians made their mark on "America's Got Talent" tonight and breezed through to the second round with the blessings of all four judges.

Later in the show, Windsor Locks comedian Darik Santos followed suit and won over three of the four judges with his unique, unusual humor.

Beach Avenue announced the news on its Web site Sunday that the taped episode of their audition in front of celebrity judges in Hollywood was slated to air at 8 p.m. Tuesday on NBC.

Three of the five band members appeared on Tuesday's episode, including Nick Fradiani (vocals and guitar), of Guilford, Nick Abraham (lead guitar, mandolin and vocals), of Fairfield, and Ryan Zipp (drums), of Hamden.

They stunned the judges with their original song "Coming Your Way" and got the audience clapping along.

Judges Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howard Stern and Howie Mandel unanimously pushed them through to the second round and raved about Beach Avenue's performance.

"It's a catchy song, you're a tight band, you're a great singer, the package is already there," said judge Mel B. "I loved it, absolutely loved it."

The feeling among the judges was mutual.

"You came out with an original song and that makes me like you even more," said Howard Stern. "You've set the bar high for other bands. I love what you did tonight. Great audition."

The trio stopped by the NBC Connecticut station Tuesday morning to perform their original song, "Songman" and to plug their appearance on "America's Got Talent."

"It's pretty awesome," Fradiani said of the band's experience performing on the show. "We're excited to watch it together tonight."

His father, Nick Fradiani, Sr., plays keyboard and sings with the band. Jonah Ferrigno, the fifth and final member, plays bass.

Two of Beach's Avenues newly released songs, "Feel the Beat" and their audition number "Coming Your Way," are available on iTunes.

The group is constantly writing and recording to hear what works and brainstorm new ideas. Fradiani said that they draw inspiration from their life experiences.

"The best ones come out of something that affected you," he said.

The group was launched in the summer of 2011 for a Battle of the Bands performance at Mohegan Sun, according to its Web site. They named their band after the Milford street on which they were living.

After winning the competition, the band was awarded with a headlining gig in the Wolf Den at the casino in 2012.

Beach Avenue recorded its first EP, "Something to Believe In," at Firehouse 12 Studio in New Haven and released another in 2013 called "Driving That Road."

According to the band's online bio, Beach Avenue has opened for well-known musicians such as Third Eye Blind, Jefferson Starship, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Sammy Adams, Bad Rabbits, Jeffrey Gaines, Bronze Radio Return and Alternate Routes, which features Farmington native Tim Warren.

When asked what advice the band would give local musicians working to establish themselves, Zipp said a digital presence is paramount. Fradiani advised up-and-coming artists to "set [themselves] apart" from other musicians.

"It's not just physical anymore, it's online," he said, noting the importance of social media like Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

The band members still have one dream,:to play full-time for a living.

Beach Avenue is set to play in Bridgeport, Hamden, New Haven, Stamford, Watertown and Uncasville this summer. The band's full concert schedule is available on its Web site.

For updates and information, you can visit the band online and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Santos also continued on to the second round of competition and told the judges he'd spend the million-dollar prize on an engagement ring for his girlfriend of three years.

Stern, Mel B and Mandel all voted him through.

"You are a bit polarizing," Stern explained after Santos' audition. "Some people just are not going to get you. ... You're the kind of guy that I will remember because you're different and I applaud different."

You can find Santos on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Jessie Sawyer/NBCConnecticut.com

Mark Boughton Formally Withdraws from Governor's Race


Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has formally withdrawn from the Republican primary race for governor.

After announcing his intention to leave the race on June 18, he filed a letter with the Secretary of State's Office, received June 26, asking to be removed from the Aug. 12 primary ballot.

"It's been my honor to seek Connecticut's highest statewide office," Boughton said in a statement a week and a half ago. "However, I now believe it is time to suspend my candidacy and call for party untiy behind the endorsed Republican candidate, Tom Foley."

Foley's main remaining contender in the primary is State Sen. John McKinney (R-28), the minority leader in the State Senate.



Hamden Police Make Arrest in Webster Bank Robbery


Hamden police have arrested the man suspected of helping a bank robber get away from the scene of the crime on Wednesday.

They're still looking for the bank robber, who entered the Webster Bank on Helen Street around 11 a.m. Wednesday and demanded money.

He reportedly told the teller he had a gun and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

According to police, 43-year-old Chester Greene, of New Haven, drove the suspect from the scene in a black Honda.

Police found the car in the parking lot of DJ Liquors shortly after the robbery and spotted Greene walking from the package store.

He was arrested and charged with first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery.

Greene was held on a $250,000 bond and is due in court July 14.

Police are still searching for Greene's accomplice and are asking for help in identifying him.

Anyone with information is urged to call Hamden police.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department
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