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Woman Arrested After Drunken Crash: Cops


A woman who got into a crash in Glastonbury last Saturday afternoon was drunk and has a history of drunken driving according to police and court records.

Gail Snow, 55, of East Hartford, was involved in a crash of Putnam Plaza, at 3040 Main Street, in Glastonbury, just before 2:30 p.m. on Saturday June 6 and police determined that she had been drinking, police said.

She was driving under the influence of alcohol and her car did not have an ignition interlock device.

Snow was convicted of illegal operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in East Hartford in July 2013, according to court records.

She was placed on a two-year probation and her probation review is scheduled for Sept. 18.  http://www.jud2.ct.gov/crdockets/CaseDetail.aspx?source=Pending&Key=0b527823-64c2-4d23-87d9-8afd91f1a5f2

She was charged with the operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol/drug and operating a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock device. 

Snow was released on a $5,000 bond and is due in court on Sept. 22.

Photo Credit: Glastonbury Police

Route 30 Reopens After Car Crashes Into Pole


Oakland Road (Route 30) in South Windsor has reopened after a car hit a pole early Monday morning. Police said the driver might have fallen asleep at the wheel.

The female driver crashed into a pole just before midnight, police said.

The road was closed between Felt Road and the Sullivan Avenue and Buckland Road intersection, but reopened just before 8:30 a.m.

The pole snapped and the driver sustained minor injuries.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fire Rips Through Vacant New Britain Building


Flames ripped through an abandoned building on Glen Street in New Britain after fire reignited on Monday morning and fire officials are investigating what caused it.

The fire started in the basement, spread to each floor of the building and took firefighters more than three hours to battle.

Flames were shooting from the rooftop earlier this morning, area fire departments were called to help put out the blaze and it was under control as of 6:30 a.m.

Crews remained at the scene after that to battle hot spots.

Mutual aid was in place to cover the firehouse while New Britain firefighters are at the scene.

There are no reports of injuries and police said that they believe the building is abandoned.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

AC Tries to Reinvent Itself


The Trump Plaza in Atlantic City will shutter its doors early Tuesday morning, the latest casino to fail as this once high-flying resort city faces fierce competition from gambling elsewhere.

When the doors close at 5:59 a.m., about 8,000 jobs will have been lost this year, a quarter of the casino workforce, according to figures filed by the city's casinos. Hundreds of former employees have been filing for unemployment benefits, health care, heat assistance and food stamps. More may be lining up for help soon. Trump Entertainment Resorts is in bankruptcy and is threatening to close the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in November if it does not get concessions on labor costs.

With Atlantic City’s gambling revenue plummeting from $5.2 billion in 2006 to $2.86 billion last year, according to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the suffering shore resort is scrambling to reinvent itself. Only eight of its 12 casinos will remain and competition in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Delaware and elsewhere continues to grow. Officials are searching for ways the city can appeal anew to visitors and stop hemorrhaging jobs and revenue.

“It’s really a repositioning of the city itself,” said Mark Giannantonio, the president of Resorts Casino Hotel, which turned itself around after adding a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville entertainment complex. “It’s more right-sized for the market in gaming and it’s an opportunity for us to continue to go after this non-gaming element, which in turn helps gaming.”

Officials are hoping a mix of convention space, entertainment venues, shops, a college campus, plus the casinos will transform the city from a gambling hub into a resort with a variety of attractions. Atlantic City’s non-gambling revenue is growing but at half the rate its gambling revenue is dropping.


One place to look as a model: Sin City. The Las Vegas Strip managed to curb its reliance on casinos. A little more than one third of its revenue comes from gambling, compared to 72 percent in Atlantic City. But experts caution the change will not be easy.

For example, there is already a glut of convention space across the country, said Heywood Sanders, a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the author of “Convention Center Follies.”

Demand in 2013 was only slightly above where it was in 2000, he said. Meanwhile, the amount of exhibit hall space has increased by 37 percent. Major convention cities across the country have seen their business remain flat or fall. At the biggest convention center in the country, McCormick Place in Chicago, business dropped from 1.55 million attendees in 2003 to 868,000 last year.

“What we see in major events around the country is that fewer people are going,” Sanders said. “And that’s partly because employers are less willing to send lots of people out of town to a convention and trade show for an extended period.”

The president of the Atlantic City Alliance, Elizabeth Cartmell, said that the city would compete not only for conventions but also for smaller meetings of 50 to 500 people, where the glut of space is not as severe. Only 2 percent of smaller meetings originating in the Northeast comes to Atlantic City compared to 15 percent that goes to Las Vegas, she said.


The alliance, funded with a $30 million a year assessment on the casinos, is promoting the city as a year-round seaside resort through beachside concerts, wine tastings, fishing tournaments and pro volleyball competitions. Lady Gaga and Lady Antebellum performed this summer, a series of long-distance triathlons added Atlantic City as one of its locations and the Miss America contest has returned from Las Vegas.

An 86,000-square foot Bass Pro Shop is under construction and is expected to bring almost 300 full- and part-time jobs.

The alliance is looking at Miami as a model, Cartmell said. Atlantic City offers an exciting nightlife but also the chance to relax on the beach and visit a spa, she said.

“We’re an interesting mix of a little bit of urban grit and variety, but at the same time we’re beachfront,” she said. “We call it the thrill and the chill.”

Giannantonio, the Resorts Casino Hotel president, has said that five years ago his property would have been the first casino to close. That changed with a new owner, Morris Bailey, a partnership with the Mohican Sun casinos and the new Margaritaville restaurant and LandShark Bar & Grill, Atlantic City’s first beach restaurant.

“You’re sitting right on the beach, feet from the ocean, thinking you could be anywhere in the country,” he said.

To bring people back into the city, Mayor Donald Guardian has proposed giving away land and tax breaks to new homeowners who build within two years and commit to staying for 10. The five years of tax abatements would begin at 100 percent and decrease 20 percent each year after.

Even during the boon years, much of the riches from gambling did not find their way past the glittering lights of the resorts. Twenty-five percent of the city’s population of 39,500 lives below the poverty, according to Census figures. The figure is even higher for those under 18: 37 percent.

The city ranks second in New Jersey for violent crimes trailing only Camden, FBI data from 2012 shows. Family income is about $30,000. The unemployment rate stands at 13 percent.


Michael Busler, a professor of finance at Stockton College, said the mayor’s plan was not enough. He said the city would have to offer a bigger incentive and he suggested 10 years of tax breaks as Philadelphia has done.

The value of Atlantic City’s real estate has shrunk from $20 billion when the casinos were thriving to about $8 billion, Busler said. At the same time, property taxes have gone up 22 percent last year and 29 percent this year. The city’s $260 million budget has to be cut to between $175 million and $180 million, he said.

Atlantic City was first developed as an oceanside resort in the 19th century. When gambling was legalized in 1976, the casinos turned away from the beachfront. Their design was meant to keep people inside – and gambling.

“Now we can’t do that anymore,” Busler said. “Now we’re going to emphasize we have a beautiful beach.”

Atlantic City has to find ways to rebuild that will help the city itself grow, said Bryant Simon, a professor of history at Temple University and the author of “Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America.”

Even while the casinos thrived, the city withered and for years lacked even a supermarket.

“Let’s not do that again,” he said. “Let’s have fresh produce. Let’s have year-round jobs.”

The city could try high-speed rail service to Philadelphia, so residents could work there, he said. It could open a satellite campus of the nearby Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and have a core of students studying casinos and urban redevelopment. Or it could add to the city’s medical complex. The city needs to make sure it is creating decent paying jobs, not just low wage, tourism jobs, he said.

“We shouldn’t be stunned that a city has to reinvent itself,” he said. “Cities are always places of creative destruction and renewal and resorts probably in particular because they cater to people’s desires and their desires change.”

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut

Photo Credit: AP

2 Arrested in Connection With Hartford Murder


Hartford police have arrested two men in connection with a murder on Friday night.

The victim, Milton Castro, was shot in the head near the intersection of Hungerford and Park streets in Hartford just after 9 p.m. on Friday and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The police investigation led detectives to believe their suspect, Jose LaPorte, 20 of Hartford, and a witness, Marcus Montero, 27 of Hartford, were hiding in the South End of Hartford. Montero had also been shot, according to police.

Officers found LaPorte and Montero in the home.

Laporte was charged with murder and bond was set at $750,000 cash.

Montero was charged with criminal attempted murder, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal use of firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit. Bond was set at $750,000 cash.

Both were booked on Monday morning and could appear in court today, police said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Urban Pulls Bloody-Looking Shirt


Urban Outfitters is once again at the center of controversy, this time for selling a Kent State sweatshirt that appeared to be splattered in blood.

The $129 shirt, sold as part of the Philadelphia-based retailer's vintage sweatshirt line, was so popular it quickly sold out -- but it also was decried as offensive because of the tragic killing of four students by the National Guard on Kent State's campus in 1970. 

The university, located about 40 miles south of Cleveland, took “great offense” to the shirt:

“May 4, 1970, was a watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family,” read a statement posted to the university’s website. “We lost four students that day while nine others were wounded and countless others were changed forever.

“We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”

Urban Outfitters has yet to return phone calls or emails from NBC10.

The company did, however, tweet that it “sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused.”

“It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such,” said a company statement posted online.

“The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray," it continued. "Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset.”

The retailer dropped a photo of the “bloody” sweatshirt but did leave up the “sold out” page on its website.

Other vintage sweatshirts — including ones with “Penn State,” “University of Texas” and “Cathedral College” printed on them — were also listed as sold out on the Urban Outfitters site. None of those shirts appeared to be bloody, and the photos of each remained on the site.

This isn't the first time that Urban Outfitters has found itself facing public backlash over one of its items. Last holiday season they pulled a pair of socks seen as religiously insensitive.

They've also gotten heat for a pro-booze shirt sold to the 18 to 24 crowd, a "Jewish Star" shirt that drew comparisons to the Holocaust and about a dozen other designs laid out by The Week.

Photo Credit: Urban Outfitters

Robbers Followed Man Into Apartment: Police


Police have arrested two people accused of following a Bridgeport resident into his apartment on Washington Avenue last month, assaulting him and stealing his money.

According to police, 29-year-old Amirah Williams, who also goes by Tyron Cox, and 38-year-old Dwayne White followed the victim while he was walking home from work on Aug. 13.

Surveillance video shows one of the suspects catching the security door after the victim entered his apartment building and entering the building behind him, police said.

The suspects then assaulted and robbed the victim, who told authorities one of the robbers appeared to be a man dressed in women’s clothing, according to police.

Police identified the suspects and said they recognized them from previous crimes. They obtained an arrest warrant for Williams and White on Sept. 5 and arrested them Thursday.

Bridgeport detectives assigned to the U.S. Marshal’s fugitive task force took them into custody and charged them with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and third-degree assault, according to police.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

2nd Woman Struck By Lightning at Mass. Beach Has Died: Police


A second woman who was struck by lightning in Massachusetts in early September has died, according to police in Ipswitch, Massachusetts.

Marguerite Tomany, 61, of the North Grosvenordale section of Thompson, Connecticut, and Marianne Mellnick, 69, of Concord, Massachusetts, were struck by lightning while walking on Crane Beach toward the street on Saturday, Sept. 6.

Lifeguards and first responders performed 20 minutes of CPR on the women because they both went into cardiac arrest and didn't have pulses, NECN reported.

The women were then taken to Beverly Hospital and transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital, NECN reported.

Tomany was pronounced dead days after the storms, according to Ipswitch Police.

Mellnick died om Saturday, according to police. 

"This is a terrible tragedy that has struck our community, and I join the Ipswich Police and Fire Departments and the entire town in offering our most sincere condolences to the Mellnick family," Acting Chief Hubbard said in a statement.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image

Man Busted With Fake Police Motorcycle


When a fake police motorcycle went through a red light in Hamden on Wednesday afternoon with lights on and sirens blaring, the real police were there to see it and arrested the driver.

Police said Nicholas Ferrucci, 21, of North Haven, was driving a motorcycle marked “police” at Whitney and Washington avenues around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, when he went through the light and headed to James Street.

The bike had a siren, red/blue LED emergency warning lights and a digital camera mounted on the handle bars, police said.

Police charged Ferrucci with second-degree reckless endangerment, reckless driving, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, operating without insurance, a traffic control signal violation and unauthorized lights and flashing lights.

Officials said he nearly caused two crashes and his motorcycle was unregistered and uninsured.

Ferrucci was released after posting a $1,000 bond, is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden on Sept. 24.

Hamden Police said they have received several reports about someone with a fake police motorcycle stopping cars.

Police are investigating.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police

Lightning Strike Kills Mass. Woman


The second of two women struck by lightning Sept. 6 near Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts, has died, police say.

Marianne Mellnick, 69, of Concord has died from her injuries, officials said Monday, after earlier announcing that Marguerite Tomany, 61, of Thompson, Connecticut, had also died.

"This is a terrible tragedy that has struck our community," Ipswich's acting police chief Jonathan Hubbard said in a release, offering condolences on behalf of the police and fire departments and the town.

The women were walking up the street when they were struck, police said Monday, after initially reporting that the women had been swimming at the time. 

Neither victim had a heartbeat when responders arrived. Lifeguards and first responders performed CPR for about 20 minutes, and both women had pulses by the time they arrived at Beverly Hospital.

The victims were later transported to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Photo Credit: Telemundo Boston

Suspect in New Britain Sex Assault Is At-Large: Cops


New Britain police have identified a suspect in a sexual assault and robbery and they need the public’s help to find him.

Antonio Ponder, 24, of Hartford, is suspected in a sex assault and robbery in the area of West Main and Grove Hill streets, police said.

The victim went to The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s New Britain Campus late on the night of Saturday, Sept. 6 to seek medical attention after the assault and police were called to investigate, police said.

Investigators identified Ponder as the suspect on Sunday and obtained a warrant that charges him with first-degree sexual assault, third-degree robbery and third-degree assault.

Police have not been able to find him. They are asking for the public’s help, but warn that he is considered a danger to the public and should not be approached.       

Ponder is 5-feet-7, weighs around 180 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. 

If you have information on where police can find him, call 860-826-3000. You can also leave anonymous tips on the Community Tip Line at (860) 826-3199 or on the New Britain Police website newbritainpolice.org.

Hartford police are working with New Britain police and said they have reason to believe he is in the Hartford area.

You could also reach Hartford Police at 860-757-4089.   

Photo Credit: New Britain Police

Police Investigate Home Invasion in Hamden


Hamden police are searching for the man who broke into a woman's apartment, tied her up and stole her car and debit card, police said.

The victim, a 26-year-old woman, was at home at the Seramonte apartment complex at 57 Kaye Vue Drive in Hamden, just before 1 p.m. when the man broke in through a bathroom window, police said. 

The intruder had a gun, police said, and he tied her hands and legs, then fled in a black Subaru wagon with Connecticut license plate 436-YRA, according to police.

Police are looking for the man and looking into whether there was another break-in because they found another broken window at the complex.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Investigate Bar Robbery in West Haven


West Haven Police are asking for help to identify a man wanted in connection with a robbery in the parking area of the Brick Bar on Campbell Avenue on July 22.

The victim’s wallet and cell phone were stolen and he suffered facial and head injuries, police said.

If you have tips in this case, call detectives at 203 937 3905, submit a tip online http://www.whpd.com/tips.htm or through Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/pages/West-Haven-Police-Department/195909157120592

Photo Credit: West Haven

Suspect in Theft of Autistic Man's Birthday Money Arrested


Police in Stamford, Connecticut have arrested a man accused of stealing $100 in birthday money from an autistic man and presented him with more than $1,000 that police pooled together and raised from the public. 

Police said Steven St. Jacques, 27, of Stamford, approached the victim, a 27-year-old autistic man, near Veterans Park last Tuesday afternoon.

He tricked the victim into handing over his money, then pretended to put it back in the victim's pocket but instead ran away with $100 in cash, according to police.

Police looked for the man, but could not find him.

On Thursday, they released surveillance footage that showed a man running from the scene in the hopes that someone could identify the perpetrator.

Over the weekend, police received several leads and identified St. Jacques as the suspect.

They obtained a search warrant and found an article of clothing at his house that matched what he was wearing when the video was taken, according to police.

St. Jacques  has been charged with second-degree larceny and he is due in court on Tuesday.

He had a prior arrest record for assault and robbery, police said.

As Stamford police investigated, police officers, members of the local police union and community members banded together to collect money for the victim and presented him with $1,300 on Monday. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Stamford Police

Great White Destroys Surfer's Board


A surfer says he had to swim for his life after a 15-foot great white shark took a bite out of his surf board at a popular beach near Watsonville, California.

Beau Browning was surfing about 50 yards from shore at Manresa State Beach Saturday evening when he says the shark knocked him off his surfboard, mid-wave. The shark came out of the water and landed on his board, splitting it in two, then took a bite out of the board.

"I caught my second wave and barely got into it, and out of nowhere, I was popped into the air by probably like 10 feet, looked down, and saw a shark," Browning said.

Browning said he was still tethered to the board, so when the shark began to swim deeper, it pulled him underwater for 5 seconds. When the shark finally let go, Browning was able to get up to the surface.

Browning was not hurt in the attack, but his board is no longer usable.

Browning told local NBC affiliate KSBW-TV he doesn't blame the shark.

"They were just doing what they're designed to do," Browning said. "And they thought I was something else. And that's all it is. I got no hard feelings against sharks."

Shark warning signs were posted Monday by state park rangers at multiple beaches in Santa Cruz County, the station reported.

Shark experts told KSBW great whites don’t have sharp eyesight and can't tell the difference between a surfer's body and board.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut

Police Union Calls for Prisoner Transport Vans


The state police union to call for changes in the way some troopers are transporting suspects after a recent crash involving a state trooper on Interstate 91 in Hartford.

The crash in question happened Sept. 5 as Trooper Christopher Pariseau drove suspect Chad Nadeau from the Troop K barracks in Colchester to the Hartford Correctional Center.

Nadeau broke out of his handcuffs, grabbed the steering wheel, crashed the cruiser and then ran off, according to state police. He was caught a short time later.

“Prior to dispatch consolidation, we would maintain and hold our prisoners at the troops,” said Andrew Matthews, the president of the state police union.

Because of controversial dispatch consolidation efforts, which began in 2012, some barracks in the eastern and western parts of the state, including Troop K, can no longer keep suspects overnight because of staffing issues, Matthews said.

Instead, troopers are forced to drive them to three prisons, including the Hartford Correctional Center.

Now, the union is calling on the state police administration to start using transport vans to take suspects who are unable to post bond from the barracks to the prisons.

“It would relieve the troopers from transporting the prisoners and traveling outside the troop area,” said Matthews. “When you’re transporting prisoners outside your troop area, you’re not only traveling greater distances with a prisoner in your car, you’re leaving your patrol staff short back at the troop you’re originally from.”

State police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance says the issue of using transport vans has been discussed and is under consideration, but there are currently no plans to use them.

“Certainly we’re looking at all facets and all possibilities to enhance what we do on a regular basis including the transportation of prisoners,” said Lt. Vance. “It’s very rare that we have to transport prisoners out of the district.”

All troopers are trained to transport prisoners safely, said Vance.

“Troopers on a regular basis transport prisoners for various reasons whether it’s to and from a hospital to a facility, or even from where they’re taken into custody to be processed,” he said.

Exactly how Nadeau got out of his handcuffs remains under investigation.

Matthews said the crash is a big reason why the union will continue pushing to change the transport policy.

“It’s really not safe, not safe for the public or the troopers in the field,” said Matthews.

State Leaders Look to Improve Internet Reliability


State leaders joined city and town officials Monday to announce the start of their effort to improve broadband internet speed and reliability across the state.

“There is a need today for cheaper, easier access to ultra-high speed internet access,” said Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz.

Katz and State Sen. Beth Bye said Connecticut has been left out in the cold compared to other cities and states across the country when it comes to broadband and fiber projects.

The systems are known in tech circles as “Gigabit” networks.

Twenty-nine cities around the United States have access to gigabit networks through several providers that include AT&T, Google, Centurylink and Cox.

“None of these places are in New England,” Katz said.

Three municipalities have partnered with the state in sending out the request for qualifications – New Haven, West Hartford and Stamford.

State officials insist that creating the new networks isn’t just an infrastructure improvement.

“This is about economic development,” Bye said during the press conference.

Katz explained that the average Internet speed for a household in Connecticut is about 9 megabits and the goal is to improve that to about 1,000 megabits.

Representatives from tech companies in attendance applauded the state’s effort to improve their business conditions.

“This is a proud moment for a tech startup to be in Connecticut,” said Zack Beatty with SeeClickFix, a New Haven-based company that allows users to report non-emergency issues that are going on in their neighborhoods.

“It’s a very exciting tech scene but we’ve reached a point where we’re seeing the tech community grow in New Haven, in Connecticut and beyond and yet you’re not seeing the infrastructure grow with it,” Beatty said.

He said improved broadband would allow employees to work seamlessly from home without issues.

“It’s not about bandwidth. It’s about reliability,” Beatty said.

The initial RFQ was sent to prospective Internet partners and state officials said they expect to receive more information on the future of high-speed broadband in November.

WATCH: Bear Cools Off in SoCal Pool


A bear used a Sierra Madre homeowner's backyard pool Sunday to cool off during a Southern California heat wave that included triple-digit temperatures during the weekend.

The bear arrived late Sunday afternoon at the home, where it explored the backyard patio before splashing into the pool. The bear stayed in the water for about 15 minutes, resting on steps at both ends, before climbing out.

Resident Thomas See said this was the first time he has seen a bear swimming around in the pool. Bears in search of an easy snack often appear in the San Gabriel Valley community on trash days, he added.

The bear appeared to head south after the swim, See said.

California's black bear population is at about 25,000 to 30,000, with most living in mountain areas above 3,000 feet, according to what the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife calls conservative estimates. In 1982, the statewide bear population was estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000.

Less than 10 percent of the state's black bear population lives in the central western and southwestern California region, according to agency estimates. About half of the population resides in an area north and west of the Sierra Nevada.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has recorded 12 "bear attacks" since 1980. An attack is defined as "physical contact, injury or death."

The last reported attack in Los Angeles County occurred in July 2003 when a hiker was knocked down by a bear at a campsite on Pacific Crest Trail in Angeles National Forest. The hiker suffered minor injuries.

Photo Credit: Thomas See, NBCUniversal

Police Search for Wallingford Bank Robber


Police are searching for the man who robbed a Wallingford bank Monday afternoon.

According to police, a masked man entered the TD Bank at 926 North Colony Road around 1 p.m. Monday and demanded money from a teller.

The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the robber left in a black getaway car, police said.

The suspect is described as a black man standing 5 feet 8 inches tall. Police said he was wearing dark pants, a red-and-white striped short-sleeved shirt and a black ski mask.

Police said he got into a black car parked outside the bank and drove off.

No one was injured. Police said the robber did not display a weapon.

Anyone with information about the robbery is urged to call Wallingford police detectives at 203-294-2845 or 203-294-2805.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

50 People Out of Work After Bridgeport Factory Fire


Fifty people are out of work after a five-alarm fire in Bridgeport last week destroyed the factory that housed two businesses and spewed dyes and perfumes into the nearby Yellow Mill River.

Crews have worked round the clock to mitigate the environmental impact of the blaze, which burned through the night last Thursday near Seaview Avenue at 25 Grant Street.

Only ashes remain. JWC Roofing and Siding and the Rowayton Trading Company, which occupied space in the factory and collectively employed about 50 people, will need to relocate.

“I’ve never seen anything like this fire before, and hope to never see anything like it again,” Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said in a statement Monday.

Finch commended the firefighters who helped keep people safe but cautioned that “there is a lot of work to be done in order to get people back to work and ensure our environment and waterways are safe and secure for residents.”

A thousand 50-gallon drums of recycled perfume products ignited and sent fireballs into the sky, and chemical runoff seeped into the Yellow Mill River and nearby harbor.

Officials from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said last week that river samples showed minute levels of material from the warehouse.

Contractors starting pumping runoff from the fire into the sewer system for treatment on Friday. The commercial shellfish industry is awaiting test results from the state Department of Agriculture, which began sampling shellfish beds today.

A fishing ban in effect over the weekend from the Fairfield border to Pleasure Beach was downgraded to an advisory Monday after investigators from the DEEP determined the dyes released into the water were nonhazardous.

“We’re working with all of the resources we have at our disposal,” said Matt Williamson, of the DEEP. “Since the fire started, we’ve been here 24 hours a day to ensure the safety and health of this community are not at risk.”

Williamson said red dye in the river "will dissipate with a tidal influence."

Firefighters said 99 percent of the hot spots have been stamped out, but one fire company remains on scene to check for additional flare-ups and keep an eye on river pollution. Investigators have yet to examine the rubble in search of a cause.

Some 400 residents were forced from their homes when the fire raged and others were ordered to shut their doors and windows to lock out smoke and ash. United Illuminating cut power to 1,400 customers while firefighters battled the blaze.

Despited melted siding on neighboring houses, Finch said the city is lucky no one was seriously injured or killed and that no homes were destroyed.

"We could have lost multiple residential structures because of the heat and the intensity of these explosions," he explained.

Residents can receive up-to-date information on the impact of the fire by calling the city’s Office of Emergency Management hotline at 203-579-8929.

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