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Police Search for Man Accused of Sexually Assaulting Minor


East Hartford police are searching for 44-year-old Emmanuel Dodoo, who is accused of sexually assaulting a minor at his home on Turtle Creek Lane.

Dodoo is wanted on charges of first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor in connection with multiple incidents, according to police.

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in tracking him down. His last known address was an apartment at 8 Turtle Creek Lane in East Hartford.

Dodoo is described as a black man who stands 6 feet tall and weighs 180 pounds. Police said he has black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call East Hartford police at 860-528-4401 or call in a confidential tip to 860-289-9134.

Photo Credit: East Hartford Police Department

Burglars Target Simsbury Homes and Businesses


Simsbury police are investigating a rash of burglaries at homes and businesses in the southern section of town and are asking anyone with information to come forward and help solve the crimes.

In July, burglars began targeting houses and commercial buildings on Lincoln Lane, Harding Drive, Hopmeadow Street, West Mountain Road, Sand Hill Road, Evans Drive and Fernwood Road. Police are also investigating two nighttime burglaries on Oak Glen Court and Fawnbrook Lane.

Police said nearly a dozen locations have been targeted since July.

According to police, the culprits broke basement and first-floor windows and manipulated locks to access the homes. Burglars got into businesses through windows on the ground floor.

Detectives and officers are working with homeowners to solve the crimes and prevent future burglaries, according to police. Simsbury police have stepped up patrols in the area and are working with surrounding departments to identify a suspect or suspects.

Residents are urged to report suspicious activity to Simsbury police at 860-658-3100, or contact Det. Sgt. Tom Sheehan with specific information about the crimes at 860-658-3140.

To learn more about preventing crimes at your home, contact Simsbury Officer Lauren Devin at 860-658-3131 or visit the police department Web site for general crime prevention tips.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

CCSU Mourns Death of Former Basketball Coach


Hundreds of mourners bid farewell this morning to former Central Connecticut State basketball coach Bill Detrick, who died last week at the age of 87.

Detrick's basketball teams won 468 games. After he retired he coached the golf team at Trinity College.

One of his former assistants, who went on to spend more than 40 years coaching and scouting in college basketball and the NBA, said of all the people he met in the game, Detrick was the most competitive.

"He wanted to play badminton, tennis, basketball, golf, and he wanted to beat you every time," said Bob Zuffelato. "He was a wonderful man and he influenced so many people."

That influence continued with people who followed in Detrick's footsteps at Central, where the gymnasium is already named for Detrick.

Paul Schlickmann, the athletic director, praised Detrick as a mentor.

"I always felt like I was in the presence of a very special man," he said.

After Detrick retired from Central he joined what was then called the board of trustees for Connecticut State University, and he took a hand in hiring the president of Central, Jack Miller, who also praised him.

Trumbull Police Search for Bank Robber


Police are searching for the man who robbed a Webster Bank in Trumbull on Tuesday afternoon.

According to police, a black man standing about 6 feet tall with a medium build walked into the bank at 2 Daniels Farm Road around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Police said the robber handed the teller a note demanding money and made off with an unknown amount of cash.

A K-9 tracked him north across Daniels Farm Road but lost the trail near Tait Road, according to police.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Trumbull police at 203-261-3665.

Carjacker Drives Stolen SUV to Probation Meeting: Cops


A car stolen from a woman in New Haven earlier this month is back in good hands after the suspect drove it to a probation meeting, where officers were waiting with an arrest warrant.

Gary Harding, 26, of New Haven, is accused of stealing a Honda CR-V from a 23-year-old Stamford woman outside the grocery store on Sept. 13.

According to police, Harding approached the woman from behind while she was loading groceries into her car in the Stop & Shop parking lot at 112 Amity Road. Police said it had begun to rain heavily and the woman was rushing to get into the car.

That didn’t happen. Instead, Harding warned her he had a gun and lifted his sweatshirt to reveal an object tucked into his waistband, police say. Police said he crawled in through the passenger door and left the victim standing in the parking lot as he drove off.

A store employee told police he had ridden the bus with Harding, who had boarded at Whalley and Sherman avenues prior to the robbery.

New Haven police and Stop & Shop loss prevention officers combed through surveillance footage that showed Harding leaving the bus. According to the video, Harding first confronted a man in a parked SUV, but dropped what he was doing and followed the Stamford woman when she rushed by, police said.

Authorities began circulating Harding’s image throughout the law enforcement community in an effort to track him down. Police said probation officers recognized him and contacted New Haven police.

Harding’s probation officer set up a meeting with the suspect at the Adult Probation Office on State Street in New Haven on Monday morning, where police said Harding showed up driving the stolen car.

He was arrested and charged with first-degree robbery and second-degree larceny.

New Haven police said the Honda CR-V may have been used as a getaway car in a recent Wallingford bank robbery. Wallingford police are investigating.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Chris Christie Stumps for Foley in Stamford


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will travel to Connecticut today to stump for Republicans running for office, sources close to Tom Foley's campaign told NBC Connecticut.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appeared alongside Republican candidate for governor Tom Foley in Stamford today.

Christie, who serves as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is tasked with promoting Republican candidates for governor in predominantly left-leaning states.

Christie and Foley shook hands and made the rounds at Curley's Diner just off Main Street in Stamford on Tuesday afternoon.

The New Jersey governor focused on Foley's business credentials ahead of a fundraiser across the street, where he was due to appear with longtime baseball manager Bobby Valentine.

Some union groups opposed the visit, alleging that Foley's decision to align with Christie is bad for the state. Gun control advocates also rallied across the street in opposition to Foely and Christie's stances on the issue.

It's Christie's second trip to the state in recent months. In July, he attended a fundraiser in Greenwich alongside Foley.

Christie is rumored to be a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

Foley will also receive the support of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who plans to attend a private reception at a home in West Hartford on Oct. 19.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Medical Marijuana Now Available in Connecticut


Marijuana is now legally sold in Connecticut at six dispensaries across the state.

The Dept of Consumer Protection reports that about 2,400 patients have qualified for the program to obtain medical marijuana.

Dr Andrew Salner, the head of the cancer center at Hartford Hospital, said he's certified about 12 patients so far.

"My patients, for the most part, have acquired marijuana to help alleviate symptoms from their cancer issue" Salner said.

But getting medical marijuana is not easy.

Fewer than 1 percent of doctors have registered with the DCP to certify patients. Those who have must certify that patients have at least one of 11 possible conditions including Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Once a patient is certified by a doctor, he or she must apply for a patient ID card through the DCP, and only then can he or she make an appointment to see a pharmacist at the dispensary.

While there are several hurdles to overcome, patients like James Dougherty, who has epilepsy, say it's worth it.

"Marijuana's been the only thing that helps. I've been on four different meds from the VA and nothing's been able to control my seizures," Dougherty said.

Connecticut's medical marijuana program allows qualified patients to get up to 2-and-a-half ounces of marijuana per month, which is half the amount available in Colorado and California.

Medical Office Worker Wrote Herself Fake Prescriptions: Police


A Westport medical office employee is facing charges after posing as a doctor to write prescriptions of herself, her husband and another woman, who were also arrested following a months-long investigation, according to police.

Sara Bosill-Russell, 35, of Bridgeport, has been charged with 273 counts of illegally obtaining a controlled substance via fraud.

Police said she wrote fraudulent prescriptions for Schedule III and Schedule II narcotics.

Her husband, 34-year-old Aran Russell, was also arrested and charged with 70 counts of conspiracy to illegally obtain a controlled substance via fraud.

Stacey Friedman, 52, of Fairfield, was charged with six counts of conspiracy to illegally obtain a controlled substance via fraud, as well as one count of providing a false statement.

Both Bosill-Russel and Russell were released after each posting $20,000 bond. They’re due in Norwalk Superior Court on Oct. 2.

Friedman turned herself in to Westport police on Sept. 23 and was released on a promise to appear. She’s scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court on Oct. 3.

Police launched the investigation alongside the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, State Drug Control and Westport Police Detective Bureau in July 2014.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

New Haven Fire Chief Placed on Paid Leave


An assistant fire chief in New Haven who has found himself at the center of a department investigation has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Rev. Eldren Morrison, president of the fire commission, said the commission is looking into "HR complaints that have been submitted against Chief [Patrick] Egan."

Morrison said Egan has also been the subject of criticism surrounding his handling of crews during the fire at Delaney's Taproom last month, and cited allegations of medical privacy violations.

“I have seen evidence of a HIPAA violation that Chief Egan may have been involved in," Morrison said. "Certainly, we want to have time to look at all the documentation, coming from the state board or whoever, because this is very serious.”

The NAACP in New Haven has been very vocal voicing its concerns regarding Egan, specifically in the handling of the Aaron Brantley case.

Brantley was sentenced for bribing two fellow firefighters to substantiate discrimination claims he made in 2012.

“There were things that were mishandled, things that were improperly done, and there was an investigation, but it was in house, and we want it, an outside investigation,” said Doris Dumas, president of the Greater New Haven NAACP.

NBC Connecticut reached out to Chief Egan about the allegations, but he did not get back to us. Fire Chief Allyn Wright and New Haven Mayor Toni Harp had no comment.

“It's a personnel matter, and that those things are things we handle in executive session,” said Harp.

The fire commission will take up the matter at its next meeting on Sept. 30.

Fatal Crash Closes Route 15 in Hamden


A fatal crash has closed the northbound lanes of the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Hamden, according to state police.

At least one person died after a driver lost control on the highway and veered into the woods between exits 59 and 60, where the car caught fire, state police said. Firefighters doused the flames.

Emergency responders are searching the woods for other passengers who may have been ejected from the car, according to police.

The northbound side of the highway will remain closed for an extended period of time. Traffic is also backed up on the southbound side across from the scene.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Man Gropes SoCal Teen: PD


A teenager was groped Monday morning in a Fontana park by a man she approached to invite to church, police said.

The 18-year-old woman approached the man at Jack Bulik Park and, after inviting him to church, sat next to him on a park bench to pray.

While the victim’s eyes were closed, the man began groping her and pulled his pants down. She tried to run away and called 911, but the suspect held her down and threatened to hurt her if she didn’t cancel the call, according to the Fontana Police Department.

She hung up, but again broke free and ran through the park until she ran into another person, when the man fled the park.

The suspect is described as a 19-year-old man with brown eyes and brown hair. He is about 5 feet 8 inches tall with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a black and white shirt and black shorts.

He has a rosary tattoo on his left hand and “t” or cross tattoo on his chest.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Fontana Police Department at 909-356-8477.

Naugatuck Homes Get Energy-Efficient Overhaul


The Naugatuck Housing Authority has set out to help residents with drafty homes and high utility bills by launching a project to renovate 32 apartments just i time for the winter.

Through the energy efficiency project, launched Tuesday, the housing authority connected with Connecticut Light & Power, which later linked the department with Waterbury-based New Opportunities, a company that helps with weatherization and energy assistance services.

Together with funding from Energize Connecticut, the program began a cold-weather renovation of 32 apartment units at Lewis Circle.

Their work started in the basement and ended in the attic. Each unit took about an hour and a half to complete and included upgrades like new insulation, installing energy efficient lighting and water conservation technology, including low flow faucet aerators and showerheads.

Combined, these measures are projected to deliver electricity and gas savings that total more than $500 dollars a year. Over the next 10 years, the complex is projected to save approximately $182,000, an average of $5,700 per unit.

According to Enoch Lenge, Energy Efficiency Spokesperson for CL&P and Yankeegas, these savings are possible for all of their customers.

“All of the things being done here is what we would do as part of the service that any CL&P or Yankeegas customer can have done on their home,” said Lenge.

Denise Clark, who wages war with her thermostat every winter, said she's grateful for the help.

“I’m excited to feel the difference to see it in my bills and feel the difference this winter,” she says. “I want to be warm.”

CL&P and Yankee Gas have completed similar projects working with other housing authorities, including in Danbury and Seymour and have upcoming projects planned in Stamford, Norwalk and Waterbury.

Former DMV Official Sexually Assaulted Minor for Years: Cops


The former deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles was arrested on Tuesday, accused of sexually assaulting a young victim over a period of several years, according to police.

Victor Diaz, 36, of Collins Street in Waterbury, was arrested late Tuesday morning in Westport, according to Waterbury police. He's accused of sexually assaulting a minor under the age of 16.

DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey, who appointed Diaz as deputy commissioner in 2011 and accepted his resignation a couple weeks ago, said in a statement after Diaz's arrest that the "allegations are extremely disturbing."

"If proven to be true, this is intolerable conduct," Currey said in the statement. "I accepted his resignation two weeks ago and this now remains a personal matter for Mr. Diaz."

Diaz has been charged with first-degree sexual assault, four counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, criminal attempt at first-degree sexual assault, second-degree unlawful restraint, two counts of second-degree sexual assault, criminal attempt at second-degree sexual assault, two counts of risk of injury to a minor and employing a minor in an obscene performance.

He resigned earlier this month citing "personal reasons."

Gov. Dannel Malloy also released a statement about the arrest and allegations.

“These allegations are reprehensible.  As an advocate against sexual assault and someone whose wife spent years working to help survivors and victims of sexual assault, combatting an issue like this is very important to our family.  Conduct like the alleged should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Malloy said in a statement.

Police have not released further information because the case file is sealed, but said they do not expect to file additional charges.

Diaz was held on $1 million bond, which was later lowered to $750,000. He was due in Waterbury Superior Court this afternoon.

Photo Credit: Waterbury Police Department

Crime Declining in New Haven


The newest numbers show good news for the city of New Haven, because homicides, non-fatal shootings and shots fired have all declined since this time last year.

“I could put up another chart that I have in front of me of every category of crime, because every category of crime is down in the city,” said New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman.

City officials are attributing the decrease in violence to recent initiatives, which target at-risk youth. One of them is Youth Stat, which has identified 333 students to keep an eye on.

“We're actively following 200 of those students who have themselves, or their parents signed consent forms, which have let us work across agencies to support those students,” said New Haven Public Schools Supt. Garth Harries.

The key has been to engage the community through Youth at Work programs and neighborhood meetings and canvasses.

“We went around speaking to parents, we also had teachers with us speaking to parents and children, trying to find out what their needs are, see if they were going to school, if they were staying in school and seeing if there were any services we could provide,” said New Haven Fire Chief Allyn Wright.

So far, the community seems to be receptive to the different programs, especially those where top leaders are out in the neighborhoods. Pastor Troy McNulty says it goes a long way to build trust within the community and builds relationships.

“For the residents to see the fire chief, the police chief, the heads of district, walking the blocks, not just the walking beats, but the leadership of the city walking the blocks and reaching out to the young people in the city, is giving people hope,” said McNulty, who frequently works with families who are victims of gun violence.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

New London Man Attacked With Baseball Bats, Golf Club


Three men are facing charges after breaking into a New London apartment and attacking an acquaintance with baseball bats in retaliation for an arrest made the day before, according to police.

Police said Alexis Yougans, 21, Jacky Dely, 26, and Billy Michel, 21, all of New London, confronted the victim at his apartment at 163 Huntington Street in New London just after 7 a.m. Tuesday.

The men are accused of beating the victim with baseball bats and a golf club in the wake of a domestic violence arrest from the day before.

Although authorities have not released any information on the prior incident, police said the attack was a form of retaliation.

All three suspects were charged with home invasion and second-degree assault. They appeared in court Tuesday.

Photo Credit: New London Police Department

Plan to Redesign Route 17 Ramp to Route 9 in Middletown


It's something you don't expect: running into a stop sign in order to merge onto a highway. Middletown drivers say it's a recipe for disaster.

"A lot of people don't use that ramp anymore after they've been hit," said Middletown resident Jennifer Saines.

Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew agreed that something needs to be done.

"It's definitely a high-accident area. We all know. We've all been through it. I've almost gotten into several accidents there myself," said Drew.

Out of thousands of locations around the state, the Route 17 on-ramp to Route 9 north ranks as having the second highest accident rate in Connecticut, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Some 375 accidents have been reported there over the past three years.

"Luckily there haven't been too many injuries out here. It has mostly been fender benders, but in terms of the number of accidents, it's very high," said state DOT Principal Engineer of Highway Design Will Britnell.

The DOT pitched its solution to the problem Tuesday night at a meeting at Middletown City Hall.

The idea is to eliminate the stop sign and widen the bridge, which would give drivers a lane to accelerate. Engineers would also relocate the intersection underneath and eliminate the Harbor Drive entrance ramp to Route 9, turning it into a road suited to local needs.

Those living nearby fear that it will encourage car to race through the area.

"We have a tremendous volume of traffic already in the neighborhood. We don't want it to increase in any way," said Saines.

Despite their concerns, drivers say it's time to make a change.

"I don't think anyone disagrees it needs to be fixed. The question is what's the best way to do it," said Drew.

The project is estimated to cost $20-25 million. Construction will take two to three years if the proposal is approved.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Connecticut Residents Fall Victim to Home Depot Data Breach


If you’ve shopped at Home Depot recently, keep an eye on your credit card activity, because hackers have begun to rack up fraudulent charges on credit and debit cards stolen during a security breach, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Charlie Hermann, who lives in Hamden, said he’s already noticed suspicious charges on the credit card he uses at Home Depot – and has made several purchases with it over the past few months.

“My credit card company called to inform me they saw a charge that looked suspicious,” Hermann explained. “Obviously, what we always thought was secure isn’t anymore.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, fraudulent transactions are cropping up across the country. Scammers are using stolen credit card numbers to purchase prepaid cards, electronic devices – even groceries.

“It shakes me to my foundation about credit cards,” said David Moran, a customer at the Home Depot store in West Hartford. “It makes me want to go to a cash-only basis.”

Home Depot officials said nearly 56 million cards were affected when hackers used custom-built software to breach the company’s security system between April and September of this year.

The Home Depot Web site advises customers that the company is not liable for any fraudulent charges and offers free credit monitoring for patrons who shopped during the breach.

Customers are encouraged to keep a close watch on their accounts and be on the lookout for strange activity.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Obama's Coffee Cup Salute


President Barack Obama is taking some heat for what some people are saying was a somewhat less-than-respectful salute as he disembarked from Marine One in New York City.

As he descended the stairs, he gave a half salute to the Marines outside the helicopter, using the same hand that was holding his coffee cup (or was it a tea cup?). The moment was captured in a 6-second video posted on the White House's official Instagram feed. 

The Instagram video received thousands of likes and comments, quite a few of them negative.

"I'm retired military and this man is a disrespectful joke. Wow. Shameful," said one commenter.

"Wow what an embarrassment," added another.

"Complete embarrassment to the office," one commenter said. "You can't even give a proper salute to men whose job it is to die protecting you."

Some on Twitter countered criticism of Obama's salute by resurfacing photos showing former President George W. Bush having once stepped off a helicopter and saluted while holding his dog.

The tradition of presidents returning salutes is said to have originated with Ronald Reagan in 1981.

What's your take on the president's coffee cup salute?

Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Branford Man Killed in Wilbur Cross Parkway Crash: Police


A Branford man was killed in a fiery crash off the Wilbur Cross Parkway/Route 15 in Hamden on Tuesday night.

Richard Kaczynski, 36, of Branford, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Police said Kaczynski lost control in the left lane on the northbound side of the highway just after 7 p.m. and hit the side of a car driven by Matthew Sete, 32, of North Haven.

Kaczynski's car veered into the woods on the right side of the highway between exits 59 and 60 and was flipped over and on fire when emergency responders arrive at the scene.

Crews searched the woods for passengers who they feared might have been thrown from the car, but found that no one else was ejected, according to police.

Sette was not injured. 

The northbound side of the highway was shut down for several hours. Opposing traffic was also backed up across from the scene.

State Police continue to investigate the crash and ask witnesses to call Trooper Mark Hesseltine at 203-393-4200.

Note: State police originally misidentified the driver who was killed.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Anti-Bullying Pledge After Prank


The Texas girls who vowed to give their homecoming crown to a bullied friend went one step further on Tuesday, asking the entire student body at Grand Prairie High to sign a pledge against bullying.

Anahi Alvarez won the title of homecoming queen, but she didn't want to crown.

"We're going to make Lilly feel better. We're going to let her know that she deserves the crown," she said. "People are going to be seeing it all over the world. They're going to be realizing that people will stand up for bullying and it's going to stop."

Alvarez said she and her friend Naomi Martinez learned that some of their classmates were pulling a cruel prank on Lillian Skinner by telling her she, too, was nominated for homecoming queen. So they made a pact to give their crown to Skinner if either of them won.

When Alvarez won, she knew what to do.

"What happened was what we did from the bottom of our hearts," she said.

Their story made national news, and the picture of all three of them, with Skinner in the middle wearing the crown, went viral.

"We didn't expect any of this at all. It was just so crazy how it went so viral so quick, but at the same time, that's a good thing," said Alvarez.

The girls' selfless act of kindness meant the world to Skinner.

"When she had the crown on her head she said to me, 'This is the best senior year ever,'" said Martinez.

Martinez also said wearing the crown gave her friend new found confidence.

"She volunteered to read the other day in front of the class. She's never done that," Martinez said.

Skinner recalled the days when kids used to bully her.

"They made fun of my teeth, my hair. I had short hair, and people would call me Chucky," she said.

But Skinner also said friends like Alvarez and Martinez inspired her to reach for her dreams. "I'd like to be an actress," she said. "I always keep going for it, you know? Help my mom out. You know, make my mom proud."

At the end of Tuesday's rally against bullying, Principal Lorimer Arendse called on every student to make a pledge.

"When you sign something, you're making a commitment. You're taking an oath. You're saying, 'I'm going to stand up against bullying,'" he said.

Martinez hoped their efforts will continue to send a strong message to others to act kindly. "Just think next time you have something that means a lot to you, maybe it means more to someone else," she said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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