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Victim of Casino Chip Theft Speaks Out


Mohegan Tribal Police are investigating after a Connecticut man had thousands of dollars worth of chips stolen from him at Mohegan Sun on Friday.

That victim spoke exclusively to NBC Connecticut.

He explained he’s a frequent player at the roulette wheel at Mohegan Sun and was there Friday night.

“I was actually doing well. I was actually winning a few dollars,” said Scott, who did not want us to use his last name or show his face on camera.Scott said he had noticed two men acting oddly behind him. Then out of nowhere, he says one of the men who was wearing sunglasses lunged for his chips.

“I was totally in shock. I reached around to confront him. He yells at me not to touch him. At that point, I grabbed him. At that point, he swings, barely touches my face, enough for me to say wait a minute," Scott said. "I grab the rest of my chips that were on the table, turned around to see where he was going, and he was already headed towards the exit.”

Scott said he desperately called for security but no one came for ten minutes. The man got away with $7,000 worth of chips.

“If somebody again can take that kind of money right off the table in the middle of the casino and walk right out and not be stopped by any security, baffles me.”

Police said the men got away in a maroon colored car.

Scott isn't sure when he’ll return to roulette.

“I will definitely me more careful of my surroundings. Whether I return to the casino is yet to be determined.”

The chief of the Mohegan Tribal Police Department said there was adequate staffing that night and people should have full faith in security at the casino. Police have leads in the case and that as part of the investigation, security will be reviewed.

Photo Credit: Mohegan Tribal Police Department

Community Remembers Man Who Died in Boating Accident


Friends and community members gathered at Highland Lake in Winsted on Sunday night to remember a young father who died in a boating accident.

Ben Steen, 21, died last week when the boat he was riding in with two others flipped over. The other two passengers made it back to shore, but crews were unable to rescue Steen. He was 21 years old and the father of a 3-year old.

The vigil organizer, Nicole Veretto, said she planned the event because she wanted to help the family cope with the loss of their child.

“I did speak with his dad and his dad did say that he will not be attending today because it hurts too much to actually be up here. So, he’ll probably never come back up here again,” Veretto said on Sunday.

The community is also trying to raise money to cover Steen’s funeral expenses and help his son. Those who want to be involved can donate to the gofundme page. A benefit dinner will take place on November 22 from noon to 4 p.m. at Redman’s Café in Winsted.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Rollover Crash Cleared On I-95


A rollover crash on Interstate 95 northbound in New Haven has cleared after causing traffic delays earlier on Monday morning.

The accident happened near exit 44 for Kimberly Avenue.

The left and center lanes were blocked but have since reopened.

The traffic was stop and go earlier in West Haven near exit 43 due to the delays caused by the crash.

Photo Credit: DOT

Fire Out at Middlefield Business


A small fire broke out in a ventilation system at a Middlefield business on Monday morning.

Middlefield firefighters and crews from area towns responded to Zygo Corporation at 21 Laurel Brook Road in Middlefield around 6 a.m. 

Officials said a sprinkler system in the business  extinguished the flames.

Some of the plant employees were checked out as a precaution and the building has reopened.

Fire officials are investigating the cause of the fire.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Pope Francis to Visit Philadelphia


It's official. Pope Francis is coming to Philly.

The pontiff confirmed Monday he plans to attend the highly-anticipated World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next year.

"I wish to confirm according to the wishes of the Lord, that in September of 2015, I will go to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families," he told a gathering of religious leaders in Rome.

The three-day visit will include a public Sunday mass on the Ben Franklin Parkway on Sept. 27, 2015. Officials estimate up to 2 million people could come to see the pope.

"This will be the largest event in the city's modern history," Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said. The mayor called the visit a "massive undertaking" that will require a "tremendous amount of coordination."

The Holy Father made the announcement in Rome during his opening remarks at the Humanum Colloquium. The Humanum Colloquium is a gathering of leaders and scholars, including Chaput, of various religions around the world focused on marriage and family life.

"We look forward to Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia next September and we will welcome him joyfully with open arms and prayerful hearts," said Archbishop Charles Chaput, the leader of Philadelphia's Archdiocese, in a prepared statement.

Chaput said he "applauded the loudest" when Francis made the announcement, according to The Associated Press.

It will be the Pope’s first visit to the United States since he was elected to lead the Catholic church in March 2013. The last time a pope visited Philadelphia was in October 1979 when John Paul II to deliver mass along the Parkway. Over history, only four popes have visited the United States a total of nine times.

The World Meeting of Families will be held from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27, 2015 in Philadelphia. Held every three years, the conference is a celebration of families, love and life, organizers say. It’s also the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Farrell said that Francis is expected to arrive Sept. 25. Besides the Parkway mass, the Pontiff is also expected to attend the intercultural Festival of Families on Sept. 26, according to the archdiocese. The Vatican will reveal detailed plans in spring or summer of 2015.

“As I’ve said many times before, I believe that the presence of the Holy Father will bring all of us — Catholic and non-Catholic alike — together in tremendously powerful, unifying and healing ways. We look forward to Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia next September and we will welcome him joyfully with open arms and prayerful hearts," Chaput said.

Pope Francis' visit has been expected, but was not officially confirmed until Monday's announcement.

In August, NBC News correspondent Anne Thompson asked the Pope, who turns 78 next month, in Italian if he would attend the meeting. Thompson said the Pope told her “yes,” and mentioned “World Family Day.”

Earlier this year, a group of city boosters — including Nutter and Gov. Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett — went to Rome and a contingency from the Vatican visited Philadelphia.

Recalling the Vatican visit in March, Susan Corbett said the pontiff promised her husband that he would come.

"It was there that the governor had the honor of inviting the pope to Philadelphia and the Holy Father answered our invitation by whispering three words in Tom's ear: 'I will come," she said.

Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, had earlier committed to coming to the meeting. But still, the Vatican said the official decision would not be made until a few months before.

The World Meeting of Families has a budget of $45 million, which is being offset by donations from private donors and corporations. Organizers say they're just over halfway to their goal. It's unclear, however, whether the pope's visit will increase the event's total cost.

Registration for the WMOF officially opened Nov. 10. Organizers of the conference expect some 20,000 people to attend its Adult and Child Congresses at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Farrell said tens of thousands of additional people are expected to be in the city during the week. Then the number of visitors is expected to grow each day as the Sunday mass nears.

"By the time the weekend arrives for the Festival of Families, I would expect that we would be close to, if not over a million [people] and then on Saturday, well over a million," she said.

The addition of nearly 2 million people to the city's 1.5 million population could temporarily make Philadelphia the third-largest city in the U.S. -- surpassing Chicago and Houston.

Lodging all of those people will be a challenge.

There are 10,500 hotel rooms in Center City and 30,000 hotel rooms overall in the region, according to the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Farrell said organizers are relying on locals to open their homes to visitors through a "Homestay" program. As part of the program, visitors would pay homeowners a small fee to stay.

Answering questions about security, Nutter said the city will be working with state police, the U.S. Secret Service, FBI as well as Vatican police, Swiss Guard and Italian government police.

"We host big events well here in Philadelphia," Nutter said. "This is slightly bigger, with a few more zeros at the end in terms of the number of folks coming, but we'll be ready."

You can find more information on the upcoming event on the official website. You can also register for the event here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Police Investigation Underway in Bridgeport


Bridgeport police are investigating an incident that happened on Highland Avenue.

Police have not released information on what they are investigating.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Train Strikes, Kills Pedestrian


MTA police are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed by a Metro-North train near the Norwalk train station early Monday morning.

The pedestrian was struck on the tracks around 1:40 a.m. near Wilbur Avenue, according to MTA officials.

MTA police are attempting to identify the pedestrian and find out why he or she was on the tracks. The person's name will not be released until family is notified.

Officials said train service has not been impacted.

Please check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Robbers Steal Chinese Food, Cash From Delivery Man: Cops


Four young men assaulted and robbed a Chinese food delivery driver in New London Sunday night, according to police.

The incident happened at 108 Hawthorne Drive at 9:37 p.m. After attacking someone delivering Chinese food and stealing cash and food, the robbers fled, police said. They were last seen running toward Ridgeview Circle, according to police.

A K-9 unit was called in to track the group of robbers, but the police dog was unable to find them.

The incident remains under investigation.

An ambulance took the driver, whose name hasn't been released, to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London to be treated for injuries. His condition and the extent of his injuries is unknown.

Police continue to look for the robbers.

Groups Fight Proposed CL&P Rate Hikes


The new year could bring higher electrical rates for Connecticut Light & Power customers and some opponents are meeting Monday night to fight it.

A coalition of labor and environmental groups are meeting with state regulators in the evening to talk about their concerns about the proposal to raise fixed CL&P rates rates by 26 percent. That would cost customers an average of $18 more each month or about $200 more every year.

While that may encourage customers to conserve energy, they may also want to raise the base price for service, which means customers would be charged more before turning on a switch.

CL&P has said that the power company needs the money to respond to storms and prevent outages.

But lawmakers like Gov. Dannel Malloy are also pushing back on the possible rate hikes. A decision on approving the new rates is slated for next month.

Standard service rates for residential customers and small businesses are also increasing. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority approved the rate hike Monday, which will cost customers an average of $18.47 more per month.

Monday night's meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Machinists Union Hall in East Hartford.


Photo Credit: Flickr user: spanginator

Woman Hospitalized After Barkhamsted Crash


A 21-year-old woman is in the hospital after hitting guardrails on Route 44 in Barkhamsted early Monday morning.

Erica Harrington, 21, of Unionville, was headed eastbound on Route 44 when she veered into the oncoming lane and hit a metal guardrail, state police said.

The impact propelled the car to spin and hit a wire rope guardrail in the eastbound lane, according to state police.

Harrington was taken to the hospital to be treated for a possible head injury. Her injuries are non-life-threatening, police said.

Her car was heavily damaged and cleared by a wrecker.

No charges have been filed.

State police continue to investigate the crash.

School Bus Crash in New Britain


One person had to be extricated from a car after colliding with a school bus carrying 25 students at Whiting and Glen streets in New Britain this morning, according to police and school officials.

The bus was on the way to New Britain High School and making a left turn when it collided with a vehicle that was coming down a hill, school officials said. The car hit the right front corner of the bus, damaging the bus fender and mirror.

Medics checked on the students and determined that none were seriously injured. Another bus was sent to pick up the students and bring them to school.

Emergency crews had to cut the roof off the car. School officials said they did not know if anyone in the car was injured.

Check back for updates. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Scene Cleared After Evacuation of DOT Garage in Avon


A state Department of Transportation garage at 3 Chidsey Road in Avon was evacuated as a precaution on Monday morning as officials investigated a possible natural gas leak.

The fire marshal said firefighters used meters to check the scene, but did not find a leak. The gas company also responded to check and the scene has since been cleared.

Police Seek Attempted ATM "Skimming" Suspects


West Haven police are seeking the public's help in identifying two men suspecting of trying to obtain credit and ATM card information by attempting to put a "skimming device" in an ATM at First Niagara Bank.

The men were captured on surveillance cameras near the ATM at the First Niagara bank at 322 Main Street in West Haven. Police believe they tried to install a skimming device in the ATM on Sept. 27. Police didn't release information on where the ATM was located.

"Once installed this skimming device obtains credit card information of anyone using that ATM after its installation," West Haven police said in a news release. "It works by scanning and recording the numbers that appear on your ATM or credit card. These individuals then return retrieving the skimming device and duplicate your credit card or ATM card numbers to commit larcenies."

The skimming attempt failed, according to police.

Police ask anyone who recognizes the two men to call the West Haven Police Department at 203-937-3905.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police

Truck Crash Caused Delays on I-91 North in New Haven


There were heavy traffic delays after a truck overturned on Interstate 91 North, near exit 8 in New Haven this morning and there were traffic problems until about 2 p.m.

The truck rolled over, closing the left and center lanes, and emergency crews had to remove stoves or ovens from the back of the vehicle.

The traffic back up extended to Interstate 95.

A car was also involved in the crash and no information is available on whether anyone in either vehicle sustained injuries.

Police said the scene cleared as of 2 p.m.

Follow Heidi Voight on Twitter for updates.

Check the traffic map to see if there are delays along your commute.

Photo Credit: James Colavolpe

I-84 East in Waterbury Reopens


Interstate 84 East in Waterbury has reopened after a three-vehicle crash near exit 19, according to state police, but expect delays.

Police said a tractor-trailer and two cars were involved in the crash and the road had to be sanded because of a fuel spill.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation Traffic Cameras

Rate Hike Approved for CL&P and UI Customers


The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority approved rate increases Monday for Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating customers as of January 2015.

For CL&P residential customers, power generation rates will increase from 9.990 cents a kilowatt-hour to 12.629 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to a news release from the regulatory authority.

UI's residential rates will go up from 8.6657 cents per kilowatt-hour to 13.3108 cents a kilowatt-hour. Those new rates are effective Jan. 1, 2015.

A spokesperson for CL&P said earlier this month that the proposed rate will result in an average monthly increase of about $18.47 for customers using 700 kilowatt hours per month.

Both CL&P and UI proposed rate changes are "based on competitive auctions held earlier this year to procure sufficient power to meet forecast load," according to a news release from the regulatory authority, which approved the new rates on Monday.

The generation rate roughly makes up half of  residential customers' monthly electric bills.

Other charges, including the delivery cost, transmission and "distribution and public benefit" fees will be adjusted for 2015 as well, according to the news release. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sets the delivery costs.

"The current spike of electricity is not only affecting Connecticut, but all of New England, since more than half of the region's electricity is now produced using natural gas," Northeast Utilities wrote in a news release Monday. "Although natural gas remains an abundant and inexpensive fuel, regional pipeline limitations and the growing dependency on gas to produce electricity are pushing prices higher."

CL&P is required by law to change standard service rates for residential customers and small businesses twice per year, in January and July, according to parent company Northeast Utilities.

More information on energy options are available at www.energizect.com or by calling 1-877-WISE-USE (1-877-947-3873).

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

College and Crown Street Intersection in New Haven Closed


The intersection at College and Crown streets in New Haven is closed as emergency crews deal with a problem in the street.

Crews are starting to dig into the pavement to deal with the issue. The city's engineer also has responded to the scene.

No additional information is available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

East Hampton High Evacuated Over Bomb Threat


East Hampton High School has been evacuated because of a bomb threat, according to the superintendent’s office.

School officials said they are following safety procedures and the building has been evacuated as a precaution.

Officers from the East Hampton Police Department are at the scene

No additional information has been released.

Check back for updates.

Southington Police Arrest 6 in Prostitution Bust


Southington police arrested six people while making an undercover prostitution bust on Friday.

An undercover police officer posed as a prostitute, responded to potential “johns” and made arrangements to meet the men in a local motel room, police said.

Police arrested Lukasz Kaziul, 31, of Southington, Paolo Mazzicato, 40, of Avon, Ronald Murphy, 56, of Farmington, Paul Tommasino, 54, of Meriden, Dana Layton, 59, of Union City California, and David Tonseth, 58, of Marlborough, New Hampshire.

All were charged with patronizing a prostitute. Murphy was also charged with interfering with an officer, police said.

Photo Credit: Southington Police
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Police Investigate Bomb Threat at High School in Deep River


Students were evacuated from Valley Regional High School in Deep River early Monday afternoon after someone called in a bomb threat, according to the superintendent.

State police said they were called to the school on Kelsey Hill Road around 12:30 p.m. Monday and sent a bomb-sniffing dog to search the property.

The school was evacuated and students were bused to John Winthrop Middle School as a precaution, according to superintendent Dr. Ruth Levy.

Investigators searched the property and gave the "all clear" at 1:15 p.m., according to state police. Levy, who sent a message to parents informing them of the incident, said the school has been deemed safe.

Police continue to investigate the threat.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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