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Man Killed After Spilling Coffee on Suspect: Cops


A 52-year-old Stamford man was beaten and stabbed to death after bumping into a teen at a local McDonald's and spilling coffee on him, police said during a news conference on Monday.

Antonio Muralles, 52, of Stamford, was beaten with a stick and stabbed in the heart in front of the fast-food restaurant at 25 Bedford Street, on Wednesday evening, according to police, who are calling this a "horrendous crime."

Over the weekend, police applied for two arrest warrants and four search warrants and they have arrested James McLamb, 22, of New Haven, and a 15-year-old Stamford boy. Both have been charged with first-degree murder.

According to police, things escalated after Muralles and the teen bumped into each other. Muralles tried to apologize, but the group of three to five people did not want to hear it.

For days, police have been going through surveillance video. An eyewitness also came forward and provided police information on the viscious attack.

The 15-year-old, who has not been publicly identified, stabbed Muralles several times in the arms and torso, police said. He had been hiding out in Waterbury and was arrested this morning in Stamford after returning, police said. He'll be arraigned in juvenile court in Bridgeport, but police expect him to soon be charged as an adult.

McLamb, who is accused of assaulting the victim during the stabbing, was arrested over the weekend, accused of possessing brass knuckles, police said. He appeared in court and bond was set at $2 million.

The arrest warrant for McLamb has been sealed by the court and officials said he has a history of plea bargains for misdemeanor offenses and has not served prison time.

The attorney who represented him in court said McLamb has applied to review the police incident report or warrant.

Muralles was found last week when emergency medical service crews were responding to another unrelated matter at the corner of Broad and Bedford streets at 8:17 p.m. They noticed a stab wound to the chest while treating him.

Muralles was then transported to Stamford Hospital, where he went through emergency surgery for several hours but died at 1:07 a.m.

The assailants had run off after the attack and police reviewed surveillance from the area. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Stamford Police Detective Bureau at 203-944-4417. All calls will be kept confidential.

This was Stamford's first homicide of 2015.

Photo Credit: Stamford Police

$52k in Gold Stolen From Songwriter to the Stars


Thieves made off with about $52,000 worth of gold and other valuables after breaking into a safe at the Hollywood home of songwriter to the stars Toby Gad.

A safe inside the chart-topper's multi-million dollar mansion in the 3500 block of Wonder View Drive was raided while it underwent remodeling work. His wife Li Fan reported the theft on Monday, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

Grammy winner Gad, who has written songs for the likes of Madonna, Beyonce and Robin Thicke, said he was convinced his precious items were safe, despite being away from the home for two weeks.

"My wife came in today in the afternoon, looked at the safe and it was open and broken," Gad said. "We never thought a safe like this could be opened that easily. It is a very solid safe. All the gold we had in there was taken."

Father-of-two Gad also said there had been a number of break-ins in his neighborhood recently.

Gold coins and other items were stolen from the safe, which was attached to the floor of a garage, not part of the renovation. Gad began collecting the gold when he was 12 years old when his grandfather and father each gave him a gold coin.

"Whenever I made some money, I bought another gold coin," Gad said. "In the end, it was 40 ounces of gold. Every gold coin told a story to me."

Li Gad said she found the family's social security cards, passports, vehicle documents and other items on the floor.

"You don't think a safe would be the most unsafe place," said Li Gad, Toby Gad's wife.

Detectives are looking at a two-week timeframe for this probe and are investigating to see if there is surveillance video.

According to Zillow.com, the four-bedroom home is estimated at $2.6M and was purchased for $1.8M in October 2013.

Gad has co-written some of the biggest hits of the last few years, including John Legend's " All Of Me," Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry " and Beyonce's "If I Were A Boy."

He has also worked with One Direction, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Alicia Keys.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Busy Trains Expected on St. Patrick's Day


If you can't follow a rainbow to find a pot of gold at the end, you could at the very least take a Metro-North train on the New Haven line to get to New York City for its 254th annual St. Patrick's Day parade today.

The regularly scheduled New Haven, Hudson and Harlem trains are running run as usual on St. Patrick's Day on March 17 and some extra trains were added to accommodate thousands of people expected on trains across the system, according to a news release.

If you're looking for a green beer or a Bailey's to get in the holiday spirit, you just can't get them on a train today.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority is also banning alcohol on trains and platforms and at all train stations for the duration of St. Patrick's Day through March 18 at 5 a.m. as a safety precaution, MTA officials said. MTA police will confiscate any alcohol travelers have with them. The bar carts will be closed too.

The Hudson line is also operating an additional train from Poughkeepsie at 8:23 a.m. that will stop at New Hamburg, Beacon and Grand Central Terminal, MTA officials said. Conductors will collect tickets as people board in Poughkeepsie, New Hamburg and Beacon.

There will also by five other standby trains depending on demand on the Harlem and Hudson lines, according to the MTA. If there is a flood of people, there are two extra trains ready to leave from Grand Central on the Hudson line if needed, the MTA said.

The MTA advises people to leave extra time when traveling on St. Patrick's Day and to buy tickets early because the trains will likely be crowded. You can buy round-trip tickets in advance at the station you're departing from at the counter or from a ticket machine.

For more information on ticket schedules, you can visit www.mta.info/mnr or call Metro-North customer service at 877-690-5114.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Suspect on Tape: "Don't Hate Me"


A Southern California teen accused of arson in connection with last year's devastating wildfire told investigators she "didn't want to kill anybody" -- only to "see what would happen" when she set the first of two fires in her backyard, according to an audio tape played in court on Monday. 

On the tape, the San Marcos girl, now 14, could be heard asking investigators multiple times: "What if it was me?"

The teen girl admitted to starting fires with a lighter the same week the Cocos Fire swept across San Diego’s North County, destroying dozens of homes last May, according to her mother’s testimony in court on Friday. 

The suspect said on tape that she felt "really bad" when she set the second fire. On that tape, her mother can be heard asking why the teen did it, to which the girl replies: "I wanted to tell you earlier. I love you, mom. Sorry. Don't hate me. I won't do it again."

In a nearly two-hour long conversation with investigators, the teen said she felt "like a bad person now" and said she didn't mean to do what she did.

The questioning and subsequent confession happened without the girl's mother at her side, though she was asked to tell her mother what happened and told investigators once her mother came in. The recorded admission came about two months after the Cocos Fire. 

On the tape, the girl described setting the first of the two fires.

"I got a branch," she's heard saying on the recording. "And I lighted it on fire. Then I put it down, like quick. I told my sister and then I went back out and it was getting bigger. So I went up to tell my mom I was scared."

Prosecutors claim the defendant set two fires in her family’s backyard on May 13 and May 14. One of those fires, prosecutors say, left behind an ember that floated away and eventually sparked the Cocos Fire. That fact, however, has been disputed by defense attorneys.

The Cocos Fire on May 14 prompted the evacuation of a large area of San Marcos and ultimately destroyed 36 homes and caused $10.4 million in damage.

The girl faces four felony charges, including two counts of arson of an inhabited structure or property in which multiple structures were burned, and two counts of arson of a structure or forest land in a reckless manner. She also faces a misdemeanor of unlawfully allowing a fire to escape from one’s control.

It is NBC 7’s policy not to identify juvenile defendants; we are not identifying family members to conceal the defendant’s identity.

Earlier, under cross-examination on Friday, the teenager's mother said she did not believe her daughter could have set the Cocos Fire.

“There was no reason for us to even think that one of the children did that,” the defendant’s mother testified.

Previous testimony from a sister alleged that the defendant laughed about setting the fires.

Defense attorneys argued earlier this week that a so-called "phantom ember" from the girl's backyard could not have traveled the distance prosecutors have alleged.

Prosecutors told NBC 7 the family rejected a plea agreement offer in the weeks before trial began.

Officials have set up an information line for victims, where they can call for basic information on the case and leave messages with questions. That number is 858-694-4241.

Download the free NBC 7 mobile app to stay updated on trial developments.

Photo Credit: John Beaune
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U.S. Woman Charged in Mom's Bali Slaying Gives Birth


The Chicago woman charged with killing her mother at a resort in Indonesia and helping her boyfriend stuff the slain woman's body in a suitcase gave birth Tuesday.

Heather Mack's attorney confirmed to NBC Chicago that Mack, 19, delivered her 6 pound, 10 ounce daughter via cesarean section at about 6:09 p.m. (5:09 a.m. Central Time). Both mother and baby were said to be doing fine, according to attorney Anthony Scifo. Mack will likely remain hospitalized for a few days, he said.

It was not immediately clear if the birth would delay Mack's trial or where the baby will stay.

Mack and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Tommy Schaefer, are being tried in separate trials in the death of Sheila von Weise-Mack. They are charged with the premeditated murder of 62-year-old von Wiese-Mack and face a maximum penalty of death by firing squad if found guilty by a three-judge panel.

Mack told the court last week that Schaefer, 21, killed von Weise-Mack in anger after she threatened to kill their unborn baby. Mack said Schaefer beat her mother with a metal soup bowl after von Weise-Mack made the threat in an argument.

Man Charged With Child Sex Assault in Ledyard


State police have arrested a 46-year-old Ledyard man suspected of sexually assaulting a girl.

On March 7, Ledyard police, as well as the Ledyard resident state trooper’s office, started investigating a report of the sexual assault of a girl and obtained a warrant for James Robinson, 46, of Ledyard.

He was charged with second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a child and permitting a minor to illegally possess liquor in a dwelling.

He is being held on a $200,000 court-set bond and is due in court in New London.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

2 Danbury Whalers Players Arrested in Hockey Game Fight


Two players on the Danbury Whalers hockey team were arrested after pushing a security guard to the ground during a melee that erupted during a game against the Watertown Wolves in New York on Monday night, according to police.

Whalers forward Luke Patrick Warner, 21, of New Milford, and defender Steve Vontrel Brown, 26, of Spring Lake, North Carolina, are facing harassment charges after the incident at the hockey arena on the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds at 600 William T. Field Drive in Watertown, New York. During a brawl, Warner grabbed security guard Joseph Murtha by the throat and Brown pushed him to the ground, police said.

This video published on the Watertown Daily Times website show a noisy scene as security guards separate Whalers players and fans and escort the team out of the crowd.

Watertown police told the newspaper that a brawl ensued after a Wolves fan pushed an un-uniformed player on the Danbury team. That caused the Whalers to empty the bench and rush to help, the newspaper reported, citing Erin E. Gardnery, superintendent of the Watertown, New York parks and recreation department.

Police told the newspaper that the Wolves fan who instigated the fight will be charged, but his name has not been released.

Danbury Whalers CEO Herm Sorcher did not witness the fight, but told NBC Connecticut that "Maybe one fan said the wrong thing or did something they shouldn’t have been doing and it just escalated."

"I don’t know why the fan did that," he said. "Hockey is a very passionate enthusiastic, hard hitting energetic game. Maybe a fan watching a playoff game just got too enthusiastic and too much a part of the action."

There is no word on whether there were any injuries.

Police charged both Warner and Brown with second-degree harassment charges. They are both due in court in Watertown, New York on April 22 at 11 a.m.

The Danbury Whalers, a professional minor league hockey team, are an affiliate of The Evansville Icemen ECHL AA hockey league team.

Photo Credit: Danbury Whalers
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Governor Chooses Hamden Mayor for State Position


Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson has been chosen for a position in state government and will resign from his post as mayor April 16.

Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Tuesday that he has chosen Jackson to serve as undersecretary for intergovernmental policy.

Jackson, who has been chair of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, has served as Hamden’s mayor for three terms.

“Although serving as Mayor of my hometown has been enormously gratifying, the opportunity to join a statewide team like the one assembled at OPM is a truly exceptional opportunity,” Jackson said in a statement. “The challenges we face as a state are serious, but not insurmountable. I look forward to helping advance a solution-oriented agenda that makes Connecticut a better place to live not only for my mother’s generation, but also the generation of my two young sons.”

In his new role, Jackson's will be responsible for ensuring that investments in urban communities are delivered, completed and extended to nearby areas.

“The health and vibrancy of our urban centers are critical to the overall well-being of our state and the regions that surround them. Whether we’re talking about housing needs, economic development strategies, education concerns, transit oriented development investments, or criminal justice issues, these issue areas are frequently interconnected and need to be cohesively strategized for maximum effectiveness,” Malloy said in a statement. 

Jackson will resign as mayor, effective April 16, and begin his new position with the state on April 17.

In 2005, he was appointed chief administrative officer for the town of Hamden, then went on to become mayor in 2009.

The Hamden native worked in former Senator Joseph I. Lieberman’s Hartford office, then went on to manage the Hamden’s Office of Housing and Neighborhood Development, which is responsible for overseeing the Community Development Block Grant.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Missing Cat Found as Stowaway to CA


A furry stowaway who had been missing from his South Carolina home since 2013 has been found hiding in a trailer in Southern California.

Kevin the orange tabby cat made the more than 2,500 miles to the Arizona-California border without detection until he was discovered during a routine state food and agriculture check.

And now his owner Cheryl Walls is looking forward to getting her pet back, after assuming he had found a new home.

"I assumed someone must have picked him up," Walls said, "Now he has seen more of the country than me."

Kevin was found when an inspector asked the truck driver to open the trailer, she complied, and the surprised pair could hear muffled meows inside. 

The woman did not have a clue as to how the animal ended up on board, and the feline was taken to Riverside County Animal Services’ Blythe shelter. 

After the dehydrated moggy was fed and watered,  employees discovered he had a microchip, and workers got in touch with South Carolina resident Walls, who had adopted Kevin  from her local shelter in June 2013. 

Kevin, who shares the name of her late fiancé, seemed to get wanderlust, and disappeared months later during the fall when she allowed him to go outside.

"We have handled some pets with crazy back stories, and this is one more for the list," Riverside County Department of Animal Services Director Robert Miller said, "The good news is we know the owner, she wants her pet back, and we’ll make that happen."

Two nonprofit organizations, Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team  and the Animal Solutions Konnection Foundation and shelter employees have made donations to pay for the cat’s journey home. 

Riverside County is coordinating the cat’s flight plan, and he is tentatively slated to fly home Wednesday morning. 

Teen Charged in Naugatuck High Bomb Threat


Naugatuck police have arrested a teen who’s suspected of calling a bomb threat into Naugatuck High School in January.

There investigation also helped identify an Ohio teen also suspected in several similar incidents across the United States and Canada, according to police.

The 17-year-old Naugatuck teen was arrested yesterday in connection with a bomb threat called into Naugatuck High School on the morning of Jan. 29.

Naugatuck police responded to the high school at 11 a.m. on that Thursday after the school received call with a bomb threat. There was no indication then of where the call came from and the school was placed into “Code Yellow,” forcing students to remain in place for several hours until Naugatuck police and the Connecticut State Police bomb squad determined that there was nothing dangerous in the building.

As the investigation continued, detectives developed information that an Ohio juvenile had been responsible for similar incidents throughout the United States and Canada. Police believe additional charges will be pending in other jurisdictions.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Suspected Shooter Arrested in Hartford Assault


Police arrested a 22-year-old man on St. Patrick's Day who is suspected of trying to murder a man by shooting him in the face at El Moro Supermarket in Hartford on Valentine's Day, police said.

The Hartford Police Department Fugitive Task Force found Anthony Torres, 22 of Hartford, in Berlin on March 17 after several attempts to apprehend him and police arrested him on a warrant, police said. 

A man was transported to Hartford Hospital after the Feb. 14 shooting police are calling a serious assault at the 158 Hillside Avenue market. He has since been released fromthe hospital and both he and his girlfriend have been placed in witness protection.

The Major Crimes Division oversaw the investigation.

Torres was charged with first-degree assault, criminal attempt at murder and criminal possession of a firearm.

Torres also had narcotics and a lot of cash on him when police apprehended him and he's a "parole absconder," police said. He is facing pending narcotics charges from state police and will be taken to a correctional facility for violating his parole, police said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Chicago McDonald's Faces Complaints Over Employee Burns


A small group of protesters gathered outside a McDonald's restaurant on Chicago's west side Tuesday morning to lobby for more training and protective equipment that would protect injury, primarily burns.

The demonstration inside and outside the restaurant, on the 3200 block of West Roosevelt Road, comes one day after employees around the nation filed 28 health and safety complaints against the Oak Brook-based company.

"We don't have any actual cream or Band-Aids or none of that, so if you get cut, that's it. Or if you get burned, mustard is the treatment," said employee Adriana Alvarez.

Protesters marched with signs in English and Spanish that read "McDonald's, Don't Burn Me" and others that alleged employees have been told to treat burns with condiments.

The complaints were filed with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The federal agency said it would investigate the allegations.

A statement from the McDonald's corporate office said the restaurant and its independent franchisees "are committed to providing safe working conditions for employees in the 14,000 McDonald’s Brand U.S. restaurants. We will review these allegations."

Spokeswoman Heide Barker Sa Shekhem added that the company believes the complaints are part of a larger strategy to tarnish the McDonald's brand.

The protest was organized by the group "Fight for 15," which has held a number of demonstrations around the country to push for a $15 per hour minimum wage.

Photo Credit: Susan Carlson

Storrs Ranked Best Place in Country for Basketball Fans


A WalletHub study has ranked Storrs, home of the UConn Huskies, as the best city for basketball fans in the country.

That's not too surprising amid March Madness as the UConn women seek their 10th national championship. It will be a dog fight in Storrs on Saturday for the Huskies' first NCAA tournament game  as they take on the St. Francis College Brooklyn Terriers in Gampel Pavillion at 9 p.m.

Other Connecticut towns fell low on the list, including Hamden ranked 212, New Haven in 237th, Fairfield in 270th, New Britain in 281st and Hartford in 287th.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina and San Antonio, Texas took the first and second rankings.

Click here to read the full study.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bald Eagles Sightings Rise to New High in CT


There are more Bald Eagles nesting in Connecticut than there have been in perhaps a hundred years, according to a spokesman for the Connecticut Audubon Society.

The majestic birds have been spotted nesting in places they've never before been seen, including possibly, the Norwalk Islands.

Experts said Bald Eagles had all but disappeared from Connecticut in the 1950s because of DDT and other pesticides. After the harmful pesticides were banned, however, a pair of eagles returned to Connecticut in the early 1990s and the population has been growing steadily ever since with eagle sightings this year even moving inland a bit off the Connecticut River.

Learn more about bald eagles from the state of Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.

Lt. Vance Addresses Reassignment in Letter


By the end of the week, state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance will begin his new role overseeing the department's traffic division and he released a letter on Tuesday thanking everyone for supporting him and throwing support behind whoever replaces him.

In late February, Scott DeVico, spokesman for the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, announced that Vance is being reassigned to the traffic division effective on or around March 20. Vance has served as the public information officer for the state police for 16 years and is most recently known as the department mouthpiece during and after the shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. .

No replacement has been announced at this time.


Here is the full letter Vance released addressing his reassignment:

I am writing to you as I prepare to move on to my new assignment/command within the Connecticut State Police. After 16 years in the State Police Public Information Office, as the spokesman for the Connecticut State Police, I have grown to not only like the assignment but to have also had the honor and privilege to work with so many media professionals. I was honored to have worked with many Commissioners, Colonels, and Governors of our great state.

I want to thank each and every one of you for helping me to understand the work that you do and for helping me to better the ways that we might work together for our mutual interest. There are so many individuals that come to mind, so I cannot single anyone out for fear of missing one. Simply stated to all of you – thank you.

The tragedies that we have worked on together in our state have always been handled with dignity by all of you, especially December of 2012. I will never forget the professionalism and class everyone showed during that horrific time.

The 40 years I have spent serving the people of Connecticut in my varied State Police assignments is an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. I have learned so much from law enforcement professionals and media professionals alike. I have never wavered in my belief that the Connecticut State Police is the finest police department in the country. The men and woman that serve our citizens are second to none.

I am asking everyone to work with and welcome my replacement. I am sure the new PIO commander or director will continue to provide an open line of communication to enable everyone to do their work and keep all of our customers, the citizens of Connecticut, informed.

To the citizens of Connecticut, I thank them for their support and for the many kind emails and letters I have received since my transfer was announced. I plan to continue to serve each one of you every day as I continue my career as the Commander of the State Police Traffic Services unit.

If I can be of any assistance to anyone please feel free to contact me at my new assignment. My email and cell number remains the same.

I wish you all well and success.


Lt. J Paul Vance

Starbucks Baristas Talk Race


In addition to writing names and marking the number of special syrups and additions to customers’ cups, some Starbucks baristas might begin scribbling the words “race together” on customers’ beverages in an effort to spark conversations, the coffee chain announced.

The company announced that they were encouraging baristas to write the phrase on cups following a series of company forums held in the wake of the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and other unarmed black men.

“We at Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America," Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said. "Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are."

Starbucks brewed up the campaign after several open forums the company held about race, including one in New York.

Baristas who attended the forum said they wanted to do something to start conversations, so they began writing “race together” on cups. Starbucks franchises across the nation began using stickers with the phrase on Monday.

The company said it will also run full-page ads in newspapers promoting the campaign and will begin distributing a special newspaper section on race in conjunction with USA Today on Friday.

The campaign already sparked on social media, and Business Insider reported the company's vice president of communications Corey duBrowa deleted his Twitter account because of attacks from critics.

It’s not the first time the popular coffee chain has waded into social issues.

In 2013, the company asked baristas to write “come together” on cups to encourage political cooperation amid deadlock on Capitol Hill over government appropriations. Starbucks has also asked that patrons not bring guns into its locations.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Trader Joe's Recalls Raw Walnuts Over Possible Salmonella


Trader Joe's is recalling raw walnuts because they could be contaminated with Salmonella.

The raw walnuts subject to the recall were distributed to Trader Joe’s stores nationwide, according to the recall listed on the Federal Drug Administration website.

The walnuts were packaged in clear plastic bags with the UPC Codes printed on the back.

Following are the affected products:

  • Trader Joe’s Nuts Raw California Walnut Pieces, 16 ounces, with a best by date of 12/2015 and UPC Code: 00373685. Lot number: GU4345.
  • Trader Joe’s Nuts Raw California Walnut Halves & Pieces, 16 ounces with a best by date of 12/2015. UPC Code: 00943338. Lot numbers GU4346, GU4349 and GU4356
  • Trader Joe’s Nuts Raw California Walnut Baking Pieces, 16 ounces with a best by date of 2/2015. UPC Code: 00519342. Lot number: GU4350
  • Trader Joe’s Nuts Raw California Premium Walnut Halves, 16 ounces, with a best by date of 12/2015. UPC code: 00519328. Lots: GU4343, GU4344, GU4351 and GU4352
  • Trader Joe’s Organic Raw Walnut Halves & Pieces, 12 ounces, with best by dates of Oct. 15, 2015, Oct. 16, 2015, Oct. 17, 2015, Oct. 20, 2015, Oct. 21, 2015, Nov. 17, 2015, Nov. 18, 2015, Nov. 19, 2015, Nov. 20, 2015, Nov. 28, 2015 and Dec. EC 01 2015 UPC code: 00586627

An outside company the FDA hired to do some routine testing discovered the presence of Salmonella in certain packages of Trader Joe’s Raw Walnuts, according to the FDA.

As a precaution, Trader Joe’s removed all lots of these products from store shelves and will suspend sale of them while the FDA and the manufacturers investigate into the source of the problem.

Trader Joe’s Company has not received any reports of illness connected to the walnuts, according to the FDA.

Customers who bought the recalled raw walnuts should throw them away or return them to any Trader Joe’s for a full refund.

If you have questions, call Trader Joe’s Customer Relations at (626) 599-3817 or submit an email online.

Photo Credit: Trader Joe's Web site

New Police Substation Opens in East Haven


The long arm of the law is just a bit longer in East Haven, as the police department opened a brand new substation today.

Officials on hand, including Police Chief Brent Larrabee, say the benefits start with better officer visibility and accessibility.

"It's not a community that lends itself to walking beats, but we think we can make that happen," Larrabee said.

The office is situated inside the East Farm Village housing complex at 65 Messina Drive, many of whose residents are seniors. Those we met say there's no downside to added police presence on the south side.

"I think it's very good, a very good idea. I'm sure it will work out well," said resident Helen Page.

Today's ribbon cutting culminates an idea two years in the making. The chief says the substation lends itself to community policing, a concept he distills down to officer-community familiarity via the personal touch.

"I just think it's generally good old commonsense policing, understanding what people want, need, and how you can serve them," he said.

It doesn't hurt that using East Farm Village allows police to widen the blue line while barely affecting the bottom line.

"We not only got it for a song, we didn't even have to write the song, because the owners gave us this room for free," explained East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo. "The only thing we had to do was supply the officer with a computer and a phone line."

It would seem a popular decision for everyone involved, given an automatic police presence in the building.

"The building is handled well," said resident Beth Verneris, "but there's been some people sneaking in and out, I guess, and it's not good."

The substation's manned hours have not yet been determined, but it will not be staffed around the clock, at least not right away.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

The Jolly Beggars: Friends and Irish Folk Band


Irish folk music is a rich cultural part of St. Patrick's Day and Connecticut band The Jolly Beggars is one of many options to get you into the spirit of the holiday on March 17 and year-round.

The Jolly Beggars were friends first before becoming a band and that chemistry carries into their performances as they play original arrangements of traditional Irish folk tunes.The group is playing at the Gaelic American Club in Fairfield at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday for St. Patrick's Day.

It all started about six summers ago when Jeff DesRosier, 29, a Wethersfield native and current Hamden resident, went on a trip to Ireland with his family and came home wanting to start an Irish folk band.

He didn't know anyone who knew how to play that genre of music, but he was friends with North Haven native Christopher Vece, 27, who owned, but didn't know how to play a penny whistle. Vece learned though as the two had jam sessions together.

Greg Wilfrid, 26, and Dan Uhl, 25, joined in when DesRosier came over Vece's apartment, where they both lived too at the time, and the rest is history.

Vocals are the foundation of the Irish folk songs they play, so the entire group, also all full-time music teachers across the state, sing in their performances. Instrumentally, DesRosier plays mandolin and guitar; Vece, now an East Hartford resident plays whistles; Wilfrid, of West Hartford, alternates between guitar, banjo and mandolin; Uhl, of New Haven, is on double bass; and Hamden native and Manchester resident Matt Torcellini, 26, plays percussion.

Their harmonies are their signature stamp and that is something they spend a lot of time on. So,  they said their audiences take notice of that and their stage presence, whether it involves howling like dogs in the middle of a song or comedic banter between songs.

"We're friends first and a band second, so we have no shame in giving each other grief live in front of people or joking around and laughing at ourselves," Wilfrid said.

The group name comes from one of the songs that they play called "The Jolly Beggar," but they toiled over many other ideas for a name that didn't sink in, like The Great Potato Surplus, before arriving at The Jolly Beggars.

The group mostly plays in Connecticut, but has also performed in Long Island and Massachusetts. They toured between Freeport, Maine and Raleigh, North Carolina back in 2011.

The Jolly Beggars also have three albums, "Why Do The Houses Stand," "Bound Far Away" and "Sunshine and Shadow," available for purchase on their website and iTunes.

In addition to the gig at the Gaelic American Club, the group is also playing at the Playwright Irish Pub in Hamden at 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 at 9 p.m. and there again on Friday, March 27 at 8:30 p.m. and at the Somers Congregational Church in Somers on Sunday, March 29 at 4 p.m. More information on the band and their performances is available on their website, www.thejollybeggarsmusic.com or on Facebook.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

3 Suspected of Dealing Molly, Coke, Crack and Pot in Middletown


Middletown police have arrested three people accused of dealing molly, cocaine, crack and marijuana from Middletown public housing projects.

Police searched 29 Daddario Road and 34 Schaefer Road on Monday after conducting surveillance amid several complaints from neighbors, building management and landlords, according to a police, and arrested Paul Godet, 29, James Parker, 32, and Parker’s girlfriend, Shaquina Privott, 36, on several drug charges.

Godet, of 34 Schaefer Road, and Parker, of 29 Daddario Road, are accused of working together to sell drugs in town from public housing, as well as other locations, according to the arraignment report.

\Molly, or MDMA, is gaining popularity among young people and 11 students at Wesleyan University in Middletown were recently hospitalized after taking the drug last month. These arrests are not connected to the Wesleyan cases, police said.

Parker, who is on parole for narcotics sales, was meeting with his parole officer around 5 p.m. on Monday when police arrived and alerted him of the search, police said.

When officers searched Parker, who is unemployed, they found $937 in cash, an iPhone 6 and a white Android phone, police said.

At Parker’s house, officers found 119.7 grams of Molly, along with a pill, worth a combined $2,500; 8.4 grams of crack cocaine, worth an estimated $840; .8 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $2,993; a heat sealer; and mail addressed to Parker. Officers also noted that he had several expensive electronics.

As police spoke with Privott, she pointed out where the marijuana was, but denied knowing anything about the molly or crack, police said.

When officers searched Godet’s home, they found him in the kitchen as a neighbor watched his girlfriend’s 6-year-old daughter.

Godet claimed that he didn’t live at the address, but police found mail addressed to him in the master bedroom, the arraignment report states.

They also found 10 packages of molly, worth an estimated $420; a cell phone; a 15.3-gram bag of marijuana, worth an estimated $153; a digital scale with marijuana residue and more. Because a child was at Godet’s home, police determined the proximity to the drugs posed a risk. Police seized the cash and drugs.

Parker is being held on $500,000 bond.

Godet was charged with distribution of a controlled substance, drug possession and risk of injury to a minor, in addition to other charges. He was held on $250,000.

Privott was charged with distribution of controlled substances, possession with intent to sell, illegal sale of a controlled substance and more. She was released on $50,000 bond and is due in court on March 30.

Police also spoke with the state Department of Children and Families to report suspected abuse and neglect.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police
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