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Police Find 875 Bags of Heroin in Suspect's Car


A 34-year-old East Hartford man is facing charges after troopers found 875 bags of heroin, 5 grams of marijuana and $5,760 cash in his car, according to state police.

Police arrested Angel Rivera after someone reported seeing a man and woman arguing outside a car on Interstate 84 in East Hartford the night of May 20. When troopers got to the scene, the car was gone, but they tracked it to Fuller Street in East Hartford.

State police said they searched the vehicle and found the drugs and money. A female passenger was not hurt.

Rivera was charged with possession of narcotics with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance, possession of less than half an ounce of cannabis, failure to obey a traffic signal, making an improper turn and traveling too fast.

Bond was set at $50,000. He was released after posting bail and is due in court June 9.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Threat Prompted Sweep of School in Wolcott


Police searched Tyrrell Middle School in Wolcott this morning after a potential threat was found earlier this month scrawled in a book checked out of the school library.

A student who had been reading a book that had been checked out of the Tyrrell Middle School Library Media Center on April 30 found some hand writing in the book, "See You at Harry's," that stated “bomb goes off on 5/21/15,” police said.

When the student saw this, he or she notified the principal.

The Wolcott Police Department said they were made aware of the threat on May 4. For the last two weeks, all packages delivered to the school were carefully screened and trash was continuously emptied in every classroom to ensure that nothing was in the building that should not be.

Police said the sweep this morning was performed as a security and safety precaution and the entire interior and exterior of the school were checked before students and staff arrived this morning.

Four State Police canines trained to identify potentially explosive devices were brought in and police said no explosives or suspicious devices were found and they determined the building was safe to open.

According to police, the same student who found the threat had previously checked out the book from March 26 until April 2 and did not notice the writing at the time.

Between April 2 and April 30, the book was in the library and the School Resource Officer and school administrators checked the handwriting to determine who might have written the note, but they did not find a match.

“Although there was no direct threat against Tyrrell Middle School, any and all potentially suspicious occurrences are taken very seriously and ALL precautions are used to ensure the safety of our students, staff and community,” police said in a news release.

Police said no students or staff were in any danger and the threat was determined not to be credible, but police continue to investigate.

Parents were alerted of the threat on Thursday morning, when an email and message alert were sent out before the school day started. 


Police said they are adding police presence at the school for as long a necessary.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Connecticut House Passes Bill Allowing for Sale of Tesla Cars


A bill that would allow Tesla Motors to sell its electric cars in Connecticut is moving forward in the state legislature.

With a vote of 116-32, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday to allow the car manufacturer to bypass dealerships and sell directly to customers.

"Tesla applauds the House of Representatives for their hard work and support for bringing new jobs, revenue and the world's most advanced zero-transmission electric vehicles to Connecticut," Tesla Motors Vice President of Business Development Diarmuid O'Connell said in a statement Thursday.

Opponents have said it's unfair to change the laws governing car sales for a single company.

The Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association, which represents the state's dealerships, has argued that Tesla should have to adapt to the existing franchise model like all other manufacturers selling cars in Connecticut.

A spokesperson for Tesla Motors said the bill approved Thursday reflects a compromise between the automaker and the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association.

The measure now moves to the Connecticut Senate.

"We’ve worked with the dealers association, made compromises and now look forward to the Senate also recognizing that Tesla can bring revenue, ingenuity, and consumer choice to the state," O'Connell said.

Photo Credit: Getty

Recall: Booster Seats


The restraint on your child’s booster seat could potentially come loose and pose a fall threat to you child.

OXO recalled about 25,000 Nest Booster Seats sold in the United States and Canada at Buy Buy Baby, Toys”R”Us/Babies”R”Us and other stores from September through April, said the Consumer Product Safety Commission Thursday.

Restrain straps on the seats that come in green, pink, taupe and orange with a white base can separate from the seat, said the CPSC.

The CPSC said that consumers should stop using the boosters immediately and contact OXO for a free repair kit.

Consumers can call OXO at (800) 545-4411 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays of email the company.

Photo Credit: CPSC.gov

Ex-PTO Treasurer Used Stolen Cash at Disney: Cops


The former treasurer of the Stepney Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization in Monroe has been arrested, accused of embezzling more than $45,000 from the school organization and using it to pad her bank account and pay for a Disney World vacation, among other things, according to police.

Police said they obtained a warrant for Sarah Chiarelli, a 34-year-old stay-at-home mother with three young children, on Wednesday after a lengthy investigation and she turned herself in on Thursday morning.

Authorities started investigating on March 18 when they received a complaint from administrators in the Monroe School District and members of the Stepney Elementary School PTO who reported discrepancies in the PTO bank accounts.

At the time, PTO members were questioning more than $10,000 in expenditures, but detectives conducted an audit of the banking accounts, which showed that Chiarelli made 226 illegitimate transactions, in the amount of just over $45,000 over several years, police said.

Chiarelli, who is also a past president of the PTO, is accused of using the PTO funds to pay household expenses and fund a Disney World vacation. She is also accused of withdrawing more than $14,000 in cash and close to $10,000 in checks, some of which were made out in her name and deposited into her personal banking account.

Police said Chiarelli was the only person with access to the PTO banking accounts and admitted to misappropriating PTO funds for her own use, but substantially underestimated the dollar amount she took.

Supt. Jim Agostine said PTOs are independent organizations, so the funds were separate from public education fund.

"But we do stand ready to support the Stepney PTO and all our PTOs as we go through this very unfortunate incident," he said.

Soon after the embezzlement allegations were reported to police, Chiarelli moved to Hicksville, New York, but her attorney remained in contact the Monroe Police Department to ensure she surrendered herself for arrest when an arrest warrant was issued, police said.

After police notified Chiarelli’s attorney about the arrest warrant charging her with first-degree larceny; illegal furnishing of money, goods or services on credit card; and illegal use of a credit card, she turned herself in at the Monroe Police Department at 7 a.m. on Thursday.

She has no prior arrest record, according to officials. 

Bond was originally set at $50,000, but the defense attorney asked for a smaller bond because restitution will likely need to be paid and the judge reduced it to a $3,800 cash bond.

"Restitution is always going to be an issue to dispose of the case, so as a result, we’d rather be able to apply that money to a victim’s fund rather than giving it to a bondsman," defense attorney Tina Sypek D’Amato said.

School officials said they have been working with police and PTOs to figure out a system so that this does not happen again and one person doesn’t have access to all PTO accounts.

Chiarelli is due back in court on June 17.

Yale Law Students Petition Woman's Deportation


A woman deported to Italy in 2011 wants to return to Connecticut, and students at Yale Law School hope they can help.

Former Middletown resident Paolina Milardo spent five months in prison after pleading guilty to stealing money she used for gambling.

She has three children and six grandchildren here in Connecticut, along with a husband, who fought in Vietnam. Milardo's husband said he tried to make his wife a U.S. citizen during the war, but politicians wouldn't help him.

Now, he said, they still won't help him.

"I was there when they called me to go," Tony Milardo told reporters at Yale. "When I called them, they just wished me luck. That bothers me. It bothers me a lot."

So he and his son Salvatore Milardo have turned to the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services clinic at Yale Law School. Students think they can secure an immigration hearing for Paolina Milardo if a state judge will throw out her guilty plea.

In a petition filed Thursday, students argue that at the time of Paolina Milardo's plea, her attorney wasn't telling her exactly what she needed to know.

"For instance," said law student Avinash Samarth, "advising a person of the clear immigration consequences of her guilty plea, which is the case here."

The Milardos are far from the only family in Connecticut split up by a criminal offense and a deportation they didn't expect.

Just last week, immigration advocates held a rally in Hartford for a Glastonbury famIly.

Jorge Salcedo, a U.S. Army veteran, didn't realize he faced deportation to his native Peru after pleading guilty and going to jail for spitting on a police officer and drunk driving.

Correction Officer Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault


A former Hartford correction officer accused of raping several women in Hartford and New Britain has pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual assault as part of a deal with prosecutors, his attorney said Thursday.

Kelvin Grisales faces a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 40 years in prison, according to his defense attorney.

He was first arrested last April in connection with the sexual assault of a Hartford woman. A month later, he was charged in the brutal attack on a prostitute in New Britain in 2012.

Police said DNA evidence links Grisales to at least three other incidents and more charges have been filed out of Hartford.

Grisales will be sentenced in August.

Minority Lawmakers Call for Body Cameras for All Police


Members of the General Assembly's Black and Legislative Caucus called on the legislature to approve an amendment that would allocate $15 million in bonds to police body cameras.

The cameras would be distributed to large and small police departments across Connecticut, including state police.

"Our view is that body cameras serve a mutual benefit," said Rep. Bruce Morris, a Democrat from Norwalk. "It protects police officers. It protects them from being in those opportunities when someone is falsely accusing them and it also protects victims because now we can actually get to see the story and get it correct."

Supporters say the cameras would cut down on unnecessary use of force and improve relations between police and minorities in the state.

The amendment, which has not yet been written or submitted, would be added to an existing Senate bill that addresses the use of excessive force by police and would require investigation in the event that a officer had to act.

Opposition to the proposal comes from the Connecticut State Police Union. Union President Andy Matthews argues that the legislature shouldn't make a decision on the cameras without consulting the union first.

"We’ve said this publicly. We’re willing to work with the legislature to address their concerns but it’s a working condition issue. It’s a collective bargaining issue," said Matthews.

He said his organization would be open to discussing the issue with lawmakers, the Connecticut State Police and community organizations with concerns over policing.

He argues that troopers have been proactive in their modern policing efforts and that body cameras aren't a perfect solution, especially when it comes to meeting with informants.

“We got out in front of this in 2001," Matthews said. "Every cruiser in the state of Connecticut on patrol has a vehicle recorder on it with audio."

Supporters, including Winfield, said police will be able to turn the cameras on and off and said there would be language in the amendment to address how the data from the cameras would be stored.

Top Republican Sen. Len Fasano, of North Haven, voiced his support for the $15 million bond package Thursday.

"Many times we get accused of being reactive in this building, but today this is very much proactive," Fasano said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Suffield Resident Burned After Car Bursts Into Flames in Garage


A West Suffied homeowner suffered burns when his car caught fire while he was working on it Thursday afternoon, according to the fire marshal.

Suffield Fire Marshal Mike Thibedeau said the resident was working on his car in his garage at 64 Woods Holllow Drive and started the engine around 4 p.m. The car burst into flames, and the resident tried unsuccessfully to put out the fire with a garden hose.

A neighbor called 911 and firefighters rushed to the scene. It took them about 30 minutes to put out the fire.

Flames were contained to the garage but the house sustained heat and smoke damage. Fire officials said both vehicles in the garage were destroyed.

The family has been displaced and will stay with neighbors Thursday night, according to the fire marshal.

Hartford Animal Shelter Facebook Page Causes Controversy


The noise from barking dogs at the Hartford Animal Shelter is nothing compared to the commotion its Facebook page has caused.

The page, which has some 33,000 followers, has suddenly stopped posting pictures of dogs available for adoption, which animal advocates say is critical to saving the pooches' lives.

"We were asking questions on the Facebook page – 'What's going on?' – and nobody's answering," said animal advocate Deb Grillo. "There's something going on."

The issue is that the Facebook page is not officially affiliated with the city of Hartford. The volunteer who runs the site said she's been asked to take it down and hasn't been allowed to take any new pictures of the dogs.

Hartford police said that's not the case.

"I'm not so sure what happened," said Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley. "To me, it sounds like a communication breakdown."

Foley said a personality conflict may have also come into play. Still, he insists, the city supports any and all efforts to help these dogs, although volunteers taking photos of them must be accompanied by an animal control officer and right now the department is significantly short staffed.

Despite the conflicts, everyone agrees that adoption is the most important thing.

"If this whole issue brings awareness to the dogs we have in Hartford and it finds more homes for the dogs, then fantastic; it's all the better," Foley said.

Nearly 1,900 people have signed a petition calling on the city to reinstate the animal shelter's Facebook page. The shelter posted a response to the outcry on its Facebook page Thursday.

"The Hartford Police Department will continue to partner with the volunteers involved in the adoption process. This means that photos and bios will resume and be posted on Facebook. Due to the request of the Hartford Police Department the name of this Facebook page will need to change so that it properly represents our partnership. However, it is possible that we will not be able to change the name of the existing page. If that is the case we will create a new page and communicate the change accordingly," the administrator wrote.

As animal control and the Facebook page administrator work out their differences, no dogs will be put down unless they are unfit for adoption due to their temperaments, according to the animal shelter.

Residents Up in Arms Over Airport Expansion Plans


For the second night in a row, shoreline residents expressed their anger over expansion plans at Tweed-New Haven Airport, which they say pose problems surrounding safety and quality of life.

Just minutes into a meeting with New Haven officials at Nathan Hale School near the airport, residents from East Haven and New Haven’s East Shore grew frustrated with the responses they were hearing.

"You guys are liars and you are not being honest with us," said Lori Foster, a resident of New Haven who lives close to the airport.

Some residents are worried about plans to pave and extend safety areas around the existing runway, a requirement if the airport wants to increase the number of daily commercial flights from four to 12 per day.

"With the increase, it’s going to get a lot louder. The jets are going to get much bigger," said Anthony Deponte, an East Haven resident who has concerns about more noise, additional air pollution and too much traffic on neighborhood streets.

City officials came to Thursday’s meeting with engineers and transportation and public health experts to attempt to show that the airport has greater potential if it grows. Plans to pave and extend the runway safety areas would allow for commercial flights to Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Orlando.

"That’s really what we’re trying to do" make it worth living next to the airport," said New Haven Development Administrator Matthew Nemerson. "We want to tell everybody what we’re doing and we’re willing to get yelled at occasionally."

But what city leaders may see as progress, some residents view as a major mistake.

"You don’t just build an airport in the middle of a neighborhood and just keep expanding and expanding, because it affects the people that live there," said East Haven resident Michael Dabbraccio.

The city and Tweed agreed not to pave the runway safety areas in 2009. Many residents wonder why that appears to be changing now.

"I knew when they signed that agreement that in a few years they would chip away at it. And they chip and chip and chip until they get what they want," said Dabbraccio.

Despite opposition among some residents, the city and airport remain confident that the changes to the property and flights will happen in the next two to five years.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

New Britain Police Seek Man Who Dumped Dogs in Park


Two dogs need a new home while New Britain police try to figure out who dumped them at Walnut Hill Park on Tuesday afternoon.

"It shouldn't happen," said a woman visiting the park. "I don't know how somebody can do that to some beautiful animals."

The dogs' ages are unknown, but based on witness accounts and photos posted on the New Britain Police for Pups Facebook page, both appear young – possibly still puppies – and in good health. They are likely German Shepherds or shepherd mixes.

Bristol resident Brittany Pietrowicz witnessed the ditching and notified police.

"I saw a truck on the right side of me pull up and let two German Shepherds out. They looked to be purebred, they were gorgeous," Pietrowicz explained. "They ran off. They had no leashes. No one was catching them. And he got right back in the car and drove off."

Pietrowicz said the man who dumped them was driving a red pickup truck with Florida plates. She was unable to get the plate number and couldn't catch up with the dogs when they ran. An owner of six dogs herself, all rescues, Pietrowicz said the man should have known better.

"So many people would've taken those dogs – either a rescue or Humane Society or anybody would've adopted them – so it's a shame that he chose that path to dump them," she said.

Officers were able to corral the two pooches later in the day Tuesday. Park visitors, told of the news, expressed concern.

"Hopefully [the dogs] maybe have a chip in their mouth where they can find their owners," one woman suggested. "Someone's got to be looking for those animals."

Anyone with information about the dogs or their owner is asked to contact New Britain police.

Photo Credit: New Britain Police for Pups

WATCH: Goose Attacks NBC Photog


An NBC 5 photographer was just taking a gander at rising lake levels, but it was enough to ruffle the feathers of one Fort Worth goose.

Kerry Smith began unpacking his camera equipment and setting up for a live shot of Lake Worth for the morning broadcast when the goose spotted him.

"It started squawking at me as soon as I arrived," he said.

The goose circled Smith and voiced its displeasure for several minutes before losing its patience and asserting its dominance.

"I thought we had come to an understanding, but clearly the goose wasn't happy with the terms," Smith said. "I apparently wasn't getting the message that this was his territory."

After the attack, the goose — now sporting an inflated ego — refused to let Smith pack up and leave for a while. Smith said he was just ready for the incident to end.

"I am just a little embarrassed that I turned into Shirley Temple," he said. "Samantha [Davies] had just said when we were live that the goose looked harmless."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

State Police Search for Suspected Checkbook Thief


State police are searching the person who stole three checkbooks from a car parked in a lot on Bantam Road in Bantam and they have released photos of a woman believed to be involved.

Police were alerted of the theft around 6:30 p.m. on April 24 and were able to get surveillance video footage that showed a person believed to be involved, as well as receive more information from witnesses.

As the investigation continued, police determined that some of the stolen checks had been cashed at several locations throughout the state, so troopers obtained more surveillance video footage from those locations.

On April 28, a woman with dark hair, driving a white Hyundai, was seen cashing five of the stolen checks at People's Bank drive-up windows on Silas Dean Highway in Wethersfield, on Franklin Avenue in Hartford, on Amity Road in Woodbridge and on Main Street in Bridgeport.

Police said the checks were cashed between noon and 2:35 p.m. and troopers are asking anyone who recognizes the woman or has information about the investigation to call Trooper Wichman at 860-626-7900.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Deming Road on Rocky Hill-Berlin Line Closed


Deming Road is closed at Cobey Road on the Rocky Hill-Berlin line after a two-car crash, according to police, and emergency crews could be at the scene for hours.

No injuries are reported, but the fuel spill could take hours to clean up, police said.

To get around the closure, take Cobey Street to Webster Street to get on the Berlin Turnpike near Stew Leonard's.

Hillary Clinton Visits NH Brewery


Hillary Clinton received information on her private email server about the deadly attack on US Diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that has now been classified.

It's new information that came to light about the former Secretary of State as she campaigned at the Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton, New Hampshire, her second visit to the state as a presidential candidate.

Clinton says she wants people to be able to see all of the nearly 300 emails that have been released

"I'm aware that the FBI has asked that portion of one email be held back - that happens in the process of FOI responses," she said. "But that doesn't change the fact that all of the information i the emails was handled appropriately."

No laws were violated. But Friday's redaction shows that Clinton received information considered sensitive on her unsecured personal server, which came to light just as she was beginning her presidential campaign.

Clinton also seemed to give a more definitive answer when asked about her views on the future of US Policy in Iraq.

"This has to be fought by and won by Iraqis," said Clinton. "There is no role whatsoever for American soldiers on the ground to go back other than as trainers and advisers."

The candidate got an earful from small business as she spoke in defense of the Export Import Bank which guarantees loans to help U.S. exporters - opposed by some Republicans.

On the subject of the controversial Trans Pacific Trade Partnership, Clinton says she is still deciding her position.

"I do have concerns," she said. "I have concerns that the standards will not be tough enough. They will not be enforceable."

The Clinton Campaign has announced that her official announcement rally will be June 13. The location has not yet been announced.

Photo Credit: necn

Power Off, Road Closed After South Windsor Rollover


Eversource is shutting down power on Troy Road in South Windsor after a car rolled over and brought down wires and the road is expected to be closed for hours.

Troy Road is closed between Rye Street and Brookfield.

No information is available on injuries.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Firefighter Hurt When Leg Gets Stuck in Burning Building


A firefighter battling a blaze on Cabot Street in Hartford sent out a call for help Friday morning after his leg went through the floor.

"We've got a firefighter down on the first floor," a member of the fire department can be heard saying over the scanner. "Mayday on the first floor."

Officials said firefighters on scene were able to rescue their colleague after he became trapped in the multi-family home at 20 Cabot Street.

"Firefighter's been freed. We're making our way out," the transmission continues.

Kesha Coleman, who fled her smoky third-floor apartment, saw the injured firefighter emerge from the building.

"They moved fast. They were doing their job and they got him on a stretcher and got him to the ambulance," Coleman recalled.

Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas said the firefighter was taken to Hartford Hospital for a medical evaluation. He suffered only minor injuries and no other residents were hurt.

Firefighters arrived shortly after 8:30 a.m. to find heavy smoke and fire shooting from the six-unit building. Fire officials said flames were contained to the first floor and were quickly brought under control.

Damage was contained to one unit of the building, displacing two people, fire officials said.

"Material things come and go but you can't replace people, you know?" Coleman said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Cheshire School Bus, Carrying No Children, Veers Off Highway


A Cheshire school bus, empty except for the driver, veered off the Chamberlain Highway in Meriden during a crash Friday, according to police.

Vincent J. Masciana, director of management services for Cheshire Public Schools, said the bus had just been serviced at a DATTCO facility and was on its way back to Cheshire when it was involved in the crash.

According to state police, the bus left the highway and traveled into the woods at the entrance ramp to Interstate 691 westbound early Wednesday afternoon.

Masciana said the bus driver was not hurt.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Yearbooks Recalled Over Mean Quotes


Dallas' W.T. White High School is recalling hundreds of yearbooks after someone removed the personal quotes beneath the photos of some seniors and replaced them with insulting remarks.

Senior Juanita Cedillo, the school's prom queen, has cerebral palsy. She uses a wheelchair to get around school because the neurological disorder has affected her muscle coordination and makes using her legs difficult.

Under her senior picture is an insult where a personal quote should be.

"'Want to hear the most annoying noise in the world?'" Cedillo said, reading the quote. "I questioned myself. I was like, 'What could be that annoying noise? Was it my voice?'"

Below other students' pictures are sexual innuendos. Under one picture is written, "The only negativity around here should be a pregnancy test."

"I went in there Monday, thinking, 'Yay, it's here. The thing that I've been waiting for is here,'" explained Cedillo. "For them to taint it, it's not OK. It really isn't. Don't taint something that's important."

Parent Monty Walker, who attended White High School and whose son will soon graduate from there, talked with the principal.

"You know, somebody had to proof it, and proof it again, proof it 10 times. You don't make this mistake," said Walker. "I'm a graduate of W.T. White, and it tarnished the reputation of my high school and alma mater."

The principal is listed in the yearbook as its adviser. The staff even thanks her for proofreading the book and for stepping in to help after the they lost their original adviser halfway through the school year.

The Dallas Independent School District has recovered about 90 percent of the yearbooks and said they are working to determine who made the changes to the book and how it happened.

In a statement, the district said: The district is in the process of reviewing the complete contents of the yearbook, as well as determining the individuals responsible for the unfortunate quotations. Distribution of the yearbook has been ceased until corrections can be made and new yearbooks are printed. Individuals who were responsible will be held accountable. This will be an unfortunate but valuable lesson for all involved."

An email was sent to parents late Thursday, and we are told a note will go home with students as well.

Cedillo said when the book is reprinted she wishes she could have a different quote under her name.

"Be the change you wish the see in the world," Cedillo said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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