<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Connecticut News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Sat, 22 Nov 2014 12:58:36 -0500 Sat, 22 Nov 2014 12:58:36 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Water Main Break Causes Waterford Delays]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 12:26:39 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_542372565.jpg

Crews are on scene at a water main break in Waterford.

The break happened on Cross Road near the Rockridge Road intersection. Waterford police posted about the water main break on its Facebook page after just after 11 a.m.

The road is down to one lane, with alternating one-way traffic.

Police said to expect heavy delays and to avoid the area if possible. Motorists can take Parkway South to Oil Mill Road to detour around the affected area.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[KBE Gives the "Gift of Gobble" for Thanksgiving]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 10:14:46 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/KBE+Gift+of+Gobble+Edited.jpg

It's just days away from Thanksgiving and a Farmington company is putting turkey, stuffing and mashed potato meals together to make sure every family has food for the holiday.

KBE Building Corporation in Farmington will be loading up a big truck with the meals on Saturday for their "Gift of Gobble" drive to distribute them to several local charities.

Employees and their families are volunteering to make the meal kits.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Crash Closes Berlin Turnpike Southbound Side]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 08:27:57 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/road_closed_generic_2.jpg

The Berlin Turnpike (Route 5) is closed on the southbound side in Newington due to a car crash.

The turnpike is closed between Superior Avenue and Main Street.

It is unknown how long the turnpike will remain closed. Northbound lanes remain open.

More information wasn't immediately available.

<![CDATA[Hamden Crash Knocks Down Wires ]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 08:59:22 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hamden+police+cruiser+1.jpg

Whitney Avenue in Hamden is shut down near Quinnipiac after a crash knocked electrical wires onto the road Saturday morning.

A car struck a utility pole at about 4 a.m., causing a small explosion when it hit the ground and knocking out power to a stretch of Whitney Avenue in the area. Live wires fell onto the roadway.

A tow truck responded to pull the car out.

Near Quinnipiac University at about 5:16 a.m., a number of cars were turning around as motorists tried to find another way through. Whitney Avenue, near the university, could be closed for several hours, according to police.

There is no word on the condition of the driver or whether there were any passengers.

Power company crew are on scene to assist police.

<![CDATA[Yale Students Warned About Unruly Teens]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:35:37 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/yale+police1.jpg

Yale University is sending a warning to its students after groups of unruly teens on bicycles harassed people walking in the area.

"It was just a couple of them. It was on the same day. the first time I saw three of them," said Jessica, a Yale University senior, who didn't want to give her last name.

She said they didn't intimidate her as she was running in East Rock, "I just noticed them. They seemed really aggressive. That was kind of scary."

Police are worried that the aggressive behavior could lead to something worse. Just days ago the University Police Chief sent a campus wide email alerting the student body to recent instances of teenagers on bikes, intimidating pedestrians and drivers.

"I'd probably just give them what they wanted and try and get home," said Andy Sternad, who has never seen any crew of bikers but got the email and says he's always thinking about his safety. "I'm in the architecture school and we have late hours and just try and walk home with a friend."

Sternad--like Yale Police--recommends not wearing headphones and just paying attention.

"When I decided to come to Yale that's something I knew I needed to be aware of constantly especially when you're walking around late at night," Jessica added.

Police say many street robberies happen when students are distracted with activities like texting. They also suggest looking for well-lit areas to walk.

"Don't have your cell phone out," Jessica said. I do feel like if you're smart, if you are aware, Yale is doing a very good job of trying to make sure people are around. They have the blue lights and officers out late at night."

Yale Police say they have sent out some additional officers throughout campus in response. They also encourage students to use safety measures like shuttles and door to rides at night.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Police Make Arrest in Death of Woman Unresponsive in Car]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:00:49 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser+lights.jpg

A 30-year-old man is facing manslaughter charges in connection with the death of a woman found unrsponsive in a car on an entrance ramp to Interstate 95 in Fairfield last April.

Authorities believe Brenda Hernandez, 22, of Bridgeport, was having an argument with a passenger in the backseat of the car and may have been trying to jump out of the moving vehicle.

Police said the passenger, identified as Cesar "David" Martinez, 30, restrained Hernandez when she "suddenly went limp."

An ambulance rushed Hernandez to Saint Vincent's Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to police.

Martinez was arrested Friday morning and charged with first-degree manslaughter. He was held on $250,000 bond and is due in court Nov. 24.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Connecticut DOT Crews Work Round the Clock in New York]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:48:27 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Connecticut_DOT_Crews_Help_Move_Snow_in_Buffalo_1200x675_361961027821.jpg

Crews from the Connecticut Department of Transportation have been hard at work helping western New York dig out in the wake of a massive snowstorm that took the lives of 13 people and caused dozens of roofs to collapse.

A team of 22 state DOT workers headed to the greater Buffalo area early Thursday morning and brought jumbo snow throwers and plow trucks to help get the job done.

Crews spent all of Friday clearing off nine roads in Orchard Park, New York, and when dusk fell, they packed up and got going on the next job.

"We are heading to West Seneca to do another nine roads," explained Connecticut DOT worker Jamie Willis.

They made a quick stop to fill their tanks and then pressed on. Emergency responders in New York say they're welcoming the help with open arms.

"This is too much work for the local crews," said Orchard Park Fire Company Chief Chris Couell. "Without outside help, we couldn't handle it."

The Connecticut team hails from all across the state, including Waterbury, Union, Glastonbury, East Windsor and Windsor, according to one worker.

"We're going to run 24 hours until we go home," said Willis.

<![CDATA[Salmonella Outbreak Affecting Connecticut]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:51:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/salmonella-dfw-generic.jpg

Federal officials are warning residents of 10 states on the East Coast of a salmonella outbreak that appears to be related to bean sprouts produced in Brooklyn, New York.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 63 people in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont have been infected with salmonella as of Nov. 21.

The CDC said 78 percent of those people reported eating bean sprouts in the week leading up their diagnoses. Officials believe Brooklyn's Wonton Foods, Inc. has been producing the contaminated sprouts and said the company agreed to stop selling them Friday.

Twenty-six percent of the patients diagnosed with salmonella have been hospitalized, according to the CDC. No deaths have been reported.

Three of the 63 salmonella patients hail from Vermont, according to the Associated Press.

More information on the outbreak is available on the CDC website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/3D4Medical.com RF]]>
<![CDATA[Budget Analysts: Connecticut Faces Deficits in Billions]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:10:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+capitol+building.jpg

According to the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, the budget shortfall Connecticut faces in the short term of $100 million pales in comparison to what awaits the state over the next three fiscal years.

Alan Calandro, who manages the Office of Fiscal Analysis, told members of the Appropriations Committee of the General Assembly that the state faces a deficit of $1.3 billion  in 2016, $1.4 billion in 2017 and $1.7 billion in 2018.

Republicans accuse Democrats of trying to downplay the numbers during the heated 2014 campaign season.

“We’re no further along today than we were four years ago before the tax increase and that’s a problem," said Republican State Rep. Themis Klarides, the House minority leader-elect.

Republicans are now calling for a special session of the General Assembly to address future deficits, especially in light of the $54 million in cuts ordered by the Office of Policy and Management on Thursday.

Democrats insist the problem isn't as bad as Republicans make it out to be, going with the governor's line that the state has a spending issue with a small fraction of a $20 billion budget.

“It’s a deficit. It’s a small deficit," said Democratic State Sen. Beth Bye, of West Hartford, who chairs the Appropriations Committee. "We’d rather not have it but we’re going to mitigate it and end the year with a balanced budget.”

Both Bye and Klarides gave the governor credit for making difficult budget decisions but that's where many of the similarities end.

Bye said a special session is nothing more than rhetoric coming from the minority party.

“I mean if you look back two years or four years at this very same meeting, our situation was much worse, much worse," Bye said. "So I think that’s political."

The last time lawmakers met outside of the regular session to discuss budget issues was back in December 2012.

<![CDATA[Worries Persist Over Cuts to Social Services]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:03:43 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/StateBudgetShortPic00000000.jpg

With the announcement of more $50 million in state agency budget cuts, advocates for at-risk populations say some of the cuts to the social safety net are ambiguous.

“There’s not a lot of detail but there is a lot of money that would be in our bailiwick in terms of services" said Morna Murray, CEO of the Connecticut Community Providers Association.

Of the more than $54 million in cuts, roughly $11 million affects youth, mental health, and community services.

Murray also pointed out that the timing of the cuts coincided with a new report out that detailed the mental health and education background of Adam Lanza, the murderer in the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.

"We know how critical these services are," Murray said.

More than $9 million was cut from the Department of Children and Families alone, according to the list of rescissions released by the state Thursday.

Democrats and Republicans, who heard from the Office of Fiscal Analysis and the Office of Policy and Management on the state's budget woes, voiced concerns about cuts to programs that provide critical public programs.

“No cuts to human services are pleasant cuts, and I have been genuinely concerned about the mental health system for adolescents and about people with developmental disabilities, so we’re asking questions here and behind the scenes to make sure that we provide the care that people need,” said Democratic State Sen. Beth Bye, of West Hartford, who chairs the Appropriations Committee said.

“Our goal and our priority is to make sure core populations are taken care of with the things they need but at this point in time we just have to sit down and figure out where cuts can be made," said Republican State Rep. Themis Klarides, of Derby, who was recently elected by the GOP caucus as the Minority Leader-elect. "You know maybe those cuts could have been made somewhere else that didn’t affect certain populations.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Police Seek Hamden Bank Robber]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 21:45:39 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hamden+first+niagara+robber.jpg

Police are looking for the man who robbed a First Niagara Bank in Hamden and threatened the teller with a gun Friday morning.

According to police, the suspect entered the bank at 1248 Dixwell Avenue around 11:30 a.m. Friday. He passed the teller a note demanding money and implying he had a gun.

The robber got away with an undisclosed amount of money and ran from the bank toward Circular Avenue, where he may have gotten into an older-model Jeep Cherokee, according to police.

Police said the suspect is a thin man between 20 and 30 years old who stands about 5 feet 8 inches tall. He was wearing a dark-colored North Face coat with a black hooded sweatshirt underneath and a light blue "Monarchs" baseball cap.

Anyone with information on the robbery is urged to call Hamden police Det. Donald Remillard at 203-230-4040.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Crash Clogs Up Traffic Near Westfarms Mall]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:17:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/westfarms+crash.jpg

A crash on New Britain Avenue is delaying traffic near Westfarms Mall on the Newington-West Hartford town line.

Police have not released any information on the crash but witnesses said it appears mutliple cars were involved.

Traffic on New Britian Avenue is released to one lane in each direction outside the Panera restaurant near the Newington line.

Firefighters and ambulances are at the scene.

There has been no word on injuries.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[2 Hurt in Tolland Crash, 1 Airlifted]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:08:36 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tolland+rollover.jpg

One person was airlifted and a second was taken the hospital by ambulance Friday night following a serious crash on Plains Road in Tolland near the Willington line, according to emergency dispatchers.

Law enforcement officials said both victims were passengers in the same vehicle. According to state police, one person was ejected when the car rolled over.

Dispatchers said the crash was reported around 7:10 p.m. on Plains Road in the area of Route 32/River Road. The intersection is closed while authorities investigate.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: @TollandAlert]]>
<![CDATA[Car Hits House in West Haven]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:07:12 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/west+haven+car+vs+home.JPG

Authorities are investigating after a car crashed into a house at 434 Ocean Avenue in West Haven on Friday evening.

Emergency crews are at the scene near the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Scott Street. Police have not released any information on injuries.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Stamford School Principals Granted Accelerated Rehab]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:45:56 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/stamford+high+school+valentine+nordin.jpg

Two Stamford High School administrators accused of failing to report a sexual relationship between a teacher and student have been granted accelerated rehabilitation but will not return to work until the school system completes its own investigation, according to the superintendent.

Stamford High School principal Donna Valentine and assistant principal Roth Nordin are accused of violating a law that requires them to report any suspected relationship between a student and adult at the school.

Prosecutors say the administrators were aware of a relationship between an 18-year-old student and teacher Danielle Watkins, 32, who was charged with sexual assault in July.

Valentine and Nordin applied for special probation in October and were granted accelerated rehabilitation in court this week.

"The court decision on the Stamford High School Administrators was determined Wednesday, November 19th. My press release that afternoon stated that if accelerated rehabilitation were approved, I would determine what recommendations I would make to the Board of Education, both in possible discipline, or in making changes to district policies. As was stated, the two administrators will not return to Stamford High School until the assessment has been concluded,” Stamford superintendent Dr. Winifred Hamilton said in a statement Friday.

Hamilton said she met with the state’s attorney and senior assistant state’s attorney Friday alongside the Board of Education president and Stamford director of Public Safety, Health and Welfare.

She said city schools are working to implement additional employee training and review mandatory reporting protocol. Hamilton plans to meet with her assistant superintendents and officials from the Department of Children and Families prior to the holiday break.

“Additionally, I plan to work with DCF regularly to monitor our procedures and progress and to ensure that we are in complete compliance with all regulations and are safeguarding the children in our charge," Hamilton said in a statement Friday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Stamford Public Schools]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighter Stabbed While Interrupting Robbery: Cops]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:26:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+haven+fillmore+street.JPG

A firefighter was slashed with a knife while rushing to help the victim of a robbery on Fillmore Street in New Haven, according to police.

Police at the scene said a couple followed the victim, who was walking home from Ferry Street just before 4:45 p.m. Friday, and asked to use her cellphone, claiming to be homeless.

When the woman realized they planned to steal her phone, she confronted them, at which point the man stabbed her in the hand, according to police.

An off-duty firefighter who was in the area noticed the commotion and intervened. He, too, was stabbed in the hand, but helped stop the would-be robbers with the help of another passerby, police said.

The suspects, Radames River and Brittany Estep, were arrested and charged with assault, robbery and larceny.

The firefighter and victim were taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries, according to police.

Authorities continue to investigate the incident.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Masked Man Robs Haddam Bank at Gunpoint]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:08:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/generic+money+new.jpg

Police are searching for the masked man who robbed a bank at gunpoint in the Higganum section of Haddam on Friday evening.

According to police, a man dressed in black from head to toe held up the Citizens Bank at 6 Killingworth Road around 5 p.m. Friday.

The robber handed over a white garbage bag and police said the bank teller filled it with cash and a dye pack.

No one was injured. Police said the man got away on foot. He was wearing a black mask, jacket, gloves and pants.

Anyone with information on the robbery is urged to call state police.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[86-Year-Old Man Killed in Wallingford Crash]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:09:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_542372565.jpg

An 86-year-old man died after his car collided with another vehicle Friday afternoon in Wallingford.

Police said Thomas L. Gambino, 86, of Wallingford, was driving his Chevrolet Impala on North Cherry Street near the intersection of Silk Street in Wallingford when he struck a parked Nissan Altima around 3 p.m.

Emergency responders rushed Gambino to MidState Medical Center in Meriden, but he was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived at the hospital, according to Wallingford police.

The Altima was vacant at the time of the crash and police said no one else was hurt.

Police said the road was closed for about two hours while authorities investigated the crash.

Anyone with information is urged to call Wallingford police Officer Christian Evans at 203-294-2819.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Casino Worker Took Up-Skirt Videos, Had Child Porn: Cops]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 10:45:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mohegan+sun+casino+generic.jpg

A former Mohegan Sun employee is facing charges after downloading child pornography and recording videos up the skirts of women in the casino cafeteria, according to Connecticut state police.

Police said James Johnson, 62, of Groton, attached a small camera to his shoe and stood behind female employees in the casino's cafeteria, pointing the camera up their skirts.

Authorities said the women had no knowledge of the camera or the videos Johnson was taking. According to Mohegan Sun President and CEO Bobby Soper, an employee caught on and reported Johnson to casino security in April.

"Our surveillance was able to research it further and, based on investigation of facts, we were able to detect what went on," Soper explained. "On property, it wasn't that long, what was happening. Off property, it could have been going on for a longer period of time."

Mohegan sun officials said Johnson worked in the employee cafeteria and did not have any contact with patrons while on the job.

Investigators searched Johnson's home on Litton Avenue in Groton, where they discovered up-skirt videos and child pornography files on his electronic devices, according to state police.

Johnson turned himself in on Friday and was charged with four counts of voyeurism, four counts of disorderly conduct, third-degree possession of child pornography and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

Soper said authorities have no reason to believe any casino-goers were exposed to Johnson or his camera. Johnson was terminated as soon as the investigation wrapped up and charges were filed, according to Soper.

"The casino is probably one of the safest places you can be. With thousands of cameras here, an incredible amount of security officers, it's the worst place to commit a crime," said Soper. "Whether you're doing it in the front of the house, or in this case, in the back of the house, there's a very good chance you're going to get caught."

Johnson was released after posting $10,000 bond and is due in court Dec. 4. Information on an attorney for Johnson was not immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Car Fire Causes Backup on Founders Bridge in Hartford]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:11:51 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/founders+bridge+car+fire_1200.jpg

Traffic is jammed up on the westbound side of Route 2 from East Hartford into Hartford while emergency crews respond to a car fire on the Founders Bridge, according to state police.

Footage from the highway showed heavy delays late Friday afternoon. All westbound lanes were briefly currently closed while the car that caught fire was towed from the scene.

The highway has reopened to traffic, but expect residual delays.

It's not clear if anyone was hurt. Police have not released any additional information.

Avoid the area if possible. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Austin Atashian]]>
<![CDATA[Man, Teen Exchange Gunfire After Fight Over Girl: Cops]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:09:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dashaun+ware+edit.jpg

A teen and 22-year-old man exchanged gunfire in New Haven after fighting over a girl on social media, according to police.

Police said Dashaun Bowes-Ware, 22 traded jabs with a 17-year-old boy on the photo-sharing app Instagram. The two New Haven residents were arguing over a girl, and police said the teen threatened to shoot Bowes-Ware, who responded by getting a gun of his own.

The gun battle transpired around 3:45 p.m. Thursday in the area of 196 Dover Street in New Haven. Police said they found bullet casings and a Ruger .380 pistol at the scene that appears to belong to someone other than Bowes-Ware or the teen.

Bowes-Ware told police where his gun was hidden, and detectives searched the area to find a Sig Sauer P229 9mm handgun, according to police.

The teen told investigators he was armed only with a BB gun but police “don’t find his whole story credible,” according to New Haven police spokesman Officer David Hartman. Authorities could not track down the teen’s gun.

Both the teen and Bowes-Ware are charged with criminal attempt to commit first-degree assault, carrying a pistol without a permit, unlawful discharge of a firearm and first-degree reckless endangerment.

The teen was taken to the Juvenile Detention Center in Bridgeport and Bowes-Ware was brought to the Union Avenue Detention Center, according to police. Authorities are continuing to investigate and said they expect to make additional arrests.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Insurance Broker Accused of Defrauding the State]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:08:03 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/earl+ogarro.JPG

The president and CEO of the insurance group that began working as a broker for the city of Hartford in 2012 has been arrested on federal charges and pleaded not guilty to one count of wire fraud in court Friday.

Earl O’Garro, Jr., founder of Hybrid Insurance Group, which began working as an insurance broker for the city of Hartford in February 2012, was arraigned in federal court Friday afternoon on one count of wire fraud.

Prosecutors said in the indictment that O'Garro "devised and intended to devise and participated in a scheme and artifice to defraud the State of Connecticut, various clients and others, and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises." 

According to the indictment, O'Garro "provided false and misleading information" about the financial status of Hybrid Insurance when applying for state loans and grants totaling $126,320 in January 2012.

Prosecutors said O'Garro lied about the value of Hybrid Insurance Group's cash assets to increase the chances that the application would be approved – and it was. Hybrid Insurance received the money in March 2012.

According to the indictment, O'Garro posed as an insurance company officer and underwriter in July 2013 to steer hundreds of thousands of dollars in premium payments into his own bank account.

The alleged scheme prompted the city of Hartford to transfer $868,244 to Hybrid Insurance on July 18, 2013, the indictment says.

O'Garro, who is being represented by a public defender, pleaded not guilty in federal court Friday. He was released after posting $500,000 bond and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, according to the court.

It's not the first time O'Garro has run into legal trouble.

State police arrested him on Jan. 13 of this year and charged him with five counts of failure to pay wages. He turned himself in at the Troop H barracks in Hartford and was released after posting $1,500 bond.

The state Insurance Department has filed an 11-count complaint against O’Garro, who authorities say also defaulted on more than $350,000 in state loans. Hybrid Insurance Group was evicted from its Hartford office last November.

O’Garro told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters last year that he knows where the money is and will be able to show authorities if asked.

This summer, the city of Hartford was subpoenaed for all records pertaining to dealings with O’Garro and Hybrid Insurance.

O’Garro was also arrested last November on charges pertaining to alleged domestic disputes. He could not be reached for comment at the time of that arrest.

A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office said the federal investigation into O'Garro is ongoing.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Shoplifter Scratched Security Staff in Face: Police]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:32:08 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hamden+police+department.JPG

A shoplifter arrested in Hamden last night is accused of scratching a security officer who was trying to stop her from stealing hundreds of dollars worth of items from a local store.

At 4:30 p.m., a shoplifting with violence was reported at the BonTon, at 2300 Dixwell Avenue.

Police said store security staff had seen Crystal Austin, 43, of New Haven, leave the store with $408 in items she had not paid for, so a security officer approached her, police said.

Austin became combative and scratched the security officer in the face, police said, so officers arrested her and transported her to police headquarters, where she was charged with robbery in the third degree and larceny in the second degree.

Austin was detained on a $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden on December 4.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Ridgefield Dad Pleads Not Guilty in Toddler's Hot Car Death]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:54:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ben+seitz+owl+technologies.jpg

The father of a Ridgefield toddler who died after he was left in a hot car for hours in July was in court on Fridayand pleaded not guilty to one count of criminally negligent homicide. 

Kyle Seitz, 36, was charged in connection with the death of his 15-month-old son Benjamin.

When he last appeared in court, a judge riled  that he could  not have unsupervised visits with his two surviving children.

Seitz's son Benjamin died of hyperthermia after Seitz allegedly left him in the car while going to work at Owl Computing Technologies in Ridgefield on July 7.

Police said Seitz had forgotten to drop Benjamin off at daycare and left him alone "for an extended period of time" on a day when temperatures climbed to 88 degrees.

Benjamin's mother, Lindsay Rogers-Seitz, said in the past that Kyle Seitz went to pick up their son from daycare at the end of the day, then realized the little boy was still in the car and rushed his son to Danbury Hospital, where Benjamin was pronounced dead.

The little boy's death was ruled a homicide in August.

Seitz, who is on medical leave from work, is due back in court on Dec. 16.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Lindsay Rogers-Seitz]]>
<![CDATA[Crew Hits Gas Line in East Hartford]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:21:53 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/gas+line+riverside+east+hartford.jpg

Riverside Drive in East Hartford was closed at Ensign Street after a construction crew hit a gas line, but it has since reopened.


Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[9 Busted for Prostitution in Hartford]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:15:10 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+police+generic+1.JPG

Hartford police arrested nine women in an undercover prostitution sting on Thursday.

An undercover detective posed as a john and worked with detectives from the Hartford Police Department's Vice and Narcotics Unit and South Community Service Officers to respond to complaints about prostitution in the city.

Carmen Cruz, 43, of Hartford, Kathryn Sanady, 33, of Hartford, Ashley Santo, 27, Kelly Dunnack, 24, Heidi Deming, 48, of Hartford, Jennifer Patsky, 33, of Hartford, Ivette Figueroa, 49, of Hartford, were arrested in the South End.

In the North End, police arrested Lydia Tirillo, 41, of Hartford, Monet Randolph, DOB 1-9-87 LKA 600 Garden Street, Htfd
Frank Robinson DOB 5-20-72 LKA 252 Laurel Street, Htfd (sale of narcotics)

Police also arrested a man for drug sales, police said.

<![CDATA[Fire Breaks Out in Scotland]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:26:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_fire_lights_generic.jpg

A fire that broke out on Kemp Road in Scotland is now under control, according to officials form the Scotland Volunteer Fire Department.

No additional information was immediately available.

<![CDATA[Mama Bear and Cub Spotted at Bristol School]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:31:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Bear+at+Chippens+Hill+crop+1200.jpg

Staff members at Chippens Hill Middle School in Bristol had quite the view on Thursday afternoon when two bears showed up after school.

The curious mother bear walked right up to the window of a sixth-grade classroom on Peacedale Street and peered in.

When her cub saw what she was doing, the cub followed suit and did the same, according to Carrie Aldieri, a staff member at the school, who snapped a photo.

No students were in the classroom at the time of the visit.

Police said they received a call about the bears at 3:19 p.m., but the mama and cub had left by the time they arrived.

Photo Credit: Carrie Aldieri
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<![CDATA[Crash on I-91 Crash in Cromwell Clears]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:54:36 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Crash+I91+North+Cromwell+exit+22.jpg

The scene of a tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 91 North in Cromwell has cleared.

The crash was between exits 22 and 23 and the right lane was blocked, causing traffic delays.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation Cameras]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Rescued From Wallingford Fire]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:08:50 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/23+South+Whittlesey+Ave.+in+Wallingford+1200.jpg

Firefighters rescued a 12-year-old girl from a burning home in Wallingford this morning.

The girl was in a second-floor bedroom at 23 South Whittlesey Ave., watching television, when fire broke out just before 8 a.m., according to officials. 

Around seven people were home when the fire started and no one was injured, officials said.

In all, 22 people have been displaced.

A warming shelter has been set up at Holy Trinity School and the American Red Cross is offering assistance.

<![CDATA[Man Tried to Bite Bristol Cop: Police]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 07:54:50 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Gregory+Lamboy+1200.jpg

Bristol police responded to a domestic disturbance on Thursday afternoon and ended up fending the man off when he tried to bite one of the responding officers, police said.

Police responded to the call at 2:50 p.m. and found Gregory Lamboy, 29, of Bristol, hiding in a closet, police said.

Police determined that he had assaulted a female who had a protective order against him, police said.

At first, Lamboy would not come out of the closet, police said. When he finally did, he struggled with police, as well as a police dog, spit in an officer’s face and tried to bite the officer, who sustained a minor injury, police said.

Lamboy was charged with assault on a police officer, interfering with a police officer, criminal violation of a protective order, criminal trespass in the first degree, assault in the third degree, risk of injury to a minor, breach of peace in the second degree and possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana.

He was also charged with two counts of failure to appear in the second degree on outstanding arrest warrants.

Lamboy was held on a total bond of $175,000 for the domestic arrest as well as the two failure to appear warrants.

He will be arraigned at the Superior Court in Bristol Friday morning.

Photo Credit: Bristol Police]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Dead in Simsbury Was Insurance Executive, Mom]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 11:05:04 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/iron+horse+boulevard+simsbury+millan.jpg

Police are investigating the untimely death of an insurance company executive and active member of the community who was found injured on the side of the road in Simsbury on Thursday night.

According to police, Melissa Millan, 54, of Simsbury, was found lying on Iron Horse Boulevard between Phelps Lane and Pent Road around 8 p.m. Thursday. An ambulance rushed her to Saint Francis Hospital, where she died a short time later.

Millan was a senior vice president at MassMutual Insurance, according to a spokesperson for the company. 

“MassMutual is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague, Melissa Millan, Senior Vice President. Our thoughts and prayers are with Melissa’s family during this extremely difficult time," a company spokesperson said in a statement Friday. "Melissa’s tremendous leadership qualities, business acumen and deeply caring nature will be missed by those who had the opportunity to work with her.”

Lori Solak, artistic director of the Connecticut Family Theatre, said Millan's two children have been students at CTF for years.

"Melissa was a very involved volunteer and a wonderful member of our parent organization. We are devastated by the news of her passing. We have lost a cherished member of our family and words cannot express how much she will be missed," Solak said in an email to NBC Connecticut on Friday evening.

"Our hearts break for her children. We cannot imagine the pain they are feeling. They, along with Melissa's entire family, are in our thoughts and prayers," Solak continued.

Family members declined to speak with NBC Connecticut, but neighbors said one of Millan's children was 12 years old.

Authorities are investigating Millan's death and have deemed it untimely. Police originally suspected she may have been the victim of a hit-and-run crash but said they are now considering all possibilities and are working to determine where Millan and been and who she was with.

"We're currently trying to follow all of our leads and get as much information as we possibly can about how this happened," said Simsbury police Capt. Nick Boulter, of Simsbury.

Anyone with information or who may have seen something near Iron Horse Boulevard on Thursday night is asked to call Simsbury Police detectives at 860-658-3145. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/MassMutual
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<![CDATA[Woman Run Over By Own Car]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:04:51 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hamden+police+generic+1.JPG

A woman in her early 50s was taken to the hospital Friday after she was run over by her own car, which rolled down a hill, hit a tree and light pole and then smashed into a building, according to police.

Authorities said it happened around 6:30 p.m. in the area of 900 Mix Avenue in Hamden. The woman was hospitalized for treatment of unknown injuries.

Police said the car struck a tree and utility pole on its way down the hill, then crashed into an apartment building. The city building inspector checked the damage and condemned one unit, according to police.

It's not clear how or why the car started rolling. Police have not identified the woman who was struck.

<![CDATA[76-Year-Old Man Found]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:01:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/henry+williams+edit.jpg

Police have canceled a Silver Alert for a 76-year-old man who was reported missing after his daughter lost sight of him while he was driving behind her on Route 9 in New Britain this morning.

Henry Williams Jr. has been found in Massachusetts.

His daughter, Holly Williams said yesterday that her father is new to the area, struggles with his mental health and is currently lives at the Chatfield Independent Living facility in West Hartford.

She said he was following her on Route 9 south when she lost track of him around 9:45 a.m. Thursday.

Holly said she thought her father had his cellphone with him, but she found it back at his apartment and was not been able to reach him all day.

Mr. Williams is fine and will be reunited with his family, according to state police.

Photo Credit: Holly Williams]]>
<![CDATA[Southington Man Faces Child Pornography Charges]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:32:12 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/computer2.jpg

A 46-year-old Southington man is facing charges after authorities found child pornography on his computer, according to state police.

The Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit launched an investigation into the sharing of child pornography in October and traced suspicious Internet activity to a home on Little Fawn Road in Southington.

Authorities searched the home Nov. 20 and arrested William Kalvinek, 46, after finding child pornography files on his devices, according to police.

Kalvinek was charged with first-degree possession of child pornography and promoting a minor in an obscene performance. He was released on $75,000 bond and is due in court Dec. 1.

<![CDATA[New London Store Clerk Fends Off Armed Robber]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:51:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kirk+skinner.jpg

Security footage at the Ravi Mart in New London show a masked man barge into the convenience store around 4 a.m. Tuesday and point a gun straight at the unarmed clerk.

"He said, 'I’m not going to lie down on the floor. I’m not going to give you any money,'" store manager Muhammad Samad said of the clerk who was working at the time.

Instead, the clerk, a U.S. Army veteran, chose to calmly try to talk the man down. Samad said the would-be robber is a regular customer of the Bank Street store.

“He comes three or four times a day in the store and buys things like cigarettes or milk,” he said.

At first, the suspect remained aggressive, a struggle ensued. But in the end, the would-be robber finally put down the gun and took off his mask right there in the store.

Police arrested 49-year-old Kirk Skinner at his home on Pearl Street. Skinner is now behind bars on attempted robbery charges.

Police caution that the safest course of action is to call 911 right away than to confront the suspect yourself.

Photo Credit: New London Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[New Haven Man Battling ALS Gets Moving]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:36:23 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/david+tex+mcclain.jpg

When New Haven resident and ALS patient David “Tex” McClain decided tackle the Ice Bucket Challenge, he knew he was going to do it his way. A Texan at heart, McClain poured Texas-shaped ice cubes over his head.

McClain has been battling ALS for 12 years now, surpassing the three-to-five-year lifespan that usually accompanies the diagnosis. His family said McClain is always up for a challenge and doesn't let his paralysis stand in his way or get him down.

But since McClain is confined to his bed and wheelchair, he needs help getting around. His family launched a crowdfunding page entitled “Get Tex Moving” in an effort to help McClain do and see more of the world around him.

“The GoFundMe page started because people wanted to donate directly to David and to his journey with ALS,” explained his daughter-in-law, Ashley McClain.

The support has been overwhelming and the family has raised close to $20,000 over three months. It’s enough money to get David a wheelchair accessible van.

“It changes his life,” said Ashley McClain.

David McClain first saw the van Thursday and waited for NBC Connecticut to arrive before he took the first look.

“David was only able to be out of the house I think four times last year. It was only when we had the ability to borrow a van from somebody. I know David's big thing is going to church and getting out in the community and continuing to touch people's lives, and that's something he'll be able to do,” said Ashley McClain.

Although David McClain has lost his ability to speak, he expressed his gratitude by recording a message through a special machine thanking everyone who supported him and donated.

“Well, you did it. You raised enough money for me to purchase a van. Because of you, Tex can now get moving,” said David McClain.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Struck and Killed on Route 10 in Cheshire]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 07:11:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/cheshire+car+vs+pedestrian.jpg

A 67-year-old man has died after he was struck while trying to cross Route 10 in Cheshire on Thursday evening, according to police.

Police Chief Neil Dryfe said the man was crossing Route 10/South Main Street from the Dragon Buffet restaurant to get to a strip mall on the other side when a car traveling southbound hit him around 6:30 p.m.

The pedestrian suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury in critical condition. He was pronounced dead at the hospital on Thursday night.

Police have not publicly identified the man by name because his family has not yet been notified of his death, police said in a new release issued this morning.

Dryfe said the car that struck him stopped immediately and the driver, Bonnie Winter, of Cheshire, has been cooperating with police.

"There aren't any crosswalks," said Cheshire resident Katie Hereld. "If you want to go across the street, especially when there are a lot of cars, it's really hard to do."

Route 10 was closed at the intersection of Mansion Road for several hours. Traffic is now getting buy, but police are still at the scene.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Burglars Target West Haven Churches]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:27:09 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/vertical+church+west+haven.JPG

Police are searching for the people who have burglarized three West Haven churches over the past week.

According to West Haven police, thieves have recently broken into the Christ Christian Church on Fenwick Street, the Vertical Church on Meloy Road and the Promise Land Church on Burwell Road.

The suspects have stolen mostly small items and petty cash, police said.

Elder Mike Yannes, of the Vertical Church, said the burglary at his worship center happened sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning. The culprits stole $1,000 in cash, including donations and money from the cash register at the church cafe.

"Thankfully, there was no vandalism. There was no damage to the facility short of a couple of broken windows," Yannes said. "As frustrating as it is that somebody broke into the place, hopefully, maybe, we can help them as well."

Pastor Ryan Trawick of Promise Land Church said the first building alarm went off at 1:30 a.m. Thursday when an intruder broke through a double-paneled window.

"We don't know why he would come in here. It wasn't easy to get into this window," Trawick explained. "What puzzles me is that they left with nothing. They left empty-handed."

Trawick said the cost to repair the broken window will be significant but believes the burglar alarm scared off the intruder before more damage was done.

"A church is a place of refuge and hope," he said. "It's a place you want to come to and receive healing from the broken things in your life."

Meanwhile, Yannes is encouraging those in need to ask for help instead of acting out of desperation.

"If they would have just come in... If they were struggling or having issues, come knock on our front door and ask us for help," he said.

Residents who live near the targeted churches or have any information on the burglaries are urged to call West Haven police at 203-937-3900.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Waterford Fourth Grader Brings Bullet to School]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:32:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/quaker+hill+school.jpg

School officials in Waterford alerted parents on Thursday after a fourth-grade student showed up to school with a bullet and part of a BB gun, according to the superintendent.

Supt. Jerome Belair said the school principal spotted the Quaker Hill Elementary School student with a bullet and small piece of a pellet gun at recess on Thursday morning. Principal Chris Discordia confiscated the items and notified police.

It turns out the student found the objects in the glove compartment of his father's car, according to police. The boy's father told authorities he had recently purchased the vehicle and didn't know they were there.

After the incident, Discordia spoke with fourth-grade students about school safety and sent a letter home to parents. School officials said they plan to leave voicemails for parents tonight with more information.

"We took it very seriously. The way the principal handled the matter, letting the parents know of what had occured at the school today and also having a conversation with the fourth-grade students at Quaker Hill School in regards to the matter," Belair said.

He added that no one was ever in danger. He's encouraging parents to have one-on-one conversations with their children about keeping one another safe.

"This is an opportunity, if you feel it's appropriate, to have a conversation with your son or daughter and just re-enforce that safety is everyone's responsibility," Belair said.

The student will be disciplined, but school officials have declined to elaborate, citing privacy concerns.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Advocates Await Obama's Immigration Announcement]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:37:19 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+haven+immigration+rally.JPG

The Latino and Hispanic community in Connecticut is a very active and politically influential group, which is why many in the state will be glued to President Barack Obama's immigration announcement tonight.

“It’s really surreal," said Sandra Trevino, executive director of the Latino advocacy group Junta for Progressive Action. "It’s really a true mix of emotions that our president, in just a few hours, will be making this huge announcement.”

Junta, based in New Haven, provides an array of services for the Latino community. Trevino said there are more benefits than many realize to the president signing executive orders that could potentially lead to millions of undocumented immigrants being allowed to stay in the country.

"it’s going to allow individuals to have work permits. It’s going to encourage people to report more on crime, and most of all, it’s going to stop tearing families apart which it has been doing for years,” Trevino said.

The Obama administration hasn't provided precise details or numbers of immigrants that could be affected but has hinted that the moves won't be insignificant.

“Beef up security at the border, make some prioritization of deportations on the interior focused on felons and not on breaking families, and then some new accountability for folks who are here and have been here undocumented," David Simas, an assistant to the president, told NBC News on Thursday.

Trevino said she's fears some people who have been in the country for years and have contributed for decades could be left out in the cold on any executive action.

"My concern is that there are going to be individuals who have been here for decades that might be left out if the rumors that are going around is that it will only impact individuals that have children,” Trevino said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Newtown Petition Prompts Jay Leno to Cancel Gun Show Spot]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:09:34 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/457819796.jpg

At the urging of anti-violence groups, comedian and former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno has canceled an appearance at a Las Vegas gun show hosted by the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The Newtown Action Alliance, a grassroots organization promoting tighter gun laws, wrote on its Facebook page on Thursday that Leno placed a personal phone call to let the group know he had canceled his spot.

The decision came just hours after the Newtown Action Alliance started a petition alongside the Campaign to Unload and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence asking Leno not to perform, according to the Newtown Action Alliance.

“Less than 24 hours after this petition was launched, Jay Leno contacted Po Murray, the executive director of Newtown Action Alliance, to inform her that he had cancelled his appearance at the 2015 SHOT Show,” the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence posted atop the petition Thursday. “He said he was unaware that the NSSF was a pro-gun lobbying group based in Newtown, Connecticut.”

The NSSF, on the other hand, accused the gun control groups of using “bullying political tactics” to twist the truth about the gun industry.

“We are clearly disappointed by Jay Leno’s decision not to perform at the 2015 SHOT State of the Industry Dinner,” the NSSF said in a statement Thursday. “He unilaterally cancelled his promised appearance due to pressure from the anti-gun lobby, which included false statements about our industry and its commitment to genuine firearms safety, which we attempted to personally correct with him, but to no avail.”

The NSSF, which said it promotes gun safety and Second Amendment rights, is sponsoring the Las Vegas trade show in January.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[State Makes $54.6M in Cuts to Combat Budget Gap]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:39:20 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/111714statebudgetdeficitj00000000.jpg

State officials have announced $54.6 million in rescissions from state agencies in response to Connecticut's projected $100 million budget gap.

The state is calling for $47.8 million in rescissions for executive branch agencies, $0.9 million for the legislative branch and $6 million for the judicial branch, state officials said.

Some of the largest cuts include $9.2 million affecting the Department of Children and Families, $5.5 million for the Department of Developmental Services, $4.7 million for the state comptroller and nearly $4 million for education, according to the reductions list.

It's the second step the governor's office has taken to balance the budget. Last week, OPM Secretary Benjamin Barnes asked state agencies to minimize spending and reduce hiring in an effort to save money.

“As the Governor has promised, we are managing and administering the budget so that there will be no deficit. These rescissions are painful for some, but tough decisions are necessary to keep the state on firm fiscal footing. State government will live within its means, and we will not raise taxes,” Barnes said in a statement Thursday.

Barnes will meet with the General Assembly's Appropriations and Finance, Revenue and Bonding committees on Friday to go over budget projections for the next three years.

Malloy told reporters Wednesday that the projected shortfall must be kept in perspective and reminded residents that the state's budget totals $20 billion.

Republicans, however, $100 million may seem to be a small piece of the pie in terms of the state's overall spending plan, but would hit home for taxpayers.

"If they have bipartisan solutions they wish to propose, I welcome their participation," Barnes said.

Incoming State Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and Appropriations Committee member State Sen. Rob Kane criticized the rescissions Thursday, accusing the OPM of failing "to recognize the true severity of budget shortfalls."

“Today we face a significant deficit. And tomorrow that deficit will become staggering. Our budget crisis is also a borrowing crisis and these issues are compounding fast. The solution to these mounting problems does not lie in one time cuts. We need to identify a comprehensive solution by working across the aisle. The longer we wait to make these changes and alter our approach, the deeper the cuts will have to be,” Fasano said in a statement.

Economist Fred Carstensen, who directs the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis, called the state's budget issues minor and warned of more issues down the road as future deficits are projected.

Carstensen said the state must continue investing in transportation and similar infrastructure, an arena where Connecticut can make major gains in economic development.

"Those expenditures would represent the biggest economic impact for the state, both in terms of immediate job creation – which generates also more revenue for the state – and then also addresses the fact that we have very poor infrastructure in Connecticut," he said.

Carstensen said he remains concerned that the governor has yet to make good on his pledge earlier this year to hire 100 new engineers for the Department of Transportation.

"We're still short 215 people in transportation and that's not an insignificant number," he said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[West Haven Man Arrested on Child Porn Charges]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:54:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/iphone+generic+flickr.jpg

North Haven police have arrested a West Haven man on child pornography charges.

Police started investigating when a North Haven company contacted them in April because an employee had what they suspected was pornography on his iPhone.

Police identified the employee as Thurman McDuffie-Patterson, 36, of West Haven, and launched an eight-month investigation, which included seizing more computer equipment from McDuffie-Patterson’s home.

The Connecticut Computer Crimes Electronic Evidence Laboratory went through the phone, computers and other storage devices and found more than 1,000 images of child pornography, as well as nine videos of children engaged in sex acts, police said.

McDuffie-Patterson was arrested today and charged with importing child pornography and possession of child pornography.
He is being held on a $5,000 bond, pending an arraignment in Meriden Superior Court.

<![CDATA[Man Who Took Explicit Photos of Autistic Boy Pleads Guilty]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:45:04 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/computer-keyboard-generic-0.jpg

A 29-year-old Woodstock man accused of taking sexually explicit photos of an autistic teen and downloading hundreds of child pornography files has pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Authorities said Ryan Harding worked with an organization that provides services to people with disabilities and took pornographic photos of a 13-year-old autistic boy involved in the group.

According to federal prosecutors, Harding drove the teen to a convenience store on Oct. 14, 2013 and took sexually explicit photos of him in the bathroom.

The organization has not been identified by name, but federal officials said Harding had unsupervised access to autistic boys, some of whom are nonverbal, for hours on end.

Harding was arrested on federal charges in November 2013 after authorities found 1,043 photos and 144 videos depicting child pornography on his laptop and thumb drive, prosecutors said after his arrest.

According to the U.S. attorney's office, Harding downloaded the files between July and October 2013. Harding told investigators child pornography sexually arouses him.

Since his arrest, Harding has been released on bond and placed on home confinement with GPS monitoring, federal prosecutors said.

Harding pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

He’ll be sentenced March 13, 2015 and could face between five and 30 years in prison, along with a $250,000 fine.

<![CDATA[Thieves Steal Catalytic Converters From Senior Center Vans]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:51:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/wallingford+senior+center+van.JPG

Thieves stole catalytic converters from three vans used by the senior center in Wallingford, according to the business manager.

One van has been temporarily fixed for use during the town's Thanksgiving celebration Friday. A second may also be repaired today, officials said.

Damaged vans have been taken to the public works garage. The cost to repair three vehicles totals about $5,000, according to the business manager.

Town officials said the senior center is not equipped with surveillance cameras.

It's not clear if police are following leads.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Murphy Calls for Overhaul Of Connecticut Elections]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:58:05 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/192*120/Empty+Polling+Place+Election+Day+Voting+Booth+Election+Generic.JPG

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy is calling on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly to overhaul the state's elections system, saying recent problems at the polls highlight the need for professionalization and accountability.

The Democrat called it "inexcusable" to have breakdowns, such as polling places in Hartford not opening on time. He said they "provide a rationalization" for those who choose not to vote.

A former state senator, Murphy said Connecticut is past the point of incremental reform and needs comprehensive changes. He said the "balkanized" election system where autonomous local registrars run elections with little state oversight has "resulted in major problem after major problem."

Av Harris, a spokesman for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, said her office welcomes Murphy's comments and agrees reforms are needed.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Traffic Getting By on Route 83 in Vernon]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:01:49 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Route+83+in+Vernon+pole+1200.jpg

Traffic is flowing again on Route 83 in Vernon after two stretches of the road were shut down earlier Thursday due to downed power lines and a separate crash, according to police.

Part of Route 83 was closed between Dobson Road and Wilshire Road after a car struck a utility pole near Little Mark's Big BBQ this afternoon. Police said the pole holds three transformers and was in jeopardy of coming down.

Fire officials said the driver apparently suffered a medical issue and her car jumped the curb before hitting a pole. An ambulance took the driver to Rockville Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Crews from Connecticut Light & Power responded by about 2 p.m. and estimate it could take five hours to make repairs. Workers are still at the scene and police said traffic has been shifted to the southbound lanes.

Route 83 was also closed about two miles away, between Loveland Hill Road and Windsorville Road, after wind brought down power lines, police said. The road has reopened, but lane closures were expected to take effect again when CL&P crews arrived.

Route 83 is a major route for drivers traveling Interstate 84 and heading north of Vernon.