<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Wed, 28 Jan 2015 07:11:29 -0500 Wed, 28 Jan 2015 07:11:29 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Michelle Obama Navigates Saudi Limits on Women]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 22:09:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Michelle-Obama-Saudi-Arabia-2.jpg

For first lady Michelle Obama, just a few hours in Saudi Arabia were enough to illustrate the stark limitations under which Saudi women live.

Joining President Barack Obama for a condolence visit after the death of the King Abdullah, Mrs. Obama stepped off of Air Force One wearing long pants and a long, brightly colored jacket — but no headscarf.

Under the kingdom's strict dress code for women, Saudi females are required to wear a headscarf and loose, black robes in public. Most women in Saudi Arabia cover their hair and face with a veil known as the niqab. But covering one's head is not required for foreigners, and some Western women choose to forego the headscarf while in Saudi Arabia.

As a delegation of dozens of Saudi officials — all men — greeted the Obamas in Riyadh, some shook hands with Mrs. Obama. Others avoided a handshake but acknowledged the first lady with a nod as they passed by.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford Swimmer Accused of Rape]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 02:35:34 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/brock-turner.jpg

A highly recruited Stanford University swimmer is accused of raping someone on campus and will be formally charged next week, authorities say.

Brock Turner, 19, a Stanford freshman and former high school state champion in Ohio, faces five felony charges, including rape of an unconscious and intoxicated woman, Santa Clara County prosecutors said late Tuesday afternoon.

Police say two cyclists saw him assaulting a victim in the early morning hours of Jan. 18, stopped the attack and chased down Turner. The victim was not a Stanford student, authorities said. 

It was unclear if Turner had a lawyer. Attempts to reach his family for comment were not immediately successful.

Stanford spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said Turner has "voluntarily withdrawn his registration as a Stanford student" and is no longer allowed on campus.

The alleged attack took place near some student housing and the Kappa Alpha fraternity house, but there is no indication the fraternity is at all involved in the investigation, Lapin added.

Professor Michele Dauber has been pushing the university to do more when it comes to sexual assaults on campus.

"This is the kind of case that would be impossible to sweep under the rug," Dauber said. "We had eyewitnesses and the police were called in."

Turner is set to be arraigned Feb. 2. If convicted on all counts, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

Photo Credit: GoStanford.com]]>
<![CDATA[Mr. Incredible Guilty of Assault]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 06:12:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/10-23-14_hollywood+blvd+costume+superhero+fight.jpg

A man who dressed as Mr. Incredible, the superhero dad from the hit animated movie, was convicted of battery for beating a woman dressed as Batgirl on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Los Angeles City Attorney said Tuesday.

Muhammet Bilik, 35, was sentenced to three years probation, 20 days of California Department of Transportation work, 36 anger-management sessions, as well as one day in jail for the fight, prosecutors said. He is also banned from the Hollywood Entertainment District.

"Hollywood Blvd. is famous around the globe and attracts millions of visitors every year. We must keep it safe," said City Attorney Mike Feuer in a statement. "The characters who interact with children and family along Hollywood Blvd. have to obey the law."

The beating, caught on a video that went viral, shows Bilik in a red costume and black mask covering his eyes body slamming and punching the woman dressed as Batgirl in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre as costumed Chewbacca and Waldo try to restrain him.

A couple of weeks later, the victim came forward and confirmed the masked man’s identity, prosecutors said.

This conviction is one of seven cases in the past six months involving costumed characters, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Captain America, and Superman, Feuer said.

The rash of cases is leading some to worry about the safety of the characters and tourists.

"For him to do something like that just ruins it for us," said a man dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow from the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean." "It makes us look bad."

Added a costumed Spider Man: "There's kids around. There's tourists around, families that are just coming here just to have a good time."

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who represents Hollywood, has been trying to figure out ways to make sure the characters aren't a danger.

He says one possibility is to ask private businesses such as the Hollywood and Highland complex to hire their own characters.

"That could require background checks and some sort of formal process," he said. "It's what they do in Las Vegas. It's what they do in other locations. I would love to see Hollywood take that type of step forward."

O'Farrell says what the city can do is limited because the characters have a First Amendment right to be on public sidewalks.

Spider Man and Captain Jack hope that any action the city takes makes a distinction between those who make trouble and those who do not.

"It's not everyone," Spider Man said. "It's just certain people."

Four years ago the LAPD conducted a crackdown on Hollywood Boulevard street characters. The sweeps led to a lawsuit which a judge ruled violated their First Amendment rights.

Photo Credit: www.filmon.com]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Officers Foil Robbery]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:28:29 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Dunkin-Donuts-Robbery1.jpg

Two police officers were caught on camera foiling a robbery inside a Philadelphia Dunkin' Donuts.

On Monday, at 10:18 a.m., plain clothes officers Sherman and Austin were patrolling the parking lot of the Dunkin' Donuts on the 6200 block of North Front Street due to recent armed robberies in the area.

While monitoring the store, the officers spotted a man in a white mask, later identified by investigators as 20-year-old Russell Mason-Watts, walk into the Dunkin' Donuts.

Once inside, Watts allegedly took out a black handgun and announced a robbery to the store clerk. The two officers quickly took action, ran into the store, drew their weapons and apprehended Watts before anyone was hurt, investigators said.

The officers recovered Watts’ gun, and arrested him. Watts was charged with robbery and other related offenses.

Investigators determined Watts was also responsible for an armed robbery at the Family Dollar store on the 6200 block of North Front Street back on Jan. 19. Authorities established the suspect used a BB-gun during the robberies, according to police.

Pictured: Russell-Mason Watts

“These officers had to make a split second decision, which could have been fatal but thankfully this turned out without any further incident,” said a Philadelphia Police spokesperson. “Great job Officer Sherman and Officer Austin. Thank you for your service and be safe.”

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<![CDATA[Dramatic Images: Blizzard of 2015]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:23:58 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/462349900_Blizzard.jpg A storm packing blizzard conditions spun up the East Coast early Tuesday, pounding parts of coastal New Jersey northward through Maine with high winds and heavy snow.

Photo Credit: Boston Globe/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Father Charged in Infant's Murder]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 05:47:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/150123-newhall-baby-found-dead-matthew-warner-ellorah-rose.jpg

A Southern California man was charged Tuesday with sexually abusing and killing his 19-day-old daughter, whose body was found in the cab of a pickup truck, prosecutors said.

Matthew Brendan Warner, 30, showed no emotion during a court hearing where he was charged with one count each of murder, assault on a child causing death, torture, oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years or younger and aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Outside court, grandmothers on both sides of the baby's family had differing versions of Warner.

"No! It's not even conceivable. Not him," said Victoria Law-Thomson, Warner's mother.

Nan Allison, Warner's mother-in-law, is furious.

"The idea that a 3-week-old child should have to worry about defending herself against her 30-year-old father is abhorrent to me," she said.

Last Friday, Warner and his wife reported that their infant daughter, Ellorah Rose Warner, had disappeared from their home in Newhall. About 12 hours later, deputies announced they'd arrested him after he led them to her body inside a parked pickup truck.

"He made a choice ... to get high," Allison said.

Allison said Warner was on probation for drug charges, jobless and a danger to his baby. She said she's known it for years.

"He gave the appearance of adoring that child," she said. "It was not genuine."

Law-Thomson thought her son, who used speed, was clean and sober.

"That's why I don't understand this," she said.

Warren's family attended a vigil held in memory of the little girl on Tuesday night, and they again said they do not believe he is guilty. 

"He loved his little girl, adored her, and I don't believe what I'm hearing. It's just rumors," his mother Victoria Law-Thomson said, "I just don't want this viciousness to continue. Just people back off let the courts do what they're supposed to do and not the public opinion."

"He really is a good brother, and we never had any, like, arguments or anything really. We would just have…  good talks," his sister Marjorie Law said, "We were just talking about her, Ellorah, and I was saying how I didn't get a chance to see her yet.... mom’s like, ‘oh we've got to fix that.’  And then the next morning… we heard she's missing."

Meanwhile, a friend of the mother named April Gunckel said she was seeking solace from her family.

"Anybody whose going through such a loss is really going to do the best they can… (to) be with friends and family right now," Gunckel said

Warner's mother holds out hope that the baby may have died as the result of an accident or sudden infant death syndrome.

Results of an autopsy are under seal. After the sexual assault charges were included, Judge David Walgren increased bail to more than $2 million.

His arraignment was set for Feb. 18.

Warner faces a maximum penalty of life in state prison if convicted of all charges.

Michael Larkin and Beverly White contributed to this article

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Doctor Admits to Being Drug Addict]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 22:53:10 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dr+Bradley+Schnierow.JPG

A La Jolla doctor admitted he is a drug addict and alcoholic but pledged to complete a court-ordered drug-treatment program.

Dr. Bradley Schnierow pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony count of obtaining narcotics with a false prescription and a misdemeanor count of illegal drug possession.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert O’Neill dismissed seven other drug-related charges.

Prosecutor David Williams III told NBC 7 Investigates that the case against Schnierow was impacted by Proposition 47, a ballot measure approved by voters last November. The new law reduces many drug possession felonies to misdemeanors. Williams said three of the original charges filed last year against Schnierow as felonies were later reduced to misdemeanors.

But Williams said the false prescription felony requires Schnierow to enroll a rigorous drug treatment program, with serious consequences if he fails.

"If an individual is successful in drug treatment, and I hope Doctor Schnierow is successful in drug treatment, he could eventually get a complete dismissal of the charges,” Williams said.

Schnierow’s attorney, Paul Pfingst, disagreed with Williams assessment of Proposition 47’s impact on this case. Pfingst said the new law did not have an impact on the plea bargain or sentencing.

Judge O’Neill will review the case and Schnierow’s progress in drug treatment at a hearing scheduled for January 29, 2016.

Schnierow's medical license was suspended last June when the Medical Board of California learned of the serious allegations against him, which included using drugs in his office, writing illegal prescriptions for narcotics, and having an inappropriate relationship with a patient. The Drug Enforcement Administration also suspended Schnierow’s license to write prescriptions for controlled substances.

Schnierow told NBC 7 Investigates that he is “an alcoholic and addict in recovery” and that his is “committed to my sobriety.”

Schnierow, who formerly had offices on the Scripps Memorial Hospital campus and specialized in hair replacement surgery, said “I hope one day to have the privilege of treating patients” again.

<![CDATA[Man Punches Woman, Abducts Daughter]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 23:20:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/0127-denny.jpg

A Maryland man accused of abducting his 5-month-old child Tuesday afternoon has turned himself in to Prince George's County Police.

Montgomery County Police said 26-year-old Deare Marquis Denny drove a rental car to a Poolesville home on Hempstone Avenue, punched the mother of his child and took his infant daughter Drew Marie Denny with him, all while holding a handgun.

"The baby has been recovered safely and that's the outcome we wanted in all this," Montgomery County Police officer Nicole Gamard said.

The child will be reunited with her mother.

An Amber Alert was issued just before 7 p.m. It's unknown what, if any, charges Denny will face.

<![CDATA[Woman Attacked Neighbor With Snowblower: Cops]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 22:06:38 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Barbara+Davis.jpg

A 61-year-old woman has been arrested after police say she attacked her 60-year-old neighbor with a snowblower during the blizzard Tuesday in Arlington, Massachusetts.

The victim's foot was lacerated when officers arrived around 4:30 p.m., police said. They arrested Barbara Davis, with whom the victim was involved in an ongoing dispute.

Davis is charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and mayhem. She is also charged with violating a harassment protection order the victim had previously filed against her.

The victim's injuries were treated, but are considered minor.

Davis was ordered to be held on $35,040 bail. She will be arraigned in Cambridge.

Photo Credit: Arlington Police]]>
<![CDATA[Furniture Shop a Pot Front: Sheriff]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 21:37:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/furniture-pot-grow-room.jpg

The owner of a fake Bay Area furniture store was arrested on charges of running an illegal and deceptive operation where none of the chairs and tables were for sale – they were part of a front, authorities said, for growing $2 million worth of pot plants in the back.

Phuc Nguyen, 39, of Gilroy, owner of Gilroy Furniture & More, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of stealing electricity and illegally growing more than 1,000 marijuana plants, according to Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup.

It was not immediately clear if Nguyen were being represented by an attorney.

Nguyen's arrest inside the shop, in the 7500 block of Monterey Road, was the culmination of a monthslong investigation by the sheriff's Marijuana Eradication Team and Gilroy police, authorities said.

His arrest came after a related arrest earlier this month, Stenderup said, when Tuan Dan Nguyen, 50, was allegedly caught with 320 pounds of marijuana plants valued at $700,000 in a warehouse on Tomkins Court. That find led investigators to the faux furniture store.

Gilroy Furniture & More purported to be a furniture store, with an array of couches, tables and chairs flanking the front of the store. The store was decorated with colorful flags and vases of flowers. But Stenderup said none of the furniture was for sale.

“We don't see a lot of storefront operations with a large-scale illegal enterprise going on in the back,” Stenderup said. “I think in the movies and on TV they like to think it happens all the time, but in reality, we just don't see that level of sophistication."

In the back of the shop, officers found more than 1,000 marijuana plants and more than 50 pounds of processed marijuana valued at more than $2 million. Stenderup added that Nguyen had allegedly bypassed the electrical meter to get $80,000 worth of illegally obtained water and light for the plants, which were not up to code, creating a huge fire hazard.

Nguyen is being held on $200,000 bail.

NBC Bay Area's Robert Handa contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Santa Clara County Sheriff
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<![CDATA[No Jail for Cop Who Stole Nude Pics]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:18:11 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/sean-harrington.jpg

A former California Highway Patrol officer who secretly sent himself and his colleagues nude photos of arrested women from their cell phones will spend three years on probation but will be spared jail time.

Sean Harrington, 35, pleaded no contest Tuesday morning to two felony charges of unauthorized access to a computer and copying computer data for secretly sending himself the photos of DUI suspects.

His plea deal means he'll avoid jail time but will receive three years of formal felony probation and a 180-day suspended jail sentence. He must also speak at a community violence solutions class to tell everyone what he did, prosecutor Barry Grove said.

If Harrington had gone to trial, he could have faced up to three years and eight months in prison if convicted on all counts, Grove said.

"You had a person who was in a position of public trust. We as the public gave him a certain amount of power," Grove said. "He violated that  public trust, he abused his power, and now no longer forevermore is allowed to be a police officer. He will be a convicted felon for the rest of his life."

Harrington had been working out a plea agreement with his high-profile defense lawyer Michael Rains for months.

Rains said Tuesday he thinks Harrington received a harsher sentence than anyone who wasn't a law enforcement officer would have, despite potentially facing prison time for the felony charges.

"I think if this would have been a case where it was not a police officer but some other citizen who didn't have a criminal record, it would have been a misdemeanor case," Rains said.

He said because of Harrington's position of authority, prosecutors insisted on felony charges.

Rains said he thinks Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Terri Mockler recognized that Harrington had taken steps to take responsibility for his actions, including swiftly resigning once criminal charges were filed rather than forcing the CHP to take lengthy steps to terminate him.

The judge "wanted him to benefit from education that simply putting him in jail or making him wear an electronic bracelet never would have given him," Rains said. "I think the judge was thoughtful in the sentence she imposed, and I ultimately appreciate it as his lawyer."

The deal on Tuesday is a change from when Harrington pleaded not guilty in November. Since his arrest on Nov. 3, 2014, Harrington has been out on bail, and in November, Rains had told NBC Bay Area that he was working out the plea deal and that the charges didn't "warrant custodial time."

Harrington was charged with stealing nude photos from the  cellphones of two arrested women, but prosecutors said he admitted during interviews to stealing photos from women's phones four to six times during the last few years and fowarding them to colleagues.

The case, first reported by the Contra Costa Times, was blown open in October 2014, after a 23-year-old San Ramon woman said half a dozen nude and semi-nude selfies had been secretly sent from her phone to an unknown number traced to Harrington.

Harrington had forwarded the messages from his phone while the woman was in county jail after a DUI arrest in San Ramon in the early hours of Aug. 29, investigators found, after they obtained search warrants for him.

Further investigation revealed that Harrington had previously stolen private photos from the phone of a 19-year-old DUI suspect arrested in Livermore on Aug. 6 while she was in the hospital and forwarded them to his own.

DUI charges against both women have been dropped.

Neither of the other two CHP officers to whom Harrington had forwarded the photos, Robert Hazelwood and Dion Simmons, face charges.

Bay City News and NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthews contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Drone's Eye View of the Blizzard]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 16:44:51 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2015-01-27+at+4.35.52+PM.png A drone captures the scene of Monday’s storm hitting New York City.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Harper/@JBH1126]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Missing for 5 Months Found, Rescued in Snowstorm]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 06:56:31 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/found+whippet.jpg

An FDNY lieutenant found and rescued a puppy that had been missing for five months near the department's training facility on Randall's Island and reunited the pooch with its owner.

The dog, Burt, had been missing from its Manhattan home since Aug. 20. Burt's owner papered hundreds of blocks, including 90 in one night, according to a Facebook page dedicated to finding him, over the months that followed to no avail. Then the owner got a call from Lt. Dave Kelly with the FDNY's training bureau.

"It was so crazy," said owner Lauren Piccolo of Harlem. "I was sitting at home trying to prepare for the storm, and I got a call from someone on Randall's Island, of all places, that he had seen a whippet and he had been seeing this whippet over the period of a couple of weeks."  

According to the department, Kelly noticed the dog rummaging for food at night on the grounds of the training facility. He tried to feed it in hopes he could get near enough to corral the animal, but the whippet -- looks similar to a greyhound -- kept eluding him.

On Monday, as the dangerous snowstorm bore down on the region, Kelly set a trap using food and a dog cage and snagged Burt. He scoured social media for leads and found the Facebook page, then was able to reunite him with his "ecstatic" owner, the FDNY said.

Burt turned 1 in November. Piccolo said the pup has been tired from his long journey, but seems healthy. He was headed to the vet for a checkup Tuesday afternoon. 

<![CDATA[Flores Twins Sentenced]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 16:22:37 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Flores-Twins.jpg

Two Chicago twin brothers who provided unprecedented testimony against one of the world’s most dangerous drug cartels were sentenced to 14 years in prison Tuesday.

In announcing his sentence, Judge Ruben Castillo paid special attention to the sheer volume of drug trafficking for which Pedro and Margarito Flores were accused.

"Even though I am not going to sentence you to life, you are leaving here with a life sentence," said Castillo. "Every time you start your car, you have to wonder will that car start or will explode."

The Flores brothers left a life at the top of the drug world to begin secretly cooperating with federal investigators in 2008. Both men made comments in court thanking the government for allowing them to come forward, and they apologized for their criminal actions.

"Because of the timing of their cooperation, which was at the height of their criminal conduct, they were able to work with law enforcement to record actual co-conspirator conversations and put authorities in a position to seize substantial quantities of narcotics in real time as part of the conspiracy," U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon said.

Margarito Flores told the judge Tuesday he was "ashamed."

"I'm embarrassed. I'm regretful," he said.

His brother Pedro said he was there to "take full responsibility for my life, all the drug trafficking."

Prosecutors later Tuesday are expected to announce new charges the ruthless Sinaloa cocaine cartel, led by notorious drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera.

While the two brothers faced possible life sentences, the government asked that they be sentenced to a term of 10 to 16 years, calling them "extraordinary witnesses" who provided "unparalleled assistance" in helping to bring down not only "El Chapo,"  but the leadership of a second cartel and the dismantling of their own Chicago-based cocaine organization.

"The defendants jointly decided to dissolve their criminal enterprise and cooperate with the government," prosecutors wrote in a recent court filing. "Debriefing them took six months of nearly daily sessions."

As a result, 54 defendants were charged in 2009 alone, and prosecutors say some of the cases where the two provided assistance remain so sensitive they still cannot be revealed.

Included in the brothers’ cooperation was the secret recording of more than 70 conversations with cartel members, including two sessions with the elusive “El Chapo” himself. During that time, they enjoyed such favored status with the notorious cartel leader, that they were able to negotiate a reduction in price for their Sinaloa cocaine, from $55,000 to $50,000 per kilo.

Guzman is in custody in Mexico, following his spectacular arrest last year. There are questions whether he will ever be extradited to face charges here in the United States.

Described by the Justice Department as “the most significant drug traffickers in Chicago’s history,” prosecutors said the Flores brothers began their cooperation knowing it put them at grave risk.

“The Flores brothers (and their families) will live the rest of their lives in danger of being killed in retribution,” they wrote. “The barbarism of the cartels is legend, with a special place reserved for those who cooperate.”

As a result, extraordinary security was planned for Tuesday’s sentencing.

Indeed, over the protests of the government, the brothers’ father returned to Mexico in 2009, and within days he was kidnapped and presumed killed.

During their career, the brothers are believed to have been responsible for the importation and distribution of, at minimum, over 70 tons of cocaine, through elaborate transportation schemes which began with planes, boats, and submarines as the drugs left Columbia, entering the United States and making their way to Chicago via a system of stash houses, warehouses, and vehicles with hidden compartments.

“They created massive economies of scale,” prosecutors wrote, noting that here in Chicago the Flores' workers were responsible for the distribution of “ton quantities of cocaine and the laundering of more than $1 billion.”

“The government must consider the extreme danger associated with physically producing the brothers in any venue outside their protected custodial locations,” prosecutors said. As a result, their expected appearance in court Tuesday will mark the first public appearance since their incarceration over six years ago.

<![CDATA[Thieves Swipe Gold Nuggets: Police]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 21:23:30 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/wells10.JPG

Three people wearing ski masks and armed with at least one gun stole gold nuggets from San Francisco's Wells Fargo History Museum Tuesday morning after they rammed an SUV into the building's entrance.

Police said that at least 10 ounces of gold were stolen, valued at about $10,000.

The robbery took place at about 2:30 a.m. at 420 Montgomery St., where the glass front of the building was left shattered and swarms of police officers were surveying what happened and what was stolen, a police investigator told NBC Bay Area.

A dark Chevy Suburban was towed away just before 7 a.m. Officer Grace Gatpandan said that the three suspects had ditched the SUV, their faces covered, and held the security guard at gunpoint before taking the gold nuggets from a display case.

The trio took off in a second vehicle, described as a four-door sedan. Gatpandan said she does not know if this getaway car was waiting for them with another driver inside or if it was strategically parked somewhere. She said the Chevy was stolen from San Bruno.

Kevin Woodsford, who was on the scene afterwards to replace the glass, has been inside the building before. He noted that the museum has lots of "valuable stuff and antiques you probably can't replace."

"It's pretty crazy," he said. "It's a bold job to pull off."

The museum honors Henry Wells and William Fargo, who founded their financial services company in 1852. The museu's website prominently advertises gold nuggets as one of its featured attractions.

In a statement, Ruben Pulido, a Wells Fargo spokesman said: "We’re disturbed this happened to the Wells Fargo History Museum, but are grateful no team member was harmed. Additionally, the historic stagecoaches on site were not damaged." He vowed the museum would soon reopen.

Police said they have made no arrests but did not there have been several smash-and-grabs recently in the city.

In November, burglars drove a car into the Chanel store off Union Square. Two weeks ago, two men backed a U-Haul van into the Patagonia store near Fisherman’s Wharf.

“It does not appear that these were related,” San Francisco police spokeswoman Officer Grace Gatpandan said.

NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthews contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Josh Keppel
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<![CDATA["The Water Was Cold": Family Escapes Car in Sinkhole]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 21:47:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/216*120/2015-01-27_0707_001.png

A family of five escaped their car just before it was swallowed by a sinkhole caused by a water main break in Bladensburg, Maryland, early Tuesday morning.

The family of five -- parents with an infant, a 4-year-old girl  and a 7-year-old boy -- had to scramble to get out in time.

"There was water and then we had to get of of the car and then... the car got in the hole," the brave 7-year-old said after the experience.

When he asked if he was brave, he said yes. "The water was cold," he said.

Their neighbor, Luz Martinez, said of the family, "They were running to leave. Thank God they didn't put their seat belts on. It helped them get out of the car."

Martinez, whose home was flooded by the water main break, said the family was inside the car when the sinkhole opened up on Edmonston Road, sending water gushing down the street.

Only the car's right, rear section was visible from the hole, which was filled with gurgling water. From the back, just the right tail light and a bit of the license plate were visible. Another vehicle nearby was also falling toward the sinkhole, its nose having dipped down into the water.

Martinez said the water in her own home is up to her knees in the basement. Other homes on the street were also flooded.

As a mixture of rain and snow continued to fall, residents ran back and forth from one home trying to save their belongings, which were stuffed into large black trash bags. One woman, wearing shorts, appeared to be hurrying through the icy slush without shoes.

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) crews needed about four hours to repair the 12-inch, 90-year-old pipe. Repairs were completed about 1 p.m. Tuesday, and both cars have been removed from the scene.

The 77 customers affected by the break have had water service restored.

As of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Edmonston Road remained closed between Decatur Street and Chesapeake Road while crews worked to repair the street.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Blizzard Social Media: How to Spend a Snow Day]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:03:03 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/170*120/ad3fe4e3837040faaaa9b72b6864fdc6.JPG.jpg

A snowy day followed the "Blizzard of 2015" that never really was. Millions of households in the northeast experienced travel bans followed by a snow day off.

Although the blizzard did not materialize into a major threat for most in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachussets, it dumped two feet of snow in Long Island.

Social media users shared how they spent their snow days -- at work, on skis, baking cookies, painting faces and sledding.  Check out a compliation of the best snow day activities from Boston to Philadelphia below. 

Photo Credit: Dale Fensterstock
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Time-lapse of Snowstorm in Times Square]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 09:33:56 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000005918313_1200x675_389519939937.jpg Watch as the snowstorm moves through Times Square over a period of nearly 12 hours.]]> <![CDATA[Teen Marks One Year Since Falling 3K Feet in Skydiving Accident]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:12:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Makenzie+Wethington.jpg

This time last year, it wasn't clear Makenzie Wethington was going to live.

The North Texas teen was laying in a hospital bed after plummeting 3,000 feet in a skydiving accident, breaking teeth, ribs and parts of her back in the fall.

"And now I’m here a year later,” the North Texas teen said Monday.

Wethington, a junior at Joshua High School, survived falling to the ground when her parachute ropes became tangled and she reportedly blacked out. The teen and her father had traveled to Chickasha, Oklahoma, for the skydiving trip that was her 16th birthday present.

Paramedics rushed Wethington to an Oklahoma City trauma center where she spent nearly a week under the constant care of trauma doctors and nurses. The teen suffered fractures to her spine, hip, pelvis and ribs in addition to internal injuries, including a traumatic brain injury.

“I don’t even remember being in Oklahoma, in the hospital,” Wethington said about the six days she spent in the Intensive Care Unit at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center.

After her prognosis improved, the medical team transferred Wethington to Dallas and the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation.

“It was painful to walk [during the physical rehabilitation] because I had a broken scapula and clavicle and I couldn’t put weight on my legs, so I was having to put it all on my upper body,” Wethington said about her daily routine using a walker. “But I was determined because I did not want to be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.”

Wethington spent approximately two weeks in in-patient rehab, before she was allowed to go home in mid-February 2014.

Since then, she has been walking on her own, with the pain dissipating almost every day. Wethington told NBC 5 she still suffers from near-daily migraines and has some issues with short-term memory loss. However, Wethington said her doctors believe both issues will improve over time.

On Sunday, the one-year anniversary of her mishap, Wethington traveled back to Oklahoma to meet with the Chickasha paramedics who were the first ones on the scene of her accident.

“I just really wanted to see who helped save my life,” Wethington said. “And I just wanted to see who did it so I could emotionally relate to them and thank them.”

A photograph Wethington shared via Facebook shows her and one of the paramedics – the one who intubated her en route to the medical helicopter – embracing one another in a hug.

“Meeting them was just the best day of my life. He was very, very kind,” Wethington said about the encounter.

Despite her ordeal, Wethington said she still makes straight As, is in the top 10 of her class and hopes to become a trauma surgeon one day – like the men and women who worked so hard to save her.

As for another skydiving trip, Wethington said she would not rule one out. She plans to wait until much later, however, after she’s lived a long and full life.

“Like when I’m 95, maybe,” she said with a laugh.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Be Prepared: What to Do During and After Snowstorm]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 05:52:33 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/161130398.jpg

Tens of millions of people in the Northeast awoke to a second day of a crippling winter storm Tuesday, as the blizzard conditions that brought most of New England to a standstill continued to blast the region. 

The storm was expected to slam the region with damaging wind gusts, heavy snow and coastal flooding and cripple travel for two days straight.

Tom Moore, coordinating meteorologist for The Weather Channel, said the storm could intensify into “a monster.” And New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told New Yorkers that it’s important to “prepare for something worse than we have ever seen before.” Schools were canceled and subways, trains and roadways througout the region remained closed on Tuesday. 

Whatever the storm ends up dishing out, it’s good to be prepared. Ready.gov has put together a preparedness plan for people in the path of severe winter storms. Here’s what you should know.

Before the Storm

Before the worst of the storm hits, stock up on rock salt, snow shovels and other snow removal equipment to help remove snow and melt ice on walkways. Putting sand down can help improve traction.

If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, grab some extra wood or other heating fuel, as you could be stuck in your home for a few days without power.

It's also a good idea to stock up on food, water and medications. Check your stockpiles of essentials like batteries, toilet paper and pet food and test flashlights, battery-powered radios and other tools that might be needed if the power goes out. 

While you’re at it, dig out all the old blankets, quilts and sheets you have piled away in case you lose heat.

If you have time it’s a good idea to make a “Family Communication Plan.” This will ensure that the members of your family can get a hold of one another if you're separated when disaster strikes.

You can sign up in advance to receive notifications from local emergency services and the National Weather Service. FEMA, the American Red Cross and other organizations have free apps that can provide up-to-date information about shelters, first aid and recovery assistance.

During the Storm

When the storm hits, with wind and snow whirling outside, it’s best to stay indoors and keep warm.

If you have to go out, walk carefully through snow and on icy sidewalks. Avoid getting your clothes wet, as soggy clothing loses all of its insulating power.

Be very careful when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack, which is a major cause of death in the winter months. To stay safe while shoveling take breaks, push snow instead of lifting it and lift lighter loads.

It’s also important to check frequently for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Frostbite is when the skin and body tissue just beneath it freezes. Symptoms of frostbite include loss of feeling and a whitish pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes and the tip of the nose. Make sure to cover the exposed skin — but avoid rubbing it — and seek medical help immediately.

Hypothermia occurs when your body reaches a dangerously low temperature. Symptoms include an uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and exhaustion. If you think someone has hypothermia, take his temperature. If it’s below 95 degrees, get medical help immediately. While you’re waiting for help, get the victim to a warm location and remove any wet clothing he’s wearing. Warm the center of his body first by wrapping him in blankets and if he’s conscious give him warm, nonalcoholic beverages.

Don't forget Fido! Pets should be brought inside when the temperatures drop.

Drive only when you must and avoid traveling alone in case you become stranded. Inform others of your schedule — including your destination, route and when you expect to arrive — and travel only on main roads where others will see you if you get in an accident.

Back at home, conserve fuel by keeping your residence cooler than normal and temporarily closing off heat to some rooms. Use blankets and additional layers to keep warm. If you’re using kerosene heaters, make sure that you’ve got plenty of ventilation so that toxic fumes don’t build up and refuel kerosene heaters outside. It's also a good idea to make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector. Never use a stove or outside cooking equipment like grills or propane heaters indoors.

If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation and wrap them in rags. Then open up all the faucets and pour hot water on the pipes, starting where they’re most exposed.

After the Storm

Once the storm has passed, grab a sled and enjoy the newfound winter wonderland before it melts away into muddy slush! Be sure to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing several layers of warm, loosefitting clothing.

If your home lost power or heat in the storm and it still hasn’t returned, or if you don’t have the supplies you need to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to stay in a public shelter. You can figure out where the nearest one is by texting “SHELTER” plus your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA). Make sure to dress warmly on your way to the shelter and bring anything you might need that night.

After all is said and done, assess how your supplies and family plan worked. If you think they could have been improved in any way, learn from your experience, and plan ahead for the next big one.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blizzard Warning in NYC Canceled ]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 06:50:46 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/AP597923538168.jpg

The city that never sleeps is waking back up after a brief lull during a debilitating winter storm that pelted the region with blinding snow and icy winds and forced officials into a near total shutdown of schools, roads and mass transit systems.

Schools were scheduled to reopen and mass transit was up and running Wednesday ahead of a frigid, but sunny and clear day.

Travel bans across the tri-state area were lifted by Wednesday morning and mass transit was expect to run at normal weekday service, with the exception of two LIRR branches.

Limited NJ Transit service was restored later Tuesday, ahead of schedule, and full service was set to resume Wednesday. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy lifted the travel ban on local roads in Litchfield and Fairfield counties in the morning, and all restrictions were lifted at 2 p.m.

All three state bans -- in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut -- had been in effect for nearly nine hours and emergency vehicles were the only ones permitted on the roads. 

Facing blizzard warnings and doomsday snow forecasts, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut declared states of emergency Monday in anticipation of the storm. But for much of the area, it fell fall short of expectations as far as snow totals and wind damage. 

Initial forecasts projected as much as 3 feet of snow to fall on parts of the tri-state, but snowfall projections were greatly reduced by early Tuesday morning. By the time the snow stopped falling Tuesday afternoon, between 5 and 12 inches of snow were on the ground in New York City. More than two feet of snow fell on parts of eastern Suffolk County, and 30 inches had accumulated in Orient by evening. 

Cuomo acknowledged the storm was "less destructive than expected," but stood by the emergency declarations, saying the travel bans and mass transit restrictions helped officials clean up faster than they would have been able to otherwise and, ultimately, get the system back on line more quickly.

Mayor de Blasio echoed Cuomo's sentiments and hailed the Department of Sanitation for what he called an "extraordinary effort" to clean up the snow and salt streets and sidewalks.

"To me it was a no-brainer," the mayor said as he reminded New Yorkers road conditions were still treacherous in spots. "We have to take precautions to keep people safe."

De Blasio pointed out the severe impact on Long Island, which was hardest hit by the storm, as he said how close the city came to being hit: "literally -- about 20 miles east of the Queens border -- 2 feet of snow." 

The U.S. Postal Service said it would not be delivering mail to Nassau and Suffolk counties Wednesday. Islip Airport had 24.8 inches, and Orient had 30 inches.

"Some areas dodged a bullet. That was not the case here in Suffolk County," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said at a news briefing Wednesday with Cuomo at his side. "We were hit -- and we were hit hard."

Seven and a half inches of snow fell in Islip during the day Monday, breaking a previous record for Jan. 27, set in 1987. Cuomo said he was redirecting resources from the city and Hudson Valley to assist with snow cleanup in Suffolk County. 

In New York City, Queens saw the most snow, with 12.1 inches in Glendale at about 9:30 a.m. Central Park had 9.8 inches by 1 p.m. 

More than 7,700 flights in and out of the region were canceled, and many of them may not take off again until Wednesday. Passengers on at least one outbound Virgin Atlantic flight were stranded on the tarmac at Kennedy Airport for about six hours before being stuck back at the terminal after midnight, according to NBC News.

The largest snowstorm recorded in the city was a February 2006 storm that dumped 26.9 inches on Central Park. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[5 Biggest Snowstorms to Hit Northeast]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:58:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP744402766935.jpg

The Northeast is getting walloped by a “historic” snowstorm that could dump as much as two to three feet of snow from Philadelphia to northern New England by the time it's over late Tuesday night.

Blizzard warnings were issued for the New York and Boston areas starting Monday night, as travel bans took effect and as the New York City subway system, the nation's largest, shut down for snow for the first time in its more than century-long history.

"This could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of this city," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had warned Sunday. "My message for New Yorkers is prepare for something worse than we have ever seen before."

That means New York City could beat its one-day snowfall record — 26.9 inches, recorded in Central Park in February 2006.

The Northeast is no stranger to powerful snowstorms. Here’s a list of some of the biggest blizzards the region has ever seen.

1993: The Storm of the Century

The Storm of the Century not only hit the Northeast, it surged up the entire East Coast from Alabama to Maine. The storm affected parts of 26 states, which is where roughly half of the entire U.S. population lives, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The blizzard began on March 12 and wreaked havoc for two days. For the first time, every East Coast airport had shut down at some point during or after the storm hit. Parts of upstate New York and Pennsylvania received over three feet of snow, and wind gusts reached up to 89 mph on Long Island.

About 270 people died from direct and indirect results of the storm, and the storm is still ranked as the number 1 most impactful snowstorm on the NOAA’s Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale (NESIS), used to categorize snowstorms.

The Storm of the Century had uncanny similarities to the Blizzard of 1888: both started on March 12 and affected 26 states.

2006: New York City Blizzard

While this storm is 29th on the NESIS list, it did account for the most snowfall in New York City’s history: close to 27 inches. The snowstorm, however, was not categorized as a blizzard — winds of at least 35 mph for three consecutive hours and visibility of less than a quarter mile are required for a storm to count as a blizzard, which this snowstorm did not have.

1977: The Buffalo Blizzard

The snow began in the early morning of Jan. 2,8 and temperatures plunged about 26 degrees in four hours. At the blizzard's peak, gusts of winds were 75 mph, and wind chills reached 50 to 60 degrees below zero. Thousands were stranded in office buildings or stalled cars, and roads became parking lots quickly. Although the storm did not dump record-breaking snow — only 12 inches — it did put Buffalo on the map as the blizzard capital of the United States.

1978: The Great Northeast Blizzard (Boston/Rhode Island)

New England shut down after this blizzard dumped over 30 inches of snow and wind speeds hit over 100 mph. After the storm, President Jimmy Carter declared portions of Rhode Island and Massachusetts federal disaster areas and brought the National Guard to help with the clean-up.

The storm lasted 32 hours, accumulated over 3000 stranded cars on the highways and claimed the lives of almost 100 people. It may have been the most powerful storm in the region since the Great Snow of 1717, when four snowstorms struck the area between Feb. 27 and March 7, covering the New England and New York colonies with more than 4 feet of snow.

The Blizzard of 1996

This nor’easter hit the Northeast Corridor on Jan. 6, as the country was getting back on track from the federal government shutdown. This storm ranked second on the NESIS scale.

Parts of Pennsylvania were completely shut down, and many Pittsburgh Steelers fans from areas east of Pittsburgh were stranded in the city after the NFL playoff game on Sunday. Philadelphia recorded 30.7 inches of snow — its record snowfall to date.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Humvees Rescue Stranded Drivers on L.I.E.]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 07:12:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lie+car+rescue.jpg Suffolk County officials are rolling out military equipment to rescue stranded drivers on the Long Island Expressway. Marc Santia reports.]]> <![CDATA[NY Teen Dies in Sled Accident: PD]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 05:56:23 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Generic+Snow+Generic+Avalon+Snow.jpg

A teenager died after being injured in a sledding accident Monday night on Long Island during a massive snowstorm that dumped more than 2 feet of snow on parts of the area, according to Suffolk police.

Police say three 17-year-olds were taking turns snow tubing down Chester Court in Huntington at about 10 p.m. When it was Sean Urda's turn, he took a running start, slid rapidly down the hill and struck a light pole at the bottom, impacting his chest and ribs, authorities said.

Urda was first taken to one of the friend's houses, then to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to officials.

Detectives said his death appears to be a tragic accident.

"He had his whole life ahead of him. I don't know how you survive that as a parent," neighbor Neil McPherson said.

"It was so tragic to hear and such a shock," said classmate Katherine McPherson. 

Neighbors said Chester Court isn't a popular place for sledding because the hill isn't all that steep. With 11 inches of snow on the ground by Tuesday morning, Huntington wasn't as hard hit as the rest of Suffolk, which bore the brunt of the storm: Orient got the most snow, 28.5 inches, while Southampton got 28 inches, Islip nearly 25, and Commack 20 inches.

Photo Credit: NBC10 - Ted Greenberg]]>
<![CDATA[Yeti on the Loose in Boston?]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 08:18:10 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/yeticollage.jpg

Where else would you expect to find a yeti but in the middle of a blizzard?

Just as a historic snowstorm was battering the city of Boston, a strange sight appeared in the city. A person dressed in a yeti costume was stalking the snow-covered streets.

Using the Twitter handle @BostonYeti2015, the abominable snowman tweeted out several pictures of itself walking on McGrath Highway in Somerville and several other locations.

The identity of the person inside the yeti suit remains a mystery, but the Twitter handle just showed up on Monday, so it appears to have been created specifically for this storm.

We'll be sure to let you know if we hear any more about this mythical creature.

Photo Credit: @BostonYeti2015
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Awesome Time-lapse of Snowstorm at 30 Rock]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 08:52:53 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/30+rock+timelapse.jpg A look at the snowstorm from 30 Rockefeller Plaza between 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 26 and 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 27.]]> <![CDATA[Will Blizzard Be Boon or Bust for Delivery Services? ]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 06:39:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/deliveryguys.jpg

As cities along the East Coast started shutting down ahead of what authorities said could be a historic blizzard, food delivery companies were ramping up in the hopes of feeding hungry customers. But questions remained about how travel bans enacted amid treacherous conditions would affect business.

Popular services in New York City and beyond, including GrubHub and Delivery.com, were expecting spikes in orders from restaurants once the brunt of the storm hit and people hunkered down. The winter storm, projected to pummel the tri-state area with more than two feet of snow and high winds, prompted widespread travel warnings and planned school and business closures. 

“On particularly cold and snowy days, we see an increase in orders of comfort / cold-weather food from our restaurant partners,”  Kate McKee, vice president of marketing for delivery.com, wrote in an email.

But travel bans kept those deliveries from arriving as the storm intensified late Monday. In New York City for example, where restrictions were set to take effect at 11 p.m., Mayor Bill de Blasio declared that delivery bicycles were not emergency vehicles. Several services suspended deliveries overnight in accordance with the travel advisories. 

“Obviously the safety of the delivery drivers is of most importance to us,” said Allie Mack, a spokeswoman for GrubHub, which allows customers to order directly from about 30,000 takeout restaurants in more than 800 U.S. cities and London. “We’re constantly in contact with restaurants not only to determine if they’re going to be open but also to make sure that their drivers are safe.”

GrubHub was analyzing its data from Sunday to determine if people had heeded warnings about an impending blizzard, she said. The analysis could indicate whether order sizes were larger than normal because people wanted to have take-out meals on hand for the rest of the week or if tips were higher.

Like delivery.com, GrubHub was looking forward to orders rising following the snowfall. Neither company would provide figures on hikes or orders. But whether restaurants stay open to fill those orders is their decision, Mack said.

“As the blizzard sets in we just want to take the opportunity to remind diners to be appreciative of their delivery drivers and be patient,” she said.

Seamless, which is part of the same company as GrubHub, echoed those sentiments on social media, telling Twitter followers throughout the evening that the app-driven delivery service "remains open and is in constant communication with our open restaurants to ensure local safety guidelines are met." The app's account told one follower that they "hope customers are generous in understanding & tipping." 

"Shout out to the people on the front line!" Seamless replied to another user urging big tips amid bad weather. 

But by at about 10:30 p,m., that service, too, had shut down for the night.The app said in a statement online that it had "suspended Seamless ordering and restaurant service in the five boroughs of New York (as well as areas of New Jersey and Connecticut)" to allow for emergency vehicles to clear the roads.Yet hope remained that meals could start arriving again Tuesday, as many families and workers remained home due to the conditions.. 

"We are in constant communication with our restaurants, updating status on openings and closures, and we promise we’ll be back online as soon as we get clearance from the powers that be. In the meantime, cuddle up with your leftovers, help out your neighbors, and stay inside," the statement read.

Grocery delivery services were canceling or cutting back. Fresh Direct, which serves parts of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delware, would not make deliveries on Tuesday, it announced on its website.

Peapod, which has 24 markets in the United States, limited its East Coast deliveries to metro Boston and Providence and the Washington D.C. area Monday night, said a spokeswoman, Peg Merzbacher. Tuesday’s deliveries will be available only in Washington D.C., she said.

Natureworks Restaurant on Manhattan’s East 31st Street, which got more GrubHub and Seamless orders than any other New York City restaurant during last January’s polar vortex, planned to double its delivery staff for each shift, from 10 to 20. Manager Carlos Arcos was predicting a busy Tuesday.

But as evening approached, the restaurant instead decided to close at 7 p.m and it could remain closed on Tuesday.

"Right now my delivery guy was walking," he said.

Postmates, a courier service that can make deliveries from any restaurant or store, was putting together a plan in response to New York City’s travel ban, April Conyers, the company’s director of communications, said Monday afternoon.

But that has not stopped the company, which works with 6,000 couriers across 18 markets, from boosting its network of available independent contractors to meet increased demand, Conyers said. Postmates readied for the typical influx in orders by sending a message through Facebook encouraging New York-based couriers to sign up for shifts. In addition to a spike in restaurant delivery, she said orders for trips to the grocery store for storm essentials such as water and batteries tend to go up when conditions get bad.

"We know that demand is going to be really high, so we try to get as many postmates on the platform as possible to gear up for the storm,” she said.

Courier community managers send out tips for braving the conditions safely. Suggestions include bundling up with hand and foot warmers, wool socks, boots and trash bags, "because they’re really good ponchos on your bike,” Conyers said.

Recruiting couriers willing to take a job in the snow is not much of a challenge, she said. Postmates’ prices typically go up during bad weather to help temper the high demand, so couriers can expect to make more during bad weather, she said. Tips also increase.

“A lot of our couriers love it,” she said. “It’s kind of fun to be outside in the storm. You’re well compensated certainly in this type of weather.”

Photo Credit: Toby Baldinger
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<![CDATA[Blizzard of 2015: Reaction on Social Media]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 08:03:58 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/181*120/Brooklyn_Bridge_Blizzardof2015.png

A massive storm pounded parts of New Jersey northward through Maine with high winds and heavy snow. 

The snow caused eight states to make emergency declarations, while more than 4,000 flights were canceled.

Ahead of the storm, some of the 28 million people in the blizzard zone -- from Boston to Philadelphia -- shared what storm preparation looked like for them.

Photo Credit: @bosniazfinest28/Instagram
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