<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Fri, 28 Nov 2014 19:11:15 -0500 Fri, 28 Nov 2014 19:11:15 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Driver Trapped in Sinking Car After Crashing Into Pond]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 18:10:57 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Old+Saybrook2.jpg

A driver is in critical condition after crashing into a pond in Old Saybrook and remaining trapped underwater for about 20 minutes Friday afternoon, according to police.

Police were called to the area of 2 Custom Drive around 3:10 p.m. after a car veered off the road and into a pond. They arrived to find the vehicle underwater with the driver trapped inside, according to police.

A state police trooper rescued a passenger and brought the person to shore. Police and firefighters dove into the water to save the driver while a paving company tow truck was brought in to steady the car, police said.

Nineteen minutes after the start of the rescue, emergency crews managed to free the trapped driver. Both the driver and passenger were taken to Middlesex Medical Center, according to police.

The passenger remains hospitalized in stable condition. LifeStar transferred the driver to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where the driver is listed in critical condition, police said.

An Old Saybrook officer involved in the rescue was also hospitalized for treatment of minor hypothermia, according to police.

Authorities are still at the scene hours later investigating the cause of the crash.

Anyone with information is urged to call Old Saybrook police at 860-395-3142.

Photo Credit: Old Saybrook Police]]>
<![CDATA[Police Investigate Bomb Threat at Rocky Hill Pizzeria]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 18:54:37 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/rocky+hill+bomb+threat.jpg

Cold Spring Plaza in Rocky Hill was evacuated over a bomb threat Friday evening, according to police.

Police said someone called in a bomb threat to West Side Pizza and the whole plaza was evacuated as a precaution.

Authorities searched the area and found no threat, so it's business as usual now. Pizzeria employees said the threat turned out to be a prank call.

Police are investigating the incident.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Rescue Dog "Pilgrim" Up for Adoption]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 18:35:04 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/pilgrim+pup+3.JPG

For the first time, Pilgrim the rescue dog got to meet his potential new parents after animal control officers found him badly abused.

“It’s one of the worst cases we’ve seen as far as neglect,” said Animal Control Officer Robert Yuchinick. “His fur was encrusted with urine and feces. It was so bad on his back legs he could barely walk.”

Pilgrim was abandoned outside the Humane Society last week, after years of neglect and abuse. A local groomer shaved off nearly eight pounds of matted fur.

“He’s estimated to be 4 or 5 years old, and he’d probably never been to the groomer until we brought him to the groomer,” Yuchinick said.

Day by day, Pilgrim is slowly recovering, and officers are selectively searching for a new home for the Cocker Spaniel.

“He’s doing better,” said Yuchinick. “He’s got some muscular issues. He’s probably been kept in a crate his entire life.”

Tolland resident Mackenzie Merza said she knew she had to visit Pilgrim as soon as she heard his story.

“It’s really sad,” she said. “He’s so cute and no dog deserves to be treated like that.”

So far, officials say there have been hundreds of calls from people who live as far away from Canada people looking to adopt Pilgrim, who earned his Thanksgiving.

“We thought pilgrim because like the original pilgrims he’s now looking for a new home,” Yuchinick said.

Animal control officers are asking prospective puppy parents to come meet Pilgrim in person. You can apply to adopt him by stopping by the Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control office.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Police Search for Thief Who Stole $50K in Furs]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:40:56 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/greenwich+police+generic.jpg

Police are searching for a fugitive suspected of stealing thousands of dollars in expensive furs from Saks Fifth Avenue in Greenwich on Wednesday morning.

Police have charged Gerald Norman, 50, with criminal possession of stolen property in connection to the case but are looking for a second suspect who fled.

Someone stole several fur coats from the Saks store on Greenwich Avenue about 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday and fled in a waiting sedan with another person inside, Greenwich Officer Robert Berry said in a statement. The stolen coats were worth more than $50,000.

After broadcasting an alert to surrounding police departments about the search for the suspect(s), New York State Police spotted a vehicle matching the same description on Interstate 95 in New Rochelle and stopped the car, Berry said.

As the driver, Norman, got out of the car per police instructions, the passenger raced into the driver's seat and drove off in the car, according to Berry. After crashing a short time later, the suspect ran from the vehicle.

New York State Police are still looking for that second suspect and have taken Norman into custody.

Greenwich and New York police are investigating the larceny case and charges are pending in both Connecticut and New York.

No injuries have been reported in the Connecticut incident, Berry said.

Police have not released the identity or gender of the fugitive suspect.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Windham Man Charged in Sex Assault of Child]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:21:57 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser+lights.jpg

A 27-year-old man is facing charges after sexually assaulting a young child, according to police.

Authorities began investigating Erick Rivera, of Jeffrey Road of Windham, in October. He was arrested Wednesday morning in Mansfield, according to police.

Rivera is charged with first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. According to The Norwich Bulletin, the victim was a 5-year-old girl.

He was arraigned in court Friday morning and is being held on $350,000 bond.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Drunken Driver Hits Police Car at DUI Checkpoint: Cops]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:46:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/norwalk+police+generic.jpg

A drunken driver collided with a Norwalk police car while passing through a DUI checkpoint in town early Thursday morning, police said.

Matthew Dicesarre, 27, of Westport, crashed his 2014 Chevy Cruz into the back of a police cruiser at about 1:22 a.m. Thursday at a checkpoint for DUI enforcement in the West Avenue area by Interstate 95, police confirmed.

He was charged with driving under the influence shortly after.

Police said that the DUI checkpoint was advertised in advance in newspapers, online and on social media.

Dicessare has been arrested once before on a DUI charge, police said.

<![CDATA[Police Find Body of Man Living in Tariffville Park Woods]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:29:14 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/simsbury+police_722_406.jpg

Simsbury police found the body of a male adult in the woods at Tariffville Park in the Tarifville section of Simsbury on Friday.

The man likely was living in the "secluded" woods and authorities said that his death didn't appear suspicious, according to police.

Police notified the Office of the State Medical Examiner in Farmington and the medical examiner will do an autopsy on the body to determine the cause of death, police said.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Holiday Traffic Enforcement Underway]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:04:37 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser.jpg

State police have issued hundreds of tickets and charged 14 people with driving under the influence as they crack down on dangerous driving over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Since Tuesday morning, state police have responded to 512crashes, including one fatal crash and 65 where people were injured.

State police said Luis Contreras, 29, of Norwalk, was killed in a crash on Route 7 in town on Tuesday.

Police, who are cracking down on drunken driving and aggressive drivers, have made 14 drunk driving arrests and have cited 448 people for speeding, issued 138 tickets for seatbelt violations and handed out another 1,101 tickets for violations, including unsafe lane changes, following too closely, using a cell phone while driving, texting and failure to signal.

State police have added patrols through Sunday.

During the holiday weekend in 2013, state police arrested 143 people on driving under the influence charges and cited 1,134 people for speeding and 170 for seatbelt violations.

They responded to 562 crashes, including 92 with injuries and one fatal crash.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Car Found in Water at Bridgeport Harbor]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:50:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Bridgeport+police+generic.jpg

Police are investigating after a car was found in Bridgeport Harbor, according to the Bridgeport mayor's office.

The station wagon was found partially submerged in the water near the docks off Newfield Avenue with open doors and windows, the mayor's office confirmed and the Connecticut Post reported.

A photo published on the Connecticut Post website shows two divers searching a car with the trunk window open.

The Bridgeport Fire Department responded with its rescue boat and divers searching the car didn't find anyone inside, the mayor's office confirmed.

It's unknown why the car is in the water or who the owner is.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[West Hartford Police Increase Patrols After Rash of Burglaries]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:12:27 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/west+hartford+police+generic.JPG

West Hartford police are stepping up patrols after several burglaries over the past month in town.

Eight storage bins and 11 cars have been burglarized in November, Lt. Ted Stoneburner, spokesman for the West Hartford Police Department, said.

Police also said $200 in cash was stolen from the cash register at W.H. Professional Barber Shop at 18 La Salle Road

Between Nov. 12 and Nov. 27, burglars accessed storage units and bins on Vera Street, Concord Street, Farmington Avenue, Shadow Lane and Prospect Avenue.

During that time frame there were burglaries reported to police in several unlocked cars on Burnham Drive, Farnham Road, Farmington Avenue, Edmund Place, North Quaker Lane, Fern Street and Four Mile Road and homes in the Federation Square Apartments on Starkel Road and Edgemere Drive. Cash was stolen from the kitchen of a Federation Square Apartment and a cell phone, documents, cash and change were stolen from some of the cars.

It's unclear if any of the burglaries are connected.

In addition to increasing patrols in those areas, police are speaking with residents in those areas and advising people to "lock and secure everything," Stoneburner wrote in an email.

Police ask anyone who sees suspicious or unusual activity to call the police department immediately.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Anti-Fur Groups Target Rodeo Drive]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 18:56:25 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/186*120/11-28-14_Rodeo-Fur-Protest.JPG

Animal rights activists protested along the tony Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive shopping area during Black Friday, as part of a nationwide Fur Free Friday campaign.

Organizers have dubbed the glitzy retail hub the “Bloodiest Street in America” because of its retailers’ sales of luxury clothing made using animal furs and pelts, and planned the stop as the third in a series of four protests planned across the city.

West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico, who authored his city’s first-in-the-nation fur ban, joined the march.

Backers of the event included PETA, Last Chance for Animals and In Defense of Animals.

Retailers including Prada, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent, Michael Kors, Armani, Fendi, Max Mara and Ferragamo were targets, according to organizers.

Other planned protest sites included the Glendale Galleria and neighboring Americana at Brand in the morning; the Beverly Center in the afternoon; and Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica in the evening.

Photo Credit: Rene Luna]]>
<![CDATA[Mom, Son Steal $9K in Items From Neighbors on Thanksgiving]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:36:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/milford+suspects+2.jpg

A mother and son from Milford are facing charges after breaking into their neighbors' house and stealing thousands of dollars in valuables on Thanksgiving Day, according to police.

It happened just hours after the family brought them a plate of turkey dinner, according to the victims' daughter, Crystal Strain.

Police said 50-year-old Laurie Eddings and 31-year-old Christopher Warren stole a house key from Strain, who lives with them, and used it to unlock the apartment across the street Thursday evening.

According to court paperwork, Eddings is unemployed.

Strain said her family had left Thanksgiving dinner for Eddings and Warren and gone across town to celebrate the holiday with other family members. The suspects took that opportunity to make their move.

"I just dropped off a plate. I was like, 'How could you?'" Strain said. "I couldn't believe it, as much as we've done for them and helped them out."

According to court paperwork, Strain told police Eddings tried to box her out of her parents' apartment while the culprits rifled through a safe, stealing valuables worth thousands of dollars.

When she realized what was happening, Strain ran back across the street and called her mother, the paperwork says.

Meanwhile, Eddings and Warren emptied the safe and took cash, antique coins, expensive jewelry and electronics worth a total of $9,000, according to police.

"It's unbelievable," said Strain's father, Christopher, who also called the police. "I mean, you know, you're helping them out, bringing them to the store, back and forth, doctor's visits and stuff, and then to turn around and, you know, find your stuff in their house."

It turns out it wasn't the first time Eddings and Warren ripped off their neighbors. Investigating officers arrived at the suspects' apartment to find a second safe stolen at an earlier date, according to police.

Eddings and Warren were both arrested and charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit both.

Warren, who was on probation at the time of the crime, was additionally charged with third-degree criminal mischief.

A public defender requested in court Friday that Eddings receive psychiatric and medical attention.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Parents Left Kids to Shop: Police]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:43:58 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/NYC+Woodbury+Commons.jpg

A 4-year-old boy and his 11-year-old handicapped sister were left alone in a hotel while their parents were at a New York outlet mall on Black Friday, police said. 

The boy was discovered crying and wandering in a hallway at 3:52 a.m. at the Hampton Inn in Central Valley, Woodbury police said. Police discovered his sister alone in a locked hotel room. 

The front desk called the children's parents who returned to the hotel, police said. Their father told police he left the children alone at about 3 a.m. to pick up his wife from Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets, but he had to wait for more than an hour for her to finish shopping. 

The father was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. He has been released and a court appearance is scheduled Dec. 10. 

<![CDATA[Christmas Tree Arrives at WH]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:45:34 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/182*120/459682616.jpg

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the White House now that the official tree has arrived.

A horse-drawn wagon hauled the 20-foot white fir up the driveway to the North Portico for inspection on Friday morning. Receiving the tree were first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha and family dogs Bo and Sunny.

The family circled the tree, smelled it and conferred before the first lady said, "Thumbs-up. It's a go. We're taking the tree."

Malia, holding Bo's leash, said of the tree: "It's great. It's big."

It's tradition for the first lady to preside over the tree delivery on the morning after Thanksgiving. The odds are slim to none that it would ever be rejected.

The tree is chosen weeks in advance at the farm that wins the National Christmas Tree Association contest. The winner has presented the official White House tree since 1966.

In late September, a group of White House staffers including the chief usher, groundskeeper and chief horticulturist traveled to the Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, to search for a tree they agreed is perfect enough to stand in the Blue Room, albeit tethered to its ceiling, as the main attraction throughout the White House holiday season. The Blue Room tree cannot be taller than 18 ½ feet, so this tree will be trimmed to fit.

The farm, run by Christ Botek, a second-generation Christmas tree farmer, also provided the official White House tree in 2010 and 2006.

The delivery marked the start of an intense few days of round-the-clock tree trimming, wreath laying and other decorating by an army of volunteer decorators who help turn the White House into a winter wonderland. Many of the decorations honor military families, a group that Mrs. Obama is trying to support through a nationwide initiative.

She has invited military families to the White House for a first look at the decorations on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Knights of Columbus Provides Coats for Kids in Need]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:40:03 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Coats+for+Kids+Edited.jpg

The Knights of Columbus are providing winter coats to Connecticut children in need at seven sites across the state on Black Friday following Thanksgiving.

Coats for Kids will have distribution locations in Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Stamford, Brooklyn, Groton and Waterbury. The Knights of Columbus provided 2,000 coats to children last year through the program and organization chapters throughout the United States and Canada have given away at least 215,000 coats to kids in total since 2009.

"On the first Christmas, Christ was born in a cold stable because there was no room in the inn," Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in a statement. "Today, our members are making sure that children in our state can keep warm at Christmas and throughout the winter season."

Instead of looking for the best deal, mother Stacey Collins searched through piles of plastic bag-covered coats hoping to find one that fit her sons.

“I appreciate it so much because with it my kids would be cold," she said.

Without worrying about buying coats, Collins said Christmas will be a little merrier this year for her children.

“Thank you for keeping my kids warm this winter," she said.

The Knights of Columbus began distributing the jackets at 10 a.m. on Friday morning and will continue through 1 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Bridgeport: St. Monica's Hall at St. Augustine Cathedral, 170 Thompson St.
  • Brooklyn: Parks & Recreation Center, 69 South Main St.
  • Groton: Sacred Heart School, 56 Sacred Heart Drive
  • Hartford: Our Lady of Sorrows, 79 New Park Ave New Haven: St. Rose of Lima Church Hall, 115 Blatchley Ave.
  • Stamford: Knights of Columbus Council 41, 507 Shippan Ave.
  • Waterbury: St. Michael's Church, 62 St. Michael's Drive

"For three years running, Knights in Connecticut have embraced the 'Black Friday' Coats for Kids distribution as a statewide tradition that helps children in a very real way," Anderson said. "Simultaneously, it serves as a reminder that Christmas is not simply a commercial holiday, but is about giving, and celebrating God's love for us, and our love for our neighbor."

<![CDATA[Westfarms Packed With Shoppers on Black Friday]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:59:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Westfarms+Black+Friday+Edited.jpg

The Westfarms mall was packed Friday morning as people shopped for Black Friday deals.

As many as 140 million people are expected to hit the stores for Black Friday, spending roughly $617 billion. Retailers are offering deep discounts, door buster deals and half-off sales in entire stores like Ann Taylor's. XBox One consoles are $70 off at GameStop. Some stores gave away items for free.

Other hot items were Disney's "Frozen" collection, with 20 percent off the movie-themed items. Westfarms is one of the few locations in the country with a "Frozen" Ice Palace.

Many stores at the mall opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, which is two hours earlier than last year, and stayed open overnight for a head start on holiday deals. Others opened early Friday morning.

"It's all organzied we have our coupons, our lists, so you've learned over the years you have to be prepared. Yes, we've been doing this tradition for 10 years now," Marissa Stafford, of Simsbury, said. "....I wanna say we saved about $3 or $400 so far. We love it. It's just a tradition that we like to do."

Smartphone tech gloves were popular at RadioShack and there was a long line outside of H&M, where the store was giving the first 100 people scratch-off gift cards.

"You have to really go through the flyers you have to do your homework and stuff that’s what we were doing last night after dinner," Angela Tokarz, of West Hartford said.

Parking is filling up.

Click here for Black Friday store hours.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Tractor-Trailer Leaks 2,200 Gallons of Oil After Crash]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:53:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Wallingford+Tractor+Trailer+Crash.jpg

A tractor-trailer carrying home heating oil crashed and overturned Friday morning, leaking 2,200 gallons of oil onto the entrance ramp to Interstate 91 northbound in Wallingford, according to police.

The on-ramp at exit 14 was closed following the crash while crews worked to clean the spill and clear the scene.

No injuries have been reported.

Photo Credit: Record Journal]]>
<![CDATA[Burger King Owner Finds $100K ]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:46:30 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/burgerking2.jpg

It's not unusual for things to be left behind at Altaf Chaus' Burger King. Customers have forgotten their cell phones and their laptops in the past.

But on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, someone left behind a nondescript blue backpack, which sat on a table at the Bascom Avenue fast food store in San Jose, California, for hours. Chaus' employee noticed it and notified him about the forgotten bag.

"Out of curiosity," Chaus opened the bag to look for an ID or a phone number. Inside? Ten stacks of $10,000 bills, totaling $100,000.

"I was shocked," he said. "There was a stack of hundred dollar bills wrapped in rubber bands. I called police."

Officer came by his restaurant that evening to retrieve it, and told him that if it wasn't returned in six months, that he'd be eligible to get the cash. The bag also had an ATM card, some phone numbers, a bag of marijuana and a "white rock" in it, that possibly could have been drugs, Chaus said. San Jose Police Sgt. Heather Randol confirmed the account on Friday adding that police don't have very many leads on who it belongs to.

Whether it's drug money or cash that was earned legitimately, Chaus said he won't keep the money if it ever comes back to him.

As a Muslim, he said, he lives by the expression that "if you don't sweat, it's not yours."

He said that he's worked two jobs since moving the United States and believes in the value of hard work.

"God has given me a good life, and I'm happy with that," he said. "I might donate the money to needy people...I think you should do the right thing."

Photo Credit: Michael Horn
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Best Buy's Website Back Up After Black Friday Outage]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 11:33:57 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-11-28+at+10.18.32+AM.png

Best Buy's website was back up after suffering an extended outage on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.

"A concentrated spike in mobile traffic triggered issues that led us to shut down BestBuy.com in order to take proactive measures to restore full performance," Best Buy spokeswoman Amy von Walter said in a statement. "Our consumers can return to BestBuy.com in the next several hours to take advantage of today's door busters."

On Thanksgiving morning the website was experiencing issues at around 9 a.m. as well, CNBC reported.

Best Buy attempted to one-up retail competitors this year by opening stores at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, providing tickets up to two hours before the doors open. Special sales in-stores included a 50-inch Panasonic TV for only $199.99. Other deals, online and in-store, included discounted GoPros, Dell Laptops, and Samsung UHD TVs.

Best Buy’s Black Friday slogan coined the term “door busters” for customers taking advantage of these deals when the stores opened, but it looks like “website busters” may be more appropriate. 

<![CDATA[Black Friday Store Hours]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 07:29:25 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/best+buy+line+resized.jpg

After your Thanksgiving dinner is over, several stores will open early with Black Friday sales.

Here's the list of Thanksgiving and Black Friday hours at some box stores this holiday weekend:

  • Best Buy: Thursday, 8 p.m.
  • Costco: Friday, 9 a.m.
  • K-Mart: Thursday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., Friday from 6 a.m. to noon
  • Kohl's: Thursday, 6 p.m.
  • Macy's: Thursday, 6 p.m.
  • Sears: Thursday, 6 p.m.
  • Target: Thursday, 6 p.m.
  • Toys R Us: Thursday, 6 p.m.
  • Walmart: Thursday, 6 p.m.

<![CDATA[One Hospitalized After House Fire in Brooklyn]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 22:34:37 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Brooklyn+fire+resized.jpg

One person was hospitalized and four displaced on Thanksgiving night after a house fire in Brooklyn, CT.

Quinebaug Valley emergency dispatchers confirmed that firefighters responded to a reported structure fire at 399 Windham Road around 8:30 p.m. Thursday night. It took five departments approximately 45 minutes to contain the blaze.

According to Brooklyn Fire Marshal Doug Kramer, one woman was transported to Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam with second-degree burns on her back and shoulders. Two others were transported for evaluation.

At this point fire officials say the fire appears to be accidental. They believe it started when a candle was knocked over in a second-floor bedroom.

The home appears to be a total loss.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Boys in NY Building Snow Fort Buried By Plow: Police]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:12:08 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Snow-Mound-Rescue-Inset.jpg

UPDATE: New York Boys Buried in Snow Pile Heard Rescuers Calling

Two New York boys were trapped under a several feet of snow for hours after being accidentally buried by a plow on Wednesday, police say.

The boys, ages 9 and 11, were building a snow fort in a mound at a parking lot near a Newburgh apartment complex when a plow clearing the lot pushed more powder onto the pile, trapping the boys underneath, police say.

Police say the plow operator was clearing snow from the opposite side of the mound and wouldn't have known know he had buried the children.

The boys, who are cousins, were trapped under 6 or 7 feet of snow for hours in sub-freezing temperatures, police say, and one of their mothers set out looking for them when they didn't return by about 10 p.m. When she and other family members couldn't find the boys, they called police to report them missing.

Officers canvased the apartment complex for the cousins, knocked on doors and interviewed other children in the neighborhood. They eventually learned that the cousins had been building a snow fort in the parking lot of a health center near the apartment complex.

One officer went to the health center and found a shovel half-buried in the snow mound. He grabbed it and started digging, eventually unearthing a small snow boot.

The officer called for help and police, EMS workers and community members started digging for the boys. Some had shovels, while other clawed at the snow with bare hands. They eventually freed both of the children at about 2 a.m. Thursday.

Both boys were conscious but were taken to the hospital for exposure to the cold.

One of the officers who helped dig the boys out, Sgt. Aaron Weaver, described a frantic scene as he and others tried to free the boys.

"It was all just really adrenaline," Weaver said. " I wasn't thinking much. Just trying to get to the kids."

One of the boy's mothers thanked Newburgh Police for saving the children in an Instagram post Thursday. 

"Today I am thankful my son and nephew are here and I would like to thank the Newburgh Police Officers who found my nephew and my son after searching for them," she said. "They found them at 2 am stuck in a huge snowpile that trapped them for several hours so I am very thankful today to have these two safe at home alive."

Newburgh had more than 6 inches of snow on Wednesday.

<![CDATA[Hartford Firefighters Feed Families Displaced by Fire]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:57:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/FIREVICTIMSMEAL00000009.jpg

It has been two weeks since dozens of people lost everything in a fire that tore through their Hamilton St. apartment building. Today they got the Thanksgiving dinner every family deserves, courtesy of the Hartford Fire Department.

“The last time they saw us we were running into their home that was on fire, so to see us outside of work meant a lot to them,” said Firefighter Louis Arroyo. “It also meant a lot to us.”

With the help of Shoprite the firefighters took to the kitchen cooking the all the turkey and trimmings themselves.

“We had four turkeys two were baked, two were fried. We had some stuffing, some gravy, some corn and some green beans,” said Arroyo.

That is the same kind of menu the department dropped off earlier in the week to others across the area. The lined up frozen turkeys on their trucks and then delivered them to 12 families hit a little harder over the holidays.

“It was just a lot of hugs, a lot of ‘thank yous.’ It is a good feeling all around,” said Arroyo.

Today the Hartford Fire Department wasn’t the only ones looking to help out Hamilton. At Suso Latino Basket in Manchester, dinner was on them.

“I just wanted to give something back,” said owner, Suso Seoane.

The families affected say its simple acts of kindness like these that are keeping them thankful.

“This is amazing. For someone to just see our story and open their restaurant for us and cook us dinner when we don’t have a place to cook our dinner is just tremendous,” said Michelle Peterson.

<![CDATA[Police Arrest Fugitive Wanted in Sex Assault Case]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:45:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/RayRodriguezEdited.jpg

Police apprehended a wanted sexual assault suspect in New York City who fled Connecticut 14 years ago.

A West Hartford detective located fugitive Raymond Albert Rodriguez, who was wanted on two counts of second-degree sexual assault. A victim, 15 at the time, filed a complaint against him while he was 19 that led to a warrant for his arrest.

New York Police Department Special Victims Unit officers helped take Rodriguez into custody in the Bronx, police said.

Police are holding Rodriguez in custody on a $75,000 surety bond and he is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 4.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[New Haven Church Provides Meals to Those in Need]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 19:07:40 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/New_Haven_Church_Provides_Thanksgiving_Meals_1200x675_364564035825.jpg

For over one hundred years, the Church of God and Saints of Christ in New Haven has been feeding the community.

Organizers say they do it because they want to be good neighbors and give back.

“That’s what we all have to do. You have to count your blessings and then share it,” said volunteer Regina Whiterspoon.

Pastor Jerald Barber says this is a longstanding tradition that started over 108 years ago. He says the number of people they feed increases every year. This year, the church provided 501 free meals, cooked, served and delivered by volunteers.

<![CDATA[Hamden Police Seek Home Invaders]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:39:48 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hamdenhomeinvasion09152014.jpg

Hamden police are looking for two men who robbed a Hamden home on Beacon Street on Tuesday night and attacked a 20-year-old resident.

The victim opened the door thinking it was his mother and two strangers barged inside and attacked him at about 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 25, police said. One of the men had a gun and pistol-whipped the victim and then a struggle ensued.

Nothing was reported stolen, but the two men ran from the scene, police said.

Hamden Fire Rescue officials treated the victim at the scene for minor injuries and abrasions, police said.

Police said the two men were likely between 25 and 30 years old and were wearing dark sweatshirts.

Police ask anyone with information to call Det. William Onofrio at 203-230-4040.

<![CDATA[Robbery Suspect Had Child, 3, With Him: State Police]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:29:20 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser+lights.jpg

State police arrested a bank robbery suspect in Tolland on Wednesday who had a 3-year-old in the car with him at the time.

Joseph Cormier, 31, of Stafford, was driving westbound on Interstate 84 in Tolland when a detective in the Eastern District Major Crime Squad and state troopers stopped his car. It matched the description of a vehicle connected to the robbery of First Niagara Bank at 11 Phelps Way in Willington, state police said.

State police located the car after responding to a 911 call from the bank about an active robbery and searching the area. A 3-year-old child was in the car with Cormier when he was apprehended, state police said.

Troopers seized evidence tied to the robber and recovered "a large amount" of cash.

Cormier was charged with second-degree robbery, second-degree larceny and risk of injury and held in custody on a $100,000 cash/surety bond.

He is scheduled to appear in Rockville Superior Court on Friday at Nov. 28 at 9:30 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Restaurant Breakfast Proceeds Benefit Charity]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:04:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/112714+Thanksgiving+Meals+Edited.jpg

It wasn't your typical Thanksgiving breakfast at Chip's Family Restaurant in Orange Thursday.

Each breakfast represented a donation made to the Kisses from Katie fund, a Milford-based non-profit that provides resources to critically ill children, their families and caregivers.

"It's overwhelming, it really is," said William Anderson, of Milford, who is the grandfather of Katie Manning, who lost her life in 2008 to a congenital heart defect.

“Being the grandfather and having to go through this with the family and everyone else, it’s very heart wrenching and it’s great to be able to give back to Yale and how good they were," he said.

Chip's Family Restaurant owner Dina Chatzopoulos wanted to help the cause.

“Everyone has a soft spot for kids and I have children myself, so it’s important that we help out people, where we know where the money is going to," she said. "....Thanksgiving is the day to give, everyone, my staff were all very excited."

The full breakfast was $12 and all of the profits went to the charity, including some tips from the wait staff who donated.

“Well, I decided to donate some of my tips today. It goes to a good cause and it goes to people in need," waiter Joe Petrillo, of Orange, said.

Anderson said the fundraiser was "especially great because of the holidays and everything."

"It makes you feel good to see other people giving back and doing what they can," he said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Restaurant Serves Free Thanksgiving Meals to People in Need]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:49:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Christopher+Martins+Diner+Edited.jpg

The line was out the door at Christopher Martins Restaurant in New Haven on Thanksgiving as homeless individuals and working people struggling financially came to the business for turkey dinners.

Every year, the restaurant at 860 State Street in New Haven gives out free full three-course Thanksgiving dinners to those in need. Last year, the restaurant served 480 people and this year the business expected to dole out as many as 500 meals with the help of volunteers.

The restaurant opened its doors at 11 a.m. to serve the Thanksgiving dinners through 3 p.m..

Christopher Martins also began accepting donations on Nov. 24, including canned goods, toiletries, clean blankets and winter clothing for home packages to give the guests.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Power Outages Stall Thanksgiving Cooking in Terryville]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:13:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Plymouth+Fallen+Tree+Edited.jpg

A few turkeys in Terryville went into ovens a little later than usual this Thanksgiving. That's because the snow from the first major winter storm of the season caused a tree to collapse on Town Hill Road, falling on power lines and knocking out power to the neighborhood for a few hours.

Town Hill Road is closed in the Terryville section of Plymouth as crews work to clear the tree and wires from the roadway near 256 Town Hill Road.

While many residents had their generators ready, they said those weren't enough to get a head start on cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

"Some things won't run like the oven," Kelly Olmstead, of Terryville, said.

Others are changing their plans.

Terryville resident Jim Stowe said he was "supposed to be cookin' a turkey, but that's not happening today." Instead he said he and his family are taking his mom out for dinner.

 The Connecticut Light and Power outage map was not showing any power outages in Plymouth at 12:13 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Snowstorm Doesn't Halt Manchester Road Race]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:57:56 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/112714+Gumby+Manchester+Road+Race+Edited.jpg

Snow hasn't stopped as many as 15,000 runners, many in costume, from participating in the Manchester Road Race Thanksgiving morning.

Despite the first major snowstorm of the season Wednesday, the race went on as scheduled.

Organizers worked around the clock to deal with one of the biggest snowstorms in race history and clear the course.

There were no changes to the route.

The race stepped off at 10 a.m. More information is available on the race website.

<![CDATA[Bristol Brothers Playing Drums at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:16:19 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/bristol+central+drums.jpg

Two Bristol brothers are living out their dream of playing drums together at Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on Thursday  in New York City.

Simon and Philip Andrews have been playing music since they were babies and now play together with the Bristol Central High School band. But on Thanksgiving they're playing together in the national spotlight.

“For me the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is like an all-star game for a professional basketball player,” Philip Andrews said.

Philip Andrews, a senior, played the drum during the parade last year, and now, after passing a difficult auditioning process, his brother Simon is joining him.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Simon Andrews said.

Band director John Abucewicz, who has taught at Bristol Central High School for more than a decade, said the Andrews brothers are his first students to ever to play in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“Students from all over the country audition for something like this,” Abucewicz said. "So to have two students from one school go, that’s pretty special, and brothers no less.”

<![CDATA[Two Injured After Disturbance in New London Home]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:11:22 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/New+London+police.jpg

Two people were hospitalized after an assault incident at a New London home early morning on Thanksgiving.

Police responded to a report of a residential disturbance at 3:45 a.m. and found an assault victim with minor injuries, police said.

The person was treated at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London and a victim came to the hospital to be treated for serious injuries from the same incident, police said. The injuries weren't life-threatening.

Police said that both people involved in the disturbance know each other. The identities and genders of the individuals have not been released

Officers are investigating the incident.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[I-91 Multi-Car Crash Cleared ]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 08:43:48 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/112714+I91+Crash+Edited.jpg

Icy conditions following the first major snowstorm of the season caused a multi-car crash on Interstate 91 south in Hartford Thursday morning.

All lanes were closed temporarily near the crash site by exit 29A, but the crash has since been cleared.

The Department of Transportation responded to sand the highway and wreckers were also on scene.

There's no word on whether there were any injuries.

Photo Credit: DOT]]>
<![CDATA["It's a Tradition": Shoppers Hunt for Black Friday Deals ]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:02:49 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP543391047193.jpg

Anders Kullman and his girlfriend flew in to New York City from Stockholm to shop at Macy’s on Black Friday for the tenth year in a row, and by 3 a.m. he was inside the Herald Square store buying clothes.

“It started off with the bargains, but now it’s just for fun,” said the 47-year-old, who works for Hewlett-Packard. “We are not saving any money, coming over here shopping.”

He was among the tourists joining in on the traditional start to the holiday shopping season, which with more stores opening on Thanksgiving Day is now firmly a two-day event.

And that’s exactly how three medical professionals — Naveet Panesar, 25, and 24-year-old Dalisha Bharti, medical residents who live in Queens, and Simar Kaur, a 26-year-old dental student — planned their shopping spree. They started at 10 p.m. Thursday and were still at it Friday morning.

“Shopping, taking rest in between, eating and eating and then going back again and shopping,” Panesar said.

All three women bought coats as well as jeans and jewelry.

“A little bit of everything which completes the entire list,” Kaur said. “One of this, one of this, one of this.”

The Adobe Systems Inc.’s 2014 Digital Index Online Shopping Forecast found that some of the season’s best deals would be online on Thanksgiving Day, but such predictions didn’t deter shoppers determined to be the first in the stores.

Raquila Wilkinson, 34, arrived at a Target in New York at 2 a.m. — more than 15 hours before its 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day opening.

"It's a tradition," Wilkinson said of shopping on the holiday weekend. "I look forward to it."

There were 500 people in line by the time the Target's doors opened; another 200 people rushed into a Toys R Us in Times Square when it opened at 5 p.m.

The scene was similar at the Dolphin Mall in Miami, Florida, were up to 800 people were waiting outside Thanksgiving evening.

“Shoes, shoes, and shoes,” said Andrea Brillante of the items she was looking to buy on sale.

And Edward Alvarez’s holiday shopping strategy was to get it all done.

“You make it simple to do it all in one day,” he said.

A survey by Nerd Wallet, the personal finance website, raised questions about some of the Black Friday bargains. It found that many of the same deals are offered year to year, which might not matter for luggage or Christmas trees but could mean less than good buys for year-old electronics or appliances, the web sites notes.

Doubts aside, 61 percent of Americans or more than 140 million shoppers said they would be in the stores or online over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. Holiday sales are expected to grow 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion, according to the federation.

Record online sales of $1.35 billion were expected on Thanksgiving Day, an increase of 27 percent over last year, according to the Adobe System's forecast. Black Friday meanwhile could be the fastest growing online sales day at $2.48 billion, a rise of 15 percent.

Demand forced Best Buy to shut down its website Friday morning for an extended period. Would-be shoppers found this message posted on the site: "We're Sorry, BestBuy.com is currently unavailable. Check back soon."

Best Buy blamed the outage on a spike in mobile traffic.

This is a key time for retailers, which make about 20 percent of their annual sales during the season.

The sales are meant to snap consumers out of any tendency to put off shopping until the last minute, said Priya Raghubir, the chair of the marketing department at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business in New York City.

“They give you a reason to get out in the cold and start spending money,” she said.

“Consumers love getting a deal or at least feeling they’ve got a deal, feeling smart, feeling that they are in control,” she said.

At a Target store in Salem, New Hampshire, Fred Trecartin of Dracut, Massachusetts, waited for more than an hour on Thanksgiving Day.

"I had to get the three TVs, 40 inches for $119," he said. "It’s insane.”

Asked if it was worth it, he said, "Uh, yeah but my wife’s still in there....I might have to send the cavalry out soon.”

With the most ardent shoppers jamming store aisles Thursday night, Friday morning was quieter in many places than in past years. Some 25.6 million of the weekend's consumers were expected to be shopping on Thanksgiving Day; additionally 95.5 million said they would be looking for bargains on Black Friday, according to the National Retail Federation.

At the Westfarms shopping center in West Hartford, Connecticut on Friday, Marissa Stafford of Simsbury said she had saved up to $400 so far.

"It's all organzied," she said. "We have our coupons, our lists, so you've learned over the years you have to be prepared. Yes, we've been doing this tradition for 10 years now."

Best Buy was among the retail chains that were open by 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Other included Toys R Us and J.C. Penney. Target, Sears, Kohl's and Macy's opened at 6 p.m. and Kmart was keeping its doors open for 42 hours straight. Radio Shack opened at 8 a.m., however, after workers complained about the early hour, the electronics retailer decided to close between noon and 5 p.m.

J.C. Penney spokesman Joey Thomas said that when chain opened on Thanksgiving for the first time last year, the response from customers was overwhelmingly positive. Giveaways and other activities are planned to show staff members that their work is appreciated, Thomas said.

“Additionally, local store leaders recognize the importance of work-life balance when staffing regular and seasonal associates, and give priority to those who volunteer for holiday shifts,” Thomas said. “Hourly associates will receive time and a half for hours worked on Thanksgiving Day.”

Macy’s noted that there were 15,000 people in line for its Herald Square store in Manhattan last year at 8 p.m., a record. The large majority of shifts were filled voluntarily, according to Holly Thomas, a spokeswoman for the stores.

In contrast, Nordstrom will remain closed on Thanksgiving.

“Over the years, our tradition has been to be closed on Thanksgiving so we are able to unveil our holiday trim the following morning,” said spokesman Dan Evans Jr.

Dismay over the early shopping led 32-year-old Brian Rich of Boise, Idaho, a marketing coordinator at a credit union, to start a Facebook page called “Boycott Black Thursday.”

“The best way to stop this is for everyone to stop shopping on Thanksgiving,” he said.

Twenty-five-year-old Danielle Mesisca quit her job at Kohl’s in New York City rather than work on Thanksgiving. The single mother, who has a day job working for New York City, said she would not object if Black Friday started at midnight or later.

“I feel like working a minimum wage job on a holiday is not worth it,” she said. “Thanksgiving is that one day your entire family gets together to spend time together. I shouldn't have to be forced to work and miss time with my family so other people can shop.”

Kohl’s did not immediately respond for comment.

With sales beginning earlier, and uncertainty about when the best deals are to be found, Black Friday does offer one guarantee: long lines of other shoppers, Raghubir said.

“But yes there will certainly be the buzz also,” she said. “You’ll be with all these other shoppers who are also very excited at having got a deal.”

That excitement is one reason 28-year-old Sy Paulson, a general manager at a Best Buy store in New York City said he did not mind working over the holiday. He typically has his meal the weekend before or a few days afterward and works both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

“This is my tenth Black Friday at Best Buy,” he said. “I get a lot of retail adrenaline. It’s a fun time. It kicks off the holiday season.”

In New York City, the Griffin family from West Union, Ohio, was heading into Macy’s around 6:30 a.m. and 9-year-old Emma was looking for just one thing: Santa.

The family had visited three years ago, when Emma just saw him through a window, her mother, 44-year-old Angie Griffin, said.

“She didn’t actually go in and sit on his lap,” Angie Griffin said. “Today she is.”

Photo Credit: AP Images for Sears]]>