<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Sat, 18 Apr 2015 03:17:29 -0400 Sat, 18 Apr 2015 03:17:29 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[15 Hospitalized During Concert at UConn]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 22:46:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+campus+generic.jpg

Fifteen people were transported to area hospitals from Gampel Pavillion at UConn during a Schoolboy Q concert due to suspected alcohol intoxication, according to a UConn spokesperson.

Tolland County dispatch said they transported at least a dozen people from the concert at UConn to the hospital due to likely alcohol poisoning. The call came in about 8 p.m.

The individuals are all believed to be students because tickets were only available to students, according to UConn spokeperson Stephanie Reitz. She said they were transported due to intoxication "believed to be alcohol" and that they're waiting for the hospitals to officially confirm the cause.

The concert was organized by a student group and no alcohol was sold at Gampel Pavillion during the event. People are screened as they enter, so they likely consumed the alcohol before they got in, according to Reitz.

The people transported aren't believed to be in life-threatening danger, Reitz said.

About 4,000 people attended the concert.

<![CDATA[Boy, 8, Killed After Being Hit By Car]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:19:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Carlos+Hernandez+1200.jpg

Family and friends are grieving loss of an 8-year-old boy struck and killed by a car in a two-vehicle crash on Burnside Avenue in East Hartford that happened Thursday night. Now two drivers are facing charges.

Carlos Hernandez, 8, has died after the crash, the family confirmed.

East Hartford police responded to a two-car crash involving a child near 285 Burnside Avenue at 5:55 p.m. The kid, Hernandez, was transported to Connecticut Children's Medical Center and died there of his injuries.

His family and those who knew him gathered at the crash site to release balloons into the sky and remember him. They described him as a boy who loved school and who was named after his father.

The two drivers, whose names have not been released, are facing motor vehicle violation charges and additional charges are possible depending on the outcome of the investigation.

"They didn't stop and everybody here is concerned about that and we are really, really sad," East Hartford resident Leida Vasquez said.

She said that the young boy's death has shaken the community.

"You know he was just a little kid. He was a little angel," Vasquez said. "We feel close to the family even if we don't know them personally."

East Hartford Mayor Marcia A Leclerc released the following statement about Hernandez's death.

"Last evening was a stark reminder about the frailty of human life," Leclerc said. "Our hearts mourn for the family and friends of Carlos. As a community we grieve with them. This was a tragic loss of an innocent young child, a classmate, a friend, a brother and a son. As a community we have put in place the supportive services within our schools, through our Parks and Recreation Department and our Youth Services to help our community deal with this tragic loss."

Police have not said whether speed was a car in the crash, but Vasquez said that it is a problem in the area and that she hopes this tragedy will be a reminder for drivers to slow down. There is no stop light in the area, she said.

When asked about the names of the drivers involved in the crash and their specific charges, police said," The case is still under investigation. We will have more information when the investigation is complete."

An accident reconstruction team is investigating the crash to piece together what happened.

Police ask anyone with additional information to contact Lt. Ken Rosa at 860-291-7696.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Love Triangle Leads to Severed Leg]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 00:05:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/N+17th+Street+Hit+and+Run+Fire+Nicetown.JPG

Beatrice Spence's life changed forever Friday afternoon after a romantic rival ran her down, severing her leg, moments before her house caught fire and was destroyed, her family and police tell NBC10.

The intentional hit-and-run took place at 2:19 p.m. outside Spence's home along the 4400 block of N. 17th Street in the Nicetown section of the city, police said.

The violent act left the 24-year-old, nicknamed De-De, with at least one leg tore off, according to police. She was rushed to Temple University Hospital in critical condition.

"I heard a car rev up, and then I heard a bunch of people screaming," said neighbor Jayson Massey. "Honestly, I thought she was dead. She was not responsive."

After striking Spence, surveillance video shows the white Dodge Durango fled eastbound on Wingohocking Street, police said.

The driver of the Durango, who lives a few blocks away, knew the victim, investigators said.

The victim's family told NBC10 that the driver and victim were in an ongoing fight over a man — recently throwing bricks at each other's windows.

"She came back — the driver came back and she ran her over. She ran her over," exclaimed relative Ruby Fields.

Immediately after the crash, the victim's mother rushed to the hospital leaving something cooking on the stove. The house then caught fire, said the family.

No one was injured in blaze, but the home was left unliveable.

Investigators tell NBC10 they know the woman they're looking for, but have not made an arrest in the case.

Photo Credit: NBC10
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<![CDATA[Murder Charges in Panama Killing]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 22:48:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/yvonne+baldelli.jpg

A retired marine accused of killing his girlfriend in Panama, dismembering her body and dumping her remains in the jungle before undergoing an elaborate scheme to cover it up, pleaded not guilty to federal charges. 

A federal grand jury in San Diego indicted Brian Karl Brimager, 37, on first degree murder charges Friday for the killed Los Angeles woman Yvonne Baldelli, the U.S. Attorney's Souther District of California's Office said. 

Brimager pleaded not guilty to one count of foreign murder of a U.S. national, obstruction of justice and false statement to a federal officer. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney W. Mark Conover wrote earlier in April that his office would pursue charges against Brian Brimager for foreign murder of a U.S. national, according to a status report filed.

Brimager is suspected of killing Baldelli, 42, who went missing while they were on a 2011 vacation in Central America.

The U.S. Assistant Attorney General in Washington D.C. recently gave the local office written approval to prosecute Brimager. Conover said they plan to seek an indictment against him before April 17 and arraign him on that day.

According to the court document, prosecutors are still waiting on the results of a DNA test and tool mark comparison examination in the case, which they should have next month.

In September 2011, Brimager, a former Camp Pendleton Marine, and Baldelli traveled to Panama to stay on Isla Carenera, an island off the coast accessible only by boat. Baldelli was last seen with Brimager at a Panamanian restaurant on Nov. 26, 2011.

Prosecutors say Brimager killed Baldelli and later disposed of a bloody mattress at their hostel. According to another indictment, Brimager had used Baldelli’s laptop to search how to get blood stains out of a mattress.

The suspect is accused of then packing up Baldelli’s belongings into garbage bags and leaving them on the dock outside their hostel.

Throughout this time, prosecutors allege Brimager posed as Baldelli and sent emails to her friends and family to make it seem as though she was alive. The emails said she met another man and was going to Costa Rica with him. Brimager then allegedly used her ATM card in Costa Rica and San Jose.

When investigators questioned the suspect about Baldelli’s disappearance, they said Brimager lied to them and claimed she took her laptop to travel. That same laptop was found in his possession in 2012, at which point he changed his story and said the device never went to Panama and he never sent emails from it.

Nearly two years after she vanished, Baldelli’s body was found on a small island off the Isla Carenero coastline. Scientists used DNA analysis on her skull and bones to identify her.

Brimager is back in the U.S., though charges are pending against him in Panama.

NBC 7 is attempting to reach out to Brimager’s defense attorney for a comment on this story.

<![CDATA[Loved Ones Mourn Stabbing Death of Girl, 19]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 23:56:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Holly+Torrington+stab+victim+composite+1200.jpg

A 19-year-old woman is dead after being stabbed several times in Torrington this morning and police have identified a suspect, but have not filed charges.

Police have identified the victim as Holly Aeschlimann, 19, of Torrington, and they identified the suspect as Heather Birden, 20, also of Torrington.

Police received a disturbance call at 1:12 a.m. on Friday in the area of Prospect and Hungerford streets, responded and learned from a passerby that Aeschlimann had been injured and that a passerby took her to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.

Authorities later learned she has died from her injuries, police said.

Multiple people who spoke with NBC Connecticut indicated that there was bad blood between the victim and the suspect and police said there's been an ongoing history between them. Friends told NBC Connecticut that Aeschlimann was riding her bike in the area when she was attacked by another young woman with an axe to grind and a knife in her possession.

"They were out here yelling there was quite a commotion out here," Robert Chatfield, of Torrington, said.

Family and friends gathered Friday afternoon to share fond memories.

"My heart's broken. For her family...and Holly," Linda Kijonka, a family friend said.

Thomas Farr is friends with Aeschlimann and took a selfie with her just hours before she was stabbed to death at the corner of Prospect and Hungerford Streets in her home town of Torrington.

"She was very close to me. She was like my baby sister, we did everything together," Farr said.

Birden is not being charged as of yet, police said, but is being arraigned today in Bantam Superior Court for an active arrest warrant issued by the Winchester Police Department for an unrelated case from Aug. 7. She was charged with assault in the second degree, reckless endangerment and breach of peace in that case. Friends said that the other case also involved a stabbing, but that is not confirmed with police.

Birden is also being charged with violation of probation.

While friends aren't sure how or when the feud between the victim and suspect started, they said the two had scuffled about a year ago.

"I guess she was trying to get back at her for something that happened, that she started," Farr said.

Their latest dispute was apparently about a man.

"I know that Heather liked the guy, but I know that Holly was just hanging out with him," Maddie Brown, another friend of Aeschlimann's said.

Three friends were with Aeschlimann at the hospital, Brown said.

The investigation in the stabbing is ongoing and the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Squad is assisting.

No additional information has been released.

There was an impromptu gathering on Friday night in Aeschlimann's memory and there will be an organized vigil on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Facebook and NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[West Haven Exit Ramp to Close for Construction]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 22:00:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser+lights.jpg

If you’re getting off of the southbound side of I-95 in West Haven at exit 44, you’ve probably experienced the quick change over of lanes. Drivers trying to get on the highway are shifting lanes while drivers getting off the highway are trying to do the same.

It’s a problem the Department of Transportation plans to fix.

Clive Watson has done it.

“When you’re coming on the highway, it’s just a short distance before it ends for you to get on, so it’s a problem,” Said Watson.

The southbound exit ramp will close on April 21. They plan to tear it down to improve safety, efficiency and have less traffic congestion.

The current exit makes a loop and goes into Kimberly Avenue.

Mayor Ed O’Brien said the change will re-direct traffic onto Ella T. Grasso Boulevard.

“Then there will be two left turns and they’ll come down to Kimberly Avenue. And then into West Haven,” Said O’Brien.

Demolishing the exit also means there will not be a southbound exit into West Haven off of I-95.

“The exit 45, that’s currently New Haven exit… it’s going to be exchanged to exit 44,” Said O’Brien, who isn’t happy with the removal of the exit because it does not take drivers directly into downtown West Haven. However, when it comes to safety, O’Brien said that’s more important.

Drivers NBC Connecticut spoke with agree.

“Yeah, it’s a good idea,” Said Watson.

City leaders say the closure is all part of a larger project: construction of a new mall.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Multiple Car Burglaries in Unlocked Cars in Vernon]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:08:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Vernon+Police+cruiser+generic.jpg

Vernon police are warning residents to lock their cars and to avoid leaving valuables in vehicles after multiple car burglaries.

Thieves stole loose change, small electronics, sunglasses and other items from unlocked cars April 14 to 17 on Reed Street, Liberty Street, South Street, Kevin Drive and Fox Hill Drive, police said Friday on Twitter.

The burglaries happened during overnight hours.

Vernon police said to contact the department at 860-872-9126 if you notice anything suspicious.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police]]>
<![CDATA[Brawl Breaks Out in Zara]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:04:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Zara+Brawl.jpg

Several women got into an all out brawl in the middle of a popular clothing store in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square neighborhood Friday afternoon.

At least five women slapped, threw punches and pulled hair while toppling over store displays and sending clothes flying around 3:20 p.m. inside Zara at 1715 Walnut Street. One woman climbed on top of a display table and jumped onto another woman during the fight.

Some shoppers stood and watched in disbelief while others recorded the scene and posted videos to social media sites.

A store security guard worked to break up the battle as employees called 911. 

A Zara employee confirmed the fight happened, but would not comment further. It's unclear what spurred the brawl.

The women were gone by the time police arrived. No arrests have been made and the incident remains under investigation, police said.

WARNING: Videos contain explicit language. Viewer discretion is advised.

Photo Credit: @jubyrr/Twitter
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<![CDATA[70 Displaced After Hartford Fire]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:02:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Fire+on+Main+Street+Hartford.JPG

Around 70 people were evacuated from an apartment building at 2604 Main Street in Hartford and an adjacent building on Thursday night as a three-alarm fire raged and a firefighter was hospitalized.

People were in the building when the blaze began around 6 p.m. and everyone was ordered out as firefighters worked to extinguish it.

About 40 families were displaced and the city has booked a block of 50 hotel rooms for them to have a place to stay. The American Red Cross is helping 67 people, including 28 adults and 39 chidren from 18 families.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra called this one of the most intense fires he's seen.

“This is one of the most severe fires I’ve ever seen in the city in terms of witnessing it," Segarra said. "A lot of that has to with a lot of high wind and the asphalt and tar roofing which has consumed itself very fastly.”

Smoke consumed the neighborhood and flames continued to pour out of the apartment building for hours. Between 75 and 100 firefighters from three departments responded and spent at least five hours at the scene.

“Unfortunately, while this fire was burning, there was another fire (that) erupted in another part of town and fortunately we had mutual aid resources from West Hartford and East Hartford combat that fire," Hartford Fire Chief Carolos Huertas said, referring to a fire on Lawrence Avenue.

The building was equipped with a fire alarm system and everyone made it out alive, Hartford firefighters recovered a cat thought to be lost in the blaze and a firefighter was sent to Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford to be treated for smoke inhalation.

The building where the fire started has been deemed a total loss, so no one can live there again, but officials are hopeful that residents at the adjacent building can return soon.

Hartford fire officials said that the residents willl not be let into the adjacent building until demolition of the building destroyed in the fire is complete. The demolition is expected to be done by Monday.

The management company that owns the building is taking residents into the building Saturday to salvage what they can of their belongings and get what they need, according to fire officials.

The Phillips Metropolitan church is also holding a night of fun for the kids in the displaced families on Friday night to keep them from being cooped up in the hotel.

The cause of the fire is unknown because it was too dangerous for the fire marshal's office to do an extensive search of the building, but the fire remains under investigation.

On Thursday April 2, there was another fire on the same street, about 1.2 miles away at an abandoned building at 1363 Main Street, prompting city plans to tear down the historic structure built in 1890.

Firefighters rescued a man who was squatting in the building during that early April fire and officials said he admitted to police that he burned a paper bag inside. He was taken to the hospital before being charged with third-degree trespassing and reckless burning.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Suspected Mobster Arrested on Federal Charges]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:16:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/court-gavel-generic-law.jpg

A suspected mobster from Manchester with links to one of the most famous art heists in United States history was arrested again on Friday, almost exactly a year since his release from prison in a separate case.

Robert Gentile was arrested on federal weapons charges Friday and appeared in court before a judge.

Gentile, also known as "Bobby the Cook" and "Bobby the Chef," is suspected of illegally obtaining a firearm and selling it to a convicted murderer, who helped the FBI set up a sting, according to the arrest warrant.

He was arrested Friday morning when he met with his probation officer and remained in custody. Gentile is accused of violating the terms of his supervised release, illegal sale of a firearm to a convicted felon and possession of a firearm.

Previously, Gentile was sentenced in 2013 in a weapons and prescription drugs case that officials said revealed the FBI's belief that he has information about the largest art heist in history at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

While federal prosecutors said that his most recent arrest is solely connected to violation of his supervised release and not the heist, his attorney, Ryan McGuigan said outside of the courthouse that "if this isn't about the Gardner heist, I'll eat my hat."

Gentile was released from prison on April 16, 2014 and is a year into a three-year term of federal supervised release, the warrant stated.

Not long after he was released, he got in touch with an associate of his who he committed crimes with in the past, telling him he had several firearms hidden that the FBI didn't find, according to the warrant. His contact, a convicted felon, told Gentile he needed a gun because someone owed him drug money and was refusing to pay, according to the warrant. Gentile said he'd arrange to get one to him and arranged meetings and coded phone conversations to go over the plans, the warrant stated.

But Gentile's associate turned out to be an FBI informant and had been feeding the bureau information for at least a year. Federal agents outfitted the informant with recording equipment and $1,000 in government money to purchase the firearm from Gentile in a sting operation, according to the warrant. The transaction was arranged for March 2 at Gentile's Manchester home and Gentile unzipped a couch cushion to retrieve a handgun in a blue bag to sell to his associate, the FBI said.

The FBI kept the informant under surveilance after he left Gentile's house until he met with agents to hand off the weapon and equipment, according to the warrant. The gun was a .38 Colt Cobra revolver loaded with five rounds. Since Smith & Wesson ammunition is made outside of Connecticut, Gentile's transaction was considered interstate commerce, the FBI said.

FBI investigators obtained a warrant for Gentile's arrest on grounds that he violated his supervised release when he, a convicted felon, sold a firearm to another convicted felon, according to the FBI.

During a hearing in the prior case, a federal prosecutor disclosed that the FBI believes Gentile had some involvement with stolen property related to the 1990 heist at the Boston art museum. Thieves made off with 13 masterworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet worth more than a half-billion dollars.

As federal prosecutors were detailing the arrest to the judge, they brought up his gun charges and suspected connection to the heist. They referenced a recorded conversation during which Gentile conveyed some kind of knowledge of the sale of paintings from the heist.

He is being held in federal custody until after his detention hearing, which is scheduled for Monday morning at 10 a.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Motorcyclist, 24, Killed in Plainfield Crash]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:49:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/plainfield+police+department.jpg

A 24-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a crash in Plainfield that happened overnight into Friday.

John R. Duerr, of Plainfield, crashed his 2013 Suzuki GSX-R 600L motorcycle and was found in the woods 30 feet from the eastbound side of Canterbury Road, police said. He was pronounced dead on scene.

Plainfield police and firefighters responded to the area of 274 Canterbury Road at 12:57 p.m. on Friday after receiving reports of a motorcycle accident. They believe the crash happened between Thursday night and the early hours of Friday morning.

Police ask anyone with information to call the Plainfield Police Department at 860-564-0804.

No further information was immediately available. The crash remains under investigation.

<![CDATA[High School Student Hit By Car in Southington]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:04:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/southington+student+hit+by+car+1200.jpg

A Southington High School student was hit by a car on Pleasant Street in town Friday afternoon.

The car hit the female  student at about 2:40 p.m. near 500 Pleasant Street in Southington. The student was taken to the hospital. Her name and identity hasn't been released.

Southington Superintendent Timothy Connellan said that the student sufferered from some lacerations and that the injuries don't appear to be serious, based on the information he received. Police have not confirmed the nature of her injuries or her condition.

The accident happened in a residential area and a man who lives nearby said he heard the impact and ran outside.

Mohan Subramanam said that the girl was hit in the forehead and was saying her leg hurt.

"But, yeah, it was a bit scary, actually, because normally people go at high-speed play in this place," Subramanam said.

The circumstances of the accident are unknown. The car that hit the girl may have been driven by another Southington High School student, but that is unclear at this time.

The road is closed in the area.

Further information wasn't immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Motorcyclist Hospitalized After Norwich Crash]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:56:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Norwich+Police.jpg

A motorcyclist was hospitalized after a collision with a car on Washington Street near Route 2 in Norwich Friday night.

The road is closed, but is expected to reopen to traffic in an hour.

The motorcyclist's injuries don't appear to be life-threatening, police said. The call about the crash came in at 5:24 p.m.

The motorcyclist was transported to Backus Hospital and the patient's condition is unknown. Police have not released the individual's identity or the name of the driver of the car.

An accident reconstruction team is on scene.

<![CDATA[White House Fence Jumper: Guilty]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:22:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Dominic+Adesanya+courtroom+sketch.jpg

A Maryland man pleaded guilty after climbing the White House fence in October, 2014 and running through the North Lawn.

Dominic Adesanya, 23, formerly of Bel Air, Maryland, was taken down by Secret Service officers and K-9 units after he got over the fence on Oct. 24. He was briefly hospitalized after suffering dog bites to his arms, back, chest and knee.

His guilty plea to entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds carries a statutory maximum of a year in prison and a potential fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 2, 2015.

Adesanya could have been released on person recognizance, but he is being held in two other cases, including one that charged him with jumping a security barrier at the White House in July, 2014.

President Barack Obama was at the White House during the October incident.

Photo Credit: Art Lien/Background AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Robbed Banks to Bail Girlfriend Out of Jail: Cops]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:17:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/middletown+police+department.JPG

A South Windsor man is suspected of robbing banks in Middletown and East Hartford to get money to bail his girlfriend out of jail, police said.

Middletown police arrested Martin Silvestro, 31, on Friday in connection to a robbery March 26 at Wells Fargo Bank in town.

In a joint investigation with East Hartford police, Middletown officers identified Silvestro as the suspected bank robber. He is also suspected of robbing a bank in East Hartford.

Police said he did so in order to obtain money to post bond to get his girlfriend out of prison.

Police arrested him on a warrant and writ of habeas corpus because he was incarcerated on separate charges at the time, police said.

Middletown police charged him with first-degree larceny, first-degree robbery and first-degree threatening. His bond was set at $200,000 and he was scheduled to appear in court on April 17.

<![CDATA[Groton Police Arrest Bank Robbery Suspect]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:19:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/groton+peoples+bank+suspect.jpg

Groton Police have arrested a man suspected of robbing the People's United Bank at a Groton supermarket on Wednesday afternoon.

According to police, a man in his late 20s or early 30s entered the Super Stop and Shop on Route 12 just before 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, robbed the bank branch there and got away with an undisclosed amount of money.

The getaway car was described as a gray 2003-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a chrome grill on the front.

Police have arrested  Vincent Nicastro, 32, of Westerly, Rhode Island, and charged him with robbery in the third degree and larceny in the sixth degree.

Rhode Island immediately took Nicastro into custody as a fugitive from justice after Groton police obtained a warrant for him. 

Nicastro was held in Rhode Island but has since been extradited back to Connecticut.

The robbery was the second at the bank in a week.

Photo Credit: Groton Town Police]]>
<![CDATA[Waterbury Police Investigate Armed Robbery at Sunoco]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:05:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Waterbury+armed+robbery+1200.jpg

Waterbury police are investigating an armed robbery at a Sunoco Gas in Waterbury on Tuesday.

The robbery happened at 245 Chase Ave. and police are looking for a dark gray Ford F250 pickup with rooftop running lights and side steps.

The robber was described as a 40- to 50-year-old man who was wearing a black baseball hat and gray sweater. He had a silver rifle, according to police.

If you have information about the robbery, call Waterbury police at 203-574-6941, Crimestoppers at 203-755-1234 or email wpdmedia@wtbypd.org with any information.

Photo Credit: Waterbury Police]]>
<![CDATA[Police Arrest 2 in North Haven Car Break-Ins, Seek Third Burglar]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:54:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/North+Haven+police+generic.JPG

Police have arrested two suspects connected to car break-ins in the Rock Road area in North Haven and are looking for a third person who may be involved.

Charles Braxton, 19, and a North Haven individual under 18 years old were charged with third-degree burglary, sixth-degree larceny and conspiracy. Police are still looking for a third person connected to the car burglaries.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[School CEO Leaves Amid Fed. Probe]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:13:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/tlmd_brightcove_2067658930001_4175786487001_cps_barbara_byrd_bennett_investigacion_federal_escuelas_publicas_chicago_conflicto_interes.jpg

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett is taking a leave of absence amid a federal investigation into a no-bid contract awarded to one of her former employers, and Board of Education Vice President Jesse Ruiz has been named interim CEO, President David Vitale announced Friday.

Ruiz said he was "ready and eager to take on the responsibility" of the position. 

Both men at an afternoon press conference defended the district and the process by which the 2013 contract to a Wilmette-based professional development agency was handed out. 

Vitale acknowledged he knew Byrd-Bennett was a former employee of the firm and said that fact gave him no pause.

"Many of us have prior lives in which we've engaged with organizations .. that still might provide quality service to CPS," he said. 

Asked of his own affirmative vote on the contract, Vitale said SUPES offered a "unique" program for principal training and that discussions were "extensive and well thought-out." And he pressed that he'd done nothing wrong.

"I have no intention of stepping down," he said. 

In a statement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said that while there have been no formal allegations, the mayor "has zero tolerance for any type of misconduct from public officials."

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told NBC Chicago that Byrd-Bennett's leave of absence could be a good move for her. 

"I think, if she were out trying to do work, there's this cloud," Lewis said. "It's a distraction. This is a good opportunity for her."

Byrd-Bennett's contract with CPS matures in June. She has the option to extend it for another year but Vitale said she so far has not exercised that option. 

Byrd-Bennett's longevity with the district was questioned this week when it was confirmed that federal authorities were looking into whether she received any kickbacks from the SUPES agreement. 

The principal of a North Side school on Thursday described the training SUPES provided as a "colossal waste of time." 

The Board of Education’s Inspector General has been looking into the SUPES agreement for months. While nothing official has been released, there was a cryptic reference in the IG’s year-end report which spoke of an investigation which may have been the inquiry into the controversial deal.

Byrd-Bennett, hand-picked by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, came on board and within six months helped to shutter dozens of public schools in an effort to address the district's financial problems. She said at the time that closing the schools was an urgent matter, and that delaying the decision would be "criminal."

She had previously served as the Chief Education Advisor for CPS before stepping into the top spot of the nation's third largest school system in 2012 following the resignation of Jean-Claude Brizard.

She came to Chicago from Cleveland, where she spent seven years as CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Prior to that, she was the Chief Academic and Accountability manager for Detroit Public Schools and had jobs jobs as a teacher, principal and superintendent in her native New York City. 

<![CDATA[Bristol Water Department to Flush Hydrants]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:48:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Fire-Hydrant-Red-generic.jpg

The Bristol Water Department is alerting residents that it will be flushing fire hydrants in some areas of town.

The hydrant flushing will happen on Wednesday, April 22 and Thursday, April 23 on the following streets and nearby areas:

  • Hawthorne Street
  • Jeannette Street
  • Hemlock Street
  • Birch Street
  • James Drew Lane
  • Drayla Drive
  • Rita Drive
  • Cronin Street
  • Sterling Way
  • Hadden Street
  • Yarde Street
  • Owsianko Lane
  • Metro Street
  • Hepworth Street
  • Perry Road
  • Donna Lane
  • Dino Road
  • Noel Lane
  • Violet Drive
  • Daisy Circle
  • Candlewood Drive

Residents in those areas could see low pressure and discolored water during and after the flushing, so the water department is advising people to avoid washing clothes during those times.

More information is available at bristolwaterdept.org and residents can also sign up for email notifications there.

Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago's Cardinal Francis George Dies at 78]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:36:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_cardinal_francis_george1.jpg

Cardinal Francis George, the sixth cardinal to lead Chicago's 2.3 million Catholics, has died after years of battling cancer. He was 78.

"A man of peace, tenacity and courage has been called home to the Lord," Archbishop Blase Cupich said Friday, remembering the Cardinal as a respected leader and proud life-long Chicagoan.

George passed away at 10:45 a.m. at his residence, Cupich confirmed.

"He pursued an over-full schedule, always choosing the church over his own comfort and the people over his own needs," Cupich said. "Let us heed his example and be a little more brave, a little more steadfast and a lot more loving. This is the surest way to honor his life and celebrate his return to the presence of God."

A group of Chicago Catholic priests received a text message just after noon about his passing.

"Please add Cardinal George to your prayers today," St. Giles Parish in Oak Park wrote in a post online. "May he rest in eternal peace."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said George "led a remarkable life of faith and service."

“He lent his counsel to those in distress, his comfort to those in despair and he inspired us all with his courage in his final days," Emanuel said. "He could always be counted on to provide those granite qualities to the countless people who relied on them when it mattered the most."

A Chicago native, George was born on the city's West Side to parents Julia and Francis. He attended St. Pascal before leaving the city to attend seminary in high school and pursue his dream of becoming a priest.

"I'd like to think it was a call from God," George recalled to NBC 5. "I started to think about it when I received First Holy Communion."

He was known for his endurance. George contracted polio at age 13, and Chicago's Quigley Seminary rejected him. Instead he joined the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Despite a leg brace, he was determined to enjoy life.

With the Oblates, George rose through the ranks and was based in Rome for 12 years, traveling the world as their Vicar General.

He returned to Chicago by way of Portland, where he was archbishop, and Yakima, Washington, where he was bishop for five years.

A year after his Chicago appointment, Pope John Paul II elevated George to the College of Cardinals, and in 2007, he became the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"It's a symbolic post," George said in November 2007.

As a cardinal, he played a role in the selection of two popes, Benedict the 16th and Francis, and was known as the go-to American church leader.

"It was necessary to make some changes," he told NBC 5 in March 2013. "The style is the substance."

Difficult church finances forced George to close Catholic schools and lay off staffers. His handling of the priest sex abuse crisis, he told reporters, was a low point, and he admitted he did not fully accept how grave the situation was.

"Things came a little unraveled," he said. "Then you're not quite sure whom can you trust."

He didn't back away from social controversies, though. He opposed Obamacare, met privately with Catholic politicians like Gov. Pat Quinn and spoke out against same-sex marriage.

"Over the years he tangled with Father Michael Pfleger's outspoken style but eventually asked him to be the archdiocese's voice against violence.

"I always had a good relationship with Father Pfleger, but sometimes he says things I can't agree with," George said in 2012.

The cardinal's first bout with cancer came in 2006, in his bladder. The cancer then returned in his kidney and liver in 2012. In early March, he wrote to parishioners that he would begin a more aggressive round of chemotherapy and said, "it will probably eventually be the cause of my death."

Just weeks before celebrating his 50th anniversary as a priest, the cardinal spoke of one day meeting the next archbishop of Chicago.

"I would hope that I would meet my successor," George said at the time.

On Sept. 20, he did just that, meeting Spokane's Bishop Blase Cupich, Pope Francis' pick to succeed Cardinal George.

An apartment steps away from Holy Name was ready for the cardinal's retirement, but he never moved in. In his final months, George tried a new clinical trial to fight his cancer.

He will be remembered for enduring a rigorous schedule to the end. Chicago is known as the flagship American diocese, and the changes the Church has witnessed here have often shaped it worldwide.

"I love Chicago, I love being here, but sometimes I don't love everything that happens, nobody does," he said.

<![CDATA[Man With Machete Accused of Choking Girlfriend in Hartford]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:19:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Machete+in+Hartford+attack+1200.jpg

Hartford police have arrested a man accused of attacking and choking his girlfriend and throwing her daughter to the ground early Thursday morning.

When police responded to Lincoln Street around 5 a.m. on Thursday to investigate a domestic complaint, they found William Rodriguez, 39, of Hartford, outside, hitting the door and yelling, and a machete leaning against the door in front of him, police said.

Rodriguez’s girlfriend said he had attacked her for an unknown reason, choked her and threw her daughter to the ground, police said.

When Rodriguez went outside to his car, the victim locked the door and called the police.

Police said she had marks on her neck and EMS was responded.

Rodriguez was charged with two counts of risk of injury to a minor, disorderly conduct, second-degree strangulation, third-degree criminal mischief, carrying a dangerous weapon, second-degree threatening, two counts of carrying a pistol without a permit, obliterated serial number, theft of firearm, high-capacity magazine and two counts of carrying a firearm under the influence.

Police said the victim and three children were in the apartment during the alleged assault and Rodriguez had two guns on him.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Called in Bomb Threat to Medical Lab: Police]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:08:32 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Generic+Police+Lights+bar.jpg

A woman is facing charges after calling in a bomb threat to a lab in the hospital at the Bradley Memorial Medical Arts building in Southington last Friday, police said.

Michelle Cyr, 44, of Southington, called the medical arts lab at 1:05 p.m. on April 10 and told the person who answered the phone that she was going to come to the building and blow it up with a bomb, police said. The person who answered her call reported the conversation to police, who responded to the Hospital of Central Connecticut at the Bradley Memorial Medical Arts facility at about 1:10 p.m.

Police identified Cyr as the caller and charged her with first-degree threawtening and second-degree breach of peace.

She was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Bristol Superior Court on April 20.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Crash With Injuries Reported on Route 9 in Middletown]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:38:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Middletown+Route+9+crash+1200.jpg

One lane of Route 9 South is closed in Middletown after a multi-vehicle crash and injuries are reported.

The crash is near exit 16 and two to three cars are involved.

An ambulance and firefighters are at the scene.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Bristol Police Warn Snow Plow Owners of Thefts]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:54:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2015-02-02-21h38m43s181.png

Bristol police are warning residents with snow plows to protect them because of several snow plows thefts in the region.

The thieves steal the plows when they are disconnected from the vehicles by driving up to the plow, connecting to it their own vehicle and driving away, police said.

Bristol police received one report in December 2014 and want to get the word out so others don’t fall victim to the trend.

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Beyond Plastic: 3-D Printing Goes Green]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:35:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tree-in-printer-186073134.jpg

As 3-D printing revolutionizes manufacturing, companies are developing greener ways to 3-D print, creating new technologies to cut back on plastic waste and reduce manufacturers' carbon footprints.

Dr. Joshua Pearce, a professor at Michigan Technological University, has worked to develop eco-friendly techniques. He's optimistic about the future environmental impact of 3-D printing, which has already helped build Barcelona's towering cathedral La Sagrada Familia and “robohands” for children.

In a study last year, he created a “Recyclebot” to create plastic filament — the material 3-D printers use to create structures from digital designs — from recycled milk jugs, and found that using recycled materials at home to create filament used one fortieth the amount of energy it would take to create it commercially.

Meanwhile, more companies are taking that same effort commercial. Traditionally, two types of filament are used for 3-D printing: acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA). Generally, ABS, a petroleum-based polymer, is less environmentally friendly than PLA, a biodegradable corn-based plastic, but now, some new, greener kinds of ABS filament are being made.

Black Eyed Peas rapper will.i.am is behind one of those. The rapper turned tech guru said that after a concert in Costa Rica in 2007, he noticed a lot of waste left behind in the stands and was determined to do something about it. He's a strong believer in 3-D printing's potential. “Eventually 3D printing will print people," he told Dezeen Magazine.

He's now the chief creative officer of 3-D printing company 3D Systems Inc., and he partnered with Coca-Cola on a project called EKOCYCLE in 2012 to create branded products made of recycled plastic waste like Coke bottles. His new 3-D printer, the $1,199 EKOCYCLE Cube, takes after Pearce’s Recyclebot and transforms cartridges of filament, each containing at least three plastic Coke bottles, into whatever a consumer designs. 

Three-D printer reseller 3D Printlife presented the first environmentally friendly ABS filament in January. Its material breaks down into carbon dioxide and methane when consumed by bacteria in landfills, making it biodegradable like PLA filament, but just as durable as ABS plastic.

The company's vice-president of marketing Joel Rush said the company wanted to encourage companies to consider their carbon footprints. Every $59.99 spool it manufactures is made out of cardboard and comes with soil paper with seeds, so that consumers can sprout plants.

Another 3-D printing filament maker is sourcing its ABS recycled plastic mostly from landfills. Chicago-based Dimension Polymers, which raised more than $20,000 on Kickstarter, was launching its $30 spools at the New York 3-D design show from April 13 to 17. Co-founder Gerald Galazin says the products could reduce toxins from petroleum-based production by 66 percent.

But new 3-D printing technology might wipe out any need for recycled filament, especially if it succeeds.

Carbon3D's CEO Joseph DeSimone debuted his new technology at a TED conference in Vancouver in March, and told Re/code the company expects to be commercializing in a year.

His technology — known as CLIP, or Continuous Liquid Interface Production — is inspired by a scene in “Terminator 2": Like the T-1000 that comes up from metallic liquid in the movie, a 3-D printed object grows out of a pool of resin by using light and oxygen. The CLIP technology can work 25 to 100 times faster than traditional 3-D printers and can use a variety of materials. 

At the rate 3-D printing technology is growing, experts say its will become faster and greener. Siemens predicts that 3-D printing will be 50 percent cheaper and 400 percent faster in the next five years. And Pearce points out that even now, 3-D printing has a crucial advantage over traditional manufacturing techniques: its relative lack of waste.

In 2013 he conducted a life-cycle analysis that found 3-D printers used 41 to 64 percent less energy than traditional manufacturing machines — mostly, he said, because they created less waste than mass manufacturing. The more waste left over, the more energy is needed to melt it, he explained, whereas 3-D printing uses only the amount of material required to finish the product.

“Even though your 3-D printer will use more energy per product, you are making a better product with less material,” he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Driver Hospitalized After Hitting Church in Torrington ]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:36:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Car+Hit+St.+Maron+Maronite+Church+on+Main+Street+in+Torrington+1200.jpg

A woman has been taken to the hospital after crashing into a church in Torrington.

Officials said the woman behind the wheel was coming out of a drive-through and went over the lawn, hit a parked car, bounced off it, careened across the parking lot of St. Maron Maronite Church on Main Street in Torrington, and hit the building.

The crash happened across from police department, officials said.

The driver's injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Animal Control Searches for Dog That Bit 81-Year-Old Man]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:47:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/stratford+police+cruiser+generic.jpg

Stratford Animal Control is looking for a dog that bit an 81-year-old man to ensure the animal had been vaccinated for rabies and the man does not need additional treatment.

Police said the man was jogging when he was bitten on the right forearm on East Main Street, about halfway between Main Street and Wilcoxson Avenue , around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.

The dog, described as a medium-size collie type dog with long orange and white fur, ran off and police are looking for the dog’s owner.

The man suffered minor puncture wounds and was treated.

If you have information on the dog owner, call Stratford Animal Control (203) 385-4068.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Storm Draft Mosqueda-Lewis With No. 3 Pick]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:20:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kaleena+mosqueda+lewis+uconn.jpg

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis grew up in California and now, after four outstanding years at UConn -- including three national titles -- she's returning to the west. She was selected third overall by the Seattle Storm in Thursday's WNBA Draft.

I’m excited,” Mosqueda-Lewis said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “My family is excited that they’ll be able to come to more games and see me more often.

“This is something me and my family have been dreaming about since I started playing basketball. To finally hear my name called and be part of something that I’ve been watching since I was little. It’s amazing. ...

“I’m really proud and honored that Seattle thinks I can be part of their organization,” Mosqueda-Lewis continued. “I’m really excited to play with Sue (Bird) and excited to play with Jewell.”

That would be Jewell Loyd, the Notre Dame standout whom Seattle took with the No. 1 pick.

“We won a gold medal together and we’re friends now,” said Loyd, who played with Mosqueda-Lewis USA Basketball’s 2010 national team that won the gold medal at the FIBA U-17 world championships. “I love playing with Kaleena.”

Heading into the draft, there were questions about where Mosqueda-Lewis would play -- off guard or small forward. Wherever the Storm sees fit to put her, she plans on having success.

“I think I’ll be able to get my shot off,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “I think I’m going to have great teammates around me to help me. And I’m going to continue to work on my game and try to elevate it to another level. Hopefully my 3-point shooting didn’t end in college. I’m going to have to prove myself like every rookie in this league.”

<![CDATA[Bus Breaks Down in Middle of I-95 in Norwalk]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:37:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bus+broken+down+in+Norwalk+1200.jpg

A bus carrying around 40 people broke down in the center lane of Interstate 95 South in Norwalk this morning, causing heavy traffic delays.

The bus has since been moved, and delays are easing, but the passengers could be stranded for awhile. 

The company that operates the bus is sending another vehicle to transport the passengers, but it is coming from Massachusetts, around three to four hours away, so state police are looking for alternate arrangements to move the passengers to a safe location.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation Cameras]]>
<![CDATA[Feds Seek 17-Year Sentence in 2013 Robbery and Kidnapping]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:29:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/FAIRFIELDJEWELER911CALL_722x406_25948739732.jpg

One of three men who pleaded guilty to being in involved in a 2013 violent kidnapping in Meriden and jewelry store robbery in Fairfield will be sentenced on Friday.

Federal prosecutors are calling for a sentence of at least 17 years in prison for William Davis, 27, of Allentown, Pennsylvania at the hearing in Hartford.

Authorities said armed robbers broke into an apartment on Gravel Street in Meriden in April 2013 and bound and blindfolded four people.

Two of the robbers then drove two victims to Lenox Jewelers in Fairfield, where the victims worked.

Prosecutors said the robbers stole $4 million in jewelry and watches.

Davis pleaded guilty in December. His attorney has suggested a 10-year prison sentence.

Two of the four other defendants in the case have pleaded guilty but have not been sentenced and two are still awaiting trial.


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<![CDATA[4-Year-Old Boy's Wheelchair Stolen]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:33:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/4-year-olds+wheelchair+stolen+surveillance+video.jpg

Someone took a 4-year-old boy's wheelchair from the lobby of a Langley Park, Maryland, apartment building this week, according to Prince George's County Police.

The boy's mother typically carries him to their second-floor apartment on Merrimac Drive because it's easier. She did so again Sunday night, but when she returned for the wheelchair Monday morning, it was gone.

"This family already faces challenges and shouldn’t be burdened with the emotional and financial stress of the theft of this wheelchair," Capt. Ken Humbel said. "The suspect we’re looking for has no heart.”

Surveillance video shows the thief pushing the wheelchair through a parking lot.

Anyone with information about the theft should call police at 301-699-2601 or Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS.

Police are also in contact with a foundation that may help find a replacement wheelchair.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Doc-Averse Man Wraps Wound in Tape]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:06:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/duct-tape21.jpg

Authorities are investigating an apparent accidental shooting that left an upstate New York man with a hand wound that he wrapped in duct tape because he has an aversion to doctors.

Police in Glens Falls say 56-year-old Carl Critelli was drinking with friends late at night this week when one of them started passing around his .32-caliber handgun.

The gun went off, sending a bullet tore through Critelli's left hand and causing serious damage to two fingers. Critelli told The Post-Star of Glens Falls that he didn't seek medical help because he doesn't like doctors.

Instead, he put bandages on the wound and wrapped it with duct tape.

The 45-year-old man who owned the gun was charged Wednesday after telling police what happened.

Police convinced Critelli to go to a hospital for treatment.

<![CDATA[Silver Alert Canceled for Torrington 8-Year-Old and Mother]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:01:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/James+and+Heidi+Klussman.jpg

Police have canceled a Silver Alert for an 8-year-old Torrington boy reported missing. 

Police said this was a custody issue between divorced parents and James Klussman was with his biological mother, Heidi Klussman, 32.

James' father called police when the mother did not drop James off, police said.

Photo Credit: Torrington Police]]>
<![CDATA[Guardsmen Remain Jailed on Gun Sale]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 23:09:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CasillasReyesGunsLGcurves.jpg

Two members of the California Army National Guard pleaded not guilty in federal court on Thursday to charges that they sold firearms to a purported Mexican drug cartel member.

The drug cartel member was actually an undercover ATF agent who engaged in a fourth-month sting leading to Wednesday’s arrest of the men, officials said.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Reyes, who enlisted with the California Army National Guard in 2008 after serving in the Marine Corps, appeared in court along with 22-year-old Specialist Jaime Casillas, who enlisted in 2011.

A federal judge ordered the two men be held in custody without bail, as prosecutors had argued the two frequently travel to Mexico and should be considered flight risks. The judge will address bail on April 20.

Reyes was taken into custody at his La Mesa home and Casillas was arrested during a traffic stop in El Cajon.

Court documents reveal that Reyes and Casillas sold dozens of firearms stolen from the military, including an AR-15 style rifle with a mounted scope. More than 4,000 rounds of military ammunition in sealed crates and 24 military body armor vests also were allegedly stolen, according to court documents.

The undercover agent purchasing the products told the men – who were in their uniforms for at least part of the sales process - that their weapons would be shipped to drug cartels in Mexico, the complaint said. During one transaction, the men allegedly showed up in their uniforms and collected $2,150 from the agent for an AR-15 rifle.

The California National Guard, which was not aware of the investigation until the men’s arrest on Wednesday, said it is cooperating with the federal probe.

Agents are trying to determine if any other guardsmen from the El Cajon Armory were involved.

Prosecutors called the allegations an ultimate betrayal.

“I think it’s shocking to every American sensibility,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Hayden said. “Men and women committed to wearing the uniform in charge of defense would turn around and do this.”

Photo Credit: Krentz Johnson]]>
<![CDATA[And This Big Piggy Went Home: Bridgeport's 'Tail' of Lolita]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 01:34:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Lolita+the+Pig+1200.jpg

And this little piggy came home. Or in Bridgeport's case, a big, 50-pound piggy named Lolita.

A family on Forestview Road discovered the 5-month-old pot-bellied pig roaming in their yard on Saturday and called Animal Control, which has since found her a new home.

“Someone woke up and found a pig in their back yard and contacted us," Bridgeport Animal Control Officer Gina Gambino said in a statement, admitting she was initially in disbelief. “In all my years as an animal control officer, I never thought I would be picking up a pig in the middle of Bridgeport. But here she was, a big, a dark-colored pig in a little garden area.”

So she picked her up from the family and named her Cindy until she learned her name was really Lolita.

People responded to the photo of the pig posted on the Bridgeport animal shelter's Facebook page and many brought vegetables to feed the pig. Gambino also bought pig food from a farm.

While Gambino said getting a call about a roaming pig is rare, she said that it's not the first time it's happened in Connecticut. Stratford's animal control unit "corralled a pig on Interstate 95 recently, she said in a news release. So, she turned to them for advice.

"They knew exactly what to do," she said.

Bridgeport staff put blankets on the floor for the pig to make her comfortable and kept her in her own wing of the kennel because loud noises can stress pigs out, according to Bridgeport officials.

In the event she couldn't find the owners, Gambino arranged for the state Department of Agriculture to raise her on one of its farms.

On Thursday, the pig's owners came forward, but decided to surrender her so she could live on a the Niantic farm where Gambino had worked out a home for her. Nonetheless, Gambino was thankful for the outpouring of generosity from the community.

“It was amazing when people came in with fresh vegetables for Lolita -- and she thoroughly enjoyed them,” Gambino said. “She will have a great new home. But we also have amazing dogs and cats who want forever homes as well, so please come down to the shelter.”

Now that Lolita has her new home, the shelter perhaps has another mission -- to find a home for a mixed-breed dog there named Miss Piggy.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department
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<![CDATA[Police Investigate Thefts, Damage at Meriden Humane Society]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 23:26:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Meriden+Humane+Society+Damage+1200.jpg

Police are investigating thefts and property damage at the Meriden Humane Society.

A couple metal cages were stolen and some larger dog runs at the facility were disassembled, police said.

The humane society is located at 311 Meriden Avenue.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>