<![CDATA[NBC New York - Local News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.comen-usFri, 09 Dec 2016 02:49:52 -0500Fri, 09 Dec 2016 02:49:52 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Woman Arrested for DWI Dies in Police Holding Cell: NYPD]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:30:24 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/219*120/NYPD_car.jpg

A woman has died in an NYPD holding cell after she was arrested for driving while impaired by drugs, authorities say.

Police say the 34-year-old woman was arrested by Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority officers on Thursday at approximately 4:35 a.m. for driving while impaired and operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs.

The woman was found slumped behind the wheel of her car at the Verrazan-Narrows Bridge toll, according to authorities. Anti-overdose medication was administered and she was taken to Staten Island Hospital North for evaluation.

After treatment, the woman wass released and taken to the Staten Island police station. The woman was placed in a holding cell, where she was later found unconscious, police said.

Emergency services responded and pronounced her dead at the scene.

The exact cause of death will be deterimined by a medical examiner.

Police say the woman's identification is being held until her family has been properly notified.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Settles Suit Alleging Police Brutality for $614K]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:25:43 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/police-brutality-settlement-1208.jpg

New York City has settled a civil rights lawsuit filed by a man who claimed he was viciously beaten by NYPD officers.

Jateik Reed and the city settled the suit stemming from an arrest on Jan. 26, 2012, for $614,500. A spokesman for the city law department said the settlement was in the city’s best interest.

Reed's attorney said this week that "officers lied about the incident and what happened later at the precinct."

Reed was 19 when he and two friends were illegally stopped and frisked by officers in the 42nd precinct. Cellphone and surveillance video from the encounter showed officers throwing reed to the ground and repeatedly striking him with batons; some officers kicked him.

Reed, now 24, claimed he was also beaten in an NYPD van and at the precinct.

He was accused of drug possession, assault and other crimes, but the charges were later dismissed.

Members of Reed’s family claimed in the lawsuit they were also assaulted by police officers when they arrived at the 42nd precinct.

Reed and his family said they decided to speak out after they saw recent I-Team reports about allegations of police misconduct in the same precinct.

“Nothing’s changed,” Reed said. “It’s gotten worse.”

The NYPD said officers involved in the Reed case were disciplined but declined to provide specifics.

The internal affairs bureau is actively investigating current allegations of false arrests and witness intimidation in the 42nd precinct.

One of the officers named in Reed's suit, David Terrell, was placed on modified duty in the Manhattan court system earlier this week.

The specific reason he was stripped of his badge and gun weren't revealed, but the officer had been seen on cellphone video playing dice on a street corner in what one man said was a gamble for his own freedom. 

Last week, the I-Team reported that the DA’s office had dismissed murder cases against two men in the 42nd precinct who had been held in jail for nearly three years awaiting trial.

 Multiple teenagers have also told the I-Team they were pressured to lie in criminal cases and threatened with beatings.

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<![CDATA[Video of Gunman Shooting Corrections Officer Released]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:14:40 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/corrections.jpg

The NYPD has released footage showing the moment a corrections officer was gunned down as she sat in her car in Brooklyn on Monday.

Police are now asking for the public's help identifying two men and a car seen in the surveillance footage. 

Alastasia Bryan, known as Stacey, was on her way to work, just steps from her mother’s house in the Flatlands, when a man came up and fired into the vehicle. Police said she was shot multiple times in the head and torso, and pronounced dead at the scene.

In the footage released Thursday, authorities said a suspect could be seen walking up to the 25-year-old's car and firing multiple shots into the driver's side window.

The suspect then fled westbound on Avenue L, to a gold or tan-colored four-door Hyundai Elantra sedan. Bryan was just one month on the job when she was gunned down.

Police believe it was a targeted killing, but a motive is unknown.

The plea for information comes days after friends, family and supporters gathered in Brooklyn to mourn Bryan's death. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.


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<![CDATA[Christmas Grinch Hits NY Home Three Nights in a Row: Family]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 22:56:44 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ALIYU+STOLEN+CHRISTMAS+DECORATIONS+STOLEN+11PM+PKG+-+22051804_W.jpg

A Staten Island family says its Christmas decorations have been swiped three nights in a row, and they believe it's the same person each time.

David Corimer says his neighbor's surveillance footage captured the real life grinch stealing more than $500 worth of Christmas decorations from his Eltingville home.

He said the thefts were staggered over three days, Monday through to Wednesday.

"The first night I had a snow globe with Anna and Elsa, then I had Rudolph, he took that the second night, then he took a polar bear last night," Corimer said.

Looking at the surveillance footage, Corimer believed the crime was committed by the same person. 

"They had the same clothes, same hat, same everything," he said.

He said the grinch had left his three children in tears. 

Police said they didn't know if the thief had hit other homes, but a few blocks away, another family says their guilt-stricken thief returned two stolen Christmas lights with a handwritten apology note after he was captured on surveillance video and shamed on social media. 

Corimer planned to stay up at night to watch for the grinch, while police were also patrolling the area to make sure the theft didn't happen a fourth night in a row.

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<![CDATA[Vigil Held for NYC Toddlers Killed by Exposure to Hot Steam]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:23:05 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/COLD+2+KIDS+KILLED+11PM+-+01000419_WNBC_000000014174878.jpg

A memorial was held outside the window of a family's apartment in the Bronx where two toddler sisters were killed by exposure to hot steam from a malfunctioning radiator valve.

As night fell over Hunts Point on Thursday, candles lit up a piece of sidewalk outside the city-owned Bronx apartment building where the family was staying while homeless, as neighbors and well-wishers showed up with balloons to remember the girls.

Earlier on Thursday, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner said the cause of the toddlers' deaths was accidental, and was caused by "hyperthermia and thermal injuries due to exposure to hot steam".

Mayor de Blasio has pledged a thorough, multi-agency investigation into the "freak accident". The Fire Department said the radiator valve inside their first floor apartment malfunctioned, sending high pressure steam shooting out to fill the apartment on Hunts Point Avenue shortly after noon Wednesday. 

The children, identified as Scylee Vayoh, 1, and Ibanez Ambrose, 2, were severely burned.

At a news briefing Thursday, de Blasio said multiple agencies, including the NYPD and Department of Homeless Services, are investigating what he said appeared to be an "extraordinary and unprecedented accident." 

"No one I've talked to so far in any agency has ever seen anything like this," de Blasio said. "We need to understand what happened here. This was a freak accident, a series of painful coincidences that led to the loss of these children."

But neighbors who lived in the same building had growing concerns about their own safety. Inspectors have been to each apartment and checked each radiator, but residents say they had filed complaints about the premise leading up the girls' deaths.

"So it takes a tragedy of 2 little girls to lose their lives for them to come and inspect?," one resident asked. "It doesn't make any sense. Too little, too late."

The mayor said the problem appeared contained to the radiator valve in the children's apartment. 


He said an investigation of the apartment building last month yielded no "high priority" violations. And he said there were no specific complaints to the city's knowledge that would have indicated such a tragedy was looming. NYPD officials said Thursday that another routine inspection on Monday didn't reveal anything "untoward."

"We are trying to put the pieces together but so far cannot understand how something like this could have happened," de Blasio said.

Kids' drawings and photos decorated the small apartment where the children lived with their parents, the mayor said, describing the scene as painful to see.

"It was clearly a warm and loving household," de Blasio said.

Neighbors told NBC 4 New York they heard a loud boom at the time of the steam blast and fled the building.

"The babies came out, they were burned all over the body -- burned blue, and there was no fire, so steam coming from somewhere," said Martiza Morales, recalling they "were not moving at all."

The children's parents ran out in tears, neighbors said.

"They were screaming for help. They say the radiator exploded in there," said Annie Martinez.

Martinez said she was supposed to babysit for the children on Thursday, and hasn't been albe to sleep since the explosion. She said she had been complaining about conditions in her apartment for months and nothing was done until after the blast. 

"All these tenants have been giving complaints," she said. "All these violations and they didn't do anything about it."

Radio transmissions between the dispatcher and emergency responders revealed a grim scene.

"It looks like it might have been something to do with a heater," the dispatcher could be heard saying. "We don't know if it blew up or what. But a heater injured those two kids, and they're in cardiac arrest right now."

"We got a lot of calls for smoke, so it looks like it might have been steam," the dispatcher added.

The city's social services department said after the blast that the children and their family were among five placed at the apartment building being used as a so-called "cluster site" -- a building with a mix of renters and homeless families. The other families at the apartment were moved to other shelters.

"We are devastated by this tragedy," the department said in a statement. "We are investigating and taking steps to immediately transfer the four other families being sheltered at this location to another shelter.”

City records show that the apartment where the blast went off had no open violations with the city, but that the building itself had 60 violations. There had been 46 complaints called into 311 this year for the building, including three for radiators."

One of the landlords of the building was on the city advocate's list of the 100 worst landlords. NBC 4 New York has reached out to the landlord's attorney for comment.

In a statement Thursday, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said he was outraged by the deaths of the children and called on the city to release a roadmap to tackle the homeless crisis.

"Cluster sites can be extremely dangerous for homeless families. Hotels are extraordinarily expensive and provide limited services. These options make no sense," Stringer said. "That’s why we need a clear, transparent, public plan. While I know that progress will take time, we cannot continue to accept the status quo. The city promised to end its reliance on both of these forms of shelter – and we are no doubt trending in the wrong direction."

Stringer said cluster sites not previously identified for closure have more than 13,000 open violations, including 1,000 that are "high priority."

"What a horrifying loss," he said of the little girls who lost their lives. "My heart goes out to this family in this time of unimaginable pain."

De Blasio said Thursday the city wants to move away from cluster sites, but doesn't want homeless people living on the street. He said his administration would work to develop a timeline and additional strategic planning. In the meantime, he said the city will perform checks at 3,000 cluster sites.

A representative for the non-profit Bedco, which placed the Ambrose family, declined to comment to NBC 4 New York. The city said it was in the process of entering a contract with Bedco to place more homeless families.

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<![CDATA[Trump Taps Fast-Food CEO as Labor Secretary]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:45:18 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/4P+SIFF+TRUMP+OSU+VISIT+PKG+-+00002818_WNBC_000000014174213.jpg President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday nominated Andy Puzder, the outspoken CEO of the fast-food company that owns burger chains Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, as his secretary of labor. Andrew Siff reports.]]> <![CDATA[Secret Santa Replaces Long Island Homeowner's Stolen Snowman]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:51:01 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/snowman-split-1208.jpg

A Long Island homeowner whose holiday decorations were stolen last week has a secret Santa.

Edison Sepulveda posted a photo of a boxed-up inflatable snowman sent to his house a little more than a week after he posted surveillance footage of a Grinch stealing another frosty inflatable from his yard in Central Islip on Nov. 28. 

Sepulveda said he didn't know who sent him the replacement but he is thankful for the act of kindness.

It's not clear who stole the decoration, but footage showed the thief deflating the old snowman before running out of the fenced-in yard. Suffolk County police said there have been no arrests in the case.

It's not the first display to be swiped this holiday season. In the extravagantly decorated neighborhood of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, one homeowner posted similar footage of a thief stealing an inflatable.

Anyone with information about the theft should call the Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.


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<![CDATA[These Are the 10 Best Places to Work in New York City]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:04:35 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/LinkedInHQ.jpg

If you're a Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn employee, chances are you like your job more than the next person. 

Jobs and recruiting website Glassdoor released its 2017 edition of its annual list of the 50 best places to work on Wednesday. The list is compiled using employee feedback on benefits, salary and pros and cons of working for the employer.

Bain & Company is the best company to work for. The management consulting firm's comprehensive benefits program, which offers low co-pays and an employee wellness program, has consistently remained a top five place to work for the past seven years. 

Employee reviews say the "tough, but rewarding" work culture makes a job at the firm the "best post-MBA job to have." Bain also boasts the highest-rated CEOs on Glassdoor for a second straight year.

Runner-up Facebook is the second-best large company to work for in 2017. The social network offers its employees 16 weeks of paid maternity or paternity leave, an extra month more than the 12 weeks mandated by New York state.

LinkedIn and Adobe rounded out the top five large companies to work for. In one review, a LinkedIn employee wrote "Generation X and [Baby] Boomers need not apply", which implies the professional social networking service's work culture is millenial-friendly. 

If you're not a corporate employee, the best small to medium-sized company to work for in 2017 is Greenhouse Software. The applicant and recruiting software company matches its employees' 401K contribution — something offered by only 49 percent of employers who offer the retirement savings plan, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2010 National Compensation Survey. 

Online event ticket marketplace SeatGeek receives an honorable mention; the New York City-based business wrapped up the top five best small to medium-sized companies.

Here are the top 10 companies to work for in New York City:

1. Bain & Company

2. Facebook

3. Boston Consulting Group

4. Google

5. LinkedIn

6. Adobe

7. Power Home Remodeling

8. McKinsey & Company

9. SAP

10. Salesforce



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[14-Year-Old Boy Hit by Train During Subway Stunt Dies]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:41:17 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BOY+DIES+SUBWAY+STUNT+3_WNBC_000000014161756+copy.jpg

Police say a 14-year-old boy was run over by a train and killed as he tried to perform a stunt at a subway station in Brooklyn.

The teen was riding between two train cars on a southbound L train around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday when the accident happened, according to police.

As the train was pulling into the New Lots Avenue station, he attempted to do some sort of stunt that involved jumping onto the subway platform from the train.

But when the teen jumped, police say he missed the platform and fell onto the tracks, where he was run over by the train.

He was taken to Brookdale Hospital in critical condition, fire officials said. He later died.

The accident halted L trains between Broadway Junction and Canarsie–Rockaway Parkway around 12:20 a.m. Service resumed at 1:45 a.m.

It was just last Saturday that a man riding between two F train cars fell to his death in Greenwich Village. The train came to a screeching halt and passengers had to get out near the West Fourth Street subway stop and walk on the tracks to get above ground.

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<![CDATA[NYC Man Looking for Stranger Who Returned Lost Wallet]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:49:05 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lost-wallet-1208.jpg

A New York City high schooler is trying to track down the good Samaritan who reunited him with his lost wallet.

Khevaunn St. Michael Ellis told NBC 4 New York that his wallet fell out of his pocket while riding the F train on Dec. 2. He said he realized he left it on the train as soon as he stepped onto the platform and tried to get back aboard to get it, but the doors closed. 

"I thought it was gone for good," he said. "I immediately tried to replace everything."

The 18-year-old said he got a new wallet, ID and MetroCard and was shocked when a fellow student at Manhattan Comprehensive Day and Night High School brought him an envelope on Tuesday. To his amazement, the wallet was inside.

He said he wanted to thank the person who sent it, but there was no return address on the envelope.

"That was a really rare and good deed done that should be commended," he said. "That's good civil behavior."

Ellis said that he thinks that the person who returned the lost wallet must have known to send it to his school because he had a student ID inside it.

He said he'd like to send the person who sent him his wallet a Christmas card as a message of thanks.

If you or someone you know sent the wallet back to Ellis, send NBC 4 New York a message here.



Photo Credit: Provided by Khevaunn St. Michael Ellis]]>
<![CDATA['Hamilton' Soundtrack Streamed Nearly Half a Billion Times]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:51:53 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/hamilton+richard+rodgers+theater.jpg

"Hamilton" fans can't say no to the hit show's original cast recording soundtrack — it's been streamed nearly half a billion times this year, Spotify says.

The music streaming service found that 20 of the double-disc soundtrack's 46 songs have been streamed at least 10 million times. Its most popular track, the musical's namesake "Alexander Hamilton", has been streamed over 23 million times.

Fever for Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway smash shows no signs of stopping. Stateside streams of the album spiked 69 percent the day after the cast's performance during the 2016 Grammys on Feb. 15.

Album streams increased another 80 percent following the show's 2016 Tony's sweep on June 12, the streaming service says.

New Yorkers love the soundtrack more than anyone else in the country: Manhattan ranked as the city with the most "Hamilton" listens. Brooklyn and the Bronx also made the list of top ten U.S. cities for "Hamilton" listening.

"Hamilton" rakes in roughly $1.9 million a week in ticket sales and an estimated $600,000 a week in profit, the New York Times reports.

The top 10 cities in the country for "Hamilton" listening are:

1. Manhattan

2. Brooklyn

3. Chicago

4. Los Angeles

5. Washington

6. Houston

7. San Francisco

8. Bronx

9. Seattle

10. Philadelphia

 

The Top 10 "Hamilton" tracks are:

1. "Alexander Hamilton" (over 23 million streams)

2. "My Shot" (over19 million streams)

3. "The Schuyler Sisters" (over 17 million streams)

4. "Satisfied" (over 17 million streams)

5. "Aaron Burr, Sir" (over 16 million streams)

6. "Wait For It" (over 16 million streams)

7. "You'll Be Back" (over 16 million streams)

8. "Helpless" (over 15 million streams)

9. "Guns and Ships" (over 15 million streams)

10. "Right-Hand Man" (over 13 million streams)



Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Check to See if Connecticut Owes You Money]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:47:19 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/212*120/Money_generic.jpg

The state is holding on to million of dollars in unclaimed property and some of that money could belong in your wallet. 

State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier has kicked off the annual campaign to return millions to the rightful owners and more than 95,000 new names of individuals, businesses and organizations have been released online in the CT Big List, which includes around 1.5 million names. 

You can search for your name here. 

“Have you ever experienced the pleasant surprise of finding a few dollars tucked away in a forgotten jacket hanging in your closet? There’s no feeling like found money, even if it’s only a couple of dollars. Well, I’ve got great news,” Treasurer Denise Nappier said in a statement. “We have millions of dollars waiting to be returned to owners. I encourage everyone to search our website to Find What’s Yours! And even if you don’t see your own name on the list, you might notice a relative who has passed away with unclaimed property waiting to be claimed.”

If you find your name, there are two ways to claim what your money. 

Download a claim form at www.CTBigList.com, and follow the instructions

Call 1-800-833-7318, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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<![CDATA[Colin Kaepernick Buys $3.21 Million Condo in TriBeCa: Report]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:30:43 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/KaepStill.jpg

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started a national firestorm by refusing to stand during the national anthem at NFL games to protest what he called a "system of oppression" against black Americans -- and fueled that firestorm when news broke he declined to vote in the presidential election -- is making some moves in the real estate market. 

The 6'4" 2011 second-round pick inked a contract on a $3.21 million condo in TriBeCa, according to property records obtained by The Los Angeles Times. Kaepernick likely wasn't making any rash moves following his benching in an abysmal Week 13 performance against the Bears: the website reports he closed on the purchase in July. His sister is listed as the trustee. 

According to the Times, the 1,733-square-foot unit in One York tower has oversized windows, vaulted ceilings and wide-plank wood flooring. 

Though the purchase preceded his benching last week, Kaepernick did restructure his contract in October to allow him to become a free agent next season. Head coach Chip Kelly has said Kaepernick will get another chance to start this week -- against the Jets. Maybe he and Gang Green can talk about the New York City housing market, because neither the 49ers (1-11) nor the Jets (3-9) have been doing much in the football realm this season. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[PATH Will Restore Weekend Service on Journal Square Line]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:35:25 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PathJournalSq.jpg

The Journal Square-33rd Street PATH train line via Hoboken will resume full weekend service starting Christmas Eve, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced Thursday.

The final weekend of service suspension will run from 12:10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 through 5 a.m. Monday, Dec. 19. Officials said the line will be out of service this weekend during the same time period.

Direct weekend service from Hoboken to the World Trade Center will be available over the next two weekends while service is suspended, but will be discontinued starting Christmas Eve.

PATH shuttle buses traveling from the World Trade Center to West 29th Street will run this weekend and from Dec. 17 to Dec. 18, but will be discontinued once full service is restored to the 33rd Street line, the agency said.

The line had previously been closed on weekends since August due to installation of federally mandated service and safety upgrades.

For additional traffic advisories and updates, sign up for PATHalerts at the PATH website.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[24-Year-Old Who Died Twice Opens Fitness Center in NYC]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:14:27 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WomensAerobicsDrawing.jpg

Jaclynn Fitzgibbons went from studying finance to fitness training after a brutal attack at the Staten Island St. Patrick's Day Parade inspired her to open a women-only fitness center.

The 24-year-old stood in a parking lot with three others while waiting for her ride after the 2014 parade when they was approached by four men. An altercation ensued, and before she realized, she was in a hospital bed surrounded by her loved ones.

"They smashed my head into the concrete and it split open, from that point on, I was unconscious," she told Staten Island Advance

An ambulance arrived at the scene within minutes to take her to the hospital, but before she arrived, her heart stopped twice. After doctors revived her, she fell into a 24-hour coma, prompting her family to prepare for the worst.

Prior to the attack, Fitzgibbons was working on Wall Street and studying for her Series 7 exam to become a stock broker. Once she recovered from her injuries, she felt the need for a career change.

"When my mother told me how the doctors said I wasn't going to make it, I realized how lucky I was the I survived," she said. "I thought, 'what would I have been remembered for?' People wouldn't have been able to say I helped changed their lives. At that point, I wanted to help make people's lives better."

After working as a certified personal trainer for two years, she opened her own fitness center, Jackd Fitness, in Charleston, Staten Island. The women-only facility offers a variety of classes in different training styles including high-intensity interval, strength, and core training.

Jackd Fitness, located at 51 Winant Place, also offers wellness services like nutrition counseling and personalized eating guides.

In addition to providing health and personal benefits, Fitzgibbons says she became a personal trainer to give women the power to protect themselves.

As of December 1, the studio has been open for six months and counting.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Abduction Stop, Drill Halt GWB Traffic: Officials]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:06:10 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gwb-nyc-1208.jpg

Traffic on the George Washington Bridge's upper level was temporarily halted as police stopped a vehicle thought to be involved in an abduction at the same time other officers were conducting a drill on the tower and cables on the nation's busiest span.

All lanes on the span's upper level were closed for about 15 minutes as police swarmed the bridge, officials said. The Holland Tunnel was also closed for about 10 minutes at the start of the evening rush for police activity.

Officials said that they were called to the bridge after getting word about a possible abduction. Police stopped a vehicle on the bridge and found a victim, made two arrests and recovered a handgun. 

Meanwhile, cops were spotted in one of the bridge's towers and its cables, conducting their drill. Law enforcement officials said that the drills were being conducted Wednesday and Thursday. It's not clear if traffic lanes were normally closed for drills like the one Thursday.

The drill comes about six weeks after police talked down a shirtless man who was trying to jump off one of the towers at the height of rush hour.   

According to New York City's 2015 traffic study, an average of 13,394 drivers crossed the bridge's two levels between 11 a.m. and noon every day.

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<![CDATA[Chivalry Not Dead on NYC Subways; Manspreading Still Annoys]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:39:37 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/223*120/manspreading.png

Despite all the hustle and bustle and oblivious faces immersed in their own thoughts and iPhones on the subways of New York City, chivalry is alive and well, according to a new Hunter College study. 

The study, based on observations by Hunter College students who assessed behavior of more than 5,100 straphangers on geographically dispersed subway lines (21), different days of the week and at varying time intervals from Oct. 6 to Nov. 7, found men were "consciously or not" relinquishing their seats to women. 

Seventy one percent of females were observed seat versus 63 percent of males, the study found. As the subway cars grew more crowded, the difference is even more apparent; when there were 40 or more passengers in the back third of a car, the percentage gap between seated males and females climbed to 13 points. 

The students' finding mirrors the results of a 2012 study by analysts at the Metropolitan Research Authority. 

"It is possible that other factors lead more male passengers to stand in crowded cars – perhaps women take up less space on the seats, or are quicker to respond when a seat opens up," the study said. "But a plausible explanation of our findings is that when it comes to the city’s straphangers, chivalry, perhaps, is not quite dead. 

The study also looked at five rules of subway conduct -- and while chivalry may be alive, manspreading, the heart of the MTA's Courtesy Counts campaign over the last few years, certainly isn't dead. According to the study, 26 percent of the seated male passengers observed during the month-long window were guilty of manspreading -- and there was no indication the perpetrators were less likely to manspread as the train cars filled up, the students found. Men ages 30 to 39 were mostly likely to manspread (30 percent of those observed with legs sprawled), followed by those ages 40 to 49 (29 percent). Only 17 percent of manspreaders were found to be dozing. 

Straphangers wearing backpacks while standing on crowded trains was another common etiquette violation, with, not surprisingly, teenagers, possibly going to or from school, the most frequent offenders (70 percent of those observed), followed by those ages 20 to 29. 

Though many New York City subway riders have no doubt encountered a fellow straphanger eating something particularly odorous or undesirable on the train, the Hunter College students didn't find eating to be a particularly bad offense. Just 4 percent of riders observed were eating (females slightly more likely than males) -- and a minuscule proportion were seen grooming, the study found. 

The Hunter College study was directed by Sociology Professors Peter Tuckel and Mike Benediktsson, and Urban Policy and Planning Professor William Milczarski. Professors Tuckel, Benediktsson, and Milczarski collaborated with Hunter students in research methods and data analyses courses in the Department of Sociology and the Department of Urban Policy and Planning.

Click here to see the full results.

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<![CDATA['Going to Be a Shock': Polar Vortex to Send Temps Plunging]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:52:12 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/polarvortexIII.jpg

The first arctic blast of the season has hit mainland United States, blanketing parts of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and the Dakotas with temperatures as low as minus 14 overnight, NBC News reported.

But meteorologists are warning about a second, perhaps even colder freeze that could spread into the East Coast and possibly portions of the South late next week. A shift in a weather system known as the Polar Vortex may be partially to blame, according to The Weather Channel.

By Friday evening these frigid temperatures were expected to have swept most of the U.S. with temperatures in the 20s from Albuquerque to Buffalo, and from Atlanta to Seattle. New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston were also expected to flirt with freezing temperatures Friday night.

"It's going to be a shock," said Kevin Roth, senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Photo of Fake 'Happy Hour Playset' Sparks Online Outrage]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:30:08 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/fisher-price-photo2_blurred-faces-2.jpg

An online backlash over a supposed “happy hour playset” for kids has proven to be misplaced since the item in question doesn’t exist.

After a Facebook user posted a photo Tuesday that showed the set –  complete with bar stools, plastic bottles and featuring what appeared to be the Fisher-Price logo – people began to post messages on the company’s social media pages condemning the product.

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The box featured three toddlers, two holding bottles while a third appearing behind the bar.

The hoax debunker website Snopes.com investigated the item and found that it isn’t real.

Fisher-Price also responded with a statement saying the set is “not endorsed, produced or approved.”

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<![CDATA[Separated Twins Make Historic Post-Surgery Recovery]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:53:07 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/conjoined+twins+gofundme+thumb.png

Christian and Nicole McDonald have a lot to be thankful for this year: their twin sons, Jadon and Anias, have recovered from their 27-hour separation surgery in a record six weeks.

Previously conjoined at the head, the 14-month old boys underwent the operation, called craniopagus surgery, at Montefiore Hospital in October. The twins entered rehab only six weeks after surgery — a fraction of the months-long hospitalization most separated twins endure.

"Historically, this will be the fastest [recovery]," Dr. James Goodrich, the surgeon who performed the procedure, told CNN

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Their mother, Nicole McDonald, expressed her gratitude and relief for their recovery in a photo she posted to Facebook on Thanksgiving, reminding others to give thanks not just during the holidays, but every day.

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"Don't let this be the only day to be grateful," she wrote. "Let everyday, even the hard ones, give you a reason to give thanks."

Despite the outpouring of supportive messages sent by many, others have left hurtful and disparaging comments about the twins' physical appearance, which hasn't fazed their mom.

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Although Jadon and Anias are still far from home, the distance hasn't stopped them from spending time together as a family; the couple took turns caring for the twins on Thanksgiving and brought the boys' older brother, Aza, along. 

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This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Alleged Subway Kisser Attacks Woman in Manhattan Station ]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:54:18 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/forcible+kissing+suspect.jpg

Police are looking for a man who sneaked up behind a woman in the Canal Street subway station last month, pinned her against the turnstile and forcibly kissed her before beating her up. 

Authorities say the suspect threw the woman to the ground after kissing her in the Nov. 19 attack, then kicked her in the stomach and back. 

The woman did not seek medical attention. 

Police released surveillance images of the suspect. Anyone with information about him is asked to call authorities.



Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Number of Mumps Cases at NY College Rises to 42]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:06:05 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/211*120/GettyImages-481681423.jpg

The number of confirmed mumps cases at the State University of New York at New Paltz has risen to 42, an increase of six since last week as the outbreak that has afflicted the campus since early October continues to grow, school health officials say. 

At least eight members of the swim team and one athletic staff member have come down with the highly contagious respiratory disease, and the university said last week the team would suspend competition for the remainder of the semester on the advice of the New York State Health Department.

The outbreak, first identified in early October, has expanded steadily over the last month and a half. It has also spread to the town's high school, with at least three cases confirmed among student-athletes there. 

Mumps cannot be treated. The most effective preventative measure is immunization, but even that is not 100 percent effective. 

The affected SUNY New Paltz students, who have been immunized against mumps, have been isolated for the recommended period of time. Nineteen students who have not been immunized have been sent home until Dec. 23. 

Campus tours and general information sessions will proceed as scheduled, but residence halls home to affected students will be avoided for the time being. 

Meanwhile, the county health department continues to assess possible cases. Nationally, 2016 has seen the most mumps cases reported since 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of early November, 45 states and Washington, D.C., had 2,879 confirmed cases, many of them on college campuses, according to the CDC.   

Mumps is characterized by fever, headache and swelling of the salivary glands. Fatigue, muscle aches and loss of appetite are other possible symptoms. 

After a person is exposed, symptoms usually appear 16 to 18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection. 

The disease is transmitted by close contact, sharing utensils and drinking glasses and through saliva contact by kissing or other means. Health officials recommend washing hands frequently.



Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Swastikas, 'Praise Trump' Scrawled on Midtown Phone Booths]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:18:23 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BECKFORD+SWASTIKA+PHONE+BOOTH+GRAFFIT+MN+11P+PKG++-+00000000_WN.jpg

Phone booths along Ninth Avenue in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan have been scrawled with swastikas.

The hateful messaging, scrawled along with the words "Praise Trump," started popping up across the neighborhood about three days ago, workers in nearby businesses say.

But now local residents and business owners are fighting back, covering the swastikas in newspaper, or with more positive messages.

"I think it's disgusting," Hell's Kitchen resident Tyler Schuler said.

One of the swastikas scrawled on the phone booths between 54th and 52nd streets has been covered over with the words "Keep HK hate free."

Crown Heights resident Raven Carter said this was the right response.

"We know that this isn't a perfect world, and things like this do exist, but I'm glad to see people are standing strong and believing in positivity."

The graffiti is the latest in what the NYPD says is an increase in reported hate crimes, up 35 percent so far this year compared to 2015.

Last month swastikas and President-elect Donald Trump's name were spray painted inside a Brooklyn playground

But while Trump's name can also be seen next to the swastikas on Ninth Avenue, Schuler says the only person to blame for the show of ignorance is the author of the message themselves.

"Seriously, grow up," he said. "We need to come together."

Anybody out there watching seriously grow up! We need to come together

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<![CDATA[Happening Today: Trump Road Show, EPA, Wildfires, Safe Cars]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:01:11 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/624422800-Donald-Trump-Bedminster1.jpg

Get the top headlines of the day in your morning briefing from NBC 4 New York, Monday through Friday. Sign up for our newsletter here.

*This daily briefing will be off Friday and Monday, returning Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Trump Resumes Road Show

Donald Trump is going to try to show a more sensitive side Thursday, meeting with victims of last week's Ohio State University attack, before taking his "thank you" road show to three more states that supported him in the election. The first stop is Des Moines, Iowa, for his third post-election victory celebration. On Wednesday, Trump announced Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a climate-change denier whose policies have helped fossil fuel companies, as his pick for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mayors' Letter to Trump

Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday morning at Trump Tower in New York City and delivered a letter from mayors across the country calling for protections for young immigrants. 

Dow, S&P Close at All Time High

U.S. equities closed sharply higher on Wednesday as the Dow and S&P hit new record highs, while investors awaited a monetary policy announcement from the European Central Bank, CNBC reported. The S&P 500 gained around 1.3 percent while the Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 300 points, and the Nasdaq composite rose 1.2 percent. "I think this is more momentum from the Trump rally," said Adam Sarhan, CEO at 50 Park Investments.

Safest Vehicles List Released

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has awarded 82 new vehicles as the safest picks for 2017. Of the 82 vehicles awarded Thursday, 38 earned the highest ranking of Top Safety Pick+. Those vehicles not only earned good ratings in five crash test evaluations but have effective features that can prevent crashes, the IIHS said. Check out the list. 

Juveniles Charged in Deadly Wildfires

Authorities on Wednesday charged two juveniles in an East Tennessee wildfire that killed 14 people and destroyed or damaged more than 2,400 buildings in an iconic tourism spot at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. Officials offered few other specifics about how they think the two started a fire that leveled buildings into charred scraps, carving a deadly path through the Gatlinburg area.

Hofstra Frat Investigated

Hofstra University has asked police to investigate allegations of "extreme hazing" at a now-defunct campus fraternity after the Long Island college's student-run newspaper published disturbing images from a former pledge. The college said in a statement that the photos -- which include images of a man locked in a dog cage, blindfolded students kneeling in front of a swastika with their bodies covered in hot sauce -- were allegedly taken off campus.

Blast Victim Battles With Insurer

One of the nation’s biggest health insurers is reversing course after initially denying an explosion victim’s claim for an artificial limb. In July, Connor Golden, 19, lost his lower leg after an explosive compound blew up in Central Park. Since then he’s been fighting with United Healthcare to cover payment for his new prosthetic. 

Holiday Chaos at Ex's Home

A woman was yelling “Merry Christmas” and blasting holiday music as she tried to run over her ex with her SUV, police in Pennsylvania said.

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<![CDATA[Central Park Blast Victim Wars With Insurer Over Prosthesis ]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:16:21 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/connor+golden.jpg

One of the nation’s biggest health insurers is reversing course after initially denying an explosion victim’s claim for an artificial limb.

In July, Connor Golden, 19, lost his lower leg after an explosive compound blew up in Central Park. Since then he’s been fighting with UnitedHealthcare to cover payment for his new prosthetic.

In an exclusive interview with the NBC New York I-Team, Golden’s parents said the insurance giant rejected or delayed requests to pay for the prosthetic leg for three months, even though hospital records clearly show Golden underwent a complete traumatic amputation below the knee and needs the prosthetic to walk.

“UnitedHealthcare has shown themselves capable of denying even the most compelling claim,” said Kevin Golden, the victim’s father.

“In my mind, there can be no real issue as to whether this is necessary or not. He clearly needs the prosthetic.”

Maria Gordon-Shydlo, a spokeswoman for UnitedHealthcare, emailing the I-Team a statement blaming the initial denial on confusion about whether Golden’s prosthetic should have been covered as an “in-network” benefit or an “out-of-network” benefit.

“While we regret any inconvenience this may have caused, this provider is not in our network so we needed to review additional information in order to process these claims appropriately,” Gordon-Shydlo wrote. “We have since received this information and are paying for this prosthesis. We also approved coverage of a new socket and new prosthesis.”

Adam Finnieston, the Miami prosthetist who fitted Connor for his artificial limb, says it should make no difference that his office was out of the United Healthcare network, because Connor has an out-of-network benefit included in his insurance plan.

“It seems to be a vortex of delay. And every time we try to reach out to the insurance company, we get directed to an offshore call center,” Finnieston said.

Before the I-Team got involved, Finnieston said United paid him only about a thousand dollars – a small fraction of the cost of Connor's prosthesis, which exceeds $20,000.

After the I-Team inquired with United last week, the company confirmed it made a one-time exception, classifying Connor's prosthesis as an in-network claim and pledging to pay 90 percent of the claim.

Despite the temporary victory for the Goldens, advocates for amputees say denials and delays of payment for artificial limbs are constant problems.

“We’re not talking here about a one-off. We’re talking about something we all hear over and over again,” said Dave McGill, President of the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics & Prosthetics. “This is shameful.”

McGill said he’s seen hundreds of amputees denied coverage for standard artificial limbs, partly because insurance companies don’t see the amputee community as having enough political clout to fight back against unfavorable reimbursement policies.

“We’re talking about amputees who require these devices to take every step that they take every day. And in the case of somebody like Connor, you’ve got a new amputee who – this is how he is going to start reclaiming his life,” McGill said.

After hearing of Connor Golden’s battle with UnitedHealthcare, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pennsylvania), pledged to re-introduce a bill that would force insurers to offer more robust coverage for amputees. The legislation does not require insurance companies to pay for prosthetics, but if they do offer prosthetic coverage, the benefits would have to be on par with the treatment of other covered ailments. The bill failed to make it out of committee the last time Dent introduced it.

“Candidly, I did not get as much support for this measure as I would have liked,” Dent said. “Perhaps because of what happened in New York to Connor, we might be able to drive greater awareness and spark some action." 

Recently, the NYPD announced a doubling of the reward for information leading to the person or persons who left the explosive in Central Park. That reward now stands at $25,000. 

With few leads in the investigation, Kevin Golden said he is concerned about initial statements from city officials suggesting the explosive material was accidentally left over by a hobbyist experimenting in the park.

“These explanations that somehow someone was playing with these materials in the park just make no sense to me,” said Golden. “In one of the most watched areas of the country, you don’t go there with this volatile compound that is explosive on contact.”

The Goldens are particularly concerned about reports the explosive substance was the same type used in several terrorist attacks.

“For this to happen in Central Park to my son and to have us be left without any explanation, resolution, or closure obviously is very hard on us,” said Connor’s father.

Now back at the University of Miami, Connor himself has avoided speaking publicly about the criminal investigation. He is an Eagle Scout who, before losing his lower leg, enjoyed hiking, rock climbing, and wind surfing. His family says he will overcome his injury and continue leading that active lifestyle, with or without the support of an insurance company. Last month, UnitedHealthcare denied Connor’s request to pay for a custom wheelchair. The denial letter said the wheelchair “is not medically necessary” because Connor “is not a full time wheelchair user.” United Healthcare told the I-Team the insurer is working with Connor’s specialist to find a wheelchair that is eligible for coverage.

“We will continue to engage with his physicians and family to ensure that he gets the care and equipment that are covered under his plan,” Gordon-Shydlo wrote.

The Goldens aren’t yet convinced.

Precisely because of their experience battling with UnitedHealthcare, the Goldens expect they may have to rely on donations to a GoFundMe site to help pay for prosthetic maintenance and upgrades that may be rejected in the future. Artificial limbs generally have a useful life of two to four years.

“I’m very concerned about his access to prosthetics going into the future,” Kevin Golden said.



Photo Credit: The Connor Golden Fund]]>
<![CDATA[Kids Die From Possible Radiator Burns at NYC Home]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 23:37:47 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/syclee+vayoh+ambrose+ibanez+ambrose.jpg

Two toddler sisters died Wednesday after what authorities described as a "steam condition" caused by a malfunctioning radiator at the city-owned Bronx apartment building where they were staying while homeless, officials said. 

The children, identified as Scylee Vayoh, 1, and Ibanez Ambrose, 2, were initially taken to a hospital in critical condition after fire officials say they got a call about a fire on Hunts Point Avenue around noon. 

They died about an hour later.

Mayor de Blasio, who visited the building Wednesday, says the city is mourning the loss of the two children.

"We are in the preliminary stages of what is a highly active, multi-agency investigation into what happened in this home and whether there’s anything that can be done to help prevent such an unspeakable event in the future," he said. "Our law enforcement, buildings, fire and social services personnel will not rest until we can answer what has given rise to this heartbreaking incident."

The FDNY says a radiator valve malfunctioned inside the apartment and high-pressure steam shot out, filling the apartment. The two toddlers were severely burned and later died. 

Neighbors told NBC 4 New York they heard a loud boom, and they left the building. 

"The babies came out, they were burned all over the body -- burned blue, and there was no fire, so steam coming from somewhere," said Martiza Morales, recalling they "were not moving at all." 

The children's parents ran out in tears, neighbors said.

"They were screaming for help. They say the radiator exploded in there," said Annie Martinez. 

Radio transmissions between the dispatcher and emergency responders revealed a grim scene.

"It looks like it might have been something to do with a heater," the dispatcher could be heard saying. "We don't know if it blew up or what. But a heater injured those two kids, and they're in cardiac arrest right now."

"We got a lot of calls for smoke, so it looks like it might have been steam," the dispatcher added. 

The city's social services department said after the blast that the children and their family were among five placed at the apartment building being used as a so-called "cluster site" for homeless family. The other families at the apartment are being moved to other shelters.

"We are devastated by this tragedy," the department said in a statement. "We are investigating and taking steps to immediately transfer the four other families being sheltered at this location to another shelter.”

City records show that the apartment where the blast went off had no open violations with the city, but that the building itself had 60 violations. There had been 46 complaints called into 311 this year for the building, including three for radiators.

One of the landlords of the building was on the city advocate's list of the 100 worst landlords. NBC 4 New York has reached out to the landlord's attorney for comment.

The investigation into the blast is ongoing.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Elderly Woman in Critical Condition After Queens Fire]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:03:08 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/murray+hill+fire+queens.jpg

Seven people were injured, one of them seriously, when a fire broke out at an apartment building in Queens early Thursday morning, fire officials said.

The fire started sometime before 4:40 a.m. on the fourth floor of 157-11 Sanford Ave. in Murray Hill.

The blaze soon spread to the fifth and sixth floors of the six-story building, according to officials. 

Twitter user @latinosunidoUSA captured video of the blaze as firefighters worked to control it. 

An elderly woman suffering from burns and smoke inhalation was rushed to Jacobi Hospital with life-threatening injuries, officials said. As of Thursday morning, she was listed in critical condition as fire marshals continue to investigate the cause of the fire.

Three other residents suffered minor injuries and were taken to Queens General.

Three firefighters were also injured. They too suffered minor injuries and were taken to Queens General.

The fire was under control by 6 a.m. but the cause of it was unknown.



Photo Credit: @latinosunidoUSA/Periscope]]>
<![CDATA[NYPD: 1 Man Dead, 1 Injured After Gunman Opens Fire on BMW]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 05:48:53 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/2+MEN+SHOT+BROOKLYN_WNBC_000000014162285+copy.jpg

One man was killed and another man was injured when someone shot at their vehicle as they drove down a Brooklyn street on Wednesday afternoon, police said.

The chaotic scene, which spanned several blocks in Canarsie, started when the victims decided to take a break from video games and get food at Wendy’s.

The two men were driving in a white BMW SUV on Paerdegat 2nd Street, near East 80th Street, when someone got out of a Kia, approached their vehicle and starting shooting at them, the BMW’s 20-year-old passenger said, according to police.

The 21-year-old driver of the BMW was shot in the face and the passenger was shot in the thigh.

The BMW’s driver took off – it appears he drove for several blocks before losing control of the vehicle and crashing into another car. The BMW came to a stop at East 80th Street and Farragut Road about four blocks away.

The driver was rushed to Brookdale Hospital, but did not survive his injuries. The passenger was taken to Kings County Hospital in stable condition.

The name of the driver is being withheld pending the notification of his family.

Police, who were still at the scene Wednesday night, are investigating the circumstances that led up to the shooting, including if it was a targeted shooting or case of road rage. 

Police said no arrests have been made in the case. 

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<![CDATA[Nonprofit Releases List of Safest Vehicles for 2017]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:20:31 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Headlights-GettyImages-541385478.jpg

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has awarded 82 new vehicles as the safest picks for 2017.

Of the 82 vehicles awarded Thursday, 38 earned the highest ranking of Top Safety Pick+. Those vehicles not only earned good ratings in five crash test evaluations but have effective features that can prevent crashes, the IIHS said.

Toyota/Lexus led among automakers with nine of its 2017 models making the Top Safety Pick+ list. Honda and its Acura division had five Top Safety Pick+ awards.

Meanwhile, 44 vehicles were in the Top Safety Pick category, one ranking lower. 

IIHS said that it toughened the criteria for Top Safety Pick+ to reflect headlight evaluations that it launched this year. Only seven of the vehicles in the top category earned a good rating for headlights.

The vehicles that got a good headlight rating are: Chevrolet Volt small car, Honda Ridgeline pickup, Hyundai Elantra small car, Hyundai Santa Fe midsize SUV, Subaru Legacy midsize car, Toyota Prius v midsize car and Volvo XC60 midsize luxury SUV.

"The field of contenders is smaller this year because so few vehicles have headlights that do their job well, but it's not as small as we expected when we decided to raise the bar for the awards," IIHS President Adrian Lund said in a report.

The 2017 report also found that autobrake features are becoming more common, with 21 of this year's winners including a standard front crash prevention system with automatic braking capabilities. 

Here’s the complete list of this year’s winners.



Photo Credit: Getty/File]]>
<![CDATA[Cops: Man Who Stole $3K, Hennessy Linked to More Robberies]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:41:16 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bronx+liquor+store+robber.jpg

Police say the masked man who added a bottle of Hennessy to his loot of stolen cash and electronics last month in the Bronx has been linked to half a dozen more robberies. 

The thirsty robber made off with $3,300, phones and the bottle of Hennessy on Nov. 26 after holding an employee up with a handgun at DeStern Wines and Spirits on Allerton Avenue. 

According to police, the man also held up an employee at Nicks Drug Store on Boston Road on Nov. 10. The employee handed over $450 in cash. 

After that, on Nov. 16, he robbed the 437 Delicatessen on Manhattan Avenue of $150 and stole $300 from an employee’s pants pockets, police said.

He struck again just a day later, targeting Los Primos Deli Grocery on Crotona Avenue. He got away with an unknown amount of cash.

On the morning of Dec. 1, he ran off empty handed after trying to rob the Rite Aid on East Gun Hill Road. But just an hour later, he walked into the IBB Deli on East 182nd Street and, like in the other robberies, held an employee up at gunpoint. Police say he got away with $900 in cash and 202 lottery tickets.

His most recent robbery was on Sunday, when he pulled his gun on an employee at Country Thyme Cuisine and stole $350 in cash from the register and $80 from the employee.

No one was has been reported injured in the robberies.

Police have not named any suspects. 

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<![CDATA[Stolen Van Driver Crashes into Tractor-Trailer: NYPD]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 23:51:14 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SPEC+POLICE+CHASE+CRASH+BX+120716+Peter+Gerber+-+19393809_WNBC_.jpg

A 21-year-old man driving a stolen van crashed into a tractor-trailer as he tried to flee police in the Bronx Wednesday afternoon, police say.

The suspect was driving a van stolen from East 233rd Street in Woodlawn and began speeding when police tried to pull him over, police said.

The pursuit ended when he crashed into the tractor-trailer near a gas station at Van Courtland Avenue East.

The suspect was taken to Jacobi Hospital with neck and back injuries, police said. Charges are pending. 



Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested in Death of Missing NJ Student Dumped in Forest]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:00:58 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/khalil+wheeler+weaver.jpg

A 20-year-old New Jersey man has been arrested in the death of college student whose body was found at a state forest reserve last week, eight days after she was reported missing.

Khalil Wheeler-Weaver, of East Orange, was charged Tuesday with one count of murder and one count of desecration of human remains in the slaying of Sarah Butler, who was a second-year student at New Jersey City University.

Butler, of Montclair, was reported missing to the Montclair Police Department on Nov. 23 and had last been seen at a recording studio. Law enforcement officers found her body Dec. 1 in Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange.

Butler's father, Victor Butler, told NBC 4 New York Wednesday the arrest "gives me a sense of hope, but our main focus is burying her." 

Prosecutors say Weaver and Butler knew each other and spent time together at various points throughout the day before she was killed. Something happened, and police believe Wheeler-Weaver strangled the 20-year-old student, killing her. He then took her car and left her body at Eagle Rock Reservation, they say. 

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murrary said Wednesday, "At this stage, we are only prepared to say that they were acquainted. She was a student at New Jersey City University. The defendant is not a student there but at this juncture we believe they were acquainted before Nov. 22." 

Butler's father doesn't remember seeing Wheeler-Weaver around.

"I've seen a picture of him but I can't really say right now. I can only see my daughter's face right now," Victor Butler said. 

Wheeler-Weaver is being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility on $1,000,000 bail. Information on an attorney for him wasn't immediately available. 

Butler's college released a statement after her body was found mourning her death.

"NJCU is devastated by the tragic and senseless loss of Sarah Butler, whose life touched so many throughout the campus," the university said. "Our deepest sympathies go out to Sarah's family and friends during this difficult time."



Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Teddies Ripped Up at Work, Autistic Ex-Aide's Lawsuit Claims]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:08:19 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BYFIELD+CITY+COUNCILMAN+AIDE+ABUSE+LAWSUIT+BK+PKG+530++-+000006.jpg

An man who suffers from Asperger's syndrome claims he was mocked for his disability, locked in the basement and had his precious teddy bears decapitated while working for a city councilman. 

Michael Bistreich is now suing the Brooklyn Democrat and the city for $10 million, claiming he suffered "degrading and humiliating discrimination" over his disability.

He alleges in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that he was tormented over his autism by City Councilman Vincent Gentile and his senior staff over the two and a half years he served as legislation and budget director in Gentile's office, which represents the 43rd District. 

Speaking with NBC 4 New York on Tuesday, Bistreich said he gets attached to things like his pet bunny rabbit, named Coco Puffs, action figures and stuffed animals.

But rather than having his workmates respect this, he said he was "mocked constantly".

Bistreich showed NBC 4 New York photos of the day he came to work and found that someone had ripped the head off his brown teddy bear, and impaled the head of a white teddy bear on a flag pole.

"I hid in the back conference room there. For an hour. I didn't want to talk to anyone there. I refused to. I got on the phone with my parents and they had to calm me down," he said.

By Wednesday evening, tens of people had expressed their condolences for Bistreich on social media, and offered to buy him new teddies.

Bistreich, who is high functioning and graduated from St. John's University summa cum laude with two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree, was later told Gentile's then chief of staff coordinated the placement of mutilated animals on Bistreich's desk, the lawsuit reads.

The chief of staff allegedly had an even "worse" display planned for Bistreich, but backed off after the aide isolated himself in the conference room. 

The decapitations of his teddy bears are just a few claims listed in his multi-million dollar lawsuit.

Among the other allegations of torment: being locked in a dark basement and passed over for raises in favor of less deserving colleagues. 

"Most of the staff knew about it but they were afraid to say anything," Bistreich said. "They felt like they were under the thumb of the council member and the chief of staff."

Despite the alleged harassment, Gentile and his staff members consistently praised Bistreich's work, increasing his responsibility and bestowing positive feedback on him, the lawsuit says. But as his responsibilities grew so did his public visibility. 

Bistreich has tics associated with his Asperger's syndrome; at times his hands shake and his head twitches without his control. The more he interacted with people outside the office, the more Gentile allegedly harassed him. 

According to the lawsuit, Gentile told Bistreich on one occasion that his head twitches and lack of eye contact were annoying.

He allegedly told him his tics were getting worse and urged he take medication, though there is no medication Bistreich could take to treat his Asperger's. 

This summer, Bistreich lost a raise he had just received and his legislative director title. Gentile said it was because he took a vacation, but according to the lawsuit, Bistreich had the pol's approval to take the time, and lawyers say the "vacation defense" was a pretext to demote Bistreich. 

The work environment had become so hostile Bistreich quit nine days later. 

Bistreich is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages from the city and Gentile for loss of earnings and emotional suffering stemming from the alleged discrimination, according to the lawsuit. 

"I don't want to see it happen ever again, and if letting people know can stop that, that's the most important thing to me," he said.

A spokesperson for the City Council said it has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination. 

“We take all allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and will review the lawsuit when we are served," the statement said. 

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<![CDATA[Woman Finds Ring in Glove While Shopping, Turns to Facebook]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:34:30 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Kohls+gloves+lost+ring.jpg

A Long Island woman is on a quest for the owner of a ring she found inside a pair of gloves she purchased from a Kohl's department store.

Sarah Chorne of Baldwin says she was holiday shopping at Kohl’s Sunday night and purchased a pair of Dockers gloves for a family member.

When returned home, she had her father try them on. Her father said he felt something and then he pulled out the ring.

"My first reaction was, 'My God, I stole something,'" she said. "Then i'm like wait, that's not what happened."

Chorne believes the ring to be an heirloom.

Chorne immediately called the store about the ring, but no customer has come forward to report it lost.

"I want to be able to give their ring back," she said. "I assume it means a lot."

Chorne turned to Facebook in an attempt to track down the owner of the ring and has asked people to spread the word. So far, her Facebook post has garnered over 2,000 shares and over 100 comments.

A number of commenters advised her not to share the description of the ring, as the real owners would be able to describe it. She's also witholding a photo of the ring for the same reason. 



Photo Credit: Sarah Chorne
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<![CDATA[2 Men Shot While Sitting in BMW, 1 Fatally: NYPD]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:52:31 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_tape_lights_generic23.jpg

Two men were shot, one of them fatally, while sitting inside a car in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn Wednesday afternoon, police say. 

The men, ages 20 and 21, were sitting in a white BMW in the area of Farragut Road and East 80th Street when they were shot at about 2:30 p.m., police said. 

The 21-year-old victim was taken by EMS to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The other victim was taken to Kings County Hospital with a gunshot wound to his thigh, and is listed in stable condition. 

The man who died has not yet been identified. Police say there's no arrest and investigation is continuing. 

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<![CDATA[Woman Hits Six Banks With Fake ID, Withdraws $26,000: NYPD]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:41:08 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/td+bank+2.jpg

A woman has got away with $26,000 in cash after hitting six different New York TD Banks using fake identification to withdraw money, police say.

The NYPD is now searching for a woman they suspect went to three TD banks on Sept. 26, two branches on Sept. 27 and one last branch on Sept. 28 to withdraw thousands of dollars.

Police said it was reported the woman handed over a fake identification card to withdraw money from a business account.

The withdrawals ranged from $8,000 to $9,500 each time. Three of the visits the woman was unable to get any money out.

Surveillance footage was taken from the TD Bank on Canal Street, Manhattan, during one of the incidents, and police are now asking the public's help finding and identifying the suspect.

She is described as having long, straight brown hair and was last seen wearing a blue jacket and eyeglasses.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

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