<![CDATA[NBC New York - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:51:54 -0400 Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:51:54 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Boy, 9, Found Dead on Scaffolding Near 46-Story Building]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:23:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/scaffolding+accident.jpg

Police are investigating the death of a young boy found on top of scaffolding outside a 46-story Bronx building Wednesday afternoon.

The body of 9-year-old Sidy Fofana was discovered on top of scaffolding above the ground floor at the Richman Plaza building in Morris Heights around 5 p.m. The boy lived on the fourth floor of the building, police say.

Police say the boy was last seen with his uncle, who lives on the 43rd floor.

Investigators believe he fell from a high level, possibly the roof. No criminality is suspected.

Witnesses say they heard a loud noise.

"I looked out the window and there's a body," said Hasker Tingman, who was at a friend's home when he heard the crash.

"I was in shock, I ran downstairs," he said, adding he was saddened when he learned the victim was a boy.

Neighbor Kissie Alexander said: "It's heartbreaking, it's really heartbreaking. I'm a mother of seven, and I can just imagine how the mother would feel."

The medical examiner will investigate how the boy died.

--Tracie Strahan contributed to this story


Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Molotov Cocktail Thrown Into Store, Setting Clerk on Fire]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:15:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/molotov+cocktail+store.jpg

Police are searching for a man caught on surveillance video throwing a flaming bottle into a 24-hour mini-mart in Brooklyn, setting the clerk inside on fire.

The suspect had an argument with the clerk inside 3901 Fort Hamilton Parkway in Borough Park early Wednesday, according to police. The clerk, who had returned to work Thursday morning, told NBC 4 New York that the suspect got angry when the clerk refused to give him beer and cigarettes on credit.

About an hour later, the man returned to the store wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses, lit a bottle on fire, threw it into the business and then ran away, police say. 

The 34-year-old store worker's hair and jacket caught on fire.

Co-worker Fidel Perez said he heard a big boom as he was cutting bagels in the back. When he ran out and found the clerk on fire, Perez found buckets of water to douse the flames.

Police say the victim suffered minor injuries, and the store wasn't badly damaged. 

Paul Sanz, who owns the business next door, said he can't imagine why someone would fight with the cashier.

"He's the most passive, nicest guy in the world," he said. "That's the strangest part. That's why I couldn't believe it was him."

"It's a shame, he's a hard-working guy, he works nights by himself and then you got some punks that try to do that to him," he said. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

-- Ida Siegal and Katherine Creag contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Elderly Couple Viciously Assaulted in Queens Home Invasion]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:56:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/home+invasion+bayside+queens.jpg

An elderly couple were tied up and brutally attacked by men who posed as maintenance workers to get inside their Queens home Wednesday, police said. 

Police said the three suspects entered the condominium on 15th Avenue in the Bay Terrace neighborhood at about 2:30 p.m. and assaulted the homeowners before making off with cash and jewelry.

A next-door neighbor said he found the 95-year-old wife with her hands tied, screaming for help outside their home.

"Terrible. Poor woman was lying down, her face totally swollen, crying for help," he said.

The woman was "savagely beaten" in the face, the neighbor said, and the 86-year-old husband, who neighbors say had recently suffered a stroke, was hit in the head.

"It was a terrible, terrible scene," he said. 

The victims were taken to the hospital and were listed in stable condition with non-life threatening injuries.

Residents in the quiet cul-de-sac community were shaken. 

"Many years ago, there were robberies every once in a while but never anything as horrifying as this," said another resident who lives on the street. "This is horrible, it really is."

<![CDATA[Neighborhood Watch Members Accused of Gang Assault ]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 07:42:56 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/taj+patterson.jpg

Five men associated with a Williamsburg neighborhood watch group are accused of gang assault and other charges in the brutal beating of a 23-year-old Brooklyn man they wrongly suspected of vandalizing cars.

The men, who were part of the Williamsburg Safety Patrol Unit in the heavily Orthodox section of the neighborhood, are accused of attacking Taj Patterson of Fort Greene in the early morning hours of Dec. 1, 2013. The aspiring fashion design student, who is black, suffered a broken eye socket and torn retina from the assault. 

"They came up behind me, they grabbed me, they punched me in the face, kicked me down, knocked me out," Patterson told NBC 4 New York in December, describing the assailants as a group of 15 to 20 men he described as Hasidic Jews wearing religious garb.

The attack was investigated as a hate crime, but no hate crime charges were filed.

Authorities say the suspects stopped Patterson while he was walking home along Flushing Avenue. They claimed to be investigating neighbors' reports that he had damaged cars, but didn't call police.

The reports of vandalism proved to be unfounded.

The group, which grew to about 15 members, allegedly surrounded Patterson, held him down and punched and kicked him, according to prosecutors.

The men stopped beating Patterson after passersby arrived and threatened to take pictures. The suspects ran away, leaving the victim on the ground.

The injuries Patterson suffered caused him to lose vision in his right eye.

Patterson said he had been drinking on a party bus with friends before the assault on Flushing Avenue, and has no idea why he was beat up.

"Maybe the way I dressed, I was on the block," he said. "I want these people to know they can't put their hands on anyone and get away with it, and think just because you have on certain attire you can get away with certain things. We're all equal here."

The five suspects indicted Wednesday, ages 19, 21, 28, 25 and 39, were charged with gang assault, unlawful imprisonment and menacing.

Rabbi David Niederman, president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, said in a statement: "The bedrock of the Williamsburg community is tolerance for one another. Any act of violence by any individual, against anyone, for whatever reason, is condemned in the strongest possible terms.

"We will continue to build bridges between all communities, as we have done in the past, to create a better Williamsburg for all of its residents," he said.

<![CDATA[Flying Can of Soybeans Hits Woman in Face at Store]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 08:20:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/808-14+49pct+Assault+Suspect+photo+2.jpg

Police are looking for a Bronx supermarket customer who chucked a can of soybeans into a woman's face when he missed his intended target during an argument inside the store.

The suspect was inside the Compare Food Store at 2080 White Plains Road at about 1:30 p.m. on April 13 in Pelham Parkway when he got into an argument with another man, police say.

The suspect threw a can of soybeans in the man's direction but missed him and the can instead hit another shopper, a 69-year-old woman, in the face.

The woman was taken to Einstein Hospital with swelling to her eye.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

<![CDATA[Woman Who Killed 4 Puppies Gets Fine, Community Service]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:50:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kimberly+matthews+animal+cruelty.jpg

A New Jersey woman was sentenced to a fine and community service for suffocating four of her boyfriend's bulldog puppies inside a food cooler, officials said.

Kimberly Matthews, 27, was found guilty of four counts of animal cruelty Wednesday after her arrest last fall.

Police said they were alerted to the case after an acquaintance of hers told them that Matthews had given him a blue Igloo cooler with four 5-week-old American bulldog puppies lying motionless inside and that she told him "they were probably just sleeping."

When the acquaintance later went to touch the puppies, he saw they were cold and deceased.

The acquaintance told police that Matthews had an argument over the phone with her boyfriend, who breeds American bulldogs, and that she threatened to kill the puppies. 

Later she removed the puppies from their cage and put them into the cooler, the acquaintance told police. 

Matthews was sentenced to pay a $1,000 fine and 30 days of community service at an animal shelter facility.




<![CDATA[Renowned NJ Cardiologist Accused of Fondling Patients]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:28:06 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/john+strobeck+arrest.jpg

A nationally-renowned cardiologist from New Jersey has been arrested for allegedly fondling patients at his practice, prosecutors say. 

John Strobeck, 67, was indicted this week on two counts of criminal sexual contact for allegedly groping two patients during medical examinations at his Hawthorne practice.

The indictment stems from a complaint made by one of the victims to local police in May 2012. Prosecutors discovered the second victim in the course of their investigation.

Strobeck is director of the Heart Failure Program at Valley Hospital and founder of the Heart-Lung Associates of America in Hawthorne. 

Information on his attorney wasn't immediately available.

The Star-Ledger reported Strobeck could not be reached at his office Wednesday and Valley Hospital didn't immediately respond to its request for comment.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Famous Parrot Found Safe in Brooklyn]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:15:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/truman+parrot.jpg
A "world-famous" green parrot known for its YouTube performances and talk show appearances that went missing in Brooklyn Monday has been found safe, his owner says. 

Michael Sazhin, a professional bird trainer and parrot enthusiast, wrote on his Facebook page that the bird, named Truman, was found several miles away in Canarsie Wednesday, roughly 48 hours after he flew off when Sazhin took him to the park near 16th Avenue and 75th Street. 

Sazhin says he got a call shortly before noon that a man in Canarsie had found a green bird in his yard. 

"That is very far away and I didn't believe it until he said he had a white beak, had been screaming there for hours and had orange on his winds," Sazhin said. "I knew that was Truman." 

Sazhin says Truman didn't seem hungry, appeared in good shape and still had energy to fly. He let the bird finish munching on an almond in the man's backyard before he put his harness on him and took him home.

Later, Sazhin said Truman "happily participated in a routine training session," though his eyes did look a little tired.

Sazhin got Truman from a breeder in Florida four years ago and has cared for the bird since it was a chick. He named the parrot Truman because in videotaping and sharing his upbringing and training progress with the world, he was reminded of "The Truman Show" with Jim Carrey. 

Sazhin takes his bird show on the road to conferences, community groups and schools and has performed with his parrots on "America's Got Talent," "The Steve Harvey Show" and "The Late Show With David Letterman." He says his other bird, Kili, usually is the one on TV while Truman hangs out backstage. 

While Sazhin doesn't plan to clip Truman's wings, he says he plans to write a book about how to find one's lost parrot. He has already authored one on parrot training and socializing and runs parrotwizard.com.

Photo Credit: Facebook/Trained Parrot]]>
<![CDATA[Students Caught Having Sex]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:11:43 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Richard+Montgomery+High+School+Hallway+Sex+Mirror.jpg

A Montgomery County, Md., high school installed mirrors to help monitor its hallways after two students were caught having sex earlier this year.

Miguel Cedillo, 18, is charged with fourth-degree sex offense, a misdemeanor, after allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl in the hallway near the attendance office at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville. The students were supposed to be in class.

According to court documents, the girl consented to the February encounter, which ended when other students in the hallway interrupted them. The girl's parents contacted the school after learning about the incident from a parent of another student. The school then contacted police.

Cedillo is charged because of the age difference. Fourteen is too young to give legal consent for sex in Maryland.

"Because it was greater than four years and the victim was either 14 or 15, in this case 14," said Rockville City police Lt. Eric Over.

A hearing for Cedillo was scheduled for May 8, The Gazette reported. He is being assigned a public defender.

The incident prompted school officials to install mirrors to better monitor the hallways and reduce the opportunities for students to hide from security. Students told New4's Pat Collins at least a dozen mirrors have been installed.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Child Captures Hot Air Balloon Landing in Street]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 08:50:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Balloon-Mishap-0423-Rancho2.jpg

A hot air balloon making an unscheduled landing in the middle of the street Tuesday was caught on video by a giggling little boy in the back of his mom's car.

NBC 7 obtained the video shot by a 6-year-old Dylan, who repeatedly said "Oh my gosh" while recording the landing in the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego.

Nine people were on board the balloon when it landed in front of cars at Bernardo Center Drive at West Bernardo Drive just after 7 p.m.

Firefighters helped to move the balloon off the road.

The pilot says they were blown off course.

No one was injured.

A photographer in the area also provided images of the unscheduled landing.

It was the second unscheduled landing in the North County in two weeks. On April 10, a hot air balloon landed near a firehouse in the Rancho Penasquitos area. No one was injured in that landing.


Photo Credit: Ellrod Images]]>
<![CDATA[Thief Preys on 20-Somethings at NYC Delis, Shops]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 20:04:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/village+robbery+suspect.jpg

Police are looking for a thief who preys on victims in their 20s as they stop for coffee or a bite to eat near New York University, grabbing wallets, laptops and bags from unsuspecting diners.

The suspect has stolen property from at least seven people since late February, including four this month, in Greenwich Village, Gramercy Park and the Flatiron District.

Police say he stole a woman's wallet at a Chipotle on Eighth Street Feb. 28. Three weeks later, he walked into a coffee shop on Mercer Street and took a man's bag, which had a laptop and tablet computer inside.

Then the frequency of his crimes escalated.

On March 22, he stole a woman's laptop from a Starbucks on West Fourth Street. The next week, he took a bag from a man at a small coffee shop on East 24th Street, a wallet and computer from a woman at a pizza shop on MacDougal Street and another laptop from a woman on the NYU campus at University Place.

The most recent theft was last Monday, when he stole a backpack from a woman in a Park Avenue deli. 

All of the victims for whom police released ages are between the ages of 20 and 28. It's not clear how many may be NYU students. With the exception of the first theft, each crime in the pattern was committed between 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. 

No injuries were reported. 

Police released surveillance images of the suspect (above) and ask anyone with information about him or the crimes to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. 

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Toddler Falls Out Window, Isn't Hurt: NYPD]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:43:04 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/toddler+window+fall.jpg

A toddler who fell out of a third-story window in lower Manhattan early Wednesday miraculously wasn't seriously injured in the plunge, police say. 

The 2-year-old boy fell out of a window of a building on Chrystie Street around 1:30 a.m. and landed on a shed full of garbage cans, the NYPD said.

The boy was taken to the hospital for evaluation. Authorities say he had some bumps and bruises but no serious injuries.

The boy’s family was home when he fell, police say. They say some of the windows in the apartment building have bars, but not the one from which the boy fell. 

No charges have been filed.

Earl Boyd was in the park across the street when the boy fell; he says he heard a boom and ran over to the apartment building. He saw the toddler on the ground outside. The boy was crying, but not bleeding.

Pointing to the garbage shed, Boyd recalled, "I said, 'Whoa, good thing for that,' because otherwise the baby would've hit the concrete."

Moments later the child's parents came outside and the father picked him up. 

"The baby was still crying," Boyd said. "I said, 'Oh, good, the baby's alive.'"

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Man, 28, Brutally Beaten With Tree Stakes in Bronx]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:53:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/tree-stakes.JPG

Police are looking for two suspects who pulled tree stakes from the ground and used them to brutally beat a man early Wednesday in the Bronx.

The 28-year-old victim was said to be in critical condition with severe head trauma after the beating near Grand Concourse and Rockwood Street in Mount Eden around 1 a.m.

Authorities did not say whether the men knew each other.

Surveillance video shows two men running from the scene.

<![CDATA[Bratton on Twitter Fail: I Welcome the Attention]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 20:04:32 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mynypdtwitter.jpg

An NYPD social media campaign backfired when the police department asked New Yorkers for photos with cops and Twitter erupted with unflattering pictures of officers making arrests, tangling with citizens and in some cases wielding their weapons.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Wednesday disputed the idea that the effort was a failure, saying he welcomed the images, and that sometimes police work isn't pretty.

"Send us your photos, good or bad," he said. "I welcome the extra attention."

The department on Tuesday asked followers on its official Twitter account, @NYPDNews, to post photos of themselves with officers:

"Do you have a photo with a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD."

The #myNYPD hashtag quickly took off when people began tweeting photos that the NYPD would probably rather not highlight. The hashtag became a trending topic, drawing responses from around the world. 

Many of the photos showed the NYPD wrestling with demonstrators and pointing or swinging weapons at civilians.

Bratton said Wednesday that the images didn't necessarily portray police misconduct, saying this is the kind of work police officers do.

The tweets accompanying the photos were often negative and sarcastic.

"The #NYPD will also help you de-tangle your hair," read one tweet accompanying a photo of officers pulling a woman's hair as she was in handcuffs.

"Need a lift? The #NYPD's got you! Free Delivery, only at #myNYPD" read another, with a photo showing a man being carried by officers from his arms and legs. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the NYPD defended its campaign, saying it was "creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community."

"Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city," the statement read.

Some people did post the kind of police-friendly photos the department hoped to get.


Photo Credit: Twitter/NYPDNews]]>
<![CDATA[Autistic Boy's Facebook Page Gets 10,000 Likes]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:47:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/joshua+birthday.jpg

Facebook page started by a Queens woman so her autistic son would have "friends" on his birthday has attracted more than 10,000 likes after NBC 4 New York's report on the heartwarming story.

Brenda Figueroa's son, Joshua, turned 12 on Tuesday, and she started the page so he could have birthday greetings. He has trouble making friends, he said.

"When I'm trying to make friends, sometimes the kids ignore me," he said.

After NBC 4 New York's report on the family Tuesday, well-wishers have flocked to the page and posted happy birthday wishes from around the nation.

"Looks to me like you have lots of friends Buddy. I'm glad I can be one!!! Happy Birthday Joshua!! I hope your day was all you wanted it to be!!!" wrote one poster.

"You are a special guy and I hope you had a great birthday," wrote another.

"God gives special kids to very special moms, and thou I don't know you, I can tell you are special," another poster said.

Figueroa posted a thank you to all of Joshua's Facebook supporters, saying her son was thrilled to see how many people care for him.


<![CDATA[Stowaway's Dad: "Allah Saved Him"]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:16:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/04-23-2014-hawaiian.jpg

The father of a Santa Clara teen stowaway who survived a 5 1/2-hour flight from San Jose to Hawaii Sunday despite high altitudes, low oxygen and freezing temperatures tells the Voice of America that Allah protected his son.

“When I watched the analysis about the extraordinary and dangerous trip of my son on local TVs and that Allah had saved him, I thanked God and I was very happy,” Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi, who lives in Santa Clara, told VOA's Somali service in an interview Wednesday.

Abdi said he received the news about his son's trip in a phone call from police in Hawaii.

“They told me that they were holding my son,” he said. “I was shocked. I wondered how my son went there.”

The teen’s story has been met with amazement by experts, who say low temperatures and lack of oxygen in the wheel well would make it hard to survive such a journey.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, only 25 of 105 flight stowaways reported since 1947 have lived.

“They tried to explain to me about the stowaway and the plane story,” Abdi told VOA. “I got confused, and asked them to call the San Jose police department which later explained to me how things happened.”

Abdi told the news service his son was at home Friday at noon, and they had prayed together. On Sunday, the teen scaled the fence at San Jose Mineta International Airport, sneaking into the Boeing 767's wheel well.

The teen crawled out of the wheel about an hour after the plane landed in Maui and was spotted by airport workers on the tarmac.

When VOA asked what might have spurred his son to fly to Hawaii in such a risky way, Abdi said:

“He did not receive education when he was in Africa. Since we came here he had learning challenges at school. He was not good at math and science and I think he had a lot of education problems bothering him.”

Abdi described his son as a “very quiet person.”

“He was always busy with watching the TV and using computer. I can say he was really cool boy,” he said.

According to Abdi, his son always talked about going back to Africa, where his grandparents still lived.

“We want to go back, but due to the current living conditions we can’t go back.” Abdi said.

Photo Credit: Hawaiian Airlines]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Hurt by Falling Debris in Manhattan]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:46:22 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/manhattan+falling+debris+hurts+kid.JPG

A 12-year-old girl was hurt when debris from a construction site at a building on Manhattan's west side fell and struck her as she was walking, authorities say.

The debris fell while the girl was walking with a parent near 53rd Street and 9th Avenue at about 6:15 p.m., the FDNY said. 

She was taken to St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital and was listed in stable condition with minor injuries.

The Buildings Department is investigating whether strong winds were a factor. 

<![CDATA[Sriracha Plant Shutdown Vote Delay]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:42:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/236*120/srirachawednesday4.JPG

Officials in a Southern California city held off on a decision about whether to force the closure of the Sriracha hot sauce plant that is being blamed for bad odors and heat that burns eyes.

Irwindale officials want to work with the company to fix the odor and are not ready to force them to do it yet.

"I brought my own personal one to show that we want to work with you," said Irwindale Mayor Mark Breceda as he pulled out a bottle of the hot sauce in the council chambers.

The City Council voted to table the issue until the next scheduled council meeting. The shelving of the decision came as about a dozen hot sauce supporters rallied outside City Hall.

"They can kill me, but they can't take out my business," said the owner of the plant, David Tran, who founded Huy Fong Foods, Inc., which produces the spicy sauce.

This was another step in an ongoing saga that pits people who live near the factory complaining about stinging eyes, headaches and coughing fits, and the owner.

Supporters, meanwhile, say complaints of the "spicy and offensive odor" stem from only four local households.

They also say the South Coast Air Quality Management District investigated and found no offensive emissions from the plant.

In addition, the Republican Party of Los Angeles County recently passed a resolution of support for the company, supporters said.

Tran said he’s willing to take drastic action and move the plant elsewhere. He was entertaining offers to move the plant to at least 10 other states, including Texas and Louisiana.

Nearly 200 workers stand to lose their jobs or move with the company. Worker Mary Almodovar said she was on pins and needles waiting to find out her fate.

"This is our family income," she said. "For many of us, this is our only income."

Two residents at the council meeting spoke out against the odors.

If the ordinance passes, Tran would have 90 days to fix the odor problem or the city will install technology to track odors coming from the plant.

Tran said he wants city officials to inspect the plant themselves so he can make the necessary adjustments.

"If they don't come, it doesn't matter (if it's) two weeks or two months, I don't do anything," Tran said.

Congressman Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., is fighting to keep the plant in Southern California.

Gordon Tokumatsu and Irene Moore contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Batteries in Baby Video Monitors Recalled]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:58:31 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/baby_feet_generic.jpg

Summer Infant is recalling about 800,000 rechargeable batteries used in baby video monitors because of a burn hazard.

The Woonsocket, R.I.-based manufacturer has received 22 reports of overheated and ruptured batteries, including incidents of smoke and minor property damage.

The hand-held, color video monitors were sold with a matching camera and A/C adaptors at Babies "R'' Us, online and other retailers from about February 2010 through 2012 for $150 to $350. The batteries are about 1 ½ inches tall by 2 ¼ inches wide and are ¼ inches thick, black, and marked with TCL on the batteries' lower right corner.

Consumers can contact Summer Infant for a replacement battery at 800-426-8627 or online at the company's website.

The batteries were manufactured in China. About 58,800 batteries were recalled in February 2011.

<![CDATA[Century-Old Shipwreck Found in SF]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 08:59:31 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/04-23-2014-chester-rosato.jpg

A steamship that sank with 16 passengers aboard in 1888 has been located again under the Golden Gate Bridge, leading to the release of new sonar images of the boat sitting upright, covered in mud.

James Delgado, director of maritime heritage for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Sanctuaries, called the rediscovery of the passenger ship the “City of Chester,” which was first located more than 100 years ago, quite remarkable. And not just because it was the Bay Area’s second most deadly shipwreck.

The find is significant, Delgado said, because its revelation allows the public to learn more about ordinary people put in extraordinary circumstances. And re-examining the story of the ship, he said, allows for a bit of Gold Rush-era Chinese bigotry to be erased.

The shipwreck, which occurred following a collision with a boat carrying Chinese immigrants, was initially blamed on the passengers and crew of the other ship involved. While it was later revealed that the Chester was at fault -- and Chinese crew worked to save the lives of those on board -- the wreck "was then largely forgotten," according to the NOAA.

“History is made up of a  lot of people who never made it into the books,” said Delgado, an archaeologist who grew up in San Jose, Calif., and now works in Washington, D.C. “Same with this shipwreck. It was filled with everyday people who got into a situation beyond their control.”

“Not every discovery,” Delgado said, “is the Titanic.”

The ship was most recently found in 200 feet of water about  quarter mile away from the Golden Gate Bridge in May 2013, when coastal teams were scouring the bottom of the bay before the America’s Cup, according to Delgado. But the NOAA waited until Wednesday to present its findings publicly, after months of sorting through data and sonar imagery. 

2013 Multi-beam sonar profile view of the shipwreck SS City of Chester. (Credit: NOAA Office of Coast Survey NRT6)

Delgado said while his team was out on the Bay looking to make sure the racing sailboats wouldn’t get caught on anything, crews were also looking for this wreck, which he knew about from the history books.

High-resolution sonar imagery clearly defined the hull, according to NOAA, rising some 18 feet from the seabed, and the fatal gash on the vessel’s port side.

For Delgado – who said he was actually the first archaeologist aboard the Titanic in 2000 - the finding of the 202-foot long steamship is a chance to talk about his favorite subject, history.

Ninety people were aboard the ship on Aug. 22, 1888, which made a regular trip from the Bay Area to British Columbia. It was named City of Chester after the Pennsylvania city in which it was built. 

On the day of the wreck, the captain of the ship took an unsafe turn, Delgado said, forcing the oncoming Oceanic to strike it. The City of Chester was impaled and sank. Sixteen people died.

Delgado said that the deadly shipwreck was the captain of the Chester’s fault. But that at the time, because of anti-Chinese sentiment during the height of the Gold Rush era, the public blamed the Chinese crew aboard the Oceanic for the deaths. But Delgado said the animousity wasn't warranted. 

Modern view of the Golden Gate Channel and approximate location of the SS City of Chester. (Credit: Robert V. Schwemmer, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries)

 “The Chinese crew saved a lot of lives," Delgado said. "They pulled people onto their boats. If not for them, more people would have died.”

The City of Chester wreck is the second worst shipwreck of the San Francisco Bay Area, Delgado said, second to a 1901 Golden Gate Bridge-area wreck that killed 128 people.

NOAA officials gave credit to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey for locating the City of Chester 125 years ago. But no one verified the find, and no attempt was made to lug the ship to shore.

And no attempt will be made now, either. The shipwreck will remain submerged on the seafloor.

Just knowing it’s there is enough for Delgado.

“It’s a tangible link to another time," he said.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Men Keep Underwear for 7 Years on Average: Study]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:57:43 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/209*120/underpants-on-clothesline.jpg

Men, how often do you replace your underwear? Probably not that often, a British survey and an  NBC affiliate in Phoenix suggest.

A study in the United Kingdom found that men hold onto their undies for an average of seven years, and 22 percent of men admitted to wearing the same pair multiple days in a row, NBC station KPNX reported.

The study was of British men, but some underwear shoppers told a Phoenix, Ariz. NBC affiliate they thought the findings rang true for Americans, too.

"I think it's more of a pain to shop for them, unless they are shopped for us. So that's why I think we tend to hold on to them longer," a man told KPNX.

A woman shopper said she thinks men are indifferent about their underwear and its appearance. And a  Target employee told KPNX that male shoppers in her store can often look a little lost when browsing for underpants.

"We see people come in here looking for underwear, and they have no idea where to look. Clearly, they have not bought underwear in years," she said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Wins Lottery 3 Times in 3 Weeks]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:53:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kaelin+lottery.jpg

Three is a magic number. At least, it might be for one Chicago resident.

Christopher Kaelin, an occasional lottery player, won the same lottery game three times in three weeks, officials announced Wednesday.

“I never expected to win,” Kaelin told Illinois lottery officials earlier this month, “especially not three times.”

Kaelin said his first win came during his lunch break when he bought a Crossword instant ticket at Gateway Newstand on Clark Street in Chicago and won $25,000.

“My fiancé and I were so thrilled that I won $25,000, we went out for dinner to celebrate,” he said.

After their celebratory dinner, the couple stopped at a gas station where Kaelin decided to buy another Crossword ticket and won $1,000.

The following week, he stopped at the same store where he purchased his $25,000 winning ticket and bought his third Crossword instant ticket. He said he was in his office when he used a key to scratch the ticket and realized he had won what he thought was $25,000.

“I was in the elevator when I took another look at my ticket and noticed I had the tenth word. The prize wasn’t $25,000 -- it was $250,000,” he said. “I was shocked.”

In total, Kaelin won $276,000.

Photo Credit: Illinois Lottery]]>
<![CDATA[Photo May Show Stowaway's Footprints on Airplane Wheels]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:16:25 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/160*155/wheel4.JPG

New images obtained by an NBC affiliate in Hawaii show what appear to possibly be the Santa Clara stowaway's footprints on the wheel of a plane he hid in for 5 1/2 hours from San Jose to Maui.

Hawaii News Now, which goes by the call letters KHNL, obtained photos from a source showing what looks like footprints on the wheel of the Hawaiian Airlines aircraft. Another photo (below) appears to  show footprints and handprints on the door of the craft.

The prints are believed to belong to the 15-year-old Santa Clara teen who hid in the wheel well on Sunday, traveling from San Jose Mineta International Airport to Hawaii. His story has been met with disbelief from experts, who say low temperatures and lack of oxygen in the wheel well would make it hard to survive such a journey. Only 25 of the 105 flight stowaways reported since 1947 lived, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

NBC Bay Area and NBC News have been unable to independently verify the photos.

Hawaii News Now also first reported that the 15-year-old boy - a student at Santa Clara High - may have been headed to Africa to reunite with his biological mother, according to an anonymous source with the Maui police department.

The station reported that the boy, who lives in Santa Clara, wanted to reunite with his mother in Somalia. Hawaii News Now reporter Lynn Kawano said that the boy lives with his biological father and a stepmother, but was not happy living with so many siblings and step-siblings.

The teen's family told NBC Bay Area in a brief interview Monday that the reports of an argument were untrue.

Both FBI Special Agent Tom Simon and Maui Police Lt. William Juan declined to confirm or deny to NBC Bay Area the report that the boy was trying to head to Africa.

NBC News also reported that the boy first hopped a fence at San Jose's airport at 1 a.m. on Sunday near a fuel farm . A video apparently shows him climbing into the wheel well of Flight 45 between gates two and three, NBC News reported. The plane landed at Kahlului Airport at 4:30 p.m.

The teen's former English teacher at Oak Grove High, Keith Chung, told NBC Bay Area he did not know much about the teen, other than that he had moved to the U.S. from Africa three years ago and that his father was a cab driver.

Chung said the boy had some recent run-ins in his English-learning class. Those issues, on which Chung did not elaborate, had culminated in a transfer to Santa Clara High.

"I'm totally shocked," Chung said. "I had this random thought that when I heard the news, that wouldn't it be funny if he went to Oak Grove? No, I wouldn't think he would do anything that this. He's very quiet."

Student Emanuael Golla, 18, told NBC Bay Area that the teen had just transferred to Santa Clara High about five weeks ago. Golla described him as very quiet, someone who kept to himself.

And Santa Clara High Principal Greg Shelby said that when the teen returns to school, he will be able to receive psychological services if he wants.



Photo Credit: Anonymous source via Hawaii News Now]]>
<![CDATA[Teen's Home Swarmed by Cops in Apparent "Swatting" Hoax]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:19:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/swatting+long+beach.jpg

Police swarmed a Long Island home Tuesday, responding to what they thought was a hostage situation and possible murder scene only to learn the call was a hoax targeting a teenage boy.

About 60 officers and emergency responders went to the home on Laurelton Boulevard in Long Beach after receiving a 911 call from someone claiming to have killed his mother and brother there.

When they arrived, they found no evidence of a shooting and learned no one at the home had called 911. Instead, a 17-year-old boy believed to be the target of a hoax was in the shower, and his family was fine. 

Police believe the teen was caught up in a "swatting" prank that has become a trend among online video game players. 

"When a bunch of people play, the loser will gather information on the winner and will call police in that jurisdiction, say 'I'm so and so, I shot my mother, brother' and try to get his response, and today, it did happen," said Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney. 

Tangney said police took the call "very seriously" and surrounded the home, bringing out the three people who were inside.

When the teen was taken out of the home, "we don't know he's not the shooter. He's taken down in what we call a felony stop; he's fully searched and handcuffed," Tangney said. "He was what I would describe as the closest thing to being in shock. He was incapable of communicating for a few minutes."

When authorities determined the call was a hoax, Tangney said he was "very angry."

"It's a tremendous waste of taxpayer resources, tremendous danger to law enforcement," he said. 

The caller "did something so, so foolish and so dangerous," Tangney added. 

The caller, who has yet to be identified, apparently became upset after losing a video game called Call of Duty to the Long Beach teenager, according to Tangney. 

Long Beach Police Lt. Mark Stark estimated the cost of the huge police response -- including overtime, fuel and helicopter -- at up to $100,000. Stark added that four Nassau County medics responded, tying up a third of the available force.

The person who made the 911 call "could be anywhere in the world," according to Tangney. Detectives have collected the names of people who were playing the game with the Long Beach teenager and are working with Internet providers to obtain additional information about possible suspects.

The FBI is assisting Long Beach police in their investigation, and has made its computer crimes resources available if the case goes across state lines. The teen's game console and computer have been taken as evidence.

There have been seven "swatting" incidents in Nassau County since 2011, said police spokesman Kenneth Lack. He said two of them involved victims who were playing video games. In neighboring Suffolk County, a spokesman said there have been three swatting incidents this year, all of which involved victims who reported playing video games.

Last July, police swarmed a New Jersey home after getting a call about a bomb and hostages. They determined it was a prank and were looking into whether the victim was targeted by a fellow XBox game player. 

Police around the country have been investigating "swatting" incidents for several years. The phenomenon also has involved several high-profile incidents where SWAT teams were dispatched to the homes of celebrities including Tom Cruise, Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher.

Last year, the Los Angeles police said they would no longer routinely issue news releases or offer immediate confirmation on hoaxes in an effort to discourage the prank callers.

-- Tom Winter and AP contributed to this report. 

<![CDATA[Woman Accused of Stabbing 73-Year-Old: Prosecutors]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:13:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Williamsburg-Body-Scene.jpg

A Brooklyn woman has been accused of binding a 73-year-old man with duct tape before stabbing him to death and stealing his car, prosecutors say.

Judith Johnson, 22, was indicted Tuesday on murder and robbery charges in the stabbing death of 73-year-old Serge Bosse in February, Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson said. If convicted, she faces up to life in prison.

“This victim was robbed, tied up, brutally stabbed, and left to die,” Thompson said. “We will hold the defendants responsible for committing these crimes."

Bosse was found stabbed to death in his home Feb. 28, prosecutors say. The 73-year-old’s wrists and ankles were bound with duct tape. The man’s Mercedes-Benz sedan was missing, as were electronics and jewelry.

Police found Bosse’s car a few days after his death, while stopping a man for driving while intoxicated, prosecutors say. Police found that the man driving the car had bought it from Johnson’s boyfriend, George Chambers. Then, they were able to connect Johnson to the 73-year-old’s death.

Johnson allegedly gave police information implicating herself in the slaying, prosecutors say. Chambers also allegedly admitted to helping the woman pawn off Bosse’s belongings.

Johnson was indicted on larceny and hindering prosecution charges.

Attorney information for the defendants was unavailable.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[New Video Shows Stolen SUV Suspect After 7-Car Crash]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:16:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/brooklyn+carjacking+vid.jpg
Police released surveillance video that shows the suspect wanted in connection with a Brooklyn carjacking who was involved in a seven-car pileup while driving the SUV he had just stolen.

Authorities say the suspect approached a 33-year-old driver as she was stopped at a light near Bedford Avenue and Fenimore Street in Prospect Lefferts Gardens around 10:30 p.m. March 30. He flashed a weapon, told her to get out of her 2009 Toyota SUV and, once she did, he hopped into the car and sped off.

About two hours later, police say the suspect, still driving the stolen SUV, was involved in a seven-car collision near Bedford and Clarkson avenues. He then fled with a female passenger.

The newly released surveillance video (above) shows the suspect running away after the crash. 

Anyone with information about the carjacking is asked to call Crime Stoppers 1-800-577-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Starts Facebook Page to Give Autistic Son "Friends" ]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 07:52:06 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/joshua+birthday.jpg

A Queens woman who says her autistic son doesn't have any friends started a Facebook page for him so he could receive happy birthday wishes.

Brenda Figueroa said her son, Joshua, turned 12 years old Tuesday.

She said on Facebook that her son, who loves comic books, science-fiction stories and drawing, didn't have any friends, and she was sad about that.

Joshua told NBC 4 New York that he gets nervous when trying to talk to new people.

"When I'm trying to make friends, sometimes the kids ignore me," he said.

His father said other kids often just don't understand how to connect with Joshua.

"They see him one way, but they don't understand his behavior or attitude sometimes in certain situations," he said.

His mother said on Facebook that her role is to see that he is loved "by precious people." So she started the page on Monday.

By Tuesday afternoon, he had dozens of friends and many birthday greetings.

"Happy birthday Joshua and many more," said one.

"Hope you have a wonderful birthday!!!!" said another.


<![CDATA[Undercover Cop Shot in Busy Shopping Complex]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:09:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/garfield+shooting+april+22.jpg

A police officer making an undercover drug purchase was shot Tuesday afternoon in a busy New Jersey shopping complex, sending shoppers running for cover as the gunfire erupted.

Prosecutors said the officer was part of a team conducting an undercover drug buy of $400 worth of marijuana around 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Garfield complex that includes a Wal-Mart, a Marshalls and an Applebee's restaurant.

The officer, a nine-year veteran of the Paramus Police Department, was sitting in an undercover car with one suspect. A second suspect approached the car, pointed a gun at the police officer and said "give me everything that you have," prosecutors said.

A struggle ensued and the suspect shot at the cop twice, hitting him in the right hip and left foot, prosecutors said. Backup officers who were nearby returned fire, and the suspect was also shot twice. He is in custody, along with two others.

The midday gunfire alarmed shoppers and workers in the area.

Lena Sarao, who works at Marshalls, said people came running into the store saying there were gunshots outside, and some took cover in the back room.

"We just all went to go hide," she said.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said the transaction "was an average street drug buy," but added that he believed it had been set up by the suspects as a planned theft.


<![CDATA[School Bus Driver Accused of Selling Heroin]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:08:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kovarick.jpg
A 38-year-old bus driver who drove students to and from private schools on Long Island is accused of selling heroin after dropping off the kids, prosecutors say. 

Anna Kovarick, a 15-year employee of Acme Bus, was arrested April 10 and indicted by a grand jury on the heroin charges this week. 

The Bayshore woman worked with schools in the West Islip area. Prosecutors say she allegedly drove kids to school, parked her bus at the depot and went out to sell heroin. Then she'd go back to the bus, take the kids home and "go out again and sell more heroin," Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

Spota said there was no evidence Kovarick drove the bus while under the influence of the drug. 

Her attorney said she has never been arrested before and said the charges are "totally out of character for her."

Acme Bus Corp. couldn't immediately be reached for comment on her arrest.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[13-Year-Old Boy Hit by Stray Gunfire Leaves Hospital]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:15:51 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gama+droiville+released+hospital.jpg

A 13-year-old boy who was shot in the head by stray gunfire while waiting for the bus in Brooklyn with his aunt last week left the hospital Tuesday, and thanked everyone for all the support he has received. 

Wearing an NYPD baseball cap, Gama Droiville smiled as police officers wheeled him out in his wheelchair from Kings County Hospital Tuesday afternoon.

Droiville was shot twice in the head as a gunman chased a man down Flatbush near Beverley Road last Monday afternoon. The man he was chasing was also shot in the leg, police said.

The boy's aunt ushered him into a nearby pizzeria to escape the bullets, but he had already been shot in the head. One of the shots pierced his right eye.

Droiville said Tuesday as he left the hospital that he was "in the healing process," and doctors aren't sure whether he will regain his eyesight.
Dr. Douglas Lazzaro, chief of opthamology at Kings County Hospital, said the boy was an "inspiration for the staff here." 
"We were lucky to be able to serve this young man," he said. 
Droiville said he "hopes to feel much better."
He added: "I would like to say thank you to all the journalists and my choir members and my church that are still keeping me in prayer." 

A 19-year-old man was arrested Friday and charged with two counts of attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

Droiville gave "a special thank you to the NYPD for catching this guy."

<![CDATA[Strip Club Sues Man for $135K in Unpaid Bills: Report]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:10:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/stripper+generic+black+white.jpg

A Manhattan strip club is suing a New Jersey cardiologist who they say ran up a $135,000 tab, then claimed that he was drugged by club employees and never authorized the charges, according to published reports.

According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday, 41-year-old Dr. Zyad Younan went to Scores New York on West 28th Street four times over a 10-day period in November, racking up $135,305 in charges for food, drinks and services, the Daily News reports.

The man allegedly paid for the visits with his company’s corporate American Express card, Later, he contested the charges, saying that Scores employees had drugged him or that he wasn’t at the club, the News said. But the club contends that the man was at the club willingly and was seen on video during all four visits.

“He was coherent until he saw the bill,” Scores manager Stephen Hyman told the newspaper.

The cover charge at Scores is $20, and meals and drinks can run hundreds of dollars. Customers can also tip dancers using their credit cards.

<![CDATA[Was Stowaway Headed to Africa?]]> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 07:51:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/219*120/plane36.jpg

A teen stowaway from California who flew to Hawaii tucked into a plane's wheel well may have been trying to reach family in Africa, where his biological mother lives, an NBC affiliate in Hawaii reported.

A teacher and classmate described the 15-year-old to NBC Bay Area on Tuesday as a quiet boy who, despite some troubles in his English class, mostly keeps to himself.

The boy, who attends high school in the Santa Clara Unified School District, lives with his biological father and a stepmother in Santa Clara, police told Hawaii News Now. But the station reported that the teen was not happy living with so many siblings and step-siblings, and wanted to reunite with his mother in Somalia.

The teen's former English teacher at Oak Grove High, Keith Chung, told NBC Bay Area he did not know much about the teen, other than that he had moved to the U.S. from Africa three years ago and that his father was a cab driver.

Chung said the boy had some recent run-ins in his English-learning class. Those issues, on which Chung did not elaborate, had culminated in a transfer to Santa Clara High.

"I'm totally shocked," Chung said. "I had this random thought that when I heard the news, that wouldn't it be funny if he went to Oak Grove? No, I wouldn't think he would do anything that this. He's very quiet."

Student Emanuael Golla, 18, told NBC Bay Area that the teen had just transferred to Santa Clara High about five weeks ago. Golla described him as very quiet, someone who kept to himself.

And Santa Clara High Principal Greg Shelby said that when the teen returns to school, he will be able to receive psychological services if he wants.

What prompted the teen to hitch a hazardous ride inside the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines plane Sunday at San Jose International Airport remains unclear.

Hawaii News Now reporter Lynn Kawano spoke to a source in the Maui police department who told her that the teen had run away after getting into an argument with his father. The teen then either misunderstood or couldn't read the information on the plane he jumped into, before making the 5 1/2-hour journey to Hawaii. He told the FBI when he landed and was found walking around on the tarmac that he had had a fight with his family, according to Kawano.

But the teen's family told NBC Bay Area in a brief interview Monday that the reports of an argument were untrue.

Both FBI Special Agent Tom Simon and Maui Police Lt. William Juan declined to confirm or deny to NBC Bay Area the report that the boy was trying to head to Africa.

The Department of Human Services in Hawaii said the teen was in the care of Child Welfare Services, and the agency is doing what needs to be done to "ensure the child's safe return to his home in California." While the teen was said to have miraculously survived, Hawaii News Now said he was taken from a hospital in Maui to a hospital in Oahu.

The teen's journey has raised questions about airport security, with many wondering how anyone — especially a high schooler — could scale the barbed wire fence at the airport and escape scrutiny before hiding in the wheel well of a Boeing 767.

Many have also questioned how a person could actually survive a flight in 80-below temperatures with little oxygen flying at 38,000 feet.

The FBI said the teen was was unconscious for most of the flight, and that it was "clearly amazing" that the boy exited the wheel well unscathed.

According to the FAA, the last known survivor of a stowaway incident was in August 2013 on a domestic flight within Nigeria. Since 1947, the FAA has recorded 94 stowaway incidents involving 105 people. Of those, only 25 survived.

The Hawaiian Airlines plane the Santa Clara stowaway hid on returned to San Jose International Airport, April 21, 2014.


 NBC Bay Area's Chase Cain and Dan Pyryt contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>