<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:12:02 -0700 Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:12:02 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Watch NBC Bay Area News at 6]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:30:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/2014-08-24_10-28-55.jpg

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<![CDATA[Oakland Smash-and-Grabs Target Parents]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:33:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N5P-OAKLAND-SMASH-AND-GRABS-PKG---00004607.jpg

Criminals in Oakland are apparently targeting parents taking their kids to school. Some recent smash-and-grab robberies have left parents rattled.

The recent robberies took place on Broadway in front of a pre-school. The remnants of a break-in were still visible on curb Monday morning. An unsuspecting mother became a victim within seconds

Emily Shoop said feels violated after someone broke through her mini-van window as she dropped her 4-year-old daughter off at pre-school two weeks ago. “They broke through the passenger side window and of course my bag was sitting there,” Shoop said. The bad guys grabbed her purse and ran off.

Shoop's bag containing her laptop, phone and wallet was gone in a flash. The graphic designer lost all of the projects stored on her computer. “Of course I was in a hurry, just racing in, giving a kiss goodbye,” Shoop said.

The pre-school director says it's something they see at the start of every school year, thieves targeting busy parents during drop off and pick-up time. A similar car burglary took place in front of Chabot Elementary earlier this month.

Oakland police said they're not ready to call what's taken place a trend, but they say it's a wake-up call every parent should learn from. While these back-to-school smash-and-grabs have taken place in Oakland, they can happen anywhere. Police say parents all over Bay Area should take precautions.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

<![CDATA[$1,300 Raised for Autistic Man]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:52:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Steven+St.+Jacques+birthday+money+burglary.jpg

A man accused of stealing $100 in birthday money from an autistic man has been arrested, and police in Stamford, Connecticut, have presented the victim with more than $1,000 they pooled together and raised from the public. 

Police said Steven St. Jacques, 27, of Stamford, approached the victim, a 27-year-old autistic man, near Veterans Park last Tuesday afternoon.

He tricked the victim into handing over his money, then pretended to put it back into the victim's pocket but instead ran away with $100 in cash, police say.

Police looked for the man initially but could not find him. On Thursday, they released surveillance footage that showed a man running from the scene in the hopes that someone could identify the perpetrator.

St. Jacques was identified as police's suspect over the weekend. Police obtained a search warrant and found an article of clothing at his house that matched what they say he was wearing when the video was shot.

St. Jacques has been charged with second-degree larceny and is due in court on Tuesday.

He has had prior arrests for alleged assault and robbery, police said.

As Stamford police investigated, police officers, members of the local police union and community members banded together to collect money for the victim and presented him with $1,300 on Monday. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Stamford Police]]>
<![CDATA[9 Injured in "10-Plus" Car Accident on Interstate 880]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:54:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/12-cars-suv5.jpg

Nine people were injured – three critically – early Monday morning when a big-rig crashed into a center divider on Interstate Highway 880 in San Leandro, sending concrete flying all over the roadway and causing many of the vehicles to burst into flames.

Alameda County firefighters said that all the patients were taken to local hospitals – one person had to be airlifted.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the accident occurred about 3 a.m. near the Marina Boulevard exit. A Sig-Alert was issued about 30 minutes later. All southbound and northbound lanes were closed temporarily,and then reopened at various times throughout the morning. By 9:30 a.m., all lanes were open to drivers, who sat through the wee hours of the morning in nightmarish traffic.

"If my uncle had picked me up just five minutes earlier, I could have been in the accident or one of the eyewitnesses of the accident," Jeremy Daniels told NBC Bay Area from the side of the road, waiting to move in traffic. "It's really kind of scary."

CHP Officer Colton Kropp said it was actually a silver SUV that "initially lost control" just after 3 a.m. and hit a guardrail on the highway. The driver of a big rig carrying concrete couldn't stop in time, Kropp said, and ended up hitting the center divide, sending concrete flying.

That created a domino effect, Kropp said, where "10-plus" cars were involved, involving a Camry, a Chevrolet Malibu and "numerous other vehicles."

Video shot at the scene shows many of the cars crumpled, flames shooting out from some of the cars and ambulances and a Cal-Star helicopter getting patients medical attention.

A co-worker said the big-rig driver worked for OC Jones and Sons, a major general engineering contractor out of Berkeley, which has paved Bay Area roads for 90 years.

<![CDATA[Lightning Strike Kills Mass. Woman]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:44:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Marianne+Mellnick.jpg

Two families are now mourning the loss of their loved ones after both women struck by lightning on an Ipswich, Massachusetts, beach earlier this month have passed away.

Sixty-nine-year-old Marianne Mellnick of Concord, Massachusetts, died Saturday at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her friend, 61-year-old Marguerite "Muggy" Tomany of North Grosvenordale, Connecticut, died Sept. 6, just hours after the lightning strike.

Officials say the two women were leaving Crane Beach that day, walking back towards the parking lot when a microburst hit Ipswich, bringing with it strong winds and dangerous lightning.

Mellnick’s son tells NECN she was a beloved wife, mother and grandmother who had an infectious laugh, boundless energy and love of adrenaline. Se worked in tax management until retiring in 2010, when she spent her time volunteering and traveling the world hiking, kayaking, bicycling and skiing.

According to Tomany’s obituary, she was a proud and loving wife, mother and grandmother who lived life to the fullest. In her three years since retiring from her job as a kindergarten teacher, she also spent much of her time traveling and enjoying the outdoors.

Tomany was laid to rest last week. Donations may be made in her memory to The Mary R. Fisher Elementary School - Marguerite Tomany Fund.

A public funeral mass will be held for Mellnick Friday, Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. at St. Michael's Church in Bedford, Massachusetts. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Mellnick's name to a charity of your choice.

Photo Credit: The Mellnick Family]]>
<![CDATA[31 Arrests at 49ers' Home Opener]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:32:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/levis_stadium_tailgaters_pregame.jpg

Fans were mostly well-behaved at the San Francisco 49ers’ home opener at Levi's Stadium. Still, Santa Clara police arrested 31 people, most of them for alcohol-related offenses.

That's in line with previous arrest totals during games at Candlestick.

Sunday’s game was not the way the 49ers or their fans wanted to start the new era at Levi's Stadium.

Coach Jim Harbaugh talked Monday about the disappointing loss.

“Nobody feels really good about it,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a bad feeling to lose a game, no matter how you lose it, or the circumstances there were.”

Along with the loss, many fans were frustrated leaving Levi's. Some said they waited for three hours to get out of the parking lots. Others took matters into their own hands and drove their SUVs over grass and sidewalk just to get out.

The Bears won the game 28-20.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Bear Cools Off in SoCal Pool]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:44:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/200*120/bear+thomas+see+sierra+madre.jpg

A bear used a Sierra Madre homeowner's backyard pool Sunday to cool off during a Southern California heat wave that included triple-digit temperatures during the weekend.

The bear arrived late Sunday afternoon at the home, where it explored the backyard patio before splashing into the pool. The bear stayed in the water for about 15 minutes, resting on steps at both ends, before climbing out.

Resident Thomas See said this was the first time he has seen a bear swimming around in the pool. Bears in search of an easy snack often appear in the San Gabriel Valley community on trash days, he added.

The bear appeared to head south after the swim, See said.

California's black bear population is at about 25,000 to 30,000, with most living in mountain areas above 3,000 feet, according to what the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife calls conservative estimates. In 1982, the statewide bear population was estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000.

Less than 10 percent of the state's black bear population lives in the central western and southwestern California region, according to agency estimates. About half of the population resides in an area north and west of the Sierra Nevada.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has recorded 12 "bear attacks" since 1980. An attack is defined as "physical contact, injury or death."

The last reported attack in Los Angeles County occurred in July 2003 when a hiker was knocked down by a bear at a campsite on Pacific Crest Trail in Angeles National Forest. The hiker suffered minor injuries.

Photo Credit: Thomas See, NBCUniversal]]>
<![CDATA[Urban Pulls Bloody-Looking Shirt]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:05:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/kentstatesweatshirt.jpg

Urban Outfitters is once again at the center of controversy, this time for selling a Kent State sweatshirt that appeared to be splattered in blood.

The $129 shirt, sold as part of the Philadelphia-based retailer's vintage sweatshirt line, was so popular it quickly sold out -- but it also was decried as offensive because of the tragic killing of four students by the National Guard on Kent State's campus in 1970. 

The university, located about 40 miles south of Cleveland, took “great offense” to the shirt:

“May 4, 1970, was a watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family,” read a statement posted to the university’s website. “We lost four students that day while nine others were wounded and countless others were changed forever.

“We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”

Urban Outfitters has yet to return phone calls or emails from NBC10.

The company did, however, tweet that it “sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused.”

“It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such,” said a company statement posted online.

“The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray," it continued. "Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset.”

The retailer dropped a photo of the “bloody” sweatshirt but did leave up the “sold out” page on its website.

Other vintage sweatshirts — including ones with “Penn State,” “University of Texas” and “Cathedral College” printed on them — were also listed as sold out on the Urban Outfitters site. None of those shirts appeared to be bloody, and the photos of each remained on the site.

This isn't the first time that Urban Outfitters has found itself facing public backlash over one of its items. Last holiday season they pulled a pair of socks seen as religiously insensitive.

They've also gotten heat for a pro-booze shirt sold to the 18 to 24 crowd, a "Jewish Star" shirt that drew comparisons to the Holocaust and about a dozen other designs laid out by The Week.

Photo Credit: Urban Outfitters]]>
<![CDATA[Robbery Victim Shot in SF's Mission Terrace]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:24:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfpd-generic-san-francisco-police.jpg

One person was shot in San Francisco during an early morning robbery in the city's Mission Terrace neighborhood, police said.

The shooting was reported around 7:45 a.m. Monday morning on Camellia Avenue between Silver and Castle Manor avenues.

Investigators said one person was transported to San Francisco General Hospital but haven’t disclosed the extent of the injury.

Two suspects, who remain at large, took off in a dark-colored car before officers arrived, San Francisco police spokesman Gordon Shyy said.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Shark Splits Surfer’s Board in Two]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:48:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/surf-th.jpg

A surfer says he had to swim for his life after a 15-foot great white shark took a bite out of his surf board at a popular beach near Watsonville, California.

Beau Browning was surfing about 50 yards from shore at Manresa State Beach Saturday evening when he says the shark knocked him off his surfboard, mid-wave. The shark came out of the water and landed on his board, splitting it in two, then took a bite out of the board.

"I caught my second wave and barely got into it, and out of nowhere, I was popped into the air by probably like 10 feet, looked down, and saw a shark," Browning said.

Browning said he was still tethered to the board, so when the shark began to swim deeper, it pulled him underwater for 5 seconds. When the shark finally let go, Browning was able to get up to the surface.

Browning was not hurt in the attack, but his board is no longer usable. Browning said, the board's maker, Pearson Arrow, has offered him a replacement.

Browning told local NBC affiliate KSBW-TV he doesn't blame the shark.

"They were just doing what they're designed to do," Browning said. "And they thought I was something else. And that's all it is. I got no hard feelings against sharks."

Shark warning signs were posted Monday by state park rangers at multiple beaches in Santa Cruz County, the station reported. California State Parks Supervising Ranger Joe Connors says a shark was spotted attacking a seal in the waters off Seabright State Beach on Sunday.

Shark experts told KSBW great whites don’t have sharp eyesight and can't tell the difference between a surfer's body and board.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

<![CDATA[San Jose Playground Catches Fire]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:12:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SJ-PLAYGROUND-FIRE-2---00012817.jpg

San Jose firefighters are trying to figure out what caused a playground to catch fire.

Flames broke out at Hillview Park, at the intersection of Ocala Avenue and Adrian Way near Capitol Expressway. The tanbark at the playground caught fire just before 3 a.m. Monday morning, according to the fire department.

The extent of the damage is unclear.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Mixed Reaction to Traffic in 49ers Levi's Stadium Opener]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:32:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/levis_stadium_parking_smooth.jpg

After months of planning and weeks of preseason dress rehearsals, Sunday night's 49ers Levi's Stadium regular season opener was the real traffic test for the new Santa Clara stadium.

After a disappointing 28-20 loss to the Chicago Bears, it appeared the amount of planning, practice, and preparation into stadium transportation plans paid off coming into the stadium.

Many 49ers fans came in huge crowds in a variety of ways--on foot, on the bus, by VTA, by car, and some rode their bikes. Others hired someone to do the pedaling for them.

Everyone's main goal seemed to be avoiding the traffic, and because they did, traffic was not bad.

"Traffic was perfect," said one fan, who did not reveal her name. "We zipped right in, no problem at all."

With CHP officers at every intersection, getting into the stadium became a non-issue.

And people who took VTA to Levi's Stadium also had no complaints.

"Fast, sustainable, and easy," said another fan, who also did not reveal his name.

Those who did drive seemed to come early, with fans trickling into the parking lots over several hours. If anything, the only traffic jams to speak of were on the sidewalks.

Justin and Bianca Powell rode their bikes from Milpitas.

"We wanted some exercise, and it's close, so why not try it? And it's free," Bianca Powell said. "I think this is the best option."

For drivers leaving the stadium after the game, it was a different story.

Some people traveling by car told NBC Bay Area they were at a standstill for about an hour in the Levi's Stadium parking lot.

"Really frustrating," a passenger said. "We lost the game, and now we're sitting in the parking lot, and we've been here over 45 minutes." "And we were parked three stalls up."

Many drivers and passengers leaving the game also said they were frustrated with the lack of signage and officials directing people toward the exits. NBC Bay Area cameras even showed some cars going over grass and curbs to get out of the mess--in front of pedestrians walking on the sidewalk.

"They have no pedestrian walkways," another passenger said. "People are darting in-and-out of traffic over there. We almost got hit on the way out."

"This is the worst," one driver said. "There's no direction. No signs. No one directing any traffic."

Others were frustrated the gridlock came on a night where many have work and school Monday morning.

"Very frustrating," another driver said. "We have to go to work tomorrow, so this is not good."

The one tweak was handicapped parking, according to parking staff. Several attendants said it had filled completely by about 2 p.m., and they had to turn handicapped fans around to go find other parking.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[AC Tries to Reinvent Itself ]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:00:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trump+plaza1.jpg

The Trump Plaza in Atlantic City will shutter its doors early Tuesday morning, the latest casino to fail as this once high-flying resort city faces fierce competition from gambling elsewhere.

When the doors close at 5:59 a.m., about 8,000 jobs will have been lost this year, a quarter of the casino workforce, according to figures filed by the city's casinos. Hundreds of former employees have been filing for unemployment benefits, health care, heat assistance and food stamps. More may be lining up for help soon. Trump Entertainment Resorts is in bankruptcy and is threatening to close the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in November if it does not get concessions on labor costs.

With Atlantic City’s gambling revenue plummeting from $5.2 billion in 2006 to $2.86 billion last year, according to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the suffering shore resort is scrambling to reinvent itself. Only eight of its 12 casinos will remain and competition in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Delaware and elsewhere continues to grow. Officials are searching for ways the city can appeal anew to visitors and stop hemorrhaging jobs and revenue.

“It’s really a repositioning of the city itself,” said Mark Giannantonio, the president of Resorts Casino Hotel, which turned itself around after adding a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville entertainment complex. “It’s more right-sized for the market in gaming and it’s an opportunity for us to continue to go after this non-gaming element, which in turn helps gaming.”

Officials are hoping a mix of convention space, entertainment venues, shops, a college campus, plus the casinos will transform the city from a gambling hub into a resort with a variety of attractions. Atlantic City’s non-gambling revenue is growing but at half the rate its gambling revenue is dropping.


One place to look as a model: Sin City. The Las Vegas Strip managed to curb its reliance on casinos. A little more than one third of its revenue comes from gambling, compared to 72 percent in Atlantic City. But experts caution the change will not be easy.

For example, there is already a glut of convention space across the country, said Heywood Sanders, a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the author of “Convention Center Follies.”

Demand in 2013 was only slightly above where it was in 2000, he said. Meanwhile, the amount of exhibit hall space has increased by 37 percent. Major convention cities across the country have seen their business remain flat or fall. At the biggest convention center in the country, McCormick Place in Chicago, business dropped from 1.55 million attendees in 2003 to 868,000 last year.

“What we see in major events around the country is that fewer people are going,” Sanders said. “And that’s partly because employers are less willing to send lots of people out of town to a convention and trade show for an extended period.”

The president of the Atlantic City Alliance, Elizabeth Cartmell, said that the city would compete not only for conventions but also for smaller meetings of 50 to 500 people, where the glut of space is not as severe. Only 2 percent of smaller meetings originating in the Northeast comes to Atlantic City compared to 15 percent that goes to Las Vegas, she said.


The alliance, funded with a $30 million a year assessment on the casinos, is promoting the city as a year-round seaside resort through beachside concerts, wine tastings, fishing tournaments and pro volleyball competitions. Lady Gaga and Lady Antebellum performed this summer, a series of long-distance triathlons added Atlantic City as one of its locations and the Miss America contest has returned from Las Vegas.

An 86,000-square foot Bass Pro Shop is under construction and is expected to bring almost 300 full- and part-time jobs.

The alliance is looking at Miami as a model, Cartmell said. Atlantic City offers an exciting nightlife but also the chance to relax on the beach and visit a spa, she said.

“We’re an interesting mix of a little bit of urban grit and variety, but at the same time we’re beachfront,” she said. “We call it the thrill and the chill.”

Giannantonio, the Resorts Casino Hotel president, has said that five years ago his property would have been the first casino to close. That changed with a new owner, Morris Bailey, a partnership with the Mohican Sun casinos and the new Margaritaville restaurant and LandShark Bar & Grill, Atlantic City’s first beach restaurant.

“You’re sitting right on the beach, feet from the ocean, thinking you could be anywhere in the country,” he said.

To bring people back into the city, Mayor Donald Guardian has proposed giving away land and tax breaks to new homeowners who build within two years and commit to staying for 10. The five years of tax abatements would begin at 100 percent and decrease 20 percent each year after.

Even during the boon years, much of the riches from gambling did not find their way past the glittering lights of the resorts. Twenty-five percent of the city’s population of 39,500 lives below the poverty, according to Census figures. The figure is even higher for those under 18: 37 percent.

The city ranks second in New Jersey for violent crimes trailing only Camden, FBI data from 2012 shows. Family income is about $30,000. The unemployment rate stands at 13 percent.


Michael Busler, a professor of finance at Stockton College, said the mayor’s plan was not enough. He said the city would have to offer a bigger incentive and he suggested 10 years of tax breaks as Philadelphia has done.

The value of Atlantic City’s real estate has shrunk from $20 billion when the casinos were thriving to about $8 billion, Busler said. At the same time, property taxes have gone up 22 percent last year and 29 percent this year. The city’s $260 million budget has to be cut to between $175 million and $180 million, he said.

Atlantic City was first developed as an oceanside resort in the 19th century. When gambling was legalized in 1976, the casinos turned away from the beachfront. Their design was meant to keep people inside – and gambling.

“Now we can’t do that anymore,” Busler said. “Now we’re going to emphasize we have a beautiful beach.”

Atlantic City has to find ways to rebuild that will help the city itself grow, said Bryant Simon, a professor of history at Temple University and the author of “Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America.”

Even while the casinos thrived, the city withered and for years lacked even a supermarket.

“Let’s not do that again,” he said. “Let’s have fresh produce. Let’s have year-round jobs.”

The city could try high-speed rail service to Philadelphia, so residents could work there, he said. It could open a satellite campus of the nearby Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and have a core of students studying casinos and urban redevelopment. Or it could add to the city’s medical complex. The city needs to make sure it is creating decent paying jobs, not just low wage, tourism jobs, he said.

“We shouldn’t be stunned that a city has to reinvent itself,” he said. “Cities are always places of creative destruction and renewal and resorts probably in particular because they cater to people’s desires and their desires change.”

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Barricaded Man in Custody]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:04:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/140914-san-bernardino-standoff.jpg

A man in Southern California who shot at an ice cream truck, then barricaded himself inside a San Bernardino residence was taken into custody moments after a fire broke out at the home Sunday night, police said.

The standoff came to an end when the man, identified as 59-year-old Terry McKinney, was placed in handcuffs after jumping out of a window when the flames erupted.

It was unclear how the fire started. Police said no one was hurt.

Fire crews extingiushed the house fire and prevented it from spreading in the neighborhood.

Officers responded at about 3:30 p.m. to a call of shots fired in the 700 block of W. 19th Street (map), which is across the street from San Bernardino High School. Police said the McKinney came out of the home once more to open fire before retreating again.

A SWAT team was called in to assist in the standoff. An armored vehicle was hit by gunfire, but police said no one was injured.

McKinney allegedly continued to fire at officers as they tried to tear gas him out of the home, police said.

The motive for the shooting was unclear. No further details were immediately available.

Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Actress: I Was "Humiliated" by LAPD]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 08:52:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/actress+daniele+watts+detained+lapd.jpg

An actress who had a part in the film "Django Unchained" claimed on Facebook that she was "humiliated" and forced into handcuffs by two Los Angeles Police Department officers for publicly showing affection to a companion in Studio City Thursday.

In the Facebook post, which had nearly 2,000 shares by Sunday, actress Daniele Watts says she was put into a police car after refusing to agree that she had done "something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public space."

"I allowed myself to be honest about my anger, frustration, and rage as tears flowed from my eyes," Watts wrote on Facebook. "The tears I cry for a country that calls itself 'the land of the free and the home of the brave' and yet detains people for claiming that very right."

Police said Sunday that they responded to a report of indecent exposure in the 11900 block of Ventura Boulevard when they came across Watts. LAPD's Sally Madera said a citizen reported seeing a couple engaged in a "sexual act" in a car.

"The citizen who called the police to complain told the 9-1-1 operator that a male and a female were involved in indecent exposure inside a silver Mercedes with the vehicle door open," police said in a statement.

A responding sergeant and officer questioned Watts and her companion, who matched the suspect description. Police determined no crime was committed and the couple was released after a brief detainment, officials said.

Watts told NBC News Sunday that she and her partner were kissing inside their car at the CBS lot when they were approached by a man in a suit who asked them to leave because "employees were distracted." The couple stopped after a few minutes and police arrived shortly after, Watts said.

When they asked for identification from Watts, she refused and walked away from the officers. Watts said that's when she was handcuffed and put into the police car.

"I burst into tears. I was afraid because of all the things happening in the country right now," Watts told NBC News.

Police said an internal investigation has been launched into the incident.

"The cops are on thin ice here," said NBC4 legal analyst Royal Oakes. "California does not have a law that lets the cops force you to identify yourself, so to the extent the cops hassling this actress tried to get her to give her name and she said no, she had a right to remain silent."

"She may have a basis for a civil rights action, an action saying that the police stepped over the line," Oakes added.

Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Los Gatos to Decide on 44 Acres of Undeveloped Land]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 07:51:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/losgatos_land.jpg

The Los Gatos Town Council will decide Tuesday on what to do with more than 40 acres of undeveloped land--the last parcel of its kind in the town.

The question is whether to put more than 300 homes and commercial space on the orchard between Highway 85 and Lark Avenue. And the debate is growing over how the 44 acres, known as the North 40, should be developed.

For years, the town has been working on the North 40 specific plan, which calls for up to 364 homes to be built on this property, along with 580,000 square feet of commercial retail space.

If approved, that would mean dozens of people would be forced to move, including Lynlee Bischoff, who has lived in the area for 11 years.

"I'd rather not move, which I would have to do, but on top of that, they say they want to preserve the integrity of Los Gatos," she said. "But this plan has compromised the integrity of Los Gatos."

But the senior vice president of developer Grosvenor Americas said the North 40 plan will help an underserved population--seniors and young adults just out of college who want to live in Los Gatos.

"We think in Los Gatos, there is a need for more affordable housing, for millennial and empty nesters to staying in Los Gatos,"  Don Capobres said.

Still, others fear the new housing will add more students to area schools like Blossom Hill Elementary.

"Bringing in additional students in from a development will definitely have an effect on the district, and class sizes will be larger," parent Kelly Duvall said. "That's something I prefer not to see."

She also said she was concerned the development would add to traffic congestion in the area.

Most people agreed keeping the land an orchard is not likely to happen, but the question now is deciding what the land will look like in 20 years.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Prof. Shares "Unbelievable" Story of Finding 9/11 Photo Owner]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:12:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/176*120/911+wedding+photo+boston+globe.jpg

It was a simple message about a photo found in the ashes.

Elizabeth Stringer Keefe posted this message on social media every 9/11, hoping to find the people in the photo. But each year, nothing happened.

"I thought, 'Why not? I'm going to do it one more time everywhere.' And I saw it getting retweeted," said Keefe.

And soon, the professor at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, realized this time was different.

"I think a half an hour later, I knew it was going to happen," she said. "It was so exciting. I start to tear up when I think about it. It started to go viral, so I stayed up all night and just watched."

More than 6,000 tweets later, one message from Fred Mahe changed everything.

"He sent me a very cryptic message," said Keefe. "It just said, 'I know the people in the message, give me a call.'"

So she did.

"When he answered the phone, he said his name, and I said, 'This is Elizabeth Stringer Keefe,'" she said. "He paused for a minute and said, 'You are awesome.'"

A friend of  Keefe found the photo at ground zero, just a few weeks after 9/11. Keefe made it her mission to find out the story behind it.

"I said, 'Are you in that photo?' And he said, 'That is my photo,'" said Keefe. "It was unbelievable, I immediately started crying."

Mahe worked in Tower Two. He had just come off the subway when the building was hit. The photo, taken at his friend's wedding, was tacked to his desk on the 77th floor.

Mahe now lives in Colorado, and all six people in the photo are alive and well.

"On 9/11, like you, I saw the worst of humanity. The absolute worst. But on 9/12, I saw the best," said Mahe. "And the photo mystery was solved on 9/12."

"Finding Fred, and being able to return this particular photo to him, is unbelievable," said Keefe.

Keefe and Mahe will meet for the first time Monday in New York.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Stringer Keefe]]>
<![CDATA[Tailgating Tradition Continues at Levi's Stadium]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 00:53:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/levis_stadium_tailgaters_pregame.jpg Just like at Candlestick Park, 49ers fans treated tailgating very seriously at Levi's Stadium. NBC Bay Area’s Terry McSweeney reports from Levi’s Stadium with reaction from tailgaters.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Vigil Held for 3 Infants Found Dead]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:44:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NECN_091414_nicoleblackstone_9pm_1200x675_329139267559.jpg

Mourners gathered with heavy hearts and teary eyes at a vigil Sunday to remember three infants found dead in a squalid home in Blackstone, Massachusetts last week.

"Those babies," said Blackstone resident Dorothy Harvey. "Just discarded like nothing. They were human beings, too."

"I can't even imagine," said Bob Wolford, a father. "It's unfathomable."

Crews cleaning the house found more cat and dog remains on Sunday.

As investigators search for answers in the disturbing case, the community searches for peace.

"Thank God for that neighbor who told her side of the story," said Emily Colton.

That intervention possibly saved the lives of four other children found living inside the home.

"It's so hard as a mom that this tragedy could happen and that we didn't know," said Harvey.

Members of the community lit candles and released lanterns to the sky at the vigil, holding their own children a little tighter, thinking of those who never had a chance and praying for those who now have a second one.

<![CDATA[2 Dead, 12 Hurt in Chicago Violence]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 19:15:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-14+VIOLENCE.jpg

Two people were killed and at least 12 others were injured in weekend violence across Chicago, police said.

A 28-year-old man was killed after being shot in the 4100 block of West 16th Street in the Lawndale neighborhood just before 2 p.m. Sunday.

The man was shot in the chest after someone in a grey minivan opened fire at him. Police said the man was taken to Mount Sinai hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Around 3 p.m. Saturday, a 17-year-old boy was fatally shot in the 3900 block of South Prairie Avenue. Few details were released surrounding the shooting but officials said the incident appears to be gang-related.

The teen was shot in the head and taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in critical condition but was later pronounced dead.

On Sunday, a 29-year-old man walked into Mount Sinai Hospital with a gunshot wound to the left hand. He was listed in good condition and told police he was shot in the 1800 block of West 16th Street.

An 18-year-old boy was shot in the ankle in the 6900 block of South Eggleston Avenue just after 11:30 a.m., police said. The teen was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in good condition.

The teen told police he was walking on the street when a red car approached and someone inside the vehicle opened fire.

A 30-year-old man was shot around 2:15 a.m. in the 4100 block of West Adams Street. The victim told police a man exited a gangway and fired shots in his direction.

The victim was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital with wounds to the leg and foot. He was last listed in stable condition.

Also on Sunday, two people were shot on area expressways within two hours, according to authorities.

Around 3 a.m., a driver was shot on the city’s South Side while traveling on the Dan Ryan Expressway between 76th and 79th streets, according to Illinois State Police.

The driver exited his vehicle at the 79th Street exit and called 911, officials said. Another person inside the vehicle then drove away in the car.

The victim, whose age was not immediately known, was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center for treatment.

About two hours earlier, a man was shot on the outbound Kennedy Expressway on the city’s West Side.

The man, whose age was not immediately known, was traveling in a red Ford Mustang northbound near Fullerton when a car pulled alongside and someone opened fire, state police said.

The victim was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center with several gunshot wounds. His condition was not immediately known.

On Saturday, a man was wounded in a police-involved shooting after he allegedly hit a squad car with his vehicle and attempted to flee.

Police said the incident took place in the 2300 block of West Lake around 10:15 p.m.

The officer was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where his injuries were believed to be non-life threatening.

The offender was shot multiple times and was taken to an area hospital.

Just before 8 p.m., a 17-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were wounded in a shooting in the 1700 block of North Kimball. Both suffered gunshot wounds to their legs and were taken in stable in condition Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center. The two told police they were standing outside when they “heard shots and felt pain.”

Around 12:40 p.m., a 39-year-old man was shot during an attempted robbery in the 5600 block of South Prairie Avenue. The man was getting out of his car when another man walked up and announced a robbery, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic. The victim was shot in the stomach and the man fled the scene. It was not immediately clear if he stole anything from the victim, police said.

The victim was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in stable condition.

Around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, two people were shot while inside a building in the 1800 block of West 87th Street.

Police said a shooter fired from outside the building and two victims suffered graze wounds.

A 23-year-old woman suffered a graze wound to the leg while a 42-year-old man was grazed in the head by a bullet. The woman refused treatment at the scene and the man walked into Advocate Christ Medical Center where he was listed in good condition.

On Friday night, a 27-year-old man was shot on the city’s West Side.

The man was standing on the 1700 block of North Mason Avenue with a group of friends when a man walked up and opened fire.

The victim was shot in the arm and leg and was taken to West Suburban Medical Center in good condition.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

<![CDATA[Batman, Spider-Man Arrested in NYC]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:30:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/costumed+characters+times+square.jpg

Two costumed characters were arrested in Times Square Saturday night after police say they got into a fist fight with another man. 

All three men were charged with misdemeanor assault, officials said. According to the New York Post, the altercation started after 41-year-old Jose Escalona-Martinez and 35-year-old Abdel Elkahezai, who were dressed as Batman and Spider-Man, allegedly confronted a man who was heckling them around 10:25 pm near 44th street and Broadway.

Saturday's arrests were the latest in series of arrests involving costumed characters in Times Square. Earlier this month, Woody, Minnie Mouse and the Statue of Liberty were all arrested in Times Square after they allegedly asked tourists to pay for pictures, the NYPD says. 

The people portraying the characters were all cuffed on aggressive solicitation charges after a run-in with a family of tourists Wednesday night.

The three characters posed for photos with a man, his wife and two children and allegedly demanded $5 in tips, police say. The family refused and told nearby officers, who made the arrests.

The arrests come amid calls to regulate the costumed characters in Times Square. One city lawmaker recently proposed licenses for the characters, and police have begun handing out fliers and posting signs in five languages telling visitors that tips are optional.

The crackdown followed a string of harrowing incidents in which some of the characters assaulted tourists, including children. Others harassed people and groped women. The face-offs peaked when a Spider-Man demanding money punched a police officer telling a woman she was not obliged to pay.

Last month, many of the buskers who don the costumes held a press conference where they argued they deserved a right to earn a living.

<![CDATA[Navy Pilot Killed in Crash ID'd]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:45:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NathanPoloski2+%282%29.jpg

The Navy has identified the pilot killed in a fighter jet crash as a man from Southern California with strong San Diego ties.

Lt. Nathan Poloski, 26, is presumed dead after an extensive search of the Western Pacific Ocean, according to the U.S. Navy.

Poloski is from Lake Arrowhead, California, but was born in San Diego. He grew up living near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar where his mother would take him to watch the Blue Angels, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Two F/A-18 Hornets apparently collided on Sept. 12 about 250 miles west of Wake Island, approximately 2,300 miles west of Honolulu. The pilot of the other plane was rescued.

The Navy suspended the search for Poloski Saturday after covering 3,000 square miles of vast ocean, according to the Navy. The search included the San Diego-based Carl Vinson Strike Group, a P-8 Poseidon aircraft and satellite imagery.

Both jets involved in the crash belonged to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 94, Carrier Wing 17, based in Lemoore, California. They were assigned to USS Carl Vinson, which left San Diego last month for a nearly 10-month deployment.

Poloski’s commanding officer said the Naval Academy graduate “was an outstanding person, naval officer and aviator.”

"My personal thoughts and prayers are for his family, friends and shipmates as they endure this immeasurable loss," said Cmdr. Michael Langbehn, commanding officer of VFA 94, in a statement Sunday.

The Navy is investigating what caused the crash. Navy officials said the jets had "launched from the flight deck and were in the process of proceeding to their initial stations when they apparently collided approximately seven miles from the ship."

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[No Bail for Teen in CSU Attack]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 05:47:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9800-s-indiana-ave-1.jpg

A pregnant Chicago State University student who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted, told her teen attacker she was pregnant, showing him her stomach, but was still forced to take off her clothes, prosecutors allege.

The teen, identified in court as Aaron Parks, 17, from the 600 block of East 100th Street, was charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon, and armed robbery. He was charged as an adult and was ordered held without bail.

A 24-year-old criminal justice student was parked on the 9800 block of South Indiana Avenue and was trying to load something into her trunk when a man approached with a knife and ordered her into her car, the woman's father, Robert Perkins, told NBC Chicago. The attacker drove to an alley and sexually assaulted her before forcing her into the trunk of her car.

"She was in the trunk and she said the first thing that popped in her head was [me telling her about the] trunk release," Perkins explained. "And she looked up and saw the trunk release and that's how she was able to get out.'

The victim, who is four months pregnant, was eventually able to pop the latch to the trunk and a neighbor spotted her trying to get out of the trunk. The neighbor then called authorities, who were still searching for the attacker on Thursday morning.

"The trunk popped open and the young lady was screaming 'Help me," said witness George Simpson.

Perkins said his daughter was able to provide a good description of the attacker.

On Sunday, prosecutors offered graphic details surrounding the attack.

Officials allege the victim told her attacker she was pregnant, showing him her stomach before the assault, but was still forced to take off her clothes. The offender also stole $160 from her pants and forced her in the trunk of her car, prosecutors said.

"What kind of woman raised an animal like this?" said rape victims advocate Dawn Valenti.

Officials said in court the teen was on an electronic monitoring system for an aggravated kidnapping two months ago. He was also awaiting sentencing for a charge of aggravated armed robbery.

"She was tortured," said community activist Andrew Holmes. "In my view, electronic monitoring failed completely."

In a statement, a Chicago State University official said the administration was "saddened" by news of the attack and that their "collective hearts go out to the victim."

Thomas Wogan said the university has offered counseling and support services to the victim and her family and was working with campus and city police to help bring the attacker to justice.

<![CDATA[Six Flags Power Outage]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:09:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Six+Flags+New+Pic.jpg

A power outage occurred at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey, Sunday afternoon, briefly stranding passengers on rides. The outage happened after a transformer blew around 2 p.m.

"Paramedics started running through the park," said Al Moore, a visitor at the park. "Then ambulances and fire trucks showed up in the parking lot."

The park staff told visitors that the electricity went out, however the lights were still on in restaurants and shops, according to Moore.

"The staff also was telling people to stop taking pictures and video on their cellphones," Moore said.

Moore also told NBC10 a section of the park was roped off near Skull Mountain.

No one was injured, according to police. Officials with the Jersey Central Power and Light Company say they're in the process of isolating the outage and it did not impact the entire park.

Kaitlyn Turi, the Public Relations Supervisor for Six Flags, told NBC10 some visitors were briefly stuck on rides during the outage but were safely removed.

"All of our guests were safely unloaded from the affected rides within 20 minutes," Turi wrote. "Jersey Central Power and Light is here assessing the source of the outage. Power has been restored to portions of the park and, following a safety check, some rides have begun to resume normal operations." 


This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Anonymous]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Dared to Give Death Penalty]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:26:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/051614+james+herard.jpg

A South Florida man convicted of murdering two people during a string of Dunkin’ Donuts robberies in 2008, dared a judge Friday to sentence him to death.

“Honestly and truly, I’m not asking you to spare me,” James Herard said in Broward County courtroom on Friday. “Go ahead and do what you gonna do. I pretty much dare you to give me the death sentence because I’m innocent.”

Herard, 25, was convicted on 18 of 19 counts by the Fort Lauderdale jury in May. The same jury that convicted him has recommended the death penalty for Herard.

Herard did not testify during the trial, so Friday was his last chance to speak in court before the judge hands down his sentence.

“I’m actually hoping you give me the death penalty because I know the Supreme Court won’t allow me to die for something I didn’t commit,” Herard said Friday.

Prosecutors say Herard didn’t pull the trigger in the 2008 murder of 39-year-old Eric Jean-Pierre. But, they say he, along with other members of a gang, were part of a “body count competition” and Herard pushed Tharod Bell to murder Jean-Pierre.

“They’re claiming I encouraged Tharod Bell to shoot someone, and how I did that, I don’t know,” Herard told the court.

Throughout Friday’s hearing, Herard’s defense team brought up numerous people, many convicted felons, who say Herard is a motivator, tutor, and counselor to them. The testimony brought Herard’s mom, who was in the courtroom to tears.

Herard was previously convicted of the murder of 58-year-old Kiem Huynh in 2008. He received sentences of life imprisonment for Huynh’s death.

Herard made national news when he barked like a dog during an appearance before Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley after his arrest.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[$1,300 Raised for Autistic Man]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:44:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stamford+autistic+larceny.jpg

Less than a week after a 27-year-old autistic man was robbed of his birthday money in Stamford, Connecticut, police have pitched in to raise $1,300 for the victim, will deliver it to his family and have made an arrest.

Police said the victim was approached near Veterans Park on Tuesday afternoon.

The suspect tricked him into handing over the money, then pretended to put it back in the victim's pocket but instead ran away with $100 cash, according to police.

Stamford police officers, members of the local police union and residents have banded together to collect money for the victim and surprised him with it on Monday, according to the police department.

The family is "overwhelmed by the community's generosity and support" and police said they would only accept donations until Monday, Sept. 15 at the department to respect the family's wishes, according to a news release from the department.

As police investigated, they released surveillance footage that shows him running from the scene and asked for the public's help in tracking him down. On Monday, they announced that they have made an arrest.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Stamford Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Assaulted Pregnant Woman: Cops]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 07:57:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9800-s-indiana-ave-1.jpg

A Chicago teen has been charged after a pregnant Chicago State University student was attacked and forced into the trunk of her car earlier this week, police said Saturday.

The 17-year-old from the 600 block of East 100th Street, was charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon, and armed robbery.

A 24-year-old criminal justice student was parked on the 9800 block of South Indiana Avenue and was trying to load something into her trunk when a man approached with a knife and ordered her into her car, the woman's father, Robert Perkins, told NBC Chicago. The attacker drove to an alley and sexually assaulted her before forcing her into the trunk of her car.

"She was in the trunk and she said the first thing that popped in her head was [me telling her about the] trunk release," Perkins explained. "And she looked up and saw the trunk release and that's how she was able to get out.'

The victim, who is four months pregnant, was eventually able to pop the latch to the trunk and a neighbor spotted her trying to get out of the trunk. The neighbor then called authorities, who were still searching for the attacker on Thursday morning.

"The trunk popped open and the young lady was screaming 'Help me," said witness George Simpson.

Perkins said his daughter was able to provide a good description of the attacker.

In a statement, a Chicago State University official said the administration was "saddened" by news of the attack and that their "collective hearts go out to the victim."

Thomas Wogan said the university has offered counseling and support services to the victim and her family and was working with campus and city police to help bring the attacker to justice.

The teen was charged as an adult and is expected to appear in bond court Sunday.