Review Category : National News

Janay Rice Refuses to Watch Footage of Elevator Attack

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Janay Rice, the wife of NFL player Ray Rice, says her husband hasn’t been violent toward her since, or before, a February incident inside a hotel elevator, and that she has avoided watching surveillance footage showing the attack.

“No. I refuse. I refuse. I’m not going to let the public bring me back there,” she told NBC’s Matt Lauer in an interview that aired Monday morning.

Rice held back tears during the interview conducted last week, which also involved her mother, Candy Parker. Janay Rice said it has been difficult to remain silent as the episode drew national attention.

“That’s the hardest part,” she said. “Is not having control over anything that has to do with you. It’s a natural thing for a human to want to come out and say, ‘No, no. That’s not me,’ or, ‘No, that’s not true.’ But it’s like a battle that we just can’t win.”

Surveillance footage showing the outside of the elevator appeared online four days after the incident. More than half a year later — on Sept. 8 — a second video appeared on the website TMZ.com. The footage from inside the elevator shows Ray Rice striking his then-fiancee. Following the emergence of the second video, Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens, and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. That suspension was overturned Friday by an arbitrator.

Four teams have expressed interest in signing Rice, ESPN reports.

Janay Rice previously spoke with ESPN’s Jemele Hill, recounting what happened on the night of the incident, stating that her recollections remains foggy.

“The only thing I know — and I can’t even say ‘I remember’ because I only know from what Ray has told me — is that I slapped him again and then he hit me. I remember nothing else from inside the elevator,” she said.

While the couple was warned that footage from the incident could emerge, Janay Rice admits that she wasn’t ready for the video to be released, or the subsequent fallout.

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Holiday Air Travel Recap: Minor Weather Issues, TSA Screener Shortage and a Bomb Threat

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Some 2.61 million people headed to the country’s airports Sunday to travel home following the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

As of 5 p.m. Eastern time Sunday, 182 flights had been canceled and 2,670 delayed, according to FlightAware.com. Many of those delays were weather-related and occurred in Denver and San Francisco.

Overall, the number of cancellations Sunday was just one-quarter of what they were on Wednesday. And there were half as many delays, making Sunday a much easier day to get home.

A shortage of TSA screeners at Chicago’s Midway Airport did cause extremely long security lines.

At New York’s JFK Airport, the FBI says an American Airlines flight from Barcelona was taken to a secure area after a bomb threat was emailed to the airline.

The jet, with roughly 200 people on board, was searched by a bomb squad and K-9 units. Nothing was found.

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American Airlines Jet Lands Safely at JFK After Bomb Threat

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An American Airlines flight from Barcelona landed safely at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sunday after an bomb threat against Flight 67, officials said.

The jet, with roughly 200 people on board, was taken to a secure area at JFK after landing and a bomb squad, K-9 units and emergency services were dispatched, according to the Fire Department of New York.

Sitting off the runway at JFK on @AmericanAir 67 from BCN and we are held after landing due to an unspecified threat. Welcome home?

— Jacob Rosenberg (@jrosenberg) November 30, 2014

The plane was eventually evacuated and there were no reports of injuries.

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How a Master Shoplifter Stole Thousands of Dollars’ Worth of Merchandise

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As long as there have been shops, there have been shoplifters. Some are the grab-and-go types, others work in orchestrated teams, but few can compare to Michael Pollara.

Pollara is a Shakespeare of shoplifting, a maestro in the criminal art.

The 46-year-old has strolled out of hundreds of stores with at least $1 million dollars’ worth of merchandise over the course of his criminal career, according to Florida authorities. Easter Island, China, Africa—Pollara claims to have traveled around the world 25 times, but he says he paid for it all with travel points, not cash from stolen goods.

Pollara would hit toy stores, pharmaceutical stores, department stores, shopping mall specialty stores, just to name a few, according to police. He admitted to police that he worked with many “fences” — a name for criminals who traffic stolen goods, but he also sold some of what he stole on eBay, and he had shoplifting down to a science.

“There’s only five methods,” he said. “Either it’s on you, either, if you’re a female, it’s in the purse, either it’s in a bag or it’s in a shopping cart or it’s in a box.”

Pollara’s favorite shoplifting trick was to empty a box of its contents in a store and then refill the box with many expensive items. He would then purchase the box without the attendants realizing he was actually walking out with stolen merchandise inside the original box.

But even the greats have their weaknesses. Pollara’s downfall was that he repeatedly used several of the same frequent customer cards in his shoplifting forays, which eventually led to Toys “R” Us building a case against Pollara, which they brought to Sgt. Rich Rossman of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Rossman followed Pollara on one particular shoplifting spree in August 2012 that spanned more than 20 Florida stores.

“He was up bright and early and stole from dawn to the evening hours,” Rossman said. “I had to call the wife and say, ‘I don’t know when I’m coming home.’”

He finally was arrested in 2012 and served almost two years in jail.

When investigators later asked him how much he stole from Toys “R” Us during his 11-year crime spree, he said he told them “probably a whole store full.”

“My nickname in jail– everyone has a jail name, I mean, they don’t call you ‘Michael.’ So you could assume what my nickname was. I was ‘Toys “R” Us,’” Pollara said.

After two years in prison, Pollara relishes his freedom. He declined to say where he spends his time these days, or what were his favorite stores.

“I can’t tell those because, you don’t know, I might be in those,” he said, with a laugh.

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Backpack With $100,000 Left Behind in California Burger King

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) — A blue backpack filled with about $100,000 was left behind at a California Burger King and police are trying to find out who left it there.

An assistant manager spotted the backpack abandoned in a booth, ABC’s San Francisco station KGO reported. She called the restaurant owner, who opened the bag up to look for ID and found the cash.

“I open the zipper, I see lots of money, cash money, $100 bills stack up like half the bag,” owner Altaf Chaus told the station.

“I said, ‘Wow! Today’s my birthday, this is my birthday gift!'” he added, joking.

But Chaus called the police instead.

“I don’t want that money. Maybe it belongs to somebody,” he said.

Along with the cash, police found candy, marijuana and a bank deposit slip in the bag, according to KGO.

They’re working with the bank to find out who the cash belongs to, the station reported.

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Backpack With $100,000 Left Behind in California Burger King

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) — A blue backpack filled with about $100,000 was left behind at a California Burger King and police are trying to find out who left it there.

An assistant manager spotted the backpack abandoned in a booth, ABC’s San Francisco station KGO reported. She called the restaurant owner, who opened the bag up to look for ID and found the cash.

“I open the zipper, I see lots of money, cash money, $100 bills stack up like half the bag,” owner Altaf Chaus told the station.

“I said, ‘Wow! Today’s my birthday, this is my birthday gift!'” he added, joking.

But Chaus called the police instead.

“I don’t want that money. Maybe it belongs to somebody,” he said.

Along with the cash, police found candy, marijuana and a bank deposit slip in the bag, according to KGO.

They’re working with the bank to find out who the cash belongs to, the station reported.

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Florida Siblings Rescued From Huge, Flooded Forest

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Four Florida children are sharing their story of survival after they were lost for hours in a dark Florida forest.

Christine Mills went bike riding with her two teenage brothers and 11-year-old sister Wednesday in Little Big Econ State Forest, which covers more than 5,000 acres. Flood waters from recent rains left their trail blocked, forcing them off the bike path.

“We found like a tiny island that we could just sit on,” Christine Mills, 13, said.

With darkness setting in and temperatures dropping, the children began swimming though a nearby river, holding onto each other. Mills prayed that she and her siblings would be rescued.

“When I was wading, it was waist-deep on me, and I was like, ‘OK, we’re not going to make it,’” she said.

They managed to call their father, Buddy Mills, a firefighter.

But even he couldn’t save the children alone. The water was too deep.

“A lot of it I went through was over my head, because once I heard them, I went straight to them,” Buddy Mills said.

Mills was eventually able to call for backup and local authorities launched a helicopter. The siblings were seen 2 miles into the forest. Firefighters made their own trail with a bulldozer, then used ATVs to reach them.

The family is thankful that everyone is OK.

“I just appreciate their efforts,” Buddy Mills said after the rescue, “what they had to go through to get to us.”

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Michigan Man Jailed on $16,000 Hotel Scam Charges

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — A Michigan man is behind bars in western Pennsylvania, accused of conning a resort by pretending to be a doctor and golf pro, then running off without paying a $16,000 bill.

Authorities say Jeffrey Paul Cochran of Scottsville, Michigan stayed at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Fayette County, Pennsylvania for two weeks in May. The resort’s rooms cost more than $500 a night.

Cochran, 41, initially called the resort posing as another doctor from a local hospital, Dr. Dan Renyolds, telling them to set up a house account for an out-of-town doctor, according to court documents. But after employees called the number associated with the account – Cochran’s – he was seen leaving the resort’s back door without paying a dime, according to a police affidavit.

Police arrested Cochran in Michigan Nov. 12 after he drove away from his mother’s funeral.

Authorities in Nebraska say he is also wanted there in connection to a similar event, allegedly staying at the Candlewood Suites in Lincoln from December to mid-February and racking up a $3,000 bill.

Pennsylvania authorities charged Cochran with theft by deception and theft of services, both third-degree felonies. He was jailed after being unable to post bail.

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Boy Missing for Four Years Rescued from Linen Closet in Georgia

iStock/Thinkstock(CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga.) — Police in Clayton County, Georgia say they rescued a 13-year-old boy from a linen closet in a home.

The child had reportedly been missing for four years.

Police raided the home on Saturday morning and questioned the occupants.

Clayton County Police Sergeant Joanne Southerland said, “After several minutes of denying that the child was here– that his existence was here, that there was ever any assault or anything like that– we were able to find him in the linen closet.”

According to police, five people were arrested including the boy’s father and stepmother.

The boy had reportedly gone to visit his father in 2010, but the father never returned him.

Clayton County Police Officer Daniel Day says the boy was grateful to be rescued.

“He just couldn’t thank us enough,” Day said. “He just kept saying, Thank you, thank you, thank you — just overjoyed that we had found him.”

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Ray Rice: 5 Major Points From the Decision

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Embattled football player Ray Rice was reinstated to the NFL Friday after appealing the league’s suspension following a video that surfaced showing him beating his then-fiance in an elevator.

Here’s what to know about that decision:

1. How the Fight Started

Rice and Janay Palmer, now his wife, were spending the Valentine’s Day weekend with two other couples at the Atlantic City hotel where the fight happened earlier this year.

The couple got into an argument “after drinking a large volume of alcohol,” and Rice left their table, according to the report.

Palmer then followed Rice to the elevator, and the now infamous video shows what happened next.

2. NFL and Rice Met in June

Rice met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other officials on June 16. The league had information that “Rice struck Palmer, rendering her unconscious.”

The league had viewed the video of Rice’s actions outside the elevator, which showed Palmer knocked out on the ground. Rice was suspended for two games as a result.

3. The NFL Never Asked Rice for the Second Video

The NFL originally only saw the video of what happened outside the elevator — but not the clip of Rice striking Palmer inside the elevator, according to the report.

Goodell saw the second clip the same day it was released, on September 8. He testified that he was shocked and had never seen it before. At that point, Rice was suspended indefinitely.

4. ‘Hit’ versus ‘Slapped’

The NFL justified Rice’s indefinite suspension on the basis that the second video showed a “starkly different sequence of events” than what Rice had presented in the June meeting, according to the report.

Goodell recalled that Rice said he “slapped” Palmer, but other notes from the June meeting show Rice had indeed said he “hit” his now-wife, according to the report.

5. Ray Rice Told the Truth About the Assault

“I do not doubt that viewing the video in September evoked horror in Commissioner Goodell as it did with the public,” the judge said in the report’s conclusion. “But this does not change the fact that Rice did not lie or mislead the NFL at the June 16 meeting.”

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