Review Category : National News

Watch Valet Attendant Take Joyride in New Corvette

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(COSTA MESA, Calif.) — Car owners may have second thoughts about dropping their rides off with the valet after seeing one new video.

Dan Cowles left his new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray with a valet when he and his wife, Sandy, went to see a concert in Costa Mesa, California, Sunday.

The attendant decided to go on a dangerously fast joyride inside the garage without realizing that Cowles had activated the car’s “valet mode.”

The special setting locks the glove box and certain systems within the car while also activating a forward-facing camera that records what the valet is doing.

Cowles didn’t see the footage until he went home after the concert.

“The first thing I saw was that he went 50 mph, he went 0 to 50, which is pretty obvious what he was doing,” Cowles told ABC News. “When he parked the car into the stall, he went out of the car and looked at the front end of the car … I was concerned about damage about the front of the car, but fortunately there was no damage.”

Cowles said he was in “disbelief.”

“You hear stories about valet, you see things in the past and you hope that’s an exception and not the norm,” he said.

Cowles then contacted the valet company owner, who initially took issue with the video.

“The owner called me up yesterday, the first thing he said he spoke to his attorney and told me the video was illegal,” Cowles told ABC. “I think my impression was the owner didn’t realize the video was built into the car. I informed him this was standard of Corvettes and that as long as audio isn’t recorded in California it’s not illegal; he didn’t realize that.”

The owner also said he fired the driver, according to Cowles, and while Cowles was “disappointed” at first, he decided the firing was just because of the driver’s irresponsible actions.

“It made me think twice about using valet,” Cowles said.

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Sony Hackers Threaten “The Interview” Theaters

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The group claiming to be the hackers responsible for stealing troves of Sony executives’ emails released a note on Tuesday apparently threatening physical attacks on the theaters where the upcoming comedy The Interview will be played — a threat two leading homeland security experts think is little more than a “mind game.”

“We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places The Interview [will] be shown, including the premier, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to,” the note reads. “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001.”

It goes on to say that people should stay away from places where the movie is shown and “whatever comes…all the world will denounce the SONY.”

The note was reportedly released by the Guardians of Peace, the group claiming to be behind previous Sony hack attacks and suspected of being linked to North Korea.

The Interview is a fictional comedy about two Americans who are asked to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the legitimacy of the threat, but two former high-level government officials downplayed it to ABC News.

“Somebody is playing mind games with [SONY],” said Richard Clarke, cyber security expert and former White House counter-terrorism advisor. “I think North Korea has little or no capability to do any physical attacks, commando activity, or terrorism in the U.S. By saying it’s coming, however, they hope to keep people from the theaters and, thereby, hurt Sony’s revenue.”

Matt Olsen, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center and like Clarke an ABC News consultant, said the threat sounded more like “hooliganism” than anything really serious.

“You have to take these types of threats seriously up to a point, but this sounds more like a hoax,” Olsen said.

The threatening note was reportedly included in a new batch of emails pilfered from Sony computers, this time allegedly from the account of Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. Previous email batches have embarrassed major Sony figures when their personal thoughts, criticisms and jokes about A-list celebrities were publicly leaked.

Earlier this month, a North Korean official called allegations that the government was involved in the hacking “wild speculation” but called it a “righteous deed,” according to a North Korean state news agency.

“[W]hat we clearly know is that the SONY Pictures is the very one which was going to produce a film abetting a terrorist act while hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea] by taking advantage of the hostile policy of the U.S. administration towards the DPRK,” the article said.

On Monday, the stars of The Interview, Seth Rogan and James Franco, told ABC News’ Good Morning America they never could’ve predicted the real-world drama surrounding the fictional story.

“I can’t definitively say I know the ramifications of the storm. I mean, I don’t know if the hacking honestly is because of our movie, definitively or not,” Rogen said. “I know that it has been the center of a lot of media attention lately. It is weird because we just wanted to make a really funny, entertaining movie and the movie itself is very silly and wasn’t meant to be controversial in any way.”

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Second-Graders’ Ferguson Protest Sparks Controversy

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW BEDFORD, Mass.) — A protest put on by a group of second-graders in Massachusetts has sparked controversy, but the school says it was just teaching the kids a lesson in civics.

Second-graders gathered on the sidewalk outside of the school with signs, some that said “Honk for Justice,” after learning about the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, both killed by police officers. The peaceful demonstration happened on Friday, a spokesman for the Alma del Mar Charter School in New Bedford told ABC News Tuesday.

“A group of scholars played on the playground while other scholars held their demonstration without incident,” Will Garner, the school’s executive director, said in a statement Tuesday.

But the protest went awry when a friend of a police officer, whose daughter attends the school, saw the students and alerted him that his 7-year-old daughter was taking part, the spokesman said.

That father, George Borden, told The Boston Globe he believed the event was anti-police and shouldn’t be condoned by the school.

While Alma del Mar says the protest was the students’ idea, Borden disagrees.

“I don’t think 7-year-olds can come up with the idea to go out and protest on the street,” he told the newspaper.

ABC News could not reach Borden for comment, but Borden’s father, who is also named George, said he agrees with his son.

“What second grader wants to give up recess to go stand on a busy street corner and chant, ‘We want justice’?” he said. “My son’s a cop, so he’s really upset, and after his daughter got in the car, she asked if he shoots people.”

The school says it sent students home with a note before the lesson about Garner and Brown, to give parents the chance to opt out. The protest, which was not mentioned in the note, was an idea the students came up with in class, the school spokesman said.

“We have spoken with the concerned officer and his family on several occasions and he has agreed to meet with both the teacher and school administrators to discuss his concerns and come up with productive next steps,” Will Garner said in a statement.

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Massachusetts Woman Rescued After Car Plunges into River

iStock/Thinkstock(TAUNTON, Mass.) — A dramatic 911 call shows the fear of a Massachusetts woman who was close to being swept away after her car crashed down an embankment into a river.

“Oh my God, the water’s coming in. It’s getting higher,” Debora Wrigley Dooley can be heard saying in the 911 call. “It’s too deep for me to get out and it’s rapid. It’s moving real fast.”

Authorities say Dooley was driving down a street in Taunton, Massachusetts, Monday when she swerved to avoid another car, according to local ABC News affiliate WCVB.

Dooley’s car was sent careening down an embankment into the Mill River. As water filled her car, Dooley described to the 911 dispatcher how her car was moving down the river.

“It’s stopped right now,” she said. “Every once in a while it moves a little but it stops.”

Rescuers used the car’s OnStar navigation system to track Dooley’s vehicle as it moved down the river.

Around four minutes after Dooley dialed 911, rescuers arrived and pulled her to safety.

“By the time we arrived…the current had taken her car 150 yards down the river,” said Taunton Fire Department Captain Steven Lavigne.

Dooley was taken to a local hospital, where she remained overnight. Her specific injuries are not known.

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Search Intensifies for Shooting Spree Suspect in Pennsylvania

Montgomery County District Atty(SOUDERTON, Pa.) — A suspect in a deadly shooting rampage remains on the run outside of Philadelphia Tuesday morning, forcing residents to stay indoors and local schools to close as a precaution.

Bradley William Stone, 35, is suspected of killing six members of his ex-wife’s family at three separate locations in Montgomery County — allegedly killing his ex-wife, his former mother-in-law, former grandmother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and 14-year-old niece.

His former nephew, 17, was wounded and taken to a hospital in Philadelphia for treatment. Stone took his two children to a neighbor’s home before the shootings began, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri told reporters, and they are safe.

Stone is a former Marine reservist who served from 2002 to 2011. He had one deployment to Iraq, leaving with the rank of sergeant, according to a Marine spokesperson.

A man matching the description of Stone was spotted in Doylestown, Bucks County, Monday after a resident was confronted by the man with a knife, according to a statement from Doylestown Township.

The victim was walking his dog when a man, described as a white male approximately 5’10” wearing camouflage clothing, demanded his car keys.

The victim resisted and fell to the ground, but had a gun and fired multiple rounds at the suspect, according to the statement.

The man matching Stone’s description was last seen running into the woods.

Residents throughout Montgomery and Bucks counties were being told to stay in their homes and lock their doors as the search continued.

“Stone may be wearing military fatigues, in either sand or green color,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement posted to Facebook. Stone is known to use a cane or walker.

Matthew Schafte, who told ABC News that he’s known Stone for 20-plus years, says he broke down in tears when he heard about the shootings.

“I would describe him as a laid-back guy — loving his family, loving his country. I know he had issues with his children over a custody battle or something,” he said. “A decorated veteran, who would do anything for his country, anything for anybody.”

“I just broke down in tears. I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it, because this isn’t the Brad that I know.”

“A couple of months ago, I was hanging out with him, we sat down and had a drink,” he added. “We were just talking about old times, how everybody was doing, and he told me he was going through some things with his kids, but that’s about it.”

Earlier in the day, SWAT teams surrounded a home at Penn and Highland avenues in Souderton, Pennsylvania, where a suspect in the shootings was originally believed barricaded inside, police told ABC station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia.

Witnesses heard a loud boom shortly before an unidentified person was taken out of the house on a stretcher.

Police also surrounded another home in nearby Pennsburg.

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Search Intensifies for Shooting Spree Suspect in Pennsylvania

Montgomery County District Atty(SOUDERTON, Pa.) — A suspect in a deadly shooting rampage remains on the run outside of Philadelphia Tuesday morning, forcing residents to stay indoors and local schools to close as a precaution.

Bradley William Stone, 35, is suspected of killing six members of his ex-wife’s family at three separate locations in Montgomery County — allegedly killing his ex-wife, his former mother-in-law, former grandmother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and 14-year-old niece.

His former nephew, 17, was wounded and taken to a hospital in Philadelphia for treatment. Stone took his two children to a neighbor’s home before the shootings began, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri told reporters, and they are safe.

Stone is a former Marine reservist who served from 2002 to 2011. He had one deployment to Iraq, leaving with the rank of sergeant, according to a Marine spokesperson.

A man matching the description of Stone was spotted in Doylestown, Bucks County, Monday after a resident was confronted by the man with a knife, according to a statement from Doylestown Township.

The victim was walking his dog when a man, described as a white male approximately 5’10” wearing camouflage clothing, demanded his car keys.

The victim resisted and fell to the ground, but had a gun and fired multiple rounds at the suspect, according to the statement.

The man matching Stone’s description was last seen running into the woods.

Residents throughout Montgomery and Bucks counties were being told to stay in their homes and lock their doors as the search continued.

“Stone may be wearing military fatigues, in either sand or green color,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement posted to Facebook. Stone is known to use a cane or walker.

Matthew Schafte, who told ABC News that he’s known Stone for 20-plus years, says he broke down in tears when he heard about the shootings.

“I would describe him as a laid-back guy — loving his family, loving his country. I know he had issues with his children over a custody battle or something,” he said. “A decorated veteran, who would do anything for his country, anything for anybody.”

“I just broke down in tears. I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it, because this isn’t the Brad that I know.”

“A couple of months ago, I was hanging out with him, we sat down and had a drink,” he added. “We were just talking about old times, how everybody was doing, and he told me he was going through some things with his kids, but that’s about it.”

Earlier in the day, SWAT teams surrounded a home at Penn and Highland avenues in Souderton, Pennsylvania, where a suspect in the shootings was originally believed barricaded inside, police told ABC station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia.

Witnesses heard a loud boom shortly before an unidentified person was taken out of the house on a stretcher.

Police also surrounded another home in nearby Pennsburg.

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Amazon Headquarters Evacuated Due to Threatening Note, Threat Not Deemed Credible

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images(SEATTLE) — Amazon.com’s headquarters in Seattle was evacuated on Monday morning as police investigated a threatening letter found on campus.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” police said the complex was evacuated. Officers from the Seattle Police Department and Amazon security searched the area after a threatening note was found in a bathroom on the campus early Monday.

Arson and Bomb Squads were at the scene to investigate, but police said later Monday that there was no indication that the threat was credible.

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Police Arrest 25 at Oakland Protest

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Twenty-five people were arrested on Monday morning outside the main Oakland Police Department building during a protest against the recent grand jury decisions not to indict police officers involved in the deaths of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y.

According to a release from the OPD, “multiple groups of protesters blocked the main entrances of the building by chaining shut four of the building’s doors and then chaining themselves to the doors.” Police said that those actions crossed the line legally as they prevented the public from accessing police records, including inhibiting the reporting of crimes, obtaining public records, and accessing paperwork for vehicle impound releases.

Police estimated that about 150 to 200 people were present at the protest. One group of protesters connected themselves to each other and blocked the intersection of Broadway and 7th Street, prompting their arrest.

The OPD said the 25 arrests were for either obstructing or blocking a public building and obstructing or delaying a police officer.

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LA Neighborhood Blames Waze App for Morning Traffic Jam

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — Thanks to its pervasive use by drivers seeking a clear patch of road, the Waze traffic social app is being blamed for causing congestion in a once-quiet Los Angeles neighborhood.

Paula Hamilton, 80, who has lived at her home in Sherman Oaks for 35 years, told ABC News that morning traffic on her street took a turn for the worse two to three months ago.

“The traffic has never been this bad. It’s bumper-to-bumper traffic now in the morning. Cars move at 10 miles an hour,” she said.

Hamilton said the congestion is so bad she won’t leave home from 6:45 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Mila Reeder, who lives five doors down the road from Hamilton, agrees that in the 30 years she has lived in her Sherman Oaks home, traffic has never been this heavy.

“There are no sidewalks on the narrow curvy streets near my home and with the number of cars driving by in the morning people are always about to be hit. It’s really dangerous,” Reeder told ABC News.

While complaints are being leveled at Waze for diverting freeway traffic to residential neighborhoods, Bruce Gillman, public information officer for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, tells ABC News that it’s unfair to place all the blame on Waze.

“There is more than one traffic app out there and they all have similar functions,” said Gillman.

These apps give real-time traffic data to motorists by tracking the speed of those using the apps, then suggesting alternate routes, sometimes through residential areas.

Gillman, who said he uses traffic apps, noted that neighborhood roads are not off limits.

“Using these apps is a normal reaction. We try to navigate around traffic,” he said.

Julie Mossler, senior director of communications at Waze, tells ABC News that the allegations that Waze is causing neighborhood traffic in Los Angeles started around Thanksgiving this year.

“Waze draws the most attention because we have 50 million users worldwide. However, to say we’re causing bumper to bumper traffic is not accurate. This isn’t how the algorithm of Waze takes care of itself,” she said.

Mossler explained in a note to residents how the app works: “Waze finds open stretches of road and spreads cars across the grid of public streets, helping not only to alleviate congestion but promote a safer drive, as bumper-to-bumper traffic often means a greater risk of accidents and unsafe driving behavior. We have millions of drivers in Los Angeles who work together to warn each other about objects in the road, construction and more. In turn, avoiding these obstacles prevents further issues.”

“Also, I want to stress that we alternate which routes are used, based on real-time conditions, to avoid generating congestion of our own on a different set of roads — it simply wouldn’t be effective to route a large amount of Wazers down your street,” said Mossler in her note.

Mossler said in her letter that “Los Angeles is a powder keg of cars, construction and population that will only continue to get worse. With or without Waze, drivers will be looking for alternatives to major thoroughfares.”

Mossler told ABC News that Waze operates on a massive scale by helping to spread cars out.

“By doing that it certainly makes it easier for emergency vehicles to get through and improved your commute to the airport, for example,” she said.

Sherman Oaks residents have raised their complaints to their council member, Tom LaBonge.

“My field deputy met with them so we can find a solution to their problem. The collector streets in Los Angeles recommended by apps like Waze as alternate routes are not equipped to handle this amount of heavy traffic. Some of them are narrow, some are not properly divided, and some are unmarked for example,” LaBonge told ABC News.

LaBonge is working on a motion for the City Council addressing the safety of these apps.

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Families of Sandy Hook Victims Sue Gunmaker, Seller

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEWTOWN, Conn.) — Nearly half of the 26 families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting two years ago have filed a lawsuit against the maker of the gun used in the shooting and where it was sold.

Ten families are suing Bushmaster, the manufacturer of the AR-15 rifle that gunman Adam Lanza used to kill their loved ones, children and adults.

In addition to Bushmaster, the families have named Camfour, a firearm distributor, and Riverview Gun Sales, the store where the Bushmaster rifle was purchased in 2010.

The 10 families represent a mix of victims, students and teachers, and allege negligence and wrongful death in their suit.

They argue the AR-15 should never have been publicly sold because it’s a military style assault weapon.

“The AR-15 was specifically engineered for the United States Military to meet the needs of changing warfare,” said Josh Koskoff of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, the Connecticut firm representing the families. “In fact, one of the Army’s specifications for the AR-15 was that it has the capability to penetrate a steel helmet. This weapon was not designed for home defense or hunting. This weapon was designed to efficiently kill other human beings in combat.”

The suit says the AR-15 is legitimate for soldiers and police, but not for civilian use.

The filing was submitted to a court marshal on Friday.

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