Review Category : National News

Masked robbers at Las Vegas’ Bellagio Hotel broke into store’s jewelry cases with sledgehammers

f11photo/iStock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) — Masked robbers who struck a high-end jewelry and watch store at a luxury hotel in Las Vegas appear to have used sledgehammers to break into the shop’s jewelry cases, authorities said.

One suspect is in custody and the investigation is continuing following the robbery of the store at Bellagio Resort & Casino overnight on Friday, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police detectives said Saturday.

Detectives also said earlier reports of shooting during the burglary were unfounded, and they now believe the sound of sledgehammers striking the jewelry cases were mistaken for gunfire.

When police descended upon the resort and casino in response to the burglary, guests fled in panic from the property, flooding surrounding streets, amid false reports of an “active shooter.”

“Currently investigating burglary at @bellagio,” the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department tweeted at 2:13 a.m. “Initial reports indicated there was an ‘active shooter’ which was false. NO injuries.”

Currently investigating burglary at @bellagio. Initial reports indicated there was an “active shooter” which was false. NO injuries.

— LVMPD (@LVMPD) March 25, 2017

Although there was no shooting during the incident, the robbers were armed, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Lt. Carlos Hank told ABC News.

The Bellagio was on lockdown after the incident for about 30 minutes.

The store was not open at the time of the incident.

The suspects wore character masks, but Lt. Hank could not confirm the specifics of the mask. One eyewitness, though — a woman named Kira, who did not want her surname used — told ABC News she saw a man wearing a pig mask.

Lt. Hank said early Saturday morning that some people were detained, but it is unclear if the detained individuals are burglary suspects.

#bellagio pic.twitter.com/dlniE3cCie

— Zuleyka Veronica (@Zuleyka_Alvarez) March 25, 2017

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Infant and toddler found stabbed to death in North Carolina; father arrested

artolympic/iStock/Thinkstock(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) — A toddler and an infant who were reported missing and endangered in North Carolina have been found stabbed to death, authorities said.

Serenity Freeman, 2, and her 4-day old baby sister Genesis Freeman went missing in Fayetteville on Friday.

On Saturday morning, detectives located the bodies of the two girls in the Raeford area in the woods about 200 yards from the road. The children had been stabbed multiple times, according to the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office.

The children were at the center of a domestic-related incident between their father, Tillman Freeman, and his wife, who was at the hospital at the time the young girls are believed to have gone missing, according to the Fayetteville Police Department.

Before the girls were found, Freeman was arrested and charged with two counts of child abuse and two counts of child endangerment on Friday, according to the Fayetteville Police Department. Police said he refused to provide any information on the whereabouts of his children.

We continue to look for the children & ask that anyone with info call 911, Detectives at 910-322-4101, or #Crimestoppers at 910-483-TIPS pic.twitter.com/wF2RwVRf3W

— Fayetteville Police (@FayettevillePD) March 25, 2017

After the girls were found, authorities said Tillman was arrested and charged with two counts of first degree murder.

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Fearless Florida diver pulls metal hook from shark’s belly

Photodisc/iStock/Thinkstock(JUPITER, Fla.) — Talk about a fearless diver.

Josh Eccles, a diver with Emerald Charter in Jupiter, Florida, was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean Wednesday when one of the lemon sharks passing by kept bumping into him.

“Every time it swam by me, it would bump into me a little more,” Eccles, who is in the water at least six times a week as part of his job with the scuba diving center, told West Palm Beach ABC affiliate WPBF. “They always bump into us but they don’t bump into us that frequently.”

Eccles suspected something was amiss with the creature, so he took a closer look, which the shark didn’t seem to mind.

“It would lift up its stomach and I noticed something, so I kind of poked at it a little, the little hook or something,” he said.

Showing no fear, Eccles decided to alleviate the shark’s discomfort and remove the hook, which was about the size of his hand.

Incredible video! Diver pulls hook from shark’s belly https://t.co/CI69neTZii pic.twitter.com/aQaIgY3jZY

— WPBF 25 News (@WPBF25News) March 25, 2017

After Eccles removed the hook, the shark swam away, only to return several times. At one point, the shark swam right up to a video camera, which Eccles believes was its way of saying thank you.

Said Eccles: “That was a crazy opportunity, experience to be a part of.”

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‘Incognito Bandit’ bank robbery suspect arrested trying to board South Africa-bound flight

verbaska_studio/iStock/Thinkstock(DULLES, Va.) — The “Incognito Bandit” has been caught.

The alleged elusive serial bank robber was arrested Friday night at Dulles International Airport in Virginia as he attempted to board a South Africa-bound flight, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston said Friday.

Albert Taderera, 36, of Brighton, Massachusetts, was charged with the October 2016 robbery of a TD Bank branch in Wayland, Massachusetts.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, citing court documents, said 16 banks were robbed between February 2015 and March 2017 in the greater Boston area allegedly by the “Incognito Bandit.”

The nickname “Incognito Bandit” is derived from the fact that the robber typically was disguised in a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark face mask/sunglasses, dark gloves and dark clothing.

In most of the robberies, the robber displayed what tellers described as a black semi-automatic handgun.

Earlier this month, police in Massachusetts say they determined that Taderera fit the general description of the individual responsible for the 16 robberies.

The FBI then learned of his travel plans.

“On Thursday March 23, 2017, at approximately 10:15 pm, the FBI learned that Taderera had booked a flight, scheduled to leave on Friday, March 24, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., from Dulles International Airport to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

But those plans changed.

The release continues, “During the morning of Friday, March 24, 2017, Taderera was en route to Dulles having taken a flight out of Boston. It was later learned that Taderera had rebooked his flight and was now planning to leave on March 24, 2017, at 5:45 p.m. from Dulles to Johannesburg, South Africa.”

The charging statute provides for a sentence up to 25 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Taderera is scheduled to appear in the U.S. District Court for the District of Eastern Virginia on Monday.

It was unclear if he has an attorney.

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Virginia police arrest sword-wielding man dressed as the Joker

Winchester Police Department(WINCHESTER, Va.) — A 31-year-old man in Virginia was arrested and charged with wearing a mask in public Friday after he was spotted walking around dressed as the iconic comic book supervillain the Joker, police said.

Police in Winchester — located about 75 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. — said the Winchester Emergency Communications Center received “several calls” around 2 p.m. on Friday of a suspicious male wearing a black cape and carrying a sword walking around the city.

Jeremy Putman was charged with wearing a mask in public, a felony that could land him in jail for up to five years, the Winchester Police Department said in a statement.

Police said they had received several similar reports over the last week, but they do not believe there are additional suspects.

Although it may seem surprising that wearing a mask in public is a felony, police said it wants “to remind the community of the seriousness of the crime.”

According to Virginia Code 18.2-422, “It shall be unlawful for any person over 16 years of age, with the intent to conceal his identity, wear any mask, hood, or other device, whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered, so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, to be or appear in any public place, or upon any private property in this Commonwealth, without first having obtained from the owner or tenant thereof consent to do so in writing.”

Putnam is being held at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center on a $2,000 secured bond.

It is unclear if he has an attorney.

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Las Vegas’ Bellagio put on 30-minute lockdown following armed burglary at watch store

f11photo/iStock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) — Police descended upon Las Vegas’ Bellagio Resort & Casino Saturday night — and guests fled in panic from the property, flooding surrounding streets — amidst false reports of an “active shooter.”

“Currently investigating burglary at @bellagio,” the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department tweeted at 2:13 a.m. “Initial reports indicated there was an ‘active shooter’ which was false. NO injuries.”

Currently investigating burglary at @bellagio. Initial reports indicated there was an “active shooter” which was false. NO injuries.

— LVMPD (@LVMPD) March 25, 2017

While there was no active shooter, a high-end watch store at the property was burglarized by armed suspects, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Lt. Carlos Hank told ABC News.

At no point were any firearms discharged, Lt. Hank said.

The Bellagio was on lockdown after the incident for about 30 minutes.

The store was not open at the time of the incident.

The suspects wore character masks, but Lt. Hank could not confirm the specifics of the mask. One eyewitness, though — a woman named Kira, who did not want her surname used — told ABC News she saw a man wearing a pig mask (below).

Lt. Hank said early Saturday morning that some people were detained, but it is unclear if the detained individuals are burglary suspects.

Police are continuing to search for suspects.

#bellagio pic.twitter.com/7f0ikL63OB

— Zuleyka Veronica (@Zuleyka_Alvarez) March 25, 2017

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Small plane crashes into home in Cobb County, Georgia

iStock/Thinkstock(COBB COUNTY, Ga.) — A small plane crashed into a home in Cobb County, Georgia Friday evening, local fire officials told ABC affiliate WSB.

It was unclear if anyone was killed or injured on the plane or on the ground. It was also not clear how many people were on board, officials said.

According to the FAA, the Cessna Citation I aircraft was en route to Fulton County Airport and crashed east of Cobb County International Airport around 7:20 p.m. Eastern.

Further information was not immediately available.

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Double-amputee military veteran graduates from police academy

ABC News(YAPHANK, N.Y.) — Officer Matias Ferreira is celebrating a dream come true.

After 29 weeks of training, the 28-year-old resident of Wantagh, New York, graduated Friday from the Suffolk County Police Academy as its first fully active-duty double-amputee police officer. The academy said it believed that Ferreira was also the first in the U.S. as well.

“It’s pretty incredible,” Ferreira told ABC News after the graduation ceremony. “I’m truly honored to be part of the department. When I first got on, I didn’t know how good I would do — maybe having some self-doubts in the beginning — but I had a very supportive staff, very supportive recruit class. Everybody kept pushing me through.”

He credited his wife, Tiffany; his daughter, Tianna; and family and friends with helping him reach the finish line. He finished as the class president as well as the class speaker.

“The hand we’re dealt in life, we just have to take it, adapt and overcome.”

“It’s really hard to fail at something when somebody’s pushing you the whole way. … They won’t let you quit so you can’t quit on yourself,” he said.

Ferreira was born in Uruguay and moved to the U.S. when he was 6 years old. He grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and then joined the Marines. In 2011, however, while serving in Afghanistan, he stepped on an improvised explosive device. He lost both legs below the knees.

After rehabilitation, Ferreira joined an all-amputee softball team that plays across the U.S.

He said that he was eager to hit the streets as a police officer and see what the future holds for him and his family.

“The hand we’re dealt in life, we just have to take it, adapt and overcome so that’s what I figured I would do,” he said. “Once you lose a limb, you think that your life is going to completely change. … It’s really up to you. You know, the technology that’s coming out and with a good attitude — you combine those two — you can do whatever you want.”

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North Carolina wife searches for wedding dress husband accidentally donated

Courtesy of Amanda Williams(BAHAMA, N.C.) — Natalie Gelbert was devastated to learn that her husband, Chad Gelbert, accidentally donated her wedding dress when he dropped off his daughter’s old baby clothes.

“I have a 7-year-old stepdaughter, and we were packing up all her baby stuff,” Natalie, 25, of Bahama, North Carolina, told ABC News.

“My dress was in the storage room. He put it in a bag for me to take to the cleaners to preserve it. But then he packed the car with the Goodwill stuff and went to drop it off, and everything was in the same-looking bag, and [he] didn’t realize he was dropping off my wedding dress.”

Chad took the clothes to Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF) Donation Center, which has no affiliation with Goodwill Industries, in Durham on March 4. But Natalie didn’t realize it was missing until March 20 when she was about to take her dress, which she wore to the couple’s 2015 wedding, for cleaning.

“I was going out to eat near where the dress-preservation place was on the other side of town, and I went to look for it and didn’t see it,” she recalled. “And that’s when my husband’s face turned completely pale, and he ran down to the car to check and realized what he had done.”

Needless to say, Chad was in the doghouse for awhile.

“I didn’t speak to him for a day, but I forgave him,” said Natalie. “It’s OK. It was a complete accident. But that was my initial reaction because that’s my wedding dress.”

As soon as the two realized the mistake, they raced to the donation center to see if the dress was still there. Sadly, it was not.

“I went there after work and I talked to the manager who said there was an employee that confirmed a dress with my description being sold,” Natalie said. “They said she remembered my dress, and they think it had been sold for $20 or $25 on discount because it was dirty on the bottom.”

Natalie was in shock at first. But she quickly decided to take charge of the situation, turning to social media for help locating the dress’ buyer. Since her Facebook post on March 21, it has had more than 30,000 shares and the story has made international headlines.

The story’s going viral has yet to help produce any serious leads on who bought the dress, but people have come forward offering to help.

“I’ve had three ladies tell me they would be willing to donate their wedding dresses to the person that has mine in exchange for mine” getting returned, Natalie said. “I had a lady write me yesterday and tell me she’d be willing to buy that person the same exact dress, brand new from David’s Bridal, for the return of mine.”

“The dress is dirty. It hurricaned on my wedding,” Natalie added. “But I didn’t care. I still went outside and the bottom got a little dirty. There is lipstick still on the side of it. I wore it and danced in it. Nothing will replace that being the dress I wore on my wedding day.”

Natalie is still hopeful the person who bought her dress will come forward, especially since she’s sweetening the deal.

“Even before these rewards [offering a new dress] came up, I had already made the decision that if someone were to come forward, if they were really a bride that found an awesome deal at Goodwill, I’d let them go ahead and wear the dress and then give it back to it to me,” she said. “At this point, with people having rewards and stuff, I think people would want a new dress. I’m just hoping it’s not someone trying to sell my dress.”

A spokesperson for GCF told ABC News, “If we find the missing wedding dress we will get in touch directly with the responsible party. It’s our policy to always return an item that was inadvertently donated, if we still have it.”

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Cops scale back manpower in unsolved Indiana double murder

Handout via WLFI(DELPHI, Ind.) — Authorities searching for the killer of two Indiana teen girls are “scaling back” manpower in the over month-long investigation, but stress that they aren’t giving up and the case isn’t going cold.

Each day there have been as many as 40 to 50 officers, and sometimes up to 100 officers, working to solve the double murder of Abby Williams, 13, and Libby German, 14, in the more than five weeks since the teens were found dead, said Sgt. Kim Riley of Indiana State Police.

But now, the number of officers working each day will drop to about 20 to 30, Riley told ABC News.
Police explained that the steady stream of tips coming in has become more manageable. For the most part, tips have slowed down recently to about 100 to 125 per day, Riley said, which has allowed police to get caught up.

Now, the Delphi police and the Indiana State Police’s Lafayette office are aiming to have not as many outside agencies helping day to day, Riley said.

The FBI is pulling out some of its resources, Riley said, and some state police officers who came from outside the Lafayette area will return to their own communities. Riley said the operation to scale back has been going on for the past week or week and a half.

While police have received a total of about 15,000 to 16,000 tips, no arrests have been made since the girls’ murders shook the rural small town of Delphi, Indiana, in February. The eighth-graders disappeared Feb. 13 while on a hiking trail near their hometown and their bodies were found nearby the next day.

As police hunt for the killer, the only clues that have been released to the public are this photo of a man who police say is the prime suspect in the investigation and a chilling recording found on Libby’s phone with just three audible words: “down the hill.”

While Riley said they are “scaling back” manpower, he stressed that authorities are “not giving up” on the case.

“It doesn’t take as many officers to do the work,” Riley said. “We are not giving up on this case whatsoever, it’s just that we are utilizing manpower a little bit better than we had before.”

Riley added, “We’re still committed to this. Just because we’re scaling back doesn’t mean we’re not committed to finding the perpetrator.”

State police explained in a statement Friday that “investigators who may return to their ‘home base’ will still be within a phone call’s reach and could potentially return to this assignment. … Those investigators are simply returning to their respective areas to follow up on investigations which have been temporarily delayed” since the Delphi case began.

State police stressed that “this does not mean the investigation is going ‘cold.’ To the contrary, each investigator remains strongly committed to reaching resolution.”

Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby agreed, telling ABC News Friday the case is not going cold.
Leazenby said in a statement, “We stress this investigation is ongoing and is not without resolve as we will find those responsible and reach proper closure for Abby and Libby and their families.”

State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said in a statement, “We remain committed to this investigation and the Carroll County and Delphi community until ‘this evil’ is eradicated.”

People can provide information by calling the tip line at (844) 459-5786. Information can be reported anonymously. Tips can also be emailed to abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com.

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