Review Category : National News

New Jersey Wedding Crashers Wanted for Robbery

iStock/Thinkstock(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, N.J.) — Three uninvited guests who allegedly crashed a wedding in New Jersey are now wanted by police because of the stunt.

Ocean Township police said they have identified the three minors, who took the time to pose in a photo booth that the newlyweds had rented for their guests at the reception. They remain at large but police said they expect to apprehend the suspects soon.

“The three unknown subjects were dressed in suits and mingled with the wedding guests,” Ocean Township police said in a statement about the incident on Sept. 20.

The reception was being held at the English Manor, a wedding venue in Wanamassa, New Jersey. A representative from the venue had no comment about the incident when contacted by ABC News.

The three reportedly drank while crashing the party, which constituted a form of theft, according to ABC affiliate WPVI.

The jig was up when legitimately invited wedding guests alerted a manager about the crashers, and one of the young men threw the manager, a woman, to the ground and fled, police said. The suspects are accused of a strong-arm robbery.

“If you use force during the course of a theft, that is technically a robbery under New Jersey law,” Police Captain Earl Giffords told ABC News.

He went on to say that there is a “broad range” of prospective punishment for such a crime but because no one was injured in the incident, they will likely get a sentence on the low end of the spectrum.

“I can’t imagine we’re going to see any jail time,” Giffords said.

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Protesters Play Dead Outside White House

John Parkinson/ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Five demonstrators shut down a checkpoint at the White House Tuesday, days after an intruder scaled a fence.

One man held up a sign that read: “THERE IS NO MILITARY SOLUTION.” Four others played dead on the sidewalk in front of the northwest checkpoint along Pennsylvania Avenue.

An organizer told ABC News that the man holding the sign is Father John Dear of the group Campaign Nonviolence.

More than a dozen Secret Service officers arrived to remove the protestors, who did not resist arrest.

“When will we realize war is the worst thing we can possibly do?” one protester yelled. Others sang in honor of the victims of drone attacks.

“We’re standing for the victims, we shall not be moved,” they chanted.

The protest organizer, Campaign Nonviolence, describes itself as a group “committed to nonviolent social change…representatives of organizations that normally do not have a voice and have little influence in the places of power in Washington DC,” and outlined a series of “demands” in a letter apparently sent to President Obama and posted on Twitter:

  1. ”[E]nd all drone warfare,”
  2. “establish a living wage” and
  3. “initiate and work for an international treaty for swift verifiable action to reverse climate change.”

“We have the audacity to hope that you or a senior representatives will meet with us on Tuesday September 23, 2014,” the group said in the letter.

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Bags of Clothing Moved from Jesse Matthew’s Apartment, Police Say

Charlottesville Police Department(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — Bags of clothing are being tested by police after authorities removed them from the apartment that belongs to the person of interest in the search for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, police said Tuesday.

The items were taken from Jesse Matthew’s apartment on Monday as part of the second search warrant issued for the property though police would not elaborate on who the clothing belonged to or how they are connected to the case.

Charlottesville police are expected to release their findings from inside Matthew’s car later Tuesday stemming from a search warrant executed last week, though any findings from the clothing will take longer, officials said.

Matthew has not been charged with any crimes in connection to Graham’s disappearance, though he is now wanted on a reckless driving charge after he allegedly sped away from the police station after going there to get a lawyer on Saturday, police said.

A wanted poster was issued for him Monday and police stated that they believe he may be in possession of his sister’s car, and has known associates along the east coast, from his home state of Virginia all the way up to New York.

Matthew, 32, came under scrutiny in the Graham disappearance because he was seen at a restaurant with the 18-year-old student shortly before she disappeared in the early hours of Sept. 13.

Police chief Timothy Longo has repeated calls asking Matthew to come forward to discuss any information he may have about Graham and what happened to her. Longo has said that police believe Matthew is the last person to have seen Graham since she disappeared.

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Three Afghan Soldiers Stopped by Strip Club Before Seeking Asylum: Police

iStock/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — Prior to their encounter with Canadian and American border agents near Buffalo, New York, the three Afghan soldiers who went missing from Joint Base Cape Cod over the weekend stopped at a strip club, a local police chief confirmed to ABC News Tuesday.

“They were in Mashpee, Massachusetts, at Zachary’s Friday evening,” said Mashpee Police Chief Rodney Collins.

By Saturday they were at Cape Cod Mall, where law enforcement sources said they wanted to buy civilian clothing.

Zachary’s Pub touts itself as “Cape Cod’s only Gentleman’s Club.” The website says “We feature all-nude exotic entertainment, pool tables, Keno, full menu and $4 draft beer. We are open every day, with continuous entertainment from noon – 1 a.m. Couples are welcome!”

“Having military people in here is pretty standard and having people using passports is pretty standard,” said club owner Richard Halpern.

Halpern told ABC News his employees notified him after the story of the soldiers’ disappearance hit the local news.

“Cashiers, dancers and disc jockeys all called to tell me they were in here,” he said.

Halpern said the three Afghan soldiers were part of a larger group of seven or eight that included a translator who told the hostess to notify him if there were any problems. There were no problems and the group left later that night without incident.

The officers were part of a 14-officer contingent from Afghanistan, officials said.

The three Afghan soldiers were found Monday near the U.S.-Canada border, a U.S. Defense Department official told ABC News. Law enforcement officials said the men did not try to hide, but instead walked up to border patrol agents and presented themselves for asylum.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday that the three Afghan men are now in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Batavia, New York.

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LISTEN: 911 Call of Florida Man Who Shot Entire Family

AbleStock.com/Thinkstock(BELL, Fla.) — A chilling 911 call reveals the moments after a Florida man shot his entire family in cold blood before committing suicide.

Don Spirit of Bell, Florida, turned the gun on himself after police arrived at the scene of the crime at his mobile home last week where they found seven other bodies, including that of Spirit’s infant granddaughter.

“Yes, ma’am, I just shot my daughter and shot all my grandkids and I’ll be sitting on my step, and when you get here I’m going to shoot myself,” Spirit, 51, said during the call, obtained Tuesday by ABC News.

Spirit was eerily calm as he gave the dispatcher his address, but refused to answer some of her questions.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of gun I got,” he said. “They’re all dead. When you get here, I’ll shoot myself and then you figure out what kind of gun I have.”

He refused to stay on the line until help arrived and committed suicide shortly after officers got there.

The victims include Bell’s 28-year-old daughter, Sarah Lorraine Spirit, and her six children, including a baby girl born in June.

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Ravens Owner Denies Charges in ESPN Report

Rob Carr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti Monday refuted accusations made by ESPN’s Outside the Lines that the team knew former running back Ray Rice had struck his then-fiancee inside a hotel elevators hours after it happened last Feb. 15.

Among the other points raised in the ESPN story was that Bisciotti and the Ravens front office pressured NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to only penalize Rice with a two-game suspension, which the owner denied.

After the video of Rice punching Janay Palmer surfaced two weeks ago, the Ravens cut Rice from the team and Goodell boosted the penalty from two games to an indefinite suspension, which the former Raven is now appealing.

Meanwhile, Bisciotti said he made a huge mistake by not attempting to see the fateful surveillance video earlier, admitting to reporters, “I lacked a whole lot of interest. Zero desire to see that tape.”

As for why he didn’t kick Rice off the team when the first video showed her collapsed on the floor after the elevators doors had opened, Bisciotti also conceded, “I’m not that good. I’m not that honorable I guess. I was not prepared to take the worst-case punishment against somebody I have loving feelings for.”

Meanwhile, the owner speculated about why he felt the ESPN story was filled with inaccuracies, saying, “It’s Ray’s attorney, it’s Ray’s agent, and it’s Ray’s friends, and you know, they are building a case for reinstatement and the best way to build a case for reinstatement, is to make everyone else look like they’re lying.”

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Ravens Owner Denies Charges in ESPN Report

Rob Carr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti Monday refuted accusations made by ESPN’s Outside the Lines that the team knew former running back Ray Rice had struck his then-fiancee inside a hotel elevators hours after it happened last Feb. 15.

Among the other points raised in the ESPN story was that Bisciotti and the Ravens front office pressured NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to only penalize Rice with a two-game suspension, which the owner denied.

After the video of Rice punching Janay Palmer surfaced two weeks ago, the Ravens cut Rice from the team and Goodell boosted the penalty from two games to an indefinite suspension, which the former Raven is now appealing.

Meanwhile, Bisciotti said he made a huge mistake by not attempting to see the fateful surveillance video earlier, admitting to reporters, “I lacked a whole lot of interest. Zero desire to see that tape.”

As for why he didn’t kick Rice off the team when the first video showed her collapsed on the floor after the elevators doors had opened, Bisciotti also conceded, “I’m not that good. I’m not that honorable I guess. I was not prepared to take the worst-case punishment against somebody I have loving feelings for.”

Meanwhile, the owner speculated about why he felt the ESPN story was filled with inaccuracies, saying, “It’s Ray’s attorney, it’s Ray’s agent, and it’s Ray’s friends, and you know, they are building a case for reinstatement and the best way to build a case for reinstatement, is to make everyone else look like they’re lying.”

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Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev Denies Hazing Allegations

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(NEW YORK) — Miss America winner Kira Kazantsev, who spoke during the pageant about protecting women from domestic violence, is this morning denying allegations that she harshly hazed members of her college sorority.

“They are not true,” Kazantsev, 23, said Tuesday on Good Morning America of claims from an unnamed source on the website Jezebel that under her supervision, “Pledges in the incoming class were called names, berated for their perceived physical flaws and imperfections, and made to perform physical tasks to the point of bruising and exhaustion …” and that she “made the recruits’ lives ‘a living hell.'”

“I’m incredibly hurt that someone has said these things,” said Kazantsev, a former Miss New York and former member of Alpha Phi at Hofstra University.

Kazantsev, a trilingual honors student who served as Alpha Phi’s new member educator and recruitment committee president, did not deny that she was involved in hazing while at the university.

“All I can do is sit here and be honest and share that, yes, I was involved under the broad definition of hazing at some point but never ever in a million years what this is claiming to hold,” she said of the Jezebel report.

The report, which appeared on the website on Monday, also claimed that Kazantsev was kicked out of Alpha Phi, allegedly for exceptionally harsh hazing.

Kazantsev said on GMA that she was asked to leave the sorority in her senior year but that the conflict came over an email in which a joke she wrote was, she says, misconstrued.

“I was asked by a New Member Educator when I was a senior to reach out to the alumni base to have an event of sorts,” Kazantsev explained. “In the email I basically made a joke and that was taken out of context and forwarded to the national office.”

When asked what the joke was, Kazantsev replied, “That we would make the evening scary for the pledges when that never came to fruition and none of those things that I’ve been accused of ever happened or were ever intended to happen.”

The Miss America winner says the hazing tasks she participated in while at Hofstra were “menial,” and included things like reciting information and spending sleepless nights crafting.

“I was hazed,” she said. “I was kind of brought up through the organization thinking that’s appropriate behavior when, clearly, I’m two years removed from the organization today and I understand that that’s just not true.”

“I came in as an impressionable freshman,” Kazantsev added. “Everybody wants to be part of something. At the time, unfortunately, that was just the culture of the university.”

In a statement to ABC News, the Alpha Phi International confirmed that Kazantsev was no longer a member of the organization. The statement said the organization could not comment on details related to membership status changes.

The Miss America organization said in a statement to Jezebel that Kazantsev has been “fully transparent with the Miss America organization about her termination from the Alpha Phi sorority.”

Kazantsev wowed judges with her unique rendition of “Happy,” which she sung while sitting cross-legged on the stage and banging a red plastic cup to the music. With her win, she became the third consecutive contestant from New York to win the Miss America crown.

Though Kazantsev brought a platform of domestic violence against women to Miss America, the pageant winner says she now plans to also speak out about her own hazing experience during her year-long reign.

“I think now that obviously this is all out in the open and I think it’s very important for me to address it,” Kazantsev said. “I’m going to take this negative and turn it into a positive.”

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Fox Attacks Second-Grader on Connecticut Playground

ABC News(EAST WINDSOR, Conn.) — A Connecticut community is on high alert after a fox attacked people on an elementary school playground, biting at least four people, including a second-grade boy.

The fox on the run outside Broad Brook Elementary School in East Windsor Monday attacked 7-year-old Evan Witzke during an outdoor gym class.

Physical education teacher Elissa Daniele was teaching class around 11:30 a.m. when she noticed the fox sneak out of the woods and latch on to her student. She risked her own safety for the students and ripped the animal off him. Once Daniele was able to corral the fox, she wrapped a neck brace around its mouth to prevent it from biting. She then trapped it under a recycling bin.

“It was trying to gnaw at his wrists and ankles,” Daniele told ABC News. “I knew I had to pin the fox down to get it away from my student to keep my student safe.”

Daniele and a staffer were also bitten. It’s unclear whether the fox is rabid.

Authorities believe the same fox also attacked nearby resident Danielle Bopko earlier that day while she was on her way to breakfast to celebrate getting engaged less than 24 hours before coming face-to-face with the animal.

“I have never experienced an animal that when you scare it, it keeps coming back and coming back, it almost came in the house and I kicked it,” Bopko told ABC News affiliate WTNH-TV in New Haven.

All four victims have been treated for rabies as a precaution and are expected to make full recoveries.

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How Other Survivalists Eluded Police Capture

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Pennsylvania man accused of shooting two state troopers and slipping away into the woods is the latest fugitive survivalist to dodge capture by fleeing into the wilderness and surviving on the land.

It sometimes takes years to find fugitives who are accomplished outdoorsmen.

Convicted murderer Eric Rudolph famously evaded authorities for five years while hiding out in North Carolina mountains before he was captured in 2003. Cherokee County Sheriff Keith Lovin remembers the day Rudolph, charged with the 1996 Olympic park bombing in Atlanta and another blast at an Alabama abortion clinic, was cornered outside a grocery store in Murphy.

“He could have been foraging for supplies,” Lovin said. “That’s part of being a survivalist — taking advantage of what resources you have and knowing where to look for them.”

Rudolph, who is serving a life sentence, survived by sleeping in abandoned houses and summer homes.

“We have a lot of summer homes that are vacant for a good amount of time, and a lot of homes that are for sale,” Lovin said. “You can go in and get out of the weather for a day or two — particularly if that home is out of the way.”

Lovin suspects the situation is similar in the Pocono Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania, where a massive manhunt is under way for suspect Eric Frein, accused of ambushing two state troopers at the Blooming Grove police barracks on Sept. 12, killing one officer and critically injuring another.

But he points out that Rudolph’s situation was unique because he believes the criminal got help while he was on the lam.

“While it is one thing to be able to go into the wild and live off land and camp, it’s entirely different when you have associates or friends who are willing to assist you,” Lovin said.

Other residents of the southern mountain town might have offered food or help unknowingly, thinking Rudolph was “a homeless person, or someone down on his luck,” Lovin added.

Last year, police arrested Troy James Knapp, known as the “Mountain Man,” in the woods in Utah, where he had lived on the run for six years, sleeping in a tent and killing wild animals for food.

Knapp was wanted for a string of cabin burglaries around Sevier County. He survived the cold winters by breaking into snowbound homes and sleeping in the owners’ beds while they were away, authorities said, sometimes leaving behind threatening notes, like “Get off my mountain,” and one time a message to police: “Gonna put you in the ground.”

He drank their whiskey and stole their guns before retreating to the woods with high-end camping gear. Knapp, 46, pleaded guilty in June under an agreement that will likely put him in prison until 2024.

Yet another fugitive who lived off the land while running from police is Jason McVean, accused with two other men of killing a Colorado police officer in 1998. His remains were found in 2007 in southeastern Utah, along with a bulletproof vest, camouflage backpack, pipe bombs, an AK-47 and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

The bodies of his alleged accomplices, Alan Pilon and Robert Mason, were found years earlier.

And Robert Fisher, an Arizona man accused of murdering his family before setting their home on fire, has been missing ever since his alleged crime in 2001. The FBI for a while considered that sightings of a man who turned out to be Knapp might be Fisher, described by authorities as a survivalist and skilled hunter and outdoorsman.

There have been many reported sightings of Fisher, but he hasn’t been found.

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