NYPD(NEW YORK) — A brick and prayer may not be enough.A would-be burglar made the sign of the cross twice before bashing his way into a high-end Brooklyn clothing store using a large block Thursday night, according to police and surveillance video.The NYPD said the suspect broke into Ziani Fine Italian Clothing in Brooklyn. In the surveillance video released by police, the man can be seen approaching the building, where he takes off his hat, looks up and appears to pray.The suspect begins with the sign of the cross, can be seen moving his lips, and concludes with the sign of the cross, the video shows.Seconds later, as he tries not to slip, the man picks up a brick and throws it into the window twice before gaining entry, the video shows.“Once inside, the individual removed approximately 18 articles of clothing and then fled the scene on foot,” NYPD posted in a statement.Police are still searching for the suspect.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office(NASHVILLE) — The former teacher who allegedly fled Tennessee with a teenage girl last year wants to change his plea from “not guilty” to “guilty.”The motion to change Tad Cummins’ plea was filed in federal court in Nashville on Thursday.He is charged with transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual conduct and obstruction of justice.On March 13, 2017, Cummins, then 50 and a married father and grandfather, went missing with Elizabeth Thomas, then 15 and a student at his school.An Amber Alert was issued, and police across the country searched for more than a month before finding them on April 20 thousands of miles away in a remote cabin in northern California. The teen was “healthy and unharmed,” authorities said. Cummins was taken into custody.Thomas family attorney Jason Whatley said in a statement Thursday, “The Thomas family is very relieved that Mr. Cummins decided to do the right thing by pleading guilty. We see this as one more step toward justice for Elizabeth.”Cummins, who was fired from his teaching job one day after he and Elizabeth went missing, had allegedly researched teen marriage online and, specifically, the age of consent, according to law enforcement officials.Cummins plotted their getaway from the moment he was suspected of having an improper relationship with the teen, federal prosecutors alleged. Prosecutors said Cummins planned to reach the Mexico border and then head to countries farther south.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
ABC News(NEW YORK) — At least 29 tornadoes have been reported across four states since Monday, as a period of severe weather now enters its fourth straight day.Sixteen tornadoes have been reported this week in Kansas, five in Oklahoma, five in Nebraska, and three in Missouri. There were at least 218 storm reports Wednesday alone, as parts of Oklahoma saw winds in excess of 100 mph.Several clusters of intense thunderstorms are moving through the Plains and Midwest Thursday, some with winds as high as 70 mph in Arkansas and Missouri, and a reported tornado in Oklahoma.Severe weather has also been expected in northeast Kansas, northern Missouri and southern Iowa, the third straight day for many of these areas. Damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes are possible from Texas all the way up through northern Illinois.Parts of the Northeast may see some scattered thunderstorms as a corridor develops stretching from eastern Michigan to upstate New York. Damaging winds are possible in this region later in the day.The entire storm system likely will weaken Friday, with severe threats more isolated. Thursday probably will be the last day of the severe weather outbreak.Several clusters of intense thunderstorms are moving through the Plains and Midwest Thursday, some with winds as high as 70 mph in Arkansas and Missouri, and a reported tornado in Oklahoma.Severe weather has also been expected in northeast Kansas, northern Missouri and southern Iowa, the third straight day for many of these areas. Damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes are possible from Texas all the way up through northern Illinois.Parts of the Northeast may see some scattered thunderstorms as a corridor develops stretching from eastern Michigan to upstate New York. Damaging winds are possible in this region later in the day.The entire storm system likely will weaken Friday, with severe threats more isolated. Thursday probably will be the last day of the severe weather outbreak.If some of these cities can pull off three consecutive days of 90 degrees or higher, it will be the first official heat wave for the region in 2018. It would be a notable feat, considering much of the region was well below average temperature for April.Temperatures are expected to dip near seasonable levels by the weekend.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Federal Emergency Management Agency(NEW YORK) — It was loud and intrusive. And there’s no way around it.At 2:18 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, almost every cell phone in the U.S. sounded an alarm and vibrated. The “Presidential Alert,” orchestrated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was a test to see if FEMA’s nationwide wireless emergency alert system works as hoped and can reach most Americans in advance of a national crisis, such as a nuclear attack or terrorist attack in multiple cities.There is no way to opt out, and not everyone is pleased. Actress Alyssa Milano has tweeted at FEMA asking how to opt out, taking a swipe at President Donald Trump for not asking consumers for their consent first.And there was a lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York wanting FEMA — and Trump – to abandon the program because it “is tantamount to hijacking private property for the purpose of planting a government-controlled loudspeaker in the home and on the person of every American.” A federal judge denied the request for an injunction Wednesday morning.But FEMA officials say the test is needed necessary to reach all Americans during times of major disaster or attack. The message also won’t be coming directly from Trump or any other president, despite being called a “Presidential Level Alert.” Emergency messages are pre-written and approved by various government agencies in advance of any test or emergency.One possible way to avoid the alert is to turn off one’s phone. FEMA says the alert will not interrupt a phone call or an active data session. But that could change, as officials say they are working to ensure the alerts reach everyone.FEMA officials say they expect the alert to reach 75 percent of wireless-enabled devices, including cell phones and smartwatches.Even if cell phone users have opted out of other emergency alerts for imminent weather threats or AMBER alerts they should still receive the national-level alert.The message Wednesday will read “Presidential Alert: This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”About two minutes after the wireless emergency alert, the broadcast system will send a similar message through radio and television stations.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
iStock/Coscarella Gianfranco(MELBOURNE, Fla.) — A child was injured after falling into a rhino exhibit Tuesday at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida.The toddler, who is approximately 2 years old, and the mother were taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital For Children and Orlando Regional Medical Center, Brevard County Fire Rescue said.The child fell during the “Rhino Encounter,” a “hands-on, educational experience with Brevard Zoo’s white rhinoceroses,” Brevard Zoo said in an emailed statement to ABC News, adding that the program has been operating since 2009 without incident.“During the encounter, participants and the rhinoceroses are separated by a series of steel poles,” it added. “According to witnesses, the child stumbled and fell in between two of the poles and at this point, the snout of at least one of rhinoceroses made contact with the child.”The “Rhino Encounter” is a zookeeper-led program for ages 3 and older, according to the zoo website.The condition of the child is unknown at this time, the zoo said.The mother had non-critical injuries to her arm, fire rescue said.“Our number one concern is the safety and welfare of our guests and our hearts go out to the family,” Keith Winsten, the Zoo’s executive director said.The Rhino Encounter program has been suspended while the zoo evaluates its safety.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
ABC News(NEW YORK) — After days of major snowfall and flooding rain, the West Coast will be getting a break on Thursday — but more wet weather is on its way.Meanwhile, out in the Midwest and Northeast, cold temperatures are not ready to give way to Spring quite yet. Mass flooding and heavy snowfall has had the West hunkering down.Up to 21.56 inches of rain fell in the last three days in Venado, California, a community north of San Francisco, while the Russian River at nearby Guerneville, California reached 45.38 feet on Thursday morning, its highest level since 1995. In the Sierra Nevada mountains, parts of Interstate 80 remain closed due to the 7 feet of snow that has fallen over the past three days. Now, the area faces avalanche danger. Finally, California will be getting a break from the heavy rain and snow, but a new storm is moving in for the weekend.Flood warnings and watches are still posted for the ongoing events in central and northern California as of Thursday morning, and avalanche warnings have been posted for the Rocky Mountains. There is little rain on the forecast for Thursday during the day, but the break in rain and mountain snow will not last long for California. On Friday late evening and into the night, heavy rain will move into the area and spread into southern California by Saturday morning. This will mean more snow for the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which is already buried in record-breaking snow. Rainfall amounts on Friday night and into the weekend will not be as heavy as earlier in the week, but some areas could end up with an additional 2 inches and several more feet of snow is expected in the Sierra Nevada. Out in the Midwest, record cold is possible this weekend.Wind chills will be going well below freezing in the Midwest Sunday morning, especially affecting the upper Midwest. High temperatures in the upper Midwest on Sunday are forecast to hover near zero, and morning lows will be in the negative 20s and 10s, with the potential to break records. That chill will then be heading to the Northeast next week. Ahead of the arctic air, there will be a snowstorm for the Midwest and Northeast. Though at this point it’s too early to say exactly how much snow will fall and where, it looks like the heaviest snow will likely fall in the Northeast on Sunday into Monday. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — A 20-year-old Georgia woman has been charged with helping ISIS by posting a “kill list” online that included the names of State Department employees and American soldiers, according to federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.According to the indictment unsealed last week, Kim Anh Vo joined the United Cyber Caliphate in 2016 — a group that authorities said pledged allegiance to ISIS and was committed to carrying out online attacks and cyber intrusions against Americans.Vo is accused of working with the UCC to recruit a minor in Norway and others to “create online content in support of ISIS,” a DOJ release said.She was known as “[email protected],” “Zozo” or “Miss.Bones” online, according to the government.According to court documents, she “worked as part of the Kalachnikv E-Security team, which pledged allegiance to ISIS.”That group “worked under the UCC banner with other hacking groups that had pledged allegiance to ISIS,” officials said.In April 2016, the UCC posted a kill list of just over 3,600 people in the New York City area that said “List of the most important citizens of #NewYork and #Brooklyn and some other cities … We Want Them #Dead,” according to the Justice Department.That list included personal information and was posted on Twitter, according to the Justice Department.Another kill list came a year later in April 2017 and this time included a video with more threats and had more than 8,000 individuals on the list.“We have a message to the people of the U.S., and most importantly, your president Trump: Know that we continue to wage war against you, know that your counter attacks only makes stronger(sic). The UCC will start a new step in this war against you. . . .” one video said, according to court documents.“We will release a list with over 8000 names, addresses, and email addresses, of those who fight against the US. Or live amongst the kuffar. Kill them wherever you find them,” another alleged threat continued, accompanied by what prosecutors say is a decapitation of a kneeling man.The group also targeted a nonprofit whose CEO is was a former U.S. ambassador, court documents said. Videos posted on the company’s internal site read “This message is directed at you … you have been spying on us.”It’s not known who the company is that’s mentioned or who the former ambassador is who was targeted.“You messed with the Islamic State, SO EXPECT US SOON,” the video message reads with the CEO’s image in front of a video depicting a decapitation.Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen mentioned the Vo case in a speech Monday, saying ISIS is encouraging followers to “stay in your homeland and kill — using any means possible.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
WXYZ-TV(DETROIT) — Detroit Police have arrested the person of interest identified in the case of a potential serial killer and rapist who may be singling out sex workers on the city’s east side.Three victims, all believed to be sex workers, have been found dead at vacant east side homes in recent months, said Detroit Police Chief James Craig. Police arrested DeAngelo Kenneth Martin, 34, who is known to be homeless at a bus stop in that part of town around 7:30 p.m. Friday, officials said in a press release.The crimes date back to March 19, when a partially-clad woman was found dead in a vacant home on Detroit’s east side, the chief said. She died from blunt force trauma, he said.On May 24, another partially-clad dead woman was found at a vacant dwelling on the east side, according to Craig.The third crime was discovered Wednesday, Craig said, when a sex worker going into a vacant dwelling on the east side found a dead woman and notified police.“It is certainly a strong possibility that one individual was responsible for all three,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said at a news conference earlier on Friday. “Rather than wait until the chief knew for sure, he felt it was important to warn this community about the possibility of someone killing women in this manner.”One victim was 52-years-old and one was 53-years-old; the third victim was roughly 55, Craig said, noting that it appears the suspect may be targeting women in their 50s.Detroit’s mayor is vowing to board up the city’s vacant homes because potential serial killer may be using the empty dwellings to target victims.It’s possible another victim could be in one of the many vacant houses on the east side, Duggan said.Officers will be deployed — beginning Friday — to go into every open and abandoned house on the east side over the next few weeks to make sure there are no more victims, the mayor said. The houses will then be boarded up.Police have 2,000 vacant houses in the city to reach — 1,000 on the east side and 1,000 on the west side, the mayor said.The board-up teams will work six days a week, and Duggan said his goal is to have every east side vacant home boarded up by the end of July. He hopes the plan to be completed citywide by the end of September.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(RACINE, Wisc.) — A reward to help catch the gunman who killed an off-duty Wisconsin police officer has climbed to $37,000 .Officer John Hetland, a 24-year veteran of the Racine Police Department, was at Teezers Tavern in Racine Monday night when he saw an armed robbery unfolding, police said. He tried to intervene and was shot, police said.As authorities continue to search for his killer, Racine Police Chief Art Howell said Thursday that a local business has provided a $15,000 reward.The FBI has already offered a $20,000 reward, while Racine Crime Stoppers has provided a $2,000 reward, the chief said.Though tips have been pouring in, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said he hopes the large reward convinces more people to come forward.“Help us catch this person and get him off the streets,” Beth urged at a news conference Thursday.Meanwhile, the shocking slaying has been “extremely traumatic” for Howell’s fellow officers, Howell said.But the chief added, “they are a resilient group of people. They are bruised but they are not broken.”“They are doing what John would want them to do,” he said. “They are serving the public.”Hetland is survived by two children, Racine Mayor Cory Mason told reporters on Tuesday.“I’ve ordered the flags to be flown at half-staff today and until his burial,” said the mayor, who had met Hetland before his death. “I just really can’t express how deeply we feel the loss of this officer. It’s been more than 40 decades since we’ve had a loss in this city.”Hetland will be laid to rest on June 26, the chief said.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Chris Francescani/ABC News(NEW YORK) — Three years to the day since a boozy encounter in a summer resort bar, a young man who has accused actor Kevin Spacey of felony sexual assault that night testified in a Nantucket courtroom for the first time on Monday, acknowledging that he did not report the alleged assault to police for 15 months, rather than the three months prosecutors have been contending since filing charges against the actor in January.The lead investigator in the case testified Monday under questioning from Spacey’s defense attorney that the one-year difference was the result of a “typo.”A spokeswoman for the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News on the investigator’s testimony.The accuser — who is not being named because he said he was the victim of a sexual assault — arrived in the courtroom wearing khaki pants, a blue blazer and a pink shirt that matched his mother’s blouse, and sat in silence waiting for the Spacey case to be called, tapping his right foot and flanked on either side by his father and mother, Heather Unruh, a former New England television anchor at ABC affiliate WCVB in Boston.The lead investigator in the case also acknowledged for the first time Monday that he did not advise the accuser or his mother to preserve the contents of the phone for evidence, and that he took Unruh at her word when she said some “frat boy activities” she deleted from her son’s phone before turning it over to police were not relevant to the criminal case against Spacey.“If she had said I deleted things related to this investigation, that would have been different story,” Massachusetts State Police trooper Gerald Donovan testified under questioning from Spacey defense attorney Alan Jackson. “I didn’t think that Heather Unruh would be lying to me, so yes, I did take her at her word.”Donovan also testified that he did not make a record of the fact that Unruh had told him when she turned over the phone to him that she had deleted material from it until just last month — nearly three years after the alleged incident.Meanwhile, a civil attorney for the accuser told Judge Thomas Barrett that the phone authorities apparently returned to the alleged victim’s family has been irretrievably lost.“We could not locate the phone,” attorney Mitchell Garabedian told the judge, before going on to say that the accuser and his parents do not recall ever receiving the phone back from police.No receipt was issued, Donovan testified.“Unfortunately I was remiss and I didn’t have them sign for a receipt,” he said from the witness stand.Jackson contended that text messages and other data exculpatory to his client were deleted from the phone, and without the actual device, he could not complete a forensic examination of the device to recover material deleted from the phone.“The government can’t point to any documentation that follows or tracks that phone and now that it’s missing it’s on them,” he told Barrett.“They’re pointing fingers at each other, there’s no receipt or documentation and guess who loses? Us,” Jackson said, referring to his client and defense team. “Where is the actual phone? That’s what we want that’s what we’re entitled to and we still don’t have it.”Garabedian also told Barrett that a civil lawsuit against Spacey over the incident was filed last month and dropped last week because the accuser is emotionally overwhelmed.“There was a civil suit filed, but because of the emotional rollercoaster my client is on, the civil suit is dismissed,” he said. “He only wanted one roller coaster ride at a time.”Yet the civil lawsuit was dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning it can’t be refiled. Garabedian declined during a break in the hearing to explain his comments in court.Authorities launched an investigation into the former “House of Cards” actor after the young man contacted them by phone in October 2017 and alleged that Spacey plied him with beer and whiskey in July 2016 after meeting him at the Club Car bar and restaurant in Nantucket, where he had worked that summer as a busboy, and sexually assaulted him.In a subsequent face-to-face interview with detectives, police say the young man told them he hung around the bar after he finished work on July 7, 2016, talked to Spacey and got an autograph from the actor for himself and his girlfriend.In the fall of 2017, a week after her son first reported the alleged incident to police, Unruh held a press conference to allege that Spacey had forcibly stuck his hand down her then-18-year-old son’s pants and groped his genitals, tearfully calling the actor a “sexual predator.”The alleged victim, who told police he lied to Spacey about his age, saying he was a 23-year-old college student at Wake Forest University, also told investigators he “had at least four or five beers before Spacey allegedly suggested that they should switch to whiskey,” according to court records.Spacey, according to the complaint, allegedly told the busboy, “Let’s get drunk.”The alleged victim told investigators “things started to get a little fuzzy when he and Spacey went over to the piano” at the Club Car, according to the criminal complaint in the case. At one point during the night, he and Spacey were near the bar’s piano when he alleges that Spacey started rubbing his thigh and then unzipped the victim’s pants and began groping his genitals.The busboy told detectives that “he wasn’t sure if Spacey went into his pants through the open zipper” or if the actor groped his genitals over his pants and boxer shorts.The alleged victim said while Spacey was touching him, he was texting and communicating with his girlfriend on Snapchat and sent her Snapchat video of Spacey groping him, according to the complaint. He alleged the inappropriate touching occurred for about three minutes, the complaint reads. Those texts and videos have been a key focus of previous hearings in the case.The accuser’s mother and father are both expected to testify before the Spacey hearing is completed. After being questioned by Jackson on the witness stand about whether he was aware that it is against the law to delete potentially exculpatory data from the phone, the case took a recess and the accuser informed the judge he was going to exercise his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by declining further testimony.Barrett noted that his testimony would be stricken from the record as a result. Jackson sought an immediate dismissal of the charge against Spacey.“This entire case is completely compromised” by the accuser’s decision to take the Fifth, he said. “He’s the sole witness than can establish the circumstances of his allegations.”Barrett declined to immediately dismiss the charge.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.