<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Local News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com en-us Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:52:35 -0400 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:52:35 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[NBC10 Investigators: Weapons of War]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:50:45 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000008433045_1200x675_345922115552.jpg The NBC10 Investigators reveal which local police departments are armed with high-grade military equipment including automatic weapons to mine-resistant vehicles.]]> <![CDATA[Dirt Bikes Travel Through Philly in Honor of Slain Rider]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:04:46 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Dirt-Bike-Rider-Tribute.jpg

Dirt bike and ATV riders are traveling through the streets of Philadelphia in honor of a popular figure in the dirt bike riding community who was shot and killed last week.

A funeral was held Tuesday morning for Kyrell Tyler, who was found shot to death inside a car on October 14.

Tyler was a popular figure in Philadelphia’s dirt bike riding community. Several videos of Tyler performing stunts on his dirt bike were posted on YouTube. He also had an extensive following on social media websites such as Instagram and Vine.

After Tyler's funeral, dirt bike and ATV riders traveled through various parts of the city to pay homage. Traffic on Broad Street was backed up earlier Tuesday due to the caravan.

Both dirt bikes and ATVs are illegal on city streets. For years, police have tried to crack down on city dirt bike riders but are not allowed to pursue them due to a department policy which makes it illegal to chase a vehicle that's only committing a moving violation.

Police told NBC10 they have been monitoring the riders throughout the day but are not pursuing them.

This story is developing. Stay with NBC10.com for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Weapons of War in Your Neighborhood]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:04:53 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/New+Britain+Mine+Resistant+Vehicle-2.jpg

The NBC10 Investigators found weapons of war in the hands of police departments across the Delaware Valley as local governments take advantage of a free Department of Defense [DoD] program to unload more than $5 billion worth of surplus military equipment.

We found local police departments armed with equipment including tanks, mine-resistant vehicles, and automatic weapons.

A review of data obtained by NBC10's Mitch Balcher shows the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has received more than 33,000 pieces of surplus military equipment from the DoD since 2012. It's all military grade gear made for the battlefield. The State of New Jersey has amassed close to 15,600 pieces of equipment and Delaware has over 23,700 items the military no longer uses.

In New Britain Township, Bucks County, which has a population of 11,000 according to the 2010 census, the police force now maintains a mine-resistant vehicle worth $733,000 according to the government. Taxpayers had to pony up $6,000 in shipping fees to get the vehicle. Police Chief Robert Scafidi admits it's difficult to make the case that New Britain needs a vehicle that can withstand a high-powered explosion, but "I think on a regional basis you have to share and you have to have assets."

The state records show Philadelphia's police department had an armored truck and 255 automatic assault rifles. The department did not respond to our repeated requests to see the equipment, but did say the automatic weapons have been converted to semiautomatics. A spokesman said the department no longer has the armored truck, however, they were not able to tell us where the truck went.

Mary Catherine Roper, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] in Philadelphia, challenges the need for local governments to be armed like the military. The ACLU has written a report claiming "American policing has become unnecessarily and dangerously militarized...with almost no public discussion or oversight."

"They're accountable to the public and we're supposed to be able to ask them what they're doing and why," Roper said. "My children are out on those streets. I don't want them facing the potential of military weapons in the hand of people who do not have military training."

New Britain does have one person trained to drive the mine-resistant vehicle — the township's maintenance supervisor.

New Jersey State Police would not reveal which local agencies took tactical gear from the DoD program, citing security concerns.

In Delaware, the NBC10 Investigators found state police turned down requests for mine-resistant and armored vehicles. Records show they have accepted only non-tactical equipment like medical kits and sleeping bags.

Photo Credit: NBC10
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Malala Speaks at Forbes Summit]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:29:12 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/477648565.jpg

When Malala Yousafzai visited Philadelphia to accept the Liberty Medal, an award for her efforts to promote girls' education, she will do so as the world's youngest Nobel laureate -- she also did so as a keynote speaker at Forbes' 30 Under 30 Summit.

Yousafzai took the stage in front of hundreds of young, successful and eager entrepreneurs at Forbes' event in the Convention Center just hours before accepting her Liberty Medal at the Constitution Center.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
JEFFREY BENZING | PUBLICSOURCE]]> <![CDATA[Life Means Death for Thousands of Pa. Prisoners]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:02:30 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/agingprisonercrisis+Illustration+Anita+Dufalla_edited-1.jpg

Death in prison is not rare.

In Pennsylvania, one in 10 inmates is sentenced to life in prison. Because state law gives them no possibility of parole, nearly all of more than 5,300 inmates serving life terms will eventually die inside prison walls.

"They have no choice but to age and die in place,” said Julia Hall, a criminal justice professor and gerontologist at Drexel University.

In the Laurel Highlands prison, seven rooms are the final stop for some of the state’s sickest and oldest inmates. With breathing tubes and IVs, the mostly gray-haired inmates wait for their bodies to fail.

When their vital signs slip and they struggle for breath, other inmates hold vigil so they won’t die alone.

Sometimes death is sudden. Other times, volunteers like Christian, a 32-year-old inmate from Philadelphia, watch as life slowly slips away.

"They get to the point that they can’t talk no more,” he said. “That last breath of air they’re taking — and you’re really there holding their hands.”

Christian, along with four other inmate volunteers, was describing his work at the hospice unit at State Correctional Institution – Laurel Highlands, a former state mental hospital that was converted in 1996 to a prison hospital for male inmates.

The facility has had a full-time hospice service for two years with room for seven inmates at a time. Previously, the hospital had a less formal system where the nursing staff tried to make inmates comfortable as they neared death.

PublicSource was granted access in August under an agreement that the last names of inmates would not be used.

Life means life

Only Florida has more inmates serving life without parole than Pennsylvania, according to a nationwide ranking of 2012 numbers by the Sentencing Project in Washington, D.C.

State law mandates life in prison for defendants convicted of first and second-degree murder.
Accomplices to murder are treated the same as a killer, even if they themselves did not cause the death. First-degree murderers can also be sentenced to death.

Repeat violent offenders can also be sentenced to life under Pennsylvania’s three-strikes law, and other inmates serve de-facto life sentences with minimums so lengthy that they will almost certainly die before release.

From 2009 through 2013, 144 lifers died in Pennsylvania, according to state statistics. Over the same period, only four inmates had life sentences commuted by the governor after unanimous recommendation by the Board of Pardons.

Since 2010, just six inmates have been granted compassionate release, which is available to inmates nearing death who meet strict criteria, according to the Department of Corrections.

‘Nobody dies alone’

At SCI – Laurel Highlands, volunteers like Christian visit patients several hours each week, playing games, helping them write letters and sometimes just keeping them company.

"Those guys need help. They don’t have no family coming to visit,” said Elvis, an inmate volunteer from Venango County.

In the seven rooms for dedicated hospice care referred to as cubes, the focus is on reducing pain, providing comfort and helping them reach out to family members.

The program is based in part on a hospice unit in California where Laurel Highlands’ former superintendent sent Annette Kowalewski, a corrections healthcare administrator, and Paula Sroka, a quality improvement nurse.

In August, the hospice rooms were full until a 68-year-old inmate died after declining treatment for liver disease and lung cancer.

Medical staff are responsible for all the patients’ health care, while inmates provide companionship and physical help such as lifting patients out of bed.

Terminal illness strikes young inmates too, and a life term is not a prerequisite to dying in prison.
Special arrangements are made so family members can visit — sometimes for hours at a time — and the prison ensures that they’ll have access when the patient is dying.

If family doesn’t come, the inmates are there.
“Nobody dies alone,” Kowalewski said. “That’s our primary concern.”

Care across the state?

Christopher Oppman, director of the Bureau of Health Care Services for the Department of Corrections, said the state has adequate resources to ensure prisoners can get hospice care in infirmaries across the prison system.

But dedicated rooms for hospice care are less common outside of Laurel Highlands, so inmates at many facilities die in open wards.

"We would not be able to operate hospice on the scale that Laurel Highlands would,” Oppman said.

Staff at some facilities lack expertise in pain and symptom management, said Phyllis Taylor, a nurse and hospice expert who has previously worked as a consultant for the department.

In other words, not every prison gives the same quality of care.

"Some of the places maybe,” she said, “but not across the board.”

Taylor assisted researchers from Penn State University in a pilot program with the department to improve end-of-life care at six prisons that have high populations of aging inmates or lifers.

Staff at those prisons received specialized training to improve and standardize end-of-life care.

Currently, the corrections department is establishing best practices for prison hospice care statewide, Oppman said.

Paying until death

In Pennsylvania, inmates are classified as geriatric at 55. Common health problems are diabetes, cancer, liver disease and heart problems. Kowalewski said that an inmate who is 40 might look several decades older.

Of the roughly 5,300 geriatric inmates in Pennsylvania prisons, about 1,500 are serving life terms.
Because parole is not possible for lifers, Hall argues that the state is committed to a geriatric prison system

You’re going to keep paying until they die,” she said.

The state spent more than $35,000 for each inmate in the 2012-’13 fiscal year. The state does not keep numbers on the specific cost for inmates over 55, but costs increase as more medical care is needed.

The prison system is among the most expensive institutions in Pennsylvania, costing the state more than $2 billion this fiscal year.

At the end of September, 19 of the state’s 26 correctional institutions were at or above capacity, according to the most recent population numbers available.

Laurel Highlands, which was at 99.4 percent of capacity, costs $75 million to operate for the year.

Mark Bergstrom, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, compared parts of the facility to a nursing home.

"When you see someone who’s on oxygen or in very poor health, we’re spending a lot of money to have that person in a prison,” Bergstrom said.

The state acknowledges that the risk of reoffending drops off with age.

The department’s 2013 recidivism report said released inmates under 21 are more than twice as likely to reoffend within three years as inmates over 50. Age has a “strong negative correlation” on recidivism, the report said.

Few ways out

Rather than paying costs indefinitely, Hall advocates for more compassionate release, criticizing a system with requirements so strict that it’s almost never used.

Politicians, she said, consider compassionate release “going easy” on offenders guilty of heinous crimes.

"It’s such a joke,” Hall said.

The state’s compassionate release rules were updated as part of a broader prison reform in 2008.

Under the law, a sentencing judge has the power to release inmates only if they are near death, have a nursing or hospice facility that will take them and have shown that their needs aren’t met in prison.

Rarely do inmates qualify.

Taylor, who has assisted prisoners seeking compassionate release, said an inmate needs to be immobile and essentially “on death’s doorstep” before a discharge is considered.

Victims and prosecutors get to weigh in, and the risk to public safety is considered.

"If they’re lifers, it doesn’t happen,” Taylor said. “That’s been my experience.”

For others, paperwork may take so long that an inmate dies before a decision is made.

Taylor said the state needs a method to evaluate whether inmates should be released if they are many years into a life term and have demonstrated that they’re not a threat.

Movement to change sentencing laws for lifers has been slow, Bergstrom said, though interest in Harrisburg is greater now than 10 years ago.

But lawmakers knew about the issue then.

In 2002, a Senate resolution directed the Joint State Government Commission to form a bipartisan task force and advisory committee to study the state’s handling of geriatric and seriously-ill prisoners. The group delivered a report in 2005 about the high-cost of an aging prison population and offered potential fixes, including the possibility of parole for lifers.

Hall, who was a member of the committee, said lawmakers ignored their suggestions and made compassionate release more difficult, not less.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juveniles. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided that ruling does not apply to inmates already serving time, and the federal Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal.

However, Bergstrom said the Supreme Court ruling might give inmates already sentenced to life as juveniles traction with the state Board of Pardons.

Decades ago, commutations were common, meaning inmates serving life without parole would be given a lesser sentence by the governor. In the 1970s, for instance, Gov. Milton Shapp commuted 251 life sentences.

But commutations have become rare since, and under a 1997 amendment to the state constitution, the state’s Board of Pardons must unanimously recommend commutation before the governor can act.

Since the rule change, Gov. Mark Schweiker commuted one sentence and Gov. Ed Rendell commuted five.

Gov. Tom Corbett has commuted none.

The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

‘Don’t want him to go’

With few ways out, sick inmates live their last days in facilities like Laurel Highlands.

The prison looks like a hospital, but with razor wire out front and vertical bars in the hallways. Patients sit in wheelchairs, breathing bottled oxygen and numbly stare into the distance.

Watching prisoners die has given the inmate volunteers perspective on their own lives and made them think about what it would mean to live the rest of their days — and die — in prison.

"I don’t think that people on the outside really understand what it’s like for a person to die in prison,” said Travis, a volunteer who was at Laurel Highlands and is now out on parole.

Among the men in hospice care at Laurel Highlands is a 96-year-old inmate named Simon — the oldest inmate in the Pennsylvania prison system.

He’s built relationships with the volunteers, and they’ve watched his health slip as he moved into hospice care.

"I don’t want him to go,” Elvis said. “He’s like a grandpa to me.”

Reach Jeffrey Benzing at 412-315-0265 or at jbenzing@publicsource.org. Follow him on Twitter @jabenzing.

Photo Credit: Illustration by Anita Dufalla | PublicSource.org]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Rules Against Former Mob Boss]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:20:43 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000008430584_1200x675_345777219908.jpg A Philadelphia Judge ruled that former mob boss Joey Merlino will have a hearing to decide if his parole should be revoked, despite the fact that it was allegedly violated in the Sunshine State. ]]> <![CDATA[NBC10 First Alert Weather: Rain Ahead]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:02:36 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000008431082_1200x675_345787459853.jpg Tuesday will be mild with spotty showers, but more rain is ahead. ]]> <![CDATA[Chickie's & Pete's Robbery was an Inside Job: UDPD]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:02:53 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Chickies-and-Petes-Robbery.jpg

An inside job -- that's what Upper Darby Police are calling Sunday's armed robbery of Chickie's & Pete's in Drexel Hill.

"These guys knew what they were doing," Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said in a news conference Tuesday. "They didn't waste anytime. They got in, they got out."

Now police are looking for the two armed men they say stormed into Chickie's & Pete's at 5035 Township Line just before 10 Sunday morning and forced employees into the walk-in freezer before making their way into an office where the on-duty manager was working. There, they threw roughly16,000 in cash into a brown plastic bag. They also took two rings off the manager's fingers and her wallet, according to Chitwood. 

Surveillance video inside the restaurant shows the masked men -- one of whom was wearing a Chickie's & Pete's sweatshirt -- force four employees into the freezer at gunpoint.

Video captured outside the sports bar shows an idle car just outside the front door. Investigators believe the suspects jumped into the vehicle -- either white or grey and driven by a third man -- after the robbery.

Owner Pete Ciarrocchi is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the men.

"We are seeking the public’s help to bring those responsible to justice,” Ciarrocchi said in a news release. “This was a robbery where the perpetrators literally stole the manager’s engagement ring right off her finger, and then locked four of our employees in a freezer, potentially jeopardizing their lives. We are cooperating with the Upper Darby Police, and in discussions with Superintendent Michael Chitwood, we decided that the reward might help police in their efforts to identify and arrest the perpetrators.”

Anyone with information is urged to call Upper Darby Police.

Photo Credit: Police ]]>
<![CDATA[Bricks Tumble Down as Car Smashes Into Bank]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:23:10 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/216*120/South+Philly+Credit+Union+Bank+Car+Crash+Broad+Street.JPG

A car slammed into the front door of a South Philadelphia credit union Tuesday morning.

The silver sedan crashed into the front of the Police and Fire Federal Credit Union – Stadium Branch along the 3300 block of S Broad Street around 11:15 a.m.

No injuries were reported.

The force of the crash caused a column of bricks from the PFFCU to fall onto the hood of the car – breaking the windshield.

The cause of the crash wasn't immediately clear.

Photo Credit: SkyForce10]]>
<![CDATA[Retired Philly Officer Dies From Gunshot Wound to Torso]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:09:55 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/202*120/Virginia+hill+Philly+Officer+Killed.JPG

A bullet killed a retired Philadelphia police officer over the weekend.

The medical examiner in southern Virginia ruled that someone killed Officer Virginia Hill by shooting her in the torso.

Someone discovered Hill – a 25-year Philadelphia police veteran -- unresponsive inside her home in the Walnut Hills Estates neighborhood of Suffolk, Virginia early Saturday morning.

The 69-year-old died a short time later from her undisclosed injuries, according to Suffolk police.

Suffolk is located a short distance west of Norfolk in southern Virginia.

Hill was an honored member of the Philadelphia Police Department. She began her career in law enforcement at a transit officer in 1977. She later joined the Philadelphia police department’s Juvenile Aid Division in 1981. In January 2002, her work with children’s cases earned her Officer of the Month distinction from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Police in Virginia asked anyone with information on Hill’s murder to call the tip line at 1-888-Lock-U-Up or submit a tip online.

<![CDATA[Could SEPTA's Biggest Union Strike?]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:24:48 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/SEPTA+Generic+SEPTA+Trolley.jpg

Thousands of SEPTA riders could be left out in the cold if the largest SEPTA workers union authorizes a strike this weekend.

In a letter announcing a strike authorization vote for Sunday, Transit Workers Union of America [TWU] Local 234 says that SEPTA’s current proposals "simply show that SEPTA is daring Local 234 members to strike."

The letter, dated Oct. 20, calls for the union workers -- TWU 234 includes about 5,000 bus drivers, subway operators, mechanics and cashiers -- to come together Sunday afternoon to authorize a strike.

A work stoppage by the union’s City Division would halt all city bus and subway service.

The transit union is upset with SEPTA’s current proposals for pay increases (6 percent staggered over five years), freezing health benefits and asking union members to contribute 10 percent to health premiums. The union claims these proposals make rank-and file workers "second-class citizens" because they have increased benefits to supervisors and management.

"It boils down to this," reads the TWU letter, "SEPTA’s double standard is affecting ever issue on the bargaining table…"

The TWU said a strike is a "weapon of last resort."

"We have to be willing to sacrifice in order to close the intolerable gap" in benefits between SEPTA workers and managers, said the TWU.

Earlier this month, SEPTA officials said that there wouldn't be a regional rail strike for at least four months but didn't close the door on a bus and subway strike.

SEPTA train and subway employees last went on strike in 2009 -- a work stoppage that lasted six days.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Screaming Woman Runs Into Supermarket After Assault]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:06:11 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/212*120/Cottman+Avenue+Pathmark+Assault.JPG

For the second time in two weeks, an assault was reported at the same Philadelphia supermarket.

A screaming woman ran inside the Pathmark at 840 Cottman Avenue in the Lawndale section of the city around 6 p.m. Monday and said she was assaulted outside the store.

A 19-year-old man followed the woman into the supermarket, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation.

Customers then cornered the unidentified man until police arrived, sources said.

Medics took the woman to the hospital with undisclosed injuries.

This is the second time this month that an attack happened at the supermarket. On Oct. 7, a man was stabbed in the face and neck while in the dairy aisle.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Dump Truck Overturns, Person Trapped]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:56:17 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/217*120/West+Caln+Dump+Truck+Crash+Overturned.JPG

A dump truck overturned along a Chester County road Tuesday morning leaving its load on the side of the road.

The crash caused traffic troubles around Pennsylvania Route 10 and Route 340 in West Caln, Pennsylvania around 7 a.m.

First reponders rescued a person from the wreckage and medics transported that person to Brandywine Hospital with undisclosed injuries, according to Chester County dispatchers.

As SkyForce10 hovered overhead shortly after the crash, you could see the dump truck on its side and its load of stones or gravel dumped onto the grassy side of the road.

Photo Credit: SkyForce10]]>
<![CDATA[Young Boys Fight on Street as Laughing Adults Watch]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:39:37 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Wilmington-Boy-Fight.jpg

A viral video of two children in a brutal street fight has sparked a police investigation.

The video, which has made the rounds on social media, shows two young boys fighting on a street in Wilmington, Delaware as several adults stand in the background laughing.

The children, who police believe are between the ages of four and seven, punch each other in the head repeatedly. At one point, a young girl tries to break up the fight as the adults continue to look on.

Police also believe an adult recorded the video and posted it on Facebook.

Brittany Caputo, a special education teacher, told NBC10 she immediately called police after she spotted the video on Facebook.

"The most disturbing thing is that I didn't get any response after I reported it," Caputo said. "I was almost made to feel silly for calling."

NBC10 sent the video to Wilmington Police who confirmed Monday they were investigating the incident as a possible case of child abuse. They are also trying to identify a man in the video who is watching the fight while standing against a car.

If you have any information on the incident or the adults in the video, please call Wilmington Police at 302-576-3162.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Deadly Crash Along Pa. Interstate]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:58:06 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/194*120/I78+Deadly+Crash+Upper+Saucon.JPG

A deadly crash closed a stretch of a busy Lehigh Valley highway early Tuesday.

The crash along Interstate 78 near Exit 59 (Route 145/Summit Lawn) in Upper Saucon Township caused traffic to backup eastbound.

By 4 a.m. all lanes were closed as traffic backed up for about five miles.

One person died in the crash. Police didn’t immediately reveal how many vehicles were involved or if anyone else was injured.

Route 22 could be used as an alternate route, said NBC10 traffic reporter Jillian Mele.

The roadway finally reopened shortly before 10 a.m., according to police.

<![CDATA[Overnight Fire Forces Evacuation]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:31:54 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000008427684_1200x675_345655875766.jpg An apartment fire on Granite Street in Frankford put residents out of their homes in the middle of the night.]]> <![CDATA[NJ City Official Arrested After Taking Boy to Motel: Authorities]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:22:51 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/10-19-14+Daniel+Vergara.jpg

A New Jersey City official was arrested Sunday after he stayed at a local motel with a 12-year-old boy without the consent of the boy's guardian, authorities say. 

Daniel Vergara, 53, of Paterson, was stopped and questioned by South Hackensack Police after he stayed at a motel there with the boy, according to the Bergen County prosecutor's office.

Detectives from the Special Victims Unit at the prosecutor's office spoke to the boy, and the boy "provided specific details regarding his relationship with Vergara" that resulted in Vergara's arrest, authorities said. 

Airport Motel owner Ken Gandhi recalled Vergara checking in, though he didn't remember seeing the boy. 

"The guy came to me for the room and he asked me for the room, and I just gave him the room for one night," he said. "The next day, police came to us and they were looking for the guy." 

Vergara, a deputy chief inspector with the Paterson sanitation department, was charged with child endangerment and remanded to jail on $75,000 bail. Attorney information wasn't immediately available.

City officials say they are aware of the charges against Vergara and are tracking the criminal investigation against him. 

An official in the city of Paterson who asked not to be identified said Vergara is a well-known public servant who has previously served as a school board member and led the Paterson Puerto Rican Day Parade. 

He was heavily involved with the local Boy Scouts and created his own Boy Scouts troop, the official said. 

The prosecutor's office would not say whether Vergara is a person of interest in any other case. 

-- Roseanne Colletti contributed to this report. 

<![CDATA[Man Found Shot in Car]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:06:17 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000008427928_1200x675_345671747509.jpg An unidentified man was discovered around 10 Monday night on Martha Street in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.]]> <![CDATA[Corbett in Philly to Sign Mental Anguish Act]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:58:31 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000008427496_1200x675_345641027903.jpg Pennsylvania Go.v Tom Corbett will sign the Revictimization Relief Act, which is aimed at protecting victims -- a measure inspired by the mumia Abu-Jamal case.]]> <![CDATA[In Case You Missed It: Yesterday's Top Stories]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:39:50 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Wilmington-Boy-Fight.jpg

Didn't have a chance to catch the news? Here are yesterday's top stories.

Caught on Cam: Young Boys Fight on Wilmington Street as Laughing Adults Watch
A viral video of two children in a brutal street fight has sparked a police investigation.The video, which has made the rounds on social media, shows two young boys fighting on a street in Wilmington, Delaware as several adults stand in the background laughing.

African Students Scheduled to Start at NJ School Will Stay Home Past Waiting Period Amid Ebola Concerns
Two students from Africa who were scheduled to start classes at a New Jersey school Monday will instead stay home past a 21-day waiting period due to Ebola concerns, despite the fact that they are symptom-free and are not from an area affected by the virus.

Pennsylvania School Boosts Security After Likely Trooper Ambush Suspect Sighting
Police shifted their search and a northeastern Pennsylvania school district tightened security Monday after the suspect in a deadly police ambush was believed to have been spotted near one of its campuses.

Man Says He Was Shot for Spitting on Sidewalk: Police
Authorities in eastern Pennsylvania say an argument over spitting led to a man being shot in both legs.

<![CDATA[10 at 7: What You Need to Know Today]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:33:41 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Clock_Wht.jpg

Here are the 10 things you need to know to start your day from your friends at NBC10.


Young Boys Fight as Adults Watch: A viral video of two children in a brutal street fight has sparked a police investigation.

The video, which has made the rounds on social media, shows two young boys fighting on a street in Wilmington, Delaware as several adults stand in the background laughing.

The children, who police believe are between the ages of four and seven, punch each other in the head repeatedly. At one point, a young girl tries to break up the fight as the adults continue to look on.


Showers will move through the area today, bringing with them temperatures in the low 70s. Don't forget that umbrella! Watch your full NBC10 First Alert Forecast:


Relaxed Marijuana Laws in Effect: The law relaxing punishments for marijuana possession in Philadelphia went into effect Monday -- a little more than two weeks after Mayor Michael Nutter approved the legislation.

Police will issue anyone caught with 30 grams, or one ounce, of marijuana with a $25 fine. Authorities could also require up to nine hours of community service for public consumption of marijuana.

The bill, which was sponsored by Councilman Jim Kenney, does not legalize marijuana -- instead it eases the punishments offenders will face and lessens the burden on law enforcement.


Designer Dies: Oscar de la Renta, the worldly gentleman designer who shaped the wardrobe of socialites and Hollywood stars for more than four decades, has died. He was 82.

De la Renta died at home Monday evening in Connecticut surrounded by family and friends and "more than a few dogs," according to a handwritten statement signed by his stepdaughter Eliza Reed Bolen and her husband, Alex Bolen.


Bladerunner Sentenced: Olympian Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to prison on Tuesday for the Valentine's Day killing of his girlfriend model Reeva Steenkcamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa could have given him a suspended sentence to be served at home under state supervision, but didn't because a "noncustodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community."


The Eagles are getting healthy -- just in time to take on the Arizona Cardinals. CSNPhilly has the story.


See more Top News Photos here.


@emilysjun thanks Philly for, well being Philly.

Have an awesome Instagram photo you'd like to share. Tag it with #NBC10Buzz.


This guy sure makes us want to get up and dance!


Sharknado 3 Locations: Forget one city, "Sharknado 3" is going to be bigger than ever and is taking on a whole coast. Syfy announced the third movie in its highly rated franchise about sharks getting sucked up into big storms and wreaking havoc on civilians will take place on the "Feast Coast," from Washington, DC to Florida.

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<![CDATA[Standoff Ends in Montgomery County]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:18:29 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/208*120/Dekalb+Apartments+Standoff.JPG

A police standoff closed a busy Montgomery County, Pennsylvania road for hours overnight.

The incident began after the report of about one dozen rounds being fired from a third-floor unit at the Dekalb Apartments along Dekalb Pike (U.S. Route 202) near Germantown Pike around 11 p.m. Monday.

Luckily no one was hurt.

East Norriton Police evacauted some nearby units and closed off part of Dekalb Pike for hours as they investigated the incident. A shopping center and Mercy Suburban Hospital neighbor the apartments.

Shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday, police could be seen taking the suspect into custody.

No word yet on what charges the man, who lives alone and is in his 30s, could face.

By 7 a.m., police reopened all roads in the area.

Photo Credit: SkyForce10]]>
<![CDATA[30 Bullets Fired at Parked Car]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:22:43 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/186*120/Pleasantville+Shooting+30+Times+Broad+Street+Car.JPG

Someone shot at least 30 rounds into a car during a possible drive-by shooting in South Jersey that left two people injured.

The gunshots rang out early Tuesday along the 800 block of Broad Street in Pleasantville, New Jersey, according to police.

Two people sitting inside a car were shot. Investigators didn’t reveal the extent of the victims’ injuries.

Investigators said it appeared the gunfire -- at least 30 shots were fired -- came from another vehicle. Multiple bullet holes could be seen in the black sedan.

No word yet on possible suspects.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Sayreville Marching Band Wins Championship Amid Hazing Scandal]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:47:55 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/SAYREVILLE_MARCHING_BAND.JPG

Even with the remainder of Sayreville War Memorial High School's football season canceled amid a hazing scandal, its marching band has been playing on and winning competitions. 

The band won the Tournament of Band New Jersey State Championship in its class in Toms River Saturday.

The competition featured 25 of the state's best marching bands, and Sayreville beat neighboring Metuchen High School by seven-tenths of a point to win the the title. 

Sayreville's football team has been mired in a hazing scandal this fall that's resulted in the arrests of seven players, the suspension of its coaches and the cancellation of the season.  

The case has put a spotlight on the town, known for its successful football program and for being the hometown of singer Jon Bon Jovi, and the way that school districts handle hazing and bullying allegations.

<![CDATA[Suspicious Van Probed in Possible Luring Attempt]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:01:12 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/ridgewood+suspicious+van.jpg

Police in Ridgewood, New Jersey, say they're investigating a possible attempted luring of a girl Monday afternoon.

The girl was walking on East Ridgewood Avenue near Hope Street at about 3:15 p.m. when a black van slowed down and the driver asked her if she wanted some candy, according to police.

The victim ignored the driver and took a picture of the van, a black Ford Econoline with New Jersey plates. It had running boards and backup sensors on the rear bumper, police said. 

The driver appeared to be in his early 50s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and 240 pounds. There was a passenger in the van, a younger man who did not say or do anything during the exchange, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Ridgewood Police at 201-251-4536. 

<![CDATA[C.O. Accused of Allowing Inmate to Leave Hospital]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:43:23 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Hospital+generic+722.jpg

A Montgomery County corrections officer was suspended after he allegedly ignored protocol, which allowed a prisoner to leave a hospital.

The unidentified prison inmate had been hospitalized at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery in East Norriton since Saturday.

On Monday he asked to take a shower before being released from the hospital, according to officials. The corrections officer allegedly ignored protocol which allowed the inmate to run from the hospital down the road.

The inmate, who was barefoot and wearing his prison jumpsuit, was found by a Lower Providence Police officer about a half hour later at the Wawa on Whitehall Road.

The inmate was taken into custody and the corrections officer was suspended.

Officials continue to investigate the incident.

<![CDATA[Nobel Peace Prize Winner Gets Liberty Medal]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:22:16 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP839846638223.jpg

After writing a best-selling memoir, winning numerous awards, surviving an assassination attempt and becoming a global voice for educational empowerment, Malala Yousafzai has already accomplished more at the age of 17 than most people will in an entire lifetime. Tuesday night she’ll add yet another amazing achievement to her list when she becomes the youngest person ever to receive the Liberty Medal.

The Pakistani teen will be honored during the 26th annual Liberty Medal ceremony livestreaming here at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The event takes place at the National Constitution Center.

The Liberty Medal is awarded to men and women who “strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.” Past recipients include Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

“It's an honor to be awarded the Liberty Medal,” Yousafzai said. “I accept this award on behalf of all the children around the world who are struggling to get an education.”

Yousafzai first gained fame at the age of 11 after writing for the BBC about life under the Taliban in her native Pakistan. Through her writings, she described her family’s struggle to gain education for young girls in her community.

Yousafzai’s outspokenness gained her plenty of supporters around the world as well as enemies. In October of 2012, she was shot in the head while returning from school on a bus in an assassination attempt by the Taliban.

Yousafzai survived the shooting and continued her educational advocacy. After the attack, Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, launched the Malala Petition which demanded that the UN recommit to Millennium Development Goal 2, which involves universal primary education for children around the world by the end of 2015.

The petition received more than three million signatures and helped Pakistan ratify the country’s Right to Education bill.

“Malala’s courageous fight for equality and liberty from tyranny is evidence that a passionate, committed leader, regardless of age, has the power to ignite a movement for reform,” said National Constitution Center Chairman Governor Jeb Bush. “Her story is truly inspirational as we continue to fight for all children to have access to a quality education here in America.  Let us all, young and old, strive to be like Malala—to challenge the status quo and to serve as catalysts for meaningful change.”

In addition to the Liberty Medal, Yousafzai was also the recipient of the 2013 United Nations Human Rights Prize as well as Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize. Her memoir, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, made the New York Times bestseller list. She also continues to fight for universal access to education through the Malala Fund, a nonprofit organization that empowers girls through education.


Photo Credit: AP]]>