<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Local News - [PHI FEATURE] Montgomery County News]]>Copyright 2019http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/localen-usMon, 21 Jan 2019 08:19:44 -0500Mon, 21 Jan 2019 08:19:44 -0500NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Montco News Top Stories Carousel]]>Mon, 22 Aug 2016 17:25:41 -0500]]><![CDATA[More Montco News]]>Wed, 24 Aug 2016 22:16:11 -0500]]><![CDATA[Grace Packer Tragedy]]>Thu, 26 Jan 2017 15:37:10 -0500]]><![CDATA[Cheltenham Sewers]]>Thu, 26 Jan 2017 15:38:09 -0500]]><![CDATA[Tainted Water]]>Thu, 26 Jan 2017 15:38:20 -0500]]><![CDATA[]]>Thu, 26 Jan 2017 15:32:18 -0500]]><![CDATA[Leader of KOP Rail Project Introduced]]>Tue, 17 Oct 2017 18:25:58 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Leader_of_KOP_Rail_Project_Introduced.jpg

There's a new leader of the plan to connect King of Prussia to Philadelphia by train. The project will extend SEPTA's Norristown high speed line. NBC10's Deanna Durante has the story.]]>
<![CDATA[2 Montco Firefighters Honor 9/11 Heroes With Stair Climb]]>Wed, 13 Sep 2017 08:43:32 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/ZachandGarret.jpg

They were barely old enough to remember the Sept. 11 attacks, but that didn't stop two volunteer firefighters from climbing 110 simulated flights of stairs Monday in honor of the first responders who risked their lives 16 years ago.

Zachary Long and Garitt Pickford, volunteers for the New Hanover Volunteer Fire & Rescue Services Department in Montgomery County, went to a Planet Fitness gym wearing their firefighter gear and climbed 110 floors using gym equipment.

“It’s kind of like a firefighter challenge to represent the amount of work the 343 firefighters that perished on 9/11 went through in order to help,” Long told NBC10. 

Long’s girlfriend, Melissa Garris, recorded the two as they "climbed" and made a touching video tribute.

Long, who is now 23, was 7-years-old when planes struck New York City's World Trade Center. Long recalled “a school teacher walking into the room and my grade school teacher kind of told us what was going on.”

Long visited the New York memorial recently with his girlfriend and her family. He says he felt the “impact of everything that went on that day."

“I love my country a lot. I would hate to see all those guys ever forgotten for all that they went through and all that they sacrificed. We had several people walk by us saying, ‘How many more stairs do you have to go?’" Long said.

“You definitely felt the burn after a while,” he added.

Neither he nor Pickford trained prior to the challenging task. Pickford threw up half way through the 45-minute climb, Long said, who even took Pickford's air tank for part of the "climb" to help his friend.

Long told NBC10 he turned to the victims they were honoring for inspiration to finish the climb.

"There are things that we take for granted and there were points during the climb where I thought I couldn't make it," Pickford said. "But then I remembered 343 men did that climb knowing they might not come home and that is what pushed me to get through the climb to honor them."

Photo Credit: Melissa Garris
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<![CDATA[Viral Split Video Causes Concern Over Student Athletes]]>Thu, 24 Aug 2017 19:38:12 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Viral_Split_Video_Causes_Concern_Over_Student_Athletes.jpg

A video showing a student athlete being forced into a split has erupted online, and now parents, coaches, and athletes are commenting on the video. NBC10's Deanna Durante spoke to a local coach who says what is shown in the video is "a form of abuse." WARNING: Some may find parts of this video offensive.]]>
<![CDATA[Sears to Close Another 28 Kmart Stores Nationwide]]>Thu, 24 Aug 2017 17:46:04 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/kmart3.jpg

Sears continued to struggle in its second quarter with declining sales amid heightened competition from the likes of Walmart to Amazon. It now says it will close even more stores.

The Hoffman Estates, Illinois retailer, which operates Sears and Kmart stores, has been trying to cut costs by closing stores, including 180 this year and already had plans to cut another 150 stores. It now plans to shutter an additional 28 Kmart stores.

"The retail environment remained challenging," Sears Holdings Corp. said in a statement.

The company reported Thursday that its second-quarter loss narrowed to $251 million, or $2.34 per share. Losses, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to $1.16 per share.

Revenue fell 23 percent to $4.37 billion in the period. Sales at stores open at least a year, a key measure of a retailer's health, dropped 11.5 percent. At Kmart, the measure dropped 9.4 percent, while at Sears stores, that figure was down 13.2 percent.

Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert, whose hedge fund has forwarded millions in funding to keep Sears afloat, has long pledged to turn the company's fortunes around and that the retailer would find ways capitalize on its best-known brands like Kenmore appliances and DieHard car batteries, as well as its vast holdings of land.

Last month, it began selling its appliances on Amazon.com, including Kenmore smart appliances that can be synced with Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa. The announcement that day sent shares of Sears soaring.

But Sears is battling challenges on all fronts. Like many department stores, Sears is feeling pain as shoppers change their preferences and behavior. They're spending more online and spending less on clothing and more on experiences like spas. But analysts say Sears has much to blame for its woes. While Sears has ramped up online services, it's having a hard time disguising its age. Stores are in need of a major redo. And old rivals have made it tougher as they aim to compete with online leader Amzon.com, which is pushing ahead with innovative services as part of its juggernaut Amazon Prime membership.

A number of chains like Walmart and Target have been sprucing up their stores. J.C. Penney has brought back to its floors major appliances more than 30 years after abandoning the sale of refrigerators and stoves. And Walmart announced earlier this week that it was joining forces with Google to offer hundreds of thousands of items for voice shopping through Google Assistant as it tries to challenge Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo devices.

While Sears said in a pre-recorded transcript that it was seeing "significant progress" in its transformation, analysts see a different picture.

"As much as Sears deserves credit for the various actions it has been taking to shore up the company, there is no denying that this is a miserable set of numbers," wrote Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail in a report published Thursday. "Indeed, the precipitous drop in comparable sales and the continued lack of progress on profit suggests the company isn't moving far or fast enough to ensure its long-term survival."

In March, Sears said there is "substantial doubt" it could continue as a viable concern, with intense pressure coming from companies like Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon.com. It has insisted that its actions to turn around its business should help reduce that risk.

The company said Thursday that it has used about $605 million of its $1.5 billion revolving credit facility due in 2020. Its cash balances were $442 million as of July 29.

Shares added 62 cents to $9.19 in premarket trading.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cosby Accuser Would Return to Court, Lawyer Says]]>Sun, 18 Jun 2017 11:19:54 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Constands_Lawyer.jpg

Andrea Constand did not comment publicly about the Jury's decision, but her lawyer says she would "absolutely come back again."]]>
<![CDATA[Lawyer for Cosby Accuser Releases Statement on Mistrial ]]>Sat, 17 Jun 2017 12:05:28 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/CosbyAndrea.jpg

After a mistrial was declared in the sexual assault case of Bill Cosby, an attorney released a statement on behalf of Cosby’s accuser Andrea Constand. Read the full statement below:

On behalf of Andrea Constand and ourselves, we would like to thank the dedicated individuals of the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office in particular Kevin Steele, Kristen Peden arid Stewart Ryan and the many police officers and detectives who worked on this case, in particular Rich Schaffer, Jim Reape and Mike Shade. We wish to thank the Honorable Risa Vietri Ferman, who authorized the prosecution. We could not begin to name the many people who have worked so diligently in pursuit of justice, not only for Andrea but for all victims of sexual assault.

From the moment she revealed what had happened to her, Andrea sought to have this matter addressed in the criminal justice system. Given the manner in which she was dismissed by the previous district attorney, she had no option but to file a civil suit. We are confident that these proceedings have given a voice to the many victims who felt powerless and silenced. We commend those prosecutors who raised awareness that one of the hallmarks of drug related sexual assaults is the affect the drug has on the victim's memory and ability to recall and were nonetheless willing to present this evidence to the jury.

We also wish to thank the jury for their tireless efforts and acknowledge their sacrifice.

Andrea and her family are asking everyone to respect her privacy at this time. Please do not try to contact her or her family.

Photo Credit: Getty, AP]]>
<![CDATA[First Accuser Testifies as Cosby Trial Gets Underway]]>Mon, 05 Jun 2017 20:30:31 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Bill+Cosby+1st+Day+Trial+Sketch.jpg

Bill Cosby went on trial Monday on charges he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman more than a decade ago, with prosecutors immediately introducing evidence the 79-year-old TV star once known as America's Dad had done it before to someone else.

The prosecution's opening witness was not the person Cosby is charged with abusing, but another woman, who broke down in tears as she testified that the comedian violated her in the mid-1990s at a hotel bungalow in Los Angeles.

Cosby is on trial on charges he assaulted Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University's basketball program, at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in 2004. His good-guy reputation already in ruins, he could get 10 years in prison if convicted.

In her opening statement, prosecutor Kristen Feden noted that the "Cosby Show" star previously admitted under oath that he gave Constand pills and touched her genitals as she lay on his couch.

"She couldn't say no," Feden said. "She can't move, she can't talk. Completely paralyzed. Frozen. Lifeless."

Cosby attorney Brian McMonagle countered by attacking what he said were inconsistencies in Constand's story, disputed that Constand was incapacitated and made the case that she and Cosby had a romantic relationship.

He said Constand initially told police that she and Cosby did not speak after their 2004 encounter, when, in fact, phone records show the two talked 72 times, with 53 of those calls initiated by Constand.

Constand, 44, of the Toronto area, is expected to take the stand this week and tell her story in public for the first time.

The trial's first witness was Kelly Johnson of Atlanta, who worked for one of Cosby's agents at the William Morris Agency. She described an encounter she said took place in 1996 at the Hotel Bel-Air when she was in her mid-30s.

Prosecutors are trying to show Cosby's treatment of Constand fit a pattern of predatory behavior.

They had wanted to call as many as 13 women who say Cosby sexually assaulted them, out of more than 60 accusers in all. But Judge Steven O'Neill, in a victory for Cosby, said the jury could hear only from Constand and Johnson.

Johnson testified that Cosby pressured her to take a large white pill that knocked her out, and when she woke up he put lotion on her hand and forced her to touch his genitals.

"My dress was pulled up from the bottom, and it was pulled down from the top, and my breasts were out," she said, crying. "And I felt naked."

Cosby's lawyer argued that Johnson was seeking a payout from the TV star.

McMonagle said Johnson mixed up the years and other details of her encounters with Cosby, and he grilled her about why she never said anything when she left William Morris. She came forward in 2015 at a news conference with celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred.

"I felt embarrassed because I had a secret about the biggest celebrity in the world at the time and it was just me, just my word against his, and I was very afraid," Johnson said.

Cosby grinned and tapped his wooden cane as his lawyer questioned Johnson.

The comedian arrived at the courthouse in the morning holding his spokesman's arm for support as he walked past dozens of cameras.

Cosby's wife, Camille, was not in court. But actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played his daughter Rudy on "The Cosby Show" in the 1980s and '90s, was at his side as he made his way into the building. She told reporters she was there to support her TV dad.

"I want to be the person that I would like to have if the tables were turned," she said. "Right now it's the jury's job and the jury's decision to determine guilt or innocence. It's not mine or anyone else's."

Cosby built a wholesome reputation as a father and family man, on screen and off, during his extraordinary 50-year career in entertainment. He created TV characters, most notably Dr. Cliff Huxtable, with crossover appeal among blacks and whites alike. His TV shows, movies and comedy tours earned him an estimated $400 million.

Then a deposition unsealed in 2015 in a lawsuit brought by Constand revealed that Cosby had a long history of extramarital liaisons with young women and that he obtained quaaludes in the 1970s to give to women before sex. Dozens of women soon came forward to say he had drugged and assaulted them.

Those developments led prosecutors in Pennsylvania to bring charges against Cosby a decade after the district attorney at the time concluded the case was too weak.

The statute of limitations for prosecuting Cosby had run out in nearly every case. This is the only one to result in criminal charges against the comic.

Feden, the prosecutor, warned the jury not to fall into the trap of confusing celebrities with the characters they play.

"We think we really know them," she said. "In reality, we only have a glimpse of who they really are."

Cosby's lawyers tried repeatedly to get the case thrown out, arguing that a previous district attorney promised him he would never be charged, and that witnesses have died, memories have faded and the comedian is all but blind.

Allred, who showed up for the first day of the trial, told reporters she is hopeful "there will be justice in this case."

Allred represents several of Cosby's accusers, including a woman who worked for the comedian's agent at the William Morris agency. She will be the only other accuser allowed to testify for the prosecution.

"I'm not going to predict what the outcome is," Allred said. "We'll see what the evidence is. But this case is not going to be decided on optics, it's going to be decided on the evidence, and finally, it's Mr. Cosby who's going to have to face that evidence and confront the accusers who are against him."

The judge hopes to avoid the kind of media frenzy that surrounded O.J. Simpson's murder trial in the 1990s. The cameras that dominated Simpson's trial aren't allowed in Pennsylvania courtrooms.

"We've had an O.J. hangover for many years," said Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson. "What you worry about as the judge is that the lawyers don't showboat, the evidence gets presented fairly, and that you have a jury that does its job and is not being thrown into the whole milieu of the trial outside the courtroom."

Constand filed a police complaint in 2005 over the night a year earlier, when, she says, Cosby drugged her and put his hand down her pants.

The district attorney at the time said the case was too weak to prosecute. But a new set of prosecutors charged Cosby a year and a half ago after the deposition became public and numerous women came forward.

In one of the more explosive disclosures in the deposition, Cosby said he had obtained quaaludes in the 1970s to give to women before sex.

Cosby's lawyers have said that the encounter with Constand was consensual, and they tried repeatedly to get the case thrown out. They said Cosby testified in the lawsuit only after being promised he could never be charged.

And they argued that the delayed prosecution makes the case impossible to defend, given that witnesses have died, memories have faded and Cosby, they say, is blind.

The AP and NBC10 do not typically identify people who say they are sexual assault victims unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Christine Cornell
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<![CDATA[Late in Life, Sex Assault Trial Caps Cosby's Legacy]]>Mon, 05 Jun 2017 05:59:58 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Bill+Cosby+Pittsburgh.jpg

Bill Cosby doesn't plan to testify when he goes on trial Monday on sexual assault charges, but the rambling, remarkable testimony he gave in the accuser's lawsuit could still prove pivotal.

The deposition from a decade-old sexual battery lawsuit, unsealed by a judge in 2015 at the request of The Associated Press, showed the once-beloved comedian's dark side.

Cosby, a champion of family life after a 50-year marriage and five children, detailed his practice of inviting young actresses, models, flight attendants and waitresses to meetings that often featured pills and alcohol — and turned sexual. He called some of them mere "liaisons."

But Andrea Constand, he said, was different. Cosby was a mentor and friend to the former Temple University basketball team staffer. She will take the stand this week and tell her story in public for the first time.

Judge Steven O'Neill hopes to keep the media frenzy from dominating the case as it did at O.J. Simpson's murder trial. Like the Simpson case, the Cosby jury will be sequestered. On the other hand, cameras aren't allowed in Pennsylvania courtrooms, as they were in the Simpson trial. But scores of photographers will be lined up outside the courthouse.

"We've had an O.J. hangover for many years," said Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson. "What you worry about as the judge is that the lawyers don't showboat, the evidence gets presented fairly, and that you have a jury that does its job and is not being thrown into the whole milieu of the trial outside the courtroom."

Constand lodged a formal police complaint and then sued Cosby in 2005 over the night a year earlier, when, she says, he drugged and molested her at his estate near Philadelphia. Cosby had beaten back rumors about his conduct before, at least once by giving an exclusive interview to a tabloid to squelch a woman's story.

Cosby and his agents, as they had with other women, offered Constand money for school when her mother, Gianna, called to confront him in January 2006.

"She said your apology is enough," Cosby said in the deposition . "There's nothing you can do."

Gianna Constand will also testify, to describe changes she saw in her daughter that year and the phone call with Cosby they taped after going to police near Toronto, where they live.

The complaint was referred to Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where the district attorney found the case too weak to prosecute.

Constand instead sued Cosby for sexual battery.

Thirteen women signed on to support her lawsuit, saying Cosby had also molested them. But Cosby avoided a trial by negotiating a confidential settlement with Constand in 2006.

The issue died down until 2014, when comedian Hannibal Burress called Cosby out as a rapist, leading dozens of new accusers to come forward. Months later, a federal judge granted an Associated Press motion to unseal parts of his deposition.

In one of the more explosive revelations, Cosby said he had gotten quaaludes in the 1970s to give women before sex. The news put a halt to his planned TV comeback and led networks to stop airing Cosby reruns.

Many of the 60 or so accusers were aspiring performers when they met Cosby. Others simply enjoyed the brush with fame.

"I was starstruck," Donna Motsinger, 75, one of the "Jane Doe" accusers in Constand's lawsuit, told the AP in an interview last week. "Somebody really famous thought I was pretty and cool, and I went with that."

She was a single mother working at the Trident Restaurant, a jazz club and celebrity hangout, in Sausalito, California, in the early 1970s when she met Cosby. He invited her to a show, she said, and drugged and raped her in the limousine.

Cosby, in the deposition, said he didn't remember her.

"I met a lot of waitresses at the Trident," he said.

Cosby's lawyers have spent the past 18 months trying to have the criminal case thrown out. They say Cosby testified only after being promised he could never be charged. And they argue the delayed prosecution makes the case impossible to defend, given that witnesses have died, memories have faded and the 79-year-old Cosby, they say, is blind.

Lead defense lawyer Brian McMonagle hopes to call a memory expert to challenge accusations he calls "nothing more than vague recollections."

District Attorney Kevin Steele will be allowed to call one other accuser to suggest Cosby's conduct with Constand was part of a "signature crime" pattern. She worked for Cosby's agent at the William Morris Agency and says Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 1996 at a Los Angeles hotel.

Cosby and his family, on the eve of trial, have suggested the charges are fueled by racism. Some of his accusers, including the former William Morris employee, are black.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are sexual assault victims unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Timeline in Bill Cosby's Sexual Assault Case]]>Sun, 04 Jun 2017 23:22:58 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Main_Jury_Chosen_for_Bill_Cosby_Trial.jpg

Comedian Bill Cosby goes on trial Monday on sexual assault charges stemming from a 2004 encounter at his home near Philadelphia. Andrea Constand will be the star witness during the trial. Cosby could get 10 years in prison if convicted.

Key events in the criminal sex assault case:

2002: Cosby meets Andrea Constand at Philadelphia's Temple University, his alma mater, where she manages the women's basketball team and he serves as a celebrity booster and trustee. (The Associated Press does not usually identify people who say they are the victims of sexual assault, but Constand's lawyer has said her name can be used.)

Early 2004: Cosby invites Constand to his home to discuss her career options. According to his deposition, he gave her three blue pills to alleviate stress before lying on the couch with her and engaging in sex acts. Cosby was 66, Constand was 30.

January 2005: Constand, now back home in suburban Toronto, tells her mother something happened with Cosby. They go to police, who suggest they record him on a phone call. On the call, Cosby said he engaged in ``digital penetration'' but refuses to say what pills he gave her. The case is referred to Pennsylvania authorities. Cosby lawyer Walter Phillips calls the allegations ``pointedly bizarre.'' Constand tells The Philadelphia Inquirer, ``I did what I thought was right.''

February 2005: Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor announces that he will not charge Cosby. He considers the case weak, citing the yearlong delay, Constand's continued contact with Cosby and the fact other accusers now coming forward had never filed a police complaint.

March 2005: Constand sues Cosby for sexual battery and defamation.

November 2006: Cosby settles the case after giving four days of deposition testimony about his affairs with young women over 50 years. A confidentiality agreement prevents either side from discussing the case. Cosby resumes his career.

October 2014: Comedian Hannibal Burress calls Cosby a rapist in a standup act caught on video and shared online. More women accuse Cosby of assaulting them.

December 2014: The Associated Press petitions to have documents in Constand's 2005 lawsuit unsealed. Cosby fights the request.

July 2015: U.S. Judge Eduardo Robreno grants the AP's motion, saying ``the stark contrast between Bill Cosby, the public moralist and Bill Cosby, the subject of serious allegations concerning improper (and perhaps criminal) conduct, is a matter as to which the AP _ and by extension the public _ has a significant interest.'' The documents include deposition excerpts in which Cosby acknowledges giving a series of women pills and alcohol before sex.

August 2015: Montgomery County authorities reopen the 2005 criminal case, aware the 12-year statute of limitations for aggravated sexual assault has not yet run.

December 30, 2015: Cosby is arrested, enters a not guilty plea and is released on $1 million bail.

2016: Cosby's lawyers repeatedly seek to have the case dismissed over the 12-year delay and other legal issues. Judge Steven O'Neill denies their motions.

June 5, 2017: Cosby, 79, will go on trial.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Officer Euthanizes 2 Pit Bulls After Owner is Attacked ]]>Tue, 30 May 2017 23:30:30 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Pit+Bull+Attack+Abington+_23801135.jpg

Two pit bulls were euthanized after one of them attacked its owner and the other attacked people who were trying to help her, according to police.

The incident began Tuesday around 1:20 p.m. as a man was walking his dogs on the 1200 block of Thompson Road in Roslyn, Pennsylvania. Police say two pit bulls escaped from a fenced yard and began attacking the man’s dogs.

The owners of the pit bulls, including a 19-year-old woman, ran over to stop the attack. As the woman tried to control her pit bulls, one of them latched its jaws onto her arm. A Good Samaritan then tried to get the dog off of the woman’s arm by using a 2x4 piece of wood.

"At one point the guy was trying to hit the dog, beat the dog," Lisa Hollars, a neighbor, told NBC10.

Police say the other pit bull also charged at other people who were trying to help the woman.

A responding police officer took out a weapon and opened fire on the pit bull that was attacking the woman, striking the dog twice. The woman was able to break free from the dog and police captured both animals.

An Abington Township Animal Control Officer euthanized both dogs with the owner’s permission. The owner was treated at Abington Hospital for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

"I saw one gash she had right here," Hollars said. "A big gash on one arm. The other arm I couldn't see because her sweatshirt was still down. The other guys were putting tourniquets above the wound to make sure because we didn't know how much blood was coming out."

Abington Police and the Montgomery County Department of Health are investigating the incident.

Photo Credit: NBC10 ]]>
<![CDATA[Search Continues for Foster Kids of Mom Charged With Murder ]]>Mon, 22 May 2017 18:07:48 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Sara+Packer+Foster+Children+_23701290.jpg

The search continues for the foster kids of a woman who was charged in the rape and murder of her adopted daughter.

Sara Packer, along with her boyfriend Jacob Sullivan, were arrested and charged in the rape, murder and dismemberment of her 14-year-old adopted daughter Grace Packer in July, 2016. While Sara Packer remains in custody with a trial date not yet set, the state is looking for the 30 foster children who she cared for within the last decade. Officials say about a dozen of those children are now adults and are unaccounted for.

Packer fostered the children over the course of a decade in addition to formally adopting Grace and Grace’s younger brother in Berks County.

Nadeem Bezar, an attorney who practices in the areas of child sexual abuse and child welfare, told NBC10 he’s been watching the Packer murder case closely and has had contact with individuals who claimed to have lived in a home with Sara Packer and her former husband David Packer.

“This is somebody who had a predatory lifestyle who was preying on young children,” Bezar said.

Much remains unclear about the Packers' fostering and adoptions, which involved Children, Youth and Family agencies in at least two counties. Officials in several counties across eastern Pennsylvania have declined to provide details about the Packers, citing the ongoing criminal case. The state Department of Human Services, which purportedly provides oversight of the county agencies, also has released few details about the Packers' long history of adoption and foster care.

Montgomery and Northampton counties have canceled contracts with certain contracted adoption agencies linked to the Packers, NBC10 has previously reported.

Sara Packer worked as a case manager for Northampton County Children, Youth and Family before she was fired two months before then-husband David Packer was charged with sexually assaulting one of the couple's foster children and Grace Packer in 2010. Sara Packer had no criminal record until she and Sullivan were arrested in Grace’s rape, murder and dismemberment last July.

Bezar and other child advocates told NBC10 that state and federal investigators need to do as much as they can to locate the foster children who are unaccounted for. According to Bezar, while many choose not to be found he is concerned that some of the foster kids were harmed by Sara Packer given the severity of the charges against her.

“I think it’s no coincidence,” Bezar said. “I think unfortunately we might have to expect the worst.”

Child advocates also told NBC10 another concern is the fact that records of foster children are allowed to be destroyed, which makes finding them difficult.

A spokesperson with the FBI confirmed to NBC10 that they are searching nationally for Packer’s foster children.

“I’ve seen your stories on this awful tragedy, and know that you’re looking for some accountability on behalf of Grace and any other potential victims,” the spokesperson said. “Rest assured, it’s something we take very seriously.”

<![CDATA[Police Arrest 2nd Suspect in Alleged Racing Crash]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 14:59:21 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Norristown+Photo+Racing+Suspect.png

Authorities say they have arrested a second man on 3rd-degree murder charges in what they allege was a racing crash in southeastern Pennsylvania that killed two people, including a pregnant woman.

Montgomery County prosecutors and West Pottsgrove police said 21-year-old Evaughn-Sha Walters of Washington, D.C., is charged with two counts of third degree murder, one count of third degree murder of an Unborn Child, two counts of homicide by vehicle, and other related charges. 

Investigators say they learned that Walters was driving a Toyota Camry while racing a white BMW driven by Shone Santiago on February 4. Authorities say Santiago lost control of the vehicle on Route 422 just after midnight, crashed through a guard rail and launched down an embankment near the Schuylkill River, killing 23-year-old Anthony Rodriguez of East Elmhurst, New York and 20-year-old Marissa Kelly of Stroudsburg and her unborn child.

Investigators say the BMW became airborn and traveled 200 feet away from the road before hitting trees and landing on its roof. They determined Santiago was driving at a minimum speed of 121 miles per hour just before the crash in the work zone, where the posted speed limit is 40 miles per hour.

Police say Santiago and two passengers were trapped inside the car after the crash. Santiago was removed from the car and was flown to Reading Hospital. He was later charged. The two passengers were pronounced dead at the scene.

Police also determined that Walters and Santiago were engaged in a previous race that took place on Route 100 only an hour before the fatal crash on 422. Investigators were able to download video of the earlier race from Walter's cell phone which shows Walters' Toyota speedometer reaching a speed of 140 miles per hour. 

Walters was arraigned on Sunday, May 7. He was denied bail and placed in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for May 17. 

A listed number for Walters couldn't be found Monday and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Tax Breaks Coming for Firefighters in Whitpain Township?]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 20:40:39 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000020577042_1200x675_934067779789.jpg

Most firefighters in the suburbs are volunteer, making it difficult to hold on to people who do a dangerous job for free. NBC10’s Deanna Durante shows us one township’s plan to boost recruitment and hold on to its volunteers.]]>
<![CDATA[Trial to Open in Slaying of Mother, Boyfriend in Norristown]]>Sun, 23 Apr 2017 07:28:53 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Joshua+Trunk+1200.jpg

Opening statements are scheduled Monday in the trial of a man accused of having killed his mother and her boyfriend last year in the suburban Philadelphia home the three shared.

The Norristown Times Herald reports that jury selection finished Friday in Montgomery County for the trial of 20-year-old Joshua Trunk of Ambler.

Trunk is charged with first- and third-degree murder in the July 31 shooting deaths of 54-year-old Janice Trunk and 44-year-old Kevin Milton Smith. Detectives said they were shot "as they lay defenseless, in their bed.''

Detectives say Trunk had been hospitalized recently and allege he was motivated by increasing paranoia. Authorities said in a criminal complaint that friends reported that he had said his mother "had to die'' and talked of hiring someone to kill her.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

<![CDATA[Abington Police Find Car of Missing Uber Driver]]>Mon, 17 Apr 2017 15:33:26 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Uber+Driver+Krysten+Laib.jpg+17+abril.jpg

Police have found the car of an Abington woman reported missing last week.

Her Subaru was located at the base of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on the Philadelphia side. Police suspect Krysten Laib disappeared voluntarily and “was intent on harming herself,” according to a statement issued by law enforcement. 

A search remained underway Monday afternoon for the 45-year-old Abington woman.

Laib was last seen on April 11 at 4:45 a.m. in Philadelphia. She was working as an Uber driver when she last spoke with family members, police said.

Photo Credit: Abington Township Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Tn. Upscale Restaurant Coming to Montco]]>Thu, 13 Apr 2017 14:23:46 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/J.Alexander%27sPNG.JPG

The King of Prussia Mall area will be getting a taste of a Nashville, Tenn.-based company's wood-fired cuisine next year.

Restaurant company J. Alexander’s Holdings on Monday announced it's signed leases for two new restaurants in the country, one of which would be a concept called J. Alexander’s in King of Prussia, Pa.

The other restaurant is a concept called Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill, which will open in Troy, Mich.

Both restaurants are currently scheduled to open in 2018. The King of Prussia restaurant will be the first Pennsylvania outpost for the brand.

J. Alexander's Holdings owns 44 restaurants in 15 states, operating as J. Alexander's, Redlands Grill, Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill, and Lyndhurst Grill.

In King of Prussia, the new J. Alexander’s restaurant will be located at 265 Mall Boulevard across the street from the King of Prussia Mall. Plans call for the restaurant to include about 9,800 square feet of space with seating for more than 220 guests, according to the restaurant company.

To read the full story click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal

Photo Credit: Larry Falke | Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
<![CDATA[Montco Commissioner Wants 'Worship' Back in Whitemarsh]]>Thu, 13 Apr 2017 05:45:33 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Whitemarsh-Township-Worship.jpg

Amid the holy week of Easter and Passover, Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph Gale is doing his part to put the “Worship” back in Whitemarsh Township.

Gale told NBC10 Wednesday he’s been delivering signs to Whitemarsh residents with the words, “Whitemarsh: A Great Place to Live, Work, & Worship.”

It’s all part of a campaign to return the original slogan of “Welcome to Whitemarsh Township: A Great Place to Live Work and Worship” back to roadside signs welcoming drivers to the town. Current welcoming signs leave out the word “Worship” and instead say, “Welcome to Whitemarsh Township: A Great Place to Live and Work.”

Whitemarsh Township Supervisor and life-long resident Jim Totten brought attention to the issue earlier this year.

“I brought it to the attention of my board members when I let them know I wasn’t running for re-election,” Totten, the lone Republican on the town’s five-member board, told NBC10 in March. “This is not a political ploy to get me recognition. I did it because it’s morally the best thing to do.”

Totten said he was unsure when the word “Worship” was taken out of the township’s slogan. According to a recent published report, a member of the Whitemarsh Township Business Association said the organization was behind the design and creation of at least one of the current signs -- and the now-prevalent slogan -- in the early 1980s.

Township manager Rick Mellor said the rest of the signs were paid for by the township but was unsure when they were erected with worship-free wording, according to Montgomery News.

Gale told NBC10 he agrees with Totten and heard from many people during several Whitemarsh Township Board of Supervisors meetings who agreed as well that the word “Worship” should return.

“It is time to reclaim Whitemarsh’s heritage and history by once again embracing the fact that Whitemarsh Township is home to a Jewish synagogue and many Christian churches – otherwise known as ‘places of worship,’” Gale said.

Gale claimed Whitemarsh Township canceled two Board of Supervisors meetings after the issue of restoring the town’s original slogan was mentioned during a meeting on February 23. That’s when Gale decided to take action and deliver yard signs with the original slogan to Whitemarsh homes.

“In reaction to what appears to be a second attempt to silence support for Supervisor Totten’s proposal by effectively stripping Whitemarsh residents of their right to be heard publicly in a taxpayer-funded forum, a group of private citizens have pooled resources to acquire yard signs advocating restoration of the word, ‘Worship’ to Whitemarsh Township’s slogan,” Gale said.

“Furthermore, this consortium of men and women has asked me to be their voice in promoting the effort to distribute these yard signs to supportive households across Whitemarsh. I have enthusiastically agreed.”

Gale created a contact page on his website where Whitemarsh residents can request a sign for their yard.

Totten told NBC10 he doesn’t know when he’ll introduce a resolution for “Worship” to return and is still gathering opinions from residents. If the township board eventually takes up Totten’s idea before he leaves office next January, the new signs would be paid for through private donations, the supervisor said.

While some Whitemarsh Township residents have shown support for bringing "Worship" back, others have rejected the idea with one resident reportedly calling it "incredibly offensive," during a meeting back on March 23. 

“The people that have been against it have thrown out the reasoning of separation of church and state. But it has nothing to do with it. They’re off on that,” Totten said. “If you go back in history, we wanted to leave England because we wanted to worship the way we wanted. Worship doesn’t mean you have to go to this church or that church. You could worship the tree in your front yard.”

Photo Credit: Joseph Gale ]]>
<![CDATA[Ancestry.com Helps Stop Man Posing as Dead Boy: Police ]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 14:42:48 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/lansdale+ID+Theft.jpg

A Pennsylvania man who assumed the identity of a baby who died in Texas in 1972 was arrested on charges of Social Security fraud and aggravated identity theft after the child's aunt discovered the ruse through Ancestry.com, federal authorities said.

Jon Vincent, 44, was arrested in Lansdale, near Philadelphia, on Monday. A federal magistrate on Wednesday ordered him to appear for an arraignment May 2.

Prosecutors said Vincent stole Nathan Laskoski's identity after escaping from a Texas halfway house in March 1996 and used his new name to start another life. Vincent had been convicted in Texas of indecency with a child, though the precise sentence he was serving wasn't immediately clear, said Michele Mucellin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia.

The real Nathan Laskoski died at 2 months old in December 1972.

Authorities said Vincent first obtained a Social Security card as Laskoski in 1996. He lived in Mississippi; Tennessee; and Penn Hills and York, Pennsylvania, under the assumed name, authorities said. He held jobs, received a driver's license and even got married as divorced as Laskoski before the scheme unraveled late last year, according to online court records.
That's when Nathan's aunt did a search on Ancestry.com, a genealogy website.

In researching her family tree, Nathan's name came up as a green leaf on the website, which led to public records suggesting he was alive. The aunt told Nathan's mother, who did more research and learned that someone had obtained a Social Security card under her son's name in Texas. Nathan's mother also found public marriage and divorce records, and she filed an identity theft complaint with the Social Security Administration.

An investigator from the SSA's Office of Inspector General took it from there in January, court records show.

Nathan's mother told the investigator she remembers a strange telephone call sometime in 1996, from someone asking questions about her deceased son, including his Social Security number. After answering some of the questions, she questioned the caller, who hung up. When she called the police, they told her it was likely a scam, but nothing more happened, court records show.
Social Security records show Vincent has been employed, as Laskoski, and earned income every year since 1996.

Most recently, he was working as a nurse's aide, according to licensing records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health. A license was issued to Laskoski in July 2004 and is set to expire in July 2018, the investigator determined.

Court records don't say where Vincent was working under Laskoski's name, and Mucellin, the prosecutor's spokeswoman, also couldn't say.

Vincent's public defender, Felicia Sarner, said he "was a very young man when this matter first arose, and he deeply regrets the poor judgment he exercised back then."

She said: "His conduct has not resulted in any financial loss and throughout all of the intervening years he has not been in trouble with the law and has lived a quiet, hard-working life."

The Social Security fraud charge carries up to five years in prison on conviction. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a penalty of two years in prison consecutive to any sentence imposed for the fraud count.

Vincent remained jailed Wednesday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighters Battle Brush Fire in Cheltenham]]>Tue, 11 Apr 2017 15:06:56 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Brush-Fire-Cheltenham.jpg

Firefighters battled a brush fire in Cheltenham Township Tuesday afternoon.

The fire started near Tookany Creek Parkway and Johns Road around 2:50 p.m. Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control. No injuries have been reported.

SEPTA suspended its Fox Chase Train Line as a result of the fire. Service later resumed around 4 p.m.

Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Man Abused Wife, Kids With Dog Shock Collars, Needles: Cops]]>Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:32:39 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Joseph-Myhre.jpg

Warning: This story contains graphic details that may be disturbing for some readers.

A Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, man is accused of physically abusing his wife and two children over the course of several years through various methods, including dog shock collars, needles, pipes and wooden dowels.

Joseph Myhre, 44, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, strangulation and other related offenses.

Officials say the investigation began on March 15 after Myhre’s wife met with police at the Einstein Medical Center Montgomery. The woman told investigators Myhre had punched her several times in the back of her head and fractured her skull inside their home in Collegeville, according to police. The woman said she drove herself to the hospital after Myhre fell asleep. Myhre was arrested and charged with assault.

As police continued to investigate, they determined Myhre had also physically abused his 11-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son, whom he home schooled over a six-year period, according to a criminal complaint. 

During an interview with police, Myhre's daughter described the various ways her father abused her over the years, investigators said. Myhre allegedly beat and abused her with several objects, including a lancet that he stuck underneath her fingernails and toenails, a remote controlled electric dog shock collar, needles, various sticks, PVC pipes, a wooden dowel, pliers and a shoehorn. He also allegedly punched her hundreds of times, placed his knees and feet on her stomach and strangled her and banged her head on the floor until she lost consciousness.

Myhre's son also told police his father had abused him hundreds of times since he was 5 years old, according to the criminal complaint. As with his sister, the abuse included being punched and kicked, being choked, being beaten with sticks and PVC pipes and being shocked with a dog collar, police said.  Both children also told police they had seen their father repeatedly abuse their mother, according to investigators.

Investigators also say they obtained a cell phone recording of Myhre beating his children as they screamed in pain and begged for him to stop.

Myhre was arraigned Friday night and was placed in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on $1 million bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 19.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help at 800.799.7233.

Photo Credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office ]]>
<![CDATA[Montco Bomb Squad Makes Beeping Easter Eggs for Kids]]>Thu, 06 Apr 2017 05:41:58 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/bomb+squad+easter+eggs+1.JPGThe Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Bomb Unit has made 50 beeping eggs for visually impaired children. The eggs will be part of the Saint Miriam Parish's annual Easter egg hunt.

Photo Credit: Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office ]]>
<![CDATA[Third-Degree Conviction in Montco Drive-Thru Shooting]]>Wed, 05 Apr 2017 19:13:18 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/Norristown+McDonalds+Drive+Thru+Killing.JPG

A man has been convicted of third-degree murder in the shooting death of another man in the drive-thru lane of a suburban Philadelphia McDonald's last year.

The Norristown Times Herald  reports that 22-year-old Jonathan Walker was also convicted Wednesday in Montgomery County of possessing an instrument of crime in the June slaying of 24-year-old Marquis Johnson.

Authorities said the two got into an argument in a gas station adjacent to the fast food restaurant in Norristown, and Walker shot the victim after they left. Johnson's body was found in the drive-thru lane of the restaurant.

Jurors acquitted Walker of first-degree murder but also rejected defense attorney Benjamin Cooper's argument that Walker committed voluntary manslaughter, believing he was acting in self-defense. Cooper called the jury "really honest and fair.''

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Pa. Pushes For Dog Licenses]]>Fri, 31 Mar 2017 15:53:21 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Golden-Retriever-GettyImages-522796697.jpg

Attention Pennsylvania dog owners: are your pets licensed?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), all dogs three months or older must be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year. 

An annual dog license costs $8.50 and a lifetime license goes for $51.50.

Spayed or neutered dogs cost less to license -- with $6.50 being the annual fee and the lifetime fee $31.50. Discounts are also available to owners who are older adults or have disabilities.

Owners of unlicensed dogs could be fined up to $300 plus court costs.

Dog licenses can help identify and locate a lost dog, PDA said. 

The fees help keep shelters running and fund PDA's Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.

To apply for a dog license, click here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Hero Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cosby Prosecutors Seek to Use Talk of Quaaludes, Spanish Fly]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 15:22:23 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/COSBY_AP_16306785825662.jpg

Prosecutors hoping to use Bill Cosby's explosive deposition testimony about getting quaaludes to give women in his sexual-assault trial also want to use references he made about trying to slip women the aphrodisiac Spanish fly.

In a suburban Philadelphia court filing Thursday, they quote Cosby making Spanish fly references in his 1991 book "Childhood" and in an interview that year with Larry King. They say the comments show his familiarity with date rape drugs.

Cosby's lawyers want the judge to exclude his deposition testimony about quaaludes and his discussion of extramarital liaisons spanning 50 years.

Spanish fly is made from a green beetle called the Spanish fly. Cosby says in the "Childhood" book he and his friends needed the Spanish fly potion because girls were "never in the mood" for them.

A hearing on the pretrial evidence is scheduled Monday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: AP ]]>
<![CDATA[Family of Long-Haired Baby Speaks Out After Ellen Show Appearance]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 08:22:57 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Baby+Beautiful+Hair_23041026.jpg

A viral video of a Montgomery County baby and his luscious locks landed him on the Ellen Show. NBC10’s Erin Coleman spoke to his family about the video views and the hair that keeps on growing.

<![CDATA[Loved Ones Mourn Philly Business Owner Who Died at 55 ]]>Mon, 27 Mar 2017 21:13:04 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Maxi-Senderowitsch.jpg

Friends and family are mourning a Philadelphia business owner who passed away over the weekend. Maxi Senderowitsch died Saturday after a sudden illness. He was 55-years-old.

Senderowitsch was the owner of Max & Fink, an irrigation and landscaping company. He also helped build Nana’s Kitchen, a café located at the Kaiserman Jewish Community Center in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Nana’s Kitchen also prepares meals for students at Jewish Day schools.

Senderowitsch was also a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces. He is survived by a wife who owns Nana's Kitchen and four daughters who sent NBC10 a statement about their father.

"My father was an extraordinary man. One of those people that you only meet in a movie or a story. He was a renaissance man; if he couldn't buy it, he made it. He believed in equality and social justice as he acted upon it every day. 'Every problem has a solution, and sometimes it holds a sacrifice,' he would say. Along with my mother, my father lived many lives in his short stay with us. He reinvented himself everyday and strived for a better life for all of us. We thank them both for that, as they made us resilient, passionate, intelligent, and cultured.

Our parents taught us that the greatest gift is life. That we have to cherish every moment, start new projects, and have goals that reach the stars, for every day is a victory.

They taught us that life is for the moment and to enjoy the present. That living is fruitless unless we have love, happiness, and each other. We are lucky to harvest these teachings from our parents.

If we celebrate his life, we have to celebrate it as a unity with our mother. Their love is an example for all of us. They have been inseparable since the age of 15; partners in life. Their love is an unbreakable bond that will live forever. It's so strong, that it still feeds our souls every day and for years to come.

We are so lucky to have had him as such an integral part of our lives. He left a piece of him in our hearts and everyone who has gotten to know him. His legacy will be passed on for generations to come and our grandchildren will know him like he was never gone.

He was a pacifist and always had a reason for peace. Whether we were fighting between the sisters or complaining about politics, he always had a way to look at things in an understanding way.

He was the most cultured man we know. He read every morning the US, Argentinian, and Israeli news. There wasn't a thing he didn't know. Very up to date with the latest news, especially when it came to agriculture and eco-friendly living. Through that, he always had ideas and projects to make the world a better place. Starting from himself, to his family, to the community, and the world as a whole."

"My strong, healthy, exemplary dad left us yesterday. For over two weeks he fought like the ox that he is to stay, but yesterday he finally got some peace. Such a loving and loved man, touched so many lives, that hundreds of us are missing him already.

His funeral will be held on Tuesday, March 28th at 2:00 pm at the Har Nebo Cemetery on 6061 Oxford Avenue in Philadelphia. We will be walking him one last time to his resting place. All friends, family, and those who loved my dad are welcome to attend.

Mi papá, we have so many things to say. Thank you for forming our beautiful and united family with mom. Thank you for being, for listening, for understanding, for loving us, and for being such an amazing father. Thank you for everything that you have taught and have left with us forever, and for showing us the example of being a great man and even more so, a human being. You left us too soon, but you gave us a lot of life. We are left with your smile, and the beautiful memories of you. Thank you. I love you forever mi papá querido. I miss you already."

A page has been set up to raise money for his funeral and burial. Click here if you would like to donate.

<![CDATA[Hatboro Police to Transition Back to Permanent Headquarters]]>Sat, 25 Mar 2017 21:20:53 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Hatboro-Police-Headquarters.jpg

After more than a year, the Hatboro Police Department will return to its permanent headquarters.

The department’s main headquarters on 120 E. Montgomery Avenue in Hatboro had been undergoing renovations since November, 2015 and they were staying inside a temporary location during the renovation period. Hatboro police announced Friday they will begin to transition back to their permanent headquarters starting Monday, March 27, one month ahead of schedule.

The department’s telephone and IT systems will transfer to the E. Montgomery Avenue facility first. Hatboro Police say there may be brief interruptions to their business telephone lines (215-675-2832) and email systems during this time. Their 911 system won’t be impacted.

The Hatboro police business line should only be used for matters such as requesting information on how to obtain a report copy or asking to speak with a police employee for non-emergency reasons. All other calls reporting crime, accidents or fire should be made to 911.

Photo Credit: Google Maps ]]>
<![CDATA[New Details in Grace Packer Investigation]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 05:55:30 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Grace+Packer+Sara+Packer+orginals.jpg

Police say Sara Packer was an active participant in the rape, murder, and dismemberment of her adoptive 14-year-old daughter Grace Packer. Grace was among 30 foster children who had been in the care of Sara Packer. NBC10’s Deanna Durante uncovered where some of those children came from.

Photo Credit: Bucks County District Attorney's Office]]>
<![CDATA[911 Service Restored for AT&T Wireless Users in Pennsylvania]]>Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:34:31 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/911+Generic.jpg

Officials say 911 service has been restored for AT&T wireless users in Bucks, Delaware, Chester and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania.

AT&T wireless users were unable to make 911 calls in all four counties for at least an hour Wednesday night. Similar issues for AT&T users were reported across the country as well, including in Washington, DC, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, and Texas.

Dispatchers provided alternative emergency numbers for residents of all four counties in Pennsylvania. 

While officials with AT&T say the issues have been resolved, they have not yet revealed what caused the initial 911 service problems.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Police Find Pickup Truck in Deadly Hit-and-Run: Officials]]>Tue, 07 Mar 2017 15:56:05 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Pottstown+Deadly+Hit+and+Run_22772272.jpg

Investigators have found the pickup truck that struck and killed a 24-year-old Montgomery County man who was on his way to work Friday night in Pottstown, officials said.

Donald Purnell, 24, of Pottstown, was struck by a 1994 Ford XLT pickup truck shortly before 8 p.m. Friday on Route 100. Purnell was on his way to start an 8 p.m. shift at the nearby Wendy's when the pickup driver struck him and pushed him into the path of a second driver who stopped. The driver of the pickup truck fled the scene of the crash, according to investigators. Purnell died from his injuries.

On Tuesday officials announced they found the pickup truck that struck Purnell thanks to a tip from the public. The vehicle has damage to its hood, radiator, grill and bumper and is currently undergoing a complete forensic examination, officials said.

No charges have been filed against the pickup truck driver at this time and investigators have not yet revealed the driver's identity.

<![CDATA[Abuse Claim Raised Against Mom Charged in Daughter's Death ]]>Mon, 06 Mar 2017 18:41:37 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Grace+Packer+Sara+Packer+orginals.jpg

Child welfare officials in Pennsylvania say a private agency might have known 10 years ago about abuse allegations against a foster mother now accused in the rape and murder of her 14-year-old daughter.

The Northampton County Department of Human Services said Monday it has stopped referring foster children to The Impact Project.

The department cites allegations that The Impact Project "was informed of alleged abusive behaviors" by Sara Packer more than a decade ago. The department did not elaborate and officials did not immediately respond to a request for additional details.

After NBC10’s Deanna Durante reported on the alleged abuse, a court official sent an email asking for a full review and suspension of services at The Impact Project until all children could be accounted for and their safety was verified.

A woman who answered the phone at The Impact Project declined comment.

Packer and her boyfriend are awaiting trial in the rape, killing and dismemberment her adopted daughter, Grace Packer.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Bucks County District Attorney's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Vandals Damage Cars in Jenkintown]]>Mon, 06 Mar 2017 16:38:53 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Car+Vandalized+Jenkintown_22778016.jpg

Police are searching for a vandal or vandals who damaged cars in Jenkintown Saturday. Police say six cars parked between the 200 block of Rodman Avenue and Cloverly Avenue were damaged at some point between 5:15 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The windows of all the cars were broken. Officials believe the suspect shot the windows with a BB gun. No one was injured during the incident. Police continue to investigate.

<![CDATA[Prisoner of Conshy: Harry Potter Inspires a 'Sirius' Visit]]>Wed, 01 Mar 2017 17:44:38 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Harry+Potter2_edited-2.png

Calling all Harry Potter fans, enthusiasts and historians.

Do you have what it takes to enter Azkaban and uncover the truth behind the wizarding world's most infamous prison?

Home to dark wizards and witches and guarded by Dementors, even a muggle would fear the dreaded institution.

For those wanting to experience a real-life version of Azkaban, the Witch and Wizard Prison in Conshohocken offers a Harry Potter-inspired escape room.

"You have been tricked by a dark wizard and forced to take his spot in the dreaded prison. Your easiest task will be escaping the cell," Project Escape explained. 

Visitors must figure out the Wizard’s Secret before the Dementors notice the prisoners' disappeared. Warning: Just because Sirius Black escaped doesn't mean you will.

The Wizard’s Secret attraction features a wizard den, crystal balls, magic wands and a room filled with potions that would make even Professor Snape jealous.

This Harry Potter escape game does not hold Igor Kararoff or Bellatrix Lestrange as inmates, so Project Escape has taken matters into their own hands to recreate a local version of the Witch and Wizard Prison.

“The escape room allows Happy Potter fans to feel like they are a part of the movie,” said Rick Mason, Project Escape co-owner.

Project Escape is all ages and children under the age of 18 must have an adult present. 

Photo Credit: Project Escape]]>
<![CDATA[Man Secretly Records Girls in HS Locker Room: Police]]>Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:42:48 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Perkiomen+Valley+High+School+_22724062.jpg

A man was arrested after he allegedly filmed teen girls in a high school locker room.

Police say John Lyons Jr. of Collegeville walked into the boy’s locker room of Perkiomen Valley High School on Gravel Pike in Perkiomen Township back on February 18 at 11:10 a.m. and began recording with his cellphone. Perkiomen Valley High School was hosting the Perkiomen Invitational Swim Meet at the time and female members of several swim teams were using the boy’s locker room due to the high capacity.

After an investigation, Lyons was arrested and charged with invasion of privacy as well as other related offenses.

Photo Credit: NBC10 ]]>
<![CDATA[Main Line Songwriter Wins Oscar for 'La La Land' ]]>Sun, 26 Feb 2017 23:57:22 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Benj-Pasek-High-School.jpg

One of the songwriters who just won an Academy Award for the modern day musical “La La Land” hails from Montgomery County.

Benj Pasek, 31, who grew up in Ardmore, was one of the co-writers behind “City of Stars,” which won Best Original Song at the 2017 Academy Awards.

Pasek attended Friends Central School in Wynnewood as a teen. NBC10 interviewed Pasek's drama teacher Terry Guerin as well as his mother Kathy Hirsh-Pasek in January after he won a Golden Globe for "City of Stars."

“I don’t know if I was nervous as much as I was so excited that he even had the opportunity to be acknowledged by his peers for the work that he did,” Pasek's mom said on his Golden Globe win. “How cool was that?”

During his speech at the Oscars, Pasek thanked his mother who he took with him to the show. 

"I want to thank my mom who is my date tonight," he said. "She let me quit the JCC soccer league to be in a musical. This is dedicated to all the kids who sing in the rain and all the moms who let them."

Photo Credit: NBC10
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Pa. Man Dies after Vermont Snowmobile Crash]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:22:10 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Maine+snowmobile+riders.jpg

Vermont State Police say a 64-year-old man has died from injuries he suffered in a snowmobile crash in Killington.

Police say John McConomy, of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, was operating a rented snowmobile at about 2 p.m. Wednesday as part of a guided tour.

During the tour, McConomy was turning around when he accelerated too fast and lost control. Police say he hit a stump and both McConomy and his wife, Judith, who was riding with him, were ejected.

McConomy later died at the Rutland Regional Medical Center. Judith McConomy suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

<![CDATA[2-Year-Old Boy Struck in Hit-and-Run in Ambler ]]>Sun, 19 Feb 2017 17:57:32 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Ambler-Hit-and-Run1.jpg

A toddler is out of the hospital and home with his family after being struck in a hit and run crash in Ambler, Pennsylvania on Saturday.

The 2-year-old boy's parents told NBC10 they lost sight of him for a moment Saturday around 4:45 p.m. near Knight Park, a local skate park. The boy then took off, crossing the road on South Main Street near Bannockburn Avenue. He was then struck by a vehicle which continued northbound on South Main Street, police said.

"I just want to know why they left," the boy's mother told NBC10. "My son is a person. He's not the speed bump or anything. He's a person. And he matters like everybody else."

The child was airlifted to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. According to police, the boy only suffered bumps and bruises. He was released from the hospital Sunday.

While police are investigating the incident as a hit and run, they also say the driver may not have been aware he struck anyone since the child is small. The driver is described as a white male wearing sunglasses with white hair driving a black Toyota 4 Runner.

Photo Credit: Augie Conte ]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Manayunk juicery to open Main Line location this year]]>Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:01:51 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/juice.PNG

A local juicery and café that first opened on Manayunk's Main Street will open their second location this year on the Main Line, taking over a space formerly housing a George Perrier-founded restaurant.

Since it debuted in Manayunk in June 2014, The Juice Merchant has launched a vegan, gluten-free menu along with its cold-pressed juices. Now it's time to expand.

A sister location will open in March this year in Narberth in Montgomery County, taking over the space vacated by Art of Bread, which George Perrier founded in 2011 and closed last year.

To read the full article, click here


For more business news visit, Philadelphia Business Journal 

Photo Credit: Google Street View ]]>
<![CDATA[Masked Men Break into MontCo Pizza Shop]]>Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:38:35 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000019429042_1200x675_879876675615.jpg

Police say a masked duo are going town to town breaking into small businesses. They hit a pizza shop in Montgomery County this week. NBC10 Reporter Deanna Durante reports live from the shop they broke into.]]>
<![CDATA[1 Hurt in Fiery Crash Involving School Bus and Van]]>Mon, 13 Feb 2017 17:12:17 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Fiery-Bus-Crash.jpg

One person was injured in a fiery crash involving a school bus and two other vehicles in Horsham, Pennsylvania

The crash occurred Monday afternoon on Lower State and Horsham roads.  A bus carrying students from Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School in Maple Glenn was involved in an accident with a van and one other vehicle. The crash caused the van to catch fire.

One person who was not on the bus suffered non-life-threatening injuries. None of the students on the bus were hurt. They were released to their parents.

Officials continue to investigate the cause of the crash.

Photo Credit: Finn Loftus ]]>
<![CDATA[Your Guide to Snow Emergencies Across the Region]]>Thu, 09 Feb 2017 12:12:07 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/PPA-Snow-Parking.jpg

Several parts of our area have declared snow emergencies ahead of Thursday’s snow.


A snow emergency was declared for Philly at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and lifted at noon.

Under the snow emergency, all parked cars must be moved off snow emergency routes for plowing. When moving your car, park as far from the corner of the street as possible as vehicles parked too close to the corner get in the way of snow plows trying to turn corners.

If your car is moved, call 215-686-SNOW to find it but DO NOT call 911.

Philadelphia Police also had a bit of fun reminding residents that it's illegal to save parking spots after shoveling by referencing a now viral Dr. Phil clip of a rebellious 13-year-old girl.

Trash and Recycling

Sanitation and recycling collections in Philadelphia will also be suspended Thursday. Residents who normally have collections Thursdays are being asked to hold their trash until the following week. Crews are expected to resume collections Friday but residents should expect delays. There also will not be any collections in driveways Friday and residents should place materials at curbside to be picked up.

The Office of Emergency Management will activate its Emergency Operations Center at 5 a.m. Thursday and will remain open until at least 5 p.m. City government offices will be open during normal business hours Thursday though supervisors are being urged to offer flexibility if employees are late.


The Philly 311 Call Center will remain open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday to take calls for all non emergencies. Requests for salting and plowing will not be taken during the storm however.

The Philadelphia Water Department's customer contact center will be open Thursday and you can contact them at 215-685-6300. Residents are being urged to shovel snow from the fronts of fire hydrants and storm drains on their block to allow melt to drain to the city sewer system.

Philadelphia's Office of Homeless Services declared a Code Blue Wednesday at 8 p.m. that will last until Saturday at noon. The city's homeless outreach teams will increase staffing and foot patrols during the Code Blue to transport homeless people to shelters. If you see a person living on the street, call Homeless Outreach at 215-232-1984 and report the sighting.

Philadelphia prisons canceled inmate visits Thursday for all jails in Philadelphia County.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority will not enforce meter and time limit violations on residential blocks Thursday due to snow. They will enforce all snow emergency and safety violations. Vehicles illegally parked on snow emergency routes after midnight will be subject to ticketing and towing.

The PPA is offering a special 24-hour flat rate of $5.00 at the following parking facilities during the snow emergency:

  • AutoPark at Independence Mall (5th & Market Streets)
  • AutoPark at Jefferson (10th & Ludlow Streets)
  • Autopark at the Gallery Mall (10th & Filbert Streets)
  • Autopark at 8th & Filbert Streets Garage (801 Filbert Street)
  • AutoPark at Old City (2nd & Sansom Streets)
  • Philadelphia Family Court Garage (1503-11 Arch Street – Going south on 15th Street, enter the garage on the west side just after 15th & Cherry St.)
  • Gateway Garage (enter from Spring Street between 15th & 16th Streets)

Bring your ticket and pay at the PPA Management Office in each garage to receive your $5 rate.

SNOW EMERGENCIES ACROSS THE REGION(Click on each town for info - some may be lifted)

Bucks County, Pennsylvania

All Bucks County offices are closed Thursday.

Doylestown Borough

Hilltown Township

New Britain Township

Silverdale Borough

Warminster Township

Chester County, Pennsylvania


Delaware County, Pennsylvania

Haverford Township

Lehigh/Northampton County


Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

County courts and government offices are closed Thursday.

Abington Township

Cheltenham Township


Hatfield Borough


Lower Gwynedd Township

Lower Providence Township

Lower Salford Township

Montgomery Township

North Wales Borough

Upper Merion Township

West Pottsgrove Township

Photo Credit: Matt Schaffer
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Thieves Steal Kobe Memorabilia from Lower Merion High School]]>Wed, 08 Feb 2017 06:45:18 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-Suspects-Lead.jpgThieves stole Kobe Bryant memorabilia from Lower Merion High School. Police released surveillance photos of the suspects as well as the stolen items. ]]><![CDATA[Good Samaritans Rescue Man From Fiery Crash]]>Fri, 03 Feb 2017 13:23:45 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000019194866_1200x675_869536835620.jpgBystanders rushed to the aid of a driver trapped after he crashed and his car caught fire Thursday. Officials say around 2:00 p.m., the man crashed into an embankment at Greenwood & West avenues in Jenkintown, running over a traffic light and coming to stop near a SEPTA station. The car then burst into flames. Carolyn Kelly, a witness to the crash, told NBC10 two men rushed in to pull the man to safety. She said the driver seemed to be unconscious and the men had to pull him by his feet from the car then roll him to safety. The men stayed until police arrived. Officials said he was taken to a nearby hospital and expected to make a full recovery.]]><![CDATA[Montgomery County Vets Fight to Keep VFW Open]]>Wed, 25 Jan 2017 06:24:30 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/VFW+Post+Local+Vets+_22275871.jpgSuburban Philadelphia VFW locations have had to close or merge posts over the last several years. NBC10’s Deanna Durante has more on the effort to keep the organization alive in Montgomery County.

Photo Credit: NBC10 ]]>
<![CDATA[Social Media Posts Could Play Role in Rape-Murder Case]]>Wed, 25 Jan 2017 11:16:25 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Sara+Packer+Facebook+_22275737.jpg

Old social media postings could play a role in the case against a woman accused of helping her boyfriend kill her adopted daughter in a rape and murder fantasy.

Sara Packer and her boyfriend Jacob Sullivan are both in jail and awaiting a preliminary hearing in the rape and murder of Grace Packer, 14. The couple allegedly beat, raped and killed Grace in their rented home in Quakertown last year and left her in the attic for months before eventually dumping her body in a wooded area of Luzerne County, according to authorities. They were arrested earlier this month and charged with criminal homicide, rape, kidnapping and other related offenses.

As the investigation into Grace’s murder continues, NBC10 obtained Sara Packer’s old posts on social media. In one long entry, posted by Packer in September of 2009, she talks about Grace, Grace’s brother, and two other foster children. She complains that one of the children ran away. She also wrote that after she called police the child was “nice and safe in the psych ward for a couple of days.”

“It is disturbing to me,” said Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub who is leading the murder case against Packer. “We’re going to go wherever the evidence leads. Believe me we’re taking a look at her entire social media presence.”

Weintraub would not confirm whether or not the social media postings are part of the case. He told NBC10 forensic investigators are still looking at the couple’s phones.

“We are leaving no stone unturned,” he said.

Sara Packer was suspended from her job as a case supervisor with the Northampton County Child, Youth and Family Office in January of 2010. She was then fired from the job in April, 2010. Around the same time a criminal case was opened against David Packer, Sara's husband at the time. David Packer later pleaded guilty to sexually abusing Grace when she was 9 as well as another foster child.

Sara Packer appeared to be addressing those events in her social media postings. On January 19, 2010 she wrote that she lost everything in the span of four days and made mentions of tears and sobbing. Sources told NBC10 Grace and her brother were briefly taken from the Packer home at the time. On January 26, 2010 Sara Packer wrote, “It’s been one week…I miss them more than I have the words to express.”

In July of 2011, Sara Packer answered in a Facebook quiz that “money and my lack of it” got on her nerves. Five years later she continued to cash her daughter’s social security checks after her murder, according to investigators.

Sara Packer had 30 foster children placed in her care. In some of her social media posts, she mentions another foster child who was in her care at the time. Law enforcement sources told NBC10 that child has not been tracked down. Weintraub says many agencies are currently working on the case.

<![CDATA[High-End Car Thefts in Montgomery County]]>Wed, 11 Jan 2017 20:59:58 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/High+End+Car+Thefts+Montgomery+County_22123325.jpgThieves stole cars and valuables from two homes near Spring House in Lower Gwynedd on Tuesday between midnight and 6 a.m. NBC10’s Deanna Durante reached out to local police departments and found out how to protect yourself from potential car theft.]]><![CDATA[Girl Who Was Raped, Killed Endured Life of Abuse: Lawyer]]>Thu, 12 Jan 2017 17:21:37 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Grace+Packer+crop.jpg

The 14-year-old Pennsylvania girl who was raped, tortured and killed at her adoptive mother's house had been abused or neglected in at least three homes during her short life, according to an attorney.

A lawyer for Grace Packer's birth parents told The Associated Press they lost custody of the girl over allegations that other adults were sexually abusing their children.

Grace was adopted by adoption worker Sara Packer when she was a toddler. In 2011, Sara Packer's husband at the time, David Packer, pleaded to statutory sexual assault after he was charged with indecent deviate sexual intercourse with a girl who was 9 at the time of his arrest.

Packer told NBC10 during an interview last year that Grace was not the girl he was sentenced for sexually assaulting. The Northampton County District Attorney's Office told NBC10 Wednesday however that Grace was the girl who he molested.

"I can't discuss any information about that," David Packer told NBC10 during a second interview Wednesday. "As the law stands, regardless of the circumstance, the victim has those rights not to be identified. I'm not going to comment either way but my lawyer will be looking into the fact that numerous people are breaking the law with speculation and rumors about Grace."

Authorities near Philadelphia this week charged Sara Packer and her boyfriend Jacob Sullivan with killing Grace in a "rape-murder fantasy" carried out over many hours.

The girl was beaten, raped as her mother watched, poisoned and then strangled when they found her still alive hours later in a stifling attic last July, authorities said.

"It sounds like this poor girl went through hell," said lawyer David Tornetta, who had fought for the birth parents to keep their three young children.

He called them good people who perhaps lacked the money and skills to care for them. When he learned this week that their middle child, then called "Susan," was the girl found killed and dismembered, he wondered if he had done enough for the family.

By the time Sara Packer reported her daughter missing in July -- telling police the teen may have run away -- she no longer wanted her, prosecutors said. She and Sullivan started planning her death as soon as Grace returned from a long stay with an out-of-state relative, they said.

"She was unwanted. They wanted to ship her out. ... And when that failed, they plotted to kill her," said Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Schorn, who oversees major crimes prosecutions in Bucks County.

Packer, 41, and Sullivan, 44, were arrested on murder and other charges last weekend after they were found unconscious from an over-the-counter overdose in what authorities called a joint suicide pact.

Sara Packer's public defender did not return phone messages this week. Sullivan apologized as he was led into court from the hospital, telling reporters he was "sorry for what (he) did."

Investigators in several northeast Pennsylvania counties are now trying to determine how many foster children Sara Packer and her ex-husband, David Packer, took in before he went to prison in 2011 and whether any other children were abused.

Sara Packer, by then an adoptions supervisor in Northampton County, lost her $44,000-a-year job amid her husband's arrest on sex crimes. She was never charged, but there was some concern she was aware of the abuse and didn't stop it, Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin said.

Grace was last seen alive at a family picnic July 4. Her mother raised suspicions when she failed to drop off a promised photograph of her daughter to police and moved without telling them, taking Grace's 12-year-old biological brother, whom she had also adopted, in tow.

Hunters found Grace's body in a wooded area in Luzerne County on Oct. 31.

Sara Packer and Sullivan are due in court for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 20.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Bucks County District Attorney's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Police Search Home of 3rd POI in Teen Girl's Murder ]]>Tue, 10 Jan 2017 20:33:13 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Grace+Packer+Person+of+Interest_22108187.jpg

Police searched the Horsham, Pennsylvania apartment of a third person of interest in the rape, murder and dismemberment of a 14-year-old girl.

Detectives from both Montgomery and Bucks counties arrived at the apartment shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday and left with what appeared to be a box of evidence after about an hour. They did not reveal what they were looking for at the apartment specifically.

The woman who lives at the apartment was involved in a polyamorous relationship with Jacob Sullivan and Sara Packer, according to investigators. Both Sara Packer and Sullivan are charged in the rape, murder and dismemberment of Packer’s 14-year-old adopted daughter Grace Packer. They are both being held without bail in Bucks County.

The third person of interest lived with Sullivan and Packer inside the Horsham apartment for about a year and a half, according to officials. The woman, who we are not identifying since she has not been charged with a crime, called 911 back on December 30, 2016 after she found Sullivan barely conscious and unresponsive inside their bedroom.

“I don’t know if you have watched the news lately,” the woman told the dispatcher, according to the affidavit. “Someone we were involved with was recently...It’s a big mess. It’s a big mess and I don’t really know how to explain it. But oh my God.”

She also later found Packer unconscious in the bathroom and took her to the hospital. Police say Packer and Sullivan both tried to overdose on drugs as part of a suicide pact.

During his time recovering at Abington Hospital, Sullivan allegedly confessed to staff members that he and Packer had conspired to kill Grace. Police say Sullivan confessed to raping the teen while Packer watched, storing her body in the attic of their Quakertown home, dismembering her body months later and dumping her remains in a wooded area in Luzerne County. Police say Packer helped Sullivan dispose of her daughter’s body and then lied to investigators for months as they searched for the girl, whose remains were later found by a group of hunters.

Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub called Sullivan’s second girlfriend a person of interest in the case but not a suspect. The woman’s attorney, Sharon Meisler, spoke to NBC10 about her client’s involvement with the ongoing investigation.

“She is cooperating,” Meisler said. “She has been cooperating. I didn’t know they were going to do that but I understand why they’re doing it.”

Meisler said her client is devastated by Grace Packer’s death. Despite the arrests of Sara Packer and Jacob Sullivan, officials say the investigation into the teen’s death is ongoing.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Memorial for Murdered Montco Teen Grace Packer]]>Sat, 24 Dec 2016 10:18:20 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Grace+Packer+crop.jpg

A group of people who never met 14-year-old Grace Packer are pulling together memorials in the girl's honor after learning of her murder.

New Life Church in Glenside will host a memorial service for the teen on Monday, January 16, 2017 at 1 p.m., according to an online event posting.

Andrea Green-Adams is helping to put the memorial together which has been named Abington Loves Grace. Green-Adams didn't know the teen, but as a mother of a 14-year-old son said she was heartbroken to learn about Packer's tragic death and felt compelled to act.

"I couldn't just let that be the end of her story," she said. A second event is also being discussed.

Packer went missing from Abington Township in July following an apparent argument with her adoptive mother, Sara Packer. Hunters stumbled upon parts of her body in the woods of Luzerne County on Halloween. Prosecutors made her death public on Thursday and announced the mother was a person of interest in the case.

Sara Packer was already charged in connection with the girl's disappearance. Investigators said she hindered their missing person's investigation by delaying providing photos of the girl and lying about telling other family Grace was missing.

The mother, who was being held on bail, left the county jail on Friday. She, her attorney and Grace's family has not commented on the arrest or the girl's death.

Green-Adams set up a public Facebook group, In Memory of Grace Packer, for other members of the community to share thoughts about the the teen and help coordinate events.

"I did not know Grace, but the beautiful stories, memories, and anecdotes shared by those who did know her have taught me a great deal," John Spiegelman, a father, wrote in a lengthy post.

Jackie Horst, a mother who said her son was a close friend of Grace, posted photos of notes the teens wrote and flowers he got her.

"Grace was my son's best and only real friend last year. They rode the bus together, ate lunch together and talked on the phone or online," Horst wrote in one post. The text accompanied a photo of the wall of her son's bedroom that had Grace's name written on it.

"I couldn't wait to fix this spot on his wall but now I think we will leave it just the way it is," she said.

Photo Credit: Bucks County District Attorney's Office]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Main Line Middle School Seeks $11M Expansion Project]]>Fri, 23 Dec 2016 15:08:03 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/classroom+generic1.jpg

Lower Merion School District officials want to spend at least $11 million on a middle school expansion project that would add classroom and cafeteria space to the Bala Cynwyd Middle School.

The proposed plan includes a new 2-story wing that would hold 12 classrooms, as well as a new 30-space parking lot, according to Main Line Media News.

Located between Manayunk Road and Bryn Mawr Avenue near Levering Mill Road, the middle school has seen its enrollment grow over the past several years.


To read full article, click here.

For more information, visit Philadelphia Business Journal

Photo Credit: Newsworks ]]>
<![CDATA[One Dead, Several Displaced in Montco Fire]]>Fri, 23 Dec 2016 09:13:29 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/PottstownFatalFire.jpg

Officials said one person was killed and 20 were displaced by an apartment fire in Pottstown overnight. 

That adult victim was found in a room on the second floor according to Fire Chief Richard Lengel.

Chief Lengel told NBC10 that 'careless smoking' was the likely cause of the fire.

Several other people escaped the flames, including Carlos Ortiz, who told NBC10's Matt DeLucia he and his girlfriend saw the smoke whils they were still inside. "It was just crazy. We got the little ones out, rushed out of there as fast as possible," he said.

The American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania said it was helping 20 people, including 7 kids after the fire that broke out around 1:30 a.m. along the 400 block of High Street. 

Officials did not immediately identify the man who died.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Pete Kane]]>
<![CDATA[108-Year-Old Montco World War II Veteran Passes Away]]>Wed, 21 Dec 2016 16:09:48 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Mohr_Veteran108.png

A 108-year-old World War II veteran from the Philadelphia suburbs who attended the yearly Veterans Day breakfast at the White House in November has passed away.

William Mohr of Hatboro died on Sunday, December 18 surrounded by his family, caregivers, an Irish priest from his family’s home town and Santa, who visited him at the hospital during his final hours.

“My dad was an inspiration to all who knew him,” said Mohr’s daughter, Jodie. “A few moments in his presence would melt your heart. Always a smile, always a kind word.”

In November, Mohr made headlines when he was invited to the 2016 Veterans Day Breakfast at the White House. Mohr traveled to DC with two of his children, Jodie and Rick, where they met other veterans, current members of the military and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Mohr and his family also met President Barack Obama and took photos with him in the Blue Room of the White House.

“Meeting a sitting President was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for our father, who was a true patriot,” said Mohr’s family in a statement.

Born in 1908, Mohr was one of the oldest surviving World War II veterans in the United States and the oldest resident of Hatboro, Pennsylvania. Mohr was an army sergeant with the 45th Infantry Division and served in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany and was a part of the unit that helped liberate the Dachau Concentration Camp.

“We would like to thank all the veterans who supported my dad in his final days,” said Mohr’s family. “Greatest thanks go to his team of caregivers who would never leave his side. They made his life and his final days so joyful.”

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that contributions be made to Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation.

Photo Credit: Mohr Family]]>
<![CDATA[Road Closure on Valley Forge Road ]]>Tue, 20 Dec 2016 01:26:00 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/road-closed1.jpgValley Forge Road between Morris and Hunter Mill roads will be closed Tuesday through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. due to a bridge removal.]]><![CDATA[Prayer Vigil in Montgomery County for Victims of Cairo Church Attack]]>Tue, 20 Dec 2016 01:18:11 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000018445124_1200x675_837242435534.jpgA Montgomery County church held a prayer vigil for victims of an attack at a church in Cairo.]]><![CDATA[Power Outage Leaves Shoppers in the Dark at KOP Mall]]>Mon, 19 Dec 2016 07:23:13 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Power+Outage+King+of+Prussia+Mall+_21848299.jpg

Some last-minute Christmas shoppers were left in the dark at the King of Prussia Mall Sunday.

A power outage occurred at the mall around 2:15 p.m. and impacted the “Plaza” portion between the JC Penney and RiteAid stores on the upper level. The outage lasted for about 30 minutes until power was fully restored.

A PECO spokesperson told NBC10 the outage was caused by a shortage in a circuit that served the mall and surrounding buildings. The circuit automatically reset and power slowly came back on.

No injuries or evacuations were reported during the incident.

<![CDATA[Santa Makes Special Delivery for Salvation Army]]>Thu, 15 Dec 2016 19:04:02 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000018393815_1200x675_834286659648.jpgSanta and his helpers made a very special delivery for the Salvation Army in Norristown on Thursday. NBC10’s Rosemary Connors has the story.]]><![CDATA[Convicted Child Predator on the Run Sentenced in England ]]>Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:42:04 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Gerald-Zalewski.jpg

A convicted child predator who had been a fugitive since skipping a sentencing hearing in Montgomery County in 2006 was sentenced in England Wednesday for raping another child.

Gerald Zalewski, 33, was sentenced in Lancashire, England to 12 years in jail, according to Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele.

“The FBI notified us today that Zalewski was sentenced today in England for committing a similar sexual crime against a child,” said Steele. “Once the defendant serves his time in England, we want him back to lock him up. This violent predator will be off of the streets for a very long time.”

The initial charges against Zalewski in Montgomery County stem from an investigation in July and August of 2004. Officials say Zalewski had several sexually explicit Internet chats with a police officer posing as a 12-year-old. Zalewski was arrested on August 15, 2004 after he arranged a meeting with the undercover detective in order to have sex.

Investigators also determined Zalewski had previously sexually assaulted a 13-year-old Bucks County girl he met online in June of 2004 and more charges were filed against him. Zalewski pleaded guilty on November 14, 2005 to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Zalewski never showed up to his sentencing hearing on March 29, 2006 however and was then charged with flight to avoid punishment and default in required appearance. The District Attorney’s Office placed him on watch lists, including the FBI’s “America’s Most Wanted.”

Police say Zalewski was convicted of a similar crime in England after he contacted another 13-year-old over the Internet, manipulated her into sending him indecent images and arranged to meet her in a park in June of 2016. When the two met, Zalewski sexually abused the girl for several hours. Investigators say he put masking tape on the girl’s mouth, put a dog collar around her neck and wrote the words, “rape me” on her leg. He then took pictures of the girl with his cellphone.

Zalewski then fled after the incident but was arrested in Kent, England on June 21 after a manhunt. He pleaded guilty in October to penetrative sexual activity with a child, meeting a child following sexual grooming, making indecent photographs of a child and false imprisonment. He was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years.

Photo Credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office ]]>
<![CDATA[Montgomery County Man Faces Child Porn Charges]]>Wed, 07 Dec 2016 06:28:48 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/William-Davis.JPG

A Montgomery County man was arrested on child porn charges.

William Davis, 52, of Skippack Township, is charged with dissemination of child pornography, possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility.

The investigation began September 4 when an East Norriton Township detective was conducting an undercover, electronic communications operation on the internet. During the investigation, the detective located a computer that was configured to anonymously share files with others. When the detective connected to the computer he received 73 sexually explicit files and determined 24 of those depicted child porn.

Investigators traced the computer to Davis’ home, officials said. Detectives then executed a search warrant at the home and seized Davis’ computer. Officials say they found 19 child porn videos and images on the computer.

Davis was arrested on December 1 and released on $5,000 unsecured bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning.

Photo Credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office ]]>
<![CDATA[Dazzling Holiday Display in Ambler]]>Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:07:39 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Holiday+Display+Ambler+_21710527.jpgA family in Montgomery County is taking the holiday spirit to a whole new level. NBC10's Keith Jones takes a look at an Ambler family's elaborate display.]]><![CDATA[Upper Merion Admin Offices to Return to 5-Day Work Week]]>Sun, 04 Dec 2016 21:58:12 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/upper+merion+township+building.PNG

After about seven years, Upper Merion's administrative offices will return to a five-day work week in January, according to Upper Merion Supervisor Greg Waks.

Over the past seven years, Upper Merion's economy has strengthened, Waks said. The additional revenue the township has received has allowed them to invest in their infrastructure and meet their obligations without raising taxes.

"We hope that this will provide an additional opportunity for our residents to obtain some of the services they might need," Waks said.

Between late 2009 and early 2010, townships needed to crunch their budgets due to the recession, according to Waks. In order to save money, the Board of Supervisors shifted Upper Merion administrative offices to a four-day work week.

Instead of five eight-hour days, employees worked four ten-hour days which allowed the township to save about $25,000 a year in utilities and building maintenance.

While the four-day work week has saved some money, it has not saved as much as originally projected, according to Waks. Waks also said residents who needed to use the administrative offices on Fridays were unable to access them.

For the ease of employees, the township is implementing a Flex Friday schedule allowing employees to have every other Friday off, if they want. Upper Merion Township will also let employees who are scheduled on Fridays "dress down."

Photo Credit: Google Maps
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Montco Elementary Students 'Show a Veteran']]>Fri, 11 Nov 2016 19:24:05 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Show+a+Veteran.PNGKids love show and tell, but one Montgomery County school switched things up a little bit this Veteran's Day. Students got the chance to show off a veteran.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Gun Range Too Noisy for Montco Neighbors]]>Fri, 04 Nov 2016 12:11:17 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/genericgunrange.jpg

East Vincent Township in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania recently opened a new law enforcement only gun range. Neighbors aren't thrilled.

The gun range currently has officers and other personnel completing mandatory qualifications. It's located on Dairy Road behind the township's sewer plant and some residents in the Royersford section of Limerick Township complained about the noise.

Last week, Limerick Township Police Department administrators met with the East Vincent Township Police and discussed ways to reduce the noise.

East Vincent Township is working on sound reduction measures.

The gun range is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. But the police department said they'll try and limit the early morning and evening schedule.

There are also dates when the gun range will not be in use and as winter approaches, overall use may be reduced.

Royersford Borough Police Department also updated residents that they also met with the East Vincent Township Police Department.

Some residents are on the side of the East Vincent Township Police arguing they deal with train horns at all hours, fire sirens and horns, as well as gunshots from hunters -- and the gunshots from the range shouldn't affect anything, and that first responders need practice.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Dies in Montgomery County Crash, Man Faces Charges]]>Mon, 31 Oct 2016 15:07:43 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Kurt+Kucharik.png

A 19-year-old man is charged with homicide by vehicle in a crash that resulted in the death of a 57-year-old woman last month.

Kurt Kucharik of Harleysville was driving south in a Scion on Trappe Road in Norristown around 6 a.m. on Sept. 20. Upper Providence Police and Montgomery County Detectives say that Kucharik's car crossed into the northbound lane, after he crossed Paperbirch Drive, and into Catherine Boyle's path resulting in a head-on collision.

Boyle was pronounced dead at the scene and Kucharik was taken to Paoli Hospital with face and leg injuries.

In addition to the homicide by vehicle, Kucharik is also charged with recklessly endangering another person, careless driving, and other related offenses.

Kucharik was released on $50,000 bail after his arraignment on Oct. 27. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 10 at 10:45 a.m.

Photo Credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Kathleen Kane Gets Parking Ticket During Perjury Sentencing]]>Tue, 25 Oct 2016 05:54:46 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Kathleen+Kane+Land+Rover+Ticket+cp.jpg

Kathleen Kane isn't having a good day.

As the disgraced former Pennsylvania attorney general sat in a Norristown courtroom Monday afternoon asking a judge to go easy when sentencing her for a perjury conviction, a meter maid hit Kane's car with a parking ticket.

Well, at least the black Land Rover, she arrived to court in.

The $28 ticket was issued for an expiring meter at 1:01 p.m. -- about two hours before she was slapped with a 10 to 23 months jail sentence.

Kane left court in a different black SUV, a Montgomery County police truck, which took her to the county correctional facility in Eagleville for processing.

If the ticket isn't paid in five days, the fine will increase to $38.

Photo Credit: NBC10
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<![CDATA[Kathleen Kane Released After Posting $75K Bail]]>Mon, 24 Oct 2016 23:14:34 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_331223283685.jpg

Former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, once a rising star in state politics, left a courtroom in handcuffs on Monday after getting a 10- to 23-month sentence for a retaliation scheme a judge linked to her all-consuming ego.

Kane, 50, also was sentenced to eight years of probation by a Montgomery County judge, who said Kane's need for revenge led her to break the law and then lie to a grand jury. Kane, who was accused of leaking secret investigative files to embarrass a rival prosecutor, was convicted of perjury and obstruction.

Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy said Kane assumed an "off with your heads" mentality as she ran the state's top law enforcement agency. The judge called Kane a political "neophyte" who failed to make the transition from politician to public servant when she took office in 2013.

Kane, the first woman and first Democrat elected as the state's top prosecutor, was released Monday after posting $75,000 cash bail. She can remain free while her legal team appeals her conviction.

"I really don't care what happens to me," Kane told the judge. "There is no more torture in the world than to watch your children suffer and know you had something to do with it."

Kane had been a stay-at-home mother in the Scranton area and a former assistant prosecutor in Lackawanna County before using $2 million of her husband's trucking fortune to run for statewide office in 2012.

The judge told her: "Your children are the ultimate ... collateral damage. They are casualties of your actions. But you did that, not this court."

Kane didn't testify at her trial. She was convicted in August of two felony counts of perjury and seven misdemeanor charges, and she resigned the next day.

Earlier Monday, Kane's 15-year-old son, Chris Kane, pleaded for leniency while her former deputies described an office demoralized by her leadership and terrorized by "Nixonian espionage."

Kane argued that the loss of her career, law license and reputation was punishment enough. She had asked the judge to sentence her to probation or house arrest so she could be home to raise her sons. She and her husband are now estranged and share custody of the teenage boys.

The one-term attorney general said her younger son, 14-year-old Zachary Kane, did not attend Monday's sentencing because "he couldn't even bear it."

Prosecutors called her crimes "egregious" and pushed for jail time after the defense sought probation or house arrest. They said a paranoid Kane ruined morale in the 800-person office and the wider law enforcement community, burning bridges among state, local and federal agencies.

"Through a pattern of systemic firings and Nixonian espionage, she created a terror zone in this office," said Erik Olsen, a career prosecutor who's now the chief deputy attorney general.

Kane enjoyed mostly good press early on as she supported gay marriage, ramped up a child predator unit run by her twin sister and questioned her predecessor's handling of the Penn State child sex assault case. Kane's feud with one of the prosecutors, Frank Fina, who had helped run the Penn State probe and other sensitive investigations, led to the leak.

Kane, taking aim at Fina, had a campaign consultant pass confidential files to a reporter about a corruption case he had declined to charge before he left the office, authorities said. She then tried to frame someone else for the leak, aides testified.

Aside from the conviction, Kane's political career will be remembered for her investigation of pornography that she said was being traded on state computers by judges, lawyers and other public employees. Two state Supreme Court justices resigned amid the fallout.

District Attorney Kevin Steele, also a Democrat, said the jail term was a long time coming.

"She said, 'This was war,' and truth became a casualty," he said, quoting from a Kane email about her rivals.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[17 Year-Old Carjacker Faces Charges]]>Mon, 14 Nov 2016 17:42:42 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/bala+cynwyd.PNG

A Philadelphia teenager carjacked three victims in Bala Cynwyd using a handgun on three different occasions, Lower Merion police said.

The robberies took place in Bala Cynwyd on Sept. 15, Sept. 24, and Oct. 13.

The carjacker, weapon in hand, demanded the car keys, cash, and the victim's cell phone, police reported.

Lower Merion Police Investigations Unit investigated the reports and were able to identify the carjacker as a 17 year-old from Philadelphia.

Police arrested the 17 year-old after getting an arrest warrant.

The Philadelphia man is currently in custody and is being charged as an adult in Montgomery County with armed robbery and related offenses. He has not been identified.

Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Bill Clinton Makes Campaign Stop in Montco for Hillary]]>Tue, 18 Oct 2016 18:51:30 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/BClintonGettyImages-609580674.jpg

Hillary Clinton's husband made a campaign stop to stump for his wife in Montgomery County on Tuesday.

President Bill Clinton appeared at Montgomery County Community College, in Blue Bell, to campaign for his wife and urge Pennsylvanians to get out and vote on Nov. 8. His agenda includes encouraging people to elect Democrats across the ticket -- including in Pennsylvania's races -- and discussing Hillary Clinton's economic plan.

The event began shortly after 3 p.m. in the college's Parkhouse Atrium at 350 Dekalb Pike in Blue Bell.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Montco Officers Honored for Act of Heroism]]>Fri, 14 Oct 2016 05:51:57 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000017497981_1200x675_785714755625.jpgTwo officers in Abington were honored for diffusing a potentially deadly situation with an armed, suicidal man who struggled with the officers.]]><![CDATA[Fire Prevention Week in Montco]]>Thu, 13 Oct 2016 17:52:07 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000017493668_1200x675_785513539659.jpgOfficials in Montgomery County brought their safety message to kids in the community.]]><![CDATA[Attorney General Sues PA Home Builder Over Issues]]>Fri, 07 Oct 2016 14:59:27 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/203*120/CutlerGroup.JPG

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office has sued a suburban Philadelphia-based home builder, alleging it misrepresented to several customers that new homes were weather-resistant.

The suit was filed Thursday in Montgomery County Court against the Plymouth Meeting-based Cutler Group. The lawsuit accuses the developer of failing to install stucco and other weather-resistant materials, resulting in excessive water damage to some homes.

Prosecutors say it could cost more than $100,000 to repair each home. The lawsuit was filed in response to complaints filed by homeowners.

Authorities are seeking restitution for the builder's customers as well as penalties for violations of the Consumer Protection Law.

Company CEO David Cutler tells The Philadelphia Inquirer attorneys will respond and the complaints are for homes that were built at least nine years ago.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Montco Father Gets Prison Time for Posing Baby with Handgun]]>Sat, 01 Oct 2016 14:42:16 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Baez+montco.PNG

A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to at least two months in jail for posing his 6-month-old daughter with a handgun.

Agustin Baez of Upper Hanover Township, Montgomery County, took a photo of the scene and emailed it to his ex-girlfriend, writing, "Look, she's packing."

The Morning Call reports that a Northampton County judge sentenced the 43-year-old father of six on Friday, telling him, "This was about one of the dumbest things I've had to deal with in a long time."

Baez pleaded guilty in July. He says the gun was a BB gun, not a real handgun, and that it wasn't functional. He apologized for his actions.

Court records show Baez was charged in April after the mother of his daughter called Bethlehem police to report he'd been threatening her in a custody dispute.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Pennsburg Police Find Possible Solution]]>Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:48:49 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000017206007_1200x675_771377731686.jpgTwo Montgomery County towns may have come to a solution for a problem involving their shared police department. Now, officials are finding ways to keep the force together.]]><![CDATA[422 Crash Stops Rush Hour Traffic]]>Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:33:45 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000017205016_1200x675_771304515896.jpgTwo pedestrians were struck on 422 in Royersford on Thursday night during rush hour. Traffic was completely stopped while crews worked at the scene. The condition of the victims remained unknown.]]><![CDATA[Officer Spots Man Masturbating on Side of Pa. Road: Police]]>Tue, 13 Sep 2016 14:04:44 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Gary+Reed+Hacker+West+Goshen+Indecent+Exposure+Arrest.jpg

Police in suburban Philadelphia investigating reports of a man masturbating naked in the bushes arrested a man who previously pleaded guilty to indecent exposure.

A West Goshen police officer witnessed Gary Hacker, 59, masturbating along the side of Boot Road near Route 202 Friday, said West Goshen Township Police.

Police had been on the search for a naked man who neighbors say was masturbating in the bushes off Boot Road back in August when they made the arrest, said investigators.

Hacker posted 10 percent of 25,000 bail after a judge arraigned the Collegeville man on indecent exposure, lewdness and disorderly conduct.

This wasn't the first time Hacker faced indecent exposure charges. He pleaded guilty to indecent exposure in Montgomery County in 2007 and received two years probation, according to court records.

NBC10 reached out to an attorney who represented Hacker in his previous indecent exposure case for comment.

Photo Credit: West Goshen Township Police]]>
<![CDATA[Villanova Forum on Opioid Crisis to Show Generation Addicted]]>Thu, 08 Sep 2016 14:43:09 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Heroin+in+Needle+1200x675.jpg

A forum at Villanova University next week will focus on bringing more awareness to the deadly opioid epidemic sweeping our region and nation.

The 2016 Matthew J. Ryan Law and Public Policy Forum, "Understanding the Opioid Epidemic," will bring together medical, legal, policy and sociological aspects of the heroin and opioid addiction crisis. The forum runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16 at the Villanova Charles Widger School of Law.

"One of the reasons we wanted to focus on the opioid crisis is because there is such a push to change the way the criminal justice system is responding to those with an addiction," said Shea Rhodes, a forum organizer who serves as director of the Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation. "It's so very important that everyone cross-system collaborates, because it all works toward the same goal."

The forum will include a screening of NBC10's special report, Generation Addicted, which took an in-depth look at the epidemic in the Greater Philadelphia region and beyond. After the screening, NBC10 reporters Vince Lattanzio, Denise Nakano and Morgan Zalot will participate in a discussion about the project and what they learned during their six months reporting on the crisis.

  • Watch a video produced as part of NBC10's Generation Addicted here:

Other featured speakers include Dr. Rachel Levine, physician general for the Pennsylvania Department of Health; Devin Reaves, a certified recovery counselor who oversees Brotherly Love House, a recovery residence for young men; John Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; Cpl. Patrick Krouse of the Upper Merion Police Department; Annie Fisher of Philadelphia's Defender Association; and Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill, among others.

"As a law school and a university, we have a responsibility to explore these important issues and help our students understand what's at stake for our criminal justice system and our society," Villanova Law Prof. Steven L. Chanenson said. Chanenson will moderate a panel about the policy response to the opioid crisis at the forum. 

Other panel topics include working on the front lines of the crisis and a discussion of race and drugs.

The event is free and open to the public. Click here to register.

For attorneys who want to use the forum as credit for continuing education, the fee is $30, and the forum counts for six hours of credit, Rhodes said.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Cosby Could Get Trial Date at Evidence Hearing Tuesday]]>Mon, 05 Sep 2016 15:05:23 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Cosby-GettyImages-533955606.jpg

The shape of Bill Cosby's felony sexual assault trial could become clearer at a hearing Tuesday when his lawyers fight to keep out key evidence, including nearly 1,000 pages of damaging testimony he gave in the accuser's lawsuit.

Cosby, 79, is charged with drugging and molesting a woman he mentored at Temple University in 2004.

His lawyers will ask a suburban Philadelphia judge to suppress testimony from the 2005 lawsuit, when accuser Andrea Constand said she was left semi-conscious and Cosby said he was "not stopped."

And they want to bar jurors from hearing a taped phone call between Cosby and Constand's mother, when the long-beloved celebrity and morals champion fears he will sound like "a dirty old man with a young girl."

The criminal charges were filed in December, months after Cosby's testimony in the woman's lawsuit was unsealed and a new prosecutor reopened the case.

Cosby, in the deposition, admitted to a series of extramarital affairs and described giving numerous women drugs and alcohol before what he called romantic "rendezvous." Some were in their teens or early 20s.

Defense lawyers argue that Cosby was promised he would never be charged, so he felt free to testify in Constand's lawsuit. However, a judge this year found he was never granted immunity.

The comedian known as America's Dad for the top-rated "The Cosby Show" — which captured the amusing travails of fatherhood and painted a warm picture of black family life during its 1984 to 1992 run — now finds himself spending his time and fortune defending tawdry accusations. Dozens of women who accuse him of similar conduct say his arrest was a long time coming.

Cosby's defenders instead suggest he is a wealthy target for the many women he met during five decades as an A-list celebrity.

"None of us will ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim. But the question should be asked — who is the victim?" his wife, Camille, asked as more accusers came forward in 2014.

In his deposition, Cosby said he developed a crush on Constand "probably the first time I saw her" at Temple's arena. He was a university trustee while she managed the women's basketball team.

When she visited his home one night in early 2004 to discuss a career change, Cosby found her stressed and gave her three unmarked pills. Constand thought it was an herbal product. Cosby later said it was Benadryl, though Constand's lawyer doesn't buy that.

Cosby described the sexual encounter that followed, when Constand said she was floating in and out of consciousness:

"I got her skin and ... it's just above where you can go under the pants," he said in the deposition. "I don't hear her say anything. And I don't feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped."

Cosby was also asked about the phone call a year later with Constand's mother in Toronto. Cosby said he dodged her questions because he feared he was being recorded.

"I didn't want to talk about, 'What did you give her?'" he said in the deposition. "And I'm apologizing because I'm thinking this is a dirty old man with a young girl. I apologized. I said to the mother it was digital penetration."

Cosby now wants both the deposition and the tape of the phone call suppressed. District Attorney Kevin Steele will fight to use them at trial. Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Steven O'Neill is expected to hear arguments on one or both issues Tuesday, and perhaps set a trial date. Cosby has so far lost his motions to have the charges thrown out.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ten Young People, Ten Varying Priorities for Election]]>Sun, 31 Jul 2016 23:05:03 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Deirdre+Cosgrove.jpg

Hillary Clinton and her running mate Tim Kaine visited seven cities as part of the “Stronger Together” bus tour to tout the candidates’ job creation plan.

Along the way, I met ten young people who came out to see the candidates. Asking each what their major priorities are in this election, all had different answers. Here’s what they shared:

Philadelphia, Pa.
Supports: Hillary Clinton
Issue: Criminal Justice Reform

 “I support her position in the Truth in Sentencing Act. I think she’s going to be great for criminal justice reform. I think she’s progressive, but she knows how to get things done and she’s going to be a phenomenal president.”


Columbus, Ohio
Supports: Hillary Clinton
Issue: Education

“I teach at an independent school and I feel that I’ve had a lot of positive response to having no set curriculum that I have to teach. So I’d be curious to see what we’d be able to do with the public education system in terms of improving curriculum.”


Akron, Ohio
Supports: Hillary Clinton
Issue: Gender Inequality

“Gender inequality has always been this oppressive force and everyone’s afraid to talk about it, are very scared of it. [Hillary] just being in it, that is starting the conversation and that is the most important thing.”


Vineland, N.J.
Supports: Hillary Clinton
Issue: Brutality and Racial Bias Among Police

 “As we’ve seen over the past couple years, there are definitely some faults in our legal system. Police are here to support us…We shouldn’t fear them because they swore to protect us. I feel like if the president addresses this, people who look like me can feel safer in their community.”


Johnstown, Pa.
Supports: Hillary Clinton
Issue: Economic and Geopolitical Stability

 “The way I see it, I enter the workforce and I enter the economy in a year, so I definitely need somebody like Hillary that is going to keep my taxes from going insane. And somebody that isn’t going to plunge my country into war.”


South Philadelphia
Supports: Hillary Clinton
Issue: Mental Health Reform

“I’m a mental health professional so I work with people in a lot of need so I think that’s really important to get more funding.”


Columbus, Ohio
Supports: Hillary Clinton
Issue: Xenophobia

“The hyper nationalism and violent nationalism that’s coming out of the Trump campaign is really dangerous not only short-term in this election, but also the next four and 40 years. It’s agains the core of America’s values. Domestic terrorism is a huge thing too and creating an angry mob out of a bunch of down on your luck people is as dangerous as runaway states in far away places.”


Montgomery, Alabama
Supports: Hillary Clinton
Issue: Student Loan Debt

“College is getting way too expensive and not enough people are going to college because of that.”


Montgomery, Alabama
Supports: Undecided
Issue: Unemployment

“We just need the economy to start growing. I think [we need] job stimulation. That would be awesome.”


Columbus, Ohio
Supports: Hillary Clinton
Issue: Climate Change

“An unstable climate will create more poverty…A lot of people that live on the coasts, and especially people that live on islands, these islands are going to start disappearing. Places where humans can currently inhabit now, we will not be able to, and the continent will shrink smaller and smaller creating a lot more competition. And it’s a pretty Earth and we want to preserve that for the most amount of people possible.”

NBC10's Vince Lattanzio and David Chang are on the road with the Clinton-Kaine campaign as they tour Pennsylvania and Ohio by bus. Follow their travels on FacebookTwitterInstagram and NBC10.com to get dispatches from the trail and behind the scenes views of what it's like to cover a presidential campaign.

Photo Credit: NBC10/Vince Lattanzio]]>
<![CDATA["MONEY!" Robbery Suspect Yells, Jumps over 7-Eleven Counter]]>Sat, 20 Aug 2016 07:11:37 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/7-Eleven+Robbery+Suspect+Placed.jpg


That’s what one suspect yelled as he jumped over the counter at a Montgomery County store on Thursday night, according to police.

The suspect entered the 7-Eleven at around 11:38 p.m., hopped over the counter and took an undisclosed amount of money before fleeing the store.

The suspect was described as a light skinned black male, approximately 5’11”, wearing a long-sleeved red shirt and camouflage pants. His face was covered with a light-colored scarf and he had a large knife in his hand.

Anybody with information is asked to call the Abington Police Department at 267-536-1100.

Photo Credit: Abington Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Kathleen Kane to Resign, Bruce Castor Takes Over]]>Wed, 17 Aug 2016 06:46:35 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000016715916_1200x675_745765443738.jpgConvicted of perjury charges on Monday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is expected to resign by the end of the day Wednesday. First Deputy Bruce Castor, former Montgomery County district attorney, will take over as acting attorney general for now. NBC10's Pamela Osborne has more.]]><![CDATA[Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane Found Guilty ]]>Tue, 16 Aug 2016 00:11:38 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Kathleen-Kane-Trial.jpg

The Pennsylvania's state attorney general was convicted Monday of all nine counts in a perjury and obstruction case related to a grand jury leak.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane showed little emotion as jurors announced their verdict late Monday. The jurors agreed the first-term Democrat leaked information about a 2009 grand jury probe to embarrass a rival prosecutor.

Earlier, a lawyer for Kane in closing arguments blamed her former top aides for the leak of grand jury material, which found its way to a newspaper. Kane wanted the public to know her predecessor had failed to prosecute a case involving an NAACP official, but she never authorized the leak of secret criminal files, said her lawyer, Seth Farber.

Instead, he said, Kane's chief deputy, Adrian King, abused his power when he sent the files to a reporter through Kane's political consultant. King and the consultant, Josh Morrow, testified against Kane last week.

Morrow, who had a grant of immunity, said he and Kane devised a cover-up story that framed King for the leak. He acknowledged telling the lie to a grand jury.

"Those are two witnesses who will say whatever they need to in order to protect themselves," Farber said. "You would not even buy a used car from either one of them."

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele noted, though, that Kane had chosen the men as confidants. Text messages and phone records show frequent interactions among them on key days in the prosecution's timeline: when the documents changed hands, when the Philadelphia Daily News article appeared and when a grand jury started to investigate the leak.

A top deputy told the jury he was alarmed when he saw the June 2014 article. He testified Kane told him it was no big deal.

"Who would say that other than the person that is responsible for it?" Steele asked.

The leak grew out of Kane's feud with former office prosecutor Frank Fina, he said. According to trial testimony, Kane believed Fina had planted a story that showed she had dropped a statehouse sting.

"She was just hell-bent on getting back at Frank Fina," Morrow testified last week, describing Kane as "unhinged" at the time.

Kane did not testify or call any defense witnesses after three days of prosecution evidence. The jury began deliberations Monday afternoon.

Kane, 50, was once a rising star in the state's Democratic party, using her then-husband's trucking fortune to run for statewide office after stints as a Scranton prosecutor and a stay-at-home mother. But an early honeymoon period in office, when she spoke out for the legalization of gay marriage, was soon marred by turmoil as she sparred with officials inside and outside the office.

She staunchly described the charges as payback for her efforts to take on an "old-boys network" in state government that traded offensive, mildly pornographic emails. Her investigation led two state Supreme Court justices and others to resign.

However, the trial judge did not let her lawyers wade into that argument.

Public officials convicted of official misconduct in Pennsylvania typically don't have to resign until they are sentenced. Kane could stay in office while she appeals, the governor's office said.

Perjury, the only felony charged, can bring up to seven years in prison. The misdemeanor charges Kane faced included conspiracy, official oppression and false swearing.

Kane, the first Democrat and first woman elected to the office, lost her law license over the charges and did not seek re-election this year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

<![CDATA[Fire Erupts Out of Roof of Popular Montco Pub]]>Sat, 06 Aug 2016 19:24:18 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/227*120/Fire+DaVinci+Pub+Bar.PNGA popular Collegeville pub was evacuated after flames shot out of the roof of the building on Saturday afternoon. DaVinci's Pub on Main Street caught fire at around 3:30 p.m.. Everyone was evacuated without injury. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Gymnastics Instructor Charged With Sexually Assaulting Child]]>Sat, 06 Aug 2016 00:22:31 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Daniel+Jacob+Erb+mug.jpg

A youth gymnastics instructor from Montgomery County has been charged with sexually assaulting a girl over a three year span, prosecutors said.

Daniel Jacob Erb, 33, of Hatboro, was arraigned Friday on 48 counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child and related offenses, court records show.

Prosecutors allege the assault began when the girl was 8 years old and continued until she was 11.

A source with knowledge of the investigation said Erb spent time training children at half a dozen gyms across the Philadelphia area.

Erb most recently worked at Tumble Kids Gymnastics in Wyndmoor, court documents showed. He also spent time at the Newtown Athletic Club at their summer camp, according to a letter posted online. The letter said Erb spent a decade working in the York area before moving into southeastern Pennsylvania.

According to a criminal affidavit, detectives said Erb admitted he would lay in bed with the victim and touch her inappropriately on top of her clothes. The touching eventually moved to skin-on-skin contact, prosecutors said.

Erb told detectives the assault was like a game of "Am I going to get caught," court records show.

Prosecutors believe there may be additional victims and ask anyone with information about the alleged assaults to contact Upper Moreland Township Police at 215.657.5700.

Erb is being held at the county prison on $500,000 cash bail. Court records did not list an attorney for him.

Photo Credit: Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Teen Sydney McLaughlin Advances to Semis in 400M Hurdles]]>Mon, 15 Aug 2016 21:06:39 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Sydney+McLaughlin.PNG

The Olympic run for New Jersey teen sensation Sydney McLaughlin continues.

The 17-year-old Dunnellen, New Jersey native moved on to the semifinals in the 400-meter hurdles Monday night with a time of 56.32. She will compete in the semifinals Tuesday. McLaughlin is the youngest American to compete in Track & Field since 1972. She set the junior world record in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2016 Olympic trials.

Jeff Porter of Sommerset, New Jersey also advanced to the semifinals of the Men’s 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.50. Ronnie Ash of Passaic, New Jersey also advanced in the 110m with a time of 13.31.

<![CDATA[Meet Montco's Own New Mrs. Pennsylvania, April Walker-Taylor]]>Thu, 04 Aug 2016 11:31:47 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000016566903_1200x675_738160707987.jpgThe newly crowned Mrs. Pennsylvania, April Walker-Taylor, of Montgomery County, sits down with NBC10's Pamela Osborne to talk about her new title and a cause near and dear to her heart: autism awareness.]]><![CDATA[Teen Charged in Montco Murders of His Mother, Her Boyfriend]]>Wed, 10 Aug 2016 15:26:40 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Joshua+Trunk+1200.jpg

A teenager was charged Wednesday in the shooting deaths of his mother and her boyfriend at an Ambler home July 31, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said.

Joshua Trunk, 19, will face two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Janice Trunk, 54, and Kevin Milton Smith, 44, at the Forest Garden Apartments complex on Forest Avenue.

Police found the couple dead in bed with numerous gunshot wounds to the head and torso, the DA's office said in a statement.

"When the officers entered the apartment, there were no signs of forced entry, no evidence of the ransacking common to burglaries and no indication of a struggle," DA Kevin Steele said. "The evidence pointed to the defendant and a family violence situation."

Joshua Trunk has been in custody since July 31. He faces drug possession charges in a separate case.

He recently received in-patient treatment for drugs at Eagleville Hospital, witnesses interviewed by Ambler police said.

One witness also told police that the suspect's mother "thought [Joshua] Trunk was going to 'do something.'"

Joshua Trunk is being held without bail and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15.

<![CDATA[Uber Driver Gets Prison for Sex Assault in Montco]]>Fri, 29 Jul 2016 10:56:54 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/UberPassport-Uber-lanza-servicio-para-cruzar-frontera-entre-San-Diego-y-Tijuana.jpg

An Uber driver will spend 7 ½ to 15 years in prison for his conviction on charges he sexually assaulted a 24-year-old female passenger.

Forty-seven-year-old Abdellah Elkaddi was sentenced Thursday by a Montgomery County judge.

Elkaddi was acquitted in April of rape and aggravated indecent assault while a victim is unaware of what is happening. But a jury found him guilty of sexual assault, indecent assault and aggravated indecent assault.

Elkaddi's defense attorney had claimed the sex was consensual.

But prosecutors say Elkaddi attacked the woman in June 2015 after she called for a ride from Philadelphia to Norristown to get her car. Authorities say she eventually fell asleep and woke up to find Elkaddi sexually assaulting her.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

<![CDATA[Springfield Township Middle School Teacher Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Teen Girls]]>Wed, 27 Jul 2016 17:55:17 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000016457456_1200x675_733429827937.jpgInvestigators say a Montgomery County middle school teacher sexually assaulted two students while working as a social studies teacher. The DA says the assaults took place in his car and at the girls’ homes.]]><![CDATA[Teacher Accused of Sexually Assaulting Minor]]>Tue, 26 Jul 2016 23:44:46 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Springfield-Township-Middle.jpgA teacher at a Montgomery County middle school is accused of sexually assaulting a minor. Jason Gattuso faces more than 65 counts, including statutory sexual assault.]]><![CDATA[#ClearTheShelters: Thousands of Pets Find Homes]]>Mon, 25 Jul 2016 05:20:12 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Providence+Animal+Shelter+Dogs.jpg

Thousands of pets around the Philadelphia region found new homes thanks to viewers flocking to animal shelters for NBC10's and Telemundo62's Clear the Shelters campaign.

More than 1,000 pets around the region had found homes Saturday alone. The adoption total, including the pets adopted in the days leading up to the event, topped out at over 4,000 animals.

Since the campaign launched on July 2, nearly 3,000 cats, dogs, rabbits and other animals had already found homes. A bearded dragon at EASEL Animal Rescue League in Ewing, New Jersey and a chinchilla at Gloucester County Animal Shelter even found loving homes.

Send your #ClearTheShelters selfie with your new friend. 

But thousands of cats, dogs and other animals were available for adoption on July 23. Thirty-five shelters in the Philadelphia region agreed to waive all adoption fees for the one day.

At Providence Animal Center in Media, Pennsylvania, they exceeded their goal to adopt more than 100 cats and dogs. Two of those pets were adult cats whose original owner died during an accident while vacationing in France. Justina Calgiano, the PR Director for Providence, told NBC10 friends of the owner, who lived in Philly, tried to find shelters in the city but there was no room. The cats were then moved to Providence where they were able to find a new owner Saturday. Calgiano shared the bittersweet story on Instagram.

Two other pets who were adopted at Providence Saturday were Roscoe and Brownie who were given up when their family moved into low-income housing that didn't accept Brownie's breed. Thanks to Clear the Shelters however, they were also able to find a new home.

The Ocean County Animal Shelter in Jackson, New Jersey adopted out five cats in its first 10 minutes of being opened. More than 70 pets found homes at the Camden County Animal Shelter and the Montgomery County SPCA in Conshohocken even adopted out a guinea pig.

And, thanks to Clear the Shelters, Wet Nose Rescue in Northeast Philly adopted out its handful of dogs and for the first time won't have any animals in foster care, the shelter said.

Here was the list of local shelters participating in Clear the Shelters.

#ClearTheShelters is a nationwide effort by NBC-owned and Telemundo stations to find pets new homes. More than 400 shelters in 20 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico will waive or discount fees as part of the one-day adoption drive. The total amount of pets adopted this year already topped 45,000 by Saturday night -- well ahead of the 19,000 pets adopted in 2015.

Photo Credit: Sheena Parveen
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<![CDATA[Gale Force in Montco Politics]]>Mon, 19 Nov 2018 14:20:51 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/280*120/JoeGalelead.jpg

A couple months into last year's ugly primary election campaign for Montgomery County commissioner, Joe Gale took his mother to a stump speech at Valley Forge Baptist Church in Phoenixville.

It was the first time Roseanne Gale went on the trail to watch her son speak. Joe Gale was in the midst of taking on the county's Republican establishment. The political mud-slinging had begun, and its effects dug into the tight Gale clan.

"I was getting mad. I was sad. And I was tired from helping with the campaign," Roseanne said last week, tearing up at the memory from April 19, 2015. "As I watched Joe speaking before a packed church, Valley Forge is very conservative, I saw Joe and he was skinny as a rail. Tears were coming down my face."

But what she heard that day astounded her as Joe made a rousing pitch to the church members. Maybe her son -- only 26 at the time -- really could pull off a major upset and become county commissioner.

"I said to myself, 'It looks like Joe. But who is this?'" Roseanne Gale, a retired reading specialist, said. "He was amazing. By the end, the people loved him."

Fourteen months later, Joe Gale is a 27-year-old Republican Montgomery County Commissioner, one of three elected officials charged with overseeing 3,200 employees and a $390 million budget in Pennsylvania's third-most populous county. He picked off one of the two GOP-endorsed candidates in the May primary, then beat the other in the November general election.

How did a 20-something who lives with his parents in the Plymouth Meeting house he grew up in pull off one of the most surprising election victories in memory?

He credits a wave of anti-establishment disdain among the county's electorate as a big part of his winning calculus.

"My race was a microcosm of what's happening on the national scene now," he said, alluding to Donald Trump's stunning rise to Republican nominee for president, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' enduring influence on the Democratic presidential primary. "You have to remember there was no Donald Trump yet."

But Gale is also brash and confident, traits that helped propel him along even in his darkest moments last year. And if he doesn't play the game the way the county's GOP elite would like him to, he at least looks the part. He's young and clean-cut, to the point that one wonders if he has even needed to buy a razor. His tie collection is growing stronger by the day, and he wears a collared shirt well -- and all the time.

He wants to be the loudest conservative voice in southeastern Pennsylvania.

He also describes himself as the first politician in Pennsylvania to endorse Trump.

"I'm very confident Donald Trump will be the next president," he said.

He is the lone Republican on Montgomery County's three-member board of commissioners. Democrats Josh Shapiro and Valerie Arkoosh fill out the governing body.

As Shapiro is trying to prove in his current campaign for state attorney general -- and other commissioners before him who have run for elected offices including governor -- the title of Montgomery County commissioner can catapult political careers.

Gale doesn't have his eye on any higher office just yet. For now, he's happy with his commissioner post.

And why wouldn't he be? By his own estimate, Gale is the second highest-ranking Republican in Pennsylvania, behind U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

His math is simple: He represents Montgomery County, which at 812,000 residents, is the third-largest in the state. That's a larger constituency than any Harrisburg lawmaker, any U.S. representative from Pennsylvania and, if divided by locally elected officials, any lawmakers in Allegheny or Philadelphia counties.

His political arithmetic aside, Gale faces immediate obstacles before he can begin pondering his long-term, higher office viability: mending fences with his own party, working with Shapiro and Arkoosh to shape the county's future, and finding his own home.

The first two are political concerns. The third is something every 20-something eventually faces.

'Everyone Told Me I Couldn't Win'

Gale hasn't always lived with his parents. For a couple years between graduating from Temple University and running for commissioner, he lived in an apartment in Lansdale. He worked as a loan specialist for NVR Homes.

He planned on buying a home with the help of his company's discounts, and thought the opportunity was nearing.

But along came running for commissioner.

Joe and his young brother Sean came up with the idea one evening with a few confidants. Sean, who would eventually become campaign manager despite attending Villanova Law School (he graduated last month), crunched the numbers and thought victory was possible, maybe.

"I wasn't planning on running, but the party put up two candidates I thought were flawed," he said of the party-endorsed slate.

In the May primary last year, Gale came in second among a trio of Republicans running for two spots on the general election ballot. He beat out Scott Zelov by 1,000, but finished 3,000 votes behind Stephen Tolbert Jr.

With Democrats Shapiro and Arkoosh expected to ride higher Democratic voter numbers to victory in November, Gale and Tolbert Jr. were battling for one spot.

Gale knocked on thousands of doors, and with the help of a small inner circle of four longtime friends, including his brother, he beat out the second of the two party candidates.

"Everyone told me I couldn't win without the party endorsement, but I brought excitement to the race," he said.

He loves to talk, if not so much brag, about his off-the-cuff speeches and his ability to relate to people he meets.

"Joe can talk to anybody," his father, also Joe but not Sr., said. "It's what we taught our children: Shake everyone's hands. Look people in the eye. Hold a conversation. Don't give yes or no answers."

Joe and Roseanne Gale raised their children in a conservative household, one where politeness, etiquette and a love for John Wayne ruled. Joe Gale, the father, works as an engineer specializing in industrial ovens. He has to travel, but always yearns to return to his wife's dinner table, he stressed during an interview at that very table during a big Italian dinner Roseanne cooked for the family last week.

The parents and their children, including their daughter and Sean's twin sister, Katiemarie, talked family and politics over large portions of pasta with gravy and sweet and hot sausage, salad, and a dessert of cake with ice cream and strawberries.

Joe Gale's girlfriend of a year, Danielle Battaglia, also joined the mid-week dinner.

It becomes evident when speaking with the elder Joe Gale that despite his conservative approach to parenting, he didn't object to his son taking a risk with politics.

"When you're young, that's the time to take a risk," he said, sipping a Yuengling Lager as he sat in his living room.

'I'm the Head of the Republican Party'

How does Joe Gale feel about the Montgomery County Republican Party now?

"They're useless," he said. "I don't need them."

He said he has talked to Montgomery County GOP Chairman Bill Donnelly once since taking office in January, and he's not sure when he'll talk to Donnelly again.

"In reality, I'm head of the Republican Party," he said in an interview in early June. "I'm de facto head of the party here."

Donnelly, who became chairman this year, hopes Gale will eventually make peace with the party, despite what transpired during the race last year. At a November party dinner, a Republican committeeman yelled to Gale, "I'd like to slice your throat and rip your esophagus out," according to a Philly.com story titled "Commissioners race tears at Montco GOP."

"I'd welcome him back," Donnelly said in an interview last week. "We want new people and young people and he's a young Republican."

The rift between Gale and his party might be the most outward sign of a larger trend in Montgomery County, one Donnelly faces the tough task of reversing. When Shapiro was first elected in 2011 with fellow Democrat Leslie Richards, they formed the first Democratic majority on the county's governing body in a century. Registered Democrats now outnumber Republicans in the county 247,000 to 202,000.

Richards has since gone on to become Gov. Tom Wolf's Department of Transportation secretary. Arkoosh was appointed by the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas judges to fill her term.

Mending bridges with the party may aid Gale's long-term future in conservative politics, but when it comes to short-term results, he'll need to work closely with Democrats in county government, namely Shapiro -- while the Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania attorney general is still in Montgomery County, that is.

The Chair Incident

"Let me start out by saying, I like Joe," is the way Shapiro began a conversation about Gale.

Shapiro knows a little about what it's like to be in Gale's suit. He first won elected office 12 years ago at 31. He served three terms in the Pennsylvania House before running successfully for county commissioner in 2011.

Shapiro's experience before public office, however, included stints as adviser for two U.S. representatives and a U.S. senator. Gale lacks prior work in legislative offices, but he and his brother Sean were known around the county for their gadfly-like appearances at township and county meetings.

"We became known as the Gale Bros," Sean Gale said proudly. "We loved to dissect the meetings, and the way things got done."

While they differ ideologically, Shapiro said his early election success used the same game plan that Joe Gale employed.

"When I ran for state representative in 2004, no one gave me a shot to win. I went out and knocked on 18,000 doors. I appealed directly to the voters," Shapiro said. "No one gave him a shot to win and he took it directly to the people."

Shapiro also said he has tried to mentor Gale in the ways of holding public office, but that the young lawmaker still has some learning to do.

Shapiro bristled a bit when a reporter brought up a story that Gale seems to enjoy telling -- the chair incident.

It began when outgoing Commissioner Bruce Castor, another in a long line of big personalities on the county Board, took his chair with him as he left office in January.

Gale said the replacement chair he received was a "banged-up" version from the junk pile.

"I just got this chair Friday," Gale said June 2 during an interview in his office.

He said county workers in charge of the office initially replaced the banged-up version with a $500 deluxe model, then asked Gale to pay $350 to make up for the difference between the $150 budgeted allowance for a chair.

"I said take it back," Gale said. "It was ridiculous."

Shapiro declined to comment specifically about the chair incident, but denied that anyone purposefully gave Gale the runaround for months.

Moving Ahead - and Out

Gale's talking points since he entered the public realm -- anti-tax, pro-life -- place him firmly on the conservative right. But he hopes most to bring "common sense and moral character" to county politics.

"These are the two qualities we deserve in an elected official," he said.

Soon, he plans to buy a house and move out of his parents' house. For the time being, he's enjoying the free room-and-board. And he credits his improbable victory to the house, which served as unofficial campaign headquarters.

And he plans on spending a bit more time down the shore this summer than last year. His father, brother and he just got the family boat in the water after they spent a weekend painting its hull. The Gales have a waterfront bungalow near Atlantic City.

"It doesn't stop," he said of the meetings, as his brother and mother took turns telling of how many events Joe attended each week during the election year and in his first few months as commissioner. "But it should slow down a bit in the summer."

"That's what I really missed last year, the shore," he said. A moment later, he was again talking Montgomery County politics with his brother and father.

Do they talk politics on the boat?

"Yes. They always talk about this stuff," Katiemarie Gale said.

Photo Credit: Joseph Kaczmarek
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<![CDATA[Montco Man Charged with Possession of Child Pornography]]>Sat, 16 Jul 2016 23:00:24 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/James+Mugford.PNG

Abington Township Police arrested a Montgomery County man after he was allegedly found with over 2,000 images and videos of child pornography.

James Edward Mugford III, 26, of Huntingdon Valley, faces felony charges for the distribution and possession of child pornography. 

Police say an undercover electronic communications investigation that began in January led them to a computer in Mugford's home. Detectives executed a search warrant and found a total of 2,019 images and three videos of child pornography on Mugford's Apple Macbook, according to investigators.

Mugford was arraigned and released on $20,000 bail. 

Photo Credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office]]>
<![CDATA[School: Missing Teen Likely Died by Suicide]]>Mon, 18 Jul 2016 20:35:50 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Austin+Wylie+Facebook+pic+USE.jpg

A standout teenage soccer player from Montgomery County who vanished this week likely died by suicide, according to the headmaster of the school he attended.

Steve Piltch, the headmaster of the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, sent a letter to the school community about the status of 17-year-old Austin Wylie.

"Although everyone was praying for a good outcome, I do not have good news," Piltch wrote. "Brooksley and Jim asked me to share that on Wednesday afternoon, Austin parked his car at Spring Garden and 5th Street and proceeded to jump off of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Although his body has not yet been recovered, the family thinks it is important for people to know that it has become evident that this is what happened. Honestly, there is no easy explanation for Austin’s decision; although there is no clear basis for why, a note to his family recovered by the authorities from his phone indicates that he was feeling significantly overwhelmed in the moment."

Wylie was reported missing after his car was found abandoned Wednesday at 5th and Spring Garden streets in Philadelphia. Friends and family took to social media to share photos of Wylie after he went missing. A spokesman for the Lower Merion Police Department also told NBC10 that several law enforcement agencies were investigating his disappearance.

While Piltch sent out a statement saying that Wylie likely died by suicide, police have not yet confirmed and a body has not been recovered.

Wylie, who recently finished his junior year at the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, was featured in September as the Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week for his achievements as Shipley's forward. He was also selected to All-League and All-State during the past year and was set to be the captain of the 2016-2017 team. 

Piltch described Wylie as one of Shipley's "most committed, talented, humble and resilient students."

"Blessed with indefatigable integrity and an insatiable drive to do his best, he loved to learn and accomplished ever so much as a student, athlete, and person," Piltch wrote. "Not one to bring notice to himself, he was a leader by example; he took full responsibility for anything that ever went wrong and did whatever he could to help those around him get better."

Piltch said Wylie's family asked the school to establish a memorial fund in the teen's name though they have not yet determined what specific cause contributed money will go to. The school is also working on a memorial service. 

Wylie's apparent suicide comes more than a year after another Shipley student, 13-year-old Cayman Naib, took his own life


SUICIDE PREVENTION: If you know someone who needs help, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Child Hurt When Truck Crashes Over Montco Swimming Pool]]>Thu, 14 Jul 2016 23:15:09 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/215*120/CHOPPER+TELFORD+CAR+INTO+POOL+-+20-10-46-22_20217785.jpg

A child was flown to the hospital by medical helicopter after the pickup truck he was riding in veered off a Montgomery County road and crashed over a swimming pool, police said.

The crash happened around 7:30 p.m. Thursday along the unit block of Ridge Road in Telford.

The work truck was traveling along Ridge Road when it suddenly turned onto the lawn of a home, crashed through a backyard fence and came to a rest over an in-ground swimming pool.

The truck's front passenger tire was left dangling over the pool and pieces of the wooden fence could be seen floating in the water.

No one at the home was hurt, police said.

It's not yet clear what led to the crash. The child's injuries were not lifethreatening, police said. The driver was not hurt.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Democratic National Convention Causes Small Business Boom in Montgomery County]]>Thu, 14 Jul 2016 21:46:17 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000016269007_1200x675_725387331891.jpgWhile Delegates are here in the Philadelphia area for the Democratic National Convention, many will be staying outside of the city. NBC10’s Deanna Durante speaks with small business owners in the region who are benefiting.]]><![CDATA[Could Pa. Tighten Abortion Restrictions?]]>Tue, 12 Jul 2016 04:11:35 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/state+capital+harrisburg.jpg

The Pennsylvania Senate signaled Monday that it will give swift election-year consideration to new restrictions on elective abortions, amid a veto threat from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and opposition by the state's largest doctors' group.

The Judiciary Committee's party-line 9-5 vote Monday, after a testy debate, set up a potential floor vote in the Republican-controlled Senate to send the bill to Wolf's desk.

The GOP-controlled House passed the bill last month, 132-65, in a tally that approached the number necessary to override a governor's veto.

Hearings were not held on the bill, which is getting fast consideration at a time when lawmakers are juggling highly charged social issues. Those include banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and dealing with child sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church.

The bill would ban elective abortions after 20 weeks, compared to 24 weeks in current law. Fourteen states ban abortion at 20 weeks after fertilization, according to the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

Supporters said the 20-week limit reflected medical advances that make fetuses viable at earlier stages of pregnancy.

The bill also would impose new rules over a procedure it calls a "dismemberment abortion" and make it a felony to violate them. Commonly called a dilation-and-extraction procedure, it is the most common method of second-trimester abortion.

It would provide an exception, if two physicians sign off, that the procedure would save the mother's life or prevent impairment of a major bodily function. It does not offer exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape and incest. For procedures on a fetus beyond 20 weeks, it would require two physicians to be present and for the procedure to be done in a hospital.

Abortion opponents are pushing the legislation, just two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas rules that required abortion clinics to meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, said after the vote that the bill does not unconstitutionally set up barriers to access to an abortion.

"We're providing an opportunity with the advice of medical counsel as to whether this is a threat to her health or her life, and then after that decision is made, and they can follow whatever procedure they desire to follow," Greenleaf said.

Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, said the bill's wording sounded like it had been written by an "interest group," and that the intrusion into medical decisions would put the interest group "in the hospital room with the patient and the doctor."

"Interest groups and legislators are not really good at making medical decisions, because we're not trained to do that," Leach said during the committee debate. "That's what doctors are trained to do, and that's why I think we should leave this in the hands of doctors."

The Pennsylvania Medical Society opposes the bill. The doctors' group says it interferes with the relationship between physicians and patients, and sets a dangerous precedent by legislating specific treatment protocols.

Wolf calls it a step back for the state and for women.

Six states have approved laws to ban the dilation-and-extraction procedure, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

West Virginia's prohibition is in force, court challenges have stopped implementation in three states and newly passed bans in two states have not yet taken effect.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

<![CDATA[Help 'Angels' Combat Addiction in Montco]]>Mon, 11 Jul 2016 13:15:53 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/blessing+bag.jpg

A local group of "angels" is holding a party in Montgomery County Tuesday night to help people battling addiction in our area. 

Angels in Motion, an organization that connects with people fighting addiction to help them get help and to give them food, clothing and toiletries, is hosting a "blessing bag" party in Ardsley.

The party is open to anyone and starts at the Ardsley Community Center, at 2828 Spear Ave. in Glenside at 7 p.m.

"Blessing bags," which members of Angels in Motion hand out to people in the throes of addiction and living on the streets, contain nonperishable food, toiletries and other necessities. A list of foods and other items that are ideal for the bags and that volunteers can bring to the party are available on the event page here

Angels in Motion was started by Carol Rostucher, a Northeast Philadelphia mother of two, when her older son, Drew, battled heroin addiction. Drew is in recovery now, but Rostucher continues her fight to help others who are addicted.

NBC10 profiled Rostucher and several other people in our area whose lives have been touched by addiction in Generation Addicted, an in-depth report on the heroin and opioid epidemic, earlier this year. 

Photo Credit: AIM Angels in Motion / Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Strikes 2 Kids Riding Bikes in Perkiomen Township]]>Sun, 10 Jul 2016 23:30:59 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Perkiomen-Township-Crash.jpgTwo children are in the hospital after they were struck by a vehicle while they were riding bikes in Perkiomen Township.

Photo Credit: SkyForce10]]>
<![CDATA[3 on Trial in Montco Home Invasion Killing]]>Sat, 09 Jul 2016 20:01:55 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/LowerMorelandHomeInvasion.jpg

A prosecutor alleges that a man charged in a suburban Philadelphia home invasion slaying last fall had told his former girlfriend that "If we can't be together, someone's got to go."

Twenty-one-year-old Naadir Abdul-Ali is charged in Montgomery County in the shooting death of the woman's father hours later.

Police found 53-year-old Kevin Brown on the front lawn of the Lower Moreland Township home with a gunshot wound to the neck.

Twenty-one-year-old Desmond Smith and another man are also charged. A fourth defendant pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and is expected to testify against the others.

Smith's attorney says his client was nowhere near the scene that night. Abdul-Ali's attorney argues that it was all part of a staged kidnapping that wasn't his client's idea.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

<![CDATA[Fattah Submits Resignation After Conviction ]]>Wed, 22 Jun 2016 23:57:50 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Fattah-AP_253040434541.jpg

A day after he was convicted in a racketeering case, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah submitted his letter of resignation from Congress.

Fattah confirmed that he sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan stating he would leave office on October 3, which is the day before he is set to be sentenced.

"Earlier today I submitted my resignation from Congress to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi," Fattah wrote in a released statement. "In that letter, I indicated an effective date of October 3, 2016.  This date was selected in order to provide enough time to ensure the proper transmission of information and archiving of government documents after more than two decades in service."

"With that said, in further consultation with House Leadership, we are working to identify an agreeable timeframe which will relieve the House of any distractions in carrying out the people’s business. I hold the institution of the Congress of the United States in the highest regard and am thankful for the privilege to have served."

Ryan also released a statement calling on Fattah to immediately resign from office.

"Mr. Fattah has betrayed the trust of this institution and the people of Pennsylvania, and for that he should resign immediately from the House of Representatives," Ryan wrote. "We must hold members to the highest ethical standard, and I hope that Democratic leaders will join me in seeking his immediate resignation."

Fattah was found guilty of all 22 counts, including racketeering, fraud and money laundering Tuesday. His lawyers had argued that schemes were engineered without Fattah's knowledge by two political consultants who pleaded guilty in the case.

Fattah's jovial and calm demeanor didn't change much as the verdict was read, according to NBC10's Deanna Durante, who was in the courtroom.

As he emerged from the courthouse after the guilty verdict, Fattah made a brief statement and headed straight to confer with his lawyers.

"We'll figure out what our next steps are," he said, without answering other questions from the throng of reporters.

The 59-year-old Democrat has represented West Philadelphia as well as parts of Center City, South Philly, Montgomery County and the Main Line in Congress since 1995 and served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. But he lost the April primary and bid for his 12th term. Fattah's current term ends in December.

"This trial is a referendum on Chaka Fattah, Sr.'s conduct," U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said, adding he would ask for jail time and would be working to determine what that ask might be based on sentencing guidelines.

Memeger credited testimony from insiders like former staffer and confidant Gregory Naylor and political consultant Thomas Lindenfeld as critical to the trial's outcome.

"They were able to give that inside view and the jury believed that inside view given by those individuals and that was key to our success in this case."

Fattah will remain out on bail ahead of his October sentencing.

Jurors began deliberations on June 15, nearly a month after the trial began May 16. One juror was dismissed in the racketeering case without explanation Friday. An alternate replaced the missing member, and U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III ordered jurors to begin deliberations again.

Prosecutors said Fattah routed federal grant money and nonprofit funds through his consultants to pay back the illegal loan.

His wife, former NBC10 news anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah, took a leave of absence after her husband's indictment, then quit in February. She was cited in the case over the sham sale of her Porsche, which prosecutors said was a bribe. She was never charged with any wrongdoing, and has always maintained the sale was legitimate.

Justice Department lawyer Jonathan Kravis said in his closing argument that Chaka Fattah also used federal grants and nonprofit funds to enrich his family and friends.

Defense lawyers acknowledged Fattah might have gotten himself in financial trouble after a costly mayoral bid, but they said any help from friends amounted to gifts, not bribes.

Many of them came from co-defendant Herbert Vederman, a wealthy friend who had dreams of scoring an ambassadorship. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, testified that he never took the pitch from Fattah too seriously, even though Fattah once bent the president's ear about it.

Democrat Ed Rendell, a former mayor and governor, was called to defend Vederman, his former deputy mayor. He said Vederman was qualified for the job and accused prosecutors of cynically misreading the help he lent Fattah.

Vederman helped support Fattah's South African nanny and paid $18,000 for a Porsche owned by Fattah's TV anchor wife.

"The nanny, the Porsche and the Poconos, they weren't part of a bribery scheme," Fattah lawyer Samuel Silver argued in closings. "Those were all overreaches by the prosecution."

The campaign loan was just one of several schemes prosecutors outlined during the trial. They say Fattah was aided in his endeavors by current and former staffers who ran his district office or the nonprofits; by Vederman, who now lives in Palm Beach, Florida; and by political consultants Greg Naylor and Thomas Lindenfeld, who pleaded guilty.

Four co-defendants also faced numerous charges.

  • Fattah's former chief of staff, Bonnie Bowser, was found guilty on 5 of 21 counts she faced.
  • Vederman was found guilty on all counts against him.
  • Political consultant Robert Brand was found guilty on all counts against him.
  • Former Fattah aide Karen Nicholas was found guilty on some of her counts.

The four-week trial concluded quicker than most observers expected and did not involve any bombshell testimony or evidence entered by prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Members of the jury didn't comment as they left court Tuesday afternoon.

Fattah's son Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr. was also found guilty of federal fraud charges.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Man Surrenders in Death of Girl Who Shot Herself: Police ]]>Fri, 01 Jul 2016 08:03:12 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/4-Year-old-shot-North-Philly.jpg

The boyfriend of the mother of a 4-year-old girl who investigators say accidentally shot and killed herself surrendered to police Thursday night. Demetrius Williams turned himself in around 7:30 p.m., according to police. Charges against him are pending.

Williams' girlfriend, 25-year-old Shakeya Holmes, was arrested and charged June 24 with third degree murder in connection to the death of her daughter. On June 23, the young girl was found by police with a gunshot wound to her eye at a North Philadelphia house where she lived with her mother and a younger sister.

EMS rushed to the Montgomery Townhomes on the 1800 block of North 20th Street shortly after noon that day. Medics then took the girl to Hahnemann Hospital where she died around 1 p.m., police said.


Investigators determined the girl's gunshot wound was self-inflicted. Holmes and the girl's 3-year-old sister were in the home when the child was shot, police said. Police recovered a gun from inside the house.

Neighbors said Holmes ran outside holding her daughter and yelled for help. Margie Malabet recalled the frantic scene when she ran to help after hearing Holmes cry, "Save my baby, please, save my baby."

"Her little sister standing over her," Malabet said. "I said, 'What happened?' She said, 'She got shot with a gun.'"

Police have not yet revealed what specific charges Williams will face.

Photo Credit: NBC10/Facebook photo]]>
<![CDATA[DNC Could Be $17 Million Boon for Montco]]>Mon, 27 Jun 2016 16:14:06 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/VF.JPG

When Montgomery County's tourism head honcho Mike Bowman first found out about the potential economic impact of Democratic National Convention, estimates were for 3,000 to 4,000 hotel room nights.

But within weeks of the DNC's initial planning, he got some good news.

"All of a sudden, we ended up with 15,571 contracted rooms," said Bowman, president and CEO of Valley Forge Convention and Tourism Board. The organization oversees tourism marketing for the entire county.

More than 1,500 delegates and Democratic officials will be staying in Montgomery County hotels the week of the DNC, which runs July 25-28. Many delegates are arriving July 24, a Sunday, and staying until Thursday.

Bowman said that gives the county five days and four nights to play good host and leave a great impression for people from all over the country. Delegates from more than 10 states are staying in Montgomery County hotels, Bowman said.

He said an analysis showed that the impact of the convention translates into $17 million for the county's hotel, retail and food scenes.

And the tourism agency is pulling out all the stops to let delegates and party officials know about the county's highlights.

"We're really rolling out the red carpet," he said. " We're emphasizing our strengths."

Among those are the parks, golf courses, and shopping, Bowman said.

He added that DNC officials have put a lot of effort into figuring out how delegates will get to and from the Wells Fargo Center each day from Montgomery County.

Bowman said county and DNC officials are working to finalize police escorts each day.

"We’re still waiting on the final decision that there is going to be police escorts," he said. "The DNC did their homework. They timed it at peak times and slower times. And they fell comfortable about times heading in and out."

Here's one of two promotional videos the tourism agency put together:

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<![CDATA[Funeral for Siblings Suffocated While on Vacation With Mom]]>Fri, 24 Jun 2016 06:40:57 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/060916+hines+children.jpg

More than two weeks after a Philadelphia mother allegedly smothered her two young children while vacationing in Florida, the siblings will be laid to rest.

Anthony Singleton will join his family as they hold a funeral for Ariel and St. Leo Hines Friday morning at 9:30 at Queen of Peace Church along N Hills Avenue in Glenside, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

The 3-year-old girl and 7-month-old boy will be laid to rest at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Philadelphia.

The siblings' 40-year-old Philadelphia mother Sophia Hines, who lives on Bridge Street in Philadelphia's Frankford neighborhood, remained in a Broward County Jail on two counts of premeditated murder.

Authorities found the children dead in a Miramar, Florida home on June 8 after receiving a 911 call.

Hines had spent the previous week visiting her relative in the Fort Lauderdale suburb. After being read her rights, Hines told investigators she had held a sheet over the mouth of 7-month-old St. Leo then used the same sheet to suffocate Ariel, 3, said a criminal complaint.

The infant's father, Anthony Singleton, cried as he talked about the boy and his stepdaughter.

"I don’t know how this could happen, I don’t know what made her go that way. I don’t know what made her go to Florida," he said.

He said Hines left for Florida without telling him.

Hines didn't tell police why she killed her children, according to the criminal complaint, but a relative told NBC10's Rosemary Connors that the family learned she may have been battling postpartum depression and taking medication for it at some point.

In lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations to help with the funeral.

Learn more about postpartum depression here. If you are having symptoms or see symptoms in someone you know, click here for help from Healthy Minds Philly or here for national crisis resources.  

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Family Photo
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<![CDATA[Congressman Fattah Guilty on All Corruption Counts]]>Wed, 22 Jun 2016 03:21:47 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Fattah-AP_253040434541.jpg

A jury has convicted veteran U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in a racketeering case that largely centered on various efforts to repay an illegal $1 million campaign loan.

Fattah was found guilty of all 22 counts, including racketeering, fraud and money laundering. His lawyers had argued that schemes were engineered without Fattah's knowledge by two political consultants who pleaded guilty in the case.

Fattah's jovial and calm demeanor didn't change much as the verdict was read, according to NBC10's Deanna Durante, who was in the courtroom.

As he emerged from the courthouse after the guilty verdict, Fattah made a brief statement and headed straight to confer with his lawyers.

"We'll figure out what our next steps are," he said, without answering other questions from the throng of reporters.

The 59-year-old Democrat has represented West Philadelphia as well as parts of Center City, South Philly, Montgomery County and the Main Line in Congress since 1995 and served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. But he lost the April primary and bid for his 12th term. Fattah's current term ends in December.

"This trial is a referendum on Chaka Fattah, Sr.'s conduct," U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said, adding he would ask for jail time and would be working to determine what that ask might be based on sentencing guidelines.

Memeger credited testimony from insiders like former staffer and confidant Gregory Naylor and political consultant Thomas Lindenfeld as critical to the trial's outcome.

"They were able to give that inside view and the jury believed that inside view given by those individuals and that was key to our success in this case."

Fattah will remain out on bail ahead of his October sentencing.

Jurors began deliberations late Wednesday afternoon, nearly a month after the trial began May 16. One juror was dismissed in the racketeering case without explanation Friday. An alternate replaced the missing member, and U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III ordered jurors to begin deliberations again.

Prosecutors said Fattah routed federal grant money and nonprofit funds through his consultants to pay back the illegal loan.

His wife, former NBC10 news anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah, took a leave of absence after her husband's indictment, then quit in February. She was cited in the case over the sham sale of her Porsche, which prosecutors said was a bribe. She was never charged with any wronging, and has always maintained  the sale was legitimate.

Justice Department lawyer Jonathan Kravis said in his closing argument that Chaka Fattah also used federal grants and nonprofit funds to enrich his family and friends.

Defense lawyers acknowledged Fattah might have gotten himself in financial trouble after a costly mayoral bid, but they said any help from friends amounted to gifts, not bribes.

Many of them came from co-defendant Herbert Vederman, a wealthy friend who had dreams of scoring an ambassadorship. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, testified that he never took the pitch from Fattah too seriously, even though Fattah once bent the president's ear about it.

Democrat Ed Rendell, a former mayor and governor, was called to defend Vederman, his former deputy mayor. He said Vederman was qualified for the job and accused prosecutors of cynically misreading the help he lent Fattah.

Vederman helped support Fattah's South African nanny and paid $18,000 for a Porsche owned by Fattah's TV anchor wife.

"The nanny, the Porsche and the Poconos, they weren't part of a bribery scheme," Fattah lawyer Samuel Silver argued in closings. "Those were all overreaches by the prosecution."

The campaign loan was just one of several schemes prosecutors outlined during the trial. They say Fattah was aided in his endeavors by current and former staffers who ran his district office or the nonprofits; by Vederman, who now lives in Palm Beach, Florida; and by political consultants Greg Naylor and Thomas Lindenfeld, who pleaded guilty.

Four co-defendants also faced numerous charges.

  • Fattah's former chief of staff, Bonnie Bowser, was found guilty on 5 of 21 counts she faced.
  • Vederman was found guilty on all counts against him.
  • Political consultant Robert Brand was found guilty on all counts against him.
  • Former Fattah aide Karen Nicholas was found guilty on some of her counts.

The four-week trial concluded quicker than most observers expected and did not involve any bombshell testimony or evidence entered by prosecutors and defense attorneys.

The guilty verdict leaves Fattah's remaining days in office in question.

"This charge cost him his reelection. He’d been an 11-term Congressman and did a lot of things for his constituents when he was in office," said Howard Bruce Klein, a former federal prosecutor. "So I would say it’s a sad ending for a public servant who made scholarships available for thousands of students over the years, but now has come to a very unhappy ending, being guilty of corruption. So it’s a day for the Congressman, it’s a sad day for his constituents and it’s a sad day for Philadelphia."

Members of the jury didn't comment as they left court Tuesday afternoon.

Fattah's son Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr. was also found guilty of federal fraud charges.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Montco Students Win Congressional Gold Medal Awards]]>Thu, 23 Jun 2016 07:42:52 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Abington+awards.PNG

Five Abington Senior High School graduates, and one rising senior, traveled to Washington last week to receive Congressional Award Gold Medals at the U.S. House of Representatives.

Graduates Madeline Reich, Cameron Hayes, Brian Agnew, Brianna Yarnoff and Ye Eun Kim; and rising senior Jared Stevenson, worked more than two years to earn the Gold Medals.

Each student completed the required 400 hours of voluntary service, 200 hours of personal development classes, 200 hours of physical fitness and a combined 10 days of expedition travel to win the award. 

After the ceremony, students and their families celebrated with a formal dinner at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building where speakers included actress Lynda Carter, baseball hall of famer Cal Ripkin Jr. and actress America Ferrera. 

The Congressional Award encourages young people to set goals and find balance for a lifetime of productive citizenship.

Photo Credit: Byron Goldstein, community relations specialist]]>
<![CDATA[Girl, 4, Shot in Eye Dies]]>Fri, 24 Jun 2016 05:33:40 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/4-Year-old-shot-North-Philly.jpg

A 4-year-old girl died after being shot in the right eye inside a North Philadelphia home Thursday.

Crews rushed to the Montgomery Townhomes on the 1800 block of N 20th Street, near W Montgomery Avenue, shortly after noon then took the girl to Hahnemann Hospital where she died around 1 p.m., said Philadelphia Police.

The girl's 25-year-old mother and a 3-year-old sister were in the home when the child was shot, said police. Police recovered a gun from inside the home.

Neighbors said the mother ran outside holding her daughter and yelled for help. "Her little sister standing over her, I said what  happened, she said, she got shot with a gun," Margie Malabet recalled the frantic scene after she ran to help hearing the mother's cries, "Save my baby, please, save my baby."

No word yet on what led to the shooting.

The police continued to question the mother and the girl's younger sister Thursday evening.

Photo Credit: NBC10/Facebook photo]]>
<![CDATA[From Clean-Shaven Landlord to Harboring 12 Amish Girls]]>Thu, 23 Jun 2016 00:24:35 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Lee-Kaplan-Split.jpg

The Lee Kaplan who owned a house on a leafy street in Cheltenham Township 13 years ago was clean-shaven and so put off by behavior he considered immoral, he once threw a plumber out for cursing, according to his then-next door neighbors.

Kaplan, now charged with sexual assault after police found 12 girls living in his current Bucks County home, looks nothing like the man who owned a house next to Dave and Sherri Kushin from 1994 to 2003, the couple said in an interview Tuesday.

"He was not a mountain man, like now," Dave Kushin said at his home of 40 years in the Melrose Park section of Cheltenham. "He was born again. But not Christian. He was a born again Jew, a Jew for Jesus."

After Kaplan bought the house in the 1000 block of Stratford Avenue for $110,000, he and his wife at the time worked hard to rehab the old house, the Kushins said.

The couple said they didn’t like how Kaplan treated his now ex-wife, Virginia.

"He worked her like -- what is it -- an indentured servant," Dave Kushin said. He added, "I just chit chatted with him from time to time."

“He was a mashugana,” he said. “He rubbed me the wrong way.”

Kaplan never lived in the house, the Kushins said. Instead, he rented it to groups of students attending a nearby university.

“He turned it into a frat house,” Sherri Kushin said. “There were 15 people living there at one point.”

Kaplan eventually sold the Stratford Avenue home for $250,000, more than double what he paid nine years earlier.

Investigators have yet to say what happened between 2003 and the last few years. Somehow during that time, Kaplan became the burly, bushy-bearded man police arrested last week inside a cramped Feasterville home that a FedEx deliveryman described as smelling "like cat piss."

Answers won’t come quickly, District Attorney Dave Heckler said last week after Kaplan’s arrest.

At least one of the 12 girls found inside his home allegedly lived there the last four years, according to the initial criminal complaint. Now 18, she gave birth to two children by Kaplan. Her parents, an exiled Amish couple from Lancaster County, allegedly told police they "gifted" their daughter to Kaplan after he bailed them out of bankruptcy.

Kaplan and the parents, who NBC10 isn't identifying to protect their daughter's identity, are each jailed on $1 million bail. The parents have told police the other girls in the house also are theirs, but Heckler said there are no documents readily available to prove that claim.

Lancaster County news outlets have reported that the couple and Kaplan met in the early 2000s, around the time Kaplan sold the Cheltenham property. The reports indicate the parents actively sought ex-communication from the Amish community, and became born again Christians. 

All 12 children are now in the custody of Lancaster County protective services.

Kaplan, 51, graduated from Cheltenham High School in 1982. His senior yearbook photo shows off dark curly locks that covered his ears, and a thin, patchy mustache. His neck stretches from his jaw line to a white collared shirt, accompanied by a dark tie and pinstriped suit befitting an a cappella singer.

The senior class photos are ordered by birth date and grouped by zodiac sign. Above the photo of Kaplan, whose birthday is Nov. 6, reads in large, bold font:

One of Scorpio’s specialties is secrets

Detectives haven’t said how long all the girls allegedly were kept by Kaplan inside his house in the Feasterville section of Lower Southampton. The criminal complaint indicated the oldest girl, the 18-year-old, said she arrived at the house when she was 14. One of her children is believed to be three years old. A message left for the Lower Southampton police director was not returned Tuesday.

Most neighbors in the working-class neighborhood said they recently became suspicious of Kaplan, who allegedly told nearby residents that he lived alone. One resident said she saw Kaplan walking around holding one of the girls’ hands.

Police said that during their raid they found some girls in the basement of the house, among an elaborate miniature train setup. An EBay business, called The Brass Caboose, is registered to his house at 428 Old Street Road. The FedEx deliveryman for the neighborhood told NBC10.com on Monday that he had no idea anyone else lived in the house.

“He'd come to the door with no shirt on, that big beard,” Brandon Cragg said. “It kind of stunk in there, I thought, like cat piss. I thought he was a hoarder."

The home’s overgrown front-yard grass and its repugnant smell inside contrast sharply with the well-manicured exterior of the Northeast Philadelphia rowhouse belonging to Kaplan’s ex-wife, Jacqueline Albrecht.

Blooming flowers and a freshly cut lawn are accentuated by a newly lacquered, wood fence at the corner rowhouse on Glenview Street in the Mayfair section of the city.

Albrecht wasn't ready to answer questions about her ex-husband Tuesday afternoon as she arrived home from work.

“I just can’t talk right now,” she said politely when a reporter asked about Kaplan. “I just can’t talk right now.”

Dave Kushin, the former neighbor in Melrose Park, said he never would have associated Kaplan with the man he saw in the news all weekend.

“You never know what makes someone snap,” he said. “That’s a big change.”

Photo Credit: WCAU/Lower Southampton Police Dept.
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<![CDATA[Man Who Threatened to Kill Montco Mom Escapes Work-Release]]>Wed, 22 Jun 2016 04:14:00 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Northampton+County+Escape+Aaron+Creekmore.jpg

A man who threatened to kill his girlfriend escaped from a work-release program about 50 miles north of Philadelphia, said auhotirites.

Police in Norristown said 25-year-old Aaron Creekmore escaped a work-release facility in Easton Monday. The program is run by the Northampton County Department of Corrections.

Creekmore previously threatened to kill his Norristown girlfriend, said police.

The (Easton) Express-Times reports he was arrested last month in Montgomery County on simple assault and harassment charges after authorities said he choked his girlfriend, who is the mother of his children.

Creekmore was serving a six-month sentence for civil contempt in a domestic-relations case.

It wasn't immediately known if the Montgomery County charges led to the civil-contempt charge in Northampton County.

Police asked anyone who spots Creekmore to call 911. You can also leave an anonymous tip with Norristown police by emailing npdtips@norristown.org or calling 610-278-TIPS

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Norristown Police
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<![CDATA[Montgomery County Teacher Wins Big on Game Show]]>Wed, 08 Jun 2016 09:39:41 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Melanie+Bowen.PNG

Melanie Bowen landed the chance of a lifetime to compete on one of her favorite game shows recently, and better yet, the Montgomery County high-school teacher walked away a big winner.

Bowen started watching "Wheel of Fortune" when she moved in with her aunt after college. Snagging a spot as a contestant on the show seemed like something that would never happen, but that didn't keep her from trying.

When the "Wheelmobile" visited Atlantic City, she decided to try her luck again. This time, she landed an audition, and a few weeks later, she received a letter telling her she had secured a place on the show. She hopped a plane to Los Angeles to appear on the show's "Philadelphia Week."

Down on her luck during the first two rounds, but still high in spirit, Bowen was anxious going into round three with $0 after going bankrupt twice.

"I know in 'Wheel of Fortune,' it's not over until the final spin and I still had time. I tried not to let it shake me," Bowen said. In the final round, her luck turned around as she won the prize puzzle and managed to move on to the bonus round.

Bowen explained the double Ls were the key to solving the final puzzle: "Paid in Full." In the end, she walked away with more than $63,000 -- including an all-expenses-paid trip to the Dominican Republic and a brand new car.

Bowen said the support from her Spring-Ford High School community was overwhelming.

"I'm still being congratulated when I'm out at the store or wherever. My students were super excited for me and thrilled to hear about my experience," she said. "Things have pretty much returned to normal at school, but I'm hopeful that my 'Wheel' experience showed my students that they can do anything that they set their minds to."

Moving forward, Bowen is planning on taking her trip to the Dominican with her husband and surprising her 4½-year-old daughter, Josie, with a trip to Disney World in June.

Photo Credit: Melanie Bowen]]>
<![CDATA[Montco Lawyer Charged After Alleged Attack at Starbucks]]>Fri, 03 Jun 2016 18:00:36 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000015611727_1200x675_698652227901.jpgA Montgomery County lawyer is facing charges for allegedly throwing coffee on a woman and pushing her to the ground. Police said Yvonne Montgomery turned herself in for the alleged attack. They did not say what started the altercation.]]><![CDATA[Cost of Fire at Massive Montco High School Tops $1M]]>Thu, 02 Jun 2016 07:27:09 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/North+Penn+High+School+Fire+Trucks.jpg

The district attorney says a 17-year-old student caused $1 million to $1.5 million damage when he set fire to a Pennsylvania high school last month.

The Montgomery County district attorney's office initially said damage to North Penn High School in Lansdale was minimal following the May 24 fire.

But the DAs spokeswoman tells The (Doylestown) Intelligencer that structural damage found after an inspection has caused the estimate to balloon.

The 17-year-old accused of starting the fire is in the county juvenile detention center. He faces an adjudication hearing on Friday, which is the juvenile court equivalent of a trial.

The boy could be incarcerated or supervised by the court until he's 21 if he's found to be delinquent, the juvenile court equivalent of a conviction.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Jason Zeenkov]]>
<![CDATA[Student Arrested for School Fire]]>Fri, 27 May 2016 17:11:18 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/North+Penn+Students.jpg

A North Penn High School student has been arrested for allegedly setting a fire Tuesday inside the Montgomery County high school, forcing the evacuation of the entire building.

The unidentified suspect is being held at a county juvenile detention center, the school district said in a statement on its website Friday.

No one was hurt when fire broke out in the band storage area and some first-floor classrooms. But smoke spread quickly through most of the Lansdale school, forcing 3,000 students and all staff to flee.

While firefighters were able to contain the blaze to one section of the school, the district said the cost of the damage has yet to be assessed.

“It is very concerning that one of our students is involved and it is clear that like anywhere in society, we are not immune to the potential of such acts," North Penn Superintendent Curtis R. Dietrich said in the statement.

The fire began at North Penn High School on Valley Forge Road about 11:45 a.m.

Photo Credit: Jason Zeenkov]]>
<![CDATA[Students Return to Large Montco High School After Fire]]>Wed, 25 May 2016 07:02:48 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Jason+Zeenkov+North+Penn+High+Fire.jpg

One day after a fire caused an early end to the school day, students returned to classes at one of the Philadelphia region’s largest high schools.

Classes resumed at North Penn High School  Valley Forge Road in Lansdale, Pennsylvania Wednesday morning. Students returned to the school at 7:21 a.m. and reported to their sixth-period classes so they could recover items left late Tuesday morning after fire broke out near the band room in the school’s F-Pod section.

Students then began a regular A-Day schedule with some slight changes including the fire-damaged section of the Montgomery County school being blocked off so that crews can continue the lengthy reconstruction of the damaged area, said the school district in a letter posted to its website.

"...In the interim, an odor will likely be detectable," said the district.

Images shot by students showed people calmly leaving the building and waiting outside on some fields as firefighters entered the school shortly before noon Tuesday.

No injuries were reported in the blaze.

The North Penn School District released dismissal guidelines on its Facebook page around 12:45 p.m. as they began sending students home.

The problem for some students was not having their keys with them when they were evacuated. Those items and other personal belongings were recovered Wednesday.

North Penn is known as one of the largest high schools in the area with more than 3,000 students in grades 10 to 12, said U.S. News & World Report.

Photo Credit: Jason Zeenkov
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<![CDATA[Mom Says Montco YMCA Shamed Her for Breastfeeding]]>Tue, 24 May 2016 23:32:10 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/USE+resize+breastfeeding+Kate+Haslam+Baby.jpgA local mom is speaking out, claiming a Montgomery County YMCA shamed her for breastfeeding her son. NBC10's Keith Jones has the details.]]><![CDATA[Contaminated Water Concerns in Bucks and Montgomery Counties]]>Tue, 24 May 2016 23:25:30 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000015448231_1200x675_692282947889.jpgSome families in parts of Bucks and Montgomery counties are unsure of whether or not their drinking water is safe. Officials held an information session in Horsham for concerned citizens Tuesday night. NBC10's Brandon Hudson has the details. ]]><![CDATA[North Penn High School in Lansdale Catches Fire]]>Tue, 24 May 2016 16:05:41 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000015443934_1200x675_692018755999.jpgInvestigators are trying to figure out what sparked a fire at a Montgomery County High School.]]><![CDATA[D.A.: Wife 'Test Fires' Gun Week Before Killing Husband]]>Mon, 23 May 2016 13:24:04 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Hsiu+Chin+Lin+Montco+Husband+Murder+North+Wales.jpg

A Montgomery County woman is facing a first-degree murder charge after she allegedly shot her ex-husband to death in the garage of her North Wales home.

Prosecutors on Monday said that when officers responded to the home, on the 200 block of South 6th Street, for a domestic disturbance just after 4 p.m. Sunday, they found 63-year-old Hsiu-Chin Lin sitting at the kitchen table with a .38-caliber revolver in front of her.

Lin's ex-husband, 67-year-old Chien-Kuo Lin, was lying dead in the garage with a gunshot wound to his chest, prosecutors said.

Police arrested Lin at the house.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Kevin Steele said in a news release that the investigation into the shooting so far revealed that Lin "was test firing the gun in the past week, and then fired not once but four times, fatally shooting her ex-husband once in the chest."

It's unclear what led to the deadly shooting, but police did respond for a domestic disturbance at the home. Police did not say whether the Lins had any history of domestic violence, but court records show that both faced charges -- her for fighting and him for harassment -- on the same date in November 2011. Charges for both in that case were eventually dismissed.

A Montgomery County judge denied bail in the murder case, and Lin is being held at the Montgomery County Prison. She's scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing June 1.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Montgomery County D.A.'s Office / NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Man in Viral Police Video Charged with Pulling Gun on Cop]]>Sun, 22 May 2016 10:39:45 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Tony+Soto+Mugshot+Blue+bkg.jpg

A Philadelphia man known for recording videos of his interactions with police who landed in custody last week after allegedly impersonating a cop and threatening an off-duty officer with a gun is facing a slew of criminal charges in connection with his most recent run-in with the law.

Tony Soto, 29, of Northeast Philadelphia, has been charged with conspiracy, illegal gun possession, terroristic threats, aggravated assault, impersonating a public servant, resisting arrest and a number of other crimes after a May 18 incident in which police said he got into a dispute with a neighbor over a parking spot outside his home in Oxford Circle, then proceeded to tell the neighbor he was a police officer.

This isn't the first time Soto's been accused of impersonating a public servant: In 2008, court records show, he was convicted of that crime. And in a video he posted online that went viral last year, Soto flashed a badge and claimed to be a fire marshal -- a claim police later said was false. He did not face criminal charges in that incident.

In last week's encounter, police said, the neighbor Soto was arguing with went around the corner to get another neighbor, an off-duty Philadelphia Police officer, for help after Soto claimed he was a cop himself.

When the off-duty officer came to intervene, Soto allegedly threatened the officer with a gun brought from inside his house by a 19-year-old woman, later identified as Isabela Mota, according to police. When the officer identified himself as a cop and told Soto he was under arrest, Soto ran away, police said, but the off-duty officer caught up with him. Soto then punched the off-duty officer, sources said, brawling with him until the officer managed to control and hold him until backup got to the scene.

Soto was then arrested.

Court records show that Soto was arraigned early Friday morning, and his bail was set at $900,000 total. He was being held at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on State Road, court documents show.

Mota, who is accused of egging Soto on, telling him to "Pop them," according to police, was charged with criminal solicitation, possession of an instrument of crime, conspiracy, terroristic threats, illegal gun possession and related offenses in connection with the incident. She was being held at Riverside Correctional Facility on $450,000 bail, court records showed.

Soto is a self-proclaimed civil rights activist on his Facebook page, which has more than 32,000 followers. His mother has been posting to his Facebook page since his arrest Wednesday night, saying that she is stranded inside the home she shares with him while police hold the house awaiting a search warrant.

NBC10 reached out to Soto's mother for comment early Thursday afternoon. She has not responded to that request.

Soto and Mota are scheduled to appear in court for preliminary hearings on June 3.

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police]]>
<![CDATA[Father Divine's Main Line Estate Revealed]]>Sat, 21 May 2016 06:44:30 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Woodmont+house.jpg

When Roger Klaus lived at the Divine Lorraine Hotel in 1956 with his Colorado-transplanted family, the rate was $2.50 a week.

He shook his head and smiled at the idea of someone paying as much as $2,500 a month, as high-end units will go for when the long-abandoned property reopens in the next year.

He recalled the majesty of the North Broad Street apartment building in the heyday of Divine’s International Peace Mission movement.

“In recent years, when they’d show the graffiti all over it, it made me sad,” he said. “I don’t like to think of it that way.”

On the same day the new owner of the Divine Lorraine offered tours last week, Klaus gave us a tour of Woodmont, Father Divine’s majestic estate in Gladwyne, where the long-deceased religious leader’s 91-year-old wife, Mother Divine, lives with 17 followers.

The 72-acre hilltop property is tucked discreetly next to Philadelphia Country Club and above a steep wooded decline that falls to the Schuylkill Expressway at the Conshohocken Curve.

Not a blade of grass looked out of place on the recent visit. When asked who took care of the landscaping, Klaus looked around. As he spoke, two elderly women picked over the main house’s blossoming flower beds. One woman, or “sister,” as the women are known within the celibate religion, dragged a hose to water some bushes.

“We all pitch in,” Klaus said.

He gave me and my photographer a tour of the house’s first floor -- the high-ceilinged grand entrance hall, Father Divine’s office, a sitting room, a drawing room off the banquet hall, the bright atrium. Wrought iron and carved wooden paneling dominate the window sills, door frames and trim. Known as Woodmont for its early 20th-century presiding family, a wealthy heir and follower of Father Divine ceded the property to the religious movement in 1953.

Mother Divine, who married the religious leader in 1945, was not able to talk with us, Klaus said.

When asked about her health, he said Mother Divine spends much of her time in her second-floor bedroom, but recently ate dinner with the rest of the Woodmont community, which gathers every Sunday for formal dinners. Mother Divine and all the sisters at Woodmont stay in the main house; the brothers stay in another house on the property.

The size of the Peace Mission movement is ever-dwindling, which seems inevitable with a stance that calls for lifelong celibacy.

“If I had to guess, I’d say there are about 100 (followers),” said Professor Leonard Norman Primiano, chair of religious studies at Cabrini College and one of the foremost experts on the International Peace Mission. “There are a few people left in places like England, Switzerland, even Australia. It was truly international at its height.”

Sister Yvette introduced herself in the great hall as a lifelong devotee who came to Woodmont 30 years ago from Switzerland.

“In Switzerland, Germany, France, they all had extensions there,” Sister Yvette said, using the movement’s term for church branches.

Decades later, the manpower and footprint in urban centers like North Philadelphia may be shrinking, but the movement’s footprint at Woodmont is as strong as ever. A $2 million library dedicated to the life and teachings of Father Divine will open by the fall after four years in the making, Klaus said.

The residents of Woodmont hope the library will attract new interest in the movement, and more visitors to the estate’s open houses to the public every Sunday, April through October.

Outside the main house, staring across a bowed front lawn some five football fields long and wide that he had cut earlier in the day, Klaus is hoping for some good news.

“I want your story to be about the uplifting aspects of Father Divine,” he said, when asked about how the International Peace Mission has been portrayed in recent years. “Not like most of the other bologna.”

Photo Credit: Brian X. McCrone
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Evgeny Medvedev Faces Several Charges After DUI Arrest]]>Fri, 16 Sep 2016 13:47:27 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/ap-evgenymedvedev-flyers-warmup.jpg

Flyers defenseman Evgeny Medvedev has been charged with driving under the influence, possession of a controlled substance and use or possession of drug paraphernalia, according to Sam Carchidi of the Inquirer.

The charges stem from an arrest for suspicion of DUI back on April 27 in Montgomery County. Medvedev was stopped for a traffic violation around 2:45 a.m., police told NBCPhiladelphia.

The 33-year-old Russian signed a one-year deal with the Flyers last May after seven season in the KHL. Medvedev didn't appear to be part of the Flyers' future. He was a healthy scratch for 14 of the team's final 15 games.

In 45 games with the Flyers, Medvedev recorded four goals and eight assists.

Medvedev will have a hearing on June 15 according to Carchidi.

Photo Credit: CSNPhilly.com Staff]]>
<![CDATA[Congress Passes Athlete, Baby Opioid Protection Bills]]>Thu, 12 May 2016 20:11:55 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_201601271555460000.jpg

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed two bills sponsored by Pennsylvania congressmen aimed at protecting young athletes and newborns from opioid addiction.

In a votes of 421-to-0, the House passed the John Thomas Decker Act and Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act on Wednesday. Both bills will move over to the Senate for consideration.

The Decker Act, introduced by Rep. Pat Meehan (Pa.-7th), would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review the resources and educational materials available about opioid addiction among young athletes. The agency would then publicly report the findings, including addiction treatment options, and share materials with students, parents and athletic organizations.

Young athletes are susceptible to becoming addicted to powerful painkillers like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin while nursing sports injuries like ligament tears and broken bones.

"They will self-medicate, because they want to play through the season, so you begin to see people who are abusing the opioids thinking that they're young and they're strong and before they know it they have an addiction," Meehan told NBC10.

John Decker, a college lacrosse star, was found dead by his parents inside the family's Gladwyne home in January. The 30-year-old became addicted to prescription painkillers after undergoing surgeries for a knee injury suffered while playing basketball as a teen, his father, a prominent Philadelphia lawyer, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. Like so many others who get hooked on the powerful synthetic pills, Decker turned to heroin, the father said.

Meehan is a friend of Decker's family and introduced the bill in April.

Providing better care and more protection for infants born with an opioid addiction is the goal of the other bill passed Wednesday.

The Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act seeks to require states to have policies in place to ensure special care for the babies and strengthen information and reporting about each infant's circumstance.

The legislation would amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to put in place the federal requirements.

Congressman Lou Barletta (Pa.-11th) sponsored the bill and calls the reforms common sense.

“Every 25 minutes, a child enters the world having already been exposed to drugs.  Every 25 minutes, a newborn has to pay the price for something he or she was defenseless against.  Every 25 minutes, another infant becomes a victim of the national opioid crisis.  These are the victims this bill will help protect," he said in a statement.

NBC10 recently conducted an in-depth investigation into the opioid and heroin epidemic called Generation Addicted. The reporting uncovered a generation of addicted people and a public health and law enforcement system ill-equipped to save them. The legislation is one step to correcting the gaps.

Congress is also scheduled to vote on the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act on Friday.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Congress to Vote on Athlete Opioid Bill Named for Montco Man]]>Thu, 12 May 2016 12:38:10 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/481663349.jpg

The John Thomas Decker Act, named for a Montgomery County native who became addicted to prescription painkillers after a sports injury, will be up for a vote before the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday.

The legislation, if passed, would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review the resources and educational materials available about opioid addiction among young athletes. The agency would then publicly report the findings, including addiction treatment options, and share materials with students, parents and athletic organizations.

Young athletes are susceptible to becoming addicted to powerful painkillers like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin while nursing sports injuries like ligament tears and broken bones.

In Generation Addicted, NBC10's in-depth investigation into the opioid and heroin epidemic, Steve Lesnikoski detailed how a high school football injury sent him into a tailspin, eventually leading to heroin use.

Heroin, a type of opioid, is a fraction of the cost of prescription painkillers which typically sell for $60 to $80 a pill on the street. It also provides a stronger high.

Drug overdoses, many from opioid and heroin use, claim more men 19 to 25 years old in Pennsylvania than any other state in the country, the CDC reports.

Decker, a college lacrosse star, was found dead by his parents inside the family's Gladwyne home in January. The 30-year-old became addicted to prescription painkillers after undergoing surgeries for a knee injury suffered while playing basketball as a teen, his father, a prominent Philadelphia lawyer, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. Like so many others who get hooked on the powerful synthetic pills, Decker turned to heroin, the father said.

Congressman Patrick Meehan (Pa.-7th) heads up the Congressional Youth Sports Caucus. He's a friend of Decker's family and introduced the bill in April.

"We need to know the dangers, first to stop a pain med for a torn ACL from becoming a dependency, and then to be able to intervene effectively before a painkiller is swapped out for heroin. It’s literally killing our kids and student-athletes," Meehan said in a statement Tuesday.

Meehan, the former Delaware County District Attorney, expects the bill to pass with bipartisan support. In addition to the Decker Act, the congressman introduced two other bills around the issue -- one that provides grants to states for using prescription drug monitoring databases and another that would establish a drug monitoring database for Medicare patients at risk for addiction.

Congress is also scheduled to vote on the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act on Friday.

Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suspected Serial Burglar Uses Mickey Mouse Ornament, Shovel to Break Into Montco Home]]>Wed, 11 May 2016 04:17:34 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Whitpain+Twp+Burglaries+Shovel.jpg

Police in Montgomery County have released new surveillance video showing an alleged burglar bust his way into a home with a shovel.

The incident happened Monday afternoon in the township’s Blue Bell section.

First, the man tries ramming through the door. When that doesn’t work, he tries to use a Mickey Mouse lawn ornament to bust through. When that failed, he found a shovel and smashed the door open. Once inside, police said he ransacked the place.

The burglary is one of three that happened Monday in the township. Police believe the same burglar is responsible for two others. He could also be responsible for break-ins in nearby towns, police said.
<![CDATA[Inmate Sets Fire Inside Montco Prison]]>Tue, 10 May 2016 17:59:47 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/Graterford+Prison.PNG

Firefighters were called to the state prison in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Tuesday night to douse a blaze set by an inmate, county officials said.

The fire was started in a cell around 6:30 p.m. at the correctional facility along 1 Prison Road in Skippack Township, officials said.

One inmate was hurt in the fire, officials said. A medical helicopter was dispatched to medevac the prisoner.

Officials couldn't say if the injured inmate was the same person who set the fire.

Firefighters quickly knocked down the fire once inside.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Family Needs Help to Send Body of Girl Killed in Fire Home]]>Tue, 10 May 2016 11:22:20 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Norristown-Fire-Victims.jpg

The family of a 6-year-old girl who died tragically in a Norristown house fire that also claimed the lives of her sister and two others is struggling to come up with the money to send the girl's body back home to Mexico for a proper burial.

Now, they're turning to the public for help, trying to raise $20,000 for Yaritza Vinalay Pineda's funeral in Mexico via a GoFundMe page.

Yaritza died at Albert Einstein Medical Center on Saturday after a fire tore through the twin home on the 800 block of Dekalb Street in the early-morning hours. The fire reached two alarms.

Officials said on Tuesday that Yaritza's sister, 11-year-old Jennifer Vinalay, died overnight of injuries she suffered in the fire -- so the family will likely need to send both girls' bodies to Mexico for burials.

Elepidio Fuentes Lopez, 74, also died in the fire. A fourth victim, also an adult who has not been identified, was found dead inside the home along with Lopez.

The four Norristown victims are among seven people who died in fires in the region Saturday, according to the American Red Cross. The other two deadly fires occurred in South and West Philadelphia.

Investigators said the Norristown fire appeared to have originated on the enclosed porch of the home. They do not believe it started under suspicious circumstances.

Family members were devastated at the loss of the little girls and the two others who died in the fire.

Manuel Irizarry, Lopez's son, described his father as the family’s patriarch.

"We're gonna miss him and we're gonna love him," Irizarry said. "We're here as a family. He liked to play cards, sports and be with the family."

Lopez is not related to Jennifer and Yaritza. It's unclear whether the fourth victim is related to the girls or to Lopez. Neighbors told NBC10 that the little girls' father frantically tried to save them during the fire.

"He was yelling for help and for us to call 9-1-1," said Marco Vargas, a witness.

Photo Credit: Family Photos]]>
<![CDATA[Memorial Held on 10-Year Anniversary of Officer's Death ]]>Mon, 09 May 2016 09:40:57 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Officer-Gary-Skerski-Memori.jpg

A memorial was held for a Philadelphia Police officer Sunday night at the same café where he was shot and killed exactly ten years ago.

Around 150 officers, family members and friends gathered outside Pat’s Café at Castor Avenue and Arrott Street around 7 p.m. to honor Officer Gary Skerski. A bugle was played in Skerski’s memory and roses were dropped on a plaque dedicated to him outside the café.

On May 6, 2006, around 10 p.m., Officer Skerski and other officers responded to a report of an armed robbery in progress at the café. As Skerski approached the door he was met by the suspect who was armed with a shotgun. The suspect, later identified as Solomon Montgomery, opened fire and shot Skerski in the neck. The 16-year veteran assigned to the 15th District was rushed to Temple University Hospital where he later died from his injuries. He was 46-years-old and survived by a wife and two children.

Montgomery, who was also shot twice during the incident, was apprehended 11 days later. He pleaded guilty to Skerski’s murder in October, 2007 and was sentenced to life in prison.

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police/NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds of Untested Rape Kits in Philly]]>Thu, 05 May 2016 05:19:17 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/211*120/Rape+Kit+Generic.JPG

Pennsylvania police agencies had a backlog of just more than 1,850 untested rape kits at the end of last year, according to the first statewide study under a 2015 law that revamped procedures for handling sexual assault evidence and aimed to qualify the state for federal funding.

"This report is an important step forward in Pennsylvania's efforts to bring more transparency and awareness to serious issues like sexual assault," said Health Department spokesman Wes Culp, whose agency published the data. He said the report will help "ensure that those kits are tested in a timely manner."

The numbers are much smaller than have been reported recently in some other parts of the country, amid fresh efforts to cut the backlog and prosecute offenders.

The study's largest backlog, by far, was in Philadelphia, where the police department's forensic services office had nearly 1,300 kits that needed to be tested. A city police spokeswoman did not offer an immediate comment.

"I think one is a lot," said Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-Washington, who sponsored legislation that required the study. "Eighteen hundred represents 1,800 victims, so this is a big deal. I'm glad we were able to identify the issue and now can move forward to make sure we are addressing the issue."

The Pennsylvania study involved kits in police hands that have not received the necessary DNA and forensic analysis, in criminal cases that have not been resolved.

The 2015 amendments to the Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act require police to pick up the kits within three days of notification by a hospital or other health care facility and then get them to a lab within 15 days. Testing must be done within six months, followed by notice to the victim or surviving family.

"There's really not been any way to know how many kits have been collected and if each one of those kits have been sent on," said Kristen Houser with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

The reasons for the backlog, she said, "are probably numerous, we don't have insight into that."

Many states have been working to identify their backlog and test the kits in recent years. Florida announced in January its backlog was 13,000 kits. New Mexico put its backlog at about 5,000 in November.

Federal officials announced in September that $79 million in funding was being distributed to help cut a national backlog estimated at 70,000 rape kits in 27 states. Those grants included $254,000 for the medical examiner's office in Allegheny County and $420,000 for Philadelphia.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Bill Cosby Tries to Delay Pa. Sex Assault Case, Again]]>Thu, 05 May 2016 05:18:26 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Cosby-AP_930631308217.jpg

Bill Cosby is trying again to delay hearings in his criminal case while he fights to get the sex-assault charges in Pennsylvania dismissed.

The actor-comedian asked the state Supreme Court on Wednesday to review last week's decision by an appeals court that upheld the case.

Cosby, 78, is charged with indecent sexual assault over a 2004 encounter with a former Temple University employee. His preliminary hearing is set for May 24.

The state's high court could dismiss the appeal, hear the appeal and delay the hearing, or take the appeal but refuse to grant a delay.

District Attorney Kevin Steele has said it's time for the case to move forward. Cosby was arrested Dec. 30 and has not yet entered a plea.

Steele reopened the case last year after new evidence emerged that he thought strengthened the accuser's 2005 police complaint. That evidence includes similar accounts by dozens of other Cosby accusers and Cosby's admission, under oath in a deposition, that he had gotten sedatives to give to women he hoped to seduce.

Cosby's lawyers say there's no harm in delaying the probable-cause hearing, given that prosecutors took nearly 12 years to bring charges.

The heart of their underlying argument to dismiss the case is that former District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. now says he had promised that Cosby would never be prosecuted over the encounter. Castor has testified that he urged Cosby's late lawyer, Walter M. Phillips Jr., to have Cosby testify in a civil lawsuit brought by the woman, Andrea Constand.

Steele seized on that newly-released testimony in reopening the criminal case last year.

"The (former) district Attorney ... made an unequivocal and binding promise to Mr. Cosby that the commonwealth would never prosecute him," defense lawyer Carl A. Solano wrote in the motion for a stay. "That right will be irreparably lost if the May 24, 2016 preliminary hearing is allowed to go forward."

Cosby remains free on $1 million bail. Steele was traveling Wednesday and was unavailable for comment, a spokeswoman said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Teacher Has Sex With Student: Police]]>Tue, 03 May 2016 05:49:28 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Rose-Limuli.jpg

A Montgomery County teacher was arrested for allegedly having sex with a high school student.

Rose Limuli, 39, of Lansdale was arrested and charged with 12 counts of institutional sexual assault.

Police say Limuli, who was an English teacher at Upper Dublin High School, had a sexual relationship with a male student at the school from December, 2015 until late March. Police became aware of the alleged relationship on March 31 which led to an investigation and eventual arrest.

Limuli’s bail was set at $50,000 unsecured under the conditions that she have no contact with the teen or other students. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 16.

Limuli was suspended from Upper Dublin High School pending the outcome of the investigation, according to a school district spokesperson.

“In compliance with Pennsylvania Law, Department of Education Regulations and School District of Upper Dublin policies, Mrs. LiMuli went through the required background checks for criminal record and child abuse history clearances, commonly known as Act 34 and Act 151. Those background checks gave no indication of any previous criminal behavior,” said Upper Dublin School District Dr. Deborah Wheeler in a prepared statement. “Recognizing the emotional impact that this news could have on both students and members of our high school faculty/staff, guidance counselors will be available for consultation.”

Photo Credit: Upper Dublin Township Police]]>
<![CDATA[Montco Wawa Sells Million-Dollar Lottery Ticket]]>Sun, 01 May 2016 12:44:30 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Pennsylvania+Lottery+Generic.jpg

A Montgomery County Wawa customer became a millionaire last week after buying a million-dollar lottery ticket at a North Wales outpost of the convenience store.

According to the Pennsylvania Lottery, the customer purchased a Match 6 ticket that netted $1.2 million in winnings at the Wawa store at North Wales and Horsham roads in North Wales.

A big-jackpot ticket was also sold across the state, at GoSunoco in Brownsville, Fayetteville County, according to the Pennsylvania Lottery. That ticket, a Cash 5 jackpot winner, was worth $800,000.

The North Wales winner's identity has not been made public.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Flyers Defenseman Medvedev Arrested]]>Wed, 27 Apr 2016 13:30:17 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Evgeny+Medvedev+Flyers.jpg

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Evgeny Medvedev was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence in Montgomery County early Wednesday, police said.

Lower Moreland Police Chief Pete Hasson tells NBC10 Medvedev was stopped for a traffic violation around 2:45 a.m. along Byberry Road in Lower Moreland.

The officer then arrested the 33-year-old Russian national for suspicion of driving under the influence, Hasson said.

Charges have not been filed in the case. Hanson said police are awaiting toxicology results. Medvedev has since been released from police custody.

Medvedev signed a one-year contract with the Flyers last May.

NBC10 has reached out to the team for comment.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cosby Lawsuit Can Proceed, Judge Rules]]>Wed, 27 Apr 2016 10:21:46 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Bill-Cosby2.jpg

A lawsuit filed against Bill Cosby by a woman who claims the comedian sexually assaulted her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974 when she was 15 years old can move forward, a judge in Santa Monica has ruled. 

Cosby's attorneys had asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan to dismiss the suit filed by Judy Huth, but the judge declined in a ruling issued late last week. 

"The decision is a vindication of our position that this lawsuit should be permitted to proceed to trial and should not be dismissed," Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said today. "We did not believe that there was a valid basis for denying Ms. Huth her day in court. We are very happy that the court agreed and we will continue to vigorously fight for a just result for our client." 

Huth alleges in her court papers that she has suffered "psychological damage and mental anguish" throughout her life, but only recently discovered the problems were "caused by the sexual abuse perpetrated by Cosby." 

Her lawsuit, filed in 2014, alleges sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Karlan dismissed an allegation of negligent infliction of emotional distress. 

The judge last month put on hold a planned deposition of Cosby so the 78-year-old comedian can focus on a criminal case pending against him in Pennsylvania. 

Cosby has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting nearly 50 women across the country, although he has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. He had not been charged with a crime until Dec. 30, when he was charged in Pennsylvania with aggravated indecent assault. Prosecutors allege he sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, in January 2004 after plying her with drugs and wine.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Drop Off Your Unused Prescription Drugs Saturday]]>Wed, 27 Apr 2016 10:14:53 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_201601271555460000.jpg

Have unused prescription drugs you need to get rid of?

Saturday, April 30 is National Take Back Day, and sites across the region will offer prescription medication disposal.

Officials are encouraging citizens to drop off unused medications, especially prescription painkillers, in light of the opioid and heroin addiction epidemic sweeping the nation. In Generation Addicted, NBC10's recent in-depth look at the epidemic in the Delaware Valley and beyond, many blamed it on over-prescription of painkillers like Percocet and OxyContin.

Here's where you can safely get rid of your medications -- no questions asked -- this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.:

North Philadelphia
Engine 2/Ladder 3 - 2426 N. 2nd St.
Engine 50/Ladder 12 - 1325 W. Cambria St.
Engine 45/Ladder 14 - 26th and York streets
Engine 7/Ladder 10 - Kensington and Castor avenues

Center City/Old City
Engine 43/Ladder 9 - 21st and Market streets
Ladder 2 - 4th and Arch streets

University of the Sciences Alumni Hall Lobby - Woodland Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets
Pennsylvania State Police Troop K Barracks - 2201 Belmont Ave.
Engine 57 - 5559 Chestnut St.
Engine 54 - 63rd Street and Lancaster Avenue
Engine 68/Ladder 13 - 52nd Street and Willows Avenue

Engine 51/Ladder 29 - Old York Road and Champlost Avenue
Engine 19/Ladder 8 - Chelten Avenue and Baynton Street
Engine 9/Ladder 21 - Germantown Avenue and Carpenter Lane
Engine 73 - 7515 Ogontz Ave.

Ladder 30 - Ridge Avenue and Cinnaminson Street

South Philadelphia
Point Breeze Pharmacy - 1407 Point Breeze Ave.
Engine 60/Ladder 19 - 2301 S. 24th St.

Port Richmond/Bridesburg
Engine 33 - Richmond and Kirkbride streets
Port Richmond Pharmacy - 2512 E. Clearfield St. (outside - weather permitting)

Tacony Pharmacy - 7100 Torresdale Ave.
Engine 71/Ladder 28 - 1900 Cottman Ave.
Engine 36/Ladder 20 - 7818 Frankford Ave.
Engine 62/Ladder 34 - 9845 Bustleton Ave.
Engine 22/Ladder 31 - 3270 Comly Rd.

Montgomery County
Cheltenham Police Department - 8230 Old York Rd.
Jenkintown Police Department - 700 Summit Ave.
Rockledge Police Department - 1 Park Ave.
Abington Police Department - 1166 Old York Rd.
Hatboro Police Department - 414 South York Rd.
Whitemarsh Police Station - 616 E. Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill
West Conshohocken Borough Hall - 112 Ford St.
Conshohocken Police Department - 400 Fayette St.
Lower Merion Police Department - 71 E. Lancaster Ave.
Audubon Borough Municipal Building - 606 W. Nicholson Rd.
Lower Providence Police Department - 100 Parklane Dr., Norristown
West Norriton Police Department - 1630 W. Marshall St., Norristown
East Norriton Police Department - 2501 Stanbridge St., Norristown
Upper Merion Township Police Department - 175 West Valley Forge Rd., King of Prussia
Upper Providence Township Police Department - 1286 Black Rock Rd., Oaks
Montgomery Mall - 804 Bethlehem Pike, North Wales

Delaware County
Upper Darby High School - 601 Lansdowne Ave., Drexel Hill
Marcus Hook Community Center - 7 West Delaware Ave.
Pennsylvania State Police Media Barracks - 1342 West Baltimore Pike
Giant - 2910 Springfield Rd., Broomall
Aldan Municipal Building - 1 West Providence Rd.
Radnor Police Department - 301 Iven Ave., Wayne

Bucks County
Giant - 2721 Street Rd., Bensalem
Lower Southampton Police Department - 1500 Desire Ave., Feasterville Trevose
Upper Southampton Township Building - 939 Street Rd., Southampton
Southampton Estates - 238 Street Rd., Southampton
Giant - 4001 New Falls Rd., Levittown
Bucks County Free Library - 7311 New Falls Rd., Levittown
Tullytown Borough Municipal Building - 500 Main St., Bristol
Bristol Borough Municipal Building - 250 Pond St., Bristol
Bristol Township Municipal Building - 2501 Bath Rd., Bristol
CVS at Target - 2331 E. Lincoln Highway, Langhorne
Penndel Borough Police Department - 300 South Bellevue Ave., Langhorne
Langhorne Boro Hall - 114 East Maple Ave.
Richboro Shop N Bag - 1025 2nd St. Pike, Richboro
Warminster Township Police Department - 401 Gibson Ave.
Ann's Choice - 3000 Ann's Choice Way, Warminster
Giant - 720 W. Street Rd., Warminster
Falls Township Police Department - 188 Lincoln Highway, Fairless Hills
New Britain Township Police Department - 207 Park Ave., Chalfont
Giant - 4275 County Line Rd., Chalfont

Chester County
Kennett Township Police Department - 801 Burrows Run Road, Chadds Ford
Giant - 350 Scarlet Rd., Kennett Square
CVS - 101 Reeceville Rd., Kennett Square
Downingtown Police Department - 10 W. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown
Tredyffrin Township Police Department/Township Building - 1100 Du Portail Rd., Berwyn

Palmyra Police Department - 20 W. Broad St.
Cinnaminson Police Department - 900 Manor Rd.
Crystal Lake Shopping Center - 413 W. Crystal Lake Ave., Haddonfield
Haddonfield Police Department - 242 Kings Highway East
Logan Township Police Department - 125 Main St., Bridgeport
Woolwich Township Police Department - 120 Village Green Drive
Deptford Township Police Department - 1011 Cooper St.
Delran Township Police Department - 900 Chester Ave.
Moorestown Police Department - 1245 N. Church St.

Shipley Manor Nursing Home - 2723 Shipley Rd., Wilmington
Wilmington Blue Rocks Stadium (parking lot) - 801 S. Justinson St., Wilmington
VA Hospital - 1601 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington
New Castle County Police Headquarters - 3601 N. DuPont Highway, New Castle
New Castle County Airport - 151 N. DuPont Highway, New Castle
Newark Police Department - 220 S. Main St., Newark

Don't see a location near you? Click here to search the full list of locations.

Click here to watch NBC10's exclusive TV special, Generation Addicted, online. Read more of the special report here.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Evans Upsets Fattah in U.S. House Primary]]>Wed, 27 Apr 2016 02:44:42 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Evans_Fattah_1200.gif

Longtime Pennsylvania House Rep. Dwight Evans, the face of Philadelphia's Democratic delegation in Harrisburg for decades, is set to go to Washington, D.C.

He defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in the Democratic primary Tuesday, virtually assuring for himself the 2nd Congressional District seat, held by Fattah for the last 22 years.

Evans, a leader from the powerful Northwest section of the city, seized on an opportunity to unseat Fattah after the 11-term congressman was indicted last July on federal racketeering charges.

What likely aided in Evans' upset bid was his Northwest stronghold — known for its "power wards," areas with strong voter turnout.

But the district also covers much of West Philadelphia and parts of Montgomery County. Fattah in recent weeks spent heavily on radio and television advertisements, using special funds allotted to congressional offices.

Fattah is currently facing charges in connection with campaign funding dating back to his 2007 bid for Philadelphia mayor. A hearing is set for next month, and the trial could begin soon after that.

Photo Credit: AP/NBC 10
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<![CDATA[Mission Kids Helps Victims of Child Abuse]]>Fri, 22 Apr 2016 11:27:24 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000014940436_1200x675_671756355541.jpgApril is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. NBC10's Vai Sikahema talks with Abbie Newman, who works with Mission Kids, a Montgomery County child advocacy organization that helps young victims of sexual abuse. A shocking 10 percent to 20 percent of kids will become victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18, according to the organization.]]><![CDATA[Pa.'s GOP Delegate Chase]]>Thu, 21 Apr 2016 06:34:23 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Donald+Trump+Ted+Cruz+Kasich.jpg

Pennsylvania, long an afterthought in presidential primary stakes, may emerge as a key player in crowning this year's Republican presidential nominee.

Pennsylvania will send a whopping number of delegates to July's unsettled Republican National Convention who, under a state party rule, can vote for whichever candidate they choose.

As a result, Pennsylvania's April 26 statewide primary election is relatively meaningless — a beauty pageant. What is meaningful, however, is whom primary voters will select to send to Cleveland as the 54 uncommitted delegates.

"And then the drama begins," said Michael McMonagle, a delegate candidate from Montgomery County who supports Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. "Who can persuade who?"

Polls show New York businessman Donald Trump leading both Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Pennsylvania, where primary contests are usually so late that the eventual presidential nominee is no longer in doubt.

This year, there's a real campaign in Pennsylvania, and it's about the delegates.

On Pennsylvania's primary ballot are 162 people who are running to be a GOP convention delegate. They are elected by congressional district, three for each of Pennsylvania's 18 districts for a total of 54.

Seventeen other delegates — the state party chairman, Rob Gleason, Pennsylvania's two national GOP committee members and 14 picked in May by party leaders — must vote for the winner of Pennsylvania's statewide primary election, but only on the first convention ballot. Beginning with the second ballot, they are as uncommitted as the 54 elected delegates.

For now, campaigns are trying to win pledges of allegiance from delegate candidates and, later, they expect to jockey to get party leaders to pick the campaigns' supporters as the 14 delegates.

Many delegate candidates are relatively anonymous, and some are better-known officeholders. But the delegate candidates' names appear on the ballot without any affiliation to a presidential candidate, meaning voters won't necessarily know who they are really supporting.

"You can go in there and vote for Trump and vote for three delegates that are three votes against Trump," said Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., a state co-chairman of Trump's campaign.

For the Democrats, the process is less mysterious: Primary voters select 127 delegates who are affiliated on the ballot with either former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The rest of the 210 Democratic convention delegates are picked by the party and most must support the winner of the state's presidential primary vote.

Republican Party officials and political operatives say they expect an onslaught of delegate persuasion to begin in earnest after the election. A below-the-radar persuasion effort began last week, with Trump and Cruz loyalists telephoning delegate candidates to try to secure pledges of support. The Trump and Cruz campaigns have released a list of supportive delegates and are preparing campaigns to get them elected.

Some delegate candidates say they feel bound, at least on the first convention ballot, to vote for whichever presidential candidate wins their congressional district. Many are remaining noncommittal, at least publicly.

"I think that is my responsibility to hear everybody out and make a judgment at some point," said Calvin Tucker, a delegate candidate from Philadelphia. "I think that is the purpose of being uncommitted."

There is some high-level support for Kasich in the Pennsylvania GOP — including former Gov. Tom Ridge and national GOP committeeman Bob Asher — and that creates the potential that a bloc of delegate votes will favor Kasich.

The last time a Republican convention was so unsettled, in 1976, candidate Ronald Reagan picked one of Pennsylvania's senators, Richard Schweiker, as his running mate in an effort to pick up support from the state's delegates.

Asher is cautioning delegates against taking a hard stance for or against a particular candidate.

"We really have to consider who we think has the best chance of beating Hillary Clinton," Asher said, "and when we get to Cleveland, we need to put our prejudices aside."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Retirement Age Votes Won't Count: Judge]]>Thu, 21 Apr 2016 09:37:01 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Gavel144096337.jpg

A Pennsylvania judge ruled Wednesday that primary election votes being cast on a constitutional amendment ballot question to extend the state's judicial retirement age won't count.

Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin Brobson's ruling effectively upholds a state resolution delaying the vote from next week until November. Three Democratic state senators had sought to have the resolution invalidated so any votes cast next week would matter.

Brobson said it was up to state and county elections officials to explain that the amendment isn't yet before voters, "regardless of what the actual ballot may say."

"There are clearly burdens and consequences that result from the unfortunate timing of the General Assembly's action," Brobson wrote. "Such burdens and consequences that flow from the constitutional actions of any branch of government, however, are not 'harms' that can be considered, let alone abated, by enjoining the exercise of a constitutional prerogative."

The lawsuit named as defendants the two top-ranking Senate Republicans, Jake Corman and Joe Scarnati, as well as Secretary of State Pedro Cortes.

Senate Republican general counsel Drew Crompton said the decision upheld the Legislature's prime role in deciding how constitutional amendments get voted.

"I think the court decision clearly states that it's the court's opinion that setting elections and especially those associated with constitutional amendments is fully in the purview of the General Assembly," Crompton said.

The proposed amendment, which would let the state's roughly 1,000 justices, judges and district judges remain on the bench until age 75, compared to age 70 now, has passed both chambers of the Legislature in two consecutive sessions, leaving only voter approval still required for it to be adopted.

Lawmakers had put the question on the ballot for Tuesday's primary, and tens of thousands of people have already cast absentee ballots.

But earlier this month, both chambers approved a resolution to delay the vote until the Nov. 8 general election, to rewrite the wording so that it doesn't state the age is being extended five years and to direct Cortes to not tally primary votes on the question.

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County and Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, and Sen. Christina Tartaglione, D-Philadelphia, sued to challenge the resolution, saying it would improperly ignore votes that already have been cast by military and overseas absentee voters, among other grounds.

But Brobson ruled against their request to block the resolution, saying "no elector has a right to vote on that question or a right to have their vote on that question count as part of the April general primary election. In the absence of a right to vote, there cannot be voter disenfranchisement."

Leach said the plaintiffs will not pursue an 11th-hour appeal before the state Supreme Court, although the underlying lawsuit will continue.

A Department of State spokeswoman had no comment late Wednesday about whether the public will be told how many votes are eventually cast in the primary for or against the amendment. Leach said all votes should be counted and reported.

Elections officials told Brobson it's very late in the process to get the question off all ballots in 67 counties, and said alternatives such as stickers to black out the question may not be practical.

Crompton said it was possible that some counties could find a way to block the question.

Most county elections offices are linked by computer to the Department of State, which publishes unofficial election night returns. Tinkering with and then testing the software takes time and creates a risk of election night glitches. Brobson said Cortes can determine if such changes should be made.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Photo by Education Images/UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Penn Grad Building 'Google of Marijuana' ]]>Wed, 20 Apr 2016 18:44:21 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Chris+Beals+WeedMaps+10Q.jpg

It’s 4/20...the unofficial holiday celebrating the biggest illegal (yet legal) drug known to man: marijuana.

This year’s high holiday is even more timely since Pennsylvania became the 24th state to legalize the plant for medical use just this week. The Keystone State now joins New Jersey and Delaware who have been in the process of getting their own medical exchanges up and running.

There are an estimated 1.4 million medical marijuana users in the United States, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. And lots of them need help navigating the patchwork of cannabis types and offerings near them.

That's where WeedMaps comes in. The online service is billed as the oldest and largest technology company focused on marijuana. It’s like Yelp for weed -- offering menus for weed dispensaries, video tours and user reviews of products.

Launched in 2008, the site now boasts 4.5 million unique visitors a month and 1 million registered users on its platform. It’s also expanded into sales register systems and software for doctors offices.

Helping drive the company’s expansion as its president and general counsel is Lansdale, Pennsylvania native Chris Beals. The 36-year-old North Penn and University of Pennsylvania grad joined the company eight months ago and already has his sights set on turning it into the 'Google of marijuana.'

We talked to Beals about how technology is being used to help people better find the marijuana they need, why bud names like Sour Diesel and Yoda OG are old-hat, how they’re educating lawmakers on the issue and how lab testing and data is key to the industry’s future.

Our conversation was lightly edited for length and clarity.

NBC10: What’s a marijuana technology company?

CB: The thing most people know about us is the website WeedMaps that’s essentially a site where you can find doctors, dispensaries, delivery services, deals in states where marijuana been legalized.

Later this month, we’re launching brand pages which will enable people to start shopping by specific products which is a newer concept in the marijuana space. As mature people start to gravitate [to marijuana], they don’t want XYZ product, they want the product made by this brand which they know and love.

In addition to that we own Marijuana.com which is a news and information portal. We also have the largest point-of-sale system in Spain and one of the largest point-of-sale systems in the United States. We have a doctor management software suite and we’re working on a whole portfolio of additional software products so it’s not just the web advertising/marketing side.

We’re expanding internationally as well and we’re trying to be the Google or Oracle of marijuana.

NBC10: Why would a person use a site like WeedMaps?

CB: A good analogy is wine. Right now if you go into a liquor store, you expect to see a fairly wide selection of reds, whites, rosés, champagnes and other stuff.

With the way the marijuana market works, especially in states where there’s not a completely open market, you can walk into a store and they don’t have what you’re looking for.

It would be as if you walked into the liquor store and they had no red wine. And on top of that, if there’s only 150 stores in your state, you might have just driven 30 or 40 minutes to get there.

We’re doing integration with point-of-sale systems and allowing the dispensaries to update their menus. In addition, we do integrations with labs so you can see the actual lab testing data for that product, pictures of those products, a video tour of the dispensary so you know what the atmosphere is like, how knowledgeable the budtenders are to tell you about the products they have for sale.

So when you go there you know they have the products you are looking for and that work for you, and separately, that it’s lab tested.

NBC10: Why is lab testing important? Is it just for safety?

CB: We know that dispensaries will change the names on products that come in to something that they know is selling really well. Or if something doesn’t look just the way it should for that strain [of marijuana], they’ll change it to another name so that it matches better. Or they’ll just completely come up with a new name as part of their branding efforts.

There was an origin to the strain names at one time, but we’re getting to a point now where growers will accidentally cross two different strains and wind up with something completely different and why try and go through the brain damage of trying to put a descriptive name on it.

That’s why I think this lab-tested data is important, even getting to the genetics, to help people understand what they’re consuming.

NBC10: Pennsylvania is now the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, but each state’s law is different. Are there things you feel need to change in these states?

CB: I think it’s important to expand the list of medical conditions to more accurately reflect what people use marijuana for. Pennsylvania did a decent job on its list of conditions, but it could go slightly broader.

Separately, people would find it unacceptable if there were 150 CVS’s in a state, I think increasing access to more points of sale, potentially having delivery services for people in hospice care and people who have mobility issues. These are all things that we think are incredibly important before you move to the recreational side.

NBC10: What about recreational use? Will it ever happen nationally? Or will it be a state-by-state issue?

CB: It’s going to be piecemeal. We may see federal legalization of medical marijuana use, but I think the federal government is going to adopt a wait and see stance on this.

We generally do support the move to recreational use, but we’re pretty big advocates of a lot of safety measures. We’re incredibly passionate of advocating for better lab testing, more lab testing, broader lab testing panels to include terpenes (the oils in the cannabis plant that produce particular smells, color and tastes) which impacts what effects you feel when consuming marijuana.

A number of the senior execs at the company have children and we’re big advocates on the recreational side of having a consumption age of 21. Ensuring that advertising isn’t geared toward minors. Things like that.

On the flip side, we don’t want onerous regulations like setting high prices for the drug or only allowing a small number of dispensaries. This can sort of encourage the black market to flourish.

I think it’s in the state’s best interest, it’s in law enforcement’s best interest and ultimately, it’s in WeedMaps and the industry’s best interest for the black market to be extinguished. And I think so far, legislation in some states has been a main reason we haven’t quite gotten there.

NBC10: Do you think your websites are helping change public opinion about marijuana?

CB: I’ve been with the company for under a year and even in that short period of time I’ve seen a large shift in how people view the issue.

On the content side, I think content where people are just consuming marijuana is passé. People want to read stories or hear stories related to the industry or people in it. They don’t necessarily want to see people consuming marijuana because that’s just something that has kind of become normal at this point. It’s not the sort of taboo, curious thing that it once was.

On the political front, we’re very active in trying to reach out to state and local governments to educate them about what we’re seeing that works and doesn’t work. We’re coming at it with somewhat of a neutral viewpoint because we’re never going to own dispensaries and we’re never going to run growing operations. We’re a technology and advertising company to our core.

Even in engaging with those state and local legislators, I’ve seen a shift in the questions that they’re asking. The conversation doesn't start with them being reserved and closed off. They’ll start the conversation with 'I know that intelligent marijuana legislation is the right way forward and I just need help understanding marijuana and understanding that right now is the time I’m going to take a stand on it.'

NBC10: Have you talked to our local lawmakers?

CB: We haven't had a ton of conversations in Pennsylvania. We’re starting to reach out right now.

In Pennsylvania, I think the biggest thing there is to make sure the legislation ensures safety, but on the flip side that it doesn’t produce costs that are so high that it’s not possible to run a profitable business in the state.

In New Jersey, a lot of folks are really interested in how marijuana legalization impacts things like reducing law enforcement costs or alleviating what’s traditionally been the really disparate impacts that marijuana prohibition has had on the incarceration of minorities. Even though the consumption rates are pretty much the same among African-Americans and Caucasian communities, you tend to see the African-American community get arrested at four times the rate.

They’re also trying to get medical up and running when you’ve potentially got Massachusetts going recreational this November.

NBC10: With a new state like Pennsylvania opening up to medical marijuana, what do you usually hear from new users?

CB: In new states, you’ll see people asking about 'What’s concentrate? What’s oil? How do I consume it?'

There’s so many new people who come in and say I’m eating edibles for the first time, there’s a milligram amount on the side of the package, what does that mean for me?

We’re launching a new platform about educating consumers about the products. So explaining what terpenes and cannabinoids are. Why I have to know what they are so that I understand how the marijuana is going to affect me. Will it make me feel full of energy? Will it make me sleepy? Will it relieve my pain?

NBC10: How did your friends and family react when you told them you joined WeedMaps?

CB: My mom specifically was not a big fan of it when I first told her.

I think overall, even now, my family has warmed up to it. I get a ton of questions now from my family asking 'Do you think marijuana would treat this?' or 'Do you think it would work for this?'

I was just at a marijuana conference up at Harvard Medical School and after that I got calls from my mom asking 'What were the studies? What did you hear?' So I don’t think she’s a fan of total recreational consumption, but I think she’s pretty open and I think she’s sort of a proud mom telling a lot of her friends 'Oh my son works for this large marijuana tech company.'

I have a few friends who actually work in law enforcement and I think even they have been sort of pleasantly receptive to this position.

Separately, a lot of my friends now always have questions about the latest things we're doing or what’s the latest state to legalized. For the most part, I think people surprisingly been receptive to it and I think that reflects a lot.

I knew people got the marijuana issue when my mom and grandmother were both asking me questions and were excited about the latest developments at work.

NBC10: How do you see your business growing over the next few years?

CB: Even if legalization stays where it’s at right now, I think there’s still a lot of room to grow.

The big areas of growth are going to be adding on new software products and servicing new states as they come online. Then I also think it’s going to be the development of a much broader data platform and data tools and sort of data analytics.

That’s one niche that we can fill because working on point-of-sale, having the core site and interfacing with consumers online and seeing what their browsing habits are eventually we want to glue that together and sort of provide data that’s useful to businesses.

But separately sort of help guide consumers as they do discovery through brands and learn about new products and that sort of thing.

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<![CDATA[Embattled Pa. AG Withdraws Claim FBI Leaked Recordings]]>Wed, 20 Apr 2016 12:25:39 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/200*120/Kathleen+Kane+Norristown.JPG

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has dropped a court motion that accused prosecutors of leaking FBI recordings in her perjury and obstruction case to a newspaper.

Kane's lawyers also decided Wednesday to file a prosecutorial misconduct motion in public next week rather than seek to file it under seal.

Defense lawyer Gerald Shargel, after a brief hearing, said the issue had become "a distraction" and added that he doubted they could ever find the culprit behind the leak to the Morning Call of Allentown. He said he had not filed the motion with the intent of dropping it.

"I'm not a game player," said Shargel, a prominent New York criminal lawyer. "The defense in a criminal case is a fluid proposition."

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy noted that the defense had initially sought "significant relief" over the leaked FBI tapes: a change of venue, the disqualification of District Attorney Kevin Steele's office, the quashing of the recordings and the possible dismissal of the case. She put Kane under oath to be sure she agreed with the new strategy announced by her four lawyers.

Kane assured the judge she was on board with the decision.

Kane, a first-term Democrat, is accused of leaking grand jury material to a Philadelphia newspaper to embarrass rivals and then lying about it before a separate grand jury. Shargel also plans to appeal the judge's pretrial ruling that upheld the charges.

Steele calls the claim that his office leaked the FBI phone tapes to an Allentown newspaper "meritless." The tapes include phone calls made by Kane's political consultant, Josh Morrow.

Kane remains in office but, with her law license suspended, won't seek re-election this year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Bill Cosby's Wife Faces More Questions]]>Tue, 19 Apr 2016 08:28:16 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Camille-Cosby.jpg

Bill Cosby's wife will answer more questions under oath in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who contend the comedian branded them liars after they went public with sexual assault allegations against him.

Camille Cosby's deposition is scheduled to continue Tuesday in Boston. She gave the first part of her deposition in Springfield in February. The Cosbys have a home in Massachusetts.

Camille Cosby had sought to terminate or at least limit her deposition. A magistrate judge ruled earlier this month that she must continue it, but prohibited "improper questions," including those involving protected communications between spouses.

The plaintiffs in the defamation lawsuit are among about 50 women who claim Cosby forced unwanted sexual contact on them.

Cosby faces criminal charges in Pennsylvania. He has denied the allegations.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cosby Accuser Fights to Void Decade-Old Secrecy Pact]]>Fri, 15 Apr 2016 14:33:50 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Cosby-GettyImages-508075770.jpg

The accuser in Bill Cosby's criminal sexual assault case in Pennsylvania wants a judge to void the secrecy clause surrounding their 2006 settlement since each side accuses the other of violating the pact.

A hearing Friday in federal court is set to weigh that issue and the breach-of-contract lawsuit Cosby filed against accuser Andrea Constand, her mother and her lawyer.

Constand's lawyer, Dolores Troiani, says Cosby is using the court system to try to intimidate witnesses.

Cosby's lawyers, meanwhile allege the Constand camp has violated the secrecy pact by cooperating with officials who reopened her police complaint last year.

Constand accused Cosby of drugging and molesting her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

Her complaint wasn't prosecuted at the time, but new prosecutors reopened it last year and arrested Cosby in December, just before the 12-year statute of limitations expired. As part of their investigation, they interviewed Constand and her mother and obtained files from her lawyer.

The judge also is hearing motions Friday in Constand's defamation suit against Bruce Castor, the former suburban Philadelphia prosecutor who declined to arrest Cosby in 2005 and now says Constand enhanced her story when she filed suit.

Cosby has repeatedly denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cosby Wants Court to Reseal Testimony About Affairs, Drugs]]>Fri, 15 Apr 2016 03:52:58 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/cosby-timeline-photo.jpg

Lawyers for Bill Cosby are urging a court to reseal the actor's deposition testimony about extramarital affairs, Quaaludes and payments to women.

Cosby doesn't want the decade-old testimony used in the legal battles he's fighting with women who accuse him of sexual assault or defamation.

A federal appeals court in Philadelphia is hearing arguments Wednesday.

The 78-year-old Cosby hopes to overturn a ruling that made the documents public last year at the request of The Associated Press.

The AP argues that the issue is now moot given the widespread news coverage that ensued.

Cosby admits to several affairs in the deposition and says he obtained prescription sedatives to give to women he hoped to seduce.

The deposition stems from a lawsuit filed by the accuser at the center of his pending criminal case.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Caught on Cam: Scrap Metal Robbers Unsuccessful]]>Wed, 13 Apr 2016 08:47:57 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000014779469_1200x675_664965187507.jpgTwo people were caught on video trying to rob a Montgomery County recycling center but they failed to get what police say they were looking for.]]><![CDATA[Democratic Debate for Pennsylvania Attorney General]]>Fri, 08 Apr 2016 03:23:58 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Dem_Debate_full_720_1280x720_661455939651.jpgJohn Morganelli, Northampton County district attorney, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro and Stephen Zappala Jr., the district attorney of Allegheny County, squared off in a debate at NBC10 on April 7, 2016. Watch the full debate.]]><![CDATA[AG Candidates Square Off in Democratic Debate]]>Thu, 07 Apr 2016 23:14:31 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DEM+AG+DEBATE+ALL+THREE_18989378.jpgJohn Morganelli, Northampton County District Attorney, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro and Stephen Zappala, Jr., the district attorney of Allegheny County, debated experience and issues Thursday night at NBC10. Jim Rosenfield has the highlights.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Democratic Debate for Pa. Attorney General]]>Thu, 07 Apr 2016 19:09:45 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Stephen+Zappala+Josh+Shapiro+John+Morganelli+Pa+AG+Democrats.JPG

The Democrats battling it out to replace embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane are facing off tonight in the only live television debate to be broadcast on NBC10, NBC10.com and Telemundo62.

The Democratic Debate for Pennsylvania Attorney General between Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. is airing live from the NBC10/Telemundo Studios from 7 to 8 p.m.

NBC10 news anchor Tracy Davidson and WPXI 11 anchor Lisa Sylvester are moderating.

"We aim to serve our audiences on NBC10, Telemundo62 and nbc10.com with a healthy discussion based on facts that address the issues impacting our daily lives," said NBC10/Telemundo62 vice president of news Anzio Williams. "I can’t think of a better way to serve the people of Pennsylvania than providing real information and creating informed voters."

The Democrat who wins the April 26 Pennsylvania primary will face the winner of the Republican Attorney General primary race between Montgomery County-based State Sen. John Rafferty Jr. (44th District) and former police officer and current Lackawanna County resident Joe Peters.

<![CDATA[Pa. Attorney General Candidate Profile: Josh Shapiro]]>Thu, 07 Apr 2016 14:29:37 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Josh-Shapiro-New-Photo.jpgThree democrats are vying for their party's nomination for Pennsylvania Attorney General. NBC10 will host a debate between the three candidates Thursday. Take a look at our profile of one of the candidates, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro.]]><![CDATA[Officials Speak on Lead Concerns at Montgomery County Elementary School]]>Tue, 05 Apr 2016 22:51:10 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000014673787_1200x675_659760707578.jpgOfficials are clearing up concerns over lead in the water at Penn Wynne Elementary School. County health officials say results stating there's lead in the water coming from a cafeteria faucet may be unreliable. They plan on conducting more tests and the new results are expected Thursday. ]]><![CDATA[AG Debate: Protect Kids, Fight Heroin & Injustice]]>Fri, 08 Apr 2016 03:24:50 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DEM+AG+DEBATE+ALL+THREE_18989378.jpg

Protecting children, cracking down on heroin traffickers and expanding investigations and prosecutions around fracking and consumer scams were among the issues the Democratic candidates for Pennsylvania Attorney General said they’d take on if elected. Each candidate made their case in a live televised debate Thursday night.

John Morganelli, Northampton County District Attorney, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro and Stephen Zappala, Jr., the district attorney of Allegheny County, spent an hour answering questions in NBC10 and Telemundo62’s Bala Cynwyd studios. NBC affiliates across the state carried the live matchup moderated by NBC10's Tracy Davidson and WPXI 11's Lisa Sylvester.

The first question went to both Morganelli and Zappala asking whether they secretly orchestrated a plan to team up against Shapiro, who has not spent time a criminal attorney. Both candidates sharply denied a plan, but later took shots at Shapiro’s career.

Morganelli suggested Shapiro’s history as a self-described "career politician," county commissioner and corporate attorney gave him no depth for prosecuting criminal cases.

Shapiro rebuked the criticism saying his differing resume can expand the attorney general’s office's focus beyond primarily criminal cases.

No surprises came from the candidates during the hour-long debate. All said they supported legalizing medical marijuana, term limits for the office and none would keep the position of Solicitor General – a new post created by embattled current attorney general Kathleen Kane. Bruce Castor, the former Montgomery County district attorney who chose not to prosecute comedian Bill Cosby a decade ago, is currently in the role.

Each candidate was asked what their signature issue would be should they be elected. All said they seek to expand prosecutions in many areas, and each spent time speaking about one issue in-depth.

Morganelli seeks to expand the office’s role in combating the heroin crisis. He’s calling for increased prosecutions for drug dealers and the creation of a transnational task force to seek out and arrest international drug traffickers. The district attorney would also expand investigations into health care providers supplying prescription painkillers to patients. Painkillers are a major gateway to heroin addiction, research shows.

Increasing fairness in the criminal justice system is a major initiative for commissioner Shapiro. Shapiro also took a shot at attorneys and judges embroiled in a porn email scandal that’s unfolded under the past few months.

Zappala cited his record on protecting child victims of abuse, whether physically or sexually, and said he’d like to ensure the office is investigating and prosecuting those types of cases properly across the state.

All three candidates called for increased gun control either through increased background checks or strengthening prosecution of straw purchasers — when a person buys a gun intended for a third-party. Morganelli said, if elected, he’d advocate for a law holding parents and caregivers of children and the mentally ill criminally and civilly liable if their dependents commit a crime with their gun.

Fracking is an issue where Morganelli agreed with Shapiro’s plan to beef up the office’s environmental crimes unit, start a task force on the issue and expand legislation regulating the fuel drilling industry. Zappala said he’d put attorneys on the ground to inspect fracking procedures before and when they begin to ensure compliance of the laws.

The candidates agreed that they’d like to expand prosecutions around consumer scams, especially schemes that target senior citizens.

Thursday’s debate is the only live, televised event ahead of Pennsylvania’s April 26th primary. The winner will face the victor of the Republican Attorney General primary race between Montgomery County-based State Sen. John Rafferty Jr. (44th District) and former police officer and current Lackawanna County resident Joe Peters.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Villanova Alumni, Montco Police Officer Shows Nova Pride]]>Tue, 05 Apr 2016 15:37:17 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Officer+Pimm+Villanova.jpg

Montgomery County police officer and Villanova alum Stephen Pimm showed off his Wildcat pride by sporting a Villanova jersey at work Tuesday.

The Upper Dublin Township Police Department posted a photo of Pimm wearing his jersey with the caption: "Congratulations to Officer Pimm and his Villanova Wildcats" on Facebook.

Officer Pimm is a Villanova alumni who was recruited from his hometown in Tampa, Florida to play football in 2005. Pimm played tight end for the Wildcats from 2005-2009.

"I had that jersey from years ago," Pimm says. "We try to use our social media, especially facebook and twitter, for information sharing and staying close to the community. We're people too."

After graduating with a degree in criminal justice, Pimm settled down with his fellow Wildcat wife and went through the Upper Dublin Police Academy, where he is now an officer.

After the Wildcats defeated UNC Monday night with a jaw-dropping buzzer beater in the NCAA final, Officer Pimm and all of Nova Nation had reason to celebrate.

Photo Credit: Upper Dublin Township Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Horsham Council 'Demands' U.S. Military Foot Bill for Higher Water Costs]]>Thu, 15 Sep 2016 17:35:20 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000017104219_1200x675_766161475912.jpgHorsham's governing body approved a resolution Wednesday night that "demands" the Department of Defense pay for any upgrades and reimburse the local water authority and its ratepayers for any costs associated with tainted water uncovered earlier this year. The water tested positive for high amounts of chemicals suspected to have come from firefighting foam used on the Horsham Air Guard Station and former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base. The Horsham Water Authority last week voted to raised rates by 24 cents a day for the average customer. That comes out to more than $90 a year. The water authority and township officials will hold another meeting for residents, Monday, Sept. 26, at the Horsham Community Center.]]>PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Nurses at Montco Hospitals Vote to Join Union]]>Sat, 10 Sep 2016 21:18:04 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/pbj+health+care+nurses.PNG

Nurses at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center voted 189 to 129 to join the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals.

The 347 nurses at the western Montgomery County hospital are the fifth group of nurses to join PASNAP this year. Earlier this year, registered nurses at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Hahnemann University Hospital, Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia and Delaware County Memorial Hospital also joined the same union.

“Nurses and other healthcare professionals are clearly sending the message that their hospital’s priorities, and resources, must shift immediately to the bedside and to patient care,” said Bill Cruice, executive director of PASNAP. PASNAP, a member of the Northeast Nurses Association (NENA), represents about 8,000 nurses and allied health professionals statewide.

Pottstown Memorial Medical Center is owned by Community Health Systems, a for-profit hospital management company based in Franklin, Tennessee.

To read the full article, click here.

For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Business Journal]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Montco Hotels Log Record July Performance ]]>Sat, 10 Sep 2016 21:10:16 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/hyatt+montco+hotels+pbj.PNG

Montgomery County's hotels had a hot July, not due to the heat wave that blanketed the region, but because of the occupancy figures that hit an all-time record.

The 74 hotels in the suburban county had a record-setting July thanks in part to the Democratic National Convention, the effects of which spilled over to Philadelphia's collar counties, but most notably in Montgomery County, which saw a bigger-than-expected lift.

The county saw a 7.3 percent increase in occupancy this July over last year, according to the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board, citing data from analytics firm STR. More than 200,000 hotel room nights were booked in July, an increase of 11 percent over 2015.

Hotel room rates were up 13.1 percent over 2015, and revenue per available room, or RevPAR, was up 21.4 percent year over year.

Year-to-date occupancy for Montgomery County is 68.1 percent, a nearly 5 percent increase from 2015. Occupancy for a 12-month period is 67.2 percent, a year-over-year increase of 5.5 percent.

To read the full article, click here.

For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board]]>
<![CDATA[Google Helps Montco Cops Nab Alleged Child Porn Suspect]]>Fri, 09 Sep 2016 11:19:10 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Gellman.jpeg

Google assisted on an arrest in Montgomery County for a suspect who allegedly uploaded an image police believe to be child pornography to his personal email account.

Russell Gellman, of Abington, allegedly uploaded a photo that he allegedly later told police he believed to "probably" be an underage girl having intercourse, according to the criminal complaint filed by an Abington detective working with the county's cyber crimes unit.

The cyber trail leading up to the charges filed this week against Gellman began in February when Google reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that a possible image of child pornography was uploaded to an email account, TheGreatFunzo@gmail.com.

A secondary email associated with that gmail account was russell_gellman@hotmail.com, Google told the NCMEC, which in turn passed along the tip to Abington police in March.

Abington Detective Rick Beaghley, who is assigned to the county's cyber crime unit, said in the criminal complaint that "based on my training and experience, the image depicts a child under the age of eighteen years old engaged in a sexual act."

Beaghley checked on the IP address that Google provided as part of its initial tip. After determining through "a check of publicly available records" that the IP address was assigned to Comcast Cable Communications Inc., Beaghley said he then secured a subpoena directing Comcast to identify their subscriber who used that IP address at the time of the alleged upload to the gmail account.

It was traced to Gellman's residence on Penn Avenue in the Glenside section of Abington, the complaint said. Beaghley said state records showed a 2003 BMW registered to Gellman with the license plate "FUNZO."

On May 26, police searched Gellman's home and seized an iPad, which Gellman later allegedly confessed to using to access two images of children pornography.

It remains unclear how exactly Gellman came into possession of the image. Beaghley was not immediately available for comment. 

A press release by the Montgomery County District Attorney's office reiterated what the complaint alleged: "The tip indicated that an image of child pornography depicting a prepubescent female child, approximately 10 years old, having sexual intercourse with a man, was uploaded to a computer email address."

Gellman was charged with distribution of child pornography, possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communication device, all felonies.

He was released on $50,000 bail and ordered to have no unsupervised contact with children and no internet usage. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 27.

<![CDATA[Montco Residents Reported Missing, Including Teen Since July]]>Thu, 22 Dec 2016 06:52:26 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Abington+Missing.jpg

An Abington teenager has been missing since July and was last seen leaving her house with $300 in cash, township police said Wednesday.

Grace Packer, 15, of the Ardsley neighborhood, left her home on Tennis Avenue and hasn't been seen since, police said. She disappeared July 11.

One news report said police believe Packer may be in Philadelphia.

She is described by police as 5-foot, 4-inches tall and weighs 185 pounds with brown/blonde hair. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call Abington police at (267)536-1100 and asked for Detective Cindy Pettinato or Detective Sgt. Robert Fink.

Packer is the second Abington resident in two days to be reported missing by township police. 

Vadim Tapcov, 27, of Melmar Road in the Huntingdon Valley section, left his home Wednesday night after taking a large amount of pills, his girlfriend told Abington police.

The number of pills he took could "have the potential to be incapacitating or fatal," a police release said. He was last seen wearing a gray shirt, khaki shorts, carrying a black bag and possibly without shoes. He is six feet tall with a medium build.

Photo Credit: Brian X. McCrone]]>
<![CDATA[For Montco Second Alarmer's, Saving Lives is in a Day's Work]]>Thu, 08 Sep 2016 05:46:40 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/160*120/USE+pic+MAIN+PHOTO+montco+second+alarmers+santillo+and+tsipenyuk+in+motion+ambulance.jpg

Sergey Tsipenyuk peered at the graying, frail man lying on a stretcher in front of him, bleeding from his face.

"What month are we in?" Tsipenyuk asked, his hands deftly working to prepare an IV in the man's arm as Tsipenyuk's partner, Chris Santillo, hooked him up to a heart monitor.

The man, in his 80s, hurt and confused after apparently losing consciousness and crashing his car in Abington Township, stared for a long moment, then answered. "September," he said slowly.

"Who's the president?" Tsipenyuk pressed.

"Obama," the man responded, quicker this time.

They're questions that Tsipenyuk, a paramedic and pre-hospital nurse, and Santillo, an EMT, ask over and over again throughout their 12-hour shifts working for the Second Alarmer's of Montgomery County. They're two questions among a myriad of inquiries the men calmly pose to patients as they stabilize them in the sterile bed of an orange and white ambulance, where they work to save patients' lives as they determine their level of alertness, figure out what happened to them, and decide how to fix whatever's wrong.

As the primary emergency medical service for Abington and its many communities, the Second Alarmer's platoons based out of the Edge Hill station in Glenside's North Hills section, where Santillo and Tsipenyuk work, tend to stay busy. Edge Hill is one of the Second Alarmer's seven stations across the lower portion of Montgomery County, where the nonprofit EMS organization serves as the primary ambulance service for Abington, Upper Dublin, Upper Moreland, Whitpain, Hatboro, Jenkintown, Rockledge and other surrounding communities.

For Tsipenyuk, each patient presents a new mystery to solve.

"It's always a puzzle," Tsipenyuk, 34, said as he and Santillo, 35, took their third patient of the day, a man a few years shy of 100 whose heart rate dropped unusually low for a not-so-apparent reason.

The man's condition stumped Santillo and Tsipenyuk, both of whom have more than a decade of experience working in EMS. Senior-citizen patients, who make up a high volume of the people Tsipenyuk and Santillo treat, tend to be trickier to handle than their younger counterparts, Tsipenyuk explained. A lot can be going on, and there's almost always more than meets the eye.

"They're the ones who need us most," Tsipenyuk said.

With each call, he and Santillo work seamlessly together to solve a new case, putting together the puzzle pieces of information to give as full a picture as possible to the nurses, doctors and specialists waiting when they arrive at Abington Memorial Hospital. The hospital, set on Old York Road in the heart of Abington, receives the lion's share of Second Alarmer's patients in that area.

For the duo and their fellow EMTs and paramedics, the job comes with ups and downs. The shifts are long -- usually 12 hours, three days on, seven days off. Breaks are elusive on some days, nonexistent on others.  

"It's a double-edged sword," Tsipenyuk said after treating a woman in her 90s after she passed out during a shopping trip. The last thing the woman wanted to do was wind up at the hospital -- but Tsipenyuk and Santillo knew they had to convince her to go, for her own safety and for their peace of mind as the people tasked with saving lives.

"I would feel horrible if she goes home and something happens to her," Tsipenyuk explained. "But I will also feel horrible if now she's in the hospital for three weeks."

That's just one of the struggles Tsipenyuk and Santillo face in a day's work. But both, like most other EMTs and paramedics who work for Second Alarmer's, love the job so much that they pick up other EMS-related jobs. For Tsipenyuk, that means working on transport teams for city hospitals. For Santillo, it's working at another ambulance company and as a 9-1-1 operator.

"At the end of the day, this place is like family," Tsipenyuk said.

Montgomery County's Second Alarmer's came a long way since the squad first formed in Willow Grove in 1938. The organization first developed to support firefighters, police and other rescue workers at major incidents quickly placed itself at the cutting edge of first-responder companies, morphing into its own rescue team. In the 1970s, the Montgomery County Second Alarmer's became one of the first EMS companies in the country to use the infamous "Jaws of Life."

Officials with the Second Alarmer's of Montgomery County say the nonprofit rescue squad continues to push ahead when it comes to lifesaving equipment and technology. Second Alarmer's recently became the first EMS company in the state to pilot new, streamlined breathing tubes called "i-gels" that simplify and speed up lifesaving intubation, Assistant Chief of Operations Kenneth Davidson said. The new tubes will likely be approved soon for use statewide, Davidson said, and the Second Alarmer's, who were instrumental in bringing them to Pennsylvania, will help design the training program for other EMS agencies.

Montco's Second Alarmer's also started using LUCAS automatic CPR devices over the last few years, Davidson said, making CPR -- a physically exhausting task -- easier to administer consistently via a machine.

"We've seen our cardiac arrest survival rate go up," Davidson said. The use of the LUCAS automatic CPR machines and now the i-gel breathing tubes contributed, he added.

But better equipment comes with a price -- and for the Second Alarmer's, who run 12 ambulances, it can be a hefty one. Davidson said the new breathing tubes cost about $25 apiece, compared to $3.50 for the current standard breathing tube. Each LUCAS automatic CPR unit comes with a price tag of about $16,000, Davidson said, so to outfit the whole Second Alarmer's fleet, the costs is nearly $200,000.

The squad is also working on getting tactical gear for use in case of active-shooter situations -- including body armor, roll-up stretchers and trauma "go bags" -- for each ambulance. Those are expensive, too, Davidson said.

The Second Alarmer's is nonprofit and relies heavily on donations and grants to pay for equipment.

"It's a double-edged sword for a department like ours," Davidson, who's been with Second Alarmer's since 1992, said. "Obviously, we want to do what's best for the patient."

In the field, paramedics and EMTs said they've seen the results of the new technology.

Now, Battalion Chief John Townsend said, with use of the LUCAS machine, people more often than not regain consciousness from automatic CPR. Before, Townsend said, with manual CPR, it could be a toss-up of whether or not they would.

"People have a better chance now than they ever did," Townsend said.

Back on the rig, Tsipenyuk and Santillo worked hard to solve the puzzle of the man who lost consciousness driving. Systematically, the men ruled out diabetes and other probable causes before they made their way again to Abington Hospital, where this time, a team of nearly a dozen people waited in a trauma bay for them to arrive.

As a whirlwind of what Tsipenyuk calls "organized chaos" converged on the man, joining forces to make him better, the paramedic and his EMT counterpart headed back out the EMS door of the hospital, their black, laced boots clopping down the same antiseptic hospital hallway they've seen a thousand times.

On the other side of the sliding glass door, in a rare moment of downtime, the pair joked with Townsend and other fellow EMS workers, ears trained on their radios for the inevitable moment they would hiss back to life with the next call for help -- and for the puzzle to start again.

Photo Credit: Morgan Zalot | NBC10
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA['Most Important Ruling' in Cosby Case Soon: Analyst]]>Tue, 06 Sep 2016 20:50:08 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000016984055_1200x675_759160387630.jpgNBC News legal analyst Enrique Latoison says District Attorney Kevin Steele's request to the judge in the Bill Cosby's sex-assault case to allow testimony from 13 alleged victims would be "the most important ruling in the case." The judge has not yet set a date for a hearing on Steele's request. The trial does have a date to start, however: June 5, 2017.]]><![CDATA[Cosby Trial Date Set as DA Seeks More Accusers' Testimony]]>Wed, 07 Sep 2016 05:20:54 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Christine+Cornell+Bill+Cosby+Sketch.jpg

Prosecutors hoping to paint actor Bill Cosby as a serial predator at his upcoming sexual assault trial sought Tuesday to put on testimony from 13 other women who say Cosby gave them quaaludes, other drugs or alcohol before molesting them.

The criminal case against the 79-year-old entertainer involves a single 2004 encounter at his home near Philadelphia with former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. The presiding judge at a hearing Tuesday vowed to start the trial by June 5.

However, Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill did not immediately rule on any of the pretrial disputes over evidence, including the prosecution effort to call other women as witnesses. Under Pennsylvania law, they could be allowed to testify to show an alleged pattern of behavior, even if no charges were ever filed.

Prosecutors said they reviewed accusations made by 50 Cosby accusers and concluded that 13 said they were also drugged or intoxicated and then molested by Cosby. One woman said she declined his offer of quaaludes but accepted Champagne that she believed was spiked. She later woke up naked in a hotel room and said she had been sexually assaulted. Another said she took quaaludes from him, while a third said she believed her drink was spiked with the powerful, now-banned sedative.

The defense is expected to oppose any testimony from other accusers.

The defense will also ask to have the trial moved to another county, given that the decision over whether Cosby should be arrested became a flashpoint in last fall's election for district attorney. Cosby was arrested on Dec. 30, as incoming prosecutor Kevin Steele eyed the approaching 12-year deadline to file felony charges.

Constand told police that Cosby gave her three unmarked pills and then molested her as she drifted in and out of consciousness.

Cosby's lawyers meanwhile asked the judge Tuesday to suppress a 2005 telephone conversation recorded by Constand's mother in Toronto. Cosby had called her from California. The defense said the call violated Pennsylvania's two-party consent law on wiretaps. But prosecutors who played the tape in court argued that Cosby said he heard beeps on the call and asked if he was being taped. Gianna Constand denied it.

Cosby in the conversation described the sex act as "digital penetration" but refused to say what pills he had given her daughter. In his deposition, he later said he feared sounding like "a dirty old man" on the call.

Steele will fight to use both the phone call and Cosby's potentially damaging deposition from Constand's sexual battery lawsuit. Cosby settled the suit after four days of questioning. He acknowledged having a sexual encounter with Constand, but said it was consensual. He also admitted to a string of extramarital affairs and sexual "rendezvous," some with women in their late teens and early 20s.

Cosby was arrested in December after the investigation into the allegation Constand first brought in 2005 was reopened, following disclosure of the entertainer's deposition and a stream of new allegations by women going back decades.

Cosby looked noticeably healthier Tuesday than he has at earlier hearings, although his lawyers told the judge that he is blind. O'Neill offered whatever accommodations he might need at trial, but the defense didn't immediately ask for any.

Cosby clutched an aide's arm as he walked, but his eyes appeared less milky and he seemed more engaged and animated as he spoke with his legal team.

As O'Neill pushed for a trial date, lead defense lawyer Brian McMonagle of Philadelphia said he has other trials booked until June.

Cosby has replaced one top-tier Los Angeles law firm with another on his defense team, the second such switch in about a year.

Cosby has so far lost his efforts to have the charges thrown out.

Cosby became known as "America's Dad" for his top-rated show on family life that ran from 1984 to 1992. He had been in the limelight since the early 1960s, when the Philadelphian was tapped to star in "I Spy," becoming the rare black actor to star in a network TV show at the time.

The women who accuse him of sexual misconduct for nearly that long say the charges were a long time coming.

Cosby's defenders instead suggest he is a wealthy target for the many women he met during five decades as an A-list celebrity.


Cosby in the conversation described the sex act as "digital penetration" but refused to tell Gianna Constand what pills he had given her daughter. The defense argued that Cosby did not know he was being recorded, and that the tape should not be permitted at trial under Pennsylvania's two-party wiretap law.

District Attorney Kevin Steele will fight to use both the phone call and a lengthy deposition from Constand's lawsuit at trial.

Cosby's lawyers said they will also ask to have the case moved out of Montgomery County, where it was a high-profile issue in Steele's fall campaign for office. He ran against the prosecutor who had declined to charge Cosby in 2005.

Cosby was arrested in December after the investigation into the allegation Constand first brought in 2005 was reopened, following disclosure of the entertainer's testimony in a lawsuit and a stream of new allegations by women going back decades.

Cosby looked noticeably healthier as he walked into court Tuesday for the pretrial conference, though his lawyers told the judge that he is blind. The judge offered whatever accommodations he might need at trial, but the defense didn't immediately ask for any assistance.

Cosby clutched an aide's arm as he walked, but his eyes appeared less milky and he seemed more engaged and animated as he spoke with his legal team.

A trial date has not yet been set, though the judge indicated that he wanted one to start before June.

Lead defense lawyer Brian McMonagle said at the hearing Tuesday that he has other trials booked until June. But the judge said McMonagle might have to review his schedule and look for an earlier date.

Cosby has been fighting the charges since his Dec. 30 arrest.

Cosby has replaced one top-tier Los Angeles law firm with another on his defense team, the second such switch in about a year. Angela Agrusa of Liner LLP also will handle the defamation lawsuits filed in several states by women who say they were defamed when Cosby or his agents denied their accounts.

Cosby had countersued some of them.

But he has since abandoned that strategy in Philadelphia, where he dropped the lawsuit filed against Constand, her lawyers and her mother. Cosby had accused them of violating the confidentiality of their 2006 settlement, in part by cooperating with police last year.

Cosby has so far lost his efforts to have the charges thrown out.

And so the once-beloved comedian known as "America's Dad" for his top-rated show on family life that ran from 1984 to 1992 finds himself spending his time and fortune in his waning days in a Pennsylvania courtroom. The women who accuse him of similar misconduct say the charges were a long time coming.

Cosby's defenders instead suggest he is a wealthy target for the many women he met during five decades as an A-list celebrity.

"None of us will ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim. But the question should be asked — who is the victim?" his wife, Camille, asked as more accusers came forward in 2014.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Christine Cornell
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Resident Captures Runaway Alligator in Montco]]>Fri, 02 Sep 2016 07:30:54 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/227*120/Collegeville+Alligator.JPG

Police say they were called to corral an alligator that was seen wandering a Montgomery County street.

Collegeville Police Officer Matt Cubbler had just come on duty when he was called to Freeland Drive -- not far from the Perkiomen Trail -- around 8:45 a.m. Thursday. By the time he arrived, a resident had snagged the alligator with a lacrosse stick and placed it in a small dog crate.

Cubbler says the alligator was up to 2-feet long and was turned over to animal control, which contacted a reptile specialist.

He tells Philly.com he believes the gator was released into the nearby Perkiomen Creek, which is illegal.

There aren't any laws barring residents from owning an alligators or crocodiles in Pennsylvania, but police say it's illegal to release one into the wild.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Collegeville Borough Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Too Few Players: Montco High School Cancels Football Season]]>Thu, 01 Sep 2016 12:04:55 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/207*120/Springfield+Township+High+School+Football+Spartans.JPG

One of Montgomery County’s smallest school districts won’t be sporting a high school varsity football team this season as Springfield Township High School canceled its season due to too few students wanting to participate to keep the players on the field safe.

Jason Pane, the school’s assistant principal and athletic director, made the announcement “with a heavy heart” in a letter sent home to parents Monday night.

“At this time we simply do not have enough players to safely play this year,” wrote Pane.

The announcement came just days after the Spartans lost a scrimmage to Octorara High School 47-20. The team had begun offseason workouts with around 30 players but was down to around 18 to 22 healthy players due to recent injuries, reported PaPrepLive.com.

“This decision was delayed as long as possible in hopes that more students would join the roster,” wrote Pane.

The school located along Paper Mill Road in Erdenheim – a less than five-minute drive from Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill – has for year sported one of the smaller student bodies. They were set to officially kick off their season against another smaller Montco public high school, 742-student Lower Moreland, this weekend.

Springfield -- with it's enrollment at 671 for the coming school year -- was also the smallest school playing in the Suburban One League's American Conference that features fellow Route 309 schools like Cheltenham and Upper Dublin.

“I sympathize with our players, coaches, and the community as Friday nights in Spartan Stadium have been a staple of my life for the past several years. I am especially apologetic to this year’s senior class and to our coaching staff,” wrote Pane. “They have invested multiple years in preparation for this season and their time and effort does not go unnoticed. I appreciate the alumni association and the booster club, as both organizations have volunteered their time to help prepare our Spartans for the 2016-2017 season.  I would like to thank the parents of our players for the way they have supported their children and the team.

“This decision was very difficult to make, but it is what is best for our students that remains my primary focus. I take pride in fulfilling my obligation to the community and the school district in regards to protecting the health and well-being of our students. The actions of our students and community consistently remind me what Spartan Pride really means.”

The school still plans to play its schedule junior varsity schedule in hopes of developing players for a return to varsity football, said Pane. Seniors could also be given a chance to play in those games with the opponents' permission, reported PaPrepLive.com.

Photo Credit: Google Street View]]>
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL]]><![CDATA[Chicago Restaurant Chain Sets Opening Date for KoP Spot]]>Wed, 31 Aug 2016 04:21:04 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/naf+naf+grill.PNG

Another restaurant at the King of Prussia Town Center has set its opening date.

Chicago-based restaurant chain Naf Naf Grill — known for its Middle Eastern menu, falafel and shawarma — has signed multiple leases for the Philadelphia region, and the first lease announced was for the upcoming King of Prussia Town Center, which will be opening on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Naf Naf Grill was the 17th lease for the 260,000-square-foot King of Prussia Town Center by Maryland-based JBG Cos.

Located at 100 Main St. in the Town Center, Naf Naf Grill will open with free pita sandwiches, "Naf fries," and a drink for customers who come in between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Normal store hours, 11 a.m .to 10 p.m. daily, will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

To read the full story, click here.


For more business news, visit Philadelphia Business Journal. 

Photo Credit: Le Cape Inc.]]>
<![CDATA[Public Forum Over Contaminated Water in Montco]]>Mon, 29 Aug 2016 11:02:57 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000016862399_1200x675_753473603694.jpgElected officials and health experts in Horsham, Pennsylvania will take questions about contaminated drinking water in Montgomery County. The Forum will be at Horsham High School Monday night.]]><![CDATA[Homeless Montco Man Gunned Down in Chesco]]>Fri, 26 Aug 2016 09:36:16 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/222*120/Dimaond+Street+Homciide+Coatesville.JPG

Police investigating gunfire found a Montgomery County homeless man shot and killed near a busy thoroughfare in Chester County.

Coatesville officers found the yet-to-be identified man suffering multiple gunshot wounds behind a home along Diamond Street near N 7th Avenue in Coatesville, Pennsylvania shortly after 6 a.m. Friday, said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.

The homicide took place one block from Lincoln Highway (Business US Route 30) and near the Salvation Army.

The victim was shot multiple times, said investigators. He hailed from Pottstown and would occasionally reside in shelters in Coatesville, said Hogan.

No word yet on suspects or a motive in the case.

<![CDATA[Armed Montco Home Invasion Leaves 1 Hurt]]>Fri, 26 Aug 2016 06:52:06 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/220*120/Hatfield+Home+Invasion+Maple+Avenue.JPG

Masked gunmen dressed in all black pried open a locked door and forced their way into a Montgomery County home overnight leaving one of four people inside hurt.

The suspects broke into the home along Maple Avenue near E Vine Street in Hatfield some time before 1:35 a.m. Thursday, said Hatfield Township Police.

Once inside the armed men stole jewelry, money and the victims’ cellphones before feeling, said investigators.

Once of the victims suffered minor injuries during the attack, said police.

Police asked anyone who might have spotted anything suspicious or with information about the home invasion to call detectives at 215-855-0903 or email them: policetips@hatfield-township.org.

Photo Credit: Google Earth]]>
<![CDATA[Small-Animal Dealer Faces Cruelty Charges in Montco]]>Thu, 25 Aug 2016 07:49:41 -0500https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/217*120/bunny-rabbit-generic.jpg

Animal cruelty charges were filed Wednesday against a Pennsylvania small-animal dealer that supplied major pet retailers like Petco and PetSmart.

Clinton Arthur Holmes, 49, of Alburtis, was cited for 28 instances of animal cruelty, said the Montgomery County district attorney's office and Douglass Township police in a statement.

The charges followed an investigation at Holmes Farm that revealed seven gerbils, seven chinchillas, six hamsters, six guinea pigs, one rabbit and one ferret weren't properly cared for, they said.

Each citation carries a punishment of up to 90 days in jail and a $50 to $750 fine per citation.

"Not taking care of an animal's basic needs like providing medical care is taken seriously under the law, and personally, having pets, it's hard for me to understand,'' said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele.

A message seeking comment from Holmes wasn't returned.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report on its January inspection of Holmes' Chinchilla Ranch at the farm that said inspectors found dozens of animals in need of veterinary treatment for symptoms ranging from hair loss to eye abnormalities to lethargy.

USDA spent several days at Holmes' farm after an animal-rights group shot video purporting to show substandard conditions at the dealer's facility in Barto, about 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia, where it kept thousands of hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and other species.

The video, which People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals shared with The Associated Press, included scenes of bins with dead guinea pigs; dishes filled with what appeared to be fouled water; loose cats that PETA said preyed on hamsters, mice and rats; live rats stuffed in a plastic bag and placed in a freezer; and a "waste-filled cooler'' where dozens of small animals of varying species were dumped and gassed, "sometimes ineffectively,'' PETA said.

Petco said in January it severed its relationship with Holmes. PetSmart announced in May it had severed ties with Holmes, and Pet Supplies Plus also severed ties several months ago.

"It's too late for the animals at Holmes Farm who were frozen alive and denied care for injuries and illnesses, but the man responsible must now answer for what they went through,'' said PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch in a statement. "PETA urges shoppers to remember that animals sold in pet stores come from massive warehouses-- and never to buy from stores that sell live animals.''

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 10 Philadelphia