Snow no-show: Where happened to Delaware's promised Alberta clipper

By WDEL staff 1:06pm, January 27, 2015 - Updated 1:06pm, January 27, 2015
All weekend, it was heralded as "historic." A "classic New England storm" that was going to demolish the region, roll through causing messy roadways and dumping foot-upon-foot of snow all over the place. So what happened?

"Very typically, those kinds of storms aren't very bothersome--to us, to Philadelphia or even to New York--classic New England blizzards," said Accuweather's Dr. Joe Sobel. "And it really looked when you looked at it. And then the computer models came in Sunday and just went hog-wild."

But what went wrong with the predictions this week? Sobel said meteorology is a science, but it can still be somewhat inaccurate in reference to the specifics because nature is just too unpredictable for computer models, sometimes.

"The assumptions that go into the modeling, how they treat the individual physics in some of the clouds, and the interaction between releasing heat inside the storms--we don't really have all of those down as specifically as we need to," Sobel said. "And that's why the computer models, sometimes, can lead us astray."

Some minor snowfall could be the next time Delaware has to deal with snow, but there are no doom-and-gloom predictions this time. A potentially larger storm is currently being monitored and shaping up for a Sunday-into-Monday arrival.



New Castle City Police track down suspect who allegedly stole car and fled scene of 1,000-bag heroin bust

By DJ McAneny 11:02am, January 27, 2015
A 27-year-old man was arrested by New Castle City Police in connection to a 2014 incident in which he allegedly fled the scene, stole a car and drove recklessly to escape after police discovered almost 1,000 bags of heroin in a vehicle in which he was traveling.

According to authorities, on Dec. 10, 2014, city police conducted a motor vehicle stop in the 600 block of West 11th Street at approximately 4:30 p.m. Police has just observed what they believed to be a drug transaction, and pulled the vehicle over.

A search of the female passenger revealed 983 baggies of heroin weighing over 14 grams in her purse, police said.

During that search, police said Joshua Smallwood, of the 500 block of DuPont Highway, fled the scene on foot and stole a running vehicle near a Domino's Pizza.

A pursuit by city and county police was eventually called off due to Smallwood's alleged reckless driving and the danger to public safety.

Smallwood was tracked down by the U.S. Marshall's Task Force and taken into custody on January 26 at a residence on Holloway Terrace.

He was charged with failure to stop for a police officer, possession of heroin - Tier 5, resisting arrest, vehicle theft, numerous traffic offenses and possession of a firearm by a person prohibited after police said they found a 9mm in the aparment in which he resides.

He was committed to the Howard Young Correctional Institute in lieu of $60,000 bond.


'Operation Disrupt' adding officers to violent 'hot spots' in Wilmington

By Amy Cherry 1:40pm, January 26, 2015 - Updated 9:53pm, January 26, 2015
VIDEO: WDEL's Amy Cherry reports on a a new policing strategy on the heels of a violent weekend in Wilmington.
After a violent weekend in Wilmington with two shootings in the same location, Wilmington Police have unveiled a new policing strategy.

"Operation Disrupt" will redeploy dozens of city cops on foot into so-called "hot spots," or areas of high crime, in Wilmington -- like the 200 block of North Broom Street, where two triple shootings this weekend left one dead and injured several others.

"We will conduct pedestrian stops; we'll have nighttime curfew in effect in those areas for the juveniles that are hanging out to make sure that we have an impact and send the message that this is not acceptable in our city," said Police Chief Bobby Cummings.

Cummings said curfew is between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., with "Operation Disrupt" strictly focusing on youth.

"We will look at them, specifically, because as we see these incidents, those are the ones who are victims, who are shooters and not always your witnesses," the chief said. "They're using weapons that are unimaginable. When I listen to the ShotSpotter system, I can only imagine what the residents are going through."

Cummings said the new redeployment doesn't come easy for his department. A lieutenant, five sergeants and 22 officers will be reassigned.

"It causes us to look at our specialized divisions to see where we can do a little bit less in those areas, but to do more on the streets," Cummings said.

New Castle County Police Chief Elmer Setting said the "Operation Disrupt" redeployment strategy is similar to the one used by his police foce, and county officers stand ready to assist, if needed.

"This city sits in the middle of New Castle County. It is our city as well...if Chief Cummings calls and says it is not enough or he believes that he needs additional assistance, the New Castle County Police will stand with their brothers in the city. I don't know how many, and I don't when or for how long, but if they call for help, we are coming," said Setting.

Mayor Williams added programs like Cure Violence and Cease Violence have stopped some shootings, but that "Operation Disrupt" will focus on youth those programs haven't helped.

"So now, they don't understand the process of trying to negotiate, put those guns down and behave yourself, so now we're going to deal with them on their terms now, and we're going to deal with them, and we're going to arrest them," Williams said.

Even still, Williams said "Operation Disrupt" won't be enough. The mayor said the community must step up and help police solve crimes.

"The violence in this city has to stop, and it takes all of us," Williams said. "It's just not a police problem, it's a community problem. The community has an obligation to talk to the police, to talk to an elected official, to talk to someone that they trust."

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Contact Amy Cherry at acherry@wdel.com or follow her on Twitter at @acherry13.


Police: New Castle man arrested for knocking on victim's door, attempting to force it open

By DJ McAneny 10:48am, January 27, 2015
Jason Eldreth/New Castle County Police
A 33-year-old New Castle man has been charged by county police in connection to an attempted burglary after knocking on a victim's door a number of times in an attempt to break in, authorities announced Tuesday.

According to authorities, Jason Eldreth, of the unit block of West 7th Street, began knocking on the front door of a home on Paul Road on January 26, 2015, at approximately 9:30 a.m.

The female victim called police and relayed to them the man had moved from her front door to her back door, where he'd knocked several times before attempting to force it open, they said.

The victim provided police with a description of the suspect, and Eldreth was taken into custody on scene without incident, police said.

Eldreth was charged with second-degree attempted burglary and criminal mischief. He was committed to Howard Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $7,500 bond.


Markell backs more access to addiction treatment services in Delaware

By Tom Lehman 3:44pm, January 26, 2015 - Updated 10:03pm, January 26, 2015
VIDEO: WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.
Governor Jack Markell on Monday elaborated on plans first mentioned during his State of the State address last week to expand and improve the range of detox and addiction treatment services in Delaware.

The roughly $4 million proposal, drafted by state health officials and supported by Markell, would increase public treatment options by boosting the number of sober living beds in Delaware from 60 to 120. The announcement came during a news conference at an Oxford House, a sober living residence, near Newark.

The plan would also expand the number of residential treatment beds for people ages 18 to 25 who are beginning their recovery from opiate addiction from 16 to 32.

Markell said it's important to help those struggling with addiction, especially in light of 185 deaths last year associated with suspected drug overdoses.

"It's extraordinarily difficult for them to live a full life, and one of the most important things we can do in this state is to set the conditions where people can live up their potential," he said.

The Governor Bacon Campus in Delaware City would be shuttered under the proposal, but it would be replaced with increased accessibility to residential treatment centers across the state.

Officials said the plan would also widen the availability of withdrawal management services statewide at the detoxification center in New Castle County and at a new location set to open in Harrington.

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said the clinics won't use a one-size-fits all approach and will attempt to work with patients to meet their individual needs.

The overall proposal, Landgraf said, not only would expand treatment services in Delaware but also improve how those programs are administered.

"Diseases usually are preventable, but we need to do intervention, and we need to have a level of education on that prevention," she said.

More details surrounding the plan are expected to be released on Thursday, when the governor unveils his spending plan for the next fiscal year.


Delaware State Police investigating area Game Stop robbery

By DJ McAneny 11:21am, January 27, 2015
A Bear-area video game store was robbed at gunpoint Monday, and now police are working to track down the three suspects involved.

According to the Delaware State Police, three men entered the Game Stop at 1015 Governor's Place at approximately 8:55 p.m. One of them then produced a handgun of unknown make and model.

Police said while the other two acted as lookouts, the gun-wielder confronted a 35-year-old employee, demanding money from the register.

The employee complied and all three suspects fled in a southbound direction. There were no injuries reported.

The suspects were all described as black males, 20 to 25 years in age. One stood approximately 5'9" to 5'11" and weighed 170 to 180 lbs. He was wearing a black hoodie, black hat and black pants. He was armed with a handgun.

The second suspect was roughly 6' tall, weighed 180 to 190 lbs. ad was last seen wearing a black hoodie and dark pants.

The third suspect was wearing a black hooded jacket, black hat and a mask. No additional information was available.

Anyone with information on this incident is urged to contact Delaware State Police Troop 2 at 302.834.2630 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.


Police: Teens fleeing vacant Wilmington home found with gun, drugs

By DJ McAneny 12:15pm, January 27, 2015
Two teens were arrested after Wilmington Police said they were found to be in possession of a gun and a small amount of drugs, authorities announced Tuesday.

According to police, officers conducting a property check at a vacant home in the 200 block of North Broom Street at approximately 12:45 a.m. on Monday observed several subjects attempting to flee from the fire escape of the dwelling.

Assisting units in the rear of the residence stopped the teens in an alley. They observed a 17-year-old clutching his sweatshirt pocket, police said, and ordered him to the ground. He was found to be in possession of a "Glock 19" Gen 4 handgun loaded with four rounds, according to authorities.

Police also found a 16-year-old male to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana. A female juvenile was "negative for warrants or contraband," police said.

The 17-year-old was charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon and receiving a stolen firearm. He was committed to the New Castle County Detention Center in lieu of $23,000 bond.

The 16-year-old was charged with possession of marijuana and released to a parent.

The juvenile female was charged with criminal trespass and released to a parent.


Amtrak cutting service to New York, Boston due to storm

By Associated Press 8:16am, January 27, 2015 - Updated 10:15am, January 27, 2015
Amtrak said it's suspending service north of New York and reducing its schedule for trains operating south of New York due to the massive winter storm.

Northeast Regional and Acela Express services are operating on a reduced schedule between New York and Washington. The Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, also is reduced.

Northeast Regional and Acela Express service remains suspended between New York and Boston. Also suspended today is service between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

And service is suspended Tuesday between Brunswick, Maine, and Boston, Washington and St. Albans, Vermont, and the Springfield line between New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts.

Trains from Virginia to Boston and New York also are suspended.


Wilmington launches TweetMyJobs website

By Tom Lehman 6:32pm, January 26, 2015 - Updated 10:37am, January 27, 2015
Job seekers with an active social media presence can use a website launched by the City of Wilmington on Monday that allows users to receive personalized notifications about potential employment opportunities through popular networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Wilmington's TweetMyJobs website sends personalized job alerts through social media networks, email and text message to people who sign up for the service.

City Councilman Darius Brown (D-District 3) said employers like AT&T, CVS, Starbucks and AstraZeneca have listed job opportunities on the website.

"I thought it was something that we needed to bring to the City of Wilmington for the 40-and-under population, but also job seekers in general to connect them with opportunities that traditional platforms might not provide for them," Brown said.

The program, he said, cost $50,000 that was raised through public and private funds.

Although the service bears some similarities to social networking websites like LinkedIn, Brown said there's no disadvantage to searching for potential job opportunities through TweetMyJobs because the service is free for potential workers and employers.

"It doesn't hurt, it doesn't hurt you at all," he said.

You can sign up for the service through Wilmington's TweetMyJobs website.

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You can contact Tom Lehman at tlehman@wdel.com. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook


Woman to face trial on charges she stole police car while cuffed

By DJ McAneny 11:58am, January 27, 2015
A western Pennsylvania woman has been ordered to stand trial on charges she stole a police car and led police on chase of at least 80 miles per hour--all with her hands cuffed behind her.

Center Township police said authorities pursued Roxanne Rimer in a car driven by her grandfather after she allegedly stole earrings from a Kohl's store on January 14, 2015. She was arrested when police caught the car a short distance away, only to have Rimer escape in the police vehicle after she was handcuffed and put in the cruiser.

Police said the 27-year-old woman used the cruiser to ram her grandfather's car before leading police on a nearly 10-mile chase toward Aliquippa, before smashing into a hillside and jumping out of the car, still handcuffed.

Rimer's attorney said she didn't intend to hurt anyone.


Facebook suffers outage affecting users worldwide

By Associated Press 8:20am, January 27, 2015 - Updated 10:15am, January 27, 2015
Facebook suffered a widespread outage lasting roughly 40 minutes on Tuesday affecting users in the United States, Asia, the United Kingdom and Australia.

The social media giant's Instagram service was also briefly inaccessible.

Instagram said on its Twitter account that it was aware of an outage and was working on a fix. There was no immediate statement from Facebook.

Facebook has about 1.25 billion users and Instagram has about 300 million.

News of the Facebook outage set rival social network Twitter alight.



Dover Police label death of teen found near railroad tracks 'suspicious'

By DJ McAneny 9:48pm, January 26, 2015 - Updated 10:32am, January 27, 2015
Railroad tracks/File photo - NBCPhiladelphia
A Dover teen's body was discovered along railroad tracks near a warehouse Sunday, and police are now investigating the death as suspicious.

According to the Dover Police Department, a witness discovered the body of 18-year-old Jordan M. Peck, of Dover, who was discovered Sunday at approximately 10:20 a.m. next to the railroad tracks just south of Walker Road, near a warehouse.

Police continue to investigate the death as suspicious, and said they will release further information as the investigation warrants.

They noted at least one person of interest had been interviewed in relation to the case.

Anyone with additional information is urged to contact the Dover Police Department's Criminal Investigations Unit at 302.736.7111.



New Castle police cautioning residents following string of robberies, assaults

By DJ McAneny 2:50pm, January 26, 2015 - Updated 4:06pm, January 26, 2015
New Castle County Police are investigating a number of robberies that occurred in the communities throughout the area, they announced Monday.

According to authorities, victims have been reported in Wilton, Coventry, William Penn Village, Jefferson Farms and Wilmington Manor Gardens. However, police noted that, while the incidents all bear similarities, descriptions of the suspects and vehicles used all varied.

Police are urging all citizens to walk in a group and be alert when walking home alone. Anyone with information on these incidents is urged to contact the New Castle County Police Department at 302.573.2800 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.


New Castle County police release video of suspected package thief

By DJ McAneny 2:16pm, January 26, 2015
New Castle County police are asking for the public's assistance in identifying a suspect who was caught on surveillance video in Bear allegedly stealing a package that didn't belong to him off the front porch of a home.



The above footage shows a man walking up to the front door of a home in the 400 block of Aldwych Drive in Forest Glen at approximately 2:35 p.m. on Saturday, January 10, 2015, and throwing a tarp over a box, then taking the box, still hidden beneath the tarp, when leaving.

He is described as a large white male with facial hair. He was last seen wearing a plaid, buttoned shirt jeans, a baseball cap and gloves.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the New Castle County Police Department at 302.573.2800 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.



Pedestrian struck in New Castle County crossing DuPont Highway

By DJ McAneny 4:21pm, January 26, 2015 - Updated 4:43pm, January 26, 2015
A pedestrian was struck by a motor vehicle while crossing Route 13 in New Castle, emergency responders detailed Monday evening.

According to New Castle County Paramedics, a 45-year-old woman was struck while crossing South DuPont Highway near Christiana Road at approximately 2:27 p.m. Monday.

Paramedics arriving on scene found the victim knocked to the ground with injuries to her face and lower extremity. She was treated at the scene before being transported to Christiana Hospital in serious, but stable, condition.

Delaware State Police continue to investigate the incident.


Teen arrested by New Castle County police for allegedly using Instagram to arrange for robbery

By DJ McAneny 3:12pm, January 26, 2015 - Updated 3:25pm, January 26, 2015
One teen has been charged and two are sought for their roles in a scheme that involved using social media to arrange for a cellphone sale that turned into a robbery, New Castle County Police said Monday.

According to authorities, the teens robbed a victim of a cell phone on January 24, 2015, in the area of Scotland Drive and Thornhill Drive in Newark at 9:10 p.m.

After arrangements were made through Instagram to meet in the Glasgow Pines community in New Castle County, the suspects met with the victim under the guise that they would be purchasing a cell phone.

During the meeting, however, the suspects robbed the victim of the cell phone and money before fleeing the area

One of the teens was later identified during the course of the investigation and arrested. They have been charged with second-degree robbery. An investigation into the other two suspects is ongoing.


Minor earthquake shakes Philadelphia suburbs

By Associated Press 3:01pm, January 26, 2015 - Updated 4:09pm, January 26, 2015
Did you feel that? The U.S. Geological Survey said a minor earthquake shook the Philadelphia suburbs over the weekend.

The magnitude 2.7 quake struck between Downingtown and West Chester around 6:25 p.m. Sunday.

There were no reports of damage or injuries.

Earthquakes registering between magnitude 2.0 and 2.9 can be felt slightly but don't cause any structural damage.

The USGS says worldwide there are about 1.3 million of these types of quakes each year. There were eight in that range on Sunday.

A slightly more powerful earthquake would've caused noticeable shaking to some objects inside homes and businesses.

Pennsylvania has seen 80 earthquakes in the last four decades, according to the USGS.

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake caused some damage in the Reading area in January 1994.


New Castle man charged by Wilmington, state police in connection to string of 18 robberies

By DJ McAneny 1:12pm, January 26, 2015
A 32-year-old New Castle man has been arrested and charged with 18 counts of robbery following a joint investigation by the Delaware State Police and the Wilmington Police, the agencies announced Monday.

According to authorities, Jose A. Quinones attempted to rob a BP Gas Station in Wilmington on Monday, January 19, 2015 at approximately 5:50 p.m. He was spotted by authorities a short time later parked in the lot of the 1251 Centerville Road WalMart and arrested.

Quinones had entered the gas station at 4001 Lancaster Pike and confronted a male clerk, implying he was armed and demanding cash, police said. The clerk refused, produced a gun of his own and opened fire at Quinones, who fled from the store in the direction of Lancaster Court Apartments, according to police.

When police found Quinones at WalMart, they discovered he'd been shot in an upper extremity during the attempted robbery. The suspect was transported to Christiana Hospital Trauma Center, where he remained through Friday, January 23.

During his stay, police investigating the incident tied him to a number of incidents through New Castle County dating back to December 2014. Wilmington police have charged Quinones in connection to six incidents, while State police have charged him with 12 counts of first-degree robbery, one count first-degree attempted robbery and 13 counts of wearing a disguise during commission of a felony.

State police said, of the cases within their jurisdiction, Quinones was the suspect in the following robberies:


Charges from the Wilmington Police Department are pending. On the charges from the state department, Quinones is being held at the Howard Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $65,000 bond.



Driver sought in crash that killed Del. man walking his dog

By Associated Press 12:51pm, January 26, 2015
Authorities are looking for a driver who may have witnessed a crash that killed a Delaware man who was walking his dog.

David Bilow, 55, was walking with his Labrador mix the night of Dec. 22 in Camden when he was hit. Police say Bilow was in a clearly marked crosswalk when a car hit him, throwing him into the roadway. He died three hours later at a hospital.

Police said the driver of the car, 18-year-old Kyle Tieman, claimed he didn't see Bilow because he had just avoided a collision with a car that had turned in front of him.

Police have been trying to track down the driver of the car that turned in front of Tieman, described only as possibly being a Jeep. Anyone with information is urged to call Delaware State Police, Troop 3, at 302-697-4454.


Wilmington woman charged in New Castle with possession of more than 200 bags of heroin

By DJ McAneny 11:10am, January 26, 2015
A 24-year-old Wilmington woman is facing a number of charges following a Sunday motor vehicle stop that led to a sizable drug bust, New Castle County Police announced Monday.

According to authorities, Cassandra Garrett, of the 1000 block of Biggs Road, was pulled over after an office doing paperwork in the area of Milltown Road and Newport Gap Pike observed her traveling at a high rate of speed. Police added that the officer observed the vehicle blow through a red light as he initiated an attempt to perform the stop.

Cassandra Garrett
Click to enlarge

Garrett pulled into a driveway as the officer turned his lights and siren on, then took off on foot, according to police. After a brief foot pursuit, Garrent was apprehended.

A search of the vehicle turned up 130 bags of heroin in the door compartment and a search of her person after she was taken into custody revealed an additional 73 bags of heroin and a controlled prescription medication.

Garrett was charged with possession of a large quantity of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and numerous traffic violations. She was committed to the Department of Corrections in lieu of $21,754 bond.


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