5 robbed at gunpoint on Delaware Christmas tree lot

By Associated Press 8:56pm, December 19, 2014
Delaware State Police are looking for two men who robbed five people at a Christmas tree lot.

It happened about 9 p.m. Thursday on Philadelphia Pike in Claymont. Troopers say two men, both armed with handguns, confronted five people and forced them into a camper on the lot.

Police say the men took cash and property from the five victims, and one struck a 23-year-old victim, causing a minor injury.

The two suspects then ran away.

Carper applauds new cybersecurity bills signed into law

By Ruth Bryna 7:47pm, December 19, 2014 - Updated 7:54pm, December 19, 2014
In the wake of the computer hacking attack on Sony Corporation, President Obama signed into law Thursday four bipartisan bills designed to modernize, strengthen, and improve the nation's cybersecurity defenses.

The measures are the first major cybersecurity bills to become law in several years.

The National Cybersecurity Protection Act, The Federal Information Security Modernization Act, The Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act, and the Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act reflect the work of Del. Sen. Tom Carper, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman, as well as several other ranking members.

Carper said the measures will each make significant strides to modernize the nation's cybersecurity defenses and help the public and private sectors work together to tackle those threats more effectively.

Cybersecurity remains a top priority for Carper in the 114th Congress, he said. He added he'll continue to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enhance the country's cybersecurity efforts.

As holiday shopping season closes, Markell stops by Wilmington Project Pop-Up Stores

By Tom Lehman 5:48pm, December 19, 2014
VIDEO: WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.
As the holiday shopping season wraps up for the year, Project Pop-Up stores in Wilmington got a visit from Governor Jack Markell on Friday.

Markell, who picked up some sweets to bring back to state office building, said offering three months of rent-free retail space through Project Pop-Up like the 9th Street storefronts he stopped at can help small businesses expand.

"It's a great learning opportunity for them and we hope and they hope that they can make their businesses a success," Markell said.

Entrepreneurs applied to participate in the program, which was facilitated by the Delaware Economic Development Office.

Small business owners participating in Project Pop-Up said they thought the program offered them the chance to test how their product fared in the open market with an eye for possible expansion.

Adrienne Dolley, the owner of Dolley's Sweet Cakes, said most of her earlier customers found out about her business through word of mouth or social networking websites.

Project Pop Up, Dolley said, gave her a chance to centralize her operations at a storefront at West Ninth and Shipley streets.

"It's been a lovely experience and very rewarding to actually have a place to call home," she said.

Michael Hill, the owner of image consulting company Miz Inc., sold custom bow ties through the state program.

"I would tell anyone who has a small business or startup and wants to test it in the market to see how well it does to try to be a part of the next Project Pop Up," he said.

2014 made 'significant strides where it counts'

By Julie Pace/Associated Press 2:07pm, December 19, 2014
President Barack Obama claimed an array of successes in 2014, citing lower unemployment, a rising number of Americans covered by health insurance, and an historic diplomatic opening with Cuba. He also touts his own executive action and a Chinese agreement to combat global warming.

At a news conference Friday, Obama declared: "I am energized."

He noted that on Friday the Treasury announced it had sold the last investment related to the Wall Street and auto bailouts. And he said the combat mission in Afghanistan will soon be over.

Obama spoke Friday during his year-end news conference, shortly before leaving the White House for a Hawaii vacation.

The news conference capped an eventful seven weeks since Republicans added to their majority in the House and won control of the Senate.

Drone-hunting blimp to launch over Maryland

By Amy Cherry 9:20am, December 19, 2014 - Updated 10:01am, December 19, 2014
The JLENS, oint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System will be used in this drone-hunting blimp that will rest over Maryland. (Photo/Defense One/Raytheon)
The North American Aerospace Defense Command is launching a giant drone-hunting blimp Friday over Maryland's Aberdeen Proving Ground just west of Cecil County, Maryland.

Patrick Tucker, technology editor for Defense One, told WDEL the sophisticated blimp is meant to hunt down illegal drones over our nation's capital.

"It's a big balloon with a radar on it that covers an area of over 300 miles, and the way it can do that is because it's so high, the altitude, it floats at 10,000 feet, radar waves don't run into anything like trees or buildings or the horizon on their way to the ground," said Tucker.

Tucker said the blimp won't be outfitted with an unpopular, infrared camera, as originally discussed.

"When privacy advocates learned that there might be a giant blimp floating 10,000 feet floating above Maryland with the ability to see people, they reacted pretty strongly, and so Raytheon and NORAD said they're not going to outfit it with that camera, but the radar system alone should be able to detect a whole lot of different objects," Tucker said.

Unmanned drones are becoming a problem across the U.S., especially near airports.

The military will test the blimp over Aberdeen Proving Ground for the next three years.

Newark PD arrests 7 in reverse prostitution sting

By DJ McAneny 3:21pm, December 19, 2014 - Updated 4:14pm, December 19, 2014
Seven men were arrested in a reverse prostitution sting conducted by the Newark Police Departments Special Investigations and Street Crimes units, along with members of Homeland Security Investigations.

According to authorities, a sting conducted at the Rodeway Inn at 1120 South College Avenue on Thursday at 7 p.m. involved the authorities having text conversations and phone calls with approximately 22 separate subjects. Seven of them showed up under the expectation of patronizing a prostitute, police said. one of the suspects listed below, John Jarrell, was also charged with resisting arrest.

-- James L. Poston, 45 (pictured above)

-- John Jarrell, 56

-- Bernard Racey, 44

-- Robert Fletcher, 22

-- Suprapto Bonari, 48

-- Jonathan Caine, 28

-- Aaron M. Johnson, 38

$662 was seized as evidence. All defendants were released on summonses.

Police: Massage pimp with parlors in Smyrna, Rehoboth, Middletown, Dover arrested

By DJ McAneny 12:46pm, December 19, 2014
A massage parlor owner was arrested Thursday as Delaware State police continue their investigation into Sussex County massage parlors conducting what authorities called "illegal prostitution activity," police announced Friday.

State police working with the assistance of the Department of State Division of Professional Regulation and the Delaware State Fire Marshall's Office, arrested Dazhong Wang, 50, of Smyrna, who owns the Relaxed Spa in Rehoboth.

While he was scheduled to meet with an officer of the State Fire Marshall's Office in Dover Thursday, the investigation revealed Wang was also the owner of Dover and Smyrna spas. Wang also owned a fourth business in Middletown, but the location was closed when authorities made arrests for prostitution in January of 2014.

Wang was charged with promoting prostitution and permitting prostitution. He was committed to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in lieu of $5,500

New Castle Co. Police ask public to help track down homicide weapon

By DJ McAneny 1:07pm, December 19, 2014
New Castle County Police are asking the public's assistance in identifying the owner of a softball bat that was used in a 2013 homicide.

According to the department's Cold Case Squad, police have identified the weapon used in the beating death of Wayne Cappelli, whose body was discovered Feb. 19, 2013, in the 2100 block of Delaview Avenue. Cappelli had last been seen leaving the Branmar Plaza SuperFresh on Feb. 16 at approximately 9 p.m.

During the investigation police developed the bat as the weapon, and believe the bat used in the homicide may have been taken without the owner's knowledge. The owner may possibly live in the York or Harrisburg, Pa., area.

The bat in the above photos is a similar make and model to the bat police are seeking.

The New Castle County Police are asking that if you recognize this bat, to please contact Detective T. Orzechowski at 302.395.8133.

Goodwill of Delaware will no longer accept TV donations

By DJ McAneny 4:48pm, December 19, 2014
Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County announced Friday that the organization will no longer be accepting televisions at any of its 21 donation locations, effective immediately.

The "market dynamics" of television recycling and disposal have dramatically changed within the last few years, said Goodwill president and CEO Colleen Morrone. She said Goodwill previously had been paid by recyclers for donated televisions, but since 2012 Goodwill has been the one paying to have recyclers take them.

She noted in 2014, a "significant amount of money," was spent by Goodwill recycling donated televisions. The situation involving paying recyclers has created an situation "not compatible with our mission," she said.

Residents in Delaware looking to recycle unwanted televisions have a few options:

-- Delaware Solid Waste Authority
-- Delaware County, Pa., eWaste Program
-- Your local Delaware BestBuy will take models 32" and smaller, at a limit of three per household, per day.

Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County will continue to accept computers, monitors and peripherals like mice, keyboards or speakers, as part of their Dell Reconnect Program.

"We realize that this change of no longer accepting TV donations may cause a temporary inconvenience for our loyal donors, but Goodwill has an obligation to make sure that the revenues we generate are best serving our mission of helping the community," said Morrone.

UPDATE: Final defendant in elderly woman's carjack case gets 12 years in prison

By Mark Fowser 2:00pm, December 19, 2014 - Updated 2:09pm, December 19, 2014
The final defendant involved in the March 2013 carjacking of an elderly woman in Milford, during which the victim was locked in the trunk of her own car for two days, is going to prison for 12 years.

Phillip Brewer, 18, was sentenced Friday morning by a Superior Court judge in Sussex County.

Brewer pleaded guilty to second-degree carjacking, three counts of kidnapping and four counts of second-degree conspiracy.

The Delaware Attorney General's Office says Brewer was cooperative in the prosecution of three other defendants.

Jackeline Perez, 17, and Junia McDonald, 16, were both sentenced to 16 years in prison for the kidnapping of Margaret E. Smith, while 19-year-old Rondaiges Harper was sentenced to 30 years behind bars.

Margaret Smith was 89 when she was abducted by two girls who had asked her for a ride.

She was released at a cemetery in Seaford.

Loitering in Wilmington leads to gun arrests

By DJ McAneny 3:28pm, December 19, 2014
Wilmington Police arrested a man on gun charges after responding to an incident of loitering, they announced Friday.

Officers from Operation Safe Streets came across three individuals who were loitering in the area of the 500 block of Concord Avenue at approximately 8:10 p.m.

Police said the group had earlier received a warning to move away from the area. During the second encounter, a man police identified as Raheem Roberts, 25, of Wilmington, took off running and ignored numerous commands to stop, they said.

According to police, Roberts discarded a H&R .32 caliber handgun during the foot pursuit, and it was revealed he had three grams of crack-cocaine valued at $300 and $203 in drug proceeds on his person after he was apprehended.

Roberts is facing charges of possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, possession of ammunition by a person prohibited, carrying a concealed deadly weapon, possession with intent to deliver crack-cocaine, resisting arrest and loitering. He was committed to Howard Young Correctional Facility in lieu of $98,500.
Adam Hackett, 31, and Isreal Hackett, 26, both of Wilmington, were issued summonses for loitering.

Dover K9 unit tackles wanted fugitive

By DJ McAneny 12:13pm, December 19, 2014
Steven Roscoe
A 31-year-old man wanted by Dover Police was arrested late Thursday night when authorities discovered him at the Elks Lodge on North Kirkwood Street in the city, police announced Friday morning.
According to authorities, Steven Roscoe, of Briar Park in Camden, had a history of running from authorities, so police approached the area and surrounded the building. K9 unit Spike was one of the officers on the scene.
When police asked Roscoe to exit the building of his own free will, he attempted to flee out a rear entrance, according to authorities. K9 Spike gave chase after Roscoe allegedly jumped a privacy fence and refused to stop when issued the command by police.
K9 Spike apprehended Roscoe and brought him to the ground. Roscoe was taken into custody without further incident. Police said 1.9 grams of marijuana were found on Roscoe's person.
Roscoe faces charges of marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession, resisting arrest, and being a local fugitive. He was committed to James T. Vaughn in lieu of $102,500.

Flu season, early again, hitting hard in South and Midwest

By Associated Press 6:18pm, December 19, 2014
Health officials say the flu is now hitting hard in parts of the country, especially the South and Midwest.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported cases were widespread in 29 states last week. If the trend continues, it could bring another early peak to the flu season as happened in the last two winters.

Experts worry this will be a bad season because the dominant strain - seen in roughly two-thirds of recent tests - is a nasty bug not covered in this year's vaccine. But officials have not seen an unusually high number of hospitalizations or deaths so far.

Flu season traditionally peaks around February. But in the last two winters, flu peaked by early January.

Prepackaged caramel apples linked to 4 deaths

By Associated Press 6:25pm, December 19, 2014
Health officials are warning consumers to avoid pre-packaged caramel apples. It's because the apples have been linked to four deaths and more than two dozen illnesses in ten states.

Caramel apples are most popular around Halloween, and the outbreak started just before then. But the commercially produced variety can have a shelf life of a month or more, and some may still be on store shelves.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it knows of 28 cases in which people were sickened with the same strains of the bacterial illness listeria, and at least 26 were hospitalized. Of those, five died.

Listeriosis contributed to four of the deaths. A fifth person who died had a strain of listeria linked to the caramel apples, but health officials do not think listeriosis caused that person's death.

A CDC official says the agency is still trying to determine which brands are involved and how the caramel apples may have become infected. The official says there's no reason to stop eating plain apples or to avoid other caramel products.

Two of the deaths were in Minnesota. The others were in Texas and California

First country music fest organizer welcomes competition

By Kelli Steele 9:10am, December 19, 2014 - Updated 10:22am, December 19, 2014
The organizer of Delaware's first country music festival is speaking about a second, rivaling competition.

Tickets for Alex Pires' Delaware Junction go on sale Friday.

"I'm happy for them, happy for us," he said. "I like competition, and I want people to look at both festivals, maybe go to both, maybe go just to theirs, maybe go just to ours. Most importantly, see what you like."

Delaware Junction is slated for Aug. 14 to 16 of next year in Harrington on the Delaware State Fairgrounds with $199 three-day passes. Headlining the show is Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, and Toby Keith.

Thursday, Firefly organizers announced the Big Barrel Country Music Festival at the Woodlands at Dover International Speedway, the weekend after Firefly on June 26-28, 2015. Headlining that show is Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, and Carrie Underwood. Tickets went on sale Thursday.

Gold medalist Michael Phelps pleads guilty to DUI

By Associated Press 12:28pm, December 19, 2014 - Updated 12:47pm, December 19, 2014
Michael Phelps (AP/file)
Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps has pleaded guilty to drunken driving in Baltimore almost three months after he was arrested.

Phelps entered his plea to a charge of driving under the influence in Baltimore City District Court on Friday morning. He was sentenced to a year in prison, but the prison sentence is suspended. He must be on probation for a year and a half.

The 18-time gold medalist was arrested on Sept. 30. Documents show that the 29-year-old Phelps was leaving the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Baltimore when he was pulled over for speeding and crossing the double yellow line while driving in a tunnel. Police say Phelps registered a .14 percent on a blood-alcohol test. The legal limit to drive is .08 percent in Maryland.

A week after his arrest, USA Swimming suspended Phelps for six months.

Phelps entered a six-week treatment program in October. This is his second DUI conviction. Phelps pleaded guilty to drunken driving in 2004 in another Maryland county.

Police: Two teens nabbed fleeing scene of Wilmington burglary

By DJ McAneny 12:23pm, December 19, 2014 - Updated 3:30pm, December 19, 2014
Two teens were arrested following an altercation with Wilmington Police Thursday, Dec. 18, after authorities were notified of a burglary that had just occurred in the area, police announced Friday.

According to police, two officers on patrol in the area of the 500 block of Lea Boulevard were flagged down by a resident of the area who was pursuing subjects fleeing from the scene of the burglary. When officers engaged in a foot pursuit, one of the suspects, identified as a 15-year-old, discarded a backpack during the chase and prior to being apprehended and taken into custody.

Police said they located the bag and were able to identify "items of evidence." A perimeter was established and, with additional assistance, a 14-year-old juvenile was apprehended as the teen attempted to flee down the 4300 block of North Market Street. This teen was taken into custody.

One officer sustained minor injuries during the incident and was treated and released from the Wilmington Emergency Room for an ankle and thumb sprain.

Both juveniles face charges of burglary, conspiracy and resisting arrest. Both are being held at the New Castle County Detention Center in lieu of $5,000 secured bail.

Poll: Americans skeptical of commercial drones

By Associated Press 9:20am, December 19, 2014 - Updated 10:11am, December 19, 2014
Wilmington police's drone (WDEL/Amy Cherry)
Americans have said they are skeptical that the benefits of the heralded drone revolution will outweigh the risks to privacy and safety, although a majority approve of using small, unmanned aircraft for dangerous jobs or in remote areas.

An Associated Press-GfK poll found, that by a 2-1 margin, those who had an opinion opposed using drones for commercial purposes. Only 21 percent favored commercial use.

The government has prohibited most commercial use of drones but will propose regulations to broaden the use of small ones.

It may be two or three years before the rules take effect, but once they do, thousands are expected to buzz U.S. skies.

A trade group estimated drones will create 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact in the first 10 years they're allowed.

Chrysler gives in to gov't, expands air bag recall

By Associated Press 6:26pm, December 19, 2014
After resisting for several weeks, Chrysler is bowing to government demands to expand a recall of driver's side air bag inflators across the entire nation.

The company says in a statement Friday that it will recall nearly 2.9 million older cars and trucks across the U.S., as demanded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The recall includes Chrysler's most popular model, the Ram pickup, from the 2004 through 2007 model years.

The vehicles have driver's air bags equipped with inflators made by Japan's Takata Corp. The inflators can explode with too much force and spew shrapnel at drivers and passengers.

The recall previously was limited to Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The government demanded that five automakers expand recalls. BMW is now the lone holdout.

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