<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:15:29 -0500 Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:15:29 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Beware of Refreezing Following Day of Steady Snow]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:09:20 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2014-11-26_1436.jpg

The snow had mostly moved out of the area by 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, but dropping temperatures could mean refreezing into Thursday morning, so be careful.

Snow fell steadily around the region, which was under a winter weather advisory while thousands of people attempted to reach their Thanksgiving destinations on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

The advisory expired at 6 p.m. for counties surrounding the District. Storm Team4 predicted 1-3 inches of snow in the northern and western suburbs of D.C. and Baltimore. A coating to an inch was expected near Interstate 95 and the D.C. metro area.

A winter storm warning was also in effect until 6 p.m. for locations farther north, west and southwest, including Hagerstown, Cumberland, Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley. The National Weather Service (NWS) predicted 4-9 inches of snow for those areas.

Wednesday morning's rain turned into snow in many areas as the system moved east. Roadways were snow-covered and slippery north and west of D.C.

As temps drop below freezing overnight, roads will be icy in many spots through Thursday morning.

A snow emergency was declared around midday Wednesday in Frederick, Maryland. Anyone driving there is required by state law to have snow tires on their vehicles. Drivers may not park along snow emergency routes. That emergency was rescinded at 6 p.m.

"While pavement temperatures are warm, any prolonged snow fall will quickly change that and road conditions could be slippery and difficult to navigate, even with our crews salting and plowing," said Melinda B. Peters of the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) in a release.

Maryland's State Highway Administration announced plans to activate an emergency operations center near BWI Marshall Airport to manage their storm response throughout the state.

Maryland has more than 2,400 pieces of equipment available to plow and salt roads as needed on numbered routes, the highway administration said.

For real-time traffic updates, travelers can use SHA's free information service by dialing 511. An interactive map and traffic cameras are available at www.MD511.org.

Whatever snow accumulates Wednesday should melt on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Day should be partly sunny and chilly, with a high near 40.

The heaviest snow inland will be in New England. Anyone driving into Massachusetts and farther north will find heavier snow Wednesday night.

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<![CDATA[Teacher's Aide Charged With Sex Abuse of Teen]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:21:41 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_542372565.jpg

A 27-year-old teacher's aide was arrested Tuesday night after police say they caught her engaging in sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl.

Carla Norde has been charged with sexual abuse of a secondary student.

Police say officers approached a parked car in an alley behind the 4500 block of Grant Street NE and saw Norde and the teen without their clothes on. According to their investigation, the two were engaged in sexual contact inside the car.

Investigators say Norde is a teacher's aide at Eastern High School in Northeast D.C. The victim is a student at the school.

Norde is expected to appear in court Wednesday afternoon.

School officials say this was Norde's first year with the school district; she was hired in August.

Although the age of consent in D.C. is 16, age-of-consent rules are not in play when it comes to "significant relationships," which include teachers and their students, D.C. law states. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Convicted Arsonist Impersonated Firefighter]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:00:48 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/1126-kevin-kraft.jpg

A man with a checkered criminal past in Maryland could spend three years in prison for posing as a firefighter. 

Kevin Kraft's personal vehicle, a Kia SUV, was outfitted with lights and sirens in April 2014 when he told an officer he was responding to a two-alarm warehouse fire in Montgomery County. Kraft was arrested for impersonating a firefighter.

"We've arrested him on several occasions  in the 90s for arson, impersonating a fire marshal and false report of a bomb," Mike Redding with the Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office said. "He was quite a frequent flyer for our office for some time."

Prosecutors say Kraft wasn't responsible for starting the fire last spring, but pleaded guilty to the impersonation charge.

"This is an individual that has a checkered past when it comes to fire," Ramon Korionoff with Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office said. "It's important that the community realize they can rest assured that first responders are the real deal."

Kraft could face up to three years in prison when he's sentenced in January.

<![CDATA[Feast of Sharing Feeds Thousands]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:35:42 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008653655_1200x675_364149827526.jpg Five thousand people in the district enjoyed a free Thanksgiving feast at the annual Safeway Feast of Sharing at the convention center Wednesday. News4's Erika Gonzalez and Amelia Segal helped.]]> <![CDATA[Stepfather Killed Missing Mom: DA]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:24:25 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Stepfather-and-Padgett.jpg

The search for Jessica Padgett, a missing mother and newlywed from Northampton County, came to a stunning end the day before Thanksgiving when investigators announced she'd been murdered by her stepfather.

District Attorney John Morganelli said Gregory Graf admitted he shot Padgett in his home and disposed of her body. The motive appears to be sexual assault, Morganelli said.

Padgett, a mother of three, was last seen Friday when she left her job at the Duck Duck Goose day care center in Northampton. She told co-workers she was going to run errands, but never returned.

The 33-year-old woman's car was found less than a mile away in the parking lot of a Dollar General store. Her cellphone and keys were inside.

"I just want my sister found," said Jeremy Graf, sobbing just hours before being told her body had been found on their parents' property on Covered Bridge Road in Allen Township.

Padgett had a second job working for Graf's company, Distinctive Fence, located on the same property where he and Padgett’s mother live. Investigators believe Padgett went there Friday to use the fax machine.

"During an interview with the investigators he [Graf] did admit that he intentionally and knowingly caused the death of the victim at his home," Morganelli said, adding the crime may have been premeditated. Surveillance video shows a man prosecutors believe is Graf, dropping his truck off in the Dollar General parking lot Friday morning. Later in the day, Morganelli said Graf returned to the parking lot in Padgett's SUV, parked it and drove off again in his truck.

Family and friends had launched an intense search effort for Padgett, and started a Help Find Jessica Padgett on Facebook which had close to 7-thousand followers on Wednesday. The victim's sister, Kristi Davis, posted this message:

"We are devastated by the loss of Jessica. she was a beautiful, vibrant young woman who was beloved by her family and friends. The world shines less bright today." 

Greg Graf was one of the 7-thousand people following that Facebook page.

The 53-year-old man was in police custody Wednesday night, facing murder charges.

<![CDATA[Officer Kills Suspect After Chase]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:13:51 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/211*120/Lewisvilel+crash.JPG

Lewisville police are investigating an officer involved shooting on Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators said the shooting happened after a short chase that started in Highland Village and ended a short time later at Farm-to-Market road 3040 and Rockbrook in Lewisville.

From Chopper 5 you can see several vehicles involved in the wreck.

According to police, they were chasing a person who stole a car in Highland Village. That person was also armed with a shotgun.

Police said the chase ended with a wreck near a RaceTrac gas station and the person officers were pursuing ran into the gas station where shots were fired.

The suspect was killed in the shooting.

Details are still being gathered and we will update this story as more information becomes available.

<![CDATA[Jogger Struck by Car, Critically Injured in Georgetown]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:42:41 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/1126-gtown-jogger-struck.jpg

Police say a man was critically injured after being struck by a car while jogging in Georgetown Wednesday afternoon.

The accident was reported just before 4 p.m. at 28th and Q streets NW.

The jogger was pinned under the car for some time, extricated by D.C. Fire officials and hospitalized in extremely critical condition.

The crash caused some road closures in the area, and the driver remained on scene. 

<![CDATA[Caps' Second Line Unconcerned by Drought]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:16:56 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/458598364.jpg

Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz has noticed a trend among his forward lines through 20 games. One line carries the bulk of the offensive load, while the other three vanish from the scoresheet. 

"I think for the most part, our team, we haven't had a stretch where I would say Line 1-4 has been chipping in and productive," Trotz said after the Capitals prepared for the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday morning. "We need production through the lineup. Obviously we get production from the [Alex] Ovechkins and [Nicklas] Backstroms of the world, but the next group of players needs to step up and produce. They've been pretty dry for a little while here."

That group includes Washington's second line: Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky and Troy Brouwer. In the Capitals' past five games, they have not produced a single point at even strength despite receiving the largest percentage of offensive-zone starts. In the three games prior to their recent slump, Johansson, Burakovsky and Brouwer combined for four goals and nine points. 

Each member's even-strength Fenwick percentage -- a measurement of on-ice differential accounting for unblocked shot attempts -- is above 54 percent since Nov. 14, suggesting that the sustained pressure will eventually lead to a renewed offensive effort. 

"The production isn't there because of a few things we need to work on, but all in all, I think we've been pretty dependent and pretty consistent on [having] a good offensive game," said Brouwer, who has two 5-on-5 goals this season. "We just need to be able to score. It'll come."

The primary areas in need of improvement, according to Johansson, are breaking out of the defensive zone more efficiently and knowing when to resist the prettier play when something simpler would be more effective. 

"There were a couple games that we could have played better, but for the most part, I think we're creating enough chances to score a couple goals every game and we're doing the right things," Johansson said. "That's what's good about it. I think it would be worse if we felt that we didn't get anything out of anything we did. 

"We're feeling good about it and we're creating chances and I think we've been spending a lot of time in the offensive zone. Just keep doing that, I think the goals are going to come. I don't think we're worried about that."

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: NHLI via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[RGIII Benched; Colt McCoy to Start Sunday]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:09:30 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2013-cowboys-redskins-b-%2858.jpg

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will be watching Sunday's game from the bench.

News4's Dianna Russini confirmed overnight that Colt McCoy will start against the Indianapolis Colts.

"I came here with a clean slate, and I want to play the best players, period, whoever they are," Coach Jay Gruden said. "First round picks, sixth round picks, free agents, I don't really care who they are, where they came from. Obviously the history of Robert and the talent that he has at quarterback, very excited to coach him when I first got the job and I still am. And I'm not giving up on Robert. It's just, we haven't been successful."

RGIII is coming off two poor starts. He's been sacked 11 times in the past two games and has faced criticism through much of the season.

Griffin did not speak to the media Wednesday, but it's unclear if that was his decision or the team's, Russini reported.

"He wanted a chance to play himself through this slump," Gruden said.

McCoy, the team's third-string quarterback, won both games he's played this season.

"I know this is a significant decision for our team," McCoy said. "Moving forward I just want to go out there and play the best I can and help our team as much as I can find a way to win some games."

Unfortunately, the news of the shake-up got out a little early; Gruden wanted to tell the entire team about his decision first on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Frank Heinz, NBC DFW
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<![CDATA[The Secret Inside the Postal Service]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:15:43 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/060511+usps+trucks.jpg

It’s a story the U.S. Postal Service did not want us to tell you: Sexual assaults committed not just by customers and strangers, but by postal employees against other postal employees.

A thick layer of snow had just dropped onto the road as we climbed a mountain near Albany, New York, to meet Diane Caruso-Ruston.

"We're pretty tough up here," she laughed as she let us in the door. Caruso-Ruston explained she had to be tough to work more than a decade inside a large postal processing plant where they sort mail 24 hours a day. "The culture of the Post Office is, it's an old boys club."

Good at getting along with the guys working alongside her, Caruso-Ruston said she thought she was going to get a promotion when she walked into one of her managers' offices. "Next thing I know he pushes me up against the wall. And he pushes down my left side of my pants, you know those stretchy pants? He licked my leg. I got startled. And then he took his thing out and told me to kiss it."

The married mother of two said she pushed her way out of the room and quickly wrote down everything that happened before filing a formal complaint through her union.

That, she said, is when the retaliation began. "Before I even went into the room to be interviewed, one of the supervisors grabbed me and told me 'You better keep your mouth shut if you know what's good for you.'"

Caruso-Ruston said the retaliation grew worse as a team of investigators tried to get her to sign an incorrect statement of facts. She refused.

And that, not the assault, is what finally broke her. "It's the cover up, the intimidation that they do."

The News4 I-Team has uncovered a list of reported sexual assaults against postal employees across the country never before released to the public, including more than a dozen in the D.C. region within the past few years.

Records we obtained show the assaults range from men groping and flashing mail carriers on their routes to more serious attacks, like the violent rape of a postal clerk in Silver Spring, Maryland.

But then we saw entry after entry labeled “Sexual Assault by Employee.” When we added it all up, we realized one out of every five sexual assaults against postal employees were committed by other postal employees.

Noelle Whalen said her managers repeatedly ignored multiple complaints she made about being harassed, stalked and finally sexually assaulted by one of her supervisors inside a processing plant in Connecticut. "To ask somebody to get down on their knees in the middle of the aisle in the middle of a workroom floor to give you oral sex, if that's not sexual harassment, then what is?" She explained, “This is a person I had asked numerous times not to touch me, not to go near me, not to speak inappropriately to me, and then he attacked me."

Whalen kept all of her paperwork, but when we asked the U.S. Postal Service for its records on the investigation of her attack, we received hundreds of blank and redacted pages.

But USPS assured us it has a zero tolerance policy for sexual assault.

Sexual violence experts like Maya Raghu with the organization Futures Without Violence said, “When the government is an employer and doesn't follow its own rules, that makes this sense of betrayal or wrongness somehow worse because people expect the federal government to follow its own rules."

Raghu said the list could be much longer because sex assault is one of the most underreported crimes.

And as we discovered, Whalen’s and Caruso-Ruston's cases were investigated by their human resources department, meaning their cases were never reported to the Postal Service’s internal police force and never made it to our list.

Even though they worked in different plants in different states, both women said their attackers were allowed to retire while they continued to be retaliated against until they both went on medical leave.

"If it's unwanted, then in most places that's probably some sort of battery,” Raghu explained. “Which is a crime."

To get answers, we repeatedly asked to interview Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

Until, in August, we were told by a spokeswoman if we tried to approach him, we could be investigated and arrested for threatening a postal employee.

Which is how we ended up at a news conference at the Postal Museum two weeks ago as the postmaster general released a new holiday stamp. We counted at least 11 different people in his team scrambling to keep us from interviewing their boss, pleading with us not to approach him.

So, we asked him, "Has your staff told you we've been trying to get comment from you for the last six months about violent crimes being committed against postal employees? Did you know we've been trying to get comment from you?"

Donahoe quickly said, "No." He then explained USPS uses an extensive process to investigate violence against his employees. "There's nothing ever that is left uninvestigated. We prosecute people to the fullest extent of the law."

News4 I-Team reporter Tisha Thompson then asked, “Some of your employees have told me that after they were sexually assaulted, they were retaliated against when they made a complaint and that they just don't feel the Postal Service is doing enough to protect women in particular from sexual assault. So I've got to ask, what is your response to that?”

Donahoe said, “The Postal Service has a number of avenues for employees to air issues, whether it's the OIG hotline, the grievance process, the EEOC. We've watched these carefully over the years and taken them very seriously and acted on it."

Thompson then said, “I'm sure, as the boss, it also concerns you that your employees are saying that. What do you want to tell them?"

“Our employees are safe,” Donahoe said. “We provide a safe environment; we provide an environment where if there is a problem, we respond to it."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stripping Robbers Hit Again]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:08:20 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/subwaystriprobbery.jpg

A group of armed robbers who make their victims take off their clothes hit again over the weekend, the latest in a string of robberies all with a similar modus operandi.

In the latest robbery, which targeted a Broward County, Florida, Subway restaurant Monday night, the robbers’ victim was a woman who is eight months pregnant. The robbery was the fifth such crime that had similar circumstances in the last two months. All of the robberies have been caught on camera.

“It seems to be that is their strategy, to take their clothes off,” said Keyla Concepcion of the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

On November 9th at the Rite Way Food Market in Pompano Beach, a customer and clerk were ordered to the back of the store, at gunpoint, where they were both forced to take off their pants. On October 31, a victim at a Pompano Beach convenience store was hit with a gun and shot in the leg.

October 28th, a Tamarac Subway was hit around 10:30 p.m. where employees were robbed at gunpoint before being dragged to the back of the store and ordered to strip. On October 7th, an employee of a GameStop in Plantation was ordered to drive the robbers around before dropping them off in Lauderhill.

Investigators haven’t said if all of the crimes are related, but said all of them are similar in their actions during the robberies.

If you have any information about the string of robberies, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Ferguson Protests Continue Across U.S. for 2nd Day]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:04:39 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/459584294.jpg

Heated protests continued for a second night in response to a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown, with violence and arrests reported across the nation.

Police ordered protesters and media off Ferguson, Missouri, streets after largely peaceful demonstrations turned violent Tuesday evening when a police car was set on fire. Earlier in the evening, demonstrators swarmed the steps of the federal courthouse in St. Louis chanting, "You didn't indict! We shall fight!" The Associated Press reported.

At a news conference early Wednesday, St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar said 44 people were arrested in Ferguson, but added that "it was a much better night."

In New York City, police said 10 people were arrested as protesters gridlocked major streets, highways and bridges. Protesters blocked access to the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel, one of the city's major transit arteries, during rush hour Tuesday evening.

More than 500 protesters marched up Broadway and gathered peacefully in Times Square. They chanted "Hands up, don't shoot" and carried signs reading "We will not be silent." Around 200 protesters also gathered peacefully in nearby Newark, New Jersey.

In Philadelphia, demonstrators were already taking place at noon on Tuesday, with a group holding signs that read "Outraged! Where is Our Justice?" and "Don't Shop Black Friday." A group of about 500 later held a rally at Temple University and protested outside of a police headquarters, demanding that officers wear body cameras. 

Hundreds of activists in Chicago marched through Downtown after police ordered protesters to leave Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, where they had been participating in a planned 28-hour sit-in. The group called on Emanuel to change what they said was a culture of racism within the Chicago Police Department.

Two people were arrested at a small protest outside the Miami-Dade Metro Justice building Tuesday, police said. A Miami jury deliberating the fate of a woman accused of killing her husband's business partner was dismissed early in anticipation of a protest at the Miami courthouse.

In Los Angeles, almost 100 people were arrested as a few hundred protesters took to the streets, engaging police in a standoff at a freeway off-ramp and surrounding a Highway Patrol car in a tense scene in the south side of the city. Police Chief Charlie Beck said earlier Tuesday that only three arrests were made in protests across LA on Monday.

"I know that this isn't over," Beck said. "This is a wound of the nation that will not heal immediately."

One of the largest protests nationwide was in Boston, where an estimated 1,400 protesters gathered near the Massachusetts Avenue Connector, NBC News reported. Police blocked a ramp leading to I-93 to prevent protesters from going on the highway. The demonstrations in Boston were peaceful overall, however, 45 arrests were made throughout the city, New England Cable News reported.

In Oakland, California, a small group of protesters briefly shut down Interstate 580, but police officers were able to redirect them back onto city streets. Police arrested 40 people on Monday night following the grand jury's decision.

A car plowed through protesters in Minneapolis Tuesday afternoon, injuring one demonstrator, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. Moments after the demonstrator was struck, a group of demonstrators jumped on the hood of the vehicle while others tried to free the demonstrator. Minneapolis Police Department said they were continuing to investigate. 

The announcement that the Missouri grand jury had brought no charge against Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 killing of 18-year-old Brown sparked rioting in Ferguson and some unruly protests elsewhere Monday night.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vowed that the violence would not be repeated, adding that the National Guard presence would be "ramped up significantly."

"Last night criminals intent on lawlessness and destruction terrorized this community, burning buildings, firing gunshots, vandalizing storefronts and looting family businesses, many for the second time," he said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference in Ferguson. "I am deeply saddened for the people of Ferguson who woke up this morning to see parts of their community in ruins."

Protesters had hurled bottles at officers near police headquarters, and flames engulfed at least a dozen businesses. St. Louis County police deployed tactical units and fired tear gas and smoke to break up the crowds. At least 150 gunshots were fired and a semi-automatic handgun was seized, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a news conference early Tuesday. 

Sixty-one people were arrested in Ferguson on charges that included burglary and trespassing, according to The Associated Press. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said early Tuesday that 21 were arrested in the city.

"I'm disappointed I didn't see more peaceful protests out there," Belmar said. "What I've seen tonight is probably worse than the worst night we had in August."

Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that he had briefed the president in the Oval Office about the violence. He said they talked about the need to bring people together.

"This is a difficult time for people in Ferguson," Holder said. "It's a difficult time for people in our country. I think this is an opportunity for us to find those things that bind us as a nation, to be honest with one another about those things that continue to divide us and to come up with ways in which we make this union even more perfect."

Across the country, reactions ranged from marches that threatened to shut down busy streets to gatherings near national landmarks. Most remained peaceful, officials said.

In California, large crowds marched through the streets of Oakland and Los Angeles. Demonstrators shut down Interstate 580 and the USC campus was placed on lockdown as demonstrators marched by.

Angry protesters took to the streets of Philadelphia after the announcement, chanting "No Justice. No Peace. No Racist Police," and holding both arms in the air. Albeit loud in voice, they remained peaceful in actions as police trailed their march.

A man was arrested after hurling fake blood on NYPD Chief Bill Bratton in New York's Times Square during a demonstration. Hundreds marched from Union Square to Upper Manhattan through traffic-clogged streets, with signs such as "Jail killer cops."

At the Chicago police department's headquarters, several hundred people chanted "This is what democracy looks like," and carried photographs of those they said were killed by officers.

Outside the White House, roughly 300 gathered for a peaceful demonstration, chanting "black lives matter." Some carried signs urging the demilitarization of police.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Toxic Bosses]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 23:37:31 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008641197_1200x675_363774531564.jpg News4's Jim Handly shows you how a toxic boss can negatively affect your health and well-being.]]> <![CDATA[Robbers Smash Sledgehammers Into Mall Jewelry Case]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:17:11 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2014-11-26_0637_001.png

Four men ransacked a Dulles Town Center jewelry store Tuesday, getting away with several high-end watches.

The robbery was reported around 2:30 p.m. at Fink's Jewelry. Police say the men slammed sledgehammers into a jewelry case, took several expensive watches, and then escaped in a Jeep Cherokee that was reported stolen out of Fairfax County.

The vehicle was later found abandoned in Dulles Eastern Plaza.

Loudoun County Police are working with federal and other local law enforcement agencies to solve this crime, as the thieves may be connected to other robberies in the area.

Anyone with information on the suspects is asked to call Detective Schochet from the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office at 703-777-0475. Callers who want to remain anonymous may call 703-777-1919. They may be eligible for a $1,000 cash reward.

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<![CDATA[Retail Crime on the Rise in Tysons Corner]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:48:08 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008639657_1200x675_363656259560.jpg A warning before you hit the stores on Black Friday. Crime is up in Tysons Corner, but Fairfax County Police hope a task force will keep the grinch away! News4's Kristin Wright reports.]]> <![CDATA[Juvenile Shot in Southeast D.C.]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:05:10 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tlmd_policelights46.jpg

Police say a juvenile was shot in Southeast D.C. Tuesday evening.

The shooting was reported just after 6 p.m. in the 5000 block of Call Place SE.

The victim's age is unknown, and no suspect or motive information has been released.

<![CDATA["This Is a Problem for Everybody": UMd. Students Protest]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:32:54 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/218*120/2014-11-25_1645.jpg

University of Maryland students held a sit-in Tuesday to protest a Ferguson grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Calling the demonstration #OccupyStamp on social media, student protesters gathered at Adele H. Stamp Student Union, where they linked arms, conducted chants and held a moment of silence for Brown lasting four and a half minutes.

"This is not a black problem," said junior Opeyemi Owoeye. "This is a problem for everybody."

Owoeye, a government and politics major, helped lead the protests that drew hundreds of students. "We're angry, but more than angry, we're fearful," she said, "because this could become the next Ferguson."

The students joined arms to show solidarity, chanting, "Hands up, don't shoot!"

Organizers said they were pleased to see so many students of different races and ethnicities participating.

"The one thing we have in common is we are all striving for justice," said student Jasmine Whittington.

There was a police presence in the student union, but no arrests. Students prayed, sang, and lined up to individually express their feelings about the Brown shooting and the grand jury's decision.

"They blamed Twitter, the media, and everyone but Darren Wilson," said one student.

Student Aziz Sani shared his poem "American Horror Story," while Owoeye became emotional as she read the names and stories of black men who were killed by police.

They were quiet for four and a half minutes to represent the four and half hours Brown's body was in the street. One student lay on the ground to represent the unarmed teen.

"It's about the two-tiered legal system in our country, that there's such a disparity of justice, and people feel like they're not playing with a fair deck of cards," said another student.

Photo Credit: Nicole Dei
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<![CDATA[Fred Smoot, Ex-Redskins Player, Charged With Domestic Assault]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:27:15 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/fred+smoot.jpg

Former Washington Redskins player Fred Smoot was arrested Sunday in connection with a domestic assault at a home in Ashburn, Virginia, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

Officers were called to the 21300 block of Victorias Cross Terrace just after 11 a.m. for a report of a domestic assault. Investigators say Smoot's girlfriend told them he grabbed her during an altercation. Pictures Valerie Jackson posted on Instagram appear to show marks on her neck, shoulder and arms.

“I am not ready to comment on camera,” Jackson told News4’s Chris Gordon. “This is fresh and this is hard. I just came from a lawyer’s office, and I feel safe behind this door and I don’t feel safe in front of cameras or media.”

Smoot, 35, was charged with misdemeanor domestic assault.

Smoot’s attorney Jon Huddleston told News4's Chris Gordon Smoot denies he committed any domestic abuse, saying his arrest was the result of "the vindictive actions of a disgruntled ex-girlfriend."

He said Smoot tried to break off the relationship more than a month ago and that Jackson has been the aggressor.

The former cornerback was booked and later released on a $2,500 from the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center. He must also obey the conditions of an emergency protective order.

The case will go on trial on Jan. 5, 2015.

Smoot is a contributor to Comcast SportsNet, which is owned by the same company as NBC4.

A spokesperson for Comcast SportsNet says the network didn't learn of Smoot's arrest until Tuesday morning, adding that his appearances on the network have been suspended indefinitely.

Smoot also suspended from his sports talk radio appearances on 106.7 The Fan.

<![CDATA[Residents Line Up for Barry's Turkey Giveaway]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:56:33 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Cora+Masters+Barry+Gives+Away+Turkeys.jpg

Ward 8 residents lined up Tuesday morning to receive free turkeys, and many took a moment to reflect on the legacy of the councilman who founded the giveaway. 

Marion Barry died early Sunday morning of natural causes due to heart problems. He was 78 years old.

Volunteers gave away more than 3,000 turkeys and 40,000 pounds of fresh vegetables to needy families in the community. Those in line told News4's Megan McGrath the food they received will make their Thanksgiving.

"Everyone here is in need in some form or fashion. A lot of people like myself worked hard and got sick," said Pierre Valladay.

Many in line shared warm memories of Barry.

"He did the right thing for the young people," Ward 8 resident Thomas Abney said. "He gave my brother a job..."

"He always gave back," another person added.

The turkey giveaway was held until 1 p.m. at the Union Temple Baptist Church.

The free turkeys were given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Photo Credit: Jay Alvey, NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Airlines Offer Waivers Ahead of Thanksgiving Eve Storm]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:36:35 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/airport_generic.jpg

With snow looming in the forecast for the Northeast region of the United States, several airlines announced this week the option for their passengers to change their scheduled flights from Wednesday to Tuesday or Thanksgiving Day for free.

Travelers with American Airlines flights on Wednesday to 18 different aiports along the East Coast, including Philadelphia International and Newark Liberty International Airport, can change their tickets so they fly Tuesday or Thursday, according to a company news release.

Passengers scheduled to fly into 19 Mid-Atlantic airports -- including Philly's and Newark's -- with Delta Airlines Wednesday can also change their flight. Delta ticket-holders can rebook their Wednesday flight for Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday.

JetBlue also announced the ability to adjust one's Wednesday flight to 17 airports in the Northeast, free of charge.  JetBlue passengers can move their Thanksgiving Eve flight to Thursday or Friday.

United Airlines and US Airways also announced similar waiver deals.

Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[Window Washer Who Fell 11 Stories "Fighting for His Life"]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:50:00 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/SF-WINDOW-WASHER-CHOPPER-RAW-SD---14451915.jpg

The window washer who fell  about 11 stories in San Francisco last week is a "stubborn, strong man," who is "fighting for his life," according to his family.

The 58-year-old window washer, whose name has not been publicly revealed, has had several surgeries at San Francisco General Hospital and was still in critical condition on Monday, when his family issued a statement by email to the media asking that their privacy be respected.

The statement, provided by the hospital, added that the family is so grateful to everyone at the accident scene at the bottom of the Sterling Bank and Trust building in the 400 block of  Montgomery Street who assisted the window washer when he fell on Friday about 10 a.m.

"We would like to thank everyone at the scene of the accident who helped, especially the nurse who ran to him, the firefighters and the driver of the car that broke his fall," the statement read. "We are amazed that he fell from such a high distance and still survived. Landing on the car really helped, and we are so thankful for that."

The window washer, who is married and has three children, landed on top of a green Toyota Camry, driven by Mohammad Alcozai, who at first thought it was a bicyclist who accidently hit his car. Despite his own car being severely damaged from the fall, Alcozai quickly ran to the man's aid. About 20 others, including a nurse and a retired Army general, were also there helping out.

"He was shaking pretty bad. He was shaking and wasn't able to talk," Alcozai said. "He was breathing hard."

The window washer worked for Century Window Cleaners of Concord, which has been fined for safety violations in the past. A complaint from 2008 resulted in a $2,700 settlement. The state ordered the company to train and “supervise the use of equipment and safety devices to insure that safe working practices are observed.”

NBC Bay Area contacted the company for comment, but the man who answered the phone declined. The company's website states it carries a $5 million worker compensation insurance policy and a $5 million general liability insurance policy.

Cal-OSHA spokesman Peter Melton said on Tuesday that the window washer and his co-worker were helping other workers on a window washing scaffold by moving power cords on the roof. While handling the power cords, Melton said, the window washer fell off the edge of the roof.

The fall comes about two weeks after two window washers were stranded on top of the World Trade Center in New York City. On Nov. 12, two workers were rescued in dramatic fashion after scaffolding collapsed.

Window cleaning is one of the safer industries, according to Stefan Bright, the safety director for the International Window Cleaners Association based in Zanesville, Ohio.

Among the 15,000 to 20,000 professional cleaners working on high-rises each year, there are typically fewer than three fatalities a year, he said.

While figures for window washers specifically were not available, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that seven workers in the janitorial or cleaning professions died as a result of on-the-job injuries sustained while working with scaffolding from 2011 to 2013.

NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthews and Cheryl Hurd, and NBC Universal's Noreen O'Donnell and Torey Van Oot contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area chopper]]>
<![CDATA[Postal Robberies Skyrocketing]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 00:09:23 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/usps+crop.jpg

On the anniversary of the murder of a local postal carrier, the News4 I-Team shows a never before released list of crimes committed against postal employees, including a dramatic increase in robberies.

It started out like any other February day for a well-known D.C. postal carrier who delivered the mail on Webster Street in Northeast. But that changed when, investigators say, two men robbed him at gunpoint before tying him up with duct tape, beating him and throwing him from his delivery van.

Neighbors like Bernard Wood Jr. were stunned at the violence of the crime. "I don't understand why anybody would try to assault or hurt him." But as they thought about it, those on his route like Sherri Wyatt realized he was an easy target. “Every day I know he's going to be there,” she said. “I know what time."

We only found out about this robbery because the US Postal Service told us about it. Investigators with the US Postal Inspection Police needed help finding the assailants. But the News4 I-Team discovered there are hundreds of similar crimes each year no one ever hears about.

The News4 I-Team obtained a nationwide list, never before released to the public, of more than 1,600 violent crimes against postal employees.

We found robberies increased more than 300 percent between 2010 and 2013, some involving truckjackings, kidnappings and shootings.

Tom Dodge with the grassroots organization Community and Postal Workers United told us, "Unfortunately, very expensive items are going through the mail now. Cell phones, computers, tablets, jewelry."

Dodge said the rise of Internet shopping has made his job as a truck driver more dangerous than ever. "What we're told is, ‘Just give it to them. Give them your satchel of mail, if a big truck is stopped, give them what they want. Don't resist, let them have it.’ But thieves today, they don't want witnesses. So they shoot."

The I-Team discovered at least 64 shootings on the list, including the murder of Tyson Barnette, killed on his route delivering mail in Cheverly one year ago this week.

Dodge and union leaders from all over the region held a protest on the National Mall following Barnette’s murder. Tina Collington, a letter carrier for Capital Heights, Maryland, said, “The sad thing is when things are happening, they won't bring it to our attention. We'll hear word of mouth from someone else. But management doesn't say be aware this is going on."

Records the I-Team obtained show all kinds of employees get robbed, including commercial truck drivers and mail clerks. But 84 percent of victims were the men and women who deliver the mail to your homes.

And they don't happen at night. Instead, 80 percent of robberies occur during the day between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The I-Team spent months asking to interview Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and finally caught up with him at a stamp event at the Postal Museum, where he said, "Robberies occur across America. We're represented in every city in the US and it happens unfortunately."

“But your folks tell us they're easy targets and they're worried about their safety and they want the postal service to do more to protect their safety," the I-Team said.

“We provide a lot of, we provide very good safety for employees in areas that have high crime and we provide bulletproof glass, we make sure that people aren't out at night in terms of money, like that,” Donahoe said. “We're very conscious of that issue."

But Dodge says they need more than the can of pepper spray they're given to protect themselves. "You shouldn't go to work every day and worry you're going to be attacked. You shouldn't come to work and worry about whether you're going to get hurt on the job."

<![CDATA[DNA Links Jesse Matthew to Harrington Case: Report]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:09:31 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Jesse-Matthew-fairfax.jpg

Court documents show that DNA links Jesse Matthew to the case of Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student found dead in early 2010, reports NBC29.

Matthew, 32, is the suspect in the abduction of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, whose remains were found in October. He has not been charged in Harrington's case, but police have said he is linked to both that case and a 2005 attempted murder in the City of Fairfax.

He is facing an abduction charge in Graham's case and three felonies in the Fairfax case. He has pleaded not guilty to the Fairfax charges. Authorities have said that DNA under a fingernail of the Fairfax victim provided a link to Matthew.

According to a search warrant obtained by NBC29, Charlottesville police found a "wooden tip from a cigar butt" inside Matthew's wallet; the document states that the DNA from that tip provides matches to both the Harrington case and the 2005 Fairfax case.

Harrington was wearing a Pantera T-shirt the night she disappeared in fall 2009. The shirt was later recovered; the warrant states that it had "multiple DNA stains" on it, according to NBC29.

NBC29 in Charlottesville reports that in the search warrant, police list the crime as first- and second-degree murder but that doesn't mean Matthew is facing those specific counts.

The warrant also reportedly asked for several years of Matthew's cellphone records.

Virginia State Police had no comment on the search warrant details, reported NBC29's Henry Graff.

<![CDATA[Virginia Native Singing in The Voice Top 8]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:12:14 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141124+Ryan+Sill.jpg

Virginia native Ryan Sill took to the stage again Tuesday, singing to stay in the Top 8 of NBC’s The Voice.

And he's thrilled to be competing in the show's live rounds, as his friends and family watched and cheered from his hometown of Sterling, Virginia.

Sill grew up in a very music-oriented family, but he didn’t always know he wanted to pursue a career in music.

“It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that I realized that I really wanted to make this a career, and that I could inspire a lot of people if I really focused and tried to make a career out of it,” the college student recently told News4.

Sill is taking a year-long break from college to focus on his new career goals. He says his experience with his coach, Gwen Stefani, has been much different than what he had originally expected.

“She’s just my friend, who just also happens to be really experienced in the music industry and has this bank of knowledge that she just instills in me all the time, and so it’s just awesome to work with her,” Sill says.

Not only did Sill use Stefani’s feedback to improve his voice, but he says he’s also helping the singer.

“I kind of absorb all the advice that she’s given me, like a sponge, and I think she brings out that positivity in me, and she says that it affects her life. It inspires her to be positive, and just to learn and grow, just like I’ve grown as an artist from everything she’s taught me,” Sill says.

But he says he wasn’t always the crowd-pleasing performer he says he is now.

“Thinking back to my blind audition, I never would have thought that I’d be able to go out there and own the stage like that, so I attribute all of that to Gwen,” he admits.

Regardless of the outcome of this season’s The Voice, Sill says there is still so much to take away from his experience.

“Right now, I’m trying to live in every moment because, I think, when I look back at all of this, I wanna just remember everything that I learned and just remember that this was the time in my life where I felt most alive,” he says.

<![CDATA[Protests Erupt After Ferguson Grand Jury Decision]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:56:45 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP606310022258.jpg

Violent protests and acts of civil disobedience - from car burnings to marches on highways - broke out in several U.S. cities overnight after a grand jury decided against indicting a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

The grand jury's decision was announced by St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch more than three months after Wilson killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in a sharply disputed encounter in the St. Louis suburb.

Riots, looting, fires and gunshots erupted in Ferguson -- the community first rocked by the Aug. 9 shooting -- shortly after the decision was announced. Protesters hurled bottles at officers near police headquarters, and flames engulfed at least a dozen businesses.  St. Louis County police deployed tactical units and fired tear gas and smoke to break up unruly crowds. 

At least 150 gunshots were fired and a semi-automatic handgun was seized, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a news conference early Tuesday. 

Police released records early Tuesday showing 61 people were arrested in Ferguson on charges that included burglary and trespassing, The Associated Press reported. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said early Tuesday that 21 were arrested in the city.

"I'm disappointed I didn't see more peaceful protests out there," Belmar said. "What I've seen tonight is probably worse than the worst night we had in August."

Across the country, reaction ranged from marches that threatened to shut down busy streets to gatherings near national landmarks. Most remained peaceful, officials said.

In California, a large crowd marched through the streets of Oakland, and protesters shut down Interstate 580. A bank window was broken and several people were arrested, The Associated Press reported.

Crowds in Los Angeles blocked traffic and stopped traffic briefly on the 10 Freeway. The USC campus was placed on lockdown as demonstrators marched by.

In Philadelphia, angry protesters took to the streets after the announcement, chanting "No Justice. No Peace. No Racist Police," and holding both arms in the air. Albeit loud in voice, they remained peaceful in actions as police trailed their march.

A man was arrested after hurling fake blood on NYPD Chief Bill Bratton in New York's Times Square during a demonstration. Hundreds marched from Union Square to Upper Manhattan through traffic-clogged streets, with signs such as "Jail killer cops."

At the Chicago police department's headquarters, several hundred people chanted "This is what democracy looks like," and carried photographs of those they said were killed by officers.

Outside the White House, roughly 300 gathered for a peaceful demonstration, chanting "black lives matter." Some carried signs urging the demilitarization of police.

Officials and lawyers for Brown's family had appealed for calm. At a press conference before the announcement, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley had said, "I want people to think with their heads and not with emotion."

"I do not want people in this community to think they have to barricade their doors and take up arms," he said. "We are not that kind of a community."

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called for protecting lives, property and free speech, but fearful that protests would turn violent -- as sometimes occurred during the tense days after the shooting -- schools closed and shop owners boarded up stores.

The Missouri grand jury considered everything from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter to no charge against Wilson.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[U.Md. Students Protest “Militarization” of Campus Police]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 20:29:03 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008625278_1200x675_363164739674.jpg

Students at the University of Maryland protested the guns with which campus police officers are armed Monday.

They marched on a central administration building to take their message to campus police Chief David Mitchell.

The department has 50 M-16 rifles, which supplies about half of the department.

The weapons are needed because of the nuclear engineering program at the school, Mitchell said.

“Federal law, as dictated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, mandates that whoever safeguards that material must be trained and armed with .223-caliber weapons,” he said.

Students also protested an armored vehicle owned by campus police since 2007. Mitchell said that’s to protect police and students from the line of fire if necessary.

“It’s not used offensively,” he said.

<![CDATA[Difficulty Making Appointments With Psychiatrists]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 20:28:08 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008626536_1200x675_363163715510.jpg The toughest part about mental illness can be recognizing and admitting you have one in the first place, but getting the help you need can be even harder. Doreen Gentzler takes a look at how difficult it is to get an appointment with a psychiatrist. Click here for more help from Mental Health America.]]> <![CDATA[Marion Barry's Summer Jobs Legacy]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 19:40:32 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008625694_1200x675_363130947838.jpg For many people in the district, Marion Barry's D.C. legacy is rooted in his summer jobs program. He employed thousands of school-aged children throughout the years. News4's Zachary Kiesch introduces us to a local radio personality who says that program allowed her to chase her dreams.]]> <![CDATA[Turkey Perparation Myths and Facts]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 19:26:46 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008625732_1200x675_363104323507.jpg Do you know your turkey myths and facts when it comes to cooking the bird? Consumer Reporter Erika Gonzalez has a safety quiz.]]> <![CDATA[What Makes Us Buy]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:29:01 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Generic+Shopping+Bags+Mall+Generic.JPG Consumer Reporter Erika Gonzalez takes a look at what makes people spend more than they plan to when shopping.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Funeral Arrangements Being Made for Marion Barry]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 22:14:04 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20141124+Barry+In+Repose.jpg

Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry will lie in repose next week in the John A. Wilson Building, so members of the public can pay their respects.

Specific details about Barry's funeral have not been announced. But preliminary plans are for his body to lie in repose Tuesday in the ceremonial lobby of the Wilson building, News4's Tom Sherwood reported.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray expressed deep sadness after learning about Barry's passing. Gray has spoken with Cora Masters Barry and shared his condolences and sympathies with her, and as well said his thoughts and prayers were with the council member's son, Christopher.

"Marion was not just a colleague but also was a friend with whom I shared many fond moments about governing the city," Gray said. "He loved the District of Columbia and so many Washingtonians loved him."

Mayor Gray said that he would work with Council member Barry's family and the District Council to plan official ceremonies worthy of a true statesman of the District of Columbia, most likely at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Barry deserves a multi-day sendoff as large as his life, Gray said.

A book of condolences for Barry will be available in the Wilson building lobby Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Barry,  the Ward 8 council member and four-time D.C. mayor, died early Sunday morning at age 78.

Photo Credit: Tom Sherwood / News4
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged in Attempted Rape of Arlington Teen]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 19:32:12 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/David+Cabrera.jpg

A 20-year-old Hyattsville man is being held without bond after he allegedly tried to rape a 16-year-old girl in Arlington Saturday night.

According to Arlington County Police, the victim noticed David Cabrera watching her as she worked in the Buckingham neighborhood of Arlington. When she began her walk home at 11 p.m., the suspect grabbed her from behind in the 4200 block of 2nd Road N.

The suspect dragged the young girl and threw her against a car. The suspect then pulled down his pants and attempted to pull down the girl's, but the victim was able to bite him and run away. 

Her screams were heard by a nearby officer and neighbors. "Her instincts worked," said Daniel Murray, deputy chief of the Arlington Police.

Responding officers located the victim, and after a description of the suspect was sent out, the suspect was located a short distance away.

The victim -- who was not injured -- was able to identify Cabrera as her attacker at the scene, police say.

Cabrera, 20, is being held at the Arlington County Detention Facility on an attempted rape charge.