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Courtesy Shauna Green-Smith(BELDING, Mich.) -- A Michigan family is reeling yet again after a bench built to honor their late son was stolen right out of their backyard.

Shauna Green-Smith of Belding, Michigan, is pleading for the return of the bench.

"It was there Tuesday evening, gone Wednesday morning," Smith told ABC News. "Only message I have is that I'd like it back, no questions asked if it just reappears."

The wooden bench has the boy's name - Devon Morrison - inscribed on it. He was 10 years old when he drowned in 2013, Smith said. She is hoping a Facebook post she wrote about the missing bench will be shared with as many people as possible.

"It's just wood to you, but to me it's memories," Smith wrote on Facebook. "Memories of how loved my little boy was."

Belding Police Chief Dale Nelson told ABC News that the department "put out a plea out on social media in hopes of having the bench returned."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- A man dressed in an animal "onesie" costume was shot by police Thursday when he refused to surrender after reportedly making a bomb threat at a Baltimore TV news station, authorities said.

The suspect walked out of the building in what police describe as a "panda outfit" and didn't take orders to remove his hands out of his pockets. The suspect was then shot at least three times by an officer, according to Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, and a robot was later deployed to disarm him when he failed to cooperate with law enforcement.

Following the stand-off with police, investigators found out that what originally appeared to be an explosive device on the suspect was a vest stuffed with chocolate candy bars, nothing wired that could possibly blow up. There was also a small motherboard contraption that was attached to him and a wire running down the sleeve of his jacket that emulated a detonation device, police said.

"It does not appear that this was a device capable of actual explosives," Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith said. "Those devices were actually chocolate candy bars wrapped in aluminum foil with wiring connecting each of them."

The man was transported to a local hospital where he is listed in serious but stable condition. He is expected to survive, Smith said. The suspect, a 25-year-old from Howard County, Maryland, also had a flash drive with him that he wanted the TV station to air, police said.

The station, WBFF, is located on W. 41st Street and its building was evacuated soon after the bomb threat was received.

The Fox building is remains a crime scene and police said they are searching for any other possible explosive devices, but did not have a timeline for when the investigation would be completed. All of the employees at Fox are safe and accounted for at this time, police said, and there are no other injuries.

The initial emergency call came in at 1:20 p.m. from the Fox affiliate and authorities responded to the threat made by an unidentified suspect who claimed to have a bomb. Police said the man was in costume and donned a surgical mask and also had what they described as a red flotation type of apparatus.

A car was also set on fire in front of the news station at the time the man entered the station. Police said the fire was associated with the man claiming to have a bomb.

No charges have been filed against the suspect at this time. Police said they are working with the Maryland state’s attorney's office and federal partners on potential charges.

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iStock/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- A dozen Kansas City police officers were rescued Wednesday afternoon after getting stuck in an elevator, officials said.

The Missouri cops were training at the police academy when an elevator apparently stopped because of their combined weight.

Academy staff had to make an “embarrassing” call to the fire department for a rescue team, officials said.

“They had some good-natured fun,” Kansas City Fire Department spokesman James Garrett said. “It’s always a treat when you’re in the helping business and you get to help fellow brothers out.”

Tim Duplin of the fire department said, “They thought it was funny. It’s a good, fun rivalry that we have. We do charitable events, and softball tournaments together, but this was an unexpected encounter.”

A photo of the rescue quickly trended on social media with more than 7,000 shares on Facebook and 500 retweets on Twitter. The Kansas City Police Department posted the photo to its Facebook page Wednesday, saying, "Well, this is embarrassing."

None of the twelve officers was injured.

“Everyone was physically safe,” the police department said, “but egos were severely injured.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(INDIALANTIC, Fla.) -- A Florida beachgoer is sharing an emotional letter he said he found washed ashore in a bottle.

The letter appears to have been written by a child, and is directed to his best friend, who died, Steve Mershon said.

The letter consists of the following:

"“Dear Daniel, I’m relly [sic] sorry that you pass away," the letter reads, according to Mershon, "and if you were alive Me and you would be playing football, soccer and basketball and be playing with Mattew [sic] and Oscar and Brandon. I am in the fifth grade and you were my best freind [sic] and our favorite song was Austin Moon and I hope you fun with Jesus. From your best freind [sic]: Jonothon Torres.”

Mershon, who lives along the Florida coast in Indialantic, less than two hours southeast of Orlando, is hoping to find the writer.

"Bless his little heart," Mershon, who has not responded to ABC News' requests for comment, wrote on Facebook. "I'd love to find him and let him know Daniel is having fun with Jesus. Perhaps with enough shares, he can get this message."

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Obtained by ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The FBI has arrested three people in California connected to the San Bernardino shootings -- but federal charges against them stem from allegations of a marriage fraud conspiracy and do not suggest any direct link to the December 2015 attack.

Syed Raheel Farook -- brother of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook -- and two others with ties to the shooter were arrested Thursday morning on federal conspiracy, marriage fraud and false statement charges, according to the Justice Department.

“Last year’s tragedy in San Bernardino showed yet again how our nation’s legal immigration system can be subverted and exploited,” Joseph Macias, the head of Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles, said in a statement.

A federal grand jury in the Central District of California Wednesday issued a five-count indictment against Syed Raheel Farook, 31, of Corona, California; Mariya Chernykh, 26, of Ontario, California; and her sister, Tatiana Farook, 31, of Corona, California.

In November 2014, Chernykh married Enrique Marquez, the former neighbor and friend who allegedly gave Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, weapons and other items used in the San Bernardino attack. Marquez has already been charged with terrorism-related offenses and marriage fraud, after he allegedly admitted he was paid to enter into what authorities called a “sham marriage” with Chernykh so she could stay in the United States.

If convicted of the charges against her, Chernykh could face up to 25 years in prison.

Syed Raheel Farook and Tatiana Farook are accused of taking part in the conspiracy after witnessing the wedding between Marquez and Chernykh, taking staged family pictures with the couple, and then furthering the marriage in other ways.

They each face up to five years in prison if convicted.

On Dec. 2, 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 of Farook’s coworkers and injured 22 others at a work holiday party in San Bernardino, California. Farook and Malik later died in a gun battle with authorities.

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Chrome/zerominutesoffame(NEW YORK) -- The "Zero Minutes of Fame" campaign seeks to take the spotlight off mass shooters with a Chrome extension that scrubs the names and faces of the perpetrators from the Internet.

The extension was released by The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

"By simply downloading this plug-in, you can wipe away the killer's name and image from your screen, and replace it with something that truly deserves our attention -- the victims," the browser's download description reads.

The Brady Campaign says 30 percent of mass killings and 22 percent of school shootings are inspired by previous gun-related events.

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Van Zandt County Jail(DALLAS) — Authorities in Texas have caught an inmate who escaped a county detention center with help from his mother and girlfriend.

Jay Scott McEvers, 47, escaped from Van Zandt County Detention Center -- located about 60 miles east of Dallas -- on Wednesday. The Van Zandt County Constable's Office confirmed that McEvers had been captured Thursday morning. No other details were released.

Authorities said McEvers was considered armed and dangerous and may have been driving a red Chevrolet Cobalt.

McEvers was booked at the detention center on April 14 for possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance.

His criminal history includes an armed bank robbery and various drug charges.

Overnight, deputies arrested McEvers' mother, Carolyn McEvers, and girlfriend, Cynthia Heese, in connection to the case.
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iStock/Thinkstock(AMARILLO, Texas) -- A video meant to capture a 6-year-old kid's roller coaster experience went viral after the ride's seat belt malfunctioned, forcing his father to hold him onto him for the remainder of the ride.

Delbert Latham and his son, Kaysen, were visiting the Wonderland Amusement Park in Amarillo, Texas, when they decided to ride the Mousetrap roller coaster for a second time, ABC affiliate KVII in Amarillo reported.

The duo were placed in the same seat as the first time, but when Latham latched on his son's seat belt, it came undone as he tightened the band, he told KVII.

"I just thought I didn't get it clicked in well enough," Latham told KVII. "I re-clicked it and tightened it up. It was fine. There were no problems with it."

On the first drop of the ride, Latham said he felt the seat belt release, and the motion threw Kaysen to the bottom of the cart. Latham then grabbed him and held him for the rest of the ride.

Latham had begun to record Kaysen on the ride for his wife to see, according to KVII. In the video, Kaysen's facial expressions change from carefree to terrified after he falls to the floor.

"I've got you," Latham says to his son in the video. "You're fine. I promise."

Latham didn't realize he was still filming after Kaysen's seat belt came undone.

"I was just trying to make sure that he held on and that he didn't start panicking or start trying to move or anything, because I knew that there was another drop coming up," he told KVII.

After they got off the ride, Latham informed an operator of the mishap, who apologized and said it had been "happening sometimes," KVII reported. People were allowed back onto the ride, but not in the car Latham and his son were sitting in.

"That's when it made me more angry," Latham said, adding that the amusement park should have shut the ride down and not let anyone else on.

In 2014, four people sustained injuries on the same ride, KVII reported, citing a Texas Department of Insurance injury report.

Wonderland Amusement Park said in a statement that the ride was originally built without a seat belt, but they were added in as an extra safety precaution.

"Wonderland Amusement Park has taken great strides over the past 65 years to ensure the safety of our visitors at all times," the park said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — A South Boston woman who spent 16 years on the run with one of Boston’s most notorious gangsters, James “Whitey” Bulger, could be sentenced to another three years in federal prison Thursday for what prosecutors call her “conscious, considered and unapologetic” refusal to testify about their time on the lam.

Catherine Greig, 65, is serving an eight-year sentence for her role in helping Bulger escape and evade capture after he was tipped to a pending federal indictment by his rogue FBI handler in 1995. The couple was captured in June 2011 after the FBI found them hiding in plain sight living as Carol and Charles Gasko in an apartment near the picturesque Santa Monica Pier in California.

Thursday’s sentencing deals with new federal criminal contempt charges stemming from Greig’s refusal to cooperate with a grand jury that continues to investigate who, if anyone, helped Bulger while he hid from authorities.

“The defendant chose to defy the Court’s Order,” Assistant United States Attorney Mary Murrane wrote in a sentencing brief filed by the government where prosecutors asked for an additional 37 months to be added to Greig’s sentence unless she retracts her refusal to testify and tells investigators “what she knows about her 16 years with Bulger.”

Greig’s lawyer Kevin Reddington filed his own sentencing memo that insisted that prosecutors are punishing his client for only one thing: falling for the wrong man and living a “quiet unpretentious life” with him.

“It is obvious that she is a kind, gentle woman who has literally done nothing bad in her life except fall in love with James Bulger and live with him for 16 years until his arrest,” Reddington wrote in the memo, alleging that his client has been repeatedly subjected to what is commonly referred to by defendants as the “diesel tour” – a constant reshuffling of prison cells via diesel bus – as part of what he called the government’s abuse of power.

“She has served more time than any of the organized crime killers involved in this sordid page of law enforcement history.”

In addition, according to the “Defendant’s Sentencing Memorandum” filed with the court, Greig “suggests that the ‘cross reference’ to Bulger’s crimes including murder and RICO violations is a gross due process violation. Greig has pled guilty to a crime of contempt; a non-violent offense.”

The memo also argues that “although the court may consider a virtually unlimited array of facts in determining a fair sentencing, it may not impose a sentence that exceeds the ‘substantively reasonable’ threshold.”

Bulger, 86, is serving a life sentence at a maximum-security prison after a 2013 conviction for 11 murders, racketeering and other federal charges. He claimed that his role as a FBI top echelon informant gave him immunity for those crimes, a defense with which jurors did not agree.

Still, some of his criminal compatriots like John Martorano, who confessed to murdering some 20 people, served 12 years behind bars after he cut a deal with the government.

Meanwhile, federal officials will hold a public auction in June at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to sell Bulger’s belongings seized from the Santa Monica hideout where the couple lived for more than a decade, part of a way to recoup some of the $25.2 million forfeiture judgment that came with Bulger’s conviction.

Profits from the weekend auction, which will include a coffee mug shaped like a rat, along with $822,000 in cash found secreted in the walls of the hideout next to 30 guns, will be divided among the families of 20 people killed by the gangster or his associates and among several people he extorted, according to court filings. The guns will not be sold at the event, slated to be held from June 24 to June 26, according to court records.

Those victims will also divide Bulger’s Social Security payments and any cash seized from safe deposit boxes and bank accounts uncovered in England and Ireland connected to Bulger.
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Courtesy Haley Galbreath(DALLAS) — Texas and Oklahoma were pounded by blinding rain, tornadoes and hail this week.

Severe weather is known to take a toll on one's car. From shattering windows to damaging roofs, hail damage can be costly. And with golf ball-sized hail moving through Texas, people will try just about anything to avoid car trouble.

Jeff Phillips, the owner of Dent Masters in Dallas, said, "The average hail repair claim is between $2500 and $7,000, but it depends on the severity of the damage. Factors in price range include the size of the dents, what type of metal the car has, the location of dents, and accessibility."

Residents of northern Texas have taken precaution to a whole new level. They've created unique household shields in hopes of preventing damage to their cars, from plastic wrap to a trampoline to cardboard boxes to yoga mats. The goal here is to cover the car in layers. Options may include mattress pads, blankets and towels -- the more cushion, the better.

Haley Galbreath used her car mats to protect her windshield, pillows and blankets for the windows, and then topped it off by covering her entire car in plastic wrap. When Galbreath went to remove the plastic wrap, she noted that the car wasn't even gotten wet.

Images posted to Twitter showed the lengths some went to to protect their vehicles:

UNT parking garages at full capacity once again. Students using anything and everything to cover their windshields. pic.twitter.com/Sm3Zjeqlcs

— Blake Holland (@tblakeholland) April 26, 2016

People are prepared for these storms. ???????? #wfaaweather pic.twitter.com/BoIusZ3RnU

— Drew Rhodes (@Drew_Rhodes70) April 27, 2016

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Monkey Business/Thinkstock(FOLEY, Ala.) — A pilot in Alabama made a very lucky escape after his plane crash-landed yesterday -- and the whole incident was caught on camera.

The twin-engine Cessna aircraft went down in front of a towing company in Foley, Alabama, hitting several trees before it went up in flames. That's when the pilot, Russell Smith, "busted out of the airplane," according to Foley Municipal Airport Lineman Corey Kirkwood.

"All hell was breaking loose," Smith said. "It happened so quick I didn't have time to think."

Miraculously, Smith walked away with only minor injuries to his hands. He didn't even go to the hospital.

Kirkwood told ABC News that the plane "took an insane amount of time to take off," he said, adding that the aircraft barely cleared the fence and clipped the tree line past the end of the runway where it went down.

Smith was the sole passenger. A salvage company will retrieve the remnants of the plane when the FAA is finished examining it.

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Clay Thompson/Facebook(SEATTLE) -- Want to be a cheerleader at the University of Washington? Make sure not to wear too much makeup or distracting fingernail polish. And don’t wear a top that covers the midriff.

These were some of the tips given in a graphic made by a member of the University of Washington spirit leadership team. According to the university’s athletics department the graphic was aimed at providing information for interested students preparing for tryouts.

The graphic, which was posted on the University of Washington Cheerleading Facebook page on Monday lists the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for makeup, hair, clothes and even body type.

The cheerleading team is coed, but there was no tryout tips graphic made for male cheerleaders.

The student government, Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW), released a statement on the graphic saying that it, “completely objectifies women and creates barriers that only perpetuates the inaccessibility of opportunities that should be open for every student on this campus.”

The criticism caused the athletics department to take the photo down by Tuesday morning.

“The graphic was removed immediately, after a UW athletic department official saw it and determined that some of the details and descriptions provided were inconsistent with the values of the UW spirit program and department of athletics,” University of Washington athletics spokesperson Carter Henderson said in a statement.

Washington State University Cheer and Louisiana State University Cheerleading Facebook pages have also posted similar tryout tip photos.

The university's cheerleading team has tryouts this Friday and Saturday.

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amana images/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- A Dallas-bound American Airlines aircraft was struck by a bird Wednesday afternoon after taking off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and at the pilot's discretion, the Airbus 321 returned to the airport about 30 minutes after taking off.

In a statement, American Airlines said, "American Airlines 2310, from Seattle-Tacoma (SeaTac) to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), returned to SeaTac due to a bird strike, which struck the nose of the aircraft. The Airbus A321, with 150 passengers and six crew, landed safely and taxied to the gate."

According to LiveATC.net, the pilot told air traffic controllers, "looks like we hit some birds after takeoff, we’re gonna need to go back and have the airplane looked at."

The flight was scheduled to leave at 3:15 p.m., but departed at 3:36, according to FlightAware.com.

American Airlines added, "Our maintenance team is currently evaluating the aircraft. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience, and are working to get them to Texas as soon as possible."

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport also confirmed that the dent in the nose of the plane seen in the above photo was indeed caused by the bird strike.

Bird Strike: AA 2310 from Seattle to DFW had to return to Seattle after bird strike. Plane just landed. pic.twitter.com/NiKUxDsIKp

— WFAA-TV (@wfaachannel8) April 27, 2016

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iStock/Thinkstock(FORT BENNING, Ga.) -- Already a trailblazer, Army Captain Kristen Griest became the Army’s first female infantry officer when, on Monday, the Army approved her request to transfer from the military police unit she had been serving in.

Griest became well-known last year after she became one of the first three women to successfully complete the Army's elite Ranger School course.

“Like any other officer, male or female, that wants to transfer their branch, she took the opportunity and applied for an exception to the Army policy to transfer her branch from Military Police to Infantry,” said Bob Purtiman, a spokesman at Fort Benning, Georgia. Purtiman confirmed to ABC News that Griest's transfer request was approved by the Army on Monday and she became immediately eligible to serve in an Army infantry unit.

After successfully completing Ranger School last year, Griest returned to service at her home base at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The participation of women in the Ranger School course was part of the Army's research into whether women should be integrated into combat units. The other military services also conducted similar programs that were presented to Defense Secretary Ash Carter last fall.

In December, Carter ordered the military services to open up all combat specialties and branches to women, and since then, they have been implementing plans to do so.

Two weeks ago, the Army announced that 22 newly commissioned female officers from the U.S. Military Academy, college ROTC programs and Officer Candidate School had volunteered to serve in combat infantry and armor units. They are expected to join those units in 2017 after successfully completing the necessary training and requirements.

At the time, the Army said it was seeking applications from female officers already on active duty interested in transferring into infantry or Army units. An announcement was expected by the end of June as to how many transfer requests had been accepted.

On Thursday, Griest will graduate from the Maneuver Captains Career Course at Fort Benning. Passing the two-month leadership course is a pre-requisite for holding a command position. But Purtiman said other female officers from other Army branches have graduated from the course in the past.

Griest initially entered the course as a military police officer, but with the Army's approval of her transfer, her completion of the course will make her eligible for a command position in an infantry unit. Captains typically command companies consisting of between 100 and 150 soldiers.

Last August, Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver became the first women to graduate from Ranger School. Two months later, Army Reservist Maj. Lisa Jaster became the third woman to successfully complete the demanding course.

Griest's next assignment is not being disclosed.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- A 13-year-old boy shot by Baltimore police Wednesday was holding "what looked like a firearm," police said.

Two police officers in Baltimore saw the teen with what they thought was a semi-automatic gun, according to the Baltimore Police Department. After the officers identified themselves, the boy allegedly took off running, never dropping the apparent weapon, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Wednesday.

One of the officers then shot the 13-year-old. He sustained non-life-threatening injuries and will survive, Davis said. The police officer and the 13-year-old have not been identified.

The boy's mother told police that he left the house with a BB gun in his hand, Davis said, describing it as a "dead-on ringer" for a semi-automatic pistol.

The police commissioner said that gun arrests are up by 60 percent so far this year in Baltimore and that the police department is "tasked with identifying people who pose a threat" to the community.

"No police officer in Baltimore wants to shoot a 13-year-old," he said.

Davis said it's common for people to arm themselves with "replica handguns" for the purpose of committing crimes.

"He had every opportunity to drop the gun," Davis said of the 13-year-old. "He had every opportunity to stop, put his hands in the air ... and follow the instructions of a police officer."

Davis could not comment on how many shots were fired by the police officer.

The shooting comes a little more than a year after the anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who died a week after he fell into a coma while being transported by a police van in Baltimore.

The investigation is ongoing, Davis said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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