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Latest from Bill Caiaccio

    Gas prices are on the rise across metro Atlanta, and could shoot up even more this week due to the conflict in Syria. Even though Syria is not an oil-producing country, AAA spokesman Garrett Townsend tells WSB, “Anytime there are issues in that Middle East region you're going to start seeing some type of effect at the pump.' He adds, 'Motorists should expect a 15-cent increase at the pump in the short term.'  Gas prices in Georgia already average about $2.63 per gallon and $2.67 in metro Atlanta. Townsend says, 'That's the highest since July of 2015.'  Prices at the pump have increased 6-cents in the past week, and are 35-cents more expensive than last year at this time.  Georgia now has the most expensive gas since last September, when prices were recovering from Hurricane Irma.  The highest prices in the state are in metro Atlanta, Brunswick and Savannah. The lowest prices are in Augusta and in Walker and Dade County, in northwest Georgia, where prices average $2.54. The predicted increase this week could be even more depending on how the crude oil market responds to the crisis in Syria. Crude prices jumped more than $5 last week, which was the largest weekly increase in over eight months.
  • Two people are heading to prison after stealing firearms from firefighters across metro Atlanta. WSB Radio reported on hundreds of break-ins that occurred from January to June of 2017. Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds has announced two Lawrenceville residents have been sent to state prison after admitting to the vehicle break-ins and thefts. Ayana Dayshina Forest, 22, and Elisha Howard Ross, 26, each entered guilty pleas to two counts of racketeering and 46 counts of entering auto for the crimes that occurred from January to June of 2017.  Cobb Police Det. R. McElwain and Smyrna Police Det. J. Lanzing worked with law enforcement agencies across 17 counties to connect the dots between the entering autos and track down the perpetrators.  The thieves worked at night, mostly targeting personal vehicles belonging to firefighters that were parked at fire stations. The evidence showed that Forest was the driver and would drop Ross off near a fire station, circling back to pick him up a few minutes later.  Ross usually used a tool to quickly break the window of a vehicle in order to search through glove compartments and other areas inside the vehicles. The two communicated by cell phone during the crimes.  The thieves hit 52 fire stations, one ambulance service, and the Smyrna headquarters of Glock Inc., as well as automobiles parked at 11 residences near a fire station in Acworth. The thieves broke into more than 200 vehicles throughout the metro Atlanta area over the course of six months. A total of 59 firearms were stolen out of the vehicles, and most of those were then sold on the street. Two of the stolen firearms were found in the suspects’ possession, and another firearm was recovered at the scene of a shooting in DeKalb County. The thieves also took cash, headphones, laptops, and other valuables from the vehicles. Reynolds says 'I’m very proud of the work done in this case by Detectives from Cobb PD and Smyrna PD. When these firefighters are out working to keep our community safe, the last thing they need to worry about is a thief breaking into their vehicles.' Ross entered a negotiated plea to all charges on January 23, and Cobb Superior Court Judge Kimberly Childs sentenced him on that day to 20 years, with 10 years to serve in prison and the balance on probation, and ordered him to pay $8,920 in restitution.  Forest entered her negotiated plea this week to all of the charges. J udge Childs sentenced her to 15 years, with seven years to serve in custody and the rest on probation. She was also ordered to pay $8,920 in restitution. The following fire stations were hit: Alpharetta Fire Stations 81 and 86 Bartow County Fire Station 13 Cartersville Fire Station 2 Clayton County Fire Stations 14, 8, 9 Cobb County Fire Stations 30, 6, 23, 28,  Coweta County Fire Stations 16, 12, 5, 8 Dawson County Fire Station 1 Douglas County Fire Station 7 Forsyth County Fire Stations 10, 3, 4, 7, 1 Gwinnett County Fire Stations 9, 21, 5, 31, 23, 15, 3 Griffin Fire Stations 2, 1 Henry County Fire Stations 12, 3, 9, 11, 6 Newnan Fire Stations 2, 1 Paulding County Fire Stations 9, 10 Peachtree City Fire Station 82 Rockdale County Fire Stations 6, 7 Roswell Fire Stations 6, 2 Smyrna Fire Stations 1, 5, 3, 4,  Social Circle Fire Department Spalding County Fire Station 1 Walton County Fire Station 2
  • The public should be careful of what they touch. As the opioid drug epidemic grows, Marietta police are warning of a possible hidden danger that could be lurking in public places such as restrooms, hotel rooms, even rental cars. Officer Chuck McPhilamy tells WSB, 'What happens to the average hotel worker that's at any hotel in the city cleaning a room that happened across some residue?'   Anyone who comes in contact with drug residue could be at risk.  McPhilamy says drugs laced with Fentanyl can be absorbed simply by touching it. He says 'That changes the game,' and 'changes our concern level.'  McPhilamy says, 'It can be inhaled through your nose or your mouth, it can be absorbed through your skin or your eyes.' A concern is the average person may have no idea what the drugs look like.  McPhilamy says, 'Fentanyl itself can come in so many different forms it's not like I can tell you just look for one substance.' There have been no reports of this happening in Georgia.  McPhilamy says he doesn't want to cause a panic, but he wants people to be aware. Even if a person is not a drug addict, they may come across people who use or sell these potentially dangerous drugs.  He says, 'I think we're talking about two different cultures intersecting.' If anyone sees something that looks suspicious, police say call 9-1-1, and if one should start feeling ill, get medical attention immediately.    
  • After going 0-for-four in special U.S. House elections, Democrats are left licking their wounds.   The latest in a string of stinging defeats was Republican Karen Handel's win over Jon Ossoff in Georgia's 6th district runoff.   WSB Political analyst Bill Crane says, 'The Republicans taking all four of the seats that were created by appointments to the Trump administration gives them some gloating points.'   Despite spending about $30 million on the 6th district election, Democrats still couldn't take the seat away from Republicans. Crane says, 'For all of those resources, it did not substantially move the needle.'   Ossoff got 48% of the vote in April's special election, and had about the same number in the runoff.   Several factors may have cost Ossoff the race, including the fact he does not live in the 6th district. Crane says, 'In a close election any number of things can be the paper cut that wounds.'   The loss in the 6th district race could be a bad sign for Democrats ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, but Crane says Republicans still must deliver on their promises.   As for the chances we'll see a Handel-Ossoff rematch next year, Crane says don't bet on it. He says Handel will be tough to beat 'unless the Republican Congress can't deliver on any of its agenda.
  • Welcome to the unofficial start of summer. Most metro Atlanta schools are letting out this week, and families are making plans for the long weekend.   Georgia is bracing for a busy Memorial Day weekend on the roads and in the water. AAA is predicting more than 34-million Americans will be traveling.   The Georgia State Patrol, Department of Natural Resources and Governor's Office of Highway Safety will be out in force over the holiday weekend, and they will be ready to write tickets or arrest anyone breaking safety laws. They will especially be looking for people who are too impaired to operate a vehicle or a boat.   Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mark McDonough says, 'The Memorial Day weekend is always a heavily traveled holiday weekend, and historically one of the deadliest on our roadways.'  In 2016, the Georgia Department of Transportation says 12 people died in accidents Memorial Day weekend.  More than half of those people killed in traffic crashes in Georgia last year were not wearing a seat belt.   Many boats will also be on the water for the first time this year this weekend.   The Georgia Department of Natural Resources made 182 boating under the influence arrests in Georgia a year ago, and alcohol was cited as a factor in boating incidents that killed 19 people. Overall, the number of drowning's rose from 39 in 2015 to 44 in 2016.   Col. Eddie Henderson, director of DNR's Law Enforcement Division says, 'All summer, Game Wardens across the state will be enforcing boating laws on Georgia's waterways, just as troopers will be enforcing driving laws on the highways.'   The Summer '17 Safety Tour begins with a stop at Lake Lanier Islands. It will also make stops on Lake Hartwell, Lake Blackshear and West Point Lake.
  • With Georgia's Tom Price leaving Congress to become the nation's Health and Human Services Secretary, it leaves an opening in the state's 6th Congressional District. The non-partisan special election to replace Dr. Price will most likely be held in late spring. Some experts are predicting a crowded field in the race to represent the district stretching from north Dekalb and Fulton counties to east Cobb.  If one candidate doesn't receive more than 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff. State Senator Judson Hill has already announced his candidacy, but WSB Political Analyst Bill Crane is expecting many more to join him. Crane says the seat could stay in the family.  'One of the question marks that still remains out there is Congressman Price's wife (Betty Price), who's a State Representative representing Roswell.' If she decides to run, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handle could be a frontrunner.  Crane says, 'In addition to having held statewide office, she's run for governor and statewide office twice.' Despite the district’s heavy Republican lean, Crane says a surprising number of Democrats have already indicated they're going to run.  Still, Crane says, 'I can't really see it going Democratic, unless the Republican Party has so many candidates they sort of eat each other alive.' And then there's the so-called Trump-effect.  'It'll be interesting to see how many running Republicans for that seat run away from or towards Donald Trump.
  • The University of Georgia releases a statement on President Donald Trump's immigration order that limits nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States. UGA President Jere Morehead, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten and Associate Provost for International Education Noel Fallows have written a letter to all students, faculty and staff on how the policy may impact international travel and visa holders. It says 'As you know, the safety and well-being of the UGA community is our top priority, and it is important that we remain in close communication as new information and direction from the State Department becomes available in the coming days.' All international students, staff and faculty who might be traveling overseas in the near future are advised to consult with the UGA Office of International Education. Morehead says it appears no University of Georgia students or faculty were detained over the weekend because of the executive order.   UGA will continue to assess the impact on its students, staff and faculty, and will provide updated information and assistance.
  • After weeks of going up, gas prices are finally beginning to fall across metro Atlanta. According to GasBuddy's weekly survey, average retail prices in Atlanta are down 3.5 cents per gallon in the past week to $2.22.  During the same time, the national average is down 3.2 cents to $2.30 per gallon. Despite the decline in the past week, prices are still almost 45-cents higher than the same time last year and are about 2-cents more expensive than a month ago.  One year ago, the average price in metro Atlanta was $1.77 per gallon. As for what impact President Donald Trump's administration will have on prices at the pump, GasBuddy's Gregg Laskoski says 'It's too soon to speculate.' One of the first announcements made by the new administration was its 'America's First Energy Plan,' which states producing more energy is in America's national security interest. Trump has said he's committed to achieving energy independence from OPEC countries and any nations hostile to our interests.  At the same time, the president says we will work with our Persian Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our antiterrorism strategy. Laskoski says 'Last week ended with President Trump's inauguration and we saw the benchmark WTI crude close up more than $1 per barrel from the previous day, coincidence?' He says 'Refineries are unloading winter-blend gasoline at fire sale prices.
  • After weeks of going up, gas prices are finally beginning to fall across metro Atlanta. According to GasBuddy's weekly survey, average retail prices in Atlanta are down 3.5 cents per gallon in the past week to $2.22.  During the same time, the national average is down 3.2 cents to $2.30 per gallon. Despite the decline in the past week, prices are still almost 45-cents higher than the same time last year and are about 2-cents more expensive than a month ago.  One year ago, the average price in metro Atlanta was $1.77 per gallon. As for what impact President Donald Trump's administration will have on prices at the pump, GasBuddy's Gregg Laskoski says 'It's too soon to speculate.' One of the first announcements made by the new administration was its 'America's First Energy Plan,' which states producing more energy is in America's national security interest. Trump has said he's committed to achieving energy independence from OPEC countries and any nations hostile to our interests.  At the same time, the president says we will work with our Persian Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our antiterrorism strategy. Laskoski says 'Last week ended with President Trump's inauguration and we saw the benchmark WTI crude close up more than $1 per barrel from the previous day, coincidence?' He says 'Refineries are unloading winter-blend gasoline at fire sale prices.
  • Be prepared to pay more for gas this year. GasBuddy's 2017 Fuel Price Outlook is calling for the national yearly average to rise to $2.49 per gallon.  If that prediction holds, Americans will spend $52 billion more on gas this year compared to 2016. Prices are expected to spike in early spring when suppliers switch to 'summer blend' gasoline.  GasBuddy predicts prices will rise between 35-60 cents from mid-February, reaching a peak in May. Gas prices may hit $3 in several of the nation's largest cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Seattle.  There's a strong possibility other big cities will eclipse the $3 mark as well. GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan says, 'The list of factors being mixed into the yearly forecast has never been larger.'  With so many unknowns, DeHaan adds, 'Forecasting fuel prices remains a challenging balance of science and art.' Other variables that could impact prices at the pump include federal and/or state tax changes, volatility in the Middle East, refinery maintenance or unscheduled outages and weather events.
  • Bill  Caiaccio

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    Bill Caiaccio has been working for WSB since 2014. 

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  • Authorities have declined to press criminal charges against anyone in the 2016 overdose death of musical icon Prince, saying Thursday that investigators were unable to determine where the artist got the fentanyl that killed him. >> Read more trending news >> READ MORE: Charges could be announced in Prince opioid investigation two years after his death | Prince died of fentanyl overdose, autopsy report released | Search warrants unsealed in Prince death investigation | Photos: Prince through the years | MORE
  • Atlanta police are working to identify a woman found dead near Interstate 75/85 and Langford Parkway in southeast Atlanta. Channel 2 Action News there as police tried to figure out how the woman got there. We're talking to investigators as they try to figure out what happened for Channel 2 Action News starting at 4 p.m. A family will receive some tough news today when the medical examiner finally identifies a woman found dead on the side of an interstate at 2am. I'll have the lates at Noon on Ch2 pic.twitter.com/JY3wgM4ZIi — Tyisha Fernandes (@TyishaWSB) April 19, 2018 Atlanta police said officers responded to a report of a person down call just before 2 a.m. Thursday.  When officers got there, they met with two drivers who said they had seen someone having trouble walking in the road and pulled over to help them. They said the woman then collapsed. Police said Grady EMS arrived and said she was dead. TRENDING STORIES: Guilty or Not? Tex McIver jury deliberations continue Man charged with arson in stable fire that killed 24 horses 'Armed and dangerous man' on the loose after killing wife, sheriff says Her injuries were consistent with being struck by a vehicle, Atlanta police Capt. Andrew Senzer said. Police said they believe the woman is between the ages of 25 and 35 years old. Police on scene said they noticed that there are no apartments or homes nearby, so they said they do not know why she was in the road. “You have 75/85 that splits with Langford Parkway and that loops around, it’s a lot of twists and turns over here, very dark, but we don’t know why the pedestrian was on the roadway,” Senzer said. If the woman was hit by a car, police will then start searching for the hit-and-run driver.
  • A father remained hospitalized Thursday, days after he and his young son were run over by a teenager in the parking lot of a popular south Charlotte shopping center. >> Read more trending news According to a police report, the teen stole a 24-pack of Bud Light from the Harris Teeter supermarket in the Blakeney Village shopping center on Rea Road Tuesday evening and ran out of the store. The thief jumped into a waiting car, which sped away and collided with 41-year-old Nathan Green and his 4-year-old son, knocking them both to the ground. Green suffered multiple skull fractures, and the boy had a deep gash on his head. Both were hospitalized at Carolinas Medical Center, where Green continued to recover Thursday. Green and his wife own Southern Olive in Fort Mill, South Carolina, WSOCTV reported. Witnesses said there were several people in the getaway car, but police have not released any descriptions. No arrests have been made.
  • A Massachusetts  woman is outraged after she says an Uber driver raped her and then left the country.  The suspect was arraigned on Friday, posted bail and is believed to have fled the country.  >> Read more trending news  Boston 25 News would not normally identify victims of sexual assault, but Emily Murray insisted that she wanted to be seen and heard. She said she wants everyone to know what happened to her, and how the system failed her. 'It happened. I'm not ashamed, I'm not embarrassed. I understand what happened. I know I did nothing wrong,' said Murray. 'A loss for words. I was angry I'm still angry. I'm confused.' >> Related: Woman accuses employee of poisoning her coffee cream after disciplinary action On April 8, Emily said she was trying to get home when her Uber driver, identified as Frederic Amfo, allegedly locked the doors and raped her in the backseat of his car, just after dropping off another customer. 'Within minutes I was in a situation I couldn't control and I was assaulted,' Murray said. DNA evidence collected from both a rape kit and Amfo's car led to his arrest. At a court appearance Friday, Amfo was given a $10,000 bail and ordered to stay away from Murray. Records also show Amfo was also given 24 hours to surrender his passport, if he made bail. >> Related: 911 operator sentenced to jail, probation for hanging up on emergency calls On Friday afternoon, Amfo, who was in the United States illegally, made bail, but he did not surrender his passport, instead he fled the country back to his native Ghana. 'If I went to Ghana and I committed a crime, I wouldn't expect to be able to hop on a plane and say sorry about that, here's some money. I would expect to answer for it. Accountability. And there has been just zero,'Murray said. 'That detainer should have followed the alien as he transferred from the Quincy Court House. The court chose not to forward the detainer to Norfolk County, allowing for his subsequent release on bail from custody,” according to a U.S. Customs and Enforcement official. >> Related: Cops save suicidal teen, tell her 'nothing is that bad' Tuesday evening, the Massachusetts Trial Court issued a  statement that said in part: “Today, April 17, 2018, the court issued an arrest warrant for the defendant after learning from the prosecution that the defendant has left the country. At the time the defendant posted bail and was released from the House of Correction, the defendant had not surrendered his passport to the court. A review of the circumstances indicates that the court allowed the defendant to be released without first surrendering his passport, providing him 24 hours to do so. As a result of this review, the court has now implemented procedures to ensure that defendants who are ordered by the court to surrender their passports surrender them when they post bail and prior to their release.' >> Related: Investigators: Man intentionally set fire that killed 24 horses It’s unclear what happens next in the case or whether authorities will try to locate Amfo in Ghana.
  • A Texas prosecutor says an imprisoned former nurse who authorities believe could be responsible for the deaths of up to 60 children has confessed in the past to killing children in her care. Bexar (bayr) County prosecutor Jason Goss revealed the confessions Wednesday during a court hearing for 67-year-old Genene Jones. Goss says Jones told a parole board in 1998 that she injected children. He says Jones in another instance told a board member that, 'I really did kill those babies.' Jones has served decades in prison following her murder conviction in 1984. She was scheduled to be released last month, but prosecutors filed additional murder charges, citing new evidence. She has pleaded not guilty to those charges. Her attorney, Cornelius Cox, wasn't immediately available Thursday to comment on Goss' claims.
  • Lots of physical exercise, healthy meals and learning your numbers can help get you ready to protect the nation. In other words, “child’s play” is vital to the nation’s security.