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Latest from Veronica Waters

    Let's not turn Cyber Monday into Porch Pirate Tuesday.' That's the advice from Marietta Police spokesman Chuck McPhilamy, as the first weekday shopping day after Black Friday was expected to ring up more than $9 billion in online sales, according to Adobe Analytics.McPhilamy is urging buyers to send incoming packages to places other than their homes, if no one will be available to immediately bring them inside and out of a thief's reach. He also suggests that buyers request delivery verification through signatures.'Our goal is to make sure that you ship safe,' says McPhilamy. 'Ship it to someone that will be able to be there to sign for it.' Having something delivered to a neighbor who works from home could be convenient for some. Other options include having a package sent to your workplace, to the Post Office, or to a shipping store or distribution hub for you to pick up later.Signature deliveries can cost extra money, and other options may give buyers a bit of an extra commute, but McPhilamy says it's worth it to keep your packages out of crooks' hands.'All of these are items that might cost a dollar or two more for the package, because it's slowing down the driver and requiring a little more time.But the value of that is worth its weight in gold.
  • For many of us, Thanksgiving is a time to gather 'round the table with family. A soldier from Atlanta is one of the many military members who has to celebrate far from home and family this year.  'You have a different type of a family here,' says Army Specialist Zachary Taylor.  Taylor, an aircraft powerplant repairer with the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, spends his duty hours rebuilding engines on Apache, Blackhawk, and Chinook helicopters. In the military for 2.5 years now, he's already on his second overseas deployment--and his second Thanksgiving away from home.  >>LISTEN TO VERONICA WATERS’ FULL ON-AIR REPORT BELOW. A Soldier of the 3rd Infantry Division, with its home base at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, Taylor spent a year in Korea from 2018-19. Then, he shipped out again in early October--right after his wedding. He's now in Illesheim, Germany.  'Even though it's hard being away from home, it's something you gotta do for the bigger picture,' Taylor tells WSB.  As proud as Taylor is to serve his nation, this Thanksgiving is different. Not only does he miss the traditional feast and warm fun of his close-knit family, now, he's a newlywed.  'We're learning to love each other from a distance,' he says, talking about the frequent video calls he and his wife, Jessica Kettell, share. Kettell is an ICU nurse at Grady Memorial Hospital.  For Spec. Taylor, missing his family is easily the hardest part of being away from home. He and his fellow soldiers are all going through the same thing, he says, and though they all empathize with one another, it takes time to build personal relationships.  'It's a camaraderie-type of a family,' says Taylor, 'people that come from all different places of the world that you don't really know, but the only thing that you really have in common is your line of work and what you're going through together. You have to build off of that versus knowing someone your entire life.'  The 2010 graduate of Chapel Hill High School in Douglasville says the military helps with that in the way they help soldiers celebrate. The Army plans a huge Thanksgiving feast, with games and fun touches ranging from cake decorating to cornhole contests to charades. It's good, Taylor says, yet nothing compares to being home: being with family; being able to get in your car and drive somewhere; being treated to a really good home-cooked meal and the love shared with it. 'Being in the military, you're connected because you have to be connected. It's a different type of love,' he says.  In 2018, the wide-ranging menu for troops overseas and on the border included more than 60,000 pounds of turkey, some 34 tons of shrimp, more than 81,000 pies and 19,000 cakes, and nearly 8,000 gallons of eggnog. Traditionally, Army commanders serve junior personnel during the Thanksgiving feast by dishing up dinner.  'Seeing your superiors and stuff like that, you're seeing them more on a personal level than professional level,' says Taylor. 'So it's nice to have that type of experience during the holidays of, 'Hey, we all wear the same uniform at the end of the day. Regardless of what your rank is, we're all in this together, and we're all family.''  On the phone in his XO's office, 27-year-old nearly swoons when describing the missed, tasty tradition making him the most homesick over the holiday.  'Ahhh, man. That would have to be my mother's stuffing that she makes. It's always just perfect with the turkey and everything that goes together with it. It's almost as good as Christmas dinner,' he laughs. 'The smell of the cookies. She always goes through baking tons of different types of cookies around this time of year and it's just absolutely wonderful. The smell of it, the aura that you get with it is completely seasonal and probably the thing I miss the most.'  Taylor is thankful for family, who stay connected to him even though he's six hours ahead and almost 4,800 miles away; and friends, who help the new husband keep the romance going in his absence in the home, by delivering flowers to his new wife. He says Kettell has been working long hours in hopes of being able to flying to Germany during the Christmas holiday season, and she's already excited about seeing the vibrant markets. He's looking forward to what he's heard will be a beautiful winter near Illesheim, and hoping for a white Christmas so he can snowboard.  'She's going to be the best Christmas present I could ask for, coming over here,' says Spec. Taylor.
  • An outraged and heartbroken mother has seen video of her son banging on the door, calling for help, and then dying in the Rockdale County, GA jail after being locked up for nine days for misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Atlanta attorney Mawuli Davis says an anonymous whistleblower sent them video of Shali Tilson’s final eight hours alive in a solitary confinement cell, one without a bed, toilet, or running water.  A lawsuit in the 22-year-old’s death contends he died in March 2018 of blood clots in his lungs caused by dehydration.  It names Rockdale County, Sheriff Eric Levett and several deputies and has been amended to include details from the videos.  Tilson had been arrested as he was in the midst of a mental health crisis on March 3, Davis says, for allegedly trying to kick in a stranger’s door on Lakeview Drive. An incident report says Tilson was rambling, yelling profanities, and pacing back and forth.  He wriggled out of handcuffs the first time Rockdale County deputies tried to put him in the patrol car.  He was labeled “disruptive” and the lawsuit says Tilson was placed on “suicide watch” at the jail, which is meant to segregate mentally ill inmates into solitary confinement. Tilson lost more than 20 pounds during his nine days in custody and despite being on suicide watch, no doctor ever saw him, the lawsuit alleges. Tynesha Tilson tells WSB she felt as if she had to watch the video so she would know what her son went through in his final hours.   “He went through torture and agony,” she says, explaining that she wanted the video released so other people could see what her son endured. The video, while without audio, captures Tilson's desperate pleas for help and show him repeatedly pressing a call button that was not operational, trying to climb the door, and banging on the door before collapsing to the floor. Even though Sheriff's Department policy required him to be checked every 15 minutes, he lay motionless on the floor of his cell for more than two hours before jailers discovered him.  “We want the world to know what happened to Shali Tilson,” says attorney Harold Spence, “A young man who died naked, alone, afraid.” The cell remained brightly lit for 24 hours a day, says attorney Davis, who points out trash littering the floor of Tilson’s otherwise barren cell.  “The grate in the middle of the floor was where he was supposed to defecate and urinate,” says Davis.   On the day Tilson died, the lawsuit says, deputies pushed a food tray into Tilson’s cell at 4 p.m. and he pushed the broken buzzer 45 minutes later. He sat against the wall of his cell at 5 p.m. and lost consciousness minutes later. No one checked on Tilson from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. His mother says that was the hardest part to see. “When I watched Shali sit down on the floor and his back up against the door, and his head slump,” Mrs. Tilson says, her voice cracking.  “I watched his head slump and I watched him sit there in that same position for over three hours, I think it was?  “I watched my son take his last breath on video.”  Mrs. Tilson says the sheriff and the jailers should lose their jobs.  “They need to be in prison. They need to pay for this,” she says. The Rockdale County sheriff’s office declined to address the updated allegations specifically, when contacted, but a lawyer representing the county, the sheriff, and others named in the suit replied to an e-mail seeking comment. “In an effort to preserve the integrity of the judicial process and avoid any potential to bias jurors who may be asked to decide the case in the future, it is the policy of our office to avoid commenting on the substance of pending litigation against our clients. My clients have all filed motions to dismiss the federal lawsuit, and those motions remain pending,” attorney Jason Waymire tells WSB in a written statement. As lawyers played video clips for reporters on Wednesday, Mrs. Tilson and one of Shali’s sisters, Diamond, wept.  Shali’s mother excoriated the Rockdale County District Attorney Alisha Johnson, whom she contends has seen the video, too, for not taking action against the jailers.   “They treated my son worse than an animal! And you want to tell me what she saw, nobody’s being held accountable?” she said angrily. During an internal investigation, jail supervisor Sgt. Dan Lang admitted to falsifying the suicide watch logs to show the mandatory 15-minute checks. The next time anyone actually checked on Tilson was around 8:25 p.m., according to the lawsuit.  Davis points out that Lang is the same deputy who had been under investigation for taking guns from the agency’s evidence room and selling them to pawn shops for cash. He was transferred to the jail after that. “You can’t trust him with property, but you’ll put the lives of human beings under his care,” Davis says. “What kind of decision is that?”  The Georgia Bureau of Investigation examined the circumstances surrounding Tilson’s death and turned over its files to a district attorney who has convened a special grand jury to investigate Tilson’s death, Davis said. The lawsuit asks for a jury trial and seeks unspecified damages and attorney’s fees. Davis contends someone should be held criminally responsible for Tilson’s death.   “This was essentially a death chamber. That’s what this amounts to.  A death chamber,” says Davis.
  • America's education gap is not just between white and black—it is between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots,’ and a startling example of it is in Atlanta.  In a district of about 52,000 students, there is a lot to celebrate.  >>LISTEN TO VERONICA WATERS’ FULL ON-AIR REPORT BELOW. Once rocked by a cheating scandal, Atlanta Public Schools have seen graduation rates jump more than 20 points to 80 percent in the past five years.  “The struggle is real. The lift is intense,” says Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen.  Still, Dr. Carstarphen tells The Atlanta Journal Constitution Editorial Board, more work is left to do—and socioeconomics matter.  “The last Census data said that the average white family made $167,087 a year [in median income], compared to the average black family [at $23,803],” Carstarphen says.  That income inequality exacerbates the achievement gap traditionally cataloged between white and non-white students, and it shows in test results. Take literacy, for example--the simple ability to read, write, and engage with language in meaningful communication.  The 2019 Georgia Milestones test assessment of English Language Arts finds students’ proficiency rate under 40%. The stunning gap between black and white students is almost 60 percent. Eighty percent of white students in APS are proficient and above; the number is 25.3 percent for black students—and the district is majority black.  “When you start pulling back poverty; when you pull back race, there’s the gap,' says Carstarphen. 'And we’ve closed the gap over five years. We’ve been chipping away at it, closing it, but that still means it’s sitting at 58.8 percent.”  The statistics showing improving ELA proficiency in APS indicates that Atlanta could be bucking the national trend in that area when it comes to the widening achievement gap. But the gap is staggering.  In fact, white students in APS are beating the nation, while their black classmates are lagging behind. The more affluent the family, the larger the academic achievement gap.  'White kids are 2.9 grade levels ahead of the average in America,' says Carstarphen. 'Our black kids are 1.5 [behind]. But when you take APS black kids and APS white kids and put them side by side, that means the gap in grade levels is [almost] 4.5 grade levels.'  Carstarphen explains that the academic achievement gap is closely tied to inequity—not just in Atlanta, but nationwide.  “It is a sobering statement about the state of affairs for black and brown kids, compared to non-minority kids in America,” Carstarphen says.  Richer parents have more time and money to invest in their children, exposing them to more academically-enriching vocabularies and experiences. Atlanta's is a district where millionaire families live just a few miles from those in poverty, and the superintendent notes the stark differences.  “When you’re in the neighborhoods, walking, and I mean you’re in it, the living conditions for our kids and housing is appalling,” Carstarphen says, adding, “The mobility is like 30-40 percent; people chasing low rents, just trying to make ends meet.  “Food deserts is another piece to it. They don’t have access to transportation.”  Carstarphen points out that three of the poorest schools in Georgia are all in Atlanta: Boyd Elementary, Thomasville Heights, and Fain Elementary.  “It is why we didn’t close Thomasville Heights,” Carstarphen explains. “If I closed it and sent them somewhere else, those families would never see their kids.  “Never have an opportunity to go to PTA meetings and be involved in the school.”  Carstarphen believes the answer lies--in part--in investing in the communities themselves, not in a neighborhood already overflowing with development. She questions why tax abatements are given to developers who sometimes admit that they'll go ahead with a project whether they get the tax break or not, when the project in in question is, say, another fancy hotel in an area that already has five or 10 of them--while other neighborhoods saddled with low wages and few job opportunities sit untapped.  “Over here in south Atlanta, where we know there are no jobs, no investment, very little at best,” Carstarphen says, “We want to try to shift some of the resources to the very families who make up the majority of Atlanta Public Schools; the communities where they live. Get them a grocery store, help them with housing, get some job development down there. Maybe some transportation?”  Community investment creates opportunity, capital, resources, and training in disadvantaged and under-served communities. It is a way to start breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. The superintendent recalls hearing a high-profile company in a development meeting discussing a potential opportunity for 5,000 jobs; she says there are 5,000 parents in Atlanta who would need them. Those worlds will never meet at this rate, she says, because kids and their families need the education and training to step into better-paying jobs.  'You have to be literate enough to at least learn the job,' she states.  That could go a long way for families in Atlanta, which is the most unequal city in America when it comes to income disparity.  Carstarphen says, 'The question that Atlanta has to ask itself, whether you're sitting in a school bus, on the school board, or in one of these board rooms: Do we have the moral courage to do the right thing for black kids, poor kids--and even white kids could be doing better in Atlanta--but for all of our kids? Are we willing to do that?'  For her part, Carstarphen looks forward to staying in Atlanta, if the school board renews her contract which is up in June 2020. The superintendent and the board this year have been working on policy to right years of 'historic inequity' in APS.  'I'm committed. I want to see the job through for a city that I love.
  • Shaye Marie Sauers Kilby has a butterfly tattooed on her hip.  'I had it done after my scoliosis surgery,' she says, 'And my mom was like, 'You want a tattoo after all you've been through? That's weird.'”  'It's a good memory,' smiles Shaye Marie.  She's looking at a photo of herself as a toddler, cropped from a larger picture showing her being held by former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski.  The butterfly on the flyer, which was the model for the one on her hip, is the logo of the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children, founded by Shaye's parents, Sheila and Rick Sauers, in 1983. Their daughter had been diagnosed at Egleston with medullablastoma, a malignant brain tumor on the cerebellum, in 1980 when she was just five months old. The prognosis was grim: Shaye was given just a 2% chance of living another six months. The Sauerses dug into medical books and sought out advice and support, but there wasn't a lot of it at that time--so the BTFC was born. It was a place where parents going through the same thing with their children could find support, information, and advice. The BTFC grew into a source that provided financial assistance for those families in the southeast. Bartkowski spent time as a spokesperson for the foundation. In the meantime, Shaye was surviving. Photos show her blonde-eyed and smiling, whether posing in a studio or beaming from a hospital bed. She doesn't have much memory at all of her cancer fight, seemingly having purposely blocked it out, and is learning a lot of her own story now, as a 39-year-old adult.  'I wanted to find out how it feels to be about to hit the big four-oh, knowing that as a baby, your parents were told, 'This little girl is not going to make it,'' asks WSB's Veronica Waters.  'I would say pretty freaking awesome,' Shaye Marie says.  Shaye says her sense of humor helps define her, and says her father taught her to laugh, even as a baby. As a child, she idolized comedienne and actress Gilda Radner, who fought cancer herself, and rehearsed Radner's routines to amuse herself and emulate Gilda's positivity.  She's a two-time cancer survivor.  'The cancer came back again when I was [9] as bone cancer, from the radiation,' she says. 'The radiation that I was given at the time they don't even give a child today. It was cobalt radiation, which was the highest dose they could ever give a child.' She says she's actually just now learning her history--having blocked most of it out as a child, not wanting to hear her mom talk about it as a teen, not wanting to feel different than the other kids her age, wanting to fit in with everybody else. In the past year, she's started combing through two big binders that document her medical history.  She remembers only snippets which she says are like scenes from a silent movie: “terrifying” spinal taps; a stay in the ICU; nicknaming the staffers who sometimes drew her blood as 'vampires;' the MRIs that she said 'sounded like a bad rock & roll concert,' in which her mom Sheila would sometimes get fussed at for grabbing Shaye's hand and tracing the phrase, 'Love you more' with her fingertip in her daughter's hand, wiggling her in the machine.  That's Shaye Marie's second tattoo, inked inside a bracelet on her left wrist. She loves that one, and says it shows 'pure determination. It shows somebody that can beat the odds of anything. I consider this not part of a bracelet, but like a lifeline.' She doesn't cover that one up any longer, the way she did at her 2015 wedding.  Shaye Marie says she's learning who she is now, and is no longer blocking it out; she's proud of what she came through.  She tells WSB that the idea for the BTFC was broached in the very same room at Emory where she would meet her future husband, Darren Kilby, decades later in a brain injury group meeting.  'Did you know when you met Darren that he was the one, right then?' Veronica asks.  'Pretty much when I asked him out, yes!' Shaye Marie laughs.   She estimates they dated perhaps six months before getting engaged, both all too aware of the importance of seizing the moment. Darren had suffered a brain injury from a head-on collision, but Shaye says they were seeing a lot of people pass on.  'We just knew that time goes by so fast, and we were losing every survivor that was around my time zone, especially...with the Brain Tumor Foundation there were a lot of my friends that were dying. He and I were both like, we need to do something,' says Shaye.  The night they were carting cupcakes in to celebrate the news of their engagement with their support group, Shaye Marie's sense of humor was on full display. She giggles as she recalls saying, 'I don't remember if I told our brain injury group we're engaged or not. Well, it doesn't really matter because we're all brain-injured and none of us are going to remember if we say it again!'  Shaye had several surgeries and hospitalizations, including two bouts of spinal meningitis. One snippet of memory involves her parents saying that one of her shunts had infiltrated her heart. She says a doctor doing an exploratory surgery used a hanger to get it out.  'My mom and dad both remember the doctor coming out with the coat hanger with my shunt on it,' she demonstrates, holding up her arm. 'It was like a fishing rod. He was so excited.'  She had a scoliosis surgery at 15, in which she had two rods implanted in her back.  'I'm a lot of fun to take through the metal detector,' she jokes.  She also deals with the autoimmune disease lupus and has endured some balance and coordination problems as a result of what she calls her harsh, but lifesaving medical treatment as a child. Her adult life includes regular doctor's visits and check-ins for one thing or another. But she doesn't let any of it faze her. In fact, she makes clear that hope is in her blood.  'I actually have the blood type of B positive,' she smiles.  Shaye Marie now volunteers multiple days a week at the hospital which helped save her life, saying it was God's calling that brought her to donate her time at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  'Hope gives you the strength to move on. Hope gives you the ability to go through everyday life. You always hope things will get better. You always hope that if you you're ill, you'll get better. It's a very powerful word, and without it, you'd be lost,' says Shaye Marie.  'Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is a wonderful place to be. They saved my life almost 40 years ago. Parents, I know are scared; I've seen parents that are unbelievably scared when they come through the emergency room when they walk as fast as they can I know that they are wondering what's wrong with their child. I think kids are in the best place they can be. This place is absolutely wonderful. I've had the best number of doctors and people that have helped me along the way. I just think it's a wonderful place to give people hope that there is hope.”
  • The man shot after trying to defuse a road rage incident is alive and hospitalized as the search for his shooter continues. The dust-up took place Monday morning, July 22, near the intersection of Rockbridge Road and South Indian Creek Drive around 8:15. The victim was actually a pedestrian bystander who stepped in to try to calm down the occupants in each of the vehicles. 'One of the vehicles drove off and turned around and came back. A passenger in that vehicle got out and fired several shots at the victim, striking him in the head. That vehicle then fled the scene,' says DeKalb County Police Sgt. Jacques Spencer.
  • Technology helped track a prolific thief in Sandy Springs. Police believe Matthew Robert Brown, 34, may have unknown numbers of identity theft victims nationwide. On July 9, a Ring doorbell camera recorded video of a porch pirate tiptoeing away with someone's package from a neighborhood near Peachtree Dunwoody Road. Another resident's package was stolen from a house a little over a mile away. The thief could be seen getting into a light-colored SUV and driving away.  The neighborhood had installed a Flock Safety tag reader camera, which captured the suspect’s vehicle and tag number.  Sandy Springs Police Sgt. Sam Worsham says police paired that information to have the Flock system send officers an alert if that license plate was captured on another camera. Days later, it was. Officers responded to an alert from a city Flock camera that the SUV was driving near Roswell Road and pulled Brown over on July 15. Brown gave police a phony ID, says Worsham. Officers figured out who he was, though, and found that he had outstanding warrants in Atlanta and in Fulton County for identify theft, fraud, and burglary.  'We did find in the vehicle eight credit cards with different names, 17 piece of mail with different names, drugs in the car,' says Worsham. 'We currently have him booked in Fulton County Jail on 34 warrants.' They had no way of immediately knowing that Brown was the person they'd been hunting in connection with a big ID theft case out of Michigan back in April. Sandy Springs Police were contacted then by an American Express investigator who said a customer's credit card had been stolen and used online to buy a $59,000 piece of artwork that was shipped to an address in the city. 'The person had used a false name to obtain an apartment, and at the time that the officers and detectives started to catch up with him, had already been evicted,' Worsham says.  An eagle-eyed investigator noticed that the name used to buy the SUV that Brown--the suspected package thief--was driving was the same as the name police had been given in the April probe. 'Officer Hunt noticed that the name was the same and put two and two together and said, 'Oh, this guy's kind of running an identity theft ring,'' Worsham says.  A search warrant at Brown's last known residence revealed a treasure trove of potential stolen identities. 'We have boxes and boxes of mail, [and] several possible credit cards in other people's name,' says Worsham. 'We are anticipating more and more victims coming forward and saying that they were also a victim of Mr. Brown's and that they've had their identities stolen and used.' Worsham says investigators would likely have caught up with Brown anyway, but that the camera technology gave them a big break--not only giving them a look at the suspect but at his vehicle--and helped it happen sooner. 'Using the camera system and the license plate readers, it's kind of a force multiplier. It's sort of like electronic surveillance,' says Worsham, who adds that criminals may be less likely to strike if they suspect their actions may be captured on video in many different places. 'It's very helpful to us. It benefits the neighborhoods. It's kind of a good all-around technology. It may actually in the future begin to prevent crime because people know, 'I'm going to get caught.'' 
  • They are calling it an attack upon a sworn law enforcement officer. Now, the reward has jumped to $23,000 to find and prosecute the arsonist who has hit twice in southwest Atlanta.A contingent of dozens of Atlanta public safety personnel gathered Tuesday afternoon on the block where it happened as the reward increase was announced, sending a clear message of the importance of the crimes.The arsonist was brazen, attacking in mid-afternoon both times. Atlanta Police say the first fire was set at a house in the 300 block of Betsy Avenue, on January 15, 2019. The second Betsy Avenue blaze came months later--June 26. The latter was at the home of an Atlanta Police officer who was just moving into the neighborhood. 'We believe she was an actual target,' says Atlanta Police Maj. Michael O'Connor, who calls the crime particularly egregious. The motive for the first one is unknown. No one was injured in either fire.
  • Shaye Marie Sauers Kilby has a butterfly tattooed on her hip. 'I had it done after my scoliosis surgery,' she says, 'And my mom was like, 'You want a tattoo after all you've been through? That's weird.'”  'It's a good memory,' smiles Shaye Marie.
  • A would-be slider targeted a woman at the gas pump in Conyers. She targeted him right back.   It happened at 8:32 Tuesday evening, July 2, at the Abbott Ridge BP off Sigman Road. Rockdale County Sheriff's Deputy Lee Thomas says video shows the suspect creeping toward the woman's Dodge Challenger after he was dropped off by someone in another vehicle. The man is crouched low as he approaches the far side of the white car, with its driver door standing open.   'While she was pumping gas, she didn't realize that he had slid into the vehicle through the passenger door until he was behind the driver's [wheel],' Thomas tells WSB.    As the man revved the engine, the car's owner reacted quickly.  'When she noticed that he was in there, she actually took the gas hose and doused him with gasoline,' says Thomas. The suspect darted out of the vehicle and ran back toward his buddy's car, a silver Chrysler 300. The sheriff's office says it is a first-generation model, from the model years 2005-2010. They believe at least two other people were inside. Thomas says this is the first time he's heard of someone fighting off a slider this way. 'I think it was very good. She obviously had good situational awareness of her surroundings to react that way,' he says.  Still, Deputy Thomas advises that everyone take steps to prevent themselves from becoming burglary victims--even close calls such as this one.  'We have a 'Lock It or Lose It' campaign that we've had going on for some while now. What we're trying to get the citizens to try and do is to make sure that they're aware of their surroundings. Lock the vehicle, and by no means should they ever leave it running,' Thomas says. The suspect's description is somewhat vague, as he appears to be a slim black male standing 5'10' to 6'0' tall. But Thomas says one thing would tip off people who might have come across him after the crime: 'Probably smelled of gasoline, definitely.
  • Veronica  Waters

    Veronica Waters is an anchor and reporter for News/Talk WSB. She is also the staff expert on legal affairs and the courts. In 2007, the Radio-Television News Directors Association named Waters' series on "Snaring Internet Predators" best in the region with an Edward R. Murrow award for Investigative Reporting.She has been honored by several professional organizations for news and sports feature reporting, and was named in 2003 as the Atlanta Press Club's Radio Journalist of the Year. Waters has covered an assortment of high-profile cases from Mayor Bill Campbell's corruption trial to the murder trials of activist-turned imam Jamil Al-Amin and of former DeKalb County, GA Sheriff Sidney Dorsey.She served as the station's correspondent for the murder trial of accused "Black Widow" Lynn Turner, and the death penalty case of double murderer Stacey Humphreys. One of the biggest legal cases in Atlanta history involved the notorious Gold Club racketeering trial. Waters covered this unfolding drama not only for WSB Radio and radio stations throughout America, but also for a worldwide audience on BBC Radio. Waters joined WSB in 1997 as an anchor and reporter. She began her journalism career at the Southern Urban Network and Mississippi Network in Jackson, MS. Waters attended Alcorn State University and Mississippi State University, and enjoys cheering for the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

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News

  • Ruiz Food Products is recalling certain El Monterey breakfast burritos for plastic contamination, officials said. >> Read more trending news  The company recalled 55,013 pounds of 12-count, value pack “El Monterey signature burritos with egg sausage and cheese with a best buy date of 1/15/2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. Three consumers complained after noticing hard, white plastic in a burrito. There are no reports of injuries. Consumers should return or throw away the burritos if they have them.
  • The House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump Tuesday morning -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. >> Read more trending news  The process of marking up, debating, amending and rewriting the articles of impeachment, is expected to begin begin Wednesday by the Judiciary Committee. The charges, if approved, would then be sent to the Senate, where the Republican majority would be unlikely to convict Trump. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
  • Crews spent Tuesday trying to rescue a manatee with a bicycle tire wrapped around its body at a Florida state park, WFTV reported. >> Read more trending news   Rescue efforts at Blue Spring State Park. were unsuccessful, but SeaWorld Orlando officials said they will continue to try to rescue the animal. If it is captured, the manatee would be taken to SeaWorld for treatment. The rescue team comprises the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, SeaWorld, the Save the Manatee Club and the Volusia County government.
  • All Saudi military trainees have been grounded indefinitely from flight training at air bases across the country after a deadly shooting by a member of the Saudi Royal Air Force at Naval Air Station Pensacola. There are 852 Saudi students across the country. More than 300 Saudi military trainees are stationed at three bases in Florida. >> Read more trending news  The restriction includes 140 students at the naval base in Pensacola; 35 at nearby Whiting Field; and another 128 students at Naval Air Station Mayport, The Associated Press reported. Classroom training will continue this week. Flight training for other students will also resume while military leaders examine the vetting process, The New York Times reported. An estimated 5,100 international students training at U.S. military installations will also be part of the review. The order is in an effort to ensure student safety as they recover from the trauma of the shooting. The Saudi shooter killed three members of the U.S. military and injured eight others before he was fatally shot. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Depending on one’s perspective, pigeons wearing tiny cowboy hats is either an amusing sight or a terrible example of animal abuse. What’s undeniable is that two pigeons were spotted in a Las Vegas parking lot, wearing the miniature head gear. >> Read more trending news  Bobby Lee was heading to the grocery store Thursday when he saw the birds pecking the ground in a parking lot near a dumpster, The New York Times reported. Pigeons are not unusual in Las Vegas, but Lee pulled out his cellphone and began recording video when he noticed two birds with tiny hats -- one red, and one gray, KNVT reported. Lee posted the video to Facebook, the television station reported. The video has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter, the television station reported. “The birds have hats on, bro!” Lee, 26, can be heard during the 12-second video he originally posted on Facebook. “It got a lot of attention fast,” Lee told the Times. “The day after, I had a lot of news people texting me and people trying to buy my video.” Who would put hats on wild birds? Lee said he did not know, but he did say the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo was in town. But the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which organizes the event, “had nothing to do with the pigeons wearing cowboy hats,” Scott Kaniewski, the editor of ProRodeo Sports News, told the Times. Animal welfare agencies contacted Lee, including Lofty Hopes, a bird rescue organization. The group asked him to be vigilant and report if any more birds had hats, the Times reported. Charles Walcott, a Cornell University ornithologist who has been studying pigeons for 30 years, viewed the video Tuesday and said the pigeons seemed to be OK despite the headwear, the Times reported. “I enjoyed the video,' Walcott told the newspaper. 'I just thought those pigeons with hats were cute. 'I think the thing that I would emphasize is I can’t see that it is causing any great harm to the pigeons. The hats are “certainly light enough. They look like happy pigeons to me. It is hard to know, of course, because they will not talk to us.”
  • Workers at a Bed, Bath & Beyond store in North Carolina were surprised to find a 14-year-old runaway inside, police said. >> Read more trending news  According to Greenville police, the 14-year-old boy ran away from home and hid in the store overnight, WITN reported. When employees arrived to open the store about 8:30 a.m., they saw someone inside and called the police, Kristen Hunter, spokeswoman for the Greenville Police Department, told the News & Observer of Raleigh. Officers responded to the store for a “breaking and entering in progress” and found the teen, the newspaper reported. The teen, whose name was not released, was returned home safely, WRAL reported.