iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEBRASKA CITY, Neb.) -- A manhunt is underway for a notorious bank robber known as the “AK-47 Bandit,” suspected in a slew of brazen heists across the northwest and now in Nebraska.
At a press conference in Chino, Calif., on Monday where the heavily armed suspect’s spree is believed to have begun, police said the bandit is armed, dangerous and at it again.
“We’re going to do whatever we can do, use every resource available to us to hunt this guy down and take him into custody,” Chino Police Chief Miles Pruitt said.
The unidentified bank robber is a suspect in five bank robberies in four states, including an Aug. 22 robbery at the First National Bank Branch in Nebraska City, Neb. In the recent robbery, the suspect ordered employees to empty out the vault, making off with a duffel bag full of cash.
And just like each heist before, he was seen during the Nebraska heist carrying a high-powered assault weapon, complete with a round drum magazine.
Investigators suspect the man may have been a law enforcement officer at some point. He’s been seen wearing a sheriff’s vest during some of his holdups.
“His tactics suggest he may have had military or law enforcement experience,” Pruitt said.
The spree started two years ago at the California Bank and Trust in Chino. The bandit allegedly called 911 to report a bomb threat, apparently to create a diversion before carrying out the 2012 robbery.
During the escape, he opened fire on a police officer, seriously wounding the officer. That officer has since recovered from his injuries.
After the heist in California, the FBI says the man robbed banks in Idaho, Washington and Nebraska. Each time, he’s worn a black ski mask to hide his face, and he’s always been seen carrying the same AK-47.
According to the FBI, the suspect has been seen leaving the scene of robberies in a dark gray Nissan Maxima. He’s described as white, about 5-feet-10 and 180 to 220 pounds.
Authorities have offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- A number of "students" at the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center escaped from their dorm on Monday night, fleeing from the detention center.
According to Rob Johnson, Communications Director for the Tennessee Department of Child Services, 32 of the teens, aged 14 to 17, were able to climb under the anti-climb chain-linked fence at around 11 p.m. At least some of the juveniles have felonies on their records.
Johnson said that the escape occurred during a shift change. "As the staff were trying to get the youth back into the dorms and out of the yard, they realized that some of them had managed to pull up a fence and crawl underneath it," he said Tuesday morning.
Many of the teens had histories that included aggravated burglary or robbery, theft, violent crimes including robbery or assault, among other legal issues.
The Metro Nashville Police and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are searching the surrounding neighborhood for the escaped children.
By 9 a.m. ET, all but 14 of the teens had been captured or had surrendered. Johnson said he was confident that all of the escapees would be found.
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Delta flight from New York to Florida was re-routed Monday, the airline confirmed – the third flight diversion caused by passenger disruption in recent weeks.
Delta Flight 2370 departed New York at about 7 p.m. Monday, en route to West Palm Beach. The flight was diverted to Jacksonville due to the disturbance.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the captain elected to divert to the closest airport,” the airline said in a statement. “Local law enforcement met the flight and removed the passenger.”
The flight continued on to West Palm Beach, arriving after 11 p.m.
Clashes over shrinking legroom contributed to two incidents last week. A Miami to Paris flight landed in Boston on Wednesday after air marshals on the plane restrained a man who fought with a passenger trying to recline in front of him, a law enforcement source told ABC News.
That incident came days after a man on a United Airlines flight used a product called a Knee Defender to keep the seat in front of him from reclining. The woman in front, unable to recline, got into an argument with the man and reportedly threw a cup of water in his face. Both passengers were seated in United’s Economy Plus section, which gives fliers extra legroom for an extra fee.
The argument prompted the Newark, New Jersey-to-Denver flight to be diverted to Chicago, United Airlines confirmed, adding that the unidentified passengers were not allowed back on when the plane continued on to Denver.
iStock/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- A mobile video surveillance company has donated body cameras to the Ferguson Police Department, the Missouri police department that has been roiled by protests after an unarmed teenager was shot and killed by a police officer.
Witnesses claimed the teenager, Michael Brown, was surrendering and putting up his hands when he was shot at least six times. Defenders of the police officer, Darren Wilson, claim the officer suffered a serious facial injury in his confrontation with Brown and that the teenager was moving toward Wilson when he fired.
The Ferguson police department did not have body cameras at the time of the encounter. A state grand jury is hearing evidence in the case and the Justice Department is also looking into the shooting.
Safety Vision, a Texas-based manufacturer of video equipment for law enforcement agencies, has donated five body cameras to the Ferguson police department.
In a statement released on their website, the company said the donation was made "in an effort to protect both law enforcement and the public with the capture of indisputable evidence."
The body cameras have eight hours of recording life and a police radio interface, according to the company's website.
The Ferguson Police Department did not return ABC News' request for comment.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For the first time in 60 years, visitors to Ellis Island will be able to reenter its south-side hospital this October.
A massive complex comprised of 30 buildings, including staff residences and a mortuary, the hospital screened immigrants for infectious diseases before it was shuttered in 1954. But thanks to the diligence of nonprofit group Save Ellis Island in partnership with the National Parks Service, new tours will now be offered to groups of 10 visitors at a time.
Previously, the buildings in the public health complex were considered too dilapidated and dangerous to permit entry. After partial restoration, however, program tours will now make 18 stops around the campus and allow guests to experience another side of American history: Approximately 10% of the 12 million immigrants who made their way through Ellis Island arrived too sick to enter the country, according to the nonprofit group.
A photography exhibit by artist JR is also being installed on select interiors of the complex, and will include life-size portraits of immigrants pasted onto windows and walls to add context to the spaces.
Ticket prices have yet to be announced but will be available for purchase on the Save Ellis Island website beginning Sept. 25. Proceeds from the sales will go toward the further remediation of the complex.
iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- A Washington woman has been charged with running a multi-million dollar prostitution ring from the "bikini barista" stands she owned and operated.
Carmela Panico, of Snohomish County, Wash., was charged with promoting prostitution and money laundering, police told ABC affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle.
Police say they caught baristas at six bikini barista coffee stands owned by Panico across Snohomish County engaged in acts with customers that went beyond merely serving coffee.
According to court records obtained by KOMO-TV, Panico allegedly set a sales goal for the women working each coffee shift that was used as "effectively rent that the girls paid to have the opportunity to perform lewd conduct and acts of prostitution."
The young women made anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 a month, according to the documents. One girl allegedly made $89,000.
The baristas were fined if they did not wear high heels, have a tan, or wear makeup, according to the documents.
Panico's bank records, obtained by police, show that she deposited more than $2 million between 2010 and 2013.
Police say she kept two sets of accounting books. The first book was allegedly intended for the IRS and Washington State Department of Revenue and the second detailed her actual profit.
Detectives also allegedly confiscated $227,863 in cash from Panico's home, according to KOMO-TV.
A police investigation into Panico and her coffee businesses began when the department began to receive complaints about baristas showing their breasts to customers for tips.
Last summer, a sergeant at the Snohomish County Detective's Office was arrested for allegedly giving Panico information on undercover operations to gain evidence against her suspected prostitution ring, in exchange for sex.
The sergeant resigned after he was charged with promoting prostitution and official misconduct.
iStock/Thinkstock(NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- An Iraq war veteran who served 12 1/2 years protecting his country would be considered by most a hero.
But for this war veteran, his hero is a generous 8-year-old girl named Rachel Mennett.
"She's helped us accomplish so much in such a little amount of time," Nick Bailey, 34, of North Charleston, South Carolina, told ABC News. "For an 8-year-old girl to do something like this, to me, that is just heroic."
Bailey was injured by a mortar attack while on duty in Iraq. He sustained spinal injuries and nerve damage and has undergone several surgeries to try to help his physical pain, but those aren’t the only remnants of war that ail him. He also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
One of Bailey's biggest comforts throughout it all, however, has been his faithful friend-- his dog, Abel.
He and his wife, Vanessa, have had the German Shepherd ever since he was a 10-week-old puppy. Abel comforts Bailey when he's awoken from nightmares, lays on his lap while he suffers from migraines and helps steady his balance while he walks with a cane.
But in order to truly help to the level that Bailey requires on a daily basis, Abel needs formal service dog training, which comes with a lofty price tag.
"Our original goal was to go to a trainer in Arizona who is the best of the best, but it's $15,000,” Vanessa explained. "We never thought we'd be able to reach that. But every other organization we went to kept turning us down."
The family set up a GoFundMe page in the beginning of August to try to raise at least $6,000 before taking out a loan to fulfill the rest, but it just wasn't coming close to the amount they needed. That is, however, until little Rachel entered the picture.
"I had never met her until that day at the pet store when her brother called and said, 'Hey, my sister is doing a lemonade stand,'" Bailey recalled.
Rachel's older brother works at a pet store in Summerville, South Carolina, where Bailey would often take Abel. Once her brother got wind that Bailey was actively searching for service training for Abel, but didn't have the funds to afford it, he shared the story with his family.
"He took an interested to it and went home to his family and his little sister, at 8 years old, said, 'I think I'd like to help him. I want to do a lemonade stand,'" said Bailey. "At her age, that's amazing."
And sure enough, that's exactly what she did. Rachel set up shop in the pet store to help raise money for the wounded veteran she'd never met.
"It means a great deal to me," Bailey explained. "For a veteran like myself who sees a lot of dismay in the world today, it gives us hope for the next generation."
The attention the lemonade stand has received has significantly helped Bailey towards his goal, something for which he is eternally grateful.
"This little girl has done so much, more than she'll ever know," he said. "I'm really hoping once Abel is finally fully-trained, that he and I can go visit her at her school to do an assembly to present her with something to thank her. She's just an exceptional child, an exceptional human being, actually."
iStock/Thinkstock(BAYTON, Texas) -- Texas firefighters finished mowing the lawn of a man who suffered a heart attack mid-mow and comforted his wife in an act of kindness that has brought together an entire community.
Firefighters from Bayton, Texas, responded to a 911 call on Tuesday for a man who suffered a heart attack while mowing his lawn, according to a statement released by the City of Bayton on its Facebook page.
After taking the man to a hospital, members of Bayton Fire Department's Station 4, A-Shift returned to the man's home to finish mowing his lawn. They then put the lawnmower away and locked the garage.
They also left behind a note with comforting words for the victim's wife.
"We felt bad that your husband didn't get to finish the yard," the firefighters said.
The firefighters also let the woman know they would be there for her in the future.
"We are very sorry that your husband became ill, we hope he has a speedy recovery," they said. "Let us know if there is anything we can do to help you out."
Members of the Baytown community have rallied around the firefighters for their act of kindness.
"All of our City employees are proud to serve the citizens of Baytown, but this is truly special," the city said in a statement posted on Facebook. "We couldn't be prouder of our guys from Station 4. Our prayers are with the family at this sad time."
The heart attack victim, who has not been identified, died.
iStock/Thinkstock(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) -- A New Mexico shooting range encourages children to practice shooting guns, despite a fatal accident this week involving a 9-year-old girl in Arizona.
Calibers, a shooting range in Albuquerque, New Mexico, lets children as young as 8 pull the trigger, according to ABC affiliate KOAT-TV in Albuquerque.
The children can shoot "Uzis, MAC-11s, AR-15s, and AK-47s," Calibers Training Director Jordan Nighbert told KOAT.
It's common for children to shoot the weapons at the range, he said.
One Calibers customer, John Thompson, even added that he first took his kids shooting when they were only 6.
"To take the curiosity from it," Thompson told KOAT, explaining his motivation. "Whether they like it or not, they respect them."
No one has ever been hurt while a child shot a gun at the Calibers firing range, Nighbert said.
That's in contrast to the case of an Arizona firing range where a 9-year-old accidentally shot and killed her gun instructor last Monday. The girl was shooting an Uzi.
Nighbert doubts that such an accident could happen at his gun range-- he only allows children to shoot weapons with barrels longer than 16 inches, he told KOAT.
"With a short barrel, it's a very short movement for that barrel to cover my body and put me in danger," he said. "With a long barrel, even if you had poor recoil control, the muzzle can't cover my head."
Nighbert also said Calibers considers a customer's shooting skill, physical skill and maturity before allowing children to shoot weapons.
iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- Ray McDonald, defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers, has been booked on domestic violence charges, becoming the first NFL player to be arrested since league commissioner Roger Goodell instituted new penalties last week for domestic violence.
On Thursday Goodell announced sweeping changes to the NFL domestic abuse policy, including a six game suspension for a first time offense and a potential lifetime ban on any subsequent offense.
The NFL is aware of McDonald's arrest and a spokesman tells ABC News the league is looking into it. The San Francisco 49ers says the team is still gathering facts.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New York man who is already in prison for murdering his son is now facing new murder charges in California for the death of his first wife.
Karl Karlsen, 54, who is currently serving 15 years to life at a prison in upstate New York for killing his son Levi Karlsen, was charged today with first-degree murder in the 1991 death of his wife, Christina Karlsen, who is also Levi's mother. She died on Jan. 1, 1991 in a fire at their family home in California. Her death had been initially ruled an accident.
Barbara Yook, the district attorney for Calaveras County, charged Karl Karlsen with one count of murder during the commission of arson. Yook declined to comment on the case.
Unlike his case in New York state, if convicted in this new case in California, Karlsen could face the death penalty. A court date has yet to be announced.
Levi Karlsen, 23, was crushed to death in 2008 when the truck he was working on slipped off a jack and landed on top of him. His death was initially ruled an accident, but prosecutors later claimed Karl Karlsen killed him so he could collect a $700,000 life insurance payout.
During his trial last year, Karlsen admitted he rigged the jack so the truck would fall on Levi, and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in November 2013.
New York authorities started investigating Karlsen after his second wife, Cindy Karlsen, came forward last year and told police of her suspicions of Karlsen's involvement with Levi's death. Authorities in California then opened an investigation into Christina Karlsen's death. That investigation was concluded this week.
Karl Karlsen collected a $200,000 life insurance payout after his first wife died, but hadn't been charged in anything related to her death until now.
Christina and Karl Karlsen's daughter Erin told ABC News' 20/20 in a 2013 exclusive interview that she was always suspicious of her father.
"We knew what he had done to our mother, and I knew what he did to my brother," Erin said at the time.
Erin was 6 years old when she, Levi and their sister Katie escaped from the house fire that killed their mother. According to Erin, their father helped his children get outside safely, and then they stood and watched the house burn.
"I didn't understand that my mother was behind that wall dying," Erin told 20/20 at the time, adding that her father "didn't make an effort to save her. He just stood there."
A week after the fire, Karl Karlsen and his three children left California for upstate New York to be near his family, and he eventually remarried.
As they got older, Erin said she and Levi started to wonder if their father had been responsible for their mother's death. However, when they confronted him about it, Erin said, "his biggest concern was that he wondered what the community would think of his own children accusing him of murdering their mother."
(iStock Editorial) Credit: dbdurden(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Police in Austin, Texas, are investigating an unusual donation to a local Goodwill store: a human skull.
While odd, police do not believe the skull was the result of a crime. Instead, they told ABC News affiliate KVUE-TV that they believe the skull may have been part of someone's private collection.
"We think it was probably something that belonged to the person who donated it, to a relative of the person who donated it and it was part of a collection or an anatomical model," said Austin police detective Derek Israel. "It could have been something that was kept by someone who was a student of anthropology, a student of medicine, dentistry, any of those things."
Police are looking to talk to whoever donated the item last month. Similar skulls are often used in medical settings or medical schools.
The Travis County Medical Examiner's office has determined the skull is from an adult who likely died two years ago, according to KVUE-TV. Other information about the skull, including sex or race, wasn't released.
Although unusual, the donation has not fazed everyone at the Goodwill store.
"We have gotten prosthetic limbs. We have gotten Rolex watches. We have gotten Krugerrands," Traci Berry, who works at the store, told KVUE. "Our donations run the gamut."