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iStock/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Indianapolis police are searching for a burglar suspected of stealing items from inside a home and using a Bird electric scooter to leave the scene of the crime.

Michael Leppert said he was getting ready at home on Tuesday morning when he heard what sounded like footsteps coming from the first floor. He yelled to check who was there, but when he didn't get a response, he assumed it was either his wife or dog, he said. When he went downstairs, however, he found that his wallet, laptop and backpack were missing.

There were no signs of forced entry, Leppert told ABC News, adding that the burglar must have entered through the back door, which was unlocked.

While he waited for officers to arrive, Leppert said he spoke to his neighbor, who saw a man riding an electric scooter outside of his home at the time of the burglary.

Bird, an electric scooter rental company that requires users to download an app on their phone and link their credit card, sent the following statement to ABC News:

“We do not condone criminal behavior regardless of the mode of transportation that is used to commit the crime. When any type of irresponsible or criminal behavior is associated with someone on a Bird, we encourage people to report this behavior to us to investigate. Bird investigates each report and takes appropriate next steps, which can include removing individuals from the platform. We are currently investigating the situation, and fully cooperating with local authorities during this process.”

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moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The woman who allegedly stabbed five people, including three babies, in a birthing center has been charged with attempted murder, the NYPD said Saturday.

Yu Fen Wang, 52, was hit with five counts of attempted murder for allegedly stabbing five people in what authorities described as a birthing center, which didn't appear to be licensed with New York City or the state, officials said.

Wang, who had what appeared to be self-inflicted slash wounds on her left wrist, remained hospitalized Saturday, according to the NYPD.

Wang allegedly went into the facility in the Flushing neighborhood of the city's borough of Queens about 4 a.m. Friday and stabbed five people, including the infants, who ranged in age from 3 days to 1-month-old, police said.

The victims were expected to survive, police said.

Investigators recovered two knives at the scene.

A motive has not been determined and the investigation was still active, the NYPD said Saturday.

Local and state officials said a probe into the facility, which may have provided maternity care or hospitality services for the largely Chinese immigrant community, had begun. The investigation was looking into the legality of the center, too, officials said.

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Kaufman County Jail(DALLAS) -- Investigators are looking to trace the movements of a Dallas police officer leading up to the night she shot and killed an unarmed man in his own apartment after, according to the officer, mistaking it for hers.

The Dallas County District Attorney's Office has requested records from Ring Alarm security system and are seeking to obtain search warrants for footage from doorbell security cameras at townhouses near the apartment complex where the Sept. 6 shooting took place in downtown Dallas, according to ABC News affiliate WFAA.

Investigators specifically want footage recorded on that day, from 8 a.m. local time to midnight, in an effort to track Amber Guyger's movements, WFAA reported.

A spokesperson for the district attorney's office told ABC News on Saturday that she cannot confirm the information because the investigation into the shooting is active and ongoing.

Guyger, 30, was still wearing her police uniform when she arrived home at the South Side Flats on the night of Sept. 6 after working a full shift. She told police she opened the ajar door of the unit she believed was hers and saw a "large silhouette," which she thought was that of a burglar, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The off-duty patrol officer, who is white, fired her weapon, striking 26-year-old Botham Jean, who is black. The officer called 911 for help, and the responding officers administered aid to Jean at the scene. He was then taken to a local hospital where he later died, police said.

A funeral service to commemorate Jean was held last week at the Greenville Avenue Church of Christ in the Dallas suburb of Richardson. Loved ones recalled Jean as a strong Christian, a beloved friend, dependable work colleague and a gifted singer who had aspirations of becoming a politician in his native country of Saint Lucia.

Jean will be buried in Saint Lucia.

Guyger, a four-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, was arrested three days after the shooting on a manslaughter charge. She was released from jail upon posting $300,000 bond.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said a grand jury will decide the ultimate charge against Guyger and that she has not ruled out pursuing a murder indictment.

Guyger remains on administrative leave amid the ongoing investigation. But attorneys representing Jean's family are calling for the officer to be fired immediately.

"She should not still be on the payroll," family attorney Lee Merritt said at a press conference Sept. 14. "There's no place for her ... This is non-negotiable."

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Steven Ferdman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The last time we heard Ambra Gutierrez’s voice was on a recording she made at the behest of the New York City Police Department during an encounter with Harvey Weinstein.

She had already gone to police alleging that the movie mogul had sexually assaulted her during a meeting.

“You sit there and have a drink,” Weinstein appeared to say on a recording obtained by The New Yorker.

“I don’t want to,” Gutierrez can be heard replying.

“You touched my breast,” she's heard telling him.

“Oh, come on, I’m used to that,” Weinstein allegedly said.

That was 2015. Police presented the case to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which ultimately declined to prosecute.

"Our best lawyers looked at the case,” Mr. Vance said, speaking to reporters after an event at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. “I, like they, was very disturbed by the contents of the tape. It’s obviously sickening. But at the end of the day we operate in a courtroom of law, not the court of public opinion, and our sex crime prosecutors made a determination that this was not going to be a provable case.”

She spent the last three years in a self-described “exile” but emerged as the #MeToo movement that she helped fuel marks its anniversary.

“The #MeToo movement is for changing the future,” Gutierrez told ABC News in an interview. “Telling your story is huge. I admire women who had the strength to do it. But, if you can, you should also go to the police, file a lawsuit, or do anything to help prevent it from happening again to you or someone else.”

After her criminal case was rejected, Gutierrez says she retreated to the Philippines to be with family while she battled depression, shame and international smear campaigns.

Now 25, the Filipina-Italian model has returned to New York to work on a new Univision podcast, “In Our Words,” which focuses on overcoming adversity.

“My name is Ambra Gutierrez and I was sexually assaulted ... No one believed me ... I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was forced into exile and it forever changed my life. But now, I’m back and stronger than ever,” she introduces herself in the first episode.

“I’m trying to give voice to other people, to provide a safe platform. Some of my guests came and spoke about how they were sexually assaulted,” she told ABC News, emphasizing that she also has guests on to talk about the positive changes they made.

She cited her interview with American model Sara Ziff, who founded Model Alliance, to promote fair treatment, equal opportunity and more sustainable practices in the fashion industry.

Gutierrez’s alleged sexual assault became public almost a year ago when Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker article featured the stories of multiple women accusing then film mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment.

Farrow's reporting in the magazine was also supported with the 2015recording obtained from a New York Police Department sting operation involving Weinstein and Gutierrez. It revealed Weinstein admitting to groping the then-22-year-old model, describing it as behavior he is “used to.”

 Lurid articles about Gutierrez soon appeared in the tabloids, depicting her as a blackmailer and an opportunist.

After the D.A.’s office decided not to press charges, Gutierrez "signed a highly restrictive nondisclosure agreement" with Weinstein, including "an affidavit stating that the acts Weinstein admits to in the recording never happened," in exchange for a payment, according to the New Yorker.

Gutierrez, haunted by the tabloid smear campaign, left the country for three years.

“I lived in the Philippines and in Italy and decided to come back to New York, my favorite city in the world,” she said.

Empowered by Gutierrez as well as even more high-profile accusers, including Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow, women began to speak out publicly about the abuse they say they have personally endured, leading to the attention now being paid to the #MeToo movement.

Gutierrez emphasized it is not only the stories of the accusers but also the accused.

“I interviewed a male journalist accused of sexual misconduct. He lost his job and his career. His story ... has to be heard.

“I am on the side of justice,” she said.

Though Weinstein now faces criminal charges stemming from allegations by several women, he has pleaded not guilty.

Beyond her initial involvement with the Weinstein allegations, Gutierrez is pursuing justice in another matter.

Gutierrez was the finalist for the title of Miss Italy and her agent brought her to one of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s infamous "bunga bunga" sex parties. She said she refused to stay and, despite being threatened, escaped and took her friend, another young Italian model, Chiara Danese, with her.

Gutierrez later testified against Berlusconi in court, but he was ultimately acquitted. Berlusconi was sent to trial on charges that he paid to have sex with a Moroccan dancer Karima El Mahroug, who allegedly participated in “bunga-bunga” parties when she was underage and was paid for sex.

He was convicted in 2013, but won an appeal the next year.

El Mahroug admitted in court to receiving payments from Berlusconi, but both denied having sex. Berlusconi has also maintained that the get-togethers were not sex parties, but elegant parties.

Even the actor George Clooney was dragged into the trial but he denied having attended any of the alleged sex parties. Unlike Clooney, Gutierrez was vilified by the Italian press and called a liar and an escort.

She says her work there helped her battle her depression and her suicidal thoughts.

“In the Philippines, what kept me alive was helping charities that helped children, like Humanility. Seeing them have so little and create so much was inspiring,” she said.

As a survivor, Gutierrez believes her podcast will inspire men and women to share their stories and bring about societal change.

“We should not be scared to share,” Gutierrez said.

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WFTV(MELBOURNE, Fla.) -- The airport worker who hauled a suspected thief off an empty American Airlines plane at 2 a.m. Thursday in Melbourne, Florida, said he knew right away something wasn't right about the 22-year-old.

"I knew right away -- I mean we're trained," airport maintenance worker Shayne Graves told Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV. "No badge. Looked down, no shoe on that foot. This isn't right. Nothing's right about this kid."

Nishal Kiran Sankat, 22, was charged Friday with three counts related to the alleged attempted theft of the plane: one count of unarmed burglary of an occupied conveyance, one count of trespassing in an occupied structure or conveyance, and one count of grand theft worth $100,000 or more. The burglary and theft charges are both felonies.

FBI Special Agent David Joseph Hacker testified in court Friday, saying that Sankat was set on harming himself while having no regard for the possibility of harming others as well.

"In his attempt to harm himself Mr. Sankat advised that he intended to take the aircraft in the process of harming himself," Hacker said.

Agent Christopher Castiello with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, who also testified, said that Graves, who was working on the aircraft when Sankat came on board, told him that he took Sankat to a hanger nearby on a golf cart after noticing he did not have the proper ID to be on the aircraft. Once Graves got to the hanger with Sankat, Sankat tried to run away before Graves tackled him.

"The only thing he said when he came on the plane was that he had his pilot license," Graves said.

Graves told WFTV that his mind immediately flashed to the terror attacks on Sept. 11.

"I said, 'This isn't going to happen again,'" Graves said. "He was looking around, and I said, 'You’re coming with me. You're coming off this airplane.' I put him on the ground at the entrance door, got him on that golf cart, and we went into the hangar."

Graves works the night shift at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and is an airplane and power plant technician. He started working at the airport just five months ago, though he's been a mechanic for 25 years.

Authorities said Sankat left his car running outside the airport and he climbed the fence surrounding the facility before boarding the empty Airbus A321.

The Florida Institute of Technology released a statement confirming that Sankat was a part-time student at their school and was studying aviation management. He also has a student pilot's license.

Sankat received a stipend from his parents to go to school and has access to his parent’s bank account.

He maintains dual citizenship with Canada and Trinidad and Tobago.

Sankat is being held without bond and is due back in court on Oct. 18.

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KGO(BERKELEY, Calif.) -- An alleged serial rapist suspected in at least 10 attacks in Northern California -- some dating back almost three decades -- was arrested on Thursday after genetic genealogy led authorities to the home of a University of California, Berkeley employee.

Roy Charles Waller, 58, was charged with 12 counts of forcible sexual assault and is being held without bail.

Authorities across six counties have searched for a suspect, dubbed the "NorCal Rapist," for decades. Waller is alleged to have started his string of violent crimes in Rohnert Park, California, in June 1991. But it was a case in October 2006, the most recent tied to the suspect, which allowed police to catch the suspect.

"Waller was linked by DNA as a positive match for the DNA profile of the Nor-Cal Rapist and linked directly to a sexual assault that occurred in October 2006 in the city of Sacramento," the Sacramento Police Department said in a statement about the arrest.

Authorities had recovered DNA from many of the crime scenes, but were unable to make a match.

"For 27 years, there has been one common thread -- his DNA," Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.

That changed in 2018 as authorities used his DNA and the website GEDMatch, a genetic database and genealogy site, to make a positive match.

Nicole Earnest-Payte was Waller's first alleged victim. A man broke into her home in Rohnert Park when she was 21 years old.

"I don't cry a lot about this. I've been waiting for this for a long time," a teary-eyed Earnest-Payte told San Francisco ABC station KGO on Friday. "It's interesting, when I saw his face, I felt nothing, numb."

Earnest-Payte says no one believed her when she reported to police the rape.

"I woke up to a masked man with arms around me and a gun to my head," she said. "Bottom line, they didn't believe me."

Now, officials know that was his M.O.

"This suspect is a real-life boogieman," said Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig. "He snuck into the victim's homes, under the cover of darkness ... and attacked them."

Reisig was one of several district attorneys who spoke Friday at a press conference. The attacks occurred in six counties in Northern California.

In Contra Costa County, a John Doe complaint was filed in order to keep the statute of limitations from running out on an Oct. 31, 1996 attack.

"Today we can bring some closure to the victim in Contra Costa County, who was attacked in Martinez on Halloween in 1996," Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said at a press conference Friday. "The latest development with this case underscores how law enforcement will never give up on a case. We will always pursue justice for our victims. Ten years after the attack in Contra Costa County our office filed a John Doe complaint with the specific DNA profile of this same individual. With the complaint, there was a John Doe warrant for $500,000. We filed the complaint to preserve the statute of limitations for some of the counts in this case."

The investigation into Waller's alleged crimes continues. Officials believe it is possible the suspect committed more crimes.

"Although some of these cases are close to 28 years old, this is still a very active investigation involving many different agencies," Sacramento police said. "Detectives and Forensic Investigators have worked diligently throughout this investigation to process evidence, conduct extensive follow-up, and gather new information regarding these crimes."

The technology used to link Waller to attacks on 10 women in the Bay Area was the same used to arrest alleged "Golden State Killer" Joseph DeAngelo in April. DeAngelo, 72, is facing 13 counts of murder in both Northern and Southern California with cases dating back to the 1970s.

"I think we have to assume that without this tool, it's possible that these men could have died and no one ever would have known they were the involved in these crimes," Dr. Ruth Ballard, a professor of Biological Sciences at California State University, Sacramento, told Sacramento ABC affiliate KXTV.

Waller is married and has worked at UC Berkeley for 25 years, according to KGO.

He is due back in court for arraignment on Monday.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A cold front brought severe storms from Ohio to upstate New York on Friday as the Northeast and Midwest brace for cooler temperatures on the first day of fall.

Over 50 reports of severe weather were received on Friday, including near Cleveland and Buffalo, New York. Just north of the border, the same system caused a tornado near Ottawa, Ontario, that injured over two dozen people, according to the Toronto Star.

Strong storms brought torrential rain to northern Texas early Saturday, with significant flash flooding reported in the Dallas metro area. Radar estimates showed 3 to 5 inches of rain have fallen locally in the region.

The threat of flash flooding continues Saturday morning in parts of the Southern Plains. Storms could have rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour. They will slowly drift to the east, spreading into the Mississippi River Valley by Saturday night and into Sunday.

Several rounds of strong storms with torrential rain will bring more flash flooding from Texas to Kentucky. Locally, 2 to 4 inches of rain are expected through Monday for this region.

Sign of the times

The arctic is beginning to get colder again as the Northern Hemisphere loses direct sunlight hours in the transition from summer to winter. The first widespread and noteworthy signs of a change of seasons are beginning to appear across much of the northern half of the country.

Fall will officially arrive at 9:54 p.m. on Saturday.

A shot of cooler air is moving into the Northern Plains and Midwest on Saturday. Low temperatures Saturday morning from North Dakota to northern Illinois will be in the 40s. The cooler air will expand and slide eastward on Sunday with 40-degree temperatures likely across much of interior New England.

For many from the Midwest to the Northeast, Sunday morning will be the first time in months they will need to break out a light jacket.

Temperatures will rebound in the early part of next week; however, the longer-term forecast trends indicate that a prolonged period of below-average temperatures is on the way to the central U.S.

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iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- California authorities are investigating the possibility of at least a dozen more victims who may have been sexually assaulted by an orthopedic surgeon already being accused of drugging and raping two women.

Investigators have received more than 50 calls since they announced the arrest of Dr. Grant William Robicheaux, 38, and his purported girlfriend, Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in a press conference Friday.

The crimes may have taken place over the last two decades — some outside the state of California, Rackauckas said.

Robicheaux met potential victims in person at bars and restaurants but may have also targeted them through dating apps, Rackauckas said, cautioning dating app users to be careful when meeting people online.

"Ladies, please be careful when you meet people on these kinds of apps," he said. "You don't know what's behind that — what appears to be a perfect smile."

Some of the women who have come forward indicated to prosecutors that they felt the need to support the the two women Robicheaux is accused of raping, Rackauckas said.

Rackauckas thanked the people who "reported what happened to them," saying it "must be difficult" to relive the events, as well as the media for circulating the story.

He also asked other potential victims to come forward, promising that their identities will be safeguarded.

"They didn’t ask to have this happen to them," the district attorney said.

The couple was arrested on Sept. 12 at Robicheaux's home and each face multiple felony charges in California, including rape by use of drugs, oral sex using a controlled substance, assault with intent to commit a sexual offense and possession of controlled substances.

Women were at risk up until the arrest, Rackauckas said.

Robicheaux was also charged with possession of an assault weapon and faces a sentencing enhancement related to that weapon possession. Riley will face a sentencing enhancement for being knowingly vicariously armed with a firearm.

While the couple could face additional charges, it is unclear whether they will be re-arrested, Rackauckas said. They are currently free on a $100,000 bond each.

Their attorneys released a statement Tuesday, "unequivocally" denying all allegations of non-consensual sex.

"They have been aware of these accusations for a number of months, and each of them will formally deny the truth of these allegations at their first opportunity in court. Dr. Robicheaux and Ms. Riley believe that such allegations do a disservice to, and dangerously undermine, the true victims of sexual assault, and they are eager to have the proper spotlight shed on this case in a public trial," the statement read. "It must be noted that none of the allegations in this matter relate to or concern Dr. Robicheaux’s medical practice or patients in any way. They both thank their families and friends for their continued support."

On Friday, Robicheaux and Riley's attorneys held a press conference, saying the police had been investigating the case for some time, and if they felt the public needed protection, they would have taken action.

Defense attorney Phillip Cohen said the couple's home was searched in January, with a number of items taken, and there had been no allegations or info regarding victims of rape.

The couple has not fled or gone into hiding since then, Cohen said, adding that Robicheaux even left the country twice and returned voluntarily during that time.

The couple used their "good looks and charm" to disarm the victims, and traveled to festivals like Burning Man in Nevada and events in Palm Springs, California, Rackauckas said.

Robicheaux appeared on the Bravo series "Online Dating Rituals of the American Male" in the past.

Investigators are currently combing through "thousands" of videos on Robicheaux's phone that allegedly show women who "appear to be highly intoxicated, beyond the ability to consent or resists," Rackauckas told reporters earlier this week.

Robicheaux and Riley are expected in court next month.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Newly released data from the Department of Defense shows female sailors are at the highest risk of sexual assault, compared to women serving in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The risk is highest on U.S. Navy ships, including on a majority of the nation's aircraft carriers, the data shows.

Military installations in the Washington, D.C., region were typically associated with the lowest risk of sexual assault for men and women.

The findings were published on Friday in a RAND Corporation study, commissioned by the Pentagon, that used data collected in 2014 through more than 170,000 surveys of active duty service members. The study identified the 15 lowest-risk and highest-risk installations for men and women in each service.

Although the data is four years old, the report serves as a snapshot of where service members at that time may have been at the most risk of sexual assault.

In a statement on Friday, the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), a nonprofit that advocates for issues related to servicewomen, said military base commanders should welcome the data as a valuable tool to measure the success or failure of their efforts to prevent sexual harassment and assault at their installations.

"SWAN hopes that base commanders at all installations, but especially the highest risk installations, will examine the data and realize that any sexual assault reported at their base represents fratricide within their ranks and a failure in their duty to protect those who serve under them," said retired Col. Ellen Haring, acting SWAN CEO.


Of the 15 highest-risk Naval installations for women, 13 were ships or clusters of ships, including eight of the ten aircraft carriers, RAND found. There are typically about 5,000 sailors aboard a carrier.

"Our model estimates that more than 10 percent of all women experienced a sexual assault at each of these high-risk installations over a one-year period, and more than 15 percent of all women were assaulted at two of them," the study said.

Those two installations where the risk of sexual assault was over 15 percent were Naval Support Activity (NSA) Charleston (South Carolina) and the USS George Washington aircraft carrier.

Ships and clusters of ships also proved to be the highest-risk locations for men, though the percentage was much lower at between 2 and 4 percent.

However, on at least one ship, RAND estimated that close to one in every 25 male sailors was sexually assaulted and "more than 2.5 percent of men were assaulted on all of the ships in the highest-risk list."

There were no ships among the lowest-risk installations for male or female sailors.

Air Force

Female airmen were at the lowest risk of sexual assault compared to the other services with even the highest-risk installations estimated at less than 5 percent.

"The five highest-risk bases for Air Force women are all Air Education and Training Command bases, with the top three focused on undergraduate pilot training," the study said.

The top three highest-risk installations for female airmen were Vance (Oklahoma), Laughlin (Texas), and Altus (Oklahoma).

For male airmen, the highest-risk installations estimated a sexual assault risk at about 0.5 percent and also included Atlus and Laughlin.


Female soldiers were found to be at the highest risk of sexual assault (between 5 and 10 percent) at large Army installations in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea, as well as two large training programs (Fort Huachuca in Arizona and the Presidio of Monterey in California).

Among the U.S. bases that posed the highest risk to women were Fort Drum (New York), Fort Riley (Kansas), and Fort Carson (Colorado). The lowest-risk installations included two Air Force bases with populations of Army soldiers and two medical centers.

For male soldiers, some of the highest-risk installations (between 1 and 2 percent) were located overseas, including in Italy, Germany, and South Korea.

Marine Corps

As the Marine Corps is a much smaller service, RAND only ranked the five lowest- and highest-risk installations, instead of 15.

Female Marines faced a roughly 10 percent risk of sexual assault at the highest-risk installations, which included Air Station Yuma (Arizona), Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms (California), and Air Station Beaufort (South Carolina).

The lowest-risk installations for women ranked between 5 and 8 percent and included Combat Development Command Quantico (Virginia) and the Mobile 3rd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Japan).

Male Marines were at the highest risk of sexual assault (between 1 and 2 percent) at bases in Japan and South Korea, and at the lowest risk in the Pentagon and Camp H. M. Smith (Hawaii).

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For the first time in thirteen years the Army has failed to meet its annual recruiting goal and Army officials believe the strong U.S. economy is partially to blame.

The Army failed to meet its recruiting goal of 76,500 new recruits for fiscal year 2018, bringing in 70,000 recruits — an 8.5 percent shortfall from this year's goal.

“About 70,000 Americans joined the Regular Army in FY18, the most to enlist in a single year since 2010 - and every single recruit either met or exceeded DoD standards,” said Hank Minitrez, an Army spokesman. “The Army will fall short of its 2018 recruiting goal.”

The last time the Army failed to meet its recruiting goals was in 2005 at the height of the war in Iraq.

The 70,000 is actually more than the recruiting goals for the three other military services combined, but as the largest service, the Army always has the biggest recruiting challenge.

What’s behind the shortfall? “A strong economy, and a lower propensity among the population of 17- to 24-year-olds to enlist are challenges we face,” said Minitrez.

“Only 1 in 4 [of the] 17- to 24-year-olds in the nation are actually qualified to enlist, and of those, only 1 in 8 have a propensity to enlist," said the Army spokesman. "All of those factors make for a difficult recruiting environment.”

Army officials have cautioned since early this year year that it was possible the service might not make this year’s initial recruiting goal of 80,000 — a significant increase from recent years.

From 2013 to 2017 the Army met lower recruiting goals set that varied from 56,000 to 67,000 as the service downsized its numbers.

But a requirement to increase its total size led to a much larger recruiting goal for 2018. This past spring the goal was lowered from 80,000 to 76,500 after higher than expected numbers of re-enlistments eased personnel requirements.

But the service faced criticism that in order to meet its goals it was increasing the number of waivers granted to some recruits who would normally not be eligible to enter the Army in strong recruiting periods.

Through August, 2018, Army statistics show that the number of waivers for positive drug and alcohol tests had increased to 1.05 percent, up slightly from the .79 percent granted in 2017.

Waivers for major misconduct waivers also increased to 2.88 percent during that same time frame, up from 2.38 percent in 2017.

Army officials have maintained that the service is still committed to recruiting only qualified applicants.

“We made a decision to raise the quality of our recruits despite the tough recruiting environment," said Minitrez. "As we look to 2019 and beyond, we have laid the foundation to improve recruiting for the Army while maintaining an emphasis on quality over quantity."

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iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) --  Erin Vandewiele's last words still haunt her friend.

"He's gonna kill me if I don't get away from him today," she wrote to Stacey Morris in a desperate text conversation on July 8.

That was the last time Morris heard from Vandewiele, who had moved from Wisconsin to Colorado with a man named Joseph Mayer less than a month before that conversation.

A few weeks later, on July 23, after messaging another friend that she was sleeping at a railway station, Vandewiele mysteriously went out of touch from everyone in her life.

Mayer was arrested in Colorado on Aug. 19 for starting a fire in a creek and that was when police realized he was listed on a national database as a dangerous fugitive wanted by authorities in Wisconsin on drug and burglary charges, Capt. Joe Harvey of the Golden Police Department told ABC News.

Mayer was extradited to Wisconsin, where Dunn County Sheriff Dennis Smith confirmed he is currently incarcerated on outstanding warrants.

Family and friends of Vandewiele, frantic with worry, are passing out flyers, setting up pages on social media and traveling across states to meet police in a concerted effort to find the 40-year-old.

"It's killing me that I don't know where she is," Mandi Schmidt, her sister, told ABC News. "She always kept in contact with somebody. It's not like her to not let her kids know where she is. We just really miss her."

The Denver Police Department is also searching.

"Friends, can you help us find Erin Vandewiele?" it wrote in a Facebook post. "If you see her or know her whereabouts, please call 720-913-7867."

Vandewiele's personal belongings were found in a hotel in Denver and her ID and social security card were found on a bus, Schmidt said. In Vandewiele's last text conversation with the other friend, Shane Cook, she told him she had been sleeping in Union Station in Denver for five days by herself, and sent him a picture of herself at the station.

"I am in Denver Colorado and need to get the f--- away from this stupid woman beating a------ and go home," she told him.

"I have $90 to my name ... am so stupid for coming here," she added.

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Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The New Jersey sheriff who was purportedly heard in voice recordings making multiple controversial comments — including racist remarks about the state's Sikh attorney general — has resigned.

The Bergen County Sheriff's Office announced Friday that Sheriff Michael Saudino has submitted his resignation after public radio station WNYC published multiple recordings the day before.

Saudino allegedly made the statements during a conversation on Jan. 16 following the inauguration of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, which he attended, according to WNYC.

In the recording, Saudino was discussing whether Murphy had made any appointments from Bergen County when an undersheriff mentioned that Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who is Sikh American and wears a turban because of his religious beliefs, was from Bergen County.

"He didn't do that because of Bergen County," Saudino purportedly said. "He did that because of the turban."

Saudino was also purportedly heard in the recordings criticizing Murphy's remarks on policing at his inauguration on topics such as marijuana and better criminal justice reform.

"Christ almighty. In other words, let the blacks come in, do whatever the f--- they want, smoke their marijuana, do this, do that, and don't worry about it," Saudino purportedly said. "You know, we'll tie the hands of cops."

In another recording, Saudino purports to question whether Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver is gay, asking, "Is she gay? 'Cause she's never been married."

Grewal responded in a tweet Thursday, saying he has developed a "thick skin" after being called "far worse," but denounced the comments on the Black community and the lieutenant governor.

The statement from the sheriff's office did not address whether it was, in fact, Saudino's voice in the recordings.

After the recordings were released, Murphy issued a statement urging Saudino to resign. Now that he has, the state can "now begin the process or restoring faith in the Bergen County Sheriff's Office" and "begin the process of ensuring that the bigoted beliefs by the former Sheriff are not given shelter," Murphy said in a statement.

"I fully intend to appoint an interim sheriff who can rebuild the public’s trust," Murphy said. "The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office is home to countless dedicated officers who no doubt were as horrified and disappointed by their former boss’s comments as we were. This is an opportunity for our Administration to work with them, and with the community, to instill new leadership that upholds our shared New Jersey values of inclusion and respect for all."

Grewal said in a statement that Saudino's resignation is an "important first step in repairing the relationship between the Bergen County Sheriff's Office and the diverse communities it serves" but expressed concern that none of Saudino's subordinates challenged him.

"The fact that a top official could make racist comments about the African-American community – and that no one in the room would challenge or correct him – raises serious concerns," Grewal said.

At least two undersheriffs were also in the room at the time of the conversation, which took place in a county office building after Murphy's inauguration, according to the source who provided the recordings to WNYC.

Four undersheriffs have also submitted their resignations, the sheriff's office said. Bergen County Sheriff's Chief Kevin Pell will serve as officer-in-charge until Murphy appoints an interim sheriff, according to the statement.

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco described Saudino's comments as "indefensible," but added that he does not think they reflect the "values of the men and women" of the sheriff's office.

"It was clear he could no longer serve the people of Bergen County effectively," Tedesco said in a statement. "We cannot and must not tolerate discrimination from anyone, let alone our elected officials. Bergen County’s diversity is our strength and my administration works every day to ensure inclusion within county government and throughout our 70 municipalities. "

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WILMINGTON, N.C.) --  Duke Energy says a dam at a power plant in Wilmington, North Carolina has been breached, raising concerns that water contaminated with byproducts of burning coal could flow into the Cape Fear River.

Duke says ponds that store solid byproducts of burning coal that can contaminate waterways with substances like mercury and arsenic, known as coal ash, are submerged but they believe stable and not releasing ash into the river.

But a spokeswoman also said they cannot rule out that coal ash was released and will continue to monitor the situation.

Duke says flooding at the Sutton Power Plant in Wilmington caused breaches in a dam on a lake to store water for cooling the facility and that the water is overflowing into the Cape Fear River. The water from the cooling lake also overflowed into a natural gas plant, which has been shut down.

The company says another byproduct of burning coal- hollow spheres of silica or aluminum called cenospheres - are flowing into the river. A spokeswoman said they don't yet know how many of the spheres were released.

But Lisa Evans, a senior attorney specializing in hazardous waste for the environmental law firm Earthjustice, said cenospheres are part of coal ash and that its unlikely that part of coal byproducts would spill but not other potentially harmful substances.

She said Earthjustice is concerned the floodwaters have risen above the level of the coal ash ponds which means any water in the lake and flowing into the river could also be contaminated.

"What we're concerned about is that the floodwaters of the Cape Fear have raised the level of the lake and thus breached or overtopped the dike flooding the ash pond which causes the release of coal ash and cenospheres into the cooling pond or lake which is now being released into the Cape Fear," Evans said.

A wall around one of the coal ash basins is underwater but they believe the ash is still in place, Paige Sheehan, a spokeswoman for Duke said. She also said they are not aware of a public health risk associated with cenospheres.

The small, hollow spheres created as a byproduct of burning coal are used in manufacturing for plastics like kayaks and bowling balls.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality said safety officials were notified of the breach Friday morning and that there are no structural issues with the dam. They said in a statement that water from the Cape Fear River was flowing into Sutton lake and then back into the river and that water was close to both coal ash basins on the property but there doesn't appear to be any structural issues.

"DEQ’s dam safety engineers are now coordinating with NCDOT to conduct drone inspections to determine real-time site conditions. While the state is currently in emergency response mode, a thorough investigation of events will soon follow to ensure that Duke Energy is held responsible for any environmental impacts caused by their coal ash facilities," the department said in a statement.

EPA Region 4 Administrator Trey Glenn said in a statement that EPA is monitoring the Sutton site and other sites around the state for potential impacts to the environment and human health.

The Cape Fear River is a source of drinking water in Wilmington, NC. The state has been looking into levels of a chemical used to make non-stick products in the water after it was released into the river last year, according to The News and Observer.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Three babies were among five people stabbed at a suspected birthing center in New York City early Friday, police and officials said.

The victims were found just before 4 a.m. inside what police described as a private residence housing what initially appeared to be a childcare facility in the Flushing neighborhood of the city's borough of Queens. Investigators now believe the home may have been a birthing center, which partially served as a place for immigrant women to deliver babies in the United States.

There were nine infants inside the multifamily home, three of whom had been stabbed, including a baby girl who is just three days old, police said.

"Three of the injured were infants ranging from the age of three days to 1-month-old," Juanita Holmes, assistant chief of the New York City Police Department, said at a press conference later Friday morning.

A man and a woman were also found inside the house with stab wounds. All five victims were rushed to local hospitals in critical but stable condition, police said.

"We pray that all of the victims will be fine and will survive these injuries," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement Friday. "We are hoping these young babies, small and so very fragile, are also strong enough to overcome this horrible act of senseless violence."

The suspect, identified by authorities as 52-year-old Yu Fen Wang, was found unconscious in the basement of the home with what appeared to be a self-inflicted slash wound to her left wrist, police said.

She was subsequently taken into custody and treated for non-life threatening injuries. She is believed to be an employee of the facility, police said.

Two knives -- a butcher knife and a meat cleaver -- were recovered from the scene, police said.

The investigation into the incident and a motive is ongoing. Authorities are also probing the three-story residence and exactly what type of services it was offering, and whether they were legal and properly licensed. Officials told reporters it may have provided maternity care or hospitality services to new and expecting mothers in the neighborhood's largely Chinese immigrant community.

"There are legitimate business models that are opening up maternity hotels around the country and they're licensed," New York State assembly member Ron Kim said at a press conference Friday afternoon. "In all immigrant communities around the country, where immigrants rely on each other for these type of services because of some economic hardships they're undergoing.

"We're not sure if this place was designed to execute that kind of a service," he added.

This particular facility appears to have been in business for nearly 10 years and was operating without a license, according to Kim.

The location is not listed as a licensed or regulated child care program with New York state’s Office of Children and Family Services, according to agency spokeswoman Monica Mahaffey.

“OCFS is saddened by this horrific situation and investigating it as a possible illegal operation,” Mahaffey said in a statement Friday.

The city Health Department is investigating the facility, too. It said the was no home daycare license at the location.

A source told ABC News there was no history of complaints at the center.

The center is not licensed as a daycare, and it's not regulated by the city or state. It is therefore up to Brown's office to determine its legality.

A centuries-old Chinese custom, known as "sitting the month," advises new mothers to stay indoors, rest and restore their energy during the month after childbirth. The tradition has inspired China's industry of maternity residences, where women pay to be confined with their baby at postnatal care centers that often boast an array of luxury services and amenities.

Similar businesses have sprouted up in Chinese immigrant communities across the United States. But there have also been cases of privately-run facilities housing pregnant tourists who allegedly forked over thousands of dollars to give birth there to establish their child's U.S. residency.

"We've seen these type of ads on ethnic papers for a long time," Kim said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) --  The federal government is set to conduct the first-ever test of a nationwide system to send emergency alerts to almost all cellphones in the country on October 3.

The "Presidential Alert" system uses the same wireless alerts smartphone users receive on AMBER alerts or severe weather warnings but allows the president, or another authorized official, to send simultaneous warnings to almost every smartphone in the country at the same time.

FEMA officials said that, unlike AMBER alerts or weather warnings that are sent to people in a specific area, the "Presidential Alert" would be triggered if the president, or another authorized official, decides there is "public peril" that merits a national notification. The president or his designee would notify the FEMA operations center to activate the system, and not physically set off the alert.

The "presidential level" message, officials say, could be used to alert the nation if there were a risk of an imminent attack or multiple terrorist attacks.

"If there was public peril and the president or his designee determined the public needed to be notified about these events, then that would be a trigger," a FEMA official told reporters.

FEMA officials said if the nationwide alert is ever used to notify Americans of an emergency, it would be followed by instructions from state and local governments on what action residents should take.

The wireless alert will go out to most cell phone carriers at 2:18 p.m. EDT, followed by alerts to the broadcast emergency alert system at 2:20 p.m. on October 3. Wireless alerts will use the same special loud tone and vibration as other emergency alerts at will read "Presidential Alert: This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."

The Department of Homeland Security won't be tracking the performance of the alert but an official said they would ask DHS and FEMA employees to report when they receive it. FEMA expects at least 75 percent of phones to receive the alert. FEMA's website says that smartphone users cannot opt-out of nationwide Presidential messages, even if they can opt-out of AMBER alerts or other alert messages.

The test was originally scheduled for Sept. 20 but was postponed due to the ongoing response to Hurricane Florence.

The federal government has to test its national alert system every three years. The test in October will be the first time the nationwide emergency alert test includes the Wireless Emergency Alert system that automatically sends alerts to cell phones.

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., Sept. 22, 2018

Strong storms roar through Chautauqua County Friday night, tornado warnings issued to the east... Several trees were reported down in the central part of Chautauqua County... but, no serious da...

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