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Man breaks into woman’s business, leaves her tied up

A woman is still shaken after a guy broke into a business Tuesday morning, zip tied her hands and robbed the store.

It happened at the Town and Country in Port Charlotte.

NBC2 talked to the woman on the phone.

Her name is Janet Heavener, and she’s the manager at Town and Country, which is an aluminum wholesaler located in Port Charlotte. 

Janet did not want to talk on camera as she’s still rattled from a shocking start to her morning, with the robber still on the loose.

Police cruisers and crime scene tape are not the usual start to a morning outside the Town and Country on Kenilworth Boulevard.

Police said at around 6:45 Tuesday morning Janet opened the store by herself as usual. A few minutes later she heard a knock on the door. When she answered a man pushed her over and zip tied her hands behind her back. 

The man got away with more than $400.

When the robber left, Janet dialed 911 with her nose, just as other employees arrived for work.

Charlotte County Sheriff’s deputies are still looking for the male suspect.

Janet did not see any type of getaway car when the robber left.

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Trick-or-treaters wary of creepers on the loose in Collier County

Collier County families are taking precautions after four cases of strangers trying to lure kids in the last month alone. 
 
Colby Batey went trick or treating with her husband and three kids. As it got darker, more children began to fill the streets.
 
“In this setting right now, it’s eerie,” she said. “Someone has just been lurking. Someone what’s just been sitting around watching.”
 
The neighborhood near East Naples Middle is tense this year, after strangers reportedly tried to snatch three kids this month. A man was caught taking a picture of a girl just last week. 
 
“I’m afraid that my kids do wonder and that someone will get them before I can see them,” Batey said.
 
Deputies said they have no new information about the cases. The sheriffs office said patrols would be highly visible for the holiday.  
 
“If there was really more police activity around here, people wouldn’t have a chance to sit in their car and just stare and wait by these schools up the street,” Batey said.
 
She said she has seen the deputies downtown but with creeps targeting schools, she wants to see them closer to home.
 
“They are down there but they are not over here where there’s a lot more families,” she said.
 
Deputies are not saying if they think any of the cases are connected. So far, they say there is no new information in the investigations.

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Naples woman scammed by FPL imposters

A Naples woman lost more than $700 to scammers pretending to be with Florida Power and Light. 

Investigators are now trying to figure out who’s responsible.  

Everybody thinks it won’t happen to them, until it does.

A Naples woman got a call from someone claiming to be from FPL.

“They threatened me that they were going to shut off my electricity if I didn’t make the payment for $1,410,” the victim said.

She said they asked for the money in Money-Pak cards. She gave them $710.

They called back, asking for the remaining $700 and for her bank account information.

That’s when she realized it was all fake, and that initial $710 was gone.

“I’m mad I fell for it, because I didn’t think I would ever get caught, but I did. I got caught,” she said.

She was frantic not to lose power to her home or business, after dealing with power issues after Irma.

“That’s why people are now desperate, because we were like two weeks without power in my house. So I’m afraid that I’m not going to have power again, so you freak out,” she said. 

Now she wants others to be careful, because it’s easier than you think to fall for a scam.

FPL said that the company will never ask customers to pay with a prepaid card. The company will call, and send notices if a bill is overdue. 

A good rule of thumb, if you’re unsure, is to call the number at the bottom of your bill to double check. 

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Facebook, Twitter and Google questioned by Senate about Russian propaganda

Facebook, Twitter and Google were slammed by lawmakers Tuesday for failing to prevent the Russians from placing propaganda on their sites following revelations that millions of Americans were exposed to it during the presidential election.

“There’s a lot I think you could have done earlier,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who called the tech giants “Johnny Come Latelys” at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism hearing. “You guys have a great responsibility.”

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said he could not understand how Facebook in particular got duped by the Russians.

“How did Facebook…somehow not make the connection that electoral ads paid for in rubles were coming from Russia?” he asked Facebook’s general counsel Colin Stretch. “How could you not connect those two dots.”

“There were signals we missed,” Stretch replied.

“People are buying ads on your platforms with rubles,” Franken said. “You can’t put together rubles with a political ad and go, ‘Hmmm’?”

“It’s a signal we should have been alert to,” Stretch said.

Before the sometimes contentious questioning got under way, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., warned that “these technologies can be used to undermine our democracy and threaten our country.”

Stretch agreed.

“The foreign interference we saw was reprehensible,” said Stretch, who quickly added that the ads posted by “bad actors” on Facebook were a tiny portion of the content that appeared on the site. “But any amount was too much.”

Continue reading here.

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Lee County residents pack roads waiting for last day of SNAP benefits

People rushed the doors of Food For Florida in Lee County trying to make it in time before Tuesday evening’s deadline.
 
Parking lots were packed all day with hundreds of people applying for food assistance through the SNAP/D-SNAP program.
 
Wait times varied, but some were already on their second trip back of the day. Mark Lenard of Bonita Springs was in line by 5 a.m., that was until Port Authority had to close down Chamberlain Road because of how backed up traffic was.
 
Lenard returned home, but was out the door soon after realizing lanes had opened up once again.
 
“After three hours this morning, I was excited. It’s moving,” Lenard said.
 
Before Tuesday’s rush, organizers with the Department of Children and Families tell us they served more than 50,000 people.
 
“We were without power for 12 days and I didn’t work for a couple of weeks because of the storm,” Lenard said.
 
On the road less traveled, some opted for LeeTran buses taking special routes to the site location. All the relief and none of the headache for those who wanted to escape the long lines.
 
By 6 p.m. the help ran out. Doors were closed and dozens of cars were left on the roads. 
 
Only five counties remain for Food for Florida assistance. Marion and Monroe county locations are open until November 2. Broward and Miami-Dade county locations are open until November 9. Pasco County begins service on November 5.
 

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Busy Bonita Springs intersection could see upgrades

Bonita Springs leaders are set to discuss changes to a busy intersection at a meeting on Wednesday.

The intersection of U.S. 41 and Bonita Beach Road is notorious in southern Lee County for major delays.

With the end of Estero Island funneling onto Bonita Beach waterside and the road leading directly to Interstate 75, it’s a major thoroughfare.

Already city leaders conducted a study at the intersection and began working together with the county to consider possible solutions.

Currently there are no other routes to avoid the intersection in the area. The city is looking at purchasing land on every corner quadrant of the intersection to offer other options for drivers in the future.

Bonita Springs bought land in the northeastern quadrant. The city is already in negotiations at the other northern quadrant and will consider future purchases south of the intersection.

At Wednesday’s meeting, leaders will update residents interested in the project as they move forward.

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Halloween decorations stolen from spooky display

The night before Halloween one Lehigh Acres woman had two decorations stolen from her yard, launching a criminal investigation on her favorite holiday.
“This is when I get to shine and it just felt like it hit me to the core,” said Christina Villarreal, the victim of the thefts. 
According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, sometime on Monday two inflatable Halloween decorations were stolen fromVillarreal’s yard and no one has been arrested.
“We have the camera inside the house, but I never would have thought okay we need a camera outside,” Villarreal said.
Though she is missing two spooky pieces, her display is still something to be seen as she is one of the only ones in her Lehigh Acres neighborhood, near Majors Avenue South, with a display.
One of her neighbors, Taaffe Soler, hopes she find justice not only for her sake, but for the entire neighborhood.
“You don’t want them next year not to have it,” Soler said. “We want to be able to ride by to see that stuff.”
Seeing how Halloween is Villarreal’s ideal holiday, she says this was not going to disrupt her favorite spooky night.
“It’s not going to discourage us,” she said. “But we will have to beef up the little camera and security-wise, but keep on doing you, don’t let it discourage you.”
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Marco Island wants to take over control of EMS

The people of Marco Island were left without emergency medical services during the strongest hurricane to hit Florida in years.

Collier County EMS runs Marco Island’s only full-time ambulance. Before the hurricane, Collier leaders decided to pull the ambulance off the island due to the mandatory evacuation.

Marco Island resident Erin Mia Milchman stayed on the island through the storm even though there was a mandatory evacuation.

If she knew then what she knows now, things would’ve been very different.

“I think we have faith in the authorities to take care of us and I think if we knew it wasn’t here, I would’ve been terrified,” Milchman said.

EMS decided to seize emergency services once the evacuation was put in place. The chief says it was important to keep the ambulances safe so they could help after the storm as well.

“I think if everyone knew, I think everyone would be very nervous,” Milchman said.

Collier County runs the ambulance service on Marco Island.

For months, Marco Island leaders have been talking about trying to take over the service but said Hurricane Irma was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“We have our own police force, our own fire, we have city staff, we have taxing authority. We can do essentially anything but decide for ourselves how to protect our citizens,” city councilman Jared Grifoni said.

City leaders are going to higher-ups, state legislators, and they’re trying to get approval to bypass the county and run their own ambulance service.

Milchman said it’s time.

“I think Marco Island needs its own ambulance. I think we need to be able to decide how we’re going to help people. The first order of importance is to keep people safe,” Milchman said.

If all goes through the state legislature, voters on Marco Island will make a decision next summer.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

Halloween decorations stolen from spooky display

The night before Halloween one Lehigh Acres woman had two decorations stolen from her yard, launching a criminal investigation on her favorite holiday.
 
“This is when I get to shine and it just felt like it hit me to the core,” said Christina Villarreal, the victim of the thefts. 
 
According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, sometime on Monday two inflatable Halloween decorations were stolen fromVillarreal’s yard and no one has been arrested.
 
“We have the camera inside the house, but I never would have thought okay we need a camera outside,” Villarreal said.
 
Though she is missing two spooky pieces, her display is still something to be seen as she is one of the only ones in her Lehigh Acres neighborhood, near Majors Avenue South, with a display.
 
One of her neighbors, Taaffe Soler, hopes she find justice not only for her sake, but for the entire neighborhood.
 
“You don’t want them next year not to have it,” Soler said. “We want to be able to ride by to see that stuff.”
 
Seeing how Halloween is Villarreal’s ideal holiday, she says this was not going to disrupt her favorite spooky night.
 
“It’s not going to discourage us,” she said. “But we will have to beef up the little camera and security-wise, but keep on doing you, don’t let it discourage you.”

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Crash blocks traffic on Daniels

A crash is blocking traffic in Fort Myers.

It happened at Daniels Parkway and Treeline Avenue Tuesday evening.

There is a roadblock in the westbound lanes of Daniels Parkway.

The cause of the crash and the identities of anyone involved is unknown at this time.