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Man tries to trade chicken Alfredo, Sprite for sex with teen boy, police say

An Ohio man is accused of trying to have sex with a 15-year-old boy -- who in reality was an undercover police officer -- by enticing the teen with chicken Alfredo and Sprite. 

Albert George Maruna IV, 22, was arrested Tuesday and charged with attempted unlawful sexual contact with a minor, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, possessing criminal tools and importuning, according to Mahoning County Jail records. Maruna was released from custody Wednesday.

Fox 19 in Cleveland reported that Maruna, a Youngstown State University student, began chatting through an online dating app Dec. 5 with someone he believed to be an underage boy. In reality, he was communicating with an undercover officer. 

The Vindicator in Youngstown reported that when the boy’s alleged age came up, Maruna played it off.

“Age is a number, I believe,” Maruna wrote, according to the newspaper. “I don’t believe in age. I’m OK if you (sic) OK with me.”

During the pair’s weeklong communications, Maruna sent the boy explicit messages detailing what he wanted to do with him, the Vindicator reported. He also sent the boy nude photos of himself, including his genitalia. 

>> Read more trending news

Austintown police investigators said that the pair agreed to meet for sex on Tuesday, with Maruna promising to bring lubricant, chicken Alfredo and Sprite, Fox 19 said. When Maruna got to Austintown, however, he was met by officers and arrested.

Maruna had an iPhone, a Macbook, three zip drives, a bottle of Astroglide lubricant, Vaseline lotion, two bottles of Sprite and chicken Alfredo in a Tupperware container when he was arrested, the news station reported

Police officials said that Maruna, when interviewed by detectives, “did not deem having sex with a consenting 15-year-old as wrong,” the Vindicator reported

He is due in court Jan. 3 for a preliminary hearing. 

How to Avoid Package Theft

How to Avoid Package Theft

Five tips to keep your holiday packages safe from porch pirates

Online shopping has made life easier for a lot of us and is especially handy during the holidays, but it’s also created more opportunities for thieves to prey on parcels left on our doorsteps.

>> Read more trending news

So beware the so-called porch pirates. They count on our being lax, but a little preparation can help thwart their plans and leave them empty-handed, said Gary Miliefsky, CEO of SnoopWall , a company that specializes in cybersecurity.

“A more sophisticated porch pirate might send you an SMS message or email with malware,” Miliefsky said. “That would let them gain access to your computer or smartphone, and they could install a RAT (Remote Access Trojan). Then, they can eavesdrop on your orders and deliveries.”

They also might be able to locate you through the geolocating feature on your phone, he said. That would tell them when you are away from home, providing the final link in their well-laid plan.

Police tell us thieves mark their calendars with notes that say such things as  "Package theft Wednesday."

“If they know you aren’t home and that a package is scheduled for delivery, it’s going to be easy for them to steal it,” Miliefsky said.

There are, however, ways around even cybercriminals. Miliefsky offers these tips for outwitting porch pirates and keeping packages safe:

• Get permission to ship all your packages to work. That way, they aren’t left unguarded at your doorstep for hours while anyone walking by could snatch them. If this arrangement works out, be sure to tell all your friends and family members to ship packages to your work address.

• Ask a friend or neighbor to receive your packages for you. You might not be home on workdays, but plenty of people are. Trusted friends who are retired or who work at home might be happy to let you have packages delivered to them for safekeeping.

• If a neighbor can’t receive your packages and you can’t get them at work, another option is available. Miliefsky suggests trying Doorman, a service that lets you arrange for a package to be held at a warehouse until you arrive home. Then you can arrange delivery for evening hours that better suit you.

• Disable geolocation on your smartphone so that thieves – or other hackers, for that matter – can’t track your location. There’s no need to make it easier for them.

• Set up a live recording video camera aimed at your porch. That could allow you to spot a theft as it happens and alert law enforcement officials, or at least provide you with video that might help identify the thieves.

Fire department recreates adorable holiday card one year later

A fire department in Oklahoma is warming hearts again with their special holiday card.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Last year, the Durant Fire Department went viral with their 2016 holiday card, which featured children of the firefighters.

Six of the station’s 33 firefighters welcomed new babies within six months of each another.

This year, the department decided to keep the tradition going with an “updated” photo.

Babies Ava, Owen, Nash, Mitchell, Gus and Brevyn donned matching outfits on their fathers’ firetruck.

Gus’ mother, Shembra Wilson, told ABC News, “It was a lot harder this year because they’re more mobile. We’re all jumping up and down acting like morons to get the shot and they’re looking at us like, ‘What in the world?’”

The department has decided to continue the tradition annually “to watch them grow.”

Boy steals Salvation Army kettle from man at mall, police say

Police in Dunwoody, Georgia, are working to find a boy who stole a Salvation Army kettle.

A young boy grabbed the kettle being watched by Todd Copper, who has been collecting money for the Salvation Army for 21 years despite having cerebral palsy and manning his post from a wheelchair.

“I sit out here like nine hours, 10 hours a day,” he said. “I’m helping a lot of people who cannot do it on their own.”

>> Read more trending news 

Tom Copper, his father, said his son has never let his physical limitations hold him back.

“Even though he’s in a wheelchair, he believes that he can do things that other people can't,” he said of his son.

Todd Copper said he never had a problem at his post at Perimeter Mall until Monday afternoon.

“An approximately 10 - 12 year old male approached him, snatched his collection bucket, and took off running,” Sgt. Robert Parsons with the Dunwoody Police Department told WSB

Police hope surveillance video will help them catch the thief.

“He was really distraught,” Tom Copper said.

The father said his son continued to take donations after the theft.

“He said, ‘No, I want to stay here.’ And even though he didn't have a bucket, people were putting money on his lap," Tom Cooper said.

Police said they are hopeful mall and MARTA surveillance cameras may help catch the suspect.

Morgan Spurlock addresses sexual harassment, says he’s ‘part of the problem’

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock is getting honest, saying he is “part of the problem” in Hollywood when it comes to sexual harassment and misconduct.

The “Super Size Me” director, who has not been publicly accused of sexual misconduct, opened up about his own history of sexual harassment in a candid open letter posted on Twitter Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news 

“I’m sure I’m not alone in this thought, but I can’t blindly act as though I didn’t somehow play a part in this, and if I’m going (to) truly represent myself as someone who has built a career on finding the truth, then it’s time for me to be truthful as well,” he wrote. “I am part of the problem.”

“When I was in college, a girl who I hooked up with on a one-night stand accused me of rape. Not outright. There were no charges or investigations, but she wrote about the instance in a short story writing class and called me by name. A female friend who was in the class told me about it afterwards,” he wrote.

“This wasn’t how I remembered it at all. In my mind, we’d been drinking all night and went back to my room. We began fooling around, she pushed me off, then we laid in the bed and talked and laughed some more, and then began fooling around again,” he continued. “We took off our clothes. She said she didn’t want to have sex, so we laid together, and talked, and kissed, and laughed, and then we started having sex.”

Spurlock explained that at one point, the woman started to cry.

“I didn’t know what to do. We stopped having sex and I rolled beside her. I tried to comfort her. To make her feel better. I thought I was doing OK, I believed she was feeling better. She believed she was raped,” he wrote. “That’s why I’m part of the problem.”

He was also candid about a sexual harassment incident he was involved in eight years ago.

“It was verbal, and it was just as bad. I would call my female assistant ‘hot pants’ or ‘sex pants’ when I was yelling to her from the other side of the office. Something I thought was funny at the time, but then realized I had completely demeaned and belittled her to a place of non-existence,” he wrote. “So, when she decided to quit, she came to me and said if I didn’t pay her a settlement, she would tell everyone. Being who I was, it was the last thing I wanted, so of course, I paid. I paid for peace of mind. I paid for her silence and cooperation. Most of all, I paid so I could remain who I was.”

Spurlock rattled off a list of possible explanations for his behavior, questioning if each reason contributed to him being “part of the problem.”

“But why? What caused me to act this way? Is it all ego? Or was it the sexual abuse I suffered as a boy and as a young man in my teens? Abuse that I only ever told to my first wife, for fear of being seen as weak or less than a man?” he questioned. “Or is it because I’ve consistently been drinking since the age of 13? I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years, something our society doesn’t shun or condemn but which only served to fill the emotional hole inside me and the daily depression I coped with. Depression we can’t talk about, because its wrong and makes you less of a person.

“I don’t know. None of these things matter when you chip away at someone and consistently make them feel like less of a person,” he wrote.

He said that he is now seeking help to figure out what caused him to behave this way.

“I will do better. I will be better. I believe we all can. The only individual I have control over is me. So starting today, I’m going to be more honest with you and myself. I’m going to lay it all out in the open. Maybe that will be a start. Who knows. But I do know I’ve talked enough in my life … I’m finally ready to listen,” he said.

Read Spurlock’s full letter here.

Cow escapes church nativity scene twice in one day

A cow that is part of a church's live nativity scene escaped its pen twice Thursday morning, making her way to a major highway the first time she got out, police said. 

>> Read more trending news

Some highway lanes were closed when Stormy, a 7-year-old Hereford, was spotted around 2:15 a.m. walking southbound on I-95 before being corralled and taken back to Old First Reformed United Church of Christ, according to WPVI.  The cow escaped again around 6:20 a.m., the Philadelphia TV station said. 

Pennsylvania State Police, Philadelphia police and animal control personnel worked to corral her.

Rev. Michael Caine said the live scene has been part of the church’s festivities since 1973. A farmhand and veterinary technician oversee the care of the animals. 

Caine said it appeared that someone tampered with the gate to Stormy’s enclosure, allowing the cow to wander off.

Blake Farenthold won't seek re-election amid harassment claims

U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold announced he won’t seek re-election, less than a week after a House committee opened an investigation into sexual harassment claims from a former aide.

>> Read more trending news

Family hopes its ‘A Christmas Story’ house becomes Lego playset

What started as a family project could now become an actual playset sold by Lego. 

>> Read more trending news

Jason Middaugh and his daughter worked six months to recreate the house in the holiday classic, “A Christmas Story.” 

He scoured the internet sourcing the 2,000 blocks, which features the “fragile” shipping container, Ralphie, in a bunny suit and the leg lamp.

“I said, okay if we found a "fragile" piece maybe this is fate," Middaugh told WSTM

The set was submitted to a special Lego site that will make a playset that gets 10,000 supporters. The Middaughs have more than 9,500.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Families of Sandy Hook victims confront mass shootings head-on in new PSA

Five years after tragedy struck Newtown, relatives of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting are fighting to prevent what happened there from ever happening again

Thursday will mark five years since 20 first-graders and six adults were shot and killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton.

>> Read more trending news

Nicole Hockley, whose son, 6-year-old Dylan, was killed, spoke to Boston 25 News reporter Robert Goulston about how she helped to release a video calling on people to do more to stop mass shootings. The Sandy Hook Promise video depicts a tragedy similar to the one at Sandy Hook, one day before it happens.

“To have it played out as something before a shooting takes place -- it really hammers that message home,” Hockley said. "The end of the PSA has a little bit of a gut punch but gun violence is not comfortable and as a country, I think we've become a little too comfortable with.”

Sandy Hook Promise was co-founded by several families who lost loved ones in the shooting. The PSA was released this week as a way of trying to change behaviors that seem to play out over and over. 

“The mass shootings. That tears the scab right off my heart and makes everything incredibly fresh and painful again especially when there’s children involved,” Hockley said.

The anniversaries are also incredibly difficult.

>> Related: Newtown marks fifth anniversary of deadly Sandy Hook shooting

"The pain, it never goes away. There is no closure on this. There is no moving on," she said.

But she says Dylan is still by her side, keeping focused preventing this violence. 

"His legacy lives on through these programs and that's the only way I can think to pay tribute to my little boy,” she said. "Knowing that we are having an impactm that fuels us. Because that's all we want to do and that helps save lives."

There is no permanent memorial in Newtown. A commission has been working for years to design and pick a location. Recently, a resident donated five acres not far from the school - but they are still working on a design.

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