Regional Briefs – Nov. 17, 2016

Humpback Whale Spotted Near Statue of Liberty

NEW YORK – A humpback whale was seen near the Statue of Liberty around 8 a.m. Thursday, near Liberty Island in New York Harbor, DNAInfo reported. The Coast Guard put out an advisory telling mariners to watch out and avoid contact with the whale.

Passaic Mayor Pleads Guilty to Bribery

NEWARK – The mayor of Passaic on Thursday admitted accepting $110,000 in bribes from two developers in exchange for directing federal funds to a failed project, The Associated Press reported. Alex Blanco, a Democrat, agreed to resign. The City Council held an emergency session to replace him.

Police Union Page Celebrating Trump Win Probably Hacked

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – A police union whose online page celebrated Donald Trump’s election said Thursday that a hacker was to blame, The Associated Press reported. A post on Monday showed a police officer running and said: “Guys!! Trump Won!! We Get to Be Cops Again!!!”

Couple Who Had 276 Dogs Plead Guilty to Animal Cruelty

HOWELL, N.J. – A couple caught with 276 dogs in their home pleaded guilty Wednesday to animal cruelty, The Associated Press reported. Joseph and Charlene Handrik must pay $25,000 in fines and undergo a psychological evaluation if they ever want to have more pets.

Dozen Men Arrested in Massive ATM Skimming Scam

NEWARK – A dozen men were charged Wednesday in an ATM scam that stole $428,000 from various Bank of America branches in New Jersey, reported. They used electronic card-reading devices and pinhole cameras placed on ATM machines to illegally obtain sensitive customer information such as PIN numbers.

Cuomo: Want Uber Upstate? Call Your Lawmaker

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo challenged residents who want to see Uber in cities like Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester to call their lawmakers, The Associated Press reported. He said that only public pressure will help. A poll Thursday shows 80 percent support.