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Man sues after lottery officials refuse to pay $5M prize because underage son bought ticket

A man is suing the California Lottery Commission, claiming officials refused to pay a $5 million prize because his underage son purchased the ticket.

Ward Thomas sent his 16-year-old son into a Mobil gas station in Long Beach to exchange winning scratcher tickets for more tickets in October, the Los Angeles Times reported. The store employee did not ask the teen for ID, the suit alleges.

The son handed the tickets to his father, who discovered that evening that one of the tickets was a big winner. Thomas validated that the ticket was a $5 million winner at a 7-11 store and at a California Lottery district office, the suit claims.

>> Read more trending news

But the lottery commission never made a payout to Thomas. The suit alleges that the lottery commission withheld the prize money because his underage son bought the ticket. One has to be at least 18 to participate in the state's lottery. The lottery commission reviews all jackpot winning tickets, including reviewing security footage from the purchase point. The state and lottery commission are accused of failure to discharge a mandatory duty.

Thomas also names the gas station as a defendant, claiming there were no signs stating that one had to be 18 to purchase lottery tickets, even if they were purchasing on behalf of someone else who was of age. The gas station is accused of breach of express and implied contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and negligence, according to lawsuit documents.

Thomas is seeking more than $50,000 in general damages.

Verizon backpack giveaway 2017: Some locations giving away free backpack with school supplies

Certain Verizon Wireless Zone locations will be giving away free backpacks full of school supplies on Sunday. 

Through the “School Rocks Backpack Giveaway” program, Wireless Zone, along with TCC and the Culture of Good, have prepared more than 235,000 backpacks to be handed out to children in locations around the country.

The backpacks are free on a first come, first serve basis.

The give-away will be held Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at each location. The child must be accompanied by a parent to get a backpack.  Call your local store ahead of time to verify participation in the program. 

Click here for more information. 

Below is a list of locations participating in the program.


  • 68 Newtown Rd, Danbury, CT 06810 | 203-798-0008
  • 712 North Main St, West Hartford, CT 06117 | 860-231-8001
  • 1188 Farmington Ave, Bristol, CT 06010 | 860-940-6569
  • 1105 Killingly Commons Drive, Dayville, CT 06241 | 860-774-2000
  • 361 Boston Post Road, N. Windham, CT 06256 | 860-456-7000
  • 351 North Frontage Rd. Ste 11, New London, CT 06320 | 860-439-1000
  • 220 Rt.12 Ste 4, Groton, CT 06340 | 860-448-9000
  • 119 South Main St. Colchester, CT 06415 | 860-537-1000
  • 695 Main Street, Monroe, CT 06468 | 203-459-1661
  • 228 South Main Street Suite #6, Newtown, CT 06470 | 203-748-4704
  • 100 Main Street North, Southbury, CT 06488 | 203-405-3093
  • 842 Queen Street, Southington, CT 06489 | 860-276-1044
  • 960 White Plains Road, Trumbull, CT 06611 | 203-459-2600
  • 1051 Wolcott Street, Waterbury, CT 06705 | 203-755-6629
  • 128 Greenwood Avenue, Bethel, CT 06801 | 203-628-7312
  • 1071 Boston Post Road, Darien, CT 06820 | 203-202-2966
  • 25 Glen Ridge Road Suite 4, Greenwich, CT 06831 | 203-531-8800
  • 139 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT 06840 | 203-966-6400
  • 572 Main Ave, Norwalk, CT 06851 | 203-529-3220
  • 1285 East Putnam Ave, Riverside, CT 06878 | 203-637-5441
  • 385 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880 | 203-221-0000
  • 711 Canal St Suite 120R, Stamford, CT 06902 | 203-442-4988
  • 330 Boston Post Rd, Orange, CT 06477 | 203-799-8110
  • 207 Kennedy Drive, Putnam, CT 06260 | 860-928-5400
  • 290 Hope St, Stamford, CT 06906 | 203-764-2163

Washington D.C.

  • 703 8th St, Washington, DC 20003 | 202-364-1911
  • 3307 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010 | 202-791-0553


  • 122 Lantana Drive, Hockessin, DE 19707 | 302-235-0402
  • 302 Suburban Drive, Newark, DE 19711 | 302-283-9991
  • 935 N Dupont Hwy, Milford, DE 19963 | 302-424-1900
  • 17146 S Dupont Hwy Floor, Harrington, DE 19952 | 302-398-6040


  • 923 N. Collier Blvd, Marco Island, FL 34145 | 239-394-2010
  • 2724 N Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL 33040 | 305-296-8300
  • 5800 Overseas HWY Suite 21, Marathon, FL 33050 | 305-998-4046
  • 3280 Tamiami Trail Ste 55B, Port Charlotte, FL 33952 | 941-235-9700
  • 7335 Radio Rd #108, Naples, FL 34104 | 239-513-0100
  • 325 Jacaranda Blvd, Venice, FL 34292 | 941-412-3490
  • 2119 E Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala, FL 34470 | 352-351-2585
  • 7272 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34601 | 352-796-9919
  • 2105 S. Parrott Ave Ste 101, Okeechobee, FL 34974 | 863-467-2919


  • 106-C N. Northwest Highway, Barrington, IL 60010 | 847-852-7050
  • 1515 Butterfield Road #101, Aurora, IL 60502 | 630-820-5800
  • 131 W Ogden Ave, Westmont, IL 60559 | 630-541-3461


  • 724 N Burkhardt Rd, Evansville, IN 47715 | 812-202-1264
  • 529 N Line Street, Columbia City, IN 46725 | 260-244-2929
  • 9924 Illinois Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46804 | 260-387-7956
  • 4201 Coldwater Rd #312, Fort Wayne, IN 46825 | 260-471-2022
  • 3084 John Williams Blvd, Bedford, IN 47421 | 812-277-1900
  • 3313 16th Street, Bedford, IN 47421 | 812-279-3353
  • 8300 Bell Oaks Drive Suite C, Newburgh, IN 47630 | 812-858-7100


  • 521 Industrial Ave Ste B, Grinnell, IA 50112 | 641-236-1022


  • 2600 US Highway 41 N Suite C, Henderson, KY 42420 | 270-826-2277
  • 13210 Shelbyville Rd. Suite 105, Louisville, KY 40223 | 502-253-5575
  • 5035 Frederica St, Owensboro, KY 42301 | 270-689-2404
  • 35 Madison Square Drive, Madisonville, KY 42431 | 270-825-1101


  • 1209 Main St, Sanford, ME 04073 | 207-490-9000
  • 20 Topsham Fair Mall Rd, Topsham, ME 04086 | 207-729-8002
  • 570 Stillwater Ave Unit 1, Bangor, ME 04401 | 207-942-1004
  • 139 High Street, Ellsworth, ME 04605 | 207-667-8383
  • 19 Moosehead Trail, Newport, ME 04953 | 207-355-0100
  • 175 Madison Avenue, Skowhegan, ME 04976 | 207-858-0020
  • 765 Main Street, Presque Isle, ME 04769 | 207-760-5025


  • 3229 Spartan Road, Olney, MD 20832 | 301-570-9663
  • 220 Marlboro Ave Suite 2, Easton, MD 21601 | 410-820-9455
  • 7603 Crain Hwy Suite F-140, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 | 301-627-6405
  • 1700 Kingfisher Dr Suite 12, Frederick, MD 21701 | 301-846-9663
  • 20 Maryland Ave Suite 450, Rockville, MD 20850 | 240-428-0556


  • 21 Drum Hill Rd, Chelmsford, MA | 978-654-5066
  • 28 Fairhaven Commons Way, Fairhaven, MA 02719 | 508-984-8882
  • 77 West State St, Granby, MA 01033 | 413-467-9777
  • 18 Main St, Townsend, MA 01469 | 978-597-0701
  • 234 Washington St Suite 3, Hudson, MA 01749 | 978-567-9300
  • 581 Chickering Rd, North Andover, MA 01845 | 978-208-4385
  • 98A Main Street, Medway, MA 02053 | 508-533-0400
  • 95 Washington St, Canton, MA 02021 | 781-828-8886
  • 1415 Providence Highway, Norwood, MA 02062 | 781-769-8881
  • 438 West Grove St, Middleboro, MA 02346 | 508-947-8854
  • 566 Washington St, South Easton, MA 02375 | 508-230-7990
  • 169 Rt 6A, Orleans, MA 02653 | 508-255-5557
  • 162 North King Street, Northampton, MA 01060 | 413-341-3473
  • 197 Boston Post Road W, Marlborough, MA 01752 | 508-481-8001
  • 975 Merriam Ave, Leominster, MA 01453 | 978-840-1986
  • 999 S Washington Street, N Attleboro, MA 02760 | 508-699-8998


  • 212 S. Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 | 734-327-5300
  • 6877 S. State St, Saline, MI 48176 | 734-295-9620
  • 3644 Carpenter Rd Suite F, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 | 734-327-5400
  • 250 North Ortonville Rd Suite A, Ortonville, MI 48462 | 248-627-2000
  • 223 North Main St., Frankenmuth, MI 48734 | 989-652-5700
  • 4104 E Grand River Ave, Howell, MI 48843 | 517-545-1300
  • 103 East Maple St., Mason, MI 48854 | 517-604-6180
  • 1031 E Main St, Owosso, MI 48867 | 989-723-9663
  • 2546 E Jolly Road Suite 3, Lansing, MI 48910 | 517-993-6333
  • 1515 N West Ave, Jackson, MI 49202 | 517-787-2020
  • 9175 Cherry Valley Ave Ste 8, Caledonia, MI 49316 | 616-891-0072
  • 4021 17 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs, MI 49319 | 616-696-2395
  • 104 W. Main St., Fremont, MI 49412 | 231-335-2336
  • 1315 E. Colby St. Suite B, Whitehall, MI 49461 | 231-894-0332
  • 9290 Lee Rd Suite 101, Brighton, MI 48116 | 810-360-0767


  • 115 Elm St, Farmington, MN 55024 | 651-344-7300
  • 919 Vermillion St, Hastings, MN 55033 | 651-437-4800
  • 3836 150th St W, Rosemount, MN 55068 | 651-423-1200
  • 740 Main St Suite 102, Mendota Heights, MN 55118 | 651-454-0707
  • 17442 Kenwood Trail, Lakeville, MN 55044 | 952-898-9663
  • 5466 St Croix Trail, North Branch, MN 55056 | 651-277-9122
  • 2034 Ford Pkwy, St Paul, MN 55116 | 651-330-0217
  • 9420 Dunkirk Lane North, Maple Grove, MN 55311 | 763-424-9660
  • 637 Ryans Way, Buffalo, MN 55313 | 763-684-4252
  • 10340 Baltimore St NE #160, Blaine, MN 55449 | 763-780-7995
  • 14303 Edgewood Drive Suite 100, Baxter, MN 56425 | 218-454-2075
  • 209 12th Street SW, Forest Lake, MN 55025 | 651-464-2388


  • 122 Corum Rd, Excelsior Springs, MO 64024 | 816-637-5100

New Hampshire

  • 150 Bridge Street, Pelham, NH 03076 | 603-508-6900
  • 15 Freetown Rd, Raymond, NH 03077 | 603-244-1682
  • 1106 Union Ave, Laconia, NH 03246 | 603-524-1900
  • 594 Tenney Mountain Highway, Plymouth, NH 03264 | 603-536-6090
  • 62 D’Amante Dr, Concord, NH 03301 | 603-223-9979
  • 459 West St., Keene, NH 03431 | 603-357-7700
  • 19 Wilton Road Suite 7, Peterborough, NH 03458 | 603-924-3379
  • 410 Glen Ave, Berlin, NH 03570 | 603-752-3663
  • 71 Calef Hwy, Lee, NH 03861 | 603-740-7474
  • 11 Plaistow Unit 11 C Road, Plaistow, NH 03865 | 603-382-0092
  • 15 Portsmouth Ave, Stratham, NH 03885 | 603-775-7253
  • Steeplegate Mall 270 Loudon Road, Concord, NH 03301 | 603-226-3248

New Jersey

  • 329 West Main St, Freehold, NJ 07728 | 732-462-8888
  • 642 Newman Springs Rd, Lincroft, NJ 07738 | 732-530-1901
  • 87 Route 9 South Bld C, Marlboro, NJ 07746 | 732-853-1831
  • 18 West Main Street, Denville, NJ 07834 | 973-664-0404
  • 1885 Rt 57, Hackettstown, NJ 07840 | 908-852-3838
  • 353 Rt 31 South, Washington, NJ 07882 | 908-223-1470
  • 977 Valley Road, Gillette, NJ 07933 | 908-580-0800
  • 1711 Route 10, Morris Plains, NJ 07950 | 973-998-7515
  • 141 Bridgeton Pile Unit G, Mullica Hill, NJ 08062 | 856-478-6199
  • 1692 Clements Bridge Road Suite N, Deptford, NJ 08096 | 856-845-7000
  • 859 NJ Rt 45 Unit D, Pilesgrove, NJ 08098 | 856-441-2848
  • 2960 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648 | 609-873-3130
  • 950 Route 33, Hamilton, NJ 08690 | 609-588-9000
  • 580 Brick Blvd, Brick, NJ 08723 | 732-864-9400
  • 578 Milltown Rd, North Brunswick, NJ 08902 | 732-846-9855
  • 424 Main Street, Spotswood, NJ 08884 | 732-723-1111
  • 117 Franklin Turnpike Unit 20, Mahwah, NJ 07430 | 201-684-0008

New York

  • 774 North Bedford Road, Bedford Hills, NY 10507 | 914-244-1800
  • 111 Independent Way, Brewster, NY 10509 | 845-279-3444
  • 50 Livingstone Ave, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522 | 914-674-8800
  • 231 Halstead Ave, Harrison, NY 10528 | 914-893-5660
  • 129 Route 6, Mahopac, NY 10541 | 845-628-9800
  • 83 Purchase Street, Rye, NY 10580 | 914-921-1819
  • 159-20 Cross Bay Blvd, Howard Beach, NY 11414 | 718-738-2600
  • 38 Main St, Saranac Lake, NY 12983 | 518-891-7300
  • 137 State Route 104, Oswego, NY 13126 | 315-216-4430
  • 7395 Turin Rd, Lowville, NY 13367 | 315-874-4004
  • 26397 Johnson Rd, Evans Mills, NY 13637 | 315-629-6075
  • 1100 Champlain St, Ogdensurg, NY 13669 | 315-393-4300
  • 201 Market St, Potsdam, NY 13676 | 315-265-1900
  • 123 Grey Street, East Aurora, NY 14052 | 716-652-3430
  • 5883 S Transit Road, Lockport, NY 14094 | 716-439-0300
  • 231 S Cascade Dr, Springville, NY 14141 | 716-592-4756
  • 5 Franklin Plaza, Dansville, NY 14437 | 585-612-0999
  • 3193 Chili Ave, Rochester, NY 14624 | 585-247-3610
  • 17 E. Market St, Corning, NY 14830 | 607-654-7838
  • 37 Main St, Hornell, NY 14843 | 607-324-5888
  • 89 N. Middletown Road, Pearl River, NY 10965 | 845-620-3787


  • 7040 Hospital Drive, Dublin, OH 43016 | 614-389-2082
  • 1586 N High Street, Columbus, OH 43201 | 614-291-9500
  • 5 Atterbury Blvd. Ste. 2, Hudson, OH 44224 | 330-571-5807
  • 990 High St. Ste. B, Wadsworth, OH 44224 | 330-696-2606
  • 4900 Delhi Ave Suite 3, Cincinnati, OH 45238 | 513-451-9663
  • 6302 Harrison Ave Suite D, Cincinnati, OH 45247 | 513-574-0029
  • 8465 S Mason Montgomery Rd, Mason, OH 45040 | 513-229-8857
  • 1440 Secor Dr Suite 120L, Toledo, OH 43607 | 419-531-1444


  • 420 Blair St, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648 | 814-695-2115
  • 6684 Towne Center Blvd, Huntingdon, PA 16652 | 814-641-9663
  • 242 Chippewa Town Centre, Chippewa, PA 15010 | 724-846-1845
  • 1155 Washington Pike, Bridgeville, PA 15017 | 412-564-5070
  • 92 Highlands Mall Shoppes, Natrona Heights, PA 15065 | 724-226-4590
  • 100 Tarentum Bridge Road, New Kensington, PA 15068 | 724-334-2761
  • 42 Trinity Point Drive, Washington, PA 15301 | 724-228-9663
  • 4120 Washington Rd, McMurray, PA 15317 | 724-941-2552
  • 812 Vanderbilt Road, Connellsville, PA 15425 | 724-626-1081
  • 2701 Sharky’s Dr, Latrobe, PA 15650 | 724-539-0105
  • 397 Hyde Park Road, Leechburg, PA 15656 | 724-842-0244
  • 2118 Summit Ridge Plaza, Mt Pleasant, PA 15666 | 724-691-4730
  • 208 Resort Plaza Dr, Blairsville, PA 15717 | 724-459-5737
  • 21892 Route 119, Punxsutawney, PA 15767 | 814-938-3235
  • 300 Walmart Drive #140, Ebensburg, PA 15931 | 814-472-0600
  • 170 BonAire Plaza, Butler, PA 16001 | 724-256-5556
  • 2505 W State St, New Castle, PA 16101 | 724-202-6607
  • 7A Hilltop Plaza, Kittanning, PA 16201 | 724-545-1453
  • 6885 US Route 322 Suite 5, Franklin, PA 16323 | 814-516-1643
  • 2809 Market Street #5, North Warren, PA 16365 | 814-726-4988
  • 4291 Buffalo Road, Harbor Creek, PA 16510 | 814-899-1682
  • 300 Spring Plaza, Roaring Spring, PA 16673 | 814-729-7032
  • 1071 N Front St, Philipsburg, PA 16866 | 814-343-6412
  • 114 Townsedge Drive, Quarryville, PA 17566 | 717-806-1119
  • 304 Town Center, New Britain, PA 18901 | 215-997-5000
  • 1034 Second Street Pike, Richboro, PA 18954 | 215-355-9955
  • 912 North Bethlehem Pike, Ambler, PA 19002 | 215-540-8005
  • 110 E Street Road, Feasterville, PA 19053 | 215-357-7357
  • 920 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 | 215-351-5252
  • 322 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147 | 215-923-8255
  • 225 Lancaster Ave, Frazer, PA 19355 | 610-408-0480
  • 553 York Rd, Warminster, PA 18974 | 215-675-2228
  • 1014 Pennsylvania Ave, Tyrone, PA 16686

Rhode Island

  • 76 Gate Road, North Kingstown, RI 02852 | 401-886-8484
  • 599 Kingstown Road, Wakefield, RI 02879 | 401-783-4770
  • 1700 Mendon Road, Cumberland, RI 02864 | 401-333-3007
  • 40 Sockanosset Cross Road, Cranston, RI 02920 | 401-463-6699
  • 25 Airport Road, Warwick, RI 02889 | 401-734-9559
  • 579 Atwells Avenue Suite 106, Providence, RI 02909 | 401-421-0085


  • 1100 West Business 380 Suite A, Decatur, TX 76234 | 940-626-4422
  • 404 N. Interstate 35e #110, Lancaster, TX 75146 | 972-217-3238
  • 739 SW Wilshire Blvd, Burleson, TX 76028 | 817-349-0003


  • 13340-E Franklin Farm Rd, Herdon, VA 20171 | 571-449-3234
  • 25031 Riding Plaza Suite 125, South Riding, VA 20152 | 703-542-2546
  • 3518 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302 | 571-429-5650
  • 8191 Brook Rd Suite H, Richmond, VA 23227 | 804-553-1153
  • 24 Kingston Drive, Daleville, VA 24077 | 540-992-5220
  • 145 Holt Garrison Parkway Suite 120, Danville, VA 24540 | 434-797-2970
  • 2017 Colonial Avenue SW, Roanoke, VA 24015 | 540-904-5114
  • 400 Old Franklin Turnpike Suite 103, Rocky Mount, VA 24151 | 540-352-3950
  • 3440 Orange Avenue NE Unit A, Roanoke, VA 24012 | 540-206-3886
  • 65 Westlake Rd. Unit 110, Hardy, VA 24101 | 540-266-3082
  • 294 Commonwealth Boulevard West, Martinsville, VA 24112 | 276-226-4328

West Virginia

  • 132 Thompson Drive, Bridgeport, WV 26330 | 304-848-5025
  • 2399 Meadowbrook Road #870, Bridgeport, WV 26330 | 304-848-5025
  • 9500 Mall Road #709, Morgantown, WV 26501 | 304-381-4076
  • 410 Suncrest Towne Center Dr, Morgantown, WV 26505 | 304-241-5225
  • 734 Venture Dr, Morgantown, WV 26508 | 304-381-4053


  • 2521 Hils CT Suite D, Menomonie, WI 54751 | 715-231-2345
  • 940 W Paradise Dr, West Bend, WI 53095 | 262-888-0861
  • 1659 N Spring Street Ste. 103, Beaver Dam, WI 53916 | 920-319-4044

Fish bites girl 25 times, causing serious foot damage

A Minnesota girl is recovering after a fish bit her multiple times while she was paddleboarding in a lake.

Maren Kesselhon, 11, was with her father Wednesday at Island Lake when the attack occurred, KARE reported. Maren said as she took a dip in the lake, she felt the fish grab her left foot. She said her entire foot was in the fish's mouth.

>> Read more trending news

Maren was rushed to the hospital where she was treated for 25 bites that included nine deep lacerations and tendon damage, KARE reported. Some of the razor-sharp cuts went down to the bone, and are believed to have been caused by a muskie, doctors said.

Maren’s father, Ryan Kesselhon, told KARE he plans on going back to the lake to catch the fish and "hang it on my wall.”

Albuquerque mayor overrules condiment ban placed on free senior meals

Seniors who had been forbidden to season meals provided by the city can thank Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry for intervening in the "condiment wars."

Because the city's congregate meal program is funded through a grant, it is required to follow strict nutritional requirements. However, some seniors felt the requirements were draconian, because they banned all condiments unless they were served with the meal. That meant seniors couldn't use salt, pepper, ketchup or other condiments to season their food, even if they brought their own. The grant also forbid coffee being served with lunches.

>> Read more trending news

Conway Wood, 94, told the  Albuquerque Journal he got reprimanded for using a salt packet he brought from home to season his asparagus.

After reading the complaints from senior diners, the mayor decided to take action on what he said may have been "well-intentioned" guidelines that don't pass the "common sense test." He had city staff review the guidelines, and now the city will provide a variety of condiments, including salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard and salsa that will be available with all senior meals served by the city. Berry also ordered the program to lift the coffee ban.

The new guidelines go into effect immediately.

Young heart transplant patient dies, family says

A 5-year-old Massachusetts boy whose story gained national attention when he learned he was getting a long-awaited heart transplant has died.

Ari Schultz was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and had to undergo two heart surgeries before he was even born. Earlier this year, after waiting nearly 200 days for a new heart, the family learned Ari would be getting one.

>> Read more trending news

On June 16, Ari came home from the hospital.

On Thursday morning, the family posted on its Facebook page that Ari was taken to the emergency room for a seizure. After over a half-hour of CPR, he was placed on life support in the cardiac intensive care unit.

The family posted on Friday evening that Ari passed away peacefully while listening to the Red Sox.

Ari has two siblings, his sister Lexi and his brother Eli. 

Police: Man tried to snatch toddler from grocery cart

A mother in Texas called the moment a man tried to snatch her toddler out of a grocery store cart terrifying.

WFAA reported that the attempted abduction took place Wednesday outside a Kroger in Grand Prairie.

Victoria Edwards told WFAA that after she had loaded her groceries and was about to place her children in the car she heard her son say that a man was trying to grab the shopping cart with Madison, her 2-year-old daughter, strapped inside.

>> Read more trending news

Edwards sprang into action, confronting the man and screaming at him. She told WFAA that the man said he was "trying to say hello" to the child and continued to push the cart away from her. As Edwards continued to scream and draw attention, the man ran off and slipped inside the passenger side of a black pickup truck.

Police said that witnesses described the man as "heavy set, 50 to 60 years old with a salt-and-pepper mustache and a distinctive mole under his left eye."

Edwards hopes the frightening incident serves as a sobering reminder to parents to always be alert, even when the surroundings appear to be safe.

Report: Actor John Heard dies at 72

Actor John Heard, best known for playing the dad in the “Home Alone” movies, has died, TMZ reported.

US Weekly confirmed the report.

Heard was found dead in a California hotel Friday, according to TMZ. He was 72.

>> Read more trending news

The cause of death is unknown, but TMZ reports that Heard had minor surgery on Wednesday, and was staying at the hotel while recovering.

Heard’s acting career included film, television and stage credits. While best known for playing father Peter McCallister in “Home Alone,” other film credits include “Big” and "Beaches," while television credits include “The Sopranos” and “Prison Break.”

This is a breaking news story, return for updates.

35-pound cat joins adopted family for adorable wedding photos

The cat formerly known as Symba has had a busy time since he went viral in June for his eye-popping girth. 

The 35-pound orange tabby has since been adopted by a couple who got married on July 8.

Like many wedding guests, the cat, now named Vito, wanted to look his best. His new owners have placed him on a strict diet and a regular exercise regimen.

>> Read more trending news

The newlyweds posed with Vito in a series of photographs taken by Kristi Odom. Vito still has a ways to go to reach a healthy weight, but he looks like he's happy and content in his new home. 

American flags hanging on overpasses destroyed

Someone in Massachusetts is destroying American flags placed on overpasses. The man who put the flags up in honor of his uncle says he is heartbroken by the actions.

“We salvaged what we could, we did the best we could,” Paul Alegria said. 

He put flags up across overpasses in Lexington, Waltham and Newton.

Alegria tells Boston 25 News someone vandalized at least 12 American flags.

“We were driving up 128 and noticed some of the flags had been damaged. It hurts, we put them up … someone came along and just tore it down,” said Alegria.

Alegria said he started putting up the flags a few years ago in honor of his uncle Manuel Fernandes, who served overseas in France for two tours of duty, where he dealt with ammunition.

>> Read more trending news

“My uncle Manny came back from the war in a shoe box,” said Alegria.

As a child, Alegria saw his aunt suffer after she lost her husband. Growing up, he realized how much his aunt and families across the country had to sacrifice.

“The sacrifices that all Americans have made, especially during the war. We were so united, everyone sacrificed, everybody had losses,” said Alegria.

So, he wanted to do something in honor of his uncle, and for the people of Massachusetts.

“We had this idea that having flags on overpasses would inspire people about what the flag really means,” he said.

When he saw the very flags he put up destroyed, he was stunned. He said he hopes the person who did this gets this message: “We wanted the people, who did this, don't hurt us. The people of the United States,” he said.

Alegria filed a complaint with police in several departments. He is hoping the suspect “has a heart” and will come forward.

Louis Tomlinson heeds dying mother's wish, reconciles with ex-bandmate Zayn Malik

Louis Tomlinson said he honored a special request from his dying mother last December: The One Direction member reconciled with former bandmate Zayn Malik.

>> Read more trending news

The Sun reported that before her death from leukemia at age 42, Johannah Deakin initiated a secret reconciliation between her son and Malik, who had not spoken to one another for a year. 

“My mum said, ‘You’ve got to get back in contact with Zayn,” Tomlinson told The Sun. “Life’s too ... short!”

Malik had a bitter split with One Direction and criticized his time with the band. But Tomlinson said the meeting went well.

“If there is any animosity, just clear the air,” Tomlinson told The Sun. “I met up with him and it was nice.”

Prince George marks his fourth birthday with official photo

Prince George celebrates his fourth birthday on Saturday, and the royal family released photographs of the beaming child, the Independent reported.

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The son of Prince William and his wife Kate is third in line to the British throne.

In a statement, Kensington Palace said that "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to share a new official portrait of Prince George to mark His Royal Highness's fourth birthday tomorrow.

"The Duke and Duchess are very pleased to share this lovely picture as they celebrate Prince George's fourth birthday, and would like to thank everyone for all of the kind messages they have received."

Minnesota man has collected nearly 3 million soda can tabs

A Minnesota man has been collecting the tabs from aluminum cans for nearly 30 years, and he is closing in on a major milestone. In a Plexiglas box that is the size of a Dumpster, Jim Spinler has collected nearly 3 million tabs.

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“There’s 2,650,000 in there right now,” the 75-year-old Spinler told the Owatonna Peoples Press. “With the box and the pallet, it’s over 2,000 pounds with all that weight.”

Once he fills the box -- which measures six feet wide, four feet deep and four feet high -- Spinler plans to donate all of the tabs to the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.

Spinler said he began collecting the tabs during his 50 years as owner of Jim’s Garbage Service, which he sold in 2006. He told the Peoples Press that he sold the business to support the Ronald McDonald House, which supports families of children with serious illnesses who are undergoing treatment at the Mayo Clinic.

“One of my friends got to stay in Ronald McDonald House about 30 years ago. His kid had a kidney infection,” Spinler told the Peoples Press. “So I started collecting, and when I retired, I had 15 five-gallon pails full.”

Many of the tabs he has collected himself, but friends have donated some, too.

Thirty years later, Spinler still plans to donate the tabs to the Ronald McDonald House — but not quite yet. He wants to top off the box first, which he estimates will take right around 3 million tabs.

“Another year. I don’t know how long it’s going to take to fill it,” he said.

The Ronald McDonald House collects the tabs and has volunteers who transport them to local recycling centers. Most years, the money they collect adds up to between $10,000 and $15,000.

Once the box is full, Spinler also plans to reach out to the Guinness Book of World Records. He doesn’t know what the largest pop tab collection on record is, he says, but 3 million has got to be close.

“I’m proud of what I’m doing,” he told the People’s Press. “I wish I’d written down all the people that donated.”

Kentucky must pay attorney fees for couples who sued Kim Davis

A federal judge ruled Friday that Kentucky taxpayers must foot the bill for more than $220,000 in attorney fees for the couples who were denied marriage licenses by the Rowan County clerk, WKYT reported.

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In July 2015, four couples -- two same-sex and two opposite-sex filed suit against Kim Davis, who had refused to issue marriage licenses. Davis cited her religious beliefs for not issuing the licenses and was briefly jailed for contempt of court.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning wrote that “Davis represented the Commonwealth of Kentucky” when she made her refusal. “The buck stops there."”

Bunning, who ruled against Davis in the original lawsuit, said Rowan County and Davis herself were not responsible for paying the $222,695 in attorneys' fees, NPR reported.

William Sharp, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Kentucky, said his organization was pleased with the ruling.

“We hope this serves as a reminder to Kentucky officials that willful violations of individuals’ civil liberties ... will not only be challenged but will also prove costly.”


Scientists will battle mosquito population by releasing 20 million of them

Mosquitoes are an annoying pest, particularly during the summer. Now, scientists in California are working to shrink the population of the pesky insects that carry disease.

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How? The scientists will be releasing 20 million of them in California.

If that sounds counterproductive, there is a method behind it. The plan is to release millions of sterile male mosquitoes, which will then mate with females, NPR reported. The eggs the females lay won’t hatch, according to researchers.

The project is called Debug Fresno, and scientists said the goal is to trim the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes -- the species responsible for the Zika virus, dengue and chikungunya, NPR reported. The species has been a nuisance in California’s Central Valley since 2013, particularly in Fresno County.

“It’s a terrible nuisance, a terrible biting nuisance. It's changed the way people can enjoy their backyard and it's a threat for disease transmission," Steve Mulligan of Fresno County's Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District told The Washington Post.

Each week for 20 weeks, the company plans to release 1 million of the sterile, non-biting male mosquitoes in two neighborhoods in Fresno County.

First woman enlists to become a Navy SEAL

A woman will be training with other potential candidates as she tries to become te first female Navy SEAL, CNN reported.

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The midshipman and another woman have enlisted and hope to join the Navy’s special operations teams. The Navy declined to identify the candidates, citing security considerations, NPR reported.

The latter candidate was in boot camp for the Navy’s Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman program, also known as SWCC. Naval Special Warfare Center Deputy Commander Capt. Christian Dunbar told members of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service about the two candidates in June.

Women had been prohibited from serving in combat roles until January 2016, CNN reported. 

Eight SEAL and seven SWCC classes have graduated since March 2016. All of those candidates were males, CNN reported.

There are approximately 1,000 SEAL candidates who begin training each year,  Lt. Cmdr. Mark Walton, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Command, told CNN. He said that usually only between 200 to 250 candidates complete their training.

Ole Miss football coach made phone call to number tied to escort service

University of Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze announced his resignation Thursday night after school officials cited personal conduct issues that included a one-minute telephone call to a number associated with a female escort service, USA Today reported.

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The phone call was raised as a potential issue in a legal battle between the school and former Rebels coach Houston Nutt, who filed a lawsuit July 12 alleging that Ole Miss violated the terms of his severance agreement. Nutt’s attorney, Thomas Mars, sent an email to Ole Miss general counsel Lee Tyner, mentioning a “phone call Coach Freeze made that would be highly embarrassing for all of you and extremely difficult to explain,” USA Today reported.

School Chancellor Jeff Vitter, announcing Freeze’s resignation at a news conference, called it a “sad day” for the university.

“While Coach Freeze served our university well in many regards during his tenure, we simply cannot accept the conduct in his personal life that we have discovered” VItter said. 

Athletics director Ross Bjork said the resignation did not involve NCAA allegations but was based on a pattern of inappropriate conduct, USA Today reported.  Ole Miss put a self-imposed postseason ban this season and is already is operating with self-imposed scholarship reductions. The school faces the outcome of an NCAA investigation that traces back to 2012, ESPN reported.

Bjork said the phone call was brought to his attention last week.

“Because the call lasted less than one minute and did not appear at the time to be part of a pattern, we initially attributed this call to a misdialed number,” Bjork said. “We proactively looked into the rest of his phone records. In our analysis, we discovered a pattern of conduct that is not consistent with our expectations as the leader of our football program. As of yesterday, there appeared to be a concerning pattern.”

Freeze went 39-25 at Ole Miss and took the Rebels to a Sugar Bowl victory. He also guided Ole Miss to a pair of victories against Alabama when the Crimson Tide was ranked in the top three nationally.

Matt Luke, the team's co-offensive coordinator and line coach, was named interim coach on Thursday.

Canadian rock legend Kenny Shields dies 

Kenny Shields, the lead singer of Canadian classic rock ‘n’ roll band Streetheart, died Friday after cardiac surgery in Winnipeg, CBC News reported. He was 69.

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Shields and Streetheart charted during the 1970s and 1980s with hits like “Action,” “Hollywood,” “Here Comes the Night,” and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb.”

The group’s last album was 2008’s “The Hits/Anthology.” The band had planned a cross-country tour this year to celebrate its 40th anniversary, but scrapped the plan when Shields became ill earlier this month.

Shields’ wife and daughter were with him when he died around 3 a.m., according to close friend and bandmate Jeff Neill.

“The ones that he loved were by his side and he wasn’t in pain,” Neill told CBC News. “And he just slipped away.”

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ champion dog Pudsey dies

Former “Britain’s Got Talent” winner Ashleigh Butler announced the death of her beloved dog, Pudsey on Friday, ITV reported.

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Butler, who won the 2012 season title on the ITV television show with Pudsey -- a mix of border collie, bichon frise and Chinese crested -- posted an emotional tribute on her Instagram account.

“My handsome man is gone and I don’t know what to do without him,” Butler wrote.

Butler said Pudsey, who was 11, was put down on Thursday after a short battle with leukemia. 

"I had to make the hardest decision of my life to let my beautiful boy go to sleep at the age of 11," Butler told the BBC.

The pair were notable for their dance routine to the theme song from “Mission: Impossible,” and were the first dog act to win the competition.

Woman, deputies aid 4 children left in car in Walmart parking lot

A Virginia woman and three sheriff’s deputies helped make four children comfortable, providing them with formula and diapers after they were left alone in a car in a Walmart parking lot, WTVR reported.

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Crystal Richards-Jackson said she noticed three Hanover County deputies making multiple trips to a car parked outside a Walmart in Mechanicsville. Four children -- two 3-year,-olds, a 2-year-old and a 1-month-old infant, had been left untended in the vehicle at 4:30 a.m. Thursday. The temperature was 73 degrees, and deputies said the children had been in the car for more than an hour.

“It was hot,” Richards-Jackson told WTVR. “I mean, I was sweating.”

Deputies said Kiear Ellis, 24, and another woman had left the children inside the car and went into the Walmart, where they were arrested on charges of shoplifting. Neither woman mentioned they had children in a car, WTVR reported.

Ellis is charged with felony grand larceny and three misdemeanor counts of child endangerment. The other woman, whose name has not been released, was charged with one count of petty larceny and one count of child endangerment.

Richards-Jackson called the deputies “angels.”

“They weren’t police,” she said. “They were parents. I saw the officers going back and forth and one officer came back with a bottle.”

Richards-Jackson said she persuaded deputies to allow her to try and find other family members for the children.

"I bought formula and Pampers and the deputy mentioned CPS (Child Protective Services),” she told WTVR. “I asked to see if I could find their family before getting CPS involved, and the deputy agreed."

Richards-Jackson says an aunt and grandmother came to get the children.

Aside from soiled Pampers and underwear, they were all in good shape.

"They (deputies) made sure these kids had food and didn't go hungry," she said.

Your eyes will fry under normal sunglasses during 2017 eclipse, here’s why

The nation is preparing for the Aug. 21 “Great American” total solar eclipse, which is the first in 99 years to cross coast-to-coast.

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That means buying special eclipse glasses because normal sunglasses – even those with the darkest lenses – aren’t enough to protect eyes from damaging rays.

It’s not that the sun is any stronger during an eclipse, but where you would squint, blink and turn away from the full sun on a normal day to protect your eyes, it can be more comfortable to look at the sun as the moon moves over the bright disk.

“A solar eclipse should never be watched the same way we should not stare at the sun,” said Alberto Ortiz, an ophthalmologist with Mittleman Eye in West Palm Beach. “It causes toxicity to the retina and can even cause permanent vision loss.”

Damage to the eye may not be immediately noticeable, but can occur later with blurred vision or complete loss of sight, Ortiz said.

>> Related: Best places to see the 2017 solar eclipse.

Rick Fienberg, the press officer for the American Astronomical Society, said ordinary sunglasses transmit 10 to 20 percent of the light that falls on them.

This makes the landscape on a bright sunny day easier to look at without squinting, and cuts down on glare.

Eclipse glasses allow just 0.0001 percent of the light that falls on them through.

“That’s at least 100,000 times darker than ordinary sunglasses,” Fienberg said. “Nothing can get through such glasses except the sun itself – just enough to be comfortable for viewing.”

The only time it’s safe to look at the eclipse is if you are in the path of totality and the fleeting moments when the sun is completely covered by the moon.

About 12 million people live in the path of totality for the Aug. 21 eclipse. Millions more will travel to get into the path.

“The sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye only during the few brief seconds or minutes of a total solar eclipse,” NASA says on its eclipse website. “Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye.”

It is only safe to view a solar eclipse with the naked eye when you are in the path of totality and the moon completely covers the sun.

Proper eclipse glasses are marked with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and the numbers 12312-2.

Some older solar-viewing glasses may meet previous standards for eye protection, but not the new international standard, Fienberg said.

NASA recommends glasses from the companies Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said it’s a good idea to practice putting the glasses on with children before the eclipse.

“Absolutely make sure the eye protection is clearly on top of the eyes of the child,” Zurbuchen said. “It’s not good to look at the sun when it’s just in the sky and it’s not good when it’s only half or three-quarters covered. The only time it’s OK to look at the sun is when it is entirely covered by the moon.”

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