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July 17, 2015 - 7:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Attica.

A 30-year-old Attica resident will spend at least the next year of his life in state prison for a burglary in Batavia last November, though he would rather spend the time with his young son.

Jason L. Cramer Sr., told Genesee County Court Judge Robert C. Noonan that he knows he has a drug problem, but that's no excuse of his criminal activity.

"I know what I did is wrong," Cramer said. "I intend to use whatever time you give me as a time to better myself and become a better man."

His attorney, Fred Rarick, said Cramer started using heroin when he was 16.

"He continued to use heroin even though he knew it might lead to his death, even though he knew that it might lead, as it could today, to time in prison," Rarick said. "In spite of that, he's been unable to combat his addiction."

Rarick said he thought his client would benefit from rehabilitation programs available through the Department of Corrections. 

Noonan sentenced Cramer to an indeterminate one to three years, which is a slightly less than the maximum sentence available to the judge.

July 17, 2015 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

A Batavia resident was jailed without bail following a motor-vehicle accident in a parking lot near Tim Horton's on Main Street at 9:51 .m., July 10. 

Richard M. Schiersing is charged with DWI, combined influence of drugs and alcohol.

Police initially responded to the area after receiving a report of an erratic driver.

Schiersing was reportedly driving a 2005 Scion XA and hit a curb and allegedly committed numerous traffic offenses before striking a vehicle in the parking lot between the U.S. Post Office and Tim Horton's, located at 20 Main St., Downtown. 

Officer Kevin DeFelice conducted a standardized field sobriety test, which Schiersing allegedly failed. A drug recognition expert was called in to assist in the investigation, lead to the charge of combined influence of drugs and alcohol.

July 17, 2015 - 2:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, alexander.
Zachary Ludwig

The man accused of shooting Alexander resident Nicholas Mruczek with a shotgun in a fit of jealous rage has been charged with murder, according to the Chester County District Attorney.

Zachary Ludwig, 22, of King Street, Spring City, Pa., is accused of going to the residence of an ex-girlfriend in North Coventry Township, Pa., with a shotgun and firing it at Mruczek at close range.

Ludwig was reportedly upset that Mruczek was with the woman.

"Love and anger can be a dangerous mixture," said DA Tom Hogan in a statement.

The rest of the press release:

On July 15, 2015 at 2:18 a.m., North Coventry Police responded to a call for a shooting at Apartment #218, 858 E. Schuylkill Road, Pottstown, North Coventry Township, Pa. The victim, Nicholas Mruczek, had been shot in the chest and was bleeding heavily.

The victim’s roommates stated that somebody had come over to the apartment and confronted the victim outside. The victim then came back into the apartment with a gunshot wound to the chest. The roommates called the police and attempted to stop the bleeding.

The victim told his roommates that he was dying and to tell the victim’s father that he loved him. The victim stated that “Zach” had shot him. When the police arrived, the victim told them that his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend “Zach” had shot him. The victim was taken to a hospital for surgery. Prior to surgery, the victim informed medical personnel that “Zach L.” shot him. The victim was pronounced dead from the gunshot wound on July 16, 2015.

While the victim was still in surgery, the police located the victim’s girlfriend, whose identity is known to police but is being withheld for security (the “Girlfriend”). The Girlfriend identified “Zach” as the defendant, Zachary Ludwig. She stated that the defendant was her ex-boyfriend, that he was angry about the relationship between her and the victim, and that the defendant owned guns. The defendant previously had stated to the Girlfriend that he would get a “dirty gun” and shoot the victim.

Subsequent investigation by the police revealed the following. The defendant purchased an unregistered .410-bore shotgun approximately two weeks before the shooting. The defendant sawed down the barrel of the shotgun. On the evening of July 14, 2015, the defendant drove by the victim’s residence and observed that the Girlfriend’s car was at the victim’s residence.

After switching vehicles, the defendant later returned to the area of the victim’s apartment in the early morning hours of July 15. The defendant brought the sawed-off shotgun with him. The defendant parked his vehicle in an empty lot away from the apartment complex and walked across a field to the back entrance to the victim’s apartment building. The defendant got the victim to meet with him at the back of the apartment building. The defendant confronted the victim and shot him in the chest with the sawed-off shotgun.

The defendant then returned across the field to his vehicle and fled from the area. He took the sawed-off shotgun to French Creek and threw the shotgun into the water. The defendant then returned to his residence. Police subsequently recovered the shotgun from the stream.

The defendant was arrested by the police while the victim was still alive, and charged with attempted homicide and related charges. Subsequent to the victim’s death, the defendant additionally has been charged with murder. The defendant did not post bail and was remanded to Chester County Prison.

North Coventry Police Chief Robert A. Schurr stated, “This was an excellent cooperative investigation by the North Coventry Police Department and the Chester County Detectives. We extend our condolences to the victim’s family and pledge to keep working on this case until justice is served.”

District Attorney Hogan added, “This was a senseless and premeditated killing. One young man is dead, one young man faces murder charges, and two families are shattered. The only good thing to report is that the North Coventry Police Department and Chester County detectives did an outstanding job to investigate this case rapidly, thoroughly, and professionally.”

This case was investigated by the North Coventry Police Department and the Chester County detectives, with assistance from the West Pottsgrove Police Department, Pottstown Police Department, Spring City Police Department, and East Pikeland Police Department.

UPDATE: According to the Police Criminal Complaint, filed by Chester County Det. Thomas Goggin, Mruczek was living with a man who initially attempted to provide first aid on Mruczek after he was shot in the chest. He was bleeding heavily. Mruczek told the roommate that he thought he was dying and to tell his father he loves him. Mruczek identified Ludwig as the shooter to the roommate and to police once they arrived on scene. He later identified the same person as the shooter to a nurse at the hospital. Ludwig was interviewed after receiving his Miranda warnings that same day. He allegedly admitted to shooting Mruczek. He reportedly said he purchased the shotgun a week or two prior from a fellow employee at his job. He said he used a hacksaw to cut off the barrel in his parents' garage. He said he drove to Mruczek's apartment complex at 5:30 and saw his ex-girlfriend's car there. He went to his parents' house and switched trucks, he said, and drove back to the apartment complex with the .410 shotgun. He parked in an empty lot near an ice cream store. He concealed the shotgun, he said, in a long-sleeve black shirt. Ludwig said he approached the complex from a field in the rear of the building and called for Mruczek to come outside. Mruczek came outside and the two spoke briefly before Ludwig allegedly shot him. Ludwig said he fled the scene and drove to French Creek and tossed the gun into the water and then returned home. Police recovered the shotgun from the creek.

July 16, 2015 - 6:28pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, alexander.

Nicholas Mruczek, 20, from Alexander, is in critical condition after he was shot in his apartment in Pottstown, Pa., Wednesday morning.

According to an article from The Mercury, North Coventry Police responded to the scene at Highland Manor Apartments around 2 a.m. and found Mruczek in his apartment with a serious gunshot wound to the chest.

Mruczek was transported to Pottstown Memorial Medical Center and transferred to Lehigh Valley Hospital's trauma unit. Hospital staff confirmed he had a collapsed lung.

Mruczek identified the shooter as his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend, Zachary Ludwig, 22, of Spring City, Pa. Ludwig allegedly went to Mruczek's apartment Tuesday night and found his ex-girlfriend's car parked outside. Then Ludwig allegedly drove to his home and loaded the barrel of his .410 shotgun and returned to Mruczeck's apartment. Ludwig admitted to police that he had his finger on the trigger when Mruczek grabbed the barrel and the gun discharged. 

Ludwig is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, possessing instruments of crime, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. He was put in the Chester County Prison on $500,000 bail.

Mruczek is a graduate of Alexander Middle-High School. He is studying to be an auto mechanic at the Universal Technical Institute in Exton, Pa.

July 16, 2015 - 6:27pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, batavia, alexander, Darien.

Lauren L. Heale, 26, of Main Street, Alexander, is charged with petit larceny. Heale allegedly stole a video game system from a residence. She was jailed on $500 bail.

Ashley M. Morgan, 24, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. The incident happened on Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia.

Tyler J. Cutajar, 19, of 80th Street, Niagara Falls, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana following a traffic stop by Deputy Joseph Corona on Alleghany Road in Darien.

July 14, 2015 - 5:59pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, city council, crime.

A group of Hutchins Street residents raised the issue of increased criminal activity in their neighborhood during a City Council meeting Monday.

Ken Darch, a resident on Hutchins Street who represented the group, expressed his concern for the continuous fighting and drug activity in his neighborhood.

Darch told of a fight involving 15 to 20 people that broke out Friday night and started up again Saturday morning. 

“There is constant drug activity of all kinds," Darch said. "There are cars going up and down the streets and transactions going on constantly,” Darch said. “Hutchins Street has also become a sanctuary for sexual offenders.”

Darch stated the two major problems that need to be addressed are the unaccountable landlords and the lack of law enforcement. Darch said the city needs to take action and hold offenders responsible for the crimes they commit.

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian agreed with Darch about the increasing amount of criminal activity not just in his neighborhood but in all areas of the city.

“We used to have minor problems," Christian said. “Right now we have major problems. There is no respect for police officers and a lot of drugs out there."

Christian said she believes the resolution to the problem involves increasing police patrols and neighbors following through with signing a complaint if they witness a crime being committed.

Second Ward Councilwoman Patti Pacino and Fifth Ward Councilwoman Kathy Briggs want to hold a meeting with residents to address neighborhood crime.

“We have a lot of problems and we need to take action,” Briggs said. “I’m willing to meet with all of our wards to do something.”

Councilman John Deleo stressed the need to invest in street cameras. According to Deleo, the camera placed on State Street has significantly reduced crime in the area.

Other business at Monday's City Council meeting included approving a pay raise for the city manager and a presentation by the Batavia Development Corporation.

The council voted 6 to 3 in favor of giving City Manager Jason Molino a 2-percent wage increase. Molino’s annual salary will be $91,272.

The Batavia Development Corporation is requesting proposals from individuals or organizations that would like to invest in the former Della Penna and Santy’s properties. Julie Pacatte, economic development coordinator, hopes to attract private investors with tax incentives to clean up the rundown properties. According to Pacatte, investors can received up to 50 percent of cleanup costs with tax credits through the Brownfield Cleanup Program. The deadline for proposals is Aug. 12.

July 14, 2015 - 5:57pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, batavia, Oakfield.

Oakfield resident Preston S. Daigler, 17, was sentenced by Judge Robert C. Noonan to two years in state prison and three years of post-release supervision in Genesee County Court today.

Judge Noonan denied Daigler youthful offender status for his guilty plea to first-degree robbery. As a result, Daigler received prison time instead of probation.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, argued in court that Daigler had stated in phone calls with his mother while he was incarcerated that he wouldn’t complete probation and would run away when he got out of jail.

Emily Fusco, representing Daigler, said that he didn’t mean what he had stated in the phone calls. Daigler made a statement addressing the phone calls as well.

“I said some things I didn’t mean, your honor,” Daigler said. “I was scared and freaking out.”

Based on the seriousness of the case, Judge Noonan didn’t consider the crime to be a youthful offense.

Daigler and Tyshon L. Taylor, 18, hit the victim in the head with a gun, punched the victim and stole property. The incident happened in March at a residence on Central Avenue, Batavia.

Taylor was sentenced last week to three years in prison and three years of post-release supervision.

July 14, 2015 - 5:54pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, batavia, Le Roy, Darien.

Lamar A. McCain, 44, and Horatio Coleman, 61, both of Oak Street, Batavia, are charged with petit larceny and criminal impersonation, 2nd. McCain and Coleman allegedly stole $65 worth of merchandise from Kmart in Batavia. Following an investigation, Deputy Chad Cummings found they allegedly gave false identification to law enforcement while being questioned. McCain and Coleman were jailed on $2,000 bail.

Tanisha N. Gibson, 30, of Brooksville, Florida, was arrested on a grand larceny warrant for an incident that allegedly occurred while Gibson was employed at Walmart in Batavia in January 2014. Gibson was arrested in Florida and extradited to New York jailed on $10,000 bail. No further details released.

Richard M. Schiersing, 39, of Sandhill Road, Caledonia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, DWI drugs, moving from a lane unsafely and operating a motor vehicle with an obstructed view. The charges result from a traffic stop on Main Street in Batavia by Officer Kevin DeFelice. Schiersing was jailed without bail.

Robert L. Carney, 23, of Maurice Street, Buffalo, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. Carney is accused of damaging a door in the emergency room at United Memorial Medical Center. He jailed on $1,000 bail.

A 16-year-old male from Batavia is charged with petit larceny, identity theft, 2nd, and unlawful possession of personal identification information, 3rd. The youth allegedly possessed debit card information belonging to another person and used that information to purchase several items.

Tyler D. Price, 22, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Price allegedly violated the terms of a Genesee County Family Court order of protection by being at the residence of the protected party. The incident happened on Liberty Street in Batavia.

Scott R. Kantra, 47, of Cheektowaga, is charged with aggravated DWI and DWI following an erratic operation complaint at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. Kantra allegedly was in operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Jason Stout, 28, and Bailey J. Heinzerling, 25, both of Rochester, are charged with petit larceny for allegedly stealing video game accessories at Target in Batavia. Stout allegedly stole approximately $165 and Heinzerling stole approximately $230 worth of merchandise. Stout  was jailed on$500 bail. Heinzerling was released on her own recognizances.

Rondell J. Watson, 33, and Joy S. Robinson, 23, both from Rochester are charged with petit larceny and conspiracy, 6th, following an incident at Kohls in Batavia. Watson and Robinson are accused of conspiring together to steal two pairs of khaki pants from the store. Upon arrest, Watson allegedly became verbally abusive and was yelling obscenities in the parking lot. Robinson was also arrested for petit larceny for allegedly stealing several shirts from Marshalls in Batavia prior to the other larceny. They posted bail of $250 each.

Harry T. Gibson, 50, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Gibson is accused of stealing an exhaust manifold from a business in Batavia and then scrapping it for money.

Joseph H. Schenk, 23, with no permanent address, is charged with petit larceny. Schenk is accused of stealing coins from an acquaintance. The incident happened on Mill Street in Le Roy. He jailed on $250 bail.

Timothy J. Wood, 26, City of Batavia, and Christopher D. Bisig 29, Town of Batavia, were charged with petit larceny. Wood and Bisig allegedly were allegedly caught stealing earrings from Kmart by placing them in their pockets and passing all points of sale.

Crystal A. Mounts, 38, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and trespass. Mounts allegedly stole a pair of sandals and a plastic container of earthworms at Walmart in Batavia. After an investigation, state troopers determined she had been banned from the store due to a previous incident.

July 13, 2015 - 7:43pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, batavia, Stafford.

Janet Knauss, 50, pled guilty to falsifying business records while working at Target in Batavia.

Knauss is subject to five years probation and up to six months in Genesee County Jail. She was represented by Attorney Jerry Ader in Genesee County Court today.

She allegedly entered false discounts, voided transactions and bagged items that were not scanned so they could be stolen while working as a cashier at the store.

An order of protection was also filed. Her sentencing date is Oct. 13.

July 13, 2015 - 7:42pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, Le Roy.

Benjamin Lindke, 41, and his wife, Molly Lindke, 41, pled guilty to offering a false instrument for filing. 

Each faces up to five years probation and six months in the Genesee County Jail.

In March 2013, the couple knowingly provided Social Services with a written statement containing false information. Benjamin failed to report his income on several forms. They are accused of receiving approximately $6,000 in food stamps they weren't ineligible to receive.

They will be sentenced Sept. 10.

July 13, 2015 - 7:41pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, Bethany.

A Bethany resident who allegedly caused a brain injury to a toddler appeared in Genesee County Court for his plea cutoff today.

Anthony P. Dibble, 25, did not enter a guilty plea to reckless assault of a child, a Class D felony. According to Assistant District Attorney Will Zickl, the plea could have reduced his prison sentence from seven years to four-and-a-half years.

The pending plea deal expired today at 9:30 a.m. and there will no longer be the opportunity for a deal. The case now goes to trial. 

Dibble is accused of causing serious brain injury to a child less than 5 years old by shaking or slamming the child's head on a hard surface or object during an overnight visit in August 2014. He drove the child to United Memorial Medical Center and then the child was flown by Mercy Flight to Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo to undergo surgery. Dibble is the child's biological father but the child doesn't live with him.

The trial date is scheduled for Sept. 28.

July 13, 2015 - 7:40pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, Alabama, Bethany, batavia.

Storm U. Lang, 18, entered a guilty plea to two counts of first-degree child sex abuse, and one count of second-degree child sex abuse in Genesee County Court today.

Lang faces up to four years in prison and 10 years of released supervision. He is currently being supervised by Genesee Justice.

Lang allegedly was sexually involved with three different victims on separate occasions when he was 17 years old. He is accused of subjecting a 7-year-old to sexual contact in the Town of Alabama in October. In November, he also allegedly subjected a 12-year-old child to sexual contact in the Town of Alabama and a 5-year-old child to sexual contact in the Town of Bethany.

Orders of protection for the victims were filed today. His sentencing date is Sept. 9.

July 13, 2015 - 4:45pm
posted by Traci Turner in crime, Le Roy, Darien, bergen, Bethany.

Tyler J. Goodenough, 21, of West Filbert Street, East Rochester, is charged with aggravated DWI following a two-car accident in the parking lot of Darien Lake Theme Park.

Robert C. Hayes, 25, of Warsaw Road, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, and unlawful possession of marijuana, plus he is cited for having an obstructed driver's view. Hayes was pulled over on Clay Street in Le Roy for allegedly having his driver view obstructed when police found him to be in possession of marijuana and an edged weapon.

Gena M. Naugle, 41, of South Lake Avenue, Bergen, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment, 2nd. Naugle allegedly threw a dinner plate at a juvenile causing glass shards to strike the juvenile. 

A 17-year-old male from Medina is charged with harassment, 2nd. The youth allegedly punched a male acquaintance several times at a residence in Bethany.

July 13, 2015 - 2:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, Darien.

A 30-year-old Buffalo resident was hospitalized Sunday night after an assault following the Toby Keith concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. Police have not released the victim's name.

According to Genesee County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble, there was a confrontation between the victim and another individual in the parking lot prior to concert. Later, inside the venue, a physical altercation occurred between the two parties. Then around 10:30 p.m., a third confrontation took place in the parking lot and the victim reported being beaten by several individuals.

This resulted in the victim being flown by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center, primarily because of possible head injuries. The victim was released today.

Law enforcement sources said the assault was initially reported as a person injured due to falling from a pickup truck. But investigation revealed the person allegedly punched someone in the concert venue and later that person and the person's friends found the Buffalo resident and allegedly assaulted him.

Investigators are working to identify the suspects and gather evidence. No names or additional details are being released at this time. 

July 13, 2015 - 8:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake performing arts center, Darien, crime.

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Def Leppard/Styx concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Sunday:

Renno J. Rushton, 23, of Chili Avenue, Rochester, is charged with criminal mischie, 4th, criminal trespass, 3rd, harassment, 2nd, and disorderly conduct after allegedly refusing to leave Darien Lake property after being told to leave several times. Rushton allegedly attempted to grab a security officer, created a disturbance in the park parking lot, and also damaged a wall inside the security office. Rushton was arraigned in Darien Court and jailed on $500 bail.

Erika L. Schmid, 23, of Chili Avenue, Rochester, is charged with disorderly conduct and harassment, 2nd, after allegedly creating a disturbance in the parking lot and pushing a security officer.

Krystie M. Martinez, 30, of Geneva Street, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Jason J. Tombari, 37, of Oak Orchard Road, Medina, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Kevin G. Bent, 31, of Carol Place, The Bronx, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly entering the park property after being escorted from the property and told not to return.

July 12, 2015 - 11:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake performing arts center, Darien, crime.

The following people were arrested while at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center during the Toby Keith concert on Saturday.  

Nicholas D. Winkley, 20, of Windspear Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with false personation after allegedly providing a false date of birth.

Nathan D. Cammarano, 25, of Broadway Road, Lancaster, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly entering the concert venue after being told he was not allowed inside.

James T. Deluca, 22, of Broadway Road, Lancaster, is charged with trespass after allegedly attempting to reenter the concert venue several times after being ejected and told not to return.

Tyler J. Goodenough, 21, of West Filbert Street, East Rochester, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance while being ejected from the concert.

Alexander J. Rajla, 21, of Bobrich Drive, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly possessing marijuana.

July 10, 2015 - 2:49pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, crime.

Kerri L. Forsberg, 43, of Alexander Road, Attica, is charged with attempted assault, 2nd, and obstructing emergency medical services following an incident at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia. Forsberg, who was admitted as a patient, allegedly attempted to bite a nurse and punched the nurse in the stomach several times. She was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Jeffrey M. Currier, 33, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt of court, 1st, criminal trespassing, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. Currier allegedly violated an order of protection in place from the Town of Alabama Court. He is accused of calling and physically confronting the protected female. He was held on $50,000 bail.

Jamie L. Soto, 40, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, was arrested for a parole violation. Soto allegedly was in violation of terms regarding a supervised release by New York State Parole. The Genesee County Sheriff's Office assisted with the arrest. She was jailed.

Jacqueline A. Thompson, 46, of Naramore Drive, Batavia, is charged with allowing her dogs to habitually bark. According to Thompson's neighbor, she allegedly let her pair of German shepherds bark continually and habitually for 45 minutes. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Harry T. Gibson, 51, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, was arrested on an outstanding warrant issued by Batavia City Court for violation of probation while at the court for another matter. Gibson was held on $5,000 bail.

James E. Wroten, 48, and Eugene L. Sumeriski, 35, both of Olyn Avenue, Batavia, are charged with petit larceny and conspiracy, 6th. Wroten and Sumeriski allegedly stole an 18-pack of Keystone Ice from Hess Express in Batavia.

James C. Hardy, 41, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and menacing, 3rd, following an incident at his resident. Hardy allegedly damaged property and raised his hand in an attempt to strike the victim.

Kurt. W. Hersee, 47, of Prospect Avenue, Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd, following an incident at City Slickers Bar & Grill. Hersee allegedly punched another patron at the location. 

Michael J. Lathan, 29, of Briarwood Terrace, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd, following a complaint that happened in the Town of Batavia on June 24. Lathan allegedly smashed the exterior door to a residence with a hammer, causing more than $400 in damage.

Charles L. Smith, 41, of Richmond Avenue, Batavia, is charged with bail jumping. Smith is accused of failing to reappear in court after a case in the Fall of 2014.

Courtney M. Digennaro, 21, of Lewiston Road, Basom, turned herself into Batavia Police for two arrest warrants for parking tickets from 2013. Digennaro was released after posting $100 bail.

July 9, 2015 - 4:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Flakka, crime, batavia, synthetic drugs.


While incidents involving apparent synthetic-drug use in Genesee County have dropped dramatically since the closure of the 420 Emporium, on Ellicott Street, in July 2012, the use of drugs created in clandestine overseas labs to mimic more common street narcotics is still an issue locally, according to officials.

A federal agent revealed in a press briefing in Buffalo today that there are "a couple" of ongoing investigations in Genesee County into the sale and distribution of Flakka (aka Alpha-PVP).

"The investigations involve Genesee County people," said Special Agent Brad Brechler, with Homland Security, but he offered no further details.

Brechler and Special Agent Frank Zabawa conducted a briefing for a few members of WNY media in Buffalo today to discuss what they're seeing in the region regarding synthetic drugs and how federal authorities are responding.

The issue is much bigger in Buffalo and Niagara County than it is in Batavia, a point seemingly underscored by Brechler when pointing out that the first arrest in WNY for the sale and transportation of Alpha-PVP was in Genesee County in January 2013, but in that case the two suspects were from the Steuben and Niagara counties, not Batavia, and there was no suspicion in that case of the drugs being sold locally. Batavia was just a convenient meeting place for dealer and distributor, Brechler said.

Greg Walker, head of the Local Drug Task Force, said in a separate interview today that the task force has not been involved in the current federal investigation into the local sale of Alpha PVP, but he said there have been recent indications of synthetic drugs in and around Batavia, such as deputies coming across subjects with medical conditions that suggested chemical injection of some type or subjects behaving strangely.

It's not been common or widespread by any means, Walker said.

Flakka is described in media reports as a potent hallucinogen that officials consider addictive and dangerous.

The primary country of origin appears to be China, the agents said, and that's a trade the Chinese government is doing little to stem.

"The Chinese say one of their main industries is researching chemicals for the world," Brechler said. "Until a drug is illegal in their country, they're not interested in doing anything about it."

The drug is easily obtainable over the Internet. Often, the Chinese drug manufacturers will provide U.S. dealers with Web sites, and when federal authorities seize a drug-trade Web site, the Chinese companies will have a new Web site with a new domain name set up for the same dealer in a matter of days.

Online ordering, however, does not necessarily translate into widespread sales to users.

Most online sales go to distributors.  

Users tend to be cautious about getting purchases traced back to them and most distributors require a minimum order of 25 grams, Brechler said. 

That would cost from $300 to $350, a steep price for an addict.

Those 25 grams have tremendous street value, however. A gram typically sells for $80 to $120, making 25 grams worth at least $2,000.

"The drug is so addictive, you will see people hosting house parties and just giving it away," Brechler said.

Dealers also convince their buyers that it takes a special connection in China to get the drugs.

"Some users don't realize how easy it is to get," Brechler said.

Flakka is now a controlled substance, but that doesn't make it any easier to detect when it's coming into the country. The favored port of entry is the JFK Airport because JFK deals with the highest volume of overseas mail. It's easier to slip a package through just because of the massive amount of mail officials must sort through.

Drug-sniffing dogs won't detect it and the package sizes tend to be small.

As part of an investigation, agents purchased a supply of synthetic drugs from a Chinese company and it arrived with four large pills inside. Three pills were benign chemicals and one contained the drugs, but agents e-mailed the distributor to ask which pill was their order.

"Your drugs are in the blue pill," was the reply.

"The Chinese are open about it in their e-mails," Brechler said. "Some of the more sophisticated dealers in the U.S. use coded communications, but they don't always use code and talk about it openly because of the gray area legally of drug analogs."

Synthetic drugs are illegal either because they've been identified as controlled substances, or their chemical make up is clearly intended to mimic a controlled substance. Those are known as analogs and are governed by another set of laws.

Because synthetic drugs are changing constantly and are easy to distribute and hard to detect, one of the most important responses to the drug isn't enforcement, the agents said, it's education.

Homeland Security provides bar owners, schools and concert venues information on how to recognize a possible overdose on a synthetic drug and how to provide immediate treatment until medical professionals arrive.

There was no indication from the agents when and if arrests will be made in connection with the local investigations.

Top Photo: the agents hold recently seized drugs. Bottom photo, an agent demonstrates a device that can detect synthetic drugs. It uses a laser that can detect the chemical makeup of a substance inside a bag so the agents do not need to open the bag and risk their health and safety. The device can only identify a substance already in the federal database of chemical compounds that are controlled substances or analogs, otherwise, the device reports an "inconclusive" test.


July 7, 2015 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, corfu.

A Rochester-area man who authorities have identified as a member of the Hell's Angels and whose criminal activity gives him ties to Genesee County entered a guilty plea in Federal District Court yesterday to being an accessory after the fact to an assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering.

Timothy M. Stone, 35, of Gates, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $125,000 fine.

Stone first made news locally as part of a five-man operation caught by deputies allegedly stealing scrap metal from Ed Arnold Scrap Processors in Corfu.

He is identified by authorities as an associate of James Henry McAuley Jr. (aka "Mitch"), reputedly a Hell's Angels leader. McAuley was reportedly married to Donna L. Boon (aka Donna L. McAuley). Boon, of Batavia, was originally identified as a suspect in a meth ring headed by Donald G. Vanelli, reportedly a one-time president of the Road Agents Motorcycle Club. Vanelli is currently in federal prison as a result of his arrest in a joint FBI and Local Drug Task Force investigation into the meth trade in and around Batavia in July 2009.

Stone's guilty plea stems from his participation in an assault at Spenders Bar, in Rochester, on May 31, 2006. A patron was assaulted with a baseball bat. Federal authorities say Stone was aware that Spenders had video surveillance equipment and that the assault was recorded and stored on a computer. In the early morning hours of June 2, 20016, Stone forcibly removed the hard drive and took it from the bar. He later destroyed the hard drive and baseball bat in order to hinder the police investigation. 

In all, 10 members of the Hell's Angels were indicted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for WNY. Members and associates were charged with a variety of crimes, including drug trafficking, racketeering and accessory offenses. To date, two other defendants – Richard E. Riedman and Paul Griffin – have been convicted of narcotics conspiracy charges. McAuley, Robert W. Moran Jr., and Gina Tata have charges pending stemming from the alleged assault at Spenders Bar.

Prosecution of the scrap metal heist was handled by federal authorities and the defendants were convicted.

July 6, 2015 - 6:12pm

Crime totals for Genesee County have been slowly increasing over the past four years according to reports from the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services.

The total number of property crimes in the county have increased from 1,358 cases in 2013 to 1,397 cases in 2014. Many of the property crimes committed in the county are driven by drugs according to officials.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman has seen a large percentage of larceny and burglary cases related to drug use.

"The one that is becoming most problematic in recent times is heroin," Friedman said. "We are certainly seeing a resurgence in the use of it. To a large extent, heroin disappeared from our view for years but now it's back." 

Sgt. Greg Walker of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office said heroin is popular in the county because it is easy to obtain and inexpensive. Walker leads the drug task force and works with the community to get tips on illegal drug activity. The drug hotline receives tips from residents every day. The Batavia Police Department, Village of Le Roy Police Department and Genesee County District Attorney's office are involved with the drug task force as well.

Walker said tackling drug abuse involves the combination of law enforcement, the courts and drug rehabilitation centers. He said law enforcement needs to crack down on selling, the courts have to issue appropriate penalties, and people suffering with addiction have to want to seek treatment.

In addition to the drug problem, another factor contributing to property crimes specifically larceny is people failing to lock their vehicles.

"In our case what we're seeing are larcenies from unlocked vehicles," Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said. "That has been a big increase in the last year or so. Whether it's change or GPS devices or other personal property, it should not be left in an unlocked vehicle."

The total amount of violent crime in the county has remained steady for most local law enforcement agencies. 

The Batavia Police Department has seen a small increase in the number of reported violent crimes. The number of aggravated assault crimes increased from 37 cases in 2013 to 42 cases in 2014.

According to Heubusch, the increase in the number of aggravated assault crimes is due to additional effort to prosecute the perpetrators. The police department works closely with victim advocate agencies so the abuse can be reported.

The YWCA is one of the organizations that works with law enforcement to advocate for victims. The organization refers victims to police and assists with filing orders of protection. They also help victims by providing housing, personal care products and referrals for other services they may need. 

According to Jeanne Walton, executive director of the YWCA, the organization's domestic violence hotline has received 415 calls since Jan. 1. Walton said the number of calls has increased from previous years.

For crime in surrounding counties, the number of violent and property crimes in Orleans County and Wyoming County have steadily decreased over the past four years. 

To view annual crime reports by the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services, click here.




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