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July 13, 2016 - 12:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu, news.

A 2006 Honda Civic, color gray, reportedly hit a utility pole in the Village of Corfu and then fled the scene.

Deputies are responding.

July 12, 2016 - 1:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, Stafford, byron, Pavilion.

Three young men were arrested late last night after Sheriff's deputies investigated a traffic offense complaint in which a person allegedly fired a 20-gauge shotgun in the direction of a vehicle that was following the vehicle that the alleged shooter was riding in. The incident occurred at 11:35 p.m. July 11 at an unspecified location in the Town of Stafford.

Michael T. Leubner, 18, of Linwood Avenue, Pavilion, is accused of firing the shotgun and he is charged with first degree reckless endangerment. He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and jailed in lieu of $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond. Leubner is due in Town of Stafford Court at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 14.

Austin J. Yockel, 19, of Byron Holley Road, Byron, is charged with reckless driving, a misdemeanor. Yockel was issued a traffic summons for allegedly driving a motor vehicle which unreasonably endangered users of the public highway while following the vehicle occupied by Leubner and others. Yockel is due in Town of Stafford Court at a later date to answer the charge.

Jason A. Armstrong Jr., 19, of Sweetland Road, Stafford, who was also a passenger in the vehicle Leubner was riding in, was allegedly found in possession of marijuana (a violation). He was issued an appearance ticket for City of Batavia Court at a later date. 

The case was investigated by Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Young, assisted by: Investigator Joseph Graff, Sgt. John Baiocco, Deputy Eric Meyer, Batavia PD and NYS Police.

July 10, 2016 - 7:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake performing arts center, Darien, darien lake, crime, news.

The following person was arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Journey concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Saturday.

Anthony M. Stanton, 38, of Hayden Street, Buffalo, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

July 9, 2016 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake, darien lake performing arts center, Darien, crime, news.

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Brantley Gilbert concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Friday

Timothy S. Jankowiak, 36, of Chestnut Street, Franklinville, is charged with third-degree assault after allegedly striking another person and fracturing that person’s nose.

Justin P. Schmid, 19, of Fletcher Road, Akron, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

Jacob W. Grier, 18, of Chestnut Street, Medina, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

Jamison A. Mandile, 30, of West Elm Street, East Rochester, is charged with second-degree harassment after allegedly punching a security officer in the face with a closed fist.

Jordan M. Bucci, 20, of County Route 26, Parish, is charged with is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of marijuana.

A 17-year-old, of Derby Road, Derby, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Justine Daniels, 24, of McKinstry Street, Albion, is charged with third-degree assault after allegedly striking another person and causing loss of consciousness.

Evan D. Magierski, 26, of Prospect Street, Forrestville, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

James E. Mussaw Jr., 31, of State Road, Webster, is charged with third-degree criminal trespass after allegedly entering the back stage area and then entering the stage.

July 7, 2016 - 4:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, State Police, homeland security.

tops_hamburg.jpg

mug_eduardohernandezcc.jpg
    Eduardo Quinones
joseluisvaldiviaquinones.jpg
    Jose Quinones
misealtoldeorioscc.jpg
    Misael Rios
yassercarrillochartrand.jpg
    Yasser Chartrand
claudiadiazdiazcc.jpg
    Claudia Diaz
yailysanturiocc.jpg
    Yaily Santurio
fernandopizarroalonsocc.jpg
    Fernando Pizarro
humbertomrochecc.jpg
    Humberto Roche

In January 2015, state and federal law enforcement raided a house at 3618 Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road, Batavia, and by appearances, it looked like a bust on a marijuana growing operation.

Agents at the scene that day declined to share information and a spokesperson for Homeland Security said that the fact that there were sealed indictments in the case prevented her from providing even a general overview of what investigators hoped to uncover.

It turns out, state and federal investigators weren't looking for marijuana -- though they had a pretty good idea they would find a pot-growing operation -- they were looking for evidence in a massive credit card fraud ring involving a group of Cuban nationals from Tampa, Fla., who set up shop in Batavia and Lockport.

Six of the seven defendants associated with the house have now entered guilty pleas in U.S. District Court, so we now have access to much of the details associated with the investigation that lasted for six months, starting in the fall of 2014.

There were two more people arrested and charged in Onondaga County who weren't charged federally.

It was likely a much larger operation, according to available information, but investigators concentrated their efforts on the individuals tied to the best, most solid evidence, said Ron Wilson, an investigator with the State Police in Batavia.

As many as 20 or 25 individuals could have been involved at various times during the criminal enterprise and the people arrested by federal authorities may not have been even the highest ranking in the organization, but according to the evidence uncovered, hundreds of people in Western New York were victims of credit card fraud at a price tag in the $1 million range.

It took several investigators, including Wilson, Investigator John DiPasquale with NYSP Lockport, Sean Needham with Homeland Security, and John Ferris with the U.S. Secret Service, six months to build the case against the individuals eventually arrested on federal charges. Early on Pat Welch with East Aurora PD brought another case to Wilson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito Jr. prosecuted the case.

Wilson said he and DiPasquale dedicated as much as 50 hours a week on the case for six months, and Ferris and Needham also put in hundreds and hundreds of hours into the investigation.

It all started with a complaint routed to a trooper from a resident in Oakfield who had his debit card with him, but it had been used to make a purchase at a Tops Market in Hamburg.

The case made its way to Wilson and he secured a surveillance video that showed two subjects working together.

Wilson used law enforcement communication channels looking for help within the region (sharing the photo, among others, at the top of the story), but no IDs were forthcoming, so he published the photo on CrimeStoppers. Needham saw that post and called Wilson.

"I think I can identify one of your guys," he said.

Misael Toledo Rios was picked up for questioning, but Wilson quickly realized that Rios wasn't the man in the Tops video, but Rios, who had a prior record related to credit card fraud made some admissions that put him on the radar of investigators.

About this time, a Town of Batavia employee reported he was victimized as well, with his Discover card number being used for thousands of dollars of charges at chain retailers in Erie County, including the purchase of a full set of weight-lifting equipment from Dick's Sporting Goods later located in the Batavia house.

Meanwhile, Welch called Wilson and said he had a similar case he was handling and that the subjects in the Hamburg video matched a video he had that related to a fraudulent transaction in East Aurora.

Then DiPasquale called Wilson and said that Cornerstone Bank had just turned over information on 200 bank customers who had been victimized by credit-card cloning.

"At that point, we knew we had the same kind of investigation, but we didn’t know we had the same individuals," Wilson said.

The men decided to work together to find the criminals.

They started assembling the jigsaw puzzle.

The suspects, particularly the man in that first Hamburg Tops video, provided a stream of cued-up clues, showing up frequently on the cameras of Big Box stores and, once investigators could connect names with faces, in their own social media posts wearing the same outfits, sunglasses and rings that were clearly visible on them in surveillance videos. This match of fraudulent transactions and social media posts helped investigators link locations, purchases, times and dates.

For example, one of the women arrested usually posted from Tampa, Fla., where she apparently lives with her two children, but on the day of at least one fraudulent purchase, she posted a picture of herself with a geo-location of Oakfield, NY. There's also a picture of her where the Walmart in Batavia is obviously identifiable in the background.

"The investigation was arduous, to say the least," Wilson said. "Every day was something new with them."

The primary suspects were working out of the house in Batavia and a house in Lockport. In order to get a search warrant, investigators needed rock-solid evidence of potential crimes. It couldn't be just a hunch.

Wilson started collecting garbage from the Batavia residence, which is how he came to realize there was obviously a marijuana growing operation going on there.

Much of the case was built before the search. Ippolito wanted a solid case to prosecute. Crime scene photos had to show faces clearly, clothing had to match, times and locations had to match, so the investigators had to cross-reference every shred of evidence and only use the receipts, photos and social media postings that wrapped up each accusation in a tight bow.

That's why the final criminal charges covered only a bit less than $100,000 in fraudulent transactions, even though in the time frame of the credit-card cloning operation, the suspects probably conducted transactions worth as much as $1 million.

That's also why there was neither a state nor federal charge for the marijuana growing operation. Too many people had access to the house in Batavia that there simply wasn't enough evidence to tie any one or two people specifically to cultivating pot.

As investigators were moving in, the suspects started moving further afield, with transactions popping up further and further east.

Wilson said he was getting nervous that the suspects were getting ready to wrap up operations in WNY and head back to Florida.

Then, they got caught.

Police in DeWitt, which is in Onondaga County, received a complaint from a store of a fraudulent credit card transaction and the suspects were still in the store.

Two subjects were picked up and questioned. It became clear to investigators that there were other individuals involved. They figured out what hotel they were staying at and what vans they were driving. The District Attorney got involved. Search warrants were obtained.

What investigators found were hundreds of credit card blanks, the hardware and software to make credit cards and evidence of prior purchases.

All six were arrested and charged in Onondaga County and the evidence obtained by investigators there helped seal the deal on search warrants for Batavia and Lockport.

"They did an amazing job in DeWitt," Wilson said.

While the U.S. District Attorney's Office has released information in the federal indictments and guilty pleas in the case, the scope of the case and its ties to Batavia, Lockport and DeWitt were not discussed openly pending convictions of five of the suspects.

Investigators believe members of the ring acquired the card numbers through two common methods: placing a scanner over the top of a card reader on a gas pump, allowing the card numbers and information to be read and stored in memory for later collection, and by purchasing numbers from hacker websites (often referred to as the "dark web").

As part of the surveillance during the investigation, one member of the group was observed placing a reader on a pump at a gas station in Oakfield. A week later, he retrieved it.

The dark websites allow credit-card cloners to search for high-limit cards within a certain geographic location. For the Cuban ring operating in Western New York, a card belonging to a resident in Oakfield or Batavia, for example, wouldn't raise suspicions for the bank or credit card company if used in Rochester or Buffalo, where a card issued to a resident in Nevada or California might. This would allow the scammers to get more use out of the card before it was shut off.

The ring members purchased merchandise, such as sunglasses, clothing and jewelry and gift cards and gasoline for later resale.

One member of the ring owned a Ford F-250 pickup with a plastic fuel tank that could hold 300 to 400 gallons of gas in the bed that had a hose and pump nozzle attached. At the time, gas was selling for about $4 per gallon, so a member of the ring would fill up the plastic tank and sell the gas for $2 or $2.50 a gallon, and since the initial purchase was with a stolen credit card, the proceeds were pure profit.

A seventh suspect is in custody and awaiting extradition from Costa Rica.

Below are the names and information on the people identified in the cases:

  • Jose Valdivia Quinones, 41, Cuban National from Tampa, convicted of bank fraud, was sentenced to 10 months in prison and required to pay $1,642.51 in restitution. He was known to investigators as "JVQ" and was one of the men captured in the surveillance video at Tops in Hamburg. He as also among the six indicted in Onondaga County (Town of DeWitt).
  • Eduardo Hernandez Quinones (Hernandez), 46, Cuban National and former resident of Miami, was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to 31 months in prison. He was ordered to pay $13,785.29 in restitution. He was also arrested in DeWitt.
  • Misael Toledo Rios, 46, a Cuban National and former resident of Miami, was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to 31 months in prison. He was ordered to pay $13,785.29 in restitution.
  • Yasser Carrillo Chartrand, 24, a Cuban National, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in U.S. District Court. He's scheduled to be sentenced in September. He was also arrested in DeWitt.
  • Claudia Diaz Diaz, 22, a Cuban National, was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and sentenced to time served and three years probation. Diaz was convicted of using the credit cards (79 different accounts), but not tied to the operation to obtain numbers and make cards. She was also among the six arrested in DeWitt.
  • Yaily Santurio Milian, 32, Cuban National, was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. She was scheduled to be sentenced in May, but we don't have information on her sentencing. She was also arrested in DeWitt.
  • Fernando Pizarro, 38, of Miami Gardens, Fla., and Humberto Roche, who is homeless, were also arrested in DeWitt, but not charged federally.

yally_fb.jpg

bluejacket_cubencards.jpg

These two photos show one of the suspects wearing the same blue jacket in social media posts that she was seen wearing at a time and place where she used a cloned credit card.

File photo: An officer removing a marijuana plant from the house at 3618 Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road, Batavia, which served as a base of operation for members of the credit card cloning ring operating in Western New York.

July 7, 2016 - 2:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia.

Mary Frances Cronin, 20, of Sheppard Road, Scottsburg, is charged with false written statement. She was arrested for making a punishment false written statement at 4:30 p.m. on July 2. At that time, she provided a signed supporting deposition at the Genesee County Sheriff's Office on Park Road in Batavia, which allegedly contained several "non-truths" in relation to an investigation into an alleged sexual assault. Cronin was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in Batavia Town Court on July 25. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Chad Minuto.

July 6, 2016 - 2:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Grand Jury, batavia.

Patrick D. Neaverth is indicted for the crime of second-degree burglary, a Class C violent felony. On March 13, he allegedly knowlingly entered or remained unlawfully in a dwelling on Kingsbury Avenue in the City of Batavia with the intent to commit a crime. In count two, he is accused of third degree criminal mischief, a Class E felony, for intending to damage the property of another person and without having any right to do so allegedly damaged property, in this case a glass window to the front door of a residence, and the amount of damage exceeds $250. In count three, the defendant is accused of first degree criminal contempt, a Class E felony, for allegedly violating a duly served order of protection by intentionally or recklessly damaging the property of a protected person in an amount exceeding $250.

Triton A. Drock is indicted for the crime of failure to report a change of address within 10 days as required of a registered sex offender, a Class E felony. The convicted sex offender moved to 20 Buell St. in the City of Batavia then allegedly failed to register his new address with the state Dvision of Criminal Justice within the required 10 calendar days.

July 6, 2016 - 2:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Darien.

Veronica Leigh Tangle, 16, of 75th Street, Niagara Falls, is charged with second-degree attempted assault on a police officer, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. At 8:30 p.m. on July 4, law enforcement officers investigated a counterfeiting complaint at Darien Lake Theme Park. Veronica was arrested for allegedly attempting to head butt a police officer, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental justice. She was arraigned in Darien Town Court and jailed without bail. She was due back in court July 5. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Rachel Diehl, assisted by Deputy Brian Thompson.

Toni M. Morrison, 19, of Brockport, and three 17-year-old juveniles were arrested by State Troopers on July 2 for trespass after they were found on private property in Pembroke. They were issued appearance tickets returnable to the Town of Pembroke Court on July 7.

Mark A. Gordon, 24, of Buffalo, was arrested by State Troopers on July 3 and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after he was located parked on the roadway in the southbound lane on Westbrook Road. A multicolored smoking device with marijuana residue was allegedly observed on the floor in the back seat and the odor of marijuana emanated from the vehicle. Approximately one gram of marijuana was allegedly located in a container. Gordon was issued an appearance ticket, traffic tickets for unlicensed operator and stopping/parking on a highway returnable to the Town of Stafford Court on July 28.

July 5, 2016 - 3:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia.

Rodney A. Barber, 40, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor, and second degree criminal nuisance, a Class B misdemeanor.

Barber was arrested Friday morning after members of the Genesee County Drug Task Force, along with Sheriff's deputies, Batavia Police officers and the Sheriff's K-9 "Destro" executed a search warrant on South Main Street. He was issued an appearance ticket. The investigation is continuing and further charges may be pending.

The task force is comprised of officers from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Batavia Police NET officers, and the Le Roy Village Police Department.

Barber's arrest is the result of the task force's investigation into the sale and possession of cocaine in and around the Batavia area.

July 5, 2016 - 3:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Alabama, Oakfield, alexander.

Travail L. Madison, pictured left, 24, of Merlin Street, Rochester, is charged with first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and unlicensed operator. At 8:10 a.m. on June 30, Madison was operating a motor vehicle on Ellicott Street without a driver's license. A subsequent computer check revealed that his driving privilege has allegedly been suspended 19 times on 10 different dates. He was jailed without bail. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Frank Klimjack, assisted by Officer Daniel Coffey.

Calvin L. Mosher, 38, of Maple Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs; speeding (53 mph in 40-mph zone); unsafe start; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Mosher was stopped at 12:30 p.m. on Alleghany Road in Alabama for vehicle and traffic violations. The defendant was subsequently found to be operating a vehicle while his ability to do so was allegedly impaired by suspected illicit drugs. Mosher was allegedly found in possession of a small quantity of suspected LSD and marijuana. He was issued traffic summons and appearance tickets and directed to be in Town of Alabama Court on July 9. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Patrick Reeves, assisted by Deputy Ryan Young.

Nicholas D. Martino, 35, of Main Street, Alexander, is charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operator. He was arrested at 6:12 p.m. on Bank Street in Batavia following a traffic stop. He was allegedly driving a silver van while his driver's license was suspended. He was jailed in lieu of $2,500 cash or bond and was due in court on June 30. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Christopher Camp. 

Eric Richard McWethy, 20, Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, and having only one plate displayed on his vehicle, which was obstructed. He was arrested at 7:40 p.m. July 1 on Main Street, in Oakfield, after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana following a traffic stop. He was stopped for allegedly failing to display a properly affixed rear axle plate to the vehicle he was operating. He was released on appearance tickets returnable to Town of Oakfield Court on July 25. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lute.

July 4, 2016 - 10:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake, darien lake performing arts center, crime, news.

The following people were arrested during the Zac Brown Band Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Sunday.

A 16-year-old of Medalist Lane, Canandaigua, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly entering the concert venue without permission. 

Ryan J. Styless, 21, of Spring Street, Randolf, is charged with two counts of trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue twice after being ejected and told not to return. Styless was arraigned in Darien Court and released on $200 bail.

Patrick J. Ciarla, 19, of Rolling Hills, Camillus, is charged with petit larceny after allegedly stealing a bottle of liquor from a vending stand.

Joseph S. Martinez, 25, of East Main Street, Faulkner, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly entering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Joseph C. Weisbeck, 23, of Wallace Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with trespass after returning to the venue after being told not to return.

Sean T. Conner, 20, of Red Cedar Drive, Rochester, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly shoving a deputy while at the concert venue.

June 30, 2016 - 3:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia.

Marlek E. Holmes, 42, of Niagara Street, Buffalo, is charged with: intimidating a victim or witness by instilling fear of physical injury; second-degree criminal contempt; and second-degree harassment -- threatening physical contact. Holmes was arrested at 10:10 a.m. on June 23 following a disruption during a court proceding in Genesee County Family Court wherein he allegedly threatened his ex-wife with physical harm. He was jailed and was to appear in Batavia City Court June 28. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence.

Chad N. Gibson, 26, of East Lee Road, Albion, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; aggravated DWI per se -- a BAC of .18 percent or more; moving from lane unsafely; leaving the scene of a personal injury accident; and driving left of pavement markings. Gibson allegedly struck another vehicle while operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated at 12:27 a.m. on June 25. He then allegedly left the scene. He was subsequently arrested and jailed on $1,000 bail and was due in City Court June 27. The case was handled by Matthew Wojtaszczyk, assisted by Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Thomas T. Bennett, 51, of Ellsworth Avenue, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree harassment. At 6:12 p.m. on June 27, Bennett was arrested after an incident in which he allegedly grabbed a female's arm, took a phone out of her hand and then broke it in half. He was jailed on $1,000 bail and was due in City Court on June 28. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Jason Ivison.

Katelynn M. Higgins, 30, of Grandview Terrace, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. She was arrested on June 27 following an investigation of an incident that occurred at 11:50 p.m. on June 11 on Grandview Terrace in Batavia wherein Higgins allegedly struck a person with a shoe. She was issued an appearance ticket for City Court on July 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins.

Joshua W. Eccleston, 32, of Winters Avenue, Mt. Morris, is charged with third-degree criminal mischief. He was arrested June 27 following an investigation into an incident that occurred at 11:30 p.m. on June 11 on Grandview Terrace in Batavia wherein Eccleston allegedly damaged a cell phone. He was issued an appearance ticket for City Court on July 5. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins.

Donald J. Egan, 25, of Boardman Street, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th. At 12:08 p.m. on June 28, Egan's vehicle was disabled at 26 W. Main St. in Batavia. While attempting to assist Egan, Batavia Police Officer James DeFreze observed a wooden billy club in between the driver door and the driver seat. Egan was arrested and issued a computer-issued appearance ticket for City Court on July 12.

June 30, 2016 - 8:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
mug_antoineclarkjune2016.jpg mug_kretchmerkristinajune2016.jpg
     Antoine Clark    Kristina Kretchmer

Agents of the Local Drug Task Force report that they interrupted a crack cocaine sale in progress in the parking lot of Walmart on Wednesday afternoon and took two Rochester residents into custody.

Arrested were Antoine T. Clark, 32, of Lake Avenue, Rochester, and Kristina M. Kretchmer, 34, of White Swan Street, Rochester.

Uniformed deputies of the Sheriff's Office assisted in the arrest.

Clark is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Kretchmer is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, conspiracy, 4th, criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, unlawful possession of marijuana and aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd. 

Both suspects were arraigned in Batavia Town Court and Clark was held without bail and Kretchmer was held on $5,000 bail.

June 28, 2016 - 2:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, genesee county, STOP-DWI.

Press release:

Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator Matt Landers announced that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy Police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.

The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on July 1st and will end on July 5th. The Fourth of July extended weekend is historically a deadly period for impaired driving. This year the 4th of July falls on a Monday, so we expect heavy traveling to begin on Thursday, June 30th and festivities to begin on Friday, July 1st and run through Tuesday, July 5th.

Americans love to celebrate the Fourth of July with family, friends, food and fireworks, but all too often the festivities turn tragic on the nation's roads. The fact is, this iconic American holiday is also one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to drunk-driving crashes. According to data from NHTSA, during July 4th holiday period over the five years (from 2010 to 2014), 752 people lost their lives in crashes involving drivers with a BAC of .08 or more.

These fatalities account for 42 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities over this same five-year period. The New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies will collaborate across the state and will be out in force in this coordinated effort to aggressively target those who put lives in danger.

Genesee County Undersheriff Bill Sheron wants you to know “The fourth of July holiday is for family gathering and celebration, let’s keep our families together, please celebrate responsibly.”

The July Fourth Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association. The Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign also targets Labor Day Weekend, Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol and drug related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.

June 28, 2016 - 2:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
randy_zickljune282016.jpg
      Randolph Zickl

Updated at 2:22 p.m.

Randolph Zickl, the 81-year-old attorney, charged with grand larceny 2nd for stealing $75,000 from a former client, pled guilty to the charge in County Court on Friday, The Batavian has learned.

Since police departments only release information on arrests, and not court activity, that information wasn't available in the initial press release.

The guilty plea was uncovered by our news partner 13WHAM in a conversation with the Erie County District Attorney's Office and confirmed by The Batavian through a local source. 

Zickl will be sentenced Sept. 20.

Through court sources, 13WHAM learned that Zickl's victim was the widow of a client who died and Zickl handled the estate. He reportedly double-billed the client and then continued to withdraw money from the victim's account over a three-year (not two as previously reported) period.

If Zickl is able to make full restitution by Sept. 20, he will likely receive a probationary sentence.

He also resigned from the New York State Bar Association.

Because Zickl has two sons working the Genesee County District Attorney's Office, the Erie County office handled the prosecution and Zickl appeared in Genesee County Court, but an Erie County judge presided over the case.

Previously: Respected local attorney accused of stealing from elderly client

June 28, 2016 - 12:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, byron.

Christopher J. Bartnick (left), 35, of Hessenthaler Road, Byron, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of marijuana in the third degree, a Class E felony.

On June 27, Bartnick turned himself in to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office on a sealed indictment issued by the Genesee County Grand Jury charging him with the crimes.

He allegedly sold a quantity of marijuana to an operative of the Genesee County Drug Task Force on two separate occasions. He was arraigned in County Court and put in jail without bail.

The Genesee County District Attorney's Office and uniform members of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office assisted Task Force members with the investigation.

The Task Force is comprised of police office from the Sheriff's Office, Batavia Police NET officers, and the Le Roy Village Police Department. This arrest came at the conclusion of an investigation into the sale of marijuana in Genesee County.

June 28, 2016 - 9:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.
randy_zickljune282016.jpg
      Randolph Zickl

Story updated with more information at 10 a.m.

One of Genesee County's most widely respected and prominent attorneys has been arrested for allegedly stealing $75,000 from an elderly client over a period of two years.

Randolph Zickl, 81, is charged with one count of grand larceny in the second degree.

Det. Todd Crossett said this morning that the investigation began in September with a complaint from a family member of the alleged victim. Crossett said the family member noticed some bank transactions "that didn't look right."

The alleged transactions, transferring funds from the elderly person's account into Zickl's account, were carried out during a period in which Zickl was not representing the client and should not have had access to the bank accounts, Crossett said.

Until a few weeks ago, Zickl was in charge of the county's Office of Legal Assistance. The office is in charge of handing out assignments to defense attorneys on cases that can't be handled -- usually because of a conflict of interest -- by the Public Defender's Office.

Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the County Legislature, said the Legislature received a letter of resignation from Zickl several weeks ago, but Cianfrini was not made aware until this morning that there was a pending legal case against Zickl.  

The Legislature appointed Mike Rivers to replace Zickl.

Zickl is the father of two attorneys in the District Attorney's Office, Robert Zickl and William Zickl.

The prosecution of Randolph Zickl is being handled by the Erie County District Attorney's Office and he was arraigned on the charge by a judge from Erie County.

June 27, 2016 - 7:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Oakfield.

Andrew L. Kosiorek, 44, no permanent address, Batavia, was arrested at 1:46 a.m. on June 20 as the result of an investigation into suspicious activity (an individual looking into vehicles) in the area of Ross Street, Manhattan Avenue, and Farwell Drive. He is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 5th, and jailed on $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond. He was scheduled for City Court on June 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk, assisted by Officer Eric Foels. The defendant subsequently received an additional count of criminal possession of stolen property, 5th, after another victim reported that property was stolen from her vehicle on Ross Street in the city. In this count, Kosiorek allegedly possessed perfume and grooming products belonging to the victim. He was issued an appearance ticket for Batavia City Court on June 28. He is currently incarcerated in Genesee County Jail on similar charges. He was previously arrested after allegedly being found in possession of a large amount of property that had been stolen from several vehicles throughout the city overnight. The latest case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison. In another arrest report, he is charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property after allegedly being found on Elm Street in possession of multiple stolen items. That case was handled by Officer Wojtaszczyk, assisted by Officer Thad Mart.

Paula G. Pierce, 24, of Wood Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. She was arrested following an incident at 3:30 p.m. on June 23 in which she allegedly forcefully pulled a 9-year-old child from a vehicle parked on Wood Street. She allegedly did so because of comments the 9-year-old reportedly made toward her child. She is due in City Court on July 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

David M. Ross, 47, of Franklin Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and second-degree harassment. Ross was arrested following a dispute over the ownership of a vehicle. At 2:06 p.m. on June 20, Ross allegedly physically removed the victim from the vehicle and damaged a window in the process. He was arraigned in City Court June 21, then released. The case was handled by Batavia Police Sgt. Dan Coffey, assisted by Officer Jason Ivison.

Daniel Wayne King, 23, Nickolas Andrew Marotta, 19, Kyle Lee-Maddison Michaels, 18, Madison Alyssa Scheuerlein, 18, all of Batavia, and 18-year-old Salvatore Michael Schwable, of Oakfield, were arrested at 3:30 a.m. on June 25 following the investigation of a trespassing complaint at the Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany. They were all allegedly trespassing on the grounds of the asylum. They were issued appearance tickets for Town of Bethany Court on July 19. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Chad P. Cummings and Deputy Eric J. Meyer.

Joshua Herman Worrells, 29, of Dewey Avenue, Rochester, is charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated, failure to stop at a stop sign, and moving from lane unsafely. At 1:54 a.m. on June 26, Worrells was stopped on Sumner Road in Darien for allegedly failing to stop at a stop sign and moving from the lane unsafely. Following an investigation, the defendant was arrested for driving while intoxicated and for allegedly operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher, in addition to the traffic violations. He was released on appearance tickets for Town of Darien Court on July 12. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Young, assisted by Deputy Jason Saile.

Andrei P. Sliker, 25, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. He had an active warrant out of the City of Batavia for failing to appear on vehicle and traffic law violations. On June 21, he was observed by Officer James DeFreze on Ellicott Street and taken into custody without incident, at which time he was allegedly found to be in possession of a hypodermic needle. While at BPD Headquarters, he was also allegedly found to be in possession of a controlled substance. Silker was arrested on the new charges at 10:59 a.m. He was jailed on the bench warrant in lieu of $300 bail. He is scheduled to be in City Court on July 21. The case was handled by Officer DeFreze, assisted by Officer Frank Klimjack.

Shawn M. Twardowski, 33, no permanent address, Batavia, is charged with trespass and resisting arrest. The defendant was arrested on June 21 following an incident at 218 State St., Room #3. Twardowski had previously been advised by poluice and the property manager at that location that he was not allowed to be there and if he failed to comply he would be subject to criminal prosecution. He allegedly went there despite the warnings and police responded and allegedly found him on the premises. As officers attempted to take him into custody, a struggle ensued and the defendant allegedly made several attempts to pull away from the officers. He was jailed in lieu of $1,000 bail and was due back in court on June 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Sgt. Christopher Camp.

Cindylou Oppel, 60, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with obstructing governmental administration. On June 21 at 8:23 p.m., Batavia PD responded to 218 State St. for a report of trespass in progress. They arrested Oppel when she allegedly obstructed police from affecting the arrest of Shawn M. Twardowski. Oppel is due in City Court on June 28 to answer the charge. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, aasisted by Officer Chad Richards.

Jennifer L. Stack, 30, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with first degree criminal contempt. On June 26, Stack was arrested following an investigation wherein she allegedly violated an order of protection on June 24. She was put in jail and was due in City Court this afternoon. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Nicholas D. Martino, 35, of Main Street, Alexander, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. He was arrested at 9:27 p.m. on June 24 following a traffic stop on South Main Street in the city. He was found to be allegedly operating a vehicle while his NYS driver's license was suspended. He was jailed with bail and was due in City Court this afternoon. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Noah David Herrick, 19, of Fairlea Drive, Rochester, is charged with trespass. Herrick was arrested at 8:40 p.m. on June 23 for allegedly trespassing at Buttermilk Falls. He was issued an appearance ticket for July 18 in Le Roy Town Court. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong, assisted by Deputy James Diehl.

Amanda R. Traynor, 28, of Eagle Street, Mt. Morris, is charged with failure to appear. She was located by the Geneseo Police Department during a traffic stop. She had an active warrant for failure to appear on previous traffic offenses. She was turned over to Batavia PD, jailed and released after posting $300 bail. She was issued an appearance ticket for City Court on July 5. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Felicia DeGroot.

June 25, 2016 - 3:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Le Roy, batavia.

Brendan Gregory Klish, 20, of Big Tree Street, Livonia, is charged with trespassing. He was arrested at 8:43 p.m. on June 23 for allegedly being located on posted private property on Lake Street Road in Le Roy. He was issued an appearance ticket returnable to Town of Le Roy Court on July 18. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Nora Jane Barnhart, 18, of Rochester Road, Lakeville, is charged with trespassing. She was arrested at 8:43 p.m. on June 23 for allegedly being located on posted private property on Lake Street Road in Le Roy. She was issued an appearance ticket returnable to Town of Le Roy Court on July 18. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong.

A 17-year-old of Rochester Road in Lakeville is charged with trespassing. The youth was arrested at 8:43 p.m. on June 23 for allegedly being located on posted private property on Lake Street Road in Le Roy. The defendant was issued an appearance ticket returnable to Town of Le Roy Court on July 18. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Zachary David Lloyd Duigan, 21, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia is charged with petit larceny. Following the investigation of a shoplifting complaint on June 20, Duigan was arrested for allegedly stealing a flat-screen TV from a department store on Veterans Memorial Drive. He was released with an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court on July 11. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Rachel Diehl.

James Michael Dixon, 25, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Following the investigation of a shoplifting complaint at 8:22 p.m. on June 22, Dixon was arrested for allegedly stealing from a department store on Veterans Memorial Drive. He was released with an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court on July 11. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Rachel Diehl.

June 24, 2016 - 12:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Alabama, corfu.

Brandon W. Benben, 26, of Basom, was arrested June 21 and charged with: two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, seventh, a Class A misdemeanor; operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile telephone; failing to use designated lane; and driving across hazard markings. An investigation revealed Benben lost control of his 2008 Pontiac Grand Am while he was looking down while operating his cellphone southbound on Alleghany Road. Benben exited the west shoulder of the roadway, struck a mailbox at the end of a driveway culvert, causing him to flip over onto the roof, coming to rest in the southbound lane of Alleghany Road. Benben sustained a minor non-life-threatening injury that required no EMS. While looking inside the vehicle, Troopers allegedly observed a hypodermic needle in plain view. Investigation allegedly revealed multiple open/empty heroin packets, hypodermic needles, three diazepam pills, and a bundle of 10 unopened packets of suspected heroin in individual plastic baggies. Benben was issued an appearance ticket returnable to the Town of Alabama Court on June 28. He was also issued uniform tickets returnable on July 12.

Douglas E. Love, 51, of Corfu, was arrested at 10:38 p.m. on June 23, after a distrubance on West Main Street in Corfu. Love is charged with two counts of criminal obstruction of breathing and two counts of second-degree harassment and put in Genesee County Jail. Love is scheduled to return to Corfu Village Court on July 11. Corfu Police Officer Michael Petritz handled the case and was assisted by Officer Richard Retzlaff.

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