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August 5, 2020 - 7:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Press release:

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. announced today that Daryl Sumeriski, 52, of Batavia, who was convicted of possession of child pornography, was sentenced to serve 60 months -- a total of five years -- in prison by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan K. McGuire, who handled the case, stated that Sumeriski was residing in a halfway house in Bath, when fellow residents expressed concern about certain images they observed on the defendant’s cell phone and alerted authorities.

As a result, a search warrant was executed and investigators found more than 3,000 images of child pornography on Sumeriski’s phone. Some of the images depicted the violent abuse of infants and toddlers.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.

August 3, 2020 - 4:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Le Roy, Oakfield.

Joanne Merica Pangrazio, 49, of South Street Road, Le Roy, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and criminal mischief. On Aug. 2, Pangrazio was arrested and arraigned in Bergen Town Court. The charges stem from a domestic incident reported about 1:50 p.m. on Aug. 2 on South Street Road. She was arrested at the scene and transported to Genesee County Jail for processing and virtual arraignment. She was released on her own recognizance and is due in Genesee County Court at 10 a.m. on Sept. 15. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen.

Judd Allen Farewell Jr., 29, of Maltby Road, Oakfield, is charged with criminal mischief -- intentionally damaging property. On Aug. 3, Farewell was arrested after he allegedly intentionally damaged the toilet in his jail cell at the Genesee County Jail. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court to answer the charge on Aug. 18. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen.

August 3, 2020 - 3:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in Grand Jury, crime, news, batavia, notify, alexander, Le Roy, elba.

Nelson E. Figueroa Jr. is indicted for the crime of predatory sexual assault against a child, a Class A-II felony. It is alleged that on May 1 in the City of Batavia, the defendant -- who is 18 or older -- committed the crime of criminal sexual act in the first degree by engaging in oral sexual conduct with another person who was less that 13 years old. In count two, he is accused of the same crime. It is alleged that from Jan. 1 through April 30, he committed the crime of course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree by engaging in two or more acts of sexual conduct, which included at least one act of oral sexual conduct with a child under age 13, over a period of time not less that three months in duration. In count three, Figueroa is accused of the crime of first-degree sexual abuse, a Class D violent felony. It is alleged in count three that on May 1 Figueroa was age 21 or older and subjected a person less than 13 years old to sexual contact. In count four, he is accused of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count four that Figueroa, from Jan. 1 through April 30, knowingly acted in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than 17 years old.

Daniel J. Wolfe is indicted for the crime of first-degree criminal contempt, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 18 on Liberty Street in Batavia that he violated an order of protection by threatening to punch the protected party. In count two, he is accused of the same crime for allegedly punching the victim. In count three, he is accused of the same crime for allegedly threatening serious physical injury or death by displaying a dangerous instrument -- a sword. In count four, he is accused of second-degree harassment. It is alleged in count four that on Nov. 18 he intentionally harassed, annoyed or alarmed another person by striking, shoving, kicking or subjecting a person to physical contact, or attempting or threatening to do so. In count five, he is accused of second-degree menacing, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly intentionally placing a person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death -- or attempting to do so -- by displaying a dangerous instrument -- a sword. In count six, Wolfe is accused of the crime of menacing a police officer, a Class D violent felony, for allegedly intentionally placing or attempting to place a police officer in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a knife when the officer was performing official duties. In count seven, Wolfe is accused of the same crime as in count six but is accused of displaying a BB rifle. In counts eight, nine and 10, Wolfe is accused of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, a Class D felony. It is alleged in counts eight, nine and 10, respectively, that on Nov. 19 on Liberty Street in Batavia that he possessed dangerous instruments -- a knife, a samurai sword, and a BB rifle, with intent to use them unlawfully against a person. In count 10, Wolfe is accused of the crime of attempted killing of a police work dog, a Class E felony. It is alleged in count 10, that on Nov. 19, Wolfe attempted to kill Genesee County Sheriff's Office K-9 Frankie by swinging a knife at K-9 Frankie. In count 12, the defendant is accused of fourth-degree criminal mischief, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly intentionally damaging property belonging to another person in the City of Batavia; he is accused of breaking two windows. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, Wolfe is accused of having been convicted of petit larceny, a Class A misdemeanor, on Feb. 20, 2014 in the City of Batavia Court and that conviction forms the basis for elevating counts eight, nine and 10 in the current indictment to criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree -- class D felonies.

William T. Hughes is indicted for the crime of first-degree criminal contempt, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Feb. 25 at an address on South Spruce Street in the City of Batavia, Hughes violated an order of protection issued in February by striking, kicking or shoving a victim protected by the order, or he attempted or threatened to do so. In count two, Hughes is accused of first-degree criminal contempt, also a Class E felony, for placing a person with an order of protection against him in reasonable fear of death, imminent serious physical injury or physical injury. In count three, Hughes is accused of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged in count three that the defendant intended to impede normal breathing or blood circulation of the victim by applying pressure on their throat or neck. In count four, Hughes is accused of second-degree criminal contempt, also a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly intentionally disobeying a mandate of the court in violation of an order of protection by telephoning the victim July 20. In count five, Hughes is accused of a second count of second-degree criminal contempt for allegedly phoning the victim in February in violation of an order of protection. In count six, the defendant is accused of a second count of first-degree criminal contempt for violating an order of protection by failing to stay away from the protected person as required by the court.

Franklin D. Cook is indicted for the crime of first-degree criminal contempt, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Jan. 8 in the Town of Elba, Cook intentionally disobeyed a family offense stay away order of protection by being in the presence of the protected party. In count two, Cook is accused of the same crime on March 27. In count three, the defendant is accused of the same crime for a third time for allegedly harassing, annoying, threatening or alarming the protected party and subjecting the person to physical contact. In count four, Cook is accused of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly appying pressure on the throat or neck of the victim. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, Cook is accused of having been convicted of second-degree criminal contempt, a Class A misdemeanor, on Dec. 19 in Town of Elba Court and that conviction is within five years of the crimes alleged in the current indictment.

Roy L. Watson is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on May 4 in the City of Batavia that Watson knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug, cocaine, with intent to sell it. In count two, he is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a Class C felony, for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures of substances containing cocaine, and these had an aggregate weight of an eighth of an ounce or more.

David J. Reschke is indicted for the crime of fourth-degree grand larceny, a Class E felony. It is alleged in counts one through six that on Nov. 30 in the Town of Le Roy that Reschke stole, respectively per count: a Syrchony credit card; a Citi Simplicity credit card; a Chase credit card; Discover Business credit card; a Le Roy Sports Boosters debit card; and a Five Star Bank debit card. In count seven, the defendant is accused of a seventh count of fourth-degree grand larceny for allegedly stealing property having a value exceeding $1,000, in this case about $2,400 in U.S. currency. In count eight, he is accused of the crime of petit larceny, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly stealing a purse and its contents that day in the Town of Le Roy.

Judd A. Farewell is indicted for the crime of third-degree burglary, a Class D felony. It is alleged that sometime between the late evening hours of Jan. 16 and the early morning hours of Jan. 17, that Farewell knowingly and unlawfully entered a building on Lake Street in the Town of Le Roy with the intent to commit a crime. In count two, Farewell is accused of second-degree criminal mischief. It is alleged in count two that he intentionally damaged the property of another person in an amount exceeding $1,500. The property consisted of various copper piping and a valve on a boiler system on Lake Street in the Town of Le Roy. In count three, Farewell is accused of petit larceny, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly stealing an Xbox, Xbox controller and 15 Xbox games. In count four, he is again accused of petit larceny for allegedly stealing two blue totes containing miscellaneous tools.

Mark R. Ogee is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Feb. 24 in the Village of Le Roy, that Ogee drove a 2001 Chevrolet on state routes 5 and 19 while in an intoxicated condition. In count two, Ogee is accused of DWI, per se, also a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .08 percent at the time, as shown by a chemical breath analysis. In count three, Ogee is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree, another Class E felony, for knowing or having reason to know that his driver's license was revoked by authorities in New York at the time of this incident and while he was under the influence of alcohol or a drug. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, Ogee is accused of having been convicted of DWI, as a misdemeanor, on Oct. 15, 2018 in Town of Caledonia Court. The conviction forms the basis of count three in the current indictment.

Joshua L. Baltz is indicted for the crime of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree, a Class E felony. it is alleged that on May 23 in the Town of Alexander, that Baltz drove a 2019 Ford on Route 98 while knowing or having reason to know that his driver's license was suspended or revoked by authorities and while he was under the influence of alcohol or a drug. In count two, Baltz is accused of driving while ability impaired by drugs at the time. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, Baltz is accused of having been convicted of DWI on March 3, 2008 in Town of Warsaw Court and that conviction forms the basis for the suspension or revocation referred to in count one. Furthermore, the District Attorney states that Baltz knew of the prior conviction and that his suspension or revocation was still in effect.

James J. Bartosik Jr. is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 15 that Bartosik drove a 2005 Dodge on the Genesee County Fairgrounds parking lot while he was intoxicated. In Special Information filed by the District Attorney, Bartosik is accused of having been convicted of DWI, per se, as a felony, on Nov. 24, 2014 in Orleans County Court. The conviction was within 10 years of the crime alleged in the current indictment.

David Vega is indicted for the crime of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 8 in the City of Batavia, that Vega drove a 2008 Chevrolet on Clinton Street while his driver's license was suspended or revoked. It is further alleged that he had 10 or more suspensions (14) imposed on at least 10 separate dates for failure to answer, appear in court or pay a fine: June 12, 1996 in the City of Canandaigua, Ontario County; March 10, 2009 in the Town of Ontario, Wayne County; April 14, May 19, June 2, July 28, Aug. 22, 2015, Rochester Administrative Adjudication Bureau, Monroe County; June 7 and July 8, 2015, Town of Gates, Monroe County; Nov. 18, 2015, Town of Irondequoit, Monroe County; Dec. 19, Dec. 25, 2015 and Feb. 11, 2016, and Aug. 5, 2018 -- City of Rochester, Monroe County.

July 30, 2020 - 3:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

James William Cason, 64, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree aggravated harassment. At 11:42 a.m. on July 24, the Genesee County Dispatch Center received a report of a harassment at an address on West Main Street in the Town of Batavia. Following an investigation into the incident, Cason was arrested for allegedly threatening harm to another person because of a belief regarding their race, color and nationality. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court July 29 and an order of protection was issued for the victim. He was released and will be scheduled to appear in Town of Batavia Court at a later date. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong, assisted by Deputy Howard Wilson.

Jacob L. Hernandez, 25, of Lewis Place, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment -- physical contact and two counts of second-degree harassment -- following a person. Hernandez was arrested on July 24 on an arrest warrant out of Batavia City Court. He is accused of following a person and striking another at 8 p.m. June 21 on Lewis Place in Batavia. He is also accused of failing to comply with court-ordered programs. Hernandez was processed at Batavia Police headquarters and released with an appearance ticket for July 28 in city court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Wesley Rissinger, assisted by Officer Adam Tucker.

Booker T. Ricks III, 48, of North Lyon Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Ricks was arrested after an incident on North Lyon Street at 7:47 p.m. July 18 where a child was allegedly left unsupervised and was found hanging out of a window at the residence. Ricks was released on an appearance ticket for Oct. 21 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Adam Tucker, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Jose A. Rivera, 34, of Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt and second-degree burglary. Rivera was arrested at 5:59 a.m. July 27 at an apartment on Swan Street in Batavia and allegedly being found in the presence of a protected person who had a stay away order of protection against him. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in Genesee County Jail on $2,000 cash bail, $4,000 bond, or $8,000 partially secured bond. He was due back in court that morning at 11 a.m. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Joshua Girvin.

Lyndsay T. Young, 37, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with attempted assault in the third degree. Young was arrested after an investigation into a domestic incident that occurred at 7:13 p.m. July 18 on MacArthur Drive, Batavia. Young was released with an appearance ticket returnable to Batavia City Court on Oct. 20. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson.

Amy A. Potrzebowski, 34, of Burke Drive, Batavia, is charged with: leaving the scene of a property-damage accident; driving while intoxicated -- two previous convictions within 10 years; and moving from lane unsafely. Potrzebowski was arrested at 9:39 p.m. July 17 on Richmond Avenue in Batavia following an investigation into a motor-vehicle accident. Potrzebowski was issued traffic tickets and is due in Batavia City Court on Nov. 4. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Devon A. Wright, 18, of Batavia, was arrested at 8:15 p.m. on July 24 on two outstanding bench warrants out of Batavia City Court. One warrant was for failure to pay a fine in connection with his conviction on: second-degree harassment; fourth-degree grand larceny; endangering the welfare of a child; and attempted grand larceny in the fourth degree. The other warrant was for failure to appear in court to answer a charge of second-degree criminal contempt. Wright was observed traveling in a vehicle in the area of State Street by Batavia Police officers Hedges and Borchert, who are assigned to the area on a special Neighborhood Engagement Team (NET) detail. Wright was taken into custody by officers Tucker, Hedges and Borchert on North Street in the city without incident. He was arraigned in city court and put in Genesee County Jail without bail to appear in city court at a later date.

Patricia A. Herzog, 53, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with trespass. At 3:23 p.m. on July 20, Herzog was arrested after allegedly entering a business on East Main Street that she is banned from. Herzog was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Oct. 20. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Sean Wilson.

July 30, 2020 - 10:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, elba, notify.
nelsoncolleenmug2020.jpg
       Colleen Nelson

A 15-year employee of Oliver's Candies attacked another employee with a knife yesterday afternoon and has been charged with attempted murder in the second degree.

The victim, a 59-year-old employee, suffered only minor injuries in the attack.

Owner Jeremy Liles said nothing seemed to precipitate yesterday's incident and there was no indication the woman would become violent.

State Police were called to the Oliver's location in Elba, where Oliver's runs the Sweet Life Country store on South Main Street and a production facility, for a report of a stabbing.  

Liles was not present during the incident but based on talking with employees and reviewing security footage, it appears the woman took a shop knife and randomly attacked the victim.

Nobody else was hurt in the incident.

"My crew did a phenomenal job," Liles said. "They remained calm. They got everyone out of the building, going person to person telling people to get out. It was a stressful situation and everyone remained calm. It was actually the person who got stabbed who started telling everyone to get out. He was a true leader. He made sure everyone got out of the building.

After the stabbing, the suspect threw the knife in the garbage, Liles said.

Troopers arrived on scene swiftly and took the woman into custody without incident.

"The whole thing was over pretty quickly," Liles said.

Colleen L. Nelson, 49, of Alabama, was taken into custody and besides the attempted murder charge, was charged with attempted assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon, 4th.

State Police described the knife as "large."

Following arraignment, Nelson was ordered held by the Genesee County Jail.

July 30, 2020 - 9:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Michael Tomaszewski, crime, news, batavia, notify.

Families who may have been defrauded by Michael S. Tomaszewski when they purchased prepaid funeral arrangements may want to consult with an attorney who is an expert in bankruptcy if they wish to recover any lost funds, according to a law school professor from the University at Buffalo.

S. Todd Brown is the vice dean for Academic Affairs for the UB School of Law and teaches bankruptcy law at the school.

"They would need to talk with someone to make sure their interests can be protected in the bankruptcy," Brown said. "I suspect there are lawyers who have been going around talking to different people, some people have probably already reached out to an attorney. This is an incredibly complex area of law."

Tomaszewski, both personally, and his company Acme Holdings of N.Y. filed for bankruptcy in Federal Court Feb. 5. Combined, Tomaszewski lists $1,094,346 in assets against $3,242,390 in liabilities. 

That doesn't include any restitution he may be ordered to pay if convicted of the nearly 200 criminal charges he faces locally.

The 48-year-old funeral director is charged with 91 counts of failure to deposit monies paid in advance in connection with agreements for funeral merchandise or services. He also charged with 61 counts of third-degree grand larceny, 29 counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, 4th, and three counts of petit larceny.

According to the Sheriff's Office arrest report from July 23, Tomaszewski received deposits form customers ranging from $350 to $15,500. His customers allegedly suffered a combined loss of more than $525,000.

That is a sum of money that people might expect a criminal court judge be repaid to victims once the defendant is convicted but it doesn't necessarily work that way, Brown said, when the criminal defendant has also filed for bankruptcy.

In general, bankruptcy allows an individual to discharge debts and get a fresh start. For businesses, Chapter 11 is a chance to reorganize debts. The judge may help the creditors and debtors work out a repayment plan that lowers the debt burden or if assets are liquidated, the bankruptcy judge will issue an order on how cash obtained during the liquidation is divided among creditors.

Creditors who provided secured loans -- meaning collateral for the money borrowed -- are top priority for repayment. If there is any money left over after secured loans have been paid off, the administrative creditors -- people handing the bankruptcy proceedings, such as attorneys -- are paid. Last in line are unsecured creditors. That is people or entities that are owed money but did not secure the debt with collateral.

The exception to this pecking order, Brown said, is when fraud can be proven.

A common example is if a person or business borrowed money under false pretenses, such as claiming assets that didn't exist or using the money for purposes other than promised.

For a funeral director, Brown used the example of borrowing money on the promise to build a new cemetery but then spending the cash on a new Ferrari or a monthlong trip to Las Vegas.

A funeral home director who accepts prepaid deposits for funeral arrangements could be considered a fiduciary (a person legally responsible for ensuring the money is handled only in the way specified by the contract and in the best interest of the person who owns the money). In order to determine whether Tomaszewski had a fiduciary responsibility to his clients, a lawyer would need to review any specific agreement along with applicable state and federal law.

A fiduciary who converts money to some other users cannot discharge the resulting debt in bankruptcy.

Using pre-need funds for other expenses in violation of the pre-need contract may also be considered fraud and fraud can't be discharged.

In either case, a bankruptcy court judge would need to make the determination on the debtor's obligation based on the case presented by an attorney representing such victims.

"This is really important," Brown said. "If they think they've been defrauded by this individual, they need someone who knows how the process works guiding them through it."

He added, "I tell my students when they enter my Intro to Bankruptcy class, I tell them, most of what we cover is general bankruptcy law. Unless you're working under the guidance of a talented and experienced bankruptcy attorney for at least two or three years, you're to commit malpractice if you go out and practice on your own right away because this is a very technical and complicated area of law. The importance of that story is to stress how easy it is for trained attorneys to mess up if they aren't practicing bankruptcy law regularly."

Brown also noted that a person who filed for bankruptcy can't make any payments on debt without the judge's authorization, even to creditors not listed in the bankruptcy. That rule applies for all debts paid for 90 days prior to filing for bankruptcy and until the bankruptcy case is resolved. The bankruptcy trustee has the option to recover any unauthorized payments from the creditors who received them.

Asked if a County Court judge to order restitution paid first, Brown gave an emphatic, "no."

"In terms of who gets paid when that's entirely the role of the bankruptcy court," Brown said.

For anybody who allegedly lost money to Tomaszewski through means other than fraud -- consider the petit theft charges he's facing -- any potential restitution there will be considered unsecured debt, meaning those possible victims will be among the last to get repaid, Brown said.

"People who have been defrauded need to have someone who is expert in bankruptcy law who is keeping a close on out for their interest in this case," Brown said but also acknowledge that for many people in a case such as this, they haven't lost enough money to interest an attorney taking on their case.

Previously:

July 29, 2020 - 4:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Bethany, Stafford.

Catherine Klinkbell, 52, of Bethany Center Road, Bethany, is charged with confinement with extreme temperature of companion animal in vehicle. At 1:08 p.m. on July 27, the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center received a report of a canine inside a vehicle in the Walmart parking lot on Veterans Memorial Drive. The outside termperature was 84 degrees. Genesee County Animal Control was dispatched and reported that the canine was in distress and found that the temperature inside the vehicle was harmful to the canine. The canine was removed from the vehicle and transported to the Genesee County Animal Shelter. The registered owner of the vehicle, Klinkbell, was located and charged with one count of violating Section 353-D of the NYS Agriculture & Markets Law. If found guilty, the violation is punishable with a fine $50 to $100 for a first offense (and up to $250 maximum for subsequent offenses). She is due in Town of Batavia Court at 1 p.m. on Aug. 20. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong, assisted by Animal Control Officer Ann Marie Brade.

Heidi Nicole Pitcher, 27, of Parkedge Street, Rochester, is charged with reckless endangerment in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child. At 7:19 a.m. July 28, the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center received a report of a domestic incident on Route 237 in the Town of Stafford. Following an investigation into the incident, it is alleged that Pitcher drove the vehicle recklessly, creating a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person while in the presence of children. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Town of Stafford Court at a later date. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong.

July 29, 2020 - 12:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, bergen, notify.

Once 24-year-old Guillermo Torres-Acevedo finishes serving more than 15 years in Federal Prison for transporting a teenage girl from Bergen across state lines, the Batavia man will spend an additional three years in state prison followed by 10 years on parole.

His attorney, Thomas Burns, asked Judge Charles Zambito to make Torres-Acevedo's sentence in state prison concurrent with his Federal term but Zambito decided the defendant shouldn't get that benefit while also denying the prosecution's request to lock Torres-Acevedo away for up to six years in state prison.

Torres-Acevedo entered a guilty plea in County Court in December to one count of second-degree rape. Other charges against him were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

He admitted to being a person over the age of 18 and having sexual intercourse with a person under age 15 in the Town of Batavia sometime between Nov. 15th and the 26th in 2018.

Earlier that month, Torres-Acevedo entered a guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. to enticing a minor, a 14-year-old Bergen girl, to travel across state lines to engage in criminal sexual activity. 

Torres-Acevedo was arrested in November 2018 following an Amber Alert for his victim. They were eventually located in a Walmart in Pennsylvania when authorities were able to locate the girl's phone at that location.

July 28, 2020 - 4:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A retired emergency dispatcher entered a guilty plea today one count of possession of sexual performance by a child less than than 16 years old, a Class E felony.

Under terms of the plea deal, James E. Tripp, 58, of Batavia, will be sentenced at a later date to 90 days in jail and 10 years of probation. He was also required to forfeit devices seized by law enforcement during the investigation.

Tripp will also become a registered sex offender.

State Police arrested Tripp in January following a more-than-two-year investigation that included interviews and a search of his residence. Today's plea satisfies three counts of possession of sexual performance by a child.

During his career as a dispatcher -- he worked full-time for 22 years and part-time after 2016 -- Tripp was honored multiple times for his service, including named the state's top dispatcher in 2015. 

July 28, 2020 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Michael Tomaszewski, news, video, notify.
Video Sponsor

To this day, Zachariah and Danielle Young, of Darien Center, really don't know what happened to the remains of their stillborn daughter, Evangeline Elsie.

evacremationrecord.png

A photo of the document       Michael Tomaszewski reportedly produced showing
Zach Young authorized the 
cremation of his daughter.
Legally, we are told, a verbal
authorization is not permitted.

They have a box of ashes but the don't feel assured that the box contains the ashes of the little girl they still call Eva.

"The paperwork had the date that literally was a scribble on it," Zach said. "We have absolutely no answers as to when she was actually cremated."

The Youngs said they didn't want Eva cremated, at least not at the time the baby may have been cremated. And, as they remember, when Michael Tomaszewski Funeral and Cremation Chapel received the remains of the baby from Rochester Regional Hospital, he said he wouldn't do it.

As Zach remembers it, Tomaszewski, or "Tom," as they knew him, said "something doesn't look right" and so he agreed to hold onto the remains while the Youngs researched the circumstances of their daughter's death. 

The baby was born at UMMC. She had seemed healthy

just days before when doctors detected a strong heartbeat.

On Feb. 22, when Zach and Danielle arrived at the hospital,

the couple was told Eva's heart had stopped beating.

After hours of labor, Danielle gave birth to a lifeless body.

"It was devastating," Zach said.

"A mother knows their baby already before they're born," Danielle said. "A mother already has that bond. It's like having somebody rip that away and be careless with her remains is just insane. I don't understand it."

Genesee County Coronor Karen Lang confirmed that Eva was born Feb. 22 at UMMC and her body was sent to Rochester Regional for an autopsy. Eva's little body was then sent by courier to Tomaszewski. Tomaszewski has acknowledged receiving the body.

But what happened next is muddled by the funeral director's contradictory stories to the Youngs and to Lang.

On Thursday, the Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of Tomaszewski on about 200 charges. Most of the charges are related to allegations that he misappropriated fund families had prepaid for funeral services. He is also accused of failing to fulfill contracts to purchase headstones and gravesites.

What he hasn't been charged with yet -- and it's unclear if there will be charges -- is how he handled the remains of some deceased people. Chief Deputy Joseph Graff, Sheriff's Office, has confirmed, the department is looking into multiple reports of Tomaszewski mishandling the remains of people who died. The two cases Graff has confirmed involved a veteran who should have been interred at the Bath National Cemetary -- for free -- and the remains of Evangeline Elsie Young.

Lang said she became involved in the Young case after talking with the parents last November. At that point, she learned the Youngs still did not have the remains of Eva nor Eva's autopsy report. 

Both Tomaszewski and Rochester Regional Health were offered an opportunity to comment on this story. Neither responded with a comment.

Tomaszewski has provided both the Youngs and Lang with multiple stories about what happened with Eva's remains. He told the Youngs in June that he hadn't delivered the remains to the crematorium and then a short time later said she had been cremated.  

In November, he told Coroner Jeff McIntyre, who was assisting Lang with the case while she was on vacation, that he cremated Eva when he first received the remains; however, Tomaszewski couldn't produce documentation. He later told Lang he cremated the baby in June.

Most people don't understand, Lang said, that most funeral homes don't have the facilities to store the remains of deceased people for long periods of time.

When Lang asked Tomaszewski, who also operates a catering facility, what he did with Eva's body from February until June, Lang said Tomaszewski told her that he kept the body in a cooler in his prep room.

Tomaszewski eventually produced documentation on the cremation of Eva but neither of the Youngs signed it -- which Lang said is required by law.  Instead, the document says the Youngs gave permission over the phone for the cremation. 

Based on their conversation with county officials -- which includes an interview the Sheriff's Office -- the Youngs suspect the box of ashes they received is too light to contain the remains of a once nine-pound baby. So they feel in limbo. Their church -- High Point in Pembroke -- held a service  for Eva but they didn't have her ashes then and they don't know if what they have now are really her ashes.

They would just like answers.

"I think to make it up, he would have to really admit to his wrongs and not just for me, but for a lot of people," Danielle said. "Losing somebody as it is, is something traumatic to have to deal with. And for us to trust you with our dead loved one..."

"It would be nice to at least know what happened because we got three different stories from him," Zach interjected.

"We don't really have answers," Danielle said. "To be honest -- to be honest with anybody -- would be good. The trauma of losing our daughter was bad enough and then to have to worry about her remains -- that wasn't professional."

Previously:

July 25, 2020 - 5:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Michael Tomaszewski, crime, batavia, news, notify.
tomaszewskimugjuly2020.jpg
     Michael Tomaszewski

It isn't just headstones Michael Tomaszewski is suspected of not delivering to cemeteries but bodies, too, including the remains of a stillborn baby.

Chief Deputy Joseph Graff, Sheriff's Office, said that investigators are looking into multiple incidences of mishandling remains at Tomaszewski's facilities on West Main Street Road, Batavia.

Graff wouldn't elaborate other than to confirm the investigation into the remains of a baby and a veteran.

The investigation into remains being stored at the Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral Home & Cremation Chapel, and possibly at Tomaszewski's adjoining properties, began in January 2019.

That's when Genesee County Coroner Jeff McIntyre received a call from the estranged stepdaughter of Peter Vandetta, a 20-year Army veteran, who died in April 2018.

Ronda Grabowski said she wasn't notified of Vandetta's death immediately, but became suspicious after reviewing his death certificate.

She contacted Coroner McIntyre and asked him to find out where her stepfather's body was buried.

McIntyre found the death certificate and discovered Vandetta's passing was one of his cases, so he tried contacting the Bath (NY) National Cemetary, where Vandetta was supposed to be interred, to find out if he was buried there. McIntyre said he made a few calls, each time being told there was no record of Peter Vandetta at the cemetery.

He followed up with Tomaszewski and McIntyre said the funeral director assured him he had taken Vandetta's remains to Bath and he could provide him with the grave coordinates.

After being told by officials at Bath once again that Vandetta was not lain to rest at the national cemetery, McIntyre asked Tomaszewski to provide him with the grave coordinates. But, when pressed, Tomaszewski couldn't do it, he said.

At that point, McIntyre turned the investigation over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

A short time later, McIntyre received a call from an investigator and was told that the remains of an adult male at been located in the garage at the Tomaszewski funeral home.

McIntyre ordered the remains delivered to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's office for positive identification. That ME's office did confirm the remains were Vandetta's.

Grabowski told 13WHAM, The Batavian's news partner, that she confronted Tomaszewski about the situation. She said he told her the cousin who was supposed to handle arrangements never contacted him with instructions on how to proceed.

After the ID was confirmed, a cousin apparently authorized the return of the remains of Vandetta to Tomaszewski, who published Vandetta's obituary on Aug. 6, 2019, with services to be held at the funeral home on Aug. 11. Vandetta is now interred at Bath National Cemetary.

Asked for his thoughts on the case, McIntyre, himself a military veteran, said, "You know, I can’t even tell you what my thoughts are. I don’t even understand. I don't know. I hope the system works and we’re able to find out what happened and what went wrong."

Graff said there has been an active investigation into the Vandetta case since January 2019, and he also confirmed that the Sheriff's Office has been contacted about the possible inappropriate handling of other human remains. Graff declined to say how many complaints there might be but did confirm that one involves a stillborn baby.  

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said he has been aware of the investigation but has not been handed a case yet by the Sheriff's Office so couldn't comment further on possible charges.

Chief deputy Graff also said he and other investigators were kept busy fielding calls from more possible victims of Tomaszewski.

On Thursday, the Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of the funeral director on about 200 charges involving the alleged misuse of prepaid funeral arrangement funds and Tomaszewski's possible failure to purchase headstones and gravesites as paid for and promised to clients.

It's alleged that in the initial set of charges, Tomaszewski may have misused about $525,000 in funeral funds he deposited.

Earlier this year, Tomaszewski and his company, Acme Holdings of N.Y. Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He lists $1,094,346 in assets against $3,242,390 in liabilities.

If convicted, Tomaszewski will certainly be ordered to pay restitution to victims. Restitution cannot be discharged, like other debts, in bankruptcy court.

Previously: Local funeral director charged with stealing money from customers

July 25, 2020 - 1:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, scanner, news, crime.

A caller to dispatch says a male stole a microwave oven about an hour ago from a yard sale on Bogue Avenue in the city. Police are responding.

July 24, 2020 - 2:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, news, notify.

Kevin J. Jackson Jr., 30, of Batavia (no address provided), is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs; driving while ability impaired by drugs -- combination; uninspected motor vehicle; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree; and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. At 2:21 a.m. on July 21, Wyoming County Sheriff's Deputy Bliss conducted a roadside stop for a traffic violation on Route 246 in the Town of Perry. A field sobriety test was conducted and Anzalone was arrested. He submitted to a Drug Influence Evaluation administered by a Drug Recognition Expert, who allegedly found the defendant impaired by multiple drug categories. Jackson was issued an appearance ticket and is due on Town of Perry Court at a later date.

Robert J. Anzalone, 34, of Le Roy (no address provided), is charged with: driving while ability impaired by drugs; driving while ability impaired by drugs -- combination; failure to keep right; and having inadequate plate lamps. At 12:17 a.m. July 19 on Silver Lake Road in the Town of Perry, Wyoming County Sheriff's Deputy Bliss conducted a roadside stop for a traffic violation. A field sobriety test was conducted and Anzalone was arrested. He submitted to a Drug Influence Evaluation administered by a Drug Recognition Expert, who allegedly found the defendant impaired by multiple drug categories. No further information provided about court.

July 23, 2020 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia.

k9searchmontclair2020.jpg

Batavia PD Assistant Chief Chris Camp walks on North Lyon Street with a K9 officer from Monroe County who was assisting Batavia PD this afternoon in a search in the area of Montclair Avenue and Vernon Avenue in an effort to find any items related to the shooting last night at Days Inn.

A shirt that may be connected to the incident was located in the backyard of a residence in the area.

Camp said the search effort is part of the ongoing investigation.

The suspect, Jacob Sponaugle, 21, of Montclair Avenue, is charged with attempted murder.  The victim, whose name has not been released, is in stable condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Batavia PD encourages anyone with any further information to contact the police department at (585) 345-6350 or the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

For more on the case, click here.

k9searchmontclair2020-2.jpg

k9searchmontclair2020-3.jpg

July 23, 2020 - 2:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, batavia, news, crime, notify.

Michael J. Hilton, 29, of Robbins Road, Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested after an investigation into an incident that occurred at 2:40 p.m. July 15 on Osterhout Avenue, Batavia. He allegedly stole a puppy from a resident. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court at 1 p.m. on Oct. 20. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Jamie L. Soto, 45, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. Soto was arrested at 6:50 p.m July 17 at an apartment on Liberty Street, Batavia. She is accused of pushing a family member. Soto was released with an appearance ticket for Oct. 21 in Batavia City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Adam Tucker.

Anthony L. Rice, 27, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with failure to appear in Batavia City Court. A warrant was issued for his arrest for failing to appear on traffic tickets on Nov. 15. Following his arrest, he was released with an appearance ticket to be in city court on Aug. 25. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Alec Roberts, assisted by Officer Joshua Girvin.

July 23, 2020 - 1:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
Video Sponsor
sponauglemug2020.jpg
    Jacob Sponaugle

 

A Montclair Avenue resident is in custody and charged with attempted murder following a shooting at about 9:30 p.m. last night outside the Days Inn in Batavia.

Jacob Sponaugle, 21, is also charged with assault, 1st, criminal use of a firearm, aggravated criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd, criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd, and criminal sale of a firearm, 3rd.

Police believe Sponaugle was at 200 Oak St., Batavia, to sell another individual a gun.

The victim of the shooting and Spongaugle are said to be acquaintances. 

The name of the victim is not being released by Batavia PD at this time.

After the victim was shot, he walked into the lobby of the Days Inn and a person there called 9-1-1. A police officer who was first on scene provided aid to the victim, who was awake and alert. A short time later, Mercy EMS arrived on scene and transported the victim to the Genesee County Airport. The victim was then flown by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital.

Chief Shawn Heubusch said this afternoon that he is listed in stable condition. His injuries are not considered life-threatening. 

During the initial investigation, police officers determined the suspect had fled the scene in a four-door sedan with a female passenger. They searched the area with the assistance of a K-9 patrol.

Officers interviewed witnesses and obtain video surveillance footage.

"With the assistance of key witnesses and the community, the suspect, Jacob J. Sponaugle, was taken into custody at approximately 2:15 a.m. without incident outside of a residence on Montclair Avenue in the City," Batavia PD said in a release this afternoon.

Assisting Batavia in the incident were the Sheriff’s Office, City Fire, State Police, a DEC K-9 patrol, Mercy EMS, the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force, the 911 Emergency Dispatch Center, and the District Attorney’s Office

The investigation is ongoing and Batavia PD encourages anyone with any further information to contact the police department at (585) 345-6350, or the confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

July 22, 2020 - 9:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, scanner, batavia, notify.
Video Sponsor

 

A person has been possibly shot in the chest at 200 Oak St., the Days Inn in Batavia. Mercy Flight out of Batavia is on a ground standby. Batavia police and Mercy medics are responding. The victim is reportedly in the lobby of the hotel.

UPDATE 9:40 p.m.: Mercy medics communicate they will transport the victim to the Mercy Flight hangar and the helicopter will transport from there.

UPDATE 9:48 p.m.: The victim is a 22-year-old male, shot in the left side of the chest with a 22-caliber firearm.

UPDATE 10:11 p.m.: The victim is being taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, whether by ambulance or Mercy Flight is not clear.

UPDATE 10:36 pm.: City fire Engine #11 has arrived on scene; why is not clear. The person suspected of shooting the victim remains at large.

UPDATE 10:44 p.m.: Police believe the suspect is still in the vicinity. Lights in the hotel parking lots and the former Bob Evans Restaurant, have been shut off.

UPDATE 11:30 p.m. (by Howard): Chief Shawn Heubusch briefed the media. Police believe the victim and suspect know each other and that the shooting involved something between the two individuals. While the suspect is still at large, police have identified a person of interest and a related vehicle. Heubusch indicated investigators are confident enough in the information that they are not releasing further descriptive information. The victim was conscious and alert at the time of transport by Mercy Flight, from the airport to Strong Memorial Hospital. Heubusch said he was shot "in the area" of the Days Inn and walked into the lobby and a person there called 9-1-1. Heubusch said the investigators do not believe the suspect is a threat to the general public.

UPDATE 7:13 a.m.: Chief Heubusch reports the suspect is in custody as of 3:45 a.m. More information will be released later this morning.

July 22, 2020 - 3:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, indian falls, pembroke, bergen.

Sammy H. Esaleh, 18, of Bucyrus Drive, Amherst, is charged with trespass. He was arrested at 3:33 p.m. on July 17 at Indian Falls on Gilmore Road in Indian Falls. He is due in Pembroke Town Court on Aug. 25. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Erion.

Haydar A. Esaleh, 18, of Glenden Place, Williamsville, is charged with trespass. Esaleh was arrested at 3:33 p.m. on July 17 at Indian Falls on Gilmore Road in Indian Falls. He is due in Pembroke Town Court on Aug. 25. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Erion.

Rohin Ramin, 18, of Ayrault Drive, Amherst, is charged with trespass. Ramin was arrested at 3:33 p.m. on July 17 at Indian Falls on Gilmore Road in Indian Falls. He is due in Pembroke Town Court on Aug. 25. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Erion.

Benjamin P. Rogemoser, 18, of Forbes Avenue, Tonawanda, was arrested at 3:33 p.m. on July 17 at Indian Falls on Gilmore Road in Indian Falls. He is due in Pembroke Town Court on Aug. 25. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Erion.

William J. Galliford, 60, of Reed Road, Bergen, is charged with: unauthorized use of a vehicle -- operating without owner's consent; resisting arrest; driving while intoxicated -- first offense. At 7:19 p.m. on July 20, Genesee County Sheriff's deputies were investigating a complaint of an unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. They located the vehicle on Reed Road in Bergen and Galliford was allegedly operating it while being toxicated. He allegedly fought with deputies. He was released with appearance tickets and is due in Bergen Town Court on Aug. 12. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush, assisted by Deputy Mathew Clor.

July 20, 2020 - 5:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, alexander, notify.

A 40-year-old Alexander resident is facing federal charges for allegedly producing child pornography.

Christopher Brown is facing up to 15 years in prison.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan P. Cantil, who is handling the case, in April 2020, a law enforcement officer working online undercover discovered a sexually explicit video, which included a prepubescent female who appeared to be between 9 and 11 years old.

The IP address was traced to the defendant’s Dodgeson Road residence in Alexander. On July 17, a federal search warrant was executed at the residence. Investigators seized several items, including three cellular telephones and a computer. In addition, a DVD was recovered that contained explicit video of child pornography that he allegedly produced.

Investigators also reportedly recovered four firearms, including two rifles, two pistols and ammunition.

The defendant made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and is being detained.

The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia.

July 19, 2020 - 12:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, scanner, batavia.

A female caller to dispatch reports she was punched by a male motorcyclist in the parking lot of BJ's Wholesale Club. The male took off, unknown direction of travel. She's waiting in a parking lot of a nearby business to talk to a State trooper.

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