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November 1, 2022 - 1:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

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State Police are looking for a person in connection to the theft of a wallet from a shopping cart at the Batavia Walmart on Oct. 27.

Troopers would like to identify the woman in the photo.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to call (585) 344-6200.

October 31, 2022 - 3:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, elba, Crosby's, news, notify.

Crosby's convenience stores have apparently become the target of burglars after closing hours recently.

The most recent burglary was at 12:05 a.m. on Saturday at the Crosby's on Clinton Street Road, Batavia. The store closed at 10 p.m. on Friday night.

A source said it doesn't appear that anything of value was taken, but the burglars did make a mess of the store.

The State Police are investigating the Batavia burglary, said Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Joseph Graff.

He confirmed there was also a burglary at the Crosby's in Elba on Oct. 23, which is under investigation by the Sheriff's Office, and in Albion on Oct. 22.

"Preliminary indications all look to be similar MOs," Graff said. 

October 27, 2022 - 1:23pm
posted by Press Release in crime, batavia, news.

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Press release:

The Batavia Police Department is looking for public assistance in identifying the operator of the dirt bike in the photos. The individual has been operating in an unsafe manner throughout the city. Officers would like to speak to the individual to prevent future incidents. Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Pete Post at (585) 345-6350, the Batavia Police Department's confidential tip line at (585) 345-6370.

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October 27, 2022 - 12:32pm
posted by Press Release in crime, Halloween, batavia, news.

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Press release:

The Batavia Police Department would like to advise the public that "rainbow fentanyl" pills have recently been located in the city of Batavia. The drugs were found in a local gas station bathroom and turned over to officers. The tablets are blue in color and stamped into the shape of a bear. There hasn't been any association between these pills and Halloween, but the department wants to remind parents to check their children's candy before consumption. If any candy is opened, appears to have been tampered with, or looks suspicious, throw it out. If any illegal drugs are located in Halloween candy, please contact the police department at (585) 345-6350. Have a safe and Happy Halloween.

 

October 26, 2022 - 4:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, batavia, crime, notify, Stafford, elba, Le Roy.

Isaiah Lorenzo Poole, 22, of South Clinton Street, Albion, is charged with 16 counts of possession of a forged instrument and criminal contempt 2nd. Poole allegedly possessed 16 counterfeit $100 bills at 4:45 p.m., Oct. 23, at the Crosby's in Elba. He also is accused of violating an order of protection. 

Breanna Michelle Cragg, 29, of Richmond Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Cragg was charged following a roadside check at 1:19 a.m., Oct. 23, on Route 33, Stafford, by Sgt. Mathew Clor and Deputy Nicholas Chamoun. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Johnnie M. Waston, 39, of Dodge Street, Rochester, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment 2nd. Waston is accused of being involved in a disturbance reported at 7:04 a.m., Oct. 21, at a residence on Shady Lane, Batavia. He was arraigned in Town of Stafford Court and released.

Kevin P. Kage, 35, of West Avenue, Medina, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance 5th and criminal possession of a controlled substance 5th. Kage is accused of selling methamphetamine to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force in Batavia on two separate occasions. He was arrested on a warrant stemming from a sealed indictment and jailed pending arraignment in County Court. He was arraigned on Oct. 20 and released.

Connie Rae Todd, 51, of Slayton Sett Road, Gasport, is charged with DWI and speeding. Todd was stopped at 1:12 a.m., Oct. 26, on Lewiston Road, Batavia, by Sgt. Mathew Clor. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Margareta Tamasi, 75, of Le Roy, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child/alcohol. Tamasi was arrested by State Police on Oct.  24 in the Town of Batavia in relation to an incident reported at 7:04 p.m. on Oct. 21 in Le Roy. She was released on an appearance ticket. No further information released.

October 23, 2022 - 11:28pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, crime, notify.
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Jill Turner

An investigation stemming from the report of a vehicle that was damaged while the owner was at a City Council meeting on Sept. 12 has resulted in charges for Jill M. Turner of Batavia.

Turner, 40, was charged with criminal mischief, second-degree, upon her arrest on Oct. 13, city police said. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released on her own recognizance, to return at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

The unidentified owner of the defiled automobile filed a claim after that September meeting, stating that someone had poured nail polish on her vehicle while she was at the meeting and a public hearing about a current law that allows farm animals within city limits.

Some residents, including the claimant, who lived near Turner had complained that her goats and other animals were a nuisance to the neighborhood. Turner was not at the meeting that drew some 30 people to the second-floor City Council chambers that evening. Shannon Maute, one of her neighbors, said she "was happy to see that an arrest had been made."

"We are tired of being tormented and bullied by Jill," Maute said to The Batavian Sunday evening. "I hope that this will send her a message that she can't get away with it any more. There are consequences for her actions and her behavior."

Detective Eric Hill had confirmed at the time when the damage was first noted that there was “an open investigation into the matter right now,” after The Batavian inquired about the damaged vehicle that was parked in Jefferson Square.

“I’m not sure on the level and location of polish and we don't have an estimate (of the value of the damage) at this time,” Hill had said in an email to The Batavian.

UPDATED 3:20 p.m.: According to a source close to the vehicle owner, the damage has been assessed at nearly $2,000.

October 22, 2022 - 1:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, Le Roy, Darien, corfu, Stafford, byron.

A 17-year-old resident of Wolcott was charged with grand larceny 3rd and unauthorized use of a vehicle. At 12:38 a.m. Oct. 15, Le Roy police officers received a report of a stolen vehicle on Selden Road, Le Roy. Officers were able to track the location of the vehicle using its OnStar system. A short time later, the 2020 Chevy Silverado was located in the Town of Cheektowaga and was reportedly occupied by the 17-year-old.  He was arrested by Cheektowaga PD and turned over to Le Roy PD. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Joseph T. Martino, 30, no permanent address, is charged with four counts of petit larceny. At 1:37 p.m. Oct. 8, Martino allegedly stole merchandise from a local business on East Main Street, Batavia. He is also accused of shoplifting three separate times from two businesses on Jackson Street, Batavia on Oct. 2. He was issued an appearance ticket on all arrests.

Aaron T. Hendershot, 26, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. Hendershot is accused of violating an order of protection by being at the home of the protected party at 1:39 p.m. Oct. 10 on Ellsworth Avenue, Batavia.  He was issued an appearance ticket.

Marcella F. Greene, 38, of Bliss, is charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. Greene was arrested on a warrant issued in connection with an incident reported at 3 p.m. April 23 on East Main Street, Batavia. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on bail and ordered to appear again on Oct. 27 appearance.

Tammy L. Cicatello, 52, of Batavia, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, and following too close. Cicatello was allegedly involved in a property damage accident at 9:55 a.m. Sept. 1, on Oak Street. She was arrested on Oct. 6 by Batavia PD. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Christine M. Caplis, 42, of Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant. She was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on $5,000 bail, $7,500 bond, or $10,000 partially secured bond.  No information released on the nature of the warrant. 

Daniel Maxwell Barron, 32, of Benedict Road, Monroe, Conn. Barron is charged with DWI, obstruction of governmental administration, failure to dim lights, drinking alcohol or using cannabis in a motor vehicle on a highway, and unregistered vehicle. Barron was stopped at 10 p.m. Oct. 6, on Route 20 in Darien by Deputy Alexandar Hadsall. He was ordered to return to Darien Town Court at 1 p.m. Oct. 20.

Seth Alan Wilt, 18, of Richley Road, Corfu, is charged with grand larceny 4th and petit larceny. Wilt is accused of stealing more than $1,000 worth of merchandise from his employer at 8363 Lewiston Road, Batavia (the former Kmart location) and of stealing $724.45 in merchandise from the same location. The thefts were reported at noon on Sept. 1. He was arrested on Oct. 12 by deputies Mason Schultz and Nicholas Charmoun. He was released on an appearance ticket. 

James Preedom, 38, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 1st, harassment 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. On Oct. 14, State Police responded to a report of a disturbance at a residence in the Town of Batavia and arrested Preedom as a result. He was released under supervision.

Justin Cowell, 40, of Batavia, is charged with four counts of criminal contempt 2nd, acting in a manner injurious to a child, unlawful dealing with a child, and selling tobacco to a minor. Cowell was arrested by State Police on Oct. 20 in connection with an incident reported at 2:08 p.m. Oct. 3 in the Town of Batavia. He was ordered held in jail. No further information was released.

Charles L. Dockstader, 76, of Basom, is charged with two counts of course of sexual conduct with a child less than 11 years old. Dockstader was arrested by State Police on Oct. 19 in connection with an incident reported at 12:02 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Town of Alabama.  He was ordered held on bail. No further information released.

Earl B. Benson, 34, of Byron, is charged with DWI. Benson was stopped at 10:17 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Town of Byron by State Police. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Keona R. Thomas, 33, of Stafford, is charged with DWI.  Thomas was stopped at 2:22 a.m. Oct. 16 in the Town of Stafford by State Police. Thomas was released on an appearance ticket.

October 20, 2022 - 4:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia, Cassandra Elmore, notify.

The future of Oddey, the French bulldog that reportedly overdosed on narcotics three times in May and June, may soon be resolved while the criminal case against Oddey's owner, Cassandra Elmore, will likely remain pending for some time.

Elmore appeared in City Court today with her public defender Jamie Welch.

Welch indicated he needs more time to file motions in light of new evidence (he didn't specify what the evidence is), new discovery turned over by the District Attorney's Office (again, not specified), and his recent receipt of lab reports (he didn't indicate what the lab results reveal).

He indicated the charges of injuring an animal under New York's Ag and Markets Law are more complicated than typical penal statutes and required more research. 

Judge Thomas Burns agreed it is a complicated case and gave Welch until Nov. 25 to file his motions, and gave Assistant District Attorney Jenna Bauer until Dec. 8 to file her answering papers.  He set a hearing date on motions for Dec. 15 at 1:30 p.m.

If that's all there was to the case, Oddey would be guaranteed at least two more months of confinement at the Genesee County Animal Shelter, but after the motion dates were set, Welch said there was one more thing to discuss.

His client, he said, was willing to meet with representatives of the "animal rights" group following the case -- referring to Volunteers for Animals. He said he didn't know if there were any respresentatives in court today -- there were -- but invited them to stop by the Public Defender's Office and pick up a copy of his card so they could discuss the future of Oddey.

Burns said it was wonderful news that there are options for Oddey.

"Options are good," he said.

Bauer said, "I believe that's the top concern of everybody here."  She suggested that if an agreement could be reached regarding Oddey, a status appearance date be set so the issue could be resolved sooner than two months from now.

After meeting with the attorneys at the bench, Burns said the case will remain on the calendar for Dec. 15, but if an agreement is reached before then, the case can be recalled and the Oddey matter could be resolved in that appearance.

The case was then adjourned.

Previously:

October 18, 2022 - 6:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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Tarrence Williams

A Batavia man who already admitted to a drug-dealing-related charge wants the chance to withdraw his plea so he can perhaps bargain for a prison sentence that includes a gun possession arrest on Sept. 30.

Tarrence Yuron Williams, 22, asked for a new attorney in County Court today saying he was dissatisfied with the representation provided by Public Defender Jerry Ader.

Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini granted Williams' request to change attorneys even though District Attorney Kevin Finnell said he saw no grounds for letting Williams withdraw his prior guilty plea, which occurred before the second alleged gun possession charge following a "shots fired" incident on Ellicott Street in Batavia.

Williams was arrested in December and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd, criminal possession of a controlled substance 4th, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal obstruction of breathing and blood circulation, and menacing 3rd.  

He later entered a guilty plea to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd.

A drug possession charge in the third degree means authorities believe you possessed enough narcotics to sell, not just what you need for your own consumption.  It doesn't mean the defendant was caught in the act of selling drugs.

Then on Sept. 30, while Williams was awaiting sentencing on the drug charge -- that was supposed to be today -- police responded to Ellicott Street in Batavia for a report of shots fired and a man running from the area.

Sgt. Dan Coffey spotted a man on the Ellicott Trail between Jackson and Evans streets, and the man ran so Coffey chased him.  The man was later tackled in a grassy area next to Court Street, and later a weapon was recovered under bushes near M&T Bank.

Williams was charged with criminal possession of a weapon 2nd, a Class C felony, and criminal possession of a weapon 4th, a Class A misdemeanor, and jailed on $50,000 bail.  He remains in custody.

He asked to be released under supervision so perhaps he could find his own attorney, mentioning Thomas Burns as his preference. He wanted to know if there was a way to have Burns assigned to him through the assigned council program.

Cianfrini said the assigned attorney program will assign the next attorney in line and available, not necessarily the attorney of his choosing.

She said he could get friends or family to contact a retained attorney if he didn't want an assigned attorney.  

He would have to pay for a retained attorney.

October 18, 2022 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, bataiva, news, notify.
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Matthew Zakrzewski

It was one of the most significant sentences she's ever given out as a judge, Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini told convicted arsonist Matthew Zakrzewski right after telling him he was going to prison for 10 years.

Ten years was the maximum Cianfrini could give to Zakrzewski under terms of a plea agreement.

In August,  Zakrzewski admitted to arson 2nd and arson 3rd.

If a slip of the tongue is any indication of what was on her mind, she would have sent him to prison longer.  

She sentenced him to 10 years on the arson 2nd conviction and then said she was sending him to prison on arson 3rd for 7 1/2 to 15 years.

A couple of minutes later, she caught her mistake and amended the arson 2nd term to five to 10 years.

Cianfrini called Zakrzewski a danger to society.

"The system needs to have you under supervision for as long as possible to ensure society's safety and security," Cianfrini said.

Both sentences will run concurrently.  Zakrzewski also faces five years on parole once he's released.

Part of Cianfrini's reasoning includes Zakrzewski's lengthy criminal record, which she characterized as escalating in severity, including a DWI and an assault, along with his failure to abide in the past with terms of his release.

She acknowledged Zakrzewski's substance abuse and mental health issues but told him he should use his time in prison to rehabilitate himself. 

"Prison can't make you do anything," Cianfrini said. "They can't force you to take classes. They can't force you into counseling.  It's up to you to do those things on your own."

The 42-year-old Batavia resident admitted to starting a fire at Washington Towers on Jan. 16, among other crimes on that date and preceding days.

The fire caused more than $10,000 in damage (Zakrzewski was ordered to pay restitution) but District Attorney Kevin Finnell said it could have been much worse.

"We were moments away from a disaster," Finnell said. "There's no excuse, reason, substance abuse, mental health issues, that can excuse starting that fire in an apartment building filled with older residents who could have lost their lives."

Defense Attorney Fred Rarick pointed to Zakrzewski's long history of mental health issues and a system, he said, that hasn't done much to assist him.  He asked for a five-year prison term.

Zakrzewski apologized for his actions and admitted his struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.  He said what he did at Washington Towers wasn't really who he is.

"Thank God, nobody was seriously hurt or killed," Zakrzewski said.

October 17, 2022 - 6:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alexander, murder, news, notify.
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Raul Cruz

One of the two men charged with murder in the double homicide of farm workers in Alexander on March 11 had a hard time deciding whether to accept a plea deal that would have capped his prison sentence at 23-to-life.

The alternative, if convicted at trial, would be a possible sentence of life without parole.

Raul Cruz had multiple conferences over the course of the day with his attorney Fred Rarick but it was a family member sitting in the gallery who persuaded Cruz to take the deal.

"What are you doing?" asked a woman who later identified herself as the defendant's sister-in-law.

A few minutes before that question, Rarick had returned from a private meeting with Cruz and informed District Attorney Kevin Finnell that Cruz had changed his mind and would reject the plea offer.

Then Cruz came in, and in response to the woman's question said he didn't know what to do.

"It's hard," he said. "I don't understand. They're offering a deal on a case that's still under investigation. If it's still under investigation, how can they charge me?"

He was referring to an allegation that while in jail, Cruz paid money to an inmate about to be released to give a "blunt" (a cigar hollowed out and filled with marijuana) laced with fentanyl to a witness.

The potential witness tampering case could, on its own, be worth 25 years in prison.

Finnell had already explained in court that the investigation was paused when he learned Cruz was going to accept a plea offer but that it would be completed and Cruz would be charged if he rejected the plea offer.

"I think you should take it," the woman told Cruz.  "I'm just thinking of you."

Cruz was facing an indictment that includes first-degree murder and two counts of murder in the second-degree, arson, and petit larceny.  Pending charges include witness tampering and two possible counts of introducing prison contraband.  Cruz reportedly had a sharp object, or objects, in jail on one or more occasions.

The offer Cruz eventually accepted was a guilty plea to two counts of murder in the second degree, with a sentencing cap of 23 years to life on each count to run concurrently and a guilty plea intimidating a witness with any sentence on that conviction to run concurrently.  The plea would satisfy all other pending charges.

If the 18-year-old stays out of trouble in prison, he could be a free man in 15 years.

Cruz first appeared in court today just before noon and Judge Melissa Cianfrini thought she would be presiding over a hearing where Cruz would accept the plea offer only to learn that Cruz had yet to indicate to his attorney that he would accept the offer.

Cianfrini called for a recess of more than three hours to give Rarick and Cruz time to meet at the jail and go over the plea offer again.

When they returned to court, Rarick informed Finnell that Cruz was rejecting the deal, and then a smirking Cruz entered the court

When Cianfrini re-entered the courtroom, the hearing resumed, and she asked Cruz if he had made a decision.

Cruz said nothing for several seconds.

"I'm not going to accept it," he told Cianfrini.

After more conversation about sentencing parameters, there was a pause in the hearing, which is when Cruz and the woman had their conversation, with Cianfrini out of the room.

Cruz turned around, facing the front of the courtroom and whispered something to Rarick.  Rarick turned to Finnell and said, "He's going to take it."

Cruz turned to the woman and said, "I let him know I'm going to take it."

"Don't change your mind," she said.

"I think she's giving you wise advice," Rarick told Cruz.

When the hearing resumed, Cianfrini began the detailed recitation of the plea offer and what rights Cruz surrendered as part of the plea offer, including his right to a trial.

When it came to a discussion about Cruz giving up his right to certain appeals, such as challenging evidence that could be used to convict him, Cruz said he didn't understand, so Cianfrini allowed Cruz and Rarick to again discuss the case while she left the room.

From what could be heard of the conversation in the courtroom, it wasn't clear that Cruz -- who had told Cianfrini previously that he only had a ninth-grade education and had not completed his GED -- would not change his mind again but when Cianfrini resumed the hearing, he said he would agree to appeal waiver.

In the end, Cruz admitted intentionally participating in the murders of Elibander "Ivan" Morales and Marcelino Gomez Hernandez at 10216 Alexander Road, Alexander, on March 11.

Prince Wilson, of Albion, is also charged in the double homicide.

Cruz will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m., Dec. 13. 

CORRECTION: The length of the sentence was corrected to 23 years.

October 12, 2022 - 1:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield, elba, news, notify.

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A 39-year-old Oakfield man is facing 46 felony charges related to sex crimes over a period of years in the Oakfield and Elba areas.

Ricardo Castillo, Jr., of Maple Avenue, is charged with 13 counts of rape 1st, 10 counts of rape 2nd, 13 counts of criminal sexual act 1st, and 10 counts of criminal sexual act 2nd.

Castillo is accused of raping at least one person under the age of 15.

The rapes allegedly took place between November 2019 and August 2021.

Investigators Howard Carlson and Kevin Forsyth handled the case.

Castillo was arraigned in Town of Oakfield Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

October 6, 2022 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, Le Roy, notify, Alexander, elba, Oakfield.
Daniel Goodell

Daniel Lee Goodell, 41, of South Volutia Street, Wichita, Kan., is charged with sex abuse 1st. Goodell was arrested by the Sherriff's Office on a warrant in Kansas and returned to New York. He is accused of sexually abusing children less than 11 years old in 2009 and 2010 in Alexander.  He was arraigned in Town of Alexander Court and ordered held without bail. Goodell was also arrested by State Police and charged with 12 counts of Sexual Abuse 1st, 12 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of sexual conduct with a child. The State Police alleged that between 2019 and 2021, Goodell abused children less than 14 years old on multiple occasions. Goodell moved from New York before the criminal investigation was opened, according to State Police. Goodell was extradited from Kansas on Sept. 30.  On the State Police charges, he was arraigned in Town of Alexander Court and ordered held on $30,000 bail or $60,000 bond.

Delonta R. Curry, 21, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds and criminal possession of a weapon. Curry is accused of possessing a weapon on school grounds on Feb. 13 at 8:26 p.m. on Washington Avenue. He was arrested on a warrant on Sept. 24, arraigned in City Court, and ordered held on bail.

Shawn R. Wisniewski, 33, of Medina, is charged with petit larceny. Wisniewski is accused of stealing from a business on Jackson Street on Sept. 20 at 10:36 a.m. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Chazmar T. Walters, 29, of Le Roy, was arrested on a warrant on Aug. 15. The nature of the warrant was not released. Walters was released and ordered to appear in City Court at a later date.

Daniel T. Henning, 42, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property 5th. Henning is accused of possessing stolen property while on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia, on March 28 at 2:55 p.m. He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and released on his own recognizance.

Jolene Y. Stevens, 33, no permanent address, is charged with failure to appear. Stevens was arrested on multiple warrants. She was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on $500 bail, $1,000 bond, or $5,000 partially secured bond.

Phillip P. Heale, 44, of Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass 3rd. Heale is accused of being on property he was previously banned from being on. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Evan F. Maynard, 21, of Batavia, is charged with assault 3rd. Maynard is accused of being involved in a disturbance on Sept. 24 at 8:24 p.m. at a location on East Main Street, Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Justin T. Calmes, 44, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. Calmes is accused of violating an order of protection on Aug. 29 at midnight. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Jennifer L. Cudney, 41, of Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and operating a vehicle with a suspended registration. Cudney was stopped on Sept. 18 at 7:31 p.m. on Bank Street by a Batavia patrol officer. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Jason H. Freeman, 41, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Freeman is accused of stealing beer from a business on Jackson Street on Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Jeffrey A. Hewitt, 43 of Le Roy, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, failure to properly signal, driver's view obstructed, unlicensed driver, and aggravated unlicensed operation 1st. Hewitt was stopped by a Batavia patrol office on Sept. 25 at 10:37 a.m. on Summit Street. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Laura B. Beatty, 44, of Batavia, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child 1st. Beatty is accused of providing alcohol to a juvenile at her residence on Oak Street on Sept. 24 at 10:05 p.m. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Brian M. Raphael, 34, of Batavia, and Michelle L. Misiak, 57, of Batavia are charged with petit larceny. Raphael and Misiak are accused of stealing groceries on Sept. 27 from a store on East Main Street, Batavia. Both were issued appearance tickets.

Karrie A. Morrow, 39, of Batavia, was arrested on two bench warrants. The nature of the warrants was not released. She was released under supervision. Morrow was also arrested by State Police on a petit larceny charge. Morrow is accused of stealing merchandise valued at $17.98 from 48 Express Deli on Park Road on Sept. 29. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Renee Lynn Coughlin, 32, of Park Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with falsely reporting an incident 3rd.  Coughlin is accused of falling reporting an incident to police on Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. on Park Avenue in Oakfield. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Jamie Lee Broadbent, 39, of Federal Drive, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Broadbent is accused of entering an unsecured storage room and a vacant room at a hotel at 4371 Federal Drive, Batavia, and stealing items belonging to the hotel. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Hunter Joseph Stetz, 19, of Zimmerman Road, Hamburg, is charged with possession of a forged instrument. Stetz is accused of being in possession of a forged NYS driver's license on Aug. 25 at 8:15 p.m. while at Darien Lake. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Dale W. Gress, 54, of Elba, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Gress was stopped by State Police on Oct. 5 at 12:13 a.m. in the Town of Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket.

October 5, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in SAFE Act, news, crime, Le Roy, notify.

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Federal prosecutors have an interest in a North Carolina man who was arrested March 19 in Le Roy after allegedly being found in possession of an AR-15 rifle in violation of the SAFE Act.

Michael Alan Jones, 24, of Raleigh, has been charged in U.S. District Court in Western New York with possession of a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon, and has reportedly reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

The FBI's interest in Jones may have more to do with his alleged participation in the Jan. 6 attempted insurrection in Washington, D.C.

The online news site RAW Story links Jones to two extremist groups, the Proud Boys and Patriot Front, and places Jones in the Capitol on Jan. 6.

At 4:36 p.m. March 19, deputies Kenneth Quackenbush and Nicholas Charmoun stopped a gray Nissan Sentra driven by Jones for an alleged traffic violation. Upon approaching the vehicle, the deputies observed several knives, military surplus gear, and two compound bows inside the vehicle, according to a Federal affidavit by an FBI agent. 

 The affidavit says a passenger in the car was identified only as PK.  The deputies reportedly observed a backpack on the passenger-side floorboard with bolt cutters protruding from the pocket.

Upon searching the vehicle, the deputies located pry bars, bolt cutters, and gloves, which, the affidavit states, the deputies believed to be consistent with burglary tools. They also found pepper spray and ammunition. 

When asked about the ammunition, according to the affidavit, both Jones and PK claimed ownership.  

Jones later said he owned everything in the vehicle except the backpack, and that the ammunition was "someone else's."

The agent wrote, "GSCO deputies asked JONES if there was a firearm inside the vehicle. JONES responded, 'There shouldn't be.'"

Deputies determined that the plate on the vehicle didn't match the vehicle, and the plate was removed from the vehicle and the vehicle was towed from the scene.

A subsequent inventory search uncovered, according to the report, military surplus gear, Beofang handheld radios, additional knives, and the "Army Tactical Combat Casualty Care Handbook."

Deputies also located in the trunk a Palmetto State Armory AR-15 rifle, bearing serial number 5CD729076, and a 30-round Magpul PMAG magazine was found in the trunk of the vehicle.

The agent says that Jones told deputies that he purchased the firearm a "long time ago," but never fired it. He allegedly said he brought the rifle from North Carolina to New York.

The agent said that on April 19, the FBI interviewed a person in North Carolina who had worked with Jones at a Cracker Barrel in Mebane, N.C., and that this former co-worker, HN in the report, said initially that he didn't recognize the rifle but that he had purchased it for Jones. He said he purchased it through the Palmetto State Armory website and used PayPal to complete the purchase.

The rifle violated the state's SAFE Act because the rifle was equipped with a flash hider, capable of accepting a removable magazine without a pinned magazine release, and was equipped with a telescopic stock. 

Jones' prior felony conviction in North Carolina, referred to in the Federal charging documents as "a crime against nature," involves Jones, at 18 and 19, having sex with minors, aged 14 and 15. He was arrested on charges.

According to sources, Jones has no known ties to Genesee County. It's unknown why Jones and PK, who is from the Finger Lakes region, were in Genesee County when deputies spotted the Sentra reportedly making an illegal turn in the area of Route 33 in Le Roy.

Locally, Jones was initially charged with criminal possession of an assault weapon 3rd, criminal possession of a weapon 3rd (ammunition feeding device), unsafe turn, number plate violation, and driving an unregistered vehicle on a highway. 

Jones, according to the arrest report, served in the U.S. Army.  The report states he wasn't employed at the time of his arrest and his highest education level was high school.

District Attorney Kevin Finnell said the local case was dropped after Jones was charged Federally because of a defendant's Constitutional protection against double jeopardy. 

Sheriff William Sheron praised the effort of Quackenbush and Charmoun in apprehending Jones.  

"This was another example of good police work," Sheron said. "Looking beyond the traffic ticket."

October 4, 2022 - 9:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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Wesley Thigpen

A man already in prison for child sex abuse will have more time to consider a plea offer on the latest charge he's facing following a court appearance in Genesee County on Monday.

Wesley G. Thigpen is being given time to consider an offer of a guilty plea to predatory sexual assault against a child, a Class A-II felony, with a sentence of 10 years to life.

A month ago, County Court Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini rejected a previous guilty plea, entered by Thigpen in May, which would have capped Thigpen's sentence at 13 years.  Members of local law enforcement and the victim's family objected to that prior plea deal.

After reading the Probation Department's pre-sentence investigation report, and considering the letters she received, Cianfrini said the agreed-upon terms of the plea deal were "woefully inadequate."

Thigpen is already in prison on a guilty plea in September 2019. That plea to child sex abuse capped his prison term at four years.

On Monday, he asked for a new attorney, a motion that Cianfrini denied.

He is scheduled to appear in court again at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 24.

 

 

 

October 1, 2022 - 1:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

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Tarrence Williams

UPDATED at 3:43 p.m. with a quote from the police chief.

Batavia police officers have arrested a suspect in a shots-fired incident reported in the area of 200 Ellicott St. on Friday evening.

Tarrence Y. Williams, 22, of Batavia, has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon 2nd, a Class C felony, and criminal possession of a weapon 4th, a Class A misdemeanor.

He was arraigned in City Court and jailed on $50,000 bail.

There has been no report of anybody injured as a result of gunshots in the area.

Chief Shawn Heubusch praised the actions of his officers.

"Officers responded quickly to this incident and were able to almost immediately identify a suspect," Heubusch said. "Working in conjunction with our partner agencies, the officers were able to bring a swift resolution to this incident and keep our community safe.  They are commended for their brave actions in the face of what was a very dangerous situation."

The incident began with a report of gunshots at about 6 p.m.  Witnesses reported seeing a male walking nervously with what appeared to be a gun on his person.

A man matching the description provided was spotted by Sgt. Dan Coffey walking on the Ellicott Trail a short distance from the incident location. When Coffey attempted to stop the individual for an interview, the man fled on foot and Coffey chased him from Evans Street to Court Street.

In the Court Street parking lot, the man discarded identifiable clothing and officers believed he discarded a firearm in the area.

Additional officers responded, including deputies and a trooper.

Williams was located and taken into custody and then officers, with the assistance of Batavia firefighters, searched the area, including the roofs of nearby buildings.

A short time later, a weapon was located under a bush next to the walkway between the Key Bank drive-thru ATM and the M&T Bank branch.

Williams recently entered a guilty plea in County Court to a charge of attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd -- a charge that indicates prosecutors believe he possessed enough of a controlled substance that he intended to sell it.  He is awaiting sentencing on that conviction.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Detective Ivison at (585) 345-6312 or email [email protected]

Previously: Man runs from police, gun found, and officers are seeking details about incident on Court Street

Top photo by Howard Owens.

September 30, 2022 - 7:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tonawanda Indian Reservation, news, crime, Alabama, Basom, notify.

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Not too many criminal defendants have good things to say about the prosecutors who came down on them hard and recommended they be locked away for as long as possible. 

Isaac D. Abrams has only good things to say about Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini.

"She isn't God but she's right up next to him," Abrams said Thursday from inside a smokeshop he's opening on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. "She's up there. She's a force to be reckoned with. Don't (expletive) with her."

Cianfrini was the first assistant district attorney in early 2018 when Abrams was sent to prison as a 17-year-old for one-and-a-third to four years for making terroristic threats. That conviction has now been expunged, but Abrams had a track record at the time, as Cianfrini noted back then, that indicated he was a young man out of control.

In arguing against any kind of leniency for Abrams, Cianfrini told then County Court Judge Charles Zambito that Abrams had engaged in increasingly violent acts, shown a disregard for authority and human life, and violated his release under supervision contract numerous times.

"He's a high risk to the community," said Cianfrini, who is now the County Court judge. "Look at his statements. He seriously minimizes his conduct. He said that he gave people something to talk about at dinner. This is not somebody expressing remorse."

Abrams said he has no bitterness toward Cianfrini.  She was doing her job, and in doing her job, she put him in a position that forced him to look at the world differently.

"What she put me through," he said, "I honestly feel that if I hadn't gone through that, I would still be a bad little shit just like everybody else. I had an eye-opener. She gave me an eye-opener."

And life in prison isn't something he wants to repeat.

"I went through horrible experiences," Abrams said. "I have scars on my eyebrows now that are permanent. I have stab wounds on my back and on my shoulders. I went from prison to prison. It was a horrible, horrible experience."

Not that getting his life straightened out has been easy for Abrams.  He's had setbacks. He's made mistakes. He's had people set up roadblocks. But he says he's determined to be a successful businessman, to become wealthy, and at age 22, to be an example for younger kids on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation that success is possible and you can overcome life's errors.

He was in court on Wednesday, standing before Cianfrini on an attempted burglary conviction, prepared for the worst because of one of the mistakes he's made while on his path toward redemption (he carried to court a plastic grocery bag filled with toiletries and personal items in case he was sent back to prison).

The possibility of going back to prison
In August, Abrams admitted to attempted burglary in the second degree. The incident involved Abrams entering the residence of a man identified as his mother's boyfriend on Dec. 29 after the boyfriend reportedly abused her.

First Assistant District Attorney Joseph Robinson, on Wednesday, was just as certain as Cianfrini was in 2018, that Abrams deserved no leniency in sentencing.

The 2018 felony conviction was off limits for Robinson to cite since the record is sealed, but Robinson had plenty of material to draw from to try and make the case that Abrams deserved prison time.  He said Abrams has a history of misconduct going back to high school, that he had violated terms of a conditional discharge on another conviction, and that he had faced a criminal contempt charge in Erie County.

"Mr. Abrams is not a good fit for a community-based, probationary sentence," Robinson told Cianfrini. "He enters the house of another person and then strikes the victim and claims it was in defense of his mother because of prior abuse. He took the action of judge, jury and executioner. That is not the way society works."

Robinson recommended four years in prison (the statutory range on the conviction is 2-7 years) and three years post-release supervision (parole).

Defense Attorney Fred Rarick offered a very different take on his client's prospects for complying with the terms of a probationary sentence. He noted that Abrams has been in full compliance with the terms of his release-under-supervision contract while awaiting sentencing, that his client had been diagnosed with mental health issues that had never been treated, and that his client understands that he mishandled the situation in December that led to his arrest.

Rarick said his client's relationship with his father is non-existent, and when mental health treatment was recommended for Abrams as a teenager, his mother decided the trip to counseling was too far to drive, so Abrams never got the help he needed.

He said Abrams had previously witnessed his mother being abused and on the night of this incident, his mother, instead of calling the police, called her son to say she had been abused. Rarick suggested that she knew her son, who has anger management issues, would take matters into his own hands.

She should have called the police, Rarick said.

But once she called Abrams, the young man should have called police, he said.

Sending Abrams to prison, Rarick said, would disrupt the positive path the young man has been on -- a year ago, he opened a small smoke shop on the reservation and was getting ready to open a second.

When it was his turn to talk, Abrams told Cianfrini, "when I first met you, I didn't really like you. But then I went to prison and I realized you did a lot for me. You changed me. You changed the way I talk. You changed the way I walk." 

He said he wanted to lead the younger generation on the reservation out of trouble.

"I'm a changed man from when you first met me," he said.

He said he felt like he had let her down and that he understood if she was disappointed in him.

"I promise I will never be in a situation like this again," Abrams said.  "If something like this happens again, I'm calling 9-1-1.  I promise."

Call 9-1-1
That promise was put to the test on Thursday night.

On Thursday afternoon, a new pre-built building was delivered to 368 Martin Road in Basom, the site of Abram's new smokeshop and dispensary.

Shortly after he opened the doors for the first time, he met with The Batavian and discussed his future plans.

That night, at about 10:45 p.m., the Alabama Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to 368 Martin Road.  The Batavian sent a text message to Abrams, who responded that he had already been told of the fire by a family member, was on his way to the shop, and that he had called the police to report the crime.

As he promised Cianfrini, rather than get mad, he called 9-1-1.

The fire burned itself out before fire crews arrived on scene.  The fire was intentionally set, a fire investigator said, at the base of the building by the front door.  It caused some minor heat damage to the metal plates at the base of the door.  A Sheriff's deputy opened a criminal investigation.

Earlier in the day, Abrams said that many people on the reservation encourage him and are happy to see him turning his life around.  Others, he said, want to pull him back down.

When asked why he thought anybody would try to torch his new building, he said, "jealousy."

"This would  be the bad crowd," he said, "like the alcoholics, the drunks, the ones who like to stay out all night."

Rather than prison, an opportunity
Earlier in the day, Abrams was full of enthusiasm for his new business.

With only a few cartons of cigarettes and some jars of marijuana in the new building, Abrams said it was just a start.  He is funding the venture with profits from the Weeping Willow, his first smokeshop on Purdy Road.  

On his small plot of land, Abrams cleared trees and put down gravel.  As a reporter looked on, the excited young man paced off his expansion plans -- where the handicap-accessible ramp will go, leading to double doors and windows, and shelves filled with product.  Abrams sees it all in his mind.

"My dreams are progressing every day as every day I’m one step farther into becoming a new man, a man in new business and a man of new character," Abrams said. "My dreams and goals for the shop are just to succeed in an all-around aspect so I can help my customers, friends, and family succeed around me, too. I really would like for the business to succeed. It took a lot of community members to get this far, and a lot of trust, so there’s no going back now all I can say now is 'Hi. My name is Isaac Abrams. How may I help you and be at your service.'"

The fire, he said later, was a momentary setback, but just financially, not "mentally or spiritually, and tomorrow is a new day with lots of potential."

Abrams is getting the chance to pursue his dreams because the person who took a dim view of the young man's future in 2018 is now persuaded that he deserves a shot at building something better for himself.

On Wednesday, after Robinson, Rarick, and Abrams all spoke, Judge Cianfrini said she needed a few minutes to research something and adjourned the court.

When she returned from chambers, she asked Abrams whether, if given the opportunity to go through Mental Health Court -- which would mean no prison time if he successfully completes the program -- would he commit himself to follow through and do what he needed to do.

A beaming Abrams said he would. He turned around so he was speaking to the whole court and said, "if anybody was here and saw me here before, I'm a changed man.  I promise you I'm not the same person you saw here before."

Cianfrini explained that Abrams will be screened for Mental Health Court to ensure he's a good candidate for the program, and once the screening is done, she can place him in the program.

Embracing what Abrams said about being an example to younger people on the reservation, she told him he had a chance to show a younger generation that the justice system is a place to "get help and rehabilitation and that it's not just for punishment."

Robinson told Cianfrini that he wanted to place on the record his objection to giving Abrams an opportunity to go to Mental Health Court.

Inside his new shop on Thursday, Abrams was nothing but grateful to Cianfrini.

"She honestly changed my life around.  I thank her for helping me. She did a lot.  Honestly, I wouldn't be here in these shoes.  I wouldn't be free today," he said. "I wouldn't be thinking clearly. I would have done none of that. I would have nothing.  I'd probably still be that broken little shit."

Photos by Howard Owens. Top photo, Isaac Abrams outside his new smokeshop.  Inset photo, file photo of Melissa Cianfrini in 2018 at a press conference on an unrelated case.

September 30, 2022 - 7:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

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The police have the gun.  They have a man in custody who was located in the area of the gun. 

He's a man who apparently ran from Sgt. Dan Coffey on Evans Street to Court Street after Coffey and other officers responded to a report of shots fired.

Everything else is a mystery.

"We got the gun. We've got the guy. Now we've got to work backward," Coffey said Friday evening while on Court Street.

As for the report of shots fired, Coffey said there is no specific location associated with the shots based on reports received by police.

It's unclear at this early stage of the investigation, Coffey said, if the man taken into custody will be charged with any crime.  The police are still gathering evidence.

Coffey chased the man from Evans to Court, where he was tackled and taken into custody.  Additional officers arrived on scene, including deputies and troopers, and they commenced a search of the area to try and locate a gun that may have been on the man.  

City Fire was requested to assist with ladders so that police officers could climb onto nearby rooftops to look for a possible gun.

An object believed to be a gun was located under a bush between the Key Bank ATM drive-thu and M&T Bank.  The object was left in place while officers waited for detectives to arrive on the scene.

Coffey said more information will be released when it is available.

Photos by Howard Owens

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September 29, 2022 - 11:54am
posted by Press Release in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Press Release:

The Batavia Police Department is investigating a robbery at McDonald's, located at 573 East Main St., which occurred at approximately 5:36 a.m.

A white male, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a mask, walked up to the drive-through window and demanded money.

The suspect stole the cash drawer from the register and fled the scene. The suspect was last seen on foot, running westbound behind 555 East Main St.

No one was injured and the suspect got away with an undetermined amount of money.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Matthew Wojtaszczyk at 585-345-6357, the Batavia Police Department's confidential tip line at 585-345-6370.

Due to the ongoing investigation, no further details will be released.

September 28, 2022 - 6:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, byron, notify.

Alone one night in a car in the Target parking lot with a teenage girl, Shawn D. Myers made a decision that he and the girl will have to deal with for the rest of their lives, Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini told Myers before sentencing him to five years in prison this afternoon.

In July, a jury convicted Myers of first-degree criminal sexual act, a Class B violent felony.  

By all accounts in Court this afternoon, except for that one decision, the Byron resident had led a pretty exemplary life up to that point -- a volunteer in his community, including a volunteer firefighter.

On Jan. 28, 2021, Myers forced the girl to have sex with him, the jury said.

His attorney, Jeremy Schwartz, argued that the evidence in the case, despite the jury's verdict, didn't really support the assertion of forcible compulsion, though Myers, now 21, admitted that he had sex with a person less than 17 years of age.

First Assistant District Attorney Joseph Robinson said the victim suffered physical injury as a result of what Myers did and is still dealing with the emotional fallout of the sexual abuse. 

More than two dozen community and family members attended the hearing in support of Myers.  

The victim and her mother were also at the hearing.

In his statement, Myers said he knew he made a mistake but expressed concern about being sent to prison because he is being treated for PTSD, anxiety, and depression, and during his time in the criminal justice system, he and his attorney said, he's already suffered one disruption to his medication regime. 

Cianfrini, who could have sentenced Myers to up to 25 years in prison, said that she would note in documents that will go with Myers to the Department of Corrections, that Myers has prescription medication he must take.

She encouraged Myers to use his time in prison to learn that he can't force people to do things against their will and to learn a trade.

Myers said during his statement that he loved being a volunteer firefighter and regretted that he had ruined his firefighting career by his decision.  He promised Cianfrini that never again will he make a mistake that lands him back in jail.

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