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City police say a man stole a case of liquor from an East Side store, dropped and shattered the bottles as he fled, but later returned with a straw to suck up the booze that had pooled on the ground.

Thomas L. Hunter, 55, who does not have a permanent address, stole a case of brandy while a worker for Eber Brothers Wine and Liquor Distributors was making a delivery Friday afternoon to Eastside Liquor, 1819 Genesee St., according to Buffalo police.

Hunter ran down Genesee with the brandy, which has a value of $270, but tripped and fell, smashing the case and the bottles on the ground, Officer Richard C. Lopez said.

Hunter ran off, but the owner of Eastside Liquor flagged down Lopez, saying he knew Hunter and believed he would return to the scene.

Soon, Hunter did reappear, with a straw, got on his knees and began sucking up whatever brandy he could, Lopez said.

Hunter tried to push Lopez and run away before he was arrested and charged with criminal mischief.

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