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Pizza deliveryman robbed by two at knifepoint

A pizza deliveryman was robbed Wednesday night by two men who held a knife at his throat, police said.

Northwest District police said the victim, who works for Mike's Pizza, was driving along Kail Street, near Austin Street, at about 6:30 p.m. when he stopped for a car that was parking ahead of him.

Two men then jumped into his vehicle. One sat in the passenger seat, while the other jumped in the rear, police said.

One of the men pulled out a knife and said, "Give me all your money." The victim handed over $63, and the robbers fled.


Stolen Metro pass use leads to 24 arrests

Two dozen people were arrested Wednesday and accused of using stolen Metro passes to board NFTA buses, according to Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard.

Sheriff's officials said they were notified late last week of the theft of more than $30,000 worth of monthly bus passes from the Social Services Department in the Rath County Office Building. About 500 passes were stolen, with each pass worth between $55 and $66.

The passes are valid for unlimited riding in one calendar month.

Those who were issued appearance tickets for misdemeanor charges Wednesday told police they bought the passes from various individuals or from unauthorized locations and paid about half the price of a legitimate pass.

Police said those responsible for the theft will face grand larceny and conspiracy charges. The thieves, however, have yet to be apprehended.


Baby sitter charged with sex abuse of boy

An 18-year-old baby sitter has been accused of four sex acts involving a 6-year-old boy, Lackawanna police said.

Lackawanna Detective Nicholas Dlugosz charged Justin M. Bates, of Lake Shore Road, Hamburg, with criminal sexual act and sexual abuse, both felonies.

Police said the four encounters occurred from late fall through last month. Bates was baby-sitting in the child's home on the first three occasions and visiting the child's parents on the fourth, police said.

"What should concern all parents is that this crime occurred in the victim's home all four times," said Lackawanna police Capt. Ronald Miller, the department's chief of detectives.


Property owner remains jailed in housing case

Joy A. Drati was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail after his lawyer conceded he, "at best," could come up with only $40,000 toward the six-figure costs of demolishing or refurbishing his Buffalo properties.

Housing Court Judge Henry J. Nowak agreed Wednesday to expedite proceedings in the case, after Alan D. Goldstein, Drati's lawyer, said the California businessman has found a possible buyer for eight to 10 properties capable of being repaired.

Goldstein also told the judge -- who last week suggested Drati turn over out-of-state properties to the city to generate revenue for possible repair work -- that "there are none available."

Drati, 39, who operates JD MAX Homes in San Pablo, Calif., has been jailed since late December, following his return from California on a fugitive warrant that Nowak issued last spring.


Street shooting leads to 10-year prison term

Louis Wilson was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison by Erie County Judge Shirley Troutman, who bemoaned what she called "the epidemic" of Buffalo street shootings.

In a courtroom filled with family and friends of the 23-year-old defendant and the victim, Buffalo college student Tishawn Johnson, 26, Wilson apologized.

Prosecutor Michael J. McHale said Wilson, of Rapin Place, who was convicted Aug. 12 of second-degree attempted murder, assault and weapons charges, shot Johnson on Germain Street during a road-rage incident June 13, 2004.


Judge orders restitution in fraud at care facility

The former account manager for Deaconess Center was sentenced Wednesday to five years' probation and ordered to make full restitution of the $5,381 he stole from patient accounts at the long-term-care facility.

State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia ordered Abdul A. Gaines, 29, of Main Street, to make regular repayments to Deaconess through the Erie County Probation Department.

Gaines, who pleaded guilty Oct. 6 to fourth-degree grand larceny in the Medicaid fraud case, apologized to his former employers at the facility run by Kaleida Health.

Medicaid Prosecutor Laurie A. Frank said the thefts occurred between August 2004 and early last April, when Gaines was in control of patient funds as resident trust officer at the facility.

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