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Teenagers lead chase after parking lot holdup

Police on Saturday said they apprehended three teenagers who robbed a woman at gunpoint in the Boulevard Mall parking lot in Amherst and then led officers on a chase across town.

Rochester residents Cory C. Thompson, 17, Christopher L. Taylor, 16, and a juvenile who was not identified were taken into custody shortly after they fled their stolen blue minivan at Main Street and Park Club Lane in Williamsville, police said.

At about 3:48 p.m., police said, the robbers took the woman's purse. The thieves drove away from the mall east on Maple Road.

State police spotted the vehicle in a parking lot on Transit Road and gave chase when the teens refused to stop. Also assisting were Amherst police, Erie County sheriff's deputies and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police officers.

Investigators said the youths may have been involved in a similar crime in West Seneca. They said the minivan was stolen earlier Saturday in Erie, Pa.

The trio face robbery charges in Amherst and will likely face other charges as well, investigators said.


Reward offered in arson incident at playground

A Hamburg youth recreation group is offering a reward for information on an attempted arson at the Carnegie Playground.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday, someone filled a beer bottle with gasoline, ignited it and threw it at the Carnegie-Scranton Recreation Association building at 3910 Cornell St., said Bob Fischer, the association's director of operations.

The association sells drinks and snacks from the building when youth groups are using the nearby football, softball and baseball fields. The facility also has restrooms and a trophy case.

The device hit a chain-link fence that surrounds the two-story, wooden building, scorching the fence and the blacktop below, but luckily did not strike the building, Fischer said.

"It was literally thrown to burn the building down," Fischer said. Town firefighters responded, and Hamburg police were able to recover a piece of the bottle as evidence, Fischer said.

He said the association is offering a $100 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist. Call Fischer at 648-6707 with any information.

This is the second recent act of vandalism at the playground, Fischer said. Two weeks ago, vandals caused $280 damage to a parking lot light and to the controls for the scoreboard, which they managed to turn on.


Buffalo lawyer takes Liberty dollar case

A Buffalo lawyer who has been crusading for change in local government is now representing two men accused of trying to buy beer with "Liberty silver dollars" at a Buffalo Sabres game.

Attorney James Ostrowski said he is representing Daniel Buczek, 55, and Buczek's son, Shane, 34. The two Derby men were arrested Dec. 26 at a Sabres game.

Ostrowski is president of Free Buffalo, a grassroots organization seeking tax cuts and widespread changes in local government policies.

"My position is that this whole incident should not have happened, and [the Buczeks] did nothing illegal," Ostrowski said on Saturday.

The Buczeks were charged with felony counts of criminal impersonation and possession of a forged instrument. A misdemeanor harassment charge also was filed. The two men deny the allegations, saying they were wrongly accused.

Police said the two Derby men were arrested after they tried to buy beer from "numerous" vendors with privately minted Liberty silver dollars.

The federal government says the dollars are not counterfeit, but adds that no business is required to accept them.


Police seeking man in abduction attempt

A man who tried to kidnap a 13-year-old girl on Pooley Place near Grant Street was being sought Saturday by Buffalo Police.

The man tried to force the girl into his car about 12:40 p.m., but the girl ran away, Northwest District officers said.

The man was described as a white male, about 40, who had a goatee with blond hair. He was driving a beige, four-door car.


3 teens face charges of having guns at school

MAPLE GROVE -- Three teenagers were charged with possessing guns on school grounds at Maple Grove High School.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department said the arrests were made Friday afternoon. The names of the three boys -- two of them 16, and the other, 15 -- were not released.

Deputies said the teens took three long-barreled BB guns and two pistol air guns to the school in a vehicle shortly before 4 p.m.

Deputies said they investigated after receiving a report of males carrying guns in the Dutch Hollow Road area.

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