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Man suffers serious burns in Hopkins Street fire

A Buffalo man was listed in serious condition after his Hopkins Street home was heavily damaged by flames early today, fire investigators reported.

The man, whose identity was not released, was being treated for burns in Erie County Medical Center. The severity of his injuries have not been disclosed.

Lt. Sal Colangelo, commander of city's fire marshal office, said flames erupted in a bedroom at 674 Hopkins at about 12:20 a.m.

The fire quickly spread throughout the 2 1/2 -story structure.

Damage was estimated at $20,000 to the building and $10,000 to the contents.

The cause has not been determined.


Arrest made on warrant in September stabbing

U.S. marshals arrested a 27-year-old Buffalo man on a indictment warrant Wednesday that charged he stabbed another man several times in the abdomen in September, Homicide Squad detectives reported.

Robert Moore, of West Avenue, was charged Wednesday with first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

U.S. Marshal Tim Twarog arrested Moore at 8:40 a.m. at a home on Roosevelt Avenue. Moore also had two bench warrants in Buffalo for disorderly conduct and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

An alleged accomplice was charged last year by Homicide Squad detectives.

Marcus Richardson, then 28, of Dodge Street, was stabbed several times by two men at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 13 at a store at Courtland and East Delavan avenues. He underwent surgery and survived his injuries.


Owner of supply firm admits Medicaid fraud

The owner of a Williamsville home care and medical supply firm gave up her claims to nearly $60,000 in overbillings to the State Medicaid System on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to a felony grand larceny charge before Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio.

Sheila Paolini, 46, operator of Mill Medical Home Care and Supplies on Main Street, entered a plea to wrap up an investigation by the state attorney general's Medicaid Fraud Bureau. She was sentenced to five years' probation.

Gary A. Baldauf, head of the attorney general's Western New York Medicaid Fraud operation, said Paolini gave up her claim to the money she overbilled the state system between January 2002 and early February 2005.


Activist convicted of cutting city grass

Neighborhood activist Harvey A. Garrett Jr. was convicted Wednesday of a noncriminal trespass violation for cutting grass on city-owned property on Essex Street last summer.

City Judge Debra L. Givens scheduled sentencing March 3, pending Garrett's appeal. The judge said she is inclined to grant Garrett a conditional discharge, meaning he will face no further penalty if he stays out of trouble. The maximum sentence he could face is 15 days in jail.

Garrett, 39, declined to comment following the nonjury trial.

Garrett was charged after a neighbor, Gary Keohane, complained that Garrett illegally cut the grass of a narrow city-owned "tree-lawn" between the sidewalk and street near his property in the 100 block of Essex. He was doing the work in preparation for the city's annual "Garden Walk" event.

David S. Widenor, Garrett's lawyer, said he will appeal the verdict.


Store clerk robbed by man with knife

A clerk at the 123 Grocery Store, 163 W. Ferry St., was held up at knifepoint at about 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, Buffalo police said.

The bandit escaped with the contents of the cash drawer and fled east on West Ferry Street, police said.


Boys accused of robbing man in his driveway

Two boys -- ages 16 and 15 -- are accused of confronting a man as he walked up his Beard Avenue driveway, ordering him onto the ground and stealing his wallet, keys and $3, police reported.

Matthew MacDonald, 16, of Hertel Avenue, and a 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named as a youthful offender, were charged with robbery and criminal possession of stolen property.

Northwest District Police said the 15-year-old placed his hands in his pocket, as if he had a gun, and said, "I got a gun. Give me your wallet. Give me your keys. Lay face down on the ground and you better not move."

The victim pleaded, "Don't shoot me! Don't shoot me!" The boys then stole the items and fled.

Officer Ellen Nowadly arrested McDonald and the juvenile near the victim's home. Police said they recovered $2 from one boy and $1 from the other, while a neighbor found the man's wallet.


Police seek woman in failed shooting try

A woman involved in a domestic dispute with another woman Tuesday evening on the West Side is being sought by homicide detectives after she pulled out a gun and tried unsuccessfully to fire it, Buffalo police said.

The incident occurred shortly before 9 p.m. at 98 W. Delavan Ave. No injuries were reported.

"She pulled a gun out of her pants and pointed it at the victim, she cocked it and it wouldn't shoot, then she pointed it out in the hallway and shot the wall," said Detective Sgt. David Lillis of the homicide squad.

Lillis said the suspect apparently used a .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

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