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POLICE & COURTS

Police want to talk to neighbor in slaying

Buffalo police said Friday that they want to question Jeremiah Lokey, 19, in the Jan. 2 shooting death of his Shirley Avenue neighbor.

David J. Curry, 17, of 220 Shirley was shot to death as he stood behind the front door of his family's home. At the time, police said they were trying to determine whether the shooting was related to a feud between the teen's family and neighbors.

Anyone with information on Lokey's whereabouts should contact homicide detectives at 851-4467.

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Washington State youth charged in vehicle theft

Amherst police arrested a 17-year-old Washington State youth early Friday, following the theft of a private construction vehicle from Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority property at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

One Amherst officer who heard the attempt-to-locate call over the police radio at about 12:30 a.m. realized he had just seen the vehicle at Wehrle Drive and Cayuga Road. He alerted other Amherst police officers, who stopped the vehicle a few minutes later on Maple Road, near Hopkins Road.

Mitchell A. Johnson, 17, of Puyallup, Wash., was charged with grand larceny, unauthorized use of a vehicle and failure to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle, police said.

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Man held in shootings of officers due in court

Varner Harris Jr., already facing a likely indictment in the shootings of two Buffalo police officers that could keep him in prison the rest of his life, has been slapped with a probation violation charge.

Harris, 19, has been ordered to appear Wednesday before Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico for proceedings on the violation of probation charge linked to a pizza robbery in May 2005, according to Paul Gordon Dell, the court-appointed defense attorney.

Harris had only "a minor role" in the pizza case, which is why he was granted youthful offender status, Dell said.

Court officials confirmed that Harris faces a prison term of 1 1/3 to four years on the probation violation charge.

Harris is accused of shooting Officers Patricia A. Parete and Carl E. Andolina at about 9 p.m. Dec. 5 on Elmwood Avenue near West Chippewa Street. Parete remains hospitalized, fighting to regain feeling and movement in her body.

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Accountant charged in $7.4 million theft

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. -- A former accountant for Andres Wines Ltd. has been accused of stealing more than $7.4 million (Canadian) from her employer, Niagara Regional Police said Friday.

Christine M. Papkyriakou, 50, of Dundas, Ont., surrendered to authorities Friday to face charges that include fraud and money laundering. She was to be released pending a Feb. 16 court appearance.

Police said their investigation began in June, when Andres Wines contacted them after discovering financial irregularities following Papkyriakou's departure from the company. Andres Wines is the parent company of Hillebrand and Peller estates in Ontario, among others.

The illegal activity had occurred between June 1994 and July 2005 and involved the misappropriation of millions of dollars, police said. Large sums of money were transferred to a bank account in the United States.

None of the money has been recovered so far, police said.

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East Concord man faces felony DWI count

Erie County sheriff's deputies have arrested an East Concord man on a felony driving while intoxicated charge, after stopping his vehicle on Route 219 in the Town of Concord on Wednesday night.

Shortly after 9 p.m., Deputy Eric Kaderli heard about a vehicle being driven erratically southbound on Route 219. He stopped a vehicle driven by Joseph C. Albrecht III, 37, of East Concord.

The deputy charged Albrecht with felony DWI because of a previous drunken-driving conviction in 2005 in the village of Arcade, sheriff's officials said. The driver also was ticketed for failure to stay in his lane.

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Home invaders beat Linden Avenue resident

Three home invaders tied up a Linden Avenue man with electrical cords, stuffed a sock in his mouth and then taped the sock to his face with masking tape before beating and kicking him early Friday morning, Northwest District police said.

The attackers then fled from his apartment with the man's wallet, an XBox 360, electrical equipment and some credit cards.

The victim told police that the incident began shortly after midnight Thursday, when a man with a handgun followed him up the stairs, pushed him onto the stairs and rummaged through his pockets, taking his keys and a cell phone.

Using the victim's keys, the assailant opened the apartment door, forced the man to lie facedown on the floor and held the gun to the side of his head. The thief then summoned the two accomplices into the apartment.

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