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POLICE & COURTS

Shots from car kill bicyclist on West Side

A California Street man was gunned down while riding his bicycle Friday afternoon on the city's West Side, Buffalo police reported.

Julio Penaloza, 30, was riding his bike on Massachusetts Avenue about 2:45 p.m. when a gunman or gunmen in a vehicle drove up to him near Fargo Avenue and opened fire, according to Michael J. DeGeorge, Buffalo police spokesman.

Witnesses at the scene said they heard as many as eight shots fired. Penaloza was pronounced dead at the scene.

DeGeorge said police had no suspects or motive for the killing.

Meanwhile, police sources said drugs may have been responsible for another shooting that occurred about 5 p.m. at 99 Herkimer St.

Miguel Crespo, no age or address reported, was apparently lying on the couch, possibly sleeping, in the upper apartment there when suspects barged into the apartment, shot him once in the leg and fled.

Crespo's injuries were not believed to be life-threatening. He was being treated late Friday in Erie County Medical Center.

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Buffalo woman charged in Postal Service fraud

A Buffalo woman faces time in federal prison and hefty fines after a 31-count indictment was returned against her Friday in connection with her alleged theft of public money, U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn reported.

Margaret M. Cio, 49, is accused of submitting fraudulent Claims for Reimbursement for Expenditures on Official Business to the U.S. Postal Service.

Besides theft of public money, the indictment also charges Cio with making and presenting false, fictitious and fraudulent claims for reimbursement to the U.S. Postal Service.

Authorities say Cio sought and received reimbursement for expenses she claimed to have incurred in connection with work-related travel.

The most serious charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The remaining counts each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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3 charged in robbery of federal credit union

Police have charged three men in the daylight robbery of a credit union in the Town of Tonawanda early this week.

Arrested were Jamel D. Armstrong, 18, of Christopher Drive, Hamburg; Robert L. Jones-Haywood, 18, of Milestrip Road, Hamburg; and Scott D. Anderson, 22, of Michigan Avenue, Buffalo.

Town police said the three are charged with robbery, criminal use of a firearm, assault, menacing, unauthorized use of a vehicle and weapons possession. They were placed in the Erie County Holding Center, each on $250,000 bail.

The three are accused of robbing the Town of Tonawanda Community Federal Credit Union, 257 Highland Parkway, at about 11 a.m. Monday.

The robbers ordered tellers and customers to the floor while they gathered an undetermined amount of cash. One teller was hurt when forced down, police said.

With information provided by some witnesses, police put out a bulletin for a specific car. It was stopped the next night by Cheektowaga police, and the three men inside were arrested.

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Pig roast in garage sparks $150,000 fire

A pig roasting that went awry in an attached garage sparked a two-alarm fire that destroyed a Clarence home, routed four family members and left $150,000 damage early Friday, fire officials said.

Harris Hill volunteer firefighters responding to a 4 a.m. call from a resident at 8145 Sheridan Drive found the home heavily involved in fire. They were joined at the scene by firefighters from Main-Transit, Clarence, Clarence Center and East Amherst.

The homeowner, identified as James Krier, told investigators that he opened the propane-fired roaster and it flashed, starting the garage on fire.

Three additional propane tanks were in the garage, but they apparently vented through their relief valves, fire officials said.

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