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Three men take purse from woman at knifepoint

A Buffalo woman was robbed of her purse Sunday by three men, one of whom held a knife to her throat, at Strauss Street and Broadway, police reported.

Ferry-Fillmore District police said the victim was confronted at 12:15 a.m. by the men. They demanded her purse, then one of the men used a knife to cut her purse strap, stole her purse and ran north on Strauss, police reported. Her purse contained her driver's license and MP3 player.


Missing Buffalo girl, 14, found in car at border

LEWISTON -- A 14-year-old missing Buffalo girl who was believed to have run away was found Monday evening in a car at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge with three others, including a Dominican Republic citizen and two immigrants, Buffalo police reported.

Michael J. DeGeorge, Buffalo police spokesman, said authorities were still trying to sort out details and any charges in the case late Monday.

He did say the girl, missing for nine days, was discovered by customs officers at about 7 p.m. when they checked her identification and a hit came up on their computer that she was missing from Buffalo. The four were traveling in a car with a large sum of money, DeGeorge said.

The three others in the car spoke only Spanish. Spanish speaking officers were called to assist in the investigation.


Credit union robbed on Hertel Avenue

A Hertel Avenue credit union was robbed Monday morning when a man wearing a white cap with dollar signs on it passed a note to a teller demanding money, Buffalo police reported.

A representative for the Financial Trust Credit Union, 1510 Hertel Ave., told police that the man entered the building at about 11:15 a.m. and slid a note through the window that read "all big bills, no dye, now."

The man made off with a sum of cash. He put the money in his pocket and fled out of the back door east on Hertel. Police said no weapon was shown.

The man was described as a 5-foot-9, 210-pound dark-skinned black male in his late 20s or about 30. He had black hair with brown eyes. Besides the white cap, the man also wore a white or light gray striped shirt, tan pants and sneakers.

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call Northwest District detectives at 851-4413.


Woman aiding elderly accused of credit fraud

A Buffalo woman who was hired to help elderly people with their finances has admitted she illegally obtained and used credit cards in the names of three city residents.

Jamie Guzzetta, 31, pleaded guilty in federal court to a felony charge of access device fraud, the U.S. attorney's office reported Monday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti said Guzzetta "applied for several credit cards in the names of elderly people" and then used them in attempts to obtain goods and services worth $6,768.

According to court papers, Guzzetta worked for a Buffalo company called Miller Gesko, which provides help to senior citizens in organizing their finances. A woman working at Miller Gesko's offices said Guzzetta no longer works there but declined to comment further late Monday.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.


Four teens held in arson, vandalism of woman's car

Four teenagers were arrested early Monday on arson and other charges after they allegedly set a Celtic Place house ablaze and tried to burn an elderly Portage Street woman's Buick Century, Buffalo fire and police officials reported.

Quincy J. Williams, 17, and Marcus Ballard, 16, both of East Utica Street, as well as Sean Thompson, 16, of Humboldt Parkway, and a 15-year-old juvenile are accused of purposely setting fire to a vacant house at 17 Celtic at about 11 p.m. Sunday.

The fire damaged the siding of the home, causing $500 damage.

The four also are accused of attaching a paper fuse made of lottery tickets to the gas tank of the woman's car and lighting it. They also broke the rear window of the car with a hammer, and etched the words "2 step" and a drawing of a penis on the trunk of her vehicle, police said.

Police said the boys also scraped the driver's side door of the car, broke another window and threw a chair on the woman's front porch. Damage to the car was about $2,500, police said.

Ferry-Fillmore District police detectives and Buffalo fire investigators Edwin Ortiz and James O'Neill tracked the four teens down a short time after the alleged incidents. All were charged with two counts each of felony arson, as well as criminal mischief.


Fire in vacant house damages occupied home

An arson early Monday at a vacant East Side house spread next door and caused even more damage to an occupied home, Buffalo fire officials said.

Firefighters responded to a 4:41 a.m. alarm at 79 Townsend St. and found that the fire had spread to the home at 77 Townsend.

The blaze left an estimated $20,000 damage to the vacant house, $70,000 damage to the house at 77 Townsend.

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