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Cheektowaga man, 90, dies four days after collision

A 90-year-old Cheektowaga man has died in Erie County Medical Center, four days after being injured in a two-car accident on Como Park Boulevard, authorities confirmed Wednesday.

Stephen J. Czarnecki of Buell Avenue died Tuesday of injuries suffered in the crash, which occurred shortly before 4 p.m. Friday.

Czarnecki's car was on the eastbound shoulder of Como Park Boulevard, when he made a U-turn into the path of an oncoming westbound car, Cheektowaga police said. The impact knocked Czarnecki's vehicle off the road, through a field and partially down an embankment, according to police reports.


Woman accused of selling counterfeit goods

A Cheektowaga woman accused of selling bogus high-end designer purses and other items faces a felony counterfeiting charge, after Cheektowaga police confiscated more than 1,000 pieces of merchandise from her William Street boutique.

Holly Schmitt, 64, of Borden Road, was charged with first-degree trademark counterfeiting, after Cheektowaga police used a search warrant to raid her store at 2916 William St.

The probe began after Officer Christina Newman purchased some items at greatly reduced prices and took them to a private investigator, who confirmed that they were counterfeit merchandise, police said.

Police have claimed that the store sold items with high-end Chanel, Gucci, Burberry and Louis Vuitton labels at prices around 10 percent of their normal retail prices.


Fire on Broadway causes $65,000 damage

Buffalo fire officials called extra firefighting companies to the scene of a Broadway fire that caused an estimated $65,000 damage to an occupied structure Tuesday morning.

Firefighters responding to an 8:09 a.m. alarm at 1172 Broadway found fire coming out of both the first and second floors of the large 2 1/2 -story building. The fire was declared under control 25 minutes later.

Fire officials listed the building as occupied, with a store on the first floor.


Bingo money stolen again at fire company

GASPORT -- Niagara County sheriff's deputies reported a second theft of bingo money at Hartland Volunteer Fire Company on Tuesday.

Lee A. Smith, bingo chairman, told deputies that $300 was stolen from a locked safe in a locked room. She said it was the second theft in the past two weeks from the Ridge Road hall.

The suspect took only $20 bills from the safe and left all the other bills behind, according to Smith.

She said a new combination and lock have now been put in to stop future thefts.


West Seneca man, 53, struck by car and killed

A 53-year-old man walking across Union Road in front of the Southgate Plaza was struck by a car and killed Tuesday night, West Seneca police confirmed Wednesday.

Gary Kelso, a former West Seneca resident, was pronounced dead at the scene after the 9:30 p.m. accident.

The driver stopped at the accident scene. Assistant Police Chief Daniel Denz said no charges have been filed in the case, which remains under investigation. Police have found no evidence of any alcohol or drug involvement by the driver, Denz added.


Woman, two children victims of armed invaders

A Buffalo woman and her two children were the victims of a gunpoint home invasion Tuesday night at their Peace Street home, police reported.

No injuries were reported, but one the children was taken to the hospital for treatment of apparent shock.

The woman had just come home with her two children at about 9 p.m. when she was confronted by two masked men in their 20s, reported Ferry-Fillmore District police.

The two men -- both armed with long guns -- forced the family into an upstairs bedroom at gunpoint, police said.

The assailants ransacked the bedroom, stole jewelry and other items.


Jamestown man sought in Monday bank robbery

JAMESTOWN -- A Jamestown man is being sought by Jamestown police in connection with a bank robbery there Monday morning and may also be involved in other robberies of banks in Pennsylvania and Ohio, police said.

Rashawn M. Smith, 29, also known as "Killer," was formally charged by Jamestown authorities with first-degree robbery for allegedly holding up an M&T Bank branch on Foote Avenue at about 11:15 a.m. There is a warrant for Smith's arrest.

Smith is believed to have cased the bank about an hour before robbing it, police said. After robbing the bank teller of an undisclosed sum of cash, Smith fled out the front door and jogged past the bank drive-through and behind a Mobil gas station, police said.

Authorities believe Smith may also be involved in bank robberies as far away as Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact police at 483-7537 or the FBI at 484-7085.

Police said Smith should be considered armed and dangerous.

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