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>Alleged serial bandit hits Southtowns again

Detectives from four local police agencies are working together to try to nab a serial bandit who tried to rob two more places Wednesday evening in Orchard Park and Elma.

The first incident occurred just before 5:40 p.m., when a young man believed to be in his late teens or early 20s entered the Game Stop Crossroads store on Southwestern Boulevard and demanded access to the store safe, Orchard Park police reported.

The would-be thief, who claimed he had a weapon that he never displayed, was told it would take some time to open the safe. So he fled east on foot, police said.

At about 6:15 p.m., police believe the same young man robbed the D&D Mobil Mart on Clinton Street in Elma. This robber also claimed he had a gun without displaying it, and Erie County sheriff's deputies said the description matched the one provided in the earlier attempt.

Detectives from the Sheriff's Office, Orchard Park, Hamburg and Cheektowaga planned to confer today about similar recent incidents.


>$50,000 fire blamed on faulty light, fan

ARCADE -- A faulty restroom fan and light fixture is believed to be the cause of a Wednesday morning fire that did $50,000 damage at an Arcade factory, authorities reported.

The fire broke out shortly before 11 a.m. in the Koike-Aronson plant at 635 Main St., according to Bill Streicher, Wyoming County fire coordinator.

Firefighters found heavy smoke in the office area of the building. They quickly extinguished the fire in the office restroom. All employees were safely evacuated, and no injuries were reported.

Employees were later able to return to work in some areas of the company, Streicher said. Koike-Aronson manufactures welding, positioning and thermal cutting equipment.


>Man convicted of trying to murder police officer

LITTLE VALLEY -- A Cattaraugus County Court jury has convicted Michael Schrock, 39, of Delevan, of attempted murder of a police officer, deliberating 10 hours over two days.

The trial, which began July 10 with jury selection, returned 11 guilty verdicts against Schrock. He will be sentenced Sept. 17.

Schrock, who had been jailed for violating an order of protection following a domestic dispute, slipped a hand out of handcuffs Nov. 3 when he was being taken from court to the County Jail, pushed himself through a partition in the patrol car on Route 242 in the Town of Ellicottville and fought with Deputy Robert Neal, who was driving.

During the struggle, Schrock aimed Neal's gun at him, but because Neal had disarmed it, it failed to fire. Schrock fled in the patrol car. After a chase by police from five agencies, he hit a set of road spikes in Chaffee and the car hit a tree.

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