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Suspect in store holdup surrenders to police

A Wyoming Avenue man was charged with robbery and weapons possession after he held up the Family Dollar store on East Delavan Avenue about 1:30 p.m. Friday, Buffalo police said.

Delon J. Cannon, 20, surrendered to Northeast District detectives just before 6 p.m.

Cannon, police said, entered the store at 738 E. Delavan and passed a note that read: "Give me all the money or I will blow your head off."

When the cashier opened the drawer, Cannon reached in and took all the money before fleeing, police added.


Snack truck bandit returns for seconds

The driver of a Frito-Lay snack truck was assaulted and robbed Friday -- possibly by the same man who robbed him a month ago, Buffalo police said.

The driver, a Williamsville man, told police he was in the back of his truck about 1:15 p.m. at Jefferson Avenue and East North Street, where the bandit entered the back of the truck and demanded money. The robber produced a silver handgun and struck the driver on the head, knocking him to the ground. The driver suffered a cut hand, police said.

An undetermined sum of money was stolen.


Arbitrator to decide fate of fired border officer

An independent labor arbitrator will decide whether the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will have to give Robert S. Rhodes III his job back.

Arbitrator Thomas N. Rinaldo on Friday completed a seven-day hearing in the case of Rhodes, a former border officer who was fired after a July 2004 fracas involving a Chinese tourist at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls.

In 2005, a federal court jury acquitted Rhodes of criminal charges that he beat up the woman tourist, but Homeland Security officials maintain that his actions showed he is unfit for duty and have refused to reinstate him.

Rhodes and the National Treasury Employees Union insist that he should be rehired, with full back pay. Rhodes is represented by union attorney Ralph Talarico and Buffalo attorney Stephen M. Cohen, who defended him at his criminal trial.

Rhodes, 46, of Wheatfield, also claims he was singled out for prosecution because he is openly gay. Government attorneys have denied that his sexual orientation had any impact.

Rinaldo told The Buffalo News that he expects to render a decision in about five months, after evaluating written submissions from attorneys in the dispute. Both sides agreed to allow the arbitrator to decide the case.

Meanwhile, both Rhodes and the tourist, Zhao Yan, have multimillion dollar lawsuits pending against the federal government.


Three homes in Elma targeted by burglars

Three daytime burglaries at Elma homes sent Erie County sheriff's deputies searching for suspects Friday, Sheriff Timothy B. Howard said.

A home on Ostrander Road and two homes on Girdle Road were burglarized. The break-ins occurred Wednesday into Friday, sheriff's officials said.

A security alarm that was triggered at one home apparently chased away burglars before anything was stolen, sheriff's officials said.

Howard advised residents to be "alert for suspicious or unusual vehicles or people in the community, especially at unoccupied houses during the day."


Imprisoned sex offender loses bid for new trial

Former Buffalo teacher Dominic Emeka Okongwu, serving up to 50 years in prison for repeated sexual assaults on 7-year-old twin girls in 1991, lost his bid for a new trial this week.

State Supreme Court Justice Timothy J. Drury upheld his 1993 jury conviction. Brian Sheppard, the attorney representing Okongwu, said he will appeal the ruling.

Drury held a June 29 hearing on defense claims that attorney J. Glenn Davis did not adequately defend Okongwu during the trial.

Okongwu, 53; Joy Wosu, 49; and Louis Eze, 46, Okongwu's cousin, were all convicted Nov. 26, 1993, of sexually assaulting the girls in Okongwu's Debra Lane home on Thanksgiving 1991. The victims were 7 years old. Okongwu and Eze also were convicted of sexually assaulting the girls in Okongwu's home on other occasions in June and September 1991.


Cash register with $600 taken from gas station

Thieves stole a cash register containing at least $600 during a burglary of a Seneca Street service station shortly before dawn Friday, South District police said.

The burglars used a large rock to break the bottom of the Plexiglas front door at the Getty Gas Station, 1770 Seneca St., at about 6:25 a.m., police said.


Assault rifle used in holdup of market

A Fillmore Avenue store was robbed about 10:30 a.m. Friday by a man believed to be armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, Buffalo police said.

An employee of Pike's Peak Market, 1318 Fillmore, told police the robber appeared to be a teenage male with a dark blue coat and a black ski mask.

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