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Contractor pleads guilty to larceny, harassment

An Ashland Avenue tree-cutting contractor Thursday pleaded guilty to grand larceny and aggravated harassment for scamming the federal government out of $3,000 and threatening a competitor following the October 2006 snowstorm.

James Mancuso, 32, the owner of Buffalo Timber, scammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency for limb-removal charges and also left threatening messages on the telephone voice mail of another contractor, Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard said.

Mancuso is the fourth person to plead guilty in connection with the FEMA scam. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February.


Would-be robber foiled when bank teller hesitates

A woman who tried to rob the Ellicott Square branch of Northwest Savings Bank about 2:30 p.m. Thursday fled without any loot, Buffalo police said.

The woman handed a note to a teller that read "Give me money, or I'll shoot," police said. However, the teller hesitated, and the woman reached into her pocket, produced a coin and then asked for change. When told the bank doesn't make change like that anymore, she fled onto Main Street, police said.

The would-be bandit was described as black, 5-foot-5, 110 to 120 pounds, with short hair, about 30 years old and wearing a black and white baseball cap and a pink bubble coat.


Robber flees screaming after victim twists his arm

A Virginia Street man who was robbed of his wallet Thursday afternoon as he was leaving the post office at Bird Avenue and Grant Street turned the tables on his attacker.

The man was robbed after his assailant applied a headlock and held what was possibly a knife to his throat and hit him with a metal object, police said.

"Don't move. You got money?" said the robber, who removed the wallet from the man's pocket.

Then, the victim twisted the robber's right arm and "heard a crack" before the robber screamed and fled, police said.


Man found dead on street suffered a heart attack

A man whose body was discovered Thursday morning on Arkansas Street died of a heart attack, police said.

At about 8:15 a.m., homicide investigators were called to the 100 block of Arkansas, near Herkimer Street, where the body was found.


15-year-old boy shot on Davidson Avenue

A 15-year-old Buffalo boy was shot in his right leg Thursday morning on Davidson Avenue, police said.

The boy was being treated in Erie County Medical Center. Police officials have not released his identity.

Buffalo police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said the shooting happened at 1:05 a.m. while the boy was standing in front of a house in the 200 block of Davidson.

A black car, occupied by unknown males, pulled up to him, and a couple of shots were fired, police said.


Man lures woman to apartment, rapes her

A Buffalo woman was raped Wednesday afternoon when she went inside a stranger's basement apartment to try to sell her bus pass, police said.

The woman told Central District police that an unknown man told her that his uncle would buy her bus pass, but they would have to go to his house.

The woman told police she followed the man, who told her they were walking through Willert Park, but she did not know where she was.

When she went inside a basement apartment, he raped her, police said. The man was described as black, 6-foot-1, with a thin build and wearing a black bubble jacket, white T-shirt and blue jeans.


Buffalo man robbed at gunpoint on West Side

A Buffalo man was robbed at gunpoint Thursday morning at Niagara Street and Bird Avenue on the city's West Side, police said.

Northwest District police said the victim was confronted by a man who came up behind him at about 2:45 a.m., pointed a black handgun at him and said, "Give me everything out of your pockets. Or do you want to get hurt?"

The gunman stole $54 and the victim's cell phone. He then fled east on Bird toward West Avenue.


Deliveryman dodges robbery attempt

A food deliveryman apparently averted a robbery Wednesday night when he drove away before two robbers reached his vehicle, police said.

The deliveryman made two attempts to deliver an order of food between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. to a house on Domedion Avenue. When he recived another call saying he had gone to the wrong house, he made his third attempt to deliver the food, police said.

When he drove up to the new address, he saw two men coming from the rear of the house. One donned a ski mask and reached into his jacket. That's when the deliveryman drove away before the men could reach his vehicle.

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