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POLICE & COURTS

M&T Bank is robbed in University Plaza

An afternoon bank robbery in Amherst on Monday has police asking for the public's help in identifying a suspect.

Police said the male in his mid-30s entered the M&T Bank branch at University Plaza, 3500 Main St., at about 2:15 p.m. and handed a teller what appeared to be a black pillow case with cream colored stripes, then demanded cash.

The robber was described as 5-foot, 9-inches tall and 170 pounds, was wearing a dark green jacket over a blue hooded sweat shirt with a dark blue bandanna. He fled across Kenmore Avenue and into a waiting getaway car that was parked in the Walgreens parking lot. The vehicle was described as a dark green Pontiac Bonneville from the mid-1990s.

The vehicle traveled away from the scene west on Main Street into the city of Buffalo.

The robber escaped with an undetermined sum of cash. No weapon was displayed and no injuries were reported.

Amherst detectives think the same man robbed the same bank branch on Dec. 17.

Anyone with information is asked to call 689-1339.

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Prosecutor vows to show videotaped confession

LOCKPORT -- A prosecutor promised to show a videotaped confession and a video of the crime, but defendant Art Swain Jr. told a State Supreme Court jury Monday that he's not guilty of robbing a Niagara Falls cell phone store at gunpoint and tying up three female employees with zip ties.

Swain, 21, of Roesch Avenue, Buffalo, was convicted in November of six robberies or attempted robberies in Erie County. He represented himself in that trial, and Swain is again acting as his own lawyer in a second-degree robbery trial stemming from the Feb. 9 holdup at Universal Wireless on Pine Avenue.

Assistant District Attorney David Hoffman said in his opening statement that Swain allegedly wore "a distinctive vest" along with gloves and a mask as he brought a gun into the store, forced the three women into a back room and emptied the cash register.

Hoffman told the jurors they would see the videos, the vest, the gloves, the gun and the zip ties.

But Swain said, "I can assure you, the prosecution will not provide you with any DNA or fingerprints. For what reason, I don't know; possibly to hide the truth."

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Truck wedged in overpass closes road three hours

The overpass sign read 11 feet, 6 inches, but a truck from Indiana carrying 21 tons of paper was a little too tall for that, causing a traffic headache for drivers on Young Street in the City of Tonawanda on Sunday night.

The northbound truck became wedged under the overpass at Killewald Avenue at about 6 p.m., City of Tonawanda police reported. The road was closed for about three hours.

The driver, Lawrence Franklin, 46, of Stone Mountain, Ga., was not injured, according to police reports. He was ticketed for failure to obey a bridge warning sign and other violations.

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Taxi driver hit in head, robbed of his vehicle

A taxi driver was struck in the head with an unknown object and robbed of his vehicle and GPS device Sunday in the city's Black Rock area, Northwest District police reported.

The driver picked up a fare on Bridgeman Street, northwest of Amherst Street and Elmwood Avenue, at about 8:30 p.m., police said. He then was struck in the right side of his head before being robbed of the taxi, the GPS device and some PlayStation games.

The cab was found later a short distance away, at Grobe and Germain streets. Police impounded the vehicle to search for possible prints and other evidence.

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Driver in crash faces aggravated DWI charge

A 24-year-old Marilla man has been charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated after being accused of recording a blood-alcohol level four times the legal limit following a three-vehicle crash Sunday evening in the Town of Elma.

Erie County Sheriff's Deputies Scott Kuhlmey and Dave Makowski responded to the property-damage crash at about 7 p.m. on Route 400. They charged Bryon R. Clark with DWI but added the aggravated DWI charge after a blood-alcohol reading of 0.32 percent, according to sheriff's reports.

The deputies also charged Clark with felony aggravated unlicensed operation and other traffic infractions, sheriff's officials reported.

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Man walking from store is shot in right hand

A man was shot in his right hand Saturday night while walking home from a store in the Kensington-Bailey neighborhood.

The injury to Devon Lewis, no age or address available, was not life-threatening. He was treated in Erie County Medical Center and released.

The shooting happened at about 8:30 p.m., while Lewis was walking home on Comstock Avenue, between Hutchinson and Midway avenues, police said.

The victim told police he did not see the gunman.

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