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POLICE & COURTS

Cuba resident arrested on impersonation warrant

OLEAN -- A Cuba man wanted on an arrest warrant for impersonation in the Town of Allegany was arrested Wednesday on North 13th Street by Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputies.

Brady James Demick, 24, of Carpenter Road, was taken into custody at about 1:30 a.m. He was arraigned in Town of Allegany Court on charges of third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree unlawful imprisonment and second-degree harassment.

Demick was sent to the county jail by Judge David F. Porter, who set bail at $2,500.

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Le Roy man pleads guilty in distribution of meth

A Le Roy man faces up to life in prison and a $4 million fine for conspiring to possess and distribute methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said Wednesday.

Donald G. Vanelli II, 47, obtained five to 15 kilograms of methamphetamine from drug suppliers and distributed those drugs to others in Genesee and Monroe counties from 2004 to 2010, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey.

Vanelli, who pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa, also possessed firearms, including a loaded 9 mm rifle. Authorities said that as part of his plea agreement, Vanelli will forfeit his rifle, a 9 mm magazine and 78 rounds of ammunition seized from his home in Le Roy.

Vanelli was arrested with four others in July. He is the first to be convicted.

Vanelli is scheduled to be sentenced May 10.

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Firefighter impersonator enters plea of guilty

LITTLE VALLEY -- An Olean man who was impersonating a volunteer firefighter at a massive fire of an abandoned Salamanca furniture factory last spring pleaded guilty this week to a charge of criminal impersonation to satisfy an indictment against him, Cattaraugus County District Attorney Lori A. Riemann reported.

Bradley M. Thomas, 31, pretended to be a public servant acting with approval or authority of a public agency or department during the May 7, 2010, fire at the abandoned Fancher Furniture Co. factory in Salamanca that caused $1.2 million damage.

Thomas wore a Kill Buck Fire Department helmet and jacket and air pack from the Salamanca Fire Department. He told authorities he was a Machias firefighter.

Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced April 4.

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Two caregivers accused of assault on 4-month-old

FORT ERIE, Ont. -- Two Fort Erie men are charged with aggravated assault for attacks on an baby boy, according to the Child Abuse Unit of Niagara Regional Police.

Mikol Zahorchak, 31, and David Nelson, 47, both of Radford Avenue, and business partners, subjected the 4-month-old to "a series of extensive, non-accidental traumatic injuries."

Police said the boy, now 20 months old, is currently under the care of Famly and Children's Services Niagara. Police did not disclose how the boy was injured.

The investigation was triggered in October 2009, when detectives were contacted by medical professionals. Authorities said Zahorchak and Nelson were "caregivers to the child." The two operate D'Lish Artful DelightS, a home-based business that offers "custom desserts, party trays, cakes and more," according to their Facebook site.

Both were released from custody pending an appearance in Fort Erie Provincial Courthouse on March 22.

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Abandoned pets spark animal cruelty arrest

LOCKPORT -- A Prospect Street man was charged with more than a dozen counts of animal cruelty Tuesday for abandoning 15 cats in a Park Avenue apartment after moving.

SPCA officials described conditions in the apartment as "horrendous."

Kim "Kevin" Veach, 51, pleaded not guilty in City Court on Wednesday to animal cruelty and leaving dogs at large and was released on his own recognizance. He still faces additional sanitation charges in court Feb. 3.

SPCA Executive Director James Faso said authorities went to the Park Avenue address Tuesday after it was condemned by the Niagara County Health Department.

"You could smell it walking up to the house. The conditions were horrendous. There was several inches of cat feces and no food or water," Faso said.

He said the SPCA took possession of 15 cats and two died on the way to the shelter.

Faso said when Veach was arrested at his new Prospect Street residence, authorities found four dogs and six cats. The SPCA confiscated the cats and dogs, Faso said.

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Cheektowaga man arrested in Route 219 traffic stop

SALAMANCA -- A Cheektowaga man stopped by city police on Route 219 for speeding was also charged with driving without a license Tuesday evening.

Rashaun D. Lee, 23, of Losson Garden 2, was charged additionally with following too close.

Police said Lee, who had seven previous vehicle violations, posted $250 bail and is to return to City Court on Feb. 4.

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