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Buffalo police catch accused bank robber after chase in stolen SUV

A Buffalo man is accused of robbing a bank in Riverside on Tuesday, stealing an SUV and then leading police on a high-speed chase, according to court documents.

Stephan Cooke, 41, of Laird Avenue, robbed the M&T Bank branch at 788 Tonawanda St. shortly after 2:30 p.m., according to a Buffalo police report.

As he fled, he stole a Chevrolet Blazer from a driveway on Ontario Street about 3/4 of a mile away from the bank, according to police. Officers spotted the stolen vehicle but Cooke refused to pull over.

He eventually abandoned the SUV and started running, but was caught by police near 245 Maple St. in the city's Fruit Belt neighborhood, according to court documents.

Cooke was charged with second- and third-degree robbery, two counts of grand larceny, unlawfully fleeing a police officer, criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of unauthorized use of a vehicle, according to authorities. He was being held in the Erie County Holding Center.

Cooke also was wanted on a bench warrant for a robbery charge out of the Town of Tonawanda.

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