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LITTLE VALLEY- Sentencing is scheduled for Dec.4 in Cattaraugus County Court for an Amherst man who pleaded guilty to drunken driving on Route 219.

Mark Pleto, 44, of Main street, pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated Oct. 9 in Ashford.< Man with hatchet arrested,
charged in threat to woman

Buffalo police have arrested a man accused of breaking into an Oneida Street home armed with a hatchet and threatening the female resident's life while her 4-year-old son lay on a couch.

Officers Patrick Crowley and Lance Russo charged Sean C. Gooden, 21, of Ernst Street, with first-degree burglary, menacing, endangering the welfare of a child and weapons possession.

Police accused Gooden of entering the home at about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, before returning at 11:30 p.m. and again at about 12:25 a.m. He was apprehended outside the house early Wednesday following his third appearance at the house, police said.

Alden escapee pleads
guilty to kidnapping, escape

A Buffalo man who escaped last weekend from Alden Correctional Facility pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of kidnapping and jail escape and now faces more than 20 years in state prison.

Adam Bennefield, 22, entered his plea just as jury selection was about to begin before State Supreme Court Justice Mario J. Rossetti.

Bennefield, who had faced a possible 50-year state prison term if convicted after a jury trial, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted second-degree kidnapping and first-degree escape.

Rossetti committed to a prison term of at least 20 years but assured Bennefield he will be spared the maximum 50-year term he had faced. He remanded him to jail pending his Nov. 17 sentencing.

Bennefield, a Cornwall Avenue resident, was arrested in March after abducting an estranged girlfriend and her friend at gunpoint from a car on the Kensington Expressway and forcing them to drive his vehicle to Grand Island and back with police cars in pursuit.

He was being held in the Alden facility, awaiting trial, when he escaped Friday and eluded police for 19 hours. Bennefield gave himself up to Buffalo police about 5 p.m. Saturday at the Alma Avenue home of a friend after he locked himself in the flat, cut his wrists with a kitchen knife and threatened to blow up the building with fumes from a gas stove.

Police charge mother, 29,
with child endangerment

A Town of Tonawanda woman faces child endangerment charges after police responded to calls about a noisy argument at 4 a.m. Wednesday at the woman's home.

Police said they received three calls about a noisy fight at a home on Riverdale Avenue. Rebecca Pfalzer, 29, returned at that hour with an unidentified man and her two children, ages 10 and 8, then got into a fight with the man -- a frequent occurrence, neighbors told police.

The man was gone when police arrived, but Pfalzer began cursing and fighting with them. Police said that the apartment was littered with beer bottles and that marijuana was "out in the open."

Pfalzer was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and obstructing governmental administration.

Escape by woman leads
to arrest of break-in suspect

Three robbers terrorized a Cheektowaga couple inside their apartment late Tuesday night, tying up the man and taping his mouth shut, while the woman jumped from an upstairs window, breaking her ankle in a successful attempt to notify police.

Cheektowaga police stormed into the apartment, freed the man and chased one of the suspects -- a man estimated as weighing 400 pounds -- before finding him crouched outside the couple's Creekside Drive apartment.

Two of the three men involved in the break-in remain at large after an air and ground search that included the use of the Erie County sheriff's Air One helicopter.

On Wednesday afternoon, Cheektowaga police said the case was under intense investigation. "We do have some leads," said Capt. Thomas E. Rowan, chief of detectives.

Police gave the following account:

It was shortly after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday when Yaniero Espinosa, 32, returned to his apartment, in the Harlem-Clinton area, and confronted the three men, who had broken into the apartment.

A struggle ensued, waking his wife, Janine Acosta, 25, who was in the upstairs bedroom. She jumped out the second-story window and went next door, where neighbors called police at 11:39 p.m.

Meanwhile, the three would-be robbers tied up Espinosa downstairs, police said. Responding to the initial call, Officers Anthony Filipski and Valentine Zimniewicz kicked in the front door.

"They found (Espinosa) with his hands tied together and his mouth covered with duct tape," Lt. Cheryl Rucinski said. When they pulled off the tape covering his mouth, Espinosa yelled, "Gun," and the officers chased one suspect to the back of the apartment, Rucinski said.

Other officers arrested the man, identified as Juan Vazquez, 20, of Lackawanna, crouched between the couple's apartment and a neighbor's fence line. Police also recovered a knife.

Vazquez has been charged with first-degree robbery, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Vazquez, who insisted he was acting alone, reportedly told police that he knew the couple had some money in the house. Investigators said it was unclear whether he knew the couple.

Acosta was taken to St. Joseph Hospital, Cheektowaga, for treatment of a broken ankle, police said. Espinosa apparently was not injured seriously enough to receive medical treatment.

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