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BANK ROBBERIES IN BUFFALO, CITY OF TONAWANDA PROBED

Authorities today continued to search for two men in bank robberies Tuesday in the City of Tonawanda and downtown Buffalo.

In the first holdup, an armed man robbed the Charter One Bank branch at 20 Main St., City of Tonawanda, at about 10:30 a.m., FBI officials said.

The robber is described as in his late 40s, about 5 feet, 11 inches tall and 200 pounds. Authorities said the man was dressed in camouflage fatigues that included a hat, shirt and pants. He also wore glasses, a gray wig and a 2-inch-square bandage on his left cheek.

The robber, who carried a black gym bag, displayed a handgun during the robbery. Officials said he demanded that two bank tellers place cash in the gym bag. The amount was undetermined.

In the second holdup, the HSBC Bank branch in the Rand Building was robbed at about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, according to FBI officials.

A man in a dark, hooded sweat shirt and dark pants passed a note demanding cash to a bank teller.

The robber, who was described only as unshaven, did not display a weapon, authorities said.

When he left the bank, the man fled in a yellow taxi, which authorities described as a 1985-model Chrysler.

Three vacant houses torched in Barthel-Ivy neighborhood

Three intentionally set house fires in the Barthel-Ivy neighborhood early today have prompted neighbors to appeal to the public for assistance in helping authorities catch whoever is responsible.

"The fires were all set within a couple hours of each other, and flammable liquid was used in each fire," said Darnell Jackson, a spokesman for the Barthel Street Block Club.

The first of the fires, all in vacant dwellings, was started at 3:56 a.m. at 58 Ivy St. Shortly afterward, firefighters responded to 31 Ivy and at about 5:30 a.m. to a blaze at 25 Barthel St.

Gunman threatens clerk, flees; suspect arrested

A gunman threatened a clerk in a 14th Street grocery store and fled empty-handed Tuesday night, and a suspect later was arrested by police, authorities said.

Jose Gonzalez, 22, of no permanent address, was accused of entering the Corner Store on the 300 block of 14th at 11 p.m. and threatening the clerk with a handgun.

After a brief struggle, the gunman fled. Gonzalez was caught on a garage roof in the 200 block of 15th Street, according to arresting Northwest District Officers Jamie Miller and Terrence Supples.

Gonzalez was charged with first-degree robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and resisting arrest.

Man, 35, killed in fall from apartment window

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 35-year-old man died Tuesday after falling from the 14th floor of Spallino Towers, 720 10th St., police said.

Jeffrey A. Viccica, who lived in a 14th-floor apartment there, was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:15 p.m. by Niagara County Coroner James M. Joyce, who said Viccica apparently fell from his apartment window.

An autopsy is scheduled Thursday in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. Joyce said he doesn't suspect foul play.

Man dies in 2-vehicle crash; the other driver is injured

LE ROY -- A Bergen man was killed Tuesday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash at West Bergen and Griswold roads, according to Genesee County sheriff's deputies.

Andrew H. Paquin, 42, of Warboys Road was fatally injured when his pickup truck was struck by a Jeep driven by Nadine B. Kabel, 59, of Angling Road, Corfu.

Deputies said Kabel failed to heed a stop sign at the intersection. He was treated in United Memorial Medical Center and released. Charges are pending.

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