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POLICE & COURTS - North Suburban

Swimmer who disappeared under bridge still missing

NIAGARA FALLS -- An 18-year-old Niagara Falls man is still missing after he disappeared while swimming under the Whirlpool Bridge with three friends at 7:40 p.m. Wednesday.

A search for John G. Onofrio was conducted by air, boat and helicopter until 1 a.m. Wednesday and continued until about 2 p.m. Thursday, when it was called off, New York State Park Police Sgt. Clyde Doty said this morning.

Park police continue to monitor the river for any sign of Onofrio, who still is considered a missing person.

According to his friends, ages 14, 15 and 16, Onofrio said he was tired, and the 16-year-old swam out into the river to help him but lost sight of him.

Park police said Onofrio disappeared in a section of the lower Niagara River where it is illegal to swim.


Man, 19, accused of taking phone photos at tanning shop

Erie County sheriff's detectives have used a 2-year-old privacy law to file a felony charge against a 19-year-old Springville man accused of using a camera cell phone to photograph women in a Springville tanning business.

Senior Detective James Hatch charged Jordan Crandall with unlawful surveillance and attempted unlawful surveillance, under the 2003 Offenses Against the Rights of Privacy law.

Crandall admitted taking photographs of women in the tanning booths of Total Tan in July, sheriff's officials said. They said he cooperated with the investigation after claiming it had been a prank.


Constable, 41, dies during fitness test

WELLAND, Ont. -- A Niagara Regional Police constable who served in Niagara Falls, Ont., died Thursday morning during a fitness-appraisal exercise here.

Constable Daniel Rathonyi, 41, of St. Catharines, was at the track at Notre Dame Secondary School when he collapsed just before 9 a.m., police said. The exercise was part of an application process for a position with the police emergency task unit.

Rathonyi, who served with the Niagara Regional Police since 2000, was taken to Welland General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.


Home on Village Lane in Sloan hit by fire

Firefighters in Cheektowaga and Sloan battled a fire late Thursday night in a home at 23 Village Lane in Sloan.

The blaze broke out shortly before 10 p.m.

No details were available this morning.


2 women, man accused of crimes at motel

A weeklong investigation into prostitution, drug dealing and larcenies at a Clarence motel has led to the arrest of two Buffalo women and a Clarence man, Erie County sheriff's officials said.

Melissa Szymanski, 28, of Ashley Street, was charged with grand larceny in the theft of $1,200 in cash, some steaks, two bottles of vodka and a cell phone. She also was charged with prostitution.

Deputies charged Richard H. Baer, 58, of Clarence, with promoting prostitution, accusing him of arranging for Szymanski to engage in sexual acts. Sheriff's officials said Baer received crack cocaine and sexual favors for his efforts.

Wednesday, sheriff's deputies and detectives used a search warrant to enter a room at the motel, where they recovered some crack cocaine. They charged Aginell D. Reese, 32, of East Amherst Street, with two felony drug charges.

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