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POLICE & COURTS

>Nursing home closed in 2002 damaged in arson

Arson is being blamed for a fire Monday afternoon at a former Buffalo nursing home, authorities said.

Fire officials reported that flames ignited in 300 Manhattan Ave., the former site of Gardens at Manhattan Health and Rehabilitation Center, just before 5:30 p.m.

Damages was estimated at $175,000 to the building and $35,000 to its contents. No injuries were reported.

In September 2002, the nursing home, part of Zacher Healthcare, was forced to stop all new admissions after a state investigation found numerous deficiencies involving care of residents.

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>Hunt for robber results in another arrest

A Persons Street man was taken into custody after a short foot chase by police after he allegedly pointed a gun at officers late Monday afternoon on the city's East Side.

Dashawn E. Abrams, 16, was charged with reckless endangerment, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, criminal possession of a loaded firearm, menacing and possession of a forged instrument, a counterfeit $10 bill and a counterfeit $20 bill.

Ferry-Fillmore District Officers Jeffrey Weyand and Mark Costantino were looking into possible robbery suspects at about 5:20 p.m. when Abrams allegedly fled from police through a vacant lot on Goembel Avenue.

Police said Abrams pulled out a pistol and pointed it at the chasing police officers. Costantino then drew his own gun and fired a single shot at Abrams, causing him to drop his gun but continue to flee. Abrams was not wounded.

Abrams was apprehended on Bailey Avenue a short time later after he fought with officers, police said. A loaded .38-caliber gun was recovered in a Goembel Avenue yard, according to reports.

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>Fire damages 2 homes on East Delavan Ave.

The Red Cross is assisting one adult and one child after their East Delavan Avenue home was heavily damaged by flames Monday afternoon. No injuries were reported.

Fire officials said the fire at 671 E. Delavan started at about 5 p.m. and quickly spread throughout the two-story house.

Damage was estimated at $40,000 to the building and $10,000 to its contents.

The flames also spread to a neighboring house at 673 E. Delavan, causing an estimated $5,000 in damages.

The cause has not been determined.

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>Buffalo Halfway House loses cash, tokens in burglary

Buffalo police are looking for a burglar who broke into the Buffalo Halfway House over the weekend and stole about $400 cash and $3,400 worth of bus tokens and broke a desk, police said.

Northeast District officers said the burglary occurred sometime between about 5 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the facility at 115 Glenwood Ave.

Officers said the burglar broke into the safe, stealing cash and possibly other items and more money from a cash box inside a desk drawer.

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>Alleged slumlord ruled owner, sole employee of business

Joy A. Drati, the jailed California businessman and alleged Buffalo slumlord, is the "owner" and sole employee of his JD Max Homes, City Housing Judge Henry J. Nowak ruled Monday.

The ruling leaves Drati, 39, facing a series of trials on city ordinance violations linked to the company's West Side properties. During a Feb. 9 hearing, Drati had disputed personal liability for the corporate-owned properties.

But Nowak cited Drati's own testimony during a Buffalo court hearing Sept. 23, 2004, in upholding the claims of city and Erie County government attorneys. During that hearing, Drati described himself as president, managing member and sole employee of JD Max Homes.

Nowak is slated this week to begin the first ordinance trials for Drati. If convicted as charged on 325 ordinance violations, he could face up to 13 years in jail and fines and demolition costs of more than $700,000.

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>Falls police seek woman in holdup at Key Bank

NIAGARA FALLS -- City police are searching for a woman who handed a note to a teller at Key Bank, 800 Main St., and made off with an unknown amount of cash just after 2 p.m. Monday.

Anyone who might have any information should call police at 286-4553.

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>Ontario officer charged with possessing child porn

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. -- A 15-year veteran of the Niagara Regional Police Service who was charged last July with assault has now also been charged with possessing child pornography, the Police Service reported Monday.

Jeffrey Cross, no age listed, of Renfrew, remains suspended from duty with pay. Cross has been suspended since July after he was charged with assault causing bodily harm following an incident at a St. Catharines home.

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