Two accused of staging, falsely reporting theft
Two Lackawanna residents already facing gang assault charges in the beating of their upstairs neighbor now have been accused of staging and falsely reporting burglaries of both residences, Lackawanna police said.
The complicated series of events began when Robert W. Johnson Jr., 24, and his wife, Keelyn L., 22, of Center Street, were arrested, along with two friends, following the beating of the couple's upstairs neighbor Aug. 5.
Two days later, police said, a fire was set in the stairwell of the house, but no arrests have been made in connection with the arson..
On Aug. 11, after the upstairs tenant was given permission to get some items from his residence, Robert Johnson reported that a 47-inch television set and other items were taken from his apartment and also gave police a statement that his apartment had been burglarized.
Capt. Ronald Miller and Detective Daniel Cardi said police obtained a videotape of the Johnsons and their two friends removing items from both apartments.
The Johnsons, along with the two friends, Donspencer Williams, 17, and Marcellus L. Eckles, 24, both of Buffalo, were charged with burglary, grand larceny and criminal mischief, police said. The Johnsons were charged with falsely reporting an incident, and Robert Johnson also faces a perjury charge, according to police reports.
Convenience store robber gets 13-year prison term
A Townsend Street man who was convicted of robbing a convenience store will spend the next 13 years in prison.
Dion Maxwell, 24, who earlier was convicted by a jury on robbery, assault and criminal mischief charges, was sentenced Wednesday by State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia.
Buscaglia told Maxwell he found the July 27 verdict "appropriate under all the facts and circumstances of this case."
The judge told Maxwell, the only one of five bandits ever identified and captured, that his long criminal record was a factor in the sentence. Maxwell has two prior felony convictions and brief prison sentences for similar crimes.
Maxwell's lawyer said the conviction would be appealed.
Maxwell reportedly suffered nerve damage to his vocal cords during a knife fight with a store customer during the Nov. 21 stickup at the former Kensington Mini-Mart at 976 Kensington Ave.
Police say man, 19, robbed boy, 12, and attacked him
A Niagara Street man was charged Wednesday night with robbing a 12-year-old boy, pulling the child's hair and pushing him, police said.
Central District police said Michael Sanchez, 19, was in front of his home in the 500 block of Niagara Street at about 10:30 p.m. when he confronted a boy walking home from a restaurant.
Police said Sanchez approached the boy from behind, gestured with his right hand as if he had a gun and stated, "Give me all your money. This ain't a game." He then stole $9 from the boy and attacked him, police said. Officers William Rieman and Frank Gizzo arrested Sanchez after a brief struggle in the driveway of his home.
Sanchez was charged with robbery, endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest. He was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance for a metal crack pipe with crack cocaine residue that dropped on the ground as officers approached him and for an assortment of pills that were found in the pocket of his sweat shirt.
Bank robber sentenced to five years in prison
LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls bank robber was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday by Niagara County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr.
Robert M. Williams Jr., 33, of 19th Street, had pleaded guilty to third-degree robbery. He stole $1,237 from the Bank of America branch, 1900 Pine Ave., on April 21. Williams was caught on the street by County Legislature Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, off-duty Lewiston Police Officer John Penzotti and restaurateur George Satarian.
In another robbery case, James A. Ridgeway, 47, of 16th Street, Niagara Falls, pleaded guilty before Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza to attempted third-degree robbery for his role in a May 4 holdup attempt at the Corner Store on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda.
Co-defendant Kimberly M. Kitcho, 34, of Young Street, City of Tonawanda, is serving a year in jail for attempted second-degree robbery. Lynn M. Galley, 27, of Elmwood Avenue, Niagara Falls, is awaiting sentencing on the same charge.
Fire heavily damages Kensington Avenue home
Fire officials are trying to determine the cause of a fire that heavily damaged a Kensington Avenue home Wednesday night.
Authorities said flames erupted in the basement of 1273 Kensington at about 10:23 p.m. and quickly spread throughout the occupied 2 1/2 -story house.
No injuries were reported. Damage was estimated at $20,000 to the building and $20,000 to the contents.