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Man, teens accused in thefts of cash, toys

Thieves in Cheektowaga and Lackawanna apparently haven't caught the holiday spirit.

But four suspects have been caught.

Three teenagers in Cheektowaga and a 40-year-old man in Lackawanna face criminal charges after being accused in an unrelated pair of heartless thefts -- stealing some $25 in donations earmarked for Roswell Park Cancer Institute and taking a barrel filled with Toys for Tots toys.

In the later incident, Lackawanna police recovered the barrel and the toys following a Tuesday morning break-in at St. Anthony Catho lic Church on Ingham Avenue.

A priest heard glass breaking and called police at 5:18 a.m. Officers Chris Caber and Mike Gawronski responded and spotted a man walking from the scene with a barrel filled with toys. Police arrested the man and recovered the toys that had been donated at the church for Toys for Tots.

The officers charged Quintin E. Jacobs, 40, of Olcott Street, Lackawanna, with burglary, criminal mischief, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. Police even found a piece of glass from the broken window in his pocket, they said.

"Apparently, Mr. Jacobs thought he was the Grinch, trying to steal Christmas from some needy children," said Capt. Ronald Miller, Lackawanna's chief of detectives

Cheektowaga police say that a tip from one police officer, information from two citizens and the tracking abilities of a K-9 dog helped them arrest three teenagers Monday evening. One of the teens was armed with two handguns, according to police reports.

While praising the collaboration that led to the arrest, Capt. James P. Morath also commented on the theft of money from Roswell Park, especially at holiday time.

"Roswell Park is very important to this community," Morath said. "Here you have three individuals stealing money that would benefit the children and other patients at Roswell Park."

The incident started at about 5:40 p.m. Monday, when three youths entered John & Mary's restaurant at 3513 Harlem Road, looked around and left, before returning to the shop. They took the Roswell Park donation box from the counter and fled into a nearby cemetery.

Cheektowaga police, with the help of K-9 Officer John Doskocz and his dog, Iozo, tracked the youths' path through the cemetery, through a hole in a fence and into the Cleveland-Century area.

School-liaison police officer Eric Broska gave patrol officers the name and address of a possible suspect on Coralwood Court. Then a citizen saw three people running onto Coralwood, and another resident saw them run into a home there.

Officers Michael Hoock, David Robida, James Jenson and Dana Cadwallader arrested two teens trying to flee in a vehicle and a third suspect inside the Coralwood Court home. The officers also found two handguns on one of the teens.

"Guns on the street aren't just a city problem," Morath said. "They're in every community."

Police charged Carlos Rodriguez, 18, of 18th Street, Buffalo, with petit larceny and two weapons charges. Also facing petit larceny charges are Steveo Mendez, 16, of Coralwood Court, and Stephen Addison, 17, of Allendale Road, Cheektowaga.


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