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POLICE & COURTS

>Winspear shooting victim fighting for his life

A Dutton Avenue man was fighting for his life late Tuesday evening in Erie County Medical Center after he was shot several times and left for dead on Winspear Avenue, Buffalo police reported.

Justin Varner, 25, was found unconscious outside a rented vehicle in the 100 block of Winspear at about 5:30 a.m., according to Dennis J. Richards, chief of detectives. There were no witnesses. Police have no motive or suspects.

Anyone who has information about the shooting is encouraged to contact the Homicide Squad at 851-4466 or leave a message on the Buffalo police anonymous tip line at 847-2255.

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>Ex-Grand Island man ordered to repay $37,500

A former Grand Island man was sentenced to 120 days in jail and ordered to pay $37,500 to his ex-wife and children following his arrest on a Family Court warrant and a grand larceny charge, Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reported.

James D. Vaccaro, 43, was arrested late Monday afternoon attempting to board a plane for Sarasota, Fla.

Vaccaro, who once owned a company called J&M Enterprises, allegedly took $6,750 from an elderly couple about three years ago. They paid him to install a driveway. He never performed the work, police said.

He was also wanted for allegedly owing about $50,000 in back child-support payments.

Sheriff's officials encourage anyone who believes they were also victimized by Vaccaro to contact their office at 858-6389.

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>Ecstasy seized at border in 2 separate arrests

About 3,750 tablets of Ecstasy were seized in two separate incidents at local border crossings this week and two men were arrested, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported.

Shaundell Phillips, 34, of Guyana, with lawful permanent resident status in the United States, was allegedly found to be hiding about 2,000 tablets of the drugs in a vacuum-sealed bag in the air filter compartment of his engine at the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge on Monday.

A day earlier, a 24-year-old U.S. citizen whose name was withheld for investigative purposes, was found to have 1,750 tablets in two bags inside his jacket at the Rainbow Bridge crossing in Niagara Falls, officials said.

Both face federal charges of importation and possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. They were turned over to agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement pending prosecution by the U.S. attorney.

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>Shot fired, but attempt to rob woman fails

At least one shot was fired in a botched robbery late Monday evening on Olympic Avenue, Buffalo police reported.

The victim -- an Olympic Avenue woman -- told police she was opening the side door to her house at about 10:15 p.m. when two men approached her and put a gun in her face saying, "We're not gonna kill you, just give us the money."

When a man pulled in the driveway, one of the suspects fired a shot at his 2001 Oldsmobile and struck the front windshield. The man in the car, the suspects and a woman all fled.

When police arrived, the door there was kicked in, but the woman told police nothing was taken.

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>Youth, 15, suspected of raping visiting girl

A 15-year-old youth is suspected of raping his father's girlfriend's daughter in a West Ferry Street apartment late Monday evening, Buffalo police reported.

The grandmother of the juvenile victim reported to police that the girl was visiting her mother's house at about 10 p.m. Monday when the suspect placed his hand over her mouth and threatened to beat her up as he performed sexual intercourse on her. Sex-offense detectives responded to investigate the report.

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>Police probing report of abducted juveniles

Detectives are investigating a report of two juveniles being kidnapped Saturday afternoon from a University District shopping area and held against their will overnight on Hewitt Avenue, according to Buffalo police reports.

A Leroy Avenue woman reported to police Monday that the two juveniles were abducted from the University Plaza and taken in a four-door green sedan by three men. They were forced to stay in a vacant house somewhere on Hewitt Avenue.

The juveniles were dropped off the next day at Grider Street and Leroy Avenue at about 2 p.m.

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>Shots fired outside home just miss striking woman

An East Woodlawn Avenue woman narrowly escaped being struck by gunfire at her house Tuesday morning, Buffalo police reported.

The woman told police that an unknown shooter fired several rounds from a rifle while standing in a neighboring driveway at about 10 a.m.

Some of the rounds struck and damaged a lower apartment.

No one was seriously injured there, although the bullets did just miss striking a woman there, police said.

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