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POLICE & COURTS

Man, 81, fatally injured in Cheektowaga collision

An 81-year-old man was fatally injured in a two-car crash about 4 p.m. Friday afternoon near Genesee Street and Transit Road in Cheektowaga, authorities said.

The victim, whose identity was not released, died in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, a short time later. Emergency crews said the man had severe chest injuries.

Rural-Metro Medical Services took four other people to Women and Children's Hospital, where they were being treated for what were described as minor injuries.

The cause of the crash, outside the Sky Harbor mobile home development, was not available. Cheektowaga police did not release any details of the crash Friday.

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Woman seized, raped after getting off bus

A Hertel Avenue woman says three men forced her into a car and raped her late Wednesday shortly after she got off a bus at Niagara Street and Hertel, Buffalo police said.

Police said they discovered the woman at about 9:45 p.m., knocking on the rectory door at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 60 Hertel Ave.

At that time, police said, the woman was lost and officers took her home.

Less than an hour later, the woman told police three men had raped her.

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Career criminal, 48, sentenced to life term

Jimmy "Peanuts" Velasquez, a 48-year-old career Buffalo burglar who has been out of jails only about four years his entire adult life, on Friday was ordered to serve a life term as an incorrigible criminal.

State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia kept his commitment to allow Velasquez to come up for parole consideration after serving 12 years behind bars.

Reading from handwritten notes, Velasquez complained about his lawyer, Phillip Dabney Jr., and criticized Buscaglia for his refusal to let another court-appointed lawyer handle the case.

The judge stressed that the main reason he got a plea deal to a reduced felony charge was due to the efforts of Dabney.

Velasquez has been jailed since his daylight arrest last March 1 in the middle of a burglary at a Courtland Avenue house. He had been paroled from state custody only 37 days before that incident. Velasquez has seven known aliases in a criminal career that began when he was a Buffalo teen and includes eight prior felony convictions.

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Fisherman falls through ice, twice

LAKEWOOD -- Even with an arctic chill in recent days, authorities are warning people to stay off the ice on Chautauqua Lake.

Lakewood-Busti Police issued the warning after a Westfield man fell through the ice twice in the past two days.

Officers said Robert Bieawski, 39, was fishing about 6 p.m. Wednesday off East Terrace Avenue, about 40 yards from shore, when he fell through the ice.

He was rescued by another fisherman and treated in WCA Hospital, Jamestown.

Bieawski, however, returned to the same spot about 2:30 p.m. Thursday and fell through again, authorities said.

Again, a fellow fisherman came to his aid.

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Company wants contract for sports gear to stand

A Buffalo company that won a five-year contract for sports equipment is urging that the Buffalo School Board fight a judge's ruling that the bidding process be reopened.

Ron Raccuia, head of Ad Pro Team Sports, said that under the contract won over four competitors six months ago, the district will receive credits on all purchases and a $10,000 cash payment annually.

The court action was launched by Jim Ludtka Sporting Goods Inc., Cheektowaga.

State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek on Thursday ordered a new round of bidding for apparel, uniforms and footwear. The contract was awarded in July.

The judge ruled the district used "impermissibly vague" bidding procedures and violated state guidelines.

Raccuia's company, based on Louisiana Street, has contracts with 30 school districts nationwide.

He estimated the value of the contract at "maybe a million dollars if everything is perfect."

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Burglars take cigarettes, cash from 2 businesses

Burglars stole cigarettes from an Elmwood Avenue restaurant and cash from a register and jukebox at an Allen Street bar, police said.

Someone broke into Cozumel Grill, 153 Elmwood Ave., about 5:30 a.m. Thursday by removing glass from a door and climbing through, Buffalo police report. The cigarette machine was pried open and 30 packs of cigarettes were taken.

Also, at Q-Bar, 44 Allen St., someone broke the glass in a door about 7 a.m. Thursday, reached through and turned the deadbolt to gain access. The register and jukebox were damaged, and about $800 stolen.

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