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POLICE & COURTS

>West Seneca police probe Winspear death as homicide

West Seneca police detectives were investigating an apparent homicide late Tuesday on Winspear Road in the southeastern portion of the town.

West Seneca police were called to 35 Winspear after a man's body was found there Tuesday evening. Further information was unavailable.

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>Man, 46, fatally shot in car outside restaurant

A Buffalo man was fatally shot in his car outside a Kenmore Avenue restaurant Tuesday night.

The 46-year-old victim, who was not identified, may have been a customer in the pizzeria/restaurant in the 300 block of Kenmore Avenue and left to go to his car parked at the corner of Campbell Avenue, police said.

He was shot an unknown number of times at about 9:30 p.m., according to Dennis J. Richards, chief of detectives. Homicide detectives were searching for suspects and a motive in the slaying.

Witnesses told police they saw two dark-colored vehicles leaving the scene on Campbell and heading to St. Lawrence Avenue.

This is the city's 12th homicide of the year.

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>Authorities say hiker died of heart attack

A Java man who was found dead Monday along the border of Erie and Wyoming counties after setting out on a hike last week suffered an apparent heart attack, Erie County sheriff's officials said.

Nelson Merlau, 44, left his home about noon last Thursday for a three-hour hike on Erie County forest land in Holland. Family members reported Merlau missing Sunday.

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>Suspect in arson arrested in Brant

Brant police Tuesday arrested a suspect in an arson that engulfed a vacant house in the Village of Farnham on Sunday.

Officer Brian Kauzala said he and Officer Jason Miller arrested a 16-year-old male who was arraigned Tuesday before Brant Town Justice Debra Ritz on charges of arson, criminal mischief and criminal trespass.
The unidentified youth was being held Tuesday in the Erie County Holding Center in lieu of $20,000 bail.

The fire broke out at about 3 p.m. in a two-story house on Detroit Street. Firefighters from the Farnham, Brant and Lake Erie Beach companies battled the blaze and brought it under control in about an hour.

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>Three girls questioned after fire destroys home

A vacant house at 35 Churchill St. was destroyed by a suspicious fire Monday night, city fire officials said.

Fire marshals interviewed three juvenile girls about the fire and then released them.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze, but both remained on duty.

Fire officials said flames erupted just after 7 p.m. in the two-story building, destroying the structure and prompting an emergency demolition.

Police said two witnesses informed officials that they observed three girls in that area just before the building went up in flames. Authorities transported the girls to the Northwest District police station for questioning.

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>Armed intruder takes $340, rings from woman

An intruder displayed a silver handgun Tuesday morning during a break-in on the city's East Side, police reported.

Ferry-Fillmore District police said an unknown man climbed through the window of a woman's upper apartment in the 100 block of Keystone Avenue at about 4:20 a.m. The woman was at home at the time.

The man stole $340 and various rings valued at $400 before fleeing, police said.

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>Officials suspect arson in Floss Avenue fire

Arson is the suspected cause of a fire Tuesday morning at an occupied Floss Avenue home, officials said.

Police said Northeast District Officer James Scherer was on patrol in the East Delavan-Floss area at 5:35 a.m. when he smelled smoke and saw smoke and flames coming from 165 Floss. Buffalo firefighters extinguished the blaze.

Fire officials believe the blaze started in the rear bedroom and the basement of the one-story brick building.

Damage was estimated at $50,000 to the building and $20,000 to the contents.

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>Man, woman complete state recovery program

Two Buffalo drug dealers have successfully completed the state's rigorous Road to Recovery Program designed to rehabilitate drug offenders with a number of criminal convictions, Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark announced Tuesday.

Clark said the two -- identified only as a 28-year-old man and 31-year-old woman -- are the first two Erie County residents to complete the nearly 4-year-old program that he and other prosecutors throughout the state championed.

Clark said the program, which lasts a minimum of a year, involves local intensive inpatient and outpatient drug treatment, counseling, schooling and job training.

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