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POLICE & COURTS

Firefighter hurt at site of arson

An early morning fire on Brinkman Avenue on Friday is under investigation, while a vacant house fire on Lathrop an hour later has been ruled arson.

Buffalo firefighters were called at 4:28 a.m. to a 2 1/2 -story triplex at 96 Brinkman, fire officials said. No injuries were reported, and damage estimates were unavailable Friday.

At 5:53 a.m., firefighters responded to 129 Lathrop St. to extinguish a blaze at a vacant 2 1/2 -story structure. The fire was ruled an arson.

One firefighter fell through the floor fighting the blaze, but his injuries were unclear, according to reports from Buffalo fire control.

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Public's help sought in murder investigation

West Seneca police asked for the public's help Friday in finding the intruder believed to have beaten a Winspear Road man to death on Tuesday.

Police Chief Edward Gehen said his investigators are dedicating all of their resources toward finding James L. Gilson's killer and have developed a few promising leads.

But he asked "anybody out there who had heard or seen anything that day" including suspicious people or unfamiliar vehicles in the area to contact detectives at 674-3154 or the West Seneca tip line at 675-8423.

Gilson, 34, was found beaten to death in his basement by his wife.

Gehen said investigators continue to believe that Gilson was targeted -- and not a victim of a random burglary gone awry.

"There was a purpose for the [killer or killers] going to that home," Gehen said. "There's a reason."

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Woman, 31, arrested in credit card forgery

Town of Tonawanda police arrested a woman on credit card forgery charges Thursday while assisting state parole officers, officials said.

Town police were called to 11 Gloucester Avenue at 9:45 a.m. Thursday as state parole officers tracked down a suspected parole violator, Rex Barry, 39, at the disheveled town house.

Detective Todd Ciehomski, along with Officers Kenneth Englert, Kevin Sweeney and Kurt Pfeiffer found stolen credit cards and receipts as well as evidence of possible drug activity at the scene.

Authorities took Jenna L. Buccitelli, 31, into custody. She was charged with second-degree forgery and criminal possession of stolen credit cards.

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Man, 89, reported missing has early stage dementia

SOMERSET -- An 89-year-old man was reported missing Friday after he got into his car in a snowstorm, heading for the Village of Barker, and failed to return home.

John P. Wronski of Johnson Creek Road was at the wheel of a four-door dark green 2002 Saturn with license plate AZT-2674, according to Officer Larry Weibert of the Barker Police Department. Wronski, who left home about 3 p.m., was wearing a blue bomber jacket with a fur collar and green pants.

"His wife says if he went anywhere other than the village, he probably wouldn't be able to find his way home," Weibert said. Wronski is believed to be suffering from early stage dementia, according to a broadcast police bulletin.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Wronski or his car is asked to call the Niagara County Sheriff's Department at 438-3393.

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Woman slightly hurt when SUV overturns

WESTFIELD -- A Westfield woman escaped serious injury Thursday when her sport utility vehicle veered off Westfield-Sherman Road and flipped, Westfield police said.

Kyle Brandhorst, 52, of Fish Road, was traveling north on Westfield-Sherman when she lost control of the vehicle on a curve because of slippery road conditions, police said. Brandhorst was freed from the wreckage by Westfield Fire and Rescue crews.

Police said she was treated in Westfield Memorial Hospital, then released.

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Co-defendant to testify in pot-dealing case

LOCKPORT -- A marijuana dealer who took part in a sale to a 14-year-old boy pleaded guilty Wednesday in Niagara County Court and agreed to testify against her co-defendant, who goes on trial Monday.

Katherine M. Bond, 21, of Ferry Avenue, Niagara Falls, admitted to fourth-degree criminal sale of marijuana and was scheduled for sentencing June 8 by Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr.

Eric C. Shimmel, 22, of South Avenue, Niagara Falls, is to be tried Monday on charges of second-degree sale of marijuana, unlawful possession of the drug and endangering the welfare of a child. A Memorial Parkway man saw the alleged $10 sale of two bags of marijuana to his 14-year-old son May 6.

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Guilty pleas entered in burning of car

LOCKPORT -- A man who tried to set a woman's car on fire pleaded guilty to two charges Monday in Niagara County Court.

Jerry G. Fuller, 51, of Orleans Avenue, Niagara Falls, admitted to attempted fourth-degree arson and fourth-degree criminal mischief. He will be sentenced June 4. Niagara Falls police said they interrupted Fuller as he was pouring gasoline on the car on 22nd Street.

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