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Underage drinkers targeted at Bills games

Warning to underage fans drinking in the parking lots outside Ralph Wilson Stadium before Buffalo Bills games:

The authorities are out to get you.

Sunday, for the first time in recent memory, the Erie County Sheriff's Office sent five two-deputy teams into the parking lots to check for underage drinkers. They arrested 21 people, all 17 to 20 years old.

And this wasn't just a one-game phenomenon.

"We arrested these people as part of the [Bills'] Fan Behavior Initiative, and we will continue to do this for the rest of the season," Sheriff's Patrol Chief Dennis Rankin said Monday.

Rankin pointed out that Bills security officers had noticed that quite a few people denied entrance into the stadium at recent games appeared to be both underage and intoxicated.

"Obviously, the overall goal is to make attending Bills games uneventful -- as far as behavior -- and enjoyable for everyone," Rankin added. "We also want to make sure we don't have anyone driving intoxicated, particularly those under the age of 21."

The new effort by the Sheriff's Office drew rave reviews from the chief of a fellow police agency patrolling the games.

"I applaud the Sheriff's Department for going out and doing that," Orchard Park Police Chief Samuel M. McCune said. "It definitely puts young people on notice that they don't have a blank check to do illegal activity at Bills games."

Sheriff's officials did not release the names of the young people arrested, partly because they could receive youthful offender status.

Sunday's game with the Cincinnati Bengals resulted in an average number of arrests in the stadium.

Orchard Park police, working with stadium security officers and sheriff's deputies, logged 25 arrests for the afternoon. The Bills' first four games averaged 27 arrests.

A summary of Sunday's arrests shows that the large influx of Canadians on the Bills' Canada Day accounted for almost half the arrests -- 12 of the 25 people charged. Only three of the 25 were from Erie County.

Another 126 people were ejected from the game or turned away at the gate.

The most noticeable arrest was made near the end of the game, when security officers tackled a 20-year-old London, Ont., man who had run onto the field. Police charged Brad J. Morassutti with second-degree assault, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and resisting arrest.

The assault charge followed an accusation that Morassutti kicked one of the security officers who had tackled him.

Facing charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration are Kevin R. Tweedle, 38, of Hamilton, Ont.; Joseph P. Costa, 26, of Le Roy; and Andrew D. Hermann, 21, of Gasport.

Charged with harassment and resisting arrest are Steven R. Rogers, 26, of Hamilton, Ont., and Nicholas L. Buitenwerf, 22, of Dunnville, Ont.

Facing criminal trespass charges are Shawn M. Miskimmin, 28, of Orangeville, Ont., and Adrian K. Walker, 25, of Brampton, Ont. Criminal mischief charges were lodged against Nicholas A. Kuzara, 25, and Cedrick A. Jordan, 25, both of Buffalo.

Charged with disorderly conduct are Robert P. Evans, 32, of Cheektowaga; Philip A. Dickens, 33, of Orangeville, Ont.; Robert A. Wallace, 22, of Rochester; Andrew J. Costa, 31, of Le Roy; and Timothy E. Sprague, 26, of Rochester.

Also, Geoffrey R. Reeves, 49, of Toronto, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, while Mitchell S. Reeves, 16, of Toronto, was charged with possessing alcohol under 21; Amberlyne M. Grego, 21, of Amsterdam, was charged with obstructing governmental administration; and David G. Smith, 54, of Conesus, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief and criminal trespass.

Others arrested, with their charges, are Jamal K. Jadallah, 25, of Amsterdam, marijuana possession; Daniel Minion, 25, of Blackstock, Ont., criminal trespass and resisting arrest; Matthew M. Lynch, 18, of Geneva, criminal trespass and marijuana possession; Jason M. Wurr, 37, of Guelph, Ont., resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Also, Shaun R. Wahlman, 30, of Hamilton, Ont., criminal trespass and resisting arrest, and John A. Georgetti, 31, of Rochester, harassment.


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