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POLICE & COURTS

>Suspect is arrested in armed robbery of store

After being flagged down Wednesday night by a Northland Avenue store owner who had just been robbed, Northeast District police caught a suspect in a backyard in the 100 block of East Delavan Avenue.

Marquez Mack, 21, of Beverly Road was charged with criminal possession of a BB handgun he allegedly used to threaten store owner Mushtaq Mohamed during the robbery at about 10 p.m. Police said $2 was taken from the store in the 300 block of Northland.

Officers Michael Sullivan and Jeffrey Banes also charged Mack with criminal possession of crack cocaine and robbery. They were assisted by other district officers including Officer Joseph Doxbeck.

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>Lackawanna man held in 2 violent robberies

Lackawanna police have arrested a Wasson Avenue man in connection with two violent robberies that occurred late last year, officials said Thursday.

Detective Rodney Pietras arrested Alex Stokes, 24, on Wednesday. Stokes faces robbery, assault and other charges following the robberies that occurred Dec. 28 and Oct. 22.

"He gave us a statement that he was involved in both robberies," said Capt. Ronald Miller, Lackawanna's chief of detectives.

The more recent crime involved the beating of a deliveryman for a Chinese restaurant. Stokes and another man are accused of setting up a bogus delivery on Gates Avenue. They allegedly approached the deliveryman from behind, beat him and took his wallet containing $30, police said.

In the October robbery, three attackers rang the doorbell on a Gates Avenue home, forced their way in, punched a male resident in the head and robbed him of $300.

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>Man, woman accused of fake insurance claim

A Buffalo man and a Lackawanna woman have been charged each with filing a false insurance claim after allegedly falsifying the date of an auto accident so one of them could file a $1,640 insurance claim.

Amanda Webb, 27, of Bloomfield Avenue surrendered to Depew police Jan. 28. Van Gilbert, 26, of Johnson Street, Lackawanna, surrendered Jan. 21.

The arrests followed investigations by the New York State Insurance Department Frauds Bureau and the special investigations unit of Progressive Insurance Co.

According to David Hahn of the Frauds Bureau, Webb's car accidentally struck a parked vehicle owned by Gilbert on July 17. Hahn said Webb purchased auto insurance with Progressive and then filed a claim for damages after learning that her previous policy with Allstate Insurance Co. had been canceled.

Hahn said Webb and Gilbert lied to Progressive about the date of the accident, claiming it had occurred July 24, which was after Webb had purchased the policy with Progressive.

Progressive denied the claim after confirming the actual date of the accident.

Both Webb and Gilbert were released pending a hearing that is yet to be scheduled in Erie County Court. If convicted on insurance fraud charges, the two could be sentenced to up to three years in prison.

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>Man with knife robs cabbie on West Side

A robber put a knife to the neck of a Liberty Cab driver late Wednesday night and robbed him of $100 at the intersection of Seventh and Hudson streets, Central District police said.

The driver said he had been dispatched to the West Side location at about 10 p.m. to take a fare to Bailey and Shirley avenues when the crook entered his cab and said "empty your pockets or I'm going to stick you," police reported.

After punching the driver in the face, the robber fled with the cash.

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>Golf items, jewelry worth $11,500 stolen in Falls

NIAGARA FALLS -- More than $11,500 in jewels and golf-related items were stolen Wednesday from a home in the 2200 block of Grand Avenue, police said.

A couple told police that while they were out during the day, someone forced open a front door and then the kitchen door. Once inside, the intruders stole two gold rings with diamonds, valued at $7,000, as well as a topaz ring and a gold chain.

Also stolen was an envelope with $1,560 cash for a golf tournament, a golf iron, a driver and a putter, police said.

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