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Two charged after car drags officer

A Cheektowaga police officer was dragged Tuesday for two or three car lengths -- with his arm caught in a fleeing vehicle -- before he managed to fire a warning shot that prompted his release.

The officer was not seriously injured, and police later caught two men after a car and foot chase that ended late Tuesday afternoon in Buffalo.

At about 5:10 p.m. Tuesday, J.C. Penney security officers contacted Cheektowaga police to report having seen two people stealing perfume and cologne from the store. The security officers provided the license-plate number of the getaway vehicle, which Officer Brad Hebeler then stopped after it had become tied up in traffic on Galleria Drive.

"He approaches the car; they roll down their window; his left hand gets inside the car; they grab his arm and begin to pull away," Capt. John Glascott said, based on the police report.

Hebeler used his other arm to fire one round at one of the tires, which apparently prompted the two to release his arm.

The getaway vehicle, with police in pursuit, took off westbound, in the eastbound lanes of Walden Avenue, before moving into the westbound lanes and going into Buffalo.

It struck the rear of a car at Genesee and Barthel streets, and two men attempted to flee on foot.

Several police officers from Buffalo and Cheektowaga gave chase, capturing the two. Police also said they recovered more than $2,000 worth of stolen perfume and cologne.

Officers charged Carlos Rivera, 27, and Jorge Estremera, 38, both of Hudson Street, Buffalo, with criminal possession of stolen property, unauthorized use of a vehicle and resisting arrest.

Police also charged Rivera, the driver, with assault and reckless endangerment.

Hebeler was treated in St. Joseph Hospital, Cheektowaga, for bruises and was released.

e-mail: gwarner@buffnews.com

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