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POLICE & COURTS

Citizen tips lead to arrest in Grand Island bank heist

A Grand Island man is accused in the robbery earlier this month of a First Niagara Bank branch there, state police reported.

Christopher J. Thompson II, 27, of Grand Island Boulevard, was arrested Tuesday in connection with the Sept. 1 incident at the 2435 Grand Island Blvd. branch.

Troopers said they received several calls from citizens who helped identify Thompson, who was captured on the bank's security cameras.

Thompson was scheduled to be arraigned on first-degree robbery charges in Grand Island Town Court.

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Williamsville man admits role in death at Geneseo

GENESEO -- A Williamsville man who was a member of a fraternity banned at Geneseo State College has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for his role in the hazing of a college student who died of alcohol poisoning.

Daniel Wech, 22, will spend three months of weekends in jail, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. He pleaded guilty to unlawfully dealing with a child for allowing alcohol to be served to 19-year-old Arman Partamian during a drinking session at Geneseo.

A felony charge, criminally negligent homicide, was dismissed, according to the clerk's office.

Partamian, a sophomore from Queens, was found dead March 1 after drinking heavily for three days to gain membership in the off-campus fraternity.

Two other students are charged with hazing and criminally negligent homicide, a felony.

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2 charged with trespassing caught harvesting pot

ROYALTON -- Two Middleport men charged with trespassing were caught harvesting marijuana Tuesday in a field behind a convenience store in the 7900 block of Rochester Road on Tuesday, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said.

Scott M. Andrew, 21, of Graham Road, and Nicholas B. Dellario, 27, of State Street, were both charged just before 1 a.m. Dellario also was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said.

Deputies, who said the suspects told them their car had run out of gas, added that they found a bag of freshly harvested marijuana and a pair of scissors on Dellario.

In the car, deputies said, they found a pen stem and white powder.

Further charges are pending.

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Restaurant manager admits failing to pay jobless fund

Rick J. Napora, manager of the Milestone Restaurant and Tap Room in Chaffee, pleaded guilty Wednesday to failing to pay $17,893 to the State Unemployment Insurance Fund while paying several workers under the counter.

Napora, 51, of Liebler Road, Colden, pleaded guilty to the criminal charge of offering a false instrument for filing and the State Labor Law violation of "willful failure to pay contributions" to the unemployment insurance fund.

Napora -- who runs the restaurant owned by his wife -- signed an agreement with the state Labor Department to begin paying $497 a month for 36 months to make up for the lack of payments between 2005 and 2007.

Erie County Judge Michael F. Pietruszka then told him he will spare him a jail term when he's sentenced Jan. 11.

Napora, who was allowed to remain free without bail, declined to comment as he left court.

The case was referred to the Erie County district attorney's office for prosecution after a Labor Department "sweep" of Western New York restaurants and related businesses.

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Arson charged after fire is set in Holland home

A 55-year-old Austin, Texas, man has been charged with arson for setting a fire in his brother's home on Partridge Road in Holland on Tuesday afternoon, the Erie County Sheriff's Office reported.

The man, whose identity was withheld, started the fire in a bedroom and then fled the residence at about 1 p.m. His brother was able to quickly put the blaze out, according to Deputies Jeff Ely and John Davis.

A short time later, the man was taken into custody on Meadow Lane after a neighbor reported a suspicious person in the backyard.

He was taken to Erie County Medical Center for an evaluation before being incarcerated in the county's Holding Center.

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Woodlawn Ave. man tied to unemployment scam

A Woodlawn Avenue man faces various charges in connection with allegedly filing and collecting more than $3,300 in state unemployment benefits he was not entitled to, state police reported Wednesday.

Ollie Moton, 43, was charged with grand larceny, offering a false instrument for filing and falsifying business records.

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Employee accused in theft of $1,200 in merchandise

LOCKPORT -- A Lockport man faces a felony grand larceny charge for stealing more than $1,200 worth of merchandise from his employer over the past several weeks, state police said Wednesday. Dustin M. Ellnor, 19, of Pine Street, was issued a ticket to appear Tuesday in Lockport Town Court.

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