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POLICE & COURTS

>Man faces 5-year term in animal-fighting plea

A Buffalo man pleaded Monday guilty to a felony animal fighting charge in U.S. District Court.

Edward Bishop, 49, faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when sentenced Oct. 19 by U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.

Bishop was convicted of entering a dog he owned into a dog fight and betting about $4,000 on the results.

His case is related to the recent conviction of Leon Nelson of Buffalo, who was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for sponsoring and exhibiting a dog named "EJ" on June 20, 2009, in a fight with another dog named "Batman."

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>Attorney accused of DWI specialized in such cases

ROCHESTER -- A Buffalo-area personal injury attorney who specializes in driving while intoxicated cases was himself arrested late Friday by state troopers for DWI at a sobriety checkpoint in Rochester, state police reported Tuesday.

Christopher D. D'Amato, 41, of Foxwood Lane, Clarence, was charged with DWI and cited for unsafe backing of a vehicle on the westbound section of Interstate 490.

D'Amato was arrested about 9:45 p.m. by Trooper Irene Allen. Police said D'Amato refused to provide a breath sample.

He was issued tickets to appear in Rochester City Court on July 16 and released, according to the report.

D'Amato has been a trial attorney with Cellino & Barnes since 1998, according to the law firm's Web site.

Besides drunken driving accidents, it stated that D'Amato also represents clients in auto, bicycle and boating accidents as well as wrongful death cases and other personal injury areas.

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>Drug deal in parking lot leads to arrest of 2 men

Erie County sheriff's detectives arrested two North Collins men on felony drug charges after observing the delivery of about five ounces of cocaine in a restaurant parking lot in the Springville area, sheriff's officials announced Monday.

Based on information that the cocaine was being shipped from California on a regular basis through the U.S. mail, detectives said they saw Matthew E. Ovitt, 21, of Main Street, pick up a package at the Springville post office.

When detectives saw the package delivered to Frederick Ring, 26, of High Street, they reported, they arrested both men in the parking lot.

Both were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony, according to police reports.

Sheriff's officials claimed that the seized cocaine otherwise would have been distributed in southern Erie County, with a street value of about $10,000.

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>Fleet-footed robber escapes after Citizens Bank holdup

NIAGARA FALLS -- A fleet-footed robber ran off Tuesday with an undetermined amount of cash from a branch of Citizens Bank, even though a city police officer arrived at the bank only about a minute after the police radio broadcast a report of a "robbery in progress."

Officer Matt Illig was in a patrol car less than a block away when the robbery report was broadcast at 11 a.m.

He said he arrived at the bank branch at 8298 Niagara Falls Blvd. at 11:09 a.m., and found that the robber already had run off with stacks of $100, $50 and $20 bills.

Other bank employees and customers said they were unaware that a teller was being robbed until after the man ran from the bank.

The teller said the man held one hand inside his jacket as if concealing a weapon when he quietly demanded "all of the 50s and 100s." However, no weapon was seen, and the robber said nothing about a weapon.

Armed with a description of the man and his clothing, police canvassed video surveillance cameras at nearby businesses in an effort to identify him.

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>Intruder damages equipment, supplies

An Alden masonry company on Monday claimed it had an unwanted visitor this weekend that damaged $2,000 worth of construction equipment and supplies.

A representative of Lafferty Brothers Corp., on Uebelhoer Road, reported that sometime between 2 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Monday, someone broke into the business and cut and damaged bags of insulation and mortar, damaged a pin from a piece of equipment and put water and dirt in the engine of a mixer.

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>Robber of Falls bank gets up to 5-year term

LOCKPORT -- A Town of Tonawanda man who robbed a Niagara Falls bank last year was sentenced to 2 1/2 to five years in state prison Tuesday by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Jason S. Simmons, 28, of Parker Boulevard, had been on parole from a 2006 robbery conviction in Erie County when he used a note to steal $4,956 from the M&T Bank branch on Military Road May 6, 2009.

A fingerprint left on the holdup note was matched to Simmons, leading to his arrest.

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