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Traffic incident leads to arrest of fugitive

SALAMANCA -- A fugitive from justice was arrested at a Front Avenue home Thursday by Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputies.

Michael R. Augusta was taken into custody after deputies investigating a Sunday traffic incident in Ellicottville learned he was a fugitive after running a check on his driver's license.

Following arraignment, he was taken to the county jail and is being held for extradition. Further information was unavailable.


Damage put at $5 million as fire consumes mansion

FORT ERIE, Ont. -- A fast-moving fire destroyed an 8,000-square-foot mansion on Niagara River Parkway on Friday afternoon, causing an estimated $5 million damage, Fire Chief Larry Coplen said.

No one was injured.

The home belonged to Jim Miller, owner of Miller Auto Recycling.

Among the items lost in the fire were three antique cars, as well as Miller's families Christmas presents.

Miller and his family, including a 3 1/2 -year-old girl, were at home when the alarm system went off at about 3:19 p.m. They discovered smoke coming out of a sauna at the house, and everyone got out.

By the time firefighters arrived, flames were shooting through the roof, Coplen said.

Firefighters from 10 trucks took more than four hours to douse the fire.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation Saturday.

Miller's family went to stay with friends in the area, Coplen said, and Miller's employees and neighbors got Christmas presents together for the little girl to make sure she had something to open on Christmas morning.


Deputies suspect a ruse during arrest of suspect

FRANKLINVILLE -- Two men ended up being arrested last week when Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputies went to a house on Route 98 in search of a man wanted on a burglary warrant.

Sean D. Dewit, 18, was charged him with obstruction of governmental administration and seventh-degree possession of a controlled substance. Deputies said Dewit denied knowing the whereabouts of the suspect wanted on the warrant.

After a search of the house, deputies found Christopher J. Vaughn, 25, no address given, hiding in a shower and arrested him on the warrant, for third-degree burglary, according to sheriff's reports.


DWI among charges in wrong-way crash

A Hamburg man who drove the wrong way on Route 5 Friday night and crashed into another car was facing multiple violations, including driving while intoxicated, Buffalo police said.

John A. Puglisi, 31, was stopped by Officer Jeffrey Jajkowski at about 8 p.m. on Route 5 near Tifft Street after the crash. No one was hurt.

Puglisi failed several sobriety tests and submitted to a breath test, which showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.12 percent, police reported. Police said they also found a crack pipe and small bag of crack cocaine hidden inside a seat belt.

Puglisi was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of drug paraphernalia and issued multiple driving violations.


Man banned from casino makes another gamble

SALAMANCA -- A Friendship man who was barred from the Seneca Allegany Casino in 2009 was arrested there for trespassing Thursday, authorities said.

Donald L. Petitt, 48, of North Branch Road, was taken into custody after casino records verified he had been barred, Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputies said. He is expected to answer to the charge in City Court on Wednesday.


Teen in critical condition after West Side shooting

A 17-year-old youth was listed in critical condition Saturday after he was shot several times earlier in the morning, police said.

The incident occurred in the 800 block of Columbus Parkway just after 4 a.m.

The victim, whose name was not released, was taken to Erie County Medical Center.


Man shot in thigh is treated in ECMC

A man was shot in the thigh during a fight outside a Minnesota Avenue home where a party was being held late Friday, Northeast District police said.

The incident was reported just before midnight. The victim, Dwight Mitchell, no age or address given, was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he was treated in the emergency room and released.


Cause being sought in Clinton Street fire

A fire in an attic left two Clinton Street residents without a home Friday night, fire officials said.

The blaze, which caused $30,000 damage, began shortly before 10 p.m. in a 2 1/2 -story house at 912 Clinton. Investigators said it began in the attic, but the cause is undetermined.