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Arrest made in 2nd try at burglarizing Irish Center

The Buffalo Irish Center has been having an unlucky end to the year.

While serving as the official headquarters of good cheer and high spirits in the city's Irish Heritage District, the center in South Buffalo has been the site of two burglaries in the last nine days, and several thousand dollars have been stolen.

That luck began to change early Monday morning, when a Buffalo police photographer documenting evidence of the first burglary stumbled upon the attempt at a second, leading to an arrest before the suspect could get away.

Byron B. Banks, 17, of Walter Street, was charged with burglary and criminal mischief after police found him in a shed attached to the Abbott Road center at about 6 a.m.

The suspect entered through the center's library after removing two windows in the room, according to police reports.

That method was similar to a burglary that happened a week earlier in which an unknown thief pried open doors to the library and an office before breaking into a safe and making off with about $6,000 in cash. The burglar cut the cable from the center's security camera during the break-in, police said.

The police photographer arrived at the Irish Center on Monday morning to take pictures of the Dec. 20 crime scene, only to find the windows open again. That's when he alerted officers to what looked like a burglary in progress.

Officers Charmaine M. Grabowski and Marilyn Mack of the A District noticed snow on a chair and carpets inside the center and arrested Banks in the shed, police said.

e-mail: cspecht@buffnews.com

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