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POLICE & COURTS

>East Utica Street fire chases five from home

Four adults and a child escaped injury Saturday morning when fire broke out in their 2 1/2 -story East Utica Street home.

Buffalo fire officials said the fire started on the first floor of the home at 358 E. Utica about 10:07 a.m.

Flames spread to the second floor and attic. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. The fire caused $30,000 in damage to the building and $15,000 to its contents.

The Red Cross is assisting the family.

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>Three Machias men held in violent restaurant holdup

YORKSHIRE -- Three Machias men have been arrested in the violent armed robbery Thursday night at a residential business on Townline Road, state police said.

Paul A. Andolina, 24, Corey D. Roper, 22, and Christopher S. Roper, 22, were each charged with first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary.

About 9:20 p.m., the three entered The Shop restaurant, armed with a shotgun, and demanded money from the owners -- one who suffered a lacerated forehead, police said. The three, who were arrested Friday, made off with hundreds of dollars in cash, police said.

They were arraigned by Machias Town Justice Francis L. Lounsbury and were being held in Cattaraugus County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail each. The suspects are scheduled to appear in Town of Yorkshire Court at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office assisted in the investigation.

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>Routine traffic stop accelerates to drug case

An East Delavan Avenue man faces several charges -- including possession of crack cocaine and marijuana -- after state police pulled him over for speeding about 5:45 p.m. Friday.

A state trooper tried to stop Dallas E. Ponzo Jr., 23, as he was speeding on Walden Avenue about 5:45 p.m., but he refused to pull over, officials said. He was stopped in the 100 block of St. Louis Street.

Police found two bags of crack cocaine -- one weighing 2.4 grams and the other, 1.8 grams, troopers said. Marijuana residue also was discovered, police said.

Ponzo was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, unlawful possession of marijuana, failure to obey police, speeding, driving on a suspended license and driving on unsafe tires.

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>Carrollton fire claims life of unidentified person

CARROLLTON -- One person died shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday in a fire at a residence at 2451 Ten Mile Road, Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputies said.

The victim's name was not released. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

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>Police hunt four others in gang attack at Bennett

Buffalo police have arrested a 16-year-old Bennett High School student and are looking for four others in connection with a gang assault on a fellow classmate Friday.

During a class change at about 11:20 a.m., a group of boys kicked and punched the victim in the body and face, causing a possible broken nose, police said.

The victim also had suffered injuries to his face and hand, and lower back pain.

He was treated in Erie County Medical Center, then released.

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>$3,000 order of food too tempting to be true

CAMBRIA -- Police said a woman ordering $3,000 worth of food from a Campbell Boulevard restaurant about noon Friday tried to use two stolen credit cards.

The woman placed an order for 255 grilled chicken sandwiches with the Hearth & Vine Restaurant. However, restaurant employees became suspicious and contacted the credit card companies.

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>Suspect in sex case has a criminal past

Police have released more information following Friday's arrest of a 50-year-old ex-con accused of predatory sexual abuse against a child.

Frank L. Flowers was charged with raping a child younger than 13. Law enforcement officials said the crime occurred about 7 a.m. Jan. 1 at a Guilford Street location.

The suspect came to Buffalo after he was paroled in March 1997 on a 1987 Brooklyn manslaughter conviction. A decade after his release from prison, he was found not guilty by a jury of first-degree attempted rape by knifepoint and first-degree sex abuse.

Flowers was being held Saturday in Erie County Holding Center.

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>Two blazes in the Falls damage home, repair shop

NIAGARA FALLS -- Niagara Falls fire officials have launched two investigations into fires Saturday.

A fire that broke out about midafternoon caused about $35,000 damage to a single-story home at 2820 Aaron Griffin Way, sending one resident to the hospital with a foot burn.

Also, fire of undetermined origin caused $30,000 in damage to the Righteous Auto repair shop, 1720 Pierce Ave., about 5 p.m. The blaze tied up all the city's firefighting equipment.