Two men in tow truck face felony drug charges
Two city men are facing felony drug charges after the tow truck they were operating was pulled over by Buffalo police following a traffic infraction, according to police reports.
Brian P. Reese, 36, of St. Florian Street, and Donald A. Giardina, 34, of Niagara Street, were charged with felony and misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance after authorities said they found more than 1 1/2 ounces of powder cocaine and 19 Lortab tablets in their truck.
Police pulled the truck over about 5:15 p.m. in the vicinity of 2000 Niagara St., according to reports.
Reese was additionally charged with having a prescription outside of its original container.
Three armed men make big haul at store
Three young men, each armed with a handgun, stole thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise late Sunday from Big Basha Central, a well-known East Side store, Buffalo police said.
The robbers entered the store on the 800 block of Jefferson Avenue at about 8:45 p.m. and took $1,200 from the cash register, $1,400 worth of jackets and approximately 10 pairs of size 10 sneakers valued at $1,000, according to Central District police.
An investigation into the robbery is continuing.
and cited for failure to yield the right of way.
Man who ignored order of protection jailed
David J. Makowski, the younger brother of a former judge, was ordered Monday to spend up to another year in jail for ignoring a court order of protection barring him from his widowed mother's Buffalo home.
Two years ago, the unemployed Makowski, 45, was sentenced to a year in local jail on an aggravated contempt charge for assaulting his mother, Dolores Makowski, now 76. On Nov. 1 following a nonjury trial, Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk found Makowski guilty of misdemeanor criminal contempt for violating that order, which was granted after a 2009 physical incident.
The judge Monday also chided Makowski, who has no permanent address and has failed court-ordered mental health and alcoholism counseling, for aimlessly living his life.
Prosecutors Rachel L. Newton and Peter J. Marche said Makowski still faces grand jury action for a third complaint linked to dealings with his mother. He is the younger brother of former State Supreme Court Justice Joseph G. Makowski, who was forced to resign in 2009 for submitting a false affidavit to help a lawyer friend in a drunken driving case.
Key murder trial witness arraigned in burglary
LOCKPORT -- A key witness in a recent murder trial was arraigned Monday in Niagara County Court on a burglary indictment.
Jerquan M. Morange, 21, of Niagara Falls, pleaded not guilty to second-degree burglary, fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal mischief.
Morange was in court March 3, reluctantly testifying against Tyrome L. Elder of Niagara Falls.
Morange was declared a hostile witness, allowing the prosecution to read into the record by means of leading questions a statement in which he had told Niagara Falls police that Elder admitted to him that he was present for the Nov. 7, 2009, robbery and ensuing shooting death of Jacob L. Lovett of Buffalo.
Elder was convicted of murder.
In Monday's case, Morange is charged with a Jan. 21 burglary at a Centre Avenue apartment.
Co-defendant Taurian D. Nix, 19, of Centre Avenue, pleaded guilty in that case Friday to a stolen-property misdemeanor.
Small electrical fire shuts down Falls school
NIAGARA FALLS -- A city middle school was evacuated Monday after a small electrical fire adjacent to the building just before 8 a.m.
The 500 students at Gaskill Prep, 910 Hyde Park Blvd., were dismissed for the day just after 10 a.m., after they were sent to nearby Hyde Park Elementary and 24th Street School when a small transformer fire was reported in an alley adjacent to the building.
Deputy School Superintendent Mark Laurrie said the district's auto-dialer system informed parents of the evacuation.
No injuries were reported and classes were expected to to resume today, Laurrie said.
Ex-store employee pleads guilty in burglary
LOCKPORT -- The May 31 inside-job burglary of a Dollar General store in Niagara Falls was wrapped up Monday, as an ex-employee pleaded guilty to petit larceny.
Jennifer Sattelberg, 25, of 79th Street, Niagara Falls, had been charged with giving a key to the store to Gregory A. Stephens, 47, of Falls Street. He pleaded guilty Wednesday to third-degree burglary.
Sattelberg agreed to pay the store $294 in restitution.
In another case Monday, Judge Matthew J. Murphy III placed Natalie C. Godfrey, 28, of Robertson Street, Middleport, on five years' probation for attempted third-degree burglary.
Godfrey entered her mother's Town of Lockport home Oct. 28 and stole prescription medicines.