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Fire claims man's home as burglary adds insult

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Cayuga Drive man whose house was heavily damaged by fire discovered his home was burglarized later.

The man told police that just after 3 p.m. Monday he returned to his home in the 9500 block of Cayuga Drive, after a fire hit the structure Saturday, and discovered that a lock box on the second floor was opened and $200 in cash, two passports and a $300 silver bracelet stolen.

Police said a ladder was found leaning against the house.


Depew man pleads guilty in illegal-aliens case

The former owner of seven Mexican restaurants pleaded guilty Tuesday to harboring illegal aliens who worked at his establishments, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Simon Banda-Mireles, 50, of Depew, also known as Jorge DeLarco, pleaded guilty in federal court in connection with his April 2008 arrest by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents.

Authorities said Banda-Mireles formerly owned Mexican restaurants in Cheektowaga, Olean, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

Banda-Mireles was the "principal target" of a two-year investigation into the employment of illegal aliens at restaurants, said Lev Kubiak, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security investigations in Buffalo.

Banda-Mireles pleaded guilty to a felony, admitting that he employed and harbored up to 100 illegal aliens at his restaurants. He faces a July 14 sentencing date before U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.


Guilty plea entered in felony DWI case

LOCKPORT -- A Town of Niagara woman pleaded guilty in Niagara County Court on Tuesday to a felony count of driving while intoxicated.

Karen J. Murray, 49, of Porter Road, was arrested Dec. 27 in the Town of Niagara by police who also charged her with following too closely and not wearing a seat belt. She had a DWI conviction in that town in 2007.

Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza scheduled sentencing for June 6.


Fire truck-SUV crash injures four firefighters

Four firefighters were taken to a local hospital for observation Tuesday morning after their fire truck collided with an SUV as they responded to a suspicious fire in a vacant house in the city's Broadway-Fillmore area.

The firefighters from Engine 32 were responding to a 5:38 a.m. alarm at 210 Gibson St., when the collision occurred at the corner of Fillmore Avenue and Clinton Street, fire officials said. It was not clear whether anyone in the other vehicle was injured.

The fire ripped through the first and second floors before extending to the attic of the Gibson Street house, causing an estimated $30,000 damage.

About five hours earlier, Buffalo firefighters battled another suspicious fire in a vacant house on the city's West Side.

Firefighters responded to a 12:36 a.m. alarm at 322 Breckenridge St., in the city's Grant-Ferry area, where a fire that started on the first floor spread throughout the building. The blaze left an estimated $25,000 damage to that house and $2,000 exposure damage next door at 324 Breckenridge.

The causes of both fires remain under investigation.


Little Valley man hurt in head-on crash

ALLEGANY -- A Little Valley man whose Jeep drifted into the oncoming lane of Route 417 at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday collided head-on with a tractor-trailer.

Derek J. Emerson, 25, was taken to Olean General Hospital before being transferred to Erie County Medical Center by Mercy Flight, according to Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputies. His condition was unavailable.

The driver of the rig, identified as Louis D. Bridenbaker, 55, of Limestone was not injured.


Buffalo man accused in stabbing of teenager

The stabbing of a teenager early Tuesday resulted in the arrest of a Buffalo man, according to Ferry-Fillmore District police.

Dana Boswell, 24, was charged with assault, burglary and robbery shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday, when he broke into a former girlfriend's Gatchell Street home and confronted her and her teenage son, police said.

During the confrontation, officers said, Boswell stabbed the teenager in the hand and attacked his mother. Both were treated for their injuries at the scene.

Boswell, who fled in a vehicle, was arrested a short time later in the 2400 block of Bailey Avenue at Wecker Street.


$120,275 in back taxes to be repaid under plea

An Orchard Park businessman pleaded guilty to underreporting his income and agreed to pay $120,275 in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

Raymond Benacquista, 61, who ran a business called Quality Quick Printing, admitted that he failed to report a total of $299,673 in income for the tax years 2000, 2001 and 2002, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango said. Benacquista will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara on July 25.

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