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Ex-convict pleads guilty to theft from grandparents

LOCKPORT -- A North Tonawanda man who has served federal prison time on drug charges pleaded guilty Wednesday in Niagara County Court to stealing $77,564 from his grandparents from November 2009 to September 2010 by means of forged checks and stolen credit cards.

Christopher S. Holland, 35, of Castlebar Drive, admitted to fourth-degree grand larceny and was scheduled for sentencing June 28 by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Holland's record includes 33 months in federal prison for selling Fentanyl patches, prosecutors said.


Four arrested in crackdown are sentenced to probation

Four people arrested last summer in a crackdown on illegal sales of prescription drugs have been sentenced to probation by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. reported Wednesday.

Daniel Smythe, 23, of Cheektowaga; Lindsay Lang, 19, of Orchard Park; and Sophie Wroblewski, 39, and Olivia Paschell, 40, both of Buffalo, had been convicted of conspiring to distribute oxycontin pills.

Prosecutors said Wroblewski and Paschell were prescribed oxycontin by a doctor, then sold the pills to alleged drug dealer Michael McCall. They said Smythe and Lang got the pills from a source tied in with McCall and sold them in the Cheektowaga and Lancaster areas. They were among 26 people arrested July 15. To date, 10 of the 26 have been convicted.


Batavia man killed in head-on collision

BATAVIA -- A Batavia man was killed at about 7:15 a.m. Wednesday in a head-on collision in the Town of Batavia, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said.

Jonathan M. Colby, 37, was driving east on West Main Street Road when his vehicle crossed the center of the road and collided with a westbound car driven by Angelo Merica III, 27, of Pavilion. Deputies said Colby was pronounced dead at the scene.

Merica was listed in satisfactory condition in Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester.


North Java man accused of abusing 4-year-old

WARSAW -- A North Java man has been charged with abusing a 4-year-old child who was found to have suffered internal injuries, the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office said.

Noah Gregg, 28, of Youngers Road, was charged Tuesday with a felony count of assault and a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child. He was sent to the county jail in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or a $100,000 bond. The child suffered multiple injuries and was treated in Women & Children's Hospital, Buffalo, according to Lt. Edward Till.


Kayakers have close call on Cazenovia Creek

Two kayakers escaped unharmed after one of them overturned and the other became stranded Wednesday on Cazenovia Creek in the Town of Aurora.

East Aurora Police Officer Joe Ferrara pulled Bennet J. Collins, 20, of North Davis Road, East Aurora, to safety up a steep muddy bank near Willardshire Road after Collins was unable to scale it himself. He had called 911 for help on his cell phone.

The other kayaker, Constantine Goebler, 19, of Germany, had overturned, then lost his grip on a tree branch and was swept away by the fast-moving water. East Aurora police and fire crews, assisted by Spring Brook volunteers and Erie County sheriff's deputies, eventually found him walking on North Davis Road. Both men were taken home after a medical examination.


Man wanted in bank heists arrested outside Galleria

A Buffalo man who was wanted for bank robberies in Buffalo and Atlanta was arrested Wednesday in a car outside Walden Galleria, authorities said.

Earl Ross, 26, of Buffalo, is accused of robbing the Citizens Bank branch, 1893 Elmwood Ave., on Monday, Buffalo FBI officials said. Police said the bandit, wearing a fake beard, escaped with cash after threatening several tellers.

They said Ross is also accused of robbing a bank in Atlanta last Dec. 7.

The FBI worked with police agencies in Cheektowaga, Buffalo, Amherst and Atlanta on the search for Ross.


Aggravated DWI charge lodged against woman, 44

PERSIA -- A Collins woman who recorded a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, state police said Wednesday.

Troopers went to the home of Braelynn Murphy, 44, at about 7 p.m. Sunday after someone requested a welfare check on her, Sgt. Ron Wilson said. Murphy was intoxicated, but she did not appear to be a threat to herself and pledged to stay in her home and begin treatment for alcohol addiction in the morning, police said.

Wilson said the troopers left, but about 10 minutes later an off-duty trooper saw Murphy in her car. She was tracked to a friend's house in Gowanda, police said.

Murphy recorded a 0.31 percent blood-alcohol level, police said.

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