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POLICE & COURTS

Houston assault suspect arrested in East Aurora

A Houston assault suspect was arrested by East Aurora police late Wednesday while he and his alleged girlfriend were panhandling.

Kristopher C. Patrick, 25, is being held in lieu of an $800,000 bond in the Erie County Holding Center pending an extradition hearing for a return to Harris County, Texas. He faces warrants charging him with theft and probation-violation charges.

An 18-year-old Houston woman was arrested along with Patrick by East Aurora police at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday after numerous complaints of the panhandlers were called in to police. She has been released from custody.

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Alert issued for man missing for two days

The Erie County Sheriff's Office is asking the public to watch for a metallic blue 2001 Volkswagen Beetle that may be driven by a Colden man who suffers from Alzheimer's disease and has been missing for two days.

Robert Stevens, 80, was spotted Wednesday night in Pennsylvania and was given directions back to his home. But he was still missing Thursday evening despite a search by the Erie County sheriff's helicopter. The person who gave Stevens directions did not realize that he was the subject of a "Silver Alert" in New York State.

Stevens is described as a white male, approximately 6 feet, 2 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds with white hair and brown eyes. He is believed to be wearing a tan flannel shirt, jeans, sneakers and a baseball cap. His license plate number is DJB 9831.

Anyone with information should call the Sheriff's Office at 858-2903.

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Amherst man pleads guilty to firearms possession

Ryan Amatuzio, 34, of Amherst, pleaded guilty Thursday before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to a firearms possession charge carrying a maximum prison term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. and prosecutor Melissa M. Meetze said that in February, Amatuzio physically assaulted his girlfriend at his residence and held her captive for several hours before letting her leave.

The prosecutors said Amatuzio also threatened his girlfriend with a gun during that incident, which she later reported to police. He faces sentencing at 1 p.m. March 12.

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Man on probation jailed in $900 armed robbery

A Gowanda man on probation for a prior drug arrest faces likely grand jury action for a $900 armed robbery at about 5 a.m. Wednesday at the Iroquois Smoke Shop on Route 438 in the Town of Brant.

Gerald Redford II, 35, now jailed in the Erie County Holding Center, is accused of being the man wearing an orange ski mask and wielding a knife who threatened a lone clerk in the smoke shop and ran off with $900 from the register.

Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard on Thursday lauded the investigative work of Detectives Matt Noecker, John Graham and Greg McCarthy, who took Redford into custody Wednesday at a Taylor Hollow Road home in Collins. Redford is held on first-degree robbery, weapons, menacing and probation violation charges.

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Sentence set over sales in West Seneca purse store

Marvin R. Hardy Jr., 36, of Buffalo, convicted of trafficking in counterfeit purses and credit card fraud at a West Seneca purse store, was placed on one year of home confinement with electronic monitoring devices by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny and must pay $19,889.69 restitution.

Prosecutors said Hardy was selling purses bearing fake marks of Versace, Burberry, Kate Spade, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Coach, Balenciaga and Coco Chanel at The Purse Barn in West Seneca and falsely charging $2,900 on four customer credit cards.

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Surveillance tape studied after theft of tools

State police in Clarence say they are studying surveillance tape images of a vehicle apparently used by a thief who took more than $5,000 worth of tools Wednesday night from Stitzman's Maytag store in Alden.

Troopers on Thursday identified the suspect's vehicle as a maroon four-door Chevrolet HHR with a spare tire on the rear passenger side.

Taken was a variety of tools, including a pipe threader, a pipe reamer, a pipe cutter, oiler, miscellaneous pipe wrenches and general generator tools. Anyone with information should call State Police at 759-6831.

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Guilty plea entered to tax evasion, bank fraud

Vincent P. Mangione, 47, the operator of a North Tonawanda payroll and tax preparation business, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny on Thursday to more than $800,000 in tax evasion and bank fraud charges.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said that between December 2002 and December 2007, Mangione, who operated MTS Payroll and Mil-Sher Tax Services Inc., routinely filed false quarterly federal tax returns and pocketed the difference.

At the same time, Mangione bilked an unidentified local bank by depositing checks into an account he knew had insufficient funds. Mangione would then withdraw the funds before his checks cleared, prosecutors said.

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