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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Parolee sought in series of Tonawanda burglaries

A 41-year-old parolee is being sought by Town of Tonawanda police in connection with several residential burglaries.

Scott A. Wendel, who has served time at the Elmira Correctional Facility twice in the past 20 years on burglary- and forgery-related charges, frequents the cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda, police said. He has lived on Broad Street in the City of Tonawanda.

A spokesman for the Town of Tonawanda Police Department said Wendel is wanted for burglaries and burglary attempts that occurred in the northeastern section of the town in the early evening hours, while residents were home.

"Rear doors or windows have been broken to gain entry and threats were made towards a resident who attempted to confront him," said Lt. Nicholas A. Bado.

Wendel is 5 feet 10 inches tall and has a stocky build.

Police said Wendel should be considered dangerous and advise that anyone who sees him should not approach him and should call police immediately.

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Drug suspect rejected for diversion program

LOCKPORT -- A Lockport man accused of cocaine possession was rejected Thursday in his bid for a spot in a court-supervised drug treatment program.

Joshua L. Meadows, 31, of Marshall Place will return to Niagara County Court Jan. 10 to consider pleading guilty.

He was arrested in an April 14 police raid on his home in which more than half an ounce of cocaine was seized, Assistant District Attorney Peter M. Wydysh said.

He added that officers made five purchases from Meadows leading up to the raid, and that three previous efforts at drug treatment failed, interspersed with past probation and parole violations.

Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas said: "The judicial diversion program is meant for addicts, not dealers. There's no question Mr. Meadows is a dealer."

Assistant Public Defender Alfonso M. Bax argued, "He'd buy and sell on a daily basis to support his habit. It's a tragic scenario, but it's been real life for my client since the age of 12."

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Guilty plea to drug charge brings treatment program

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man pleaded guilty this week in State Supreme Court to selling cocaine in the City of Lockport May 18 and 19.

Rodriguez A. Bembo, 39, of 16th Street admitted to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. placed him in the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment.

If Bembo succeeds in the two-year program, his charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor and he will be placed on probation. If he fails, he faces up to nine years in prison.

In another drug case before Kloch Tuesday, Kelly L. Smith, 49, of Ridge Road, Hartland, pleaded not guilty to two counts each of fourth-degree sale and fifth-degree possession. She allegedly sold hydrocodone in the City of Lockport March 24 and 29.

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Man arraigned in theft of $50,000 from patient

A Buffalo man was arraigned Thursday before Erie County Judge Kenneth F. Case on an indictment charging him with second-degree grand larceny for stealing more than $50,000 from a cancer patient.

Scott Huber, 36, of Delaware Avenue, stole the money from the Mary Tomaselli benefit irrevocable trust, which was to help pay for her cancer treatments, said Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.

Huber faces a maximum of five to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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Deputy struck by car released from ECMC

An Erie County Holding Center deputy who was struck by a car Wednesday after leaving work at the downtown jail was released Thursday from Erie County Medical Center, authorities said.

Deputy Dwight L. Daniels, 49, was hit as he tried to cross the street at South Elmwood Avenue and West Eagle Street at about 5 p.m. He was kept overnight at the medical center for observation, according to Undersheriff Mark N. Wipperman.

The driver, Daniel Shvimer, 30, of South Lane, Grand Island, was charged by Buffalo Police Officer Thomas Feeney with failure to obey a traffic control device.

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One of 2 brothers admits receiving child porn

One of two brothers facing child pornography charges pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court.

Jason Bek, 30, of West Seneca admitted receiving child pornography and trying to entice a minor into a sexual encounter. The minor was actually an adult law enforcement official posing as an underaged male.

Bek faces more than 19 years in prison.

His brother, Timothy M. Bek, 25, a former English teacher at West Seneca West High School, also faces child porn charges.

The younger Bek is accused of using his computer to store gruesome images of young children being raped and molested.