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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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Federal authorities probe 3 Dumpster explosions

Federal investigators are helping Lancaster police in the search for a suspect believed to have set off three early morning explosions Thursday in Dumpsters at the Tops Plaza at Transit and French roads.

Police were called 4 a.m. Thursday to the 4777 Transit Road location. The first patrol arrived to find three large Dumpsters at the rear of the property on fire and heavily damaged from the explosions. Debris was strewn about the parking lot, police said.

Officers interviewed neighbors, who reported hearing two loud explosions followed by a third explosion. One neighbor reported to police that he saw a 6-foot to 6-foot-3 heavy-set white male with gray hair and a blue wind-breaker running from the area.

The fires were extinguished by Twin District Volunteer Fire Company.

Authorities were still investigating what device or devices were used to cause the explosions.

Lancaster Detectives Edward Wojtal and Keith Kerl were leading the investigation and being assisted by officials from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Lancaster police at 683-2800.

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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.

Daniels 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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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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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.

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Two families displaced by fire in Depew home

Two families were displaced Thursday after fire ripped through the attic of a Muskingum Street home in Depew.

Depew police said firefighters were called to the scene at about 6 p.m. The fire was contained to the attic and second floor of the house.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire, and members of the two displaced families were reported to be staying with relatives.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation late Thursday.