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POLICE & COURTS

Black Rock fire causes damage to vacant house

A fire in a vacant house in Buffalo's Black Rock neighborhood caused $50,000 damage Monday afternoon, according to city fire officials.

The blaze was reported at 4:09 p.m. at 107 Hamilton St., a two-story house between Niagara and Tonawanda streets.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Man surrenders to police in November bank robbery

A Laird Avenue man turned himself in to Buffalo police Monday, admitting he robbed an M&T Bank branch on Tonawanda Street last month, according to a police report.

Andrew D. Szurczynski, 23, was arrested at the department's Northwest District station, the report said.

He faces a first-degree robbery charge.

The bank robbery happened just before 3 p.m. Nov. 21.

Police previously said the robber handed the teller a note demanding money and fled with an undisclosed sum of cash.

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Cab driver in Falls robbed at gunpoint

NIAGARA FALLS -- A taxi driver was robbed at gunpoint near Niagara Falls Boulevard and 47th Street on Sunday night, police said.

The driver told police he was dropping off a fare near that intersection at about 9:38 p.m. when he felt a gun put to the back of his head, Niagara Falls Police Lt. Michael Trane said.

The robber, who made off with an undetermined amount of cash, fled the area on foot through a nearby field, but not before cutting the driver on the hand as he apparently tried to slice the vehicle's microphone cord, police said.

Several police agencies responded to help in the search, including Lewiston Police K-9 unit, State Parks Police, Niagara County Sheriff's Office, State Police, U.S. Border Patrol and the Erie County Sheriff's Office helicopter.

The robber was described as a black male in his early 30s, 5 feet, 7 inches to 5 feet, 8 inches in height, and weighing about 130 pounds. He was wearing a gray hoodie and dark sweatpants.

Anyone with information about the holdup is asked to call city detectives at 286-4553.

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Woman arrested in assault of Walmart greeter, 70

TOWN OF BATAVIA -- A 26-year-old woman is due in court next month to face charges she caused several facial fractures to a 70-year-old greeter at Walmart.

Jacquetta Simmons, of the City of Batavia, was arrested after an incident on Christmas Eve morning at the Walmart on Veterans Memorial Drive, state police said.

Simmons is accused of punching the victim in the face after she was asked to verify the contents of her bag, troopers said.

The victim was treated in United Memorial Medical Center.

Simmons faces two counts of assault.

She was arraigned Sunday in Town Court and sent to the Genesee County Jail and released on $40,000 bond.

Simmons is scheduled to reappear in court Jan. 23.

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Man trying to flee crash charged with felony DWI

A 42-year-old Clarence man was charged with felony driving while intoxicated Monday afternoon after troopers say he smashed his car into a crosswalk pole in the town and tried to drive away from the scene of the crash.

Michael H. Altenburg smashed into a pole at Main Street and Goodrich Road at about 4:40 p.m. before taking off north on Goodrich, state police said.

Altenburg's car was found on Greiner Road in the town by Trooper Ron Ensminger.

Altenburg was arrested and refused to submit to a breath test, said troopers, who charged him with felony DWI because he has a prior DWI conviction.

He is scheduled to return to Clarence Town Court on Jan. 3.

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Electronics stolen from home on Christmas

Christmas Day thieves took some electronics from a Grimes Street home.

A 50-inch plasma television and a PlayStation 3 video game system were taken from a home off Broadway between 2 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Buffalo Police said

The thieves, who entered by breaking a window on the side of the home, also damaged two other televisions, furniture and dishes, according to a police report.

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Convicted felon pleads guilty to firearms possession

A Buffalo man faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty last week to a federal charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said last week.

Isaiah Glover, 30, was found with a firearm and crack cocaine at his West Balcom Street home in July 2009 by Buffalo police when they executed a search warrant there, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa M. Marangola.

Glover is expected to appear for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara on April 16, 2012, Marangola said.