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POLICE & COURTS

Church elder accused in sex abuse of girl, 6

A church elder who police identified as the second-ranking official of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 213 Vermont St., was arrested Friday on a charge of first-degree sexual abuse for an alleged incident with a 6-year-old girl at the church this past Dec. 16.

Detectives accused Abel Poloche, 60, of Chenango Street, of inappropriately touching the girl while she sat on his lap inside the church.

He was taken into custody by Sex Offense Squad detectives about 7:45 p.m. Friday at his home.

Poloche was being held Friday night pending arraignment this morning in Buffalo City Court.

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Police say Wales woman was drunk with baby in car

A Wales woman was arrested in the driveway of her home Friday and charged under the state's Leandra's Law for being drunk with her 4-month-old child in the car.

Lori B. Wittenrich, 32, recorded a blood-alcohol level of 0.14 percent, the Erie County Sheriff's Office said.

Sheriff's Deputies David Makowski and Thomas Meridith responded after a citizen complaint about the car driving erratically from a store on Big Tree Road and administered the tests in her driveway at about 1 p.m.

Wittenrich was taken to the Erie County Holding Center and her baby was turned over to family members.

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Early morning fire damages West Delavan Ave. home

Fire swept through a West Side home early Friday, causing $40,000 in damage, city fire officials said.

The blaze was reported just after 2 a.m. at 165 W. Delavan Ave., near Herkimer Street.

The fire started on the first floor of the 2 1/2 -story house and extended throughout the structure. It also caused $1,000 in exposure damage to a house at 163 W. Delavan.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. No injuries were reported.

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Police investigating robbery at M&T Bank

Buffalo police are investigating a robbery at about 10 a.m. Friday at the M&T Bank branch at Fountain Plaza. The man made off with an undisclosed amount of money.

Detectives urged anyone with information to call the confidential TIPCALL Line at 847-2255; Text a Tip to 847-2255; or email the department at www.bpdny.org.

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Amherst man, 21, charged in molestation of girl, 3

A 21-year-old Amherst man has been charged with repeatedly molesting a 3-year-old girl, authorities said.

Dylan Wright, of the 100 block of Cadman Drive, was arrested Thursday by Detectives Cindy Herberger and Mark Pitirri of the Special Victims Unit.

Wright is charged with predatory sexual assault, an A felony; first-degree criminal sexual assault, a B felony; first-degree sexual abuse, a D felony; and endangering the welfare of a child, an A misdemeanor.

"Our detectives first interviewed the child last Friday, and the investigation has been ongoing ever since," said Detective Lt. Joseph A. LaCorte, head of the special unit.

Wright was to be arraigned in Amherst Town Court.

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Man accused of abusing child of family friend

A West Seneca man was arrested and accused of sexually abusing the child of a family friend, state police in Boston said Friday.

David Grochowski, 38, was charged with two counts of first-degree sex abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. Authorities said the victim is younger than 11.

Grochowski was sent to the Erie County Holding Center on $25,000 bail.

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Card game at jail leads to inmate attack

BATAVIA -- An inmate at the Genesee County Jail has been charged with trying to strangle a fellow inmate during a card game just before noon Friday.

Derick W. Barker, 26, of Jonesboro, Ga., was charged with second-degree strangulation and second-degree assault after corrections officers dragged him off of the unconscious victim at 11:54 a.m.

Barker was allegedly playing cards with another inmate in a common area of the jail and for no known reason suddenly got up and went behind another sitting inmate and held him in a choke hold until he was unconscious. Officers came to the rescue.

The victim was treated by the jail medical staff, and Barker, who already was doing time on a felony charge, was arraigned on the new charges in Batavia City Court.

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Falls man pleads not guilty to 3-count drug indictment

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man who was arrested in an Aug. 2 police raid on his home pleaded not guilty to a three-count drug indictment Friday in Niagara County Court.

Samuel C. Haynes Jr., 30, of 22nd Street, is charged with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana.

Assistant District Attorney Peter M. Wydysh said Haynes allegedly had more than 1.5 ounces of crack cocaine when he was arrested.