Share this article

print logo

NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Not-guilty pleas entered to revised murder charges

Several alleged members of a stolen-goods ring that has been blamed for the 2010 death of a comic book collector again entered not-guilty pleas to federal murder and racketeering charges Tuesday after a grand jury revised its indictment.

The alleged ring began in 2004 and came to light after the July 2010 home invasion robbery of 78-year-old Homer Marciniak, a retired janitor who lived alone in Medina.

Marciniak died of a heart attack within hours of being tied up, punched in the face and threatened at gunpoint by thugs who made off with more than 400 comic books valued at $40,000 to $100,000. He'd been collecting the comic books since boyhood.

Neither alleged ringleader Rico Vendetti nor his six co-defendants spoke during the arraignment on the indictment, which was amended to include the forfeiture of $5 million and five properties if the defendants are convicted and to add conspiracy and racketeering to the charges against co-defendant Terry Stewart.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Bruce said Stewart was more involved in the operation than initially thought.

-----

Buffalo police seek robber of Main Street bank branch

Buffalo police are seeking the man who robbed a Main Street bank Tuesday morning.

The bandit, who wore a black skull cap and black jacket with the words "We Care Transportation" on it, entered the Northwest Savings Bank at 295 Main St. just after 10 a.m. and handed a teller a note demanding cash, then fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

Central District officers say they are seeking a black man with a mustache, about 5 feet, 8 inches tall, and between 30 and 50 years old.

They released a surveillance photo of the robber.

Anyone with information is asked to call or text message the Buffalo police anonymous tipcall line at 847-2255 or email the information by visiting www.bpdny.org and clicking on "Report a Tip."

-----

Arrest made in stabbing of man at Falls party

NIAGARA FALLS -- A city man was charged with stabbing another man while at a party on 85th Street over the weekend.

Josh Czamara, 19, of Blanchard Avenue, was charged early Sunday with second-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

An 18-year-old city man, who officers did not name, was hospitalized after he was stabbed, but he did not suffer life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Another man who left the party after the fight, Marc W. Porter, 19, of Monroe Avenue, was stopped at 3 a.m. on 85th Street and charged with driving while intoxicated, speeding, refusal to take a breath test and failure to keep right, police said.

Officers said they located the stabbing victim in the parking lot of the Regal Cinema on Builder's Way just before 3 a.m.; a friend of the victim told police the victim tried to drive away after he was stabbed but crashed into a pole. The witness then tried to drive the victim to a local hospital but called police when his friend said he started to feel weak. The witness told police that the victim was stabbed several times in the chest.

The victim, who had a 1-inch stab wound on the right side of his chest, was alert and talking but had started to go into shock, police said.

Detectives said when they arrived at the house they found about 12 people at the party.

-----

Woman charged with DWI after hitting patrol car

LOCKPORT -- A Lockport woman faces numerous charges, including drunken driving, after she did not pull to the left and hit a stopped Niagara County sheriff's patrol car, nearly striking a deputy, at 2 a.m. Tuesday on Day Road, sheriff's officials said.

Krista Jo Graczyk, 41, Levan Avenue, was charged with DWI, failure to move over for an emergency vehicle, failure to use a designated lane, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and refusal to take a breath test.

Graczyk struck the patrol car's mirror and left front fender while the deputy was making a traffic stop near Route 31. "The suspect missed hitting me by less than a foot," said Deputy Gary J. Willis.

Willis said Graczyk's vehicle appeared to be fleeing but finally slowed at the intersection. Willis said he had to run to her vehicle. She was then yelling and refusing to answer questions, until she was pulled out of her vehicle, he reported.

Asked if she knew she had hit the patrol car she answered, "Yes, so what?" Willis reported. She then refused a breath test, he said.

-----

Power tools stolen from garage, shed

ROYALTON -- A number of power tools were stolen in separate burglaries in 8200 block of Mill Road overnight Monday.

A 54-year-old man told Niagara County sheriff's deputies just after 4 p.m. Monday that someone had entered his unlocked garage overnight and took two nailguns, an air stapler, wrenches and a tap and die set. Total loss was estimated at $1,380.

Deputies interviewed a 25-year-old neighbor, who said someone stole two chain saws from an unlocked shed.