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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.

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City 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."

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Jamestown man accused of molesting girl, 12

JAMESTOWN -- A 29-year-old city man was charged Tuesday with sexual abuse and child endangerment, Chautauqua County sheriff's officials said.

Kenneth R. Houghwot, of Bush Street, is accused of molesting a 12-year-old girl last August.

Sheriff's Investigator David Morton said the charges follow an investigation by the Sheriff's Office and Chautauqua County Child Protective Services Bureau.

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Salamanca man arraigned in attack on woman

LITTLE VALLEY -- A Salamanca man being held in the Cattaraugus County Jail was arraigned Tuesday in County Court and pleaded not guilty to attempted murder of a woman he didn't know in the City of Salamanca.

Allen Larkin Jr., 24, entered the not-guilty plea before Judge Larry M. Himelein to charges of second-degree attempted murder, second-degree assault, second-degree menacing, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment.

The assault occurred at 2:33 a.m. Dec. 11 on Messenger Street, near Larkin's home. The woman suffered serious injuries and was taken to an area hospital, police said at the time of Larkin's arrest.

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Man, 19, pleads not guilty in rape of child under 15

LITTLE VALLEY -- A Kill Buck man arraigned Tuesday in Cattaraugus County Court pleaded not guilty to rape charges involving a child under age 15 in the Town of Great Valley.

Zachary R. Richardson, 19, entered the plea to two counts of second-degree rape for an alleged incident that occurred April 30 involving a minor.

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Woman in Holding Center now facing theft charges

LITTLE VALLEY -- A West Seneca woman being held in the Erie County Holding Center on another matter was arraigned Tuesday in Cattaraugus County Court and and pleaded guilty to grand larceny.

Lisa M. Wisniewski, 40, entered the plea to charges of fourth-degree grand larceny and first-degree attempted identity theft before Judge Larry M. Himelein, who set her sentencing for June 4.

Court records say Wisniewski assumed another's identity and used the information to steal valuables of more than $3,000 between June 4 and July 11 in the Town of Ellicottville.

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Two boys arrested in thefts from vehicles in Dunkirk

DUNKIRK -- City police Tuesday warned residents to lock their vehicles, while reporting they arrested two teenagers over the weekend for allegedly stealing from several vehicles in the area of West Fourth Street and Woodrow Avenue.

Police responding to a call of youths entering vehicles in that neighborhood shortly before 7 p.m. spotted the two boys, ages 13 and 14, who fled. Police were able to catch one of the boys after a short foot chase, and arrested the other boy about a block away. The boys will answer charges in Chautauqua County Family Court.