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POLICE & COURTS

Man hanging onto car killed when it hits tree

A woman slammed her car into a tree early Tuesday in Buffalo, killing a man who was hanging onto the vehicle when it crashed.

Authorities have not identified the man, who was declared dead shortly after 1 a.m. at the scene in the 100 block of Cambridge Avenue, in the city's East Ferry-Grider area.

Detectives believe some type of confrontation occurred between the man and the woman, and the man tried to lunge into her car. She sped away, with the man hanging onto the vehicle, as it struck a tree about a block and a half away, police said.

The driver, a 44-year-old Medina woman, was treated in Erie County Medical Center and later released, according to police reports. Police later Tuesday were still trying to identify the man and did not say whether they believe the woman previously knew him.

The Buffalo police Accident Investigation Unit is continuing its probe of the incident, which occurred about six blocks east of Grider Street, between East Ferry Street and East Delavan Avenue.

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Police probing holdup of Lancaster gas station

Police are investigating the armed robbery of a gas station at Broadway and Aurora Street in the Village of Lancaster at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday

The bandit was described as white, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing between 175 and 200 pounds. He wore a gray hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, black shoes and a bandanna over his face. He also wore black sunglasses.

The robber entered the store holding a knife. He made off with an undisclosed amount of cash and Newport cigarettes, according to Lancaster police. The gas station clerk was not injured.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Lancaster Police Detective Bureau at 683-3120, Ext. 10.

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Seven from Erie County arrested in drone protest

Seven people from Erie County were among 33 arrested Sunday by Onondaga County sheriff's deputies for protesting, without a permit for a rally or march, the use of unmanned drones flown from Hancock Air Field Air National Guard Base in Mattydale, a Syracuse suburb.

The protesters, which included members of Occupy Buffalo and Western New York Center, planned to deliver a "war crimes indictment" claiming the use of drones for extrajudicial killings violated the U.S. Constitution and international law.

Arrested were Russell Brown, Jamie Nichol Stewart, Lisa Richardson, Laura Toth and Vincente Verduzco, all of Buffalo; Bob Albini of Amherst; and Bonny Maloney of Cheektowaga. They were released on appearance tickets.

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Officer accused of alerting girlfriend to drug raid

MEDINA -- A village police officer has been charged with official misconduct and placed on leave after he allegedly alerted his girlfriend to a pending drug raid on her brother, Orleans County officials said Tuesday.

Officer Scott Merritt, 31, was arraigned on the misdemeanor charge last week in Shelby Town Court and released on his own recognizance.

The three-year member of the village police force also was placed on paid administrative leave.

Merritt, who could not be reached to comment, allegedly also refused to take part in the arrest of his girlfriend's sibling, according to county officials.

Shawn Wisniewski, 22, was arrested April 3 during a raid at his West Avenue home in the village. Orleans County Multi-Agency Task Force members found a cellphone at the house allegedly containing a text message from Merritt trying to alert the suspect to the raid, county officials said.

Wisniewski was charged with three counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawfully dealing with a child. Three other members of his family also were charged with participating in drug trafficking, officials said earlier this month.

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Child porn possession brings six-year term

A Buffalo man convicted of possession of child pornography was sentenced to six years in prison and seven years supervised release Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

Daniel A. Rozbicki, 25, possessed about 21 images and 40 videos of child pornography that were stored on a desktop computer, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango said. The computer was seized Sept. 26, 2008, by the FBI.

The images were of young children, and some of the files contained depictions of violence against children, Mango said.

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Dozens of bathtubs taken from hotel renovation

NIAGARA FALLS -- Dozens of bathtubs were reported stolen Monday from the underground parking garage of a hotel that is being renovated.

The complainant at the Days Inn in the 400 block of Main Street told police that all of the bathrooms are being renovated and the old sinks and tubs were being stored in the garage.