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Killer-for-hire plot lands inmate in trouble

An Orleans Correctional Facility inmate has been indicted on a charge of second-degree conspiracy for agreeing to pay an undercover state police investigator $10,000 to kill the victim of his crime, according to the Erie County District Attorney's Office.

Brendon Berndt, 26, was an inmate at the Gowanda Correctional Facility at the time he made the agreement, District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said in a release from his office.

Berndt was serving time in Gowanda for his sex-abuse conviction in Westchester County.


Traffic stop results in drug charges for two

Two women are being held on drug and burglary charges after they were arrested by Erie County sheriff's deputies during a routine traffic stop on the Niagara Thruway near Whitehaven Road on Grand Island just before 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Melissa E. Miller, 22, of Buffalo, faces drug and false personation charges and was picked up on a Buffalo City Court arrest warrant in a burglary case.

The driver, Sara K. McGuire, 29, of Grand Island, is being held on drug and hypodermic instrument possession charges and traffic infractions.


Lewiston man gets 60 days in crash blamed on DWI

A Lewiston man previously convicted of three alcohol-related incidents was sentenced Friday by Cheektowaga Town Justice Paul S. Piotrowski to spend up 60 days in jail after being convicted of driving while intoxicated after crashing into the car of a Cheektowaga firefighter.

William J. Flack, 35, of Meadowbrook Drive, was found guilty as charged. Authorities said he crashed into the car of Doyle Hose Company No. 1 firefighter Richard Nowak after running a stop sign at Colby and Parker streets last July 27.

Nowak was returning to the fire hall after a call. Neither driver was injured in the crash.

Piotrowski, who pointed to Flack's three previous alcohol-related car incidents in Niagara County in recent years, found him guilty of both driving while intoxicated and failure to stop at a stop sign.


Condition unchanged on injured motorcyclist

The 50-year-old West Seneca man injured when in the crash of his motorcycle on Fuhrmann Boulevard near Tifft Street Thursday evening remains in critical condition in Erie County Medical Center.

The man, who has not been identified, was traveling north on Fuhrmann when the crash occurred and he was thrown from his motorcycle.


Rash of thefts from cars triggers plea from police

A rash of nighttime thefts has prompted West Seneca police to urge residents to keep their vehicles locked.

Lt. Edward Baker said over the past couple of weeks, cars in neighborhoods, and especially Winchester, have been targeted by a thief or thieves who made off with GPS units, cellphones, iPads, iPods and loose change. Baker said police believe the thief or thieves walk through neighborhoods and test car doors.


Bank break-in caught on surveillance camera

Orchard Park police Friday announced they are searching for a burglar caught on surveillance camera after he broke into the First Niagara Bank branch at 3488 Amelia Drive about 2:30 a.m. April 29.

The man is described as white, 6 feet tall and 180 pounds, possibly with short brown hair and wearing a dark jacket, white shirt, blue jeans and tan work boots.

He broke out a window to get into the bank, police added.

Anyone with information is asked to contact either the Orchard Park Police Department at (716) 662-6444 or the department's Detective Bureau at (716) 662-6475, Ext. 4016.


ECMC patient accused of setting fire on bed

A patient at Erie County Medical Center is being held on arson and other charges for setting fire to her jacket on her hospital bed, Buffalo police said Friday.

Ruth Garcia, 48, no address listed, was charged with fifth-degree arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment.

Police said the incident occurred Wednesday.


Driver of car that hit pedestrian chased down

A man identified as a Nigerian exchange student is being held on assault and other charges after hitting a pedestrian while driving recklessly early Thursday, police said.

Tornubari G. Gbaraba, 19, was arrested by Buffalo State College officers after a brief high-speed car chase after he struck the pedestrian at Grant and Letchworth streets about 3:05 a.m.

Police said that after leaving a nearby bar, Gbaraba drove through two red lights and a stop sign before being pulled over in the 200 block of Vermont Street.

The unidentified victim was taken by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center for treatment of head injuries.

Gbaraba was charged with first-degree assault and unlawful fleeing of a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third-degree.