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K-9 unit tracks down five teens who fled to avoid paying cab fare

A K-9 unit from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office early Friday tracked down five fare-dodging scofflaws who had taken a cab from downtown Buffalo to Clarence and stiffed the driver.

The 56-year-old cab driver told police he picked the passengers up from an unspecified downtown location Buffalo and took them to an address on Meadowbrook Road in Clarence. Upon arriving at the destination, the driver said one of the passengers punched him and they all fled without paying.

Deputies who were called to the scene at 2:20 a.m. Friday, called for additional help from the K-9 unit.

Deputy Michael Okal and his partner Spike responded and found the suspects within one hour, according to Scott Zylka,spokesman for the department.

Each of the five teenagers was charged with theft of services and conspiracy. One of them also was charged with physical contact harassment.

The driver refused treatment, deputies said.

The name of the suspects are being withheld by the sheriff’s office because they may be give youthful offender status. They all were released on appearance tickets.