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Armed robbery suspect tries to hide from police as Salvation Army bell ringer

A Buffalo man charged with an armed robbery of a Subway restaurant in West Seneca was caught by police after he went back to working as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army at a nearby store, police said.

The robbery happened about 7 p.m. Saturday at 1900 Ridge Road. The victims told West Seneca police the robber jumped over the counter and demanded money from the register.

Police responded to the scene and formed a perimeter to search for the suspect.

An officer spotted a man who matched the description of the robber standing in front of a retail store ringing a bell for the Salvation Army.

Bryan Garciasilvestri, 27, of Richmond Avenue, attempted to flee and fought with an officer for several minutes. He was subdued after an officer used a Taser, police said.

Garciasilvestri is accused of slashing an employee with the knife while the employee was trying to open the register. Victims told police he then grabbed the purse of another employee and took the tip jar near the register before running out of the store and through a parking lot, police said.

He was charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, as well as second-degree obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest, petit larceny and two other violations, police said. He was arraigned in West Seneca Town Court and ordered held on $100,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond.

The victim received stitches at Erie County Medical Center. The officer who arrested Garciasilvestri suffered minor cuts to his face and a shoulder injury but immediately returned to work, according to police.

Garciasilvestri remained in custody Monday morning in the Erie County Holding Center.

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