An incident that began with a man flagging down a school bus driver to report he had been assaulted touched off an investigation that led Orchard Park police to a "large sophisticated marijuana growing and packaging operation" in two rooms hidden inside a home and the arrest of a 19-year-old man who lived there.
Police said the man flagged down an Orchard Park school bus driver early Thursday morning and said he had just been robbed and beaten up by "three guys with guns" while staying at a house on Chestnut Ridge Road across from Chestnut Ridge park.
The victim, identified as an 18-year-old man, said he was staying at the house. He said the assailants stole his cash, jewelry and other items.
"He reported being beaten by an AR-15 rifle and a handgun, shot with a pellet gun, struck repeatedly and menaced with a machete," police said.
Detectives then found video on social media that confirmed what happened. EMTs evaluated the victim who declined a ride to the hospital.
The next day, detectives obtained a search warrant and the SWAT team raided the house. There were eight people in the house. One was arrested – Jacob R. Page, 19, of that address. He was charged with a felony count of first-degree robbery, third-degree assault, second-degree menacing and petit larceny. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.
Detectives searching the property found two hidden rooms in the basement. They also found a loaded firearm, the victim's stolen property and "large quantities of drug paraphernalia," police said.
Two other suspects were being sought.
Town building inspectors condemned the building because of "unsafe conditions inside," police said.