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POLICE & COURTS - Final

POLICE & COURTS - Final

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Lackawanna cemetery is hit by vandals

Eighty-eight headstones were knocked over at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna last weekend, authorities said Wednesday.

Carmen Colao, director of Cemeteries for the Buffalo Diocese, said Wednesday that most of the headstones have since been righted. About six headstones will require further repairs and staff members are contacting those families.

The Diocesan Cemeteries of Buffalo is offering a reward for the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.

Officials said vandals struck at the cemetery sometime between Friday night and 8 a.m. Saturday. Most of the headstones were made of granite and some dated back more than 100 years.

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Buffalo man, 19, held on drug charges

An Eggert Road man was arrested Tuesday on drug charges after city police said they found 10 bags of crack cocaine and eight bags of marijuana in his possession.

Louis R. Hernandez, 19, was arrested at 5:15 p.m. in a Virginia Street store by officers who were investigating drug sales activity there, according to police.

Hernandez had attempted to get rid of the crack cocaine by throwing it onto a shelf in the store, police said. Police said they also found eight bags of marijuana inside his coat pocket and one bag of marijuana in his car.

Hernandez, the son of Buffalo School Board member Ralph Hernandez, faces a charge of felony criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and other charges, police said.

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Two men plead guilty in telemarketing scam

The former operators of a Delaware Avenue sweepstakes telemarketing company pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and are facing federal prison terms.

The U.S. Attorney's office said Peter G. Gerace Jr., 38, of Buffalo, and Michael J. Geiger, 38, of the Town of Tonawanda, pleaded guilty Wednesday as their cases were about to go to trial.

From late 1992 until February 1995, the men ran Advanced Distributing Co., a Kenmore firm that cheated customers with promises that they could win a new Cadillac or up to $40,000 in cash, prosecutor Anthony M. Bruce said.

Telemarketing sales workers told customers they could receive the prizes as rewards if they purchased various high-priced products from the company. "In fact, the would-be customers had no chance of receiving these 'rewards,' " Bruce said.

Gerace and Geiger could face up to five years in federal prison, but under advisory sentencing guidelines, they would face prison terms in the range of eight to 12 months, the prosecutor said.

The men were indicted in 2000. Their cases were delayed by a lengthy pretrial dispute over evidence matters, Bruce said. Investigators from the FBI and other agencies worked on the case.

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Lackawanna man held in Massachusetts attack

A Lackawanna man is in police custody at a hospital after police say he drove 470 miles to attack an ex-girlfriend, violently stabbing her and a male acquaintance Tuesday in their Andover, Mass., apartment.

Aleksandre Vaida, 20, is in Lawrence (Mass.) General Hospital, where he is being treated for a stab wound to the chest, Andover police said.

According to published reports in the Andover Eagle-Tribune, Vaida left Lackawanna at 2 a.m. Tuesday and drove to the ex-girlfriend's apartment.

At 10 a.m., Vaida broke into the apartment through a window, and attacked the ex-girlfriend, 23, and the 24-year-old acquaintance, Andover Police Lt. Phillip Froburgh said.

The two received multiple stab wounds, and were treated in area hospitals, then released, Froburgh said. Police declined to reveal their identities.

Vaida was listed in critical but stable condition, according to police, and is charged with attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and home invasion.

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S. Grand Island Bridge is site of 3-vehicle crash

State Police and emergency crews responded to a three-vehicle crash shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday on the South Grand Island Bridge. The crash tied up traffic during rush hour.

The crash occurred in the southbound lane of the Niagara Thruway span, Grand Island fire officials said. The chain-reaction collision involved a We Care mini-bus and two other vehicles and started when one of the vehicles braked when traffic slowed, said State Police, adding that glare from the sun also was a factor.

A vehicle driven by Joseph Warden, 20, of Grand Island, was sandwiched between the bus and another car, and Warden had to be extricated from his vehicle, police said. Grand Island rescue workers treated Warden at the scene for neck and back injuries, and he was taken to Erie County Medical Center for further treatment.

Ten people on the We Care bus were evaluated for injuries. The driver of the third vehicle, Paul McKenna, 66, of Grand Island, was not injured.

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Buffalo man is raped by two others, police say

A Buffalo man was raped Tuesday night by two men who accosted him at Delaware and Hertel avenues and brought him to a house in the 100 block of Camden Avenue, police said.

Northwest District Police said the victim was confronted at about 11:30 p.m. and forced to walk down Delaware, near Tacoma, and then enter the Camden house.

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