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A man was held up at gunpoint on Buffalo’s East Side around 11:15 a.m., Sunday, according to police.The man told police he was on Jefferson Avenue between Glenwood Avenue and East Utica Street when an unknown man walked up to him, pulled out a black Glock and said, “Empty your pockets,” authorities said, and he took $30 from the victim.Police said the suspect then struck t…

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – A man and woman were taken to local hospitals after being rescued from the Niagara Gorge this morning.Niagara Parks Police received a 911 call at about 7:20 a.m. reporting a male and female falling over the gorge wall across from the Parks Police building along the Niagara Parkway.“The information that we received is that they were sitting on the rai…

State Police have arrested a former Lockport resident on rape charges.Andrew K. Peyatt, 55, of Bridgeport, W. Va., was charged with first-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree aggravated sexual abuse.State Police received a complaint from a Niagara County resident that alleged sexual abuse by Peyatt that began over 10 years ago. An investigation sh…

A 22-year-old Lewiston man surrendered to members of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday after a hit-and-run incident earlier in the day that claimed the life of a 34-year-old Buffalo woman.Carmen Crapsi was charged with a felony count of leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident, according to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.Crapsi was arraigned i…

Three Buffalo men could face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine after pleading guilty to drug trafficking.Michael Smerka, 56, James Simmons, 38 and Timothy Borkowski, 46, entered pleas Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio.The men purchased cocaine at an auto shop on Broadway Street in Sloan and then sold the cocaine to customers in Buffalo and …

A Hamburg woman confessed her involvement in a tax scheme that earned her and a co-conspirator $60,961 in fraudulent tax returns.Sheri L. Becirovic, 47, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul announced.She faces up to ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Becirovic provided the Social Security numbers of seven famil…

An Erie County jury has convicted a 20-year-old Buffalo man of first-degree rape.Rudell Jemes, 20, of Berkshire Street, was convicted of raping a 15-year-old girl who had been locked inside the basement of his home on March 28, 2012, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office announced on Friday.“A child rapist has been brought to justice,” District Attorney Frank A. Sedit…

An Erie County grand jury has indicted a Buffalo man accused of burglarizing the Delaware Avenue home of County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.Avello Pena, 22, of Richmond Avenue, faces second-degree burglary and petit larceny charges for the early morning June 17 break-in of Poloncarz’ home. Pena is accused of breaking…

LOCKPORT – A Lockport man whose 3-month-old son was shaken and left permanently brain-damaged, including blindness in at least one eye, was arraigned Friday on an indictment that could land him behind bars for as long as 25 years.Kenneth S. Lathrop Jr., 26, of Ruhlman Road, pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault and two counts of reckless assault on a child.Deputy Dist…

Crime

Two portraits of Donald A. Alessi Jr. emerged Friday, one day after the well-known exercise guru was charged by state police with spiking an energy drink with a date-rape drug and giving it to a college intern working at his family’s Clarence fitness center.Those close to him say Alessi, 44, of Orchard Park, would never endanger a young woman. Alessi resigned from Alessi P…

Crime

MAYVILLE – A Chautauqua County jury Friday determined that Nushawn Williams has a mental abnormality that makes him likely to commit more sexual crimes in the future.Williams lost his bid to be released from civil confinement under the state’s Mental Hygiene Law.Williams gained national notoriety in the 1990s after authorities said he infected at least 13 young Chautauqua …

For the second time this week, the Sanborn Family Mart was targeted by robbers in the wee hours of the morning.A clerk called Niagara County Sheriff’s deputies about 3 a.m. Friday to report an armed robbery at the store at 2939 Saunders Settlement Road. A handgun was displayed as two men entered the store, deputies were told. The robbers fled with an unspecified amount of…

Crime

Beth Lynne Hoskins says a private investigator she hired has evidence indicating that one of the prosecutors in her criminal trial on animal-cruelty charges and an SPCA investigator remain romantically involved, even after the judge in the case was told earlier this month that the liaison had ended in March.The Aurora horsewoman is again insisting that the case should be t…

LOCKPORT – John R. Freeman Jr. suffers from an assortment of mental defects caused by fetal alcohol syndrome, his attorney said Thursday in explaining why he intends to offer a mental health defense on a charge that Freeman strangled a 5-year-old girl and dumped her body in a stolen garbage tote.But Niagara County prosecutors said the claims by defense attorney Robert Viol…

Amherst

The owner of Alessi Fitness-Kids in Williamsville was arrested Thursday by the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a college intern who was working for his business in April 2012.Donald A. Alessi Jr., 44, of Orchard Park was arraigned on an arrest warrant in Clarence Town Court and released without bail.Alessi turned…