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Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 7:23 am

Man charged with burglary in Niagara County being investigated for Oakfield break-ins

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield

An Orleans County man arrested for an alleged burglary in progress in Niagara County is a possible suspect in a series of bold burglaries in the Village of Oakfield, according to Investigator Kris Kautz, of the Sheriff's Office.

Jonathan K. Banks, of 4886 S. Townline Road, Ridgeway, is charged with one count of second-degree burglary after allegedly breaking into a house at 5:20 a.m. Thursday, according to OrleansHub.

Banks is also a person of interest in similar burglaries in Albion and Medina.

In all the cases, according to investigators, a person entered homes, often while the residents were there, and grabbed purses and other items that might contain money or valuables and left quickly.

Kautz said there may be search warrants executed today on Banks' property and residence.

In May, Banks was charged with endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly taking a 12-year-old girl from Albion to Buffalo overnight.

He was jailed in Niagara County on $15,000 bail or $30,000 bond.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 7:01 am

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of walking in middle of road in Wyoming County

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Alabama, crime, Oakfield, Pavilion

Gregory S. Snyder, 45, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct and unlawful possession of marijuana. The Wyoming County Sheriff's Office received two separate complaints of a man walking in the middle of the roadway on Route 98, Town of Attica. About 90 minutes later, there was a complaint of a man walking in the middle of the roadway on Route 98 in the Town of Bennington. Synder was reportedly located by deputies walking on Route 98. Snyder was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing the flow of traffic. Upon his arrest he was allegedly found in possession of marijuana. Snyder was reportedly transported to the Village of Attica and released to a sober third party.

Charles Howard Sims, 43, of McIntyre Road, Caledonia, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing and two counts of criminal mischief. Sims allegedly choked a woman during a domestic incident. He also allegedly ripped her shirt and also damaged a door. Sims was jailed on $250 bail.

Jacob Duane Defisher, 17, Roanoke Road, Pavilion, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Defisher allegedly pushed another person and then punched that person causing the person's lip to bleed and swell.

Louis Michael Biro, 52, of East Shelby Road, Oakfield, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test, failure to stop for stop sign, speeding (unreasonable speed, special hazards), unapproved/no face shield on motorcycle. Biro was allegedly driving at the time when a one-vehicle accident occurred involving a motorcycle at 10:12 p.m. Sept. 9 on Bloomingdale Road, Alabama. The accident was investigated by Deputy James Diehl.

Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 11:02 am

Out-of-town duo accused of dealing crack in Village of Oakfield

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield
Cindy Battistoni Sakeel Hilson

A woman from Akron is accused of selling crack cocaine to an agent of the Genesee County Drug Enforcement Task Force on Friday afternoon in the Village of Oakfield.

The woman and a passenger in her vehicle were allegedly found in possession of drugs and cash when they were arrested.

Taken into custody were Cindy Ann Battistoni, 41, of Greenbush Road, Akron, and Sakeel D. Hilson, 20, of Stevens Avenue, Buffalo.

Battistoni was allegedly found in possession of crack cocaine and marijuana.

Hilson was allegedly found in possession of crack, morphine and $1,050 cash.

The charges against Battistoni are criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal using drug paraphernalia, 2nd, and aggravated unlicensed operation.

Hilson is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 4th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th.

Both suspects were arraigned in Oakfield and jailed on $25,000 bail each.

Task force members were assisted by uniformed deputies and the District Attorney's Office.

Monday, September 9, 2013 at 9:00 am

Law and Order: Woman accused of breaking property; man accused of assault

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bergen, crime, Oakfield

Katherine J. Briggs, 34, of 172 S. Main St., #112, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 3rd. Briggs allegedly damaged property of another person during an argument. The alleged incident was reported at 2:16 a.m., Saturday.

Kyle E. Kirtley, 24, of 6 Pine Tree Road, Central Square, is charged with assault, 3rd. Kirtley is accused of punching another person in the head several times causing substantial pain. The alleged incident was reported at 2:16 a.m. Saturday at 172 S. Main St., Batavia. Kirtley was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Tracey Lynn Brewer, 48, of Columbia Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Brewer is accused of shoplifting at Walmart.

Sara Marie Zilliox, 38, of South 7th Street, Lewiston, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Zilliox was charged following a traffic stop at 1:05 a.m. Saturday on Lake Road, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Christine Marie Osborne, 38, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Osborne is accused of stealing $62.78 in merchandise from Walmart.

Mark Anthony Rebmann, 24, of Exchange Street, Attica, is charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Rebmann is accused shoplifting $24.99 in merchandise from Kmart. During the investigation by Deputy Joseph Graff, Rebmann was allegedly found in possession of heroin.

April Marie Palmer, 27, of East Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a grand larceny, 4th, charge.

Dale A. Hollwedel, 26, of 9983 Francis Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. Hollwedel was stopped at 1:42 a.m. Thursday following a complaint in the MacDonald's drive thru by Officer Jason Davis.

Kimberly M Volk, 24, of 111 Liberty St., Apt. A, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Volk is accused of shoplifting at Tops.

Willie F. Irvin II, 31, of 22 Trumbull Parkway, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Irvin is accused of verbally threatening another person while on State Street. He was jailed on $750 bail.

Jason E. Carpenter, 35, of 137 State St., Batavia, is charged with disobeying a mandate. Carpenter allegedly contacted another person in violation of an order of protection.

Rosemary R. Waters, 27, of 23 Forrest Ave., Oakfield, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th.  Waters allegedly picked up a mobile phone from the floor during an altercation and threw it back down, breaking it.

Froylan Hernandez, 26, from California, is charged with trespass. Hernandez was arrested by State Police following a report at 2:14 p.m. Aug. 10 on Wilkinson Road, Batavia. Hernandez was jailed on bail. No further details released.

Maurice G. Leach, 37, of Rochester, is charged with petit larceny. Leach was arrested in the Town of Batavia by State Police. No further details released.

The following individuals were arrested by State Police at 11:30 p.m. Friday at a location in the Town of Bergen, and charged with trespass: Alana M. Diefendorf, 16, Olivia R. Sweet, 16, Jacob M. Hillabush, 19, Danielle C. Zelazny, 17, Joseph T. Burr, 20, Dakota Troy Harlach, 20, Hannah M. Feary, 19, Kyle K. Shultz, 19, Daniel J. Ognibene, 19, Payton V. Conley, 18, Richard S. Streiff, 19, and Matthew C. Ferris, 18. Diefendorf, Sweet, Hillabush, Zelazny and Burr were also charged with possession/consumption of alcohol under age 21.

Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Sometimes a cigar box isn't just a cigar box

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield

Criminal investigators want to know more about this cigar box.

Obviously, it once held 25 Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 858 cigars, but what interests investigators is how it wound up yesterday morning at a location in the Village of Oakfield.

It's location has investigators in the Sheriff's Office thinking it may be related to a recent rash of burglaries in the area.

The box was found shortly after at least three burglaries in the village two nights ago.

The recent series of burglaries have been "pretty nervy," said Investigator Kris Kautz.

The burglars are entering homes when people are home and likely to be awake, such as later afternoon and evening hours, and grabbing anything of value that can be snatched quickly, such as a purse, wallet or a box of potential valuables.

"They're going in when people are home and that's scary stuff," Kautz said. "We don't want something ugly to happen."

The same M.O. has been reported with a series of burglaries in Albion and in one case there, two unidentified young white males were spotted at a time that have investigators thinking they may be involved.

If you are the owner of the box, or if you're the person who placed it where it was found (or know who did place it there), or have other information about the recent burglaries, contact the Sheriff's Office, Investigator Kris Kautz, at (585) 343-5000.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Once complicated case untangled, former fugitive given another two-plus years in prison

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield

It took nearly three hours for Benjamin Muntz to find out that Judge Robert C. Noonan would be tacking another two to four years onto his prison term.

In the arcane labyrinth of our judicial system's sentencing guidelines, there was no clear cut answer on what to do with Muntz's case.

It's that complicated.

In January, Muntz entered guilty pleas to counts of burglary, 3rd, and grand larceny, 4th. Rather than show up for his sentencing in March, he flew south. He also became a suspect in another burglary and was charged with another felony.

Eventually, he was caught and returned to Genesee County.

He was sentenced in April by Noonan to three and a half to seven years in state prison and charged with bail jumping.

If the only charges against Muntz were those earlier felonies and the bail jumping, the sentencing guidelines are clear: Any sentence Muntz received on bail jumping would need to be served consecutively (not at the same time, or concurrently) with his other sentence.

As part of a plea deal, Muntz had received a one and a third to three year sentence cap on the bail jumping charge.

The curve for Noonan was that newer burglary, 3rd, charge.

If Noonan gave Muntz another three and a half to seven on that charge, could the bail jumping sentence be concurrent with that sentence, or would it need to be served consecutively?

Noonan didn't have the answer. The attorneys for the prosecution and the defense didn't have the answer. The prison guards who transported Muntz in his DOCs green jumpsuit to County Court today certainly didn't have the answer.

After consulting his law books and case law in chambers and conferring with attorneys -- in between hearing other cases -- Noonan concluded that if the second burglary sentence was consecutive then the bail jumping sentence would be consecutive to that.

In other words, Muntz would be looking at more than eight years and up to 17 years in prison.

Through his attorney, Thomas Burns, Noonan offered Muntz a deal: waive his sentence cap on the bail jumping conviction so Noonan could sentence him at two to four years and Noonan would make his other burglary charge, at three and a half to seven, concurrent with his prior sentence.

Once Burns got it all thoroughly explained to Muntz, with a little assistance from one of the prison guards, Muntz agreed to the arrangement.

For prior coverage on Muntz, click here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Jason Jewett remembered with love, honor and respect

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, byron, Oakfield

Honor, duty, country. For Jason M. Jewett, those words were more than platitudes, said family and friends following his funeral today in North Pembroke.

His coffin was draped in stars and stripes when it arrived at the cemetery after a procession of more than 100 cars through Batavia and East Pembroke. Two honor guards, with white cotton gloves and golden aiguillettes, removed the flag from the casket and with solemn precision folded it into a razor-sharp triangle.

A guard raised his white-gloved hand toward the deep blue sky. Honor, duty, country, he pronounced loudly enough for God to hear.

"For a young man, he was very patriotic," said his mother, Joyce Jewett, after the service. "He loved his country. He loved his fellow man. He helped people in need everywhere he saw people in need. For a young man with a short career, he accomplished a lot in a short time."

Jewett was an agent with ICE and helped train the agency's Special Response Team.

Team members traveled from as far away as Texas to honor their comrade, who died Friday in a traffic accident on East Eden Road, Eden, in Erie County.

More than 250 people attended his funeral.

The Oakfield native touched many lives, making friends instantly with everybody he met, regardless of race or background or means, said longtime friend Nathan Fix.

"He could walk into a room and, even though you never met him, you would smile," Fix said. "He would smile. He had no enemies."

Deputy Joseph Corona counted Jewett as his best friend.

It was Jewett who lured Corona into law enforcement.

"Law enforcement is a path we both enjoyed," Corona said. "He made me passionate about it and made me want to strive for more. He opened doors for me when I had turmoil in my life and uncertainty, and he always led me on the right path."

The outpouring of love for Jewett following his death came from all quarters and from around the country. It showed, said Corona, what a special man he was.

"I'm happy that he was so loved," Corona said. "Everything that he represented was represented here today."

Joyce Jewett said the funeral was not an end, but a transition.

"Right now, we don't consider him gone," Joyce said. "We consider him onto the next mission. God has a mission for him."

Jewett received a 21-gun salute, taps on a trumpet and "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes. His perfectly folded American flag was presented by a member of the SRT to Joyce and his father Joe. The gloves that folded the flag were laid to rest on the casket.

One-by-one, members of SRT placed their division patches on top of the casket. The INS guards filed through the tent where family sat and each gave each member of the family a hug. Then Jason's parents walked over to the line of SRT members and the line of Sheriff's deputies and officers and hugged each of them. Joe Jewett had a private word with each man. Men and women in the assembled gathering sniffled and cried.

 "Jason deserved this," Joyce said. "He worked hard and he loved his job."

Fix said in their long friendship, they never drifted apart even as their careers took different paths.

"No matter what Jason did, it was always the right thing," said Fix, who first met Jewett when they were security offices together at Darien Lake years and years ago. Jewett helped Fix when he needed it most and they were neighbors in Oakfield for awhile.

"It was an honor to be at the funeral today," Fix said. "He was like a true guardian angel."

Everything happens for a reason, Joyce said. God has a plan. He brought Corona and her son together and built a special bond between them. That friendship helped form new relationships between ICE and the Sheriff's Office, she said (and Fix, who is a dispatcher and volunteer firefighter agreed). Before, agents and deputies might talk on the phone, but now they know each other personally, Joyce said. That relationship will improve both agencies, she said.

Corona said will never forget his friend.

"He is buried here in a part of a town that I patrol and I'll be here every day that I can be to pay my respects," Corona said. "He'll always be remembered as my best friend."

Joyce Jewett found a few bullet hole stickers among her son's belongings, so she gave them to SRT members and Joseph Corona. Jewett like a good practical joke, she said, and putting the stickers on his casket is the kind of thing he'd appreciate, she said.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 6:58 am

Awards from Oakfield Labor Days Parade

post by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield

Here are the awards that judges handed out following the Oakfield Labor Days Parade on Monday:

Veterans Color Guard

  • 1st Prize: Vietnam Veteran’s Chapter #193
  • 2nd Place: Oakfield-Alabama American Legion #626

Fire Departments

  • 1st Prize Best Appearing: Stafford Volunteer Fire Department
  • 2nd Prize Best Appearing: Alabama Volunteer Fire Department
  • 3rd Prize Best Appearing: Oakfield Volunteer Fire Department
  • Best Appearing Aerial: Town of Batavia Fire Department
  • Best Appearing Pumper: Stafford Volunteer Fire Department
  • Best Appearing Tanker: Byron Volunteer Fire Department
  • Best Appearing Utility & Rescue Vehicle: Alabama Volunteer Fire Department
  • Best Appearing Antique Hand Drawn Fire Apparatus: Attica Fire Company
  • Best Appearing Antique Motorized Fire Equipment: Attica Fire Company

Marching Bands

  • 1st Prize: Alexander Fireman's Marching Band
  • 2nd Prize: Akron Tigers Marching Band
  • 3rd Prize: Oakfield-Alabama Marching Band

Best Novelty Band, Act or Float

  • Grand Prize: Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
  • 1st Prize: Crossroads House
  • 2nd Prize: Genesee Country Church
  • 3rd Prize: Batavia Silver Stars
Monday, September 2, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Jason Jewett's love of cars honored by car club attending calling hours at Gilmartin

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, byron, Oakfield

More than 300 people showed up this evening for calling hours at the Gilmartin Funeral Home on West Main Street, Batavia, to pay respects to the memory and the family of Jason M. Jewett.

Among the mourners were about three dozen members of a nationwide car club that was proud to include Jason among its members.

Jewett, 31, of South Byron and originally from Oakfield, died Friday in a car crash in Erie County.

The car club members who attended tonight came from throughout the Northeast, but the majority were from Rochester. They represented three teams within the club: Style by Choice, Sunworks and Street Kings.

Any hardcore car enthusiast, regardless of make or model the member owns, is welcome into the club.

Jewett was all in once he became passionate about cars, according to Kyle McGuckin, team leader of Style by Choice.

His car was a black and yellow Mitsubishi Evolution club members called Pikachu.

"Jay loved his car and everybody knew his car," McGuckin said. "It was bright yellow. You could not miss it."

There's a tight bond between club members, McGuckin said. It just happens to bring them together.

"We wouldn't have known any of these guys without cars," McGuckin said. "We're definitely more about family than just a car crew."

Also honoring Jewett tonight were several members of the local law enforcement community, where Jewett had many friends. He was an agent at the Immigration Customs Enforcement & Deportation facility in Batavia along with being one of 13 instructors for the Special Response Team.

He had worked in and around law enforcement in Genesee County much of his adult life.

Calling hours will continue tomorrow from 3 to 8 p.m.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, at Resurrection Parish, 303 East Main St., Batavia. Interment will be in North Pembroke Cemetery.

Click here for Jewett's obituary.

Jason's nephew Nate Jewett, also a car club member, with his BMW. Nate is active duty Navy currently stationed at Port Hueneme in Ventura County, California.

Besides his car, Jason owned a gray Dodge Ram 1500 that he was proud of. A friend brought it to the wake. With it are Nate Jewett, Zach Hallatt and Huseyin Damlar.

Monday, September 2, 2013 at 7:34 pm

What is a Christian? An example to follow!

I am a Christian was the title of a recent sermon I heard that got my attention. What exactly is a Christian? A Christian is a person who believes with their heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins. It is a person who confesses their sin to God in prayer and asks for His forgiveness (Romans 10:9-10). It is a person who desires to live a life pleasing to God. It is a person who denies himself to become a follower of Christ (Luke 9:23). What does it mean to become a follower of Christ? It is a choice to commit yourself to God moment by moment, making your relationship with Him important, putting Him first. It’s about making choices that will please our Lord, striving to become more and more like Him. The bible says, “This is how we know we are in Him: whoever claims to be in Him must walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:6). Let’s look at Jesus, who He is and what He has done. The bible tells us that God the Father sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for us, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have ever lasting life (John 3:16). He came to serve, and to become a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). It doesn’t take long after watching or reading the news to see that we live in a world that is far from perfect. It is a world full of sin and evil. Jesus came and laid down His life for us, He was nailed to the cross to take our sin for us. Those who call to Him for forgiveness will be saved from the consequence of their sin, eternal separation from Him (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23). Jesus Christ carried the burden of all our sins out of His love for us. He was beaten, spit upon, mocked, and whipped to the point of near death. He had a crown of thorns placed upon His head, stripped of His clothes, and then nailed to a cross (Mark 15:16-32; Matthew 27:26-31). He did this for you and for me. He endured the suffering for us and took our place. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only ours but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). While Jesus was on earth, He humbly served others, putting them before himself. He was a teacher of God’s Word and told others how to receive eternal life through Him (John 3:1-21; John 4:1-26). He would withdraw to desolate places often to seek His Father in heaven (Luke 5:16). He was a man of prayer! The bible tells us that Jesus was raised from the dead after three days and now sits on the right hand of God the Father where He intercedes for us. Jesus Christ is still praying, praying for you and for me (Romans 8:34). Do you say, “I am a Christian?” Are there some things we as Christians need to change? Look again at our example in Jesus Christ. He was forgiving…are we? He was willing to be mocked for the sake of doing His Fathers will…are we? He served others and put them before himself…do we? He told others about the way to eternal life…do we? He was a praying man…are we? May we as Christians do what we need to do to become followers of Jesus Christ. He is our example! One way to become more like Him is to learn how to pray. The bible teaches us about prayer. Batavia Assembly of God, located at 24 North Spruce Street, is hosting its 3rd annual prayer conference September 13th from 6pm to 9pm (registration from 6pm-7pm), and September 14th from 8am to 4pm. Dick LaFountain will be the keynote speaker. Dick's passion is to motivate a renewed love for prayer and the presence of God in our churches. The title for the conference is “Presence, Prayer and the Power of God”. Elmwood Drive will lead worship. The registration fee is $15 per person, $20 per couple. Breakfast and lunch are included. You may register by calling the church at 585-343-8521. Please register by Sept 6th. Payment is at the door. Hope to see you there.

Event Date and Time

September 2, 2013 - 8:25pm
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