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Friday, July 13, 2012 at 8:30 am

Law and Order: Man in Le Roy accused of drinking and texting while driving

post by Howard B. Owens in Attica, batavia, crime, elba, Le Roy, pembroke

Andrew J. Ashley, 25, of 91 W. Main St., Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and using a mobile phone while driving. According to Le Roy PD, Ashley was driving on Route 19 and allegedly texting while driving when he failed to negotiate a curve at Route 19 and Wolcott Street. Ashley's vehicle struck a curb and the vehicle's axle broke.

Danielle Marie Stevens, 35, of Ford Road, Elba, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd. Stevens was arrested on a warrant by State Police following a traffic stop. Stevens was turned over to the Sheriff's Office, arraigned and jailed on $1,250 bail.

Rebecca Louise Batt, 31, of East Bethany Le Roy Road, Bethany, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. Batt was arrested following a trespassing complaint at 1:48 a.m., Thursday, when Batt allegedly drove her vehicle into the back yard of a residence on East Bethany Le Roy Road and parked without permission of the homeowner.

Wendy L. Mucher, 42, of Lewiston Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and criminal mischief. Mucher is accused of stealing $29.34 worth of merchandise that she removed from its packaging from a business on Veterans Memorial Drive.

Joseph Daniel Barone, 30, of Woodbriar Drive, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Barone was stopped at 8:38 p.m. Thursday on Route 77 in Pembroke by Deputy Patrick Reeves. A search of the vehicle allegedly found alcohol, crack cocaine and marijuana.

Melissa Ann Neely, 42, of Lincoln Mills Road, East Rochester, is charged with controlled substance not its original container. Neely was charged following a traffic stop at 9:09 p.m. Thursday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Jacob D. Waite, 20, of 3661 Pike Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and driving left of pavement markings. Waite was arrested by Attica PD following a traffic stop at 11:45 p.m. Wednesday on Market Street, Attica.

Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Fight reported in parking lot of Le Roy apartment complex

post by Billie Owens in crime, Le Roy

A fight was reported not long ago in the parking lot of the Creekside Manor Apartments, located at 61 Myrtle St. in the Village of Le Roy. When police arrived, they found nothing. A caller told dispatch he was going outside with a crowbar but was told to remain inside. Now, two ambulances are called to the address, to the last building on the right. One person has trouble breathing, but it's not clear why the other medic is needed.

UPDATE 4:48 p.m.: One medic is back in service after a patient signed off.
Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Male allegedly steals grocery cart full of stuff from Tops

post by Billie Owens in crime, Le Roy

Law enforcement is searching for a white male wearing a white tank top who is suspected of stealing a cartload of items from Tops Market in Le Roy. He allegedly left the store with the cart and then went across the street to the Dollar General store.

He is said to have gone in back of Dollar General and when spotted by employees, he abandoned the shopping cart and fled on foot eastbound "toward the bridge." Officers are still scouring the area but have yet to locate him.

UPDATE 1:43 p.m.: The suspect is believed to be about 16 or 17 years old.

UPDATE 2:05 p.m.: Police think it is possible that the suspect had a partner in crime, possibly driving a vehicle. That's because the loot was bulky -- "13 or 14 cases, give or take, of Red Bull."

UPDATE 2:42 p.m.: After speaking with a person who saw the suspect, he is further described as being "very thin" and clean cut, a veritable military-style cut, and wearing full-length blue jeans. Officers found a standard white shirt abandoned along with the Red Bull, thus he might have originally worn that over the tank top he was last spotted in.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Broadbent: One Batavia family learning the hard way the damage bath salts can do

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bath salts, crime, synthetic drugs

Up until Friday, Melissa Broadbent thought her brother Bradley was really turning his life around.

He had a job, he was trying to do the best he could by his son, within the limits of court orders and the demands of the child's mother.

Then, seemingly overnight, and just three months removed from his last prison term, Bradley Broadbent discovered "Amped," a form of bath salts that is reportedly sold at a shop in Batavia.

"Previous to that day, he was doing well for himself," Melissa said. "He worked in a flower shop, he gained better employment, he was trying to become a good member of society."

Last Friday, Bradley thrust himself into local headlines when he climbed atop the roof of a home on Hutchins Street and then began jumping from roof to roof, yelling something about the police being after him.

He was taken by Mercy EMS to UMMC for evaluation, but that night, Bradley reportedly fled the hospital and went to his ex-wife's house on Tracy Avenue and entered her home.

That action led to a charge of burglary in the second degree.

"I don't believe anybody should be selling it," Melissa said. "For some people it’s a high, but for other people something doesn’t quite click and it’s not safe to us and the rest of the world."

If convicted of the burglary charge, it would be Bradley's third strike and mean from 20 years to life in prison.

And that's what has Melissa Broadbent most concerned.

She thinks the system has failed her brother. And the failure of the system, she said, was never more apparent than it was on Friday.

Melissa said when she came across Bradley that morning, she could tell he was high and learned from a friend that he had allegedly ingested bath salts, a substance for which she had no real prior knowledge.

She said she tried contacting her brother's parole officer, but he was on vacation and nobody from the parole office "bothered," as she put it, to call her back.

A call back and an effort to pick him up might have meant the entire Friday would have gone completely different for her brother, she said.

Then, after her brother was taken to UMMC, Melissa wonders why he was lightly restrained at the hospital. Melissa believes he should have been shackled by handcuffs so he couldn't escape until he came down off his high.

Then there's the issue of the burglary charge for entering his ex-wife's home.

"She was leaving a key in the mailbox for him," Broadbent said. "How was he supposed to know he wasn’t supposed to come in that day?"

Now that Melissa has gotten a quick personal and Google-search lesson in bath salts, she is perplexed why the substance is so easily available in Batavia and why anybody in good conscience would sell the substance to another human being.

"There's a chemical in it, a specific chemical, that makes you come out of your element and makes you do things you would not normally do," Melissa said. "It is not safe, not for anybody, not for the person doing it and nor for the person walking down the street.

"There's no way to test for it. People who want to find a mental escape, they're going to do it because it's legal and it's so easy to get. It needs to come off the street before somebody dies."

Bradley Broadbent was first arrested, she said, on a robbery charge when he was 16. He and a partner stole one dollar from a store and Broadbent spent eight years in prison.

When he came out, Melissa said, he was a changed person. He was anti-social, didn't know how to interact with people, distrusted everyone and was hostile to people he met for the first time.

The family wanted to help him, they said, so in the hope of getting him into treatment, they provided information to law enforcement that led to his arrest.  Rather than receiving treatment, however, she said Broadbent was sent back to prison.

"That didn't help him at all," she said. "That made him worse."

Now, with a possible third strike, Melissa is worried the system will once again come down hard on him and send him to prison for the rest of his life.

She hopes, somehow, someway, the system will do better than that by her brother.

"He is in need of mental care," Melissa said. "We know him. The people who know him, know he needs that. The system doesn’t know him. They don’t know he needs that and the system doesn’t care. That’s what I would like to see happen. My brother needs mental care. He needs help mentally. He doesn't know how to handle himself emotionally or mentally."

She isn't of a mind to sugarcoat any of the things Bradley has been accused of doing in the past. She just wants the best outcome for her brother.

"I don’t defend anything my brother has ever done," she said. "If he’s wrong, he’s wrong."

The rapid lessons in bath salts has made her very afraid of what the presence of the substance means for Batavia. She's worried -- more certain -- that not enough will be done soon enough about bath salts.

"It seems nothing ever gets done until it's the absolute worst and then people open their eyes and do something," she said.

Nicole Lang, the mother of another person whose life is allegedly being harmed by bath salts has said she's ready to set up a picket and a protest of a local shop allegedly selling the now controlled substance.

"I’m with her," Melissa said. "I’m all with her. The people selling this stuff, they’re not dealing with the consequences. Yet the people who love their family are the people who have been tainted by the effects of it."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 10:27 pm

New federal ban offers hope, but local law enforcement still grappling with difficult bath salt situation

Nearly every day of late, emergency dispatchers in Genesee County field multiple calls related to people getting into trouble or causing problems while apparently high on a substance benignly called "bath salts."

Area law enforcement officials recognize the problem, and even though most of the compounds known as bath salts are now a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance under federal law, the tools available to police officers to deal with these sometimes bizarre events are limited.

In the City of Batavia, Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said the approach his department is taking to deal with bath salt-provoked incidents is first a public safety issue.

"First and foremost, any responding officer is checking the welfare of people," Heubusch said. "First comes public safety, the safety of the people involved, checking to see if medical attention is needed, giving it to them."

If a crime has been committed, an individual under the influence of bath salts might be arrested, Heubusch said, but the first order of business is that person's health and safety.

However, since at a local level, the possession and even the sale of these so-called bath salts are legal, there isn't much local law enforcement can do to combat the spread of the drug.

But that doesn't mean any Genesee County residents or businesses that might sell bath salts should feel comfortable distributing the compounds outlawed as a result of legislation sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer.

The federal government's top law enforcement official in Western New York said today that investigators will respond to any complaints of the substances being sold locally, whether the complaints come in the form of tips from concerned citizens or media reports suggesting such sales are taking place.

"What the public can expect as with any reports of criminal activities is that law enforcement will look into it as appropriate," said William Hochul, U.S. Attorney for Western New York. "I can’t comment on specific cases, but the way we do our job in law enforcement is we look for possible violations of crime and we investigate it. If it rises to the level of a federal offense, we will prosecute."

Hochul praised The Batavian and Rochester's WHAM 13 for aggressive reporting on the bath salt issue during an exclusive interview with the two news outlets at the Sheriff's Office in Batavia.

"The public needs to be aware that the side effects of these substances is that to an extent they can be deadly," Hochul said. "We've had any number of episodes where people have acted violently, or they've gone into cardiac arrest, and that's just what we know. There's a long-term effect that still remains to be seen. So, the best defense, as with most drugs, is for the public to get educated."

Schumer's legislation bans MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone) and mephedrone, the active ingredients in bath salts.

Reportedly, the chemicals found in bath salts cause effects similar to those of cocaine and methamphetamine, including hallucinations, paranoia and suicidal thoughts.

In Batavia in recent cases, people have climbed on rooftops, waved knives at people in a threatening manner, claimed to be attacked by ghosts, reported hearing gunshots and have been combative toward medical personnel during emergency responses to deal with their seizures.

Family members of individuals reportedly on bath salts have said that users  expressed suicidal thoughts and engaged in self-destructive behavior.

The paranoia, violence and self-destructive thoughts of people on bath salts are a safety concern for the public and emergency personnel, local law enforcement officials say.

"People using these substances are sometimes unpredictable and sometimes become violent," Heubusch said. "The officers do a great job of limiting contact with these people and ensuring everybody is safe."

Sheriff Gary Maha said fortunately, no situations involving his deputies have gotten out of hand, but officers have been responding to numerous medical calls involving bizarre behavior.

"Our officers are trained to protect themselves," Maha said. "It doesn’t matter what type of situation. It can be a dangerous situation. This person could have a knife he’s swinging around or whatever and they will have to take appropriate action to protect themselves and protect the public.

"We haven’t come across a situation yet where an officer needs to use a Taser, but our officers are armed with Tasers and trained in using them," Maha added.

Det. Rich Schauf said that with all the information available now about bath salts, and the fact that it says right on many packages, "not for human consumption," the real question is, why are people using them.

"The unfathomable situation in all this is why would somebody do this to themselves," Schauff said.  Why would somebody ingest something that they don’t know what it is. ... that's the real question: How do you stop somebody from hurting themselves?"

While that may be a question without an answer, Hochul's office is taking seriously the issue of enforcing the new ban on bath salts and synthetic marijuana, he said.

"We will now be able to treat bath salts the same way we treat cocaine and heroine," Hochul said. "(We can) use all of our federal techniques that we have available, including wiretaps, undercover operations, and hopefully bring these cases to closure much easier and much more successfully."

Up until the new ban was signed into law by President Barack Obama, federal law enforcement had very limited tools to combat bath salts and synthetic marijuana.

The chemicals used to manufacture these drugs were part of a DEA emergency schedule as controlled substances, but that only meant that law enforcement had to prove in a court of law that a person selling the substance did so with the intention they would be used for human consumption and that the effect of the substances was in fact similar to that of meth or cocaine.

That all changed on Monday.

"It’s much better for the community to know now that the substances are -- no ifs, ands or buts -- illegal to possess, to sell or posses with intent to sell," Hochul said.

While law enforcement officials take seriously the apparent increase in bath salt-related calls, they also say it shouldn't be overstated as some sort of community epidemic.

The majority of calls, according to Schauf, involve the same people repeatedly, and those calls are generally confined to people who have had law enforcement contact prior to bath salts becoming an issue.

Heubusch agreed.

"I don’t believe this is a widespread, mass hysteria type of event," Heubusch said. "It does seem to be a small group of people."

The other factor that may contribute to bath salts being part of a greater consciousness in Batavia, Schauf said, is more people understand what bath salts are and what they do, including cops and medical personnel.

"We might have been dealing with this before and we didn't know it," Schauf said. "Now that it's identified, you have this effect of everything is bath salts the minute you see somebody who is irrational."

All of the law enforcement officials we talked to today also said bath salts are just the latest fad drug. They pointed to either Ecstasy, PCP, sniffing glue, meth and even LSD as "fad" drugs of the past that eventually stopped being a common problem.

"We've seen different peaks and valleys in the past," Maha said. "We've seen LSD and we don't see that much anymore, or PCP, and we don't see that much anymore. They have all come and gone and hopefully this will as well."

What worries law enforcement officials that while federal -- and even possibly, someday, state legislation -- might outlaw bath salts as we know them today, there are probably chemists somewhere trying to cook up the next intoxicating brew.

"We have to be concerned about it," Hochul said. "I read one report that said this (the new law) is like raising the wall a little higher as the floodwaters grow. We certainly hope at a certain point that there won't continue to be creation of illegal substances, but given the advances in science and the willingness of people located throughout the world to try and make money through the selling of illegal drugs, it’s reasonable to assume there will be continued efforts to avert this law."

Hochul had two other bits of advice for community members who are concerned about bath salts.

First, if people plan to picket -- as Jason Lang's mother suggested doing -- an establishment suspected of selling bath salts, they shouldn't worry that such action would interfer with a federal investigation.

"If you’re a mother or a parent with concerns, you still have to do what you have to do to protect your family within the bounds of the law," Hochul said.

"We have an obligation to investigate violations of the federal law using all of our tools and there are ample tools to investigate the fact that somebody may be illegally selling drugs," Hochul added. "If somebody is protesting on the one hand, they should not be worried that would impede our ability to use one of our other tools to investigate violations of federal law."

The second bit of advice was directed at any landlords who might be leasing property to a business that could be selling bath salts.

The property can be seized under the federal forfeiture law.

If a judge determines the property owner knew a business was selling a controlled substance -- and media reports indicating such transactions were allegedly taking place -- a judge could rule the property owner should have taken action to ensure such sales were not being conducted on his property.

"If the landlord wants to keep his property, the landlord's obligation should be to make sure there’s no illegal activity occurring on his property," Hochul said. "That’s another advantage of having very assertive media in exposing this to the public at large. What did the particular owner know and when did he know it?"

Heubusch and Hochul also said the entire community has a role to play in combating bath salts in Batavia.

Community members, they said, need to call the police about suspicious activity, cooperate in investigations and educate each other about the dangers of these chemicals and compounds.

"This is a perfect opportunity for the community to come together and help others out," Heubusch said. "Whether they call us, they call 9-1-1 to report a suspicious event, or when the officer does arrive, report what they saw to that officer. ... We will do what we can to protect this community, but we do need help from the community itself."

PHOTOS: Top, Chief Shawn Heubusch; first inset, U.S. Attorney for WNY William Hochul; second inset, Sheriff Gary Maha.

This story was produced in conjunction and cooperation with The Batavian's official news partner, WBTA, and Sean Carroll, reporter for WHAM 13 in Rochester.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Report of gunshots fired from truck in Basom remains under investigation

post by Howard B. Owens in Basom, Alabama, crime

A report Tuesday night of a drive-by trucker firing shots out his window in Basom is still under investigation, but a possible suspect has been identified, Sheriff Gary Maha said today.

The subject deputies believe may have been involved may also have been arrested for DWI in Erie County.

Maha said it will take a little time to put the whole case together because law enforcement agencies in Genesee, Erie and Niagara counties are all involved.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Law and Order: Woman allegedly waving knife in street believed to have been on bath salts

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Emily Smith, 28, of 31 Williams St., Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Smith is accused of waving a carving knife while in the middle of Williams Street, threatening people and alarming them. The alleged incident was reported at 11:52 a.m., Tuesday. According to a police report, Williams and a neighbor were allegedly intoxicated on bath salts and began to believe they were mad at each other, leading to a confrontation.

Jason Barnhardt, 25, of 108 Tracy Ave., Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Barnhardt is accused of living at a residence on Tracy Avenue since June that he was allegedly barred by court order from being at. Barnhardt's residence was reportedly discovered during an emergency call to the residence Monday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Angry mother confronts store employees she believes sold bath salts to her son

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bath salts, crime

The mother of Jason Lang marched into 420 Emporium, at 400 Ellicott St. Batavia, tonight and demanded that employees sell her "Amped," a brand of bath salts she believes had been sold to her son at the store earlier in the evening.

She said she is trying to make a point -- that the recently opened head shop is killing her son by selling him the chemical substance.

For her trouble, she was issued an appearance ticket for alleged trespassing.

Jason Lang, previously arrested for allegedly making false reports to law enforcement in 9-1-1 calls, was bailed out of jail recently, according to his mother, Nicole Lang, by an employee of Lang's cab company.

"I want them to stop selling to my son because they are killing him right now," Mrs. Lang said.

Sgt. John Peck said that as a parent he sympathizes with Mrs. Lang's position, but said, "she's not going about it the right way."

Mrs. Lang said she went in the store, tried to buy bath salts, was told to leave and then left. Peck said store employees saw and what he observed himself is something different.

According to Peck, Mrs. Lang was told to leave, and did, but then stormed back in, disrupting business transactions in the store. After Peck and Officer Kevin DeFelice arrived on scene, Peck said Mrs. Lang reentered the store and started yelling at employees.

The store manager, Peck said, wanted to press trespass charges.

"We could have charged her with other possible crimes," Peck said. "We charged her with simple trespass."

Simple trespass is equivalent to getting a traffic ticket.

Mrs. Lang said she isn't done protesting against 420 Emporium for allegedly selling bath salts. She and her daughter, Brandi Smith, said they are going to organize a protest picket against the store to raise community awareness about 420 allegedly selling the chemical compounds.

They're hoping, they said, other community members concerned about bath salts in Batavia will join the protest.

The date of the protest will be announced at a later time.

According to Mrs. Lang, a person she encountered coming out of 420 Emporium when she arrived told her he had just purchased Amped in the store and snorted a line in front of her.

"He said he loved it," she said, and then he laughed and walked off.

While Mrs. Lang was out on the sidewalk after one of her previous entries into the store, she said two people -- a former employee of Lang's and a relative of Lang's -- walked past and one of them shoved her into the roadway on Ellicott Street.

She wanted the woman charged with assault, but Peck told her that complaint is still under investigation.

Peck told The Batavian that witnesses who don't know any of the parties involved said Mrs. Lang was trying to prevent the couple from walking down the sidewalk and one of the people simply tried to push her out of the way.

The two people would be interviewed, Peck said, before he reached any conclusions about the case.

Meanwhile, Peck said Batavia PD are dealing with an increasing number of bath salts related calls.

Today, he said, there were at least three bath salt related calls in the city, including one where two people allegedly on bath salts both started thinking the other was mad at the other. One of the people involved ended up going into the street brandishing a knife threatening the other person.

"We've been dealing with it (bath salts) all day," Peck said.

While police were on scene at 420 Emporium, Lang reportedly drove up to a Batavia PD cruiser and told an offer that gang members were out to kill him and drove off.

Brandi Smith said Lang's report to police isn't entirely bath-salt-inspired paranoia. According to Smith, a couple of months ago, Lang turned over to State Police all the Amped he had in his shop -- the former Laughing Buddha -- and that Lang  acquired the supply of Amped from a well known alleged criminal enterprise.

According to Smith, members of the crminal enterprise had laced the Amped with meth, unbeknownst to Lang, and Lang is facing possible criminal charges for selling the substance.

Now, she said, members of the gang are demanding Lang either return the Amped or pay them the money they're owed. 

The Amped in question, she said, is in the custody of State Police.

Finally, both Mrs. Lang and Mr. Lang (Jason's father) expressed displeasure with The Batavian's reporting about Jason Lang. They said The Batavian's stories leave people with the impression that Jason is some sort of "low life."

"Jason is really a good person," Mrs. Lang said. 

She said she wants the community to know he's really a good person just having a problem right now. She said she is worried about his health, but, "he's a really good person."

Photo: Nicole Lang sobs in front of 420 Emporium while awaiting Batavia PD to issue her an appearance ticket for alleged trespassing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Person in Alabama reports being shot at by driver of truck registered in Basom

post by Billie Owens in Basom, Alabama, crime

A person in the area of Crosby and Judge roads in Alabama reports being shot at with a .22-caliber rifle by someone driving a pickup truck registered to a driver on Ham Road in Basom. Law enforcement is investigating.

UPDATE: 11:45 p.m.: A deputy reports recovering a bullet. No further details available at this time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 8:31 am

Law and Order: Driver involved in Valu Plaza accident charged with DWI

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, Le Roy

Joseph M. Dispenza, 18, of 36 Church St., Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, reckless driving, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, unlawful possession of marijuana and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Dispenza was taken into custody after Batavia PD received numerous reports of a vehicle operating erratically at 6:48 a.m., Monday, in the Valu Plaza parking lot. Witnesses reported seeing the vehicle being driven at a high rate of speed in the parking lot and squealing its tires. The vehicle struck a light utility pole causing a significant amount of damage and rendering it inoperable. Dispenza and two passengers allegedly fled the scene but were located by patrols in the Batavia Commons Plaza. (Initial Report)

Bradley J. Broadbent, 32, no permanent address, is charged with burglary, 2nd, and petit larceny. Broadbent is accused of forcibly entering a residence on Tracy Avenue, causing damage to the door, and once inside, allegedly stealing clothing. Broadbent was arrested on these charges Monday while appearing in Batavia City Court stemming from his arrest Friday for alleged incidents on Hutchins Street. Broadbent is being held in Genesee County Jail without bail.

Kelly J. Rhim, 33, of 30 Bell St., Cheektowaga, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Rhim was allegedly involved in an argument with a female acquaintance. Rhim is accused of throwing a bowl of food at the friend, striking her with the object. There were allegedly two children in the room at the time.

Jernie Edward Kuhns, 44, of Ridge Road, Elba, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. Kuhns allegedly sent text messages to another person threatening to come to the residence of that person and physically harm another person. Kuhns allegedly went to the residence but left when the occupants did not answer the door. Kuhns was jailed on $350 bail.

Jason A. Klinkbeil, 24, of Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Klinkbeil was taken into custody by State Police at 8:15 p.m., Saturday, at 80 South St., Village of Le Roy. No further details released.

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