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Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Truck drivers assist deputy being dragged by suspect's car

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, crime, pembroke
Scott Kopper

A truck driver and a tow truck operator came to the aid of a deputy today after a criminal suspect allegedly trapped the deputy's arm in a rolled up window and dragged the deputy with his car as the suspect tried to drive away.

The truck drivers used their vehicles to pin the suspect's car against a snow bank, giving Deputy Brian Thompson a chance to break the window and subdue the suspect.

Taken into custody was Scott A. Kopper, 36, of East Main Street, Corfu.

The incident began at 11:35 a.m. when Thompson was dispatched to Route 33 in Pembroke to check on a car reported off the road.

Thompson, who has had prior contact with Kopper, recognized the driver and after checking with dispatchers, learned Kopper was wanted by NYS Parole.

Kopper allegedly refused to exit his vehicle, despite numerous requests by Thompson.

When Thompson attempted to stop Kopper from leaving the scene -- his car had been extricated from the snow bank by the tow truck driver -- Kopper allegedly rolled up his window, trapping Thompson's arm.

A witness said Kopper then tried to drive away, dragging Thompson about 100 feet.

With the vehicle rendered immobile, the two truck drivers assisted Thompson in subduing Kopper.

Thompson suffered bruising and minor cuts and scrapes, but escaped serious injury.

Kopper was charged with two counts of assault in the second degree. Additional charges are pending. Kopper was jailed on $25,000 bail.

Kopper is the former owner of WNY Blacktop Sealers.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Pizza delivery driver says he was robbed at gunpoint on Jackson Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A pizza delivery driver reports he was robbed minutes ago at gunpoint on Jackson Street near Highland by two black males, both wearing black hoodies.

One had a red scarf on his face.

The two suspects are described as possibly teens and were last seen running down Jackson Street.

They were wearing blue jeans.

Batavia PD is responding.

UPDATE 8:58 p.m.: The robbery occurred at 113 Jackson St. An officer on scene confirms a suspect displayed what the victim believes was a handgun.

UPDATE 11:10 p.m.: Press release from Batavia PD:

The Batavia Police Department is investigating an armed robbery that occurred at 113 Jackson Street.

At approximately 8:50 p.m. on Wednesday January 8th, 2014 a pizza delivery person had been making a delivery at 113 Jackson Street when the delivery person was robbed by an individual who displayed, what was described by the delivery person, as a handgun. The suspect took (the cash) and left the area on foot. No injuries were sustained by the delivery person.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office K-9 assisted at the scene.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Batavia Police Department at 345-6350.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 8:17 am

Law and Order: Oakfield man accused of DWI after property damage accident

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

Evan Ryan Kotarski, 22, of Oak Street, Oakfield, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol, unlawful possession of marijuana, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, speed not reasonable and prudent and failure to keep right. Kotarski is allegedly the driver of a vehicle involved in a one-car accident at 11:45 p.m. Sunday on South Pearl Street Road, Oakfield. Kotarski's car reportedly spun out and struck a fire hydrant and a utility pole. Kotarski allegedly fled from the scene, but was located a short distance away.

Tyler Pasquale Schroder, 21, of Lewiston Road, Oakfield, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to pay the fine on a petit larceny charge. Schroeder was arrested following his release from the Wyoming County Jail on an unrelated matter and taken to Elba Town Court for his alleged failure to pay the fine on a petit larceny charge. He was jailed on $600 bail.

Oscar Enrique Martinez, 31, of Federal Drive, Batavia, was arrested as an alleged fugitive from justice. Martinez was being held at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia and was awaiting deportation. Martinez reportedly has 15 aliases and was being held under the name of Andres Luna-Nogroto. He was identified as by Manatee County, Fla., officials as a subject wanted for alleged sexual battery. Martinez was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and ordered held without bail pending an extradition hearing.

Carlos Enrique Reyes, 39, of 1259 Lyell Ave., Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for alleged criminal contempt. Reyes was arrested upon his release from the Monroe County Jail, where he was held on an unrelated matter, for alleged failure to appear in Bergen Town Court. Reyes was arraigned and released on condition that he submit to a DNA test and return to court on Jan. 15.

Robert L. Kaufman, 52, of Akron Road, Akron, is charged with trespass and stalking in the 4th degree. Kaufman was arrested following a complaint of harassment reported at 12:40 p.m. Jan. 5 at an undisclosed location in the City of Batavia. Kaufman was jailed on $2,500 bail. No further details released by Batavia PD.

Juan A. Roman, 36, of Portland Avenue, Rochester, is charged with harassment, 2nd, three counts of endangering the welfare of a child and criminal contempt, 1st. Roman was allegedly involved in a domestic dispute at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at a location on Ellicott Street. Roman was arraigned and ordered held without bail. No other details released by Batavia PD.

Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:36 am

Law and Order: Trio accused of stealing TVs, game and laptop from Walmart in Warsaw

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

Deborah A. Blackmar, 50, of Le Roy, Miranda A. Ralston, 27, of York, and Aaron M. Higgins, 33, of York, are all charged with petit larceny and conspiracy, 6th. Ralston and Higgins are also charged with criminal possession of stolen property. State Police in Warsaw accuse the trio of stealing, on two separate occasions in December, merchandise from the Walmart in Warsaw. The items allegedly stolen include two flat-screen TVs, a Blue Ray disc player, a laptop computer and other items, with a total value of $1,500. Most of the items were allegedly recovered at a residence in York. The Sheriff's offices in Livingston and Genesee counties, along with Le Roy PD, assisted in the 10-day investigation, which culminated in the Dec. 28 arrest of the three suspects.

Donald E. Cameron Jr., 54, of 9200 York Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI and refusing to take breath test. Cameron was arrested after Le Roy PD was dispatched to McDonald's to check on the welfare of a woman. By the time, officers arrived, the woman had left McDonald's, but was located in a vehicle operated by Cameron. She was fine, but upon further investigation, officers determined that Cameron had allegedly been driving drunk.

Justin Samuel Fagan, 28, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with assault, 2nd. This is an upgraded charge. Fagan was arrested and initially charged with third-degree assault on Dec. 29 following an alleged incident at the Blue Dog Saloon in Attica. The upgraded charge alleges serious physical injury to the victim.

Michael Christopher Schulz, 31, of Buffalo Street Road, Attica, was arrested on a Family Court warrant. Schulz was arrested by Attica PD on a Family Court warrant and turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. Schulz was jailed on $2,000 cash bail or $4,000 bond.

Troy Christian Shepard, 31, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Shepard is accused of shoplifting at Walmart.

Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Off-duty dispatcher helps nab suspected Home Depot shoplifters

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

An off-duty emergency dispatcher says he was apparently in the right place at the right time tonight when two men tried to pull off a heist of drills from Home Depot on Veterans Memorial Drive.

Nate Fix, who is also a Town of Batavia Fire 1st assistant chief and part of the private security detail at Darien Lake on concert nights, said his wife, Kayte, asked him to drive her up to Home Depot to get a knob for a kitchen cabinet at about 7:30 p.m.

While waiting, Fix called the dispatch center with a work-related question. While on the phone he noticed a man run from the big double glass doors of Home Depot carrying several drills.

"I knew something wasn't right because I could see the lights flashing of the alarms going off," Fix said. "The car started rolling before the guy even jumped in it."

Fix immediately informed dispatchers about what he just observed and deputies were immediately summoned to the area.

Fix followed the car and he figures the driver knew he was being followed when the sedan pulled into the parking lot of Office Max, so Fix drove into the car wash just down the road and waited and watched.

Soon, the white sedan zoomed past his location, he said, again heading south on Veterans, so Fix pulled out behind the sedan.

The car pulled into the B.J.'s parking lot and drove behind the building. Fix waited in the parking lot for the car to reemerge.

"The car races past me, races around Applebee's and then races toward Lewiston," Fix said.

By then, multiple patrol units had arrived on scene and blocked the intersection.

According to Fix, the car stopped and the passenger ran from the vehicle, throwing the drills to the ground.

After a short foot pursuit, the suspect was apprehended by a deputy in the area of Arena Parkway.

"I guess all those nights working security at Darien Lake paid off," Fix said. "I stayed calm, though I may have sounded excited on the phone, and reported what I saw and kept the suspect vehicle in sight."

The names of the suspects have not yet been released.

UPDATE 11:14 p.m.: Arrested was Steven Michael Merriam, 25, of South Main Street, Churchville. He is charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. A search of the sedan uncovered other alleged stolen property from a Lowe's store in Amherst.

Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Investigators seek help in identifying woman who may have used stolen gift card

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Investigators are looking for the apparently smiling woman in this photograph from the Walmart in Albion. The woman allegedly used a stolen gift card to purchase a cake at the store.

The gift card was reported stolen at the Walmart in Batavia after the owner's purse disappeared from a shopping cart when it was left briefly unattended in the parking lot while the owner loaded her vehicle with her purchases.

The card was used in Albion at 12:56 p.m., Christmas Eve.

The purse was recovered along the side of the roadway on Route 63 just south of Medina.

Anybody with information that may assist in the investigation is asked to call Investigator Kris Kautz at (585) 345-3000, ext. 3571.

Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Appeals court reduces sentence for Jacquetta Simmons to one year in jail

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Jacquetta Simmons
Jacquetta Simmons

Jacquetta Simmons need only serve one year in jail for punching a Walmart cashier on Christmas Eve, 2011, according to a ruling issued by the the Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department, NYS Supreme Court.

The court, in a unanimous decision, found that the five-year prison sentence handed down by Judge Robert C. Noonan on Nov. 14, 2012, was "unduly harsh and severe under the circumstances of this case."

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said he's disappointed in the decision.

"We felt Judge Noonan's sentence was appropriate," Friedman said. "I thought it was well reasoned. It may have happened before, but I don't recall a sentence of his being reversed in his 17 years of being a judge."

The ruling means Simmons, who became a mother to her first child shortly after an appellate judge stayed her sentence in 2012, is saved from serving any further state prison time. The one-year sentence, likely to be reduced to eight months on good behavior, will be served in a county jail.

That's disappointing, Friedman said, but most importantly, the court upheld the jury's conviction of Simmons.

Attorneys for Simmons argued to the court that the jury's verdict flew in the face of the evidence presented at trial. With a dissent from Justice Rose H. Sconiers, the court upheld the jury conviction.

The jury could reasonably conclude, ruled the majority upholding the conviction, that based on the testimony and video evidence presented, that Simmons did intentionally punch Grace Suozzi.

Sconiers wrote in her dissent that she didn't believe the evidence supported that conclusion, but rather the video supported the defense contention that somebody behind Simmons had grabbed her arm and that she swung away causing her to accidentally strike Suozzi.

Friedman said he was surprised by the dissent and found it baffling.

The Batavian has no means to contact attorneys for Simmons on a Saturday for comment.

In the majority on the conviction, and joining Sconiers in reducing the sentence, were justices Henry J. Scudder, John V. Centra, Stephen K. Lindley and Joseph D. Valentino.

The case is remitted to Noonan's court for formal sentencing. No date has been set yet for re-sentencing and Simmons remains free in the meantime.

The sentence reduction is a real disservice to the victim and her family and the community, Friedman said.

"Having gone through this and seeing the impact this had on Mrs. Suozzi, her family, a lot of people in the community who knew her and cared about her -- all of that is something that is lost in the appeal process," Friedman said. "It's one punch, but more than the physical harm is the emotional harm. It really affected her life as far as her ability to return to work and go out and about. She's a very nice lady and this sentence doesn't do her justice."

The Batavian first broke the story of the Simmons case in 2011. For a complete archive of our coverage, click here.

Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 11:37 am

Convicted industrial burglar reportedly hospitalized and unable to appear for sentencing

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

A 28 year old Le Roy man accused of stealing high voltage wire didn't appear for his sentencing today reportedly because he's been hospitalized at Strong.

Meanwhile, Judge Robert C. Noonan said that he's been notified Michael A. Nicometo, of 45 North St., hasn't reported to Genesee Justice per the terms of his release under supervision since Oct. 30.

In November, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Nicometo's attorney, Brian Degnan, was given until close of business tomorrow to produce documentation that his client is indeed hospitalized.

"I have no problem picking a date (for Nicometo's next appearance), but if he's at liberty and located, he will be brought in," Noonan said.

Nicometo entered a guilty plea Sept. 20 to one count of third-degree burglary on an Alford basis. An Alford plea means the defendant is not admitting to the crime, just that the evidence, if presented to a jury, would likely lead to his conviction.

He was indicted by a Genesee County grand jury in early September on two counts of burglary, 3rd, and one count of grand larceny, 3rd.

Police arrested Nicometo in March following an investigation into the theft of high voltage wire from industrial complexes in the Le Roy area. He and an alleged accomplice were later accused of doing $32,000 in damage to the Dolomite facility in Le Roy.

The new scheduled sentencing date for Nicometo is 9 a.m., Jan. 17.

Monday, December 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of punching person while at bar in Alexander

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, crime, Darien, Le Roy, Pavilion

Justin Samuel Fagan, 26, of Ellicott Street Road, Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd. Fagan allegedly punched another person in the head causing that person to lose consciousness while at the Blue Dog Saloon on Attica Road, Darien, at 12:55 a.m. Sunday. Fagan allegedly fled the scene and was later located by a state trooper in Batavia.

Christopher Michael Rheinheimer, 24, of Chick Road, Darien, is charged with DWI, moving from lane unsafely, unreasonable speed and refusal to take breath test. Rheinheimer was reportedly involved in a motor-vehicle accident at 1:29 a.m. Saturday on Attica Road, Darien, which was investigated by Deputy Jason Saile.

Sutton Ken Carhart, 19, of Clipnock Road, Stafford, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child, 1st. Carhart allegedly provided alcohol to several people who were under age 21.

Jacob Michael Risewick, 20, of West Bergen Road, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of alcohol by a person under age 21. Risewick was allegedly in possession of alcohol while at an underage drinking party on Clipnock Road.

Amanda Ashley Stranc, 22, of Alleghany Road, Darien, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speed not reasonable or prudent and moving from lane unsafely. Stranc reportedly observed a motor vehicle accident while driving on Attica Road, Darien, at 1:30 a.m. Saturday, and lost control of her car, becoming involved in a secondary motor-vehicle accident, while attempting to stop and assist the other motorist. The accident was investigated by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

A 17-year-old resident of Lake Street, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child, 1st, and criminal trespass, 2nd. The youth allegedly hosted an underage drinking party at 8341 Harris Road, Le Roy.

Elijah Absalon Seelay, 18, of Old Meadow Road, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Seelay is accused of possessing marijuana while at an underage drinking party at 8341 Harris Road, Le Roy.

Mitchell Robert Mulford, 20, of Attridge Road, Churchville, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of alcohol. Mulford was arrested at an alleged underage drinking party at 8341 Harris Road, Le Roy.

Miguel Angel Dejesus, 66, of Perry Road, Pavilion, is accused of violating a release under supervision contract. Dejesus was jailed on $2,000 bail or $5,000 bond.

Danny Jay Torok, 26, of Dodgeson Road, Alexander, is accused of a violation of a Family Court act. Torok is accused of failure to appear for a scheduled Family Court appearance.

Philip Robert Perry, 27, of Ellsworth Avenue, Batavia, is charged with failure to pay fine imposed by court. Perry is also charged with promoting prison contraband, 1st, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Perry was allegedly found in possession of a controlled substance while being processed into the Genesee County Jail.

Friday, December 27, 2013 at 8:58 am

Law and Order: Two shoplifting arrests at Kmart

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Sonya Marie Nashwenter, 30, of North Avenue, Medina, is charged with petit larceny. Nashwenter is accused of shoplifting at Kmart.

Rodney Allen Atkins, 38, of North Avenue, Medina, is charged with petit larceny. Atkins is accused of shoplifting at Kmart.

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