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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Thieves steal hundreds of bronze markers from the graves of veterans in Byron-Bergen area

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, byron, crime, veterans

The way Jim Neider sees it, stealing markers from the graves of men and women who served their country through military service is "as low as you can go."

Neider was reacting to news that more than 400 bronze markers -- perhaps many more -- have been stolen from the graves in at least a half-dozen cemeteries in the Byron-Bergen area.

The case is being investigated by both the State Police and the Sheriff's Office.

The markers are placed by families and veterans service organizations and, in many cases, were pushed into the turf beside the headstone of a veteran decades ago.

The markers are designed as flag holders and include a bronze medallion designating a veterans group, such as the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars. The medallion typically weighs about a pound and the current replacement value is $32 each.

"They're very expensive," said Nieder, a local veterans leader. "I do discourage people now from getting them because they do have a tendency to walk."

Nieder said since the 1990s, veterans and families have been more likely to buy aluminum markers, which have no scrap metal value to speak of, or less commonly, plastic.

Whoever is involved in the theft of the markers is facing a charge of grand larceny, said Trooper Victor Morales, public information officer for Troop A.

Nieder pointed out that there is a law now on the books that covers both the sale and purchase of markers used on the graves of veterans. Section 450-A of the state's general business law says "it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, association or corporation to engage in the buying or selling of metal cemetery markers and flag holders bearing the insignia of any veterans' organization placed upon the graves of veterans."

Each violation of the law is punishable by a $500 fine or 15 days in jail or both.

Morales said the State Police are investigating the left of markers in four cemeteries in the Byron-Bergen area. More than 400 markers were stolen from these cemeteries. The Sheriff's Office is investigating thefts from other cemeteries, but Morales didn't know how many other cemeteries or how many additional markers were stolen from those locations.

We've been unable to contact the investigator with the Sheriff's Office handling the case.

The disappearance of the flag holders was discovered over the weekend. It's unknown when they might have been taken.

When asked for his reaction to the thefts, Neider said his first thought wouldn't be publishable. He said this isn't like stealing something from somebody's front lawn. The thieves are going into graveyards and stealing from those who unselfishly served and are dead and buried and unable to defend themselves. 

"It's the ultimate slap in the face to these veterans and their families," Neider said. "They earned these markers by their service. It's akin to the problem in Batavia earlier this summer of people going in and desecrating headstones. It's almost beyond that because these markers are earned by these veterans, and it's a cemetary for crying out loud. ... It's pretty low. As low as you can go."

Anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of these items, or, who may have information on the larcenies is asked to contact the State Police in Batavia at (585) 344-6200 or the Genesee County Sheriff's Office (585) 343-5000.

UPDATE 7:40 p.m.: We just spoke with Tom Williams, with the American Legion in Bergen. He said local Legion leaders are trying to figure out what to do. It would cost $16,000 to replace all of the markers. 

"That's a lot of money," Williams said. "You know how hard that is to come by."

He doesn't have a count on how many total markers were stolen. There's still an inventory taking place of all the graveyards in the Byron-Bergen region.

Among the more than 400 known to be stolen was the one that marked his father's grave, said Williams, who served in the Seabees from 1963 to 1966.

He doesn't think much of the perpetrators who lifted the markers of America's heroes.

"Those are people who made sure we were kept free," Williams said. "They did their job. They left their homes, their families. I did that, the same as my dad. It's just the idea that whoever did this is a real son of a bitch. It just bothers me. Why would they come here? Why would they do that? There are people who are nuts. They don't understand. They have no clue."

Photo: For the purpose of illustration, a picture of a marker in a local cemetery. If you see these, made of bronze, and they're not in a cemetery, contact local law enforcement.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 8:55 am

Vehicle reportedly stolen in Stafford

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Stafford

Troopers are investigating the report of a vehicle stolen from a location on West Main Road, Stafford.

No further information available at this time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 8:49 am

Law and Order: Allegedly - friends smoked pot while a kid's in the car, man spits in victim's face during domestic argument

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Oakfield, Stafford

Joshua M. Gaudioso, 25, of 114 Lake St., Le Roy, was arrested by the Le Roy PD on Monday and charged with one count of Petit Larceny, a Class A misdemeanor. It is alleged that on or about Sept. 24, Gaudioso stole a laptop computer valued at under $1,000 from an acquaintance. Gaudioso was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to answer the charge in Le Roy Court on Oct. 27.

Jeremy M. Fridman, 27, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with leaving the scene of a property damage accident and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. He was arrested Oct. 18 on West Main Street, Batavia, after an investigation determined that he allegedly operated a motor vehicle that was involved in an accident at 390 W. Main St. in the city two days prior, Oct. 16. He was jailed in lieu of $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bound. The incident was investigated by officer Nedim Catovic.

Michele Louise Bialy, 47, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated DWI, per se, with a BAC of .18 or more. She was arrested at 4:21 p.m. on Oct. 11 following an investigation into reports of a vehicle driving erratically in the City of Batavia. She was released after being cited with traffic tickets and is to appear in city court on Oct. 29. The incident was investigated by officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Marcos A. Torres, 32, of Sunrise Parkway, Oakfield, is charged with second-degree harassment. He was arrested Oct. 16 following an investigation into a domestic incident that occurred on Oct. 13 in which an argument allegedly took place and Torres allegedly spit in the victim's face. He was released on an appearance ticket and is to return to city court this afternoon. The incident was investigated by officer Eric Foels.

Falicia N. Tuczai, 23, of Horseshoe Lake Road, Stafford, is charged with driving while intoxicated, first offense, and operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or more. She was arrested Oct. 13 following a complaint for a suspicious condition on Washington Avenue in the city. Tuczai was issued two traffic tickets. She is to appear in city court on Oct. 29. The incident was investigated by Devon Pahuta.

Jennifer L. Stack, 28, is charged with disorderly conduct for obstructing pedestrian traffic. On Oct. 17, Stack and her boyfriend, Ryan Warner, both of 48 S. Main St. (lower), Batavia, were allegedly creating a disturbance by interfering with the flow of pedestrian traffic of customers in the Court Street Plaza. They were issued appearance tickets and are to return to city court on Wednesday to answer the charge. The incident was investigated by officer Frank Klimjack, assisted by officer Jason Davis.

Morgan B. Powell, 31, of Harvester Avenue, Batavia, had an active arrest warrant for failing to appear for a suspended/revoked registration ticket issued Sept. 7. She was released on her own recognizance and is to appear in city court on Wednesday. The incident was investigated by officer James DeFreze assisted by officer Nedim Catovic.

Danielle M. Weaver, 23, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and endangering the welfare of a child less than 17. The charges stem from an incident that allegedly occurred on Ellicott Street on Oct. 15. Weaver allegedly possessed marijuana and allegedly admitted smoking the drug inside a vehicle while a 5-year-old child was inside. The incident was investigated by officer Chad Richards, assisted by officer James DeFreze.

Melissa C. Cicatello, 23, of Evans Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and endangering the welfare of a child. The charges stem from an incident that allegedly occurred on Ellicott Street on Oct. 15. Cicatello was locked out of her vehicle and officer James DeFreze responded to assist her. While opening the vehicle, the officer allegedly observed marijuana in her vehicle. It was subsequently determined that Cicatello allegedly smoked marijuana with a friend while in close proximity to her 5-year-old daughter. She was issued an appearance ticket. The incident was investigated by officer James DeFreze, assisted by officer Chad Richards.

Landrea D. Wroten, 42, of Lewis Place, Batavia, had two active bench warrants for failing to appear on petit larceny charges that were issued April 26. She was located by officer James DeFreze while he was handling an unrelated complaint. Wroten was released on her own recognizance.

A 17-year-old from Batavia was arrested for second-degree harassment with physical contact, and endangering the welfare of a child following an investigation of a physical altercation that took place on Oct. 10 on Bank Street. It is alleged that the youth fought with a juvenile at that location. The defendant was released on an appearance ticket and is to appear in city court on Nov. 18. The incident was investigated by officer Nedim Catovic.

A 16-year-old, of Ridge Road, Medina, is charged with second-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child following a short foot pursuit in the Thorpe / Watson Street area on Oct. 13. The defendant to accused of punching a juvenile in the back of the head while on Thorpe Street in the city. The youth is to be arraigned this afternoon. The incident was investigated by officer Jason Ivison, assisted by officer, Chad Richards.

A 16-year-old, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. The defendant was arrested Oct. 16 at about 7:50 p.m. while on State Street for allegedly repeatedly using obscene language in the direct presence of numerous bystanders and police. The youth was released on an appearance ticket and is to appear in city court on Nov. 4. The incident was investigated by officer Nedim Catovic, assisted by officer Chad Richards.

A homeless 17-year-old from Mt. Morris had two active bench warrants out of the City of Batavia. One for failing to appear on a charge of endangering the welfare of a child on Wood Street, and the other for disorderly conduct on Wood Street on May 17. The defendant was taken into custody Oct. 17 by Mt. Morris PD then custody was transferred to Batavia PD. The youth was jailed in lieu of $1,000 bail and is set to appear in city court on Thursday. The incident was investigated by officer James DeFreze, assisted by officer Felicia DeGroot.

Monday, October 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Law and Order: Darien resident accused of not turning in lost wallet at Walmart

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

Stephen Douglas Urban, 37, of Walkers Road, Darien, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Walker is accused of picking up a wallet that contained two debit cards from the floor of Walmart that was dropped by another shopper. Rather than turn the wallet in to customer service, Urban allegedly searched through the wallet and discarded it, rendering it unrecoverable by the wallet's owner.

Luis Ortiz, 42, of Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Ortiz was stopped for allegedly speeding on Southwestern Boulevard, West Seneca, by State Police as part of a DWI detail in conjunction with the Buffalo Bills game on Sunday.

Coretta Pitts

Coretta M. Pitts, 46, of Batavia, is charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17 years old; endangering the welfare of a child; and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Pitts was arrested by State Police as a result of an investigation into an alleged domestic incident involving a 13-year-old child. In the course of the investigation, troopers allegedly found two glass pipes containing cocaine residue. Pitts was jailed on $1,000 bail or $2,000 bond.

Harold Chinn, 49, of North Main Street, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. Chinn is accused of taking the mobile phone of another customer at Walmart after the customer left the phone behind on a counter top at checkout. 

Jennifer Lynn Sprague-Clark, 31, of Vine Street, Batavia, is charged with assault, 2nd, criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, and menacing, 2nd. Sprague-Clark was arrested by Niagara Falls PD on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on the listed charges. Sprague-Clark was jailed pending arraignment.

Joseph Michael Marranco, 43, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Marranco is accused of shoplifting $209.96 worth of merchandise from Kmart.

Michele Antonia Martinez, 45, of Applegate Drive, Medina, is charged with petit larceny. Martinez is accused of shoplifting at Kmart.

Andrea Marie Gray, 36, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal contempt and resisting arrest. Gray allegedly used profanity and became combative while being escorted from Batavia City Court. While being arrested, she was allegedly combative and had to be restrained.

Monday, October 20, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Batavia woman, partner, accused of $200K heist in Greece

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime
Jessica Moscicki
Greece PD photo

A 24-year-old woman from Batavia is facing federal charges following an investigation into a robbery in Greece earlier this month where the suspects got off with more than $200,000 in cash, diamonds and luxury watches.

Jessica Jane Moscicki is charged with possession and brandishing of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, obstructing commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting a federal offense. She faces from seven years to life in prison, if convicted, under federal sentencing guidelines.

Also arrested was Clarence Lambert, 22, residence unknown. He is charged with obstructing commerce by robbery, and possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. 

The duo is accused of going to a jeweler's location in Greece and using a firearm to steal more than $200,000 in cash, diamonds, and luxury watches.

The victims were allegedly pistol whipped and locked in a closet.

Moscicki was picked up by federal authorities following a period of police surveillance. She was pulled over while driving on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst. 

According to investigators, Moscicki went the jeweler's place five days prior to the robbery and asked for a person unknown to the victim. 

Lambert allegedly tried to sell a stolen Rolex watch at a pawn shop in Rochester on Oct. 14, and Moscicki was reportedly with him at the time. 

Rochester Police responded to the pawn shop and attempted to apprehend Lambert, who allegedly fled on foot. He was located later hiding in a box in a garage on Frankfurt Street and was later identified by the jeweler as one of the alleged robbers.

When she left the pawn shop, Moscicki was reportedly driving the same vehicle she was in when stopped in Amherst. 

Both Moscicki and Lambert are being held by federal authorities without bail. 

Friday, October 17, 2014 at 6:02 am

Law and Order: Complaint of drunken driver leads to arrest in Tops parking lot

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Shelly Ann Fox, 33, of Fisher Park, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and driving with driver's view obstructed. Fox was arrested following the investigation by Deputy Andrew Hale at 11:35 p.m., Wednesday, into a report of an intoxicated driver in the parking lot of Tops.

Ryan Phillip Clarke, 25, of Meigs Street, Rochester, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Clarke is accused of sending text messages to a protected party, in violation of a court order.

Misty Rose Bogan, 18, of Mill Street, Binghamton, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, and harassment, 2nd. Bogan was arrested on a warrant and released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Aaron C. Lyons, 18, of East Main Road, Le Roy, and Anthony M. Paladino, 19, of Clay Street, Le Roy, are charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Lyons and Paladino were arrested after police were called to investigate a suspecious vehicle parked in the Machpelah Cemetery.

Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Two men arrested by task force on drug charges

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield

   

Elijah Coombs, left, and Mark McNutt

Press release:

Two arrests were made Oct. 15 by the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is comprised of members from the Sheriff's Office, Batavia Police NET, and Le Roy Village PD.

Elijah R. L. Coombs, 20, of Orchard Street, Oakfield, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, also a Class B felony.

Mark A. McNutt, 20, of Spencer Court, Batavia, is charged with: criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, a Class A misdemeanor; criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument, also a Class A misdemeanor; and unlawful possession of marijuana.

The Drug Task Force, along with uniformed Sheriff's deputies, intercepted a heroin sale that was in progress Wednesday in the parking lot of a business on Lewiston Road, Batavia. Deputies conducted a traffic stop on the vehicles involved and located additional drugs inside and on the occupants.

Coombs allegedly sold heroin. He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and jailed on $10,000 bail.

McNutt allegedly possessed marijuana, a hypodermic instrument, and tramadol, a controlled substance. A quantity of U.S. currency was also seized. He issued an appearance ticket to be in Town of Oakfield Court on Oct. 27, then released to the Eric County Sheriff's Department for an outstanding warrant.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Local Drug Task Force announces arrest of three suspected dealers

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime
Jeremy  Yantz Cheryl Smith Robert Morrison

Jeremy S. Yantz, 34, of South Gravel Road, Medina, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd. Yantz is accused of selling cocaine to an undercover agent with the Local Drug Task Force sometime during the past 18 months. Yantz was arrested while in custody at the Orleans County Jail. He was arraigned in Elba Town Court and jailed on $3,000 bail. Yantz was arrested April 1 on a warrant out of Orleans County and he was also allegedly found in possession of an amphetamine and a central nervous system depressant. He was charged today with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, as a result.

Cheryl A. Smith, 47, of Pratt Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Members of the Local Drug Task Force report that on Monday, agents intercepted a drug-sale transaction involving multiple types of prescription pills in multiple quantities in the parking lot of a business on Lewiston Road. It's alleged that Smith was making the sale. The pills and an amount of cash were recovered at the scene. Smith was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Robert A. Morrison, 57, of Watson Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal sale of a controlled substance, 5th, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Morrison is accused of selling heroin and flurazepam to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force within the past six months. When task force members went to his residence with parole officers to arrest him on a warrant, he was allegedly found in possession of cocaine. Morrison was held in jail without bail on an alleged parole violation.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 10:43 am

Law and Order: Woman accused of stealing coffee from 7-Eleven, leaving shoes behind

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

Christine M. Wyder, 47, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Employees of 7-Eleven, 505 E. Main St., Batavia, allege that Wyder stole a coffee mug and coffee. They also claim she ordered a slice of pizza and taquitos and then was unable to pay for the food items and told staff to call police. Wyder then allegedly refused to pay for the coffee and left the store, leaving her shoes behind.

Daniel T. Gannon, 53, of Liberty Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear in City Court. He posted $60 cash bail and was released.

Ballard Polk Maye, 28, of East Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on warrants for alleged failure to appear on a ticket for aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and overnight parking in the city. Maye was observed by officer James DeFreze exiting his residence and getting in a vehicle and leaving. The vehicle was stopped and Maye was arrested without incident. He was released on $500 bail on the AUO, 3rd, charge and $100 on the parking ticket.

William J. Mellema, 50, of Almay Road, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, aggravated unlicensed operation, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and speeding (70 in a 55 mph zone). Mellema was stopped at 3:36 p.m. Saturday on Route 98, Elba, by deputy Joseph Loftus.

Cory B. Buckenmeyer, 24, of Alexander, is charged with falsely reporting an incident, 3rd. Buckenmeyer was arrested by State Police. No further details released.

Joseph R. Myers, 25, of Rochester, is charged with petit larceny. Myers is accused of stealing from a location on Veterans Memorial Drive.

Coretta M. Pitts, 46, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17 years old. Pitts was arrested by State Police related to an incident reported at 10:55 a.m. Saturday on West Main Street, Batavia. No further details released.

Monday, October 13, 2014 at 11:09 am

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of rifling through truck tool box on Ellicott Street, possessing pot

post by Billie Owens in batavia, Alabama, crime, Le Roy

Eric James Flowers, 27, of Seven Springs Road, Batavia, is charged with aggrevated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, 2nd, reckless driving, trespass, speeding in a 55 MPH zone, trespass, and moving from lane unsafely. On Oct. 12 at about 5:50 p.m., Flowers was allegedly observed driving a white pickup truck at a high rate of speed. He allegedly changed lanes unsafely and turned into a residence on Judge Road in Alabama, almost striking a child in the driveway. He then allegedly jumped out of the truck and ran into a field behind the residence, hiding there until being located by the resident. Next, he allegedly ran further into the field before being taken into custody by Sheriff's deputies and booked on the listed charges. The incident was investigated by deputy Joseph Loftus.

Richard D. Ryan, 38, of Lehigh Avenue, Batavia, is charged with attempted petit larceny, trespass, and unlawful possession of marijuana. He was arrested after allegedly being caught going through a tool box in the bed of a pickup truck in a driveway on Ellicott Street. Subsequently, he was allegedly found in possession of marijuana. He was jailed in lieu of $500 bail. The incident was investigated by officer James DeFreze, assisted by officer Nedim Catovic.

Morgan L. Cox Jr., 22, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with menacing, 2nd, and first-degree coercion. He was arrested following an incident where he allegedly threatened someone with a knife. He was jailed in lieu of $2,500 bail.

Russell R. Miles, 46, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. He was arrested on Oct. 10 after allegedly arriving at the residence of a person protected by a temporary stay away order issued the same day. The court order set specific times for him, with a police escort, to retrieve his property. He was allegedly at the residence after the court-ordered times and without a police escort in violation of the court order. Thus he was arrested and jailed without bail. The incident was investigated by officer Jamie Givens, assisted by officer James DeFreze.

Alicia May Lyons, 34, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with trespass. She was arrested Saturday afternoon on Bank Street after allegedly being told repeatedly to leave the property, leaving, then returning. She is to appear in court on Oct. 28. The incident was investigated by officer Nedim Catovic.

John Bruce Pritchard, 36, of South Main Street, Warsaw, is charged with petit larceny. He was allegedly observed stealing merchandise valued at $84.68 from Walmart on Oct. 12. He was issued at appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in Batavia Town Court at a later date. The incident was investigated by Sheriff's deputy Chad Minuto.

Rebecca E. Mulholland, 23, of Lake Street, Le Roy, was arrested Oct. 1 on a bench warrant in Le Roy and transported to Batavia PD headquarters. A judge then released her on her own recognizance pending her next court appearance. The incident was investigated by officer Peter Flanagan.

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