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Victim's 'schoolmate' charged with robbery

NIAGARA FALLS - A man was charged with felony robbery after he allegedly robbed a woman who recognized him as "someone she went to school with."

Philip M. Payne, 28, of Bedell Road, Grand Island, was charged with second-degree robbery Tuesday night.

A 23-year-old 24th Street woman told police she was walking at 22nd and Walnut streets just before 6 p.m. when she was approached by two men. She said one of the men, whom she recognized from high school and whose last name she knew, asked her for money. She told police she tried to give him a dollar, but then he forced her into an alley and took $495 from her pocket and fled.

The woman contacted police. Patrol officers and detectives found Payne about 20 minutes later with a "pocketful of cash," according to Detective William Thomson.