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Erie County Sheriff's Dept. Report 2018


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Woman Charged For Assault on Two-Year-Old - September 2018


   Buffalo, NY...(September 21, 2018) - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports the arrest of 26-year-old Brianna Valenti of Grand Island after Detectives investigated an incident involving a 2-year-old female who was in the intensive care unit at Oishei Children's Hospital.
    On September 10 around 10:30 P.M., Detectives were contacted by Erie County Child Protective Services (CPS) who advised the Detectives that a two-year-old was in the intensive care unit and CPS suspected she was a victim of child abuse. The victim was transported to the hospital in the afternoon of September 10 after the child reportedly passed out and was experiencing trouble breathing at a Grand Island residence. However, it was discovered the child sustained injuries resulting in her being unresponsive.
   On September 11, Detectives arrested Valenti and charged her with a felony count of reckless assault of a child, a felony count of assault - conduct causing risk of death, and a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child. Valenti, an acquaintance of the biological father, is held at the Erie County Holding Center on $150,000.00 bail. At the time of this release, the child remained in ICU.



September 1 - September 7, 2018



August 25 - August 31, 2018



August 18 - August 24, 2018




Motorcyclist Killed in Two-Vehicle Crash - August 2018

   Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports a two-vehicle crash resulted in the fatality of a motorcycle operator on August 30. Deputies responded to the intersection of Love and Schwegler roads in Grand Island around 8:30 P.M. When the Deputies arrived they observed the motorcycle engulfed in flames and motorists in the area told Deputies they observe the motorcycle traveling eastbound on Love Road when the collision occurred. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, and the medical examiner's office will determine the cause of death and help identify the victim. The operator of the other vehicle was evaluated at the scene by EMS personnel. The Sheriff's Crash Investigation Unit is continuing its investigation to determine the cause of the crash. The victim was later identified as Jan Arthur Wilde.



August 11 - August 17, 2018



August 4 - August 10, 2018



July 28 - August 3, 2018



July 21 - July 27, 2018



July 14 - July 20, 2018



July 7- July 13, 2018



June 30 - July 6, 2018




K9 Apollo has Received Donation of Body Armor - July 2018


   Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard announces K9 Apollo has received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. In April, the Sheriff's Office received notification of the awarded donation, and today Apollo is wearing his vest.
    Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c(3) charity located in East Taunton, MA whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 2,900 protective vests in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a value of $5.7 million.
    The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate. The Sheriff's Office is still waiting to receive an additional five K9 body armor vests from Vested Interest in K9s. Upon the vests arrival, the Erie County Sheriff's Office will have donated vests for all its eligible patrol and jail K9s.
   The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950.00. Each vest has a value between $1,744 – $2,283, and a five-year warranty and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.



June 23 - June 29, 2018



June 16 - June 22, 2018




National BWI Enforcement Campaign - June 2018

The Erie County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit is participating in a national BWI enforcement campaign. BWI carries the same penalties as DWI.
   Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard announced the Erie County Sheriff's Office is participating in Operation Dry Water to educate boaters about boating under the influence.
   As part of a nationally coordinated effort to educate boaters about the dangers of boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the Sheriff's Marine Unit will be participating in Operation Dry Water. Operation Dry Water is a year-round national campaign focused on raising awareness about boating under the influence. Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in recreational boater deaths and a leading contributor in boating accidents.
   "Our Marine Unit's goal is to educate boaters about the laws regarding boating under the influence and to help boaters understand the danger of boating impaired. However, if the Marine Deputies encounter an impaired vessel operator, that individual will be arrested," said Sheriff Howard. In 2017, the Marie Unit made three BWI arrests, down from 2016.
   The Sheriff's Office is asking boaters to enjoy this boating season and help keep everyone safe by not drinking alcohol while on the water, or operating a boat after you have consumed alcohol. Use of both legal and illegal drugs also impairs judgment and reaction time and makes it dangerous to operate a boat.
   In addition to the year-round campaign, the annual Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend will take place June 29 - July 1. This three-day weekend is a national weekend of increased enforcement of boating under the influence laws and recreational boater outreach. In 2017, 518 impaired operators were removed by law enforcement across the country during Operation Dry Water Weekend.
   Effective November 1, 2016, New York State strengthened the penalties for BWI. Now, a BWI offender is facing a 30-day sentence and will have all DWI and Driving While Ability Impaired convictions from the past five years taken into consideration during BWI sentencing. Also, BWI penalties are now similar to DWI and DWI-Drugs. The enforcement period for Operation Dry Water is June 29 - July 1.




Early Afternoon Bank Robbery in Grand Island - June 2018

Photo of robbery suspect.

   Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports the Sheriff's Office responded to a robbery in progress at the Northwest Savings Bank on 2300 Grand Island Boulevard in Grand Island at 1:17 P.M. A slender white male who was wearing jeans, a camouflage baseball cap, glasses, gloves, along with a black wig and brown mustache wig entered the bank. He approached a teller displayed a handgun and demanded money. He then left the bank with an indeterminate amount of money.
   The Sheriff's Office had multiple units in the area include two K9 units certified in tracking. The Sheriff's Office is being assisted by a U.S. Border Patrol helicopter, New York State Police, and a Niagara County Sheriff's K9 unit. The subject is considered armed, and the public should not approach the individual. There is a large police presence in the area, and people are urged to avoid the area. Anyone with information or who may have observed the suspect is urged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 716.858.2903 and refer to CL# 18-050842.



June 9 - June 15, 2018



June 2 - June 8, 2018



May 26 - June 1, 2018



May 19 - May 25, 2018



May 12 - May 18, 2018




Sheriff's Office Click It or Ticket Campaign - May 2018

   Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard is reminding motorists to Click It or Ticket. The Sheriff's Office is participating in the annual the national seat belt enforcement campaign - Click it or Ticket. The campaign started May 22 and will last through June 4. "People have a better chance of surviving a random lighting strike than surviving a head-on crash if they are not buckled in," said Sheriff Howard. "And with the Memorial Day weekend just ahead of us, then the summer vacation season starting, I want to urge everyone to 'Click It' and do it every day."
   According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts are the single most effective safety technology in the history of the automobile and an NHTSA study found that, between 1960 and 2012, seat belts saved nearly 330,000 lives. Erie County Sheriff's Deputies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night with dedicated patrols and the possibility of road check site throughout the county. The maximum penalty for a seat belt violation in New York is $150 for the first offense. Sheriff Howard states, "Seat belts save lives and my agency's goal is to educate drivers and enforce the law to achieve compliance; that's how we can save lives."



May 5 - May 11, 2018



April 28 - May 4, 2018



April 21 - April 27, 2018




Subject Steals Medication from GI Residence - May 2018

Joel Morris

   Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports detectives arrested Joel Morris, 33 of Grand Island, following reports of missing medication. On April 9, Deputies Was and Ginnane responded to a Grand Island residence about some medication and supplies missing from the dwelling. The Deputies observed signs of entry through a rear door and evidence was collected and the case was turned over to Detectives. From there, Detectives Ferrick and O'Hara developed further information which led them to a suspect and on April 27, they charged Morris with a felony count of endangering the welfare of a physically disabled person and misdemeanor counts of petit larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance. The defendant was located at the Erie County Holding Center where he was already in custody on unrelated charges. Morris' current bail is set at $1,000.00.



April 14 - April 20, 2018




Law Enforcement Patrolling for Operation Safe Stop - April 2018

Officer Tom Franz and Sgt. Amy Klimowicz pictured with school transportation management, drivers & mechanics.
Karen Smith photo - click for larger view.

   Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard announces Deputies are taking part in Operation Safe Stop Thursday, April, 27. The sheriff's office will have multiple marked and unmarked vehicles patrolling selected bus routes that have a history of illegal passing complaints within the sheriff's primary patrol districts.
   Operation Safe Stop's statewide enforcement against passing stopped school buses will be conducted with two details; 6-9 a.m. and 2-5 p.m. The Deputies will focus on the dangerous driving behavior of illegal passing stopped school buses which put our children at risk of injury and possible death and strict enforcement of vehicle and traffic laws protecting our children and school buses.
   The Sheriff's Office has participated in Operation Safe Stop Day since October 2003. Since the inception of this partnership, law enforcement agencies, the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, and the New York Association for Pupil Transportation have been active in coordinating this traffic safety initiative. The goal of Operation Safe Stop is to reduce fatalities and personal injuries of school children through the use of highly visible enforcement with the goal of educating motorists of the laws against illegally passing stopped school buses.
   Penalties for passing a stopped school bus range from: (1) First conviction - fine of $250.00 - $400.00; up to 30 days in jail; 5 points; (2) Second Conviction (within 3-years) - fine of $600.00 - $750.00; up to 180 days in jail; (3) Third or subsequent conviction (within 3-years) - $750.00 - $1000.00; up to 180 days in jail. The New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee estimates 50,000 motor vehicles illegally pass school buses every day.



April 7 - April 13, 2018




Traffic Stop Nets Two Wanted Individuals - April 2018

   Buffalo, NY -     Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports Deputy Bauer, assisted by Deputy Coniglio, arrested two males with active warrants following a traffic stop. Around 1:25 A.M. on April 17, Deputy Bauer stopped a vehicle on South State Parkway in Grand Island for vehicle and traffic law violations. While investigating the driver and the passenger, the Deputy discovered the operator, Jose Cortes - 43 of Buffalo, had an active warrant out of the Town of Tonawanda. The passenger provided the Deputy a name without identification, and it was discovered that an individual by that name had an active warrant out of Lancaster.
    The subjects were placed in custody, and further investigation revealed the passenger provided a false name. After speaking with the passenger, he admitted to providing an incorrect name and confirmed his real identity and date of birth. Deputy Bauer discovered that Jose Carrasquillo, 36 of Buffalo, had an active warrant out of Lackawanna. While inventorying the vehicle, the Deputies discovered a crack pipe with burnt residue and a plastic bag containing a quantity of crack cocaine. Carrasquillo is charged with misdemeanor counts of false personation and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Jose Cortes is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, aggravated unlicensed operations of a vehicle, and a vehicle and traffic law violation. Both defendants are held at the Erie County Holding Center on $500.00 bail pending their arraignment.



March 31 - April 6, 2018




Driver Arrested for False Personation/Resisting Arrest - April 2018

   Buffalo, NY -     Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports a male, wanted by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office, was arrested following a traffic stop Wednesday night in Grand Island. While on patrol, Deputy Bauer initiated a traffic stop around 9:00 P.M. after observing vehicle and traffic law violations on Interstate 190. The driver stated he didn't have a license on him but provided the Deputy a name and date of birth. The Deputy's investigation discovered the individual was not who he claimed to be and requested the individual to exit the vehicle multiple times; the subject finally complied and was handcuffed. At this time Deputy Lundberg arrived to assist.
    Further investigation discovered the real identity of the driver and also learned, Gage Laspesa, 20 of Silver Creek, had an active warrant for criminal possession of a controlled substance. When Deputies informed Laspesa he was under arrest for false personation and the warrant, he began head-butting and kicking the Deputies. The subject was finally detained in the rear of the patrol vehicle.
    While processing Laspesa and searching the vehicle, they discovered marijuana on him and illegal fireworks in the back seat of his vehicle. The defendant is charged with two felony counts of assaulting an officer, misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest, obstruction of governmental administration, and false personation. He is also charged with two separate violations for marijuana and fireworks possession along with vehicle and traffic law violations. Laspesa is held at the Erie County Holding Center pending his arraignment. The passenger, Laura Park - 29 of Elma, was also charged with unlawful possession of fireworks and released with appearance tickets.



March 24 - March 30, 2018




Two Rochester Men Face Drug Charges - April 2018

   Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports two Rochester area men were arrested this morning in Grand Island following a traffic stop. Deputy Bauer observed vehicle and traffic law violations while on patrol along Interstate 190 at approximately 4:40 A.M. The Deputy stopped the vehicle on Whitehaven Road and observed the driver and front seat passenger switch seats. While investigating both individuals, the Deputy discovered Peter Sperlazza, 33 of Gates, had his driver's license revoked and the one-time passenger, Andrew Ragaglia - 25 of Rochester, did not have a valid license. Also during Deputy Bauer's investigation, he observed, in plain view, a glass bong containing marijuana in the center console area.
   Both subjects were placed into custody, and a search of the vehicle discovered a metal pipe with burnt marijuana, six ecstasy pills, a plastic container of marijuana, two amphetamine pills, and a piece of metal with residue on it. Sperlazza is charged with two misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, one count obstruction of governmental administration, one count aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, unlawful possession of marijuana, possessing controlled substances not in the original container, and three separate vehicle and traffic violations.
   Defendant Ragaglia is charged with a felony count of concealing physical evidence, three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, obstruction of governmental administration, unlawful possession of marijuana, and possessing a controlled substance not in the originals container. Both subjects are held at the Erie County Holding Center pending their arraignment in Grand Island Town Court.



March 17 - March 23, 2018



March 10 - March 16, 2018




Impaired Driver Crashes into Fieldstone Residence - March 2018

   Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports patrol Deputies and Crash Investigation Unit members responded to reports of a vehicle that crashed into a residence on Fieldstone Drive in Grand Island Wednesday night around 8:30. Deputies Cannan and Clark were first to respond and observed a vehicle that left the roadway and crashed into the house. The Deputies administered standard field sobriety tests to Karen Potocin, 60 of Elma; she failed the field tests. After the tests, the driver complained of pain, and she was transported to Erie County Medical Center for evaluation and treatment. Deputy Cannan followed her to the hospital to continue the investigation and subsequently charged Potocin with DWI, speeding, and failing to keep right. The defendant was later released from the hospital to a sober third party with tickets. The Crash Investigation Unit remained at the scene, and the Grand Island Building Inspector was requested to evaluate the structure.



March 3 - March 9, 2018




No Credible Threat Found at GIHS - March 2018

   Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports his office, working with Grand Island School District officials, found no credible threat toward students at Grand Island High School on Monday, March 12th. School officials contacted the Sheriff's Office about reports of rumors regarding school safety from one or multiple students. The Sheriff's Office spoke with numerous students, and school staff yet found no credible threat. Deputies and Detectives were not able to identify the origin of the rumor nor did they speak to anyone who heard the rumor directly from the individual or individuals making the original statement.



February 24 - March 2, 2018



Free Car Seat Inspection - March 2018

   Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard announces his office will be hosting a free car seat inspection Saturday, March 10, from 9 A.M. to 1 P.M. at the Grand Island Fire Company located at 2275 Bedell Road. Sheriff's Office certified car seat technicians will inspect car seats for any damage or faulty mechanisms as well as the seat's installation. The fire company has generously made the truck bays available, and all inspections will occur in a heated garage. The event is a free service offered by the Sheriff Howard and the Erie County Sheriff's Office.



February 17 - February 23, 2018


February 10 - February 16, 2018


February 3 - February 9, 2018



Two Arrested on Weapon, Drug Charges - February 2018

   Buffalo, NY - Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard reports two Buffalo men were arrested following a traffic stop on I-190 at Long Road in Grand Island Tuesday afternoon, February 12, 2018.
   At approximately 2:30 P.M., Deputy Szkatulski conducted a traffic stop after observing vehicle and traffic law violations. The Deputy's investigation discovered an A-misdemeanor amount of marijuana, various drug paraphernalia items including a scale and packaging, and a loaded handgun.
   Anthony Blackman, 33 of Buffalo, is charged with a felony count of criminal possession of a loaded handgun, a felony count of criminal possession of a weapon - previous conviction. He is also charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance, three counts of criminal use of drug paraphernalia, and two vehicle and traffic law infractions. The passenger, Jonathan Mims - 30 of Buffalo, was released after arrested for unlawful possession of marijuana.
   Blackman is also charged with endangering the welfare of a child because a 4-month-old was in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop. The child was turned over to the mother, and Child Protective Services was notified. Blackman is held at the Erie County Holding Center pending his arraignment in Grand Island Town Court. Anthony Blackman is currently on parole, and additional charges are pending.



January 27 - February 2, 2018


January 20 - January 26, 2018


January 13 - January 19, 2018


January 6 - January 12, 2018


December 30- January 5, 2018