Police Blotter for Nov. 22, 2012 for the towns of Hamburg, Evans and the Village of Hamburg
Steven Metz, 40, of Hamburg, has been charged by criminal complaint with possession of child pornography, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced Wednesday, Nov. 14. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti, who is handling the case, stated that between January 2012 and March 2012, federal agents conducted an investigation into a suspect involved in child pornography in Phoenix, Ariz. According to the complaint, the suspect allegedly sent a series of emails to the defendant, a Customs and Border Protection employee, which contained both images and videos of prepubescent children involved in sexual acts.
On Aug. 31, a search warrant was executed for email accounts belonging to Metz. Agents uncovered various emails allegedly depicting the defendant both receiving and distributing images and videos of child pornography involving prepubescent children.
On Oct. 25, a search warrant was executed at the home of the defendant. According to the complaint, Metz denied seeing child pornography and claimed he had nothing to do with the alleged email account. Agents seized two computers from the residence and an initial review allegedly uncovered child pornography on both computers.
Metz had an initial appearance Wednesday, Nov. 14 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah McCarthy. He is being held without bail, authorities said.
The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero and the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory Null.
As in all cases, the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty.
Fatal accident in Hamburg
Town of Hamburg Police are investigating a three car accident which left a 62-year-old Orchard Park man dead at 4:46 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16.
According to police, Laurence Karmel, 62, of Orchard Park was traveling east on Route 20, when, according to witnesses, the vehicle he was operating crossed the double yellow lines into the oncoming westbound lane and collided head-on with a dump truck.
A third vehicle, which was also traveling east on Route 20, struck the Karmel vehicle from the rear, after the initial collision.
Karmel was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
According to police, the three other people involved in the accident were not seriously injured. Police said that alcohol was not a factor for the other two drivers.
An autopsy will be performed and the vehicle will be examined in an attempt to determine a reason for why Karmel’s vehicle left its lane and went into oncoming traffic. No tickets were issued.
Police seeking theft victims
Town of Hamburg Police report that a victim told them sometime between Oct. 25 and 26, a ring was stolen from a jewelry case in an upstairs bedroom of a home.
The victim said the only people who had allegedly been in the room was the cleaner, Lisa M. Groh, 47, of Eden and her new assistant. The victim said both had been in the room to clean.
The victim then said Groh did not show up on Oct. 31 as scheduled. They had called her after the ring was discovered missing and she admitted to them that she had been in the room.
Officers said Groh was convicted in Eden for a jewelry theft from another residence she had cleaned at.
Detective Angelo Butera interviewed Groh on Nov. 7 at her residence, where she allegedly admitted to removing the victim’s ring from a dresser in a spare bedroom. Groh told police she pawned the ring at a jewelry store in Evans for $250 cash. She told police she pawned the ring because of financial difficulty.
On Nov. 8, Butera interviewed an employee of the jewelry store, who said he did remember buying the ring for $310 and said the ring would have been melted down already.
Police are continuing their investigation into Groh’s activities at other houses she worked.
Police are asking that if anyone believes they have been victimized by Groh or have any information, call Best at 648-5118 ext. 2521.
Evans Police use taser after a resisting arrest
Town of Police Officer Michael Kauzala was investigating a vehicle in a ditch at 5:21 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12 on Lake Shore Road, when the suspect, John J. Tavares, 49, of Evans, began yelling obscenities at Kauzala and attempted to push him.
According to police, Kauzala informed Tavares he was being taken into custody, and after allegedly resisting commands. Tavares was then tazed, handcuffed and taken into custody.
Tavares was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, moving from lane unsafely and unsafe tires.
He appeared before Justice Timothy Cooper and was remanded to the Erie County Holding Center on $500 bond.
Felony DWI in Village of Hamburg
At 10 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, Village of Hamburg Police Officer Anthony Caber observed a vehicle traveling in an erratic manner, crossing the double yellow lines on Lake Avenue.
After stopping the vehicle, the vehicle operator, Michael Weber, 63, of Hamburg, was asked to complete some field sobriety tests. After failing several of the tests, he was transported to the police station.
A computer check revealed a previous driving while intoxicated conviction from the Town of Eden.
Weber was charged with felony DWI, felony aggravated DWI ( blood alcohol content of .18 percent or higher) and failure to keep right.
E.C. Sheriff’s report
The Erie County Sheriff’s Office Deputies from the North Collins substation responded to 146 calls from Monday, Nov. 12 to Monday, Nov. 19.
• On Saturday, Nov. 17, Deputy David Barbaritz responded to a call of an ATV accident with an injury on Gowanda State Road in North Collins.
Deputies found Alexander J. Nemmer, 24, of Clarence with a back injury after he rolled his four-wheel ATV.
Mercy Flight transported Nemmer to Erie County Medical Center.
DWI arrests in Hamburg
• At 2:11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, Town of Hamburg Police Officer Nina Deming observed a vehicle traveling east on Lakeview Road at a rate of 42 mph in a 30 mph zone.
Deming turned on the patrol car’s emergency lights and the vehicle stopped on Versailles Road.
When she approached the vehicle, she detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage, glassy eyes, slurred speech and poor motor coordination coming from the vehicle operator, Christine Wahl, 36, of Hamburg.
Wahl was administered several field sobriety tests, and failed them all, police said. Wahl was charged with driving while intoxicated, speeding and refusal to take a breath test
• At 12:36 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 26, Town of Hamburg Police Officers John Baker and Andrew Hochworter responded to a call of an accident with an injury on Milestrip Road.
At the scene, officers found a damaged vehicle driven by David J. Henneberry Jr., 29, of Hamburg, was several hundred feet away from a vehicle he had allegedly struck.
Henneberry allegedly admitted he had been drinking at a nearby restaurant and was driving to a friend’s house.
Police said there was an odor of alcohol coming from Henneberry. He also had slurred speech and glassy eyes,
Officers administered several field sobriety tests, which he failed and he refused to take the breath test.
Henneberry was charged with driving while intoxicated, following too close and speed not reasonable and prudent.
Assault charged in Evans
Town of Evans Police Officers Scott DeJohn and Joseph LaRosa responded to a call of a possible assault at a North Main Street residence just before 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15.
According to police, upon arrival at the scene, the victim was found bleeding profusely from the mouth and the offender in her driveway. The victim said Heather A. McMullen, 26, of Angola, broke into his house and punched him, knocking out his front tooth.
Officers spoke to McMullen, who allegedly admitted to officers she did punch the victim in the mouth.
The victim said he was asleep and heard the front door open and a pounding sound going up the stairs. It is a two-story dwelling and the victim resides downstairs, while a second victim lives in the apartment upstairs.
The victim said he heard the upstairs door open at which time he got up and ran upstairs. He said he found McMullen standing at the top of the stairs.
He said he grabbed the victim to remove her from the residence, at which time McMullen allegedly punched the victim once in the mouth, dislodging his tooth and then a second time in the back of the head.
The second victim told police she had been sleeping when she awoke to find McMullen standing in her bedroom door. She said she screamed and McMullen left.
After getting out of bed, she looked out the window and observed McMullen punch the first victim in the face. She then found McMullen’s cell phone on her kitchen table and called police. McMullen was charged with second-degree assault/with intent to cause serious physical injury, second-degree harassment and second-degree criminal trespass.
McMullen appeared before Town of Evans Justice Dennis Glascott, and was remanded to the Erie County Holding Center on $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond.
Drugs for debt nets charges
At noon on Saturday, Nov. 17, Town of Hamburg Police Officer Dennis Horrigan was sent to investigate a call of an attempted narcotics sale outside of Walmart.
According to police, at the scene Horrigan was met by the original complainant, who said Joshua J. Diorio, 24, of Evans had been outside of the store and was observed offering narcotics to a person to pay off a debt.
Diorio was approached by the officer and allegedly admitted he had a Lortab pill in his pocket.
Police said Diorio appeared nervous and had “furtive movements.” During a pat down of Diorio, two suspected Lortabs pills were found hidden in a cigarette pack inside his left front pocket, along with a makeshift straw allegedly used to snort the drug.
Diorio was then placed into custody and transported to the Town of Hamburg Police Department. During a routine property inventory, a fentynol patch was found hidden inside another cigarette pack in Diorio’s right front pocket.
He was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a narcotic drug with intent to sell and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Pair of fires in Evans
• An exhaust motor fan is being blamed for a small fire that occurred at a business on Industrial Park at about 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16 in the Town of Evans.
Workers from the business reported that the fire alarm activated and upon investigation, smoke was observed emitting from a small ladies room in a back hallway. Workers observed smoke and material burning in the bathroom. Employees had attempted to extinguish the fire using two fire extinguishers.
Responding to the scene were: Evans Center, Brant, Lake Erie Beach, Highland and the North Evans Fire Companies, as well as Eden and Hamburg Fire Companies.
Town of Evans Police Officers Luke Fioretti, Frederick Garassi III and Michael Kauzala also responded to the fire call.
• At about midnight on Friday, Nov. 16, Town of Evans Police were dispatched to an Eden Evans-Center Road location on a report of a structure fire.
Part of the facility houses a wood shop that produces wooden stakes, and police said it appears wood dust and chips built up in one of the three cutting machines caught fire and went through the ventilation system before settling in the dust collector.
The fire appeared to be limited to the dust collector and did not spread to the rest of the building. However, it is unknown if there is any damage to the ventilation ducts.
District Chief Nick Mecca served as command with North Evans, Highland, Lake Erie Beach, Brant, Evans Center, Eden and Scranton Fire Companies responding.
Police said the fire appeared purely accidental. No charges are pending.
Unlocked vehicles in Village of Hamburg are targets for larcenies
Village of Hamburg Police report that six unlocked vehicles were entered into sometime between the evening hours of Saturday, Nov. 17 and the morning of Sunday, Nov. 18.
According to police, the vehicles were located in the area between Elizabeth and Dudley avenues.
Reported taken were wallets, credit cards and loose change.
At 3:15 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, Town of Hamburg Police Officer John Bluman responded to a hit-and-run accident on McKinley Parkway by the Pizza Hut.
According to witnesses, a vehicle operated by Brian S. Smith, 28, of Hamburg, backed into the vehicle behind him, causing minor damage to both.
Smith was apprehended in another store and charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.
Evans car larcenies
• A complainant came to the Town of Evans Police Station and told officers that sometime between 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13 and 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, and unknown person or persons entered into two unlocked vehicles and stole about $250 worth of items, including money, binoculars, a camera, a purse and a credit/debit card.
• A complainant came to the Town of Evans Police Station and told police that sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, someone entered into her unlocked vehicle she had parked while she was at work at a business located on Erie Road.
The victim said the entry was made through the passenger side door. Change, a debit/credit card and cigarette’s were stolen.
Felony DWI in Evans
At 7:22 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18, Town of Evans Police Lt. Peter Smith was notified there was a vehicle traveling on Eden Evans Center Road which was being operated in an erratic manner.
He located the vehicle and had it pull off to the side of the road. But then it slowly backed up into the patrol car, striking it. Smith rushed to the driver’s side door, removed the driver, Ann M. Hadley, 41, of Hamburg, and put the vehicle in park.
Hadley was charged with felony DWI, DWI, drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle, unsafe backing of vehicle, unsafe turn signal and failure to use designated lane.