Thursday News Brief

Written by on May 2, 2024

Lordseth Phoenix

A Corfu man has been arraigned on felony charges for threats he allegedly made against a local hospital. 31-year-old Lordseth Phoenix of Corfu, is accused of calling 911 and claiming a bomb would be placed in the parking garage of the Buffalo General Medical Center. Police arrested him on April 9. He was charged with one count of falsely reporting an incident and one count of making a threat of mass harm; if convicted, Phoenix faces up to four years in prison. The Erie County District Attorney’s Office yesterday said the incident took place at 5:14 a.m. on March 17. “The hospital was subsequently searched and cleared by security officers and members of the Buffalo Police Department,” the DA’s office said Wednesday in a statement, announcing the arraignment.


28-year-old Megan Courtney of Batavia has been arrested. She faces multiple charges, including grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument. It’s alleged Courtney possessed forged checks, stole a credit card, and withdrew over $7,200 from the victim’s bank account without permission. She was held at the Genesee County Jail for arraignment through CAP Court.



Two weeks from today, the Genesee County Health Department will offer a rabies immunization clinic. Mark May 16th on your calendar from 4pm until 7pm and plan to bring your furry friend to the Genesee County Fairgrounds. Vaccinations are free for dogs, cats, and ferrets, but voluntary donations are accepted. Animals must be at least three months old, and each animal must be leashed or crated and accompanied by an adult who can control the animal. There is a maximum; the limit is four pets per person. For more information, please call 344-2580.


Thomas Cooper

An Aurora man is under arrest following an investigation that revealed he was allegedly engaging in inappropriate communication with a teenage girl. The Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office reports that 34-year-old Thomas Cooper allegedly communicated electronically with an individual he believed to be a 14-year-old girl over the course of three months, making sexual requests and sending nude photographs. Cooper was arrested Tuesday and charged with felony attempted dissemination of indecent material to a minor. He was arraigned and ordered to be held in jail.



Please let your dogs know that firefighters only need the hydrants for a few minutes.

City firefighters have one more day of flushing fire hydrants today from approximately 9:00am to 3:00pm. They’ll generally be working in the areas of south of East Main Street and East of Jackson Street. Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. The tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area. As is always the case, do not attempt to wash clothing if your water appears discolored. If you do experience a discoloration, run cold water for about five minutes or until it’s clear. If you have questions, or notice a hydrant in need of repair, contact the Fire Department at 345-6375.


Student protesters at the University of Rochester (13WHAM Photo)

Students at the University of Rochester have completed their sit in where they showed support for Palestinians. The students entered Wallis Hall on the school’s River Campus yesterday and remained there for hours.   They released a list of demands, including asking school leaders to put out a statement calling for a cease-fire in Gaza and for the university to divest in any program with ties to Israel.   Wallis Hall will be back open to the public today.



Ryan LaDuca and the scene of the accident. (13WHAM photos and graphic)

The driver from a deadly hit-and-run last year is now awaiting his sentencing. Ryan LaDuca pleaded guilty yesterday to leaving the scene and tampering with evidence after authorities determined he fatally struck 57-year-old Pamela Rubenstein while she was riding a bike on Klem Road in Webster back on August 22, 2023. Rubenstein died from her injuries two days after the crash.


Law enforcement went to search for a man who didn’t show up in Orleans County Court and a brief standoff ensued that led to two people being taken into custody. Late yesterday morning, law enforcement went to serve the bench warrant to 38-year-old Jacoun Harden at his residence at 10775 West Shelby Road. Harden failed to appear in County Court for a probation violation and the judge issued the warrant. The probation violation is on the charge of criminal possession of a loaded firearm. 30-year-old Maranda Button was also at Harden’s residence.  She let law enforcement inside, where officers saw a loaded Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol on the floor and drug paraphernalia. Harden initially ran to the upstairs to hide and refused to come out; after a brief standoff, he gave himself up and was taken into custody. Both Harden and Button were charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the 2nd degree, and criminal possession of stolen property – firearm. The gun was reported stolen in February 2024 to Niagara County Sheriff’s. Additional charges may be forthcoming pending further investigation.


Retail Shoplifting; dramatization of man stealing.

Governor Hochul is making it official and signing legislation to crack down on retail theft and protect retail workers. She says the new protections in the 2025 budget put more power into the hands of police and prosecutors to break up sophisticated retail theft rings.   The five-point plan includes 40-million to create dedicated retail theft teams within the New York State Police, DA’s offices and local law enforcement. It also includes new felony penalties for assaulting a retail worker, tax breaks for small businesses to improve their security and making it illegal to foster the sale of stolen goods.



Unidentified elderly man on the telephone (file photo)

Over 100,000 Americans over 60 are computer money scam victims. That’s according to a new FBI report, showing the average person lost nearly $34,000, totaling more than $3.4 billion overall in 2023. That’s up 11% over the previous year.   The FBI is urging financial institutions to focus more in protecting the elderly.

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