The search is continuing for a black man and a white woman who attempted to car-jack a man early Thursday morning in the Cattaraugus County town of Randolph. Troopers were called to the scene on Cold Spring Road about 6 AM. State Police Sergeant Greg Worrell say an unidentified man came upon the scene of what appeared to be a disabled mini-van. Worrell says the victim got out... and, the black male with the mini-van pulled a knife on him. The suspect demanded the man's wallet and keys. But... the Good Samaritan fought back... and, got away. Worrell says the two suspects then drove off from the scene. The black male has a thin build, and is in his mid-30s. Troopers say he was wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt, dark jeans, and a New York Yankees baseball cap. The woman is also in her mid-30s... and, is heavyset with long, brown hair. She ws also wearing a purple colored shirt. The black van is described as being a fairly new, Dodge model with a red "Peace" sign on the back... and, Pennsylvania licence plates. The victim got away with a couple of minor abrasions. If you have any information... contact State Police at 665-3114.
The Randolph woman arrested by Lakewood-Busti Police this week is one of three former management employees at the Lakewood Wal-Mart Super Center accused of stealing money from the store. That from Police Chief John Bentley... who says the trio stole about 95-thousand dollars from the Fairmount Avenue retailer. Bentley says 57 year-old Cheryl Vaninetti is accused of stealing the most -- just over 56-thousand dollars -- in 2010 and 2011. He says the other two workers stole 30-thousand, and 9-thousand dollars respectively. Bentley says they used their knowledge of the system to cash checks they wrote for themselves. Bentley says Wal-Mart's home office in Arkansas was later able to pin-down the discrepancies... and, alerted police. He says... because the amount stolen in this case was over 50-thousand dollars... the crime rises to the level of a Felony. He says Vaninetti wrote checks from two different bank accounts... and put them into Wal-Mart's bank deposit system. She would then remove cash for the check value. Once the checks were deposited... they would bounce.
A Pennsylvania family's vacation in the Barcelona Harbor-area ended in tragedy when a mother trying to help her son and a friend who went inner-tubing on the Lake Erie waters lost her life. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office says that 37-year-old Christen (Kristen) Stefan of Bethel Park tried to help her 9-year-old son Tyler along with his friend 8-year-old Benjamin Bignell of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania when the drowning occurred. Sheriff Joe Gerace says Lake Erie can be dangerous at times. The lake's currents sent the three drifting into a cove in the rocky cliff shoreline. After reaching the cliffs... Sheriff's Deputies say Benjamin was able to climb to safety, but Tyler fell back in. Christen tried to help Tyler, but vanished under the water. Gerace says the cliffs made it difficult for rescuers to access the area where the woman and two boys were. Christen Stefan was pronounced dead in the Emergency Room at Westfield Memorial Hospital. Tyler Stefan was treated for hypothermia. The other boy was okay.
The National Weather Service has confirmed that three tornadoes hit upstate New York during severe storms on Tuesday. The worst devastation was in the town of Smithfield, a rural area between Utica and Syracuse where four people were killed. National Weather Service meteorologist Barbara Watson says Thursday the storms that hit both Deerfield, south of Utica, and Lowville, about 55 miles north of Utica, also spawned tornados. No one was injured in either place. The Deerfield tornado was rated EF-1, with wind speeds of 65 to 110 mph and was 60 yards wide. The Lowville tornado traveled 10 miles and also was an EF-1, with wind speeds of 95 to 100 mph and 300 yards at its widest. Investigators are still working to determine the strength of the Smithfield twister.