skyline Crime
This is Rochester
   A summary of noteworthy crime news in Greater Rochester
  Most recent developments

Final suspect in terror plot sentenced

Sept. 3, 2019 -- The last of four suspects who pleaded guilty to a plot to attack a Muslim community in the Southern Tier was sentenced to seven years in state prison.

Vincent Vetromile, 20, was also sentenced to five years of post-release supervision for his role in the plan to attack Islamberg, approximately 50 miles northeast of Binghamton.

The four men were arrested and charged in January. Nicholas Pheilshifter, Brian Colaneri and Andrew Crysel were all sentenced in August. Prosecutors say three explosive devices were found in the course of the investigation.

During the sentencing hearing Tuesday, Judge Sam Valleriani called Vetromile's actions "a threat to everyone in our free and democratic society."

Northeast Rochester shooting claims life of man, 21

Aug. 29, 2019 -- A Rochester man was found shot to death in the backyard of a home in northeast Rochester.

Jose Ubiles, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene just before 8 p.m. after city police responded to a report of shots fired, Capt. Frank Umbrino said.

The slaying occurred in the vicinity of Caspar and Bay streets.

Police were interviewing witnesses at the scene and were also collecting video footage from nearby cameras.

No suspects were in custody, police said.

Aspiring teen journalist accused of stealing unmarked RPD car

Aug. 27, 2019 -- Two teenagers were charged with stealing an unmarked Rochester Police Department car after police responded to reports of an erratic driver on the northeast side of the city.

While investigating, RPD officers determined the teens had taken the vehicle from the city's Mount Read Boulevard garage. The vehicle was part of the department's Special Investigation Section, according to court paperwork.

Geoffrey Rogers, 17, is accused of driving the car and pointing a BB gun at a man who was at a gas station during that time. A 13-year-old passenger was also taken into custody.

Rogers, previously in the news as an aspiting teen reporter, was charged with felony fourth-degree grand larceny, second-degree menacing, falsely reporting an incident, and several traffic citations. Both youths were charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Rogers was arraigned in Rochester City Court, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. The judge signed an order of protection for the victim who had the BB gun pointed at him.

Gas explosion kills man, levels city home

Aug. 21, 2019 -- One man was found dead after an Illinois Street home was destoyed by an explosion as Rochester Gas & Electric crews and Rochester firefighters searched for the source of a gas leak in the area.

The home at 64 Illinois St. exploded just before 7:30 p.m., rocking homes in the neighborhood and blowing out some nearby windows.

The dead man was identified as Randal Jackson, the owner of the home.

Fire officials determined that the gas line in the home was tampered with, and RG&E issued a statement saying "evidence strongly suggests that this was the result of actions by the occupant at the home."

The home had been foreclosed on, put up for auction, and sold on Aug. 14..

Quick arrest made in fatal beating in Rochester

Aug. 19, 2019 -- A city man is facing charges after a beating death on Saratoga Avenue.

Rochester Police found Tommy Rash, 61, unconscious in the street at around 6:20 p.m. after responding to a reported fight at 215 Saratoga Ave. Rash was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Police charged Steve Woodard, 35, with criminally negligent homicide.

More trouble for Gates business owner

Aug. 19, 2019 -- The owner of a Brooks Avenue hotel has been charged with insurance fraud and the Gates fire marshal has deemed his hotel unsafe and uninhabitable.

Naeem Butt, the owner of Wheels Up Bar and Hotel, was charged with insurance fraud and falsely reporting an incident. Gates Police said the charges stem from an insurance claim Butt filed regarding $22,000 in alleged fraudulent credit card transactions.

It is alleged Butt was paying an employee through a credit card, and that he later filed a claim, saying he didn't know anything about the transactions.

The fire marshal issued a no occupancy order after a gas leak was detected on Aug. 8 and a determination that the fire alarm system was not monitored by an approved supervising station.

Shots were fired at the Wheels Up Tavern in April following an event there. Two days later, the Monroe County Health Department shut down the venue's kitchen due to code violations.

Police arrest 25 in post-festival incidents

Aug. 19, 2019 -- Rochester Police made 25 arrests on mostly minor charges while dealing with disorderly crowds in the northeast part of the city following the conclusion of the annual Puerto Rican Festival.

Most of the charges are traffic-related such as driving with suspended or expired licenses. Others are accused of disorderly conduct, harassment and obstruction following incidents that included bottles being thrown at police officers.

No injuries were reported to any officers, who used pepperballs and accoustic deviced disperse disorderly crowds.

Last year, police made 20 arrests in the same area after the festival.

Two sentenced for plot to attack Muslim community

Aug. 16, 2019 -- Two of the men who admitted to plotting to attack a Muslim community in the Southern Tier were sentenced to prison terms.

Judge Sam Valleriani sentenced Brian Colaneri and Andrew Crysel to 4 to 12 years following their guilty pleas to conspiracy charges. Investigators say the two along with Vincent Vetromile and Nicholas Pheilshifter planned the attack on the community of Islamberg near Binghamton.

Vetromile pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon. He will be sentenced up to 12 years in prison at a later date. Pheilshifter pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism. He is expected to be sentenced to seven years in prison on Aug. 26.

Fatal shooting on 4th Street in Rochester

Aug. 15, 2019 -- Rochester Police have identified the woman killed in an early-evening shooting on the city's northeast side as Shaniece Taylor, 26, of Rochester.

Police responded just before 7:30 p.m. for a report of gunfire and found the body of a woman inside a home in the 200 block of 4th Street.

36 sexual abuse suits filed locally on first day

Aug. 14, 2019 -- Thirty-six lawsuits were filed in Monroe County on the first day of a year-long window suspending the statute of limitaions for civil claims by child victims of sexual abuse.

All but one of the suits were against the Catholic Diocese of Rochester, its parishes or affiliated organizations. The other was against the Webster Central School District and former teacher Ralph Wager, who also coached soccer. A man who said he was a student in the district in the late 1960's and early 1970's said he was sexually harassed and abused by Wager, who left for a college job in North Carolina in the mid-1980s and is serving a life sentence there following a 2015 conviction for molesting a boy.

Most of the other filings named Catholic priests as the abusers and sought damages from the diocese and parishes.

The Child Victims Act extended the statute of limitations for future acts of child sexual abuse so that victims have until age 55 to bring suit. The statute for criminal prosecution changed as well, adding five years to the window of time within which charges can be brought.

Immigration judge denies bond for Abigail Hernandez

Aug. 8, 2019 -- An immigration judge denied bond for Abigail Hernandez, reaffirming his earlier decision that the young woman who posted a social media threat against high school students is too dangerous to release.

The case went back to Immigration Judge Philip Montante Jr. after a federal judge determined that Montante had wrongly forced Hernandez' lawyers to prove she was not a threat when the burden should have been on the government.

In the latest ruling, Montante cited a growing number of school shootings sand wrote he could not "take this offense lightly." Hernandez, who was 21 years old at the time of the 2018 threat, created a threatening Facebook post after watching a television segment about the Parkland, Floa., high school massacre, Montante wrote.

Hernandez came to the United States from Mexico at age 3 with her parents and qualifies for "dreamer" status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals rules. However, immigration authorities are now seeking to deport her.

Six women injured in city fight

Aug. 6, 2019 -- Police say an ongoing dispute between a group of women lead to six people being injured in a mid-evening fight in area of Avenue A and Roth Street.

Police found four women with minor stab wounds at the scene. Two additional victims, one with a minor stab wound and another who was hit in the head with a bottle, arrived at an area hospital.

None of the injuries were life-threatening.

Shooting victim dies at the scene

Aug. 3, 2019 -- Rochester police are investigating the shooting death of Tremel Ingram after the 34-year-old man was found shot near Fulton Avenue and Lorimer Street.

Officers arriving on the scene found Ingram on the ground with a gunshot wound to his upper torso. Ingram was pronounced dead at the scene.


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