Three more blizzard looting-related arrests made

Jan. 11—Three more arrests have been made in connection with looting that occurred during the Christmas weekend blizzard.

—Walter L. Hicks-Jones, 34, of Buffalo, was arraigned Wednesday before Buffalo City Court Judge Rebecca Town on one count of third-degree criminal trespass (Class "B" misdemeanor). According to the Erie County District Attorney's Office, about 8 p.m. Dec. 27, Buffalo Police responded to a reported burglary at a dollar store on the 2500 block of Bailey Avenue. Hicks-Jones is accused of knowingly entering and remaining unlawfully inside of the store, which was closed at the time of the incident due to the blizzard.

Hicks-Jones is scheduled to return on Wednesday, Feb. 8 for further proceedings. He was released on his own recognizance as the charge is a non-qualifying offense for bail. If convicted of the charge, Hicks-Jones faces a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail.

—John E. Harber, Jr., 26, of Cheektowaga was arraigned before Amherst Town Court Justice Kara Buscaglia on Dec. 26. Harber is charged with one count of third-degree burglary (Class "D" felony) and one count of fourth-degree criminal facilitation (Class "A" misdemeanor).

During the early morning hours of Monday, Dec. 26, Harber, while acting in concert with co-defendant Shaquille Chillis, burglarized a business located on the 3500 block of Main Street in the Town of Amherst. Harber is accused of driving Chillis to the store with the intent to commit a burglary by acting as the getaway vehicle. Chillis is accused of knowingly entering and remaining unlawfully inside of the closed store by entering through a broken window. Harber allegedly waited inside of his vehicle in the parking lot during the commission of the crime. Harber allegedly drove away as police entered the store to investigate, but was stopped a short time later on Main Street.

His co-defendant, Shaquille A. Chillis, 29, of Buffalo, was also arraigned before Justice Buscaglia on Dec. 26 as well. Chillis is charged with one count of third-degree burglary and one count of attempted petit larceny (Class "B" misdemeanor).

Harber and Chillis are scheduled to return on Feb. 2. Both remain released under supervision. If convicted of the highest charge, Harber and Chillis face a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison.

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn commends the Buffalo Police Department Anti-Looting Task Force and the Amherst Police Department for their work in these investigations.

As of Wednesday, a total of 11 defendants have been arraigned on various charges related to store lootings.