BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Police say Duane Dalton, Daniel Bernardi and Michael Rodriguez broke into the rectory of Our Lady of Charity Church and robbed Msgr. David Lee at knife point.
But the family of Michael Rodriguez claims he is innocent and had nothing to do with Friday night's robbery. Carla Cruz says her brother was just out for a walk with Dalton and Bernardi, and that Bernardi was the brains behind the operation.
"The only reason they took my brother and my brother-in-law to jail is because they ran with them and being that they had previous charges, but like I said they're innocent," Cruz said.
According to the police report, the trio ran from the church. One was later found on Hopkins and arrested. Police say they also found here was Msgr. Lee's belongings: a wallet, a pocket watch and $500 in cash.
Parishioner Kristine Parisi said, "I'm just so grateful Father Lee wasn't hurt. That's the main thing. No amount of money is worth someone's life."
Parisi lives across the street from the church.
"I felt guilty. I wished I would have seen something and had been able to alert the police or help him. It's scary to think that that was going on and I was in my house just carrying on as normal," she said.
Parisi says Msgr. Lee spoke about the robbery during Sunday night's mass.
"He just said that they had come in through a window and surprised him and he did what they said and he contacted the police as soon as he could."
Father Lee did not want to speak with News 4, but during mass, asked that parishioners pray for these accused burglars.
Rodriguez and Bernardi are locked up on $200,000 bail, each. Dalton is being held without bail because of previous charges.
All three men are due back in court later this week.
Cold and breezy with snow increasing in coverage into the overnight hours.
News 4 was contacted by a concerned parent who believes the Ken-Ton Board of Education is trying to censor parents at PTA meetings.
A Salamanca man has been charged with DWI after a traffic accident in the Town of Little Valley Saturday.
A woman told officers she thought she hit a curb, not a car. She failed field sobriety tests and was placed under arrest.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — U.S. President Barack Obama implored thousands gathered in a cold, rainy stadium and millions watching around the world on Tuesday to carry forward Nelson Mandela's mission of erasing injustice and inequality.
America's oldest state park is in the midst of a major makeover and officials are giving a clearer picture of what's next for Niagara Falls.