BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Four people have been arraigned for allegedly looting various dollar stores during the blizzard this past weekend, the Erie County District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.
46-year-old Felix Ramos, 55-year-old Luiman Velez, 34-year-old Shaniece Jones and 57-year-old Aaron Peterson are all facing charges in connection with alleged looting incidents in the Buffalo area.
Ramos is accused of breaking into the Family Dollar on William Street just after 8 a.m. Monday by entering through a broken front door. He was arrested at the scene and charged with third-degree burglary, obstructing governmental administration and attempted petit larceny.
Velez was charged with burglary and attempted petit larceny after allegedly breaking into the Dollar Tree on Broadway just after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Jones is accused of breaking into the Family Dollar on Bailey Avenue just after 8 p.m. Tuesday. She is facing a criminal trespass charge.
Finally, Peterson is accused of pointing an illegal gun at a victim near a Family Dollar store on Jefferson Avenue around 1:15 p.m. Sunday. He is charged with second and third degree criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.
Peterson is set to return to court on December 30, Velez and Ramos will both return on January 3, 2023 and Jones will return on January 11, 2023.
“These defendants are accused of looting stores while our police and first responders were working to save lives during this horrific storm. These were not crimes of desperation, but crimes of opportunity to steal items from unoccupied stores during a blizzard. My office will prosecute these offenders to the fullest extent of the law,” said Erie County DA John Flynn.
This comes after the Buffalo Police Department announced an anti-looting task force established to keep looting in check. As of Wednesday morning, nine total arrests have been made. They say that more alleged incidents are being investigated.
They encourage anyone with information to contact the Buffalo Police Department or the Erie County DA’s office.
Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.