BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – A Buffalo bounty hunter was arraigned Friday afternoon on 10 misdemeanor counts for his alleged involvement in an armed January raid.
Dennis J. White, 35, of Buffalo, is charged with the following misdemeanors in connection with the January raid of a Buffalo duplex:
- Two counts of criminal trespass in the second degree for allegedly entering the two homes in the duplex on Oakdale Place in the Seneca-Babcock community.
- Four counts of menacing in the second degree for allegedly pointing what appeared to be a shotgun or rifle at four adults.
- Three counts of endangering the welfare of children who were inside the homes during the raid.
- One count of criminal mischief in the fourth degree for alleged damage to an upstairs door.
White, who appeared virtually from the Erie County Holding Center, pleaded not guilty to all counts.
White is not a licensed bounty hunter, said Erie County Assistant District Attorney Rachel Newton, at Friday afternoon’s arraignment.
News 4 Investigates first reported in February that two armed bounty hunters raided a Buffalo duplex, terrifying two families.
The bounty hunters were looking for the duplex owner’s brother, who had jumped a $5,000 bail out of Pennsylvania for misdemeanors.
The armed men entered the duplex while refusing to present any search warrant, according to surveillance video that captured portions of the unnerving incident.
Jake Reinhardt, the homeowner, said his brother was not at the home and has never lived there. Reinhardt could be heard on both the surveillance footage and police body-camera footage demanding to see a search warrant, which was never presented to him.
All of this commotion took place while several Buffalo Police officers were present.
Anthony Rupp, the attorney representing the plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit, accused some of the police officers of assisting the bounty hunters and participating in the search of the duplex.
In fact, at least one officer guarded a back entrance of the duplex and flashed his light inside the dwelling, while two other officers stood on the porch; one even entered the porch hallway and stood by Reinhardt’s front door.
“It certainly raises some questions about how the Buffalo Police Department went on a raid with an unlicensed bounty hunter without checking his credentials,” Rupp told News 4 after the arraignment.
Reinhardt’s family, their upstairs tenants, and Reinhardt’s mother — whose home was searched by the bounty hunters earlier — have since filed a civil suit in federal court against the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo police officers who were present for the incident, the bounty hunters and a bail company.
Taylor Schmieder, Reinhardt’s fiancée, was pregnant when the raid happened six months ago, and clutched their 3-year-old daughter as the armed men searched the home. She was in the courtroom Friday when White was virtually arraigned from the holding center.
“I am very pleased that some action is starting to get taken with this case, and I know that for my family, we’re very hopeful that some justice is going to be served here,” Schmieder said.
A spokeswoman for the Erie County District Attorney’s Office said the investigation of the second bounty hunter, whose identity has not been released yet, continues. He has not been charged with any crimes.
John Flynn, the district attorney, was not available for an interview.
Dan Telvock is an award-winning investigative producer and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of his work here.