Pennsylvania fugitive located and arrested in Town of Chautauqua

Chautauqua County

WESTFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Pennsylvania fugitive that sent the towns of Westfield and Chautauqua into a shelter in place Wednesday has been caught.

James D. Gnacinski, 39, of Girard Pennsylvania was arrested and charged with Thursday at 3:20 p.m. in the Town of Chautauqua. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s office said Gnacinski was initially charged with being a fugitive from justice in Pennsylvania and is facing a local burglary charge.

The sheriff’s office said in a news release, they expect more charges to be filed locally against Gnacinski.

New York State Police and their K9’s, Village of Westfield Police, Jamestown Police with K9 and the Erie County Sheriff’s search helicopter all helped in the search.

UPDATE 10/27/2021

Residents in the towns of Westfield and Chautauqua no longer need to shelter in place, according to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s office.

Authorities were searching for a man near the gorge between Route 394 and Martin Wright Road in Westfield this afternoon after a burglary at a nearby hunting cabin. The sheriff’s office said the search is still on, but a shelter in place is no longer needed.

It’s believed the Pennsylvania fugitive is looking for a vehicle to flee the Westfield/Chautauqua area.

During the search for the man, authorities located a jacket with a Pennsylvania driver’s license inside. Investigators found a vehicle stuck on a “well road” near the burglarized hunting cabin. The vehicle is registered to the man whose license was recovered, according to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s office.

The name of the man is being withheld as investigators continue their search.

Residents are asked to remain observant and contact the sheriff’s office at (716) 753-2131 with any sightings or suspicious activity.

ORIGINAL

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s office is telling residents to shelter in place as they search for a wanted man.

The sheriff’s office said a search is underway near the gorge between Route 394 and Martin Wright Road in the towns of Westfield and Chautauqua. They’re looking for a 6 foot tall, 160 pounds white male with short brown hair. Authorities said the man isn’t wearing a jacket.

Residents are asked to lock their cars, houses and shelter in place.

Any suspicious activity should be called into the sheriff’s office at (716) 753-2131.

News 4 has reached out to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s office for more information.

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.

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