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Local law enforcement agencies investigating possible threats made on social media

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Posted at 6:15 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 18:15:25-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Local law enforcement agencies are investigating possible threats made on social media Monday.

On Monday afternoon, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Buffalo police and partnering local law enforcement agencies are investigating the posts and will prosecute if necessary. Brown also said arrests have already been made and more information would be available at a later time.

During the same news conference, the U.S. Attorney's Office and Erie County District Attorney's Office announced investigations into the social media threats.

Around 4:30 p.m. Monday the Erie County District Attorney's Office said there were no credible threats to the public but the investigation was ongoing.

While speaking at the news conference Erie County District Attorney John Flynn provided more details on the arrest of Joseph S. Chowaniec. He is accused of making a terroristic threat. Investigators say the 52-year-old allegedly called a pizzeria on Delaware Avenue and a brewery downtown and made threats referencing Saturday's mass shooting at the Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue.

"This is what's gonna happen if you make threats, you are going to get arrested, and then I am going to prosecute you," Flynn said.

7 News has confirmed the Amherst Walmart on Sheridan Drive, Cheektowaga Walmart and Save A Lot on Union Road in Cheektowaga are closed and have signs saying they will reopen Tuesday.