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Three arrests made in armed robberies targeting Muslim community on Buffalo's East Side

Posted at 5:49 PM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 17:49:12-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Erie County District Attorney John Flynn and Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo announced Thursday that three people are under arrest over a number of robberies targeting Buffalo's Muslim community on the East Side.

Twenty-two year-old Anthony Cole was arraigned on Tuesday and has been charged with robbery, attempted robbery and child endangerment.

He allegedly approached a married couple as they were taking their kids out of their car with a gun, and stole a purse.

Two boys - aged 16 and 17 are also under arrest - and are charged in a separate armed robbery, where they're accused of hitting a person with what appeared to be a gun.

Flynn said he doesn't have enough evidence at this time to charge anyone with a hate crime, but said he and Buffalo police will continue to look for evidence.

He also called the string of robberies "disturbing" and not a coincidence.

"Both the Buffalo Police Department and myself find this egregious, find this offensive, find this un-city of good neighbors that we all are," he said.

Cole's bail is set at $10,000 and if convicted on all charges he faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.

Flynn said in the case of the two juveniles, he will fight to be the one to prosecute them - instead of the case going to family court - because of the alleged use of a weapon where the victim was injured and suffered a fractured jaw and orbital bone.

He added that other reported robberies that appear to target the Muslim community in the area are actively being investigated by the Buffalo Police Department and the District Attorney's Office Community Prosecution Unit.