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Undercover social media investigation leads to 7 arrests, men accused of trying to meet teens for sex

Posted at 11:02 AM, Dec 17, 2019

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In an undercover investigation led by the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force, seven men have been arrested and accused of trying to have sex with teenagers.

Six of the men are from Western New York, a seventh is from Westport, New York, near the Vermont border.

The Erie County District Attorney's office says the seven men contacted individuals they believed to be teenagers using social media platforms. The FBI was joined in this investigation by the Cheektowaga Police Department, the Hamburg Police Department and New York State Police.

Below are details of the seven arrests, as released by the Erie County District Attorney's Office:

Howard Stives, Jr., 47, of Westport was arraigned before Cheektowaga Town Court Justice Paul S. Piotrowski on one count of Attempted Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree and one count of Attempted Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree, both Class “E” felonies. It is alleged that on September 27, 2019, at approximately 8:23 p.m., the defendant, a Level 3 sex offender, traveled to a location in the Town of Cheektowaga to attempt to engage in sexual conduct with a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old male.

Kevin Piechowicz, 37, of Buffalo was arraigned before Justice Piotrowski on one count of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree, a Class “E” felony, and one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, a Class “A” misdemeanor. It is alleged that on September 25, 2019, 8:36 p.m., the defendant traveled to a location in the Town of Cheektowaga in an attempt to engage in sexual intercourse with a person whom he believed was a 14-year-old female. He was also allegedly found in possession of a small amount of cocaine at the time of his arrest.

Nicholas Sabha, 29, of Lewiston was arraigned before Judge Piotrowski on one count of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree, one count of Attempted Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree, and one count of Attempted Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree, all Class “E” felonies. It is alleged that on September 27, 2019, at approximately 9:37 p.m., the defendant traveled to a location in Cheektowaga to attempt to engage in sexual conduct with a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old female.

Nicholas Shepard, 25, of Springville was arraigned before Judge Piotrowski on one count of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree, a Class “E” felony, one count of Attempted Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree, a Class “E” felony, and one count of Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a Class “B” misdemeanor. It is alleged that on September 27, 2019, at approximately 4:13 p.m., the defendant traveled to a location in Cheektowaga to attempt to engage in sexual intercourse with a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old female.

Richard Zloty, 69, of Orchard Park was arraigned before Hamburg Town Court Justice Gerald P. Gorman on one count of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree and one count of Attempted Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree, both Class “E” felonies. It is alleged that on September 26, 2019, at 7:15 p.m., the defendant traveled to a location in the Town of Hamburg to attempt to engage in sexual conduct with a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old female.

Anthony Aronica, 29, of West Seneca was arraigned before Judge Gorman on one count of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree. It is alleged that on September 26, 2019, at approximately 4:20 p.m., the defendant traveled to a location in the Town of Hamburg in an attempt to engage in sexual intercourse with a person whom he believed was a 14-year-old female.

Kristopher Smoyer, 36, of Amherst was arraigned before Judge Gorman on one count of Attempted Rape in the Second Degree. It is alleged that on September 26, at approximately 6:36 p.m., the defendant traveled to a location in the Town of Hamburg in an attempt to engage in sexual intercourse with a person whom he believed was a 14-year-old female.
-Release from the Erie County District Attorney's Office

The DA's office was not able to provide the dates of the next court appearances for these defendants. According to the DA's office, this is because criminal cases against them are pending.