Cannon man defends himself

KIANTONE – It’s only fitting that the local man accused of firing a cannon at his neighbor’s house is not going away without a bang.

Brian J. Malta, 52, who was arrested Wednesday after an ongoing dispute with his neighbors drove him to fire a replica Civil War cannon – loaded only with powder and wadding – at their house for eight days, had his defense attorney issue a statement Friday, touting Malta as a decent and admired member of the community.

“Contrary to any impressions that might have been formed upon initial reports of his arrest, Mr. Malta is an upstanding and well-respected citizen in the Jamestown area. He appreciates the national and international interest in the story surrounding the unique circumstances of his arrest and generously thanks the community for the overwhelming support he has received so far.

“However, at this point, it would be inappropriate to comment further on legal issues surrounding a pending court proceeding. Therefore, it is sufficient to say Mr. Malta vigorously disputes the allegations against him and looks forward to the full truth of the matter coming out in the appropriate arena, which is a court of law,” the statement said.

Malta was charged with three counts of second-degree menacing and three counts of second-degree harassment. He was released from Chautauqua County Jail Thursday on $2,500 bail, and is scheduled to appear at the Town of Kiantone court on Dec. 10.

Details of the neighbor dispute have yet to be released.

Malta unsuccessfully ran for the Celoron village board in 2004 and 2005, as well as for Celoron mayor in 2007.

A federal judge in 2007 ruled against his claim that Celoron public officials were infringing on his First Amendment rights by prohibiting his videotaping of village board meetings.

Teen arrested for burglary in Dunkirk

OBSERVER Staff Report

Jorge Luis Ortiz-Reyes, 16, of 191 Lake Shore Drive E. in Dunkirk allegedly stole a lap top, home electronics and a box of jewelry valued at over $1,000 from a resident of West Seventh Street.

Dunkirk Police investigated a suspicious situation Thursday at 9 a.m. that led police to take Reyes into custody for burglary in the second degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree, and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree.

Police credited a vigilant neighbor with alerting the department of a suspicious situation when the neighbor observed the suspect at the rear of a residence and called in a description and direction of travel. When Reyes was located a few minutes later he was allegedly found to be in possession of the stoled property.

Reyes was arraigned in City Court on Thursday afternoon and was transported by police to Chautauqua County Jail with bail set at $75,000.

Woman charged with DUI

SHERMAN- Janet M. Mitchell, 52, of Sherman was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol Nov. 12 at around 9 p.m.

Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Deputies on patrol on Hart Street in the town of Sherman saw a northbound vehicle violate traffic laws. Mitchell allegedly was driving her vehicle under the influence and was taken into custody by Sheriff’s Deputies. Mitchell was issued appearance tickets for DWI and failure to signal a turn.

Mitchell is due to appear in the Town of Sherman Court at a later date.