Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III announced that Fardat Vahdat, a 23 year old illegal alien from Iran, of 537 Allenhurst Street in Amherst, and 26 year old, Dominic Natarseh, a naturalized citizen from Iran, of 409 Bristol Street in Buffalo, pleaded guilty, as charged, to Robbery in the Second Degree, a class C violent felony, before Supreme Court Justice Russell Buscaglia. This was the highest charge for which the defendants could have been convicted had they gone to trial. A jury trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday October 15, 2013.
Vahdat and Natarseh admitted that on Friday March 15, 2013, at about 4:30pm, while at the Boulevard Mall in Amherst, they robbed a woman who was entering her car after a brief shopping trip. Vahdat pressed a loaded BB gun to her head, while Natarseh drove the getaway car. A family from Amherst, about to have dinner at the Bonefish Grill, observed the victim crying and the defendant’s fleeing and quickly followed the getaway car and telephoned 911. The Amherst police responded to the 911 call, and were present on scene in less than 5 minutes making the arrest on Niagara Falls Boulevard.
After Vahdat completes his state prison sentence, he is subject to mandatory deportation due to his illegal alien status. Natarseh will be permitted to remain in the United States after he completes his state prison sentence. Both defendants face up to 15 years in prison when sentenced on November 11, 2013 at 9:30am.
The case was successfully prosecuted by ADA Sara N. Ogden.