Buffalo Man Arraigned for Assaulting Elderly Woman During Attempted Robbery Outside of Cheektowaga Supermarket

Modified: April 7, 2022 8:39am

4/6/2022

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 32-year-old Michael T. Sawyer of Buffalo was arraigned this morning before Cheektowaga Town Court Justice James Speyer, Jr. onone count of Assault in the First Degree (Class “B” violent felony) and one count of Attempted Robbery in the First Degree (Class “C” violent felony).

It is alleged that on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, at approximately 5:15 p.m., the defendant attempted to forcibly steal a purse from the elderly victim outside of a grocery store on Harlem Road near Kensington Avenue in the Town of Cheektowaga. The defendant, while driving a vehicle, allegedly grabbed the handles of the bag as the victim held onto her purse. The victim was subsequently dragged by the moving vehicle and fell, which resulted in serious physical injuries.

An unoccupied vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle was found parked on Miller Avenue near Broadway in the City of Buffalo. When the defendant was confronted by police as he approached the vehicle, he attempted to run to evade arrest. He was taken into custody after a brief chase.

The victim, an 80-year-old woman from Snyder, was taken to ECMC where she remains hospitalized.

Sawyer is scheduled to return on Monday, April 11, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. He remains held on $200,000 bail.

If convicted of all charges, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

Sawyer was also arraigned today before Justice Speyer on the following charges in a separate criminal matter:

  • One count of Unlawful Fleeing a Police Officer in the Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor)
  • One count of Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor)
  • One count of Reckless Driving (Vehicle & Traffic Law violation)
  • One count of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the Second Degree (Vehicle & Traffic Law violation)
  • One count of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree (Vehicle & Traffic Law violation)

It is alleged that on March 22, 2022, a Cheektowaga Police officer on routine patrol recognized the defendant as he was driving a vehicle with an expired registration and lapsed insurance in the area of Richard Drive and Shanley Street. When the officer initiated a traffic stop and approached the vehicle on South Ogden Street, the defendant allegedly drove off at a high-rate of speed and continued recklessly drive into the City of Buffalo. The vehicle was found unoccupied outside of the defendant’s address on Sage Street. An arrest warrant was issued after police were unable to make contact with the defendant to give him an appearance ticket to be arraigned on the charges, which are non-qualifying offenses for bail.

Sawyer also has a third pending criminal case. He was arraigned before Cheektowaga Town Court Justice Speyer on December 22, 2021 on the following offenses:

  • One count of Unlawful Fleeing a Police Officer in the Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor)
  • One count of Obstruction of Governmental Administration in the Second Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor)
  • One count of Reckless Driving (Vehicle & Traffic Law violation)
  • One count of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the Second Degree (Vehicle & Traffic Law violation)
  • One count of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree (Vehicle & Traffic Law violation)

It is alleged that on November 28, 2021, at approximately 5:01 p.m., a Cheektowaga Police officer on routine patrol recognized the defendant driving and changing lanes without signaling on Broadway. A traffic stop was made on Broadway near Dick Road, but the defendant allegedly sped off as the officer approached the vehicle. The officer allegedly terminated the pursuit as the defendant continued to recklessly drive at a high-rate of speed onto Borden Road.

An arrest warrant was filed after police were unable to locate the defendant to issue him an appearance ticket to be arraigned on the charges, which are non-qualifying offenses for bail. He was later arrested and arraigned. The case remains pending in Cheektowaga Town Court.

DA Flynn commends the Cheektowaga Police Department and the Buffalo Police Department for their work in this investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael W. Held of the Justice Courts Bureau.

As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.