Descendant of prominent family accused of thefts
- Article by: CAROLYN THOMPSON
- Associated Press
- July 2, 2014 - 1:05 PM
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A member of a prominent western New York family is charged with stealing family heirlooms, including guns, and selling them to support a heroin addiction, police said Wednesday.
One of the stolen guns was used in a shooting that seriously injured a man in Buffalo last week, police said.
Megan Hubbard-Riley, 22, was being held on $75,000 bail one day after appearing in Buffalo City Court on weapons charges. She and her boyfriend also are charged with grand larceny in East Aurora for the alleged thefts from her mother's home over a six-month period.
Hubbard-Riley is the great-great-granddaughter of Elbert Hubbard, who at the end of the 19th Century founded the Roycroft artisan community outside Buffalo as a cradle of the arts and crafts movement. The campus in East Aurora remains active today.
Hubbard-Riley was arrested June 20 following an investigation that began when her mother, Mary Hubbard, reported the theft of 13 antique and modern-day handguns from her home.
Hubbard then discovered numerous other items had been taken, East Aurora Police Detective Patrick Welch said, including a 2-carat diamond ring, Roycroft literature, an antique Roycroft coffee pot, leather goods and other valuables that together were worth more than $50,000.
The investigation led to Hubbard-Riley and her 36-year-old boyfriend, John Lawandus, both of whom lived with Hubbard and abused drugs, the detective said.
"They were stealing things they knew to be valuable in order to get fast cash to feed their addiction," Welch said.
Many of the items, excluding the ring and guns, have since been recovered at pawn shops, where they had been sold for a fraction of their value.
One of the guns was recovered following a shooting outside a Buffalo restaurant June 26 that injured a 30-year-old man. Police allege Lawandus sold the stolen guns to two Buffalo men who then resold them on the streets. Lawandus, Hubbard-Riley and the two Buffalo men face multiple weapons charges.
Hubbard-Riley's attorney, Brian K. Parker, said the family is troubled by the danger the missing guns continue to pose as relatives pursue a treatment plan for Hubbard-Riley's addiction.
"They're concerned. They're not happy with the actions or situation, obviously," he said.
Mary Hubbard could not be reached for comment Wednesday because a phone listing was not in service.
Parker described Hubbard-Riley as "very emotional."
"She's never been in this position before," he said.
Court records list no attorney for Lawandus. He and Hubbard-Riley were being held Wednesday at the Erie County Correctional Facility.
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