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Four people were arrested Friday after trying to steal merchandise from grocery, convenience and retail stores across the City of Buffalo in separate crimes linked only by the holiday-season desperation of the would-be thieves.

Police say the three men and one woman arrested over the course of the same day sought to steal as little as $9 worth of items from the stores, which were located in North Buffalo, Black Rock, the East Side and South Buffalo.

Dennis J. Richards, chief of detectives for the Buffalo Police Department, said the timing of the incidents was not surprising.

“It isn’t uncommon to see an uptick during the holiday season in crimes of opportunity such as shoplifting and other thefts,” he said in an email.

The charges in the cases include larceny, petit larceny and trespassing, with one of the men arrested at a store from which he was banned because of a previous theft there, according to Buffalo police reports.

In that case, police say, Matthew M. Minton, 48, who was barred from the Tops Markets at 345 Amherst St. because of a previous arrest there for petit larceny, was spotted by a store employee at 5 p.m. Friday filling a cart with items.

Police say Minton, who lives four blocks away from the store on Amherst Street, didn’t have any money on him when he was arrested on a charge of trespassing.

In the second case, an off-duty manager in the 7-11 convenience store at 481 Abbott Road saw someone take two packages of Swiss cheese, worth $9 in total, prompting the manager to alert two on-duty clerks.

One clerk called 911 while the other employee confronted the store patron, who refused to return the cheese and struggled with the employee while attempting to run away. Responding officers arrested Donald Williams, 44, whose address wasn’t listed but who has a lengthy history of convictions for possession of stolen property, drug possession, petit larceny and disorderly conduct.

Williams is charged with third-degree robbery, petit larceny and harassment.

At 1:45 p.m. Friday, an employee of the Home Depot store at 2100 Elmwood Ave. reported to police that Anthony E. Argiros, 22, who listed a Delaware County address, tried to steal $62.94 worth of items. Argiros is charged with larceny.

Finally, employees at the Family Dollar store at 2565 Bailey Ave. accused Destiny M. Snow, 17, of Rounds Avenue, of trying to take $11.96 worth of merchandise from the store on Friday. Snow was arrested on a charge of petit larceny.

email: swatson@buffnews.com