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Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz had a scare Monday when a burglar broke into his Delaware Avenue home while he was sleeping.

Poloncarz said he was awakened at about 5:30 a.m. by the noise of the burglar pushing out a screen and climbing through an open downstairs window. He said he immediately called police and yelled at the burglar, who fled with a baseball bat belonging to Poloncarz. The county executive said he ventured downstairs but never saw the thief, adding that the intruder tried to access the house through two other windows.

Avello A. Pena, 22, of Buffalo, was arrested a short time later by police responding to the 911 call. Officers said they noticed Pena running with a bat.

When they stopped him, Pena said he was going to meet friends at Front Park. But police doubted his explanation for being out so early with a baseball bat and charged him with burglary.

Poloncarz, who testified Wednesday before a grand jury, said police told him that Pena had been drinking. The window Pena allegedly entered is 8 feet off the ground, and a recycling tote was used to reach it, Poloncarz said.

email: drobinson@buffnews.com and lmichel@buffnews.com