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LANDLORD DISCOVERS BODY OF WOMAN WHO FROZE TO DEATH

The remains of a 58-year-old Buffalo woman who froze to death about three weeks ago were discovered earlier this week by her landlord, authorities said.

Velma Fordham had been living in her rear apartment at 227 Burgard Place since the middle of November without heat, according to Joseph Riga, chief of the Buffalo police Homicide Bureau.

No foul play is suspected in the death.

"An autopsy determined she died from hypothermia, and the death is being ruled as accidental," Riga said.

The last time anyone saw Fordham alive, police said, was in late January. Her body was discovered by her landlord, who had arrived at the apartment Monday to remove furniture he was storing there, authorities said.

Officials at National Fuel said they made several attempts to start natural gas service to the apartment.

"Obviously, it is a very sad and unfortunate situation," said Julie Coppola Cox, National Fuel spokeswoman. "Our records indicate Velma Fordham requested service and the company made several attempts to complete that service but could not gain access to the premises."

Man accused of assaulting
police, possessing pot

A 30-year-old Cheektowaga man who refused to remove his hands from his pockets while police were investigating a call of a fight early today was arrested by Northeast District police.

Henry Parker of Walden Avenue was charged with assaulting police officers and possession of marijuana in the confrontation, which occurred at 12:10 a.m. at Bailey and Midway avenues, police said.

Police Officers Michael Maiola, Kevin Kindzierski, Anthony Marshall and Ronald Jentz arrested Parker after a short foot chase.

Stolen spotlights recovered
with shoplifting arrest

Town of Tonawanda police arrested a shoplifting suspect Tuesday night and recovered two spotlights stolen from the Mister Seconds store at 1460 Military Road.

Officer Paul Sharman, responding to the shoplifting call at about 6:40 p.m., saw a man down the street who apparently fit the physical description provided by store officials. The man ducked behind a pole, but Sharman apprehended him near the store.

Sharman charged Brendan McAndrew, 27, of West Delavan Avenue, Buffalo, with petit larceny. The officer recovered the two spotlights, valued at $37 each, police said.

Pit bull puppy, $100
stolen from apartment

A white pit bull puppy and $100 were stolen in a burglary Tuesday from a West Utica Street apartment, authorities said.

Melissa M. Brown of the 400 block of West Utica told Central District police someone kicked in a door to her residence between 8 and 10 p.m. and stole her pet and cash.

Man wanted on warrant
arrested after standoff

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. -- A Thorold man facing arrest held Niagara Regional Police at bay for about six hours Tuesday.

Detectives went to the Elgin Street home of Robert Pieneman at about 8:30 a.m. with a warrant; he was wanted on four counts of false pretenses and one count of fraud, police said.

Pieneman refused to admit the officers and threatened to harm himself, then barricaded himself in a second-floor bedroom.

Negotiators spoke with Pieneman at length, police said, and at 2:30 p.m. members of the Emergency Task Unit entered the home and arrested him without incident.

Pieneman was to be held pending a bail hearing this morning.

Two men face charges
in December armed robbery

LOCKPORT -- Two Lockport men have been charged with a December armed robbery at a Pendleton business, Niagara County Sheriff Thomas A. Beilein announced Tuesday.

Edward F. Lamica, 19, and Jason I. Jones, 18, were charged with robbery, grand larceny and unlawful imprisonment.

The two are accused of the Dec. 5 robbery at Goldsmiths Auction Gallery, 6221 Fisk Road.

Three masked men, armed with handguns, stole handguns and a small amount of cash during a midafternoon robbery.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms assisted in the investigation.

Additional arrests are expected, authorities said.

Auto accident settlement
for woman nearly $295,000

NIAGARA FALLS -- A woman injured in a 1996 auto accident will collect nearly $295,000 in a settlement disclosed Tuesday.

Her attorney said Angelina McGovern, 57, had to undergo a spinal fusion in her neck after a car landed atop hers as she sat at a red light at Cayuga Drive and Niagara Falls Boulevard in Wheatfield at about 5:30 a.m. Oct. 23, 1996.

The attorney, Eric B. Grossman, said a State Supreme Court jury found Feb. 9 that all the fault in the accident was attributed to Frank DeAngelo, 60, of Niagara Falls.

After the three-day trial before Justice Ralph A. Boniello III, the sides worked out a damage agreement, with McGovern settling for the liability limit in DeAngelo's policy with New York Central Mutual Insurance Co.

Counting a previous payment for property damage, McGovern is receiving $300,000.

DeAngelo's attorney, Olney H. Clowe, declined to comment.

Falls man given year in jail
for possession of cocaine

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man drew a one-year jail sentence for drug possession Tuesday.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza imposed the term on Mario R. Taylor, 21, of 20th Street, who had pleaded guilty to attempted fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and disorderly conduct.

Taylor's car was pulled over by Niagara Falls police on 23rd Street on Aug. 22.

Police said they found 0.17 of an ounce of cocaine in Taylor's possession. Taylor was also accused of fighting with an officer.

Man charged with DWI
and speeding in collision

TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- Sheriff's deputies charged a Niagara Street man with driving while intoxicated Monday night after his car crashed head-on into another vehicle on South Transit Road near Robinson Road.

No injuries were reported.

James E. Siffringer, 45, also was charged with speeding and failure to keep right, Deputy James Voutour said.

Voutour said the accident occurred at 10:13 p.m. when Siffringer, clocked traveling at 70 mph in a 45-mph zone, lost control of his car and ran into an oncoming car driven by Alejandro H. Bergara, 24, of Amawak.

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