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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

>Nurse finds man raping sedated female patient

NIAGARA FALLS -- A nurse making routine checks Saturday afternoon in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center found a sedated female patient being raped by a former boyfriend in her hospital bed, police said.

The victim, a 17-year-old city girl, was admitted Friday with severe abdominal pains after giving birth to her second child New Year's Eve. The 28-year-old former boyfriend is the father of both children, police said.

At about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, a nurse found the door to the woman's room closed and, upon checking, saw a partially naked man atop the sleeping woman. When she yelled at the man, he got up, apologizing, and the patient awoke. She told police she had not known the man was raping her, nor had she given consent.

When the nurse went to get a supervisor, the man fled the hospital. He is being sought by police.

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>Fire victim, 82, suffers smoke inhalation

NIAGARA FALLS -- An elderly woman was hospitalized for smoke inhalation after a fire in her 21st Street home Saturday night.

Sarah Rotella, 82, was treated in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center after a 9:22 p.m. fire. The fire was confined to the first floor of the frame home, causing an estimated $8,000 damage to the building and $2,000 damage to its contents.

Investigators are still trying to pinpoint the exact cause of the fire. A malfunctioning microwave oven is suspected.

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>Ex-girlfriend suspected in theft of $1,300 in items

NIAGARA FALLS -- A former girlfriend is suspected in the overnight theft of a Lewiston man's belongings, including his hockey goalie pads, police said Sunday.

The man's current girlfriend told police she saw the woman breaking into the man's car at about 10 p.m. Saturday while it was parked outside her Mang Avenue home. More than $1,300 worth of belongings were taken, including tools, a suede jacket and other items of clothing.

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>Borrowed ATV stolen from Cambria resident

CAMBRIA -- A Lockport-Junction Road resident reported the theft of a borrowed all-terrain vehicle, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said Sunday.

The three-wheeled Honda ATV was borrowed from a Florida resident for use during hunting season and apparently was stolen from the back of the victim's garage in late October, deputies said. The missing vehicle was valued at $1,000.

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>Occupants at fire scene found highly intoxicated

BARKER -- Investigators said the two occupants of a Pallister Avenue home were "highly intoxicated" when a fire broke out Saturday morning.

According to Niagara County sheriff's deputies, one of the men was upstairs putting away Christmas decorations when he first smelled smoke at about 10:25 a.m. The other resident phoned 911 but was found on a couch when emergency crews arrived, apparently with no intention of leaving.

Deputies said the men used a fire extinguisher to quell the flames before emergency crews arrived. Damage was minor. Investigators still are trying to determine the cause of the fire.

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>Man awakes, finds $800 missing from backpack

NEWFANE -- A Lockport man told police that someone stole $800 from his backpack while he slept inside a Lockport-Olcott Road home Saturday morning.

The man is staying there with his girlfriend while caring for an ill resident, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said. The backpack was near the man's bedroom when it was emptied of the money, sometime between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. Deputies said that another resident there is being investigated as a possible suspect.

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