>Evidence swallowed in police drug bust
NIAGARA FALLS -- A LaSalle Avenue man faces a felony count of tampering with physical evidence after swallowing crack cocaine during a drug investigation, Niagara Falls police said.
Mitchell Thomas Jr., 57, was also charged with obstructing governmental administration, loitering for the purpose of using a controlled substance, failure to comply with a police officer and a traffic violation.
Officers Jay Fisher and Nicholas Granto said they discovered a suspected drug deal in the 1900 block of Ferry Avenue just before 11 p.m. Saturday and blocked Thomas' vehicle in an alleyway. Police said Thomas swallowed the drug as they were removing him from the vehicle.
>Purebred pug stolen from Ontario St. yard
NIAGARA FALLS -- A purebred female pug valued at $1,200 was stolen from an Ontario Avenue yard Saturday, Niagara Falls police said.
The year-old, fawn-colored dog was taken from a fenced-in backyard between 4 and 5 p.m., police said.
>Drug charges filed against man, woman
NIAGARA FALLS -- Niagara Falls Police said they found a syringe and a shotgun inside a 22nd Street apartment where they said heroin was being used in the presence of an 18-month-old boy.
Officers were called there shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday to check the welfare of the occupants, and said they noticed a strong chemical smell and discovered a stove burner on and an empty plastic bag nearby.
In a bedroom, police said, they found a syringe and 12-gauge shotgun and four rounds of ammunition inside a sock.
A man inside the house admitted to having recently used heroin, and police said they found needle marks on the arms of a woman.
Jose Riosbaez, 32, and Christine L. John, 24, both of that address, were charged with endangering the welfare of a child and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. John also was charged with resisting arrest and Riosbaez, felony possession of a defaced weapon. A relative took custody of the boy.
>Cleaning lady suspected in home break-in
NIAGARA FALLS -- A cleaning woman with a crack cocaine habit is suspected of breaking into a McKoon Avenue home on Saturday, police said.
The homeowner told police someone propped a ladder against a second-floor window and entered the home between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. A jug containing about $50 worth of change was stolen.
The victim told police the cleaning woman may have left the window unlocked deliberately.
>House fire kills cat, damages home
NIAGARA FALLS -- A pet cat died in a fire that broke out shortly after 11:15 a.m. Sunday at 1119 Pasadena Ave., Niagara Falls fire officials said.
The fire caused an estimated $20,000 damage to the building and $10,000 damage to contents, according to reports. The cause is still under investigation.
Also, a fire that broke out shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday at 1737 Whitney Ave. was blamed on the careless use of incense.
>Snowmobile stolen from owner's trailer
LOCKPORT -- A thief stole a snowmobile from a trailer parked in a Day Road driveway early Sunday, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said.
The snowmobile, valued at $4,000, was taken between 12:30 and 1:30 a.m., deputies said. Police were able to follow tracks for a short distance before losing the trail.
>Snowplowing ends with pickup truck fire
ROYALTON -- A 1989 Ford pickup truck was destroyed by an engine compartment fire that began when the owner tried to do some snowplowing with the vehicle, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said.
The owner ran to his Fisk Road home at about 2 p.m. to get a fire extinguisher but the pickup was fully engulfed when he returned. Wolcottsville Fire Company firefighters doused the flames.
>U.S., eyewear company settle false-claims suit
A company that manufactures and provides eyewear to veterans agreed to a $3.25 million civil settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding allegations of submitting false claims, authorities announced Thursday.
An investigation was launched after a complaint, filed in 2003 under the False Claims Act, alleged that Korrect Optical, based in Louisville, Ky., violated Veterans Affairs regulations by submitting false claims seeking reimbursements for ophthalmic prescriptions for veterans' eyewear.
Korrect Optical does business in Western New York, the U.S. attorney's office said. The complaint alleged the claims included false certifications, unprescribed add-ons, nonrendered services -- such as ultraviolet and scratch coating, product substitution and the involvement of unlicensed dispensers. All billing matters have been resolved, the U.S. attorney's office said.