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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

>Fire in vacant Falls home causes $4,000 damage

NIAGARA FALLS -- A fire in a vacant home on Niagara Street caused several thousand dollars damage just after 2 a.m. Wednesday. The cause is still under investigation.

The 1 1/2 -story house at 422 Niagara St. is owned by George and Linda Wenz of Orleans Avenue. The fire is believed to have started in a basement floor joist and spread to the first-floor dining room. Damage was listed at $4,000, according to the Niagara Falls Fire Department.

City firefighters were on the scene for an hour and 15 minutes fighting the fire with four engines and a truck.

No injuries were reported.

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>Authorities seek help in identifying woman

LEWISTON -- Niagara County sheriff's officials are trying to identify a 40-year-old black woman whose body was discovered along the shore of Lake Ontario on Sunday.

The body had been in the water at least two weeks, according to police. The woman was described as having long, straight black hair.

Found on the body were a sneaker and some jewelry. She was wearing a size 41 (metric) Baoji Nikan sneaker, police said. She had one ring each on her left and right hand ring fingers as well as 26 bracelets on her left arm and also wore a gold watch.

Anyone with information about the identity of the woman is asked to contact Niagara County sheriff's deputies at 438-3327.

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>Search for missing man uncovers marijuana plants

RANSOMVILLE -- A search for a missing man did not turn up the man but did lead Niagara County sheriff's deputies to a home where a woman was allegedly growing marijuana, according to reports.

Deputies were searching Monday in the Ransomville area for a 26-year-old man who had cut his wrist and had a history of attempting suicide. Scent dogs were used in the search that included several homes of friends and family but without success, deputies said.

During the search of an apartment, deputies found a room with 12 marijuana plants and indoor growing supplies, reports said. A 3-year-old relative was also found in the apartment.

Rachel S. Slish, 18, of Ransomville Road, was charged by investigators of the Niagara County Drug Task Force with endangering the welfare of a child and unlawfully growing marijuana.

The missing man later returned home and voluntarily turned himself over for a mental health evaluation in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, deputies said.

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>Domestic incidents bring six-count indictment

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara County grand jury handed up a six-count indictment Wednesday against a Niagara Falls man accused of threatening a woman with a knife and later violating an order of protection she obtained.

Darius L. Washington, 38, of 13th Street is charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree menacing, resisting arrest, second-degree criminal trespass and first- and second-degree criminal contempt of court.
Washington allegedly pulled the knife on the woman Sept. 6 and struggled with two officers who apprehended him. He also is accused of revisiting the woman's apartment Sept. 18 in violation of the court order.

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>Dogs track suspect in car break-in

LOCKPORT -- Using tracking dogs, Lockport police found a Dysinger Road man accused of breaking into a parked car Tuesday night.

Dashun J. Barnes, 27, was charged with petit larceny and accused of breaking into the vehicle and criminal trespassing, and of entering a Washburn Street apartment to avoid capture, according to reports.

An Evans Street woman told police that she parked her car just after 7 p.m. and came out 15 minutes later and found Barnes inside it.

The woman said her father chased the suspect.

Police called in a K-9 tracking unit, and Officer Steven Ritchie said the trail led to a building in the 200 block of Washburn Street. Police said they stopped Barnes when he tried to climb out a window.

The residents of the apartment said they did not know Barnes and that he came in without permission and tried to hide in their bathroom.

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>Rochester man facing sexual abuse charges

LOCKPORT -- A Rochester man wanted in two incidents of forcible touching and exposure involving young girls this summer was charged at his home in Rochester by Lockport police Tuesday.

Juvenile Detective David Licata charged Nicholas A. Floyd, 18, of Canton Street, Rochester, with criminal trespassing, two counts of forcible touching, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and public lewdness.

The two incidents involved in the investigation occurred in late July and August, police said.

Floyd is accused of touching and exposing himself to two girls on Beattie Avenue and trespassing inside Lockport High School.

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