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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Falls woman reports theft from bank account

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 97th Street woman told city police on Thursday that someone had taken just over $120,000 from her certificate of deposit and used it to start a business account without her knowledge or permission.

The 67-year-old woman said she called Bank of America's automated teller to check on her account and was told she had a business checking account.

Bank officials from the city's Military Road branch told police that the new account had a San Diego phone number and someone had called and verified the name on the account by voicemail.

The woman told both the bank and police that she had never verified the account.

An investigation is continuing.

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Teen mother charged after baby is left alone

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 17-year-old mother was charged with leaving her 10-month-old child alone Thursday in a residence heated only by a stove, city police said.

Jamika M. Hunter of Vanderbilt Avenue was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Police said they arrived at the home just after 11 a.m. and heard the baby crying. They said no one answered the door, but it was unlocked, so they went inside. While inside, officers found the child lying on a bed crying.

No adults were in the house, and the stove was on low, with the door open to heat the house, officers said. Officer David Bower said the stove was a major danger because the child could have come in contact with it and been hurt.

Child protection was notified, and the grandmother was given temporary custody of the child.

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One man jailed, one pleads guilty in child porn cases

LOCKPORT -- One man was sent to prison and another pleaded guilty in separate child pornography cases Friday in Niagara County Court.

Edward J. Caskinett, 40, of 71st Street, Niagara Falls, drew two to four years behind bars for possession of a sexual performance by a child. The offending image was found on his computer by a county probation officer Jan. 26. It constituted a violation of Caskinett's probation in a 2003 sexual abuse case.

Charles A. Caruana Jr., 51, of Payne Avenue, North Tonawanda, pleaded guilty to the same charge as Caskinett and is to be sentenced Dec. 4 by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza. Pornographic images were discovered Nov. 14, 2006, by a probation officer.

Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello said the images were downloaded before Caruana was sentenced to probation in another child porn case last year. Sperrazza said the probation officer told her Caruana is doing well on probation and said she would consider not sending him to prison.

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Woman accused of tossing bleach in man's face

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 20th Street woman was charged following a fight where she is accused of throwing bleach in a man's face.

Mathilda L. Edwards, 24, was charged with harassment and assault by Niagara Falls police just after 9 p.m. Thursday, according to reports.

Police said the victim was found with red and swollen eyes and had scratches all over his body.

Edwards said both she and the man had been fighting and both had been throwing bleach at each other. No charges were filed against the man.

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