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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Burglary suspect jailed after bail is increased

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man was sent to Niagara County Jail on Tuesday when bail was increased after another burglary charge was filed against him.

Frank Leveille II, 24, of Girard Avenue, who was expected to be sentenced in Niagara County Court on Tuesday on third-degree burglary for a March 31 break-in, also was arrested Aug. 26 for a break-in at his parent's home, Assistant District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said.

Leveille had previously posted bail in City Court, Hoffmann said.

Leveille's attorney, Public Defender Michael Benedict, asked for an adjournment of the sentencing so that both cases could be heard together. Hoffmann, meanwhile, asked that bail be increased because Leveille was a repeat offender -- this is his third such case since 2003, when he pleaded guilty to attempted burglary. Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza increased Leveille's bail from $3,000, to $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond.

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One driver dies in truck, one hurt in Ontario crash

THOROLD, Ont. -- The driver of a pickup died inside his burning vehicle following a two-vehicle crash Tuesday morning, Niagara Regional Police said.

The crash occurred just after 10 a.m. on Merritt Road near Niagara Street. The driver, whose identity was not released, was eastbound on Merritt and crossed the center line, hitting the westbound van.

Both drivers were trapped in their vehicles. Attempts to free the driver of the pickup, which burst into flames, were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The van driver, identified only as a 56-year-old Welland male, was taken to Welland County General Hospital with injuries described as serious.

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Robbery attempt ends as customers enter store

A man attempted to rob a Delaware Avenue gas station Monday night but fled when customers came into the store.

Before he left empty-handed, the assailant told the clerk he was joking and "was paid to do this."

The incident happened at about 11:15 p.m. at the Kwik Fill at 2543 Delaware, between Kenmore and Hertel avenues.

After following the clerk into the store, the man told her it was a robbery and demanded money, according to a report.

During the incident, the man also reached into a pocket and said, "Now here comes the gun."

No gun was seen, police said.

The man removed a partial mask, which may have been a handkerchief, when customers entered, police reported.

The assailant is described as a light-skinned Hispanic male, about 40 years old and 5-foot-10 with a medium to stocky build. He had thick, black curly hair with some gray. He had a pot belly and was wearing a black V-neck sweat shirt.

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Damage put at $50,000 in Clinton Street arson

Arson has been blamed for a two-alarm blaze reported at 1:11 a.m. Tuesday in a vacant house at 840 Clinton St.

The fire began on the first floor and spread throughout the structure, causing $50,000 in damage, the Buffalo Fire Department said.

An adjacent vacant home at 838 Clinton was exposed to the fire, but no damage was reported.

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