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Jury finds zip-tie bandit guilty of holdup in Falls

LOCKPORT -- A State Supreme Court jury deliberated for about an hour Wednesday, including lunch, before convicting a Buffalo man of second-degree robbery.

Art Swain Jr., 21, of Roesch Avenue, represented himself in the three-day trial. He could receive up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced March 3 by Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr.

Swain was convicted in November of six robberies or attempted robberies in Erie County, all with similar use of plastic zip-ties to tie up the victims. Wednesday, he was convicted of entering the Universal Wireless store in Niagara Falls on Feb. 9, tying up three women at gunpoint and emptying the cash register.


Undercover probe lands Albion man in hot water

ALBION -- An Albion man faces 14 criminal charges in connection with a three-month-long undercover investigation into the sale and distribution of crack cocaine in Albion and Medina, Orleans County officials reported Thursday.

Keith George, 22, of Hamilton Street, fled his apartment on foot but was apprehended a short time later after police converged on his address and seized a quantity of packaged crack cocaine, marijuana, cash, packaging and other drug paraphernalia.

George was charged with four counts of felony criminal sale of a controlled substance, five felony counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance as well as one count each of tampering with physical evidence, criminal nuisance, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and criminal mischief.


Driver facing charges in hit-and-run crash

TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- A North Tonawanda woman faces a bevy of charges after hitting a Niagara County Sheriff's Office cruiser pulled over for a traffic stop at about noon Thursday on Robinson Road.

Linda M. Brandel, 50, was charged with a violation of the "move over law," leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, moving from lane unsafely, speed imprudent for emergency situation and driving while ability impaired by drugs.

At the time of the crash, the emergency lights were activated on Deputy Sean Furey's patrol vehicle, officials said. Furey chased Brandel for about one mile before the suspect pulled over, authorities said.


Man accused of bringing drugs into his jail cell

LOCKPORT -- A Walmore Road man was charged Wednesday with bringing contraband into prison by Niagara County sheriff's deputies.

Officers said they found Patrick J. Dugan, 27, in his cell with a prescription bottle containing narcotics that he had been able to smuggle into the jail before he was booked.


Trucker faces charges for alleged noncooperation

NIAGARA FALLS -- An Ohio man was charged after his tractor-trailer leaked as much as 100 gallons of diesel fuel into the parking lot of Tulip Corp. just after 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Marcus O. Coleman, 30, of Toledo, a driver for Motor Carrier of Ohio, was charged with disorderly conduct, a logbook violation and depositing an unwholesome substance.

Police said they were summoned after Coleman refused to give his name to a Niagara County Health Department official, then swore at police and resisted arrest.

Two violations were also found on his truck, police said, including a punctured fuel tank and a logbook that had not been updated.


Stolen vehicles found on Tuscarora Reservation

TUSCARORA RESERVATION -- Two stolen vehicles were found Wednesday on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation, according to Niagara County sheriff's deputies.

A 2004 Chevy pickup, valued at $10,000, that had been reported stolen in the 5800 block of Walmore Road in Sanborn was found on Walmore Road just after 9 a.m., minus a plow.

Deputies said the vehicle was found in a wooded area where other stolen vehicles have been recovered.

A $16,000 sport utility, which was stolen from Niagara Falls, had previously been reported as found in a wooded area on Walmore Road on Wednesday and was found stripped of tires and catalytic convertor and heavily damaged.


Man pleads not guilty in Cayuga Drive break-in

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Dudley Avenue man arraigned Wednesday in City Court is accused of burglarizing a home on Cayuga Drive last month.

Asad R. Hixon, 19, pleaded not guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny, second-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief and intimidating a witness. He is in Niagara County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

Hixon and Joseph L. Burton, 20, of Ely Avenue, and Anthony M. Blackmon, 18, of Buffalo Avenue, are accused of kicking in the door of an apartment in the 600 block of Cayuga Drive at 11:25 a.m. Dec. 9 and stealing 42-inch and 47-inch televisions, a fire safe containing $1,100 and marijuana.

Hixon's accomplices also were arraigned on charges of burglary, grand larceny and criminal mischief.

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