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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Police say Ontario fare cheated cabbie out of $190

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Grimsby, Ont., fare was charged with theft of services after stiffing a cabbie out of $190, then became aggressive as he was booked Monday, police said.

Dennis R. Thomson, 64, was arrested in the parking lot of Tim Hortons on Pine Avenue at 10:45 a.m. after the Blue United Taxi driver told police that after driving Thomson to a variety of locations throughout the city, he said he had no money on him and would pay up next month.

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Man accused of beating puppy freed from custody

NIAGARA FALLS -- A city man behind bars more than five months on an animal cruelty charge after he was accused of beating his puppy was freed Monday after a witness who had talked with police decided not to testify against him.

Chester D. Harris, 49, of Townsend Place, was charged July 29 with the savage beating of his 3-month-old mixed pointer with a table leg, shattering the pup's front left leg and shoulder. Harris had been unable to make bail, which started at $2,000 and recently was reduced to $500, before the charge was dismissed.

"We're disappointed, but it's not going to deter us," Niagara County SPCA Executive Director John Faso said Tuesday. "He spent a good amount of time in jail, and we want our message to be very clear, that if you abuse an animal there's going to be some stiff penalties. We want that animal's voice to be heard and make sure they get their day in court."

The puppy, renamed Daisy, has recovered and been adopted by a Cheektowaga couple.

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Man sentenced to prison in Lockport home break-in

LOCKPORT -- Martin E. Snow, 34, of Dysinger Road, Lockport, was sentenced Tuesday to two to four years in prison for breaking into a home on Leete Road in Lockport on March 31.

Snow, who had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted third-degree burglary, also was ordered by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza to pay $900 in restitution to the homeowner after his release from prison.

In another case before Sperrazza on Tuesday, Jeffrey T. Wittcop, 28, of Lockwood Drive, Lockport, was given six months in jail to start his five-year probation term for taking part in the June 12 burglary of a cabin on Maple Road in Wilson.

Wittcop had pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree burglary, as did his co-defendant, Michael T. Doxey, 23, of Van Horn Street, Burt. Doxey agreed last week to pay $1,667 restitution, but Wittcop's attorney, Scott R. Stopa, demanded a hearing on the amount, because Wittcop was told when he entered his plea that the tab would be between $1,100 and $1,325.

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Elderly woman in pajamas discovered lying in snow

GASPORT -- With temperatures in the teens, a 90-year-old woman in pajamas was discovered lying in the snow at about 7 a.m. Monday in the 7600 block of Slayton Settlement Road, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said. A neighbor on his way to work said he was backing out of his driveway when he saw the woman.

Gasport firefighters said the woman, who lives about a quarter-mile away with a son, suffers from dementia and was taken by Rural/Metro Ambulance to Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo, for treatment. Her condition was unavailable.

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Musical instruments sold to a scrap dealer

NIAGARA FALLS -- Musical instruments valued at several thousand dollars stolen from a home in the 400 block of 18th Street are believed to have been sold to a local scrap dealer, police said

The theft, reported to police Monday, occurred during a break-in last week, police said. Among items taken were five drum cymbals and an autoclave, as well as a space heater worth $2,100. A wooden door was pried open to gain entrance.

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Disruptive teen led from City Council meeting

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 15th Street teenager escorted from a City Council meeting Monday night is charged with disorderly conduct.

Shelinka T. Cunningham, 17, was led from Council Chambers at about 8 p.m. after refusing to stop talking after she was warned to stop, police said.

Officer John Petrishin said the charge was lodged when she began using profanities as she was led from the meeting.

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Son sentenced to probation for stealing from parents

LOCKPORT -- A resident of the Village mobile home park in Lockport was released from Niagara County Jail on Tuesday, as Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza sentenced him to five years' probation in a $900 theft from his parents.

Jashua M. McGovern, 24, of Brookside Drive, also was assigned to the City of Lockport drug court for supervised drug treatment.

He had pleaded guilty in July to fourth-degree grand larceny for the Feb. 22 theft from a home on High Street in Lockport. He's been in jail since his arrest.

McGovern stole a wedding ring, an antique revolver, a portable DVD player, a camera and three bottles of Mexican rum.

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