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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

>Robbery of woman, 83, third such case in month

NIAGARA FALLS -- An elderly woman robbed while carrying groceries into her house is believed to be the third such case in a month, Niagara Falls police said.

About 6 p.m. Friday, an 83-year-old woman was accosted at the door of her College Avenue home by a man who pushed her down and fled with her purse.

The victim lost about $500, a checkbook, credit card and cell phone, police said. Similar attacks in December occurred in the same general area, police said.

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>Informant suspected of cocaine purchase

NIAGARA FALLS -- A police informant given $200 in marked bills to make an undercover handgun purchase is believed to have used the money to purchase cocaine, police said Friday.

David A. Glenn, 44, of Niagara Street, was charged charged with petit larceny and misapplication of property. Police said the money was supposed to be used to purchase a gun near 19th Street and Walnut Avenue Friday night. Glenn, however, failed to to show up at prearranged rendezvous point, police said.

Tracked down a short time later, Glenn had neither the gun nor the money but was found with a glass crack pipe and a $20 bill. A blood test showed that Glenn had consumed cocaine, police said.

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>Separate trials urged for murder defendants

LOCKPORT -- The attorneys for both defendants in the Jacobi L. Lovett murder case continued to insist on separate trials, with each attorney planning to accuse the other lawyer's client of pulling the trigger.

Tyrome L. Elder, 24, of Niagara Falls, and Earl McCoy, 29, of Rochester, are charged as accomplices with second-degree murder in the Nov. 7, 2009, slaying of Lovett, 36, of Buffalo. He was shot to death in what police described as a robbery attempt in Niagara Falls, but evidence discussed in court recently indicated that jealousy over a woman may have played a part.

Attorneys spent an hour last week trying to edit McCoy's statements to police into a form that would be usable in a joint trial, which is being sought by the prosecution. In one statement, McCoy accused Elder of being the killer. Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III reserved decision on the number of trials and the content of the statement.

Meanwhile, Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann disclosed that DNA testing in Lovett's car showed no DNA match for McCoy. Elder also had no DNA in the car, according to results reported last week. Lovett is believed to have been shot while sitting in the parked Jaguar.

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>Patron of the lottery spends bogus $20 bill

NIAGARA FALLS -- A counterfeit $20 bill turned up early Saturday at the Coastal service station on 19th Street, police said.

The bogus bill came from a man who purchased two $2 scratch-off lottery tickets shortly before midnight, police said.

The man fled the store when confronted by a cashier about the bill, police added.

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>Burglar with flashlight takes flight with laptop

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Niagara Street woman was awakened early Friday by a hooded man with a flashlight, police said.

The intruder fled, taking the woman's $450 laptop computer. Police said the burglar entered the home shortly before 7 a.m. through a basement window.

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>$6.3 million settlement reached in Medicare case

Seven hospitals throughout the country have agreed to pay the U.S. government a total of $6.3 million to settle allegations involving false claims made to the Medicare program, according to federal prosecutors.

The settlements stem from an investigation into Medtronic Spine LLC, formerly known as Kyphon Inc., conducted by federal prosecutors and agents in Buffalo.

Investigators learned that some hospitals were overcharging Medicare for a procedure known as kyphoplasty, which is a treatment for some spinal fractures, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said.

The hospitals involved are in Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Florida and Mississippi, Hochul said.

The Buffalo News reported in 2008 that the Medtronic Spine firm, located in Fridley, Minn., agreed to pay the federal government $75 million to settle a case relating to the same investigation. While paying the settlement, Medtronic Spine officials did not admit to defrauding the government.

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>Copper, snowblower among break-in targets

NIAGARA FALLS -- A snowblower and lawn mower were stolen from a storage shed at the Salvation Army on Buffalo Avenue overnight Thursday, police said.

A hasp lock to a shed was cut and the loss was placed at $1,625.

In another incident, a burglar stole an estimated $4,000 worth of copper plumbing from a vacant house on Fourth Street last week, police said.