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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Driver, passenger swap roles; both take the heat

NIAGARA FALLS -- A man and woman in the same vehicle ended up being charged each with driving while intoxicated about 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the 700 block of Pine Avenue.

Niagara Falls police said they pulled over the vehicle, traveling erratically, and discovered the woman had changed places with the man behind the wheel. Michael J. Sullivan, 36, was charge with speeding, making an unsafe start and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. Police identified the woman as Wendy M. Scola, 46, of Saunders Settlement Road.

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Pickup driver badly hurt in crash at Wilson junction

WILSON -- A man was listed in critical condition Saturday in Erie County Medical Center after his pickup crashed at Cambria-Wilson and New roads, Town of Wilson.

Niagara County sheriff's officials were called to the scene at about 12:40 a.m. They found the driver, whose name was not released, in the road. He had apparently been ejected from his pickup truck.

Investigators believe the truck was southbound on Cambria-Wilson when it went off the west side of the road, struck a fire hydrant, a tree and an embankment before re-entering the road and then ended up on the other side of the road in a front yard.

The driver, whose identity has not been released, was taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC.

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Farm equipment sold for scrap following theft

ROYALTON -- Niagara County sheriff's deputies said scrap farm equipment stolen from a Chestnut Ridge Road farm overnight Thursday showed up at a local scrap yard.

Residents of the farm told authorities they heard a truck pull into the driveway Thursday night, leaving shortly afterward. Meanwhile, investigators are looking over records and surveillance videotapes from the scrap business to determine who sold the equipment as scrap.

The equipment included a corn planter, silage blower and stovepipe.

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Falls man pleads guilty to robbery of Falls bank

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man who robbed a bank earlier this month and burglarized a house last fall pleaded guilty to two felonies Friday in State Supreme Court.

Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. promised concurrent sentences for Sheldon W. Crogan, 36, of Main Street, who pleaded guilty to third-degree robbery and attempted third-degree burglary. That means the most Crogan can receive when he returns to court June 22 is 3 1/2 to seven years in prison.

Crogan stole copper wire from a house on 24th Street in the Falls on Oct. 4, and used a holdup note to rob the HSBC Bank on Main Street in that city April 10. He was jailed without bail to await sentencing.

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Big-screen TVs targeted in similar house break-ins

NIAGARA FALLS -- A sliding glass patio door was smashed during the burglary of an Independence Avenue home Friday night, police said.

Police said the residents were away when someone broke the rear door and made off with 55-inch TV set, police said.

Meanwhile, an Orchard Parkway home was broken into in a similar way between 1 and 6 a.m. Friday, police said. A flat-screen television also was stolen as the residents slept.

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Cambria woman pleads guilty in felony DWI case

LOCKPORT -- A Cambria woman was freed from the Niagara County Jail on Friday after pleading guilty to felony driving while intoxicated.

Lauren P. Paul, 32, of Upper Mountain Road, was arrested Jan. 28 in Newfane while she was out on bail awaiting sentencing for misdemeanor DWI and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, charges stemming from an April 27, 2011, incident in the Town of Lockport.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. Kloch will impose sentence.

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Drug-smuggling plea goes through withdrawal

LOCKPORT -- A Wheatfield man was allowed Friday to withdraw his guilty plea to smuggling drugs into the Niagara County Jail, because a judge refused to admit him to a drug treatment program.

Patrick J. Dugan, 28, of Walmore Road, faces additional charges in the theft of $50,000 worth of metal equipment from the Summit mall in Wheatfield in January. He pleaded guilty Feb. 6 to attempted first-degree promoting prison contraband. State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. has vowed not to accept any pleas from defendants charged with stealing copper without sending them to jail.