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WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY IN THEFT OF $20,000 FROM PHYSICIAN

LOCKPORT -- An Appleton woman accused of stealing more than $20,000 from a Barker physician over the past year has pleaded guilty to a grand larceny charge in Niagara County Court, sheriff's Investigator Patrick Weidel said Thursday.

Stephanie A. Lewis, 39, of Town Line Road, was arrested on a third-degree grand larceny charge Wednesday and subsequently pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of fourth-degree grand larceny before County Judge Sara Sperrazza. Her case was adjourned until Nov. 9 for sentencing.

Lewis was arrested following a sheriff's investigation into an audit conducted last spring at Dr. Margaret A. Libby's Quaker Road office that showed more than $20,000 had been pilfered from her accounts, Weidel said.

An investigation showed that Lewis, who helped manage the office, had taken the doctor's checkbook and written herself checks for more than $20,000 between July 1999 and March 2000. Lewis admitted stealing $15,000 from the doctor when she entered her guilty plea, Weidel said.

Teen, juvenile face charges
in theft of merchandise

LOCKPORT -- Two people have been arrested for allegedly shoplifting $300 in merchandise from two businesses earlier this week, sheriff's Investigator Ernest Lavigueur said Thursday.

Nicole Prickett, 18, of Ruhlman Road, was charged with petit larceny and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. A juvenile girl was charged on the same counts, but her case will go to Niagara County Family Court because of her age, Lavigueur said.

Prickett and the juvenile are accused of stealing $118 in merchandise, mostly cosmetics, from Tops and $183 worth of clothing from Wal-Mart, both on South Transit Road, earlier this week.

Authorities said they were called to Tops Market, where store personnel said they discovered the suspects with the stolen merchandise, including the Wal-Mart items, in baby strollers.

Officials at Regal Cinema
report $100 theft from safe

NIAGARA FALLS -- About $100 was stolen from the safe at the Regal Cinema on Builder's Way last week, police said Thursday.

Moviehouse officials said the money was taken sometime overnight on Sept. 18, Officer Marc Marinez said. He said police were summoned after Regal officials were unable to determine who took the money.

It was not the only time the new theater complex has had to deal with thefts.

Last March, a Regal employee was charged with falsifying business records and petit larceny on accusations that he stole 1,222 gift certificates valued at more than $6,000 from the safe, police said.

Stereo equipment and CDs
stolen from car on Third St.

NIAGARA FALLS -- Stereo equipment and compact discs valued at more than $2,500 were stolen from the car of a Ransomville man while it was parked in the 300 block of Third Street, Officer Al Cirrito said Thursday.

The victim told police his car window was smashed in his 1998-model car Wednesday night. Damage to the car was pegged at $500.

Man walking along road
is hit by car in Niagara

TOWN OF NIAGARA -- A Grand Island man was injured Thursday morning when he was hit by a car while walking alongside Factory Outlet Boulevard, Officer Todd Case said.

Daniel Morano, 52, of Baseline Road, was treated for head trauma and other injuries at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo and released, a medical center official said. Morano was taken to the hospital from the accident scene by ambulance, Case said.

The accident was reported at 11:27 a.m. near the entrance to Sabre Park when a car driven by Mitchell Bermudez, 20, of Staten Island, started to pass a slow truck on the right shoulder of the northbound lane and slammed her brakes when she saw Morano walking on the grass ahead of her. The car, which was traveling at 40 mph, skidded about 85 feet across the grass and hit Morano who landed on the car's hood and struck the windshield before he was knocked onto the grass, Case said.

Bermudez was charged with following too closely and passing on the right after Case and Police Chief John L. Keller completed their investigation.

Hospital worker charged
with theft of credit cards

An employee at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, has been arrested after an investigation into credit cards being stolen from patients' and employees' purses, Amherst police reported Thursday.

Detective John Piracci charged Theresa Y. Harris, 33, of Butler Avenue, Buffalo, with two counts of felony grand larceny in the theft of two credit cards. Police identified her as a clerical employee at the hospital.

"We've had quite a few other complaints from both patients and other employees regarding larcenies of items from their purses," Assistant Police Chief Ronald H. Hagelberger said Thursday.

Some of the thefts reportedly came from purses of maternity ward patients. Detectives believe that some of the stolen credit cards were used at nearby department stores.

Man accused of tying up
ex-girlfriend, slashing her

A Buffalo man was apprehended Wednesday at the downtown NFTA bus terminal, where police said he had fled after allegedly tying up his ex-girlfriend with electrical tape and cutting her face with a knife.

Stewart Davis, 37, of Clearwater, Fla., was charged with second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment.

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