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LOCKPORT -- Edward F. Lamica, 20, of Ruhlman Road, on Monday became the second man to plead guilty in connection with the Dec. 5 robbery of Goldsmith's Grand Auction Gallery.

Lamica, who was originally indicted on 12 counts, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted first-degree robbery and was set for sentencing Aug. 23 by County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Jason I. Jones, 18, of Ontario Street, entered the same plea April 20. Charges are still pending against the third suspect, Dennis W. Zimmerman Jr., 22, of Chicago, a former Lockport resident.

The three were accused of entering the auction house at South Transit and Fisk roads in Pendleton armed with a 9 mm handgun. They allegedly stole $90 and 11 firearms, while binding the owner's son with duct tape to keep him out of the way.

Juries chosen, testimony
to start in two trials

LOCKPORT -- Juries were chosen Monday and testimony will begin today in two trials in Niagara County Court.

In Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza's courtroom, Arnold J. Pieroni Jr., 50, of The Circle, Lewiston, is charged with two counts of second-degree insurance fraud and one count of first-degree scheming to defraud.

Pieroni is accused of collecting more than $250,000 in homeowners insurance benefits from two different insurance companies from 1996 through 1999 by filing fraudulent storm damage claims for his home.

Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. is presiding over the trial of Hilton Maxwell, 23, of Gooding Street, Lockport, who faces two counts of second-degree assault and one count of bribing a witness.

Maxwell is accused of injuring two men, Craig Lackner and Daniel Rafferty, outside the Time Out II bar in Olcott on May 14, 2000, using either his fists or an unknown object. He is also charged with trying to bribe Lackner not to testify against him.

Woman beaten severely
by three men, hospitalized

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 23-year-old woman was assaulted by three men early Monday at 24th Street and Forest Avenue and suffered fractures to her nose and eye socket, police said.

The victim told police she was confronted by her attackers while walking in the area about midnight, was knocked to the ground, punched and kicked. She was treated for injuries in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

Resident returns home
to discover break-in

NIAGARA FALLS -- A broken window tipped off a Whitney Avenue resident that his home was broken into, police said Monday.

The homeowner said someone entered the home over the weekend and stole $4,750 from a box inside his dresser drawer. A gold wedding ring valued at $400 was also taken.

Woman celebrating birthday
in motel sexually assaulted

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 26-year-old woman was sodomized and sexually abused after going to a Niagara Falls Boulevard motel to celebrate her birthday, police said Monday.

The victim told police she accepted a man's offer to celebrate in the motel late Saturday. After arriving, two other men came into the room and sexually attacked the woman, police said.

The attackers, who let the woman leave Sunday morning, warned her not to go to police, police said.

Items are stolen
from vacant home

NIAGARA FALLS -- Items valued at $450 were stolen from a vacant Elmwood Avenue home between Wednesday and Monday, police said. Items missing include a bronze clock with pendulum and a statue, police added.

Employee, two others
charged with store scam

WHEATFIELD -- Sheriff's investigators have arrested three people for allegedly scamming the Sears store in Summit Park Mall out of about $3,000 in stereo and entertainment equipment.

A store employee,, John Saliccioli, 19, of Bridgeman Road, Sanborn, was charged with grand larceny, while Sean T. Sweeney, 20, of Lockport Road, and Jonathan J. Zoladz, 17, of Raymond Road, were charged with petit larceny, Investigator Steven J. Kingsbury said.

Deputies said Sweeney and Zoladz would visit the store and Saliccioli would credit them with returning merchandise when they had returned nothing. Saliccioli would then allow them to leave the store with items they had not paid for, deputies said.

The crimes occurred from late April through May 9, deputies said;. Two stereo receivers, three compact disc players and a $600 home theater system were among items stolen, Kingsbury said.

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