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FIRE ENGULFS GARAGE, CAUSES $67,000 IN DAMAGE

LOCKPORT -- Fire swept through a garage early Thursday, causing $67,000 in damage to the structure, its contents, two adjacent homes and two vehicles parked nearby.

The blaze, which is under investigation, was reported at 3:55 a.m. behind 187 Pine St., fire officials said.

An estimated $30,000 damage was done to the building. A 1993 Dodge Caravan worth $5,000 was destroyed. Another $15,000 in damage was done to a 2001 Chevrolet Blazer that was parked outside the garage, and about $2,000 damage was done to a 2002 Saturn that was parked farther away, fire officials said.

About $4,000 in heat damage was done to the vinyl siding on a house at 191 Pine St., and $2,000 in damage was done to the exterior of 59 John St., fire officials said.

Firefighter Joseph Provenzano suffered an abrasion to his arm, and Lt. Louis Farina suffered a back injury while fighting the blaze. Both men remained on duty and did not seek medical treatment. Keith W. MacAlpin was listed as owner of the 187 Pine St. property, fire officials said.

7 teenagers facing charges
in burglarizing of warehouse

LOCKPORT -- Seven teenagers were arrested Thursday in connection with two recent break-ins at an Exchange Street warehouse owned by Hilger Roofing, 519 Mill St., Detective David Barrancotta said.

A girl and boy, both 14, were charged with burglary and felony criminal mischief for entering the warehouse Oct. 4 and causing more than $500 in damage by throwing around four five-gallon containers of paint, Barrancotta said.

The boy and five others were charged in a Nov. 11 burglary there. Of the five new suspects, one is 11, two are 14, and two are 15, he said. The cases are being handled by the Niagara County Probation Department.

Robbery suspect tackled
and held until police arrive

NIAGARA FALLS -- A South End man foiled the robbery of a Wilson Farms store at 2824 Pine Ave. late Wednesday when he tackled the suspect and held him until police arrived.

Joseph A. Freiburger, 51, was charged with third-degree robbery after he took an undisclosed amount of money and stamps from the cash register, police said.

Police said a store customer, Thomas Linton, prevented Freiburger from leaving the store until he could be arrested.

Man sought in assault,
robbery attempt is arrested

LOCKPORT -- A Lock Street man, accused of breaking a Woodhaven Drive teen's nose during an attempted robbery, was arrested Thursday, police said.

Maurice Mackey, 21, was charged with felony assault and attempted robbery at 10 a.m. at Police Headquarters.

He is accused of approaching Scott A. Siegel, 17, of Woodhaven Drive, on Sept. 3 in the Rite Aid Drug Store parking lot, Transit and High streets, demanding money and punching him in the face when he refused to hand it over.

2 suspected drug smugglers
arrested at Rainbow Bridge

NIAGARA FALLS -- Two men suspected of trying to smuggle a depressant believed to be used in the production of the drug Ecstasy were arrested inbound at the Rainbow Bridge early Thursday on the state's most serious drug-possession charge, police said.

Scott T. Prohaska, 36, of Niagara Falls Boulevard in North Tonawanda, and Brian C. Skowronek, 25, of Diedre Court in Wheatfield, were charged with first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance by Officers James Conti and Christopher Calvano and Detective Patrick Stack, police said.

U.S. Customs Service inspectors said they found eight 20-milligram bottles of Nalbouphine HCI in their vehicle after it was pulled over for a secondary inspection. If convicted, the suspects could face the maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison, police said.

N. Tonawanda man, 33, sent
jto prison in child-sex case

LOCKPORT -- A North Tonawanda man convicted in sexual attacks on a boy and a girl was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison.

Augustine R. Rizzo, 33, of East Avenue, received a 10-year sentence for his Sept. 6 conviction on charges of attempted first- and third-degree rape, first- and second-degree sodomy and endangering the welfare of a child. The charges were linked to assaults on a boy younger than 13. Rizzo forced the boy into sexual acts in 1997 and tried to force him to have sex with a woman in 1999, authorities said.

Rizzo was sentenced to an additional 10 years in prison for his Sept. 26 guilty plea to attempted first-degree sexual misconduct with a child. The victim was a girl younger than 11 who was sexually assaulted over a 2 1/2 -year period from 1998 through May 2001. Before agreeing to the single-count plea, he had faced 11 charges in the case.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza imposed the consecutive sentence after hearing a statement from the male victim, now in his late teens, who described Rizzo as a monster and asked for the maximum sentence.

Rizzo expressed remorse for the pain he caused his victims.

"I'm ashamed of the person I was. . . . I'm so sorry for what I've done. I'd give my life to take (away) their pain," he said.