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EX-EMPLOYEE DENIES STEALING CASH FROM STORE

A former cashier at Johnson's Country Store here pleaded not guilty Friday to stealing $49,607 from the till during a three-year period.

Carolyn B. Hamilton, 58, of State Street, Gasport, denied charges of third-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records at her arraignment in Niagara County Court.

Assistant District Attorney Mary Jean Bowman said Hamilton is accused of filling out about 270 false merchandise return slips between January 1999 and February of this year and pocketing the purported refunds.

In another theft case, Jeremy Slattery, 25, of Niagara Avenue, Niagara Falls, is accused of forging and cashing four stolen checks for a total of $1,250.

Slattery pleaded not guilty to four counts each of second-degree criminal possession of forged instruments and petit larceny.

Assistant District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said Slattery allegedly stole the blank checks from the checkbook of a Niagara Falls woman in whose home he was doing remodeling work.

In a sentencing Friday, Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. recommended boot camp-like "shock incarceration" for Kenneth B. Rouse, who drew a prison term of 1 1/3 to four years for attempted third-degree robbery.

Rouse, 20, of South Transit Road, Pendleton, invaded the home of Thomas L. Maida on Green Street, Lockport, on Jan. 23. Police said at the time he had a handgun and was wearing a stocking mask and a hood.

Rouse allegedly demanded money and became involved in a struggle with Maida, 50, who locked himself in his bedroom after being hit in the head with the gun. Rouse fled but was arrested two days later.

Broderick scheduled sentencing for Jan. 17 for Michael R. Henning, 23, of Washington Street, Lockport, who pleaded guilty to third-degree robbery.

Henning was accused of stealing $90 from Karen Shomers' coat pocket in the Niagara Hotel, Lockport, on Feb. 8.

Dearick L. Hoefer, 22, of Lock Street, Lockport, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree assault before Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza, who set sentencing for Jan. 12. Hoefer was accused of injuring a woman in his apartment Aug. 31.

Christopher James, 34, of 20th Street, Niagara Falls, pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and is to be sentenced by Broderick on Jan. 23. James sold cocaine to an undercover police officer in Niagara Falls on April 24.

Chester L. DeBiaso, 46, of Girard Avenue, Niagara Falls, pleaded not guilty to third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Police raided his apartment Sept. 11 and said they found an illegal .38-caliber revolver.

Sperrazza jailed Gary A. Miller for six months, followed by five years of probation, for felony driving while intoxicated.

Miller, 36, of Pearce Road, Wheatfield, was also fined $1,000 and ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week after his jail term. He was arrested Jan. 30 in Wheatfield.

David M. Rowland, 47, of Meadowbrook Drive, Lewiston, was fined $1,000 by Broderick and placed on five years' probation for felony DWI resulting from a May 25 arrest in Lewiston. Rowland also must perform 10 days of community service.

Two Niagara Falls men who were pulled over in that city and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI counts each received three years' probation.

Ricky W. Horton, 37, of D Street, was arrested May 7. Wayne S. Hill, 32, of Willow Avenue, was arrested Dec. 27.

Pleading guilty to felony DWI were Billy J. Carter, 52, of 22nd Street, Niagara Falls, and John R. Copella, 39, of Quaker Road, Hartland.

They were pulled over in their hometowns, Carter on Aug. 3 and Copella on July 31. Carter is to be sentenced Jan. 17 and Copella on Jan. 24.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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