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Erie County sheriff's investigators are continuing to probe a weekend burglary that netted thieves about $5,000 in office equipment and left hundreds of dollars worth of damage inside the New Hope Korean Presbyterian Church in Clarence.

Burglars who forced their way into the church on Strickler Road sometime overnight Saturday confined their damage to the office area of the church.

"We're looking at it very carefully," Chief Deputy Richard T. Donovan said today. "There was no damage to the sanctuary itself. There was nothing to give us any indication that it was any kind of a hate crime. But it's still under investigation."

Driver rescued from roof
of car in Ellicott Creek

A 40-year-old Niagara County man escaped from his vehicle and climbed onto its roof after it plunged into Ellicott Creek at about 8:50 p.m. Monday, Amherst police reported.

Andrew C. Rawls of Sanborn told Amherst police that he was westbound on South Ellicott Creek Road, east of Niagara Falls Boulevard, when his vehicle struck a deer and he lost control of the vehicle.

Volunteer firefighters found Rawls sitting on the roof of his vehicle in the creek when they responded. Authorities said he suffered no serious injuries in the mishap.

12-year prison sentence
issued in rape of girl, 10

Thomas Williams, a home security system installer, Monday was ordered to serve a 12-year prison term for raping the 10-year-old daughter of a former girlfriend while installing a system in her Buffalo home two years ago.

State Supreme Court Justice Mario J. Rossetti imposed the term on Williams, 40, of Thompson Street, after denying his belated demand for a jury trial.

Williams initially claimed prosecutors "coerced" him into accepting a pretrial plea to an attempted rape charge two months ago. However, after the judge's ruling, he pleaded for a lenient sentence so he could begin the "rehabilitation process as quickly as possible."

Rossetti sentenced Williams after Rosanne Eimer Johnson, head of the Sexual Assault Bureau in the Erie County district attorney's office, said that the plea deal spared Williams federal prosecution for the child pornography found on computer disks at his home.

Eimer Johnson said Williams' arrest last July 26 came after his victim, on a trip to visit an aunt in Florida, belatedly talked about the sex attack, which occurred as Williams was installing the home security system in December 2001.

Deputies say erratic driving
resulted in DWI arrest

A Grand Island man was charged with felony driving while intoxicated after he was spotted driving erratically on Whitehaven Road in the town, Erie County sheriff's deputies said.

Steve Kolarich, 54, of East Park Road, who was pulled over just after 4 p.m., was being held in the Erie County Holding Center pending arraignment. Deputies said Kolarich has a previous alcohol-related driving conviction.

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