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GIRL, 10, DROWNS IN POOL IN ONTARIO; SISTER, 8, RESCUED

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- A 10-year-old girl from Ridgewood, N.J., died late Tuesday night in Greater Niagara General Hospital after being pulled from the bottom of a hotel pool by another hotel guest who helped save the girl's 8-year-old sister.

The incident began shortly before 9 p.m. in the pool of the Best Western Fallsview Hotel on Fallsview Boulevard, when a 32-year-old New Jersey mother was swimming with her three daughters, ages 8, 10 and 14., Niagara Regional Police said.

All three girls experienced difficulty and began struggling in the deep end, with the two younger girls beginning to submerge.

The 14-year-old daughter ran for help and found a male guest who pulled both girls to the surface and put one of them on the pool deck. The mother immediately began CPR on the 10-year-old, before paramedics arrived.

The girl was rushed to Greater Niagara General, where she was pronounced dead about an hour later. Authorities have not released any names.

Four arrested in series of thefts from stores

Town of Hamburg detectives believe they have solved a rash of cigarette thefts that relied on an age-old trick -- distracting the store clerk -- in at least seven local convenience-type stores in the last two months.

Detectives Thomas Best Jr. and Glenn Zawierucha have arrested four people from Blasdell in the series of thefts that occurred from March 31 to May 16 in convenience stores, gas stations and drugstores in the Town of Hamburg and Blasdell. Town of Hamburg detectives also are conferring with Town of Tonawanda and Cheektowaga police about similar incidents in those towns.

Detectives arrested David L. Parker, 35, of Willet Road; Ian Ford, 31, of Highview Circle; Jennifer L. Czosek, 27, of Fairview Parkway; and Leah J. Rautenstrauch, 25, of Willet Road. Parker faces six counts of petit larceny, Ford five counts; the two women, one count each, police said.

In each reported case, two people were involved in the theft.

"They'd walk into a store, and one of them, usually the female, would try to distract the employee, while the other person took some cigarettes and other merchandise," said Capt. A. Daniel Shea, chief of detectives in the Town of Hamburg.

In one case, the female thief claimed she was having trouble with her medication. In another, the woman claimed the employee's parked car had been struck outside.

Man charged with lewdness in Amherst mall parking lot

An East Amherst man faces a public lewdness charge after Amherst police accused him of exposing himself, making obscene gestures and making provocative comments to a woman as he sat in his vehicle in the Boulevard Mall parking lot Tuesday afternoon.

The 30-year-old woman who had just walked out of the mall into the parking lot called mall security, who saw the vehicle leaving the scene at about 4 p.m.

Officer Kevin Maria spotted the vehicle in a nearby carwash. He arrested Jonathan Benjamin, 35, of Redspire Way, on the misdemeanor charge.

Slovakian alien on inner tube plucked from Niagara River

A 30-year-old Slovakian man crossing the Niagara River in a simple inner tube and a pair of fins made by using duct tape was scheduled to be arraigned later today after two fishermen pulled him from the river near the Lewiston fishing docks early Tuesday morning.

The U.S. Border Patrol, monitoring the river with its night-vision equipment, spotted Marian Hoferica in the river at about 1 a.m., Deputy Chief Ed Duda said. By the time agents responded, the fishermen had pulled him from the river.

Hoferica was taken to Mount St. Mary's Hospital, Lewiston, for treatment of hypothermia.

Gunman steals wallet, $120 from man at Metro station

A Taunton Place man was robbed of his wallet containing $120 Tuesday afternoon by a man who pointed a silver handgun at him at the LaSalle Metro Rail Station, police said.

Northeast District police said the man approached the victim at about 5:30 p.m., demanded his wallet and then reached into his back pocket and removed it himself.

The thief fled west behind the train station, toward Shoshone Park.

Pizza deliveryman robbed by three on Wyoming Avenue

A pizza deliveryman was robbed of $100 by three men with a shotgun Tuesday night, police said.

Northeast District police said the man was attempting to make a delivery at a home in the 400 block of Wyoming Avenue at 11:30 p.m. when the men approached him. They fled down Wyoming, toward Sussex Street.

Widow accepts settlement in husband's traffic death

The widow of Richard Campagna, an executive for a local telephone directory firm, has agreed to a $2.7 million settlement from insurance carriers for the Eden food distributorship whose truck rear-ended the car he was in during a snowstorm near Erie, Pa., on Feb. 27, her lawyer said Tuesday. He was fatally injured.

Marlene Campagna, of West Seneca, has agreed to a $735,000 cash payment immediately and periodic payments totally an additional $2 million from carriers for Eden Valley Growers and one of its drivers, according to attorney Philip Celniker.

Celniker said Campagna, 53, who had been a directory manager for the Talking Phone Book, and his widow, had moved to Millcreek, Pa. shortly before the accident.

Man faces prison term for assault on ex-employer

Louis Rogers faces another state prison term due to his conviction Friday for assaulting a Buffalo landlord who fired him.

Following a five-day trial at which Roger, 38, of Red Jacket Street, insisted he smashed the left hand of his former boss, Jeffrey Hollenbrook, 38, of Lancaster, in self-defense, a jury found him guilty of third-degree assault and possessing a dangerous instrument.

The jury found Rogers not guilty of second-degree assault for the incident at one of Hollenbrook's rental properties on Red Jacket Street last June 23.

Hollenbrook had fired Rogers four months before the incident because he was "a problem worker."

Prosecutor Michael J. McHale said he will urge Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark to recommend the maximum seven-year prison term for Rogers. He served an earlier seven-year prison term for a 1994 Buffalo burglary conviction.

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