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COUPLE HALTED AT BORDER WITH ITEMS FROM BURGLARY

A Cleveland couple were arrested last week as they tried to cross the Peace Bridge into Canada, where customs officers said they found items from a recent Amherst burglary inside the couple's car, the Erie County Sheriff's Department reported.

Frederick Case II, 36, and Kathleen Robinson, 26, were charged with criminal possession of stolen property.

Case faces an additional charge of burglary. Robinson was wanted on two outstanding warrants, for failure to appear in Nevada and on drug-related charges in Cleveland.

Police say charges are pending against a third suspect who is in police custody on separate charges.

Senior Investigator Charles D. Tirone said Case broke into a home on McKinley Avenue in Amherst last Wednesday and stole jewelry and a safe containing about $500, rolled coins and personal papers.

A few hours later, police say, his accomplice burglarized a home on Poplar Hill Lane in Clarence, stealing jewelry and a safe containing $9,000 worth of savings bonds.

Canada Customs officers pulled over their vehicle at the border about 4 p.m. Thursday, identified the property and realized that it was stolen. Sheriff's deputies arrested them after they were handed over to U.S. Customs and Border protection officials.

"If they hadn't gone to Canada, we might never have gotten them," said Tirone, who investigated the case with Amherst Detective Joan Ratzel. "Canada Customs did a great job."

Police said they confessed to the burglary. Tirone and Ratzel recovered most of the property and found the two safes -- one inside a Clarence dumpster and the other in a Cheektowaga field.

e-mail: vthomas@buffnews.com

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