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POLICE & COURTS

>Fast action in fire saves family, dogs and ferrets

Flames caused extensive damage to a Cheektowaga home on Christmas Eve, but the family and its pets escaped safely.

Firefighters from Cleveland Hill responded to the call at about 9 p.m. Sunday, when flames spread through a single-family home at 68 Farmingdale Road, near Greenway Boulevard. Part of the first floor collapsed. A damage estimate was still being tallied Monday.

First Assistant Chief Michael Griffin said the fire started near a dryer in the basement, adding that the cause remains under investigation.

The family had two dogs and some ferrets. Griffin said emergency crews gave oxygen to one ferret shortly after the animals were rescued from the burning home.

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>Church on Jefferson is site of burglary

Police on Monday were investigating a burglary at Pentecostal Temple of God on Jefferson Avenue.

The break-in targeted the church's garage sometime between 2 p.m. Sunday and 11 a.m. Monday. Missing were two laptop computers, a stereo and a drum case bag. Police said a door was damaged.

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>Hydroponic marijuana found in spare tire

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers said they arrested a 29-year-old New York City-area woman at the Peace Bridge on Sunday after finding 15 pounds of hydroponic marijuana hidden inside the spare tire of her car.

The suspect, Khattena Johnston of Far Rockaway, told officers at the crossing that she was returning from Canada after dropping off family members in Toronto. Customs officials said they were suspicious of her story, and a second inspection was ordered.

Officers using a portable contraband detector, called the "Buster," noticed an "unusually high reading on the vehicle's spare tire," border officials said in a statement.

An X-ray was taken of the tire, revealing something had been placed inside. The officers cut open the tire and found vacuum-sealed bags of pot with an estimated street value of $45,000, authorities said.

Johnston was charged with importation and possession, with the intent to distribute, a controlled substance. She was turned over to the Buffalo Police Department for prosecution by the Erie County district attorney.

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>Fire in DMV office on Dingens probed

Buffalo fire officials were investigating a suspicious fire early Monday that heavily damaged the state Department of Motor Vehicles office at 334 Dingens St.

The fire broke out shortly before 12:40 a.m. in the one-story brick building. Damage was estimated at $75,000.

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>Two women hurt in crash listed as satisfactory

NUNDA -- Two women injured in a two-car crash Friday on Route 408 remained in satisfactory condition Monday in Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester.

Livingston County sheriff's deputies said Shawna M. Crosby, 23, was northbound on Route 408, just north of the Allegany County line, when her car was struck head-on by a car operated by Tamara Rounsville, 22, of Mount Morris. Rounsville's 7-year-old son, Jeremy Young, was in the car with her.

Nunda firefighters were called to the scene to pull Crosby out of her damaged car.

Both women and the boy were transported to Strong. Jeremy Young was released from the hospital over the weekend, officials said.

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>Police say woman tried to run her husband over

A Germain Street woman was arrested Sunday after she tried to run her husband over with her car three times, Buffalo police said.

Nicole M. Lopez, 29, was driving a 1994 four-door Ford toward her husband, Luis A. Rosario, 30, near Maryland Street and West Avenue just before 7 a.m., police said.

Rosario was not injured during the incident, which was witnessed by a Central District police officer, according to reports.

Lopez was charged with a misdemeanor count of second-degree reckless endangerment.

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