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POLICE & COURTS

>697 marijuana plants, gear seized in Falls, Ont.

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- A marijuana operation valued at more than $670,000 (U.S.) was seized Tuesday during a raid at a Dorchester Road home, Niagara Regional Police report.

Police found a large indoor marijuana-growing operation mainly confined to the basement. In all, 697 plants were seized. Officers also seized equipment used to grow the plants, which was valued at $25,000.

Thieu-Nhan Tran, 48, of Toronto, was charged with producing a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking and theft of electricity.

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>Man accused of fondling girl on two occasions

A Benzinger Street man has been charged with fondling a girl when she was 14 years old and again when she was 17, police said.

Jason Crump, 25, was charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of sexual abuse.

Police said Crump forcibly and improperly touched the girl in June 2003 and again in August 2006.

Sexual Offense Squad Detectives Sherry Kiszewski and Daniel Barrett arrested Crump at 12:55 a.m. Monday at Police Headquarters.

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>Man shot eight times when he opens his door

A Riverside man was fighting for his life late Tuesday in Erie County Medical Center after being shot eight times when he answered his door in the early morning hours, Buffalo police said.

Another Riverside man, arrested shortly after the shooting on other charges, is considered "a person of interest" in the attack.

The victim, Kamla Razick, 22, of Hartman Place, was confronted at his door about 2:30 a.m. by a man who said, "I want . . .," then started shooting. He was struck in the head, chest, arm and back, according to police reports.

A short time later, Northwest District officers Obed Casillas and Roscoe Henderson arrested Rashaun Holt, 21, for attempting to break into his ex-girlfriend's house, according to Dennis J. Richards, chief of detectives. Holt was charged with burglary and criminal contempt.

Officers tracked footprints from the shooting scene and saw a man get into a taxi. They followed the cab, then tracked footprints to the Riverside Avenue home of Holt's ex-girlfriend, where Holt was arrested, police said.

Holt is considered a person of interest in the shooting, but was not charged as of late Tuesday night.

He also was wanted on two warrants in Buffalo and Amherst. He was taken to the Erie County Holding Center.

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>Case of six children left in freezing rain probed

Buffalo police are looking into why six children -- ages 6 through 12 -- were left alone for about five hours in the freezing rain Monday, according to police reports.

The children's father, who apparently was leaving the area, bound for Las Vegas, left the juvenile children -- including 7-year-old twins -- at the corner of Persons and Grimes streets at about 11:30 a.m.

The children wandered through the freezing rain until their grandmother returned home about five hours later, police reported.

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>Gas station 'caretakers' suspected in $90,000 theft

More than $90,000 in stock, lottery tickets and cigarettes is missing from a Bailey Avenue gas station that was left to the care of three Lackawanna men last fall, Buffalo police reported.

The owner told police that he left his business -- A&M Gas Mart at 2756 Bailey -- to three men in September while he was out of the country. He received a call in December from someone who said the store was empty.

When the owner returned Monday, he discovered that $50,000 in stock, $18,000 for the lottery tickets and $25,000 in a cigarette credit were unaccounted for, police said.

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>Woman fights 2 teens who steal purse contents

A Buffalo woman fought with two robbers who grabbed her bag Monday night on South Park Avenue.

The woman told South District police that she was walking along South Park at about 6:40 p.m when she was confronted by two teenagers, described as about 16 years old.

One of them grabbed her bag, but the woman held on to it and a struggled ensued.

Police said the two teens dragged her until the bag's handle broke, spilling its contents on the sidewalk, and she fell to the ground.

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>Man held for police in Bailey Ave. break-in

A store owner caught a burglar breaking into his store's garage at about 11:10 p.m. Monday and held the man until Buffalo police officers arrived, police reported.

Northeast District police said the burglar broke into the garage, used to store inventory for Farm Fresh Market at 2724 Bailey Ave.

Officers Derrick Banaszak and Lt. Paul Flanagan arrested William A. Benton Jr., 41, of Roslyn Street. He was charged with burglary, possession of burglar's tools, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal mischief.

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