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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Air-conditioning unit worth $4,000 stolen

WILSON -- A former employee of a homeowner is suspected of taking a $4,000 central air-conditioning unit from a Washington Street residence, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said Saturday.

The property, owned by a resident of O'Connell Island here, was broken into sometime between Oct. 1 and Friday, deputies said. Nothing else was reported missing. Deputies plan to interview the former employee as part of their investigation.

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Two charged in string of robberies, break-ins

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. -- Two Niagara Falls, Ont., residents arrested after a traffic stop Friday have been charged with a string of robberies and break-ins over the past few months, Niagara Regional Police report.

Police charged Dariusz Ribisz, 25, and Theresa Pitre, 24, in connection with robberies at the Vasko Rexall Pharmacy in Welland and Meadows IDA Pharmacy in Niagara Falls, a burglary and arson at Simpsons Pharmacy in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the theft of a U-Haul truck from Seaway Trailers in Welland, a vehicle pursuit involving the Ontario Provincial Police in St. Catharines and several firearm-related offenses.

Police pulled the two over in St. Catharines on Friday morning but said that while they were questioning Pitre, Ribisz jumped behind the wheel, sped toward officers, then took off on the Queen Elizabeth Way.

Ontario Provincial Police cornered Ribisz near the QEW and McLeod Road in Niagara Falls, where he intentionally collided with two OPP cruisers as he tried to escape. No one was injured during the incident.

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Shoplifting suspect charged with assault

NIAGARA FALLS -- A teenager is accused of assaulting the manager of the Tops International store on Niagara Falls Boulevard early Sunday after a shoplifting attempt, police said.

Robert W. Lansberry, 17, of Paul Drive, was arrested at 1:13 a.m. after Tops employees chased him from the store when he attempted to steal a 12-pack of beer, according to reports. An accomplice dropped a 30-pack of beer and was able to flee.

Lansberry is charged with third-degree assault and petit larceny. The store manager suffered facial cuts and hand injuries during the incident, but did not require hospitalization.

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Burglar damages home, steals electronic gear

NEWFANE -- Niagara County sheriff's deputies hope to use muddy footprints to track down the person who burglarized a McClew Road home Saturday night.

Someone forced open a storm door, then smashed a couple of interior windows to gain entry, deputies said. A PlayStation 2 video game system was stolen, along with a digital video disc player and $50 in loose change in one of the bedrooms.

The break-in occurred between 2 and 11:30 p.m., deputies said. It was second burglary there in the past five months. Deputies interviewed a suspect Sunday but had not placed any charges as of Sunday evening.

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