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POLICE & COURTS

Steel coil falls onto ramp to Peace Bridge

FORT ERIE, Ont. -- A steel coil fell from from the flatbed of a tractor-trailer early Friday evening as it approached the Peace Bridge to the United States, Peace Bridge officials said.

The driver of the truck was on the ramp approaching the main deck of the bridge when the coil fell from the flatbed and off the side of the road, according to Jeanette Hejna, operations supervisor for the Peace Bridge. Traffic flow was not severely affected by the accident, Hejna said.

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Crash victim identified as Lancaster man

The man killed in a motorcycle crash Thursday afternoon on the Scajaquada Expressway has been identified as Kelly D'Agostino, 43, of Lancaster, Buffalo police said Friday.

D'Agostino was westbound on the expressway, near Grant Street, at about 3 p.m. Thursday when his motorcycle struck the rear of a car and then crashed into a guardrail.

"It appears he might have tried to change lanes and ended up hitting the vehicle in front of him," said Michael J. DeGeorge, Buffalo police spokesman.

D'Agostino was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Thieves take equipment from Amherst church

Amherst police were looking for burglars who took office equipment worth about $250 after breaking into St. James Lutheran Church on North Forest Road late Wednesday or early Thursday.

The thieves broke the back window in the office of the church, before stealing a CD player, computer, fax machine, camera and some stamps.

The burglary was discovered Thursday morning.

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Six-year term imposed in theft of presents

Michael G. Cheatom, a former Lackawanna drug dealer, was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for stealing a bag of Christmas gifts.

Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico imposed the prison term on Cheatom, 42, who had been convicted Jan. 19 on burglary and stolen property charges in the early morning break-in at an Ingham Avenue home in Lackawanna. The gifts were quickly recovered.

Prosecutor Timothy D. Gallagher said that, upon returning at about 7:45 a.m after dropping his wife off at her bank job, the homeowner noticed someone dashing across his snow-covered front law carrying a large bag. He also discovered his front door broken open.

As the homeowner was called police, his 17-year-old daughter followed Cheatom's footprints in the snow to nearby Stoney Street, where Lackawanna Police Officer Keith Alvarez arrested him, Gallagher said.

Gallagher said Cheatom has two prior drug convictions.

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Neighborhood 'terrorist' must get counseling

A Geary Street man who allegedly terrorized his South Buffalo neighborhood for years was released from custody Friday.

Karl Johnson, 51, was warned by Drug Court Judge Robert T. Russell Jr. that he will remain under the supervision of Buffalo City Court's drug and mental health courts and must submit to counseling, drug testing and further court appearances.

Johnson who had been jailed since Feb. 12 due to a threat against a neighborhood activist, pleaded guilty Monday to a criminal contempt charge in connection with an order of protection. He was transferred to Drug Court supervision Monday.

Court officials said some Seneca-Babcock area residents complained to authorities about Johnson, believing he was engaging in criminal activities. Johnson allegedly threatened neighbors after hearing about the complaints.

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NU student, 22, accused in 2 pellet gun shootings

LEWISTON -- A Niagara University student is accused of shooting his roommate and another male student with an air pistol pellet gun in O'Shea Hall dormitory.

Mark Byron, 22, of Tonawanda Creek Road in Lockport, was charged by Lewiston Police with unlawfully possessing a weapon on school property, two counts of harassment, two counts of menacing and two counts of reckless endangerment. He was being held in Niagara County Jail in lieu of $500 bail.

Lewiston Police Sgt. Frank Previte said there were two shootings, between April 10 and 15.

The two who were shot suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

Linus Ormsby, Niagara University public relations director, said Byron faces suspension, pending a resolution of charges and a school investigation.

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