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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Sugar in gas tank leads to charges against woman

LOCKPORT -- A Dysinger Road woman was arrested about 1 p.m. Friday on a felony criminal mischief charge, Trooper Wayne Carr said.

Janie Olear, 40, was charged with third-degree criminal mischief after allegedly pouring sugar into the gas tank of her neighbor's car. Carr said Olear and her neighbor have a long-running dispute that has spilled into the courts. Olear was released on her own recognizance after arraignment.

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Judge tells caseworker to start payments

LOCKPORT -- State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. told a former Niagara County social services caseworker Thursday that he won't go to prison as long as he starts making payments on his fine and restitution.

Dan D. Dietrich, 51, of Brayley Road, Wilson, admitted Thursday that he violated his probation by not making any payments on his $31,938 restitution or his $1,000 fine.

Kloch kept him on probation for two more years on the condition that he pay $100 a month. The fine will have to be paid off before the restitution can start, and Dietrich was ordered to sign a confession of judgment, essentially a lien on his future earnings, for the restitution left unpaid during probation.

Dietrich pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor last year after being charged with costing county taxpayers $275,000 by rubber-stamping annual eligibility renewals for 259 Medicaid clients from 2002 to 2004 without actually checking to see if they were still eligible for benefits.

Many of them weren't, but Kloch decided against forcing full restitution from Dietrich, who was unemployed when he was charged with violating probation in February. He has a part-time job now.

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Lockport man, 23, faces new drug charges

LOCKPORT -- A South Transit Street man who already had an open drug indictment pleaded not guilty to a fresh set of charges Thursday in Niagara County Court.

This time, Timothy J. Paolini, 23, is charged with third-, fourth- and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, along with third-degree weapons possession and possessing hydrocodone pills outside their original prescription container. Paolini also allegedly had an electronic stun gun and almost an ounce of cocaine Dec. 23 in the Town of Lockport.

In another drug case Thursday, Michael A. Howard, 20, of Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls, denied third- and fourth-degree possession charges. He is accused of having .29 ounces of cocaine he was planning to sell when police raided his apartment Jan. 26.

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Role in burglary brings probation term

LOCKPORT -- A man who participated in the burglary of a Pendleton restaurant but also revealed to investigators how $2,200 was stolen from another business two years ago was placed on probation Thursday by Niagara County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr.

Joseph C. Ciffa, 20, of Walmore Road, Wheatfield, had pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree burglary for the Aug. 5 entry into the Subway restaurant on Main Road in Pendleton.

But Assistant District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann told Broderick that Ciffa had given a statement admitting to taking $2,200 from the till at Jay's Place on Walmore Road, where he was working two years ago, and handing it to a friend. Ciffa then called police and reported that he had been robbed. As part of his sentence, Ciffa will have to pay back the $2,200, as well as one-third of the $984 loss at Subway and a $1,000 fine. He also was ordered to serve five weekends in jail.

Jeffrey M. Dio, 21, of Lindsey Place, North Tonawanda, also has been placed on probation in the Subway case, while Joshua Nowak, 21, of 79th Street, Niagara Falls, is awaiting sentencing.

Hoffmann said the recipient of the money stolen at Jay's cannot be prosecuted without other evidence, since under New York law, uncorroborated accomplice testimony is insufficient for conviction.

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Two suffer minor injuries in Niagara Falls crash

NIAGARA FALLS -- Both drivers suffered minor injuries in a two-car crash Friday that saw one of the vehicles roll over on its roof.

The collision occurred about 3:50 p.m. at Niagara Falls Boulevard and 66th Street. Officer Michael Drake said no charges were filed.

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