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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Lunging pit bull shot by police answering call

TOWN OF NIAGARA -- Police answering a call for assistance early Wednesday in the 2900 block of Upper Hyde Park Boulevard ended up shooting a loose pit bull in the face.

Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy Gerald Granto, assisted by Niagara Falls police Lt. Sal Paonessa, said he heard growling and saw the large dog "lunge toward my face" and shot the dog once. The condition of the dog, which was treated by the SPCA, was unknown late Wednesday.

The dog's owner, Julia Pryor, said she lied to authorities about being assaulted with a knife to get them there quicker so she could lodge a harassment complaint, deputies said.

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2 admit cocaine possession in Niagara County Court

LOCKPORT -- Two men pleaded guilty to cocaine possession charges in separate cases Wednesday before Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III, who set sentencing in both cases for Dec. 18.

Antoine R. Bones, 22, of Augustus Place, Niagara Falls, admitted to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Crack cocaine was found in his jacket pocket, hung over a chair, during a police raid Aug. 21, 2007.

Joseph Marzulli, 34, of Payne Avenue, North Tonawanda, admitted to seventh-degree possession. He and co-defendant Alan J. McGuane, 30, of Brookfield Lane, Cheektowaga, sold cocaine to undercover police agents Dec. 4 in North Tonawanda. McGuane previously pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and is awaiting sentencing.

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Man jailed in connection with chase in stolen car

LOCKPORT -- A Lockport man who led police on a chase in a stolen car was remanded to Niagara County Jail on Wednesday after appearing in City Court.

Thomas D. Yarger, 29, of Hope Lane, pleaded not guilty to charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property, felony driving while intoxicated, aggravated unlicensed operation, resisting arrest, failure to keep right, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and obstructing governmental administration. Judge William Watson set bail at $20,000 and set a felony hearing for Monday.

Yarger crossed the center line on Lincoln Avenue just after 1 a.m. Tuesday, and Lockport police and Niagara County sheriff's deputies chased him through the city and town of Lockport to a parking lot on South Transit Road.

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Ex-bingo chairwoman pleads guilty to theft

LOCKPORT -- The former chairwoman of bingo games for the Hartland Fire Company pleaded guilty in Niagara County Court on Tuesday to stealing $8,554 from the company.

Lee Ann Smith, 46, of Ridge Road, Hartland, admitted to fourth-degree grand larceny and was scheduled for sentencing Dec. 16 by Judge Matthew J. Murphy III.

Assistant District Attorney Brian D. Seaman said Smith kept money from the games that was supposed to be deposited in the bank between Jan. 1 and April 22. Smith faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison and will have to repay the money, Murphy said.

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Rochester man accused in attack on woman

LOCKPORT -- A Rochester man being held without bail is accused of throwing a knife at a woman holding an infant Aug. 16.

Shaun W. Allen, 27, was charged Monday with second-degree harassment, endangering the welfare of a child, menacing, coercion and criminal contempt.

The woman, a Park Place resident, told police the two had argued because she refused to go out with him to a bar. Allen is accused of choking the woman, gouging her eyes with his fingers and throwing the knife at her while she held the infant.

Allen surrendered to police Monday.

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Guilty plea entered to house burglary

LOCKPORT -- Roderick E. Stewart, 47, of South Avenue, Niagara Falls, pleaded guilty to a three-year-old house burglary Tuesday in Niagara County Court.

Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza said she would sentence Stewart to 1 1/2 to three years in prison Dec. 16.

Stewart broke into the house on Seventh Street sometime between Oct. 17 and 24, 2005. He wasn't charged until January of this year, after a DNA sample he gave after another conviction matched a blood stain found at the scene. He gave the sample after his 2006 conviction for breaking into a warehouse in July of that year.

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Felony DWI brings a year in local jail

LOCKPORT -- Admitting she was trying to decide on the bench whether to send a repeat drunken driver to the county jail or state prison, Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza chose the former Tuesday.

Dale S. Keem, 41, of Parkview Drive, North Tonawanda, thus received one year of local jail time for felony driving while intoxicated. He was pulled over Sept. 29, 2007, in North Tonawanda.

Sperrazza said it was Keem's sixth DWI conviction, his fourth in the last five years. She could have sent him to state prison for 1 1/3 to four years. Besides imposing the county jail time, she fined Keem $5,000.

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