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POLICE & COURTS

>Fire in garage for cabs leaves $70,000 damage

Fire that broke out in a garage at Liberty/Yellow Cab of Buffalo, 1524 Kenmore Ave., at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday left about $70,000 damage in its wake.

Firefighters arriving at the scene discovered heavy smoke in a large garage behind the company's dispatch center. The fire was traced to a car with mechanical problems that had been parked in the garage five hours before the fire broke out, according to Division Chief Jack Hess. Several other cars also were parked in the garage, said Hess, who added that the cause remains under investigation.

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>Sri Lankan deported by Canada is arrested

NIAGARA FALLS -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have apprehended a Sri Lankan citizen accused of absconding from a ship in 2002.

The Canada Border Services Agency handed Benston Fernando, 29, who was denied refugee status in Canada, to U.S. authorities Monday at the Rainbow Bridge. He is being held at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia.

Records show that Fernando previously entered the United States at the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Seaport in 2002 as a crewman aboard the M.V. Konstantinos, a Greek-flagged cargo ship. He apparently was given a landing pass to leave the ship but never reported back to duty, and the ship left without him.

Fernando told authorities that he lived illegally in the New York City area for the next three years. He went to Canada in 2005 and requested refugee status. He was allowed to remain in Canada until his case could be heard by a Canadian immigration judge. His refugee claim was denied, and he was ordered deported Monday.

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>Man robbed of coat, then shot by bandit

A Buffalo man who told police a man robbed him of his coat and then shot him late Wednesday was listed in fair condition in Erie County Medical Center on Thursday, authorities said.

Eugene Peterson, 35, of East End Avenue, was shot by an unknown man at about 10 p.m. in the 2200 block of Genesee Street. Initially, he was listed in critical condition.

Buffalo homicide detectives are investigating. Police have asked anyone with information to call the confidential tip line at 847-2255.

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>Evidence request stalls hazing trial for a month

WILSON -- A one-month postponement was called Thursday in the case of two former Wilson High School baseball coaches accused of child endangerment.

Town Justice George R. Berger put off action after defense attorneys and the court Thursday received a motion from Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco asking to introduce evidence at trial that purportedly shows Thomas J. Baia and William M. Atlas knew about hazing on the team before last year.

Defense attorneys Herbert L. Greenman and Robert Viola said they intend to respond in writing and argue the issue March 26 and hope Berger then will set a date for a trial.

Three varsity players were charged with shoving fingers and cell phones through the pants of three junior varsity players on the team bus April 17. However, most of the charges regarding two of the complainants were dismissed last week. The players return to court March 10.

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>Woman charged with DWI after Alabama crash

ALABAMA -- A Basom woman was charged with felony driving while intoxicated and aggravated DWI following a crash at about 3:45 a.m. Thursday on Sandhill Road, Genesee County sheriff's officials said.

Ronda M. Kern, 27, of Alleghany Road, was also charged with consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle and an unsafe lane change.

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>Youth accused of shooting at houses with a BB gun

West Seneca police have charged a 16-year-old youth with felony criminal mischief and other charges after accusing him of firing BB shots at a moving vehicle and three houses in West Seneca late Wednesday.

Officer Bryan French charged Ryan Burke, of Dirkson Avenue, with four counts of criminal mischief -- one a felony -- plus reckless endangerment and marijuana possession.

The shooting incidents began at about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday. Police say the shots struck a moving vehicle on Main Street and three homes on Allendale Road.

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>Guilty plea entered in molesting of girl

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man pleaded guilty Thursday in Niagara County Court to molesting a girl over a nearly two-year period, and he still faces charges in connection with a second victim.

Albert W. Bouley Jr., 30, of 22nd Street, admitted to attempted first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and could receive up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced May 14 by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza. The incidents occurred between December 2005 and September 2007 with a girl who was 9 years old when the abuse started. Bouley was indicted in January in connection with another set of incidents involving a girl younger than 13, between September 2007 and December 2008.