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POLICE & COURTS

Theft of vintage car prompts call for tips

State troopers in Clarence are asking for the public's help in locating a vintage 1965 Ford Mustang that was stolen last weekend from a commercial parking lot in Newstead.

Troopers said the white Mustang coupe was taken earlier this week. It was reported to be in the process of being painted and had masking tape on it at the time of the theft. In addition, the front bumper, grille and headlights had been removed, troopers said.

Anyone with information on the theft is asked to contact troopers at 759-6831.

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Ex-car dealership owner avoids jail as tax cheat

Former City of Tonawanda car dealership owner Todd Hammar was spared a prison term Wednesday after he turned over another check for $13,600 in partial repayment of the nearly $120,000 in sales tax receipts he failed to give the state earlier this decade.

Hammar, 40, the former operator of Delaware Auto Leasing at 55 Delaware St. in Tonawanda, was placed on probation for the next five years by Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico and ordered to begin making monthly payments of $1,576.34 for the next 60 months to the state Department of Taxation and Finance.

Hammar told the judge that for the past four years, he had been paying $500 a month in restitution payments to settle an unrelated $100,000 Niagara County larceny case.

On May 19, Hammar pleaded guilty to a felony charge of fourth-degree grand larceny. In January 2008 a customer complained to authorities about an inaccurate sales contract on a 2007 car deal with Hammar.

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Newstead debt collector charged in identity theft

State police at Lockport have arrested a Newstead woman accused of purchasing merchandise and paying bills with checking-account and credit-card numbers she obtained from her job at a local debt-collection agency.

Investigators charged Hope M. Dunlap, 38, of North Main Street, with scheming to defraud and identity theft, both felonies.

State police said that after a federal credit union alerted them to suspicious online loan payments, they found that Dunlap had obtained checking-account information and credit-card numbers from at least 10 victims. She is accused of using that information to buy items online, pay utility bills and pay for camping trips, according to police.

Dunlap was released on $500 bail after being arraigned in Newstead Town Court.

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Father spots suspect who allegedly robbed son

A father's determination Wednesday afternoon led to the arrest of a man who robbed his son on the city's East Side, Buffalo police said.

Michael Varence, no age listed, of Rich Street was charged with robbery and criminal possession of stolen property. Armed with a gun, police said, he robbed a 17-year-old of a cell phone about 4:30 p.m. near Genesee Street and Fillmore Avenue.

The son returned home and gave a description of the robber to his father, who spotted the suspect, who was wearing a red New York Yankees baseball cap, a muscle T-shirt and red shorts.

Ferry-Fillmore officers Richard Lopez and Mark Costantino arrested Varence, police said.

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Police investigate rape on Pine near Broadway

Buffalo police said a female was dragged into bushes on Pine Street near Broadway and raped by a man in his 30s just before 2 a.m. Wednesday.

The victim was taken to Erie County Medical Center for treatment. Central District police were investigating.

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Boathouse at park targeted in burglary

The Delaware Park boathouse was hit by burglars between 3 p.m. Tuesday and 6:20 a.m. Wednesday, Buffalo police said.

The thief made off with an empty cash register and several cases of soda, said police, adding that a Canadian man's driver's license was found at the scene. Northwest District police are investigating.

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