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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

>Bank robbery suspect pleads not guilty

LOCKPORT -- A Town of Tonawanda man was arraigned Tuesday in Niagara County Court on charges of robbing a bank May 6 in Niagara Falls.

Jason S. Simmons, 27, of Parker Boulevard, pleaded not guilty to third-degree robbery and third-degree grand larceny. He is accused of stealing $4,956 from the M&T Bank on Military Road.

Police said at the time that the robber handed the teller a note saying he had a weapon, but none was displayed. Simmons was arrested after police lifted a fingerprint from the note.

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>Phone scam prompts warning from sheriff

ALBION -- The Orleans County Sheriff's Office has issued a warning about telephone solicitations after a recent scam targeting an elderly resident.

Sheriff Scott D. Hess said the scam involves a telephone call from someone identifying himself as a relative who claims another relative is hospitalized in Canada and needs money to be wired to cover medical expenses.

The Sheriff's Office says it has received several complaints. In most cases, the victims have been elderly, and in one incident, the victim actually wired the funds.

Anyone receiving such a call should be aware that it is a hoax and call police immediately.

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>Falls man admits guilt in attempted burglary

LOCKPORT -- A man charged with two Town of Niagara burglaries pleaded guilty to one Tuesday in Niagara County Court in order to settle the whole case against him.

Donald L. McGinnis, 39, of Niagara Falls Boulevard, Niagara Falls, admitted to a reduced charge of attempted third-degree burglary and is to be sentenced Dec. 1 by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

McGinnis tried to break into a home on West Creek Drive May 31, damaging a window. In another burglary, he stole $300, but police recovered it, Assistant District Attorney Claudette S. Caldwell said.

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>Drug dealer sentenced to 8-year prison term

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls cocaine dealer was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison by Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III.

Perez D. Watts, 31, of Welch Avenue, had pleaded guilty to second- and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance in separate cases prosecuted by the state attorney general's office and the Niagara County district attorney's office.

Watts sold more than 4 ounces of cocaine to a police agent Dec. 11, 2007, in Niagara Falls and more than a half ounce to another police operative March 20, 2008.

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>Sentencing set Dec. 2 in drug-possession case

LOCKPORT -- Sylvester Harris Jr., 40, of Spruce Avenue, Niagara Falls, pleaded guilty Tuesday to drug possession. Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza scheduled sentencing for Dec. 2.

Harris admitted to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for having 32 hydrocodone pills when he was arrested Feb. 2 in the City of Lockport.

In another drug case, Sperrazza placed Tara L. Sheehan, 34, of Lincoln Avenue, on five years' probation. Sheehan had pleaded guilty to fifth-degree possession for taking part in a cocaine sale here Dec. 4.

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>In separate cases, two plead guilty to drug felonies

LOCKPORT -- Two men pleaded guilty to drug felonies in separate cases Tuesday before Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III, who scheduled both sentencings for Dec. 1.

Kenneth Heath, 32, of Moyer Road, Wheatfield, admitted to a reduced charge of attempted fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
He was arrested Nov. 12 after a traffic stop in the City of Lockport, where police found 0.144 ounces of heroin in the vehicle.

Marcus A. Townsend, 27, of Pine Street, Lockport, pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree sale of a controlled substance. He was charged with selling cocaine to a pollice informant in Lockport April 21 and 23.

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