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POLICE & COURTS

>Man faces 5-year term in animal-fighting plea

A Buffalo man pleaded Monday guilty to a felony animal fighting charge in U.S. District Court.

Edward Bishop, 49, faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when sentenced Oct. 19 by U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.

Bishop was convicted of entering a dog he owned into a dog fight and betting about $4,000 on the results.

His case is related to the recent conviction of Leon Nelson of Buffalo, who was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for sponsoring a dog named "EJ" in a fight on June 20, 2009.

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>Drug deal in parking lot leads to arrest of 2 men

Erie County sheriff's detectives arrested two North Collins men on felony drug charges after observing the delivery of about five ounces of cocaine in a restaurant parking lot in the Springville area, sheriff's officials announced Monday.

Based on a tip that the cocaine was being shipped from California on a regular basis through the U.S. mail, detectives said they saw Matthew E. Ovitt, 21, of Main Street, pick up a package at the Springville post office.

When detectives saw the package delivered to Frederick Ring, 26, of High Street, they reported, they arrested both men in the parking lot.

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>Conditional discharge given in Medicaid fraud

LOCKPORT -- An employee of a Town of Tonawanda collection agency, convicted for an illegal effort to get Medicaid to cover a hospital bill, was granted a three-year conditional discharge Tuesday by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Defense attorney Leigh Anderson said she will pursue an appeal on behalf of Amy L. Gardner, 32, of East Park Road, Grand Island.

On Jan. 19, a jury convicted Gardner, her former employer, HIS Holdings, and her boss, Deborah A. Kantor, 57, of Lorna Lane, Town of Tonawanda, of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and attempted third-degree grand larceny.

The charges stemmed from a 2006 case in which a Lewiston man, who owed $5,379 to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, allegedly was told to use a false address to apply for Medicaid. The Niagara County Department of Social Services denied the claim.

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>Robber of Falls bank gets up to 5-year term

LOCKPORT -- A Town of Tonawanda man who robbed a Niagara Falls bank was sentenced to 2 1/2 to five years in prison Tuesday by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Jason S. Simmons, 28, of Parker Boulevard, was on parole from a 2006 robbery conviction when he used a note to steal $4,956 from the M&T Bank branch on Military Road on May 6, 2009.

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>Patrols to be increased on South Transit Road

LOCKPORT -- State police announced Tuesday that they are stepping up traffic patrols on Route 78, South Transit Road, following a state Department of Transportation study that showed unusually high rates of accidents there.

State police said the DOT reports blamed hazardous driving behavior and high traffic volume for the accidents. The patrols will continue through the summer.

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>Intruder damages equipment, supplies

An Alden masonry company on Monday claimed an unwanted visitor this weekend damaged $2,000 worth of construction equipment and supplies.

A representative of Lafferty Brothers Corp., on Uebelhoer Road, reported that sometime between 2 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Monday, someone cut and damaged bags of insulation and mortar, damaged a pin from a piece of equipment and put water and dirt in the engine of a mixer.

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>Fleet-footed robber escapes after Citizens Bank holdup

NIAGARA FALLS -- A fleet-footed robber ran off Tuesday with an undetermined amount of cash from a branch of Citizens Bank about a minute before a police officer arrived.

Officer Matt Illig was in a patrol car less than a block away when the robbery report was broadcast at 11 a.m.

He said he arrived at the bank branch at 8298 Niagara Falls Blvd. at 11:09 a.m., and found that the robber already had run off with stacks of $100, $50 and $20 bills.

A teller said the man held one hand inside his jacket as if concealing a weapon when he quietly demanded "all of the 50s and 100s." However, no weapon was seen.

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>Attorney accused of DWI specialized in such cases

ROCHESTER -- A Buffalo-area personal injury attorney who specializes in driving while intoxicated cases was himself arrested late Friday by state troopers for DWI at a sobriety checkpoint in Rochester, state police reported Tuesday.

Christopher D. D'Amato, 41, of Foxwood Lane, Clarence, was charged with DWI and cited for unsafe backing on the westbound I-490.

D'Amato was arrested about 9:45 p.m. by Trooper Irene Allen. Police said D'Amato refused to provide a breath sample. He is to appear in Rochester City Court on July 16.

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