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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Romantic triangle blamed for fight in Falls store

NIAGARA FALLS -- A romantic triangle is blamed for triggering a fight in the A.J. Wright store on Niagara Falls Boulevard just after 4 p.m. Friday, police said.

The fight broke out after a 22nd Street woman and her boyfriend were confronted by the mother of the boyfriend's two children. The two 22nd Street resident was punched in the face, police said.

Her assailant was identified as Stephanie N. Flynn, 30, of Ninth Street, who was charged with third-degree assault.

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Damage put at $5 million as fire consumes mansion

FORT ERIE, Ont. -- A fast-moving fire destroyed an 8,000-square-foot mansion on Niagara River Parkway on Friday afternoon, causing an estimated $5 million damage, Fire Chief Larry Coplen said.

No one was injured.

The home belonged to Jim Miller, owner of Miller Auto Recycling.

Among the items lost in the fire were three antique cars, as well as Miller's families Christmas presents.

Miller and his family, including a 3 1/2 -year-old girl, were at home when the alarm system went off at about 3:19 p.m. They discovered smoke coming out of a sauna at the house, and everyone got out.

By the time firefighters arrived, flames were shooting through the roof, Coplen said.

Firefighters from 10 trucks took more than four hours to douse the fire.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation Saturday.

Miller's family went to stay with friends in the area, Coplen said, and Miller's employees and neighbors got Christmas presents together for the little girl to make sure she had something to open on Christmas morning.

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Vacant house damaged by Whitney Avenue fire

NIAGARA FALLS -- Fire of undetermined origin struck a vacant house at 1151 Whitney Ave. shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, police said.

Crews were called to deal with a power line downed by the flames at the scene. No damage estimate was available, and no one was hurt battling the blaze.

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Teen in critical condition after West Side shooting

A 17-year-old youth was listed in critical condition Saturday after he was shot several times earlier in the morning, police said.

The incident occurred in the 800 block of Columbus Parkway just after 4 a.m.

The victim, whose name was not released, was taken to Erie County Medical Center.

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DWI among charges in wrong-way crash

A Hamburg man who drove the wrong way on Route 5 Friday night and crashed into another car was facing multiple violations, including driving while intoxicated, Buffalo police said.

John A. Puglisi, 31, was stopped by Officer Jeffrey Jajkowski at about 8 p.m. on Route 5 near Tifft Street after the crash. No one was hurt.

Puglisi failed several sobriety tests and submitted to a breath test, which showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.12 percent, police reported. Police said they also found a crack pipe and small bag of crack cocaine hidden inside a seat belt.

Puglisi was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of drug paraphernalia and issued multiple driving violations.

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$8,000 mobile wheelchair left unattended is stolen

NIAGARA FALLS -- An $8,000 mobile wheelchair left momentarily unattended was stolen at about 7 p.m. Friday outside a Cedar Avenue apartment building, police said. The wheelchair, police said, was stolen as the owner helped a friend.

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Rifles, shotguns stolen in Newfane home break-in

NEWFANE -- Three rifles and three shotguns were among the items stolen during a recent burglary at a Ridge Road home, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said.

The theft, which was discovered Thursday, may have occurred weeks ago, deputies said. Also, $100 in cash was stolen from a wallet. deputies said.

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Four stolen vehicles recovered on reservation

LEWISTON -- Niagara County sheriff's deputies recently recovered four stolen vehicles from a field and wooded area off Mount Hope Road on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation.

The vehicles were discovered Thursday, with two of them stolen that day, authorities said.

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Thief plucks guitar from pawnshop display

NIAGARA FALLS -- A thief hurled a brick through a pawnshop window shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday and made off with a guitar from a display stand, police said.

Though the window at Reuben's Buy & Sell on Pine Avenue was protected by metal bars, the thief managed to reach through the shattered window.

The guitar was valued at $100, and damage to the business was estimated at $500.