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K-9 dog helps flush out domestic violence suspect

LOCKPORT -- A city man was flushed out of his hiding place by a Niagara County sheriff's K-9 after a domestic dispute turned violent Saturday night, according to authorities.

Jeffrey M. Laubacker, 33, of East Avenue, pleaded not guilty Monday in City Court to charges of third-degree assault, second-degree menacing, second-degree unlawful imprisonment and second-degree coercion. He was taken to the County Jail in lieu of $750 bail. A nonjury trial was set for Feb. 7.

A woman told city police that Laubacker, her ex-boyfriend, held her for three hours late Saturday in an East Avenue home, punching and slapping her in the head, and refused to let her call her mother or police. She said he knocked her to the ground and then into a bathtub, until she was able to escape to a neighbor's house and call police.

The sheriff's K-9, Sarge, was called to search the house after a report that Laubacker may be armed and hiding in ambush. After a search of several floors, and threats that Sarge would bite him if he didn't surrender, Laubacker surrendered on the second floor and was charged by city officers.


Abandoned stolen car found in parking lot

WHEATFIELD -- A car stolen in Niagara Falls on Wednesday was found abandoned in the parking lot of The Summit mall on Williams Road, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said.

The 1993 Ford, owned by a Lewiston man, was taken from a Highland Avenue auto body shop. A patrolling deputy noticed the suspicious vehicle Saturday. The owner was contacted and retrieved his vehicle.


Ex-tenant of apartment denies $10,000 damage

LOCKPORT -- A Canandaigua man accused of causing $10,000 damage to an apartment where he had previously been a tenant, pleaded not guilty in City Court to felony charges Monday.

Michael J. Heideman, 40, turned himself in to city detectives Monday morning and was charged with felony third-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal mischief.

He was sent to Niagara County Jail on $2,500 bail.

The landlord told police Jan. 17 that his ex-tenant, in an apartment on Elmwood Avenue, gutted the entire apartment, taking cabinets, a dishwasher, a bathroom sink vanity and all the carpets, and also cut holes in the floor.


Parking lot 'doughnuts' result in DWI charge

A Snyder man who was seen by state troopers performing "doughnuts" in the parking lot of First Niagara Bank in Pendleton late Sunday faces driving while intoxicated and other charges, state police reported.

Daniel C. Schmitt, 23, of Westfield Road, was found with an open bottle of beer in the center console of his vehicle when troopers stopped to question him shortly before 11 p.m.

Troopers said they also noticed an odor of alcohol coming from Schmitt's vehicle.

Schmitt allegedly failed several field sobriety tests and was charged with DWI and consuming an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle.

He is scheduled to appear in Pendleton Town Court at a future date.


Man shot by police charged in fatal attack with sword

A 63-year-old West Side man who was shot by police while advancing toward officers last week with a sword that he used to slay his girlfriend and injure her teenage daughter was formally charged Monday with murder, felony assault and weapons possession, Buffalo police reported.

Juan Castro is accused of using the weapon to kill Maria Pagan, 45, Jan. 17 in the 400 block of Normal Avenue. Zayra Pagan, 15, also was attacked by Castro, police said. She continues to recover in Women & Children's Hospital.

A short time after the double stabbing, officers tried to apprehend Castro a few houses away from the incident, but he refused to drop his sword, police said.

After refusing police orders to drop his weapon and advancing toward police, Castro was shot and wounded.

Castro remained in police custody in Erie County Medical Center late Monday. He was listed in serious condition.


Attempt to 'elope' with girl brings prison sentence

A Salvadoran man was sentenced to five years, 10 months in federal prison for attempting to take his 15-year-old cousin to Canada to "elope," U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced Monday.

Enrique Rivas Perez, 28, an illegal immigrant, will be deported following the completion of his prison sentence. Rivas Perez was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara for transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct.

Rivas Perez was arrested in December 2009 at the Peace Bridge after being denied entry into Canada. He admitted to authorities that he and the girl planned to elope in Canada, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory L. Brown, who handled the case. They had driven from the Atlanta area in the cousin's family car, which the family reported stolen.

During their trip, Rivas Perez and his cousin engaged in illicit sexual activity, Brown said.

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