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POLICE & COURTS

Clarence bedroom fire caused by space heater

A faulty electric space heater left on in a bedroom sparked an afternoon blaze Monday that caused $40,000 damage to a Salt Road home in the Town of Clarence, Amherst Fire Control reported.

The fire broke out shortly after 3 p.m. in the 7215 Salt Road home of Pat Jenkins.

Clarence Center firefighters arrived on scene to find a fire in an upstairs bedroom and contained it to that room in the 1 1/2 -story wood-frame Cape Cod style home.

No injuries were reported.

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Convicted drug dealer acquitted in robbery

A convicted Buffalo drug dealer was acquitted Monday on charges he robbed a common-law relative who was shot nearly 14 months ago.

Larry Willis, 24, smiled as the jury announced its verdict in the courtroom of Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio following 45 minutes of deliberations. Willis, who did not testify, shook the hand of his lawyer, Paul Gordon Dell, and thanked the veteran trial attorney for his help.

Willis, who faced life in prison had he been convicted of taking part in the alleged Dec. 22, 2009, robbery and shooting of David Combs, was found not guilty of first- and second-degree robbery charges.

Combs, 36, identified Willis as one of the two men who "put a gun to my head" and stole about $2,500 or so in gambling earnings. But Combs also said he didn't see who shot him in the head and back as he fled the two hooded robbers.

Dell said Willis is likely to be released from custody within the next month, having satisfied the time he faced on parole violation counts linked to a 2008 drug conviction.

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Three teens arrested in strong-arm robbery

Amherst police said Monday that they charged three teenagers from Buffalo and Amherst in connection with a strong-arm robbery over the weekend.

Officer Mark Dimino saw a fight on Main Street, near the Amherst-Buffalo border, shortly before 8:30 p.m. Friday. Two people involved in the incident fled on foot, but Dimino was able to detain a third person.

The officer determined that the fight was a strong-arm robbery, and his subsequent investigation led to the arrest of the three teens.

Charged with robbery, assault and petit larceny, according to police reports, were Brianna Scott, 16, of Hewitt Avenue; Kendra Stevens, 17, of Kerns Avenue; and Lorenzo Romaine, 17, of North Bailey Avenue, Amherst.

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Prescription drugs stolen during Falls burglary

NIAGARA FALLS -- Prescription painkillers were among the items stolen from a Ninth Street home during a Saturday afternoon burglary.

Someone forced open a rear apartment door and entered the home sometime between 1 and 9:50 p.m., police said. Several drawers inside were ransacked, and nearly 200 prescription Hydrocodone and Soma tablets were reported stolen.

One large-screen television was stolen from the home, and another was broken, police said. Also taken was $200 in cash and several packs of cigarettes.

Total loss was estimated at more than $1,800.

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Mother says girl, 13, was raped by 30-year-old

The mother of a 13-year-old girl reported to Buffalo police Monday that her daughter was raped by a 30-year-old Buffalo man on Sumner Place over the weekend.

The victim's mother said that the sexual contact between the girl and the older male occurred between 2:30 a.m. Saturday and 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

The victim was taken to Women & Children's Hospital, where a rape kit was prepared.

Northeast District detectives were probing the incident.

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Shots fired into home on Regina Place in city

No injuries were reported in an early Monday morning incident where several shots were fired into a Regina Place home, according to Buffalo police reports.

The occupant told police that at about 5 a.m. several shots were fired into her front room, damaging a large glass window as well as the living room wall, stairway and hallway.

Three holes were seen in the wall inside the home, and four shell casings were found on the street, police reports stated.

Northeast District detectives were investigating.

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Newfane man charged with aggravated DWI

NEWFANE -- A Transit Road man stopped for speeding was additionally charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated Sunday after he registered a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, Niagara County sheriff's deputies reported.

Daniel G. Bowser, 26, was stopped at 1 a.m. on Lockport-Olcott Road, near Bixler Road, after deputies said he was driving north at a high rate of speed.

Deputies said his blood-alcohol content was 0.18 percent.

Bowser was charged with speeding, driving while intoxicated and aggravated DWI.

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