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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Marijuana seeds confiscated from first-grader in Falls

NIAGARA FALLS -- Police on Tuesday confiscated an unusual show-and-tell item from a first-grader -- a bag of marijuana seeds.

The boy, a student at Harry F. Abate Elementary, was seen showing the bag to several students in his class just before 1:30 p.m., Principal Rocco Merino told police. The bag, found by school staffers in the boy's coat pocket, was turned over to police.

Police indicated the boy's foster caregiver was unaware how the boy obtained the seeds by suspected an older brother.

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Man, 31, pleads guilty to carjacking, holdups

A former North Tonawanda man who went on a crime spree last summer that included a carjacking and two bank robberies has pleaded guilty to felony charges in a federal court in Las Vegas.

Gregory A. Young, 31, admitted to bank robberies in Niagara Falls and Las Vegas, and a carjacking in the Town of Tonawanda. On Aug. 27, Young robbed the Citizens Bank on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Niagara Falls of $1,674 after handing a threatening note to a bank employee. On Sept. 1, he pointed a gun at a woman's face and stole her 2008 Ford Focus at a gas station on Sheridan Drive and Parker Boulevard.

Then, after driving the car to Las Vegas, Young -- wearing camouflage and a mask -- used a gun to rob $1,010 from a Chase Bank. Young was arrested Sept. 14.

Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to the three charges, Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito Jr. said. He faces at least 57 months in prison when sentenced in Las Vegas on June 15.

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Diversion program OK'd in burglary, vandalism

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls burglar was admitted to the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment Wednesday after pleading guilty to entering a store and vandalizing a car in a separate incident the same day.

Gregory A. Stephens, 47, of Falls Street, pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and third-degree auto stripping. If he succeeds in treatment, Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza could reduce the charges to a misdemeanor or a lower class of felony. She also could dismiss them altogether.

But Sperrazza warned Stephens that if he flops in drug treatment, he is "very likely" to be sentenced to 3 1/2 to seven years in prison.

Allegedly with the help of an employee who gave him a key, Stephens entered a Dollar General store on Niagara Falls Boulevard on May 31 and also broke into a car parked at the Crowne Plaza hotel. Charges remain open against the store employee, Jennifer Sattelberg, 25, of 69th Street.

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Negligent sex offender lands back behind bars

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls sex offender who failed to register his change of address within the city was sentenced to a year in the County Jail on Wednesday by Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III.

Jody Sedore, 33, whose last address was on Ashland Avenue, had moved from Centre Avenue to Cleveland Avenue in June without reporting it. In another sentencing Wednesday, Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza placed Travis A. Downey on five years' probation for aggravated first-degree criminal contempt of court.

Downey, 20, of Christiana Street, North Tonawanda, had violated a restraining order June 18 by punching his ex-girlfriend in the mouth.

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Fraud alert issued on paid research survey

The Niagara County Sheriff's Office has issued a fraud alert for a letter purported to be from Surveys4Income.com -- inviting participation in a paid consumer research survey.

The Sheriff's Office said that in an elaborately designed ruse, victims send them cash via Western Union. Those receiving such letters should contact the Sheriff's Office.

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Falls Street burglar sentenced to maximum

LOCKPORT -- Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III imposed the maximum sentence of 3 1/2 to seven years in prison on a Niagara Falls burglar Wednesday.

John Pollock, 29, of 25th Street, had pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary for entering an apartment on Falls Street on Nov. 11, 2009. Co-defendant Tommie B. Brown Jr., 36, of Fifth Street, was sentenced in January to two to six years on the same charge.

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Teen tied to ATV thefts could still face prison

LOCKPORT -- A Buffalo 17-year-old was promised youthful offender status Wednesday but still could go to prison for taking part in the theft of four all-terrain vehicles from garages on Walmore Road in Wheatfield on June 22.

The Miami Street youth is to be sentenced on the first anniversary of the thefts after pleading guilty to attempted third-degree burglary in Niagara County Court on Wednesday. Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza warned him that he could serve up to four years in prison despite youthful offender status. The defendant also will have to pay $1,105 in restitution for damage to some of the vehicles, all of which were recovered. That's one-quarter of the total damage tab.

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