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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

2 charged in theft of purse from woman using walker

NIAGARA FALLS -- Two Niagara Falls men are accused of robbing a woman of her purse at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday as she sat on a bench, her walker in front of her, police said.

Christopher J. Myke Sr., 26, Blake Lay, 43, both of Willow Avenue addresses, were charged with felony fourth-degree grand larceny and petit larceny. Police said the victim had been walking in the 300 block of Third Street and had the purse strapped to her walker. Police said the purse contained $50 and an asthma inhaler.

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Cocaine, hashish valued at $245,000 seized in raid

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- Five pounds of cocaine and 384 grams of hashish were seized from a Niagara Falls, Ont., house during a drug raid Wednesday that culminated a yearlong investigation, Niagara Regional Police said.

Arrested was Louie Maslek, 37, of Springblossom Drive, Niagara Falls, Ont. Maslek was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking as well as possession of proceeds of crime and two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon and held in custody pending a bail hearing.

The street value of the drugs seized from Maslek's house was estimated to be $245,000. Also seized was $79,000 cash, two Taser weapons and a variety of firearms ammunition, police said.

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Ex-Falls woman who fled prosecution gets jail

LOCKPORT -- A former Niagara Falls woman who moved to South Carolina while two drunken-driving cases were pending against her was sentenced to a year in Niagara County Jail on Thursday by County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Vicki L. Gibby, 47, had pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor DWI count to settle the cases, both of which date from 2009. She was extradited from South Carolina in October.

Assistant Public Defender Michael E. Benedict said Gibby already has served 143 days in jail on the charges. He said Gibby didn't want to be placed on probation because she wanted to do her time and get back to South Carolina as soon as possible.

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Buffalo woman accused of having sex with boy

LOCKPORT -- A former Niagara Falls woman was arraigned Thursday in State Supreme Court on charges of having sex with a boy under age 15.

Cheryl Mayes, 32, of Crowley Avenue, Buffalo, pleaded not guilty to second-degree rape and unlawfully dealing with a child.

Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco said Mayes allegedly gave the boy alcohol before having sex with him Oct. 1 in Niagara Falls. Mayes was living on 82nd Street at the time.

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Woman who torched home pleads to a misdemeanor

LOCKPORT -- A North Tonawanda woman who set fire to her home was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor Thursday in Niagara County Court after her father, who lived with her, said he didn't want to pursue the matter.

Janice D. Budzinski, 37, of Moll Street, admitted to fourth-degree criminal mischief in connection with the Oct. 7 incident and was scheduled for sentencing June 28 by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Assistant District Attorney Lisa M. Baehre said a felony arson charge was dropped. She said Edward Budzinski told her that he was worried about his daughter's mental health issues and described the fire damage as "somewhat minimal." The woman poured gasoline in the house and lit it, Baehre said.

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Police report pistol, drugs found in traffic stop

NIAGARA FALLS -- Four people were charged with criminal possession of a weapon Tuesday after police in the city's Roving Anti-Crime Unit found them in possession of a .45 semiautomatic pistol hidden in a vehicle.

Officers said the vehicle was stopped at 5:14 p.m. at 18th Street and Michigan Avenue in a drug area after the car made an illegal U-turn.

The suspects were identified as the driver, Kraig D. Long Jr., who was additionally charged with failure to signal and failure to turn as requested; and Dantwan M. Rankin, 18, of Ontario Avenue; Dandre M. Rankin, 21, of Falls Street; and Paul Kennon IV, 19, of 24th Street.

Police said they spotted a bag of marijuana on the floor of the vehicle and after a search found the pistol wrapped in a black shirt, between seat cushions.

Dandre Rankin was additionally charged with criminal impersonation for giving police a false name and seventh-degree criminal possessions. Dantwan Rankin was charged additionally with unlawful possession of marijuana.

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Menacing charge lodged in threat to woman

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Buffalo woman was threatened by a man with a gun in the 800 block of Chilton Avenue just before 8 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

The woman was walking to the bus station when a man tried to engage her in conversation. When she refused, he produced a black handgun and the woman ran off. Police said the suspect, Samuel Deluca, 51, of Main Street, was charged with menacing.

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