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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Wave of car break-ins probed by Falls police

NIAGARA FALLS -- City police were investigating nearly a dozen thefts overnight Monday from vehicles, many parked in city alleys.

Electronics, tools and cash were stolen from vehicles parked in alleys off LaSalle, Pierce and Independence avenues. A window was smashed and an antique crystal bowl and coins were stolen from a vehicle on Whitney Avenue.

Several vehicles parked in alleys on Pierce and Woodlawn avenues had window damage, police said.

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Magazine sales scam alert issued by Sheriff's Office

TOWN OF NIAGARA -- A magazine scam alert was issued by the Niagara County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday after seven people were arrested in the town this past week for peddler trading without proper permits.

The unnamed individuals are currently employed for ACI Magazine also known as Atlantic Circulation, Inc., which is a door-to-door magazine sales group. The Pennsylvania company has been on the market since 1999, and there have been several complaints regarding the company's hiring practices and sales scams, said the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office said this company encourages youths to compete for prizes selling magazine subscriptions and often customers may never receive their magazine subscriptions. Some ACI employees have even committed larcenies once inside a home, they said.

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Four convenience stores nailed for tobacco sales

LOCKPORT -- The Niagara County Health Department announced Tuesday that four convenience stores, two each in Niagara Falls and Youngstown, were penalized for selling tobacco products to minors during compliance checks between Oct. 1 and March 31.

Both Youngstown stores were repeat offenders: The Market Place, 200 Lockport St., was a second-time violator and Main Street Gas & Grille, 311 Main St., was a third-time offender.

In the Falls, Fastop, 8811 Niagara Falls Blvd., and Wilson Farms, 9101 Niagara Falls Blvd., were first offenders.

The penalties ranged from $650 to $1,100, and the county collected a total of $3,350 from the four stores, who were caught with the use of 15- and 16-year-old operatives working for law enforcement, according to a Health Department statement.

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Falls man enters plea to failure to register

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking part in a theft and failing to register as a sex offender.

Joseph E. Edmiston, 30, admitted to attempted second-degree burglary and failing to register. Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III pledged to issue concurrent sentences on the two felonies July 5.

Edmiston said he and his cousin James A. Connell, 34, of Niagara Street, Niagara Falls, were visiting a Packard Court apartment July 6 when an argument broke out. Edmiston said he "choke-slammed" a resident onto the couch. He said Connell then stole a shotgun and he stole a marijuana "bong." Connell pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree robbery and is awaiting sentencing.

Edmiston was bailed out of the County Jail Oct. 19 but didn't let state authorities know he was living on 22nd Street in Niagara Falls after that. He has been a Level 2 sex offender since 2006, when he pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree rape for having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

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Robbery arrest dashes chances for probation

LOCKPORT -- Korey T. Barney might have received probation in a gun possession case Tuesday -- if he weren't facing a robbery charge in Buffalo.

Barney, 20, of Camelot Court, Buffalo, was arrested March 17 and charged with a robbery on East Utica Street.

If it weren't for that, Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza said, she "would have been interested" in a probation sentence on Barney's guilty plea to fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Instead, she gave him six months in jail.

Barney was one of four men who pleaded guilty after a June 7 incident on 19th Street in Niagara Falls in which a gun was fired from a vehicle and struck a house. Barney's attorney, David C. Douglas, said Barney never actually touched the gun.

Tests on the weapon disclosed DNA only for Brandon H. Carter, 22, of Niagara Falls, who pleaded guilty to a felony, while Barney and two others received misdemeanor plea deals.

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Falls man pleads guilty in thumb slashing attack

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man who slashed a woman's thumb Jan. 8 pleaded guilty to third-degree assault Tuesday in State Supreme Court.

Timothy D. Wooten, 51, of 18th Street, was released from jail by Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. after the plea. He had been behind bars since the incident with the mother of his 30-year-old son. Police said the woman needed 13 stitches in her thumb.

In another case Tuesday, Yeghia E. Meymarian, 42, of Niagara Falls, pleaded guilty to felony driving while intoxicated for his Sept. 2 arrest in the Falls. Kloch set sentencing in both cases for June 21.