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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Card with contraband triggers investigation

LOCKPORT -- A greeting card sent to a female inmate Wednesday at the Niagara County Jail contained contraband and a signature, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said.

The card's lining contained an unknown substance being tested as a possible narcotic and was signed, "With all my love," by a man who lived with the woman, deputies said.

An investigation is continuing.

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Failure to register sends sex offender back in prison

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls sex offender was sentenced to 1 1/3 to four years in prison Wednesday for failing to register his address and for having a homemade knife in his Niagara County Jail cell.

Michael H. White, the attorney for Juan Bresles-Ramos, 53, told County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza that an immigration officer told Bresles-Ramos he didn't have to register as a sex offender.

Bresles-Ramos, a native of Cuba who has been in the U.S. since 1980, said he found the toothbrush that had been sharpened into a shank on the floor in his cell. He was caught with it Feb. 19.

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Bikes, lawnmower stolen from Beattie Ave. yard

LOCKPORT -- Nearly $1,000 worth of equipment and bicycles were stolen Wednesday from a backyard in the 5600 block of Beattie Avenue, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said.

The theft, police said, occurred between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Items stolen included a snowblower, lawnmower and two mountain bikes.

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Three facing charges in theft of radiators

NIAGARA FALLS -- Three people are accused of stealing radiators and hot water tanks from a vacant Mackenna Avenue house Tuesday.

Charged with felony second-degree burglary and petit larceny are Robert D. Frain, 33, of Paul Drive; Eric S. Waterstram, 37, of 18th Street; and Crystal D. Kneep, 27, of 18th Street.

The three were stopped in a vehicle just after 10:30 a.m. in an alley of the 2200 block of Cudaback Avenue, police said, and found with three cast-iron radiators in the trunk and a fourth radiator in the vehicle,

Police said a hot water tank and other radiators were torn out and placed in the backyard at the vacant house.

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Guilty plea entered in two bar fights

LOCKPORT -- A Lewiston man, charged with inflicting serious head injuries on two men in separate Niagara Falls bar fights, accepted a plea bargain Wednesday that will see him serve two years in Niagara County Jail.

John J. Baldassara, 53, of Creek Road Extension, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree assault in connection with the July 17, 2010, attack on a man in Players, Fourth and Niagara streets. The victim suffered near-fatal brain injuries, it was announced at Baldassara's original arraignment.

District Attorney Michael J. Violante said Baldassara will plead guilty to third-degree assault in City Court by Aug. 12 in connection with a Jan. 7 fight in Cocktail Bob's on Cudaback Avenue. Violante said there will be a one-year sentence on each plea, running consecutively. Separate drunken driving and drug possession misdemeanors are being dropped as part of the plea deal.

County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza said she anticipates the City Court sentencing will occur before Baldassara returns to her courtroom Oct. 19.

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Falls man pleads guilty to two burglaries

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man who had been charged with three burglaries in that city settled his case Wednesday in Niagara County Court by pleading guilty to two of them.

William O'Harrow, 30, of Linwood Avenue, admitted to attempted second-degree burglary and third-degree burglary. Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza said she will send O'Harrow to state prison for no longer than six years when he returns to court Oct. 5.

O'Harrow broke into an apartment house on 16th Street Jan. 27 and stole copper pipes from two apartments, prosecutors said. The next day, police caught him cutting up some pipes in a home on Grand Avenue. His indictment also accused him of returning to that house Feb. 11 to retrieve those pipes and steal more.

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Two spotted in break-in vanish as police arrive

NIAGARA FALLS -- Police responding to a burglary in progress call on McKoon Avenue house just after 7:30 a.m. Tuesday likely scared away intruders.

Officers, however, were unable to track down two teenage males on bicycles seen by a witness.

One of the teens was believed to be serving as a lookout and fled when police arrived and the other, who had entered, left behind a bike and fled on foot, police said.

Police said they found a screen pushed in, a plant knocked over and a 52-inch TV near the door.

Officers also found drawers opened and change spilled out in an upstairs bedroom.