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From the blotter / Niagara County police calls and court cases, Aug. 3 to 8

Aug. 3

Latasha L. Ford, 30, of Jackson Street, Lockport, told County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza that she'd rather serve a one-year jail sentence than spend five years on probation, so the judge accommodated her request. Ford had pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for a July 16, 2010, cocaine possession arrest in the Town of Lockport. She served 45 days behind bars after the arrest, which count toward her sentence. Assistant District Attorney Joseph A. Scalzo said in court that Ford had cooperated with the District Attorney's Office, and her information helped force co-defendant Dwight R. Williams, 32, of Maurice Street, Buffalo, to plead guilty.

Michael G. Kreps Jr., 18, of Linwood Avenue, Niagara Falls, was placed on one year of interim probation, pending a final sentence from State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. for attempted second-degree robbery. Kreps and Tarale T. Haugabook, 18, of Welch Avenue, Niagara Falls, robbed a man of $75 at gunpoint on 61st Street in the Falls Dec. 11. Haugabook is awaiting sentencing, as are a 17-year-old Ninth Street girl, and Amber L. Kraft, 20, of Buffalo, who admitted helping dispose of the gun.

Kevin L. Randall, 50, of Seventh Street, Niagara Falls, was admitted by Kloch into the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment in response to his guilty plea to attempted third-degree burglary. Randall was caught Sept. 10 with a hacksaw and a pile of cut-up copper pipe on the third floor of the former St. Mary's Manor nursing home on Sixth Street in the Falls.

Sperrazza said she was "shocked" that a probation officer wants to work with burglar Edwin K. Ridgeway instead of seeing him sent to prison. But the judge went along with it, placing Ridgeway on five years' probation as recommended in the Probation Department's presentencing report. Ridgeway, 23, formerly of Lockport Street, Niagara Falls, broke into a house on Ontario Avenue in that city Jan. 11. Sperrazza wanted to send him to the "shock incarceration" program, but he was ineligible because his crime, attempted second-degree burglary, is classified as a violent felony. She warned Ridgeway that he faces at or near the seven-year maximum sentence if he violates the rules, which include getting a job within 60 days. Sperrazza said Ridgeway had admitted a history of "gang participation," robberies and drug sales. She said the burglary, in which Ridgeway stole electronic equipment to sell, was motivated by his gambling most of his money away the night before.

A Georgia truck driver was jailed for carrying a gun in his tractor-trailer without a valid New York State permit. Lonnie Davis, Jr., 24, of Augusta, Ga., was stopped by Niagara County sheriff's deputies after he crossed over the fog lines at 4:30 p.m. on Niagara Falls Boulevard. He told deputies he was looking at his GPS, attempting to locate a Walmart. Davis said he was delivering paper to Smurfit Stone in North Tonawanda. He admitted he was carrying a 9mm pistol that he said he bought for protection. Patrol found the gun, unloaded, on a shelf next to his sleeper bed and a magazine containing eight rounds of ammunition. Davis said he didn't have a pistol permit from any state.

A Niagara Avenue woman told Niagara Falls police she was attacked and robbed by a man she knows who approached her in the driveway, threatened her, pushed her to the ground, then ripped off two necklaces and her eyeglasses. She said he took her purse and removed an iPad, a laptop and $719. She said the man also took her cane and smashed her vehicle's driver's side window before driving off with another man. Total loss and damage was estimated at more than $2,000.

A Niagara Falls woman told city police she was attacked on 18th Street. The 40-year-old woman said she had been walking in front of a convenience store at 6 a.m. when a man came up to her, picked her up and slammed her head on the ground, then ran away. The woman suffered cuts on her arms and pain to her head and leg and was advised to seek medical treatment, though she had refused.


Aug. 4

Three women who feared a possible explosion jumped into the Niagara River from a smoking boat near the Youngstown Yacht Club and were pulled from the water a short time later by the Coast Guard, authorities said. The Coast Guard arrived shortly after the 12:30 p.m. report that the women were seen jumping into the river about 1,000 yards from the Coast Guard station. The three wore life jackets. A 51-year-old man remained aboard the 21-foot craft, authorities said. He told his wife, 48, daughter, 19, and the other woman, also 19, to jump because he feared the boat would catch fire and explode. All four were brought aboard the Coast Guard vessel, evaluated by emergency medical personnel and released. The boat was towed to a Fort Niagara boat ramp.


Aug. 5

Eli L. Clark, 20, of Bryant Street, North Tonawanda, who was arrested when the Niagara County Drug Task Force raided his apartment March 25, pleaded guilty in County Court to fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance -- two-tenths of an ounce of crack cocaine, Assistant District Attorney Peter M. Wydysh said. Judge Matthew J. Murphy III scheduled sentencing for Oct. 21. At the time of the search, which was the second one police conducted at the apartment in a two-month period, officers said they seized $1,278 in cash and a supply of cocaine packaged for sale.

Denivre K. Aughtry, 38, of Autumnwood Drive, Cheektowaga, was arraigned in County Court on charges of felony driving while intoxicated, first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and operating without an ignition interlock device. The latter was a condition of his probation from a 2009 misdemeanor DWI conviction in North Tonawanda. Aughtry was arrested again in that city April 3 when he was found asleep at the wheel of his auto, police reported.

An argument led to an assault on a 28-year-old mother and her two young children, Niagara Falls police said. The victim told police she was walking in the 400 block of 26th Street about 1 p.m. with her daughters, ages 3 and eight months, when they were confronted by a woman she knows. An argument erupted and the victim was spat on, police said. The suspect shoved the 3-year-old and knocked over a stroller holding the baby, causing the child to hit her head on the ground. The infant was examined at an area hospital but was not seriously injured. The victim was advised to seek an arrest warrant.


Aug. 6

A Newfane couple contacted authorities after learning that at least $375 had been stolen from their account at the Niagara County Federal Credit Union. The victims said that they may have had some personal checks stolen, and it appears that at least one was forged and cashed at an area bank. Investigators are working on a description of a possible suspect and an investigation was launched.


Aug. 7

A Middleport man faces charges of driving while intoxicated and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle after sheriff's deputies found him slumped over the wheel, sleeping, at Rochester and Royalton Center roads in Royalton just after 2 a.m. Sunday, according to sheriff's reports. William M. Foster, 31, of Freeman Road, was found at the intersection with the engine running, his foot on the brake and the vehicle in gear, deputies said. When he was asked by patrol if he knew he was sleeping in the middle of the road he said, "I meant to park there." He admitted he had been drinking in Olcott before he was stopped, deputies said. Foster also was charged with drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle after he was found with a plastic cup containing alcohol, as well as failure to keep right.


Aug. 8

A 61-year-old man told Niagara Falls police more than $700 worth of property was stolen from his sport utility vehicle while parked in a driveway the 1000 block of 85th Street. Stolen were a GPS, a Range Finder, an iPod and hunting binoculars.