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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Horse farmer reports theft of 800-pound tractor scoop

NEWFANE -- A horse farmer told police that it would have required four or five men with a pickup truck to steal the 800-pound tractor scoop that was taken from his property recently.

The item was taken from a field at the Murphy Road farm sometime after Aug. 6, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said. The farmer told deputies the thieves probably intended to scrap the scoop, valued at $1,000.

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Police interrupt burglary while responding to robbery

NIAGARA FALLS -- Officers responding to the scene of a robbery early Sunday happened upon a couple of suspects fleeing the scene of a nearby burglary.

The men ducked into a backyard on 23rd Street, prompting police to cordon off the area and conduct a search. They were unable to locate the men, despite assistance from the Border Patrol, state police and Town of Niagara police officers.

Police originally responded to the area just before 5:30 a.m. to search for suspects from a reported robbery, but believe the two fleeing men they encountered had just shoved in a window screen and burglarized a home in the 400 block of 23rd Street.

Two televisions valued at $1,300 were taken from that residence while the occupants were upstairs, officers said.

No further details were provided concerning the reported robbery.

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Sixth person defrauded in property sale scam

NIAGARA FALLS -- A real estate agent told a city man that he was the sixth person defrauded recently in a scam involving a property for sale on Sy Road in the Town of Wheatfield.

The victim told police he had responded to a newspaper advertisement about the property and was told to wire $1,650 to cover the security deposit and the first month's rent for the home. He was to receive the keys to the property in the mail.

The money was to have gone to a Georgia woman but was picked up in Pennsylvania, the victim was told. When he did not receive the keys, he drove to the property, found a "for sale" sign on it and learned of the apparent scam upon contacting the agent listing the property.

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Three youths accused in break-in, theft, vandalism

ROYALTON -- A 16-year-old and two juveniles were taken into custody just before 2 a.m. Saturday after Niagara County sheriff's deputies said they broke into a car, stole a carton of cigarettes, then spray-painted obscenities all over a tractor-trailer parked at an East Avenue business.

Deputies said they found the three in the parking lot of Cosmicoat of Western New York, where a truck had been defaced. A window also was broken out of the vehicle,and an attempt had been made to steal a citizen's band radio inside, according to reports. The youths were found in possession of a mailbox, reportedly stolen from a nearby residence.

The two juveniles were turned over to relatives and will likely be petitioned to Family Court. Charged with second-degree criminal mischief, petit larceny and third-degree auto stripping was Harley S. Miller, 16, of Hartland Road, Gasport.

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Poker player tells police he was beaten, robbed

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 42-year-old man told police he was beaten and robbed of his winnings during a poker game at a Spruce Avenue residence Sunday morning.

The victim, who lives down the street from the site of the attack, told police he got nervous and tried to leave the game at about 4 a.m. but was blocked by another player. Three men then began to assault him, in addition to stealing his $180 in winnings.

The victim was treated in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center for cuts to his legs, arms and both hands, as well as various bruises. Police are continuing an investigation.

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Man admits trying to steal handrail for scrap metal

NIAGARA FALLS -- A city man who told police he scraps metal to support his heroin habit was arrested after reportedly trying to cut a heavy steel handrail from the back of the Bon-Ton store in the Summit mall Saturday afternoon.

Matthew J. Witkowski, 28, of Orleans Avenue, was arrested at 1:21 p.m. near Hyde Park Boulevard and Pine Avenue after a mall employee notified police that two men had been interrupted while attempting to steal the metal railing.

Witkowski admitted the incident to police, according to reports, and was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief.

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Woman says pit bull puppy was stolen from Falls yard

NIAGARA FALLS -- A DeVeaux-area woman told police that a pit bull puppy was stolen from the yard of her Vanderbilt Avenue home recently and that she has since spotted the dog at the home of a Buffalo woman who had been seeking to purchase the animal.

The woman was advised to seek an arrest warrant after reportedly driving to the home of the woman -- who had made inquiries about purchasing the dog -- and seeing it in her yard.

The victim had been planning to sell the dog for $75 and said it was stolen from her yard while she was at work June 30.