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POLICE & COURTS

Man gets probation in food stamp fraud

LITTLE VALLEY -- A Yorkshire man who was convicted of welfare fraud was sentenced to probation Monday in Cattaraugus County Court.

Daniel L. Whiting, 35, was sentenced to three years' probation and restitution for his guilty plea to fifth-degree welfare fraud.

Between February and July 2010 in the City of Olean, he obtained $336 in food stamps to which he was not entitled.

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UB police officer faces disorderly conduct charge

A University at Buffalo police officer was issued an appearance ticket for disorderly conduct last week at a Darien Lake amusement park concert, authorities said Tuesday.

Officer Sean Ford, 27, a three-year member of UB's Police Department, has been taken off patrol duties and placed in an alternate work assignment pending the outcome of his case, university officials said.

He was one of dozens of individuals either arrested or issued tickets by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office at a concert last week.

"Unfortunately, University at Buffalo Police Officer Sean Ford was one of them and was issued an appearance ticket," said Gerald W. Schoenle Jr., chief of UB's police force, who added that it is the policy of his department not to discuss personnel matters.

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Man who fell into gorge not seriously injured

NIAGARA FALLS -- A man who fell 30 feet into the Niagara Gorge on Sunday will likely be released from a Canadian hospital after suffering non-life-threatening injuries, Niagara Falls, Ont., fire officials said Tuesday.

Fire officials have not released the name of the 27-year-old man from London, Ont., who suffered head and leg injuries when he fell 30 feet after climbing over a safety wall on Sunday. But they noted that he suffered a compound fracture to his ankle and that his head injuries were minor.

Officials said they believed the man was transported to Greater Niagara General Hospital and said he would likely be released.

Meanwhile, fire officials have not found the body of the 19-year-old international student from Japan who was swept over the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side in an unrelated incident Sunday after she lost her balance on a metal-and-stone railing near the brink.

The woman's name is not being released until her next of kin is notified, Niagara Regional Police officials said.

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Woman accused of bringing drugs into county jail

A Buffalo woman was charged with introducing prison contraband after she allegedly stashed drugs in a locker at the Erie County Correctional Facility where she was visiting her boyfriend's son Monday, Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard reported.

Desirae James, 28, of Armin Place, was arraigned in Alden Town Court and jailed in lieu of $2,500.

Authorities said James apparently put some of her personal belongings in a locker in the lobby of the prison. Included in those belongings were a pair of balloons containing marijuana, cocaine, tobacco and rolling papers, police said.

The prison K-9 dog, Rocky, alerted authorities.

When they questioned James she told them she had more drugs in her vehicle parked in the parking lot.

That's when deputies then allegedly found two bags with suspected cocaine and two more with marijuana, police reports stated.

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Police say drunken man refused to pay cab fare

LOCKPORT -- Onetime Niagara County STOP-DWI coordinator Paul E. Griffin was arrested at 2:15 a.m. Tuesday at his home, after allegedly refusing to pay a cab fare.

Griffin, 64, of Rochester Road, Lockport, was charged with theft of services at 2:15 a.m.

A driver for Timkey Limousine Co., which has a taxi service, told sheriff's deputies that Griffin was highly intoxicated, had refused to pay the $14 fare, and fell down and struck his head on the driveway after exiting the cab.

Griffin was on the ground, yelling, cursing and spitting, a deputy reported. Griffin was taken to Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport for treatment.

Griffin held the STOP-DWI job for less than a month in 2002, resigning after it was disclosed that he had been charged with assault for allegedly punching a co-worker while he was employed at Delphi Harrison Thermal Systems. He was acquitted in a nonjury trial in 2003.

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Driver apparently stricken, causing one-car crash

NORTH HARMONY -- A Celoron woman was flown to Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa., Tuesday afternoon following a one-vehicle crash on Route 394 in the town of North Harmony, Chautauqua County sheriff's officials reported.

Harriett L. Lank, 72, was headed west on Route 394 just before 12:30 p.m. when, because of apparent medical distress, went off the road and struck a tree and then a utility pole, police said.

Lank was extricated from her vehicle by volunteer firefighters and flown to the Erie, Pa., hospital.

Her condition was not available late Tuesday.

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