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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Woman hospitalized after scorpion sting

LOCKPORT -- A 23-year-old Town of Lockport woman was admitted to Eastern Niagara Hospital on Wednesday after being stung by a scorpion hiding in a box.

The woman, an employee of Johnson-Rose Corp. on Crown Drive in the town industrial park, told Niagara County sheriff's deputies she was stung about 2 p.m., as she was removing items from a cardboard box.

She killed the scorpion with another box, but an emergency room doctor said the victim went into anaphylactic shock as a result of the sting, and would probably be hospitalized for a couple of days.

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Man gets 4 years in prison for attack with box cutter

LOCKPORT -- Jay Smith, 22, of Portage Road, Niagara Falls, was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday for slashing a man in the face with a box cutter Nov. 3 in the hallway of a 22nd Street apartment house.

Smith had pleaded guilty before Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III to attempted second-degree burglary. He and his then-girlfriend Rachel Martin, 24, of Portage Road, wanted to confront Martin's former boyfriend over an incident the day before in which Martin had been assaulted and the windows of Smith's car were smashed.

They were confronted by the landlord, who suffered a 3-inch gash in his cheek, Assistant District Attorney Cheryl L. Nichols said. Smith was arrested six more times for other crimes in the wake of the incident, she added. Martin is awaiting sentencing on the same charge as Smith.

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Drug treatment possible for Rodeway Inn robber

LOCKPORT -- A man who robbed the clerk at a store adjoining the Rodeway Inn in Niagara Falls was criticized by his own attorney at sentencing Thursday in Niagara County Court.

Ernest L. Ruffin, 33, of 24th Street in the Falls, was sentenced to 2 1/2 to five years behind bars for third-degree robbery, although Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza recommended him for Willard Correctional Facility, site of the state prison system's secure drug treatment unit. If he is accepted and passes the treatment program, he could be paroled in three months.

Assistant Public Defender Robert Viola said Ruffin already has served 15 months in the County Jail for the Dec. 30, 2009, holdup, and eight months ago rejected a plea bargain that included a trip to Willard.

"He could have been home by now. He did an additional eight months because of his own foolish decision-making," Viola said.

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Copper thieves hit former Falls nightclub

NIAGARA FALLS -- Copper thieves targeted a former Whirlpool Street nightclub this week, according to Niagara Falls police reports.

The owner of the property occupied by the Pharaoh's Nite Club reported to police that sometime between Aug. 10 and Tuesday an intruder broke into the building by kicking in a back patio door.

Once inside, the thief or thieves stole all of the copper plumbing from the basement and first and second floors, police reports stated. The fixtures in the building sustained "extensive damage" during the burglary.

Also taken were four industrial-size boxes with copper wiring.

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Youth, 17, sent to prison for rape, sexual abuse

LOCKPORT -- A 17-year-old youth who raped a 15-year-old girl and fondled a 6-year-old girl was sentenced to 11 years in state prison Thursday by Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III.

Collinraye J. Boskat of South Street, Lockport, had pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of third-degree criminal trespass, the latter for entering the Kohn Motorcycle building on Gooding Street in Lockport Aug. 3, 2010.

The Feb. 11 rape of the 15-year-old came while Boskat was out on bail from the July 31, 2010, incident with the 6-year-old, Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello said. Murphy said Boskat has committed other sex crimes for which he received youthful offender status.

"I don't think your life is under control, and it's necessary to impose a sentence that protects the public," the judge said.

Boskat still faces a sexual misconduct charge in the Orleans County Town of Ridgeway.

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Drug dealer succeeds in diversion program

LOCKPORT -- An admitted cocaine dealer from Buffalo on Thursday became the first person to successfully complete the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment in Niagara County Court.

Antonio Staley, 40, of East Amherst Street, was allowed to cancel the guilty plea he entered in June 2010 to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Instead, he pleaded guilty to seventh-degree possession, a misdemeanor, and is to be placed on three years' probation by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza on Sept. 29.

Had Staley failed in the treatment program, he faced up to nine years in prison. Several defendants already have flunked out of the program.

"It was hard. The first thing you have to do is look at yourself," said Staley, who sold nearly an ounce of cocaine to a police informant in the Town of Lockport on March 26, 2009.