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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Attempted drug buy lands man in prison

A Ransomville man was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison followed by three years' supervised release Friday for attempting to buy 30 pounds of marijuana in June 2009, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. reported.

Darain Rabatoy, 34, had $21,000 with him when he met another individual in the parking lot of a Niagara Falls Boulevard store in Amherst to buy the marijuana, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Clare Kane.

Rabatoy was convicted of attempted possession with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing marijuana. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

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Thefts from grandmothers results in six months in jail

LOCKPORT -- Jacob S. Sauer, 22, of Fredericka Street, North Tonawanda, drew five years' probation Friday, starting with six months in jail, for a pair of felonies against his grandmothers in the summer of 2010.

Sauer stole $1,000 worth of jewelry from one grandmother's home and forged a $550 check on the account of the other. He admitted to third-degree burglary and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza had placed him on interim probation in November, but Sauer failed to report to his probation officer and quit the North Tonawanda drug court program.

Defense attorney James J. Faso Jr. dissuaded Sperrazza from sending Sauer to state prison by reporting that Sauer needs surgery on a torn knee ligament and couldn't handle the boot camp-like "shock incarceration" program.

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DWI defendant gets wish, a six-month jail term

LOCKPORT -- State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. was prepared to place a drunken driver on probation Friday, but the defendant said being in jail would help him stay sober.

Patrick A. Bauer, 51, of St. Paul Street, Town of Niagara, asked for a six-month jail term, and that's what he got.

"He thinks it's in his best interest in terms of his recovery in regard to his alcoholism," defense attorney James J. Faso Sr. said.

"I've had eight months sober, which I haven't had in 35 years," said Bauer, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI in the wake of a Nov. 21 arrest on Niagara Street in Niagara Falls. Kloch also imposed fines and surcharges totaling $1,430.

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Fire caused by lightning damages Wilson home

WILSON -- Fire apparently caused by a lightning strike did $50,000 damage to a home in the Village of Wilson early Thursday.

Dale R. Zastrow of Lake Street said he was awakened shortly before 3 a.m. by a loud bang. He smelled smoke and then the smoke alarms went off. Zastrow and his wife escaped safely. Niagara County sheriff's deputies said it appeared lightning had struck the home's electrical box.

That was the most serious of three fires in Wilson this week. The home of the Burgstahler family on Maple Road sustained $2,500 from a fire around the dryer at about 11:55 p.m. Wednesday. About 40 minutes before that, the roof of a barn on Randall Road owned by Daniel W. Sievert was set afire by lightning. Damage was estimated at $1,000.

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Ex-school board member admits stealing funds

Former Frontier Central School Board Member Melissa H. Stoddart has pleaded guilty to attempted fourth degree grand larceny, a misdemeanor.

She was accused of misappropriating money from the Brierwood Homeowners Association, where she was an officer.

Stoddart, 61, the former co-owner of Wanakah Nursery, was given a conditional discharge in Hamburg Town Court earlier this month. She paid a $400 fine, and paid restitution of $5,700, said her attorney, Joseph Shaw.

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Police seek public's help to find missing woman

Buffalo police are continuing their search for a missing 21-year-old woman and asking the public for help.

Police are concerned for the health and safety of Roxanne Rose Sadowski of Central Avenue in Buffalo.

Sadowski is 5-foot-8-inches tall, 135 pounds, had red hair at the time she went missing and has a tattoo of a cross and a rose on her right arm that says "R.I.P Dad."

She was reported missing late Tuesday afternoon.

Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts is asked to call the confidential tip line at 847-2255 or Text a Tip at (716) 847-2255.

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Cocaine dealer facing 40 years in prison

A Buffalo man faces up to 40 years in prison and $2 million in fines when he's sentenced in December for cocaine trafficking, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. reported Friday.

Michael Morris, 47, was convicted by jury trial of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and maintaining a premises for distributing crack cocaine after selling crack cocaine from his home at 97 St. Joseph Alley between November 2008 and January 2009.