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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Farmer escapes tractor just as flames erupt

HARTLAND -- A farmer narrowly escaped his burning tractor Friday morning after he inadvertently knocked down a live electrical line, which came to rest atop the vehicle, officials said.

Sheriff's deputies said that Gary McCollum, 72, of Gasport, called just before 8:30 a.m. to report being trapped in his $100,000 Cat tractor in a field on Hartland Road, just south of Champman Road.

He was advised to remain inside the vehicle due to the danger from the live wire, and crews were sent to the scene.

Upon arrival, they found a fire burning beneath the tractor, but were unable to douse it with extinguishers.

At that point, with the cab of the tractor filling with smoke, McCollum jumped safely from the vehicle, after which it erupted into flames.

Crews from the Hartland Volunteer and Gasport Chemical Hose fire companies were able to put out the fire, but not before the tractor and a $20,000 disc tiller were damaged.

No one was hurt in the incident.

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Burglar does $150 damage to South Avenue home

NIAGARA FALLS -- A burglar caused an estimated $150 worth of damage to a South Avenue home Friday in a break-in that netted just $66 worth of property, police said.

A north side door to the residence was kicked in sometime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., police said, and a door to an upper apartment was also forced open. A carton of cigarettes and four small bottles of liquor were stolen from the upper apartment, occupied by a woman. Nothing was reported missing from the lower residence.

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Tools, wood crafts taken from shed behind home

TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- Over $1,000 worth of tools, wood crafts and other items were stolen after a shed behind a Chestnut Drive home was burglarized recently, deputies said.

Sometime between Wednesday and Friday, someone pried a lock off the shed and removed extension cords, tools, a rototiller, shop light and other items, deputies said.

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$800 in copper wire taken from construction company

NIAGARA FALLS -- A construction shed on the Simmons Avenue property of Yarussi Construction was broken into sometime over the past week, police said Saturday.

A large hole was cut in the west side of the shed and about $800 worth of copper wire was removed, according to reports. About $300 worth of damage was done to the shed.

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Home is burglarized while woman is asleep

NIAGARA FALLS -- An elderly Spring Street woman told police that someone burglarized her home early Friday after she had fallen asleep on a couch.

Police found a chair beneath a window outside the home, apparently the point of entry. A 20-inch television set was stolen off a kitchen counter, and several pieces of costume jewelry were taken from a second-floor bedroom. Total loss was listed at $300.

Police said the break-in occurred between 12:30 and 1:15 a.m.

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Copper piping, water meter stolen from vacant home

NIAGARA FALLS -- In the latest of a long and growing string of copper thefts in the city, a burglar broke into a vacant Hyde Park Boulevard residence earlier this week and stole copper piping from an upper bathroom and the basement, police said.

A door was kicked in, allowing access to the home, and a water meter valued at $200 was taken in addition to the plumbing. The break-in occurred sometime between Wednesday and Friday.

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Rings valued at $800 stolen from Falls home

NIAGARA FALLS -- Four gold rings adorned with gemstones are missing from a 38th Street home, and the elderly resident tells police she has no idea who may have taken the jewelry.

The rings, valued at $800, went missing sometime after Aug. 8, the last time the woman recalls wearing them, police said. One ring was adorned with pearl, another an opal and a third had several birthstones attached to it. The woman told police she rarely leaves her home and always keeps her doors and windows locked.

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Buffalo man arrested in 2 Snyder break-ins

Amherst police arrested a 22-year-old Buffalo man in connection with two house burglaries early this summer in Snyder, detectives reported.

Darnell Lindsay, of Davidson Avenue, was charged Friday with burglary, following break-ins July 2 on Mount Vernon Road and July 3 on Amherstdale Road.

Detectives Thomas Westbrook, David Solak and Peter Crofut linked Lindsay to the crimes through fingerprint evidence at one of the burglary scenes, they said. Lindsay later admitted his involvement in the crimes, according to police reports.

Lindsay was sent to the Erie County Holding Center on $10,000 bail.