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POLICE & COURTS

Home Depot cashier accused of $12,000 in thefts

A cashier at the Home Depot store on Elmwood Avenue in North Buffalo is charged with multiple counts of grand larceny in connection with the theft of items worth nearly $12,000.

Northwest District police say Raul Rodriguez, 23, of Niagara Street, allowed merchandise to go through his line without charging for it.

Police report that on five dates between July 11 and Aug. 9, anywhere between $1,318 and $2,975 worth of merchandise was stolen in that manner.

It's not clear from the police reports if the same customer or customers were involved in each of the incidents.

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Copper thief sentenced to jail time, probation

LITTLE VALLEY -- A Jamestown man who illegally entered the abandoned J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital in Perrysburg to steal copper has been sentenced in Cattaraugus County Court to jail and probation.

Edgar L. Shirley, 26, of Fluvanna Road, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years' probation for his guilty plea to fourth-degree criminal mischief and to one year of probation for his guilty plea to criminal trespass.

State troopers caught Shirley inside the facility Nov. 30 attempting to remove copper pipes to sell for scrap.

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Man admits, 63, defrauding Social Security of $35,778

A Buffalo man Tuesday pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing more than $35,000 by obtaining Social Security benefits under two different names.

Juan Ortiz-Santiago, 63, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The charge, theft of government money, carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito Jr. said Ortiz-Santiago admitted stealing $35,778. He obtained disability benefits from the Social Security Administration in 1977 under the name Juan Ortiz. He then obtained Supplemental Security Income benefits in 2007 under the name Juan Santiago. He was not entitled to receive payments from either fund, the prosecutor said. He will be sentenced Jan. 5.

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Unlicensed drunken driver given 5 years' probation

LITTLE VALLEY -- A Randolph man who was driving drunk and without a license has been sentenced in Cattaraugus County Court to probation and fines.

Rindell A. McKay, 30, was sentenced to five years' probation, 100 hours of community service and fines of $1,500 for his guilty pleas to driving while intoxicated and second-degree unlicensed operation Feb. 4 in the Town of Conewango. He had a blood alcohol count of 0.17 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

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Ex-president of USW local admits stealing $31,700

The former president of Local 887, United Steelworkers, has pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds.

Guy Masocco, 62, of Buffalo, admitted using a union credit card for personal expenses and submitting improper reimbursement claims to the union over a five-year period, costing Local 897 about $31,700.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said Masocco represented about 100 workers at ITT Heat Transfer Inc. in Cheektowaga.

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Man gets 5 years in prison for molesting girl, 8

LITTLE VALLEY -- A Conewango man who molested an 8-year-old girl more than once earlier this year has been sentenced in Cattaraugus County Court to serve five years in prison.

Jason Bishop, 38, was sentenced by Judge Larry M. Himelein to serve two concurrent five-year prison terms and two concurrent terms of five years of post-release supervision.

Bishop pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse in January and February in the Town of Conewango.

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Niagara Coach Lines offices ransacked; computer taken

NIAGARA FALLS -- Offices were entered, ransacked and burglarized over the weekend at Niagara Falls Coach Lines on 13th Street.

Niagara Falls police found at 5 a.m. Monday that someone threw a concrete block through a window. A security manager said an area of offices where petty cash used to be kept was ransacked. He said that they had been burglarized in the past and no longer stored cash there. However, a burglar alarm was not active, he told police.

A computer tower and monitor, valued at $700, were stolen and damage to the window was listed at $275.

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Driver in crash charged with drug impairment

A Holland man was charged with felony driving while ability impaired by drugs after a two-car crash Monday evening in the Town of Sardinia, Erie County sheriff's officials report.

While investigating the crash on Curriers Road, Deputy Timothy Ulinger found that one of the drivers, Robert B. Hoffman, 42, of Holland, was intoxicated, according to police reports. Further evaluation by Deputy Daryl Demari, a drug-recognition expert, determined that Hoffman was impaired by drugs, sheriff's officials added.

The charge was upgraded to a felony because Hoffman had a previous DWAI conviction last month, according to the police report.