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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Wallet stolen from purse of worker at Falls hospital

NIAGARA FALLS -- An opportunistic thief stole a wallet Friday morning from a worker's purse at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, then used a credit card to make several purchases before the victim was able to cancel the card.

Police said the wallet was stolen between 10 and 10:30 a.m. from a purse left beneath a desk at the hospital. The victim, a Lewiston woman, told police the wallet also contained several personal effects.

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Falls police investigate two separate break-ins

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 16th Street man told police that his home was burglarized while he was at work Friday, one of two such break-ins investigated by police.

The 16th Street residence was entered between 6:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. by cutting a window screen, according to reports. More than $2,000 worth of belongings were removed, including a 42-inch television, a 32-inch TV, a laptop computer and $150 in coins.

Also Friday, the owner of a Ninth Street residence reported that someone broke out a basement window between noon and 2 p.m., climbed in and stole about 10 feet of copper plumbing valued at around $200, police said.

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Man suspected of taking $100 while baby-sitting

TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- An ex-stepfather with a history of thefts is suspected of stealing $100 from a Willowbend Avenue home while baby-sitting there recently, police said.

The victim told sheriff's deputies that she put two $100 bills in a dresser drawer Sept. 16 and noticed one missing a week later. She told deputies she rarely leaves the home and does not suspect her children nor their friends.

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$400, laptop are taken in 16th Street break-in

NIAGARA FALLS -- Someone broke into a 16th Street home late Friday or early Saturday, stealing $400 in cash and a laptop computer, police said.

The homeowner told police the house was entered between 11 p.m. Friday and 12:17 a.m. Saturday via a bedroom window on the side of the house. The money was removed from a dresser. The laptop, valued at $500, belonged to the victim's girlfriend.

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Robber takes cash, phone in attack on Delaware Ave.

A robber threatened to shoot a man early Saturday at Delaware Avenue and Bryant Street, taking the man's cellphone and $40 in cash, Central District police reported.

The victim told officers that a male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt threatened him before pushing him to the ground. The thief fled south on Delaware Avenue in an unknown vehicle following the 3 a.m. robbery.

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$400 gold necklace stolen from car, but gifts ignored

NIAGARA FALLS -- A gold necklace valued at $400 was stolen from an Ashland Avenue woman's car overnight Thursday, police said, but gifts for her daughter's birthday were left behind.

The victim told police that her car was entered while parked in her driveway and that, in addition to the necklace, two juice boxes worth about a dollar were also taken. In addition to the gifts, a birthday cake was also left untouched.

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$500 Xbox system taken from porch after delivery

CAMBRIA -- An Xbox 360 video game system, delivered to an Upper Mountain Road home in July, was stolen from the front porch of the home before the homeowner was able to retrieve it, sheriff's deputies said.

The $500 system was delivered by FedEx on July 29, according to company records, but the homeowner never received it. Deputies said the package was left at the front door of the home, which is clearly visible from the roadway. No explanation was given for why the theft was not reported sooner.

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Race car heavily damaged after catching fire

WHEATFIELD -- A 2005 Pontiac GTO modified for racing sustained an estimated $20,000 in damage Thursday after catching fire on Nash Road, sheriff's deputies said.

The owner, a North Tonawanda man who told police he regularly races the vehicle at Lancaster Speedway, reported that he was driving at around 9 a.m. when the vehicle backfired, and then heavy smoke and flames began pouring out from beneath the hood.

The man disabled a 10-pound nitrous oxide tank mounted in the vehicle's trunk, which was full of racing fuel. A crew from the Adams Fire Company extinguished the blaze. There were no injuries reported.

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State police plan crackdown on drivers using cellphones

Beginning Monday morning and running through Thursday, state police will stage enhanced enforcement of the state law banning the use of hand-held cellphones while driving.

More than 1,000 Thruway motorists statewide were ticketed during last fall's "Operation Hangup," and since Jan. 1, troopers have ticketed more than 3,000 motorists with such violations.

State law prohibits the use of a hand-held mobile phone while driving except to call emergency responders.