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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Would-be purse snatcher knocked off bike by woman

NIAGARA FALLS -- A would-be purse snatcher threatened to call police early Sunday after his intended victim knocked him off his bicycle, rendering it unable to ride.

Police said the 34-year-old woman was walking in the 400 block of Ferry Avenue before 1 a.m. when a man on a bike tried to snatch her purse. When she turned away from him, the resistance pulled the man from his bike.

The mugger checked out his damaged bike and told the woman he was going to call the police, to which she replied, "Go ahead!" Instead, the man picked up the bike and walked it away.

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Prescription forgery results in charges

NEWFANE -- A Lockport man was charged with second-degree forgery Saturday night after an alert pharmacy employee noticed a forged signature on the prescription he presented.

Niagara County sheriff's deputies said that Craig R. Udell, 33, went to the Rite Aid Pharmacy on Lockport-Olcott Road at about 8:50 p.m. with a prescription for Opana, or oxymorphone, a pain killer. Suspicious of the doctor's signature on the prescription, the employee phoned an area hospital to have a copy of the doctor's signature faxed over. Udell was charged when it became obvious that the prescription was forged, deputies said.

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Two tourists help another fend off purse thief

NIAGARA FALLS -- A New Jersey woman was aided by two non-English-speaking tourists in fending off a would-be purse snatcher Saturday night, police said.

The 60-year-old victim was walking into the Econo Lodge on Niagara Falls Boulevard shortly after 8 p.m. when a woman tried to grab her purse from behind, police said. The victim was able to fend off the woman with help from two acquaintances, who chased the mugger away empty-handed.

Later Saturday, police charged a 20th Street man with an unrelated purse theft. Ian M. Patton, 35, was charged with petit larceny and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property after police said he took a woman's purse from her car at the Valero gas station at 19th Street and Ferry avenue.

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Teens with guns blamed in three armed robberies

NIAGARA FALLS -- Groups of gun-toting teenagers were blamed for three armed robberies over the weekend, two of them minutes apart in a one-block radius of Third Street on Saturday night.

Two Third Street residents were victimized in a 20-minute span beginning at 9:30 p.m., police said. In the first incident, two young men, one armed with a handgun, accosted a 57-year-old man retrieving his mail on his front porch. He turned over $10 and his wallet after the gun was shoved in his face.

Minutes later, another neighborhood resident was confronted by four men in an alley behind his home. The 50-year-old victim showed his empty wallet and was then told to remove a ring, which he was unable to get off. After being threatened with a gun, he turned over his cellphone.

Police said that four males fitting the same general description were involved in another armed robbery at 2:25 p.m. Sunday in an alley off Pine Avenue near Eighth Street. They surrounded a 48-year-old man and threatened him with a pair of handguns. He turned over a cellphone and $4 in cash.

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Riot at Rapids Theater echoes 4th of July incident

NIAGARA FALLS -- Police faced an unruly, drunken and combative crowd exiting a fraternity Halloween party at the Rapids Theater on Sunday morning in a near carbon-copy of a riot that occurred there this summer.

Officers responded to the Main Street theater on several occasions between 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 3:30 p.m. Sunday to deal with reports of fights, disorderly conduct and a robbery. They reported two arrests.

Early Sunday, officers said as many as 1,200 people crowded into the street in front of the theater, blocking traffic, fighting and refusing orders to move on. Many were highly intoxicated, according to reports, and vastly outnumbered both theater security and police.

Town of Niagara police, state police and state parks police were called in to assist and arrested Kaiman Lam, 22, of Queens, on a trespassing charge after he reportedly punched the mirror off a car belonging to a Rapids bartender. Also arrested was Khanha Phakousonh, 28, of Irvine, Calif., who was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Rapids was the scene of a similar disturbance following a private Fourth of July party. Police were intending to contact the State Liquor Authority in the wake of the latest incident, according to reports.

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Teen accused of using knife to threaten people at party

A 17-year-old male accused of using a knife to threaten others at a house party in Clarence was charged Sunday with menacing, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment.

The Town of Royalton teenager was taken to the Erie County Holding Center on $500 bail. Erie County sheriff's deputies did not release his name.

Deputies responded to a report of an incident on Tonawanda Creek Road, near Rapids Road, in the Town of Clarence early Sunday morning. No one was injured.