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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Dunkin' Donuts robbed in Falls; gunman sought

NIAGARA FALLS -- Police were searching for a man suspected in an armed robbery of a Dunkin' Donuts on Monday afternoon in the city. It was the second armed robbery on Niagara Falls Boulevard in as many days.

A man armed with a black handgun is suspected of robbing the shop at 6601 Niagara Falls Blvd. at about 3 p.m.

The robber left the doughnut shop in a red Chevy Impala and was last seen at 66th Street and Girard Avenue.

The Wilson Farms store at 2620 Niagara Falls Blvd. was robbed just after 9 p.m. Sunday, according to police.

A store clerk told police that a man approached her at the cash register with his hand in his pocket, waved the pocket around as if he had a gun and demanded money, saying, "This is not a joke. Give me the money. I have a gun."

She said she put the money into a paper bag. She said he refused to take any change and left with $250 in bills, fleeing on foot toward Niagara Street.

Police caught a suspect, but he was released after the victim was unable to identify him as the robber.

It was unclear Monday whether the two robberies were related.

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N. Tonawanda man accused of sex assault on child

LOCKPORT -- A North Tonawanda man was arraigned Monday on charges that he sexually assaulted a child over a period of six years.

Steven R. Cassel Sr., 37, of Keil Street, was arraigned before Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas on charges of predatory sexual assault against a child, first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and third-degree rape.

He remains held in Niagara County Jail on $100,000 bail, which was set in a lower court. A pretrial date was set for April 23.

Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth A. Donatello said the charges were filed by police Dec. 21 following DNA testing in September.

Cassel is accused of having sex two or more times with a child between 2006 and 2011, when the child was between the ages of 10 and 14.

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Man charged with DWI after one-car crash

LOCKPORT -- An Appleton man was charged with driving while intoxicated Sunday after allegedly driving away from a one-car crash Sunday with both air bags deployed.

Police said that after receiving a report of a vehicle in a ditch, they noticed a car driving west on High Street with heavy front-end damage at 2:30 a.m. Inside, both air bags had deployed, police said.

Kenneth Paul, 60, of Hess Road, was charged with aggravated DWI for having a blood alcohol level above 0.18 percent and two counts of equipment violation. He also was charged with having an alcoholic beverage in a vehicle, after a spilled can of beer was found on the floor, police said.

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Woman with DWI record arrested on felony charge

NEWFANE -- A Lockport woman with two prior driving while intoxicated convictions was charged with DWI just after 6:30 p.m. Saturday on Drake Settlement Road.

Lauren P. Paul, 32, of Upper Mountain Road, was stopped by police after a report of a vehicle being driven recklessly.

Deputies said that after they saw a pickup truck swerve on and off the road, they stopped the truck and saw a male passenger switching places with Paul as they approached. Deputies told the couple they had seen them switching and then interviewed Paul in the passenger seat. Deputies said an empty beer can fell out when the passenger door was opened.

Paul was charged with felony DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation and improper left turn.

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Niagara Regional Police will be losing its chief

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- The chief of the Niagara Regional Police Service, Ontario's oldest regional police service patrolling one of its largest geographical regions, is stepping down.

Wendy Southall will leave March 31. There will be an extensive search to replace her, acting Police Board Chairman Todd Shoalts said. He said the seven-member board recognizes the existence of "significant talent within the ranks of the Niagara Regional Police Service" but said the search would go beyond those ranks.

The Toronto consulting firm of Odgers Berndtson, which has helped find senior police executives across Canada, will assist with the search.

Shoalts said the board hopes to identify a successor by the end of April.

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Amherst man arrested at store with drugs

An Amherst man was jailed Monday after Erie County sheriff's deputies said they found him with prescription drugs that did not belong to him following a shoplifting incident at the Clarence Walmart.

Jay Kenneth, 27, was charged with criminal mischief, criminal possession of a controlled substance, attempted petit larceny and possession a controlled substance outside of an original container after his arrest at the Transit Road store at about 2 p.m.

Walmart workers stopped Kenneth after surveillance camera footage showed him opening packages and trying to hide items under his clothing, deputies said. Deputies said they found him with prescription drugs that were not prescribed to him.