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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Tools of trade may lead to break in theft of wheels

TOWN OF NIAGARA -- Niagara County sheriff's deputies hope to track down a thief through a lug wrench and jack stands he left behind at the Walmore Road lot of Colavecchia Collision.

The thief made off with 20-inch aluminum wheels valued at $2,000 from a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe during the crime, which occurred overnight Wednesday, deputies said.

Deputies said the thief's tools were traced to a local auto parts store, the purchase made via credit card the day before the theft.

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Loss placed at $26,000 in break-in at a garage

TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- Items worth $26,000 were stolen recently from a Strauss Road garage, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said Saturday.

Between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 5 p.m. Thursday, the garage door was forced open and several items stolen, including mechanic's tools, two auto scanners a set of four chrome tire rims and four speakers.

The victim noted he had recently attempted to sell a motorcycle on Craigslist, which resulted in several people visiting the garage that was burglarized.

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Eden man badly injured in crash at intersection

An Eden man was seriously injured when his car crashed at about 3 a.m. Saturday at routes 62 and 75, Eden police reported.

Michael Zittel, 22, crossed over the center before leaving the highway at a high rate of speed. The car sheered off a utility and came to rest against a large tree near a house.

Zittel, alone in the car, was freed by the Eden Emergency and Rescue Squad. Mercy Flight flew Zittel to Erie County Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition.

Fire Departments from Eden, East Eden and Hamburg diverted traffic because of concern about power lines. Power to the area was restored and both highways reopened to traffic at about 7:30 a.m.

Eden Police Officer Nicholas Blasz issued Zittel summonses for speed not prudent, failure to keep right, and not wearing a safety belt.

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Furnace, generator taken from Elmwood Ave. address

NIAGARA FALLS -- A furnace, water heater and generator were stolen from an Elmwood Avenue home that was burglarized -- one of three break-ins investigated by city police recently.

The Elmwood break-in, police said, occurred between Thursday night and Friday afternoon, after a property manager gave the key to a plumber performing work at the address. The loss was estimated at $3,100.

In the other cases, a purse containing $300, credit card and debit card was taken from a table of a Wyoming Avenue address overnight Friday, police said.

Also, damage to a door and frame were estimated at $1,500 after a 22nd Street home was broken into Friday evening.

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150-pound pit bull chained in yard stolen

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 150-pound pit bull dog was stolen from the backyard of a Centre Avenue home Friday morning, police said.

"Buster," a brindle-colored male, was chained to a post in the yard at the time he was stolen, sometime between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., police said.

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Automated phone call noted by victim of scam

TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- A Dogwood Drive woman believes she was set up for a scam after giving out personal information, including the identification number for a bank account, during a recent automated telephone call, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said.

Shortly after the call, two fraudulent purchases totaling more than $1,970 were made in Germany, said deputies, who added the victim has been reimbursed for the purchases.

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Would-be thief settles for loose change in car

NIAGARA FALLS -- Unable to steal a car after cracking the steering column Friday morning, the thief instead made off off with loose change, police said.

The 2009 Toyota was parked in the driveway of a 78th Street home. A driver's side window was shattered overnight, police said. The turn signal arm also was also snapped off. Damage was estimated at $655.

Early Saturday, another car was broken into in similar fashion on LaSalle Avenue, police said. A stereo system, amplifier, speakers and a headrest-mounted DVD player were stolen. The loss was estimated at $2,350.