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Police chase getaway car, find loaded gun – but no one inside

NIAGARA FALLS – City police investigating a burglary in progress began following a Toyota Camry that failed to stop for a stop sign at 27th Street and Pierce Avenue early Tuesday morning.

The car, which had three people inside, then took off at a high rate of speed and ran another stop sign at 27th Street and Willow Avenue.

The roads were covered in ice and snow at 1:30 a.m. so an officer continued to follow the suspect at the posted speed limits as it made several turns before finally turned left at the 1800 block of South Avenue.

As the officer approached the vehicle, he noticed the doors were open. The car was creeping forward. It appeared that all the occupants had bailed out and left the vehicle in drive.

The officer jumped in and stopped the vehicle.

A semi-automatic, camouflage pistol was found on the front seat, police said. The gun was reportedly loaded, with a bullet in the chamber and 11 rounds in the magazine. The vehicle may have struck a tree, according to patrol. It was found with driver’s side front end damage and a brown scrape on the bumper.