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Out-of-gas truck leads police to suspect in car wash, church break-ins

A man who reportedly needed money to feed a cocaine addiction was charged with breaking into a City of Tonawanda car wash and a nearby church early Saturday.

Clifford B. McCarty, 36, of Morgan Street, faces burglary and other charges in connection with thefts from Niagara Spray and Wash, 59 Delaware St., and United Methodist Church, 221 Morgan, police said Monday.

At the car wash, which was burglarized at about 4:15 a.m., three cash boxes had their locks cut off. A short time later, a laptop, gift cards and jewelry were taken from the church, which also had office doors damaged, police said.

Police found a pickup out of gas on Broad Street, and the vehicle was later determined to be what McCarty used, authorities said. A pry bar, bolt cutters and the property stolen in the burglaries were found in the truck, police said.

According to police, McCarty told officers he has a crack cocaine addiction and needed money. He was charged with third-degree burglary, possession of burglar tools, second-degree criminal mischief and two counts of petit larceny, police said.

McCarty was arraigned in Tonawanda City Court with bail set at $30,000. He's scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for a felony hearing.

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