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Serial car popper pleads guilty in Chestnut Ridge and Amherst cases

A Niagara Falls man pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court Wednesday to two counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree and misdemeanor auto stripping in connection with a series of car break-ins at Chestnut Ridge Park and in the Town of Amherst.

Coty Vaughn, 22, had been charged with multiple counts of larceny and misdemeanor theft in connection with at least 17 separate cases. The charges were consolidated under the two grand larceny counts, which are Class E felonies.

Vaughn admitted stealing purses from vehicles and breaking the window of one car during his crime spree. He was arrested Jan. 12 after the Erie County Sheriff’s Office increased patrols at Chestnut Ridge.

In accordance with his plea, Vaughn was placed in the judicial diversion program and ordered to report to drug court in Niagara Falls on March 31. If he successfully completes the program in two years, his convictions could be reduced to misdemeanor charges.

If he fails in the program, Justice John L. Michalski told him, Vaughn faces possible sentences of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison on each of the convictions.