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Dollar General thief enters diversion program

LOCKPORT – A Niagara Falls man, who shoplifted a package of batteries from a Dollar General store after having been barred from the premises because of previous thefts, pleaded guilty to a felony Thursday in State Supreme Court.

John J. Smith Jr., 50, who was listed as homeless, admitted to third-degree burglary and was assigned by Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. to the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment.

Smith risks seven years in state prison if he fails to become clean and sober, but if he succeeds, the felony charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor with a nonjail sentence. The theft occurred Oct. 4 at the Dollar General store at 8735 Niagara Falls Blvd. in the Falls.