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Falls man pleads guilty to store holdup, minivan theft

LOCKPORT – A Niagara Falls man admitted Monday in Niagara County Court that he and another man tried to rob a check cashing store Jan. 23, moments after stealing a minivan.

Cortez M. McClain, 21, of Cleveland Avenue, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree robbery and fourth-degree grand larceny, and faces up to 11 years in prison when he is sentenced April 21 by Judge Matthew J. Murphy III. In the meantime, he remains free on a $12,500 bail bond.

Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said co-defendant Marcus D. Hamilton Jr., 22, of North Avenue, is scheduled for a possible guilty plea Monday.

McClain had a handgun when he and Hamilton entered Universal Check Cashing, 740 Portage Road. They demanded money, but police said the clerk refused, and the men fled.

They crashed the 2001 Toyota minivan into a parked car. The minivan was stolen as it was left running moments before on Pine Avenue. Police said McClain’s gun had been reported stolen in Lockport 11 years ago.