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Cheektowaga plant manager put on probation for stealing from company

The former manager of a Cheektowaga manufacturing firm was placed on five years’ probation Tuesday for stealing $160,000 worth of metal parts from his employer last year and selling them to local scrap metal dealers.

State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang also ordered Albert Manns Jr. to pay $15,000 in restitution to Cole-Tech Industries over 10 years, through monthly payments of $125.

Assistant District Attorney Brian P. Dassero said the amount of restitution was only a small portion of the value of the stolen metal parts but was based on Manns’ ability to pay.

Susan Marie Karalus, Manns’ attorney, said her client will cooperate with his former employer in its efforts to recover the money it lost.

Karalus said Manns has a new job and will start making the monthly restitution payments. She said he is remorseful for having breached his former employer’s trust.

The judge acknowledged Manns’ remorse and encouraged him to help Cole-Tech in its recovery efforts. She noted that the probation department had recommended a sentence of probation and restitution.

Manns, 34, of Buffalo, pleaded guilty in January to second-degree grand larceny for taking the metal from Cole-Tech at 3852 Broadway, where he had worked for more than a year. The company uses the metal parts to make fittings, tubing and valves.

Between Jan. 1, 2013, and Oct. 24, 2013, Manns loaded metal parts on a truck and took them to scrap dealers who paid him based on the weight of the metal, prosecutors said. He received $35,000 to $36,000 for the metal, mostly stainless steel but also other metals, they said.

Prosecutors said Manns used the money to support his drug addiction.

The thefts were discovered when company officials noticed shortages of certain metal parts and did an inventory, prosecutors said. None of the parts was recovered.

Manns had faced a maximum prison sentence of five to 15 years.