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City of Tonawanda burglar OK’d for drug treatment program

LOCKPORT – A City of Tonawanda man who took part in a North Tonawanda burglary last year was assigned Tuesday to the judicial diversion program for drug treatment by State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr.

James K. Bender, 42, of Longs Avenue, pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree burglary. If he succeeds in diversion, his charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor with a probation sentence at worst. But if he fails, Bender faces up to four years in prison.

He and Robert B. Patrick, 30, of Vandervoort Street, North Tonawanda, entered a garage on Maple Terrace in North Tonawanda Feb. 21, 2013. Patrick pleaded guilty to the same charge as Bender, but was kicked out of diversion after being arrested for another burglary, and is now serving two to six years in state prison.