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Niagara Falls man sent to prison for series of thefts

LOCKPORT – A man who pleaded guilty to a felony and a misdemeanor for thefts from two Town of Niagara stores was sentenced to 1 1/3 to four years in prison Thursday by Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III.

Matthew Handley, 46, of A Street, Niagara Falls, was kicked out of the judicial diversion program in December. Handley, who uses a wheelchair, tried to smuggle marijuana and two varieties of pills into the County Jail on Sept. 19 by hiding the drugs in rolls of stomach fat, authorities said. Handley was sent to jail at the time for violating the rules of Niagara Falls Drug Court.

Murphy ordered that after Handley is released from prison, he must pay restitution for his 2013 thefts: $1,649.97 to Saks Off 5th in the Fashion Outlets, and $995 to Kmart on Military Road.

Defense attorney James J. Faso Jr. said diversion did Handley some good, since “he no longer uses drugs and lost his desire to steal.”