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Buffalo man admits to Newfane burglary, suspected of a dozen more

LOCKPORT – A Buffalo man pleaded guilty to a single burglary Wednesday in Niagara County Court, but Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said he may have committed at least a dozen more break-ins in Niagara County.

Shane D. Higgins, 44, of Woodside Avenue, faces up to seven years in prison after admitting to a reduced charge of attempted second-degree burglary for a Sept. 30, 2013, break-in at a home on West Creek Road in Newfane. But Hoffmann said part of the pre-indictment plea deal was a request to Higgins to come clean about his other burglaries so police can close the cases, and in exchange, he will not be prosecuted for them.

Higgins’ son-in-law, Robert A. Woodruff, 31, of Niagara Falls, is serving five years in state prison after pleading guilty last year in the burglary spree. He was suspected of as many as nine burglaries in Newfane. Higgins’ daughter, Ashley L. Woodruff, 26, of Parkview Avenue, Lackawanna, also pleaded guilty last year to two Newfane burglaries and is in the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment. She and her husband gave statements to police about Higgins’ involvement, Hoffmann said. The Woodruffs have three children together.