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Porter burglar imprisoned after failing in drug treatment

LOCKPORT – A Porter man, who was kicked out of the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment after absconding from a treatment center, was sentenced to 16 months to four years in state prison Friday by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon.

Michael S. Empson, 27, of Youngstown-Lockport Road, had pleaded guilty in August to third-degree burglary for shoplifting at the Wegmans supermarket in the Town of Niagara on June 16, but the charge was upgraded to a felony because Empson had been barred from the store for previous thefts.

Assistant Public Defender A. Joseph Catalano said Empson has been a drug addict since age 14 and has never been able to get clean despite assignments to drug courts in Amherst and North Tonawanda before the diversion program. Empson’s history includes a heroin-induced coma. “He is a damaged young man,” Catalano said.

Empson said, “I don’t know how to live a life without narcotics. I’ve never done it since I was 12 or 13 years old.”