LOCKPORT – A Kenmore man pleaded guilty Thursday in Niagara County Court to stealing $12,500 worth of his former girlfriend’s jewelry. The woman said she believed the gems were sold to enable the thief to buy drugs, according to Assistant District Attorney Cheryl L. Nichols.
William W. Hengel, 27, of Kinsey Avenue, is a heroin addict, according to his attorney, John Bedaska. Hengel admitted to third-degree grand larceny in connection with the July 8 theft from a home on Lincoln Drive in the City of Lockport, and County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III admitted him to the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment.
Murphy had to be talked into that by Bedaska, and the judge warned Hengel that he faces “a zero-tolerance policy” that will lead him to state prison for as long as seven years if he fails in treatment, something the judge said Hengel has done 13 previous times.
“This is the last chance you’re going to get,” said Murphy, who ordered Hengel to pay full restitution with minimum payments of $50 a month.