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Man who helped solve burglary spree is sentenced

LOCKPORT – A Lewiston man whose cooperation with law enforcement helped solve a 2014 western Niagara County burglary spree was sentenced Friday to a stint in the state prison system’s secure drug treatment facility.

Christian L. Starr, 34, of Ridge Road, had pleaded guilty to burglarizing his own grandmother’s house in Lewiston on May 14 but, in a separate case, he also ended up with some property stolen by others in three other break-ins. The stolen items included guns.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon told Starr that his cooperation “speaks volumes to your character.”

Defense attorney Karl Frankovitch said Starr committed his own crimes to feed his drug addiction, but he called police when he found out about the stolen guns. “When guns were involved, he stepped up of his own accord,” Frankovitch said. “He said, ‘I can’t be associated with this.’ ”

“It was information that eventually cracked the case,” Assistant District Attorney John P. Granchelli told Sheldon.

Starr will serve two to four years in a regular cell if he washes out of the drug program. The men who committed four burglaries in two days in Wilson, Porter and Cambria were Joseph J. Trusello of Lewiston and Joshua K. Allen of North Tonawanda, who are serving state prison terms: five years for Trusello and 3½ to seven years for Allen.

Ronald C. Swanson of Niagara Falls, who bought a stolen gun, is serving three years, while Tiffany A. Pawlukovich of Lewiston, who sold the gun, is serving six months in jail to be followed by a probation term.