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‘Career burglar’ pleads guilty to charges from Southtowns spree

A man described as a “career burglar” admitted in Erie County Court this week to taking part in a five-week spree of business break-ins in the Southtowns earlier this year.

Adam Fruchtel, 29, who originally faced multiple charges in connection with 11 burglaries, pleaded guilty to five counts of burglary and one count of attempted burglary. Judge Kenneth F. Case set sentencing for Aug. 15 and ordered Fruchtel held without bail.

Fruchtel, of Lockport, and Kevin Carney, 30, of West Seneca, were arrested in early March after a break-in at Steveo’s Tacos on Erie Road in Derby.

Area police had been on alert, looking for thieves in a string of burglaries that began Feb. 15 at small businesses in Hamburg, Eden and Orchard Park, and at least one burglary in Amherst.

The men allegedly targeted small establishments that were more likely to have cash on hand.Among the crimes Fruchtel admitted to was a burglary at Urban Valet and Chayban Custom Tailoring on North Buffalo Road, where thousands of dollars were stolen when the thieves broke into three businesses in one small plaza.

Police believe the thieves hit the tailor shop twice.

Fruchtel already was known to local law enforcement. He was arrested on burglary charges in Orchard Park in 2010 and was convicted in 2008 for burglaries in West Seneca, Lackawanna and Buffalo. When the two were arrested, Town of Hamburg Police Capt. Kevin A. Trask said they appeared to be casual drug users but committed the burglaries for income.

“This looks like more of a case of career burglar,” Trask said. “Fruchtel was on parole. I think this is the only thing he knew how to do, and he continued to do it.” Carney’s case is being handled separately from Fruchtel’s.