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Niagara Falls felony shoplifter convicted quickly

LOCKPORT – A State Supreme Court jury took less than five minutes Tuesday to convict a Niagara Falls man of grand larceny for stealing a cart full of goods from the Falls Walmart on Oct. 25, 2014.

Lincoln J. Smith, 38, of University Court, faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 22 by Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. Smith rejected a misdemeanor plea offer in Niagara Falls City Court and on Friday declined to plead guilty to the grand larceny count in exchange for a promised sentence of 1½ to 3 years.

Smith is a repeat felon who absconded to New Jersey after being indicted last year, but was extradited back to Niagara County in March. He wheeled a cart containing about 100 items out of the store without paying. Their prices, as scanned at a cash register after Smith was caught in the parking lot, totaled $1,765.04, Assistant District Attorney John N. Philipps Jr. said in his summation in the two-day trial.

To qualify as fourth-degree grand larceny, the value of the stolen items needed to exceed $1,000. Assistant Public Defender David E. Blackley argued that the real value, rather than the price, hadn’t been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury disagreed.