LOCKPORT – Matthew W. Buck was a law-abiding Niagara Falls man with a good-paying job as a welding supervisor before his neighbor introduced him to opiates two years ago. Now, he’s a convicted felon and soon to be a state prison inmate.
“I’m ashamed of what I’ve done,” Buck said in Niagara County Court Tuesday, just before Judge Matthew J. Murphy III sentenced him to four years in prison and three years of post-release supervision.
Buck, 37, of Haeberle Avenue, committed five robberies with an authentic-looking but fake handgun between March and May of this year. He pleaded guilty to two of them to settle the cases without waiting to be indicted.
Defense attorney Anthony J. Lana said Buck had no criminal record at all before this, but drug addiction caused him to lose his job and go “into a downward spiral.”
Buck said, “One of the worst things that happened when I was incarcerated was when my daughter asked me if I loved drugs more than I loved her.”
During the crime spree in the Falls, Buck robbed a Sunoco station on Main Street twice, and committed one robbery each at Mark’s Food Mart on 19th Street and at City Market Liquors and a Mobil station, both on Pine Avenue.
After the last robbery, May 11 at Sunoco, citizens chased Buck, who fled on a bicycle as pursuers threw bricks at him and a taxi struck him on Seventh Street. He’s been in the Niagara County Jail ever since.
Buck gave Murphy a list of the drug rehabilitation facilities he intends to use after his release from prison to make sure he doesn’t get back on drugs.
Murphy, who could have given Buck as long as 14 years in prison, said Buck’s actions were “at the higher end of the scale of violent crimes.” Lana said, “He’s not a violent person. He did this to feed his opiate addiction.”