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Lawyer for Smokin' Joe's thief calls client "a modified Robin Hood"

LOCKPORT - The attorney for a man who stole more than $57,000 from his employer called his client "a modified Robin Hood" who intended to give the money to the poor.

Lawyer Joseph Turner on Monday said that Michael J. Swanson, who pleaded guilty to a felony count of fourth-degree grand larceny, suffers from "an addiction to giving to the less fortunate." Swanson, 23, of Chew Road on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation, stole the money from the till between March 2015 and May 2016 while working as a clerk at Smokin' Joe's gas station on the reservation.

Turner said Swanson told Lewiston police he intended to use social media to line up worthy recipients, but Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III didn't buy it.

"I've been around too long to think the defendant wasn't feathering his own nest," the judge said.

He placed Swanson on probation for five years to give him a chance to pay restitution of $57,795. Swanson, who risks a four-year prison term if he fails to pay, said he is now earning $11 an hour working at a coffee shop.


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