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Judge sought for Niagara County probation officer charged with stealing meds

Both City of Lockport judges have recused themselves from the case of a Niagara County probation officer charged last week with stealing prescription painkillers from convicted criminals he was supervising.

District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek said Tuesday that judges William J. Watson and Thomas M. DiMillo both encountered Officer Matthew V. Fender frequently in court, but other judges seldom worked with him. She said it will take a few weeks to reassign the case.

Fender was charged with one felony and 17 misdemeanors after an investigation by the Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office.

Fender was suspended from his $73,000-a-year job for 30 days without pay, Human Resources Director Peter P. Lopes said. After that, his salary will resume but he won't be allowed back to work.

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