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North Tonawanda man admits stealing parents' gun to pay off heroin dealer

A North Tonawanda man admitted Monday that he stole a handgun from his parents' gun case and gave it to a drug dealer to settle a debt for heroin.

Michael J. Warning Jr., 35, of Payne Avenue, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny. Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III placed him in the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment, giving him two years to break his drug dependence. If Warning doesn't heed that warning, Murphy could imprison him for as long as four years.

Assistant District Attorney Cheryl L. Grundy said a .22-caliber Ruger handgun was stolen Dec. 8. Warning said he gave it to a man he knows only as "Kenny from Buffalo," whom he owed money for heroin.

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