By Joe Olenick
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
A Town of Lockport burglar will attempt to avoid jail time by participating in Niagara County Court’s judicial diversion program for court supervised drug treatment.
Matthew E. Bartz, 30, of Bartz Road pleaded guilty to three counts of third-degree burglary at an appearance Wednesday in State Supreme Court before Justice Richard C. Kloch, Sr. However, Bartz was also approved for the diversion program Wednesday. All three counts are nonviolent class D felonies.
If Bartz successfully completes the program he will be allowed to plead guilty to one count of third-degree burglary, but that would be reduced to either a class E felony or a class A misdemeanor.
Kloch said he would not incarcerate Bartz if he completes the program, instead Kloch would give him a sentence of no more than five years probation. But if Bartz fails, then he could face up to 21 years in prison, seven years for each count, the judge said.
“It’s an awful risk on your part,” Kloch told Bartz.
Bartz was arrested in December for charges involving a series of burglaries in the city and possibly in Erie County. Bartz had been on the run for a few days before Lockport City Police found him on Davison Road and East High Street on Dec. 2.
A couple of days before, Bartz’s partner, Stephanie L. Mottorn, 21, 249 S. Niagara St., was stopped on Vine Street, following a burglary-in-process call on East Avenue.
Mottorn later gave a signed statement to police claiming the burglar tools belonged to Bartz and that she had driven Bartz to Sixteen West to commit a crime, according to her arrest report.
The three specific burglaries Bartz pleaded to on Wednesday took place in November, including a pair on Market Street.
Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.