Niagara Gazette

Courts

December 3, 2012

Falls break-in suspect sentenced

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — A Falls man, who told police he broke into dozens of cars this summer because he was "bored," will now spend at least the next three and a half years behind bars.

Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas sentenced Gregory Andre Stephens, 48, to three and a half to seven years in state prison for his guilty pleas to multiple counts of criminal mischief, petit larceny and auto-stripping as well as single counts of burglary and bail-jumping.

Stephens was arrested in September after waging a one-man summertime crime wave in the city's South End. He claimed he had nothing better to do.

"He said he was 'bored'," Falls Police Warrants Officer Troy Earp said at the time of Stephen's arrest "He said he sat around all day doing nothing and it was either that, or go get some money and smoke some crack."

Investigators believed Stephens was responsible for as many as five dozen car break-ins in the prime tourist season months of June and July. Almost of all of Stephens’ victims were tourists.

"He was hitting the hotels in the South End," Earp said. "He was smart. He knew it's tough to get tourists to come back to town to prosecute these cases."

At his busiest, police said Stephens was breaking into between seven and 10 cars a night. Some of his crimes were caught on surveillance tape and at the height of Stephens’ crime spree, Roving Anti-Crime Unit and patrol officers set up surveillance operations on many of the hotel parking lots surrounding the New York State Park.

"The RAC guys were checking on a (suspect) and they saw (Stephens) walking out of his house, which was nearby (many of the crime scenes)," Earp said. "They knew he had warrants for burglary and bail jumping so they picked him up."

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