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LOCKPORT - A Level 3 registered sex offender has been given three months to make $20,000 restitution to the owners of a Town of Niagara business or face possible indictment.
Assistant District Attorney Claudette S. Caldwell told Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III on Thursday that Gerald D. Zimmerman, 53, of Lockport Street, Niagara Falls, would be allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor in Town of Niagara Court if he comes up with the $20,000 by Dec. 13.
Otherwise, he risks a felony indictment by a grand jury.
Defense attorney James J. Faso Jr. said Zimmerman faces mandatory state prison time if convicted of a felony, because he's a repeat felon. He was sentenced to 1? to 4 years behind bars in 2008 for violating probation terms on his conviction for attempted first-degree sexual abuse.
Faso said Zimmerman served two months as a parole violator after his March 27 arrest.
Caldwell said Zimmerman was charged with stealing large amounts of metal, including pipe and wire, from the interior of 3425 Hyde Park Blvd., which is the former Carborundum Co. electrical products division.
Zimmerman allegedly told the owners of what is now 3425 Hyde Park Inc. that he intended to lease space there before committing the thefts in late 2011 and early 2012, Caldwell said.
Because of the large amount owed, Caldwell said, she wants restitution upfront, not as part of a sentence.
Faso said Zimmerman was confident he could come up with the money.
In 2008, when County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas imprisoned Zimmerman for the probation violation in the sex case, she said from the bench that Zimmerman had bought himself a new Hummer despite being $50,000 behind on court-ordered child support payments.
Zimmerman and his wife, Diana, had pleaded guilty in February 2005 to molesting two children, ages 6 and 7, in 2002 and 2003.
That came during their second trial on the sex-abuse charges; the first ended in a deadlocked jury.
Both were placed on probation. Diana Zimmerman, now 41, was deemed a Level 2 sex offender.
Gerald Zimmerman's criminal record also includes a three-year state prison term after a 1990 conviction for scheming to defraud.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com