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LOCKPORT – A Walnut Street man accused of stealing $15,000 worth of copper and construction supplies from an Erie County construction site was accepted into the judicial diversion program today and will be allowed to plead to a lesser charge if he completes the program, Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy III decided.

Shane R. Pearce, 24, was charged on May 14 with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, after North Tonawanda Police stopped Pearce and a codefendant, Michael Maacks, 25, of Dysinger Road. The two men were driving a rental truck that was found to contain stolen construction tools, supplies, and copper pipes and fittings, valued at $15,000 to $16,000, police said. The stolen property was returned to the construction site, according to Assistant District Attorney Brian Seaman.

Pearce has agreed to cooperate and give testimony against Maacks as part of his plea deal, Seaman said.

If Pearce completes the 24-month diversion program, he will be eligible for probation in a reduced charge; if not, he could face up to seven years in state prison.