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WHEATFIELD – An employee fired for allegedly stealing cash while working at a NOCO gas station has been accused of returning to the station and stealing again after he was fired, Niagara County sheriff’s deputies said Tuesday.

Eric J. Aquino, 29, of 100th Street, Niagara Falls, was charged in one case with petit larceny and in the second case with petit larceny and trespassing, deputies said.

A store manager at the station, on Williams Road, told deputies Tuesday that Aquino activated a $100 gift card without permission and removed $100 in cash from the register in January. She said the company originally avoided pressing charges – terminating Aquino and asking him to make restitution – but wanted to pursue charges when he made no attempt to repay the stolen funds.

The manager told deputies Aquino returned to the store Sunday, after he had been fired, distracted an employee, snuck behind the counter and took $700 from a locked safe, according to a sheriff’s report.

Aquino was found living at a nearby motel. Deputies said he admitted to the theft saying, “Yeah I took the money from NOCO to pay for rent and get food. I didn’t want to be homeless bro.” He said he used the money to pay rent at the motel, buy pizza and a “little bit of weed.”

Deputies said he was arrested without incident and the cash was found loose in paper coffee cups. A total of $305 was recovered, according to reports.

Aquino was arraigned in Town Court and ordered held in the Niagara County Jail in lieu of $750 bail.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com