An Orchard Park man suspected of a dozen burglaries in Amherst and two dozen more in Clarence, Cheektowaga and other Erie County towns pleaded guilty Monday in State Supreme Court to eight burglaries.
Alfred Tatman, 26, admitted providing the car that he and his two alleged accomplices used for the eight burglaries. Targets were small local businesses, including a car wash, floral shop, salon, and a couple of bakeries, last November and December.
As part of his plea deal, Tatman agreed to cooperate with the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, which is building cases against the two others suspected in the burglaries, Kevin Zimmerman, 23, and his brother, Jeffrey Zimmerman, 29. Tatan’s cooperation includes testifying in court against the Zimmermans.
“They went into the buildings, and I waited in the car,” Tatman said during his plea hearing before State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang.
“I knew what they were doing,” he told the judge.
Tatman pleaded guilty to eight counts of third-degree burglary.
“The wave of burglaries started last October and police called the spree one of the most intense they have seen in such a short time.
The three would take the stolen money “and buy heroin for themselves,” said Assistant District Attorney Paul E. Bonanno.
Nelson S. Torre, Tatman’s defense lawyer, said Tatman has already cooperated with authorities.
Each burglary count carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years, so sentencing possibilities range from probation to 56 years in prison.
Wolfgang has not committed to a sentence, but she indicated some of the sentences for the individual burglary counts would be served at the same time.
Tatman, who listed his address as Big Tree Road, Orchard Park, remains in custody without bail.
An important break in the case came when Amherst Police Officer Julian Chinana noticed a suspicious vehicle near Di Camillo Bakery on Main Street in Williamsville as he was responding to another early-morning call.
Chinana noted the vehicle’s license plate, and when police later learned the bakery had been burglarized, Chinana gave the license number to investigators.
That led investigators to Tatman, who confessed, Bonanno said.
And Tatman led investigators to the Zimmermans.