LOCKPORT – A man pleaded guilty Thursday in Niagara County Court to stealing a sport utility vehicle in the Town of Lockport last year and splashing it into the Erie Canal.

“It sat in the canal for months,” said Assistant District Attorney Heather A. Sloma. She credited Sheriff’s Deputies Benjamin R. Eodice Jr. and Roger C. Schreader for solving the case and arresting Ryan L. Beverly, 30, of Chapel Street, Lockport, on Dec. 16. The theft and disposal of the 2012 GMC Sierra occurred May 11, 2013.

County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III placed Beverly in the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment, but he faces up to seven years in prison if he fails in the two-year program.

He also must pay $36,188 to State Farm Insurance and reimburse the SUV owner for a $500 deductible. Murphy ordered minimum payments of $300 a month while Beverly is in diversion, with a civil judgment to follow.