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LOCKPORT – A man who tried to steal copper pipes from a vacant house on Seventh Street in Niagara Falls last year was sentenced Thursday to five years’ probation and 10 days in the Niagara County work program.

County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas said a presentencing report told her that Jose C. Rivera, 22, of Michigan Avenue in the Falls was unemployed and desperate when he decided to try to steal some copper and sell it to support his family. Rivera was caught in the act April 6 and arrested when he became snagged on a fence he was trying to climb.

Police reported finding 150 feet of freshly cut copper pipes in the basement of the house. However, no restitution was ordered because the property owner never supplied a loss estimate, Assistant District Attorney Laura T. Bittner said.

Farkas said Rivera now is working as a roofer. A co-defendant, Albert A. Torres-Roman, 19, also of Michigan Avenue, is awaiting sentencing on the same charge as Rivera: attempted third-degree burglary.