Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that 30 year-old Justin Middagh of 3150 Seaford Terrace, Hamburg, pleaded guilty as charged to three counts of Burglary in the Third Degree before Acting State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski. These are the highest charges for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial. In other words, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the defendant to the fullest extent of the law.
Middagh’s plea stems from three separate burglaries between July 4, 2013 and August 7, 2013. During that time, Middagh burglarized two Hamburg businesses along Route 5. On July 4, 2013, Middagh threw a brick through a glass door at Maxi’s Pizza, 4097 Lake Shore Road, Hamburg and stole surveillance equipment from the pizza parlor. On that same night and approximately two miles south on Route 5, Middagh threw a stone through the front glass window at Brooks Pharmacy, 4481 Lake Shore Road, Hamburg. According to Middagh’s statements to police, he intended to steal prescription drugs, but was scared off by an alarm. On August, 7, 2013, Middagh returned to Brooks Pharmacy, threw another object through the front glass window, and stole prescription drugs from the pharmacy.
Middagh is no stranger to local businesses along Route 5 in Hamburg. On July 12, 2012, Middagh was convicted of four counts of Burglary in the Third Degree for breaking into four local businesses, including Brooks Pharmacy, over a two-month period. For those crimes, he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment to range between two and seven years. However, the Department of Corrections released Middagh after six months when he completed a “boot camp” style shock incarceration program.
Middagh was on parole for only 4 months when he committed his most recent string of burglaries. Middaugh has also been convicted of felony level drunk driving, felony level Criminal Mischief and felony level narcotics possession. In all, Middagh has been convicted of 13 felonies (7 of which have been for burglary) over the last 2½ years.
Middagh would appropriately face up to 21 years in state prison in connection with his most recent string of burglary convictions. However, the court has committed to sentence the defendant to another program, which would require Middagh to remain in a drug treatment facility for 90 days, after which he would again be placed on parole. One law enforcement source, dismissing the suggestion that such a sentence might undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system, queried: “Once you put aside those 13 felony convictions, what are the chances this young man will offend again, especially given the unimaginable pain endured from so many slaps to his wrists?”
Sentencing is scheduled for March 5, 2014 at 9:30 am. The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney John P. Gerken, Jr. who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau.