Burglar gets 10 years in state prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 August 2014 at 12:00 am

ALBION – An Albion man accused to taking a lead role in a rash of burglaries in Albion and Medina last year was sentenced to 10 years in state prison today.

Jonathan Banks, 21, has been in Niagara County Jail for nearly a year after he was arrested in Lockport for a break-in. Now he is going to state prison after being sentenced by Orleans County Court Judge James Punch.

“I don’t see any remorse whatsoever,” Punch said during sentencing. “This was a broad-based crime spree that brought down the quality of life in the community.”

Banks pleaded guilty on May 5 to second-degree burglary. He is suspected in 32 break-ins burglaries in August and September, with crimes committed in Albion, Medina, Oakfield and Lockport. He admitted on May 5 to breaking into one of the Sandy Creek apartments in the town of Gaines on Aug. 13, 2013. He entered through a window and took a television. He acted alone, Banks told the court then.

Banks declined to speak during his sentencing today. His attorney Mark Deal asked the judge to consider Banks’ youth. “He has his whole life ahead of him,” Deal said.

Banks also used marijuana daily when he was on the crime spree, his attorney told Punch.

The judge said those aren’t excuses for avoiding prison or getting a reduced sentence. He also ordered Banks to pay restitution of $887.50 for three of the victims. Banks has 18 months to pay.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said Banks went into “numerous homes” in the community.

“This was an organized effort on his part,” Cardone said. “He took young people in with him. Mr. Banks deserves to go to state prison.”

A Medina man on Aug. 11 admitted in court to assisting Banks with some of the burglaries. Isaiah Bonk, 21, said he served as the look-out while Banks went inside and returned with stolen items in a burglary at Sandy Creek Apartments on Lydun Drive in Albion.

Bonk will be sentenced on Oct. 20. He pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree burglary, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years in state prison. However, as part of a plea deal he can withdraw the plea if he is sentenced to more than five years in state prison.

The district attorney said after court today that he is working on the cases for two other people arrested last December for their alleged roles in the rash of burglaries.