Auction of stores to pay back theft victim postponed

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – The auction of an ice cream and quilt shop that Kenneth Heitzenrater bought with stolen money has been postponed.

Heitzenrater is a contractor who stole more than $550,000 from his 89-year-old friend. In 2010, he convinced the elderly man to change his will and leave half of everything to him, plus make Heitzenrater executor of his estate.

The theft was discovered in 2012 and by that time, Heitzenrater had stolen more than half a million dollars and used the money to buy an ice cream and quilt shop, as well as a brand new car.

He pleaded guilty last year to grand larceny and was sentenced to five years probation. Heitzenrater is supposed to pay the victim $1,300 a month in restitution. To pay back all the money he stole, it would take more than 35 years.

An auction of an ice cream and quilt shop was supposed to be held Thursday, but the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office announced the sale has been postponed until April 23 at 10:30 a.m. Money from the auction will be returned to the victim, who after the theft was left with just $70,000 and is now living in an assisted living home.

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