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This Week in Stupid Crime

By Mike Hudson


A smash and grab burglary last week is looking more and more like an inside job, city police said.

The heist occurred at Niagara Power Wash, 1926 New Jersey Ave., and was discovered by an employee reporting for work at 8:30 a.m. He called the business owner who, in turn, called the cops.

A window on the front door of the bottle return business had been smashed, which allowed burglars to reach in and unlock the deadbolt the owner had secured himself when he closed up at 7:30 the previous evening.

According to Officer Joel Smith, who responded to the scene, the burglars then located a key, kept concealed in the employee bathroom in a cabinet under the sink, which was then used to open a safe.

About $62 was stolen, and the culprits were considerate enough to lock the safe back up and return the key to its hiding place under the sink in the employee bathroom.

The location of the safe key seems to be a crucial clue in solving the case because, according to the business owner no one but employees of the business knew of the hiding place.

As it happens, the owner had fired two workers just days earlier. They were shifty types, and he all but accused them of committing the burglary.

Replacing the broken window glass would cost around $200 in addition to the $62 that was taken, police said. That’s not much of a haul when you consider a burglary rap can land you in the state pen for seven years.

The investigation is continuing.



Brian Kelly Garlow, 51, of 1511 Pierce Ave., and called Kelly by his friends, is a man of simple taste. To say he is simple minded may also be apt.

Because at 9:10 one blustery morning last week, he walked into Tops Friendly Markets, 1000 Portage Road, took a couple of bottles of Old Milwaukee beer from off a shelf and concealed them, cleverly, he thought, inside a white plastic bag.

He walked past the checkout aisles, through the automatic door and out into the cold parking lot, where he was detained by a member of Tops’ loss prevention team, who then called the cops.

We all know how it is to want a beer at 9:10 in the morning, but the question remains. And ask we must.

It’s not like you’re going to get into any more trouble pinching a decent brew. So, if you’re going to steal some beer, why would you choose a bottom shelf brand like Old Milwaukee as opposed to Heinekin, a Dos Equis or even a St. Pauli Girl?

The answer to our question may prove as elusive as Kelly’s ability to quench his thirst that cold Niagara Falls morning. The sun had barely risen, and cold, hard pellets of snow stung the cheeks of schoolchildren.

Kelly Garlow was handcuffed and transported to the Public Safety Building on North Main Street without incident, police said. He was booked on petty theft charges and a court date was scheduled.

His kids must be proud.



Over the past five years or so, the old Polish neighborhood on the East Side between 19th Street and Hyde Park Boulevard has seen a serious uptick in all sorts of criminal activity.

Gunfire has become increasingly common in the dark of night, armed robberies take place in broad daylight and break-ins and burglaries are the order of the day, as one Walnut Avenue homeowner found out last week.

The victim was away from his house for just an hour, police said, between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., when unknown suspects opened an unlocked storm door, pried off the molding on the interior doorframe and then jimmied the lock on the heavy wooden door to gain entrance to the house.

Once inside, the burglars went through the kitchen cupboards and looked at various prescription medications kept there but didn’t take anything. They then went through a small safe that contained paperwork, but didn’t want any of that either.

Finally they found a Google Nexus 7 tablet belonging to the victim’s niece and $120 in cash, their return for less than an hour of not so dangerous work.

Perhaps an arrest will be made in the case, but it is unlikely. The culprits, emboldened by their quick haul, will likely go on breaking into the homes of honest, decent citizens in the neighborhood, giving more and more taxpayers another good reason to pack up and get the hell away from the once lovely city of Niagara Falls.



A victim shot during an armed robbery on Highland Avenue? Say it ain’t so.

Long one of the meanest of our city’s mean streets, Highland Avenue has witnessed countless robberies, rapes and senseless murders over the years. It’s the kind of place where you can do everything your robber tells you to do, hand over all your cash, and he might still put a bullet into you, just for the fun of it.

That’s exactly what happened to a man last Tuesday, as a matter of fact. He told police he was walking to his Niagara Avenue home from his girlfriend’s Jordan Gardens apartment at around 12:30 a.m.

He was in the 2600 block of Highland when he was approached from behind by a man who shouted at him to empty out his pockets.

The suspect had three distinguishing characteristics. He was wearing a mask, he had a black hoodie with the hood pulled up around his face, and he was pointing a handgun at the frightened victim.

“Empty out your pockets!” the thief shouted. The victim complied, dropping $1,600 in cash to the sidewalk.

What he was doing, walking down Highland Avenue after midnight with that kind of money in his pocket is anyone’s guess, as nothing in the police report gave any indication.

The predator then ordered his prey to get down on the ground and the victim dropped, face first to the pavement. He was then shot once from behind, the bullet entering the upper left thigh and exiting through the pelvis.

Sixteen-hundred dollars richer, the bandit then scampered off into the night, presumably to buy dope.

Two Samaritans happened by, driving a black Dodge Charger. They transported the wounded victim to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, where hospital personnel called police.

There’s probably more to this story than what the victim told the officers. Drug deal gone bad sounds like a likely scenario but like so much that happens in Niagara Falls, from City Hall to the ever widening ghetto, much remains enigmatic and unknowable.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Dec 03, 2013