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This Week in Stupid Crime

By Mike Hudson

Whole lotta shooting going on

Niagara Falls police officers were dispatched to the 400 block of 19th Street last Thursday at around 8 p.m. for a report of shots fired in the vicinity of the Colucci Funeral Home.

Upon arrival, they heard what sounded like a shotgun blast and searched the area but found nothing.

Happiness is a warm gun, John Lennon once wrote, and perhaps, given the frigid temperatures the Cataract City has suffered for the past week, some lost soul just wanted to test the theory out.

Burglary in DeVeaux

While one incoming city councilman has gone on record as saying crime isn’t much of a problem in Niagara Falls and that it is mostly limited to “bad” neighborhoods, one Jerauld Avenue family might disagree.

The resident told cops he came back home last Tuesday after a week’s vacation only to find his house broken into and $1,700 worth of power tools taken away. There were no witnesses, but the victim said it must have been at least two guys because some of the tools were very heavy.

Falls Street burglary

And over on Falls Street, burglars made off with even more. A resident in the 3000 block told police he came home from work to find his front door kicked in, and jars of change, two gold chains and a pendant, a Harley Davidson ring and a camera absconded with. The burglars even stayed for lunch with food out of the refrigerator!

The victim estimated the value of the missing goods at $2,900, showing those DeVeaux burglars that pickings downtown can often be more lucrative than in the tonier neighborhoods.

Man shot here

Two guys were walking towards Pine Avenue in the 500 block of Eighth Street at around 5:30in the evening last Monday when they heard what sounded like a large firework.

When one turned to his friend to say, “What the hell was that?” he noticed that his friend had fallen to the ground. Further investigation revealed he’d been shot in the back of the leg.

Police were called and the victim stated he couldn’t think of any reason anyone would want to shoot him. He was transported to Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital, where emergency room doctors are very experienced at treating gunshot wounds.

Pine Avenue stickup

The 7-11 on Pine Avenue was held up last week by a black male wearing a hoodie and carrying a six-gun.

The bandit entered the store at 4:10 a.m. last Sunday and made off with $60. The female cashier was terrified and the outlaw was last seen walking north at a leisurely pace on 29th Street.

Meanwhile, instead of spending revenue on beefing up law enforcement, the administration of Mayor Paul Dyster is proposing dropping $15 million to improve the appearance of city parks, tens of millions more to create an Underground Railroad interpretive center and increasing the salary of the city administrator by around 50 percent.

Jailbird’s home burglarized

There are a lot of reasons why you don’t want to go to jail. And one of the worst is that your criminal friends and family members will all know you’re away and take the opportunity to steal your stuff.

That’s exactly what happened to one unfortunate Niagara Falls resident last week. He was released from the Erie County Jail and came home to find someone had broken into his Jordan Gardens apartment and made off with his Whirlpool washing machine and dryer.

There were no signs of forced entry, and the victim told cops his son had a key to the apartment.

Beer too heavy

It was around midnight when a Spallino Towers resident decided he needed to make a beer run. Revving up his $3,000 electric-powered bicycle, he headed over to the 7-11 at 15th and Pine.

Everything was going great. He picked up an 18-pack of Bud Light, figuring it would last the rest of the night and not add too much to the old beer gut.

But wouldn’t you know it, the case containing the 18 cans of frosty deliciousness was too heavy for the front saddlebag of his whizzing machine.

He stopped to fix the problem and was approached by two black males who asked him if he wanted a hand. But, before he could answer, one of the men sprayed him in the face with pepper spray as the other made off with both his bike and his beer.

Another sad, sad tale from the mean streets of a city that some officials believe doesn’t have a crime problem.

Armed robbery at library

Normally, you wouldn’t expect to be robbed at gunpoint while visiting the Earl Brydges Public Library on Main Street, but normally, you wouldn’t be visiting the library at 3 o’clock in the morning, either.

That didn’t stop one Niagara Falls man from strolling through the parking lot of that august institution at that outrageous hour, however.

He was accosted by a black male carrying what appeared to be a small caliber revolver who ripped a gold chain from his neck and demanded he empty his pockets. There were four $100 bills in those pockets, but at least the desperado didn’t shoot him.

Burglars score big haul

Musical instrument equipment valued at more than $7,000 was taken from a North Avenue home in one recent burglary.

Two Korg keyboards, a Fender bass, two Peavy amplifiers and a multi-track Tascam tape recorder were taken in the heist. Police said the building was in such a deteriorating condition that it is likely burglars just kicked a hole in the rotted roof and entered through the ceiling, which was caving in already in many places.

The city’s crack code enforcement department turns a blind eye to the hundreds of buildings in Niagara Falls that are in similar shape, overwhelmed as they are by others that are in even worse condition.

So there you have it, boys and girls. This week’s roundup of crime and politics in Niagara Falls, that great American city fewer and fewer of us are calling home.



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

Dec 17, 2013