This Week in Stupid Crime
By Mike Hudson
Urban blight lures miscreants
Vacant houses are so common in many Niagara Falls neighborhoods that, when a call comes in about one being burglarized, it can take awhile for police to figure out which one it is.
That's exactly what happened one morning recently near the intersection of 19th Street and Ashland Ave., where three abandoned houses had to be searched before any suspects started turning up.
As the search was being conducted, officers were startled to see three black males jump from out of a window in one of the former residences. They managed to apprehend two of them, but the third got away.
Michael Angelo Silmon, 16, of 1881 South Ave., should have gone to school that day. In addition to the housebreaking charge, he was found to be in possession of eight tablets of synthetic morphine.
The second suspect, Demario Thomas, also 16, of 1876 South Ave., had a marijuana cigar on him and was charged for that as well.
With more and more Niagara Falls homeowners simply walking away from their properties due to high taxes, high crime and little resale value, the problem of vacant and vandalized structures serving as magnets for antisocial behavior isn't going to get better anytime soon.
Woman's Attack Tale Undone by Grease
It's not easy being a police officer, and sorting out people's behavior can sometimes be downright maddening, as officers found out recently during a call to a Porter Road home.
There they found a female resident who told them her boyfriend's baby mama had just broken the front door and chased her around the house. Police asked her whether or not there were any witnesses and she said no.
Officers noted that her flat screen TV had been shattered, that there was a frying pan full of grease on the front porch and that another grease-filled pot had been dumped all over the living room floor.
The woman explained that she threw the grease at her knife-wielding attacker, who then fled the scene. There was something that didn't sit right with the cops, who then told her she'd have to go to the police station and have a warrant issued.
She wasn't happy about it, but the officers told her that, since there were no witnesses, there was nothing they could do. So she told them her boyfriend witnessed the whole thing.
Cops reminded her that, just a few minutes earlier, she'd told them there were no witnesses and she looked surprised and confused. They then asked her what her boyfriend was doing while she was being chased around the house and throwing grease.
"Acting like a little bitch," she replied.
When they asked her where her boyfriend was so they could interview him, she said, "Probably at home acting like a little bitch," which caused officers to suspect that perhaps the damage had been caused during a dispute between the woman and the boyfriend.
We may never know. Cops handed her a crime victim's card and told her to go tell her story to the warrant division. Whether she did so or not is uncertain.
Niagara Street Stickup
Frenchy's Pizza was the scene of a botched robbery recently, as two would-be bandits wearing gloves and ski masks and carrying rifles entered and demanded money.
Three employees turned, ran out a back exit and called police. The bandits left by the front door, forgetting to take the money from out of the cash register or even any delicious pizza.
The whole thing was captured on store surveillance video, but the dimwitted thievesare unlikely to be identified because of their disguises, police said.
Pine Avenue Shooting
They say smoking is bad for your health but this is ridiculous.
A woman standing outside Club Joey's restaurant having a cigarette was shot in the back of the leg at 1:24 a.m. one morning last week. Neither the woman nor a witness was able to say where the shot came from or who fired it.
The victim was treated at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, where it was determined that her leg was broken and that a .22 caliber bullet was embedded in it.
She was transferred to Erie County Medical Center for further treatment.
Trick or treat?
Sharod Lorenzo Gulley, just 16 years old and armed with a handgun, was one of two masked bandits who stuck up Marks Food Mart on 19th Street Halloween night.
Terrified store employees said Gulley pointed the pistol at them, told them to open the cash register and began counting backwards from 10 as they begged him not to shoot.
When they opened the register, Gulley's accomplice bounded over the counter, scooped up the cash and got some cigarettes, police said.
He was spotted nearby a short time later by an alert police officer who'd just finished viewing store surveillance footage and recognized the clothes Gulley was wearing. He was captured following a brief chase.
More shots fired
Police responded to the 400 block of 20th Street for a report of shots fired one night last week. Witnesses said two young black males shot at some other young black males then fled the scene in a silver minivan.
No bullet holes or spent shell casings could be located at the scene, police said.
As this week's police reports show, terrified citizens on Niagara Street, Pine Avenue, 19th Street and 20th Street prove that the streets of this city are not safe. Until they are, this city, no matter how much is spent on corporate welfare, subsidized hotels, concerts, holiday markets, train stations and other taxpayer giveaways, will never attract the kind of people it will need to become prosperous. With one half of the casino money that is wasted in frivolous Dyster extravagances, crime could be addressed. Cut in half. Maybe eliminated.
But the Dyster administration's priorities are not here. Not in fighting crime. Give him $50 million in casino revenue and he'd rather, the record shows, use the money to hire consultants, while the people of this city live in fear and the consultant lives somewhere else far from the dangerous city Dyster has failed to address.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||
Nov 05, 2013