(Editor's note: Sometimes, instead of calling this column "This week in stupid crime," it could just as easily be titled "This week in stupid victims." Read on.)
Remember the purse!
A hapless Canadian shopper left her purse in the shopping cart at the Walmart parking lot one afternoon last week and when she remembered and went back to retrieve it – Surprise! – it was gone. Another Walmart shopper reported that she saw an unknown white female take the purse, a Louis Vuitton, and make off with it in a silver SUV.
The purse in question contained a Canadian passport, a couple of credit cards, the woman's driver's license, cell phone and an identity card for the fine Canadian health care system, police said.
Despite the fact that three video surveillance cameras film the parking lot at all times, cops could find no useful footage and the case remains unsolved at this time.
Gangstas on the loose
Pine Avenue and 21st Street was the scene of an armed robbery one morning last week. It was during what cops call the B Shift.
A woman who'd spent the night at her boyfriend's house got up early and went to get the lucky fella some breakfast from McDonalds. She was walking down Pine when she saw a group of five African American individuals approaching.
Almost unbelievably, she was holding a wallet containing $600 cash in her hand. Nervously, she turned away in an attempt to avoid contact with the group.
Her ploy failed, however. The gang – three men and two women – was on her. They asked her if she was looking to buy some drugs, and what she had in her wallet. She was flummoxed, and then beaten badly.
The homeboys and girls made off with the wallet, the $600, her driver's license, credit cards and other contents. There would be no breakfast for her boyfriend, merely a tale of woe and a morning completely shot to hell.
Only in Niagara Falls, kids, only in Niagara Falls.
Black males figure in crime!
City police were called to the emergency room at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center at around 4 o'clock in the afternoon last week after a 31-year-old black male checked in with gunshot wounds to both legs.
Upon arriving, officers found a brown Buick minivan riddled with bullet homes and a trail of blood leading from the driver's side door to the ER entrance.
Inside the hospital, they found the victim, who said he wasn't doing nothing, just sitting in his vehicle, parked on Niagara Street near Portage Road, minding his own business, when two black males approached and started shooting. He had no idea who they were or why they wanted to shoot at him, he told cops.
The officers thought, "Yeah, right," and left the victim to have his injuries attended to by a medical staff all too familiar with the treatment of gunshot wounds.
An investigation into the shooting is continuing, police said.
Caught on camera
In somewhat happier, or at least less violent news, a black man and woman were videotaped while stealing about $200 worth of merchandise out of the 7-Eleven store on Niagara Falls Boulevard last week.
The couple had robbed at the store a couple of days before, an incident that was also taped, and the store manager was kind enough to prepare a DVD, which showed both incidents, and present it to city police nearly two weeks before Christmas.
The couple's images are now taped to the dashboard of every police cruiser in the city, as well as being displayed behind the counter of all 7-Eleven outlets.
It's just a matter of time until the small time losers are picked up, because anyone stupid enough to steal from a nickel and dime place like 7-Eleven, which is renowned for its' video surveillance, is by definition also stupid enough to try it again.
In other 7-Eleven related news, the Niagara Falls Boulevard location was also robbed by a black male wearing a ski mask and wielding a gun the manager said he thought was a toy but didn't want to take any chances.
The suspect demanded cash and cigarettes and the manager complied, handing over the $40 that was in the till and eight or 10 packs of Newports, the preferred smoke for Niagara Falls felons.
Armed robbery carries a minimum sentence of seven years in New York State. The boldness of a man who would risk seven years of his life for enough cash to get him dinner and a couple of drinks at the Como plus a week's worth of smokes is matched only by his stupidity.