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DEC 02 - DEC 09, 2014

This Week in Stupid Crime

By Mike Hudson

December 03, 2014

Segway stolen

Aside from Mayor Paul Dyster, who once proposed they be used by cops here to patrol rock concerts and other taxpayer-funded events who would want or have any use for a Segway scooter in Niagara Falls? The two-wheeled, slow motion transportation device is expensive, useless in the snow, and the company's former owner, James Heselden, 62, drove his off a cliff to his death.

City police were nonetheless called to the 700 block of Van Rensselaer Avenue last week by a man who said his $5,800 Segway had been stolen.

The victim led the officers to an unlocked garage that looked as though it had been ransacked but, when asked, the victim said the mess was not caused by any suspects but was simply how he kept it. Officers noted the garage was in "complete disarray with no organization whatsoever."

Whoever had taken the Segway then broke a window and gained entry to what officers described as the "largely vacant" main house. Some old books were stolen, the victim said, and a power saw. Police interviewed neighbors, who said they'd seen nothing unusual at the house.

Crooks Christmas shop

A patron of LA Fitness out on Niagara Falls Blvd. lost more than a few extra pounds last week. She told city police that while she was working out somebody smashed the window of her car and made off with her wallet, which was sitting on the center console.

Why anyone would leave their wallet in their car in plain sight sitting on the city console is anyone's guess, and the topic wasn't addressed in the police report.

The woman called her credit card companies to report the loss and was told that one of the cards had already been used at the nearby Target store to purchase $362 worth of merchandise.

Worse still, a government travel visa that had been issued to her through the military and carries an unlimited spending capacity, had also been taken, she said.

Police said there are no surveillance cameras in the LA Fitness parking lot that would aid them in identifying a suspect. Officers interviewed several people at the scene, but no one had seen anything, they said.

Trash bin stolen


A city-issued blue trash bin was stolen from the back yard of a house on 7th Street last week. The bin was valued at $100, although the city paid $40 for it new. It was nearly brand new. It is unknown whether or not a functioning microchip in the bin may aid cops in recovering it since the chips only work if the scanner is within six feet of the bin, meaning cops will have to get very close to it before turning on the scanner.

The microchip was embedded primarily to aid the city in future policing of how much recycling and refuse residents are putting in their totes in order to fine violators of an as yet unpassed trash ordinance.

Getting back to the theft of the tote, it is not clear why anyone would want to steal it in the first place. An investigation is continuing.

Electronics stolen

A woman living in the 1900 block of Niagara Ave. told city police last week that, while she was picking her son up at school, somebody made off with nearly $500 worth of electronics from her house. Asked whether she'd seen any evidence of forced entry to the residence, she told cops that there were so many things wrong with the house you wouldn't be able to tell.

Police questioned a roommate, who was home at the time, whether he'd seen or heard anything, but he said he was in his bedroom with his girlfriend and hadn't noticed a thing.

The woman said she'd be going to victim's assistance to try and get the stolen items replaced.

Beer heist thwarted

Loss prevention experts at the Tops Portage Road location nabbed Jennifer Burbank, 44, of Ashland Avenue, after seeing her put two large cans of Milwaukee's Best beer into the pockets of her coat and attempt to leave the store without paying for them.

The 200-pound Burbank has been banned from Tops for life, all over $3.34 worth of tasty brew she felt she just had to have.

The suspect was transported to the North Main Street police station and booked without incident.

"I don't even have an excuse for why I took the beer," she told police. "I'm just going through a rough time with all the other people at my house right now and I left because of them."

A beer worth stealing?

Shots fired here

City police responded to the 700 block of Pine Avenue early one evening last week after residents called to say someone was shooting up the neighborhood. Arriving at the scene, cops found seven spent shell casings on the east side of 8th Street. Further investigation revealed a bullet hole in the windshield of a car parked nearby.

There are no suspects in the shooting, and an investigation is continuing, police said.

Auto vandalism reported

Police said a man who spent the night at his girlfriend's Jerauld Avenue home came out at 5:45 a.m. to find that his car had been severely damaged by unknown vandals.

Three tires had been slashed, the doors, hood and rear hatch had all been keyed, the rear window was smashed and the front windshield cracked, the headliner was ripped away and the backseat shredded, the front seat was ripped, the rearview mirror was shattered, a TV/stereo had been taken, sugar residue was found in and around the gas tank opening and the front grill appeared to have been kicked loose.

Asked whether or not he had any idea who might have done such a thing, the victim told cops there was one guy he'd been having some problems with.

Police said damage amounted to well over $1,500, and an investigation is continuing.

No news, good news

Police responded to the emergency room of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center last week, where they found Michael Osby, who was awaiting treatment after being assaulted with a baseball bat on 7th Street. Osby started telling officers what had happened but became uncooperative after being told that they couldn't guarantee that word of his victimization would be kept out of the newspapers.

"I'm done talking to you," he told cops.

Different officers arrived at the hospital and different tactics were employed in an effort to get Osby to open up, but he remained uncooperative, police said.





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