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July 29 - Aug 06, 2014

Councilman’s Trash Bag Snatched

By Anna M. Howard

July 29, 2014

Most crimes have a motive. Who, other than those aligned with Mayor Paul Dyster, would have a motive to steal likely Mayoral candidate Glenn Choolokian's garbage from his home? We are open to readers' thoughts on this. Consider what you may have in your weekly trash: paid or unpaid bills; credit reports; prescription bottles; medical or legal correspondence; bank statements; work related papers; cards and letters; magazines; proof of everything you eat or drink or smoke. Your entire lifestyle, in shorthand, is contained in your trash receptacle.



There was a theft of sorts at Niagara Falls Councilman Glenn Choolokian’s home last week.
Someone snatched a bag of trash from the curb in the front of his house in the DeVeaux neighborhood of the city.

A neighbor spotted a car stop in front of Choolokian's house. A man got out, grabbed a garbage bag, and drove off.

Police were contacted but the thief drove off quickly and was well down the street by the time neighbors realized what actually happened. You don’t normally expect someone to steal garbage from your neighbor.

In any event, we’ve dubbed it the “trash bag grab caper” and while it can’t hold a candle to the disturbing drive-by shootings and other violent crimes that are increasing each week in the city, this trash snatch deserves mention.

Those familiar with city politics - especially Dyster-era city politics - might, if they are of a suspicious nature, wonder if Choolokian’s home refuse suddenly became a tempting target upon Choolokian’s expression of interest in seeking the mayor’s seat next year.

The council member, and 2013 council chairman, will be up for re-election in 2015.

Choolokian has said he may run for mayor rather than seek a second term on the council.

And suddenly his household trash is disappearing.

Grabbing someone’s curbside garbage isn’t unusual in certain settings, nor is it illegal. Law enforcement agencies do not need a warrant to collect trash that has been placed at the curb or into a dumpster by targets in criminal cases, and in Hollywood the paparazzo are known to go through the refuse of the famous in search of pill bottles, love letters and other “newsworthy” items.

A crafty divorce lawyer may send people to abscond with trash as part of an “investigation” for a client. And in politics it’s sometimes done in order to find anything that could be used to embarrass a political challenger prior to an election.

But seldom would it be done in a small political environment such as Niagara Falls. Unless, of course, those in office, or those who seek office, have quite a bit of skin in the game, more skin than would be the norm in a diminutive berg like Niagara Falls.

Sources say that while the mayoral election is more than a year away there are intense efforts in the works to neutralize all opposition to Paul Dyster. How this effort may, if at all, connect to the grabbing of street-side garbage at an elected city official’s home remains to be proven.
As one source said, “If this garbage grab is what I think it is, then bar the doors Katie because next year’s election for mayor is going to be one for the nasty record books.”

The Reporter contacted Choolokian who was reluctant to speak about it.

Although it was only garbage that was stolen, there is a natural sense of violation that comes with a theft of anything at one’s home.

“If anybody comes by my house, anywhere near threatening my wife or my children, there will be a much bigger story than garbage theft," Choolokian said in a fashion that is genuine Niagara Falls hardiness.

So what was in the garbage? The Reporter asked Choolokian.

"Just grass clippings and dog poop,” he said.

Perhaps the thief merely wanted Choolokian’s garbage bag to make a fashion statement....







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