Niagara Gazette

October 19, 2012

Finally, a surprise

Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — When it comes to crime, it really, really, is hard to surprise me.

Forget about shock, nothing criminal shocks me anymore. But every once in awhile, I pick up a report with a truly new twist that leaves me going, "Hmmmm."

Such was the case in the petit larceny arrest of Julian Martinez. 

Martinez was employed by a company that did contracted cleaning work for a Niagara Falls Boulevard Department store back in July. In the early morning hours of July 23, Martinez was sweeping the sales floor, when he saw a pair of packaged underwear lying on the floor.

Ever efficient, Martinez proceed to sweep the package of underwear into a dust pan and then took it to what was described in the police report as "the cleaning area, which is past all points of purchase." Of course, the store was closed so all the points of purchase were closed anyway.

Now this is where the story gets a little, well, icky. Martinez took the pair of underwear out of its packaging and, the police report notes, "concealed the (underwear) in his waistline."

Put more bluntly later in the report, Martinez put the underwear on and was wearing the $11.99 pair of shorts when a store manager confronted him.

I know some folks claim desperation when they are caught stealing. But how desperate do you have to be to garbage pick underwear from a store and try to wear it home.

Say what?

Police dispatchers, especially those in the Falls, have one of the toughest jobs I can imagine.

I mean, they are the folks who have to remain claim, cool and collected when everything around them is in chaos. If you listen to them as regularly as I do, you can't help but be impressed with their professionalism.

They can also, sometimes, when they are speaking that shorthand language called "policize," say some of the funniest things you're heard.

Sitting in the newsroom last night, I caught a radio conversation between a dispatcher and a city officer, about to make a drunken driving arrest. When an officer charges someone with DWI, they also have their car towed and held for 12 hours.

That ensures that if the accused drunk is quickly bailed out, they can't go back to their car and get behind the wheel. When an officer asks for a tow truck in these cases, they usually ask the dispatcher to send a "hook" because, well, that's what the truck uses to pull the car they're towing.

In this case, I heard the officer ask for a "hook" and the dispatcher quickly replied, "Would you like a regular hooker."

After a slight pause, the officer said, "Ah, yeah. A regular hook will do." 

Glad to see if we're using "hookers" here, we're not going high end.

 Note of thanks

Had the chance to spend some time this week with the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy's Emergency Vehicle Control instructors as they worked with rookie cops to teach them the tools they need to drive a police car.

If you think that's easy, think again. I'll have more on that in an upcoming story.

They trained in a the former Seneca Niagara Casino employees' parking lot on Buffalo Avenue. That lot is owned by Jerry Williams.

You can't just do this training anywhere. You need an area large enough to lay out multiple cone courses and smooth enough not to kill something driving at a high rate of speed. 

The instructors said once insurance concerns were squared away, Williams told them to use the lot anyway they needed. And for that they were very thankful.

So, this is a "Thank You" from the academy instructors to Williams.