Niagara Gazette

January 18, 2014

COPS NOTEBOOK: Crime in aisle five

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

You know, when it comes to some criminals, if they didn’t have bad luck, they’d have no luck at all.

Then again, if you work in law enforcement, the difference between success and failure in crime can just be a matter of timing.

Take, for example, the arrest of one Charles Myers on Sunday. Depending on how you look at his case, either Myers has really bad luck or Falls police officer Dave Bower has impeccable timing.

Bower was responding to a call of a woman in distress at a supermarket on Niagara Falls Boulevard and was walking into the lobby when he and Myers crossed paths. Actually, Myers ran into Bower with his shopping cart.

A veteran officer, Bower happened to notice that while Myers had a full cart of groceries, none of the merchandise was in shopping bags. Bower asked Myers if he had happened to pay for the groceries in his cart.

Myers replied, “No.”

The store manager then walked up and told Bower that Myers had stolen the merchandise. 

Myers was charged with petit larceny and the store got its groceries back.

So you tell me. Bad luck or good timing? 

Either way, case closed and crime stopped. That’s always a good result.

Passing Away

It was sad to hear of the passing of long time Falls Police Capt. Russell Cerminara. 

While I didn’t really know him well (I think our paths crossed a few times during my years at News 4 Buffalo) those who worked with him always praised his time in command. 

Tough, no nonsense, but always willing to help and lead those he was responsible for. Seems to me those are the attributes of a good police captain. 

My condolences to his family and friends.

Losing a classmate

My first encounter with Falls Police Capt. Frank Tedesco could have gone a little bit better.

I was in my first week on the Gazette staff and called the Criminal Investigation Division for information about a homicide that had taken place. Frank was the lieutenant in CID at the time and he took the call.

We had a professional exchange of information and afterward, I wrote my story. 

The next day, when I called to follow up, Frank was not a happy man. He felt I had misinterpreted some information he had given me and, truth be told, I probably did.

That’s not exactly the way you want to start building professional relationships. Yet, in the weeks that followed, Frank still took my phone calls and was always helpful.

He was a consummate pro.

Months later, Frank and I ended up seated together at a police awards dinner. I felt a little awkward, but as we chatted, he suddenly asked me, “Where did you go to high school?”

I told him I was a proud graduate of Riverside High School in Buffalo. 

He smiled wryly and said, “We were in home room together there.”

It was a reunion and put us both back on solid ground. Over the years that followed, Frank moved into the ranks of a patrol captain, but was always there when I needed to make a call and find out about an incident on his shift.

I had heard he was thinking of retiring soon. I found out yesterday, he did that at the end of the year.

I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to wish my old classmate well, in person. The department has lost a good leader and I’ve lost an old friend. 

So here’s to you captain, a job well done. May you enjoy your retirement!