Niagara County Sheriff's deputies on the scene of a reported stolen car at a convenience store in Wheatfield quickly solved the case — and arrested the man who said it was stolen — thanks to a man working on the roof of the building.
Sheriff's deputies say they arrived at the 7-Eleven on Ward Road about 7:15 a.m. Monday and found Brian E. Schmiege crying uncontrollably. He told deputies he had walked into 7-Eleven to get a Slurpee and when he came out of the store his '89 Ford Crown Victoria was missing from the north-side lot. He told deputies he had the car keys but the doors were unlocked and he had seen a suspicious man in the area prior to going into the store.
Deputies said Schmiege was hyperventilating while being interviewed and told them, "She's all I had man. Someone took my car. This is really happening, they took my car."
Schmiege also told deputies he was supposed to be the Niagara County Sheriff's Office's work program on Monday morning.
Deputies noted that police units from the sheriff's office, state police, Town of Niagara and Lewiston responded to the area in an attempt to locate the missing car.
While talking to Schmiege, deputies were approached by a construction worker who happened to be working on the roof of the 7-Eleven at the time. He told deputies a different story.
The worker said he had watched Schmiege cross Niagara Falls Boulevard on foot from Westby's Pub and walk into the 7-Eleven. The worker said he had not seen an '89 Crown Victoria or a suspicious man in the parking lot.
When confronted with this information, Schmiege told deputies he had made the story up. "All right, my car was not stolen, my friend … has it." He also told deputies he was over at Westby's "checking out the volleyball courts over there."
The search for the car was called off and Schmiege, 26, 1157 Balmer Road, Youngstown, was charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident.