Niagara Gazette

July 6, 2007

PFEIFFER: I think you forgot something

By Rick Pfeiffer/

When it comes to dumb criminals, it sometimes seems like Niagara Falls had cornered the market on the criminally stupid.

Our most recent entry to the list just adds to the Cataract City’s reputation for being home to some folks who probably should be locked up for their own safety, as opposed to yours.

A check of court records shows this desperado is still on the loose, so we’ll see if anyone decides to gives the cops a ring to turn him in. Even though the crime is pretty petty (pun intended).

Joel Zsebenazy faces a charge of petit larceny after a visit last Friday to the Walgreens on Pine Avenue. According to a police report of the incident, Zsebenazy walked into Walgreens at 11:20 a.m. and asked a cashier for a carton of Newport cigarettes.

The cashier asked Zsebenazy for his driver’s license to check his age. As she entered Zsebenazy’s birth date into the register, her would-be customer decided it was time to take a five-fingered discount.

Zsebenazy grabbed the carton of smokes, ran from the store and disappeared down Pine Avenue. There was just one problem for this slick shoplifter.

He left his drivers license with the cashier.


Another cops calls it quits

The 520 Hyde Park Blvd. exodus continues, with longtime patrol officer, and lately, court security detail Officer Roland Johnston calling it a career.

Longtime C shift patrol Officer Mike Scozzofava now mans the front door at the Public Safety Building. The overnight shift officers seem to be getting a little younger as another veteran C shift officer, Dave Kelly has also joined the City Court detail.

Kelly is the big friendly guy folks see on the way into Traffic Court (at least there’s one friendly faces there as you prepare to pay your fine).

The new domestic violence guy

Congratulations to the Falls Police Department’s newest detective. Joe Paul, a veteran crime scene investigator, has taken over as the top cop in the department’s Domestic Violence Unit. Paul replaces retired Detective Ed Janese.

He’s taking on one of the toughest jobs in the department, but when I dropped in to see him last week, he seemed pretty excited.

He said he’s learning as he goes and is eager to bring some new ideas to the unit. Some of the most vulnerable crime victims are about to find out they’ve got a good guy taking care of their cases.