Persistence pays off in abductor’s arrest

By John J. Hopkins

A police dispatcher’s determination to decipher the reported license
plate of a suspect’s vehicle led Cheektowaga and Buffalo police to a man
who allegedly attempted to abduct an 11-year-old girl last week along
Cleveland Drive.

The August 16 abduction was thwarted by the girl, who ran screaming to a
nearby store after the man asked her to help him look for his “lost dog.”
Three persons witnessed the incident, and one wrote down an out-of-state
license plate number.

However, police had no luck matching the reported licence tag to the
described vehicle– a mid-1990s Ford Explorer– within the United States
and Canada.

Captain John Glascott told the Times last week that the witness may have
transposed one or more of the letters or numbers on the plate.

Police Dispatcher Paul Hockwater took an interest in the case and began
searching the state and provincial databases with different combinations.

“Paul changed the V to a U, thinking that at a quick glance the U looks
like a V,” Glascott said. “The new combination was positive in Minnesota
for a 90s Ford Explorer.”

Hockwater then checked the vehicle identification number in the New York
State database and found the vehicle licensed to a Buffalo man.

Police have charged Allen C. Krajewski, 29, Buffalo with endangering the
welfare of a child and attempted unlawful imprisonment. Both are

Krajewski purchased the vehicle on the Web site, flew to
Minnesota to pick it up and drove it back, Glascott said. Krajewski
registered the vehicle in New York State, but he never affixed the new
license plates.

“He still had the plates in his filing cabinet,” said Detective Ray

Nowicki credited Buffalo Police Officers Sal Juste and Tom Beyer of that
department’s “flex” unit for assisting in the arrest. The flex unit is
not assigned to any single district and generally patrols areas in which
assistance is needed.

Nowicki said that he went to Krajewski’s address on Buffalo’s west side
on two occasions, but the vehicle wasn’t there. He eventually stopped a
Buffalo police car, and asked Juste and Beyer for their assistance.

“I asked if they would be kind enough to check the address for the
license plate,” Nowicki said.

While Nowicki was returning to Cheektowaga, the Buffalo officers called
to inform him that the vehicle was in front of the address. Nowicki
returned to the home with Juste and Beyer where he interviewed and then
arrested Krajewski.

Glascott said that Krajewski provided police with statements that “placed
him at the scene.”

According to Nowicki, the victim identified Krajewski when she saw him on
the television news.

“She came into the station to be interviewed and said the man who was on
TV at twelve o’clock is the guy who tried to force me into the car,”
Nowicki said, adding the victim positively identified Krajewski’s vehicle.

Nowicki said that the victim was “excellent” in describing the vehicle
and suspect, considering the harrowing experience she had encountered.

“I told her, “I wish half of my adult witnesses were like you,” Nowicki

Krajewski may face additional charges. However, “the district attorney
said that the girl’s quick action stifled the incident,” Nowicki added.
“If he had put her in the car, there would have been kidnapping charges.”

The irony of lighter charges against Krajewski because of the girl’s
actions was not lost on Nowicki.

“The kid did the right thing, but it sort of killed the criminal case,”
Nowicki observed. “The main thing is she didn’t get abducted.”

Krajewski was arraigned before Town Justice Thomas S. Kolbert and his
bail was set at $15,000 cash or $50,000 bond, and he was remanded to the
Erie County Holding Center.

Copyright © 2000 – 2005
Cheektowaga Times

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